At the age of nineteen, in the mountains of Peru, a total stranger looked me deep in the eyes and said these words, “You are a writer.” Instantly I felt naked and exposed, as though she had dug straight to the depths of my being and found my truth. A truth that I had not yet even begun to consider. Those four words have rolled around inside of my psyche for years, surfacing every now and then, with varying effects. Sometimes they inspired me. Sometimes they made me angry. But never did I doubt the certainty of them. Often I struggled with what it meant to be a writer. That wasn’t, and still isn’t my profession. It’s not something I studied. With no books to my name, how could I claim to be a writer? The answer is simple. I just am. Recognized by the world or not, whether I get paid for it or not, I am at my core a writer. Writing gives me strength and clarity. I love arranging the words until they flow freely. My stories come from my soul and simultaneously feed my soul. And if occasionally they speak to others, even better. I think back to that moment in Peru and can’t help but wonder how she knew this about me, but I am immensely grateful for her revelation, no matter how mysteriously it was delivered. Her words have given me the courage to not only transcribe my triumphs and tribulations, but also embrace being vulnerable by sharing them.

Some days I feel like I might explode, or end up committed, if I don’t get my thoughts on “paper.” I started blogging sporadically back in 2010 as a way to release some of the stories in my head, to set them free. Maybe they will resonate with you; maybe they will make you laugh, or cry. It’s entirely possible they will do nothing for you. And that’s alright, because ultimately, I write for myself. I write to make sense of this crazy, beautiful, profound world we live in. I named the blog back in the day when Facebook had the status prompt, “So and so is…” I found that simple third-person beginning to be a handy journaling tool. Filling in the blank became a useful exercise in self-reflection, and now years later, I still find those two modest words an inspirational place to begin.