Lover of travel, wildlife, writing and adventure. Texas born and raised. Pieces of my heart left in Wyoming, South Africa, Bolivia and more. To travel is to live.
Open Letter to 15-Year-Old, Suicidal Me
I know how badly you’re hurting. I can still close my eyes and picture you, standing in front of that mirror, looking at those bloody bruises. I can still hear the sounds of you crying out in pain and terror. I know those cracked ribs make it hurt to take even the shallowest breath. I remember the burning pain from that gash across your stomach, from his ring. And that’s not the worst of it.
To Filmmakers That Make Rape Scenes
I know what you’re thinking; you’ve heard all of this before. You’ve already been contacted by plenty of other rape survivors who’ve told you how you triggered them with that graphic scene. You’ve heard hundreds, maybe even thousands of times how you made other women burst into tears and have to leave the theater, or even triggered panic attacks by making such a realistic rape scene. Maybe some of you have openly apologized to anyone that you offended with that scene. Or maybe, instead, you’ve decided to stand by and defend the scene, saying that violence is shown in movies all the time, and that you wanted to accurately show the horror of the crime.
What Six Months of Sobriety Has Taught Me
Six months ago, I didn’t know how this was going to go. I didn’t know if I’d quit for a week, a month, two months, the classic one hundred days, or more. Here I am today, six months after I chose to take a break from drinking, which was how I thought about it at the time. Taking a break— something that is temporary. I didn’t know how long this would last, and I still don’t. I do, however, know that six months is longer than I originally predicted I’d be able to go. As someone that had spent the past five years or so drinking regularly, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to stick with the sober lifestyle. What would Saturday nights be like if I wasn’t going to my favorite bar and relaxing with a few PBRs? What would I order to drink at nice dinners when the wine list was off limits? What would special occasions be like minus the White Russian or Long Island Iced Tea? And speaking of special occasions, over the past six months, I’ve had several come up that I’ve spent sober for the first time in years. I’ve attended two open bar weddings since going sober, including my own sister’s. On top of that, there’s been Thanksgiving, Christmas; New Years was especially hard. St. Patrick’s Day. In just a few weeks, my birthday. All of that being said, there are things that I’ve learned over the past six months—some of which I expected, some I didn’t. Here are a few.
I'm a Rape Survivor. Here's Why the Silence Breakers Give Me Hope
Time magazine recently released its choice for the 2017 Person of the Year. This year, Time made the rare decision to not give the title to one individual, but multiple people—a group of people, mostly women, that are being referred to as “The Silence Breakers.” This is a title that Time has given out for the past ninety years, but it wasn’t until 1999, less than twenty years ago, that the title was changed from Man of the Year to Person of the Year.
Why You Should — and Shouldn't — Volunteer With Wildlife
I started volunteering with animals nearly a decade ago, when I became a member of “zoo team” at the San Antonio Zoo. Since then, I’ve volunteered with sharks, baboons, bears, pumas, and more in South Africa and Bolivia. When people hear about my amazing experiences volunteering with wildlife, they often say that they’re jealous and wish they could do that too. I’m always careful with how I respond to those comments because, while volunteering with wildlife has made for some of the best experiences of my life, I don’t think it’s for everybody. Some people definitely go into it with the wrong intentions or misconceptions about what the experience will be like. That being said, here are some reasons, off the top of my head, why you SHOULDN’T volunteer with wildlife:
Traveling in the Age of Terrorism
There’s a lot of negative news going around all over the world today — it’s hard not to notice that. Words like fear, danger, and terrorism get thrown around a lot. With all of this information going around, people are essentially trained to believe that the world is not a safe place. This thought is nailed into our heads nearly every time we open a newspaper or jump on the Internet. If one thing has been made very clear in the past few years, it’s that terrorism is virtually omnipresent — these horrible events can happen anywhere. An airport in Brussels, a concert venue in Paris, Manchester, or Las Vegas, a nightclub in Orlando — these tragedies don’t focus on one country or type of place. In fact, they seem so random that they trigger a sense of panic whenever we hear about the latest attack, because we have no idea what could come next. People who have planned international travel, and even travel within their own country, begin to question if they should go through with their plans. Should they reroute the Paris trip they’ve dreamed of for so long to New York or Australia? Should they reschedule that trip to the UK until the panic subsides and security increases? Or should they nix that dream trip altogether, since it’s just not worth the risk?