Fear is a Paper Dragon

Fear is a Paper Dragon

When I was about eight years old, my dad gave a speech—one that would be referenced many times throughout my childhood—to one of my second cousins about the nature of fear. My cousin Sterling stood at the top of a cliff on Lake Powell, terrified to jump, but wanting desperately to be considered as brave as those of us who had already made the 50-foot leap. In his pep talk, my dad told my cousin that fear is only a paper dragon. 

Read More

Staying Present

Staying Present

At least once a day, I think about being somewhere that I’m not. Sometimes it’s a result of my propensity to daydream, my ever-expanding curiosity about the places I haven’t seen, or reading travel-related articles (or a combination of all three). But most of the time, when my thoughts slip to montages of myself sporting a loose top bun and suede ankle boots on the streets of New York or buying onions and tortillas at an outdoor market in Mexico or saying “Tak!” as I grab my tea to go in Copenhagen, it’s Instagram-induced. 

Read More

The Question We Need to Ask Ourselves

The Question We Need to Ask Ourselves

Imagine this: You leave in the morning to drive to work and you encounter traffic on your commute. When you arrive to the office you discover that your day is scheduled with meetings and mundane tasks. You have plans to meet a friend for coffee during your lunch break and she unexpectedly cancels. Later in the afternoon you receive a call that there’s been an indication of fraud on your credit card so you need to cancel it and order a new one. You stay late at work to finish a project and by the time you leave you’re too tired to exercise or cook the nutritious meal you promised yourself you would. That night, you call someone you’re close with and vent about your day.

Read More

How Not to be Offended

How Not to be Offended

Yesterday I was making a right hand turn on Golden Lantern when someone honked at me. The flat, heavy sound sliced through Neil Young’s guitar strain and made my upper torso shake forward, like when your legs jerk involuntarily and unexpectedly during a dream. I looked in my rearview mirror, noticing as I did that my jaw was lowered and tense and my eyes were bulging and darting around me—the ultimate expression of injustice. 

Read More

Guilty Pleasures Discourse

Guilty Pleasures Discourse

During sorority recruitment in college, we often asked potential new members this question: “What’s your guilty pleasure?” It was a fun and light conversation starter that also simulated a feeling of intimacy. The answers were clever, varied, and sure to generate a few laughs, nods of agreement, and relaxed follow-up inquiries. Some girls referenced specific TV shows, others mentioned frozen yogurt or fast food, and others explained their affinity for The Jonas Brothers.

You get to learn a bit more about what someone likes and why. On the surface this question produces harmless banter, but the combination of the words “guilty” and pleasure” is a dangerous one.

Read More

Know Thyself, Like Thyself

Know Thyself, Like Thyself

“I had no idea how often you went here by yourself.” “Really?” I asked. “Really,” Jess responded. We were at Avila Beach recently, an adorable coastal town I frequented—alone—several times a week for the large part of my college career. Jess and I glanced again out at the whitecap dotted water, the wide shore, the toddlers licking strawberry ice cream in cones, all the college students throwing Frisbees and sunbathing. I sighed and the wind blew strands of my hair into my lashes and across my cheeks. It was perfect being there with Jess, but Avila will always be a space that feels uniquely my own.

Read More

Indulging Laziness

Indulging Laziness

I am an expert chiller. I know how to sit on my ass for hours, do nothing of substance, and love every second of it. It’s an underrated quality in an individual and one I happen to be proud of. On an average weekday in Bourges, France this past year where I taught, you could find me curling up on my twin bed scrolling through Netflix options (and occasionally actually selecting something to watch), reading entire books in one sitting, watching handfuls of movie trailers on YouTube, walking aimlessly with my roommate Julia around our little town and buying macarons just because, or staring out the window with my mug of tea.  

Read More

The Power of Saying No

The Power of Saying No

My sophomore year in college, I signed up for a spring break trip to Havasu Lake. It was an “I’ll go if you go” type situation and after much debate and vacillation, a few of my closest friends and I said why not and paid the fee for three and a half days of all-inclusive lakeside parties, boat jaunts, and nightclubs.

The day before I was prepared to make the drive, something like dread set it. I was anxious to leave and all too comfortable relaxing at home with my family. I realized quickly that I had no interest in actually going to Havasu; just as quickly, however, my persuasive powers switched on and I began to convince myself of the fun time I would have. My reasoning eventually trampled my doubts and I proceeded to pile bikinis and sorority tanks and decks of cards in my suitcase anyway. At the last minute, though it wasn’t necessary, I decided to drive my own car. The decision felt right, though at the time I couldn’t articulate why. 

Read More