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In the words of the great Taylor Swift...

I wanna be defined

by the things that I love.

I love my friends, my partner, music, animals (especially my special needs dog Jackie), gardening, emotional vulnerability, and telling stories that make people smile. I have been telling stories as long as I can remember. There is a video from my brother's 10th birthday party where he is waiting to blow out his candles until I finish improving a song. I am 4 years old, standing on my dad's chair at the head of the table, and singing in a cheerful voice "and then fire came down, and it burned down the whole town, and who was scared? It's Grandma." The song was no doubt inspired by the blazing birthday candles before me. Even at that young age, I was a little bit morbid, but somehow still joyful.

I continued writing stories in different forms throughout my childhood. I wrote the beginnings of a novel when I was 11. In middle school, I would create short films about my classmates using the animate feature in Microsoft Powerpoint. The films were just little drawings sliding around the screen, but my classmates loved them.

My childhood wasn't easy, and stories gave me a way to escape. I grew up in a military household in Tennessee's bible belt where the status quo is: you grow up, go to college, get married, have kids, work, and grow old.  I don't fit into the South's version of an ideal woman. I've had symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder since I was 12, and I always felt like I needed to protect myself from the men around me. When everything felt too hard, I could put on some music and sing a song, or I could turn on the TV and pretend I was somewhere else for a little while.

Telling stories as a form as escapism is so engrained into my nature, that I can't imagine a life where I hadn't grown up to tell stories in some way.  Originally, my career plan was to become a pop star by winning American Idol. Then I was going to be a broadway actress. My plans changed during my senior year of high school when I developed drug induced lupus. The disease - a rare reaction to an acne medication I was on - filled my joints with fluid. It became difficult to walk, and until I got my diagnosis, I had no idea if the condition was going to last for the rest of my life. It felt like the only thing I could do was watch television. I was more depressed if I'd ever been, and I thought I was going to be stuck in Tennessee forever.

Luckily, when I stopped the medication, my symptoms went away. Suddenly I could do anything I wanted. I could go anywhere I wanted. I turned to the thing that got me through my disease: television. I decided to become a television writer, and I moved to Chicago where I studied television writing and producing at Columbia College Chicago. I worked nonstop to ensure I wouldn't have to go back to Tennessee when I graduated, and I graduated a year early Summa Cum Laude. For my last semester, I participated in CCC's Semester in LA program, and I moved permanently to LA upon graduation. 

Now I work full-time in animation production, and I write stories that bring me joy. I believe that if I write stories that I love and connect with, those stories will naturally connect with other people. I veer towards animation as a medium because that's the world that I live in Monday-Friday although I enjoy live action and animation equally. I don't write solely for one age group because I believe compelling stories can be told to any demographic. I write stories with emotional heart because I believe that entertainment, before anything else, is a form of human connection. Sometimes that means connecting through laughter. Sometimes that means connecting through tears. I believe that television and film can make the world a better place if we fully utilize these mediums to share our unique stories and perspectives. Most of all, I believe that we are not the bad things that have happened to us. We are the things we love.

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