You know those experiences that are awful at the time but end up making for semi-decent stories later on?

This is one of mine:

Picture a smallish half-Korean girl in a button-up and flare jeans sitting on the bottom row of the bleachers in her high school gym.

Now, I was never someone who sat on the bottom row by choice. I tended toward the back, as any aspiring cool kid would. Yet the bottom row was where I was sitting. Because today, I was about to get up and speak in front of the whole school—about a cow.

See, some teacher had convinced me to sign up for student council treasurer. And somehow, that meant it was my job to give a rousing speech to the student body. The goal? To convince a bunch of kids to part with their lunch money for the school's annual charity fundraiser. (In other words, doomed.)

But this wasn't just any fundraiser. This year, we were going to buy a cow. More specifically, we were trying to send a cow to a village somewhere in South America. Cows are great for villages, they said. We even had a poster on the wall of a cow silhouette that we filled in with red markers as the donations came in.

But the deadline was getting close, and that cow was still looking pretty empty.

(I have to wonder—what was that staff meeting like when the teachers realized things weren't going well? "Bring out that 16 year old. She'll save us"??)

So on that fateful morning, I rose from the bleachers, faced the sea of pimply faces, and gave the speech I had written.

And it was bad.

I wish I could tell you what I said, but frankly it's blocked out. I remember nothing except the shame of walking back to class, knowing I had just made a fool of myself in front of everyone who mattered in my tiny world.

On that day, I learned two things:

One, words have power. Duh.

But two, I'd better learn how to use them well so I didn't make the same mistake again.

I graduated later that year and went on to study persuasive writing at university. And from there, I slowly made a career out of helping businesses identify what makes them compelling and strategically communicating those core messages to their audiences.

And as for the cow?

On the morning of the fundraiser's last day, we counted up the cash. And by some miracle, that cow poster finally turned red.

(I suspect some teachers took pity on us, because I can guarantee my speech had absolutely nothing to do with it.)

Today, I try to condense the lessons I've learned into posts on my blog, and the lessons I'm currently learning into emails to my newsletter subscribers.

You’ll often find me grappling with topics like:

  • How to start writing when you’re scared of putting yourself out there
  • What does ethical marketing look like?
  • How to live a life with more meaning, and less fluff

You can find some of my more popular pieces on my Resources page.

Other topics you'll run into

My personal interests often find their way into my content. You might occasionally hear me talking about:

Travel
Especially solo travel. My husband enjoys joining me for the occasional trip, but I love giving into the random urges to wander whenever they come. I recently turned my Kia Soul into a mini camper van and filmed the whole process.

Costumes & DIY
I know enough about sewing to be dangerous and love making and wearing costumes, whether it’s for Halloween, Comic-Con, or LARP events.

Ethics
Racism, human rights violations, fascism, factory farming, a rapidly changing climate—we've been going along with a lot of sh*t that we shouldn't be. I believe in both personal responsibility and working together for positive change.

Minimalism
You might not know it at first glance— *shoves a pile of papers under the desk*

....But I consider myself a minimalist. Or maybe a minimalist in training. In accordance with my focus on intentional living, I pay close attention to consciously choosing my possessions, repurposing belongings before throwing them out, and rehoming them when they no longer serve.

I don't think everyone has to be a minimalist! But I have gained a lot of personal benefit and I love sharing tips.

 

 

Fun factoids

Home: The sunny American Southwest (though I’m always scheming to get to the forest)

Strengths: making vegetables taste delicious, winning debates about word definitions, associating anything you say with a show tune (which will then be stuck in my head for the next week)

Weaknesses: late night snacks, video games, overthinking everything

Names you might hear about: Rick (the husband), Kylo (the good dog), Thane (the bad cat)

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