An Easy Guide to Voting in the Midterms

Hey guys….it’s been A MINUTE but what better time to come back than the midterms, right? If you are new to my content, HIIIIIII my name is Tarlon Khoubyari, everyone calls me TK. I am your cool plant mom who knows a little bit about tech and data and I love sharing my insights with you all to live the best lives you possibly can.

Let’s get into why you’re REALLY here.

I’ve felt extremely compelled to write this because I was trying to find all of this information of how to vote, where to vote, who to vote for, etc and I was getting so frustrated because there is SO much information out there but not enough of it was accessible.

I know so many people who aren’t informed in voting so they end up not voting. Getting information about voting can be really overwhelming, there is so much out there and you may not trust everything you read.

I decided to create a guide to make getting information about voting and who/what to vote for a lot easier.

No matter what party you align with, voting matters whether you believe it or not. We are approaching midterm season which can determine a lot depending on your state.

Important Dates – for NC. Every state is different if you don’t live in NC. You can find out here: https://www.vote.org/voter-registration-deadlines/ 


How to Register 
Election Day: November 6, 2018
Last day to register in-person: November 3, 2018
Last day to register by-mail: October 12, 2018.

Where To Vote – put in your address and find your nearest voting location.
Sample Ballot – Check to see if you’re registered to vote and then see the ballot you’ll be voting on election day. A sample ballot will let you see what the actual ballot will look like on Election Day. You can see who is running, what they are running for, and the other ticket items on the ballot.

If you’ve moved out of the place you have registered, you may need to register. You can fill out a form and mail that in.
If you’re not living in the same place you’re registered in, you can apply for an absentee ballot. But make sure you do it in time!

DO YOUR RESEARCH. Check multiple trusted sources before you cast on election day. It doesn’t take a lot of time to stay informed. I won’t project any of my political opinions here today but make sure you’re educating yourself on policies that affect you and others. Every vote counts and every vote matters ESPECIALLY in North Carolina.

This is what is on our ballot in North Carolina –  This can change depending on where you are so put in your own address and find out what other key ticket items you’re voting on.

A lot of these sites offer overviews, they don’t tell you what these policies ACTUALLY mean. This is when you have to do a little deeper digging on the implications of these policies that were added on the ballot.

Before you get to the polls, consider the type of candidate you want to vote for. It goes beyond the party you align with. Now more than ever it’s important to get to the polls and let our voices be heard. Voting is a privilege that many of us take for granted. The “I don’t care about politics” argument isn’t an excuse anymore. Every issue will affect you in indirect and direct ways. It’s on us to take the responsibility of our futures in our hands.

 

Stay informed, stay educated, and get to the polls November 6th.

What I’ve Learned From The Last 6 Months

The first 6 months and your next 6 months will not be the same. We are now in July which means we are in the second half of 2018 so you will face a new series of challenges, blessings, and obstacles that will look different.  You choose to have that difference be a “good different” or “a bad different”. Only you have the power to do that. One of the best feelings is when you realize how much power you have in your own life to do the things you want to do.

I usually do a “What I’ve Learned From: [Month]” but considering now that we are halfway through the year I wanted to take the time to reflect on the first half of 2018. I hope you all can learn from some of the things I have learned these past few months.

I knew 2018 was going to be a hard year but I’ve grown so much because of it. Last year had nothing on the growth I’ve had in the past 6 months alone. Not all of that growth has been good. There have been dark times and a lot of nights where I kept asking “Why?”. I know this year was hard for a lot of people and I’m in awe how some people can handle the things life throws at them. I’m truly inspired by that. I love seeing the good in people come out in times of adversity. I saw that within myself too.

I told myself that 2018 was going to be a selfish year for me. I’m turning 21 in a couple of weeks and I also launched my brand + platform on January 17 of this year. 1/17/2018. I’ve seen myself grow throughout my platform in so many ways and I think my platform is a really good representation of where my headspace is at. It hasn’t been in the most positive places and due to some traumatic experiences, I found myself desperately needing myself more and more. I couldn’t rely on anyone else to save me. I was in a really toxic place. I struggled with an eating disorder which had severe impacts on my overall health. I wasn’t healthy at the time but I have come a long way since. My relationship with food is steadily improving because I stopped punishing myself for things that had nothing to do with me to begin with.

Learning how to take care of myself

I’ve learned what taking care of yourself looks like and how valuable peace, energy, and light is in my life. I spend a lot of my time focusing on my own peace and protecting that because I’ve seen myself in a place where I wasn’t doing that. I wasn’t giving myself the love and energy I was giving other people. I think it’s easy to look outwards for happiness, love, and validation but when I catch myself doing that I always ask myself “Am I providing that for myself first?”. That behavior is something I’ve practiced over time.

A lot of the self-love and me taking care of myself was new to me so I didn’t what it looked like. I had to make the conscious choice to take care of myself every single day.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned this year, so far, is you have to take care of yourself before you do anything. I wasn’t a good friend, a good partner, a good energy to those I cared about because I didn’t know how to properly take care of myself mentally, physically, and emotionally. It really affected a lot of my relationships around me and my health too.

You don’t really ever get taught to do that. I don’t we teach how to take care of yourself in a way that’s deeper than the surface level things like face masks, relaxing, etc. We focus so much on being stable financially and in our careers but never take a step back to look at the person who has to go through this. In order to go through anything, you have to be okay with yourself first. Before I hated to be alone and now I value my independence so much more because I know that only I can offer that peace of mind in life.

The Newness

The first 6 months of this year have been some of my darkest days and a lot of new transitions. I’m learning that your early 20s are some of the hardest times because you are in between being a real adult and still being a teenager. There are so many firsts that happen to a lot of us during this time that can be overwhelming. Your first move, your first real job, your first big heartbreak, the first bill you have to start paying. Whatever it is, it’s new for us. But the new isn’t impossible, it’s just unfamiliar which can be scary. It was for me. I’ve learned that once things become more of a practice they do become a lot easier. It takes time but it’s a valuable time of learning.

Moving to a new city by myself was a lot more lonely than I ever anticipated. I am also in a new role in a completely different company. I’ve been sharing my internship help guide for all of you to benefit from it and go through this together.

What I’ve done to help myself with the newness is to take a step back, look at it for what it is, and be grateful for it all. I think about how lucky I am to have these opportunities to do what I am empowered to do. Even when I am overwhelmed, I thank God for everything because I know that He is shaping me to be the woman I am supposed to be. So of course, it’s going to be a little difficult.

Relationships

Let’s get a little personal… If you have been reading my content for awhile, you know that one of the last relationships I was in wasn’t very healthy.  I fell into an awful mental cycle that I have since pulled myself out of. I wasn’t taking care of myself.

There are things that I still battle daily to overcome it but you can’t rush the healing process. I am also a very forgiving person so despite what’s happened I chose to forgive and move past what happened. I didn’t want to carry any animosity with me because it would have bled into other aspects of my life. I do still love this person and will continue to have love for this person despite how much it affected me.

With other relationships, I’ve realized that sometimes taking the time to work on yourself before you can even commit to anyone else. It’s a working progress and something I try to be mindful of every single day. This goes back to being honest with yourself in order to find peace in what you do and who you want to do it with. Take accountability when you mess up, if you want something just go do it, and don’t take any of the growing process for granted.

I’ve also given myself the permission to take time away from certain circumstances. I need to keep everything and everyone at an arm’s length before I welcome them back into my circle or space. Everyone you meet comes with their own energy, their own conditioning, and I think it’s perfectly okay to say “Hey, I don’t want to have this in my life right now while I learn to figure some things out on my own”. You need to communicate that to those around you if you need the space to process the chaos in your world. I think it’s perfectly healthy to do that. The people around you will want to help and support you but somethings you need to digest at your own pace. They may not understand but if you need to do it for yourself, they’ll have to accept it.

My Brand Baby

I love talking about this because this is a place where I can really be myself. My brand, my platform, my social media is really important to me. Some people may think it’s superficial or may not be sustainable however I feel like I am being called to share my stories with you all. The whole development of building a brand is so much more than people think. You are your own boss so you have to keep yourself accountable and motivated to do whatever it is. Whether it be creating social media templates or reaching out to brands, you have to stay on it. I get to create things that reflect me in a way that engages people. I don’t need 1000 followers who don’t engage with my content. I’d much rather have a few who are really listening to offer feedback and show support. I love hearing from you guys and talking to you all.

I’d like to think that my brand has been successful in the past 6 months since it’s conception. I started it because I wanted to express myself to people who felt like no one was listening to them. I get to be myself: authentically and organically. ALSO, it’s a creative outlet for me. There is so much that goes into social media behind just posting. Now, there is a new social media industry that wasn’t there before. There are so many jobs that got created because bloggers and influencers took a leap of faith to share their thoughts with the world. This industry may seem competitive but I don’t really believe in that word. I think there is so much out there already that people can connect to and just because you connect with one person doesn’t mean you don’t connect with other people. It’s created a community of creators who want to support one another. I know there are some snakes out there but so far, I’ve met some of the most incredible girl bosses because of my platform.

It’s something that I have worked a lot on and put a lot of energy into so I protect it like it’s my own. You all will see a new face of my brand very soon and I am so excited. I get to evolve with Is Anyone Really Listening? Again, this speaks back to the self-power.

My complicated relationship with fitness

I would call my relationship with fitness as complicated but holding strong. I’ve had a love/hate relationship with fitness my whole life. I would much rather sit on my couch, watch bad reality TV, and eat copious amounts of mac n cheese. But I’ve learned that in order to feel better about myself mentally I need to have a release. Working out shifted from being a thing I dread to a place where I can exert all of my stress, anxiety, and thoughts. It’s “me” time but there are some days where I hate it.

I am no expert. I am not physical trainer, I am not a fitness model, or anything like that. My major in college is Information Systems. I like tech stuff BUT fitness is a really big part of my life. I have tried a lot of different workouts, styles, training mindsets, all of that. It has taken me about 2 years to get to the place I am in right now. My relationship with working out and being healthy wasn’t always peachy.

Paving your own path
Your fitness journey should be about you and what works for you. If you go into it with the wrong mindset, you will not be able to stay consistent with it. The “revenge body” is a great way to stay motivated but not to base your whole fitness journey on. It should be for you. As cliche as it sounds say “I want to do this for myself, my mental and physical strength”. It’s easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing.

I hate running. Some of my friends LOVE it, I don’t get it. It’s not me. So in order to do my cardio, I find something that I like. It takes a lot of trial and error to figure that out. You need to get out of your comfort zone to really decide if you like something or not. Maybe if I ran more, I’d like it but I get the same type of workout by doing something that I can actually enjoy.

I keep telling myself this mantra “Good for them, not for me”. I forgot where I heard this so please if you know who said it, comment below so I can give the proper credits. But anyways, this helps me not compare myself to someone else.

Everyone is so different and what I’ve realized recently that there are a lot of factors that go into someones overall appearance. You never know what someone is doing behind closed doors and also, social media presents a very scripted or false sense of what is really happening.

Finding your boundaries
I’ve learned to be patient with myself and be okay with the days where I am not the most active or productive. I used to get so down on myself because I expected my body to perform at a certain level. You sometimes need to take a step back and realize that your fitness journey is an actual process so it takes time. You also need to give your body time to recover and heal. Going to the gym 7 days a week will over work your muscles and you won’t see the progress you are expecting.

Like I said, there is a lot that goes into it. Your diet plays a huge role. It’s that 80/20 rule: 80% diet, 20% workouts. On the days where I indulge and eat more, I can feel myself heavier during my workouts and I am more lethargic. I feel that as much as it’s important to stay on track, being okay with the minor setbacks is also a big thing that I never considered to be important but now it is.

Your mental health throughout this whole journey is so important. Both men and women feel a lot of pressure or insecurities because of what is deemed as “fit” or “beautiful”. Knowing yourself and trusting your own journey is a big deal because it is so easy to get sucked in to what everyone else is doing. It’s hard not to but actively trying to shift your “self talk” will help a lot in the process.

What has helped me stay consistent is having a goal for myself. Every time I work out I do 20-30 minutes of cardio no matter what. 20 minutes go by now on and I am sweating but I feel my body craving to do more. I don’t overkill it but as long as I get 20 in, I’m happy. Also I workout 5-6 days a week. It’s more so 5 because my body and my mind need those two days to recover.

HIIT vs Strength/Power Lifiting
I used to go a lot of heavy lifting, strength training. I didn’t mind that I looked a bit muscular but I appeared to look a lot bigger than I actually was. Lately, I’ve shifted to a high intensity interval training styled workout. Which includes high reps/low weights. I always tried to stay away from that because I wanted to gain muscle faster. But HIIT training, in my opinion is a lot more sustainable and you can stay consistent with it because you can change up your workouts in a lot of different ways.

I personally like the way that my body is adapting to this change, I can feel myself less bored and more consistent. I can switch up my workouts or do a class or something that will keep me engaged while getting a good workout in.

I train strength every other day with HIIT in between. My HIIT workouts are shorter but I am doing more where my strength workouts are longer but I am working on engaging bigger muscle groups in concentrated amount of time. I like to  add that variety because I get bored so fast with working out. I’ve learned that if I get bored with something really quickly then I am going to get tired of it and not want to do it anymore.

Social Medias Role
Social media can be an toxic place sometimes. We are in an era where Facetune, Fit Teas, and blurring filters exist. Social media offers a perspective. People choose what they want you to see. Celebrities and fitness models have teams or a people who spend the time to edit every picture, put the perfect caption, and tell a story in a light that is manipulated in some ways.

For me, social media was a toxic place in awhile. I unfollowed a lot of people who were not making me feel confident or secure in myself. I kept thinking that I had to be a certain way or look like those models. One of my cousins told me one day “it’s their job to look that way” and that snapped me back to reality. Whenever I catch myself falling into a trap of comparing myself to other instagram models I ask myself why I follow them in the first place. Am I following for motivation? Advice? Workout ideas? If I’m not following them for those reasons then I have no reason to have that content exposed to me. It’s my choice.

I also caught myself following people who weren’t relatable. I followed people who had different body types as I do. Once I started being aware of my social media habits and who I was following, I began to see how much negativity I was exposing myself too.

 

My fitness journey may look different, if you have made it this far. THANK YOU. Comment below as to what your fitness journey looks like or was.