Maika Llaneza is a Filipina American writer, teacher, and monster fanatic. Her stories can be found in the January 2020 Cover Feature of Sojourners Magazine, Inheritance Magazine, HelloGiggles, State of Formation, Stories with Sapphire Podcast, Healing the Unknown, and a new episode of Spooked Podcast. She was a State of Formation Interreligious Writing Fellow, a conference presenter at the Biennial Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) Conference, and an upcoming debut kidlit author. She is currently an Exceptional Student Services Teacher at a French Immersion School in New Orleans, LA.
My spirituality today is still ever-evolving, but I am each and both and all my ancestors at the same time. I think this is indicative of our world and how, even with our differences, we can learn so much from one another and live peacefully side by side.
The sound of sharp boar’s teeth hammered onto my flesh was surprisingly therapeutic. I felt a wonderful calmness while my husband and a fellow Filipinx American hand stretched my skin and my mambabatok left these permanent soot marks symbolizing powerful ancestral messages.
Facebook recently showed a picture of me as a special education teacher in my very first classroom almost a decade back. When I looked at this image, all I could focus on was all the stuff.
I’ve been a monster fanatic for 13 years. Anyone who walks into our living room is bombarded with a large bust of Frankenstein’s monster’s head on the mantel, Frankenstein/Bride of Frankenstein movie posters on the wall, gothic/horror fiction and monster paraphernalia on the bookshelf, and random monster toys on the coffee table.