auld lang syne / xx.
I started this decade as a sophomore in high-school who was obsessed with art & had terrible taste in music; I’m ending this decade as a high-school English teacher with seventy-five kids, teaching them about proper comma use & advocating for 21st – century learning. If you would have asked me my senior year in high-school where I’d be, I’d probably say somewhere writing in New York or living out of an RV while making art. In one decade, I have graduated from college, completed an internship, moved to Danville, worked at three banks, moved to Richmond, ran a 5K & 10K, moved back to Danville, joined a Rotary club, started a business, quit a job I hated, became a full-time freelancer, graduated from two amazing fellowship programs, took a road trip of New England, started teaching, began the coursework for a Ph.D program & so much more.
This journey would not have been possible without some amazing people in my corner. People who have supported me & encouraged me. In the past ten years I have interacted with thousands of people & every single one of them have left an impact on me somehow but I want to give a shoutout to those who have really left a mark this decade. Thank you all; you have pushed me in some way that led me to where I am today.
Daniel & Ashley - thank you for pushing me & giving me the courage to make the jump as a photographer, a writer & a creative.
Joyell - thank you for cultivating my appreciation for Black culture, Black literature, spiritual healing & negritude.
Brandon, Jeff & Lauren - thank you for showing me the ropes of entrepreneurship & how to be a community leader.
Porchia & Ryan - thank you all the ways you two are changing the region with your creativity; you inspire me everyday.
Barack Obama - I want to be half the writer, speaker & public figure you are.
Kendall Ratliff & the MBF Staff - thank you for believing in me & playing such a significant role in the transformation of our beautiful little Rivertown. Kendall, thank you for guiding me through every phase of our friendship.
Caleb, Andrew, Corinne & Charlotte - thank you for supporting ALL of my craziest ideas; I wouldn't be here without you guys. 2020 is gonna be our year.
Baggz - thank you for being my first teacher friend and for showing me all the awes & wonders of education. You have inspired me so much just in the three months we've worked beside each other. PIRATE GANG.
Mrs. Midkiff - thank you for teaching me to fall in love with writing & art; I am the writer, artist & teacher I am today because of you.
Anh & Becky - thank you for encouraging me to be the first one on the dance floor & for showing me how design can change the world. (And how to embrace my extreme extroversion.)
Bruce Wilson - thank you for teaching me to see awe in the world; to seek it all even if it means traveling alone.
I’ve also traveled to some pretty amazing places this year, full of great food, places to explore and great people, too.
Chapel Hill, NC
And some great new bands, books & podcasts.
Mumford & Sons
Boonville by Robert Mailer Anderson
The Perks of Being A Wallflower
Looking for Alaska
The Audacity of Hope
Lastly, I want to give a shoutout to some influencers that really inspired me.
This decade has certainly been a rollercoaster of events: adventure, heartbreak, loss, triumph, surprise & joy. To the feats I have tackled, the people I met, the stories I have heard & the memories I made:
More adventures. More roadtrips. More food. More music. More friends + family. More books. More laughs. More stories. More memories.
Happy New Year, folks!