I was in Costa Rica with Michelle for 10 days.

In ten days you talk.

A day of frothy rum drinks and too much sun leads to the tumbling of secrets as we dig our toes into the sand and lean across our beachfront table towards each other. We talk about how I stood on a short board, the potency of her anger at her absent father, how even I don’t approve of the guy I’ve been seeing.

We talk about my desire to be loved. About my relationship with my mother.

“You’re… complex.”  She said.

I’m glad she said complex instead of complicated. I’m only complicated if you’re trying to solve me. Undo me and put me into neat little piles. If you want to know me – to swivel, pull, lick, grab, beg, and wonder… then I am complex. A messy past and a hopeful future.  A mismatched barricade hobbled together out of thrift store furniture. A Cubist painting with a sideways smile you could never appreciate unless you’re up close and in person.

I don’t need to be simple. I am what I am. I just don’t want a lack of simplicity to be treated as an error that needs correcting.

I am what I am.

And I am, it seems, complex.


Today, I’m thankful for the girls that make me laugh harder than anyone in the world.

For motorcycles and chocolate chip cookies.  For Amsterdam and new beginnings.  For new books and gold nail polish.  For laughing and laughing and laughing and laughing.  For three in one fitting room, laughing out in roars and ugly clothes, “no, bend over, you have to make sure it fits!  Bend farther!  Bounce up and down!”  until our sides shudder and our cheeks hurt from the laughter.  Until we’ve started to cry laughing from “pretending” we like kale so much it hurts.  Until we all tragically lose or tragically win a game of beer pong.  Until we all drive home safe and happy and together again for one more good night’s sleep.

The times they may be changing, but the best things seem to stay the same.

Today we rode through Green Valley, even though it wasn’t green.  The bike is small, just a starter, but it’s everything to us.  A representation of times gone by but yet to come, a past and a future.  A reminder of the vast expanse of things hinted at for the last twenty years.  I climbed on the back and felt the vibrations so hard I could have sworn my limbs had fallen asleep into pins and needles.


I dip my head back and taste the sky.  Today is a good, good day.

The wind whips at my helmet.  The sun scorches down on our backs.  We rumble and tuck between the hills and I realize that I’m feeling lucky.  Yesterday the ikea catalogue came (unrequested) to my mailbox, and I felt my fists flying and had the urge to burn down my apartment.  The first rule of fight club is that you don’t talk about fight club.  I’m getting back to basics.  Feeling primitive and decorating with dirt.  I’m painting the Swiss Alps on my refrigerator.  I’m writing a novel.

I dance around the room, shadow boxing.  Punch and pull, float and fly, I’m ripping my enemies to shreds.  It’s four in the morning and I’ve conquered yesterday and am part way through tomorrow.  Lemme at ‘em.

Today is a good day.  I’m all power and fire and light.  There’s no stopping me.  I am Alan fucking Ginsburg, I am Susan B. Anthony, I’m every woman, it’s all in me.

Some moments you know you really can do anything.  Some loves really can conquer all.  Sometimes, if you peel off all of the layers you gained getting knocked around and jaded, you find the passions that ultimately save you.  Sometimes just a touch is enough.  I am fire in the sky, I am Natalie fucking Portman, I am the kiss you’ll always remember.

The first rule of fight club is that you don’t talk about fight club.  The second rule of fight club is that you don’t talk about fight club.  The secret of fight club is all the stuff you can’t talk about (I am Voltaire!) so I’m stripping myself free of the extraneous, and climbing on for the ride.  The wind whistles through my helmet.  Today the happiness soars through me.  I’m rummaging through old pictures in my head.   I am seeking out the obvious.  I am thanking my lucky stars.  I am Jonathan Frazen, I am Elvis and Oprah, I am oblivious to anything that gets in my way.

Maybe this happiness is crazy, but I’ll take it.



They’re all well and good and exciting until you’ve got a four hour delay ahead of you.  Stuck elbows deep in poorly made frappacinos and rumpled US Weekly’s… I am waiting for the plane to touch down.

I’m on the phone, arguing with the latest entry in a long line of mistakes.  My fingers turning cold from nervously running around the rim of a tall iced tea for the better part of an hour; the strangers pressing, forcing forward against the black tape that separates them from their loved ones, holding off for touchdown.  From back near the Starbucks they look like an impatient ocean.  Swelling in ebbs and flows.  Waiting.

Everyone is tired, hungry, bored, and probably writhing in anticipation.  We’ve been waiting all day on an international flight.  We have agendas with old loved ones and near strangers, and I am peeling the whites from my fingernails.

I hang up the phone.

There’s a previous flight that touches down, full of someones from somewhere.  The ocean bursts forward in an explosion.  It’s chaos.  People are screaming out in languages I don’t recognize.  The flight attendants are shoving people back behind the lines, a man with an accent is being dragged towards the door by the police, but in the midst of it it… there’s this girl.

The girl in the red shoes.

She can’t be more than twenty.  She’s probably not even eighteen.  And her arms are hung tight around a boy, face pressed into his chest.  His head is down, nose in her hair, and the bags at their feet, the noise, the crowd…. they’re forgotten.  I can see her body heave a sigh that carries out with it all the time she’d been waiting.

Slowly the ocean of travelers calms.  The girl in the red mary janes picks up one of the boy’s bags and smiles.  The airport is as it was and the people come and go.  I am still waiting for VS107.

I can feel the weight of her happiness lingering in the room – that particular joy, that youthful brand of crazy – and suddenly I wonder if anyone saw her but me, and if anybody cared.  I stare back at anxious crowd and wonder why it’s so rare to see anyone much older that she is running forward, falling into someone’s arms with tears or excitement or passion.  Maybe really, truthfully, I’m not wondering about the state anybody’s in but me.  I’d like to believe it’s still inside me.  The excitement, the abandonment.  To F* all the world when you see what you want.  To rush towards it with open arms and let yourself rest in it.  Emptied out and safe.  I’d like to think it’s still there.

I toss the last of my drink and join the ocean.  Forty-five minutes later my toes are giving out for standing high on them to see over the crowd, and I’m wondering if I should just give up and wait outside.  I’m too small to see over the swell.  The crowd is pressing forward and the airline employees start to rush against the tide.  I bite my lip, near resignation, edging towards the door…

Until I get the smallest glimpse of the person I’m waiting for, and my feet can’t carry me fast enough… the world starts sliding past me, as I break into a run.


The first time I heard this song, you were stretched out on your back in the emptied out shell of Charlie’s van.  The three of us had stayed out all night, and come sun up, bleary-eyed and drunk on adventure, you were driving me back to my dorm room.  Lying down in the spot where the chairs should have been but weren’t, you had your eyes shut and were mouthing the words along to the music with this smile on your face.  I had never heard the song before, but instantly felt lovely – overwhelmed in some confusing, ridiculous, catastrophic teenage emotion that really, I still don’t understand.  Ten years later, give or take…. to this very day; any time I hear it, I imagine you silently mouthing the words in the back of a van, and me, nineteen and stupid, twisting around from the front seat to look at you, smiling at your quiet lipsync as the two of you ride us towards home.


The shot glass from France was stolen along with my passport. Also with all of my makeup, and my favorite dress. The shot glass from London was mostly dissolved when a well meaning college roommate soaked it in boiling hot water along with the rest of the crusty dishes in the common room. Even my adventures are beginning to eat themselves alive.

My shot glass from Jamaica, like many of my shot glasses, isn’t a glass at all. This one is a wooden carving, whittled by hand into a deep green well with a small bird and the word J-A-M-A-I-C-A spelled out ever so carefully on the side in a scrawl that looks like it belongs to a child.

Today I open the kitchen cabinet to find that my shot glass from Jamaica has been turned nearly to dust by some sort of wood boring insect. It’s split down the middle right to the base and sitting in a dusty pile of it’s former self.

How fitting.

Each and every adventure, actually. How fitting.

I scoop the thing up, not having any desire to unleash a bug that can eat 100 times it’s body weight into my apartment, but also feverishly searching for a way to preserve my memory before it eats me out of house and home.

These shot glasses, these silly little dollar things, are all that I take back with me from whence I came. No trinkets or toys, no postcards, no jewelry. Just one bitter-sweet dose of lightheadedness from each and every place.

Because I’m American, and because I am foolish, I believe that most problems can be solved with strong bleach and water brought to a boil. So I pour too much Clorox into a pot I never want to see again, and submerge my piece of the island into a disinfectant baptismal.

“How hot,” I yell to my roommate, “Do you think tree bark would have to be to kill a termite?”

She cocks her head to the side like I’m nuts.

I’m probably nuts.

The truth is that I could go back to Jamaica eventually. I could mail order a new shot glass, even if it wouldn’t be the same. It wouldn’t be cheating. I went there, I earned it, and I can’t help it if my memory was devoured. But I don’t want the article, however genuine, if it’s off of Ebay. I guess I just want to take the long way to the things I love. It’s the only way I feel like it means something. And I have no desire to go back to Jamaica.

I have a confession to make. No matter how much fun I have in a place, I never want to go back. It will never be quite right or just so again, and I know it. So I pick up a shot glass, drink to the memory, spin the globe and let my fingers do the walking. I can’t really explain it, but no matter how much I’ve loved (and sometimes, I have truly, deeply loved) a place, I just can’t find it within myself to go back.

I always want something else. Not necessarily something better. Just a flavor I haven’t tasted yet.

I remember England. The purple flowers pushing through the snow on the ground and the boy I loved standing in them, throwing rocks at my window.

I remember Thailand. The heat of the night sticking to my skin and slithering down my back. I remember the strangers who gave us the ride home. I remember clinging to a crying friend in the streets of Chang-Mai while his secrets tumbled out to me – and thinking nothing could be more tragic, or beautiful, or complicated than what was happening to me that very minute.

My wheels are always turning. Take me to Israel, I say. Better to burn in a bombing than rot in a cubicle. Turn me into something on fire.

Still, my mind is a jumble. When you never stop moving you have to ask yourself why it is exactly that you can’t stand still. And I can’t rid myself of the pounding, persistent thought…

“You are not the first 27 year old to want to devour the planet”.

It’s true. And I know it. And yet here I am, playing out the planet like some sort of twisted drinking game. Consume, consume, consume.

What am I thinking? Are snowballs in Sweden changing my life? Getting my passport stolen in Paris certainly didn’t. Was it really that different getting high in Amsterdam then in the back of my boyfriend’s garage?

Garbage in, garbage out. Consume, consume, consume…

I’ve walked barefoot on temples in Thailand, and touched a golden Buddha the size of a building. I’ve danced along with the St. Patrick’s day parade in Ireland.

Maybe just wanting more is enough. Maybe wanting to see outside of yourself is enough. Maybe discover and desire is enough.

I rinse the shot glass out to find the wood has swollen shut, and there no longer appears to be a split down the middle. I turn it over in my hand, wondering if there’s a creature I don’t know of that could have survived 45 minutes of an unannounced two hundred degree hot spring. Slowly… doubting… against everything I know to be wise, I rise on tip toe and place the shot glass back on the second self from the top.

Quick. Somebody save me from myself.

Things I Learned When I was 21

A few weeks before my twenty second birthday, I decided to write a list of the things I had learned in the previous year.  Year after year I look back to this list, and laugh not only at how true it remains, but how reflective it is of being precisely twenty one years old.  It was a time of discovery and stupidity.  I had a lot of both.  I like to re-post this each year to remind myself of where I was, and where I’m going.


Wherever I go, there I am. Disappointing, but true.

The best way to get free ANYTHING is to go out dressed as a naughty nurse.

Working full time and simultaneously attending school full time is the death of everything you hold dear. Only do that if you enjoy watching all of your health, sanity, and relationships deteriorate.

Travel. Travel travel travel. There is so much world out there and you can’t die knowing that you didn’t bother with most of it. Go get you some.

Drinking a third of a bottle of Jäger in a bathroom stall will not necessarily make you vomit, but downing a Guinness immediately afterwards will probably put you over the edge.

Hot tubs, S’mores, margaritas, high heels, bikinis, and my girls are the stuff dreams are made of.

It isn’t worth seeing the greatest sights in the world with people who don’t care about you, it’s a wasted opportunity for a grand adventure.   Experience life with those who love you, otherwise it’s not worth living.

Mono sucks. I mean really really really sucks.

Love is in the touch of a friend.

If you see your ex’s parents, be super nice to them. What goes around comes around.

Garages can be comfy places to live. Better than cars anyway. Make friends with spiders.

Double Decker busses, like everything else in life, will only get old if you let them.

My mom is an all-seeing, all knowing being.

It shouldn’t be too scary being who you really are, because those that love you best, love you no matter what you do, say, believe, or don’t believe.

Europe really is everything it’s cracked up to be.

Body boarding might rip your nose ring out, but it’s still totally worth it.

Every good relationship should have a million inside jokes, including but not limited to barn animal names, salty nut sundaes, Scrumsquatullating, “Space chair”, putting Johnny Depp in Princess Sophia for a little ride, and bumpin’ knees with nacho cheese.

Change is inevitable, and often painful. Buck up. Run into it with fists flying and make it suit you. Embrace that which you don’t understand because it still happens to be what you’ve got. If all else fails, buy a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, get your cat, call a friend, and watch a movie with explosions instead of a romance.

Nothing compares to a lazy day spent laughing over old family guy episodes while drinking beer and eating pizza with your favorite British person.

Tanning beds give you cancer, but even your parents will tell you that you look great.

Catching bouquets at weddings should be avoided at all costs. Even if they hit you in the chest.

It turns out the best thing my momma ever taught me was that you can get upgraded tires with a delicate mixture of tears and cleavage. Thanks mom.

Don’t kiss everyone you know on New Years just because it’s New Years. January 2nd, things might feel awkward.

College has a four year way of neatly wrapping itself up. Bands break up, friends get married, and everyone starts packing.

Mistakes are just that. Mistakes. Tattoos on the other hand, are permanent etchings on your body.

Your ex-boyfriends are your EX-boyfriends for a reason.

You will get hurt, badly, playing football in a hallway.

It’s bad to make the same mistake over and over expecting that it will work out well this time.

Family is the best thing to ever happen to me.

Mayonnaise on french fries actually isn’t all that bad.

The dorms are all fun and games until you’ve been living there for four years. Free rent can only get you so far.

Politicians, the guy who fixes my tires, and the ring finger on my right hand are crooked. There are some things we all just have to learn how to live with.

Everyone should find a person who will have adventures with them and cling to that person for the rest of their life. The mundane is a slow and painful death. Creativity is like a sunrise every second.

Nobody should ever have to live anywhere without access to, or the ability to make a little music.

It’s a bad idea to admit what you’re thinking most of the time. It’s only going to get you into trouble.

School is just not that important.

Laughing loud enough to get kicked out of somewhere is a GOOD thing.

Always live somewhere that has a bathroom.

Butt charades is an effective means of communication.

Plastic purses can effectively carry all the sand you might ever want from the beach to your dorm room.

Studio apartments =   

Long distance relationships =   :<

No bar in America truly knows how to make a snakebite.

Fanny means vagina in England.

The best things in life are free, but it costs a lot in gas money and airplane tickets to get to those things.  😉


“My fault, my failure, is not in the passions I have, but in my lack of control of them.”

― Jack Kerouac


I want the smell of skin, hands in my hair, my head on the pillow. I want the twisting, pulling of it.

I want.

I want.

Last weekend I went to a museum with a boy and we had that conversation. We talked about that particular person who can make you stay in one room for five days straight – who makes you fail all of your classes.

I came home from my semester in England with a string of F’s that I managed to swap for withdrawals. He was the Yoko to my Lennon. He loved me, I loved him, and together – we destroyed the Beatles. Five years later, after putting a ring on my finger, he also effectively destroyed my life as I knew it.

The boy at the museum said, “It sounds so … “young.” And it is young. Can desire exist in a contained space without sucking out all the air? I’d like to think I can choose to not let the world waste away but still hate to leave you to go to work in the morning. I’d like to think I could call in sick when I’m not sick, just once. I’d like to think that despite the foresight to know better, the lip biting, heart aching taste of it is just on the tip of my tongue. Just a whisper out of reach.

Sure, you can be older and wiser. But what about younger, braver, bursting at the seams. Kerouac, of course, reminds us that this supposed greatness is little more than burning the candle at both ends. Even the man we espouse as this icon of youthful wandering eventually gave up life on the road to become a celebrated author who lived in one stationary place. The “roman candles” he wrote about fucked off to be nobody in particular.

I am not quite twenty eight years old. And besides, it almost killed me once already. I should have grown out of this by now.

But do we really grow out of it? Or do we teach ourselves to be satisfied with the comfortable instead of the kinetic. The timid instead of the tantalizing.

I am a bundle of nerve endings. All lips and tongue and fingertips. I am alone in the vastness of all the not knowing, waiting in the darkness for something to spark.