Say My Name.

My dad was a big skier.  

Growing up in a small desert town just one hour away from the magnificent Mammoth Mountain, he flew down the slopes as a kid and skipped school whenever the opportunity arose, in favor of being a ski bum.

And it looks as if his passion for skiing filtered all the way down to his kids; in particular, our names.

I’m not a skier, let’s just get that straight.

Memories of failed attempts at trying to get out of the snowplow position has forever left me leery of trying my footing on a pair of skis. Add that to my dislike for the cold and fear of falling from my height and you’ve got yourself a most content apres ski bum.

But I was named after skis.

As was my brother and sister.

Before we were born, my parents wanted names for their kids that were unique and different, not your average Tom, Dick, and Harry. So my dad, having a love and interest for the sport of skiing, suggested a few.

Sven was one. Nordica, Chamonix, and Ingemar were a few others, and after some deliberation, a name was finally picked out for me:


Named after a ski brand with the slogan Experience the Excitement! I was always pleased with my name, despite not living up to the slope expectations of a family of ski fanatics (which was mostly my dad).

Growing up with a name that did not come close to matching those of my peers was something I celebrated. I already stood out in stature, in dress, and in personality, so why not have the name to match?

What I didn’t know though, was that unbeknownst to my parents, my name eventually became something far more representative than a ski brand, for it began to epitomize who I was and who I was becoming.

The etymology of my name dates back to the 19th century. From original Latin “lanceare” meaning “to throw (a lance)”, the word “elan” was filtered down to the French version, which eventualy resulted in a a new definition meaning to spring, bound, impetus.

Upon further study, I found that my name embodied a whole lot of characteristics that beautifully matched my being.

Dash, ardor, animation, flair, pizazz, oomph, panache, spirit, style, verve, vigor, vim, zest, zing, brio, spirit, enthusiasm, distinctive and stylish elegance, all of these words described me.

All my life, I’ve believed in embracing what makes me different. When I dance, I don’t dance, I perform. When I write, I’m not just a writer, I’m a storyteller. When I talk I don’t talk, I entertain. When I dress, I don’t just put clothes on my body, I express myself.

As I become more and more fascinated with this profound association between me and my name, the more I fall in love with the title I had been graced with when I was born.

I had always loved how unique my name was, even looked forward to the botched attempts of role call and getting the opportunity to proudly correct them with the right pronunciation (I’ve gotten Ellen, Ewan, Elin, Mulan, and my favorite- Edna). Because it was as though all of my uniqueness was served with a perfectly poised and appropriate title.

I’ve recently begun to incorporate what my name means into my future, and in particular, my brand.

Not the ski brand I was named after (though how kick arse would it be to have my personal slogan be ELAN- Experience the Excitement!), but my personal brand as a writer and as a woman.

The definitions I listed above are all qualities that come from within, which is a theme of mine when it comes to self-expression and loving who you are from the inside out. To be able to have a name that’s directly in line with the qualities I embody and am passionate about is something that consciously and subconsciously keeps me on the right track with my own core personal values.

It’s turned into an embrace, a celebration, and now, an ownership.

I own my name because it reminds me of the acceptance of who I am and the celebration of all my distinctive differences.

Having elan is about having style and panache. And it doesn’t describe someone’s physical appearance, it defines characteristics that come from beneath the surface.

While I may never be the next Ingemar Stenmark, or the new Mikaela Sciffrin, I am the proud owner of the name “Elan”.

And I am really feelin’ it.

Or should I say, fe-elan it?



A Love Letter.

Once u-pun a time (because no story by Elan has ever been started without a pun), a young woman wrote a letter.

The letter was written for a boy, and though nothing became of the letter, she became fond of the idea of being the recipient of such a personal note.

Remembering how it was handmade, crafted with care, written in sloppy cursive, and sealed with a good luck kiss and a spritz of her signature perfume, her hand itched to write another.

Misplaced in the mail, or received and thrown out, the letter was lost in transition, but was not lost in the girl’s heart.

Inspired by her work, and disappointed with the lack of suitors sending letters her way, she decided to write herself her own letter. ‘Twas to be no ordinary letter though, but a love letter.

The day was Valentine’s, and in the midst of marketed messages teasing her about her single status, she decided to treat herself to a day of love; for in her eyes, the best love she had ever had was that to which she gave herself.

And so she wrote.

Curled up in her newest pink 1960’s penoir set, hair done up from a trip to the salon, she poured herself a glass of rose, lit a candle, and set about writing her love letter.

my love,

what a beautiful day it is. you’re awake, you’re alive, and its your special day. ‘twat do we have planned? i hope that when you wake up, the birds sing to you as you get dressed and the sun shines through your window, because i know how much you adore waking up like Sleeping Beauty.

take a good look in the mirror and tell me what you see. sleepy eyes, long luscious locks cascading down your shoulders and over your chest, a shy smile forms itself across your face as you notice you noticing yourself. your legs touch and you feel the smoothness of them from a luscious bath the night before. the day is optimistic and you pull aside your closet doors and direct your eyes to the reds and pinks.

your phone buzzes, but you needn’t check who it is, because it’s not who you long it to be. he hasn’t texted. i hope you remember what we talked about? as rupi kaur puts it best: “do not bother holding on to that thing that does not want you. you cannot make it stay.” this is a day of love, not hopeless pining.

heart skipping a beat as you think of the day ahead, you get dressed, enjoying the luxury of slipping into clothes that make you feel so good. confident and sure of yourself, i anticipate you leave the house in search of coffee.

coffee is fuel for your soul, and because it’s Valentine’s Day, i know you’ll treat yourself to something extra special (dare i say white mocha?). a breakfast so special that it warrants a trip to the Moose Is Loose Bakery, where i see you standing by the cases in your striking outfit pointing to the biggest apple fritter you can see.

passing by couples, you try and accept and embrace their happiness instead of comparing yourself to their chapters. you try not to be jealous because you know you’ve also got a lover waiting for you at home, a lover who knows, appreciates, and pleases you more intimately than anyone you’ve ever known.

i know you spend the rest of the day treating yourself to simple pleasures: a bouquet of roses to put on your bedside table, a slow dance in your bedroom, arms wrapped around your waist as you soak in your own sexiness.

you end the day alone, but not lonely.

you settle in for the night reflecting on where you are in life and think of ways to encourage others to do the same. though you’re on the edge of insecurity, susceptible to painful memories of disappointing days in which you went through yet another February 14th without a Valentine, i know you’re strong.

you’ll take that unique perspective and use it to help change how the world perceives love, in its many variations and forms.

specifically, how you believe love is expressed in ways that aren’t just between romantic partners. how it’s also expressed through family, friends, and most importantly: oneself.

in a world learning to accept self-love as necessary and not selfish, you smile at how you cared for your special self on this day: body, mind, and spirit.

you’ve interpreted love to be a declaration of self-acceptance, and that is brave.

do i sense the desire to cry?

let those tears out. trust what your body is telling you, you’re only human.

you’re still insecure, but why?

i get it. you’re a woman who craves attention, validation, and intimacy with another but you’re forgetting that you hold all of those things within yourself. i know the world’s convinced you to look to another for completion, but you have to learn that you’ve got the power to please, the power to love, and the power to accept yourself as whole already.

it’s a process and it takes time. as you work through it, work through the days in which you fall back into old patterns and fall for the Prince Charmings who hand you poison apples instead of glass slippers, remember the one love who remained by your side through it all.


your love.