I’m Fucking Afraid of the Dark

Girls. In all my youth involvement over the years, I’ve never worked with young girls. Not exclusively, at least. Not in the classroom and certainly not in the wild. I’ve grown quite accustomed to boys of all ages. Boys who swear and fight and fart. For the second week of my new wilderness therapy job, however, I was working with four teenage girls and it proved enlightening on many levels. For one, I had no idea teenage girls swear and fight and fart, too. Fart openly […]

I’m Worthless. I’m Pointless. I’m Hopeless. I’m Pathetic.

What a strange and comforting thing last week to find myself awakening in the same tufted mountains that changed my life three years ago. The differences between that Christian camp of yesteryear and my current youth wilderness therapy program are many, but the pristine setting was the same. We hiked the second tallest mountain in Georgia one sunrise, and I cried at the impossible beauty of it all. Stood and stared and sighed and shook my head at the three-year journey it’s taken to bring me back. […]

The 10-Year Reunion I Swore I’d Never Attend

Ah, high school. The zippy theme songs, brightly colored walls, and laugh tracks that followed you from classroom to lunchroom to locker room. Wasn’t life grand? Our elderly headmaster often told us high school amassed “the best days of our lives.” But if those days in the early aughts made up the best days of my life, my days in 2015 are numbered. I slammed my alma mater pretty hard in Struggle Central. I didn’t necessarily set out to do so, but I couldn’t lie about […]

Georgia’s Underbelly

I have a new job. I start next week, and while anxious about newness in general, I’m psyched and ready for the change of course to come. I could’ve gone back to Charlotte this week. I could have chilled at my parents’ all week. Restless for more, I decided to continue #RunningAway with a solitary tour of Georgia’s underbelly. ~ ~ ~ It’s strange, calling a state home for eleven years — my address, my college, my first driver’s license — and feeling no […]

To Drown Myself and Be Weak

I’m tucked in my sleeping bag amid poison ivy and dirt. I’m sliding down uneven earth, and I readjust my sleeping bag atop my backpack to compensate. It’s pitch black. I have a headlamp, but I’m not allowed to use it. The students won’t have headlamps, so I can’t use mine. I can’t use my hammock either. Not yet. Not during this first phase. Drums are beating in the black beyond my slanted tarp. Earlier today a wild man invited us to join his drum […]

Hopefully a Bear Doesn’t Eat Me This Week

I’ve been #RunningAway for a week now. I needed to escape my jobless lifeless normalcy in Charlotte, and something about South Carolina was beckoning my attention. Columbia and Charleston had been in the news these last few weeks, and both cities moved me all over again. I camped out at Congaree National Park for a night. Did you know there’s a national park in Nowheresville, South Carolina? Yeah, me neither. Weirdest coolest place, that Congaree. The swampy trees have knees coming out […]

Love Will Find You

I’m sitting at Kudu Coffee in the heart of Charleston. The spacious, grassy Marion Square lies a block to my left. Another block down on Calhoun Street sits Mother Emanuel AME Church. I was here on #RunningTo just six months ago. Here at this coffee shop, there in the square, and even over there walking past just another unsuspecting church; there are dozens of churches in Charleston. I’d have had no reason to suspect then what would happen in this city […]

This is My Nicotine

The last four months I’ve felt like a fish out of water, breathing strange foreign air I’d not breathed in a long time. It tasted a lot like the air of normalcy I left behind in California, but with a tinge of toxicity that’s grown into a veritable strain. It hurts to breathe this air. There’s something to be said about sticking things out and working through your discomfort. That’s where growth happens, after all. But there’s something else to be said […]