Big Dreams

Untitled. For too many good reasons.


I am a girl who has only ever known how to want big things.

I used to apologize for that. I remember lying barefoot on the hardwood floor of my childhood bedroom, palms up to the ceiling and whispering, “God, I don’t want to know about your line-up. I know there are a million other people out there who you could use before me. People who haven’t screwed up as much as me. But if you pick me, if you use me, I won’t let you down. I promise.” I didn’t make promises much when I was sixteen but I felt like I could keep that one.

I always felt like it was this unattainable burden sitting heavy on my life that I wanted something more. I wasn’t the girl who saw her wedding dress when she closed her eyes. I never dreamed in fences and babies with my curls. I dreamed of coffee shops and communities and words on the walls. I was the girl who wanted to be in the lives of too many people— not because she wanted to be known, just because she wanted to be wonderful.

I am not alone.

After years and years, I know that now. There is a cafeteria full— a stadium full— of other people who are just like me. People who care too much. And dream too big. And want so much less than what the world can give them— they just want stories. Conversations that leave you sleepy-eyed and wired at 2am. Chances to fill journals. Mornings when the breath falls out of you because the sun is still so pretty when she rises above the hills.

Maybe you’re in that pack. That pile. I don’t really know what to call it. Maybe you have thoughts that keep you up at night. Dreams that beg at the door of your heart. You stare too long at other people because you want to try to pocket their every mannerism and commit them to memory. You resist the urge to clutch the barista and tell her she is beautiful and lovely. You cry during commercials. You don’t want to carry the world on your shoulders but your friends watch you daily, picking that big globe up and hoisting it upon you from 7am to 11pm. You fight too hard. You claw too hard to reach the unreachable. You haven’t been able to think in single digits since the age of ten or twelve because you keep thinking, you keep mouthing, “But this could touch the world. This could change the world.”

That’s all I wanted when I was a senior in college.

It was vague and broad but I was so confident I could do it. Really. I took up a whole column space in my college newspaper where I would write bimonthly like I was going to be some sort-of world shaker. I want to change the world. I want to do something really wonderful. I will find a way to wedge myself into your life and stay there forever. I will. Trust me, I will. I said those things on repeat.

A month before my graduation, before my life stitched a name tag called “adulthood” to its chest, I drove to Target in my CRV— the forest green one with the seats once full of boys and girls too nervous to hold each other’s hands. I stood in the stationery aisle and pulled out 100 letter sheets and 100 envelopes. One hundred thank-you notes I wrote out by hand to mail out across my campus, into the corners of the world. I created a website. I asked people to do something really simple: write a thank-you note after you read this one. Just say thanks today.

Simple. That’s what it is. When it comes down to the things that shift this world and shake up souls, the ideas are simple. They’re basic, not extravagant. And I think that’s just because we crave the basics, even when complexity is all around us— the nights where you can see the fireflies, the days where you got a good sunburn and you didn’t check your phone all day. Simple things— you and someone else having a party the rest of the world didn’t need to know about.

Simple. That’s where it always starts. Like a blog you create when you’re sitting beside your best friend and she says you need to write more. You’ve been holding out. You have so much to say. You promise her you will. You didn’t make promises much when you were 20 but you felt like you could keep this one. 

That’s what happened to me, at least— It was just me and my best friend and this blog I desperately wanted to delete because I didn’t see the point. And she kept saying, sitting right beside me, “Just keep writing. Just keep going.”

Just keep going. I’m not a big advice giver but I think, if I was, that would be my first pearl of wisdom: Just keep going. Keep showing up for things if you ever want to see them grow. You have to swallow your pride, and swallow the parts of you that want to see a movement grow in a day, and just get used to tiny movements. Tiny, microscopic shifts that may never matter to anyone but you. But celebrate the little things— I mean, I can’t tell you how big and how hard my best friend and I celebrated on the day we sat around a table in the middle of my campus center and I told her, “The numbers are spiking. I just got a comment from someone in the UK. Someone in the UK knows I am out here!”

That was a big deal— a single person in the UK knowing your name is a big deal. Celebrate that. And all the other little things. And then keep going.

Just keep going and keep your cheerleaders close. The ones who tell you you’re “something” before you ever believe it for yourself. Victories will come. And failures will grow out of you. And the world will do a lot to tell you that long hours and too much work matter more than flesh and bones. But your cheerleaders— the ones who found you first— will keep you going. They’ll pump you full of life. They’ll keep you standing on the ground.

Look for the people who understand you. They are out there. I promise you, they are out there. And when you find them, and you get them in your corner, they make one hell of a difference. Find them. Take care of them. Always keep thanking them. Always keep them close. Let them buy plane tickets. Let them talk crazy. Let them go. When they need to go out there in the world and see what it has for them, let them go. Commit their birthdays to memory. Celebrate them on their biggest and worst days. Spur them on, especially when they come to you and whisper kind of helplessly, “I don’t know what I want.”

This morning was quieter.

I didn’t get much sleep— just kept turning and turning until the sun poked through the blinds and gave me decent permission to get up. I dressed. Drove to get my coffee. Sat at my desk, looked around for a longer minute, and wondered how I got here: from a couple dozen thank-you notes to a life where I can tell complete strangers I write for a living.

I looked around my desk. Laughed because my mother always tells me I decorate my spaces— all the little corners and nooks I’ve ever been given— with too many words. My office, no different. I pulled out my phone and texted my best friend, the one who sat beside me during those first months of starting a blog. To this day, she still sends me a message after every single post. And I just told her, isn’t it wild? Isn’t it wild how things grow?

I watched the sun come through the skylight as I watched the three little dots ricochet across the screen, telling me she was writing back.

“How strange is that,” she said. “I remember talking about this over tea and Christmas lights in your apartment up in North. And now you’ve moved to Atlanta and your book comes out in March. And I live in Boston and I’ll be a lawyer in just a couple months.”

“We knew what we wanted,” I wrote back to her.

“We did. But if you had asked then, we wouldn’t have known.”

That’s the truth— we didn’t know. We didn’t have a clue. We just had full hearts. Looking back, I wish we’d let that comfort us more than how we let it scare us.

The computer started. My email opened. The day began. I whispered thank you. For the prayers. For all the days I didn’t know what I wanted.

For a moment, a quick one, I could hear my best friend whispering, as if she was still right beside me, “You know. Don’t doubt so much; you know and I know. Just keep going. You’re not supposed to know how it’s all going to unravel. Just let the road take you right to where you need to be.”

I make a quick promise to her– to keep letting this wild journey push me and pull me and make me new. I don’t make promises much, even though I am 26. But I feel like I can keep this one.

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Since some Mondays are worse than Sallie Mae, I created a little breakfast club/secret society to help kick Mondays off right. You are reading me right. Every Monday. Me. You. We roll out via email and your morning brew. I promise to meet you with only the good stuff. Highly recommended for movers, shakers, and original gangsters. No rules. You feeling me, boo?

click here to join the wait list for the Monday Morning Breakfast Club Email

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photo cred.

Big Dreams

Just a tiny dancer. A blue jean baby. Pretty eyed with a pirate smile.


The old legend goes that the gods of blogging strike down anyone who dareth post meaningful content on a Friday.

It’s treacherous. Unheard of. A day reserved for pictures of cats, nail polish, and playlists. Akin to wading into a swamp pit knowing full well that you will meet your demise. Surely, you will.

I don’t really understand that rule about blogging. Or any rule about blogging. And I don’t even play by the rules when it comes to you. You and me, we never needed no rules. And so it’s Friday and I am here. It’s Friday and I am curled up and waiting for you.


I come bearing no gifts.

You can search my pockets and see for yourself that I haven’t concocted anything perfect to say. I haven’t assembled any prose poetry to water your limbs. I am just here, almost like I am writing a letter home to you, almost like I am standing at your door in the middle of the pouring rain, banging on the side of the house hoping you will think to let me in. You know me, I’ll wait here all night.

I haven’t been in my blogging corner as much as I would like lately. Life has been busy and I constantly have to remind myself that this blog is a place of joy for me and I can’t apply the pressure when the inspiration ain’t hot. I’ve been writing my little heart out lately, working on a book proposal with my agent that is the epitome of my heart coming to live in your arms in the form of paper and words, and I am exhausted by what this past year has been.

Beautifully, beautifully exhausted.


Twelve months have come & gone.

I quit my job one year ago. I packed up my cubicle, took the letters down from the filing cabinet drawers, handed in my laptop and Blackberry phone, kissed and hugged people goodbye, and walked away from security to look for a life that fit me better.

The question of “What if I fail” suddenly lost its power when I released the pressure and walked away. Like the day those piggies wised up and built a brick house that wolf could huff & puff at no more.

And here’s the little secret behind that, friends: People will always, always, always ask you about failure but no one will ever think to turn their head, look you straight in the eye, and ask you how broken your heart would be if you never even tried. No one will ever ask you that question but you still need to learn to live within a life where “What if I never try” is plastered on the walls in red.

It’s an important question. I think you should ask it to yourself often.

For me, that question, and the thought of a child of mine asking me one day, scared every ligament inside of my body. Because there will never be a right answer for that that won’t teach them to be petrified, and worried, and so afraid that they decide to just stay in one place and look down at their shoes. All the excuses I could have mustered in my head– I’m too young, I have too much debt, there isn’t enough time, I won’t make it, my idea stinks— paled in comparison to the thought of never getting to tell a single soul that I am doing what I know I was created to do.


So that’s all I really have to say today.

No poetry. No ruffles. No frills. Just thinking about trying & attempting & doing instead of failure for once. Make a day to dream of it and let your mouth water over without hesitation.

And take a break sometime. Take a real solid break. Shut down your life. Pack a bag. Just leave. Buy a map. Learn to notice the trees on the highway.  Listen to poets laughing on a Friday night. Go somewhere where no one knows your name, and the things you’ve done, or the person you’ve become. Go there and trace your bones. Find wraparound porches. Hear more stories. Be young. Be reckless. Be bold. Be shades of red. And white. And blue. Be all the things Elton John sings about, and feel all sorts of eloquent for being only those things today. Not a worrier. Not a mess. Not nervous about the future or the way life will turn out. Just a tiny dancer. A blue jean baby. Pretty eyed with a pirate smile. A ballerina dancing in the sand.

Stop planning life long enough to just follow it. And see where it will be take you. Just stop thinking. Unclench your fists and stare up at the sunlight.

Let go of things. Big things. Little things. Clean out a junk drawer. Burn a diary. Tell him how you really feel. Clutch someone’s face and kiss them hard, as if smooches could give bruises. Have the courage to close the door. Cry, baby, cry. When it’s over. Because you thought it would last. And it didn’t. And I am sorry for that.

Forget the rules. Screw expectations. Just snap on a trucker hat and let your hand flap from outside the window. Deliberate hitch hiking… or not. Forget to take all of this so seriously and you’ll soon realize it wasn’t all that serious to begin with.

It’s been real folks but I am scooting down to Georgia with one of my best gal pals to sip sweet tea, love on people, sit on porches with a bible in my lap, and just be. And I can’t take you with me (unless your on Instagram. Then you can follow the madness here). Otherwise, I’ll be back to blogging in mid-July. My syllables will cry for you every night. And when I watch the fireworks I’ll sing Fievel Goes West songs for you. And we’ll be together one day soon, I am so sure.

And none of that made last paragraph made any sense. And it sounds kind of desperate. But I  going on vacation and that’s that and no one ever had a clue what Emily Dickinson was talking about all those years so you just go right ahead and interpret everything I just wrote how you want it. As for me? I’m peacing out for a roadtrip & some Chik-Fil-A.

Big Dreams, Life Lessons

Walking away from 24.

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I spent my 24th birthday drugged up and crying as a dentist told me he would have to wait a week to give me a root canal.  I envisioned myself, within the folds of that one week, delivering my TED talk in New York City, slurring from the Vicodin and whimpering through the searing pain as I tried to muster up some sound sentence about connection in the digital age.

That dentist was a liar. He’s going to Tooth Fairy Hell (convinced!). And thankfully we found another dentist who would give me a root canal the very next day instead of making me stumble blearingly into New York City with a mail crate, a dream, and a toothache.

Tomorrow I am planning to wake up, brush my teeth good, and have a better birthday than last year. It won’t be too hard.

I turn 25 tomorrow.

Anyone who knows me is aware that this is the age I walked out of the womb looking forward to. It’s quite possible that my first coherent sentence at the age of three was, “Mom, when will I turn 25?” I have no reason why. There’s nothing that I deem to be extremely special about 25. I already had my “quarter-life crisis” at age 19 so that cannot be it. But I’ve just always wanted to be this age, I have just always thought it might be a really special year. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Always with birthdays, I always saddle this great pressure on my shoulders to share what the year has meant to me. To pluck out the pearls of agey wisdom.  Or tell you that the days were worth it. That I think the past 365 slivers of time were really, really wonderful.

And they have been. Of all the teachers in my life, the age of 24 might go down in history as one of the very best ones. She was hard on me. She was good to me. She definitely made sure my head kept spinning, and my feet kept moving, and my heart kept re-scripting its own beat because the slow, slow thud of a normal ticker could never match or mirror the quickened pace I felt all year as dream after dream came true.

24 was the year of leaping.

It was the year of learning that you cannot sit idly and wait for life to work itself out. When you’ve uncovered an issue, when you’ve found the dampened piece of the puzzle that no longer fits in the corner like it used to, you’ve got to cut something completely new out. Reshape it all, baby. You’ve got to point yourself in a new direction. You have to have the courage to go for something you said you always wanted.

Quitting my job, just one week after my 24th birthday, was the most unsettling and yet peace-driven decision of my life. I was walking away from a stable salary and benefits in to an unstable economy but I was walking in the full confidence that my dream job would only poke her head from around the corner if only I stepped out to follow her.


24 was a year of learning how to guard things more carefully.

My stories. My heart. My spirit in a world that will suck anyone dry tomorrow with lackluster routines. 24 was a year of learning that not every guy will offer the rose and not every man who shows up at the forefront of your life is deserving of your heart. You’ve got to be careful with that one. Once you go giving out pieces of your heart, it gets harder and harder to pull them back in.

24 was a year of learning that it’s ok to be single. There’s actually a single girl swag that comes out from hiding when you learn that you’re powerful on your own. You’re capable on your own. You’re a pretty flipping awesome person on your own and when a man comes along, and he’s lucky enough to have your heart, he will be the solid addition to someone who has already learned to be pretty amazing independently. 24 was a year of learning that settling can never be an option. The section it becomes an option, the second it slips closer to knocking on the door you’ve every intention to open.


24 was a year of testing faith and finding surrender.

It was a year that would have never been steady without faith bigger than my own body that a God far bigger than this tiny world would show up and push me where I needed to be. It was a year of giving things up for Him. Of letting “self” fall into the background to embrace a new purpose and plan. His plan was greater than mine. His hope for my life was more brilliant than mine.

24 was a year of falling in love and falling into rhythm with my own calling. I learned that anything– a passion, a job, a dream, a vocation– must be courted steadily. It must be tended to. It must be watered. It must be remembered. It will demand longer hours. It will cry to you late at night. It will push you, and make you cancel plans, and scream until it gets it way. But it will help you change the world. And it will instill you with a message that is far greater than yourself.


24 was a year of finding cheerleaders who never think to make you change or sacrifice who you really are.

At the start of November, I began the search to find a literary agent who fit me like a lace glove. On a whim, I queried to an agent I’ve admired all my literary life and she came back to me in two hours ready to see if we might be a fit. In the end, it was my writing style that never spoke to her and she told me, “You go out there and you find a cheerleader who is absolutely relentless for you. And I will be waiting to see your book on the shelves.”

I found that cheerleader. And she keeps me focused daily on finding the others to surround myself with who only have good intentions and bright hopes for me. They are the ones who challenge you because you are deserving it. And they keep you grounded and humble through all the longer days. 24 was a year of learning that I don’t have room in my life for anything but those people. Those people who don’t care about my success in the way they’re relentless for my heart.


24 was a year of breaking off.

Little by little, breaking off all the parts of me that no longer fit or no longer could serve the world. It was the year of learning that life is too short to stand around and pray that maybe one day you’ll wake up and be the person you’ve always wanted to be. That has to start with you. And in you. And it has to start sooner, rather than later. 24 was chipping away at the exterior with a chisel and refocusing on the the things of the inner: faith. decency. dignity. humility. trust. passion. forgiveness.

24 was a year of learning that things break all the time. And you’ve got to be willing to take a break when your body is spent and your soul is tired and your eyes are glazed over from looking at a computer screen for too long. Breaking is necessary for the refueling of your spirit and centering once again so you can better serve the world. & be a bright light within it.

25 will be a year of celebration.

A year of dancing in the aftermath of what 24 gave to me. 25 will be a year of hustling harder than ever before but sucking in the joy deep, like a curly straw stuck in the thick of a cookies & cream milkshake. 25 will be a year of breaking the rules (or at least the rules I’ve still left intact). It will be a year of testing limits. And pushing forward. And seeing more miracles than ever before. 25 will be a year filled with the spirit of relentless and oozing with the potential of greater things yet to come.

25 will be a good, good year. Just you watch and see.

Big Dreams, Uncategorized

You are called to be a brick.

The rasp of a storyteller stood in her voice.

We sat side by side, pursing cups of tea between long fingers as we watched the fire spit and swallow the shards of gold & yellow.

She choice valiant adjectives like strands of pearls to place beside the man she loved, the man she had always loved. A man who picked up a hammer for the first time to feed the mouths of his children. A man who dropped dreams like gum drops to come to grips with the one in the mirror.

“Everything that he once did, the things he was known for, were stripped away. And he really had to learn who he was,” she said.

That’s what happens,  I thought. When hardships strike and the ship rocks, that is what happens. When suddenly the accomplishments on paper cannot cradle you soundly across the night. When you realize, for the first time maybe, that they never could carry you. But they could distract you. And they could make you think that they were the things–the very, very things– to fill you like watering cans with goodness & value & worth in this world.

I walked away from the coziness of our tea date thanking the gods of conversation for bringing us together to talk & whisper over the deeper things in life.

I walked into the darkness of the roadside, to fumble with keys, and buckle myself in, and think a little longer about who I am in this world. And what parts of me have I wanted to shed like skin. And what inches & angles of me would I be proud to tell a slew of children about one day. The Ones Who Call Me a Word So Sacred as Mama.

I felt the whispers closing in around me, catching my breath with their conviction. Know who you are, know why that matters. All the whispers I have never stayed quiet long enough to hear when Facebook can give me my instant validation & Twitter can remind me that I am worthy of followers. No, I never hear the conviction when I go to sleep with knees still soggy from trudging in the Muds of Other People all day, the ones who assure me that I have weight in this world. That I matter. That I fit. That I won’t float away tomorrow.

We need to know who we are in all of this.

And maybe I am being too pushy in including you with my sentences but I know that I need to know who I am in all of this– not what I do, not who I know, not the recommendations beside my name or the accolades that stack like ornaments on the stronger elm branches.  We need to be stronger than those things, fiercer in finding other things. We need to know who we are… and what that means to the world.

Like if tomorrow we are to drop anything we have ever done by the roadside. Like if tomorrow we are called to survive on who we actually are when the world stops watching. Like if tomorrow I will stroll right up to you and not think to ask, So What Do You Do? No, not that. But who the heck are you? And what does that mean to people? And does it make your stomach turn or are you grateful for that person in the mirror? And have you tried to change? And are you fixing things now? And what are you cluttering up your mouth with to keep from saying, “This is me. Broken, yes. Learning, yes. Trying, always. But this is me. And I wouldn’t want to slip into the skins of anyone else. Because there is a reason for me. Yes, there is a reason for me in this world.”

You see that last line? That is the hardest part. I am so sure of it. That is the hardest thing to declare in the whole of this world… that we think there is a reason to be alive in this world. That we believe there is a reason why we were created from dust & bones to bring something to this world that was not here before us.

You are called to be a brick.

When someone comes to you and asks about you, you are called to be a brick. In the knowing or the not knowing, it really does not matter. In the figuring or the finding or the falling or the failing, you are called to be the brick in the group. Not the walking resume. Not the one who hangs accomplishments in the air. But the brick who says louder than most that you don’t have it all figured out. That you will probably go to a rocking chair not having it all figured out. But that this life is real & fleshy for that reason. To fall a little. And get knocked on your face. And have dignity stripped. And have joy rush in. And that nothing in the span of this time on earth is perfect but you did not come here for perfection.

You came here just to fall & fail long enough and hard enough so that you could be the solid brick for when others fall on you & admit their failures to you.

And you are a layer of the foundation. An intricate layer of the foundation.

And you are a chunk, a building block of history that does not glean a repeat.

And you are solid. You are as as solid as my sureness that there is a mighty, mighty reason for you.

Big Dreams, Love Yourself, Uncategorized

I’m in a relationship… I thought maybe you should know.


“You write so many love letters… it is hard to believe you wouldn’t be receiving a few good ones of your own.”

She’s jutting at my love life with a plastic fork. I. Can. Feel. It.

She’s older and believes that at my age (24), I shouldn’t be so focused on business so much as finding a beau. It’s cultural. I get it. & so her eyes say it all to me– You should have met someone by now. There should be a ring on your finger if not a baby in your belly.  At least, at least, some inkling or trace of a love life. 

“Well, I am currently dating my blog right now and he isn’t clingy or jealous so I think I’m winning.” 

Fail, friends. You’d have deemed it the Epic Fail if you could have instagrammed the disdain on her face after that comment.

 Said. It. So whatchu gon’ do?


It’s that awkward moment when you realize you are currently “in a relationship” with your desk… your work… your blog…… brainstorm sessions that end with slugging 5 hour energies only to pass out on the floor 5 minutes later…

& that you love it. Every. Darn. Ounce. Of. It.

If I took this little “relationship” to the Land of Face & Book, I’d be the first one to break the “Like” button. Mark Zuckerberg would call me personally and say, “Darling, Hannah, do you need me to invent the “Love” button?”

Why, yes! Dearest Mark, you are such the gem.” And I’d proceed in breaking the “Love” button that Mr. Zuckerberg handcrafted for me.

Call me strange… or pathetic… but I deem it to be a beautiful thing when your work is a love story. When the moment you first sunk into it felt you should say straight to it, “Hey, I just met you… and this is crazy” (you know where I am going.)

Would I love some yellow roses on occasion? Who. Wouldn’t?

But my blog is very good to me these days. Perhaps a tad needy & not the best door holder but he’s clean and we neverrrr fight. Ok, I’m lying… we have some epic fights… like “I don’t how to quit you fights.”

Because that’s the truth, folks. If you are going to date something– a blog, a business, a boy or girl, a nonprofit, a project– you have to know how to quit it. How to shut off. How to have an identity that is just you. & you alone. 

You have to reach that point of knowing that when you reach out your hand to shake the hand of someone else that you would still have peace in being just you…. No titles. No big experience. No life-defining, making out all the time, I’m-so-in-love relationships to speak of.  Just you. (scary, right?)

Your. Bones.

Your. Thoughts.

Your. Actions.

Your. Decisions.

How you see yourself in the mirror.

When you allow yourself breaks.

How you allow yourself breaks.

All of that matters… for lasting, healthy relationships with WordPress blogs or Wix sites. With boys or beaus or babies.


I left my full time, commute into work, be at the desk job one month ago. It’s been a long month of figuring it out. Making things work. Finding the balance. And re-finding me in the rubble. Re-finding to refine. 

And if you ask me one month out, what have you learned? I know the words by heart already: It’s hard. It’s different. It’s longer hours than ever before. It’s challenging–real challenging. It’s grinding. Hustling–yes, hustling. Kicking your own butt to make things work. It’s stretching. And pushing. 

It’s dating– yes, dating. Post-Honeymoon. After-the-first-fight, things-just-got-SO-real dating. Sacrificing.

Giving every ounce of yourself to it because you know, you absolutely know, that you will never have this time again… this chance again…and so it has to mean something. Just like the right kind of relationship will inspire others & grow others & make others want the same– this, too, must do the same. 

Be it boy or blog– it is a courtship. A constant form of maintenance. A dedication. A commitment.

It’s ensuring that the two of you will grow with the help of one another. It’s deciding not to walk away when times get touch or the HTML glitches are making you want to chokehold innocents waiting in line for their lattes.

It’s staying. When the honeymoon is over… finances are slim… dreams seem frail.

& it’s truly hard to find the words.

to be learning from the ones who’ve walking this path before… to be figuring out my own voice… & what she has to say to the world.

& it’s finally knowing…

that when I meet him–whoever “him” may be– I’ll know who I am at that first handshake. Won’t falter or stumble or need him to complete me.

I’ll just be me & he’ll think it’s really beautiful.

Darling little side-noter: I am excited beyond words to start up brew sessions via my blog. Check em’ out. Maybe you & your budding project ideas are a Cinderella shoe-fit for the services.  More. To. Come.

Big Dreams

My TED Story

Back in May, I was chosen as a finalist for the TED2013 Global Talent Search. I recently performed my glimpse of a TED Talk in New York City for past TED speakers & supporters. TED will be using the comments & ratings of viewers to make their decision on who from this talented pool of speakers will travel to the actual TED Talks in 2013. You can view the talk HERE.

I would appreciate the support  if you feel moved or compelled to act after viewing the talk. Thank you for always being a support to my trade. It never goes unnoticed.

The TED Talks are kind of like the slick discovery that the yellow brick road didn’t crumble into nonexistence at the age of twelve.

It’s all the feelings I would have opened my arms to if Dorothy ended up being real & she decided that she liked me so much that she wanted to take me out for Starbucks regularly and let me eat pancakes & sip mimosas with her and the scarecrow at Sarah Beth’s on Sunday mornings before trotting around Central Park with ToTo and cheering on the Lion at a divey comedy club later that night.

Sidenoter to the Strangeness I just piled upon you–I was a diehard Oz fan who put her memorabilia away in the attic when boys & gossip sashayed into my life at the age of twelve. Parts of me ached knowing that I couldn’t dec my locker out with flying monkey magnets.

Speaking at TED was like unearthing all the original 1939 treasures from the attic. All the autographs from munchkins I’ve collected (yes, I am sitting on a goldmine that my One Day, Some Day Husband & I will one day giggle over). The scripts my dad has bartered for at auctions. Unleashing all the ways it felt to collect my own parts of Oz and feel home among the poppies & talking trees.

It was a chance to don ruby reds and encounter people who are rocking out in all aspects of life. The chance to sling arms with people in the fields of science & technology, innovation & inspiration, and huddle under this one massive umbrella: Ideas Worth Spreading.

I’ll go back to April:

I first discovered the TED2013 Global Talent Search back in March. I’d been digesting the talks on a daily basis for the last year and decided I was gunning for it. Me & my Love Letters were going (I am grammatically incorrect but it sounds better this way… so I don’t care). I shot a short video. I was very awkward. I gave them the best 60 seconds of me that has ever existed & something must have worked.

I was asked to come into TED offices to live audition. Live audition to me meant a panel of 4 people, not a legitimate TED Salon in a divey + poetic pub in New York City packed to the edges with past TED speakers & people who have sung inspiration into my bones for the last year of my life. Yea… that often happens. Sure… Sure… Right.

The lot of them are brilliant. If you think the Talks are brilliant, you’ll be socked heavy with the reality that each of them are brilliant– especially the ones who whole TED together.

I met astounding TED worker bees, the ones who tirelessly give + give + give to keep the culture of TED throbbing with the passion & innovation it seems to wear so effortlessly like a leather jacket. I conversed with individuals who are literally leaking with good ideas. Yes, I was close to the brink of asking, “Can I hold out a towel for you, sir? You are leaking greatness all over the place and I think we should mop it up to wring out for later.”  I formed friendships. I even made a pen pal.

More than anything—I felt like I came home.

It is a very hard thing to strap words to, a feeling I haven’t called by name yet. But every instance of my TED experience–the onstage closeness, the feeling you were chatting over a cup of coffee with friends– felt as though the lights came on. As if I’d walked from the backyard through the screen door and gathered close around family, around people who wanted to chat about crazy ideas & fantastical ways of changing the world. As if you were the son who won the spelling bee for a moment and people just wanted to cheer you on, and support you, and hoist you on their shoulders and snake you around the room. As if I was suddenly submerged in this place where 15 year olds find the cure for pancreatic cancer & we all find a half-life & it’s sacred and beautiful. That I didn’t have to go home.

That I was the alternate ending for a Dorothy who thought Kansas had fit her just fine but that Oz was new territory she wanted to stick with for a while because it made all the parts of her no longer feel guilty for singing of rainbows & the Somewheres that lurked over them. There were miles ahead & she was ready for it.

& so she decided to never click her heels and go back.  

Other Talks to Straight Up Devour

Tania Luna

A Surpriseologist at heart, meeting Tania at the TED Offices was just that—the most pleasant surprise I’ve stumbled into in a very long while.

Poised with grace & a remarkable knack for storytelling, Tania lit up the stage & then pulled me out from my own nerves and head games. She led me to a vacant stairwell and, with tears in both of our eyes, she let me practice and soak in the truth she gave me: this was my story. My story. My story.

“Here,” she said, handing me a pendant. STRENGTH engraved in the silver. I tucked the good luck charm  of someone who was just a stranger yesterday into my pocket and marched onstage with my mail crate.

Kristin Pedemonti

She claims to give free hugs. So she claims. And yet, when Kristin hugged me, it felt as though she had been saving it up for years. As if she had hung it neatly in a closet for several decades before taking it off the hanger and giving it to me. Warm & Safe. Delicate & True. Not an ounce of fabrication or personal gain to it. She simply wants to give the world to other people.

Adrian Anantawan

I’ve tried to find the words for Adrian. Like a child scouring the fields for a lost earring or some other gem, I’ve looked for the words that will glisten in the sun enough for this man and the treasure he blesses each of us with. A talented musician and beautiful spirit—Adrian poured some sort of sunlight into my inbox the morning after TED and I haven’t been the same since. Adrian doesn’t know it yet, but I plan to lure him into violin lessons & coffee dates & maybe I’ll teach him to write a love letter or two (hi Adrian!)

Bless your day with his gift. Bless it, folks.

Make no mistake, every single person on the TED NYC stage was talented and loaded with a story only they could tell. You should watch every talk. You should cheer every & each of them on.

They are that good.

I feel that blessed.

My talk will be online and open for comments and ratings until August 31. I would greatly appreciate the ratings and comments if the talk moves you, if you think there is still more for me to deliver at TED2013 in February. Thank you + thank you + thank you.

Big Dreams, Uncategorized

On quitting my day job and feathering up my dreams for flying practice.

I quit my job, went to Target and bought a box of Swiss Miss hot chocolate and a new planner.

They both seemed like legitimate “new chapter” purchases. I walked out of the department store feeling pretty good about the investment and the road ahead.

Now, yes, NOW is my chance to place into practice all that I’ve learned of what it takes to feather up your dreams and make them fly. 

I’m following my dreams, people. Twenty-four years old, two years out of college and suddenly barreled over with Opportunities & Prospects that may have never snuck into existence without a few risk & gutsy thinking (thanks to all who coaxed me into that mindset). A few “You Cannot Pass Me Up” moments that made think it was time to go, time to leave, time to be a quitter.

This is me saying adieu to the 9 to 5 salaried life to figure it out.

To follow leads. To try new things. To be a little reckless. To learn the art of living, really living, when letting a dream lead you in the waltz.

I’ve handed over the reins to Life and all the beauty of her & I am ready to see where the next steps will take me. Where this adventure that began Ten Little Months ago with 400 love letters will bring me next.

Turns out, the market might be booming for a gal who adores cowboy boots, prose & has the savvy to wedge “love lettering” into a legitimate business plan.

So I am a freelancer now. Free to take meetings at midnight. Free to turn a diner into my office space. Free to be that girl in the café who sits on her Mac Book Pro and people watches while sipping a cappuccino and musing about InDesign. Though I am almost quite certain my life won’t look a thing like that.

Certain that the next few months will be packed with moving & shaking & meeting & collaborating all for the sake of writing + loving this world a little better. That I’ll be working my face off because that is what you are willing to do when a dream seems so real that you can taste it & see it & call out its name to make it turn around. Don’t you know it true?

So this is a fresh start.

A new chapter.

The point where I say that the last year of my life has been completely & utterly crazy. That dreams sometimes stay afloat with the help of 5 hour energies, Christmas lights, moral support from Twitter and the craziness to believe that Yes, you could in fact do a few impossible things before breakfast.

But this is also a time for me to be honest with y’all and admit that there is reassembling & reassessing to do. That I want to do it a lot of here, on these pages, through writing & editing myself into a life that lends itself to a Greater Story.

That these next few steps ain’t the time to be defined by love letter writing.

It is time to figure out what this whole life looks like when all the parts of it turn paragraph to a love letter that is my skin, my heart, my interactions with others, my writings on this blog page, my matrimony to the world.

It is time to learn what a greater Seamstress of Syllables will do with me as I step out in faith, quit my safe & secure day job, and follow a calling that keeps me up at night & stirs a feeling deep inside of me that feels a bit like Christmas stacked upon the first day of school, mixed with a pinch of butterflies in the stomach and a first snowfall beside a first love.

It’s bound to be wild. Unpredictable. Hard & treacherous at times. But completely & utterly worth it already. More precious than anything if I make it exactly where I’m intending to be.

Have you ever stepped out in faith with all the angst & excitement of a prepubescent boy at his first middle school dance? Any tips & tricks for after the “first step”? 

Side noter: This Facebook page for the blog now exists… Woof… I just gave birth to it. I resisted it for as long as possible but I have retired “As Simple as That” and now need a place to update all of you on bliss & blog posts. I wish we could all be Facebook friends but I guess this will be our next best thing right?