Joy and pain—the two words I most closely associate with Baltimore and my time at City Paper, which are inseparable for me. Joy in seeing my byline for the first time as an intern at the old Park Avenue office; pain in the impostor syndrome that often comes with being a young woman in a male-dominated industry. Joy in receiving keen mentorship from editors Brandon Soderberg, Karen Houppert, and Baynard Woods (who hired me back when I was too young to even drink with the staff after wrapping each issue or attend the Best of Baltimore party) that no degree could match; pain in the necessary and ongoing struggle to define and respect my own voice. Joy in experiencing great art; pain in exposure to terrible art. Joy in getting to work with great writers like Lisa Snowden-McCray, Brandon Weigel, Anna Walsh, Edward Ericson Jr., Kenneth Stone Breckenridge, all our freelancers, and of course my regular co-writer Rebekah Kirkman (who tolerates both working and living with me, Christ); pain in having to copyedit all their fucking misplaced commas. Joy in seeing our stories take on new life with the photography of Joe Giordano, Reginald Thomas II, and others and the illustration and design work of Charlie Herrick and Athena Towery; pain in seeing those images sometimes disserviced by our printing. Joy in being sent out to report on exhilarating-if-not-intimidating events like Art Basel in Miami and the DNC in Philadelphia; pain in having to turn out a paper, working sometimes till sunrise, at times when it felt like my life was being pulled out from under me. Joy in keeping up with the city’s art happenings and nightlife; pain—so much pain— in the deadening monotony of writing the calendar listings week after week. Joy in writing something so fun and ridiculous as a round-up of the sexiest depictions of Jesus Christ at The Walters (and having the trusting editors to let me do something so dumb); pain in reporting on something so demoralizing as a vigil for yet another slain transgender Baltimorean. Joy in writing about such a beautiful city; pain in writing about such a frustrating city.