One year ago, I worked at a newspaper. Five days a week, from 2:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. I had no social life.

One year ago, I weighed 20 pounds more. And my hair was slightly shorter. Slightly.

One year ago I didn't wear contacts. And I was the new Relief Society President.

One year ago I never listened to country music. And now I find its lyrics so true and so real and so every-day-romantic, I wonder how I ever got along without it.

One year ago I could barely (rock) climb a 5.5. And the most I'd ever run at one time was 3.25 miles. And that was brutal.

One year ago, I feared leaving. Feared foreign lands. Never believed I could learn another language.

One year ago I thought I was old. Today someone asked if I was a student, because I look so young. Age is just a number. And the higher that number gets, the better I like it. Imagine that.

One year ago I was blind to the changes that would be coming. That have come. Big changes. 180s in every facet of my life.

One year ago I still had the same name, the same DNA, the same Social Security number and eye color, but that person one year ago is gone. I'll never know her again, and I'm glad. Glad to have known her, glad to leave her behind, glad to be here now, glad I'll be somewhere else — someone else — tomorrow.


Sometimes I write stuff and hide it away — I've told you this before. And sometimes it's not because I don't like it. Just the opposite. I love it. But it might just be too honest. And I might not want certain people to read it. But I'm trying to be braver. I'm practicing. And so, in my attempt to cast out all fear, here are a few things that have been tucked away that I quite like. They aren't too terribly revealing, no worries there, but I tucked them away for a reason, I suppose. A reason whose specificity escapes me now, but regardless, here they are.


I hope that my children get my eyes, but not my hips. That they laugh a lot and give hugs, even when they're 14 and super cool. That they eat their vegetables and scratch up their knees, learn how to throw a ball and write in cursive, and aren't afraid to cry when they speak of things dear to their heart. I hope they sing — well or poorly — and learn, earlier than I did, of their great worth, no matter what the world says, no matter what the "cool kids" say. Especially not the cool kids.



Never had she wanted to touch someone so badly. To grab his arm, wrap her limbs around his trunk and melt. Melt into him. Disappear. Lose herself to his embrace. To his steady breathing and deep-bellied laughter.

That laugh. It was like nothing she'd ever experienced. How it swelled and shrank in an instant, transforming his face into a smile as big as the valley, his eyes looking at the source of humor in what seemed to be a combination of appreciation and surprise.

Surprise. Yes, it was surprising, how tempted she was to snatch this boy up, a boy she met just a few weeks prior, and make him her own. So unsure most other times, so hesitant to commit even to a second date. But Unsurety was absent and The Future called in sick. Both so unlike them, those bosom buddies of this girl, this planner and organizer and thinker of all possible scenarios.

This time, she just wanted the present. With him.

To live. Right now. With him.



There's a kind of relief that comes after detachment. Not particularly relaxing or pleasing in any way, except that it is a release. An escape from what was. But it hints at sour, because there is a release from what could have been.

It isn't jealousy that I feel, but more abandonment, disappointment, a feeling of being unwanted, or, to me even worse, unneeded. I've been replaced. Yet no matter how my realist side tries to tell me, "You aren't special. You're mother lied," I still feel irreplaceable. Or perhaps, that I should be.

And I will be. I suppose all these failures, all these "practice relationships," are quite good. I learn more about myself every time. More about how I should be treated, too. Gosh, I deserve better. And I'll know when the right person comes along because suddenly I'll be irreplaceable. I'll be needed, wanted. And I'll have no desire for release.



For the past week or so I've been living in Spanish Fork until I can move into my new apartment. I decided I should go for a run on Thursday night, seeing as I'll be in a 180+ mile relay race in September. So off I went, going west, under the I-15 and into the farmlands. About two miles down a nearly deserted road, I felt a prick on my leg and looked down to see a mosquito. Smacking it off, I didn't think much of it and continued running. By the time I got to 2.5 miles and turned around to head back, I knew I'd made a horrible mistake. The bugs had come out to play, and the party was located on my exposed flesh, free of any insect repellant. As I began my journey back, I picked up my pace slightly, taking the opportunity every few steps to reach back and smack the back of my legs with my hand in what looked like a failed attempt at a square-dance-heel-slap. By the time I reached the house with the attack dog charging at me, I had been bitten at least 30 times and I feared no beast except the demon known as Culicidae. (See: mosquito.) I screamed at the dog to go home and frantically now began smacking my calves and arms, my regulated breathing turning into gasps and yelps and "please make them go away!" cries as I started into what felt like a full-fledged panic attack. Trying to outrun the devils was my folly, as my heart, lungs and legs quickly gave out. With my hands covered in blood from the defeated vermin, I let my flailing arms drop and I walked as quickly as I could, trying to keep myself from hyperventilating. Every so often a car would pass and I would stare into its windshield or side-view mirror, willing them to stop and offer me help. No one did. Every lesson about not getting into strangers' cars was cast out in my desperation to escape. As I neared the railroad tracks, I had consigned myself to being slowly eaten alive with no relief for my poison filled body that itched like -- like -- why is there not a stronger word for "itch"? No stronger metaphor or simile? All I can think of is "Hell." And so, I walked with Hell for my companion over the railroad tracks, fully aware of the pain that would come, when I then swallowed one of the brutes and I was filled with a renewed rage for a pointless creature only on this earth to cause unspeakable horrors to all those afflicted by their thirst for blood. I smacked at them again, streaking my legs and hands with their innards and mine. Crossing under the I-15 once more, the satanic insects began to thin. When I finally arrived home, I was thankful for respite but fearful of what was to come.

In the end, although I haven't counted, I have around 75 bites on my body, the majority occurring on my legs. I've used two tubes of Cortizone, a banana (doesn't work, p.s.), eight antihistamine pills, two cold showers, four ibuprofen, one icepack, and a whole lot of will power to overcome the worst of it. I get sick to my stomach thinking about going outside now, and writing this post made the itching flair up, but I don't think there's any danger of West Nile Virus (good thing I'm not in Dallas, eh?) and ... I was trying to find another good thing to come from this, but nothing comes to mind.

Ah, maybe this: Don't go running in the country by yourself. You might not get raped or kidnapped or hit by a tractor, but if you get the feeling you should head east instead of west, do it. Because it seems a 250 lb. man with a gun is easier to fight off than 3,000 devil bugs.

For visual proof (although this doesn't do it justice) a picture of my legs. (Look at my beautiful pronation in my feet! Gotta love genetics.)


Holy Moses, I didn't realize it'd been so long since I've written anything. Well let's hop to it, shall we?

It's interesting to discover evidence that I'm getting older. Like being more responsible with money. Or having greater patience when driving. (OK, when I say "greater" I mean I don't use my horn 67 times on the way to work). And then there's the decreasing desire to impress people. Impress guys. Dress up for guys. Put on makeup and a bra before going to 7-11 for hot chocolate in my pajamas at 9 p.m. to get cash for the laundromat — waaaaait a second. "Grown up" just made a leap to "super-white-trash." Awesome.


It seems the reason I haven't written in such a long time is because I have no material. So, until next time, enjoy yourself, I guess.

Oh, and a tidbit of knowledge for those seeking some: Ask the hard questions. If you're avoiding them, it's because you fear the answer, probably because you know the answer. But fearing it doesn't make it go away. And fear stunts growth. The bad kind of stunts. Not involving trampolines or padded suits or applause. So ask, and listen, and then go forward. You're never alone, you know. He's got your back.