How I’ve Changed, 10 Years Later

In the world of news, I’m constantly surrounded by death. Unimaginable loss. Children dying. Firefighters being trapped in flames. Mothers killing their babies. Things that bring pain that knows no words.

But today, I have words, for a personal battle I’ve fought for almost 10 years.

We met upon dirt roads, where you can always see the stars. I was so happy then, under the summer sun. He was so happy, too. We shared an endless amount of laughs those summer days. It was a constant dance of laughter and hugs with him. He had a smile that changed everything. For weeks, it was bliss. It was joy. It was beauty.

And then, he was gone.

Just like that. Before I could ever tell him how much his laugh meant.

15 years old. A gunshot to the head. On Thanksgiving.


And more importantly, why?

I’ve spent so many hours asking myself so many questions. What was so bad that you had to end your life so young? How could I have helped? Could I have? How can I help others moving forward? How will I move on? Will my heart ever stop hurting?

My heart did stop hurting, eventually. I felt frozen for a long time. But I finally felt normal again, my pulse beat – while his could not. I heard his laugh in my head. I dreamed of him. He was okay. Then, eventually, so was I.

Your suicide taught me so many things at such a critical time in my life. Love and true friendship are rare, but beautiful things. And we can never forget to tell our loved ones how much they mean. We simply never know. We also don’t know which words could’ve made the difference.

I’ve tried to carry his legacy. I’ve tried to put my heart and soul into all I do, because I know you can’t. I’ve tried to raise awareness of mental illness, suicide, and depression.

I can only hope, 10 years later, it’s been enough.

Never will I forget.


A County for a Queen

In Brooklyn
The church bells tell me it’s time to get up.
10 o’clock sounds good to me.

In Brooklyn
I remember how good I felt under the crisp air with you.
But not the you you’re thinking of.

Im going to raise my family
In Brooklyn

Heaven knows if it’ll be you or someone I’ve yet to meet. Maybe in Brooklyn.

But It’s ten past 10, and the church bells are still sounding
In Brooklyn
And I finally feel okay without you
In Brooklyn.

Love out Loud

I never laughed – or loved – as loud as I did with you.
But you always preferred to keep it between us. Between sheets.

Even when you said ” I know” after I cried I loved you, I still did.

My hearts had an entire year to thaw out.
It’s warmer than its been.

I’ll admit I wasn’t always one worth showing off.
But when I was, no sky could shine as bright.

It still smells like smoke on my tongue.
Not sure that’ll ever fade.
Not sure I want it to.

Wouldn’t you love to thaw out your heart?

I Have to Say it Out Loud

It’s hard to accept some things until they’re said out loud.

I just need to tell myself what I will be missing… you should know, too. 

The bridges have burned. There’s no chance you’ll come in my path again.

So this means:

No more heart-to-hearts in your cold car, only warmed up by the love in my heart. 

No more karaoke nights and too many drinks at a cheap hotel bar.

No more breakfasts when the room spins.

No more nights of you telling me all that I need to fix… but man, we were at our best selves then. 

No more jam sessions at 2:20 a.m… (I wish I could have one more drive with you to hear one last solo.)

I’ve left Iowa. I am back where I belong. 

My heart still hurts.

It belongs with you.


Karaoke Songs and Blue Jeans

When it all started it was like high school.
“Not yet…okay… fine.” “Are you sure?”
I wasn’t… but I am glad WE were.
Cut to the “I miss yous” and getting closer on the couch.
Cigarettes and blankets, the autumn chill in the air.
You’re the (only) thing I love about the Midwest.

I miss the little things like karaoke songs and blue jeans.
And brushing my teeth with you.

Farewell to the Midwest, Cheers to the Next Chapter

“I am a visitor here. I am not permanent.”

I have been writing this “goodbye, Iowa/reflections on Cedar Rapids” post for a year now. But now as I actually am leaving, this is a lot harder than I imagined. I am THRILLED to be going home to Phoenix. I am not thrilled to be leaving Cedar Rapids. I don’t think I ever thought I’d miss this place. But I already do.

When I first started writing this months ago, it was easy. Leaving was anticipated and expected – but not yet in my reach. Now I sit here on my air mattress and it’s really happening, and the thought of it all is just finally hitting me.

When I moved to Iowa in August 2010, I knew I was in for a major shock. I was moving somewhere so fundamentally different from the life I had always known. The culture, the climate, the pace of life. Nothing was on par with me. But something about the City of Five Season charmed me… I liked it and I wasn’t too sure why. I now can say I know. More on that later.

It has not always been easy for me to live in Cedar Rapids. There are a lot of things that have been taxing on my heart and mind and being. The bitter cold, the lack of a good public transit system, the poorly engineered streets, and the overnight hours all shaved some time off my life. —

But as I look back on the last two years, in between the overnight shifts, the morning shows,  and the crying, I forged some incredible friendships. Ones that will last a lifetime. And after them, there are a lot of other things I will always miss: The lazy Sundays when I had to go back to bed just hours after I woke up, the crunch of the Autumn leaves under my boots, the air that can be so hard to breathe, the sound of rain on my windows, the adrenaline of the TV9 newsroom, the long sunsets and the laughter. The true small lazy towns with “squares” in the middle, the powerful July sun that makes my forehead pink, the sound of the bugs in summertime, the farmers’ markets on summer Saturdays, and the long nights at White Star with the whole gang down the table.

The people of Iowa love their heartland. It’s an allegiance unlike one I’ve ever seen. The loyalty is admirable – they truly bleed black and gold here. I’ll miss the sounds of coffee cups clanking at Hy-Vee early in the morning, the old men reading the Gazette and recounting their war stories. I love the stories I’ve helped tell, I love how people are truly invested in their communities and how much they care.

I think everyone who knows me (in Iowa and beyond) knew that I was never going to stay here permanently. But I’ve grown to get used to – and even love (some things about) Iowa, as I’ve recounted.


But my time here is done.

This is my coming of age story. I met friends for life under the barren trees and gray skies. I learned more in the last two years here than I’ve ever learned before. I’ve lost dozens of pounds and changed my entire outlook on my life and my health. There is something to be said for all of that. I’ve also learned the true meaning of exhaustion, the true meaning of love, and the true meaning of being a part of a team. All of these things I will carry with me into my next endeavor and beyond, that’s for certain.

I will miss the morning show team  (past and present)  more than anything. They’ve shaped me every day  – made me a better person in my professional and personal life. I can’t thank the team enough for believing in me, for understanding my insane visions, and for making me want to challenge myself each and every overnight. I wouldn’t have survived these two years without their leadership, openness, and love. They embraced this west coast/southwestern girl and took me in with open arms and hearts. I will never forget their kindness and compassion during the toughest of days.

You know, this business is so odd – in that it brings you to places you never thought you’d go – let alone live – and truly come to enjoy. I am so grateful for the time I spent here. I’ll remember these months as some of the greatest of my life, filled with pride, laughter, and growth.

And so, I move on to the next chapter. Better, wiser, thicker-skinned. Iowa in the rear-view mirror. I never thought I’d be moving back to where I moved from, but I am so happy that’s where I am going.

“I am on my way back to where I started.”

To be continued.

Losing My Religion

I’ve lost my spirituality.

I didn’t think anyone or anything could take it from me, but it’s gone. And I want it back.

I sacrificed a lot to move to Iowa. I gave up a lot. My body doesn’t let me forget it. But I should’ve never let it get to this point.

Yesterday marked two years since a dear friend departed this world as we know it. Avi was a hero in so many ways, and he always lived this life with 110%  passion and love. I feel as though I’ve fallen a little short in his memory. It used to be easy. So much of my life was my religion. Entire summers strolling down Peppertree Lane at Alonim. Serving on youth group board. Going to conventions and weekends. All of those things helped me celebrate spirit, faith, and community.


I’m in Iowa, thousands of miles from that feeling. I know I should be able to feel it anywhere. I can’t feel it here because I can’t feel home here.

I need to feel that sense of community again. I want to feel the way I did when I first saw Jerusalem. I want to feel the way it feels on Friday nights at Alonim, when everyone’s arms are around each other’s, and time just stops.

I never realized how much I missed all of this until I realized I was empty of it.

I need to rediscover the feeling. The song. The dance. The passion. The stories. The hope. Ha’tikva.