To Love and to Lose


If this blog post is a bit scattered, I’m sorry. It simply reflects where I’m at with this life and figuring things out with so much going on.

Life is… Complicated. Always. There is good, there is bad, and there’s a whole lot of in between. I think, for right now, that’s okay. Because I don’t think it’ll ever change and if these past few years have taught me anything, it’s that.

My cousin got married last weekend in Colorado with a beautiful ceremony, surrounded by all the people who love him and his wife. It was lovely, to spend time outside of my day to day life and be with family, fresh air and a bit of distance.

Coming back to my life, however, has been less straightforward. You see, this week is the Week of Welcome, that WOW thing I’ve been preparing for throughout the last year. Well, here it is!

Photo by Leonardo Yip on Unsplash

The Awareness Galleries, they turned out beautifully. All of the content, the tech, the designs, they all came together in a way I couldn’t have imagined. And while some schedules may have been off and people were stressed here and there, I think every single person who went through those galleries got something out of it. Something intangible.

A few students even came up after they walked through and told me how much of an impact it all really had. That was more than enough for me. That, and being able to see my new roommate to preface her group before their walkthrough too. It was a nice surprise and she seems like someone I will be lucky to know this year.

CCE has also been a bit of a wild-card this year. For WOW, I haven’t been in the middle of it the way I have been for the rest of the year because the other two Facilitators who are here for the Week have been responsible for CCE. And they have done wonderfully. It’s a beautiful thing to work really hard on something with other people you trust enough to be apart from the process when it’s time to make it happen while still being able to fully trust them to do it and to do it well.

Because now, I have grand WOWies. And I care so much about every single one of them. There is something about the way I live my life, I need to connect with people and be tethered to a lot of other lives in a positive way, otherwise I feel unfulfilled. With my Orientation leaders and my WOWies who are now leaders themselves, I get that impact and those connections coming back to me tenfold. I would do anything for them and that makes me feel grateful. Grateful that I have people like this to love, that they exist here, and that they have a chance to be positively impacted by this program. 

Photo by Chang Duong on Unsplash

Because it’s so much bigger than each of us and that means the world to me.

After all, there is only so much control we have over what happens in our lives. Things like getting involved with Orientation and doing my best to positively touch all these lives, I get to do that myself. Other things, not so much.

There’s nothing like being witness to deep loses and tragedy of so many young people over the years to remind me of all of that.

Over the past two weeks, my small hometown of Folsom has lost 4 alum all from the Class of 2017. And I do not know how to comprehend that. I don’t even know how long it will take me to do so.

In the process, I have caught up with and talked to countless old friends this week to check in or just to talk and sometimes I forget what it was like to grow up the way I did in Folsom. I had my hand in so many pots, from countless AP classes and arts to almost every sport and club I could be in, that the amount of people I love and hold connections to sneaks up on me sometimes. With so many connections, it can be hard to keep up. It can also leave me with a higher chance of losing people.

Folsom, it isn’t that small. But the way I know I love people and the way so many of us cared about one another or were teammates with so many others of us, it makes us all pretty tight-knit when it comes down to it. That’s just how things were. So these losses, they have ricochet between all of us and the lives we have lost, holding love stretching between Folsom and almost every corner of the rest of the world.

Photo by Luigi Colonna on Unsplash

It’s beautiful.

And it’s tragic.

Because death is inevitable. But the death of the young, it hits differently. It’s not something I think I will ever get used to or fail to be changed by, even in such a short period of time.

In the way I write, forgive, hope, support, love, live, and breathe, I see changes in myself that I think will change even more as I move forward from here. Each of us have been altered. I’m sure you’ve seen it just through these weekly posts in the past few years.

So I hope you know that I will take it as it comes, whatever happens next. And if you’re someone in my life, I probably appreciate you more than I can express. So thank you, for sticking around and listening. For being here.

As for Austin, Luca, Len (Lemon), and Josh, you are all so so loved. Just like Maddie, Cinnamon, Bryce, Ronin, and too many more of you always will be. I’m sorry I cannot give you more time than you had, though each of you lived so wonderfully in 20 and sometimes less years that it takes my breath away. Just know that your lives are missed and loved and will live on through the rest of us. Always.

This weekend will not be an easy one, but it is through the love that we hurt and we move forward when we can. No matter what it takes, what time it lasts, or what people we need to hold to get us there. This no longer belongs to just one of us anymore. They lived too large for that.

Photo by Gordon Hatusupy from Burst

And we loved them for it.

In good time, we keep moving even when the world never stops. Maybe that’s the hard part, that the world keeps turning while some people’s cannot for some time.

That’s okay.

Sometimes, it’s worth it to slow down for just a little bit and take it all in while we still can. If you’re reading this, don’t forget to breathe in the life you are living and remind the people you love that you love them still today. 


Here’s to the weekend. And to the four we have lost so quickly, rest easy my friends.

It Takes Two– A Pride Month Themed Book Review

alisa-anton-632369-unsplashI promised you a Bookworms post today didn’t I?

So here I am, with two YA books for you that each touch on LGBT topics and a bigger picture of love or adjusting to who we are that tie them both together.

As two very different novels, I chose these because one was about something I know almost nothing of and the other was something that I think could be relatable for anyone, whether or not you identify with the community.

They’re about growing up and living live as we are, after all, I think that’s something we’ve all gone through. So without further ado, here we go.


Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe–  Benjamin Alire Sáenz

diego-duarte-cereceda-714994-unsplash.jpgThis book is full of tender moments that still surprise me to be pulled into through the pages. Aristotle watches his life move around him, his parents changing while his own perspectives do, as he figures out who they are alongside himself.

We watch him grow up as the story plays out and his story is wonderfully written.

One line stuck with me that I believe sums up the novel quite well, something I think many people have thought before:

“When do we start feeling like the world belongs to us?

I used to wonder this myself, now questioning whether or not it ever will. Dante and Aristotle both explore this as their friendship changes throughout the chapters. Even more than a book about sexuality or growing up, it’s a story about love and adapting to change. Each relationship is no longer what it began as, exploring what it means to be a parent or a friend and what that looks like from the outside. redd-angelo-11901-unsplash

Aristotle’s character goes through a lot, from the anger and the loss he feels to the disconnection and anticipation within his own life. Add these feelings in with the violence he experiences toward the LGBT community, the kind that many people forget truly happens, and we realize just how hard it can be to sometimes accept who we are. Especially when other people don’t.

That is the journey of this book.

Through intensely real characters, a strongly interwoven Latino culture, and the mind of a boy who’s just trying to understand it all along the way, it’s about love just as much as it’s about trying to hold the world in your hands when it never quite seems to fit right.

It’s about trying to discover the secrets of the universe.

The Symptoms of Being Human– Jeff Garvin

scott-webb-270034-unsplash.jpgFirst of all, there’s a Bratz doll that comes up in this book and when I read those pages, I could feel that same doll in my 7 year old hands. Talk about nostalgia. This book is the epitome of high school drama surrounded by the confusion of growing up feeling misunderstood. You’ve got classic lunch scenes, the misfits, the popular people so clearly in the wrong, and teachers that never see anything.

Maybe it’s a cliche— maybe it’s also true.

What struck me about this book is how closely Riley’s struggles could relate to thousands of young people while at the same time, be so specific to one experience that it goes both ways. Because part of me understands exactly what the character was going through, a lot of it happens to all of us in some shape or form. The bullying, the distance from people we love, the adolescent angst, the list goes on.

The other part of me was thrown into a world where gender fluidity is more real than it ever has been. I personally have never experienced it nor do I have any close friends that openly identify with it, so if anything this book was an inside look into a life that I’ve never had. And I can empathize with Riley’s struggles.erol-ahmed-255854-unsplash

Because growing up, things get pretty confusing pretty quickly. We all get that. Especially in high school, everything is always changing. But through Riley, Solo, and several other characters, their personalities were there along with a whole lot of information about something most people don’t understand.

What this book lacked was a solid foundation for a plot. If you want a good story with a solid plot that isn’t too predictable, this might not be what you’re looking for. But if you’re looking for a little more understanding of gender fluidity and the possibilities of what that can mean, this is a good place to start. As long as you don’t stop here.

For we’ve all got a whole lot to learn in today’s world. Thanks to the internet, now we can.

Also, if anyone has read this, did you hear catch Folsom Prison reference in chapter 6? Classic, all we need is a Johnny Cash mention and my little hometown is on the map.


So thanks for sticking around for these two books and if you check them out, let me know what you think! I’ll see you all on Friday.