For Keegan

What we have to remember is that we can still do anything. We can change our minds. We can start over. Get a post-bac or try writing for the first time. The notion that it’s too late to do anything is comical. It’s hilarious. We’re graduating college. We’re so young. We can’t, we MUST not lose this sense of possibility because in the end, it’s all we have.

-Marina Keegan, “The Opposite of Loneliness”

I was struck by the ubiquity of Marina Keegan’s recent special edition to the Yale Daily News entitled “The Opposite of Loneliness.” My sister read me a passage on the phone last night and a coworker pinged me the link this afternoon. It wasn’t until I googled “Marina Keegan” that I realized the tragic misfortune. Keegan passed away just days after writing about her life’s endless possibilities, so close she could touch them with her fingertips.

I read Keegan’s piece in its entirety tonight and I was zapped with a pang of guilt. Here I was reading about “how it’s not too late, we’re only twenty-two”, and the owner of these very words was prematurely stripped from this Earth.

I’ve spent most of today juggling stress with my complaints about having to pack for a trip this weekend. It’s muggy, I didn’t sleep thanks to a vicious Texas thunderstorm, and my weekend trip is packed to the gills. Nestled in between my Ikea pillows, I had no intention to blog tonight. But, I read Keegan’s piece and realized it would be selfish of me not to say something. Do something. Write something.

Each syllable of her lexical serenade hits a different touchpoint for readers. But, what I take from Keegan’s story is that we have to remove the noise of our lives and create our moments. Absorb our moments. Adore our moments. Our moments, conceived out of our limitless possibilities, are all we have.

I spent so much time today complaining about packing and the rapid speed at which my week has raced that I haven’t appreciated that I am about to spend time with my family and friends. I am about to go to a bloggers’ conference that I couldn’t shut up about weeks ago. I am sprinkled with the big man’s good graces and I haven’t even stopped to stick my tongue out and taste the droplets.

So, Keegan, this is for you. This is for soaking up life’s simple pleasures. For a glass of cold water before bed and a $3.99 notebook to record your thoughts. For forehead kisses and Friday nights. For reading on the patio and laughing with friends over margaritas. This is for never letting the monotony of existing outweigh the beauty of living. This is for not giving up on ourselves, not turning our backs on our potential, and never shying away from our purpose. Our true purpose. Not a paycheck or a marriage or anything else that is colorlessly commonplace. Your purpose. That thing that is all your own that makes you want to jump and dance and kiss even the cumulonimbus clouds. So this is for everyone wedged somewhere in between mom and dad’s pride and whatever the hell you really want to do. This is for chucking the watches that the world wants to dangle upon our wrists and instead responding, “It’s never too late.”

Marina Keegan, you taught us all of that. And, this is for you.

Love freely,


They Always Come Back.

One of the last lines in Demetria Lucas’ book “A Belle in Brooklyn” (one of my absolute favorite pieces of lit) reads, “My mother was right. They do always come back.”

This morning when I woke up for the second time—what’s a weekend if you can’t wake up and go back to sleep for a mid-morning nap?—I noticed a red star next to the text message icon on my Blackberry. Assuming it was one of my girlfriends adding information to the inane textual dribble we’ve had for the past few weeks, I opened it. “Fab 4 Thread” didn’t appear. Instead, it was one of those numbers that you always remember, no matter how much you’d like to forget.

I would recognize that area code anywhere.

There are boyfriends and then there are former-flames-turned-fake-friend-turned-how-well-can-I-ignore-you-and-my-feelings-for-you-until-you-spontaneously-combust. Today’s text message was from the latter. Even better, the text message didn’t provide me with any substantial clue as to the purpose of the conversation. “Wilks.” I presume this was a witty spin on my real last name? Or his finest guess. Either/or.

“To what do I owe the pleasure of this text message?” was as sprightly as I could come up with before noon.

What followed was one of those conversations about everything and nothing, ending in something like “enjoy the rest of your Memorial Day weekend” even though we both could give a rat’s ass whether the other person skydives this weekend or sits on the couch reading about how to write creative nonfiction as she prepares for the journey of writing her first book (maybe I did this; maybe I didn’t. Ok, maybe I did.)

Demetria’s words, or rather her mother’s words remastered, clattered in my frontal lobes. They do always come back.  It’s never when you expect or when you hope but they always come back. Last fall, right as the weather bent from “Oh, look at the leaves changing” to “Oh, shit, winter’s coming,” I would have done 600 jumping jacks if my phone buzzed with a text message from this person, even if it were an incorrect spelling of my last name. At that time, I wanted him to come back. Now, 1800 miles and unfollowed Twitter handles and lessons learned stand in between me, him, and my wanting him to reappear.

So, yes, they always come back. That doesn’t mean they always come back wanting to right all of their wrongs, graduate from frog to prince and be with us. That’s not the case. Usually, we just crossed their minds long enough for them to find our name in their contacts list and shoot us a quick hello. No need to analyze or psychoanalyze or overanalyze. Just worth saying hello back and quietly thanking the heavens for the progress we’ve made.

Love freely,


A Single Girl’s Manifesto: One Year Later

At approximately 9:31 a.m. central standard time today right as I tossed my Starbucks cup in the waste basket, I was reminded of an indisputable fact: I am single.

It went a little something like this:

Me: This is what happens. I’m seriously single and I throw all of my energy in to writing.

Friend: Yeah, you need to throw that in to dating. So you have more experiences to write about.

I pondered this. I then decided it was worth polling my best friends.

Text message on thread with my three best friends: Question of the day: should I be dating more?

What followed were a series of responses about how only I can decide that (true, and I’ve decided the answer is no) and questions such as why do I like being single anyway? (The true answer to this is I don’t like being single as much as I don’t mind being single. Slight difference.)

On April 17, 2011, I wrote “”, my bra-burning proclamation for single women everywhere slash a rant about how I don’t like cuddling. Same diff. Since that feminist tirade, quite a bit has changed. So, I read it today and decided it was time to go back and revise. Because, single college Tyece and single real world Tyece are two different individuals. During the senior half of 2010 and the beginning of 2011, I was bitter. I was livid. I had just emerged from a breakup for the record books, ready to declare my freedom by indulging in activities that made me the human equivalent of a barbershop; open, ready for business, no appointment necessary.

But, there are two types of single women, as I discovered in my conversation with friend 1 from today’s post. There are single women who use “I’m doing my own thing” as a misnomer for “I’m actually scared shitless of being vulnerable so I’m just going to build a wall and act like I’m OK when I’m not.” That was single college Tyece. Then, there are single women who are actually doing their own thing, willing to forfeit their solo status should someone worthy of a duet come along. That is single real world Tyece.

I don’t feel a need to rant or or whine or moan or feign Power Bitch status. I am not a Power Bitch. I am a girl who worries I’ll get a run in my stockings and who falls asleep watching Golden Girls. I am hard on myself and I doubt myself and I worry I’ll let my parents down. I like when I catch a guy staring at my ass and I giggle at jokes that aren’t funny if a boy is cute. I’m as normal as women can get.

And, that’s the misperception that I want to put to rest. That single women are walking around with a sign on their forehead that says, “Stay the hell away from me or I’ll breathe fire on you” or even worse, “Please! Quick! Find me a husband because obviously I’m crestfallen!” The rest of the world may have set this target on our backs that the only thing standing in between us and the rest of our lives is wedded bliss, but I’m yanking those darts out. The darts from Steve Harvey telling us we need to think like a man.Those darts from the Twitter chat about “Becoming Mrs. Right.” Everyone, just reeeeelax. Grab a Xanax. We’re all going to be more than fine.

I said I would write a manifesto so here it is: Being single isn’t about defending yourself or possessing strength at times you don’t have or being your own man. Eff that noise. Being single is about the quiet acceptance that your life is fulfilled. It is about the faith in your judgment that when someone life-changing comes along, you will know. It is about owning the right amount of vulnerability to open up to that person. And, it is about granting yourself full permission to be happy and whole until that person comes along.

Besides, let’s be honest. I’m not really single. I’ve been in a relationship with Free Love for three years. Yes, she is a girl and Obama supports us, thank you very much. So, I’m going to write her till the wheels fall off.

Love freely,


This one is for your first love.

If you have lived long enough to 1) discover you have boobs 2) discover most boys like boobs and 3) combine those two things, then you’ve probably had a first love.

When I say first love, I don’t mean that guy you dated for six months in high school and celebrated an “anniversary” with each month, not to mention that totally defeats the Latin origin “anniversarius” of the word meaning recurring yearly. But, newly pubescent minds can’t understand that. No, when I say first love, I mean first love. Allow me to draw the distinction based on my own experiences.

I dated someone during my junior year of high school. Of course, at the time I said I loved him. We went to Chili’s together, his mom drove us around in her Sienna van, and we did other things that are not fodder for this blog. Meanwhile, we were sixteen years old and I had a breakdown when I found out he was going away to a summer program at UMD. Needless to say, long-distance wasn’t in our future.

I also dated someone during my junior year of college. This was my italics first love. This was the person I traveled to NYC every few weekends to see even it meant getting on a stale smelling Megabus at midnight. This was the person I confessed my murky secrets to. The person I napped with, cried to when I was broken and argued with until 4am. This was the person I was going to marry, hands down, no questions asked.

Judging from my naked ring finger, guess it didn’t work out quite that way.

Today, when I stumbled upon Ryan O’Connell’s “25 Things I’ve Learned in my Twenties” I sifted through a lot of the pretentious and cynical advice (sorry, O’Connell) and got to number 17.

17. You’ll always care about your first love. That doesn’t make you crazy, it just makes you human. When relationships end, it’s not so cut and dry. You carry everyone you’ve ever loved into every relationship thereafter.

I pondered this for a moment. I decided I agree.

Because, caring for your first love doesn’t mean wishing the person will reappear in your life. Caring for your first love doesn’t mean you two were meant to be. Caring for your first love doesn’t mean you guys have to gracelessly catch up over coffee or he still has access to your Queen Victoria or you have to be first on his speed dial should he get kicked in the tibia. Caring for your first love isn’t really about caring for your first love at all. It’s about caring for yourself.

Because, when you care for your first love, it’s as simple as wishing that person well, with or without you. And, when you can genuinely wish that for someone who may have set your heart on hot coals and watched it blaze, well, then, you have done yourself a huge favor. It means you have snatched the tiny pebbles of bitterness and resentment circumnavigating your heart and chucked them in to the river right next to that bridge you built to get over it. Because you are just as responsible for healing your wounds as time is. Don’t forget that.

So, here’s to our first loves. Here’s to the ones who took us to the moon. Here’s to the ones who made us feel like everything and nothing all in one lifetime. Here’s to the ones who two-step around our minds when we belt out “Rolling in the Deep.” Here’s to the ones who healed us, hurt us, and haloed us. And, here’s to caring for them just the same.

Love freely,


The First Post-Grad Year: A Diploma of its Own

A few weeks ago, I wrote a commencement speech of sorts for the Class of 2012.

But, Class of 2011, this one is for you.

It was exactly one year ago today that I donned an overpriced cap and gown and sat through graduation, restless because I accidentally left my biggest distraction, my Blackberry, in my car and uninformed as everyone else tweeted away about the eccentricities of the ceremony. I’m not sure if that day even counts as a graduation.  I didn’t “walk the stage” until the following day in a smaller ceremony while nursing a hangover thanks to what seemed like a brilliant idea the evening before to sip vodka from a McDonalds kiddie cup.

I thought May 20, 2012 would be a day of mourning as I accepted my permanent residence in the world of adulthood. I thought today would merit all-black garb, as I relinquished the word “just” from the term “I just graduated.” It wasn’t until I stumbled upon Katie Crowe’s article, “Twentyhood: The Dreaded Anniversary” that I realized today is a celebration of its own. (Katie and I shared a Journalism 100 class freshman year. Maybe an orientation class, too. Either way, I love the chance to shamelessly plug an up-and-coming journalist.)

The first year after college is arguably the hardest. I can’t speak for all of the other years because, well, I haven’t lived through those. I remember talking to one of my best friends, who’s a year older than me, throughout my senior year. While I rambled about random hookups, he interjected lamentations about sitting at a desk all day and going to bed at some insanely early time. I listened but his words were never tangible, as is the case when two people talk about something that only one person has experienced. Now, his words mean more than ever.

My first post-grad year catapulted me in to a whirl of work, residence in two different cities, hail drops of personal tragedy, and motherhood to a paranoid cat. As my friends and I left the only home we had known for four years, I watched us all breathe in the post-grad journey in different ways, often times choking on its smoldering air. It was the first time in my life that all of us were thriving and hurting in unique ways, and the best thing we could do was listen to each other. It was also the first time I couldn’t offer my best friends my best advice because even on my best day I truly did not understand how they were feeling.

Despite the disparate journeys we’ve all taken in the past year of our lives, today, there is one common bond: we survived it. We learned how to juggle student loans with gym memberships, all the while indulging in hedonistic whims (buying a round of shots, splurging on some new pumps, or booking a flight to a bloggers’ conference…wait, is that just me?) We started to disentangle the web between those friends who actually mean something to us and those who would become “oh that girl who I sat next to in strategic discourse and went to happy hour with once.” We cried ourselves to sleep over jobs we wanted but didn’t have and jobs we had but didn’t want.  We dreaded Mondays, relished 3-day weekends, and waited for the clock to strike 5 on Fridays. We tasted the bittersweetness of making our own money but having to pay for our own lifestyle. We navigated the real world of dating where you need a plus one for work events, consistency with one person trumps adventure with 10 (better known as an STD), and a account is like that crazed aunt everyone has but no one talks about.

Class of 2011, those kids sporting bedazzled caps right now ain’t got nothing on us. We are the ones who really made it.

Class of 2012, cheers to you, also. You’ve now inherited the first post-grad year. Consider it our graduation present to you.

Love freely,