Closing page of my beloved friend Max Mendoza’s journal. Max was 25 when he passed away. (http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/07/22/asu-grad-death-world-cup/13020295/)

My Gratitude Resume

If I am to paint a more vivid and accurate picture of my life, it ought to be one with a whole spectrum of both opaque and metallic hues; strokes of shades and neon highlights. As such, a document serving largely as a highlight reel of my accomplishments, when it stands alone, is a poor and weak portrayal of the woman I am continually becoming.

For now, I can think of two remedies, a Failure Resume, exploring my greatest “Failures” and the paths those lessons have paved for me; as well as a Gratitude Resume, which expands on gratitude for those who took chances and believed in my journey and projects. I owe so much of my life to my beloved family and friends; it would be cruel to pretend to include all my thank yous here. This list is one whose intent is to directly address those who took a gamble with me in my career thus far. It must go without saying I am in eternal debt to those whose support for me has never ceased.

Like a traditional resume, these are living documents, and like any medium for expression, they fall short of the perfect original experiences they seek to describe. My hope is that by expanding the traditional narrative of my “successes”, I can begin to pay even an ounce of homage to the blessings (and they are all blessings) I have been bestowed.

Thank You

Spring 2008- In spite of having no history in digital processing or photography, Teri Hunter takes me on in her Yearbook Crew at Bourgade Catholic High School, nourishing my development that I become an editor that same semester. I’d been severely depressed during this time, and had little to no knowledge of skills or interests, let alone passions. Mrs. Hunter was not only a teacher, or mentor-she was my one true friend in this time. She was one of the first people to believe in my greatness and potential with such a conviction that I couldn’t let her down: I began to consider myself worthy, and suddenly, my work was truly great. I had work I could source a deep sense of confidence from, and a platform to create a source of deep emotional value for many. Our team went onto completely transform our production into something our whole school and community could be proud of, and compete at a national level. Mrs. Hunter passed away in March of 2014, at the tender age of 44. I miss her often, but am quick to remember the many laughs and tears we shared together, in her classroom, as we worked toward making our shared dream manifest.

Fall 2011- Mrs. Donna Stossel and Mr. Richard Runyon enroll me in AP Calculus for my senior year math class, after having barely passed my junior year trigonometry course. It made no sense to anyone but them, and I vehemently argued against my own ability to do well in the course. At the end of my senior year, I passed Calc with a 92%, and it was by far my favorite course. I didn’t know it then, but this course would go on to give me the confidence and self-assurance to elater enroll in college courses which had nothing to do with my major but would challenge me, and I would enjoy, most.

January 2013- Days before leaving to study abroad in Rome, I open my mailbox to a thousand dollar check written out to my name by my beloved Dana and Jim Knapp. While I’d received gifts and money from them and others at other points in my life, this one was one that marked me receiving money as an “adult”. Knowing the love behind that gift made all those gelatos and pasta it was spent on that much more delicious.

July 2013- The person who most radically shifted my existence, Max Mendoza, gives me a space to further step into greatness in his organization Project U as communications director. Words won’t ever suffice for the journey this path opened.

August 2014- One of my college mentors, Dr. Pat Pierce, allows me to submit a 28-page research paper on Hillary Rodham Clinton which had been due the previous May. Truthfully, I had not submitted the paper because I had been raving in Miami at the time. Pat’s willingness to hear me out, not judge me, and still honor my work is a lesson I still hold dearly to this day.

March 2015- My college roommates, Lauren Osmanski, and friend, Tess Siver, who had the courage and compassion to sit me down and insist I go home to Arizona and get the help I needed. I’d been dealing (by which I mean not dealing) with severe depression and anxiety since the previous summer after a heavy series of events set off by the unexpected passing of my best friend, Max. The past months had been no easy time for anyone around me, either with their own matters or to watch me in a deep pain and crisis. I can’t imagine how difficult it was to have that conversation with me given we were supposed to graduate college together in just 7 weeks. Their doing so granted me the permission to take the time to not only heal, but discover and consciously work towards being the woman I wanted to be.

It’s here where I have to pause and thank every one of my professors, advisors, friends and family members who supported me with this decision. It was not an easy one to make or hear, but knowing I had the unconditional affection of so many was an emotional safety net I am forever grateful for. I would be remiss not to specify the support of Diane Fox, Susan Vanek, and Jennifer Wright who allowed me to fail with grace, and then welcome me right back 8 months later.

September 2015- David Hrostoski takes me on as a personal coaching client and we begin what is the most transformational period of my life. At the same time, I begin to work with Elizabeth DiAlto and discover a deep relationship with trust and faith. I thank you deeply, David and Elizabeth, for nudging me towards all my own answers and the best kind of therapy I could ask for.

October 2015- Thank you Nathan Coury and Freak Brothers Pizza, for setting the bar for what an empowering-oriented organization feels like, and for an interest-free love loan to move to San Francisco when it only seemed a distant seedling of an idea.

Kelsey Wong- for her continued friendship, mentorship, and championing of my personal and career development. You took a chance in bringing me into so many of your networks and worlds- ones I often did not feel I deserve to step into- and always introduced me with enthusiasm. Whether it was hosting me in your home, sending me pages of research to do, or sharing a dance at Burning Man; thank you for your sisterhood.

January 2016- If you were to look at my college transcripts, you’d see my course load reflect my mind: a dazzling, frazzled map of courses with nothing in common other than my enrollment in them. I returned to Indiana to finish my final semester of college and decided to take two courses in which I was told I had no interest taking; they were perfect. Professor Patti Sayre, thank you for taking me into your Wittgenstein seminar and taking my mind on 3-hour journeys through philosophy, arts, culture, history, science- thank you for the lens of a synchronicity of unfathomable beauty in our world.

I’m still not quite sure why, as a political science and humanities major, I took a genetics course in my final semester, but Dr. Tom Fogle took me in and challenged me in a way only an excellent teacher could. I studied more for this course than any other one in my college career, and it is why I can say that I am proud of my 78 in this course more than the 95’s in any of my others.

February 2016- While not necessarily a career or school affair, Mac and Jane at Body Evolution took a gamble on me when they took me on for personal training. For the next 6 months, I would go into their dungeon before sunrise and come out a more confident and strong woman. The transformations and breakthroughs that happened in that tiny room were just as impactful as any I’ve had an office.

July 2016- It wasn’t so much validation I was seeking when I shared my idea to move to Mexico City with Lauren, with her mother, Lori- it was permission. Was it really okay for me to walk away from security and stability in government posts and go for something that was only an idea? Was it crazy- was it okay to be crazy?

To only be met with enthusiasm by every person I shared this dream with moved me from a state of wonder to a state of “must”- moving to CDMX was now non-negotiable.

September 2016- Fery Legaspi and the ladies at Ronin PR, who opened both their doors and their networks for me just days after I arrived in Mexico City. To date, we’re only a month into our relationship but I know only magic