About the Title

I write to make sense of my experiences. When I think of a word that encapsulates why I’m here, why I’m writing down my story, “Excelsior” stands at the forefront.


When I found “Excelsior,”

I was a junior in high school, and I was a mess.

The winter of 2015 was a dark, lonely time for me. I often spent nights alone, buried in the stories that brought me solace.

On a particularly cold night, I cocooned myself in a blanket and watched Silver Linings Playbook. The main character, Pat Solitano (played by Bradley Cooper), is an eternally optimistic man fighting bi-polar disorder. He looks for the silver linings in a life that constantly tries to send him the other way.

His mantra, repeated throughout the movie, is “Excelsior.”

It’s the motto of the state of New York, and it translates from Latin to mean, “ever upward.”

The movie became background noise in my mind once I captured the word. I researched it, wrote it down, forced it to set up camp in the “favorite words” area of my brain.

I wasn’t sure why it clicked with me so much at the time, but I was determined to never forget it.

Now, I refer to that night as a “Jesus moment.”

God showed me that night, in the midst of a dark place, that if I just looked up, there would be light. And there was.

I try now to never look down. To live life “ever upward.”

Upward. In the direction of the heavens.

That night watching Silver Linings Playbook, Jesus was whispering to me through “Excelsior.” I believe he was saying, “Look up, child, I’m here.”

The word has reminded me time and time again in my life to keep looking up.