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I made a promise to myself. It’s time to return to your regularly scheduled programming, which means there will be more posts on this blog. The thing is, I have a lot of opinions, thoughts, and randomness that goes through my head and they don’t necessarily all belong on Twitter.

Rather, they deserve to have a proper platform, which means – hello old friend, my dear personal blog – are you ready for my return?

This blog isn’t to add pieces to my writing portfolio. It won’t be polished. It won’t talk about work (that’s for the biz blog). It will at times be frivolous. More often than not, it won’t be super thought provoking. I bet you there will be lots of GIFs, streams of consciousness, broken sentences, and sometimes, grammar rules thrown out the window. This is my safe space (very publicly available safe space). If you’ve only been around for the past 2 years, you’re probably used to the big, huge, life-changing posts full of life lessons and insights. If you’ve been reading my blogs since Myspace days, you…well, you know how random my mind is. I create a ton of polished articles for my clients. I will create thought provoking content for my business blog.

This…is my playground.

Back to the topic at hand, or rather, top of my mind. [click to continue…]

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The Big Move

As I type this blog, my brother is in his car, somewhere in Illinois, making the big drive to Seattle. In the car is his girlfriend and puppy (OK, big puppy who’s a full-grown, 7 year old husky). A few hours ago, I picked up the keys to their new apartment and did the move-in inspection.

“You guys must be close,” the leasing agent told me.

We are. My brother is my whole world. Being on the other side of the country from him for the past 3 years have been the most difficult part of being in Seattle. When they visited me last June, all I wanted was for him to fall in love with Seattle the way I did.

He did. They did. The conversation about their move began. Just like there was a part of that feared that I would never actually get to leave DC, there’s always been a part of me that feared they wouldn’t actually move.

BUT HERE THEY ARE. [click to continue…]

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A Seaside Getaway

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What happens when two writers decided to have a weekend getaway and their first real bonding experience as friends?

Not as much writing as you would think.

When Jessica and I planned this little getaway, life was kind of kicking both of our butts. We’ve been working a ton, she’s got a toddler, and me – well, I’m a hot mess. We promised that this would be a relaxing weekend full of laughter, bonding, drinking, and sleep. Lots of sleep.

What I didn’t expect is just how much we’d bond, and how she would just bring out the ridiculously silly side of me. As one of the first friends I made in Seattle (thanks Twitter), and as a fellow writer, Jess holds a special place in my heart. I was a little worried because we’d never spent 1:1 time that lasted more than our Restaurant Week dinners.

“What if she hates me? What if I’m annoying? OMG WHAT IF WE RUN OUT OF THINGS TO TALK ABOUT? WHAT IF I TALK TOO MUCH? OH MY GOD” [click to continue…]

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A Glimmer

I smiled. It was the kind of smile that I knew reached my eyes, the kind that made my cheeks hurt. There were smiles, and giggles, and full on laughter. 

My last post brought a lot of you out of the woodwork. People who have known me for years, and those of you who have just met me were concerned. To be honest, I am too. I’ve spent the last 14 years sharing my world, fears, silly thoughts, and everything in between with the world. In the last 14 years, nothing has come close to what I shared last week.

The good news is that I’m not hiding inside my own head. I’m trying to make an effort to let people in. The bad news is that it’s a lot to ask, not everyone has the right answers, and at the end of the day, there’s really nothing the people in my life can do or say. They can just be.

And they are. You are. I appreciate it fully, even if I can’t always show it.

The tricky part about having a personal blog is how much I want to share with the world. It’s tricky because the uncomfortable truths turn people away. Reading about someone else’s inner turmoil makes us uncomfortable. It makes us feel helpless. It makes us uneasy. Sometimes though, it reminds us we’re not alone.

I write for myself, and I write for those who need to identify. I write as a cry for help. I write to show the cracks in the foundation. I write to illustrate the turn in the tide. I write to remind myself it’s OK to share.

Back to the glimmer of light that briefly appeared last week. It was unexpected. For a night, I felt like myself. Briefly.

It was enough to help me see that there’s hope. I will find my way back to healing, little by little.

It comes down to patience – with myself, and hopefully, from those in my life as I try and fail and try again to be alright.

Uncomfortable

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Listen, can we please collectively ask 2016 to take a chill pill? It started out so blissfully hopeful. I was actually happy. Not even two weeks into the new year, the Universe realized that I was a little too happy and went “Oh, hey, hold your horses. Let’s crumble the foundation of everything making you happy right now. There goes the bliss.”

2016 is trying to dethrone 2006 as the Worst Year of My Life. 

I have spent more nights in 2016 crying myself to sleep so far than I did in all of 2015. My lows have never been lower. My anxiety is so bad that I have been just going through the motions. My heart is shattered into pieces so small that I’m not sure if putting them back together is possible.

I get up in the morning.

I usually make it out of bed, though out of the house is questionable.

I tried to explain this numbness to a friend of mine. I couldn’t. I felt like I was going in circles. I feel like trying to explain the turmoil going on in the deepest parts of my soul is an impossible task, which fucking sucks.

Because I can no longer handle this alone. I cannot. I feel helpless. I feel utterly useless. I feel like my soul is just kind of drifting, anchored to this life, but at the same time, so disconnected. I’ve been low before.  I’ve hit rock bottom and found escape at the bottom of the bottle.

This is something new.

In the past, hitting a low point meant I threw myself into destructive habits.

Now? I don’t even care enough for that. There is no escape. There is no light. There is no need to try to numb myself because that’s all there is.

So I go through the motions. I focus on work. I focus on breathing. I focus on feeding my cat. I remind myself to shower. Sometimes I remember to eat. There are a handful of people who I can tolerate to be around because they don’t require energy from me. I can just be.

I’m trying to find a corner to turn, but everything I try to hold on to is black and smooth. There are no places to hold on to. I just keep falling back down into darkness.

It’s now February. January was a fluke. This is the real start of the year.

The tears keep coming.

Did you know human beings are inherently selfish creatures? Even when we have the absolute best intentions, there’s no such thing as being 100% altruistic. We want things to turn out the way we want them.

My friends want to help, but they don’t understand that their best intentions aren’t always right.

I get exhausted.

I am exhausted.

I am drained.

I want to survive. I want to eventually get back to living. I want to nurture – myself. And then others.

I can no longer put others first. But I do. I consider every possible outcome. I play every scenario in my head. I try to be the strong person they’re used to.

I’m not.

I’m broken into a million pieces, and they’re all flipped upside down.

I put on the necklace and the ring with the reminders I need when I look down.

I see a glimmer of light.

Maybe that’s just the darkness playing tricks on me.

I give up.

I wake up.

I start again.

 

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Is This Thing On?

I spent an embarrassing amount of time reading through some of my older blog posts, trying to remember my own voice. That’s the funny thing about turning your passion projects into your career. You start writing and creating strategies for your clients, and next thing you know, you look up, it’s 2 years down the line and you’ve forgotten how to write a headline for your personal blog.

Where do you even begin?

Mid-conversation, as if nothing’s happened?

Do I just dump a bunch of GIFs into a post?

Maybe make a list.

10 Ways 2016 Has Sucked So Far

7 Times I Failed at Life

20 Reasons I Never Want to Move Again

3 Shows I Binge-Watch Repeatedly

30 Quirks You Hate to Love

12 Things I’m Tired of Explaining About Myself

5 People I Miss So Much, It Hurts

4 Things That Have Distracted Me Since I Began Writing This Post

Where was I?

Right. Trying to get back into writing. Blogging. Remembering my voice. Reminding myself of the reasons I love to share and how in my personal space, there’s no need for rhyme or reason. No worries about scheduling. No end goal.

The only end goal is to write.

Share.

Purge.

Engage.

Rinse.

Repeat.

So, I’m going to try to do that more. If you’ve been sticking around, I hope it’ll be worth it.

Oh and here’s a GIF of Tina Belcher, my hero.

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2015: The Year of the #DirtyThirty

I started writing this post in December, when I realized that January is no longer my true north when it comes to new beginnings. There’s no distinction between 11:59 PM on December 31 and 12:01 AM on January 1st. My life has become a fluid evolution of growth, fear, understanding, adventure, and being bold.

There seems to be, however, another time of year that has had a common thread running through it my entire life. It wasn’t until this past month that I finally made the connection.

On December 18, 1995, my family and I got on a plane for a new life in a new country.

December 1, 2006, a seed was planted for what would become my life’s mission.

December 21, 2012, I got in my car and drove cross-country to a fresh start with no real plan.

December 7, 2015, I started a new project at a new company, the biggest challenge in my career so far. The one that has me lying awake at night, wondering if I can truly do this.

I’m sure there are other days, other moments, that have made a difference in my life in Decembers throughout the years. I’m not saying I will treat every December like a fresh start, but I plan on respecting the thread and the decisions I’ve made throughout the years.

But about 2015… [click to continue…]

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From the bottom of my heart

There’s a little pawn shop on 15th street. It’s an unassuming little pawn shop tucked away on a busy street. I drive by it often, and I don’t always notice it but I know it’s there. Just two short years ago, I frequented that little pawn shop when I needed to put together money for rent. I didn’t have much, you see: a couple of small diamond earrings, one white gold necklace with a broken clasp – but those few dollars I got for them made a difference. I’m glad that little pawn shop is there, on a street that’s part of my everyday life, because it reminds me how far I’ve come.

Not that I could ever forget.

Three years ago today, I was still trapped in a miserable situation in DC when I was supposed to already be in Seattle, celebrating Thanksgiving with friends.

Shortly after moving to Seattle, I hit rock bottom – hard. I lost the only friends I had here, my brother was thousands of miles away, and I came this close to being evicted.

It feels like I’ve fit multiple lifetimes into three short years. Three short years full of ups and incredible downs, challenging friendships, new friendships, new opportunities which came with their own set of failures. I’ve struggled hard core with my body image and still do every day. I’ve learned to be OK with not being OK. I’ve learned to ask for help. I’ve learned that most days, I’m the only one who thinks I’m not worth a damn and I should stop that. I’ve had my heart broken in more ways than one.

Thank you for accepting me as I am- A hyper, crazy cat lady obsessed with penguins, all sorts of fandoms, books, sharing moments, friendships, and of course, Friends. heading [click to continue…]

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(I posted this on my FB the morning after the Nov. 13, 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris. I wanted it to have a permanent home, so here it is.)

I don’t talk about my religion and faith a lot, mainly because I firmly believe that it’s something very personal. There are moments in the aftermath of tragedies that compel me to defend myself. Defend my belief. Defend my religion. I feel compelled to remind people that terrorists don’t represent our religion, and by definition, they only use violence to instill fear in others. When I see articles and tweets of Muslims from around the world defending our religion, my initial response isn’t pride. Most of the time, the defense isn’t about educating, but immediately throwing dirt on others. We can’t show kindness, we can’t show solidarity, we can’t show our humanity…by slinging dirt on Christianity. By talking about other extremists groups. By bringing political commentary about how Paris is only getting attention because it’s a Western country.

That’s how hatred spreads. Those are how the seeds are planted. That’s how children can be brainwashed into believing that the world is against them, and that’s how they turn into the people who spread terror. Hate begets hate.

The truth is, right now, humanity is crumbling in every corner of the world. There is terror that is happening every day. There is evil all around us, lurking in quiet corners, taking innocent lives with more weapons than just guns and bombs.

So instead of pointing fingers, instead of throwing mud to show how clean we are in comparison, let’s just practice what preach. Let’s practice kindness. Let’s practice understanding. Let’s shine light in to the shadows. Let’s give the world something more than hate.

I’m Muslim. I’m human. I’m a citizen of the world.

Let's give the world something more than hate

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Thank You & an Announcement

I’ve been thinking a lot about a specific June day in 2009. What began as a normal morning ended with me taking a cab back to my house with my belongings from my desk. In that moment I lost my job, it felt like my entire world had gone up in smoke. I’ve been working for as long as I can remember. I got home and wrote a blog post. I was still using a pen name during that time, and that day triggered a new journey for me. Within a couple of hours, my friends had sent me leads, I had a few phone interviews set up, and by the end of the week, I had decided to freelance full-time.

I’ve written about my journey before, and it’s been a rough one. Impostor Syndrome has been a constant, but so have friends and mentors who have believed in me. I’ve struggled – a lot. But I’ve also grown. I even launched my own small business blog.

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I never thought I’d be at a point in my life where I would say “I’m leaving my team at Google for a new opportunity, a new challenge,” but that’s what I’m saying today.

Yesterday, I accepted an offer for a new contract at a new company. I’ll talk more about the details of that job after I’ve started in December but for now, I just want to say thank you.

I want to say thank you to my friends who’ve never lost faith in me, even when I completely lost faith in myself.

I want to say thank you to mentors who’ve helped guide me on this crazy journey since that faithful day in June, and there are many you who might not even know the impact you’ve had on me with a single word or conversation over coffee. But there are two people I want to especially thank:

  • Thank you, Marie, for taking a chance on me when you brought me on as a Global Community Manager at Fluke, giving me a newfound love for B2B.
  • Thank you, Karina, for reaching out to me about this crazy project at Google that would define my life for 18 months. If it wasn’t for your faith in me, there’s no way I’d be able to take this step now.

As I’ve told my team, I’ll still be the Community’s biggest advocate. I could not be more proud of what we’ve built, and where this team will take it in the next year. Keep an eye out, folks. There are even bigger projects and initiatives coming down the pipeline for small businesses. If you don’t already, give them a follow on Google+.

In December, I’ll be starting a new adventure – and I’m terrified. Mainly because I’m going to have to go from being a hermit to working with a team in an office again. More to come on that later.

Shakespeare

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