A Letter Back to Kaiya

Hello friends-

Today we are doing another For the Love of Sass first- I am responding to a letter a reader wrote me in response to the one I wrote her as part of my A Letter to You! series. I recently wrote to Kaiya at Adventures on Quiet Nights. And now she has written me a lovely letter back. You can find it right here To Shaz🙂

Dear Kaiya,

Thank you for your lovely letter! You are so unique with your letters, you write them in a journal and you draw pictures ❤ And it’s pictures of my favorite things! I particularly love the drawing of the latte 🙂 You know how much I love those! $5 out of my pocket every morning for that!

Yes, Kaiya, believe it or not- we still do have midterms in grad school. Times 10. You must be like “what??” Every other week, we have a major test/paper/presentation.This is why you haven’t heard from me lately Kaiya haha! And it’s only about to get busier because the exams/projects worth the highest portion of my grade is in two weeks. 

AH!!!! Because you talked about having a mild case of PTSD in college, I knew you would understand if I took a moment to scream haha 🙂

I’m serious Kaiya. I totally agree with you, graduating college was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done too! But then I met graduate school right. And this weekend, I flew up to Houston to see my dad for his birthday- I wasn’t able to spend as much time with him because both of my groups for the projects FACETIMED me in. And this was on Saturday and Sunday! Then last night, I got home from my flight very late and had to stay up to practice for my presentation that I had this morning 😦 I tell you. Grad school is a 7 day job. 

I am so touched by your kind words 🙂 I can always use motivation 😉 I am glad you guys know that when I am not here, it means I am kicking ass at grad school! And I will have one hell of a story to share when I’m back ❤

Oh and if no one has told you- I’m proud of you! I can understand how hard you worked to get to where you are now and how difficult getting through college was, you are not alone. AND YOU DID IT! And you will keep doing it 🙂 As I say….slay!

xoxo.

Shaz

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A Letter to Kaiya

Today I am writing to our friend Kaiya at Adventures on Quiet Nights.

for everyone just tuning in please read A Letter to You!

Dear Kaiya,

First I would like to apologize that this letter is delayed. With the incident I wrote about earlier on my blog and Hurricane Harvey (did you hear about this?? There is a hurricane which has now changed into a tropical storm where I live in Texas) things were busy.

But I’m glad to finally sit down and be writing your letter 🙂 You were my first reader that gave me a specific topic to write about, blogging tips! After blogging for 4 years, I am excited to write about this! You asked me to write about this topic because you are a new blogger. This is awesome! Congratulations and welcome to WordPress Kaiya 🙂 You are in for a lot of fun ❤ So with no further ado, here they are!

1.) Be yourself- When I first began writing my blog, a friends asked me why I was doing it. He asked why I could not write in a diary. I can’t write my thoughts in a diary because, when I was battling ADHD, anxiety, and depression- there was no books or articles I could find about a woman like me dealing with those emotions. I don’t want anyone else to go through that. And so, I write for those individuals like me.

One reader told me that. She said “With you telling everyone about your life you are also making other women in the same position not feel alone and that we all feel the same in some way :)”.

That was awesome. There are millions of bloggers. What will you share or write that will make a difference? Be yourself, and write that!

And let me say, you do this well already! I have read all of your posts and I admire your strength 🙂

2.) Build community- Kaiya, when you wrote me your request, you told me as a new blogger you had been wondering “what is the point of blogging?” In public health, we talk about direct effects and indirect effects.

You see, what I mentioned above in the last tip about writing for individuals like me and giving hope, that was my direct effect- something I expected.

An indirect effect is something you do not expect. And let me tell you, this blog gave me the best indirect effect I have ever gotten in my life, a community.

Through some of my saddest times, the people who would make me feel better more than my real life friends- were my blogger friends! Their comments would cheer me up and help me fall asleep at night.

You may not feel it now Kaiya, but trust me within a year or so- you will have one! And it’s going to be awesome.

Now you may be wondering, but wait Shaz, how do I build community?

Simple Kaiya.

Read. Read other blogs. Find them through “Freshly Pressed”, a tag you search for, or a commenter on a blog you follow. And if you like what they’re saying, give them a “like” or comment! Same for anyone who stops by and “likes” or comments on your blog. Visit them back and see what they have to say. If you guys keep in touch for a while, you will become a family 🙂

Like me, Paul, and Chris!

3.) Be consistent- Okay Kaiya I know I am the last person to be writing this. But trust me when I first began blogging, I blogged 4-5 times a week! I had a “special” for each day. With graduate school happening, I do blog once a month (but hey that’s consistent so we’re doing good!).

Some bloggers/readers have described my blog as a TV show. Well how do TV shows work? It happens once a week right? And everyone knows when the show is and gets their snacks and drinks ready to watch it? It doesn’t happen sporadically at different times (I guess if it is off season it does lol!) but you get my idea.

Blog once a day, blog once every few days, blog once a week, blog once a month, whichever pattern suits you. Just keep it consistent 🙂

4.) Accept criticism with a grain of salt- I was not ready for criticism about my blog. Be it from my friends in real life, or my readers on WordPress.  If you like the criticism, acknowledge it and take it. If you don’t, you don’t have to. Everyone is entitled to their opinion.

At the end of the day, we blog for ourselves. It is our name attached to our writing. Our hopes, our fears, our dreams.

So own it!

And that’s that Kaiya 🙂 You are the newest addition to the WordPress community from all of my readers so I am honored I was able to write to you! I hope you enjoyed my letter and tips. I look forward to reading more of your work.

Shaz

Facts About Your Letters

Hello friends,

As of now, I have 1 letter left to write (request more please!!!!) If you don’t know what I’m talking about please read, A Letter to You!

Writing these letters have been a lot of fun. It is the newest thing I have been doing with my blog. A big step from writing about my grad school struggles and what not. Speaking of which, I am so proud for getting ELEVEN posts in last month. Once grad school begins, it will be barely once a month 😦 I hope you guys will still love me!

Anyways, here are some things you may not know about when I write your letters.

1.) I write your letters between 1am-4:30 am. This is when my brain works.

2.) I am usually munching on something when I write you letters. 1am-4:30 is when those cravings hit! When I was writing Paul’s and Aaron’s letters- I was eating coconut chips. Steven’s letter- kiwi. Chris’s letter- caramel popcorn. Meghan’s letter- smores (not gluten free, bad Shaz). Asha’s letter was the only one where I did not snack while writing.

3.) I am surprised this blog is not about food.

4.) I leave it up to you to tell me what you want your letter to be about, but if you don’t, I usually write about you. Meghan was the first person who said I could write about anything including my day so I went for it (A Letter to Meghan). In an upcoming letter to Kaiya, I will be writing blogging tips as requested by her. Do pop by if you want my tips! And no Paul, it won’t be the same as your’s 🙂

5.) Sometimes I wish we still wrote each other letter’s. I hate when I do something nice for somebody, and I get a two word text. I hate when someone misses me, and I just get a two word text. If this was a long time ago, you’d write me a letter about it and tell me how you are doing. So, thank you for requesting  letters. I’m bringing letters back 😉 (DID YOU GET MY JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE REFERENCE?) No? Okay. Time for bed Shaz.

Night everybody!

S.

A Letter to Meghan

Today I am writing to our friend Meghan at Hey Meghan

Dear Meghan,

Do you know, that you are my longest regular reader after Paul? Your first comment on my blog was in January of 2014 when you said “Ben and Jerry are the two best people to turn any bad day around! Hope your week gets better ! ❤ another struggle college kid”.

Hahahaha! I was talking about how I was having a stressful day and I had my then favorite Ben and Jerry’s ice cream flavor to cheer me up (it was called “Scotchy Scotch Scotch” which was a limited edition). I sadly don’t eat Ben and Jerry’s anymore. I’ve been very serious about my gluten-free diet and am trying gluten-free desserts. It’s going pretty well.

When you first appeared on my blog, I loved you because we are so similar. We both have dogs who both have our hearts, we both majored in a Sciences degree in college, and we are both currently working in a lab making people’s lived better!

We have also battled hardships in anxiety and love. I know you talked about these lately on your blog.

You are my only reader who told me my letter can be about anything I want, including me telling you about my day or even making up a story! Well, here’s the thing Meghan. You may have read in my last post that I had a few crappy days lately.

And I’ll tell you why. It’s actually really silly. And personal. But since you and I are similar, I feel you may understand.

So as you may have read in my the post before my last post, ever since my last relationship- I have been really scared to enter a new one. And everyone around me is in a relationship. You see, even my parents who have had troubles in their marriage just celebrated their 30th anniversary on Tuesday. And then, my brother announced that he may possibly be moving to California soon. We asked why. He said it’s because his girlfriend (OF 8 YEARS) got into grad school there and he is thinking about proposing when she is done!!!

“See, your brother has someone. Don’t you want someone?” my mom asked.

Ugh. And that just upset me.

It’s not like I haven’t been trying. I have pushed myself and been on a few dates since that last relationship. But none of them have been that great.

In fact, my last date was with a nice med student from Harvard right. And he actually said something…not so nice to me. I told my mom about it so she can leave me alone.

And you know what she did??? She told my dad!

Meghan, let me tell you about my father. I am my father’s only daughter. If anyone says anything/does anything mean to his daughter, he is upset.

And let me tell you, he was.

I was livid. My mom wasn’t supposed to tell him. That was supposed to be a secret between me and her.

I was wondering why my dad kept asking me “everything okay?” whenever I call him. And this is why.

Sigh. So yes. I don’t even need to get started about all my friends in relationships. Okay not all of them are in relationships, but my close friends are.

And no I’m not saying I’m jealous, I’m saying I hate when they intrude into my life and ask me about my love life.

Listen Meghan, I don’t know if you ever felt this way, but- I’m doing me. For the first time in my life.

I used to be the most successful woman in my family, now I am the most successful in all of my family. I am the only one that will have a Master’s, the only one to go to a top 10 school, the first one to pop on Google when we type our family last name, and the first female to work in politics. In my family.

So…why must I have someone? Yes, it would be nice. But right now, I’m doing great without one.

You’ve wrote about love on your blog, so I thought you would understand 🙂

I know that if you lived close to me, we would probably be the best of friends ❤  I can’t wait to read your posts about baby showers, bachelorettes parties, your dating life, moving updates and the medical marijuana debate!!!

Love,

Shaz

A Letter to Aaron

today I am writing to our friend Aaron at The Confusing Middle

Dear Aaron,

Soooo how was your trip? TELL US EVERYTHING. I loved Turkey when I went. I have not been outside of the U.S in three years. This is crazy. I should plan on doing something this winter or the summer after I graduate from grad school.

As you know, these past few years have been crazy for me. And these past two years you have given me some valuable advice.

Like last May, when I still had not decided which school to go to and could not get over the fact that I was leaving for Chicago and my love interests (particularly Prince Player) weren’t making any effort to spend time with me and my therapist wasn’t helping me at all, you said “So, I realize I don’t know you outside of reading your posts here. But, please, do not let anyone ever make you think you’re not special. Also, therapists are the worst. …says the guy who’s a counselor for a living.”

That was really nice of you 🙂 Just a few days later when I made the decision that I was going to move to Boston, I felt special and I have never felt “unspecial” ever since.

Wow. Can you believe it? I work as a Public Health Educator now, and my main project is lowering teen suicide. So I am now a mental health expert now like you! I’m sad I suffered through depression, anxiety, and ADHD in college- but I guess this was God’s plan. He wanted me to work in this field and understand what the people I’m working with are going through.

Because as we know, this is no laughing business. This job can be so hard on some days. Every day at work, I hear the word “suicide”. I see the data of how much it has happened in our town and our state. It’s a lot. And in teens? It’s sad. It makes you wonder…what could their parents have done? What could their friends have done? What could their teachers have done? What could their boyfriends/girlfriends have done? And mostly- what could they have done?

Today my boss told me he appreciates my maturity and professionalism with this line of work. How can I not have these traits? This is a serious issue. One that I know so well.

Last year, while I was moving to Boston and starting grad school, I had you write a blog post about self-care. Self-care was something I did not practice in college and the reason why I had three serious health conditions upon graduating. No one ever talked about self-care at my university. At least, not until it was too late.

But I’m happy that I at least began practicing it in grad school. Especially this summer! This summer has been wild Aaron. I’ve been having Bubble Bath Mondays, Wine Wednesdays, Matinee Movie Thursdays, and lots of dates 😉 I get that dates are not a solo activity, but my dates this summer have really cared about me and made me feel special ❤

So thanks Aaron, for reminding me and our readers to take care of ourselves. From one mental health professional to another, thanks for what you do 🙂

Shaz

A Letter to Chris

today I am writing to our friend Chris at Short Poems and Other Nonsense

Dear Chris,

You must forgive me because I am eating caramel popcorn right now. And I keep munching and writing at the same time.

It is sad that I am munching at this late hour because I was out on a date and we ate a lot of food! But that was at 6, and it is now 2am so let’s let myself slide okay? Now, everyone knows about my popcorn addiction and they tease me. I don’t like it because I have a gluten allergy and popcorn is one of the only things that is gluten free. Ugh. Silly people.

Anyways, enough about me more about you. So I first discovered you through Paul, my best blogger friend/your real life best friend. Except we are family now and you guys are my brothers sooooo. Yea. I like my little blogger family 🙂

Anyways (I like this word a lot), I began following your blog not because Paul told us too, but because I liked your poems. You see, I began blogging in 2013. Back then, all I wrote was poems. I wrote them because I was really sad. The last poem I ever wrote was in June 2014. Do you believe this? I HAVE NOT WRITTEN A POEM IN THREE YEARS!

Meanwhile. You Chris, are killing it. Every day you post a fantastic poem where I kid you not, I sometimes begin clapping after I’m done reading it. The last time I did that was when you wrote Some Endings.

You wrote:

It was the last sips of your wine that I drank the slowest because they were almost too better to stomach.

MY GOD. How did you do that?? I got all the feels. Seriously. No wonder why you have a book published. I feel so lucky that I am the blogger sister of a celebrity.

So since you are a celebrity, and my blogger brother, I was wondering if you can help me. Can you tell me what you think about this poem I just wrote for the first time in 3 years?

I loved him more

yesterday

But yesterday

doesn’t matter

because yesterday

is history

I TRIED OKAY CHRIS? For me to write a poem, I have to be sad. And I’m talking waterproof mascara is failing and running down my cheeks from tears kid of sad. And, I haven’t been that sad in a long time.

So thank you for writing your poems Chris. Like I told Asha, thank you for writing the words I can’t seem to find in me to write.

Perhaps one day I will.

Until then, I live through your poems 🙂

Shaz

A Letter to Asha

Today I am writing to our friend Asha at The Musing Quill .

Dear Asha,

Hi love. How are you?? I hope you are happy that I am blogging more often than usual. Like Paul, you are one of my fellow bloggers that drop by very often to read my stuff.

It always surprises me that we are very good blogger friends because in your bio, you have stated that you hate make-up and hate pink. Guess what are the two things I love the most? Hahahahahaha.

But I think what bounded us together are that we both write the truth: the good, the bad, the dirty. You call it “the ugly” 🙂 But I think we mean the same. It is nice to have a fellow female blogger on here that is so raw.

I am happy you still write poems. You may remember the poems I used to write. I don’t write them anymore because I wrote them in a period I was soooo sad and I’m not so sad anymore you know? I feel like when writing poems, you really have to mean what you say. Those are the best ones. Am I making any sense?

Anyways, you do that so well in your poems and I love reading them. I remember once, I think it was on my 4 year blogging anniversary this year, you told me that my blog is one of the first few you have been following since the creation of your blog! I am so honored.

You have been such a good friend. The first comment you wrote on my blog was “Reading your post reminded me of how rejections hurt. Even if it is so.much as a postpone in the plan. I feel.for you. I hope it goes all right and that he doesn’t cancel on you again.”

It is hard being a girl sometimes. I’m glad this guy “cancelled plans” on me that night and the other nights. He turned out to be emotionally abusive and I let him stay in my life a little longer than I should have.

In your poem “Fix” you wrote:

she hurriedly wiped
her kohl-stained eyes
the memories
of the finality
still burning in her mind

and that is exactly how I felt the night I left him.

So thank you Asha. Thank you for writing the words I can’t find in me to write.

With love,

Shaz

for everyone just tuning in please read A Letter to You!

A Letter to Steven

Oh my gosh I won’t make it through this letter without crying. Today, we are writing to my longest best friend- Steven! He is also my longest reader as he was one of the first few people I told.

If you are just joining us please read A Letter to You!

Dear Steven,

Hi. It’s Shaz. Your friend since high school. I know what you and my readers are probably thinking. Whatttt. Shaz hasn’t had any friends longer than high school? 0ca5978e6bb0ef12e43802b8cf151126--best-friends-funny-best-friend-quotesAnd well…yea. You and I both know that growing up, I moved around a lot. I lived in 3 countries, 5 states, and over 10 cities. And every time I tried to keep in touch with my friends, it just never worked out 😦 Except with you 🙂 And most of my friends from college 🙂

You’ve just always been there for me Steven. I remember we first met in AP Economics class. Ugh FML. I got a C in that class and obvs you did well because you’re working for Deloitte now 🙂 Anyways, I was so afraid to talk to you cuz you were so smart and I was…well I was smart too but I did not do well in that class! But thankfully, we had mutual friends and we became friends that way. And how much fun that would be! You, Evan, and Ben and I would hit Panera and Einstein Brother’s during lunch. And those two would sit in the front of the car while we sat in the back during those lunch break trips and one time “Starships” by Nicki Minaj came on and I STILL REMEMBER you singing “we’re higher than a motherfucker” and I died because you are a nice boy and you don’t say bad words like that.

And then it was time to graduate and we were all going to each other’s graduation parties. We all went our separate ways. Ben went to Israel. You went to Minnesota. And Evan and I stayed in Chicago. Evan and I had continued to be friends, but, he always judged me. And I couldn’t stand it. Friends don’t do that to each other. Which is why I always liked you Steven. You always say I’m “one of the sweetest people” you know despite my numerous flaws. And one time, my freshman year of college, when I was feeling really really really down, I told you I wanted to be like Kim Kardashian. Because she is just so gorgeous and seems to have everything together. And you said, “Why Shaz? You are way prettier and way smarter than her” and I cried. I still remember the day I was in a bad mood, in like March of 2013 (the lowest point in my life) and you tweeted at me “OH NOES! Well, by the way, you are one sexy woman! #sexierthanKimK”

And then another time. This is probably my favorite thing you ever said. That year I started my blog, 2012-2013, people thought I was wierd but my blog was super popular and I said to you “Watch Steven. I’m gonna be a famous writer one day and you’re gonna say, that crazy woman was my best friend” and I thought you would just agree with it but you said…”IS SHAZ. IS. I would say that crazy woman IS my best friend”. And you made me cry again.

My biotch of a roommate that year told me I need more female friends. And I was like girl, Steven and I are good k? Don’t be jealous of my guy bff. I’ve got loads of female friends but my bff will always be Steven.

Seriously. I always say, if I had to be stuck in an elevator with someone, I’d choose you Steven. You would make me laugh and sing with me as we develop a strategy to get out.

One time my mother said we should get married. And it was really awkward because you know I love you as a friend lmao. And I don’t mean that in a friendzoning way! It is just what it is. If you were in love with me, you’d be so annoyed Steven lol. Anyways, speaking of moms.

I was sad to learn your mom had cancer. I wondered why bad things happen to good people. Your family was the nicest family I knew.

And I was sad when your mom passed away. I wanted nothing but to be in Illinois with you. I went to Hallmark to buy you a card and some other things. But I realized nothing I send can take your pain away. So I grabbed the card and walked to the post office to send it to you.

On my way back home I closed my eyes. I had texted you “I wish I was there”. And you said, “I know Shaz. But you’re not here”. And it made me sad.

I miss you and all my friends, but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to come back to Chicago. Chicago is where a person physically and emotionally hurt me, something I would have to remember for life. Chicago is where my family got separated multiple times. Chicago is where I developed PTSD. Everything changed once I moved to Boston, for the better. Things are still hard here, but not as much as it was in Chicago.

The challenges I faced in Chicago is nothing compared to what you had to endure, but, for now, I won’t be coming back. And I love that you understand this and YOU are coming to visit me in Boston this fall. You are my first guy bestie to come visit me. I always thought it would be “Prince Player” but a) he was more than a friend and b) it never happened. So, as Beyonce said, “BABY IT’S YOU!!!” I can’t tell you how I excited I am for you to visit. I’m going to take you to see Harvard, we’re gonna hit up a museum, and I’m gonna take you to a really trashy movie because I know you much you hate those ;).

I end my letter by saying thank you Steven. Thanks for always supporting me. Thanks for always believing in me. Thanks for watching EVERY SINGLE one of my Snapchat stories (even when I post 40 of them). Thanks for continuing to read this blog which none of our friends read anymore. Thanks for just being you. Friends now and friends forever ❤

Love,

Shaz

P.S- I can never take you seriously anymore because of the Laura Clery videos. You know what I’m talking about, if my readers don’t- Youtube it 🙂

A Letter to Paul

To Paul at The Captain’s Speech

Dear Paul,

Hi it’s your little blogger sister. I don’t even know where to begin!!!

Let’s begin with September 8th, 2013.

That’s the day I discovered your blog, and we all know the story so let’s do a little skip shall we? For those tuning in- you wrote a post about missing college, and that day I was beginning my second year of college and I absolutely HATED it. Your post was a wake up call for me.

Fast forward 4 years later, I am sitting at the top 10 graduate school for Public Health. And I LOVE school. And I realized that, 4 years ago when I was sobbing and reading your post, it wasn’t school that I didn’t like- it was my school. Does that make sense? As soon as I moved to Boston for graduate school, I LOVED my new school! I love everything about it: the location, the classes, the people. But still, that post and many of your other posts helped me get through a rough time in my life.

You see, when I first started my blog and got so much positive feedback, I was so proud of it I wanted to share it with the people I love. So I told my older brother about it. And you know what he said? He said, “I don’t want to read it. I’m glad it’s popular and doing so well, but I don’t want to read it”. I was so hurt. And today, I’m kind of glad he doesn’t read it because as we know I discuss real life issues here (the good, the bad, the dirty) and I’m not sure I would have wanted him to read all that. Still. That comment always hurt me.

Which is why that day you commented on my blog that you feel like a “proud big blog brother”, I was so happy. I couldn’t think of a better way to describe you or anyone else to give that title to. Sometimes, I can lose perception of what’s around me, and then you appear on my reader feed and you make me think! You are also one of my few readers that read every single post of mine! Every time I post something, I think to myself, “What is my big blog brother Paul going to say?”

Oh yea, I have added Chris to our family as well. It seems like you two are close and well, if you guys are brothers and I am your sister, that would make me his sister too. Does our family tree make sense? Okay fabulous!

Also I just want to say, I’m not speaking for myself when I say all of this. I am speaking on behalf of the blogging community. You have over 4,000 followers, and you respond to each of our comments!!! And exactly how many letters did you write when you came up with this idea? I think there were over 30 right? See. That requires dedication and we love that about you.

Lastly, I like how we sometimes listen to the same music. My Poker Face days are over, I love Lady Gaga’s new songs. Sometimes I will blast Perfect Illusion and shriek “IT WASN’T LOVEEEE IT WASN’T LOVEEEE IT WAS A PERFECT ILLUSION!”

I kid you not.

Just like your material, Lady Gaga’s stuff will always be relevant 🙂

Don’t forget our blogs are starting Kindergarten next month! Do you believe this??

They grow up so fast.

Cheers,

Shaz

for everyone just tuning in please read A Letter to You!