connecting with stories

Recently, I watched a movie that I love with one of my friends. When the movie ended, my friend asked, “so why do you like this movie?” Initially, I was shocked that she didn’t see the same power within that I did. That she didn’t like it all on her own, without asking for an explanation. I fell in love with the movie throughout each scene; my connection with it built and stuck with me. But as I thought about it, I couldn’t really explain what I liked about it. 

“I guess it’s hard to verbalize,” I said. “It’s something you have to feel.”

When a story strikes a chord with you, trying to describe why is like trying to describe what you like most about the universe; it’s too vast, too complex, too all-encompassing. It’s an array of magical and heartbreaking and dead and alive. It speaks on its own, with no one being able to hear each whisper. Each whisper that tugs yet another chord and makes us feel like the story sprawled out on the screen in front of us is one we’ve been living ourselves. Our own journey. And in a way, it is. We connect it to our own journeys; we take away the pieces that mean something to us, the pieces that feel all too raw and familiar, and let them touch us. We match it with our feelings and experiences, creating meaning not just from the scenes we can see, but the ones we’ve felt and lived. The ones that belong to us.

That’s why stories are personal; they tug each of us in different directions, mold us each into different versions of ourselves. They build us and break us at different points, taking us on a completely different ride.

We can watch the same movie and yet watch something different. I could say I like a movie because it’s raw or real or emotional or happy, but those are all just surface features. And if I say I like a movie, I’ve sunk much, much deeper into it than that.

Truly, that’s why I want to write; to create stories that entangle people, that take them somewhere, that make people feel a whirlwhind of emotions that they could never completely explain. To give a voice to the universe’s whispers that I hear. To find a place in and make sense of this vastness.

Why do I like this movie? Why do I write? Why do I overanalyze every experience and create stories everywhere?

Because I feel exactly what I feel. The rest just happens in result, when I entangle my emotions and weave them into sentences that could form into someone else’s comfort blanket and another person’s broken friendship bracelet.

We don’t know where stories will take us. But they make us think and learn and explore. They make us discover new facets of ourselves and the world. They give us the courage to let go of our old, worn-out friendship bracelets, or the hope that maybe, just maybe, we can piece the strands back together. 


Dream big,




taking photographs.

For years, I’ve created lists of goals and among these lists I have always scribbled “take more photographs.”

I don’t know why I always make this goal. Maybe because all of my friends take photos more than I do. Maybe because other people I know have Facebook albums and Instagram feeds full of moments and memories while mine all reside in my mind and my words only. Maybe because my parents have big boxes and albums full of faded photographs that they take out and look at, remembering pieces of their pasts that will never be tangible for me. 

But I’ve never felt particularly empty without photographs. I’ve never really thought “if only I had photographed that moment.” That moment after prom when I watched the fireworks, feeling both alive and afraid. That moment last summer when I walked through an unfamiliar town, taking in the familiarity that still existed there. That moment on the lake a few months ago when I realized that this could be my last summer here, in the place I’ve known forever. That moment when I stopped letting my fears control me. When I started saying what I mean. When I started taking chances. When I started opening my eyes and taking the world in and becoming a part of the world. Not someone off to the sides, just watching. Not someone just waiting. 

I’ve carried these feelings with me; I’ve let them impact my daily life in a way a photograph never could. I don’t remember exactly what the fireworks looked like or what I was wearing at the beach or whether or not the sun made me squint my eyes (even though there’s no way it didn’t). But I do remember how I felt. 

And I don’t need proof. I do not need to show my Facebook friends or my Instagram followers that those moments were real, because I felt them. I felt them deep within me and I still do. 

The most beautiful moments cannot be recreated. They cannot be crafted. They simply happen, often when we don’t have a camera or a cell phone to capture them. The truth is, when I’m experiencing something that inspires me and teaches me and guides me and amazes me, I don’t even think about taking a picture.

I just let it happen. I let the moment happen in its purest, most natural, most exhilarating form, #nofilter needed. 

Dream big,



Note: I still enjoy taking photographs and see so much beauty in the art form.