National Review

Saying Goodbye

(via YouTube)
Thank you, NR, for taking a chance on me, for supporting me.

I’ve always been a little awkward, especially when it comes to goodbyes, so I’m just going to come right out and say it:

I have officially accepted a full-time position at Fox News — and so, my time writing for National Review has come to an end.

To say that I am grateful for the nearly six years I’ve spent working here would be a massive understatement. My dad had a National Review subscription when I was a kid, and if you’d told me at the time that I’d someday see my own name on the cover, I probably would have slapped you in the face. (I’m glad this didn’t happen; I was grounded enough as it was.)

I’ll never forget the day I found out that Rich Lowry and the then-publisher Jack Fowler decided to take a chance on a strange little 25-year-old blogger and comedian. This news came after multiple in-person interviews over the span of several months — a time period during which I thought of little else other than how badly I wanted the job and how terrified I was that I’d somehow blow it. At the time, I was living in a filthy (and often-infested) apartment in East Harlem, wondering if I’d really made the right choice in trying to pursue my dreams in such an unforgiving city, and so desperate for someone to just give me a shot.

I knew that I’d been given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity — to write for an iconic publication alongside some of the most brilliant writers alive. I knew that, as long as I didn’t blow it, this was going to have a huge impact on my professional life.

What I didn’t know, though, was just how big of a difference it would make in my personal life as well.

See, my first day at National Review was July 31, 2014 — just three months before my mom died. Her illness was, of course, a totally traumatic time for me, but I was nervous about showing any of this stress at my new office. I didn’t want to make anyone uncomfortable, so I kept it quiet for as long as I could. After my mother’s until-then mysterious symptoms were finally formally diagnosed as cardiac amyloidosis, though, I knew that I had to say something.

I asked Rich and Jack (who were, at the time, little more than strangers to me) to talk, and we sat down together in a conference room. I remember being so intent on keeping it together during this conversation; I still didn’t want to make anyone uneasy.

It didn’t work. Not even close! I couldn’t even get out the first sentence without not just crying, but actually, violently sobbing, the kind where you’re struggling to get your words out or even to breathe. It’s always weird to have anyone see you like that, let alone your bosses at your new job — but their outpouring of absolute, sincere support and compassion at that moment showed me that the place I had just begun working was even more special than I’d thought. Not only was I wrong to worry that they might seem uncomfortable, but they also managed to make me feel more at ease than I ever thought I could have in such a situation.

Both of them told me, of course, that I could take off as much time as I wanted, but I opted to keep working as some kind of distraction. Throughout those few weeks (yes, she declined far more quickly than anyone expected), I was splitting my time between New York City (where I’d come to the office, and do whatever guest spots on Fox News that I could) and Boston, where my mother was being treated.

During this time, I continued to be blown away by their efforts to help me — hotel rooms in Boston, train tickets so that I wouldn’t have to schlep on the bus — but, still, I was nervous about accepting anything. I would always politely decline. Then, after a particularly horrible incident where the bus broke down on my trip back from Boston, just hours after my mom had been admitted to the ICU, I didn’t have that choice anymore. Shortly afterward, I got an email from Rich’s wife, Vanessa, simply informing me that their Amtrak points had been transferred to me.

I will forever be thankful for National Review — not only because I know that I personally wouldn’t be where I am without it, but also because of what it adds to our country’s discourse as a whole. After all, the character and integrity that I witnessed on a personal level as an employee is also reflected externally in the publication’s content.

National Review is a “conservative” magazine, sure — but the varying viewpoints that it publishes prove that it’s committed to principles over partisanship. National Review is a place where writers value truth over politics. They use logic to come to their honestly sought conclusions, rather than twisting it to fit a cookie-cutter preconceived narrative. I’m honored to have been a part of it, and I promise to approach all of my future work in the same way.

Speaking of my future, I am beyond thrilled for the new opportunities in this next chapter of my career. I hope that all of you who have enjoyed reading me here (thank you!) will continue to read my columns at FoxNews.com. (If you didn’t enjoy reading me here, but still sometimes felt compelled to do so just to tell me how much you hated it, feel free to keep that going, too.)

Thanks again, so much, NR. Thank you for taking a chance on me, for supporting me, for letting me use my desk area at the old office as some kind of bizarre storage unit — for everything.

I can’t wait to keep reading.

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