My Awesomely Random Life (and Everything in Between)

I love Thanksgiving.

I really do.

Of course there’s the delicious food (hellllllo stretchy pants!), the football, and the famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. But what I love most about this holiday is spending time with family and friends, and taking a moment (or five) to reflect and celebrate what it is that we’re truly thankful for, the things that give us joy and make our hearts smile.

It’s a holiday that while steeped in tradition, can take on many forms.

For example, some of us are Tofurkey enthusiasts, while others are devotees of the deep-fried turducken. Some of us are Turkey Trot running champs and other live for the most epic of food coma naps (followed by a little pig skin on the big screen). Thanksgiving is one of the few traditional holidays that really celebrates our diversity as a cultural melting pot, which basically means you can take the holiday and run with it however you like. Harry Potter-themed Friendsgiving? Go for it! Around the World in 80 Turkey Dishes Potluck? Sure, why not?!

However we choose to spend it, our Thanksgiving celebrations are about the same thing–showing gratitude for what we have.

Well, that and pie.

I wanted to take some time today to shed some light on just some of the things in my life that make my heart smile.

I’m doing this a bit early seeing as all I plan on doing T-Day is watching football (Go Pack, go!), playing with my little cousins (one of them  promised me an mean no-holds-bar, fight-to-the-finish game of hide and seek and you better believe I am holding him to it!) and falling into a tryptophan-induced coma.

Here are just some of my Thanksgivings:

1. My awesome and crazy family who love me–and put up with me—no matter what. I truly drew the lucky card when I got them, and am so incredibly blessed to have such an amazing group of people in my life. Cue the awwwwww.

2. My awesome and even crazier friends who love me–and put up with me no matter what. Y’all know who you are and I owe each and every one of you the biggest of bear hugs. Cue the double awwwww–good golly I’m pretty damn adorable on Thanksgiving.

3. Harry Potter. Because duh.

4. The Milwaukee Brewers. Because double duh.

5. My faith, my courage, my strength and my willingness to never, ever, never ever give up.

6. Good hair days.

7. Bad hair days (because it really makes you appreciate the aforementioned good hair days.)

8. The kindness of strangers.

9. Ben & Jerry’s.

10. Ben & Jerry’s.

11. Ben & Jerry’s.

12. Sweats (especially after all of the aforementioned Ben & Jerry’s.)

13. Soul-hugging, mind-tingling, heart-pumping, belt-it-out-in-the-shower-or-in-the-car music.

14. The experiences, the challenges and the moments in my life that have helped shape me, making me who I am.

15. The experiences, the challenges and the moments in my life that have yet to happen that will help to shape me, making me who I will be.

16. Hugs (the candy and the verb).

17. Freshly baked cookies, a hot shower, vanilla scented candles and oversized hoodies.

18. The ability to say no, but the courage to say yes.


20. And Billy Murray.


Hey guys! I hope y’all had the most amazing weekend and are in the midst of an even more magnificent Monday! I wanted to take a moment to share with you guys something that happened to me last week that I still can’t stop smiling about.

*And when I say I can’t stop smiling, I mean can’t. stop. smiling. Is it possible to pull a muscle in your face? It’s totally possible, right?  

This past Thursday I made a last minute trip to my favorite bull’s eyed department store to pick up a few things on my way home from work. Of course “a few things” at Target inevitably ends up being all of aisles 4-6 plus three packs of gum and a yoyo.  Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice (x a million), damn you’re good Target.

That particular day at work had been a doozy. We had 12 more students drop out, and two more staff members were let go. I was emotionally exhausted, drained and my feels were a bit all over the place. All I wanted to do was go home, de-pants, curl up with a spoon and a pint of Chunky Monkey (three of which were added to my cart for that very purpose) and brain freeze my sorrows away. Yep. It was most definitely that kind of night.

As I moved my way through the checkout line, I noticed the woman in front of me started to yell at the poor cashier. Over bananas of all things! Oy. I’ve worked in retail before (actually, I adorned the red and khakis at Tarjay for almost two years) and I know how obnoxiously rude some people can be, especially around the holidays. The thing with customer service jobs like this is that at least the majority of the time, the obnoxiously rude banana lady is always right.

As I stood there with my cart of toilet paper, marshmallows, hot sauce, canned pumpkin, batteries and brownie mix, and three pints of ice cream (could my bundle have been any more random?!), taking in the scene before me, I couldn’t help but see how unabashed and just incredibly sweet the cashier was. He continued to smile through the whole thing, was sincerely apologetic (even though it was crazy Chiquita who should’ve been the one doing the apologizing), and downright jolly–which was fitting seeing as he had the Santa Clause-esque belly, white hair and beard.

When the lady finally left, I walked up and began placing my things on the conveyor belt. Just before I was about to apologize on her behalf, the cashier, Lou, laughed this deep belly laugh, smiled at me with a twinkle in his eye and said, “Well she was a lively character, wasn’t she? A spit fire, that one. And so many bananas! She’s either making a lot of banana bread or she’s part monkey.” I couldn’t help but hardcore LOL.

Who knew that Santa Lou was such a comedian? Jerry Seinfeld, get to stepping buddy.

As he continued checking out and bagging my items, he looked at me very seriously and said, “Young lady, have you been good this year? Because I’ve got connections to the guy in the big red suit, and it’s getting to be that time that the naughty/nice lists start going out.” I told him that for the most part, I had been good this year (we don’t count that night I had one too many Lemon Drop shots and decided to horribly karaoke Hanson on the top of the bar table). He smiled once again and said, “I had a feeling you were one of the good ones. You have a very lovely night, miss. And keep smiling. Happy looks wonderful on you.”

At that moment, my heart melted into a puddle of mush. I had been feeling the crappiest of crappy not a mere three minutes prior to stepping into Lou’s line, but within moments of talking to this sweet, kind-hearted and hilarious soul, I forgot about the stresses of the day, the worries and challenges and bad news cloud that had been hanging over my head.

I thanked Lou and wished him a wonderful night as well, but walking away I realized that a simple ‘thank you’ wasn’t enough. I went over to Starbucks, bought a gift card and a cookie, and went back over to Lou’s line.

“Well hello, there! You’re back! Good to see you again! And so soon. Did you forget something, miss?” he asked when I approached.

“Good to see you again too, Lou!” I said. “I did forget something. I just wanted to let you know that you really made my night. I was having kind of a bad day, the worst actually. But you reminded me that as bad as things may seem, I have so much to be thankful for and happy about. And I have a feeling I’m not the only person you’ve had this beautiful affect on. Keep doing you, Lou! And never stop smiling. Kindess looks good on you.”

“Also, I hope you like cookies and coffee.”

I handed him the gift and thanked him once again, but before I could even turn around to leave, he gave me this giant bear hug.

“Thank you, young lady. That is the nicest thing a customer has ever done for me. You may not know it, but you just made my night as well. Like I said, you are one of the good ones.”

You guys, I not only walked out of that Target with my hot sauce and toilet paper, cans of pumpkin, brownie mix, marshmallows, ice cream and batteries, but with an overflowing heart.

The big man upstairs (God, not Santa, although I’m sure they’ve shared tips and tricks of the trade over a few beers and hot wings once or twice) works in mysterious ways. I truly believe that people come into your life for a specific reason at the exact time you need them, whether it’s permanently, or for only a brief but deeply meaningful exchange on a Thursday night in the checkout line at a department store. They touch your heart, make you see things that were perhaps a bit cloudy, and leave a lasting impression. People like Lou are one of a kind. And while our paths may never cross again, I have a feeling I will never forget him.

I’ve got a challenge for you, friends. When the opportunity presents itself (or when it doesn’t, create that opportunity), pay it forward. Do something nice for someone else, make someone’s night, give their heart something to smile about. Be the Lou you wish to see in the world.

Kindness is the shiznit, y’all. Spread it everywhere!

‘Tis the season for miracles after all. :)




The Heart of the Matter


I was recently asked by someone if I had ever been in love. When I was forced to admit my honest answer, no, it made me think.

Granted this conversation was after one three glasses of wine, and Moscato has a sneaky way of making me get just all of the philosophical. I once had a two-hour conversation about the deeper meaning and lessons behind the Monty Python films. Hint: it involved a lot of me talking in a terrible British accent and Spam. I wish I was joking.

I’ve been on this beautiful Earth for 28 years, and I’ve had many incredible life experiences, but what this particular person made me realize was that I’ve never really experienced the feeling of “being in love.”

Sure there was Kody Kremsreiter, my first “love.” We were both five, lived across the street from one another and both had the same obsession with Saturday morning cartoons, The Berenstain Bears, and chicken nuggets. In 5th grade, it was Jason Kopp. He shared his War Heads with me on the playground and always picked me first when playing kickball in gym class. Guys, if that isn’t the making of true love, I don’t know what is.

I’d like to say that my dating style improved as I got older, but that was not the case.  My middle name is awkward (actually, it’s Joe, but potato poe-tah-toe) and I never aced the whole flirting thing. I still haven’t tbh. I never really had a steady boyfriend. Sure, there were guys who I dated in high school and college and even within the last few years, guys who definitely gave me the butterflies, who I would stay up late talking to on the phone eliciting all the nervous laughs and palm sweats, guys who I thought were “the one.”

But the truth is, I’ve never had that deep down, feel-it-in-your-toes, over the moon, head-over-heels, soul-gripping and down right amazing love feeling. This isn’t to say that these guys weren’t wonderful people. They were incredible! Funny, kind, smart and big-hearted. This also is in no way a rumination seeking sympathy, and it isn’t to reflect on some kind of deprivation. My life has been anything but deprived. In fact, this is just the opposite. It’s the appreciation of how full of love my life has been.

I think what my friend was asking was if I had ever experienced that stereotypical romantic love, the kind of love that makes you reminisce over who said “I love you” first, the kind of love you hear about from grandparents who’ve sustained their relationship for over 50 years, the kind of love that makes you cross continents just to be with someone. No, I’ve never personally been in this kind of love…yet. But just because I’ve never been in love, doesn’t mean I haven’t been surrounded by it.

And when I say I’m surrounded by love, I’m not necessarily referring to seeing friends getting engaged, or sending my parents an anniversary card every year (HI MOM AND DAD!!!). I’m referring to the non-stereotypical, unromantic, and yet completely unconditional love that has helped to make my life complete. I’ve never said those three magic words, “I love you” to an SO, but I have said them to people who I do in fact love, and I think those three words hold just as much meaning whether they’re said romantically or not.

I know without a doubt that this romantic love is indescribably fantastic–I’ve seen it in my grandparents, in my parents, in the relationships that my friends and other family members have.  I’m sure that there are others who are both younger and older than me who have never truly had it, but that doesn’t make their life any less complete than those who have. Don’t assume that the absence of romantic love makes the presence of loneliness that much more apparent. I don’t feel empty because I’ve never loved someone romantically, I feel grateful because I have been lucky enough to have loved and be loved in so many other ways.

When romantic love has let me down, unromantic love has been there to pick me up. When a friend understands you better than you understand yourself, that’s love. When a parent endlessly supports your passions even when you question them, that’s love. When your sibling consoles your broken heart even if theirs is hurting too, that’s love. When your dog or cat rushes over to you, tail wagging after a long day, knowing just how to cheer you up with a sloppy lick of the face, that’s love. Y’all, my life is full of love, and while it may not be romantic, it’s whole.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t incredibly excited to feel those feels one day. I think anyone would be. Being in love is an amazing thing, it’s one of the things that drives us all.

But until that happens, I will cherish the love I do have in all the different ways it presents itself. :)


Libraries are the New Black

As someone who grew up the biggest of the book nerds (shout out to all of my fellow wicked readers!), I naturally spent a lot of time in the library.

A. Lot.

I was the Norm of my local library. Everyone knew my name, they new my favorite go-to reads, and didn’t mind in the slightest on those occasions when they’d have to kick me out. Or at least I don’t think they did. Funny story: I actually almost got locked inside a library once. Closing time came and went and I was so transfixed in the book I was reading that I didn’t even notice the lights were shutting off and the doors were closing. But I mean, being locked in a building FULL of books would be my version of gangster’s booknerd paradise. Basically.

To this day, I’m a regular frequenter of the public library. Libraries in fact. If you were to open my wallet you would find no less than 12 different library cards. Confession: the very first thing I did when I moved to Denver, before changing my mailing address, before getting my new driver’s license, before I found a bank was get hooked up with my library[ies].

Priorities, people.

The truth is, libraries are pretty damn spectacular. Forget Orange; libraries are the new black, yo!

Not that I’m biased or anything.

There are so many reasons why you should be spending some QT with your local library (if you aren’t already), whether you’re 8 or 80, and it’s high time to rediscover exactly what makes these book homes so perfectly perfect.

They’re Stacked!


The number one best thing about libraries? They have just all of the books!!! And who wouldn’t want to hang out where they keep just all of the books? Crazy people, that’s who. I don’t want name names, but KAREN I’M TALKING TO YOU, KAREN!

It’s Quiet


Sometimes, you just a bit of respite from everyday life. One of the greatest things about libraries is that they’re peaceful. And quiet. So pick out your fave book or magazine, pop a squat in one of those oversized comfy couches and take a mini brain vaca for an hour or five. Just keep an eye on the time–you wouldn’t want to get locked in. Or would you? I like the way you think. SEE KAREN, THIS IS HOW IT’S DONE!

The Kick-Ass Librarians


Y’all, librarians are pretty much the coolest people you will ever meet. Not that I’m biased or anything. They’re super friendly, know a whole bunch about everything, and are always willing to give you a helping hand when trying to find your next fave read or when looking information up. Unless you librarian is Tammy 2, in which case, RUN! *Wait. Karen, is that you??!!

You Can Read For Free


Usually–okay, every damn time–when I walk into a bookstore, my bank account starts crying because it knows there are about to be some serious dollars shed. The great thing about a library is you can check out as many books as your little heart desires, FOR FREE. I don’t know about you, but I’m a big fan of free. Huge!

You’ll Feel Productive


There’s just something about a library that inspires feelings of productivity, whether it’s your university’s beautiful study spot or your town’s local branch. For those times when you really need to crack down and get some things checked off the ‘ol to-do list (or your TBR list) the library is the place to go!

You’ll Be Surrounded By Other People Who Love Books


Just knowing that you’re near fellow book-lovers is good enough reason to hit up the library. I always feel like I’m Olive Gardening it whenever I walk into the library—after all, when you’re here, you’re family. Dammit. Now I want breadsticks.

You Might Have (Or You Can At Least Imagine Having) An Epic Book Romance

Is that a copy of Lord of the Rings in your pocket or are you just happy to see me? What a better place to meet an attractive stranger, than surrounded by shelves of books? Imagine: you both reach for the same copy of The Hobbit and suddenly it’s love at first we-like-the-same-books.

It Will Remind You of Your Childhood


If you, like me, spent many an hour in the library as a kiddo, picking out stacks and stacks (and stacks!) of books, you’ll get a rush of nostalgia when you go back. If the library was one of your fave places too, why not relive those great memories?

You Can Live Out Your Inner Belle Fantasies


If you were a book-lover growing up, and you love Disney, one of your fave Disney princesses was most likely Belle. And you may or may not have rewound your VHS to watch the library scene a million kajillion times. Why not take this opportunity to relive that magic? From personal experience, might I recommend keeping the singing to a minimum.

They’re Full of History


Some libraries have been around a really long time, which you’ll discover as you flip through some of the books. 10 points to Gryffindor if you check out aged hardcovers with yellowing pages and library stamp cards in the front. Doesn’t it make you wonder exactly who checked out that book before you? Who thumbed through the pages, reading the very same words that  you’re now reading? Everything is a story, people!

There Are Some Super Amazing Libraries Out There


One of the things I love to do when traveling is check out the city or town’s libraries. Some of my favorites have been the New York Public Library, the Chicago Public Library and the Charleston Public Library. Each have their own flavor, their own vibe, their own stories to tell (pun intended). Not to mention they are drop dead gorgeous! You should definitely go to this library. And this one. And these. And FOR SURE book some plane tickets, because these are all stunning.

Libraries, guys.

They’re the been knees.

Not that I’m biased or anything.





  • Wear red lipstick. That really bright, bold kind that you always try on at Sephora, love, but ultimately decide against because it just doesn’t feel “like you.” You are most definitely a red lipstick girl.
  • Go to a restaurant by yourself with just a book (your phone with all of it’s texts and Instas and Facebooks MUST stay in your purse/pocket). Read, enjoy your meal, have a glass of wine (or two), look at the people around you. Get over that silly fear of eating out alone by realizing how awesome it is. More fries for you is never a bad thing, amiright?
  • Walk around naked in your apartment after a shower for as long as you’d like. Hell, watch a few episodes of Seinfeld naked. Forget that you have to get dressed at all (but I mean, definitely remember to get dressed before leaving said apartment. Or before frying up some bacon because hot grease splatter is a very real thing.)
  • Learn to cook, even if you’re the Carrie Bradshaw, I-use-my-oven-for-storage type of girl who swears she can ruin a box of Kraft Mac & Cheese. Learn to make something for yourself, to feel the pleasure of a job deliciously well done, and to open up an entirely new world of hobbies and interests just by engaging with one room in your apartment/house. Martha Stewart be damned!
  • Paint a wall a crazy color. If you decide you hate it, you can always paint over it. Life is meant to be lived in color (but might I suggest staying away from the limest of greens? Just. So. Bright.)
  • Check thrift stores, Craigslists, stoops and random Facebook groups for everything you need for your apartment. Never underestimate the power of the universe (or a good garage sale) to find you a great couch at an insane price. Pivot. PIVOT!
  • Call your mom just because, send your aunt an email telling her all about what you’ve been up to, Skype with a friend who lives far away. Make someone’s day by reminding them how much you love them, and that you just happened to be thinking of them.
  • Order a Bloody Mary on your flight. Yes, even a morning flight. In fact, the earlier the flight, the better.
  • Walk or bike to the places you always drive or take the train to. Find out what you’ve been missing along the way.
  • Take the number out of your phone–you know the one–that only causes you trouble, the one that only makes you regret dialing it, texting it, that contains a message history too painful of embarrassing to read.
  • Light candles for yourself, just because. Make yourself feel like a guest in your own home, because tiny moments of self-love and self-care go a long way.
  • Spend the extra money on heels that are made of quality materials, won’t absolutely kill your feet, and will last past a full LBD season. Not a heel fan (because your girl is most definitely NOT)? Splurge on that pair of expensive running shoes. Hit the pavement and channel your inner Forrest Gump.
  • Go out on a Tuesday night and have one too many drinks, because it’s f*#@ing fun and the second you swear off Tuesday-night spontaneity forever, you know you’ve gotten old. There’s always room for one impromptu happy hour every once in a while. Especially when there are quesadillas, cheesecurds and/or cheesesticks involved. Basically anything involving deep-fried fromage.
  • Make mistakes. Make them often. But use those mistakes as a lesson learned. It means you’re trying, you’re putting yourself out there. You’re not letting fear prevent you from seeing how incredibly incredible you really are.
  • Take that trip out to see that person you’re always promising to see. Buy the tickets six months in advance so that you can’t turn back. Be conscious of money, but don’t let it hinder your memories made.
  • Leave that job that’s costing more for your mental health than it’s giving to your bank account. Know that you deserve to be reasonably happy in your job, even if it’s still a job. Don’t give anyone your sanity for a paycheck.
  • Say “I love you” to the people you care most about, let them know how much they mean to you, how much you appreciate them, how much they make your heart smile. Love hard, and often.
  • Say “I’m sorry” to the people you know deserve to hear it. Swallow your pride and give them the apology that you would want to hear, and tell them how you’ll do better in the future. Ask what you could have done differently, and listen to what they have to say. But be sure to ask the same from them.
  • Go skydiving, take that improve or dancing class you’ve always been interested in, finally ask your crush out, and dye your hair purple. Do everything and anything that scares you. You don’t know how amazing it could be until you try. After all, the only thing more terrifying that facing the things that scare you is living an unlived life.
  • Order the fries. Have that extra scoop. Make yourself cupcakes, just because it’s a Tuesday night. Being healthy includes mental health, and agonizing over something delicious is never worth it. You can find balance and also find chicken nugget dinosaurs.

Life is short, y’all. Like, Tom Cruise short. Which is why it’s important to do just all of the things. Things that you may be afraid of, things that are not part of your “routine”, things that make your heart race, your palms sweat and your soul smile.

I’m learning more and more everyday that the time we have here is limited. Why spend another minute, another second doing something we hate, missing out on incredible life-affirming experiences and long-lasting relationships/friendships.

Eat the cupcakes.

Do the things.

Give the biggest bear hugs.

You’ll thank me later.  I promise. :)


Is there such a thing as fate? Does the Universe “know” how our lives will turn out… before they even begin? Do we all have a destiny that is set in stone? Or do our choices impact what happens, even if we have a certain amount of destiny built into our life lines from the get-go?

And what about the idea that everything happens for a reason?

If you are anything like most people—yours truly included–the idea of fate or destiny is a pretty hard concept to wrap our brains around.

I’ve been thinking about this idea of “fate” — this idea that everything in your life, good, bad or otherwise, happens for a reason– pretty hardcore over the past couple of days. Certain events in my life personally, as well as the tragic events that occurred in Paris last week have caused me to reevaluate some things. I used to whole-heartedly believe that God has this incredible plan for each and every one of us, a plan that he and only he knows. And to some effect I still do believe that.


The thing my head and heart are struggling with right now is whether or not everything that happens, happens for a purpose, for a greater meaning beyond what we can see, judge, know or even guess. Growing up I was steadfast in thinking that this was true. I didn’t make the play in sixth grade because I was “meant” to be on the track team instead. That LBD I wanted drooled over so badly was out of stock because I was “meant” to buy it three days later when it was back in stock–and on sale! A relationship ended because I was “meant” to find a guy who was even more incredible.

All of these things at the time and in the moment seemed like the end of the world. Okay, not necessarily the end of the world, but they were a blow, a let down, a disappointment. We face these kinds of situations every day. It’s just a part of life. It’s what makes us human. We make decisions, we face obstacles and rejection, we get hurt. And it sucks like a vacuum. By believing that there is a greater purpose for these kinds of things happening, a broken heart, a missed opportunity or anything that causes us some kind of pain, it’s sort of a comfort. It gives us something to hope for, to take solace in. And I definitely think that’s okay. If there is something that can help us get over a negative experience faster and easier, I am all for it. Having faith not only provides you with hope, but a certain strength and courage to keep going.

With all of the above experiences that I described, each one turned out for the best. I found my niche in running (and realized I was a horrible actress–like, all of the worst), I nailed down that little black dress for half price, and I realized that there was an even greater person out there for me. If these things wouldn’t have happened, I may have found a silver lining, but I also might not have.

So did these things happen for a reason?


The seed that’s planting some doubt deals with when horrible, devastating, unthinkable events happen to innocent, incredible, loving and big-hearted people. Why did that four-year old boy so full of life get cancer? Why did the dad who was driving to his daughter’s dance recital die in that car crash, when the drunk driver who caused the wreck walked off without a scratch? What could possibly have been the greater meaning for the hundreds of people, men, women and children, who lost their lives in the attacks on Paris last week? Or September 11th? Or the shootings that have occurred in schools all over the country over the last few years?

I am a very positive person. I am. I always try to look on the bright side of things, to think of the ice cream bowl as half full. I so desperately want to see the good in people, in the world. But when something as sad and senseless as the above happens, I have an incredibly hard time finding that silver lining.

I don’t have any answers to these questions; I am not quite sure what I think about fate and whether or not it exists (and if it does, to what extent). Does everything happen for a reason? I’m not sure. What I do know is that we each come into this life to learn, to grow, to succeed and to fail, and as such, we have choice!  But, there are things we’ve chosen to experience, and to learn from, that are also built into the fabric of our lives. I guess the fate or destiny we create, the meaning behind every experience and action, is what we do when those choices present themselves.

Nothing is set in stone. We each have free choice. That is the beauty of being alive. I am choosing to share this information with you right now. You are choosing to read it.

There may be a certain amount of fate and/or destiny behind both of those decisions.

But – it’s what we ACTUALLY do with the information, the lessons learned and the challenges overcome… that is the important part, and what ultimately defines and decides our futures. If we can take anything away from these tragedies is that it brings people together more than ever, it unites us, it makes us take a look at our lives and realize that every minute we have together, every second is not guaranteed. We need to live for the now, live every damn breath as if it were our last. Losing a job, the ending of a relationship or a missed connection? All of these give you an opportunity to try something new, to discover a better and more amazing side of yourself or others. It can be scary as hell, but it can also be the catalyst for something pretty damn incredible.

A silver lining.

So go after that dream, order dessert first, be kind, and always let those closest to you know how much you care and love them.

Not everything may happen for a reason, but you can most certainly be the reason for someone’s smile. :)

Question of the day: Do you believe that everything happens for a reason?

Leaving My [Book] Mark


Hey guys! I hope you all are having a great Friday so far.

It’s been kind of a doozy of a week for me. This past Wednesday I found out that Westwood College, the place I have called “home” for almost a year now, the place that took a chance on me and let me spread my kick-ass and cooky librarian wings, the place that was far more than a job but a calling and a passion project, this wonderful place will be closing its doors by the end of December.

As I sat with my fellow coworkers, the professors and program chairs who have spent the last 5, 10 even 20 years selflessly giving their time, their energy, their love to this school and these students, trying to soak up the news, my heart absolutely broke. Westwood College is/was different from a lot of other colleges and universities. The student population have seen struggle, have had to overcome obstacles in their life that most students have never had to face. They didn’t have people in the lives that necessarily believed in them, or who told them time and time again that they couldn’t be or make anything of themselves, couldn’t achieve their dreams.

That is until they came to Westwood. Our amazing faculty saw the potential in these students, recognized that they had challenges to overcome, but more importantly saw that they had the power to succeed. The staff at Westwood were more than professors, advisors, and program directors, they were guidance counselors, friends and the biggest cheerleaders you can imagine. They didn’t work for a paycheck or ask for any recognition, they did it because they loved their students.

The first thing that came to my mind when I was given the news wasn’t that I was losing my job, but instead it was “What does this mean for our students? What’s going to happen to them? Are they going to be okay?”

The past couple of days I’ve run the gamete of emotions: angry, sad, confused, scared, upset, worried and anxious. Oh, there were a lot of feels happening. There still are. I’m not quite sure what to think, what to do. I want to be strong for my students for the remainder of the term, I want to be there for them, but if I’m being honest, there are times where I just can’t. I lock myself in the bathroom stall and have a good cry. I go out to my car and pray for strength and courage.

But I’ve realized that that’s okay. It’s normal and very much needed.

I’ve shared a lot of tears and given a lot of hugs over the past few days, but the thing that has really stood out to me was how appreciative each and every student has been. They’re disappointed, as well they should be, but despite everything, they’ve all expressed just how much they’re going to miss me, how much I helped them, how I inspired them to be great, how I believed in them. My heart couldn’t have smiled more, couldn’t have been more full.

Dammit here come the tears again. I should really think about taking up stock in Kleenex.

The reason why I decided to become a librarian was to in some way make a difference in the lives of people, to inspire them, to make them think and do and discover. I’m incredibly sad that I have to say goodbye to my Westwood family in just a few short weeks, but the lessons I have learned, the friendships I have built and the impact I have made on the lives of these students will forever stay with me. And I hope with them.

As for what comes next, I’m not too sure. Am I scared? Absolutely! Am I a little worried that I’m not going to a)find a job and b)find a job that I love? Of course! I’m more than freaking the baked beans out a little bit. It’s natural to feel this way. But I’m also hopeful that everything will work out in the end, that it’ll be okay.

In the meantime there’s always Ben & Jerry’s. Just alllll of the Ben & Jerry’s.

I was talking with one of my best friends the other night about everything and he said something that’s really stuck with me:

“Change, the unknown? Of course it’s scary. It’s terrifying! But it can also lead to some of the most amazing experiences you will ever have. You just have to have a little faith.”

You know what? He was and is absolutely right!

I will take everything that this job has given me, the skills and lessons, the smiles and the laughter, and most important the memories and carry them with me to this new and exciting chapter of my life.

I’ve left my [book]mark on Westwood.

Now it’s time to do it again.

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