What I’ve Learned From: Moving

To sit here and pretend like moving doesn’t put me in a complete panic would be a total lie. I’m currently sitting in my new Charlotte apartment writing this and frankly, I am freaking out. As happy and excited I am for the future the initial thoughts/moves of moving is scary. I uplifted from a place that I didn’t consider home but still had a really large impact in my life. The relationships, the people, the lessons, all of it shaped me into the woman I am today. To think I have to start this all over in a new city is somewhat terrifying. Greensboro was where some of the most painful things happened to me and I can only imagine the types of challenges I am going to face in a brand new city.

I write this during a time where I know a lot of people are going through this too. Trust me, you’re not alone. Whether you’re moving an hour away or 100 miles away, moving is really intimidating but what’s helped me is knowing that the people in my life have done this before. My parents, for example, moved from Iran when they were in their late teens, didn’t know much English, and had to figure out a brand new culture. Also, they didn’t have social media or facetime like we do so they couldn’t talk to their parents or family as easily. I can only imagine their level of anxiety they must have felt during that.

It offered me comfort thinking about that during one of the last nights in Greensboro. I was sitting with myself, with a candle lit, and just prayed. I spoke to God about a lot of things but the common theme was: I’m doubting myself if I am doing the right thing and I need some guidance. I promise it was a lot more in depth but that’s the jist of it.

I thought about the people before me who did this and were able to build the life I have for me and my brother. I use this as fuel for the passion inside of me because I know there are going to be challenging obstacles but they will lead to a better future for myself and my future family. I feel called to do some really amazing things and I am putting that out into the universe and internet so it’s going to happen. My parents and aunts/uncles did this so why can’t I? Also, people move to new places all the time and do just fine. This is apart of being an adult. It’s different that’s why it’s scary. The newness of a situation can scare us the most. There isn’t anything actually scary about moving or settling in. What’s scary is the fact that it’s new. Knowing that makes everything less awful. Sometimes the things that are new to us can cause us the most stress. But think about it, the tasks that were new to us when we were younger are so natural to us now. Think about the time you learned to ride a bike, or jumped off a diving board, or even presented in front of a class. The more you do it the less the new stuff scares you. But again, it’s totally valid to feel scared or overwhelmed. It’s intense. So I’m here with you and I totally get it.

This week also was really hard because 8 months ago on September 3rd, 2017 my best friend Tony committed suicide. Knowing he’d be out of the military in June hurts because he and I always spoke about being together again. Tony was a brother to me so the third of the month is always especially hard. Not to mention I was moving, packing, and was all over the place. I was there the day Tony left for basic training.

Leading up the actual moving date I wasn’t as anxious or as sad as I thought I’d be. Again, in this What I’ve Learned From: April I speak openly about what this past month taught me and so far, I am learning that May is going to be a serious transition month. A lot of people around me are going through it too which is comforting. Graduation and new internships have been the common theme around me. Some of my friends can handle moving so well and I envy them but for me, it’s hard because this is whole new city with a new set of challenges. I hope to look back at this in 6 months and see that it wasn’t as bad as I think it is.

I’m really focusing my energy on the good ahead but it’s hard not to think about the people you leave behind. I was always super excited about leaving Greensboro and starting over but now that it’s actually happening. It’s new for me and new can be scary. 

I also need to remind myself that I am not on the most conventional path. I’m a junior, in a brand new city, doing classes online, working for a consulting company, working as an intern with one of the largest banks in the whole world, and I’m working on a brand. I don’t need a cookie or a sticker and I’m not saying this to brag but my path is no way conventional. Most people don’t just get up and leave in the middle of undergrad to a new city and do all of this stuff.

I’m not special but what I am doing is different. Or at least different from what has been around me. My immigrant parents always valued education. Education. Education. Education. It’s been a mantra that has been beaten into me since I was a kid. It took for me to leave and go to college to really understand that I can still graduate AND have other passion projects or jobs I am really interested in. I never want to be one of those people that work 20 years at a job they hate. Why would I? That’s such a waste. Thankfully, I love my major and the field I’m in so whatever position I do end up in post-grad will be something I thoroughly enjoy. Will my degree be the reason I get that job? God, I hope not because I feel like the piece of paper we get after 4 or 5 years of school just gives us the credibility to learn in that new job. I can write a whole post on this topic alone but I am getting a bit off topic.

I apologize in advance for the casual tone of this whole post but I’m really trying to get whoever is listening to hear that if your path is unconventional, it’s okay and if you’re freaking out like I am, it’s normal because it’s different. Again, different is different. It’s not good or bad. It just is. If you feel lonely while you’re moving, I hear you. 

Trusting myself and the choices I made makes me realize that I am doing the right thing and I have to be okay with some of the consequences that come with deciding to move too.

Happy Wednesday!

 

What I’ve Learned From: April

Woah.. that was fast. I feel like there was a time between March and April because the two months couldn’t be more different. In March, I was in a completely different headspace. If you don’t know what I’m talking about then feel free to catch up What I’ve Learned From: March. My priorities in March differ from my priorities this month but in my life, they both were built upon each other.

In the past month, 3 really important things have happened.

  • I’ve learned to take care of myself in such a way where I take ownership of what I do and who I choose to do it with. I am aware of the areas that I am limited in as well but choose not to let that stop me. 
  • Professionally, things have been positive to say the very least.
  • I’ve strengthed important relationships that will carry with me in the next chapter of my life and I couldn’t be more thankful for them.

It’s crazy to me how a perspective change can relieve so much pressure. I was in a place of preset expectations by what I thought other people wanted to be but now I’m unapologetically me. It’s liberating. It wasn’t easy and definitely not overnight but as my therapist, Ernest, says: love is a set of reinforcing behaviors. I have been practicing active self-love and that has translated into other areas of my life. I’ve shed any thought that I need to be something because someone else chooses not to accept me. That has propelled me to be stronger in the next chapter of my life: moving to Charlotte. This move is coming a lot faster than I thought. I leave the comfort of almost 4 years in a few days to start a completely different set of challenges, opportunities, and relationships.

I was really tested this month. Tested in how much I can be aware of how I react in response to what someone may think. For example, there was a day where I felt so beautiful in my skin. I’m a little tan now, mustard yellow is having its moment, and when you have an eating disorder feeling comfortable in clothes that are a few sizes too big is rare. When I had a day of that I was met with some comments by someone who had every intention to break me down. It was so trivial and normally, I would let it get to me. But instead, I chose to still feel beautiful. We choose how we let other people affect us. Don’t give someone else the power to change how you think you are because they’re too blind to see it. 

The difference between this month and last was that I struggled with taking the ownership of things I was doing to myself and others. I am limited in a lot of ways in what I am capable of doing but that doesn’t make me a bad person. It’s not good or bad it just is. Just because I choose to eat certain foods and stick to a strict diet doesn’t mean I can’t eat or I hate food. In fact, I love food but I refuse to force myself to an uncomfortable point where I feel awful about myself. Will I eat a cheeseburger tomorrow? No, but whatever I am eating is a lot better than what I chose to eat in the past. I’m just limiting myself to a place where I can feel comfortable with doing something that was such a challenge for me. For me, that’s growth. I was able to be aware of what I am doing and not doing. Taking onus of it and choosing to practice that with my own food has been a big factor in my overall health. I feel better at fueling my body, which means I feel better about myself because I am taking care of myself. I will be open about my journey through this because I think even if you don’t have an eating disorder you can gain something from this.

Another major difference is that I am really accepting what I am doing as being something of value. What I mean is that I see how much value I have and what I can bring to a situation. Professionally, I am able to see the fruits of my labor more directly. But personally, the relationships that I have been growing are more deliberate and intentional. I do what I need to do to take care of myself and as a result, I can be more present and active in those relationships. Everything about where I am right now is different than what I am used to because I wasn’t taking care of myself. I wasn’t doing what I needed to do to feel like myself. Apart of that goes back to feeling like who I was wasn’t enough. When it was and it is. Now, I just don’t settle for what someone else thinks I should/shouldn’t be. I’m me now instead of trying to be someone that needed to be wanted. As long as I love myself, can take care of myself, and accept myself that’s enough for me. If someone can’t accept that or embrace it, I don’t let it bother me. We all have choices. 

Everything you are searching for in your life whether that be love, being wanted, being heard, anything at all starts with you. No one or nothing can offer you that other than you. If you can’t provide that basic love for yourself no one else will know how to. Maybe this sounds super cliche but to me, it’s so important because I looked at so many external outlets for my own happiness, security, and stability when really I had it all within me. I didn’t need anyone else to provide that because I am able to do it myself. That doesn’t mean I don’t need someone else to offer me joy. They do but I know that I can take care of myself. Ernest calls it self-regulation: put the oxygen mask on yourself first then try to help someone else put theirs on. I am now able to self-regulate better. I’m not perfect. It’s been a process but again, reinforcing behaviors.

This was revealed to me when I was beginning to rebrand my blog. If you haven’t noticed my logo is different. In the past, I didn’t have one to begin with. I thought I needed a team or a branding expert to help me but one day, I sat down and spent a few hours working on it. It was a challenge to explain what I was and what I liked to someone else. I knew the type of look I wanted to go for. I wanted it to reflect me: refined, beautiful, and millennial. I created it myself and it was so empowering. I’m pretty sure I cried because I thought I needed someone else. Not to say I won’t ever ask for help because I know there is a lot I don’t know and I am okay with that. I got feedback and I made sure it made sense but for something like branding it has to reflect you. AND NO ONE KNOWS YOU BETTER THAN YOU. I was able to translate that and even helped someone else with their branding. I honestly love to brand and make stuff. I was able to be creative. It felt really good knowing that I did something for myself that helped me grow. Thank you to everyone who has reached out and offered the feedback. 

Also: YA GIRL IS MOVING TO CHARLOTTE THIS WEEK. WHAT. WHO LET THAT HAPPEN? Oh yeah, ME!

Moving falls at a very interesting time and maybe I’ll address it from the things I’ll learn in May but for now, it’s a very important time. I’ve taken the time to sit with it all and for the first time in awhile, the future doesn’t intimidate me. There are so many wonderful and challenging things that are on the other side of fear (@willsmith paraphrasing your quote). I usually get super anxious about moving but I am so grounded in myself that I know regardless of the trials and tribulations, I will find a way to be okay with myself. Knowing that I get to share this next chapter of my life with someone who is also going through it is comforting. I’m very lucky to be where I am right now and I am soaking up every ounce of it because I know what it feels like to not accept what I’m doing and who I am. Now that I do, I feel called to grow in my own light.  I’m excited to embrace the newness and the difference of May.

More to come…stay tuned. – T.

What I’ve Learned From: Developing My Brand

In no means do I have an influence but I have worked hard in developing consistent content for you all and from that, I have gotten really awesome feedback from you guys saying that you connect with my stuff which makes me SO happy because that’s the whole point. So those who are really listening, thank you and if you’re not, like why?

Since you all show me support on Instagram and on my blog, I am able to do some really amazing things like speak at the Women On the Rise Bestie Brunch hosted by Social Besties. While I learned from everyone else there, I’m glad you all learned from me as well. As much as you all have learned from me, I have learned so much from you all individually and from how you interact with my content. I do my best to give you all exactly what you’re looking for while staying true to who I am as a person, content creator, and brand.

This whole experience has been a learning process. I have always been on the author side and now to be the author, founder, creator, creative team, social media team, and everything else is all new to me but it’s exciting to me and I am so thankful for this. I brought this on myself from launching and that experience alone taught me so much. I revisit this post to remind myself why and how I got started. It was one of the first follow-up styled posts that I have written in the past.

Speaking on a panel of women who I have actually connected with through social media and who have been apart of launches that I have started, been apart of, or even contributed to was one of the coolest experiences ever because it brought everything full circle. I admire all of these women so much and to have the chance to be on the same panel as them seems unreal to me. I have never thought of myself as being in this position where I can have a positive impact or influence on someone.

I was super nervous and intimidated at first but I thought of it as a conversation with everyone there. I felt so connected to speaking to you all about the things that I am passionate about and having this platform is the vessel for me to do that. As I continue to grow and get more opportunities I never want to stray away from my mission and intention for all of this.

I never thought of myself as an entrepreneur but here I am, paving my own path, in my own way, at my own time and it feels powerful. I feel like we all have these ideas and the things that we want to do but never do them but one day I decided to actually do the thing that scared me (putting out my own work for the world to criticize).

When I started, I wanted to make sure everything was done perfectly but what I realized is that you can’t keep waiting for things to be perfect. Perfection is unattainable and honestly, things will never be perfect because you will always find something to improve on. For me, I go back to edit my content consistently or am trying to find ways to make sure everything looks good visually. You need to be like Nike and just fucking do it.

A great idea is cool but the people that actually learn and make change actually DO the things they had their mind set on. There are so many chances for me to fail, one mistake and everything is over but regardless I am still going to story tell, I will always love technology, I will keep doing the things I love to share with you guys even if the platform went away. I never went into this thinking I would grow fast or I would even have this opportunity. I just wrote, posted it on social media, learned from it all and devoted my life to making amazing, relatable content for you all. This doesn’t make me special and in no means am I expecting applause but I will say that I can easily spot someone who is going to fail at what they are doing and I can point out who is going to succeed based on why and how they do what they do. That goes for anything, not just content related.

If you want to start a Youtube channel, study something, or pursue a career in an area that you know makes a lot of money but you don’t care about the impact or reasoning behind why you are doing it. YOU WILL FAIL. Sorry sweetheart, someone had to tell you. The intention is the leading driver in all of this and next is passion. Intention guides us while passion fuels us. On my laptop, I have a series of words on a sticky note to remind me in everything I do to be: intentional, considerate, deliberate, methodical, aware, accountable, and to focus on execution because like I said I have a lot of good ideas but what makes them great and real is the fact that I act on them in the best way I know how to and with the resources I am equipped with.

I don’t know everything I need to know, I don’t know a lot, and I am aware of that. I am not writing this to condemn anyone or make it seem like I know everything when I know that I don’t but what I do know is that by asking questions and staying curious in my craft I have opened a lot of doors for myself and my brand. 

It’s important to me that people understand that developing a brand, product, whatever it requires more than just the idea. You need to have passion and the right intentions to do whatever it is you want to do otherwise you won’t be successful. If you try to prove me wrong have fun but you won’t.

If you take nothing else from this post take this: Be aware in what you’re doing and why you are doing it. Be deliberate with how you invest your energy and how you choose to execute. Go at your own pace because everyone is so different and has their own path. Take accountability for the things you are doing in your life and check your friends from time to time to make sure they are who they are becoming to be in their own time. Be sure to be considerate in what you are doing in relation to how it could change, affect, or influence your current situation and your future situation. I promise you that good people with positive intentions make the world move and that is exactly what I am trying to do and if I ever stray away from that please TELL ME. 

 

 

What I’ve Learned From: March

If you’ve noticed or haven’t noticed, I have been absent on the content this past week. It has been a very crazy, eye opening month so far and I am in a place now where I think I can face what March has taught me.

Out of the 3 months so far, March has been the biggest learning lesson for me. To some degree, I have a responsibility to be transparent with you all in the best way that I can and to be honest, things right now haven’t been so great.

March has been hard and in general, I have a lot on my plate. I am grateful for it all because I am growing but the one thing that has been the hardest to accept is facing the one thing that has been screaming in my face: my health.

It’s taken me sometime to really confront this issue head on and acknowledge that I have a problem but I’m here now and I am ready to speak my truth about this.

So let’s get personal…

This past month I’ve felt like I’ve had to play a part all the time. I had to be the best student, friend, professional, blogger, whatever it is. I’ve had to be… THAT person and maybe I brought that upon myself but during this time I also have been eating less than 900 calories and anything more scares me. This has been going on for a few months now and other bad food/eating habits have come along with it as well.

It’s exhausting and I am tired trying to live this role I want to actually live my life and be who I am while going through this. I know we all have things we go through in life and sometimes we need to take a step back to  reassess ourselves and I am continuing to do that.

Weird right? I have a food blog and I write about food and I talk about food how could I have a problem? Well, you see that I was never like this. Somethings have happened that brought me to this point and it got so bad that I didn’t realize it was happening. I don’t look like the type of person who could have a bad relationship with food but I do and I am going to be upfront about it.

You would never have thought by my Instagram or social media. Social media tends to be a highlight reel of everyone’s lives and how everyone is good all the time when in reality that is probably far from their truth. I pride myself on being transparent in person and in social media and I felt like I was living this lie. I don’t know who I am completely but I know I wasn’t living my truth and I had a problem with that.

Am I going to post about how it’s hard all the time? No BUT I do owe you guys the truth and this is it. I saw all these people on social media happy when I knew moments before they probably didn’t feel that way. Everyone is going through something right now. Big or small it’s happening. What has been happening in my life, seems like it’s engulfed me. Sometimes it feels that way. Sometimes it honestly feels like food is poison. I have counted every calorie, I have a weird obsession over ingredients in my food, and I need to see exactly what’s in my food and how much of it.

I lost my normal and I have been fighting everyday to get it back and I thought I was the only person ever to go through this but as I started talking to more people about how I was feeling the more people started to talk about their hardships with food. I never knew how close it was to me. I go out nowadays and it takes a lot to get myself to do something as simple as eating. It’s been hard to get two “meals” in a day and what I consider is a meal is probably VERY different in what you consider a meal. Right now, a meal to me is a banana and that’s 105 calories. To someone with a normal/healthy mindset with food, a meal is 4 times much calories. I know calories don’t matter but right now that’s how I determine what food is “good” and “bad”.

I didn’t see how bad it was getting until recently and partly because I thought I had it under control but I was convincing myself that what I was doing was normal. Eating 400-900 calories a day is not normal by any standard. Plus I workout and I lead a pretty active lifestyle. That’s not healthy. It’s not sustainable and it’s not a life I want to live anymore.

It’s not like I can switch it off but with treatment, doctors, therapy, and a rock solid support system (which I have btw) I know I am going to be okay. I know this moment in my life doesn’t define me. I’m me but I am lost and I am struggling and I am not too prideful to admit that I have a hard time eating food and enough of it. It has taken a toll on my health in every aspect and maybe I will dive deeper into that later but I know that if I keep up with where I am at now, it could kill me and I don’t want that. I want to stay alive, I want to be healthy, and I want to feel like myself again.

But for now this is the extent I am comfortable talking about it. I will keep you all updated as my recovery continues but yeah, this has been happening. You may not have known but now you do and let me know if you have any questions.

What I’ve Learned From: Slowing Down

If you haven’t noticed, I have been MIA on my blog for the past week and I wanted to get on here to explain why, what I’ve learned, and what you can do if you feel like you need to take a second to stop and slow down.

So let’s get personal…

I took this week off because I was struggling a lot mentally. I had a lot of down days and honestly just didn’t feel like myself. I knew I needed a break because sitting in my room alone with my own mind was really dangerous. I (tried) to rely on those around me as much as possible without feeling too much like a burden. Thankfully, I have a few people I always go to who were gentle, welcoming, and kind which is exactly what I needed. I was stressed about so much that I couldn’t even begin to explain to you what exactly it was. I wasn’t doing the best of taking care of myself and I had a strong realization one night that the living that I was living in someways was not my normal and I was not okay with that. Something had to change. Also, some other things happened that triggered this setback but I won’t get into that.

Going into spring break, I was really sick. Like physically sick. I am the type of person that gets awful fevers in general so my body was fighting off a terrible virus for like 4 days. I would sweat a lot in my sleep, feel super cold, then get hot again. Some kombucha and sudafed and lots of sleep thankfully cured my god awful illness. Anyways, in the midst of that I was having really bad anxiety attacks. I didn’t know what was happening and TMI but I was also on my period so it was just a few days of what felt like actual hell.

I took that as a huge sign from myself that I NEED to slow down. I was doing way too many things at once and tried to play this role that clearly was super unhealthy for me. I knew my body was telling me something but I can be pretty stubborn so I didn’t listen. It took for me to get really sick for me to be like “okay, take a second”. So I gave myself the permission to slow down. What that meant was: no content, no laptop, no work, and no bullshit. I wasn’t putting up with anything or anyone that was bringing me down or leeched my energy. Call it selfish, I call it self-love because let me tell you, I needed it. I tried to be more present in everything I did and it was a challenge at times not going to lie but I managed to stay present most of the week so I am proud of myself.

I was thankful because I had a girls trip to the beach coming up so I knew I was about to be around some awesome girls and the beach. What more could you ask for, honestly? I am so thankful I went on this trip because the people that I was surrounded around had the most amazing spirit. They brought some life back into me that I thought was gone. I even cried because I was so thankful for them and who they were.

The trip was like the movies. Girls sitting, braiding each others hair, doing each others makeup, taking pictures, and talking about boys. It was the sleepover I have always dreamt about. Each one of those girls was so unique, beautiful, and special in their own way. You wouldn’t think we’d have anything in common but we do and honestly it was the best girls night(s) I have ever been on. I had my own personal struggles along the way but being around those girls was the perfect distraction for me.

Sometimes we need to slow down. Even if it’s for a few moments. We need to sit with ourselves or in my case, surround ourselves with people that “get” us. I didn’t know these girls for long but I really felt like they understood me. They saw me for who I was and not what I was going through. We didn’t even talk about what was happening and it wasn’t even that emotional of a trip but just being around them and being surrounded by people who LOVE you really made the world of a difference for me. I am very lucky to have been heard and it showed me what true, honest friendship looks like. I never felt like I had a family here in North Carolina and I felt like the sky is always falling but for a few days the sky wasn’t falling and I think I found my family. If I didn’t slow down and focus on myself, I wouldn’t have been able to realize that the world is not crumbling even when it felt like it was. Moving forward, I think I am going to protect my energy more and listen to the earlier signs of support that I need or even being more present in the moment instead of worrying about things that happened or will happen.

What I learned from this is that when I gave myself permission to slow down I opened myself to so many other amazing people and things that I wouldn’t have been able to connect with. I am coming back to my platform and my brand with fresh eyes and a clearer vision. Instead of focusing my energy on the things that were already said and done I channeled my anxious energy into the people and things that make ME happy.