To summarize

I am employed folks! On Monday, I’ll be heading towards the NY Department of Education to work as an Analyst.

A few of my posts covered my struggles with unemployment, as well as my serious misstep of associating a temporary situation with my identity.

I spent Christmas and New Year’s in Ghana with my family. My decision to go to Ghana was somewhat abrupt. Truth be told, I went because I missed my boyfriend and I was concerned about what continued distance would do to our relationship.  When my dad asked me to clarify why I would spend my money on an expensive ticket when I had just recently started working part time, he answered his own question, Addison*. I am lucky to enjoy a close bond with my father so I was happy he knew the answer. I was even more relived that he did not question my decision or belittle my feelings, “Ok, so you’ll be here for Christmas then. That will be nice”, my father said. I went with the hopes of getting clarity on my relationship. I did and didn’t get clarity, but I also got something else –and maybe I’ll discuss it in a future post.
I am back in New York, I’ve secured a lovely apartment in the heart of Brooklyn or maybe an artery leading to the heart of Brooklyn. Either way, I am happy to finally have my own safe space again. My new space has come with soft reminders of loneliness but I confident that as I make the space feel more like home, it will feel like exactly that.

I am looking forward to writing more posts. I am curious to see how my new situation and environment will affect my writing.

Joel Osteen says God won’t give you a blessing you aren’t ready for — I am ready !

*Actually, my boyfriend’s name is not Addison but I think it’s a nice name for a boy. 


A place to be tried & tested

*I wrote this post before my trip to Ghana  on December 21. For one reason or another, I have been writing without posting. This is an effort to break the silence.

In less than a week, I will return to Ghana. For many reasons, this visit will assess and test the growth I have made since my first blog.

My first post explored the Ghanaian word obolo– meaning fat. My next blog post explored the word oboroni-white. I have no doubts that I will be referred as either many times during my short, 3-week stay.  I have been accustomed to hearing these words. But I am hoping my reactions, if any, will be different. I haven’t suddenly acquired a new race(still not white !) and I am still waiting for my body to respond to a drastic change in eating habits and a gym membership.

I’ve written about a few dark experiences, I’ve explored the various ways in which these events have affected and shaped me, I’ve stated that my prior inability (not unwillingness) to trust had eroded a couple of my most important relationships.

For a couple of months, perhaps exactly since October 31st, the voices in my mind that energize and spark my anxiety, have been very quiet. When the anxious chorus crescendos, with the full agency I now have over my thoughts and feelings, I am immediately able to reverse the dial. In Ghana, I will be temporarily united with my boyfriend    of almost three years. Have I fully released the habits that were influenced by an acute distrust of his feelings and actions? Can I listen to what he says and not fill in conversational gaps with worst possible scenarios ? Will I be able to ask clarifying questions calmly and rationally ? Has the effort I have put into being the best version of myself  for myself and inevitably our relationship, been matched ?

I’m looking forward to being in Ghana during Christmas. This will be my second visit to Ghana during this time. My first Christmas in Ghana was due to my family leaving Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War. I really only recall the ‘fleeing a war’ part so I’m looking forward to creating new memories.

On your way or almost there: Acceptance during change

Scenario: Pearl has been on a clean eating campaign for two weeks, successfully. After a long day, Pearl comes home and suddenly that spinach and artichoke salad seems like punishment. Pizza it is. After Pearl has enjoyed an un-disclosable amount of slices, she is overwhelmed with guilt, regret and a lingering taste of pepperoni. The next day, as Pearl wakes up, she remembers she committed to jogging Saturday mornings. She also remembers her pizza festivities the night before. “What’s the point? After eating all that junk food, I can’t do this. What’s the point of running if I’m just going to come home and stuff my face?” Pearl resigns to her bed; after all, she read a study that sleep promotes weight loss. 

I may or may not be Pearl. Either way, I can relate to this scenario. I commit to developing a new habit, I mess up along the way, and my new leaf cartwheels into a pile of failed attempts. Change is hard, no doubt. Consistency is even harder. The good news is that I’m pretty sure Serena Williams was recently reported to be at a Chinese restaurant when someone tried to steal her phone. During training, Micheal Phelps eats 6-8 slices of pizza for dinner with pasta. This is just to say that eating pizza and lo mein doesn’t mark the death of a warrior. Imagine Serena quitting tennis because she ate 7 too many wontons the night before.

You committed to something, and you did it for 2, 3, 4, 5 days straight. Celebrate that! That’s something you weren’t doing before: you’re in the process of changing. Acknowledge and accept that positive shift you’ve made.

You’ve lost 8 pounds, but your goal was lose 10 pounds. Celebrate the 8 pounds and have a plan of attack for the next 2 pounds. Don’t get defeated because you haven’t met your goal. Goals, successes,–we approach them, we don’t land them.

I hope you’re ready for the next part: Joel Osteen says…while you’re waiting for better, don’t be discontent.  He  says we should learn to accept ourselves while we’re in the process of changing.

I think that if you can accept yourself while you are changing, the process of change will actually be easier and healthier. And sometimes, the real lessons don’t happen because you are now a size 8 from a size 12. Sometimes the lesson, the aha! moment comes when find yourself at a size 10. Instead of hating your position until that promotion comes…maybe find ways to enjoy it–that might make actually expedite the promotion! Did you do something that you said you weren’t going to do? Take a moment to remember why you decided change, acknowledge how poorly that habit makes you feel and continue. But don’t give up on the way.

With three interviews next week, and eventual employment creeping up on me, I’m actually lamenting over all the time I spent mopping while I was unemployed. Another thing JO says, is to learn to enjoy the season you’re in. I wish I would have done that. The people in my life…I know they wish I had!

Full disclosure : These positive, hopefully uplifting posts, are incredibly uncomfortable to write. It was a lot easier to write about negative stuff. But Joel Osteen says….

Things I am not: Separating status from my identity

I graduated from a prestigious school in May with a Masters degree. I also graduated with equally august ideas about what my life would look like post-graduation.

Before I continue, this is the first time, since my acceptance and graduation from the school, that I have mentioned it as a prestigious school. So in case ‘prestigious school’ is a trigger for you, please feel welcome. I am not going to rant about how life has failed me while I wait for my navy blue, gold buttoned blazer to be steam pressed. In fact, I’m sitting in a public laundry facility and there’s an EBT card in my right pocket. I do have said blazer but it’s currently subject to bidding on eBay.

Having been unemployed since May, I have consistently confused my status with my identity. This pushed me into an abyss of self-loathing, depression and unrelenting feelings of uselessness.

For several months, my unemployment meant that I did not have attractive skills, it meant that I hadn’t performed well at school, that my hard work was meaningless and had I even worked hard enough? I was confusing a temporary status with my entire existence.

Who I am is separate and unequal to my employment status. I am hard working, I did well in school; in a few notable courses I out performed my peers, I have an incredibly diverse skill set and I have been fortunate to have had experiences that will make me the perfect candidate for my perfect job when it comes my way.

How we talk to ourselves is so important. I would never talk to my worst enemy the way I often converse with myself. I had to change the conversation I was having with myself to find peace with my situation. When I stared doing that windows started opening. Not windows of opportunity mind you, but windows that let out a lot of bad air. Am I fully employed now? Nope! I don’t even have an interview lined up. But I am doing something now that I used to love and I am finally taking action on ideas that I’ve had for a while.

Given the pressures and schedule of a full time job, especially the type of job I had envisioned for myself, I doubt I would have had the time to do what I am doing now. And after the events of the last two years, I am not sure why I didn’t actually look forward to this time.

I don’t want to give you the impression that this was a smooth transition. It was not. I fought it, kicking and screaming. For months, I’d spend my day applying for jobs, reaching out to people on LinkedIn, formatting and reformatting my resume, I’d go on interviews only to be told some version of ‘It was down to you and one other candidate’. I heard this about four times. Eventually, I had to accept that perhaps, working right now wasn’t what I was supposed to be doing. If it were, someone else would be getting that call.

Learning how to accept things as they are is incredibly difficult. It is incredibly difficult for me because I was taught that if I worked hard, I would get everything I wanted and my achievements would be endless. And this is actually true; except no one ever said I would get what I wanted immediately.

There are other applications to this that have been useful to me, for example, body image. How I perceive myself to look doesn’t mean that I am not worthy of being in a relationship, it does not mean that I can’t have healthy relationships, it does not mean that I am lazy, etc.

I am going to continue reminding myself not to confuse my status with my identity.


This post is inspired by Joel Osteen’s ‘The Power of I Am’.

Life’s Stanzas

On Loyalty
I was standing by the pool side
Assessing the depths
You came by and pushed me
Now you’re calling for help.

On Love
I was standing by the pool side
Assessing the depths
You came by and pushed me
Now you’re letting me drown.

On Friendship
I was standing by the pool side
Assessing the depths
You came by and pushed me
Now you’re walking away.

On falling in love 
I was standing by the poolside
Assessing the depths
You came by and pushed me
Now you’re holding me down.

On life
I was standing by the poolside
Assessing the depths
You came by and pushed me
Now you’re yelling at me to swim.

On God
I was standing by the poolside
Assessing the depths
You came by
“Not yet”.