≡ Menu

IMG_4531

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.

 

{ 2 comments }

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.

giphy (3)

{ 0 comments }

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…]

{ 1 comment }

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…]

{ 0 comments }

(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

{ 0 comments }

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.

1960783_10102378811958614_348923232_o

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

{ 0 comments }

Leaving My Heart on the Stage: My First Ignite Talk

I write about the uncomfortable“Don’t trip. Don’t trip.” 

These were the thoughts going through my head as I went up the steps to the stage. During pre-show prep, I saw that the carpet where I’d be standing was a little shaggy. I looked at my boots.

“Shit, maybe I should get my flats from the car. My heels will get caught.”

But I didn’t. There was too much adrenaline pumping through my body. I focused on knowing where I’d sit. Remembering my first words. Remembering my last. Forgetting that there were 800 people in the audience that night – not to mention the live stream.

Did I mention this was my first big public speaking gig? I sent the proposal to Ignite on a whim. I’d done that before, and just like the past, I figured I wouldn’t get picked. So many more inspirational people with incredible stories apply every quarter. Why would mine get picked?

It did. I got the email right before Kelly Clarkson took the stage at Key Arena on August 12th. I was already an emotional mess because I’d been wanting to see Kelly Clarkson live for 13 years, so I didn’t even have the time to process the fact that my Ignite talk was accepted. No time to process the fact that I’d be standing on stage at Town Hall in Seattle, baring my soul about a topic I’d kept inside for 20 years.

Not that I had time to process it after. Traveling, work, conferences…the next month was a whirlwind, and right before I got on the plane at Cleveland to head back to Seattle, I submitted my slides for the talk.

“Shit, well, that’s happening.”

On September 17, I listened to 6 amazing people go up on stage and give their Ignite talks before me. I started to lose focus. I had to remember to breathe.

Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 5.11.58 PMI made it on stage without tripping, grabbed the microphone from Scott Berkun and then was transformed into a Charlie Brown cartoon. My own words sounded like the teacher’s garbled speech, the audience like the background drawings that stay still. I made the mistake of glancing down at my slides once, and it threw me off. I glanced up at one point and noticed my friend’s husband in the back row (but didn’t focus enough to see her.) Three of my lovelies were in the audience that day, plus a few of my friends watching at home.

Once I got off the stage, I sat down. One of the other speakers gave me a hug. I grabbed my phone. There was one more speaker between me and intermission. I tried to hold back the tears. My friends were posting funny screenshots of the live stream on my Facebook. I smiled through the tears that inevitably came down my cheeks. At intermission, my friends found me to give me a hug.

“Did I say words? Were they in English?”

Audience members came up to me, thanking me for my bravery. For sharing my story. The guy who was in charge of the slides told me that I was right on point – I must’ve practiced meticulously.

I remembered that there were 800 people in the audience that night. My knees buckled.

A good friend asked me what made me choose to share my story – this story – now. I told him that it was time. The reason I hadn’t shared it is because I’d been scared, but I have bigger fears I tackle every single day to survive.

Besides, I said I wanted to do more public speaking. What better way to start by ripping my heart out and leaving it on the stage for the world to see?

 

{ 4 comments }

Saying Farewell to Dot

11021220_10102894661317364_5024183480016229927_n

“Dot is going to outlive me.”

That’s the comment I’ve been making to people every time someone would react to her age. “Wow, 16. She doesn’t look it!”

And she doesn’t.

Dot 1I first met Dot a couple of years ago when I met my best friend and her dad. Dot was his cat.

When I came back from my road trip this past fall, after my best friend (and Dot’s) dad had passed away, she became a fixation in our apartment and my life. When she ran away from our apartment, in a neighborhood she wasn’t familiar with, my heart stopped. I couldn’t do anything but worry about her for those two days. I ran around our neighborhood. I tweeted. I prepared fliers, ready to plaster them all over town. It was then that I realized she became a part of my heart. When she came back to us, I could breathe again.

So, when I moved into my own apartment in December, she came home with me.

If I stayed out all night at a friend’s, Dot would be there to greet me when I walked in through the door in the morning. When I sit at my desk to write, Dot is right there, keeping my wrists warm. When I get home from a trip, Dot is there to tell me everything that had happened when I was gone.

Her health, for the most part, has been solid. Except for the throwing up. I thought it was because her hair was long and she was giving herself too many hairballs. The throwing up kind of stopped for a bit after she got groomed. And then it began. So did the pooping out of the litter box. Watching her throw up and seeing tears form around her eyes from the force tore me apart every time.

A couple of months ago, a tumor appeared in her ear. dot 2

She kept losing weight.

“She’ll be fine,” I kept telling myself.

The other night, I woke up to her throwing up – twice. And then again in the morning.

In my gut, I knew it was time.

It’s the hardest decision I’ve made in my entire life. I could be selfish. I could put her under anesthesia to have the tumor removed, put her on meds so that she’s by my side for another few months. Maybe it’d just be weeks.

But I’m not the one throwing up. I’m not the one who’s sick. I’m not the one who can’t communicate my discomfort and pain.

So I made the call.

Tonight is my last night with Dot. Tomorrow morning, my sweet girl will go to sleep and finally get some rest.

Saturday morning, when I wake up, my apartment will be silent. There won’t be a paw on my lips, trying to get me to wake up.

Anyone who’s owned an animal knows the unconditional love that they have for their humans. Yes, cats are fickle animals, but deep in my heart, I believe that Dot has always been an introvert like me. Her love filled up my heart, and on my loneliest days, just having her near me helped.

My sweet girl lived a long, full life. I consider myself incredibly lucky to have been a part of that life, even if it was just for a few months.

11159955_10102976321035634_3967065496969216496_n 11193371_10102996726692534_8859572030504170579_n

{ 0 comments }

doppelgangerAlthough the concept of the doppelgänger usually refers to more of the physical attributes of a person, I’ve been thinking a lot about the personalities we come across or invite into our lives. I met someone recently who reminded me a lot of a person from my past. It wasn’t so much the physical similarities but the personality quirks of this person that are similar to a friend from a different lifetime.

It got me thinking about the people that come in to our lives. No matter how much I grow or change, I seem to be drawn to certain personalities. Sometimes, their presence in my life is fleeting – maybe a conversation that lasts as long as it takes for me to drink a pint of beer at the bar. A passing conversation. A person who won’t be a lasting part of my life but that short conversation can awaken a feeling, thought, or untie a knot that’s been tangled up in my mind.

This is why, even as an introvert, I try to make an effort to talk to strangers when the time is right. The other night, I was sitting at the bar and one of the girls ordering a drink was asking for a recommendation. I spoke up with my thoughts and next thing you know, we were talking about road trips for an hour.

Another conversation led me to meet a couple who had just come back from a trip to China and they were both creatives, so we ended up talking about art and writing for two hours on a random Saturday night.

I walk away from most of these conversations inspired.

People can surprise you. Yes, that can be a negative surprise too, but the beauty of these fleeting conversations is the ability to walk away. If you’re feeling more drained than inspired, walk away.

If you meet someone who has the same kind of spark of a friend from the past, embrace it. Maybe it’ll remind you of good memories. Maybe it’ll encourage you to finally send that email you’ve been wanting to send. Maybe it will remind you that there’s a reason the past is the past and you should delete that email that’s been sitting in your outbox and move on.

The world is constantly talking to us but we hardly listen. Once in a while, it takes the Doppelgänger Effect to make us stop and pay attention, even if it’s just for the duration of a short conversation.

It’s easy for me to get lost in my own head, until a conversation with a stranger sparks a thought, debate, or clue to help me find my way back to the right path.

When was the last time you paused long enough to listen to the world around you?

{ 27 comments }

Big girls do cry

Last night, I cried. It was unexpected. It was inevitable. It was necessary.

Ironically, it was after an incredibly fun night with my awesome friends. We’re in a mini golf league this summer, have I mentioned that? Last night was the first night. We drank beers, laughed and hit balls. Afterwards, we went for food and drinks. It was a good night. It was a great night.

Then I walked home. It was a full moon. It was a beautiful Seattle night, with the smell of the rain still lingering.

I came home, undressed, headed straight to bed – and started crying.

There’s been this loneliness creeping underneath the surface. This pain that I don’t talk about, and try not to think about.

My life is good, I remind myself daily.

I’m loved, my friends remind me.

I do good work, my coworkers tell me.

I’m not alone, but I am often lonely.

One of my best friends and I were having a conversation a couple of weeks ago and I teared up a little. We hadn’t had a one-on-one in a while. She reminded me that being independent and building the life I want can be, ironically, lonely.

That’s the way it goes.

Crying is good. It’s cleansing. I’m emotional – it’s part of the package.

The loneliness, though? I don’t know how to overcome it. It’s the biggest irony of my life. An ambivert with an independent soul that craves solitude to recharge – but also craves the intimacy provided by other people.

So, sometimes, I just cry myself to sleep.

The next day is always a little better, even if my heart is always heavy.

a good cry

{ 16 comments }