To Oz

“No, she had to find it out for herself.” – Glinda the Good Witch, The Wizard of Oz

My go to movie when I’m feeling low, but don’t want to wallow, is The Wizard of Oz. I find myself relating to absolutely every character when I’m at my lowest point aka: when all at once I feel stupid, lacking the nerve to do anything, like I’m missing part of my heart, and like wherever I am is not where I want to be. I watch this movie, not only because it’s a childhood favorite that’s transcended into adulthood, but because all of those characters get exactly what they want at the end, and it gives me hope that eventually I too will have a brain, a heart, a home, and the nerve.

That said, every time I watch the movie, I think what truly helps is that I’m appeasing some part of my inner child that often gets neglected.

I won’t deep dive into the whole “inner child” business, been there and done that, but the only thing I will add is that your inner child isn’t just you at age 5 – you are still a child at even 15, or 17, so keep that in mind for future reference. It shouldn’t just be the baby child version of you that you’re appeasing, but even the inner teen needs some TLC too. Some times the teen needs even more attention.


NYE has always been weird for me – I either go all out, or quite literally do nothing. This year, I had planned to do absolutely nothing because I had an early flight to LA scheduled on Jan 1st for work. There is no way in hell I would risk missing a flight. I planned to hunker down in my apartment solo, and patiently wait for the Harry Potter reunion to drop on HBO, I’d watch it and cry, then go to bed.

I had it all planned out – and then, COVID cancelled my event. Since it was such a last minute cancellation, my colleagues and I didn’t even think twice before we decided to throw a party in the office. Last minute plans in NYC on NYE? Dream on. This was the easiest way to go, and it was great.

At some point in the night, we all did the casual, “So what are your New Year’s resolutions?” Going around the table yada yada, the first girl said, “Oh go to the gym more,” then it gets to me and I have this millisecond debate of making something up or being honest – to be transparent, in these situations where I’m put on the spot I always make something up, I don’t know why… low key impulsive liar? idk – but instead this time I shake my head and simply say that I have none.

Of course, I get a chorus of ‘why?’ but then I explain, “Every year I set them, even go as far as to write them down in special journals etc., and every year without fail I typically don’t meet those goals. I just don’t. That said, I do have goals and mile markers in general that I meet without fail, but this year I just decided not to put pressure at the start of the year, what’s the point?”

Sure enough, when it gets to the next person and the next person, they admitted they technically didn’t have “resolutions” set either. I couldn’t help but wonder, if I would have lied, like I often do when put on the spot, would they have lied too? Who knows.

That all said, I have decided on three goals specific to this year: be more deliberate, have a bit more nerve, and enjoy where I am.

Summed up in one goal: be a little less Dorothy, and a lot more Lion.


I Made a Vision Board for 2022

After the chaos of the last year, I realized that I’ve never needed vision boards more than right now, as I reinvent myself for the third time in so many years. However, my vision boards have transformed drastically from my first attempt in 2021. 

Did you miss last year’s vision boards? Take a look at I Made a Vision Board for 2021: Part One and Part Two.

Curious if the vision boards worked? Check out How My 2021 Vision Board Helped Me Survive Another Garbage Year.

Here are my vision boards for 2022 – all four of them. 


Board One: Professional Goals

The first board I made, perhaps because it was the easiest to configure, was my professional goals. This board notates the quarterly goals I have at work, plus other goals that I want to accomplish throughout the year. I’ve added some imagery to represent growth with the plant and greenspaces, forward movement with the arrow and overcoming obstacles with the mountain scape.

There are also a few references to setting boundaries included. I’m notorious for always working evenings, weekends and weird hours in between. I will read emails after hours and on weekends, but recently I’ve realized that it’s not necessary to go to that limit. I love my job and the company I work for, but I need time for myself as well.


Board Two: Imagery

My second board was a little more tricky. I wanted to represent not only what I was feeling as I made the board but also to incorporate ideas or concepts for the future. One of the overarching themes I found after making all of the boards was the idea of grounding. Grounding has many definitions but for this purpose I was defining grounding as the act of connecting to all pieces of myself: emotionally, physically, mentally, etc.

I used nature photos as well as quotes to bring the grounding concept to life.


Board Three: Personal Goals

My third board is based on personal goals. I included an image of candles for serenity, a polaroid of myself from one of the worst weekends of 2021 as a way to reclaim that memory, a mountain path as a metaphorical guide for the year, as well as a few motivational phrases. 

As mentioned multiple times in my writing, I’m a fairly pessimistic person naturally, so I wanted this board to remind myself that there is always light and to chase that light, no matter what. 

My personal goals are mostly long-term, quantifiable goals for the whole year. Some of these goals were repeats from my 2021 board, either because I was unable to accomplish them or I adjusted them slightly for the new year.


Board Four: Things to Do / Flex Space

I left my fourth board, painted a plain black, empty for days as I tried to figure out what to include on it. I wanted to have a space to write short term goals or post new polaroids, something that was much less structured and permanent. So this fourth board is plain, basic and will be ever changing.

How My 2021 Vision Board Helped Me Survive Another Garbage Year

(If you’ve been following PKC for a while, you may have seen my previous posts of I Made a Vision Board for 2021: Part One and Part Two.) 

Fresh off the shit storm that was 2020, I looked into ways to passively motivate myself because I was stuck in a pretty deep and dark rut. I was unhappy in my life and career, unable to find anything that I felt passionate about. I’ve always been one to get interested in an emotional outlet for a few months then move on, be it painting, needlepoint, cooking, etc. I have never been able to find something that helped me long term.

I happened upon the idea of vision boards and if we’re being totally honest, I thought it was all flowery bullshit. The concept of just looking at something and manifesting it into reality seemed a little out of my comfort (and ability) zone. But when I truly commit to something, I go all out. I bought cork boards, yoga and National Geographic magazines, found trinkets and small gifts from loved ones to use. I spent hours locked in my bedroom one weekend trying to design the perfect boards for myself. Even after all of that, I still wasn’t convinced that they would work.

I hung them over my desk in my home office, so that I could have them always in my peripheral view –  a truly passive act. Over time, I found that the vision boards were a comforting reminder of what I wanted without being overbearing. It wasn’t an alarm on my phone reminding me to drink water or my Fitbit reminding me to walk every hour. It was something that lovingly stared back at me while I worked, passively supporting my goals.

It’s starting to feel like a broken record to say – but 2021 was a pretty garbage year. So how did the vision boards impact last year? As a whole, I’d say they were a great addition to my life. At first I looked at them as more of a challenge; ‘what sticky note can I remove today?’ was a frequent thought. However, the longer they hung on the wall and the more busy and shitty my life got, I forgot about the presumptive challenge. It was just a soft light, glowing and saying ‘Hey, I’m here when you’re ready’. On days when I couldn’t complete an entire goal, I’d use check marks to track my progress. This didn’t work on every goal, but the large scale goals like ‘Read 10 books by X date’, I would mark as I went.

While my professional life was somehow miraculously excelling in 2021, my personal life was crumbling fast. How did the vision boards help during this? The easiest answer is they kept me focused. Whenever my mind was whirling with overwhelm and doubt, I could always just glance up at the boards and remind myself of what I needed to do or what I was working towards. 

I wasn’t able to complete all of the goals on my vision board for a million reasons, but that’s okay. It’s just a vision, a goal, not reality. It did help to create a baseline of my vision boards for 2022 though


I Made a Vision Board for 2021: Part Two

As promised, here is part two of making vision boards for 2021. If you haven’t read part one already, go ahead and check it out now!

I Made a Vision Board for 2021 and Here’s How it Went: Part One


What is included in a vision board?

It can be anything you want. There are a few different ways to go about building a vision board, so truly there is no wrong answer. I made two – one for general ideation and one for specific goals. For the second board, focused around goals, I kept it simple. I added twelve goals to achieve throughout the year as well as imagery to help manifest that.

How does it work?

Vision boards serve as a physical reminder for what you’re wanting to achieve. Seeing it everyday will help keep your goals or ideas at the forefront of your mind as you progress through the weeks and months. It can help to motivate you in a passive way. Rather than an obnoxious alarm on your phone or a calendar reminder, you can be met with a peaceful, self-created image that hangs on your wall as a friendly notice.


Here’s my vision board, broken into two segments: imagery and goals.

Left – Imagery 

Since this board is dedicated to goals, I didn’t want to overcomplicate or clutter it. I cut images from magazines that showcased what I wanted to emulate to help achieve these goals – a watch for time, candles and coffee for relaxation and focus, the galaxy as a corny way to ‘reach for the stars’, an upside down drop to symbolize change and a quote. More than anything I wanted the imagery to exude calmness and growth.

Right – Goals

Writing out goals was the hardest part of this board. Even though I am someone who is hyper-aware and anxious constantly, I am not someone that has a life plan. I tried to focus on things that were not so far out of reach, but could be tangible with a little hard work. I used the categories of play, health, work and joy to establish my goals; these are based off of the teachings in Designing Your Life. By grouping these items you’re more easily able to see areas in your life that may need extra attention. 

The One Where She Went Skiing

Newsflash – Indiana is flat AF. Straight roads go on for miles and miles, the most exciting a road can get is if you hit a pothole that sends you flying.

Indiana is so flat you can watch your dog run away for two weeks.

Indiana is so flat

Okay, ok – done.

Indiana is flat, but something weird happens the farther south you go. The Earth begins to rise and these mounds of dirt begin to emerge. One of the more hilly towns of Indiana is that of Paoli – home of Paoli Peaks. Paoli Peaks is a ski resort in Orange County and built on a natural hill at a 900 ft. elevation with a vertical drop of 300 ft. For well traveled skiers, this may seem like a bunny hill of a feat, but for those who’d like to ski somewhere between Louisville and Indianapolis… I’d say Paoli is the Aspen of Indiana. If you want to get real fancy on this ski-escapade, you’d stay in the West Baden Springs Hotel and drink in that wealth before hopping over to the slopes – that hotel and its entire grounds are seriously impressive and sets the tone for a lush experience.

January 2014 is when I got my first taste of Paoli, and my one and only go at skiing – and my God, was that something to behold.

If I told you I excelled immediately and was a natural born skier, my pants would burst into flames because that would be one of the biggest lies of the century. The amount of times I fell, and cursed the children who were expertly skiing past me as I lie staring at the sky were insurmountable. The number of times I threatened the lives of others, both on purpose and accident, were shocking. But the amount of times I fell and got up either by myself, or with a helping hand… were impressive.

Clearly I learned some existential things during my time skiing in the Aspen of Indiana:

You can’t just waltz in somewhere and think you’ll be perfect right off the bat. Sometimes it happens, but a lot of the time… to be really good at something, it takes time. Not just several hours either, but days, weeks, months, years to be really good at something.

So don’t put too much pressure on yourself to be perfect at something new. In fact, go in with the mindset of “I might suck now, but I’ll get better.”

I can’t emphasize enough how enraged I was, each time I fell to the snowy ground and saw these children just expertly skiing past me. It was unfair, I was older and supposed to inherently be better – it’s how it works.

But it’s actually not, is it?

Those children have been skiing as long as they could walk, maybe. But also the way young minds absorb new things is completely unparalleled to an older/adult brain.

In all walks of life, it is highly likely you will come across a younger person who simply knows more, or does something better, than you. Don’t be bitter about it, be better and maybe even ask them for help. Don’t let pride and ego stop you from being better.

I’m really, really terrible at asking for help. I’m an incredibly determined person and fairly confident in the fact that I can do anything. There’s not much I can’t do on my own, and I quite like it this way.

But do you know how much quicker something can get done if you invest in an extra hand? It took me a couple hours into skiing to just finally ask anyone and everyone for help on that slope. And it’s so crazy – the more people I asked, the more friends I made, and the more enjoyable the day went on to be.

It’s so important to try new things, but sometimes trying a bunch of new things all at once is too much. It sends your body into a bit of shock and can ruin the vibe pretty quick.

By the time I got the skiing “down”, down as in not falling every few minutes, I was quickly convinced by a friend to try snowboarding. I should’ve drawn the line and said, “No, thanks – I still want to focus on skiing and get this solidified before the days done.”

But no, I of course agreed and created this new obstacle for myself. Within moments of trying to snowboard, my body, well my mind really, was just like “Girl, you’re maxed out for the day. You’re done. Also, you now hate everyone.”

Setting goals is just as important as setting limits. Respect yourself enough to do both, and communicate your boundaries to those around you.

It really is as simple as that – don’t let one mistake keep you from trying again.

Epic fails = epic character building.

. . .

Emily at Paoli Peaks in 2014

The Forest

She trekked, well more like stumbled, through the forest. Huffing and puffing, throwing muffled curses under each labored breath, as she aggressively swatted the deadly branches out of her warpath. She wondered if she’d ever make it to the other side, to the clearing.

Oh, the clearing.

The clearing held so much hope and promise – greener grass, a bluer lagoon, and neighbors with adequate amounts of sugar to share. To get to the clearing was to get to comfort. Once she made it through the woods, and into the shining clearing, things should be better.

They had to be better.

Lost in her thoughts, she missed a step. Her pointed boot caught under a fallen branch, one she had absentmindedly thrown in her own path, no doubt, and flat on her back she lay – staring up at the sun between the treetops. Other than letting out an exasperated breath, she remained completely still; absorbed in the view above her.

How beautiful.

It’s as if the leaves and branches themselves were sparkling images in a kaleidoscope. The more she focused on the dazzling leaves blowing in the breeze, the less anger towards the world around her she began to feel. She closed her eyes, took a long, deep breath, and embraced her pause. As she reopened her eyes, she slowly stood back up and gently began brushing the dirt from her body.

Time to get to the clearing…

She trekked, well more like floated, through the forest. A soft smile resting upon her face as she moved onward, softly wading through the lush tree branches, taking care none scratched her along the way. She wondered if this feeling of peace would be magnified once she made it to the clearing; more importantly, would this feeling be long lasting? Her moments of peace and happiness were often fleeting; her only lasting feeling was that of an insatiable hunger.

That feeling of an insatiable hunger for more…

Whatever she had, wherever she was, whoever she was with… it was never enough. It was never where she wanted to be, it was never right. Hence, the current journey to the clearing. She had read enough about the place to know this would be it; the place to fill the void in her heart, soul, and stomach. It would satiate her, hopefully even more than that.

She just had to get there first.