2018 & 2019

Dear 2018,

I do not hate you. I think you sometimes hated me, but it’s okay. If I were to be naive, I could sum up your 365 days into one angry word; but that would not be fair. Truth be told, you taught me more than I have ever learned in all my seventeen years prior.

You taught me the value of true friendship. You showed me a fire within my soul called “Passion,” and I have not been the same since. You made it clear that the world can be pretty evil, and that my voice is necessary for resistance. You confirmed my desire to travel, live, and experience. You challenged my academic abilities and stole my sleep. You told me that I will not make sense to most people, but I should not worry about that. You opened my eyes to what I need, and what I do not. You yelled at me, “LET YOURSELF BE IN LOVE EVEN IF IT WILL BREAK YOUR HEART,” and I did, and it did. You sat with me while I cried over a lost connection and forced me to wipe my face, put my hair back, and carry on. You made madness look pretty and convinced me that my life must be extraordinary. You wiped my tears, pushed my hair behind my ears, and said to me, “You are not for everyone. You are far too much.”

So, 2018: thank you. Thank you for bringing me into adulthood at last. Thank you for breaking me only to build my power within. Thank you for shaking the very earth beneath me and for loving me in the harshest form.

Thank you, 2018.






Dear 2019,

I have yet to meet you, but I have been waiting for your arrival for quite some time now. I think you are going to be good to me; I only have just a few requests.

Please be kind.

Please take me on adventures that will leave my soul thirsty and my heart full.

Please let me love and be loved in return.

And please, oh please –

Let me exist loudly.

I cannot wait to meet you.

With love,


18 Things I Learned At 18

(I wrote these 18 things down between 12:00 a.m. and 12:10 a.m. on Tuesday, November 27th – my first ten minutes of being an adult)

1. You are not for everyone.

You know those things you do, believe in, or fight for? People aren’t always going to like them. In fact, it’s easier to assume nobody will stand by your side with that fire you have in your eyes. And that’s okay. Don’t change to fit the eyes of those who put your heart and mind down. You aren’t for everyone, but you will be for some people – these are your people.

2. Reach for the stars, but expect the clouds.

Because the clouds are still higher than the ground, but not as glorious as the stars. You should always reach as high as you possibly can, but don’t expect the world to hand you a place in the galaxy, or you will lose oxygen. You will get hurt. So expect the clouds, because those are soft and they don’t hurt so bad, and continue reaching as you were.

3. Dogs are the best emotional support system.

People are fine, sometimes they’re even really fine, but most of the time they suck because they can talk and they’re really (really) bad at emotions. Dogs can’t talk, they make great pillows, and they’ll listen to you without pitying you. Basically, dogs are to life as oxygen is to our lungs.

4. High school is not the real deal.

People will tell you this far before your entry into the 4-year subjective experience of high school. They’re right, except it won’t feel like it, not at first. That’s because we spend 7 hours, five days a week in an environment that can only consume our minds. High school is our world – for 4 years. 4 years out of an entire lifetime. Grasp that and you’ll be fine.

5. Hold onto the things that make you feel passionate and alive.

These things are your gold. You simply cannot fulfill your purpose without them. Why? Because when you find that thing, or things, that make your heart race to think about and that ignite your tongue on fire to speak about, you must notice the difference. Because there is a separation between all other things and the things that you were placed on this earth for – be it politics, art, traveling, love, you name it. Nothing is ridiculous if it has the power to grasp onto your heart like that.

6. You don’t need to have everything figured out by 18.

This one took time. In fact, I’m not sure I even believe it or follow it yet. At age 10, I had road mapped my entire life before me (I even had picked out what my husband would be named, because in my world I could do that). But now my vision of my future is entirely different, by every thread, from the one I had envisioned when I was 10, or 13, or 16, or even 17. And it will likely be different next week from what it is now. You cannot plan your life, try as you might.

7. Your feelings are always validated.

No matter what anyone says. And if you spill your heart out to someone you trust and they break you down and tell you that you’re being “over dramatic” or that you’re “wrong” or “difficult”….no. They’re wrong. Everything you feel is right, because each human is made from unique DNA. Nobody has the right to tell you what you can or cannot feel.

8. Keep your room clean, if nothing else.

Because when life feels like it’s crumbling to pieces, your bed will still be made and you’ll know where your favorite sleeping shirt is, and sometimes that’s enough to keep going.

9. The stuff you put into your body matters.

Apparently your greens are important (and this is the only time adults have proven to be right!). Cheeseburgers and nacho-cheese Doritos are all fun and games until you wake up one day and don’t fit into those jeans you wore everyday for seven years. Learn to love working out and put stuff into your system that will love you back. Oh, and become a vegan. Animals are our friends.

10. You do not have to go with the flow.

I mean, you can if you want to, and you might be happy for a while. I did; it felt great to be invited to all birthday parties and have snapchat streaks with people I barely knew. But then I realized that when I was alone, with nobody around me but myself, I didn’t know the person in my reflection. Even actors have to take five, so give your façade a break.

11. Write everything down.

I was exceptionally good at this – I still have a stack of old diaries, spiral notebook sheets, and printed notes that I’ve been collecting since third grade. Writing, even if you’re not good at it, is the best form of therapy. Think about it: you’re releasing your jumbled thoughts onto paper and then sealing them away between pages, never to be thought of again. Well, until you’re 18, reading through your fifth grade diary and wondering why you ever thought Jeremy would be the love of your life.

12. You will only ever experience each moment in this life one time.

So cheesy, but so true. I’ve spent a while now trying to learn the recipe for moments in my life that I wish to relive, and here’s the trick: there’s no recipe. Because unlike my mother’s cooking, every moment in our lives can only be made once; the feelings you remember cannot be duplicated. Don’t attempt to recreate something that happened – it already occurred and it was beautiful, congratulations. Just focus on creating more beauty in every moment.

13. You should take risks, but remember the value of comfort.

It’s all about balance. Should you go night swimming in jeans and a bodysuit with your best friend and two cute boys while all your peers drink heavily on the dry, boring beach? YES. But you should also come home to a warm bed and a sweater that smells like your laundry, because nothing else in the world smells quite the same.

14. If you feel like your voice isn’t being heard, speak louder.

You will probably get frequent negative reactions, but sometimes, just every now and then…you will reach someone to their core. Stand up for the things that make your mind burn with passion and don’t let a society that frowns upon independent young minds overtake the power to your own voice.

15. Let your mind get lost often.

Our subconscious is a crazy place and home to most of the world’s wildest ideas. Allow yourself to visit the depths of your mind, and find thoughts that would make a prepubescent boy say, “bro, that’s deep.” Your mind is your friend and there’s so much exploring to do there. Don’t remain in the shallows.

16. If you’re sad, hug Mom.

Or if you don’t have a mom, you can hug my mom. She gives the best hugs.

17. Sometimes you think it’s love, but it isn’t. And other times you try to convince yourself it can’t be, but it is.

A brief inquiry into teenage love: It’s either there, or it isn’t. I could spend an eternity trying to figure out what being in love should feel like, but I’m not sure I ever will. All I know is that there have been boys who I thought would be the end – and they weren’t. But then there was one, one boy who looked at me a little different, who made my heart beat in a different rhythm and made me smile bigger than normal. And I think that’s really just the difference. And maybe it won’t work out, because mine didn’t. You cannot beg someone to want you once they’ve hesitated. Only I’ve realized that maybe it’s okay, because I think we’re supposed to learn love from the people who cannot love us back. That’s how I know I didn’t love those boys before him, and haven’t loved one since.

18. Stop listening the second you hear the word “unrealistic.”

Because your dreams are going to be too big for small minds. Another person’s inability to understand your galaxy of a mind does not mean anything. Your dreams will save you from this harsh world; keep going little rocket. Besides, didn’t someone once say that the moon was an unreachable place? Bet that person feels foolish now.

(Pictured above: me, at approximately 18. Do I look wiser?)


I feel immensely heavy today. It is one of those days where the world’s true colors seem to shine through; only they aren’t colorful. They are messy and dark, they are shades of grays and often they are entirely black. I sympathize for this day. I want to pick it up and hold it while it sobs into my shirt and I want to tell this day that it will be okay, that it gets better from here. I want to believe that this day will change the course of the days before it. Yet this heaviness won’t let me truly believe that.

I’ve discovered a flaw within myself that I know will have a drastic toll on my life, and today it is more prominent than ever. That one flaw is that I cannot sit back in the face of injustice, and I cannot accept that “bad things happen.” I can’t ignore headlines. When I was little, my mother always warned me about the man in the park with a car full of puppies, or the man in the playground with candy in his truck. She told me never to listen to this man because he would kidnap me. But nobody, not even my mother, ever warned me about the world; that the things I can’t ignore, the evil present on nearly every newspaper headline or trending social media tag, will steal my peace of mind and with it, my being.

So now I’m sitting here questioning modern-day existence. I’m wondering where it all went wrong. When did boys begin to believe that they could get away with their wrongdoings because of their gender? Then there was the dog video I came across on my feed not five minutes ago: a pup with his brains scattered across the ground in China by a patrol officer. Or that video last week of the woman in Africa with one child on her back, the other on her arm, as she was put into a line and shot at by men behind machine guns, her body left to rot beside her infant children.

But it’s okay, everyone. Because did you see that meme with the laughing cat? The world is at peace once again.

I feel I must do something, and so I tell myself: become a journalist, take photos, tell the harsh truth, make a difference, and leave your name in people’s mouths. But then I remember the thousands who have done just that, only to have their impact forgotten, lost in the ever-changing world.

I don’t have a solution, so I suppose this is rather depressing. I’m merely sad, heavy, and at the same time, empty. How, tell me, can one be both heavy and empty at once?

My Mind

I am sitting on a bus, watching with tired eyes as the lights of LAX fade off in the distance only to be replaced with brighter lights of the city ahead. It is one in the morning and my eyelids are heavy but my hands are shaking and my mind is grinding, spinning like a wheel. My body is so tired I cannot even reach into my backpack for my notebook and so I pull out my phone and now here I am, writing this.

It’s as if every thought that flows through my brain will disappear forever and I cannot possibly live with that truth. My thoughts are like the people in my life: I hold onto them as tight as I can, even when I no longer need them, even when they fill my soul with nothing but negative energy. And so I write each one down wherever I can; in the pages of my notebook, on my locked phone notes, on napkins from restaurants, tucked into the faded pockets of my jeans.

I don’t know why my mind doesn’t stop. Perhaps it is constantly grinding, trying to find an explanation for the way I am, the way the world is, the way everyone else is and I feel I am not. All I know is that my poor mind has not stopped spinning for the past seventeen odd years. I believe the day I die will be the day I find the explanation my mind is searching for.


Ticking, turning, thinking.

19 April 2019, 8:52 p.m.

I believe a person once told me that if you write something down on paper, it will actualize itself and become true. That’s why I’m holding a piece of notebook paper with ragged edges, torn from its place inside of my math notes, the words “it gets better” scrawled across ignored lines. Except now I’m not so sure what to do with this paper prayer of mine. Is it bad that I feel more heard when I crumple my feelings into a ball and shove them into the contents of my journal than if I were to scream my jumbled thoughts from the top of the Hollywood hills? I’m tired of feeling like a good story with a sad ending; wasted paper.

To a New Year

“You serve the best by doing what you love the most” – Maria Bello.

Let me paint the scene: April of last year, a nervous, sophomore version of myself, and a plastic bag from the Costco photo center resting on both of my palms like a sacrifice to the artistic gods. My eyes glittered not only with excitement to show my peers the finished product of my year-long determination, but also with the hope that my teacher would be proud of my work — of me, more importantly.

My photos were good. I would believe someone if they told me they were great; I would just as easily believe someone if they told me that my work could use major improvement. Looking back now, those photos aren’t my proudest work. Nevertheless, everyone has to start somewhere. I may not ever hang those photos on a gallery wall or submit them as part of my college application portfolio, but they just may be the most important photos I will ever take. They are the 5 photos that made me fall in love with the art of capturing the world’s living beauty.

I don’t think that I do anything exceptionally. I write well and I take a great photo every now and then. I don’t consider myself to be extremely intelligent or anything, either. But I do love what I do with a passion, and in the end, that’s all I really know about life: you have to do what you love and are passionate about.

So when people ask what I want to be when I’m older, I tell them this:

“I love to read and write, and I love to take photos. I love to learn and I love to give back to my community. I want to be happy and I want to end my life knowing that I did everything I ever wanted to do and loved with all of my heart. That’s what I want to be when I’m older.”

Going into the new year of 2018, I want to inspire others to carry that ideal with them. This is a big year for many of the world’s adolescents; anyone born in the year 2000, like myself, will be transitioning into an adult this year. I’m going to be applying for colleges, taking important tests, and finding the place I truly want to spend the next four years of my life in – something that will sprout the entirety of my new adult life. I’m lucky enough to have known what it is I wanted to do since an early age, but if you’re not like me, then it’s perfectly okay. Listen to your heart; The answer really isn’t as far as you might think.

I have a strong feeling this is going to be a year of people telling us, “You can’t.” I get that a lot, as many consider me a dreamer. But if you are loving who you are, what you do, and how you treat others, then someone’s close-minded opinion will not have the power to sway you. It is a year for strength, pursuit, and discovery.

With that in mind, here are the photos that first inspired my discovery. To a new year of beginnings and positive change; let’s take 2018 on together. Santé!


Sorry, Not Sorry

You daydream about it. You make plans and outlines; you do your research. You read too many “Blogging 101” articles that it boggles your mind. And then you wait because, maybe, the time isn’t right.

I’ve been making excuses for myself for far too long. Perhaps the years will get better, or my life will get less stressful, but perhaps the years will get even harder and my life will plow head-on into the pit of the earth. I’ve used up all my “what if’s” and “soon’s”. I’ve come into contact with a now or never conflict. And, because of that, I am now writing my first post on a blog that I should have started years ago.

This should serve as a forewarning for anything and everything I have written or will write on this blog. I could list the many things I am, but most importantly you must know that I am an amateur; not only am I too young to vote, but too naive to know, too insecure to be confident, too uneducated to educate, and too inexperienced to tell of my many experiences. Despite all of the reasons I should not be starting a blog, I have a strong feeling of urgency to get my words out into the world. I have something worthy of sharing with young people like me who have been pushed to revolt from creativity and stay within the lines of tradition. If I don’t share my words, then I will live forever with the feeling of guilt from not at least trying to better others’ takes on our world.

So lean back, turn off all the lights and ignite a few candles or a single lamp (I promise, everything means more in the dark). You’re in for way too many unedited first drafts, possibly overly depressing poems, black and white photography, and annoyingly close-minded worldly opinions from a sixteen-year-old girl who thinks she knows it all. Sorry, I’m not sorry.