just over here trying to avoid cognitive dissonance…


I just spent some time scrolling through my September New York City trip post (ha, the one that I posted back in February…about my trip that was in September…).

The thing that makes me really sad about not moving to NYC is that New York City is most definitely, perfectly and decidedly me. I look at the picture of myself with Fearless Girl and the couple of me in Central Park, and that’s me. And looking at my photos from the High Line, and of the skyline, and at the Yankees game and they all make me feel freaking alive because I know that NYC is my place. It’s a physical embodiment of my determination and my love of humanity and so many other things that are just me.

And I don’t know this for sure—maybe I’ll prove myself wrong—but I don’t know if I’m going to be able to walk around downtown Kansas City and feel that. At least not for a long time. I think Kansas City is going to be an incredible place to live and explore in, but I don’t know if it is decidedly me. (Insert frantic 3am nightmares of being stuck in Kansas City* for eternity with a fragmented identity…it hasn’t happened yet, but I’m waiting for the day hahaha.)

I look at that girl in those September New York pictures and remember how right it felt to be there. Recently I feel like I keep having consecutive identity crises. Well, okay, back up. I know who I am right now more than I have at any other time in my life. I’m so, so grateful for that. But I think the emotional me has grown at a different pace than the social me. Lately I keep feeling this need to be all of the full, daring, strong person that I’ve grown into with everyone that I interact with, but then I hit a wall and something says to me, You’ve never been that person. You don’t know how to be that person—not in any place outside of your head. Which of course is crazy negative self-talk, but sometimes it happens and what do you do?

The Tess in those NYC pictures is the Tess at the beginning of a crazy and rewarding journey of finding myself that’s taken place over the past 7 months. It’s been 7 months of showing myself what I want out of life, and showing myself that I am capable, and focusing myself on the things and people that bring the most meaning to my life.

The possibility of living in NYC felt like it could have been the beginning of the process of leveling out the emotional growth and the social growth, since I would have been living in a physical environment that so clearly matched that emotional growth. I feel like changing my environment in that way (going from Provo to NYC) would have been the perfect jumpstart to figuring out a way around that wall that keeps coming up so often these days.

I think I can do it in KC too, but it’s weird to me to not have any idea of what life is going to feel like there. I know what Provo life feels like. I know what NYC life would probably feel like. But I have zero idea of what KC life will feel like—and that’s freaking me out a little. I’m terrified of stagnation and of not finding the courage to be my authentic self.

I feel like I’ve hit on seven different topics in this post haha, but it’s chill. Basically, the process of finding yourself is hard, but the process of learning to actually live that person and to live unapologetically is even harder.


*side-note: I am VERY VERY VERY excited to move to Kansas City, and to be working at VML. I am so grateful to be starting my career at such an incredible agency, and Kansas City does seem like a killer place. It was so clear to me that this opportunity was the one that I needed to take, so no regrets here! :)


a few PSAs for your monday

PSA: Madewell jeans are the pinnacle of the jean experience. Don’t let yourself put even one of your legs in their jeans unless you’re prepared to pay for at least one pair. Or (if you’re me), your birthday is coming up and you’re also a student and you are capable of exercising self-control until you can come back with the $20 birthday gift card (courtesy of signing up for the Madewell rewards program) and use the 15% student discount. And you better have a real job somewhere on the horizon so you can pay for your commitment to the best jeans ever.

PSA: If that real job is still on the horizon and is maybe on the further part of the horizon, you can get killer sexy jeans at the Banana Republic outlet for $30. (<—yes, $30. RUN. NOW.)

PSA: IT’S APRIL. YES YES YES. Here is a short list of the good things about April: green, flowers, green, graduation, green, birthday, green, sunshine, green, freckles, green, daylight, school is over, green, enough rain to satisfy my emotions, green.

PSA: Engagement season has begun.

PSA: Chasing Fire by Lauv is gold.

And here’s a completely unrelated photo of a very NOT GREEN Utah. But we’re getting there! It’s only April 2nd — the best is yet to come.

antelope island

a weird place


I love Provo. I’ll probably make a long list of all the things I’m going to miss at some point in the future, but right now it’s enough to say that this very weird place is also very lovely. Especially today, for no specific reason.

Some random thoughts, just for fun:

Today the guy at the pharmacy told me I have a nice smile. That was unexpected, and probably more needed than I’ll let myself think.

Sometimes I think about how I’m not going to live next to the mountains anymore, and that kind of makes me want to cry.

Today is one of those days where you can tell that we’re inching closer to summer, which makes Kansas City feel more and more real, and more and more final.

Yesterday I saw someone’s bike parked on campus that had a branch of yellow flowers woven through the spokes. That’s how you know the world is a good place, kids!

I keep feeling like I have things to say— like I wasn’t just given my talents/interests/personality to just hang out and be quiet. I don’t know yet what I’m supposed to say, or do, or create, but I’ll figure it out.

That’s all! Happy Thursday!

cadbury eggs


I’ve been feeling things really deeply these days.

It’s a time of endings, and soon it’ll be a time of beginnings. But not just “oh I’m moving to a new apartment” beginnings. Like, “I’m moving to an entirely new state and starting adult life in a place where I know zero people” kinds of beginnings. Freeeeeeak.

But that’s life— feeling things. Right?

Everything makes me feel things these days. Mountains. Rain. Photos. Sunsets. My coworkers singing “happy birthday.” French fries.

I’ve seen a few influencers post recently about having feelings—about accepting them, appreciating them, working through them. I’m a beginner to that approach, but we’re trying it out and I’ll let you know how it goes.

But I think there’s also something in the “watch Gossip Girl while eating spontaneously-purchased Cadbury eggs” approach. Because then Gossip Girl makes you cry and crying feels a lot better than having all the un-labeled feelings tight in your chest.

Also, you know what is annoying? When you can’t put labels on feelings. When you’re just feeling. I’d much rather be able to put labels on the emotions and assign those emotions to direct causes, then put lids on those boxes and walk away. And sometimes that works, but then sometimes you have days like today when the feelings refuse to be labeled, they’re just existing. 

Maybe sometime I’ll write a little more about feeling deeply. But for now, those are some thoughts. That’s all!

(also, some good songs for feelings today: “supercut” by Lorde, “everybody lost somebody” by Bleachers, “stay alive” by Lael, “anatome” by Novo Amor & Ed Tullett