I had to share this. The best part of my time teaching has been hearing, seeing and learning from students and their perspectives. Meet my friend, Bella, which if you picked any number of definitions, they would never come close to defining her.  You can’t put her in box.  No limits with this one. She takes on life, in this unique, “I’ll outwit you World,” kind of way… And I’m inspired.  Over and over.  She decided at a young age to put herself out there, her thoughts on display, because she has something to say.  And she actually really does.  Something we need to hear, to really be quiet and listen. And watch.  Because she’s for all those things we know we should be.  She speaks her truth unapologetically, with boldness and wit… But it comes from this deep place inside that makes you wonder where her hope lies. A girl that makes you think, look closer, and walk away wanting more of whatever it is that she’s got.

Bella (bottom right) with my daughter, Ella.  Here’s something she wrote about turning 14 and reflecting back on all 13 taught her.  It’s perfectly honest and beautiful, just like her.


13 taught me that I love you can actually mean
I like you a lot
It taught me I am in love with my best friends
And my favorite places
It taught me
You can always buy more film
And that smiling never hurts
13 taught me that movies are
What I want to make
But art is still a passion of mine
It taught me fuzzy boots are worth wearing
And trying to fit 2 people in an over sized flannel is worth trying (Even though it won’t really work)
13 taught me that judging
Is something I do well
But shouldn’t do, ever
It taught me the Bible is
This wonderful place
Where I can have all my questions answered
13 taught me pink isn’t my favorite color
I learned I like a vibrant red
Or a soft blue
It taught me I still can’t skate
But I’d still like to know how
13 taught me foreign movies become less foreign when they are constantly on
And Swedish doesn’t sound so odd when
you always hear it
13 taught me “teenager”
Doesn’t have to define you
And I learned that even though I am a private person
I still think out loud more often than I am aware of
And even though I’m an introvert I love being with groups
13 taught me
That converse aren’t the only shoes I wear
But they are still my all time favorite
And it taught me socks
Are my favorite accessories
13 taught me you can write on walls
Because you can always paint over it
and that graffiti
Is my favorite thing to photograph
13 taught me vinyls are better than iTunes
And that film will always beat pixels
It taught me that blankets are the best place to be
wrapped up
Aside from the arms of the people whom I love
It taught me staying up late
To talk to those people I love
Is completely worth being so
Tired the next day you can barely function
13 showed me that black is my favorite color to wear but it sucks when you have dogs with light colored hair
It taught me short hair is okay
And dye is never permanent
13 taught me that travel
IS the best thing in the world
Especially is you are with people you absolutely adore
And it taught me to think about what I say
before I say it
Because unlike walls
Words said aloud can never be painted over
13 taught me a lot
So hello 14
What do you have to say?