with bravado

one man's 28-year-old quest to live and share a worthy story

i tripped and i fell.

This afternoon, taking advantage of a perplexing 60-degree January day, I set out for a run. I tied my shoes carefully, stretched my limbs, readied my playlist, and took off.

My legs were grateful for the exercise, my lungs putting up no protest. My body fell into rhythm, and I allowed my mind to wander, my eyes to survey the day around me. Beer cans in the yards of college students, a dog lunging for me against the will of its leash. Will I be ready for the half-marathon in June? Am I ready for a week of RA interviews? Is there enough time today to have fun and get prepared for the work week?

As I approached Wheeling Avenue, I surveyed the typically busy street carefully for cars. Spotting an opportunity, I bounded forward. My left foot sank into a pothole, my ankle giving way before my brain had time to process. My hands caught me from the fall, palms against damp concrete. My phone clattered ahead of me, three times. Quickly, I stood and hustled to the sidewalk, where I sank to a sitting position and assessed my situation.


My palms were bruised but not bleeding. My ankle, sore for a moment, did not swell. I texted a few friends about my plight; they laughed and offered to rescue me. Tentatively, I stood, took a few steps. No, I told them, I think I can still run.

And, after a little walking, I did. I broke into a run and finished the five miles. Gratitude for warm weather and tenacious ankles.

If 2016 taught me anything, it’s how to believe in myself again after a fall. How to stand again, and to run.

I broke into a run. I fell. I got up. I ran.

Let this be the pattern of my life.

on the unfurling.

My friends, I’ve been writing poetry. As part of the 2017 agreement, I’ve been working to write more, and a friend has pushed me toward poetry. Everything that’s poured out so far has surrounded the idea of letting go. Of allowing my fingers to unfurl so I can move forward.

I used that word – unfurl – in some writing recently, and so I looked it up just to be sure I was utilizing it correctly. Here’s what Google had to say:

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Looking at that definition, my breath caught for a moment. ‘…especially in order to be open to the wind.’ A smile spread across my face, and I felt my fingertips spread. Openness to the wind is absolutely what I’m working toward. Unraveling the walls and trusting myself to try anew.

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2017: a few words.

January 1 may be my favorite day of each year. Call it an arbitrary time marker in a chaotic, unsympathetic universe if you will, but, to me, the day almost vibrates with an energy of opportunity. The world exhales, grants itself permission to begin again. Another journey around the sun.

I compare it, this thrill, to the feeling I get when I see a blank word document, and I’m unsure of what I’m going to write. Or, perhaps, the beginning of a new save file on a video game. How will I play through it this time? What might I discover anew? 2017. What will that mean to me when we’re ushering in 2018?


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departing 2016.

Here we are, the final day of 2016. You won’t have to look very far to find that it’s become a pretty controversial year. We’ve lost music icons, suffered national tragedies, endured a divisive and vitriolic election season, and the future’s not clear. 2016, it seems, could use some pretty advanced P.R. about now.

The reality, though, is that life is generally some blend of heartbreak and happiness. Most days have setbacks and achievements, laughter and hiccups. The practice of looking at a year, an entire twelve months of dreaming and trying and breaking and building, and deeming it a ‘good year’ or ‘bad year’ … well, I don’t know about it.

But here’s my attempt to boil down my 2016, the year I said would be my ‘bravely forward’ year. So I’ll boil it down to these: The brave moments. The things I’ll carry forward. The things I’ll leave behind.


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a letter to michael, one year ago.


Let’s start with where I am: I’m at a Starbucks, the one on McGalliard. I’m sitting with a hot chocolate, but it’s all white chocolate. Don’t worry –– you’re still allergic to chocolate at the dawn of 2017. (It’s too sweet, but it’s warm, and that’s worth something.) Robbie’s here, too. You’ll meet him later.

I’m sitting on a bench, my laptop on a circular table with the aforementioned beverage. You’ll write here several times over the year ahead. You’ll bring company here and read. You’ll write a letter, some time later, your stomach turning and your eyes leaking tears. You’ll dig things up here; you’ll let them go. And, on a cold night with friends, you’ll come here to write more.

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after the vote #4.


“There are some realities that need to be acknowledged, before hope can be restored in our communities and our nation. I’m seeing and reading people say, ‘the sky isn’t falling,’ and ‘the world isn’t coming to an end.’ Yes, there is truth in those facts. I’m not disputing the reality that we are still living on planet earth. That said, please do not interpret my previous statement as meaning I feel safe. I don’t – not fully. A lot of people don’t. I hope this will change over time.  Read the rest of this entry »

after the vote #3.


“Growing up with two parents who are Political Science enthusiasts, I’ve paid attention to government and politics for as long as I can remember. The West Wing from the genius that is Aaron Sorkin is my favorite show because of its very real, if not overly optimistic, portrayal of the White House and D.C. politics. Election day excites me. It’s almost like the Super Bowl – minus the great commercials. I woke up Tuesday with a healthy sense of optimism that it was going to be a historic day. I didn’t expect it to be historic like this.

“Plain and simple, this has been hard for me.

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