Some Thoughts on 2015, Ready for 2016

I started this blog on the very first day of 2015—and 2015 has been quite a year. In a semi-cliché way, it has been my best year so far—not because it was perfect or because all the things I planned on happening happened or because I didn’t fail at all the lofty resolutions I made—but because things were messy at times, because unplanned, unexpected moments happened, because I dropped my lofty resolutions in pursuit of tangible goals—moving away from aspirations to change myself and towards accepting myself.

One year ago today, I sat in a Subway in upstate New York when all the tables at a nearby Starbucks was full, typed out some thoughts, hit the backspace button, typed out more thoughts, hit the backspace button again, and repeated this for about an hour.

For women—or anyone whose identity marginalizes them—it can be challenging to allow yourself to take up space, to have valid thoughts and opinions, and to feel as if these thoughts and opinions are worth openly expressing. For a while, before I would start writing a post, I would have to shut down internal thoughts that what I’m saying doesn’t matter, that it’s unnecessary. Even though these thoughts still crop up every now and again, blogging has really helped me turn them off.

In 2016, I’m urging any of you out there with an idea for a project that you’re too afraid to start because you think it’s not important—go ahead and do it anyways. You don’t know what will come of it until you give it a shot.

I had no idea what was going to come out of that first post—a stipend to complete an internship with a progressive media outlet in Washington, D.C., which led to a summer position blogging for Young People For as their Civic Engagement Intern, starting their blog team, and joining their fellowship class. Through blogging and Young People For, I’ve been connected to a wonderful and supportive community of activists that I can lean on whenever I need a friend.

In 2016, don’t just set goals trying to fix things about yourself, create something. Do something with your hands, think critically, and use your body meaningfully instead of focus on the way it looks, its flaws, and what can be done to change it. Treat your body like a tool that can help you accomplish things.

On that note, in 2015 I made great strides towards loving my body and developing a sense of body positivity—something I’ve really struggled with in the past. I’m not saying that all is perfect now and that there aren’t still billion dollar media, fashion, and beauty industries in place propagating the idea that I should hate myself, but I’ve realized that self-love is critical and revolutionary and helps shut these industries down.

When I sat in that Subway to write my first post, I listened to two teenagers nearby talk about how much they hate their stomachs. It was what motivated me to stop backspacing and keep typing because we need to keep having these conversations, we need to be thinking about what still needs to change.

If I think back to my 13, 14, 15, or even 19-year-old self, I realize that I used to be (and at times still am) like those teenage girls at Subway. When degrading your body and degrading yourself for eating food is considered normal, it can be difficult to realize why we do these things and to even notice when you’re doing them.

In 2015, I started running in the daylight. I used to always run only in the dark because I didn’t want the people I passed to see my body, to see me sweating and breathing heavily—because that doesn’t happen naturally when we run, does it? It wasn’t until I lived in Washington, DC and was faced with the choice of giving up doing something I loved or running during the day in front of people that I finally stopped caring so much. Running became a tool for me to connect with my body, to use it for something, to learn how to like it.

I also started running in a sports bra. This may seem insignificant but it matters to the part of me that used to wear t-shirts on the beach and struggle in the dining hall every day over whether or not to eat fries or salad with no dressing. Exposing my stomach, unapologetically, amidst all these messages that my body is ugly and that I should change it, is a big deal.

In 2016, if learning how to love your body is too difficult, work on finding other ways to connect with your body. It doesn’t have to be anything physical like running, it can be painting, writing, going outside, or having fulfilling conversations. Find what works for you.

Another one of my favorite parts of 2015 was my internship in the Education Department at The Advocacy Center, a local sexual assault resource center, where I created resources for student activists and helped facilitate programs on healthy relationships and bystander intervention. Working there helped me recover from a bad part of my own life and taught me what I deserve in relationships and what steps we can take as a community to eradicate gender-based violence.

In 2016, don’t be afraid to demand more from the people in your life and set higher standards for how you deserve to be treated.

The theme for my 2016 is to be unapologetic. To let myself take up space and be unapologetic when it comes to the food I eat, clothes I wear, the skin I choose to show, the expectations I have for my relationships, and speaking my mind. To keep writing, learning, and thinking critically. To read more books and spend less time scrolling aimlessly through social media. To demand more from the people in my life, but to also learn how to forgive and heal and move on from hurt. To create more content, more blog posts, to express my thoughts unapologetically.

I think I’ll end my first post of 2016 there. Thanks for supporting and reading. I’m looking forward to what’s coming this year. Following my own first tip, I have a new project on the way in the coming months. I’ll keep it a surprise for now.

All the best,


Phoenix, U2 Concert, Moving to DC, and Craziness

A few days ago, someone called me the blogging expert. I smiled at the compliment but felt a twinge of guilt in my stomach as thought about how long it had been since I cracked open WordPress and hit the little green publish button. I took a much needed mental health blogging hiatus after finals week to give myself calm down from all the stress. Then I traveled to Phoenix with my family.

Then I moved to DC. In the span of two days I got on a plane at 4am in Phoenix, AZ, went back home, packed up my car, and then drove six hours to DC at 6am the very next day. It all happened so fast. Next thing I know at the white house and saying goodbye to my parents. Then I’m starting my first day as a Civic Engagement intern with Young People For.

For the first time in my life, I live outside the bubble of a college campus or my tiny upstate NY town. I live on my own. I buy groceries and cook dinner and make lunches that I take to work with me where I work forty hours a week. I go to work and attend meetings and say things like “please return to me by close of business today.” It’s all very weird. And amazing. And kind of scary.

It’s been great. But it’s made it hard for me to quiet all the noise and emotions that fill my life. It’s drowned out that voice that’s says: “You want to blog today.” And I do. I really want to blog.

So here I am.

I’m currently sitting at nearby park. My laptop is on airplane mode. The Wi-Fi is turned off on my cell phone. I can just write. Zero distractions.

I’m only in DC for ten weeks so that means that I’ve been trying to make sure that I’m having the best time I possibly can. And I’m having a great time. I’ve been to monuments, museums, farmer’s markets, cool parks and restaurants, and I even went to weird, underground ‘90s concert. But I still feel guilty every time I load another episode of Netflix or opt to spend a Saturday night in sweatpants after working all week. I need to remember that breaks are okay.

Right now I’m writing, listening to a live track of the U2 concert I went to in May (which was amazing, by the way) and watching a duck drink water from a nearby fountain. I need to take this in. I just need to appreciate where I am right now.

A few weeks from now it will be two years since I graduated from high school. I can’t tell you how much has changed since then. I saw high school as a long and crappy waiting room before college and life would suddenly become awesome and free of hall monitors who had the power to tell you when you could and couldn’t go to bathroom. For the most part, college has been wonderful and transformative. My shy eighteen-year-old self would never joined a radio station and spoke on air. I graduated high school with the idea that I wanted to “write stuff.” I had no idea that I would eventually publically blog online. I’d never thought critically about gender equality or reproductive justice and I never thought I’d ever speak to Senator about Title IX on a live panel.

None of this was planned. But I’m so wonderfully amazed and grateful that it happened.

I have very personal reasons for getting involved in these movements. It may seem far-fetched but I feel like none of these things would have happened if weren’t for all I’ve experienced before. I feel like every challenge, every piece of bad news, and all the feelings of confusion were just building me up to become the tough, confident, determined twenty-year-old I am today.

I’m sorry this blog is so all over the place. These are just a few things I need to say. It can be so easy to get tied up in everything that’s happening in your life, but I think it’s really important to stop and think about how you got to be where you are and to take it all in.

All the best,


PS. Many more blog posts to come. That’s a promise!