Don’t Run Away


Life is filled with a number of wonderful memories and joy that we can’t contain, but it’s also full of pain and tough times that feel like they’ll never end.

And when those struggles hit, don’t let them cause you to give up hope or run away.

Quitting often seems like the best solution—it’s usually pretty easy and feels like stepping away from our troubles completely will simply make them disappear. Let me be the one to break this to you: That’s false. Your problems don’t vanish or stay behind when you run away from them. That actually tends to make things worse.

When I was in college, I had trouble figuring out where I belonged. I started out at one school and felt overwhelmed and out of place the first semester (which are actually normal feelings for a college freshman), and I missed parts of my life that I had left behind. Rather than let myself get used to the transition, I ran away. I went to a different college for my second semester and hated it. So, naturally, I ran away again—back to the first college I went to.

After my sophomore year, the school dropped my major, so I left. Again. I went to the same college where my brother was, and I lasted a semester before deciding that I didn’t fit in there and needed to leave. Once again, I ran away. This time, I transferred to the school where my sister was and endured what ended up being one of the most difficult five months of my life. I figured there was no point in sticking around at a place that made me miserable, so I transferred back to the school I had attended the previous semester and stayed there for my entire senior year. (Yes, the fact that I still graduated in four years is an actual miracle.)

What I realized—many years later, of course—was that the problem wasn’t the schools I went to or the people I met at those schools. I ran from all of those things, and I still wasn’t happy. In fact, I was in a bit of a depression for my junior and senior years of college. The problem was that I wasn’t facing the actual problem—the struggles I was facing in my heart. I didn’t feel like I was enough, and I was having trouble feeling like I belonged anywhere. Although I was going to church and pouring myself into Christian organizations, I felt more like I was just going through the motions and not actually making concerted efforts to grow in my faith.

I wasn’t finding my identity in Christ and didn’t know my worth in Him. In fact, I wasn’t finding my identity anywhere—and I certainly didn’t feel any worth.

I know that I’ve gone on the path that I have for a reason, and there’s no use thinking about what might have been, but I think I would have enjoyed my college experience a lot more if I’d had more hope in who I was and who I was meant to be.

My friends, I hope that you never find yourself in a place like this. I hope that you know that you are valued, you are loved, and you matter. Don’t let any person or situation make you believe any less. And don’t run away from the things that scare you or are difficult for you to face.

Be brave in those moments of anxiety and fear, and stand firmly, knowing that you are enough, and you are worth the fight.

Find Your Courage, and Keep It

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I was never that girl who always had a boyfriend, and part of that is because I was never that girl who told guys how she felt.

I was the girl who held it all in but told her friends and posted hopelessly romantic Taylor Swift lyrics on Tumblr, hoping he would notice even though he was not on Tumblr. I put it out in the universe, OK? That should have been enough.

But it is, of course, not enough. If you go about your dating life this way, your crushes will at most only ever hear rumors or have suspicions that you like them. Or, even worst, your crush will be endlessly pestered by your friends—trust me, you do not want this.

Sure, if this were a rom-com (Did you all see To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before yet? It is a perfect film. PERFECT.), the boy in question would still make a move, but life isn’t quite a rom-com, and I don’t want you to live the way I did.

If you have feelings for someone, just tell him. Make your life easy. Why spend time pining over guys if they can just tell you upfront to move on? Why spend time pining if you could be together right now if his feelings are the same?

I know it’s scary. I know you don’t want to hurt. But, at a certain point, you have to make a decision either to move on or to make a move. Do not waste time sitting on the sidelines hoping someone will finally make the call to put you in the game.

I had one moment of bravery in high school. I was sitting in my last class for the day, and I suddenly decided that enough was enough. I knew the guy I liked had feelings for me, but he had done nothing about it. He hadn’t asked me out. He hadn’t confessed that he liked me. I felt like I was being strung along. and it was time to do something about it.

The bell rang, and I burst out of class, speed walking through the halls. I was going to find him. I was going to confess that I liked him. I was going to tell him that I knew he liked me and that he needed to do something about it, or I was done. I was out. Out!

Unfortunately, this one single moment of bravery was abruptly snuffed out. I ran into a friend in the hall, and as I speed walked past him, he knew something was up. He slow jogged along with me and pestered me about what my rush was. I confidently told him what I was about to do.

I don’t recall what he said that made me stop my crazed run through the hall—I’m sure just about anything would have worked since it took so much just to get my courage up to that point.

I sadly listened to my friend as he talked me out of my brave act, and I went on pining and moping for another few months. That friend was genuinely trying to look out for me, but that confrontation and confession was something I needed to do. It was something I would have been proud to do.

Ladies, take control of your lives. Yes, it’s scary when feelings are on the line, but how much better would it be if you could either have those feelings returned or get the answer you need to find someone who is a good fit for you?

Be brave.

And once you have that courage, don’t let anyone take it away from you.

Be Brave Enough to Pursue Your Dreams


It’s really easy to get comfortable and set in your ways—there’s safety and familiarity in the areas of life that you know well.

But what about those places and situations with which you aren’t familiar but want to be? What about those dreams you have that seem pretty unattainable on many levels—the ones that you put in the back of your heart as dreams that are too big and too lofty ever to happen?

When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a lot of different things. At one point, I thought I was going to be an Olympic sprinter. That wasn’t exactly in my DNA or natural talent bank. I now run only long distances, and I’m nowhere near the Olympics. I also considered being a well-known singer or gymnast, but the sounds that my voice produces in song are not ones that would sell records to anyone with ears, and I was essentially asked by my instructor to leave my gymnastics class because I was so awful.

So, no, not all dreams come true. But if I had spent every single day doing sprint workouts on the track or taking voice lessons or ignored my instructors comments and committed to actually being able to complete at least a straight cartwheel, then maybe my story would have involved some different dreams. But, to be perfectly honest, my heart was never fully committed to those pursuits.

There was something about writing, though, that I always loved. The more I wrote, the more I dreamed about writing more. When I was in second grade, I published my first book (granted, it was in my school’s library, but still—I was a published author, and I was proud of it). I used to write songs and poems and stories that only I ever read, but I knew that one day my words would mean something to more people than just my hopeless-romantic teenage self.

I studied journalism in college in hopes of becoming a sports reporter. I had been watching SportsCenter for years and admired the different anchors and sidelines reporters, especially the women. I wanted to do what they did in the written form, and I wanted young women to see my words and know that they were just as capable of chasing and achieving their dreams in what was largely a man’s arena in the world.

During my junior year of college, I took a sports reporting class from a professor who quite apparently was of the mindset that women weren’t as qualified as men when it came to knowing and writing about sports. Up until that point, I had never made less than an A on any type of assignment in any of my journalism classes. I don’t mean this to sound boastful, but it was something I was good at doing. I had been covering sports as a beat reporter for multiple sports since I was in high school, and I knew that I was capable and competent. This professor, however, tried to tell me differently.

I went to his office one afternoon to discuss a grade he had given me on a story, and he essentially told me that I wasn’t any good and that I should consider changing my major and my intended career path. When I became a sports reporter as my first job out of college, I emailed him my first story that I wrote.

Your dreams are your dreams, and nobody can tell you that they’re too big or too small or that they’re anything other than your dreams. You are capable of achieving more than you might even know right now—so let yourself dream big. Sure, not every single hope you have for your future will come true, but the long process of training or working hard or doing whatever you can to accomplish what you desire will grow your character and make you a stronger person just for being brave and having enough faith to try.

Don’t be afraid to go boldly after your dreams—after all, they won’t become realities unless you dare to make them come true.

Sometimes You Need to Face and Embrace Your Fears


We all have fears in life, some of which are somewhat irrational (I still check behind doors to make sure velociraptors aren’t there) and some that are a bit more legitimate (maybe you’re afraid of heights or animals that are actually still in existence).

While I don’t think we need to subject ourselves to all of the things that scare the daylight out of us (for instance, if you are terrified of snakes, don’t feel like you need to go stand in a field full of them just to see how brave you are), some of our fears definitely need to be faced and conquered.

Cue my freshman year of high school.

When I was a teenager (and for much of my 20s, actually), the thought of letting my crushes know that I had feelings for them made me queasy. I started sweating at the mere idea that someone would know a piece of my heart belonged to him, and I did everything I could to make sure he never found out. The risk of rejection and being hurt was simply too much for my naïve heart to handle.

There was a moment during my freshman year of high school when I had to make a choice to face my fears or to run away. Unfortunately, I chose the latter. I had left my English class to go to the restroom and was walking through an empty hall on my way back. But then the hall wasn’t empty at all—the guy I’d had feelings for since forever ago was walking the opposite way down the hallway.

My stomach immediately started doing flips and flops that even Olympic gymnasts wouldn’t dare attempt.

I had a decision to make: I could either keep walking and say “hi” to him, or I could keep walking right by him and not acknowledge him at all. I chose neither—I hid. I dodged into the nearest classroom, which happened to be a science classroom full of seniors, and stood with my back against the door as the confused sets of eyes all started at me. I glanced over at the teacher and said something along the lines of “just give me a minute,” and I waited until I was pretty sure that unsuspecting boy had passed. Then I bolted.

What would have been so bad about having to interact with someone I had feelings for when we were all alone in a hallway? Looking back, it seems so silly. All I had to say was one word—one simple syllable—and I couldn’t even do that. I let my fears get the best of me, even though saying “hi” would not have given him the impression that I adored him, and I hid in a room full of upperclassmen who likely thought I had lost my mind. I’m glad that their opinions were the least of my concerns, but I’m not proud of the fact that I cared so much about what one freshman boy thought of me.

It took years, but I finally grew out of that ridiculously long stage, and now I am not so afraid of talking to guys who have captured my attention. In fact, I’ve even put my heart on the line in more than one situation by telling guys exactly how I felt for them. I survived those moments, and I even survived the ones that ended in my risky heart shattering.

Ladies, don’t let fear grip you so tightly that it keeps you from going after the things your heart wants. You’re worth too much to spend your life wondering about what would have happened if you were bolder in certain moments of your life.

And you certainly don’t belong standing with your back to a door as opportunity passes you by.

Girls Can Ask Guys Out, Too


We live in a society in which women are constantly seeking more opportunities and taking progressive steps in a number of areas—including in the dating world.

While the traditional expectations were for men to pursue women and eventually ask them out, times and standards have certainly changed. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with letting guys still be the pursuers (and they should pursue you), but it’s also perfectly fine for women to be the ones to ask the guys out, too.

It can definitely be beyond scary to stand in front of the guy you have feelings for and risk your pride and face the possibility of rejection as you muster up the gusto to get the words out of your mouth. You could walk away with a heart full of lovey-eyed emojis or with that same heart shattered into a thousand tiny little pieces.

I’ll never forget the first time I worked up the nerve to ask a guy out. I was terrified at the thought of it. But then I thought about Taylor Swift’s Fearless album (one of the greatest gifts to mankind) and her quote about fearless meaning to be afraid but to jump, anyway. I decided that I needed to jump—I needed to ask him out.

I did, and it turned out that he had a girlfriend, so I walked away with that heartache feeling. But you know what? To this day, I will never regret that moment in my life. In fact, I’ll always be proud of it. I see that moment in my life as a huge growth point for me. I did something bold, and it felt really good to be honest about my feelings with someone who needed to hear them.

I don’t recommend asking out a guy who already has a girlfriend, but I didn’t know that he did. (That’s a story in itself—he had never mentioned her, and we spent a good amount of time together.) But if you’re interested in a guy who you think is interested in you, too, why not take a chance and ask him out? Why do guys always have to be the ones to work up the nerve to risk rejection? It’s probably not always easy for them, either.

No, it might not work out how you dream in your head, but it also might. You’ll never know unless you actually go for it. You don’t have to wait for the guy to be the first one to take a chance—you can be the one to jump first, sister.

Don’t ever let fear hold you back from doing the brave things your heart really wants to do, even when those things scare the heck out of you and make you sweat more than an hour in hot yoga. You’re worth the risk.

And who knows? Maybe he is, too.

You Don’t Have to Think That’s True


I think a lot of times people make comments about teenagers caring too much about what people think about them, but I would argue that it doesn’t matter what age you are. For some reason or another, we simply place too much emphasis on other people’s opinions.

Have you ever found yourself in a situation in which you felt judged or looked down upon by someone else? Or maybe that person actually said something hurtful that made you feel like you weren’t good enough? I’ve never trusted that ridiculous saying “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

False. Words hurt.

What I think is truly important, though, is that we don’t let other people’s words and opinions change the way we think about ourselves. We recently posted a Taylor Swift quote that is so powerful: “You’re not somebody else’s opinion of you.” And it’s true. What another person says or implies really shouldn’t matter—what does matter is what you think of you.

I volunteered at an event called the Brave Conference recently, and it was a powerful evening full of bold young women who don’t even know how bold they are yet. There were some incredible speakers, and two of them gave some advice that I wish I had heard when I was younger. Although I don’t care much about what people think of me now, it’s definitely something that I struggled with when I was in middle school when my identity was rooted more in what I was wearing or what group I sat with at lunch.

These speakers said that when someone says something to you, you simply say “I don’t think that’s true.” For instance, if someone tells you that your outfit doesn’t match, fire back with “I don’t think that’s true.” A friend or peer doesn’t think your choice of music is that great, sing it loudly, sister: “I don’t think that’s true.” Even if no one actually says anything, but you think someone might be thinking something, focus on what you think. If you feel like someone else has an opinion that makes you feel insecure, remind yourself: “I don’t think that’s true.”

You can do this as an adult, too. It’s something I had to overcome in terms of what guys I have feelings for think of me. I would let thoughts fill my head like I’m not pretty enough and I’m not smart enough and I’m not good enough. NO, girl. I don’t think that’s true.

I am enough—and so are you.

The next time you are in a situation in which you’re worried about what others are thinking of you, take a moment to step back and decide what you think of you. Don’t let their opinions define who you are.

Only you can do that.

Advice Even a Professional Public Speaker Needed: Accept Praise

Accept praise. Microphone with blurred out background.

When I was in high school, I decided that I wanted to be a big-time political news commentator. This was mostly in part due to my love of writing and my exposure to Dana Perino on my mom’s news shows that were always on 24/7.

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Dana Perino at a speaking engagement. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Regardless of your political leanings, Dana—former White House press secretary—is a practical angel in the world of politics. When seeing her on TV, I was always so drawn to her ability to speak intelligently, debate firmly when necessary, but ultimately still come off so likable and kind, even to those she disagreed with. I saw myself in her—mostly in her naiveness at times to the rowdy humor her co-hosts took part in.

While I have switched gears in my career path—hey, you never know, maybe someday I’ll switch back—I still very much admire Perino, and I recently finished her book And the Good News Is…

Within its pages, Perino shares her favorite memories from childhood on her grandparents’ ranch to how she started her career, met her husband, and took a leap for love and shares stories of her time working in the Bush administration and her life now working on a daily news program.

While Perino shares many important insights for young women—and young men—throughout her book, there was one story in particular that stood out to me.

Perino was at a press awards dinner standing in as acting press secretary. As such, she was seated at the head table and recognized by the emcee. She said this of the encounter:

“I kind of half stood, barely looked up, and gave a little nod. I felt shy and like I didn’t really belong there, anyway—I was only the acting press secretary.”

This passage caught my attention because sometimes it feels like our emotions are completely unique. Sometimes I think there can’t be another human being alive that would react as strangely or awkwardly as I do to praise. Yet there it was, smack in the last chapter of a book by an extremely accomplished woman—a recognizable emotion I thought no one like her would ever have. She works in the spotlight for a living, after all!

Luckily for Perino, former United States Senator from Virginia John Warner gave her some advice later that evening. He reminded her that she did indeed belong at the event—she worked hard to get there—and in the future, she should allow the crowd to applaud her and thank them with a smile and wave.

“They want to be happy for you,” Perino quotes him as saying. “Let them have a moment.”

What a concept. I can’t even stand when people sing Happy Birthday to me because I feel too strange in the spotlight. I get in my head, Oh, don’t smile, I think, Don’t look too happy. Don’t let people think you’re reveling in the spotlight. Don’t let them think you like attention.

Where on earth do these thoughts come from? Of course, I should smile! My family and loved ones—or a random waitstaff at a really bad chain restaurant—are celebrating the fact that I exist! Is that not something to be happy about?

The only day I’ve ever really allowed myself to enjoy the spotlight was my wedding day. I remember walking down the aisle toward my future husband and taking a moment to look in the crowd of people I was passing. They were all smiling warmly at me. I should have been HORRIFIED. But not that time; I smiled and waved back. Even at that moment when a million other thoughts were going through my head, I still had time to think, this is weird. This is weird that I’m smiling back.

Ladies, I beg of you, do not do this to yourselves. There is a huge difference between hogging the spotlight and allowing yourself to enjoy it when you deserve it. Smile when people wish you a happy birthday. Say “thank you” when you are given praise at work; don’t offer some silly reason for why you succeeded instead.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t be humble, but there’s a difference between being prideful and being proud of something you accomplished.

Let the achievements of your life be celebrated because whatever table you’ve worked your way up to, you deserve to be there.

 

Tyler’s Boldheart Story — How Rape Led to Redemption

From when I was a young age, God was talked about and prayed to often in my home. But He was not the cornerstone of my family’s foundation. I grew up Catholic. Sunday after Sunday, I loved to gain knowledge about God when I attended mass with my dad. However, I did not gain the spiritual disciplines of walking in relationship with Him, nor did I hear or come to understand the heart of the Gospel until years later.

Meet Tyler, a beautiful boldheart!

This surface-level knowledge about God made it easy to slip into walking in the ways of the world instead of committing my life to Him. From eighth grade into high school, I found validation in flirting my way into popularity, dedicating my time to partying, consuming myself with perfectionism, and priding myself on my independence. This all changed the summer before my junior year of high school. The best way to describe how the Lord graciously sobered me from all of those false outlets of pursuing a “satisfying” life was that He flipped my heart, much like a pancake. After one night of partying, I woke up and heard the Lord call me to life with Him. He put in my heart to attend a nondenominational church that I went to once before in the eighth grade when a friend invited me to a service similar to the Porch (a worship night for men and women in their 20s and 30s at a church in Dallas) but for eighth graders.

Shortly after I started attending this church regularly, I heard the Gospel for the first time, and it fell softly on my heart. I accepted that I am a sinner, and I need Jesus. No matter how I might try to tally up my works to prove otherwise, it was about Jesus dying for my sins and receiving His gift of grace to redeem me from those sins. I was secure in eternal life with God and began experiencing true life and joy by abiding in Him.

As I finished up high school, God was evidently clear in calling me to attend Texas Christian University for college. I spent three years at TCU, where I continued to walk and grow in my relationship with the Lord. I was then led out of state for the fall semester of my senior year to pursue a dream internship.

The day before my internship ended, I was raped by a coworker. I remember calling my best friend the next day to confide in her. Terrified to even verbalize the word “rape,” I vividly remember fighting through tears, and before I told her what happened, out came the words.

“Please still love me.”

I didn’t realize it then, but those words were absolutely reflective of the lies I immediately bought from the enemy: that I was unlovable, tainted beyond repair, marked with unredeemable shame, and forever shackled by what happened.

I was scared. I was confused. I did not see how what happened could be used by God. Plus, a huge way God showed me His protection through my wandering years of high school was by preserving my virginity, and here it was taken by abuse, which only led to more confusion. I didn’t get it. I didn’t want to get it. So I covered it up. I lied through my physical bruises and suppressed my emotional ones. I thought I couldn’t be loved by God because of the sin done against me, and I further believed that I was undeserving of God’s love because I responded to what happened by turning to sin as a way to cope.

I ventured back to TCU to wrap up my last semester of college, where I sought out alcohol as a means to escape reality. I jumped into a toxic relationship that I used as an excuse to Heisman my relationship with God. I shut down all feelings by slipping into a state of numbness, learning how to carry myself “well enough” without anyone recognizing that something was off.

It wasn’t until the Lord started knocking on my heart, rather loudly, that this stance of Heismaning God softened into falling to my knees. As I transitioned into adulthood and started work in Dallas, I was still pursuing everything this world had to offer as a distraction. I wasn’t ready to heal, but it was obvious that I no longer had a choice. The more I pursued the world, the more I found myself committing to my church and the Porch. I couldn’t help but finally have an open heart to hearing and seeing God’s pursuit of me through people, conversations, circumstances, church, community, and His word.

I had enough. I was tired of being haunted by what happened. I had no other option than to follow Him into a radical healing journey that would literally save my life and bring me to a place of experiencing God-given joy. Not only was I able to confess and be freed from the sin that had been done against me, but I was able to accept His gift of grace for the sin I pursued in coping with what happened.

Better yet, God has been gracious enough to reveal the purpose of how He is using my story for His glory and His Kingdom. Genesis 50:20 rings true—God does not just save a person; He saves a person to save people. The Lord has been gracious enough to open the doors for conversations and platforms to share my testimony so that I can, in turn, walk with other women who have similar stories.

I would not trade my story for anything, because it is marked with God’s grace, mercy, and overwhelming love that has only shown me more of who He is. And guess what? God has firmly refuted the lie I bought into that I couldn’t be loved by Him. I get to freely receive His unconditional and sacrificial love each and every day because He is a Healer, He is the Prince of Peace, the Ultimate Counselor, and a Mighty Protector.

Simply put, now I look back on my story and how God is actively using it, and all I see is love—His love for me, my love for Him, and the love He puts in me to love on His people.

 

Val’s Boldheart Story — How a Snake Led to My Move to Austin

I stared at the ceiling and checked my phone: 2:45 a.m. Another sleepless weeknight due to work stress. I threw off the covers and rolled out of my bed.

I walked down the hall of my small apartment in Dallas, turned on my TV in the living room and plopped down into my black-and-white speckled couch. The room was completely dark, except for the flashing lights of the screen. Maybe I could fall asleep watching the snooze fest of a 3 a.m. infomercial.

Meet Val, a beautiful boldheart!

I was mildly entertained by some cooking device being hawked by a chipper couple when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw something moving in the hallway. I glanced that direction.

Oh, that’s a snake, I thought casually, and then turned back to the TV.

Realization set in two seconds later: That’s a snake!!!

I let out a scream/wail, jumped off the couch, and crawled on top of my nearby kitchen bar counter. I could hear my heart pounding in my ears. The snake remained still, then lifted its head and slithered back behind the hallway wall and out of my line of sight.

I waited several minutes before clutching a massive kitchen knife and tiptoeing down the hallway. The snake was gone, completely disappeared. He wasn’t found for two more days when the apartment maintenance staff tracked him down in my laundry room.

I was shaken and desperately wanted to move out of my apartment. I paid the reletting fee to get out of my lease with a 60-day notice.

Soon after, a long-held desire of mine began to resurface. Being from Dallas, I visited Austin several times while growing up. As a child, I toured the capitol building, and I spent a lot of time on 6th Street during college. I was always fond of the city, but when my youngest sister moved to Austin in 2013, she showed me the quaint, laidback, unique parts of Austin that tourists don’t know about. Something about the vibe resonated with me and felt like home.

I tried to make a move to Austin in 2014, but the timing wasn’t right. My other sister and her husband were recently told his cancer treatments weren’t working, and he only had a few months to live. I needed to be with my family through this transition. It wasn’t easy, but we got through his passing together. After a couple of years, our wounds were healing, and life was getting back to normal.

I was restless and yearning for a change of scenery. Maybe all of those sleepless nights weren’t just the result of work stress.

A month before my apartment lease was up, I saw a job posting in Austin that seemed like the perfect fit for me. I applied on a whim. Before I knew it, I was driving down to Austin for a half-day of interviews. Still, I moved forward with my life in Dallas, as if the Austin dream may not come true, and found a new place to live in Dallas that was hopefully snake-free.

With my everything packed and ready for my move, I was hours from picking up the keys to my new apartment when the recruiter from the Austin sent me a job offer. In order to make the timing work, I had to cancel my new Dallas apartment, move my items into storage, live with my parents for two weeks, and find a new place to live in Austin.

A few nights before I left for Austin, I was on my way to dinner with my parents.

“You know all of this started with a snake in my apartment,” I said from the backseat.

“Yeah. And why do snakes shed their skin?” my mom asked. (She’s a therapist who can read situations like a radiologist reads MRIs.)

“Because they’ve outgrown their bodies.” It was silent for a few moments. “Ohhhhhh. I outgrew my life here in Dallas. That snake was a sign of things to come in my life.”

“Mmmhmm,” my mom said, nodding in the front passenger seat.

Life in Austin hasn’t exactly been easy. I’m on my third job and third apartment in a year and a half. I feel like Goldilocks searching for a fit that’s “just right.” My experiences in Austin have been exhilarating, heartbreaking, joyous, frustrating, rewarding, delightful, lonely, scary, thrilling, and satisfying. In other words, they’ve been just like life.

I’m not sure if I’ll stay in Austin long term, but I know that the move has enriched my life in ways I couldn’t have imagined. I’ve met the most fascinating people, had many deep and soulful conversations, and enjoyed some delicious life moments.

Most importantly, I took a risk and a leap of faith to follow my heart. It was worth every emotion to experience the ride.

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