Move On

It’s been 5 months now since my brother passed away.

Things are slowly moving here. I’m still grieving and wondering what to do with my life. How I can live and support my parents at the same time. A couple of weeks ago I started going back to the gym and this week I begin a grief support group. Baby steps.

This week a relative said “I know you’re sad but…we have to move on”. He’s seen my brother like three times in his life.

Fuck. Him.

I’ll move on when I want. Grievers no there is no moving on, there’s only moving forward 🥺 And I’m doing it. But I can be sad while I do it.

How much I miss my precious brother. Kindest and fun soul.

This week I started getting cramps and thought it was the stress due to his 5 month anniversary. It was actually my period. These periods during grief are really interesting. They are so much more intense. I know it’s happening when I want to stay in bed all day, eat chocolate, want space and either get really sad or angry out of no where. My mom got me these two goodies today, it was really soothing.

I’ve got a lot to say about grief readers. I just, I’m still trying to put it in words 😔This wasn’t supposed to happen. I hurt everyday. I miss him so much.

To the readers that have sent condolences, I want to say thank you, and I’ve been thinking of you all. I hope to write more soon.

xoxo. S.

My Brother Died

Dear readers,

A couple months ago as I was about to begin writing again, my brother died unexpectedly. He was only thirty. We were close.

There is not a lot I can say, as writing about the day he passed is triggering. My life has changed drastically, and for the first time in my life I’m just speechless.When the time is right, I hope to write about the aftermath and invite you into my world of grief.

I’m grateful to have been surrounded by amazing friends during this time, and my brother’s visits in my dreams that give me so much comfort.

I hope you all have been well during this crazy time in our world. I resigned from my healthcare position to grieve and take care of my family during this trying time for us. I am just taking things day by day, moment by moment.

Hope to catch up with all of you again soon.


On Moving Forward

“You are a very beautiful lady, tell your husband he married up!” a gym member coming in tells me as I exit the gym.

Why thank you sir. I would have told my fiancee if we hadn’t broken up. And he probably would have mocked me if he heard that, because that’s just the way he was.

This was a rather strenuous week. Not one day did I miss my ex or regret leaving him. I don’t know if I should contribute it to mine and Scientist’s flirtatious texts over the weekend. My returning to the gym and getting back at it with my work out routine. Or everyone’s praying for me to get better.

Whatever it is, something happened this week. It started out over the weekend when I shared a joke with Scientist. He replied laughing and telling me he missed me. I blush and admit I miss him too. I think we are done with our conversation when he all of a sudden says…“I still think about how you looked that day”.

I nearly drop my phone out of my hands. He is talking about our little date in San Francisco, when I last saw him. How sweet. And so, we begin communicating again and I am happy.

Mid-week I go see my doctor for the usual blood test/check up. I’m not in a good mood because I hate needles, and as soon as I walk out the door- I get a call from who would have been my sister in law.

img_3133She is again calling, to see if I plan on going back to my ex. “You know. This isn’t nice. This relationship already caused a lot of sadness for me and my family, why should it continue? Please, I’m moving forward” I say in the most kindest tone possible but it comes out extremely emotional and I know she can practically hear the tears fall down my face.

“Ok Shaz, sorry. If you’re sad, feel free to hang up” she says. I roll my eyes and hang up.

I start my car and sigh. Later when I go get groceries with my mom, “Meant to Be” by Bebe Rexha and Florida Georgia Line comes on. It came out in the summer when I was seeing my ex and it was my favorite song. As soon as I broke up with him however, it became the worst song on the planet. So when it came on in the car a few days ago, my mom looks at me and switches it off.

“No…it’s fine. It doesn’t mean anything to me anymore” I say.

My mom smiles a big smile. “Oh thank god! It’s a really good song!” she says.

I laugh. Yea it is. “I’m really proud of you” she says when the song ends.

I smile. I am proud of me too.

As my friend Sam said,“Just think. A year from now, what happened to you over the past few months will just be *something that happened a year ago*. And 10 years from now, it will just be *something that happened 10 years ago.* And none of it will really hurt anymore, at least not as much as it hurts right now”.  He’s right.

And as a dear reader our good friend Bryan from A Crack in the Pavement commented on one of my posts in response to the Dolly Parton quote “The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain”, “But if you love storms you are my kind of person. They full of magic and surprises, a mystery around every curve. That’s my kind of rainbow.” How could I not have seen this before? Storms are really exciting. You never know what to expect and what usually follows it is extremely beautiful and calming.

xoxo. S.

My Thoughts Through Hurricane Harvey

I decided to visit Houston for the last two weeks of my summer to spend time with my family. My dad says once I begin a full time job, I won’t be able to fly home as much. Also, it would give me a chance to celebrate my first year of grad school and first ever public health career being done.

But as the news reports came in, it quickly became apparent that this will have to wait. We heard about Hurricane Harvey, we didn’t think it would hit us. But last Friday, early morning, I hear the news loudly. My mom and dad are watching it.

“Get dressed we need to go get supplies” my dad tells me.

I nod. This is important. It looks like the storm will be serious, and even if we are able to stay in our house, there will be flooding and we will need to stay inside for a few days. The grocery store is packed and items were quickly going off shelves. Many aisles have a sign that says “Due to Hurricane Harvey, this item is out of stock. Please be patient as we re-stock”. We get all the necessary items: water, canned goods, toilet paper, paper towels, charcoal, candles, lighters, snacks, milk, eggs, bread. And food for my dog.

We also go to the gas station to get gas for our car. The gas station is also packed. When we get home we sort these items and continue to watch the news. On that Friday and Saturday, nothing happened in our area. There were emergency alerts, but no serious rain. We were able to take a walk outside both days!

That all changed Sunday. Sunday it started pouring like no other. Non-stop. There were leaks in two rooms. There was a bird, sitting by himself who looked injured in the rain. I built him a shoebox nest and moved him to a dry area. The water was up to the middle of my thighs. My mom yelled at me to come inside. We continued to watch the news all day. Our neighbors come by a few hours later. Both our next door neighbors are away on vacation so we go and secure their outdoor belongings with their help.

Monday morning we wake up, and we see no grass and no road. Everything is drenched in a foot of water. We get a call from my Dad’s boss saying his house (very close to us) is flooded. Another colleague of my Dad’s says he just had to evacuate. I look at my family. We begin moving all our necessary items upstairs. We place tape on doors and lots of mats to prevent water from coming in. It works.

Monday night, the neighborhood board lets us know that they will be releasing water from the lake so we should be okay. My family is happy. Still, I have a bad feeling it is not over.

But the next morning we wake up, a lot of the water has been gone and the roads are clear. My dad is happy. We stepped outside briefly to let my dog use the bathroom. And my dad notices all of the debris left behind. He grabs a rake and begins cleaning it up. I tell him maybe we should wait until we know the storm is over.

He just shrugs and continues. I grab my dog who has decided to go swimming in the flood and dry her off. When I hear my dad lightly calling me. “Shaz. Shaz. Shaz.”

My dog runs to my dad. I walk slowly. I see blood.

“I stepped on a nail” my dad says limping.

“Oh my god” I hold his arm and grab the rake.

I see my mom inside the house. “GRAB THE FIRST AID KIT!!!” I yell trying not to cry. There was so much blood I thought I would faint.

My dad walks into the house, leaving a trail of blood. My mom gives me Clorox and asks me to clean it up as she bandages up my dad. She lets me know we will be taking Dad to the Emergency Room.

I feel sick. I quickly wear gloves, clean up, and dispose. Dad is losing color, I grab him a Gatorade. I ask him if he has his wallet, he says yes. The rest of had packed our purses and wallets away into bags in case we needed to evacuate. There was no time to get them. We all get in the car and go.

In between, I was chatting with “Prince Player”. I told him about a dream I had. Where it was the first day of school, and I was late to class, so when I saw him I grabbed his hand and said “Hey” and walked away. He said he can see that happening, but if it was him, he wouldn’t have walked away. Oh my.

I’m shocked he hasn’t asked me about how I was doing with the hurricane… he is one of my greatest friends. I shrug. It’s fine. He doesn’t like me being sad.

We arrive at the ER. Surprisingly, it is not packed and they are able to see my dad quickly. The doctor says we all did the right thing. The nail went into his vein and it was good we bandaged him and brought him in so quickly. He gets a few shots and prescribed antibiotics and pain medications.

We search for a pharmacy that is open. Almost everything is closed due to the hurricane, I finally find one. I get there and there is a long line. Once I arrive to the counter, the receptionist tells me it will be an hour. Sigh. My family and I decide to get food. Again, a struggle to find something that was open. We went in circles and finally found a McDonald’s.

As we drive back to the pharmacy, we feel a flat tire… Oh no. At the pharmacy, we get out and see a piece of glass in the tire. YES DEBRIS AGAIN. My mom calls our insurance who says they will take an hour to get there to help us. It was 8. We got out of the house at 5 and are all physically and emotionally drained.

“Fuck it. We’re gonna change this ourselves” my dad says getting out on his injured foot.

“YOU SIT DOWN” my mom says.

My dad disagrees and has me hold a parking spot for space while he and my brother begin to change the tire. It’s difficult. The parking lot is packed and everytime someone tries to park in that spot, I give them a sad look and motion to the damaged tire. We have no way to get home and my dad is standing on one foot. Uber is down saying they want their drivers and passengers to be safe with the Hurricane happening so they will not be running. Otherwise, I would have gotten one for Dad and my mom and brother could have waited for our insurance.

But finally, after 3 good samaritans stopped by and offered us various types of help, 1 hour later- we were done.

We still had minor damages to the car but were able to drive. My mom and I would take it to the shop the next morning we decided. When we all get home, my dad says he needs a drink. We all pour ourselves one and heat up a pizza.

I’m sad. But I look up at out TV screen, and see some individuals who lost everything they had. Our good friend Aaron once told me never to compare my experiences to someone elses, but it’s so hard here. Our house can be repaired. Our car can be repaired. My dad will hopefully heal soon.

Yet, when I close my eyes. I am devestated. I see debris and blood everywhere. The Dean of my school released a great article about how even being in the path of a natural disaster can cause mental effects. And an injury, can add to that. I see it. It is Saturday, and we are all still sad. I have been running errands for my dad everyday and am helping him get back on his feet. It’s not easy. He is still in pain.

And I turned off the news. I can’t hear about it anymore.

I’m thankful for my friends Susan, Steven, and Sam who checked up on me every single day. And still are checking up on me.

“It’s just an after shock” I told Susan when I couldn’t stop crying Wednesday morning.

“Well don’t forget what Dean G said in his article, it may very well be PTSD. And that is okay” she says.

I sighed. Other friends checked up on me just once, and continued to Snapchat me random updates on their life. When they know I am sad. And don’t want to see what they are eating, vacationing, or watching on TV- I want them to listen. And when I heal we can go back to this. It hasn’t even been 1 week since the disaster. They can give me time. Right? I don’t think 1 week is a lot to ask.

Life must go on I guess. I am healing. Today, the Director of Graduate Students at my school who has been helping with my ADHD accommodations wrote to me.

“Hi Shaz,

I wanted to check in with you and hoping you and your family are well and safe. Please know that I have been thinking of you. Sending hugs and hope your way. Let me know if you need anything at all”.

This. This is all I needed to hear. I love my Boston family.

You know how in “Part of Me”, Katy Perry says “I just want to throw my phone away. Find out who is there for me”. This is how I always felt in Chicago.

Thank goodness Boston and Houston are different.

Especially Houston. I saw a strength in my city this week that I’ve never seen before.

This isn’t the way I imagined going to start my last year of school, but I’m inspired by my city. And thankful that I have shelter and my family. And I pray for everyone who lost theirs. Please do the same.

xoxo. S.

A Note to All the Current Men In My Life

  1. “Y”- How dare you? I have a “Dear Diary” kind of night with you. We have just about everything in common. We balance out each others negative qualities. You tell me about all these things you can’t wait to do with me. And you…leave me. After you made the plans… YOU. With no excuse. Not even a text. Oh. It’s your loss sweet pea. A girl like me won’t stay solo for long.
  2. “The Cellist”- I’m glad you’re back in my life. It’s only been what, 2 weeks? Yea. So I may have overreacted about what happened on our second date. I missed you every fucking day my shuttle went past your school and I saw all those cello players. I couldn’t listen to a single song because all of them had cellos in them.So yea we both said some things we regret. And now. We’re going to try again. But I need to be sure you’re not into me just because of my looks. So. There’s that.
  3. “Prince Player”- For once, I just love you. Thank you for being there for me thesefullsizerender3 past few weeks. Responding to my “how I survive grad school” Snapchats. And telling me about all the stuff you miss about me. And admitting your wrongs. And being there for me on crappy Saturday nights where my latest prince won’t show up on my doorstep :/ I think about you during those times. I’ll be looking at my Skyline remembering how you and I used to stare at the one in Chicago together. And how we’d always fight but it was just so magical when we made up ❤ And how you saved me from a lot of future heartbreaks because I know my limits.
  4. “Heart”- Leave me alone. I see you watching my stories, something you never do, until after I left. You had your chance. Quiet a few chances I must say. And you treated me like I was nothing special. You are a Sagittarius like me and you know that’s not okay.
  5. “Mr. Photography dude” and “Sidekick”- I love you both so much. Thanks for watching my back even though I’m far from you and being there to listen to my date fails. And knocking sense into my brain when I’m too blinded by feelings.
  6. Brother- It really bothers me that you don’t talk to me. I just went out on a date with  a guy just like you. An engineer that’s also an INTJ. I talked non-stop about you. I could imagine him being your brother-in law. But it didn’t work out. Anyways. Stop ignoring me. I know we don’t agree on anything. But. You’re my bro. You were my first best friend. I know we’re both busy and have opposite schedules, but let’s Skype sometime.
  7. Dad- I really miss you dad. Did you hear? I met a Libra. He’s just like you. Except I know him in a romantic way, so…it’s different. And also Sagittarius’s are super compatible with Libra’s so I’m excited. Like I met a Taurus and even though we’re not compatible astrologically, we were pretty compatible. And he treated me way better than the Libra. He’s an engineer too. And he lives next to us in Houston! You would have loved him. But he left me so…I’m seeing the Libra. He’s nothing like that lovely Taurus. But I feel more like myself around him. I don’t feel high maintenance. I can dress up and he calls me beautiful a 100 times. He responds to my texts in a timely manner. I feel like the Taurus thinks I am high maintenance. And he never checks up on me. Anyways the Libra’s birthday is only 4 days from yours. I wish I could come up and surprise you, but…it’s just so hard dad. I have all these quizzes, presentations, papers, and group stuff every week. Like during undergrad, I’d have one week where I didn’t have anything. It’s not like that here. There’s always something. On the bright side, my health is very good. I’m not sure my B-12 levels are good yet because I’m still tired, but I’m okay for the most part.

Yesterday my mom told me about all these things she bought. It was all…my favorite things. I tell her it’s really funny that she is remembering me, considering when I was home for the summer, she thought I was a brat :0 And then she told me, “Remember that song? ‘Only know you love her when you let her go’?” Oh yea. I do.

I wonder how many people feel that way about me right now.

I’m Good :)

I can’t believe it’s been almost a year since my last year of college begin. Aside from working, taking 5 classes, and studying for the GRE- it was a really memorable time. In love and friends.

I still remember what “Prince Player” said during our first fiasco this year. “This is so small! There are more important things than our relationship!” I was sad that day. I didn’t know what he meant. To me, people and the relationships I have with them are everything.

But on Tuesday, as I sat in the doctor’s office, I knew. That player was right. There were more important things!

Such as being 22, young, and happy, and finding a lump right before you’re about to move to a new city and accomplish the dream you worked so hard for.

I breathe in and out. I think about the day before. On Monday, my dad took me to my favorite restaurant. He doesn’t really like the place, but I do. When we were done, he put his arm around me and smiled, “Are you happy?” he asked. I sigh. “Of course Daddy”. My whole family knew I was anxious and tired of being sick, they were doing small things to cheer me up.

My mom told me everyone was praying for me.

“You told grandma and all my aunts?” I ask.

“Well gosh Shahz. I had to let it out. It’s hard for me too you know” she says.

I squeeze her hand. “I know, how did they take it?”

She shakes her head. “Not good. You know, they were all excited for you. And then this. We’re all disappointed”.

I hug her. “It’s all going to be okay, mama”.


I’m nervous Tuesday. All the classical music playing in the office is not calming at all. I start praying again. I tell God that if I’m okay, I’ll take better care of myself. I’ll stop doing things I don’t want for people. I won’t push myself beyond my limit. I’ll stop staying up for guys that don’t want me the way I want them. I won’t-


I stop praying.

Dr. Hart, the radiologist has arrived. I breathe.

“So yes. The lump is still there, I could feel it. But I don’t see anything on the ultrasound. Your platelets were high as Dr. Clark said, so maybe your body was just fighting off an infection. It is fading. I don’t see any cause to take it out. Just keep an eye on it and keep taking ibuprofen three times a day”.

I’m so happy I could cry. Bless. Bless. Bless.

The nurse fills out the paperwork.

“You’re leaving for Boston Monday right?” she asks.

I smile and nod.

“Good luck! We’ll be rooting for you!” she says.

I smile even bigger and thank her. I am so blessed.

I find my mom and tell her the good news. She smiles bigger than I do. “Let’s go buy some things for you to take to Boston!”

“Can I have like 5? I have a few calls to make…” I say.

She gives me a look. I smile at her. “Ah” she says winking.

After calling my dad and brother, I call Mr. Photography dude. “I’m good” I say.

“Oh thank god. Yasmeen and I were worried sick during the training!” he says.

I laugh. So I call Yasmeen next. “I’m good” I say again.

“I am so so happy for you love! Thank goodness” she says.

I smile. And then I call my mentor. He recently got his MPH and knows how important it is to me.

“Yes!!! Thank goodness! See, I told you that you had nothing to worry about!”

I smile and go find me mom.

“Now you gotta call my family and dad’s family” she says.

Oh goodness. She calls her mom (my grandma) first and hands the phone to me.

“Oh my gosh Shahz! You gave us all a scare didn’t you?” she asks.

I laugh. “Grandma. I told you not to worry about me!”

“How am I supposed to not worry about you? You were my first granddaughter! My baby! I love you, Shahz”.

Aw. I speak with my aunt (from dad’s side) next. She has a history of this issue and knows the pain.

“Thank god Shahz. Now that that’s over. Try to de-stress and relax now. Please” she says.

FullSizeRender(3)I promise her I will. And then I promise myself.

I shop a little and go to dance class.

When I get home, I think a lot about the promise I made to God. About being better to myself. I’m going to do it this year for sure.

Any self-care tips? Comment below!

Thanks to all of my readers for being supportive this past week. The e-mails I got from you, comments you left me, all of it, kept me going. I truly believe all our positive thoughts is what helped me feel better! I love you all, with all my heart. Boston here we go!

xoxo. S.

The Chapters of My Book

“Dad says you have to get something surgically removed?”

My eyes widen. My brother knows now??

So it’s been a crazy few weeks. When I went in for my physical last week, the Vitamin B-12 and D deficiency was not the only thing that was found. I had a lump. In the best part of my body. I didn’t say anything because Dr. Clarke said it’s fine and nothing to worry about.

But it still kept hurting. Really badly. Like the day before yesterday, my parents were gone all day, and it was just me and my dog. I was sleeping all day because that’s the only thing that keeps the pain away. I woke up to find her, laying on my chest, on top of the lump, right where it hurts. And she looked at me with sad eyes. Like she knew. Something that should not be there, was there.

First, I called Yasmeen. Yasmeen’s mom is a nurse. They said I have to go back to the doctor, even if I already saw her last week and she said it was nothing. So, I called the doctor’s office immediately. They said they would be able to see me the next day (yesterday).

“Back so soon huh Miss Shaz?” Dr. Clarke says smiling.

“Yes Dr. Clarke. I think the lump got bigger” I say.

“Now Shaz. I told you it is possible that may happen. You are going through a lot in your life right now. You are about to move to a whole new city and about to start grad school. That could be causing your hormones to go up an down. Causing this lump. But if you think it has changed, I’d be happy to take a look” she says.

I try not to roll my eyes. “Yes, please”.

She pokes around. “Okay so yes you are right. It is definitely different than what I felt last week”. She takes out a little book that has notes and a ruler attached to it. She does a measurement. “Yup. I would think that is cystic. I’m going to need for you to go get an ultrasound. If it is problematic, you will need to get it out. Now that’s going to be very uncomfortable. And then you will need 4-6 weeks recovery time”.

What? What the fuck? How could she say that all like it’s no big deal???

I try not to cry. “I’m leaving for grad school is a week and a half.”

“Right. I’ll get Stacey to schedule an appointment with the hospital for you” Dr. Clarke says and leaves.

My jaw drops. What? What happened to “you’re moving and starting grad school? it’s probably just hormones?”

I breathe in and out. I hear Nurse Stacey calling different hospitals and spelling my last name. She comes in a few minutes later. “The soonest I could get you in was next Tuesday. Make sure when you go, you bring someone with you” she says.

“Okay” I say sighing.

I go back to the car where my mom is waiting. I start crying.

“Oh my god what? What is it? Shaz?”

I tell her everything.

“God help us” she says. “How will you go to Boston now?”

“I don’t know” I say sadly.

When we arrive my dad is in his office, finishing up some work.

“Go” my mom says.

I shake my head. As strong as my dad is, he can’t take news like this. He will act like he can, and then he’ll get sad and keep it all bottled up in side.

“Shaz has the lump a size of a marble. It grew from last week. She needs an ultrasound, the soonest they could get was next week. She has to get it taken out if it’s bad. They will do it right then and there. She will need 4-6 weeks recovery time.”

Yes. Thank you mom.

My dad stays quiet. “Are you serious? They couldn’t get her in sooner? Do they know she is leaving in a week and a half?”

We all stay quiet. And my dog comes and stand next to me. I pet her.

“Yes they do. I don’t know how she can go to Boston if they have to do the procedure” my mom says.

“Oh she won’t be going” my dad says shaking his head.

“What are you talking about? She has to! She has orientation and school” my mom says.

“I think her health is much more important than orientation and school. They will understand a medical emergency” my dad says.

I stand in shock. “Or. Maybe. It’s nothing. And they won’t even have to take it out!” I say piping up.

They stay quiet. So I go outside to get some fresh air. How did this happen to me? Bad things aren’t supposed to happen to good people. Did I mention I have severe anxiety and ADHD?

I hear them talking inside.

“Maybe she shouldn’t go to her dance class today. She should take some rest” my mom says.

“Let her dance! She needs to relax after getting news like this” my dad says.

I laugh to myself. My parents are cute.

“Shaz…” I hear my dad calling from inside. Oh god. I know that tone. He wants to talk about something.

“Oh. There you are. I was looking for you” he says with a cigar in his hand. He stands next to me near the lake.

“Don’t be scared. These things happen” he says.

I hide behind him. Crying is a major sign of weakness in his side of the family.

“I just can’t believe it’s happening now” I sniffle.

life-is-like-a-bookHe laughs. “Welcome to life. The chapters in your book, are not always going to go the way you want them too.” You know I had a lump too right? It was right as I was coming to America. I had two small children. I was the CEO of a company. I had to have it surgically removed. I hurt for 6 weeks, and I survived” he says.

I cry some more. “I’m not as strong as you” I say.

He puts his arm around me. “No. You are stronger”.

“Think about the good things. You don’t have anyone to take care of. And we have good insurance. So if something happens, you can stay with us and we will watch you until you feel better. And our insurance will take care of the procedure. There are many people that don’t even have those luxuries” he says. He’s right.

“I requested next week off. I was requesting off anyway to spend time with you before you go. So if you need anything, I’ll be there” he says.

Well that’s nice. He hasn’t really been able to be there when I had serious health issues in the past.

“And if not. We can watch movies all week!” he says. I laugh.

He goes back inside and I call Yasmeen.

Wallah. This is terrible. We’ll be praying for you” she says.

“If they put a knife or needle in my boob, I ain’t going to school” I say staring out into the lake.

“Oh my god! Stop! Don’t say that. Just hope that it’s good. You had lumps before right?”

“Yea but the doctor would immediately say it’s fine. This is the first time she needs an ultrasound!” I say.

“Okay..well what about cysts? You’ve had a cyst before right? And it went away on it’s own?”

I think back. “Yes. Yes I did. But that one was fine. It wasn’t as uncomfortable as this one” I say.

“Okay. Well 80% of lumps are nothing anyway” she says.

I laugh. She’s right. I go to my dance class. My upper body hurts so much more than usual. I pass out as soon as I get home.

The call from my brother awakes me. “Dad says you have to get something surgically removed?”

“Yes uh well hi to you too” I say. Then I sigh. My brother was always the weaker one of in these situations. He just bought his own place and got a new job. I don’t want to upset him.

“Look it’s fine. It’s most likely nothing. But if it is, they have to take it out” I say.

He seams sad. “I see. Well either way. I know this lump or whatever is pretty uncomfortable for you and mom and dad aren’t coming to help you move in. But I can fly in if you need me” he says. That’s nice of him. I tell him he should. And I go back to sleep.

This morning, I wake up well rested. But aching. I get a phone call from Mr. Photography dude.

“What’s wrong with you?” he asks.

I rub my eyes. “Nothing” I say.

“You know all about the drama with the new executive board right?” he asks.

“Yep” I say.

“Well Yasmeen says I shouldn’t stress you out with it because you have a lot of serious things going on. What does she know that I don’t?”

I feel like he’ll find out anyway. So I tell him.

“Holy shit” he says.

I take out my iPad and look at my snapchat to distract myself. I haven’t been on it lately because of everything going on. I see one of player’s stories. “When you leave yo girl’s house” the caption reads with a 5am filter.

“Oh my god! You’re not gonna believe what player just posted!” I say changing the subject.

“Oh my god Shaz. Stop. He’s probably just messing around. FOCUS. Focus on your issue!” he says.

“Right” I say putting my iPad down.

“When did you meet him anyway?” Mr. Photography dude asks me.

“The first week of school” I say.

He laughs. “I rest my case. You’ll meet someone new the first week in Boston!” he says.

“I might not even be there for the first week” I say.

“No don’t say that!” he says. “Remember what you wrote on your blog last week? About being resilient? Be resilient, woman!”

He’s right. It’s time to be the strongest I have ever been. In this chapter of my book.

xoxo. S.


I Wanted to Be Special (My ghost phone, my person, my sanity)

I think Tuesdays should be eliminated from the week. Sometimes Mondays, Sometimes Wednesdays- but definitely Tuesdays. There was a time, when I was 19, I looked forward to Tuesdays. I got to see my wonderful then boyfriend- “Heart”. I just could not wait for Tuesday to appear.

But yesterday. And today. Was a nightmare.

It all began when I went to see my therapist. Our last session together. She wanted to take the last 20 minutes to discuss “how I was feeling that my sessions with her are ending”. I was happy, I told her that I have grown a lot as a person since I started seeing her and I’m fine. Since we established that, I decided to talk to her about another issue. She interrupts and says- “I think we should use this time to discuss how our sessions are ending and how you feel about that.” My jaw dropped. As a patient, I think I can decide what I want to talk about. And did I not just say…that I was fine with it? But I repeat my very simple statement I made before, and she stares at me for the rest of the time. I could not have gotten out of there fast enough. She wishes me well and I give her my best fake smile.

In a few minutes, my next hurdle will begin. My club meeting. My board pulls me aside to critique the board members I have chosen for next year. They don’t approve and start belittling everyone I chose :0 So as a good president- I tell them I respect their opinions, and would love to see who else they can find for these positions. They all stay silent. And finally conclude that they don’t know anyone else and suddenly agree that I chose a good board. Then they compliment each other and what a great job THEY did this year. Mr. Photography dude looks at me, and then back at my board, “Guys, I think we owe it to our President. She picked up all our shit when we couldn’t. Which was a lot of times.” So then they acknowledge me.

I step outside a few minutes later.

He follows me. “Don’t let them get to you. You don’t have time for that. You have Boston and your research study to worry about! Go home!” he says.

We hug and I do what he asks. Except when I get home, I can’t do anything. I feel sick. I feel anxious that all these people that once supported me, now don’t look at me the same.

As if things can’t get any worse, I see “Heart’s” name on my phone. It looked like he was calling me. I began saying “hello”. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited that he was calling me because it had been a really crappy day and it would have been nice to talk to a familiar person that knows me better than anyone else….

But then. I realize. That my phone is actually calling him….What the absolute heck?? My phone randomly dialed him! Oh shit. I instantly end the call.

And I text him. I tell him that I think I “buttdialed” him and am super sorry. But then, my phone calls some else!!! So I text “Heart” again and tell him that I actually have a ghost phone. He laughs and says it’s fine and I should get it fixed.

Ugh. I hope he doesn’t think I called him on purpose and using the “ghost phone” thing as an excuse. It really did call him!

We talk a bit about our clubs, he invited me to a few of his events and then we say goodnight. I get really sad thinking about the way we used to be, and what could have been.

A tear drop rolls down my cheek. How could I ever have lost the one person that saw the best in me.

Today I wake up empowered for it to be a good day. People are going through more serious things. I talked to a few of my classmates I’m doing my Senior Research Study with, and holy crap. One was in a car accident, one just lost a friend to suicide over the weekend, and one chopped off his finger while cooking!

I felt so bad for getting worked up about my stuff. My little mental issues are no where near as bad as what these guys went through this week.

“So are you good? Or did you have a crappy week too?” my classmate asks smiling.

I smile back. I didn’t have the heart to explain that my problems were mostly emotional.

When I got back from class, my roommate decided to randomly ask “Does your person know you’re moving to Boston?”

Wait what.

2 things.

Who said I have decided to go to Boston?

Who is my person? And then my eyes widen. She means “Prince Player”.

Oh. my. god. I politely answer, “No I don’t think he does”….and begin to get ready for Heart’s event and night class.

When I get to “Heart’s” event, Mr. Photography dude pulls me aside.

“Let’s leave” he says.

I raise my eyebrows. “Why?” It’s a busy day and I have night class in 50 minutes, but, I feel like I have to show “Heart’s” club support.

“You look like you’re about to cry” he says.

Well that’s not a lie. We walk outside.

He asks me why I look like I’m about to break.

I tell him what my roommate just said. “Yea so? Fuck that. It was just a question.” he says.

“He’s not my person. Never was, never will be” I say sadly.

“Don’t you mean, you’re not his person? Never was,never will be?” he asks laughing.

baa2a6cd3c1bb22eb058066669e6c059I look at him sadly and nod.

He shakes his head. “Okay whoa that was a joke! You don’t believe it do you?”

“It’s true” I say.

“So what if it is? He can still be your person even if you aren’t his” he says putting his arm around me.

I feel the wind blow through my hair. “It isn’t fair” I say.

We look away. I turn to him after a while.

“Will you miss me when I leave?”

He rolls his eyes at me. “Don’t even ask me that. You already know how I feel about it” he says.

“Do you think he will miss me?” I ask.

He looks down. “Yea…but I think he’ll miss a lot of girls when they leave” he says.

I want to cry, but I don’t. “And that’s the unfair part” I say. “I wanted to be special” I say letting my shoulders drop.

I shake my head. “How could she even suggest he was my person? We never went to restaurants. We never went to the movies. We never did anything outside of our places!!!!” I say irritated.

He shakes his head. “Yes but you guys had plenty of other important moments. Who cares where you talk. It’s about the conversation, not where. You are special. Won’t you miss a lot of other guys when you leave?” he asks.

I laugh. “Not the way I’ll miss you, Sidekick, player, and “Heart”!” I say. “You guys were all uniquely special to me” I say smiling.

“You’re special to a lot of people too. I promise. Remember what “Heart” said?” he asks.

I look down and smile.

“We will all miss you. You were a friend to us all” I say remembering.

“See this is why I advocate for you and him. I think he gets you better than player” he says laughing.

I sigh. Night class was about to begin and I get going. After night class, I can’t do anything. My anxiety is causing me to break and I am so burnt out from all my senior projects, I ask my professor for an extension on my homework assignment that was due tonight.

I don’t know why I let what others say (or don’t say) make me feel…unspecial.

xoxo. S.

Another Acceptance (All is up in the air- in love, school, and politics)

On Tuesday night, I had yet another anxiety attack. It was when I was going to sleep, all these thoughts rushed over me, and I just couldn’t breathe. It was 4 am.

This happens once a week as I try to fall asleep. I think about my past, my future, and the My-biggest-fear-is-that-eventually-you-will-see-me-the-way-I-see-myself..jpgnow. I grieve on the past and get scared of the future. It is a really annoying 30 minutes. I wait for it to pass, and when it finally does, I am asleep.

So Wednesday morning I was expecting nothing but to carry on with another day. But when I woke up, I was in for a real surprise. I open up my email as I do every morning, and I see  a huge WELCOME! email.

I click on it and my jaw drops. Texas A and M University, has accepted me.Why the heck was I having an anxiety attack the night before??? The 25th best Public Health school in the country has accepted me.

After the initial shock and excitement, I remember why. I applied for my parents. Colorado was my dream school, but because A and M is better (and closer) my parents had me apply there. I had no clue I would get in…

So. It was time to call my family. They don’t pick up at first, my mom texts saying that my dad is in a call. I obviously want to tell them together so I wait and text my dad saying I have big news to tell him and he needs to put a rush on his call (even if it’s work) because this news is very big news.

A few minutes later, they call back.

“Soooo….Congratulations?” my dad says as soon as I pick up the phone.

I laugh. “How did you know??” I ask.

“Please. My daughter will not call me at 9 in the morning telling me to hang up my conference call for no valid reason” he says laughing. “So tell us. What school?”

I smile and take a deep breath. “Texas A and M”.

I almost have to mute the phone. My dad starts hollering and my mom starts screaming.

“Mabrook (Congratulations) baby. We knew you could do it” my mom says.

“Way to go Shaz. See now you can move up to Texas and be close to us” my dad says once he has processed the news.

Oh boy. My eyes sting. I never expected to get in…I feel like Texas A and M might be too overwhelming for me. It is a new place, new city, 50,000 people- I just don’t know.

“So why are you so quiet Shaz are you not happy?” my dad asks.

“I am…it’s just…now I have to go there don’t I” I ask.

“What do you mean?” my dad asks.

“I had my heart set on Colorado” I say crying.

I could hear both of them sighing in the background. “Look. No you obviously don’t have to go anywhere you don’t want to. But seeing Texas A and M has a better program and also one of the best schools in the country overall, I just think it is more logical” my dad says.

I stay silent. “Am I right or am I wrong Shaz?” my dad asks.

“Yes….” I lie.

“Look it’s up to you. We won’t pressure you. You’re an adult” my dad says. “And you still have more schools to hear back from!”

Oh that’s right. He is absolutely right. So we discuss next steps and before they hang up, my dad says, “Keep up the good work”.

Holy. Shit. My dad never says that. And he never said it to me, that’s for sure.

I update my Snapchat followers on the news, sad that I won’t have “Prince Player” congratulating me this time. Not that it matters. I ask Mr. Photography dude and Sidekick if they are free, and when they say they are, I tell them to meet me at the bakery 🙂

Mr. Photography dude kisses me on both cheeks “Alf mabrook!” (1,000 congrats) “Why are you so humble when it comes to your intelligence? You act like you don’t know much but here you are, holding acceptances to the best schools in the country!”

I laugh. Sidekick hugs me, “Congrats”. Each of us get a frosted cookie and sit down. We joke about the fact that I’m going to gain a few pounds before graduation if I get more acceptances.

“So you really are leaving huh?” Sidekick asks.

I nod. “Yea…guess so”.

We stay silent.

This is sad. But, exciting at the same time.

It’s sad because I imagined my last quarter to be as exciting as I can make it. I wanted 12144665_779553258847179_2251013384211725091_nto see my friends as much as possible and smile every chance I get. But it’s hard seeing all my friends because a) “Prince Player”, “Heart”, and I all fell apart b) and then my non-romantic friends are busy with their new jobs/planning their own future. 

And in the midst of all this, it’s exciting because I can get away from the place that gave me a lot of heartache. I know I wrote all about the lovely memories I had here, but sometimes, these anxiety attacks remind me that life wasn’t so happy here.

“Have you talked to player” Mr. Photography dude asks reading my mind.

“Nope. Not since the day he walked out” I say.

“How about Harris?” he asks.

I think to myself. “Oh shit… I haven’t really spoken to him either” I say.

“Was the last time you spoke to him that day we went dress shopping?” Sidekick asks.

“The day after player and I had our mishap? Oh yea. What the fuck. Something must be bothering these Scorpios!” I say.

They laugh. “I’m serious guys. I get why player is ignoring me. He hates me. And that is fine. But Harris? What is wrong with him?? I message him everyday!” I say.

Mr. Photography dude puts his cookie down, “Um. Why are you messaging him everyday?”

I suck in my cheeks. “I’m…curious…”

“About what…” Mr. Photography dude asks.

“I need to know why he resigned” I say.

“Uh huh. Are you sure you’re not curious about how much he loves you” Mr. Photography dude asks.

My jaw drops. “Shut up. He’s 10 times better than me and he knows it” I say.

“That’s a lie” Mr. Photography dude says.

“Have you heard his voice? He is like the best Arabic singer around! He performs every weekend…” I say.

“And you? Have you seen the way you move? You are a skilled dancer. That’s why you guys go perfectly go together!” he responds.

I sigh. “It’s not about that. He’s just smart. Strong. Loyal. Quiet- keeps things to himself. Just better than me overall” I say.

Both of their jaws drop. “It’s almost like you were talking about yourself… You guys are like identical. That’s why he gets you!” Sidekick says.

I think to myself. The day before our last big event (before Harris resigned) I had a lot of work to get done in preparation for the day. During our prep meeting- our board wanted to go to an event, but I didn’t. I wanted to finish up our stuff. The only person that got through to me was Harris, who closed my laptop and said, “Yallah. Let’s have fun. I’ll help you finish this later”.

Harris always had my back. Always jumped to my defense. Always made sure of my e585921269f082ab0ed35be98734e8d2schedule before planning dates. Brought out the real me (which isn’t easy to do).

Damn I miss my VP. I need to get that Harris back!! I didn’t mean to take his position :0

Later that night, my mom told me how my dad was grinning ear to ear at work all day. I smile to myself. My dad has never been this proud of me. But, if I choose the grad school he wants me to go to, will I regret it? After thinking for a bit, I decide I want to fly to both schools one weekend and take a look. And I’ll be damned, much to my mom’s diasaprooval of me walking around by myself, my dad agreed!

In the midst of the celebration, my crying the night before caught up to me. I got a terrible cold and am currently sick 😦 I truly believe that when you are under a lot of pressure- you can get sick. Thankfully, after drinking lots of grape juice and soup- I’m slowly getting better 🙂

I just wish that everything that’s up in the air would come down already so I can graduate in peace.

I Was Born on A Cold December Night (What I Learned on my 22nd Birthday)

All my life, I despised my birth date. I was born on a cold December night and had to spend my first Christmas in the hospital. Now this is partially my fault. I was scheduled to be born in late January/early February, but I had my own schedule and showed up 2 months early :0

But still. Being born a few days before Christmas…came with more hardships than benefits. When I was younger, I was the one kid who couldn’t bring treats to class on my birthday…because there was never school on my birthday! As I grew older, I got used to people forgetting my birthday because it is so close to Christmas. My birthday, a very happy day for me, is a stressful time for most. Gathering last minute presents, travels, and more. Even if my friends and family did remember, I was used getting a “combined” Christmas/birthday present.

So when I got back to my hotel after the last post, I was sad. I thought about everything I encountered on my 22nd and all the things mentioned. My dad sits on my bed asking if I want to go and celebrate with him.

“Dad, this is the worst birthday ever. What is happening. It already sucks being a December baby- and then after everything that happened today, I just can’t” I say crying.

“You’ll have plenty more birthdays Shahz, come on. Go wear the gown Grandma got you. I’ll take you to the bar” he says.

I call Mr. Photography dude. “Birthday girl! What’s up princess?”I cry and explain the whole dilemma to him. “Holy shit. Seriously? Okay just. Calm down. Think about our cousins in the Middle East, they don’t get half the stuff we’ve gotten for our birthdays over the years. Yea you’re friends aren’t with you. Yea maybe a few of them forgot. Yea you’re tired as hell and you have a crazy family- but hell, you’ve got 2 hours left. Make the best of it! Go wear that dress and celebrate with your dad!”

I sigh. He’s right. Being a December baby does have it’s perks. It is the perfect time to take a vacation…and I am on vacation on my birthday so why am I not enjoying it?!? I go to the bathroom and open up player’s message, “Happy Birthday love”.

Aw. That’s sweet. It’s way shorter than any birthday wish I’ve ever given him, but from him- that is the longest wish I’ve ever gotten! I tell him thank you and he immediately responds. “Let’s go out and celebrate once we get back.” Wait what? ❤ When have we ever gone out? When have we ever celebrated my birthday?? I am oh so flattered and practically fanning myself, ready to respond to him, when…there is a knock at the door.

“Oh Shahz…it’s for youuuuuu” I hear my mom say. That’s odd. What was she talking about? I put my phone down. I quickly zip up my gown and head into our living room. My grandma is smiling and my dad has his camera on me- my mom is holding a beautiful chocolate cake with the words “Happy birthday Shahz” printed on it. Oh. My. God. My amazing family ❤

My mom presents me with earrings and a bracelet. My dad presents me with a new perfume set. And of course my grandma already gave me the gown I was wearing 😉 They each began taking turns putting a piece of cake in my mouth (the Indian/Arab thing to do on birthdays!). I laughed and smiled more than I did on any other birthday! 🙂 I couldn’t believe it, it’s almost like they set me up! The worst birthday ever…was slowly turning into the best birthday ever at the last minute 🙂

“I told you. Your parents aren’t who you think they are, they love you more than you know” my Grandma says as she kisses me when I thank her for the day and her gift.

Grandma heads to sleep and I thought we were all going to sleep- but Dad had another surprise 😉 He took my mom and I out, and we all had drinks and dinner near the Miami skyline ❤ My dad ordered me the oh so famous “Margarita Picante”and I was oh so…uh well…never mind! When it came time to close the bill, the waitress kindly asked if there was a special occasion as I was all dressed up. We explained it was my birthday. She immediately brought a delicious complimentary cake with a candle on it ❤ My parents tell me to make a wish, and I made one that I cannot say (or else it won’t come true!) and we were on our way back 🙂

When I get back, I was sent a video that my friends made for me!!!! I couldn’t believe it. I thought everyone forgot. But here were my friends, from all over the world, some working late night shifts, each took time to make a short birthday wish video and one friend put it all together and sent it my way ❤ Again, I felt as if I was set up (in a very amazing way) in that I was having a very horrible day…only to realize it was going to be one of the best days ever towards the end of the night!

“It was all Sara’s idea! I saw the video. Shahz, I hope you understand what an amazing person you are now. People all the way in the Middle East, Africa, South America, Asia all wished you! People that were at work used up their break to wish you! Seriously. People may forget your birthday- but no one, will EVER, forget how you made them feel and the impact you had on their lives” Mr. Photography dude says when I call him later that night.

I laugh and cry. I’m still stunned at how everything changed in the last two hours of my birthday. When you are born, you can’t chose your name, your race, your gender, or your family. I’ve struggled with all four in my life. It was hard having a naming like mine. It was hard being an Indian and Arab. It was hard being a woman. And oh, it was hard growing up with a family like mine. But one thing you can choose- is your friends. And I certainly chose the right ones ❤

But even so, I still love the four things I was born with ❤ Especially my family 🙂 I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas and December with your families and loved ones! Thank you for those of you that wished me ❤

It doesn’t feel so bad anymore…that I was born on a cold December night 😉

xoxo. S.

***This post was continued from Before Leaving for Miami (almost birthday musings)and When in Miami (My 22nd Birthday)