Cheers to my friend named Emily

So this year I  met a girl named Emily and she completely changed my life.

I found Emily in January. She had picked up a job at an Olympia Sports store near her school to show her parents she was well aware of her financial situation based on the decisions she’d made.

She donned the athletic pants and company tee shirt every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday night. We ate dinner together at 9:30 p.m. in the dining hall, but sometimes she didn’t have time to eat anything at all. I watched her type texts to her Ex boyfriend when she got lonely and kissed someone else just to feel something.

Emily avoided talking to her parents, avoided going home. Waking up and having the motivation to get out of bed became a struggle. But I kept her company.

I helped her squeeze into her senior-year prom dress, and then we drove to the venue for the 2013 Military Ball and met up with Ex, even though she had told him beforehand that, should he want to take someone else as his date, it was perfectly okay. He responded with, “I promised I would take you,” and avoided the question.

They talked during dinner and discovered they were both “seeing” different people. Then he introduced Emily to his new girl because –– of course –– she just happened to be at the ball, too. New girl squeezed the absolute shit out of Emily’s hand.

I think she was trying to prove a point.

When you're watching the  Rose Bowl tomorrow, picture me standing on the field!
When you’re watching the Rose Bowl tomorrow, picture me standing on the field!

And just as everyone else kicked off their heels to dance, Emily kissed Ex on the cheek one last time and left alone, wishing the windshield wipers on her car could work for her eyes as I drove her home.

I get it. She broke his heart, he returned the favor. They’re even now.

That night, she ran from what had been instead of running from what could be like Cinderella did. Then, unlike Cinderella again, we drank together to forget. Unless Cinderella did get belligerently drunk after losing her slipper and riding back in a carriage-turned-pumpkin.

I know I’d need a drink after that.

But that breakup –– which happened over a year ago, now –– was the best thing Emily ever did. It’s taken nearly a year, but she has FINALLY realized just how much Ex hindered her.

Held her back.

Pumped her up with too many empty compliments.

Accepted her behavior when he damn well shouldn’t have.

Emily scored the right internship, the right scholarships and the right connections. She lived on her own over the summer and learned what personalities the group she fits in with consists of. Her baby-blue Schwinn helped her escape an air-conditioned hotel room and explore a new place, a new city.

The other four Murray Scholars and me
The other four Murray Scholars and me

She opened up so many doors her 17-year-old self was all too content on keeping closed. She’s ready to open more.

I’m ready to open more.

In October, she cried over a childhood friend’s open casket.

Later that same night, those tears helped her reconnect with colleagues from high school she hadn’t spoken to in years.

She traveled to Pasadena, Calif., to accept a $5,000 scholarship she’d won by entering the Jim Murray Memorial Foundation’s annual sportswriting contest.

…Emily doesn’t have trouble getting out of bed anymore.

I don’t have trouble getting out of bed anymore.

So I met this girl named Emily. She’d been sheltered and smothered and I helped her live again. I helped her find her independence again. She ditched her pessimistic thoughts and began seeing the future’s many possibilities.

Together, we plan on opening more doors.


I submitted an application to the Los Angeles Times today because, in 2014, I will remain open to possibilities and seek out exciting opportunities. I won’t let anything –– or anyone –– hold me back. Cheers.

Good riddance, 2011

Dear 2011,

You have been the toughest year of my life (thus far). There are many more to come, but as of now, you’ve sucked the most.

You started off shitty and barely improved. You are present on countless headstones and funeral programs. It wasn’t often that I saw you written down on something pleasant.

People were in the hospital. People died. Someone is still in the hospital. You, in all of your unfairness, knocked them down, one by one.

I had the worst track season of my life. For the first time, I did not improve any of my times. I went from running 4:40s in the 1500m to 5:10s. Consistently. My fastest 800m in 2011 was a 2:24. Not good. How disappointing.

Friends disappointed me, and I lost them. I still think about how things could be different. But they’re not.

I went off to college and had a fun time around friends, and a miserable time in my own dorm room for a good 2 months. (That has since changed.)

But, though I hate you, you weren’t completely bad.

Without you, and how miserable you made my family and me, we would not have little JuneBug, the puppy that melts my heart each time I glance at her.

I can bitch about all of the shit that has happened to me and around me this year, but in the end, I’m healthy and my family, for the most part, is healthy as well.

Here’s to hoping 2012 is better than you, 2011. Even though its future looks somewhat bleak (according to crazy people), it still looks nicer than you.




Double zero decade

Last year I told ya’ll that I was planning on washing my mouth out with soap to avoid swearing and to stop my vicious knuckle cracking. Well, after like, two days of not doing either of things after the start of 2009, I said screw it. In fact, I just cracked my knuckles and found it quite satisfying. Why should I have to ditch something that’s satisfying?

So, this year, I’m not making a single resolution. This way I won’t be disappointed when I break it (which I know I’m bound to do). I’m happy with who I am and what I do and wouldn’t change a thing.

Goodbye, 2009. Goodbye double zero decade and the rise of Twilight, vampire books and stupid vampire fans, Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus, Lady GaGa, the formation of Paramore and Flyleaf and the death of many people. May the next decade bring better circumstances and positive fortunes.

Resolutions: take 15

I have not been very… dedicated to my past resolutions. Last year I didn’t make any because my Spanish teacher made us make some out in Spanish. Yuck. That ruined it for me. Well, this year is going to be different. I have asked a friend to aid me in the process of quitting the two things I plan to, well, quit. Not quit cold turkey…but ease my way into the process of quitting. I have already started.

1.) Swearing – I have been swearing up the wazoo for as long as I can remember. It all started when I began playing Halo 2 online with my brother, and yeah, you tend to curse when you lose. That’s exactly what I did (even though I am actually not bad at Halo by any means). Then came my first year of Varsity cross country. My teammate (and yes, one of my very good friends) was the one who really taught me how to swear. It was eff this and eff that day in and day out. I have to be careful when I am around younger kids – it takes a lot of my self control not to utter a single swear word. My friend is going to help me quit this habit.

2.) Knuckle cracking – I am noticing that my knuckles have gotten bigger over the years, and they are not very attractive. I don’t have… pretty hands anymore because of my obsessive knuckle cracking. I crack my knuckles when I am nervous, when I am bored, and when I know my parents will be annoyed by it. Well, I plan to stop. However, back cracking and neck cracking are still permitted.

Those are the two things I plan to cut from my life in the next year. Hello, 2009. Hello pretty hands and clean mouth.