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Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Inside Scoop on Jesse Brisendine part 1


As promised, this week's blog comes courtesy of my dear friend Macie Berlin.  She will be popping in from time to time to share some awesome content, along with a few personal stories about me in an effort to help you all get to know me better.

I told her she had free reign to write whatever she felt would be of value to all of you. I hope you enjoy:

“What the hell is panhandling?” I asked, infuriated, confused, and taken aback.

I was behind a red velvet curtain in a Las Vegas casino with my bathing suit cover up and flip flops, handcuffed to a plastic diner-esq chair, staring down some rent-a-cop, and I had no purse, phone, or anything useful. Someone had called to report that I had been panhandling? Begging for money? What? How? I was lost.

I had no idea how long I had been gone since I was grabbed seemingly out of the blue in the middle of the afternoon, but I imagined that it had been at least an hour since I got up from the bar-side table and ran to the restroom after having half of a drink with my new friend, Jesse. I had just started working at the personal training studio he was at back in Santa Barbara, and we worked out a way to meet up when we learned we were both going to be in Las Vegas attending separate (but surely equally destructive) birthday parties. Except I never returned from the bathroom.

Hours later, after hundreds of tears, questions, and interrogative notions, I was released (apology still pending), and I sobbed myself to sleep alone in my hotel room as my girlfriends partied the night away. At some point, I finally re-connected with Jesse. He sounded exhausted. Little to my knowledge, he had been on a wild goose chase. He was enraged that I had been so mistreated, saying that he had receipts with the time I was with him that would serve as eventual evidence and then went on to portray his panic while I was missing because no one would check the surveillance cameras to help find me. He was up in arms, ready to sue, worried, yet relieved, and he would not rest until some sort of justice prevailed. I couldn't believe how worried this guy was about me and how adamant he was about being in my corner. He barely even knew me yet.

It's been over 6 years since that trip to Vegas, and we've been roommates, best friends, running partners, and each other's “person” for so much of that time, and I consider a lot of that to be because of that initial meet up. I seemingly can't think of one secret that I have that Jesse doesn't know, and vice versa. I can think of many that the two of us share together, and there is no doubt we will take those to our grave.

So when I take a look at who Jesse Brisendine, the man behind The 1000 Challenge, behind the sunset pictures, the inspiring quotes, and the gut-wrenching story is, I see a lot of what you, his followers see; but I also see Jesse, the guy who made me cry on my 23rd birthday because he hid my stuffed polar bear in the pantry, the man who has backed the two-timing douchebag into a corner in my defense, and the guy who I have watched deal with life's cruel, but intentional hand in the best and worst of times. You know Jesse, but I dare to argue that I know just a little bit more.

Jesse and I are alike in about as many ways as we are different. We are both smart. We have lofty discussions about everything, and we are so thirsty to learn more about everything that we can instantly feed off of one another. We read a lot. I play fantasy football, and Jesse can't stand it. We grew up on opposite ends of the state. One of us enjoys television. In my 27.5 years alive, I have gone just ONE of those years without the luxury of cable tv. That was 2010, the year I lived with Jesse. Don't get me wrong – books are, and always have been, a huge part of my life. But so has cable! I grew up pining over One Tree Hill while downing chicken and veggies with my mother, having girls' night for OC viewings, and have been a die-hard Lakers fan since the Nick Vanexel and Eddie Jones days. No cable tv?! Pardon my french, but fuck that. It was hard. One of the clear, compelling differences between the two of us. There is something about Jesse, however, that allowed me to allow him to win that battle. That's what's funny about our relationship – we don't battle because there is a wordless understanding of who should ultimately get it. Sure, we've had fights. We've even gone weeks without speaking. But 100 times out of 100 times, we understand each other.

I can't believe I'm going to admit this in writing, but I am a huge proponent of honest script, so here it goes. I shit my pants one time. No seriously. Like full blown. I was out for a run with Jesse's then girlfriend and one of his clients. He was overseas with Paul. I want to say it was about 4 years ago. Jesse had a way of connecting all of the important people in his life so that we functioned well with or without him. The three of us went for a routine 12 mile run that day. At mile 10, I shit my pants. My stomach had been hurting for about 6 miles, but I would have taken 1000 needles jabbing at me over the mess that actually ensued. I had to lay down in the thinning grass and foxtails on the side of the very well traveled road next to the ocean with his girlfriend crouching beside me while the other guy sprinted on to bring the car back around. I had to ditch my (literally) soiled running shorts, wrap Jesse's beach towel around my waist, and humiliatingly get a ride home. This will be the first time that Jesse finally figures out why his beach towel was gone when he returned from overseas. See? No secrets. So I emailed Jesse to tell him the story. I spelled it out entirely and asked him if he thought a guy would ever want to date a girl who shit her pants in her 20s. Minutes later I got a call long distance from Europe. You know what I heard?

Laughter. Joyous, child-like, incredulous laughter. He was laughing at me! He said he didn't care how much the phone call was costing him because that was the funniest story he had ever heard and he needed to relive it verbally. I suppose this is now one less story he has to worry about taking to his grave. Cat's out of the bag.

That's what is so special about the kind of friend Jesse is. He's not going to walk me through life's lessons when I've just traumatized myself in a way that just doesn't seem to happen. Ever. He's going to have a good laugh. Over and over again.

I take a lot of pride in how hard I can make that guy laugh. I have always thought of myself as quick-witted and humorous, but it's always a sort of self-fulfilling validation when someone else receives you the same. It also matters to me that I make Jesse laugh because I have seen him go without laughter for what has felt like eternities.

To be continued...

Next week's blog will delve into dating and how Jesse was almost a Reality T.V. star.

Macie's Bio:

Macie is your average Feminist Studies and Exercise and Sports Science major from UCSB. By average, she means she's a walking contradiction. She loves all things sports and competition, and she is also a passionate philanthropist and activist. Most important, she is a nerd at heart. Macie coaches and runs character development programs from high school girls soccer players, and she continuously pursues her favorite activity - writing. Macie's various, but important passions include her non-profit organization, H.E.E.A.L. (Hope through Exercise, Energy, and Art for Life), which serves to fund other organizations who promote and provide exercise and art outlets ( They also include her podcast, Dropping the F Bomb (, which delves into modern-day feminism with a little bit of an attitude, and her blog, Lifestyle of the Torn and Triad, which follows her journey through her 3rd knee surgery in her 20s ( Macie will also be starting as a contributor for Elite Daily (

Jesse here:

I hope you enjoyed Macie's blog.  Please let us (Macie and I) both know what you think in the comments below.  I'm looking forward to reading part 2 next week. :)

The below photos are two of my fav's of Macie and I.  The first one is the one that if you asked either of us what photo best describes our friendship, we would both say "the one at the bowling alley."

Enjoy :)

Carpe Diem,



  1. This is awesome! It sounds like Jesse is the type of friend that every girl should have. Thank you for sharing this. It is great to get a little insight to the mysterious Jesse Brisendine! I'm excited for next week.

  2. Oh my goodness, I so appreciate your honest writing Macie! "I shit my pants" are freakin hilarious. I like you already.
    Oh and every girl should have that one guy friend who backs two-timing douchebags into corners on their behalf. That one makes me like Jesse more!
    I adore your relationship and am looking forward to your next post.
    Have a great Saturday you guys!

  3. more thing...
    The connecting important people together so that you all can function well with or without him thing you wrote. Well that just made me smile. That is all.

  4. I love how honest you are, I love it. Everyone needs good friends like that hahaha :)

  5. Great blog, i just feel this is part of Jesse's next book. Happy birthday Jesse may you have all the inspiration you need for your writing.

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  7. Brilliant blog. Entertaining, from the heart but also what a great friendship :)

  8. That's a brave place for her face to be!

  9. It's awesome that you both have such a great friendship. This post proves everything we know about Jesse. He is a loyal and fun friend through thick and thin. It's nice to know he is genuine and doesn't just take on a social media persona :) Thanks for sharing...can't wait to read more.

  10. So funny! You are a lucky girl to have a friend like Jesse and he to have a friend like you.

  11. So stoked you all are enjoying Macie's blog!

    Funny fact... for months I kept trying to find that towel, as it was my favorite. I mean I searched everywhere! When I read this for the first time, I said outloud: "Oh, that's what happened to my towel."