Being Berrak,  Holidays,  Seattle

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.

This past year alone has been a whirlwind. An amazing one, but one where I’ve struggled with changes all the same. These past two months, I’ve found myself spiraling again, going back to old, dark habits. I’m thankful that I recognized my spiral enough to be able to make an attempt to stop. I’m even more grateful to have friends who did not leave my side. With their small gestures, as simple as an “Everything OK?” text to letting me just break down in tears – I’m surrounded by people who have shown me what a real friend looks like. More importantly, they’ve taught me that I’m worthy of having that.

Oh and then there’s my brother. I mean, this kid is my everything. This year, we’ve gotten a lot more closer. I’m grateful for the conversations we’ve had, seeing how much he’s grown up, and how hard he tries to understand me. I can’t wait to be able to see him every day when he’s living just a few minutes away from me.

I’m grateful that my loved ones gave me the courage to rip my heart out and leave it on the stage for the world to see – and I’m even more grateful that the world didn’t stomp on it the way I expected them to.

Career-wise, I can’t even begin to talk about how grateful I am. But I am. I’ve thrown myself into my work, and it’s paid off. I’m lucky to be doing something I love every day, working with amazing people on amazing projects. I mean, I get to work with my best friend. Could I be more grateful?

I can. I am. My heart and soul is overflowing with gratitude. Today especially because the holidays are always difficult for me, but every day. Every single morning, I wake up and wonder how I’ve gotten so lucky. Life isn’t perfect. It never is. But it’s the only one I’ve got.

Sometimes, I drive by that little pawn shop just for the heck of it, almost like a pinch to remind myself my life is real.

Thank you, today and every single day, to all of you who make my life worth living in your own way. I know I don’t say it enough, but I promise you that if you’re a part of my life, I’m grateful for you. Even if we don’t talk every day. Even if you think that you didn’t have an impact. If we’ve had a conversation, you’ve had an impact.

Happy Thanksgiving, you crazy kids.

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