Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?

I just finished Mindy Kaling's, "Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)" and I thought it was fabulous. Much better than Tina Fey's "Bossy Pants" if you ask me. I guess I just related better to it, and I thought she wasn't trying so hard to be funny. Really though, I already loved Mindy from The Office and her tweets, but now I am her biggest fan. She is such a real person. I swear we would be best friends in real life.

Anyway, she did this one essay that I loved because it is so true. I have a lot of married friends. In fact, the majority of my friends are married. And yeah it is hard sometimes, but what Mindy says is so good I have to let her say it. Enjoy you guys. And if you haven't read it yet - it is so worth the read.


I don't want to hear about the endless struggles to keep sex exciting, or the work it takes to plan a date night. I want to hear that you guys watch every episode of The Bachelorette together in secret shame, or that one got the other hooked on Breaking Bad and if either watches it without the other, they're dead meat. I want to see you guys high-five each other like teammates on a recreational softball game you both do for fun. I want to hear about it because I know it's possible, and because I want it for myself.

I guess I think happiness can come in a bunch of forms, and maybe a marriage with tons of work makes people feel happy. But part of me still thinks... is it really so hard to make it work? What happened to being pals? I'm not complaining about Romance Being Dead - I've just described a happy marriage as based on talking about plants and a canceled Ray Romano show and drinking milkshakes: not exactly rose petals and gazing into each other's eyes at the top of the Empire State Building or whatever. I'm pretty sure my parents have gazed into each other's eyes maybe once, and that was so my mom could put eyedrops in my dad's eyes. And I'm not saying that marriage should always be easy. But we get so gloomily worked up about it these days. In the Shakesperean comedies, the wedding is the end, and there isn't much indication of what happily ever after will look like day to day. In real life, shouldn't a wedding be an awesome party you throw with your great pal, in the presence of a bunch of your other friends? A great day, for sure, but not the beginning and certainly not the end of a friendship with a person you can't wait to talk about gardening with for the next forty years.

Maybe the point is that any marriage is work, but you may as well pick work that you like. Writing this book is work, but it's fun work, and I picked it and I enjoy doing it with you, Reader. It's my job, and it's a job I like. Tim, (friend who complains about marriage) on the other hand, had chosen a very tough and kind of bad-sounding job, like being the guy who scrapes barnacles off the pylons of an oil rig in the frigid Arctic Sea.

Married people, it's up to you. It's entirely on your shoulders to keep this sinking institution afloat. It's a stately old ship, and a lot of people, like me, want to get on board. Please be psyched and convey that psychedness to us. And always remember: so many, many people are envious of what you have. You're the star at the end of the Shakesperean play, wearing the wreath of flowers in your hair. The rest of us are just the little side characters.


arizona residents

The good news is, we made it to Arizona. The bad news is that it is like 105 in the shade here. Still, as much as I hate to be happy about this move since I've spent the last six months verbally dreading it, I kind of love it here already. It might be that our apartment actually has a decent layout and with the sun streaming through all day, I automatically feel happier. It might be because Kevin and I haven't spent much time alone the past few months with my travels and our living situation. Or it might be because this change feels like exactly what I need to feel inspired and creative again.

But in all honesty it's probably just the amazing Mexican food.

I love you already Arizona. Thanks for letting us stay. 


not yet

"Our hearts are not pure:
our hearts are filled with need
and greed as much as with love and grace,
and we wrestle with our hearts all the time.
The wrestling is who we are.
How we wrestle is who we are.
What we want to be is never what we are.
Not yet. Maybe that's why we have these
relentless engines in our chests, driving us
toward what we might be."

- Brian Doyle, Orion

photo via


on why i got married young - and also ambition and babies

"To love another is something
like prayer and can't be planned, you just fall
into its arms because your belief undoes your disbelief.” 
                                                               - Anne Sexton

Since I have been outside of Utah, (ahem) traveling so much in June, a lot of questions have arisen from colleagues of mine. The biggest of which is, "Why did you get married so young?"

It's true that I did. I was 21 and he was 23, the same age I am now, and even at 23 I don't feel any more ready to get married than I did at 21 but I am married, which is strange and still feels surreal. I am married. I am a wife. I have a husband. 

I am never quite sure how to answer that question. "Why not?" is the response that comes to mind first, since many of my friends were also married, and also, it seemed like it was the thing to do. We get married. He finishes school. We move away so he can attend more school. We have babies. I start seeing a therapist because we can afford it and also, I drive a hatchback Lexus. Textbook. 

But that wasn't the honest truth for me. It wasn't a matter of "Why not?" It was more a matter of love, which people don't seem to think is a satisfactory answer. We didn't have to get married. We were never pressured, we didn't do it out of obligation, or tradition or mere curiosity - we did it because we relied on a feeling and trusted each other to make a commitment and decided our lives would be better shared. (Right Kev? :)

What I neglect to tell them however, is that getting married was the best thing I ever did for myself. Not just because of Kevin, (although his love and guacamole-making skills have a lot to do with it,) but because of how it has changed me. Allow me to explain. 

Before Kevin, well actually, before marriage - my attention and thoughts and feelings were centered almost entirely around boys. From around 6th grade on, I dressed for boys, I attended parties for boys, I thought about and dreamt about and agonized about boys. There was no time to think about what I might want. It was all about what they wanted. What I could do to get them to notice me, to desire me - why he would break my heart, who asked for my number, who asked me out. I didn't give myself five minutes to sit down and think about me - what I wanted, what I could be with or without a man. That was never an option. In my future I saw a husband and babies. Lots of them. 

But about six weeks after being married to Kev, something strange occurred. I started thinking about other things. (Read: not boys.) I thought about traveling, and entrepreneur opportunities and freelancing. I wanted so deeply to return to school and pursue a higher degree. I focused on my job, and realized that I actually like working, and surprisingly (to myself) I am pretty good at it. I recognized my innate, deep desire to write and started the book I should have started years before.

Marriage made me realize that I had so many misconceptions about how a wife and ultimately a woman should be. Being married allowed me to stop thinking about boys and start thinking about everything else that I wanted. I already landed the best man for me, and somehow that was what I needed to move on and become someone I could be proud of instead of a love-sick wimp. I didn't think about cooking dinner the way I thought I would as a wife, and I didn't feel bad about not doing it like I thought I would either. I didn't feel guilty when the laundry piled up. I also didn't think about him every minute like I thought I might. And I didn't feel like a bad wife by not doing those things, because he didn't make me feel bad about them. But he did encourage my ideas, and aspirations in a way that no other boyfriend ever had. 

Don't get me wrong - I still want babies - a house full. But I still let the laundry pile up, and neglect to cook and things might not change any time soon and that's okay. We all do this marriage thing the way that it works for us, and it might be harder for some than others and that's okay too. It might take longer for some and it might not come at all, but what I do know is that as a society we have got to put less pressure on girls to find a man. We have got to teach our daughters that you can be alone and still thrive, but that you can be married and thrive too. That you can break out of the stereotypes we sometimes accidentally place on each other. I'm not here to say that marriage isn't important because it is the best thing and I wish it for everyone. I want to sprinkle marriage confetti around the world like a flower girl because I love it that much. I just wish it hadn't taken a marriage for me to realize that I can have exactly what I want. I don't want other girls to make my same mistakes. I wish I knew myself and trusted myself more before it. But most of all I am just grateful that it happened at all. That it gave me confidence and ambition that I didn't have before. 

Things happen differently for all of us, and maybe your experience with marriage is not the same. Maybe you think that I should have waited longer to figure this out on my own, or that I didn't need a man all along, and maybe you would be right. But for me, it was almost necessary. I got married young, and I wouldn't change a thing. 

So there's my real answer - you colleagues out there who feel the need to ask why I married young. I did it for love. And I am not limited because of it. Instead, these past two years have been the most empowering of my life. (And also the most delicious. Mostly because his guacamole is insane.) 


the day my mountain burned

they told us to leave quickly and we took everything we could, leaving everything else behind. i thought i would care more about my things, but i didn't.  

we breathed heavy, thick, smoky air and walked a few blocks down the hill to a place that was deemed safer.

then we sat on the grass and watched our mountain burn. 

read more here


new place

Even though I haven't been exactly thrilled about moving to Arizona, (but I am getting more excited as it gets closer,) one thing I am so excited for is decorating a new apartment. I felt like our last home wasn't really permanent so I was slow to decorate which was a big mistake. My goal for the next 10 years or so is to treat every place we live like it is our last. To decorate quickly, and not even think about packing everything up. We have a lot of moves in front of us with school, rotations, residency, fellowship, etc. so this is going to become important to me.

Another thing is, that I will be working from home. If I'm home all day everyday, I have got to love the place I'm living in. Even though we will be on the tightest budget possible, I think the challenge will be fun.

Here are a few inspiration images for our new place. They are all over the place, and we won't be able to paint at all, so hopefully it all comes together!

p.s. we are still trying to sell some of our current furniture, that either won't fit there or we aren't able to take. We have gone way down on the prices from what we bought them for. See them here, and email me if you are interested!