Deeply Rooted

In 1957, the word leukemia was a death sentence.

There was nothing you could do and no one you could see. There was no drug to make it go away, and there was no treatment to alleviate the symptoms. So, when you’re a parent, and you have a child who is diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer in 1957, you are advised to go home and make your child comfortable.

That’s just what my grandmother did when her second child, Annette, was diagnosed with leukemia. The doctors said she had six months to live, and they went home. Annette was buried in her first communion dress in early November 1957.

It’s hard to put into words everything that has happened since 1957. Two years later, my dad was born somewhere in New Jersey, and six years later, my mom was born somewhere in New York. They met in Florida in the early 1980s, and they had three children. We’d celebrate hundreds of birthdays, anniversaries and happy occasions as a family. But somewhere along the lines, we’d also spend countless hours in hospitals and rehabilitation centers. We’d sit in waiting rooms, and we’d plan funerals.

In the tangle of every day life, it’s easy to forget where you came from and the experiences you’ve grown from. Every person can pinpoint the specific moments that changed everything for them, but as time goes on, those memories fade and fall on the back burner. It’s so crazy to think that the situations that once meant everything to you now seem so small.

Just the other day, my family group chat was celebrating the accomplishments of our little unit.  The conversation was moving along when my mom sent a message to my siblings and me saying how proud our grandparents would be of us and how they played a major role in who we are. It has been almost five years since my last grandparent passed away. I thought about how much my parents mean to me and how absurd it must be for them to live life without the people who raised them with every ounce of love in their hearts. How do we keep our relatives alive even after they’re gone? How do we honor the roots that paved the path for our success and happiness?

The greatest piece of advice that was ever given to me was to only worry about the things that are in your control. One of these things is what you do for other people. Being a decent person is one of the only things that will give back even though it cost you nothing at all.

So, armed with this advice and the drive to honor the people who have come before me, I work so that childhood illness is not a death sentence. I work to support families who are going through the ultimate task of taking care of a sick child. Every day, I see my grandparents in the faces of the families at my internship. I feel Annette’s spirit in the innocence and vibrancy of the painted walls and tiled floors of the children’s hospital.  Helping others in this way and being the love my grandparents didn’t receive feeds my soul in a way that nothing else can.

The world is a big place, and there’s no way to ensure that you’ll create an impact that will change the whole damn thing. But the fear of oblivion and the reality of our smallness shouldn’t stop us from at least giving it our best shot. Even in the grand scheme of the planet, disasters, great wonders, gravity and the after life, transforming my small corner of the world is good enough for me.

By digging into your roots, you may find passions and interests that drive you deeper into finding what sets your soul on fire. You may connect the dots and find yourself by losing yourself in the history of who you are. Your past isn’t anything you should be afraid to look back on, and no matter what you see, you are where you are today because of where you came from.

By understanding yourself, you’ll be able to give yourself wholeheartedly in the places that truly matter.

You got this.


I Think We All Need a Pep Talk

It’s 10:13 p.m. on a Monday night, and I’m where I usually am at this time.

I always go to bed early. I like turning down my covers and getting my books ready for the next day. I like charging my laptop overnight, and I occasionally will take out my Bible and center myself in prayer. I like taking a warm shower and washing the day off of me. As discolored water circles around the drain, I think of all I did that day and how tomorrow will most likely be no different.
As I sit on my bed cross-legged and deep in thought, I’m starting to get emotional. I’m very blessed to say that all that I have going on in my life right now is very good. I go to a world-class university where I do well in my classes and have incredible opportunities. I serve my community, and I work alongside close friends who share in my vision of a better future. I begin to wonder what I have done to cause God to look on me in such favor for the past couple months.
Just because things are going well for me right now does not me that I am a stranger to hardship and loss. I am no stranger to worry, anxiety and sleepless nights. I’m acquainted with death and the precariousness of daily living. Perhaps that is why I am so deeply appreciative of my blessings right now.

As one of my favorite songs says, “Bad times make the good times better.”
Through all of these good things, I can’t help but feel bothered, and I don’t know why. Every couple weeks, I start a blog post like this, and I always stop halfway through because I get lost. What am I trying to tell my reader? What do they want to hear from me? Are these emotions embarrassing?
First, I’ve never been the type of writer who sugarcoats. All of my stories are very raw, and a huge worry I had when I first started sharing my writing was if I would be comfortable being vulnerable. As my dad has taught me, being vulnerable is freeing. You may just even learn that other people share in your emotions or be inspired by your honesty.
Second, what I’ve been trying to portray for a very long time is that you don’t have to have it all together all the time. Even though things are going well for you, it is okay to feel fatigued and like you need some time to yourself. It is okay to stray off your path as long as you don’t go too far.
It’s taken time for me to accept that fact. Now that I have, I feel confident that I can share my thoughts and feelings with other people. I’ve always said that I feel as though I have a lot to offer to other people, and I won’t shy away from even sharing my emotions I’m not so proud of.
So if you’re reading this and things are going well, that’s great. If you’re reading this and things could definitely be going better, that’s okay too. There are going to be highs, and there are going to be lows. Every day is not going to be the best day. But just because it’s a bad day does not mean that it’s a bad life.
Have a great week!


I consider myself to be a punctual person. But lately, I always seem to be in a little bit of a rush.

Fun fact about me: I never snoozed an alarm until this year. Not a psychopath for the record.
I consider myself to be a morning person, and I get major FOMO if I wake up too late. The world is exciting! I don’t want to miss out.
But lately, my bed has been way too comfortable, the shower has been way too warm and my keys always seem to be lost when it’s time for me to lock the door. In my mom’s words, “You’re not Russian, you’re Italian.”
But lately, I’m pretty Russian.
The end of the semester brings so much turmoil. But when the editor of my local paper reached out for me to cover a story about a solar-powered charging station on UF campus on top of all of my exams, papers and meetings, of course I said yes.
Don’t look at me like that. You know I can’t help myself.
I expected this to be easy, my friends. Turlington Plaza is damn smack in the center of campus with a ton of people to interview, and a solar panel? Obviously the Office of Sustainability had something to do it, and they’re awesome with interviews. No problemo. I’ll write the article and get my by-line like it’s no one’s business.
So I hike my way to campus, and I collect some interviews. After reaching out to a campus relations dude, he pointed me in the direction of the Office of Sustainability. In a game of hot and cold, I was warm. Like, burning hot.
When I reached out to them, they said they knew nothing about the solar panel, and they pointed me to Student Government. Getting cold.
I continued my hike to the student union, where I marched right up to the front desk of SG. I talked with several people there, and no one knew about the solar panel there as well. They conversed among themselves, going down the list of all possible student organizations that could have put the solar panel up. No luck, and they sent me to Business Services.
I don’t know what the hell Business Services does, but I was standing in their office five minutes later.
When I asked about the solar panel, no such luck. My search was coming to an end.
So here I was, just a young girl with a backpack, big dreams, high hopes and the somewhat impossible task to figure out where the heck this solar panel came from.
I got the go-ahead from my editor to write a somewhat mysterious/humorous piece on the solar panel. After all, it was somewhat disturbing that this thing just popped up one day, and no one really knew about it.
Meanwhile, my family is texting me in our group chat encouraging me to say that aliens dropped it down from a UFO. Because that’s SUPER aligned with journalistic ethics.
I wrote the article, we edited and the copy desk fact-checked with me. I was ready to roll for publication the next morning, and there was word that I might even make the front page.
I’m just a wee contributing writer, okay? It’s cool seeing my name in print.
So you can imagine how disappointed I was when an email came in around 9:30 p.m., and the email revealed to me where this charging station came from. The story wasn’t going to be ran the next morning.
I’m keeping y’all on the edge of your seat. You’re just going to have to read the paper to find out. It’s the mystery of the century. And don’t rule out aliens just yet.
In the midst of your day-to-day rush, sometimes you get pulled to a screeching halt. Like, I-95 in Broward County during rush-hour screeching halt.
And my traffic jam didn’t end when I uncovered the mystery of the solar panel.
I was Russian to Starbucks to study for my second exam of the week when I saw that someone requested to connect with me on Facebook Messenger.
For the love of God, what do people want now?
But I peaked at the message, and my heart literally jolted in my chest when I read the paragraph.
My message was from Bethany Heitman, the Editor in Chief for PeopleStyle magazine. She explained that she received a letter from my dad in response to her letter from the editor in the magazine’s most recent issue. He supposedly bragged about me, and my life as a journalism/public relations student. So she dropped into my messenger to wish me well. She signed the message Bethany, and her signature read Editor in Chief in New York, NY.
I am so starstruck, you guys. And as big as my dreams are, and as wide as my horizons, I don’t know if my signature will ever say Editor in Chief. And I feel like its almost every younger communications major to work in Manhattan.
I’m somehow subscribed to PeopleStyle, and the issue gets delivered to my parent’s house. I’ve been getting it for a while. I don’t pay for it. But it comes without fail. I thumb through it, and I laugh when I think about my dad flipping its pages at our kitchen counter.
*Cue my rant about how journalism isn’t a dying field, and media platforms are just shifting from print to digital.*
Anyway, of course I looked up Bethany, and I tried to learn a bit more about her. After all, we were now connected via Facebook Messenger so that obviously means we’re the same person.
I found that Bethany is a total girl boss, and she is one hundred percent a body-positive role model. If you know me, you KNOW I’m all about that. Her efforts to bring women of all sizes and backgrounds to the forefront of fashion are totally inspiring.
In her letter from the editor that my dad read, Bethany reflected on her year and explained her commitment to be kind to herself.
This is something, in the midst of my rushing, that I always hold to the utmost importance. I never get too busy that I look down on myself, or punish myself for not planning better or being more organized.
Life gets weird, but just remember you’re where you need to be with the people you need to be with!
 Rush if you have to, but never get so busy that you forget to appreciate yourself.

Make a Slight Left


OMG hey!!!!!!

It’s been so long since I’ve been on my blog. After four posts I was extremely proud of, life got supremely busy and I had a major case of writer’s block. If you’re creative, you know how extremely frustrating that can be! You have so much to say but somehow can’t figure out what it is. There is inspiration EVERYWHERE but it’s difficult to actually put the words on paper (or keys to the web page in my case).
Every post I began to work out got extremely personal. Although I am proud of those pieces,  they express emotions that I’m not yet ready to share with my 1,000+ Facebook friends (many of whom I have not talked to in a hot minute, no offense). There was definitely a time where I would jump at any opportunity to share my deepest self with my followers, but as I’ve matured, I’ve learned the irreplaceable value of sharing my true colors with the select few who deeply appreciate them. Relationships are sacred!!!
But I have heard the cries of the people (my two or three fans) and I’m ready to start writing again. Sooo thanks for all your patience and for all the love! Hope you all enjoy this piece just as much as I enjoyed writing it.
A few years ago, my parents and I were sitting around when we came across an online quiz entitled “How Well Do You Know Your Child.” Everyone knows how close my family is, so it comes as no surprise that my parents were breezing through the questions.
We got a question that read, “What is your child’s favorite vacation?” In that moment, we all died of laughter because the answer was obvious: Our week-long Florida Keys vacation from 2013. Growing up, we didn’t go on vacations and that trip was our first extended vacation we ever took as a family. It won by default.
As a self-employed businessman, my dad is a one-man-band and never got much time off of work. In his words, “You gotta show up everyday.” My mom, a former teacher’s assistant, stayed home with us kids in the summer and on long weekends. We’d occasionally go to the theme parks in Orlando, but for the most part we had everything we needed right at home (a backyard pool and a golden retriever that swam with us in the pool).
But in 2013, my dad started getting some time off. The week-long vacations became something we looked forward to and planned with diligence. From New York, to Savannah, to St. Augustine, we thoroughly enjoyed our annual trips.
And then in 2017 my dad announced that him, my mom, and myself would be taking a 13 hour drive to spend a week in Nashville and the Smoky Mountains to which my ungrateful self responded, “Can’t we just fly?”
It is so out of my family’s comfort zone to fly anywhere. We can’t just hop on a plane, be there in two hours, and Uber to a hotel. It can’t be that easy. We NEED to punish ourselves, sit in a car for over half a day, fight the GPS directions, and hit every type of traffic jam imaginable. We need to, we can’t travel any other way.
For weeks I offered to fly into Nashville. I was willing to throw away over $300 of my own money to fly into one of the most popular cities in America on a holiday weekend in order to spare myself 11 hours of hardship. The day before we left, I was still making big pushes to fly when my mother responded, “I would give anything to be in the car with my parents for 1 hour let alone 13.”
We were driving by 6:30am.
Now before I continue, people, I think it’s important to inform you all that my parents and I are not country folk. After country music, a rack of ribs, and a pontoon boat, you lose us. It is what it is. My parents are northerners and I was raised in good ol’ suburban Coral Springs. We ain’t changin’. So when it was revealed that we were going to Tennessee, you could imagine my face. But according to my dad, I would “love the mountains” and it would be “unlike anything I’ve ever seen.” We gave it a shot.
Nevertheless, we did have a great trip! If we’re friends on Facebook, you got the constant check-ins and picture updates. We had too much fun in Nashville and ended up extending our stay there to see the largest 4th of July firework display in the country (and a free concert starring one of my favorite artists CHRIS YOUNG!!!!!!)
By the time we got to Gatlinburg five days into the trip, we (AKA my mom, a homebody with zero appreciation of the outdoors) were ready to go home.The hotel was advertised as a resort on a river with a spectacular view of the Smoky Mountains that you could see while lounging by the luxurious pool. Long story short, we got catfished by a hotel. The pool was the size of a small watering hole, the river was a crick, and the view of the mountains was actually a view of the neighboring hotel. The beds dipped in the middle of the mattress and there was a disturbing gas smell in the hallway. What the hell were we doing in this place?
It was 4:30am when I woke up to the sound of my parents laughing. My dad looked at me and said, “Get up, we’re getting the fuck out of here.” In 30 minutes, we were driving away from the hotel.
It was pitch black darkness on the road leading us out of Gatlinburg and back into civilization. All of a sudden, a local in a pick up truck came up behind our car with his brights on. Now, ladies and gents, my dad literally cannot drive when there is someone riding his bumper. It freaks him out (I know because I’m the same way). So take this guy, my dad’s anxiety, a winding mountain road, and pure darkness… Things are getting kinda sticky. In a moment of pure genius, my dad speeds up. We are now FLYING down the side of a mountain in Gatlinburg at 5:00 in the morning with a redneck on our tails.
If you think matters couldn’t get any worse, we hit a patch of fog that we mistook for a cloudy windshield. My dad, the vision of grace under pressure, starts freaking out but has to hold on to the wheel so that he doesn’t fling 3/5 of the Daly family of the mountain. So my mom starts fiddling with the heaters only to realize that, ah YES, we are in fog and there’s nothing we can do but watch the road. At this point, we’re all yelling at each other as we soar down the mountain. My dad is saying how he has PTSD from a head-on collision he was in as a teenager and my mom was firing back comments such as, “So you’re going to kill the three of us because of something that happened 40 years ago?”  While all of this is going on, a bunny ran across the road in front of the car as well. Chaos.
Alright so obviously, I’m writing this so we did live to see another day (and so did the bunny, no worries!!!) But the trauma did not end on the side of a mountain in Tennessee.
We were about 3 miles from the highway when our GPS led us on to a very small, one way dirt road on the side of the mountain. It was unlike anything I’ve ever seen before in my short 20 years of living. On the sides of this road were wooden shacks with no windows, outhouses in the backyards with moss growing up the sides, tractors tipped over in the front yards.  My dad was screaming, “Holy shit, man! This looks like Deliverance!” (Which if you haven’t seen the movie, it’s about these guys who go off on vacation in the woods and end up being very graphically attacked by backwoods locals. I don’t know how it has 93% on Rotten Tomatoes.) Basically, it wasn’t looking good for us.
Okay, I know I’m making light of this, but we were all TERRIFIED. I. Am. Telling. You. I have never been more genuinely fearful for my life. We had zero cellphone service and if Google Maps were to stop working or we would get a flat tire, we would be donezo. No one would ever find us. All I could imagine was a village local yelling “TAKE THE GIRL” while they hit my parents with the same shovel they used to till their land that morning. (Do you even use a shovel to till land? What even is tilling?)
So I’m BEGGING my dad to turn around and he’s yelling, “We can’t go back! We’ve come too far.”
I responded, “Dad, I am going to be SO MAD at you if we get killed out here.” I got things to do, people. Degrees to obtain. A man to marry. Kids to have. Places to see. I don’t have the TIME to die (most likely by pitchfork) on the side of a mountain in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
“I know, Kelly. I can just picture you all pissed off at the pearly gates of heaven just so upset that we’re dead. And God’s asking you to forgive me for this whole thing so that you can go to heaven but no,” my dad said.
That is actually very accurate. This is why we don’t go anywhere.
The sun had just started to creep over the side of the mountain when we saw the highway in the distance. I have NEVER been so excited to see a freaking highway in my life. It was like I had just escaped the grip of death. Not even gonna lie, I tear slipped from my eye.
It is absolutely never a dull moment with my family, I swear.
Usually I like to end my posts on some note that will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy but I got nothing on this one. If there’s anything you can take away from this post, PLAN your trips. Look up driving directions ahead of time and when your GPS tells you to “make a slight left on to Groundhog Road,” don’t make the slight left for the love of God.

Motorcycles & Miracles

“If you want to hear God laugh, tell him your plans.”

Those are the lyrics from one of my favorite songs, “Help Somebody” by Van Zant. Those words have gotten me through times I didn’t think I would make it through. They’ve helped me understand situations I didn’t know why were happening. The song played on country radio in 2005 when it was first released and was burned on to a CD I keep in my car 12 years later.

It’s also the same song that was playing when rubber hit my windshield while I was driving north of Florida’s Turnpike last Sunday.

I had just spent a weekend at home. I absolutely love going home, it’s almost like taking an all inclusive vacation (thanks Mom!!!). More importantly, I love seeing my family and taking some time away from school. Plus, I’d take any chance I can get to see that adorable little nephew of mine!

But after a few short days, Sunday never fails to roll around and leaves me with no choice but to head back to Gainesville for my Monday classes. So, my mom fills my belly and several Tupperwares with Sunday dinner and sends me on my way. Leaving never gets easier.

I was only a few miles south of Fort Pierce when the motorcyclist in front of me blew his back tire. Debris flew at my windshield but I kept my eyes on the bike’s driver who was now sliding across the two lane highway. His bike tipped over and skidded from the right lane to the median. The motorcycle hit the metal barrier and I screamed when the man was thrown from his bike. His body landed approximately 20 feet away from the bike when it came to rest on the side of the road. Tears filled my eyes as I pulled my  car over and threw on my hazards. The man was helmet-less and showed no signs of surviving the accident as his body laid motionless in the grass.

Traffic slowed when I started my sprint across the Turnpike, my shaky fingers dialing for an ambulance. Two other cars stopped made their way to the man as well. I called out to the biker hopelessly,  unsure of what kind of response I was looking for. But to my surprise, he lifted his head and looked around. He was alive.

The man stood up as I approached him. He looked around and was clearly disoriented. He could barely stand but made his way over to his bike to examine the damage. He was in his late fifties with a muscular build.

Just then, the 911 operator came on the line, “Ambulance or patrol car?”

“Ambulance,” I said. “Definitely an ambulance. A man on a motorcycle just blew a tire and was thrown from his bike. I thought he was dead.” I watched as he looked at his bike, clearly upset and somewhat disappointed.

“Where are you,” she asked. I looked around. I had absolutely no clue where we were. No mile marker. No exit signs. No landmarks. You know how the Turnpike is.

“I don’t know, I have no idea. We’re headed north on the Turnpike. Maybe by Fort Pierce,” I told her. An older man was talking with the biker and a younger man around my age stood next to me. “Do you have any clue where we are,” I asked him.

“I can drop a pin,” he responded. Alright, no help from him. He ended up leaving less than five minutes later.

I heard the operator typing, so I turned to the biker. “You took quite a fall there, sir.” He looked at me. He had a short trimmed white beard and crystal blue eyes.

“Yeah, that was pretty bad, wasn’t it,” he joked. I laughed and asked him how he felt. He shrugged and said fine.

The operator chimed in. “Miss, are you talking to him?” She was just as shocked as I was.

“Yes, I am actually. He’s standing.”

“Have him sit down. Was he wearing a helmet? Does he have any obvious injuries? Is he in pain?”

“No ma’am, he didn’t have a helmet,” I said. I looked at his jeans and reflective yellow jacket. There was no blood stains and his eyes showed no signs of a concussion. I reported this back to the operator and she noted that he was quite lucky. I really couldn’t agree more.

“We’ll have an ambulance there soon. It may take a little for them to find you but they’ll be there. You’ll wait for them to come, right?”

“Yeah, I’ll wait,” I said. My mom isn’t going to like this whole standing-on-the-side-of-the-highway-waiting-for-an-ambulance-with-a-strange-man thing. “Thank you.” The call ended.

I went over to the man who was now standing with one of his biker buddies and the older man who stopped. I told him that an ambulance was going to come check him out. I expected him to be disagreeable but he nodded. Just the fact that the man was standing was an absolute miracle alone but I knew there could be non-visible injuries that could show their effects later on. He knew that too.

“Hey, thanks for stopping,” the biker said to me. I smiled at him. Why wouldn’t I?

When traffic slowed, I made my way back across the two lanes and waited by my car.  The older man was parked behind me and he came to stand next to me.

“I thought he was dead,” he said.

“Me too, ” I replied, looking past the traffic and examining the biker who was now searching for his backpack with his friend. They both has cigarettes hanging from their teeth.

“You were right behind him,” he said turning to me, “You’re lucky you weren’t involved.”

He was right. I was paying attention to the road, keeping a good following distance, and maintaining a moderate speed. If I had taken my eyes off the road for just one second, the accident would have ended differently.

When the ambulance arrived, I got back into my car and drop off. I felt pleased with myself as my car gained speed. I made it just a few more miles when the traffic slowed again and people were pulling off the side of the road, avoiding something. It was then when I saw it, a multi-car pile up. There were three or four bodies scattered on the high way, blood and glass laying on the concrete. Many people had pulled over and were running from their cars to the scene. There were no ambulances on site yet. I thought about pulling over but in my heart, I knew there was nothing I could contribute. I saw flashing lights in the  distance and willed them to drive faster.

I safely drove off that day and made it back to Gainesville to continue on with my daily life. I think about how lucky I was that day, but if I was being honest, I wouldn’t quite call it luck. That day, I felt saved. I felt as though that if I had not stopped to check on the biker, I would have been involved in that multi-car crash. After all, I had only missed the accident by a couple minutes at most.

I can say everything happens for a reason, but then I think about the bodies thrown from their cars on the side of the road. I find it hard to see the good in that. But these answers aren’t for me to know. Some reasons are too big for us to understand.

Take some time today to reflect on where you. Your place has meaning and purpose. Make your plans but understand that there is someone else who says, “For I now the plans I have for you.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

The Founding Fathers and a Man with One Leg

If you’re anything like me (and 90% of the country) it’s been difficult to be on social media these past couple weeks. An enjoyable scroll through Facebook is now filled with political propaganda and that distant aunt no one has heard from in twenty years is now the new Aristotle.

I’ve always been a fan of politics on social media. Though it gets out of hand at times, people are protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution to speak freely about politics and the actions of the federal government. The freedom of speech is at the center of democracy and the ability to converse with other citizens creates an informed majority that can then vote accordingly to their views. So if Aunt Aristotle still wants to talk about Hillary’s e-mails, let her knock herself out!

For my fellow Americans who need a brief history lesson, the Bill of Rights are the first ten amendments of the Constitution. They were added by the Anti-federalists at the Constitutional Convention of 1787 to protect the rights of an individual against the power of a centralized government. All the other amendments outline the rights the government has over the people. So cling tightly to those first ten, people! We’re gonna need them!

Odds are you’ve been thinking about yourself. You’ve been thinking about your family, your friends, and those inalienable rights. In time of stress and division, it’s only natural to cling to what’s yours and what’s familiar.

Well today, I encourage you to remove your head from your rear end and see things from a different angle.

About two months ago I was standing in an elevator at the Shands Medical Plaza in Gainesville. I was alone in the elevator trying to remember which floor my doctor’s appointment was on. I’d been seeing a lot of specialists lately and things were blurring together. Taking a wild guess that maybe it was the third floor, I pressed the button and the elevator lifted. To my dismay, I got the floor wrong and the elevator doors closed behind me before I could step back in. I called the elevator again and waited, my arms crossed over my chest.

As I waited for the elevator, a man in a wheelchair caught my eye. He was maybe in his late thirties with long hair and blue eyes. He also had one leg.

I turned my attention back to the elevator when I felt the man pull his wheelchair up close to me. I felt his eyes on me so I looked down at him and lent him a half-hearted smile. We barely made eye contact. I didn’t want to gawk at his one leg. I didn’t want to make him feel any different from me. I tried to treat him like he was any other person standing next to me waiting for an elevator. But, by human nature, you start to feel uneasy when faced with something that is simply different from you. You wish you didn’t feel this way but sometimes it’s just a reflex. I knew that he knew that I was uncomfortable.

I was relieved when the elevator door opened but the feeling quickly fleeted as the man rolled in after me. I was against the back of the elevator and his wheelchair faced me. As soon as the door closed, he spoke.

“You know, if you end up in an elevator with me, you have to either sing a song or say the alphabet backwards.”

A gave him a look. Good one.

“I’m serious,” he said. “Take your pick.”

“I guess I’m singing because I can’t say the alphabet backwards,” I said to him. I laughed. He was easing my nerves but I really didn’t want to sing for this man. I tried to think of a song just in case he pressured me. ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’ was the first song that came to my mind and there was no way I was singing that to a one-legged man in an elevator at 9AM on a Friday morning.

“You don’t know how to say the alphabet backwards? What if you get stopped at a DUI checkpoint?”

“Guess I’m going to jail,” I joked with him. He had a point, maybe I should learn the alphabet backwards.

Right when I thought I was in the clear, the one-legged man looked me dead in the eye and sang the alphabet backwards to me. There was nothing I could do but look at him. While he sang, I wondered what I had done to be in this position. If only I had gotten the elevator floor right the first time.

When he finished, I gave him a round of applause. “That’s pretty impressive,” I complimented.

“Well, when I was a kid, I spent a lot of time in the hospital,” he began. “On top of my bed behind me, there were paper cutouts of the alphabet but in front of me was a mirror. So I had nothing to do all day but stare in the mirror and eventually I learned the alphabet backwards. That was the best use of my time while I waited for the doctors.”

I felt like such an ass.

The elevator doors opened and that was that. I bid him a good day and was on my way.

This story crosses my mind quite frequently. Not only was it completely odd, but it just made me see things in a different light. There I was, an able-bodied woman in an elevator, just slightly peeved from a hectic morning. I couldn’t be bothered with a one-legged man, but he bothered with me.I’m sure he’s been in that situation before. Many people won’t look at him or feel uncomfortable starring at his lack of a leg. Instead of subsiding to the fact that some may consider him an outsider, he makes himself the center of attention while easing those around him. He made an uncomfortable situation feel normal.

When you open your eyes, you may just see the beauty in the disaster. You may see the world at a new angle.

You may just learn the alphabet backwards.







Publishing the first piece to my blog felt like word vomit. It took months for me to get to the point where I just wanted to pull the trigger. Many may not see the big deal in breaking the seal, but anyone who writes can tell you that your words are your rawest form. Even if you’re writing for kicks and giggles like me, a part of you is always a little worried about the reception.

Another part of you also doesn’t really give a crap and that’s how I brought myself to press the big blue ‘Publish’ button.

I was kind of just sitting in my room all sick and sad, sneezing on myself because who knows what a tissue is. I was just about to roll over and die  when the sun hit me just right and I was revived from the grave that was my full-sized bed. I audibly said “Let’s do it, bro” like any millennial man in khakis would say when his buddy asks if he wants to play golf on Saturday morning. And in a quick burst of genius, I wrote the end of my first post.

It wasn’t initially how or when I planned to get the ball rolling, but it happened nonetheless. Very rarely do things in my life (or anyone’s life) run as planned. I’m sure you’re nodding to yourself thinking about all the shit the universe has put you through just this morning.

On one particular morning, my universe certainly pulled a number on me.

I’m two years into college and every semester I’ve been oh so blessed with an 8AM class. A part of me can’t be upset, I truly do it to myself as I’ve convinced myself that I’m a morning person. The early bird may get the worm, but the early bird also wants to drink bleach every time the 6:45 alarm goes off.

Anyway, during Fall I had a wonderful 8AM biology class. Around the same time I started to take an acne medication. The medication had to be taken twice a day with a meal and a full glass of water. So of course, like any responsible adult, I did the exact opposite and  took it on an empty stomach and washed it down with a swig from under the faucet.

I woke up for that 8AM biology class like I did every Tuesday and Thursday. I got ready, gathered my things, took my medication, and rolled out the door with my little Breakfast Essentials shake in hand. I drink them in the morning when I’m rushing. So, basically, I drink them every morning.

The second I hit the stairs of my apartment building, the worst nausea I’ve ever experienced began to set in. I briefly contemplated turning back around and going to my apartment but the overachiever in me would rather be burned at the stake than show up late to this class. So I continued on my merry way, gripping the bannister so I wouldn’t topple down three flights.

I was almost to the highway when death became imminent. In that moment, I heard the iconic words of a small Italian woman with a Brooklyn accent: “Eat something, you’ll feel better.” I spotted the Breakfast Essentials shake in my drink holder and I downed it. The chugging ability would make any frat brother jealous. I immediately felt relief. Italian grandmothers are always right (unless they want to put parsley up your butt to help with constipation, then they are WRONG).

Things were going fairly decent. About a mile up the highway, I started to feel nauseous again. My destination was quickly going from biology class to Yack City. Santa Fe is only five miles up the high way and I figured I could make it. Even if I couldn’t get to the school, there’s a Walgreens right off the exit. I could hold it down till I got there or at least to their parking lot. Pulling over on  the high way was not a possibility; God forbid one of my peers saw me. I’d probably transfer.

While I was contemplating this all in my head, I started to gag. Gagging provided some relief until I was basically dry heaving in the driver’s seat of my car. I was one exit away from school when the nausea vanished. I gagged the pain away, basically. Not today, Satan!!!

Then I vomited.

It was a small amount at first. I managed to catch it in my right hand as my left hand kept my car on the road. But then it just kept coming. The little puddle in my hand overflowed and it was all over me. Down my shirt. On my pants. The inner console. The radio. I couldn’t even get a grip on my steering wheel because it was all over that too.

I was swerving all over trying to get to the right lane, my vomit filled hands slipping every time I touched the wheel. Like any good Florida driver in a rainstorm, I put my hazards on.  I was truly as hazardous as they come. People were swerving around me, beeping at me and peering into my car to catch a peek at the purely incompetent driver operating this  motor vehicle. The drivers probably expected to see a blind flamingo behind the wheel but instead saw me, a 20 year old, able bodied woman with vomit on her face, trying to catch the remains of her Breakfast Essential’s shake in her hand.

I reached the exit and looked down at myself. No need for description, you can imagine how bad it was. I got back on to the high way and headed towards home without any hesitation. First I called my mom. There was absolutely nothing she could do from four and a half hours away, but I was absolutely traumatized and needed to share what had just happened. Then I called one of my roommates, Amanda, who I knew was already awake. I calmly explained to her what had happened and that I needed her to bring a towel downstairs. When I got to the apartment, she had not only a towel but also a bottled water (thanks Dita!!!).

I had every intention of going to that 8AM biology class that morning but things just happen. Things you don’t plan, things you can’t control. If you’re lucky, these things will work out in your favor. Other times, they’re just nasty.






Resumes and New Beginnings

I was sitting at a coffee shop with two friends the other night when one asked the other to look over his resume. I felt the saliva catch in my throat. Automatically, I reached for my headphones. This was not a conversation I wanted to be apart of.

But it was a conversation I needed to hear. So I plugged in my headphones but didn’t actually play any music and eavesdropped in the creepiest way possible. They went back and forth about the font choice, which bullet points to use, the margin size, and the usage of personal pronouns. My nausea began to set in.

Let  me confess something to you. I don’t have a resume. Not that I don’t have any qualifications, just not the physical piece of paper. I’ve never really had a need for it. I revealed this to a friend the other day and he said, “How could you be a sophomore in college and not have a resume?” He had a point.

That damn resume conversation kept me awake for nights. I would wake up from a deep sleep with cold sweats just thinking about my resume, or lack of. How about a LinkedIn? Do I need one of those? The thing is that I don’t exactly believe in having a resume. But that’s not something you can say to a future employer when they ask for one.

When it comes down to it, resumes basically measure who can say that they worked a really shitty job but in the most elegant way. For instance, “Handled primary administrative functions such as database filing” is the best way for me to say that I was a paper pusher (but still the best damn paper pusher you’ll ever meet). If you’ve ever been through the agony of writing a resume, you know the kind of lingo I’m talking about.

So I swallowed my pride and kicked it into high gear. A handful of days in solitary confinement led to a pretty kick ass resume with a margin size that’ll bring any CEO to their knees. After all, that’s exactly what I’m going to be hired off of.

Despite my intense aversion to resumes, I’m actually a go-getter. When I felt like I was slipping behind the rest of my peers, I picked myself immediately and wrote the resume. But the thing is, I was never slipping. I was never actually behind.

The second you start to tell yourself you’re going to lose the race is the same second you become disqualified. This is a self-prophesized mantra (and as you can tell I’m pretty proud of it). Everyone moves at their own pace and whether it feels like it or not, you’re exactly where you need to be at every moment of every day. It’s really never too late to start something new.

Which is why I’m starting a blog.



And that’s where I ended things back in November.

Everyone on my Instagram got super hyped up after I posted a small picture of my blog under construction with a nice little “Coming Soon” cliff hanger. I had every intention of launching my blog two months ago, but finals came around and life got in the way. You know how it goes. Several of my out-of-state friends asked me over break when the big release was coming and I said, “What release?”

So here I am back on my computer, white cheddar popcorn fingers sticking to my keyboard as I write some words down on a page that will dump my feelings into the wide open electronic abyss we call the internet.

I’m a YUGE fan of the New Year.

I like the thought of renewed hope, new beginnings, and the endless possibilities that another flip of the calendar brings. In reality, it’s just another day and there’s nothing very special about midnight on January 1. But I won’t let the pessimism of my Facebook friends rob me from celebrating with a bottle of champagne.

Despite how fond I am of the New Year, I’m really not one for resolutions (you can ask the several empty journals in my nightstand that I swore I’d write in every night before I went to bed in 2016… 2015,2014 etc). I can’t hang when it comes to resolutions and I’m about, oh I don’t know, 101%  positive I’m not the only one who has this issue. I still sleep pretty well at night.

But for those of you who actually have goals for 2017 and plan to stick to them, my heart stands with you. Now a days with our lives being so transparent and overexposed, it is so important to take that time for yourself and to nurture your well-being. As my boy Tim Tebow says in his book Shaken, “Think about whether you want to wake up six months or a year from now being the same person you are today.” Now if that was coming from the mouth of a personal trainer at YouFit, I’d probably punch him in the face. But since it’s coming from Tebow, I put more thought into it. We could all use some work around the edges (and if you’re reading this pretty positive that no aspect of your life needs some tweaking, there’s your answer).

But I digress.

You didn’t have to start a life changing journey on January 1, 2017, but if the turn of the year gets the wheels going then so be it. Take that energy and renewed excitement to make positive impacts in the areas of your life that can use a little grease. I’m not going to offer up a list of resolutions, you know what you need. Now is the time to stop denying yourself of the things you truly need. Now is… well, the time.