Life’s funny like that

A few weeks ago, an old friend I haven’t seen in about 14 years commented on one of my posts on social media. We made plans to meet up the next week, but they fell through. A week later, we sporadically decided to meet up one night after work. I was happy because from the conversations we’d had over the past week, it seemed like we had a lot in common. Still, I was nervous things might be at least some degree of awkward. I mean, we hadn’t talked to each other since we were maybe 8 years old.

But things weren’t awkward, not in the slightest. We hit it off almost immediately — there was such an instant connection between us. While we’re on different career paths, we both have the same drive and motivation when going after our passions. We both have the same love of adventure and nature, and in general, we just get along really well. You know when you meet someone and you just know that person is going to be a significant part of your life? That happened.

I can’t remember the last time I met someone who I could just talk to like that. It’s like speaking to an old friend (I mean, that is what it is). Today, we dove into a conversation about things I rarely speak about, not to family, hardly to close friends. Over the past year, I’ve really guarded myself and I don’t like letting people in, especially new people, but she’s one of those people you can just talk to. Unless you’re counting how long we’ve known each other since we were children, we are basically strangers, yet I feel like she gets me and where I’m coming from, what I’m struggling with, where I’m headed, what I’m after.

I am so thankful that our paths reconnected and we have so much in common. She couldn’t have walked back into my life at a more perfect time because right now, I’m in such a process of tweaking my life so that I can achieve my goals, while overcoming things that have been in my way for far too long.

I could probably write way more, and I probably will late, but anyhow…

The way this life works will never fail to amaze me, but I am certainly not going to complain. I’ve been extremely blessed in this life, and reuniting with her was one of those important blessings.


we all learned to laugh again

This has been a work in progress and I am incredibly grateful that I am finally at a point where I am in the mindset to sit and write it.

For about the past year, I’ve been struggling to feel fulfilled. Granted, there were plenty of great moments, including getting a job I really wanted, traveling abroad, and graduating, among other memories. I was happy plenty of times, but underneath it all, something was missing. The smile was often there, yes, but it didn’t mean much.

I pushed goals to the side, lost motivation, neglected my passions. I stopped writing unless I was writing for work and I have hardly touched my cameras in months. I spent a lot of time sleeping and I started blowing off people often to sit home alone.

I can’t exactly pinpoint what caused me to feel how I did, but I have a good idea of what contributed to how worthless and useless I felt. I was in a slump that I would come out of and immediately fall back into it.

This past fall, I started to realize that something needed to change, so I slowly began working toward something, though I wasn’t sure what. Now, I feel I’m out of that recurring slump and I refuse to let myself fall back in.

For the first time in a very long time, I feel so unapologetically happy and motivated.

I’ve written down goals, I’m getting back into writing, and I’m making sure I keep myself healthy. I have plans that I am actually working on, rather than thinking about them and taking a nap.

I feel so damn good.

I look forward to the little things, like waking up as the sun rises or feeling the change in the weather as I walk outside. I’m happy to be up moving or sitting in silence, whether it be alone or with people I care about. I sing at the top of my lungs when I’m in the car and I’m actually happy in the photos I smile for. I’m enthusiastic about whatever the future holds for me and I am genuinely excited to create and grow.

I’m ready to adventure, take risks, and break away from a comfort zone I’ve been confined to.

I’ve reminded myself that I have the right to have bad days, because there will be bad days, but they don’t need to define me or hold me down.

Everything is a process in life, everything has purpose, and everything happens for a reason. I have learned from where I’ve been and I understand that I had to feel that way. The important thing is that I did not let it stop me or define me. I got tripped up for a few months, but I now know, more than ever before, what I want and what I need to do to get that.

The past year was a whirlwind, yes — I watched people and things fall in and out of my life, I made mistakes, I did and said things I regret, and I allowed myself to get caught up, but through that all, I discovered so much.

I formed stronger relationships with the people already in my life, I made new friends, and I allowed myself to let the people around me inside, if only a little bit, without fear that they may have negative intentions. I’m still learning to open up and I’m still struggling with sharing a lot of what is on my mind, but I am realizing the importance of speaking, of sharing dreams, passions, goals, fears, worries, anxieties, and I’ve been reminded of how much I value meaningful connections. I’ve remembered how much I value and need writing and photography. I’m realizing what makes life meaningful and what makes me happy.

I’m not sure where I’m headed, but I’ll let ya know when I get there.

Here’s to chasing goals and never giving up on dreams. Here’s to more good days, adventures, memories with amazing people, and great conversations.

2018, I am ready for you.29243655_1825571537466646_4471948858020069376_n

Reflecting on Chester Bennington’s Impact

I didn’t think the death of someone I’ve never met before could have such a strong, painful impact on me, but the death of Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington has been difficult to accept.

I’ve been struggling since hearing the news to sit down and get out exactly what I want to say about Chester and what his music has meant to me over the years.

I don’t listen to Linkin Park as often now, but in high school, that band’s music was constantly on reply. I had numerous LP shirts, bracelets, posters, CDs.

I remember watching their music videos over and over again until my family would go outside and stay out because they were so sick of the songs. I remember begging my parents to let me go to their concert — I would eventually see them three times.  I remember making my dad drive me to the store as soon as they would release a new album so I could blast it on repeat in my friend’s basement. I remember spending hours with another friend, singing along to Hybrid Theory and Meteora while playing Resident Evil.

When I got my license, Linkin Park was always playing in the car. The glove box of my dad’s Focus was stuffed with their CDs. My iPod was filled with their music and I had whole playlists dedicated to them.

But beyond being a favorite band that I basically worshiped, there was a much deeper connection to their music.

In high school, especially early high school, Linkin Park’s music had a profound impact on me. There were many times I was struggling with myself, struggling to like myself, having difficulty fitting in, just generally not feeling well, that I worked through with Linkin Park songs blasting over and over.

Their music was playing when I was down, when I felt like I really didn’t belong anywhere. I would write to it. I would cry to it. It would help pull me out of some slumps that I often didn’t speak of. When I felt alone and had convinced myself that I had no one, that music was something I could cling to. I related to it. It made me realize I wasn’t so alone. There are so many specific memories I can think back to, days and times when I wasn’t happy or was beating myself up. Looking back, the problems were probably minuscule. At the time, however, the feelings were awful, and Linkin Park helped make it better.

At this moment, “Somewhere I Belong” is playing. It takes me right back to sitting on my bedroom floor, jotting down notes in an old notebook. It, like many Linkin Park songs, resonated heavy with the teenage version of myself. And they still do, with me today.

I don’t think it’s a far stretch to say Chester’s music saved me from myself.

It’s so hard to think that someone whose music was such an important part of my own personal growth is gone as a result of his own hands, and presumably his own mind. Chester’s lyrics shared struggles. They were personal and raw. And they were a reminder that other people were feeling the same way.

I used to read as much about the band as I could because I loved them so much, and I remember reading about Chester’s rise to stardom, how he came from difficulties, how he rose about a multitude of negative encounters in life, but was still able to overcome. As someone who at that point had not a single clue what they were going to do with their life and couldn’t see beyond right in front of them, his successes were an inspiration.

Chester was truly an amazing talent. From his strength beyond music to his vocals and lyrics, he has left a mark on his generation.

Whether you like Linkin Park or their evolution in sound that has been prominent in recent years, there’s no denying the influence the band has had on music. The world lost an icon this week.

I didn’t know it was possible for my heart to feel so shattered over the loss of a celebrity, but Chester Bennington’s death hits hard.

I know what it takes to move on
I know how it feels to lie
All I want to do
Is trade this life for something new.

If you or someone you know needs help, there are resources available. Visit for a list of hotlines and online resources.

Finally Back

It’s been way too long since I have updated this blog. When I made it, I told myself I would never abandon it (and clearly I’m not since I’m back), but life has gotten way too busy the past few months.

The last time I updated was when I was the Arts and Entertainment editor for the paper at my school. Shortly after, I became the editor-in-chief. From there, it’s been a constant packed schedule and plenty of insomnia.

It’s been the best experience though, and I hope I can update on some of my past adventures, as well as what I will be up to in the future.


Detroit, love and the lack thereof

I fell in love with Detroit when I wandered through a street with my best friend, snapping photos as we sneaked up on Michigan Central Station. I fell in love with Detroit when I drove through the city alone for the first time despite my parents’ expected fears. I fell in love with Detroit when a homeless man stopped me and my friend to tell us about growing up and fulfilling our dreams. I fell in love with Detroit when I locked hands with people I didn’t know in Mexicantown, praying over what may be, for some of them, their only food for the week. I fell in love for Detroit when I biked through the city with thousands of other people, laughing and yelling and taking in a new angle of the neighborhoods.
Detroit may look like it is falling apart, but beyond the side the media always lets us know about, there’s beauty, there’s community, and there is love. Hate in and for Detroit can only survive if we let it. Poverty and death and blight are very real, but so is love. Love is powerful, love is life changing, and love is so desperately needed.
It’s so easy to avoid what needs to be changed, so easy to hate what needs love the most. Detroit, looming under a cloud of stigma, Detroit needs love. And I fall in love with Detroit each time I step foot inside its borders.

To Be Nothing

Here I sit, sheltered from the elements by a door, watching the sun rising over the worn brick of the building I work in. Snow coats the ground, though it can’t sparkle due to the dead grass it rests upon poking through.
I think I am content, but only content. My mind is racing with the desire to explore, the need to escape for some time. In sync with my mind, my eyes dart back and forth with anticipation for where I could be. Or is that the coffee I just drank? Whatever it may be, I’m here, awake and alive, so I must refrain from complaining. I just feel like there is something missing, the passion and feelings that come with the fiery desire to create and explore.
I am a writer and a photographer. My entire purpose is to create, and to create meaningful content. I cannot lie dormant. I cannot choke out the creative need that fills my soul. I can sit silently, neglecting my camera and notebook, but doing so would only neglect myself. I have tied to drown out what I need, usually unintentionally, and the result was horrible. I will never be truly happy unless I am shooting and writing.
Even days spent in the frigid cold, kneeling on the hard ground and trying to shoot as my fingers and toes lose all feeling, are days far better than the ones I don’t use my camera. Photography is a part of who I am. Writing is a part of who I am. I believe “writer” and “photographer” better describe who I am than any adjective ever could.
What I have found is that what simply makes me happy and complete, defines me. What began as a hobby out of curiosity has exploded into a major and crucial aspect of my life. While cameras and capturing moments intrigued me and  I have been writing for enjoyment for as long back as I can remember, I had no idea these time fillers would one day consume me.
If there’s anything I know about love, it’s that it is a blazing passion deep within our souls that spills out uncontrollably. My feelings toward my camera, toward the words produced by my mind, are nothing short of love. The mere concept of snapping a photo, of writing a sentence, they are such simple actions, yet they encompass my being. To be completely and utterly passionate…That is love. To me, my camera is far more than an object—it is a lifeline, a connector to my grander purpose. Without it, I am nothing.


For the longest time, I believed that there was no purpose for life and that being alive was a waste of time. I don’t know if I necessarily wanted to die, but I do know that nothing made me happy and I always found myself focusing on how insignificant I was. I felt like I didn’t matter to any of the people in my life and I instead was a burden in their lives. The thought of their reactions if they found out they would never see or hear from me again taunted me. Maybe it wasn’t death that would do that; I just wanted to leave far away and rebuild myself, with all of the things I considered to be so awful behind me. I felt useless. I felt hated. I thought everyone secretly hated me (plot twist, a lot of them did and their words about me, when they finally came out, didn’t really help the situation). I was completely focused on the negative aspects of my life, fully convinced that’s all it was and all it would ever be. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t happy at times, but I sure didn’t know what happiness actually felt like. Even now, happiness, true happiness, is a weird concept to me that I’m still trying to figure out. Nonetheless, I am moving further and further from that high school kid that was full of hate and sadness. I can see my life in the future. I’m no longer looking down. I have found the power to break away from the negativity and sadness that was holding me hostage. I am searching for positivity in everything and I love putting myself out there, even if it means I may get shot down. I’ve learned to take the punches that life can throw without letting my stance be broken. I want to live, I want to see what tomorrow holds, and I don’t ever want to stop moving forward.