I was asked to write for this blog by Liz. She was my former teacher so it’s strange to call her by her first name even now that I’m adult. I could write an entire entry on how positively she’s affected my life but I will save that for another time. This is my first entry so perhaps it’s natural to give some indication about what I plan to blog about here, although I’m certain it’s subject to change. After not seeing or speaking to her for 10 years, I found her on facebook and soon set up to meet and catch up on each other’s lives. She had known me, possibly better than my own parents, between the ages of about 7 to 13. While we were talking, I mentioned my interest in writing and she told me that she could still vividly recall my handwriting (the days before everything was typed on computers) and the content of my work. She discussed ‘What Better Looks Like’ and asked me if I was interested in writing for the blog. Without hesitation, I told her I absolutely was but after a few days of over thinking I became unsure. Would what I write live up to what she expected? Would it be good enough? What is there to even write about? All those same questions had killed countless past inclinations of mine to put my incessant thoughts to paper. But here I am at my computer typing, formulating and organizing my feelings and reflections into sentences someone might relate to and be touched by. For me, that is my ultimate ‘better’. I’ve kept a diary since about age 10 but missed a few years here and there in high school and college unfortunately. I’ve always felt that no matter what was happening, through my darkest and most chaotic times, I could write and attempt to sort it all out. At the very least, I was able to exorcize the thoughts plaguing my mind and lock them away in a journal under my mattress. It didn’t guarantee things would get better but at the very least, something productive came from it all. I’ve asked Liz not to credit my work here because I plan to use this as an open diary to share with the world, as a way to stop hiding my art, my battles and my triumphs. This is what better looks like. I believe that if I dig through my past and evaluate my present, I will find the lessons and break the patterns to positively impact my future. It is my hope that my writing will speak to others and help them do the same. I don’t intend to have a pity party for myself but instead be open and honest. I know that we are never given more challenges in life than we are able to overcome and learn from. That is what I intend to do here. In this world, there are only forces. We judge them as being good or bad but they are not inherently so. We cannot control them but we are able to control our reaction to them and that is far more powerful.