The Execution of All Things

“and the charms that she got from travel are starting to wear off…”

Rilo Kiley was the soundtrack to the heady Maryland summer after high school graduation. I devoured their catalogue my senior year and that summer their music would drift, familiar and ignored, from the car speakers, barely audible over the open windows as I drove home from work in my mom’s car. Some nights I would stop at the edge of the middle school soccer field—the only place in that flat suburb with a view—and watch the heat lightning thump lazily across the heavy sky. My own veins electrified, my elbows covered in chocolate ice cream smears I wouldn’t find till the next morning. Only with air still and engine quiet would the lyrics reach me. And even then they were poorly filtered through a brain full of excitement, anticipation and fear. I had made my first independent life decision a few months earlier—I would not be going to college that fall—and was drunk on the feelings of freedom and iconoclasm.

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Rocky Soil: My Gap Year

“I cracked under the pressure to get straight A’s in as many honors and AP classes as possible. I cracked under the pressure to have meaningful summer experiences to write college entrance essays about. I cracked under the pressure to serve my community, be a good friend/daughter/sister, make some money and be thin and attractive. I cracked trying to be the best at all of my many extracurricular activities so I could show colleges I was both well-rounded and exceptional. I cracked trying to balance all that while simultaneously experimenting with all the world had to offer, while trying to discover who I was and who I wanted to be. Plus, hormones.” Continue reading

The Friend Zone

“Why couldn’t I have just loved bowling or had a wild passion for Sudoku?”

We were standing at our basecamp under Antisana, scoping the next day’s route through binoculars. Both Tyler and I were on the Ecuadorian Weight-Loss Plan. We had spent the last few days downing charcoal tablets and passing off the dwindling roll of toilet paper as we sprinted to the plastic barrel that was our camp latrine. Despite that, we had continued with our glacier travel training, learning and practicing all we could that week on the blue and snowy ice looming above us. We were exhausted. Everyone was. Continue reading