Monday, December 28, 2015

Dorms, diversity, and delight

I love college.

I have met some of the greatest, most interesting people. I have seen amazing, new things. And yes, I've also learned a lot.

I'm living the college experience. And although the classes are (sometimes) interesting and I've grown to really like Ramen and Easy Mac, the people I've met are the best part.

I've met people from all over the country. Dancers, singers, scientists, writers, designers...the list goes on.  I've met biologists that belt Broadway classics at 2 a.m., I've met passionate poets who love to play sports, I've met dancers who draw beautiful pictures. The friends I've made could not be a more diverse group, and yet we are still incredibly close. We respect our differences and learn from each other. 

Living in a dorm has been a journey for me. I'll admit, like many of my peers, I was nervous before I moved in. Will I like my roommate? Will I like the other people on my floor? Will the communal bathrooms be gross? Will I have to eat alone every day? And my fears were washed away quickly when I discovered all the amazing people I got to live with.

Simply being able to walk two feet down the hall to see one of my best friends--that's the best. Any lonely afternoon can be saved by a simple text of "are you in your room?" 

When you live with people you seem to do everything together. You eat together, you study together, you even sleep together (in separate beds of course). Sometimes it can seem overwhelming but the truth is when you're on your own--you miss it.

The first couple weeks of Christmas break are nice. You can sleep in a quiet room, you can eat home cooked meals, you can see your childhood friends. Best of all, you don't have classwork to do. But you can't help but feel lonely. Making plans isn't as easy when you have to drive over to your friends house instead of just knocking on their door. You start to miss the friends you've become so close to.

I love college. The friends I've made throughout my first semester will always be with me. I appreciate every one of them so much and I know they are shaping me into a better, more accepting person.

As the year draws to a close I can only describe my feelings with one word. Gratitude. Thank you to the people who are there for me through thick and thin. I will always be a shoulder to cry on, an ear to talk to, and a hand to hold.

Happy New Year!


Friday, December 18, 2015

I want it all

Ask me what I want. Go ahead, I finally have the answer. 

I want to wake up every morning next to the man I love. I want to roll over and kiss him gently. Good morning love. 

I want to walk down the hall and hear the shuffling of my children’s feet as they get ready for school. 

I want to do meaningful work. I want to write things about my life. About the world. About love. I want to touch people's minds and I want people to touch mine. I want to make a difference in the world, or as silly as it may sound, in someone’s world. 

I want to curl up in a sunlight-drenched chair on Sunday's and read. I want to spend the afternoons in the woods admiring the leaves on fall days, and spend the evenings wrapped up with the man I love and a cup of tea. 

I want to teach my children about the world. The good and the bad. The truth and what it means. I want to teach them to be curious and kind and accepting. I want to encourage their dreams and stand by them every step of the way. 

I want to keep learning about myself and the changing world I'm a part of. I want to accept when I am wrong and know that it's okay change my mind. 

But what I want most of all is to love and be loved. And if you ask me, I feel like I'm off to a pretty good start.


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

(Greatly) Extended Family

The holiday season is in full-swing. This is probably my favorite time of year. Sure summer is great, but there's nothing that can quite match the splendor of the holidays.

There's just an excitement that hangs in the air from Thanksgiving until New Year's Day. The holidays are a great time to relax, eat massive amounts of food, and spend time with friends and family.

Family. Something we all have--whether we see them often or not. It seems like on every holiday my social media is flooded with pictures of families eating together, laughing together, simply being together.

And for many years and many holidays that is not something my family has been able to do. Not only is my family very small but we also live extremely far away from each other. It would be ridiculous to expect my elderly grandmother to travel eight hours to come visit. It's often difficult to travel nine hours in the complete opposite direction to visit my aunt and uncle.

With everyone so scattered to the winds I accept the holiday phone calls and the half-empty dinner tables. It's not hard to have a great time with my immediate family but I can't help but wish that for one day we could all be together.

And although nothing can replace my own family I've found that spending time with friends and other people's families can be just as fulfilling. Friends are the family that you get to choose. Good company is good company, blood relation or not.

I am thankful for the life that I have and the people in it, even when it seems we're so far apart. I hope you are too.


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Love + Life + Lessons

"Love is when the other person's happiness is more important than your own."

H. Jackson Brown Jr. said that (if anyone actually knows anything else about H. Jackson Brown Jr., that's a story for another time.)

In the past, I would have looked at a quote like that with what could only be described as cynical disdain and confusion.

How could you let someone take over your life like that? I would never think that. 

As time progressed, I lightened up.

Maybe someday I'll meet someone and I'll understand why people say things like that. I guess we'll see. 

Fast forward a couple more years and high school was an adventure I was well prepared to take on alone. Yes, it would have been nice to have a boy "notice me." Yes, it would have been nice to have a hand to hold every now and then. But I never let myself be defined by other people, let alone high-school boys. I had amazing friends and we didn't need anything or anyone else to have an amazing time.

Sure, there were days when I let myself feel lonely. I wondered why everyone around me seemed to be happily in love and why no one thought they'd like to share that with me. It made me sad--low self-esteem will do that to a person.

So imagine my excitement when one winter's day a boy wanted to get to know me, I couldn't contain myself. I threw all of my energy into making him happy. It became stressful. How can people dedicate their entire lives to making sure someone else is happy? 

Then, more than ever, I was sure that love was not when the other person's happiness was more important than your own.

When I said goodbye to that boy I was determined to live a life where I put myself first. Not in a selfish way. In a healthy way.

I let time go by. I let myself be busy. I was happy. And I could have continued on that way for years and I would have been satisfied.

But that uncertain girl kept creeping back to the surface. I hoped that when I got to college I would meet new people and find someone to share my time with.

But plans almost never work out the way you think they will.

Sometimes, they turn out better.

That's what happened to me. I took a chance and it turned my world upside down.

What started out as friendship grew stronger, and I found myself the happiest I'd ever been. Here was a boy who cared about me the same way I cared about him. We just clicked.

I thought maybe there was some truth to the idea that love was when the other person's happiness was more important than your own. Just maybe not in the way I was looking at it before.

Putting someone's happiness above your own can be selfless. It means you care so much about that person that you would do anything for them. It doesn't mean you can't be happy too. For me, making someone else happy, makes me the happiest.

Maybe a better way to say it would be "love is when the other person's happiness is just as important as your own."

Yeah, I like that better.


Monday, November 9, 2015


“Wow, how did you manage to get these seats?” the usher asked my mother as she showed us to our seats in the very first row of the Benedum.

It was pure luck really. My parents, my sister, and I were new to Pittsburgh and we were looking for something to do for a while to distract ourselves from the fact that we had just been uprooted from our childhood home.

We were all fans of musical theater and my mother would often play her favorite cast recordings for my sister and me. I loved it. I always sang along, I would even dress up dance on the coffee table.

I was thrilled when my parents told me we would be going to see a production of Les Miserables. I had been singing along with Castle on a Cloud for years, but I had never seen the show live before. I had never seen any show live before. I had watched Annie and The Sound of Music countless times on VHS but I had never stepped foot in a theater before.

It was a warm summer night in 2007 when we made our way into the cultural district for the first time. We had our MapQuest directions and we were ready to make some memories. When we finally made it to the theater I was awestruck. The ceilings were made of gold. The walls were draped in elegance. It was magical. We made our way into the heart of the theater and a quietly beautiful usher swept us toward our seats—in the very first row.

Turns out we bought our tickets fairly last minute and the front row had the last seats available. Our feet were practically touching the orchestra. When the curtain rose and the first song began I felt the deepest happiness I had ever experienced. I could see the microphones on the actors’ cheeks. I could hear them breathing. I felt like I was a part of the show.

I remember shedding a tear and springing out of my seat as the actors took their final bows. After the show, I clutched my playbill to my chest as my parents led my sister and I through the streets back to the dismal and gray parking garage.

I had seen live theater for the first time and it became a passion I would never lose. Every year after that I asked for tickets to the Benedum for my birthday and a few years after that I would even start to perform myself.

Theater can really change your life. I will always be excited to hold a crisp ticket in my hand and sit in a gilded theater. I will always be excited to clutch a playbill to my chest. I will always remember that production of Les Miserables and the way it fanned the flame of my lifelong passion for the performing arts.


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

It's about the journey (or something like that)

“We’re consolidating,” my father announced grimly at the dinner table one dark October night.

At the age of nine I had no idea what that word meant, let alone why it had my mother on the verge of tears.

My father’s company in Scotia, NY. was moving in with its Pittsburgh counterpart—and we would be moving with it.

I couldn’t imagine leaving behind my friends, my family, my home. I had a great life. I was in the 4th grade, I was a Girl Scout, and I had just started dance classes at a local studio.

It didn’t really cross my mind that the reason I had all of these great things was due to my father’s job. The house we loved, the cars my parents drove me to school in…we really owed it all to my father. He was the provider and we would follow him where his work led.

Just nine months later we were packing our lives into the U-Haul and kissing everyone we knew goodbye.

Very few of my father’s co-workers wanted to uproot their lives, so the few who made the trek to Pittsburgh were rewarded. If we moved at the beginning of June my father would not only get a promotion, but also a pay raise.

We moved so fast I never even got to finish 4th grade.

June 1st, 2007 is a day I will never forget. That eight hour car ride was one of the longest days of my life. My family sat in silence, each of us trying to cope with the changes ahead.

I remember sitting in the back of the car with my portable CD player and my Barbie dolls, just hoping that my old friends wouldn’t forget about me, hoping that I would be able to make some new friends, hoping that my mother wouldn’t be unhappy for the rest of her days.

When we finally arrived to our new home in Pennsylvania I didn’t want to be sad anymore. I ran around our new home excitedly, exploring each room and corner. I decided it would be a new adventure. It was a chance to do anything I wanted and I was ready to go.

Looking back eight years later I wouldn’t change a thing about my life. I am the happiest I’ve ever been, I’ve made the most amazing friends, I’ve even fallen in love.

Scotia will always have a special place in my heart, but Pittsburgh is my home now and I wouldn’t have it any other way.


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

All who wander are (probably) lost

Can you be lost if you don't even know where you're going in the first place? I'm not talking physically lost (although I frequently am)--I'm talking mentally lost.

I feel like so many people have these great visions of their lives, and I don't. I go to class, I do my homework, I eat, I sleep. And I do it again and again every day. I'm not unhappy, but recently the uncertainty about my future has been a pressing weight on my mind.

I'm past the halfway point of my first semester of college, and I was really hoping I would have figured something out by now.

All throughout high school I hoped that something would just jump out at me and I would know what to do with my life. I picked a major I thought I might like at a college I loved and decided to hope for the best. And I'm happy--but I'm still lost.

Don't get me wrong, I have some things figured out.

I know that in my life I want to do my best to make the world a better place in whatever way I can. I know that someday I want to have a family. I know that no matter what happens I will find a way to live a good life. These things are certain to me. But ask me what kind of a job I want and I can't even begin to tell you. Ask me why I picked my major and I won't have the answer you're hoping for. Ask me what my career goals are and I won't be have much to say.

And for a long time I felt really bad about that. I felt like I was wasting my time or my energy. But the more people I meet and the more of the world I see, I know I am not alone in my confusion.

It doesn't matter if I know exactly what my dream job is at age 18. The world won't end if I take a different path than the one I started on.

All who wander are lost, so at least we can be lost together.


Sunday, October 25, 2015

Rose-colored glasses

When I met him the world got a little brighter, a little more exciting, a little more beautiful.

I had always been fairly optimistic. I tried to see the good in people. I knew deep down that life could be beautiful. I believed that everything had purpose and meaning--that it all happened for a reason. 

But when I held him, I knew what that reason was. 


What a funny word. A word that would change so much. 

Everywhere I go, everything I do--he is on my mind.

As I walk down the street I imagine him walking by my side. When I see something beautiful, I wish he could see it too. When I am sad or confused he is the first person I confide in. And just knowing he's there makes life a little sweeter. 

I'm looking at the world through rose-colored glasses. 

Every day is beautiful, nothing is too broken it can't be fixed--life is wonderful.

Because of him I see beauty in everything. Because of him I am loving my life. 

He is my rose-colored glasses. He has opened my eyes to beauty in the world that I didn't see before, and I love him all the more for that.


Friday, October 16, 2015

Who cares?

I believe everyone should vote. As Americans we have the hard-earned privilege of choosing our leaders. I remember the excitement I felt as I clung to my mother’s jacket as she entered the voting booth and flipped the monstrous lever to cast her vote. It seemed so important--all the businessmen in their suits lined up outside the fire hall, the mothers and their children, the elderly couple holding hands--all waiting for their chance to make history.

As I grew older I began to take an interest in the country I was a citizen of and the things I would someday vote for. I couldn’t wait until I was 18 and would get to join the line of voters outside the local fire hall. Now that I can finally be a part of that club I will participate in all the opportunities I have.

As I grew older I noticed that the interests of my peers began to move in a different direction. I listened to the talking in the hall, the discussions after class, the arrogant statements. I’m not going to vote. It doesn’t matter if I do. I don’t know anything about government. I don’t care about politics anyway. It made me sad; did no one care that we had the opportunity to help our country?
It wasn’t just voting that my peers didn’t seem to care about; it was more. School was lame. Studying was pointless. Who cared about cleaning their room or taking the time to volunteer at a nursing home when it was so much easier to seem above it all and sit on the computer consuming mindless media all day?

Why did everyone seem so apathetic? Was I missing something? Was it suddenly a badge of honor to be completely carefree? Did I care too much? What happened to beliefs? What happened to passion? I worried and wondered how I could feel so differently from people who I considered my friends.
And I haven’t figured it all out yet, but I do know this: We all need a personal belief system. Understanding and outlining what is important to us is vital in understanding what kind of a society we are. How do we feel about politics, religion, and art? What makes us excited, enthralled, enamored? Whatever it is, finding it is the first step to self-discovery.

As college students, we are not the same as we were as small children--we have separated ourselves from the infants of the world. As we change physically, we begin to become aware of all that the world has to offer. And we choose how to feel about it all.  Of that, what do we acknowledge? We have the power to decide what is good or bad, right or wrong. We gather information, we learn and we decide. (Sometimes) We decide to do something instead of sitting idle and letting others do the work for us. Apathy is a passive choice, but it is still that—a choice. When we don’t speak up and vote or work toward the changes we want, we cannot complain if choices are made that we don’t agree with.

And our beliefs can always change—we are always growing, we should never be afraid to reconsider our thoughts. Fear is the mother of misery and regret. Just because someone has always been a Catholic, doesn't mean he can't learn about Judaism. Education is something that can never be lost. We should learn as much as we can, travel, ask questions, debate with our peers, find the facts, look at things from someone else's shoes and decide how we feel.

We should never be afraid to tell the world what we think because sometimes it is easier to hear one shout than a chorus of confusion. We are surrounded by our families, friends, constant media updates…everyone wants to tell us what to think. We must listen and decide what we believe and what we don’t. Let’s learn how to make ourselves heard without forgetting to hear others. Sometimes we aren't the experts but listening to one can change everything. We must accept when we are wrong, work to become right. Always learn what other's think and question them. Apathy does nothing. We should seek out our passions and put them to use in the world, whether it's casting a vote or building tree-houses in the Amazon.

Whatever it is—let’s care about it. 


Sunday, October 11, 2015

Adulthood: It'll come together

I want to be an adult.
I want to wear blazers and pencil skirts, and hear the clicking of my heels as I walk to work every morning with a Starbucks cup in my hand. I imagine the people on the street looking at me. She's got her life together. 

Of course, I really don't have my life together. The Starbucks cup is holding hot chocolate, the blazer is from the juniors section of Kohl's, and I hate walking in heels for more than two hours. 

But when I'm walking down the street--it feels good. 

I want to be an adult. 
I want to go home to my own house, slip off those heels, and relax. I imagine sitting there and thinking I have my life together. 

Of course, I really won't have my life together. The house will probably be a small apartment on the outskirts of town, and the relaxation will probably include eating ice cream in my bed at 1 a.m. 

But when I daydream about it--it looks good.

By society's standard, I am an adult. I've reached the age where all responsibility eventually falls back on me.

But by my standard, I am still a child. 

I still need people, I still ask for help, and I still wonder what I'll be when I grow up.

I want to be an adult.
I want to make decisions for myself and live freely. 

I want to be adult, but I don't want to be different. 

I still want to find joy in everyday life, I still want to learn and wonder about the world, I still want have fun. 

I'm in the evening of my youth. Soon I will have bills to pay. I'll have to get up every morning and go to work. I'll have to get up every morning. I'll be solely responsible for myself. Someday I might even be responsible for other people. I am not ready for that. 

Maybe I don't want to be adult--not yet.

I'll get my life together someday. I have time.


Thursday, October 8, 2015

A Credo

This was a piece I wrote my senior year of high school and became rather fond of. I don't have the strength to write an original post tonight so here you go. 

I believe in independently living. Who would ever allow someone else decide what's best for them? Not me.
Humanity is built on reliance. 
Like a newborn clings to its mother, people cling to each other.
Self-reliance is a state of mind. Clinging to others is wounding.
Opinions are formed by proximity.
Prisons are formed by the mind that yearns to belong.
Dive headfirst into life. Your life. Like an explorer drawn to the sea we are pulled toward normalcy. We drown in mediocrity. Self-assurance is the boat passing by just in time to rescue our individuality. I reject drowning in dependence. I accept swimming through the self-confidence I know I possess. Only you can follow the siren call of your desires.
Humanity welcomes the ability to choose your own adventure and shun those who choose incorrectly.
Free Will is a blessing not an invitation to condemn. Like an almighty judge Society convicts those who do not surrender their self-assurance.
I believe in living a life free from the ties that bind. You cannot stop being you. The only wrong choice is to conform and surrender the promise of self-sustaining life.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Silence (not always golden)

Sometimes I feel like no one's listening to me when I talk.

I sit silently in conversations waiting for the chance to jump in with my stories--and I wait an awfully long time. When someone finally pauses for breath, I go for it, only to be talked over by someone who feels they have something better to say.

Don't get me wrong, it's not like I'm a wallflower or a social pariah. I am very social, I love to talk and share my thoughts with others--when given the chance.

I also love to listen. Have you ever just sat in a public space and listened to the conversations around you? It's fascinating. Being able to listen and soak everything in helps me to control my emotions when I'm rudely brushed aside.

But why does our society seem to value speaking over silence?

It seems like whoever speaks the loudest has the power. So what are the rest of us supposed to do?

They say silence is golden, but being silent is not always a choice.

When I am brushed aside at a party, its annoying but its not going to ruin my life. But what about the people who actually have something to say?

Who is asking the homeless teenager about her day?
Who is working to learn about the working conditions of minimum-wage workers?

Who is the voice for the voiceless?

Circumstance is the greatest silencer of all. When listening to the stories of others becomes a chore--there is a problem.

Have we become so apathetic that we tune out the voices that we don't agree with?

Sometimes I feel like no one's listening to me when I talk.

Imagine how those who are oppressed feel.


P.S. I'll step off of my soap-box now...

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Putting it out there

While researching for an assignment the other day I came across a quote from New York Times Best-Selling Author Bill Clegg (his advice for aspiring writers), "Write!! And then write more. And keep it to yourself for as long as you can before sharing with others." 

It made me wonder--am I doing something wrong? 

When I write I cannot wait to share it with others (after I've written and revisited and reviewed, of course.)

I write for people.

I want what I say to make a difference in someone's day. I write to put a smile on his face, to put an idea on her mind.

Knowing that people will read what I've written is exciting. Putting it out there in the world is like breaking off a little piece of my mind and sharing it, like bread at the communion table. 

Should I be mulling over every word and phrase, agonizing over each syllable, crying over my laptop? 

Sure, writing is a process. But it doesn't always have to be a laborious, tedious process. 

Writing should be fun. It should bring joy both to the writer and the reader.

Why should I sweat over every minute detail? 

Will anyone actually care that I didn't spend the last ten years perfecting this blog post?

Writers everywhere--its time to end our suffering. 

Write what you want, when you want, how you want. And share it. 


Sunday, September 27, 2015

The facts of life (and death)

If you don't water your plants, they will die.

That is a fact. 

Keeping a plant alive is simple--your actions determine its fate. 

What isn't simple, is a human life. No matter what you do--your actions can't solve everything. 

That, is also a fact. 

No matter how much you love someone, no matter how many visits you make or don't make to the hospital, nothing changes the ending. The ending is always the same. The ending is always death.

There is no way to make a difference in death; it is only in life that the real difference can be made.

That's a lesson I'm trying to learn.

I can't go back and give her more time--I can't change how it happened. I have to remember the way she impacted my life. I have remember the way I impacted hers. 

Death is just the end of life.

Death does not kill memories.
Death does not kill happiness.
Death does not take everything away.

Death leaves her legacy behind--death lets us keep her spirit alive. 

If you don't water your plants, they will die. If you let death erase the good times--you will. 


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Four letters and a box

Like many college students I have no idea what my post-grad life will be like. Will I be working in my field? What will my field even be? Am I even going to get a job? Everyone knows exactly how I feel, if you don't, you might be lying to yourself.

Being the pro-active, go-getter that I am, I decided to schedule an appointment for myself at the campus Career Development Office. Better get started early, I thought to myself. I knew what to expect, they'd tell me to take a lot of general ed courses until something sparked my passion or something generic like that.

Guess what? I wasn't wrong.

During the course of my appointment I had the privilege of being introduced to personality testing. I'll figure out what to do with my life. This will be easy. Just do this test and it'll tell you what to do. 

I had heard of the Myers-Briggs personality test before but I'd never cared enough to take it. But that Monday afternoon in the career development office, I was excited.


That's who I am.

Four letters.

I'm "extraverted, intuitive, feeling, and judging."

Four letters and a box.

I'm The Giver. 

According to this test, I am suited well for careers in counseling, entertainment, childcare...
The list goes on, and I'll admit--the test is not wrong. I would likely excel in those areas.

But what if I don't care?

Tests like the Myers-Briggs are limiting. People are multi-faceted, people cannot be described by four letters. Why should I need this test to validate my personality? I know that I am a giving person, I've often thought about becoming a counselor, I know I'm an extrovert. Why did I feel so validated when the test matched my personal views of myself? Why should I need a test to tell me who I am when I've been myself my whole life?

Tests like these are relieving, they make us feel like we belong. But do we really belong in boxes?

No one can possibly be described by only four letters--there has to be a better way to guide people's futures.

We should encourage individuality, stress the importance of making our own choices, and start thinking outside the box.

Monday, September 21, 2015

An exercise in self-awareness

Today my English 101 professor instructed us to pull out of sheet of notebook paper.

"Rip it out of your notebook. I want you to write down all the words that stop you from doing what you want. All the negatives."

And so we did. I glanced around the room at my peers as they frantically scribbled--a flurry of pen against paper. I had my own list. It wasn't short yet it wasn't long. And I knew that everything I wrote wasn't really true. I'm not really stupid. I know that my ideas do matter. It's just easy to let those ideas fill your head on a cloudy day.

"Okay," she said, "take that paper and crush it."

As we did this she excitedly rushed around the room with the trash can and instructed us to throw these powerless words away.

"Words don't have power unless we give power to them," she told us.

The therapy session had begun. We had purged our minds of the negative. I thought to myself--okay Professor Nofsinger, where are you going with this? 

"Take out another paper and write down the words you want to hear most."

This was easy. No one likes to admit it but we all love having our egos fed. We all want to be considered smart, We all want to feel beautiful. We want people to listen to us when we have something to say. It's in our blood.

"Fold that paper nicely. Put it in your pocket, Put it in your purse. Keep it close to you. And when you find that paper later on, you won't need to read it over and over again because you'll understand the power those words have. That's the power you give them."

Okay, that's all well and good. Be positive, don't let things get to you, etc. I couldn't help but feel like I'd heard it all before. But as my classmates and I got up to leave (20 minutes early, I might add) I noticed that the entirety of the class had smiles on their faces. That small dose of positivity was exactly what they needed on this Monday afternoon.

I guess sometimes we need to examine the things that make us happy, or sad, or angry. Taking a moment to understand why we feel the way we do can be freeing.

Words only have power if we give power to them.

That's what I learned in college today.


Saturday, September 19, 2015

First Draft

I have tried and failed to write three other blogs, so it's a good thing that four is my lucky number.

At the moment this blog has no real purpose. It probably won't change your life. It probably won't make you question your beliefs. But maybe you will be entertained, maybe you will be interested, maybe you will even be inspired.

As a young, college student I have plenty of questions about the world we live in. Is the world fair? Is it possible that an entire planet can really be fair? Are most people inherently good? How do you even become a good person? Why do I like writing rhetorical questions so much? Basically once I get talking, I have a lot to say.

Throughout this blog you will learn about my life, you will hear about my passions, and you will see the world through my eyes. And maybe you won't like what you see, but it's worth a shot.