Everyone has had that confident feeling when they find something that comes naturally to them. For my entire life I’ve been kind of good at a number of things. I’ve been a jack of all trades and a master of none. I’ve been trying to find my niche as far as talent goes. I’ve been trying to find that one thing that I stand out in. I’m definitely a creative writer. I’m a poet and a lyricist.

I’ve been writing poetry for close to 10 years. I didn’t start out great, but after a few years I produced poetry that I was really proud of. With this I felt this sense of accomplishment. I finally had a craft that I could call my own. At one point in time, I had an entire notebook filled. It’s neat to look back at old poems before they were fully crafted into the final, flawless product. The handwriting is messy and there are things scribbled out all over the page. There are doodles from times when I was brainstorming. The pages are ripped and crinkled and folded over. They are my thoughts in the most raw form. They are the art of a process.


In the summer of 2010, I got to combine writing with my love of singing. This was probably the most amazing I’ve ever felt. The sense of pride was overwhelming. Never have I produced something so awesome that effortlessly. It was a late night in August when Aaron came over and started to play guitar. We were going to try the whole band thing out. I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I never really tried to write a song. The format of a poem was so much different. There was no verse/chorus structure. I wan’t used to that. I was excited, but certainly no overconfident. I was also a bit nervous because he had only heard me sing a couple of other times.


He started to play this really neat guitar riff, and the words just started flying out of me. It was almost an automatic response. The words came out instantly along with a great melody. It was this euphoric feeling. I was on cloud nine. My mind was clear of everything except for being in this perfect moment and feeling like a gifted person. My head was filled with the song. We did a quick, rough phone recording that I played about a hundred times, and then eventually recorded for real. We are going to go back and record it with higher grade equipment pretty soon since I literally sung into my computer mic to record. The recording was a little rough and It was a little more of a  “pop” sound than we were going for, but it was good and it was catchy! Sometimes we would show people and they would get the song stuck in their heads. It was a feel good song that everyone generally tended to like. It was definitely a good first step. It was a stepping stone closer to being a musician. I’ve never been so in one moment before. I’ve never been so in a moment that I couldn’t think about anything else but the moment that I’m in. Not until after I wrote “Johnny Sunshine” with Aaron.  



I sat down in a swing next to you. You played notes, resonating in my mind. The kind of resonating that shakes the soul. It was the sound of Music. I was shy, hesitant to share my notes after hearing yours. Your song was so powerful that it devoured my thoughts.


You were shy. You didn’t talk much, but I felt like I knew you. As I listened to every note, I wanted to learn more and I got my wish. Thinking back, it started with notes, and lead to long, late night walks under the stars. When I got the courage to share my notes you described them as beautiful. 


Shared was a piece of me and a piece of you. The things that find us when we aren’t looking. 




I avoid sidewalk cracks to focus my attention elsewhere. I notice everything. The scattered dandelions spread across the large squares. Strands of grass peak through the cracks. Intricate designs lie where the concrete splits, and imperfect lines where the weeds do fit. No two squares are the same on this block.

If I look up you’ll glance in my direction. You’ll give such a heavy exchange. Your eyes are filled with dense hope, such innocence, and such care. Do you notice the care I put into each graceful step. I’m so painfully aware. How do you ease into a matter such as this?


For the first time in my life I would welcome oblivion. It would be pure sweet bliss not to know what I know. My dandelion wish. Your smile is so lovely and unknowing. It is so pure and so sweet. It is clear. You are still in this. I’ve been out for some time. For so long it faded for no reason or rhyme.






The Edge of the World

My cousin Domenica and I have remained very close throughout the years. We are very close in age and grew up together as best friends. We used to blow bubbles in our chocolate milk and impersonate bugs bunny when we ate cheese doodles saying, “What’s up doc?” We have done so many silly things in our lives including putting pillows in our belly to copy our pregnant aunt. We have been there for each other through thick and thin.

Domenica and I would often play with barbies and little plastic dogs, carefully picking each one we wanted to play with and making them each characters with voices. At large family gatherings we would go off into the other room by ourselves and sometimes with our other cousins and just play. Now, at family gatherings, we talk about life, love, college, and plans for the future. We grew up quickly. At these family gatherings, we used to look at each other and say these exact words: “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” This always meant “We should have a sleepover tonight !” To this the other would respond “I know what you’re thinking!” That’s when we would have a big sleepover if our parents would allow it. At least half of the time they did.

I’ll never forget one of the first few times I went over to Domenica’s house as a kid. I’ll never forget the first time I saw “The Edge of the World.” While I was over, my Aunt MT and Uncle Mike would say “Do you want to see the edge of the world?” At that age I was so curious and fascinated by the idea, full of wonder and amazement. The idea of seeing the edge of the world was huge to me. I always agreed. I knew it wasn’t really the edge of the world, but that’s not what it was about to me. I got in the car, and we drove to the edge of the world almost every time I was over. It was at the top of this hill that looked like it was 100 miles high and incredibly steep. It always felt like we were on a roller coaster and we treated it that way. Right when we got to the almost tippy top, my Uncle Mike would say “Are you ready to see the edge of the world? Here it comes.” There was a point on the top of the hill where you couldn’t see anything past it. It really looked like the edge of the world. It looked like if you went any further you would fall off of the edge. It was one of the most neat experiences of my childhood. On the way down the big hill, we always put our hands up like we were on a roller coaster. The edge of the world: one of my favorite childhood destinations.



My cousin Domenica in blue, cousin Maria and Aunt MT and Uncle Mike<3

Too Cool

Have you ever had the feeling that someone was talking about you? You could never know for sure in that moment, right? Unless someone came out and told you. You might hear whispers, see fingers pointed in your direction, or notice eyes on you that look away nonchalantly when you take notice. You wonder if you’re paranoid or if your suspicions are true. You play it over in your head a million times ironing out every little detail. You think “Well, it could have been the person next to me. Maybe they were pointing at the old wall behind me.” You go back and forth a hundred times not knowing if you are right to believe what you believe or not.

It’s tough to be a girl in middle school. Everyone starts to overanalyze who their friends should be. Everyone starts to rule out tiny flaws in people and deem them as unworthy of a friendship. If you had glasses, braces, or frizzy hair you were considered to be weird and people stayed away from you. It is a little intimidating not to know where you stand with your friends and that they can cast you aside at any moment and replace you with some flawless looking person. It was always about the looks which were based on how a person dressed and his/her hairstyle.

In 5th grade, I started to fall out with my friends who were labeled as the “preppy, popular girls.” As they changed, I started to become pretty intimidated by the clothes they wore which were always name brand, and the attitudes they carried, which were always snobby. I became very quiet, not wanting to say one wrong thing after saying a couple of wrong things and getting weird looks from these girls. I just totally shut down, and kept to myself. For a week straight, I didn’t say one word in a conversation, thinking that “if I don’t talk, I can’t mess things up.” After a couple weeks of saying little to nothing at every lunch break we had they began to act as though I wasn’t even there, rather than asking if there was something wrong. I became totally ignored, as I awkwardly sat with these girls where I clearly did not belong. 

One day, something really big happened. It’s the kind of thing that you might brush off if you’re grown up, but in middle school, this “something” was pretty overwhelming to me. I sat down with these girls and remained quiet for another time before classes started one morning. We all wait outside the halls talking before classes starts in the same spots we had sat in each day that school year. It’s about a 20 minute wait. During this time the usual things happened. I remained pretty quiet again and no one noticed that I was there. Finally one of the girls said “Does anyone like Kristen?” and one of the girls said “Oh, I don’t know.” One girl remained silent. One girl said “No, I don’t think so” and the girl who asked the question said “Oh, well, me neither.” 


There was probably never another moment in my life where I felt as small and insignificant as in that moment. I wonder what someone gets out of that kind of torture. If something like that happened to me now I would have confronted the person or turned to the good friends in my life. At that time these were the only people I knew and I felt trapped. I continued to sit with these girls for some reason, until one day I saw an old friend of mine that I hadn’t talked to in at least a year and decided to sit with her at lunch. She thought that I was using her because I didn’t have a friend left to lean on. In reality, I did miss her and I wanted to reconnect. The following day, I didn’t want my old friend to think I was using her, so I tried to sit with the girls who had talked about me like I wasn’t there. I sat down and one of them said “Why are you sitting here?” I got up and walked away…..crushed.


Once in a while this series of events still runs through my mind. I think “where did I go wrong?”  The answer, is that I did nothing wrong. I was just a kid trying to fit in with the wrong people. What they didn’t realize is that stuff like this stays with a person for a very long time. I feel as though this series of events has caused there to be some small, eternal source of doubt or insecurity about myself deep down inside. I am an incredibly confident person, don’t get me wrong, but this thing just won’t let go sometimes. If it had happened much later on in my life, I would have been upset, but not as influenced by it. As a kid, things tend to sink in a little more. The thing to remember is that no matter what has happened to you, someone else has gone through it, and someone else has gone through worse. No one is alone.

Bad Kids

My Grandpa Murphy was a little different from my Grandpa DiNigro. They were both great men. My grandpa Murphy was full of stories. He had such a great sense of humor. He lived in Aliquippa, PA. He would come up to visit 4-5 times a year. He always stayed at my house when he came up. He would make my mom, dad and I waffles every morning.

He always found something fun to do with us. He would take us to the park, the movies, the mall, the dollar store, the herkimer diamond mine and many other places. He was definitely way more talkative than my grandpa DiNigro. The one rule of all of my cousins and I was not to get Grandpa Murphy upset. If you were misbehaving he wouldn’t be afraid to discipline you! You did not want to feel his wrath.

Me and my cousin Brittani are pretty close because were a year apart and have pretty similar interests. Brittani and I used to go everywhere with Grandpa Murphy. We would even spend the night at each others houses. One particular night she slept over my house and we got up and went with grandpa in the afternoon after he watched The Price is Right. We had a wonderful day. We went to the movies and the the dollar store. On the way home we had apparently decided that we didn’t have quite enough fun yet. Ate the ripe ages of 10 and 11 we were feeling mischievous. To this day I don’t remember whose idea it was, but we both decided to do something pretty bold. One of us said to the other “Let’s fake being sick.” My grandpa was driving us home that night and we had been very quiet the whole time just whispering to each other and talking about what  we got at the dollar store, just examining it all very carefully. Out of no where one of us said “Grandpa, I don’t feel so good” and the other said “Me, neither.” My grandpa panicked. He says “Oh shoot, do you think you’re going to throw up?” We had each told him that we felt like we were going to throw up. He turned around really quick and parked in a parking lot.

Brittani and I had no idea what to do. We hadn’t thought that far into what would happen. We just thought it would be funny to fake being sick. Grandpa was running into the grocery store to get us Pepto Bismol, when our guilt set in. I guess we didn’t think he would take it too seriously and we felt bad that he was in a panic trying to get us not to throw up. One of us said to him before he left the car ,”We were just kidding, we aren’t really sick. Sorry grandpa.” After we said that, he was pretty furious. He yelled at us and told us never to do that again. We were pretty scared. We didn’t speak a word the whole way home. Not one of the three of us. I have never been on a more quite car ride than the one that night. I will never forget that day.


Here is is a picture of my Grandpa M. He has his arms around(from left to right) my brother, my cousin Holly, my cousin Brittani, and me) =)