Mandy Huser - Healing

I was at a cafe - one that we talked about going for late night coffee at because it’s one of the only cafes in Hamilton open until 10pm, and evening coffee was one of our things. This cafe is close to the house I live in now - a place that, for any One Tree Hill lovers, always makes me think of the quote from Karen’s cafe - “somebody told me that this is the place where eveything’s better and everything’s safe.” This house is safe to heal in, with people who have more love, grace, and compassion in their hearts than I have ever known. Nights are weird and spacious now and the Universe is kind, nestling me in this space next to a cafe made for night owls.

I ordered a drink with coconut milk, which feels weird, but taking care of my body in small ways is important right now because it is feeling as sensitive as my mind. The barista looked at my arm and said, “What does your tattoo say?”

I felt my face go red. I looked down and said, “Oh, it says messy and awake.”

She gave me the face I usually get and asked what it meant.


It’s always interesting - the moments when people ask. I always answer differently depending on where I am physically and mentally, how much time I have (after ordering a coffee always feels like too quick of an interaction to describe it the way I want to), and whether I think they actually want to know the full meaning or are just being nice.

I said, “Awake means being aware - basically, doing your best each day to not be on autopilot.”

“And messy, well - messy is a reminder to me to be human. And through it all, to be okay with how that looks for you. It’s being okay with feeling things deeply.”

She gave me a number for my coffee and I went to find a table, reflecting on my response.

How wild it is, that in times of chaos, of discomfort, of heartbreak and grief, that we forget what is at the core of how we want to live our lives - of who we are and who we want to be.


I had been filling the empty spaces of my days - the mornings, the awkward time between dinner and bed, the weekends - with trying to intellectually comprehend it all. With trying to see the bigger picture, the way it all fits in the grander scheme of my life. Time has been slow.

But in this space, I’ve learned that there can be a time to intellectually understand it all - but that time is not now. I’ve also learned that sometimes there isn’t a time to do this, that sometimes things are just beautiful, and sometimes they happen to be just that - beautiful. Sometimes they don’t serve a greater meaning or purpose.

Image courtesy of   Morgan Harper Nichols

Image courtesy of Morgan Harper Nichols

Sometimes you need to take the journey from your head into your heart and just feel - the layers, and layers, and layers of feelings. Not just the surface level - not just the ones you have words for, but the deeper emotion, the ones that are hidden that you aren’t able to explain. Sometimes you need to exist in the messy space of feeling all of those things, but not try to understand them just yet.

The barista at Coffee Culture reminded me of that.

If you’re going through something that is shaking you out of everything that you knew to be true. Remember. Who you are. And what lives in your soul. And you will start healing.


Mandy Huser

Mandy also shares her thoughts on life, growth, and meaning on Instagram. You can also visit her website.