The Price of Living

If there's anything I've learned in the past few weeks, it's this: Sometimes, the most important life lessons are also the ones that are the biggest pain in your %#$. Three weeks ago, I went horseback riding in rural Argentina. Shortly into the ride, the horse spooked and reared, hurtling me backwards. As I hit the ground, the horse fell atop me, landing on my pelvis in what was significant blunt force trauma.

The accident resulted in three emergency rooms, four traumatologists, six ambulances, 30 doctors and nurses and paramedics, and one bilateral pelvic fracture. Doctors equated the accident to falling off the balcony of a building. Then being hit by the force of car. So needless to say, I can’t fully bear weight on my feet for awhile. Thankfully though, healing has been slow but steady so far, and doctors expect that I'll make a full recovery in due time.

Until then, I want to tell you a story. It’s about Superman — a story about living, about people, and about purpose.


Last night, an old lady approached me. You know, the sort of lady who’s not just talking to you. She is TALKING to you. Having overheard the story of my accident, she said, “That’s what happened to Superman.” I stared. Confused. Then I smiled, as her reference to Christopher Reeves dawned on me. She continued, “Well then, I suppose that makes you Superwoman, eh?”

I laughed and told her I was not quite so super, just a woman on an adventure to live. And so she said, “There’s no reason it happened to him and no reason it happened to you. It could’ve been anything, but that was the price he paid. This was the price you paid.” Puzzled, I asked, “The price?”

“Yes,” she said, cocking an eyebrow. “The price of living.”

I came home and wrote down every word, as if afraid the resonance would be fleeting. I wrote them down to remind me and to tell you one thing: She was right. The price to live, to adventure is not free. Risk is founded on the premise that we’re willing to accept vulnerability. It’s knowing that you’re putting your head & your heart on the line. Because you believe the positive outcome is worth it. So rightly or wrongly, you take the leap. Based on a precarious combination of human logic & instinct, you jump. You jump, and you hope like hell that you learn to fly…or that there are some very soft pillows at the bottom of that dang cliff.


Risk is the bedrock of reward. Success, fame, adventure, friendship, love, money, and the like. But reward has a price. Accepting the price is acknowledging that the flip side of risk could lead you to failure. To hurt, to heartbreak, to expense, to trauma, to hardship. To a fate you did not want.

The pain following the trauma was raw and searing. Moving hurt. Not moving hurt. My heart raced, and my thoughts galloped right along with it. Months of training to become a yoga teacher had taught me to breathe at my physical limits. But mentally, I was in a thousand places at once. My thoughts crashed and rolled like a small ship in a stormy sea. I oscillated between irrational and inconsolable — apologizing to my friends for ruining the trip and then questioning a future that I no longer knew. I did not want the emergency rooms, the pain, the painkillers, the disability, the wheelchair, and the interruption to the life I’d been living. To be able-bodied and well is a privilege. That privilege teaches you that we're not entitled to a tomorrow like today. 

So by nature, the price of living is steep. Because if risks were just cheap thrills, everyone would take them. The very point of risk is that it’s hard. That you don’t know the outcome. That every day is a gamble, wherein you ask yourself: How much do we endure to live a life that is truly ours?

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” - T.S. Eliot

In the past few weeks, I’ve come to know this price more intimately than ever before. The days since the accident have turned my life upside down. Literally.

I’ve stared at the the ceiling of countless emergency rooms; silently screamed at the thousands needles pricking my pelvis; and blacked out in pain & cold sweats. I’ve grappled to understand a world where the easiest human things — sitting, standing, walking, showering — are now the hardest for me.

But even if I could, I wouldn’t change what happened. I would still take the risk. I'd still buy the plane ticket.  I’d still get on the horse. I’d still choose the adventure. Because you cannot have dreams without having nightmares too. You cannot purport to change the world — to lessen its suffering and hardship — but cower when you face those very same lessons yourself.


In my eyes, taking risks doesn’t mean that you’re not afraid. It means that you buy wholesale into your gut instinct. That despite risking everything, you risk nothing because fear is no way to live at all. After the accident, people asked if I’d ever ride a horse again. “Yes,” I answered in a heartbeat. People seemed surprised, taken aback by this. Many told me they admired how bravely I’d acted, how fearlessly I’d handled the situation and emerged from the outcome. I was deeply surprised by those words. Because honestly, I felt anything but brave.

As I was wheeled into the ER, tears made of every emotion cascaded down my cheeks. Salty and unrelenting. I felt fear acutely. Fear that things would not be “ok.” Over and over, the same words played in my head: “I'm all right! I'm all right, right? I have to be all right.” I am incredibly lucky the accident wasn't worse and privileged to have received top notch care. But there is no law in the universe that said I had to be all right. I didn’t deserve to be ok more or less than anyone else. To find a fate better or worse than Superman, himself.

I’ve been fiercely positive in my recovery not because I’m brave, but because I’m bold. Not because I’m fearless but because I accept that risk is the price of a life that is authentically mine.

I’ve spent the better half of recovery coming to terms with what that means. And to be candid, I’m far from having all the answers. What I do hope is that this experience continues to underscore what is truly important. And already, I can tell you that it begins with two things: people and purpose.


Through this experience, I’ve learned more than I ever imagined about people. So you want to know who your real friends are? Hit the auto eject button on a horse, and I guarantee you’ll find out. (Note: This is a really stupid idea. Please do not try this at home.)

Trauma is like putting an ultraviolet light on the invisible ink of your relationships. It shows you things indiscernible in daylight.

The silence of few has been deafening. But far and above, the care & kindness of so many have changed how I think about pity, sympathy, and empathy. This outpouring of love has been nothing short of monumental — a feeling that impossibly restores your faith in humanity. Heartfelt messages, handwritten cards, care packages that could light up a million watt smile on your face. Offers to help; hugs on hugs on hugs; and sunny flowers that smell far better than your dirt-caked hospital gown and sponge-bathed body.

I cannot tell you how much love means in those moments. To Lucia: Te quiero mucho, chatacita. To my parents: Was this in the instruction manual for kids? I appreciate you, I do! And to each and every one of you wonderful people who sent thoughts, thank you. It turns out love, not laughter, is the best medicine right now. Because to be honest, laughing really hurts with a broken pelvis.


I had a lot of plans for 2017. None of them included being thrown from a horse. Relearning how to walk. Or repeating the phrase “Your pelvis is like a pretzel” about 472 times. But here we are, beating on against the current. Living the dream or dying trying.

20 days have passed — some good, some bad. Dreams and nightmares run cobbled together. These days have been dog-eared by a deep perspective shift on purpose. Trauma is at once complicated and crystal clear. It ruptures every notion of normal in mere seconds. But in doing so, it strips everything away to black and white. In the face of life & other near death experiences, purpose becomes unavoidable. You realize what matters. And what does not.

These life lessons don't come easy. By nature, they arrive at the most challenging of places and least convenient of times. Then again, that's sort of the point. They’re not just lessons; they’re inflection points. Jolting, arresting, illuminating. They’re glaring stop signs that force us to take stock of how we’ve been living and radically alter our direction to a truer north. The accident taught me something I’d known but perhaps forgotten—we must recognize that we’re fallible, breakable, vincible. But even more than that, we must be determined, unflappable, bold.

I’ve spent the last year waiting. Waiting because people would say, “You are young. You have plenty of time. Impact can wait.” I listened. Silenced my inner voice and chalked it up to grey area. Because who are we to tell the world otherwise?

Then again, who are we not to? The truth is, we will never be _____ enough, according to someone else’s rules. Your purpose is yours alone. It’s the gasoline that reignites your heart and sparks an urgency to change. To battle the ease of contentment and make an impact that counts. You see, I don't believe that impact is this "big bang moment" at the end of the line. It's an everyday effort that we pursue doggedly and wholeheartedly in an attempt to do something meaningful. Whatever that means to you.

So there’s a new plan in order for 2017. I’m throwing dynamite at my life, hoping for fireworks rather than explosions. I’m getting back on the horse because I'm a dreamer and a perennial pain in the #%$. I’m a woman on an adventure to live. And I'd love your company.

Let's live out loud and color outside the lines. Let’s tell the people whom we love just that. Let’s take risks. And yes, pay the price of living where it is due. Let's do something a little crazy, a lot of lovely, and maybe just a tad super.

If that’s the case, I suppose you can call me Superwoman after all.

You Do You 101

I've had this thing for voicemails, lately. They feel sincere, spontaneous, old-fashioned -- like a personal message in a bottle of sorts. To me, they're like the original gangsta of Snapchat or the progressive form of a postcard. Both comparisons that are probably quite wrong, but feel so right to me.

So this is me, leaving you a voicemail. Just to, you know, say hi.

It's September. One year since I (officially) moved back to San Francisco. September, which marks summer's close and always feels strangely like the start of a new year. We're only nine months late...casual.

The world is a topsy turvy place these days. And I've woken up eight out of seven days this week, trying to understand the long & short of it. Ya feel me?

In actuality, I figured out none of it. Ate a biscuit sandwich the size of my face. And decided to spend Sunday writing. So then, here we are.

Yesterday, someone asked me about the best things I've learned in the past year of life. I considered telling them how to find the best taco place in San Francisco (Tacorgasmico). Or how to cure the hiccups (no joke!). Or how to ask someone on a date via napkin (real story).

Instead, I simply said that the most important thing I've learned in the past year has been the golden rule all along --- You do you.

Truth is, I think we only know a few things to be true and many more to be false. That's a nice way of saying that we know, well...jack shit!

But we find an occasional bit of verity when reading between the lines of fact & fiction.

I feel crazy writing this, but hear me out. I've had this funny thought at top of the brain lately--this thought that all we are is who we've always been.

Simply put, what we do changes throughout life. When, where, and how we do it changes.  But who we are never actually changes. And really, we've known that all along.

Think about it. You are the same person today that you were when you were a kid. Maybe now, you know more things about things. . . You've read. Changed your hair once, twice, thrice.

Found a vibe; found a tribe. Listened to a song a thousand times, then forgotten about it. Only to revel in its rediscovery. You've had experiences. Fallen in love with someone or something. And then fallen out of it.

But whether 18 or 80, you will always be you. The same quirks. Same dimpled smile. Same head & heart. The same person. We don't really think about this; we just do it.

So me? In the last year, I've learned I'm a maker and an old soul. Bold, ballsy, & gutsy to fault. I like boots made for walking and dresses made for doing. Preferably altogether. I like people who dream BIG and dance like they mean it. Because otherwise, why bother (really!)

I know I'm forever hungry and forever foolish, trying to find the intersection of passion x purpose. Somewhere between food, urban innovation, health, and technology. Whatever it is, I care deeply that it matters in the world. And that it's all about the people.


This all sounds like common sense, until you realize that distilling "what makes you, you" into a few sentences is a lot easier from an outsider's perspective. It's funny, of course, that our friends/family probably guessed who we are. Even before we guessed it ourselves.

They've guessed what you like, what you don't like. They've known that you prefer cheese to pepperoni or pepperoni to cheese. That you're an extrovert or introvert or something like that. That you're a hugger or not a hugger or somewhere in between.


It's taken time to begin understanding that we are who we are. That this is me. That for better or for worse, this is who we've been all along.

Turns out though, vulnerability is no joke. For me, it's taken one year of audacious highlights and unwieldy lowlights and 27 revisions of writing to tell you all of this. Sloooooow and steady wins the dang race, don't we know it.

Who you are is a whole different shabang than who I am. Because that's life in its curious mix of science and inscrutable magic.


Whatever this year has been to you though, I hope you did it big. That you celebrated the small victories; faced the failures with grace; and shared a bigass pan of brownies with friends to weather both.

I hope you took a trip somewhere that knocked your socks off and that you listened to some of what your parents said...but maybe not all of it. And I hope you spent it with people who are the best of the best.


But whether you did all of it or none of it, I hope there was only one golden rule:

You do you.

What a Time to Be Alive!

Remember that one time I ghosted on writing for months and proceeded to eat burritos like a full-contact sport instead? Cool, too.

What a time to be alive!! Drake wasn't kidding. A time when you're living the dream or dying trying. A time when the universe is universally obsessed with the Internet of things, equality, and Justin Bieber. With global warming, emojis, and (hopefully? maybe?) world peace. In no particular order.

It's April -- Spring-ish, Monday, and sunny. And really, who knows where the last few months went.

Some days, we're singing along with Drake. And other days: "Work work work work work," along with Rihanna. That's life on the real. We're caught somewhere between feeling like we're too young to know what the heck we're doing. But too old to not know what we're doing. Ya feel?


The good news is that I'm fairly certain ice cream was created with this conundrum in mind. Mint chip and cookie dough hold all of life's answers!!! Mom/Dad would fully endorse this judgment call. And if we've learned anything from them, it's that "because I said so" is always enough of a reason.

Let's shoot the breeze and Monday like it's a verb. I'm not sure what that verb looks like, but I'm hoping you do. That feels like friendship. So tell me what's what in your life, and I'll tell you who's who in mine.


I've spent the last 4 months living the only way I know how -- splitting my time simultaneously trying to hangout with aaaaall of humanity and running away from it at the same time.

Meanwhile, San Francisco has alternated between raining cats/dogs/whatever else El Niño can find and sporting sunshine enough to necessitate a cold beer ASAP.

In other news, I spent February visiting (and being visited by) all the humans of NYC. These are the people who ate an unholy number of bagels with me. The people who walked the entire dang city, Brooklyn Bridge and back. The people who were up for talking about the big things and the little things and all the minor/major existential crises in between.

Can we all admit that we spent March doing who knows what? Awesome.

We spent March with those in good humor, laughing at all the fools who thought they fooled us. There was lots of music and no %*$^! given. And an Easter feast for the books.

Now April, here we go! I'm singing in the shower, hoping the neighbors don't hear but totally at peace that it'll be a viral video on Buzzfeed if they do. I'm playing sports, learning guitar from someone other than YouTube, and desperately trying to keep my plants alive like the adult that I'm not.

What a time to be alive! We're living the dream...or dying trying all the ice cream flavors while we figure it out. And if anyone asks why, the answer is easy --

Because I said so.

All the Stories I Meant to Tell You

So here's the thing: I'm still staring squarely at October & November, saying, "Hello, it's, no this isn't Adele." Surely, I can't be the only one. Can we agree that the last two months flew by faster than the friend who woke up and ran a record-breaking marathon before you even made it to the cereal box? I'm going to propose that's why the world made a cereal called Life.

Much has happened in 72 days. I intended to tell you about it -- really I did. I intended to give a holla and a hello stranger. To say what's up and hear what's going down. To share my stories with you.


The reason I didn't is, well...not a reason at all. It's like when we forget to call our for sibling(s) for three weeks in a row, and the reason is a mixture of "oops, life did it again" and "my non-existent dog ate my non-existent homework." There you have it!

Forgive me, and we'll make up for lost time. Let's chill and eat cereal straight from the box, convincing ourselves that Life really is a complete part of breakfast (and lunch and dinner and every other meal we're eating today).

I'd love to hear how you're doing f'real, f'real. And in turn, here's a few stories I meant to tell you:

  • I meant to tell you about the random dude who proposed we try "Reverse Tinder," and how as such, I promptly ran 10 miles in reverse. Fast forward to the laughter.
  • On my walk home from work, I stumbled upon the most wondrous spectacle of San Francisco humanity. I meant to tell you that each Thursday without fail, 12 burly, gay men gather for "Knitting Club," an evening ritual that includes a JOLLY amount of gossip and needlework. You can envision that in your head, and get back to me.
  • I saw James Bay live for the second time. And I meant to tell you he is truly inconceivable with a guitar. It's no surprise that he was my #2 on Spotify Year of Music (which is awesome, by the by).
  • I meant to tell you that YA WORTH IT. I'm not kidding, Patrick.
  • There is this peaceful man who sits on his porch on a street in the Mission, just watching the world go by every Sunday afternoon. It makes me smile every time.
  • I meant to tell you...I went to Georgetown's Homecoming Weekend, and it was a whirlwind and a half with small amounts of sleep and large amounts of pizza. It was wild, wonderful, and truth be told...a little weird for me.
  • Amazon Prime is chief in my heart when it comes to Christmas shopping. But I meant to tell you that I sheepishly love strolling through shopping malls at this time of year, when stores are alight with holiday decorations, fake Santas, and and an endless loop of Christmas music.
  • I often hesitate to talk about my job with anyone/everyone for a sundry of reasons. For now, what I do know is that I'm surrounded by brilliant folks of different strokes. The data nerds, the analytical enthusiasts, the creative cats, the movie buffs, and the New Girl aficionados. It's major.
  • With the above notes about work aside, I meant to tell you...I'm reminded every day that impact is paramount -- the lifeblood and oxygen of what we do. There is nothing better than doing BIG things that touch people. Plain and simple.
  • Most every day, I sprint a few blocks at a nearly Olympian pace in order to catch a bus for my morning commute. Takeaways: Dresses are not made for running; there are no gold medals for jaywalking; no matter how long your legs, you cannot outrun the bus.
  • I meant to tell you that I'm unabashedly addicted to Tartine's croissants. They know what's UP with butter.
  • I've learned that holiday parties comprise mainly of +1 delights or disasters. Complemented by a glass of champagne and dance moves out the wazoo. Kudos to my date for killin' it.
  • It is a joy to have friens who are HOMIES. Homies who are a hot mess and a half...but in the best way possible. Homies who "get it" without any explanation by virtue of being on the same page of life. Homies who will sing, dance, talk, laugh...and eat cheeseburgers on a rainy day with you.
  • It's been hard learning that people we call dear friends can become virtually strangers. Those with whom you lived, those with whom you've shared a bed and countless spontaneous facetimes, those with whom you had endless talks only a year ago. If I may speak frankly, it is a hard thing to watch friendship unravel.
  •  I promised the man at the Christmas tree lot a hug and a box of homemade chocolate chip cookies, if he'd be so kind as to let me take a few armfuls of extra pine branches. Because cookie + hug bribery is no joke. (My roommate claims I'm the only one crazy enough to do something like this. She's probably right.)

It's funny how when we grow up, we update friends and family with big, splashy news. And all the anecdotes du jour? Well, we seem to forget all the little things we meant to tell people.

So these are my stories, authentically unsexy and decidedly not for publication beyond the couch. To me though, there's something charming about the quotidien, nonetheless. They're simply stories of life, and they're full of life themselves.

You have these stories too. They're not all action-packed adventure tales or Oscar winners or girl-meets-boy sagas. (Though we may, or may not, have those too.) But we'll save that for another day and another box of cereal.

Life, of course, is preferable.

This Crazy Thing Called Home

I'm trying to think of a way to describe the past month as something other than ABSOLUTELY NUTS. But there's value in calling it like we see it, so let's do just that. It's our party; we do what we want.

It's October 4, 2015. A Sunday; my favorite day to write. I'm sitting in our neighborhood park, splashed with late afternoon sunshine of the Mission District. Solo but far from alone.

I'm surrounded by the crazy people of this city -- this man who coaxes the most beautiful sounds from a guitar, this golden retriever with a goofy lopsided grin, this five year old girl who toddles along with a bow in her hair, this woman who sits beside me just taking it all in.

In these 31 1/2 days of living in San Francisco, we've learned a lot of things. We're realized that super burritos are basically an essential food group. We've discovered that the rent is definitely too damn high. And we've learned that Dolores Park's colorful vendors (i.e. coconut machete man) are Silicon Valley's most aspiring small business owners. For real, yo.


In the past month, we've housewarmed to the best of our abilities. We've filled our humble abode with friends and family and good times a'plenty. With music and midnight conversations, impromptu guitar and Justin Bieber's new song probably a few too many times. Really, all the things that make a house, a home.

Can we cheers to that? Yes, let's.


I should tell you that after these 31 1/2 days I've lived in San Francisco, life finally feels "right." After years in constant motion, I'm relishing this newfound sense of grounding and (semi)permanence. And I've been intentional about cultivating a home here, both with people and place.

(Side note: I've been less intentional about watering my plants. And let me tell you...that does not cultivate a whole lot.)

For the first time in roughly a zillion years, I created a room that truly feels like my own. If you know me, you know I'm a secret (or not-so-secret) design geek. If you know me, you probably aren't surprised that I spent August handcrafting my own furniture.

And you can probably imagine how adamant I was about creating a room that would reflect my personality distilled in a design. Minimalist, green, and verdant. Vaguely reminiscent of the borderline between Earth and ocean. Like the outdoors…but indoors.

If September was a time warp, October feels like we're finding our bearings. Real life is starting to become, well...real.

It's great, but WEIRD, but mostly great to realize this isn't a summer stint or six month gig. It's crazy to realize that this place, this city, these people, this job -- it's your life now. Ridiculous and messy and imperfect but life nonetheless.

I'm trying to describe what it feels like to be in the throes of a real life newbie. But really the only way I can think to describe it is, you know --

absolutely n-u-t-s.