Today, I’m doing something a little different: I’m showing myself a little love, and it’s not just because my top song of 2017 was Show Me Love and I’ve been jamming to it ever since. I’m deciding to listen to the input that I have something valuable to give to the people in my life – I think everything might change because of this.
Well, we made it through (most of) 2017. I’d say that everything has changed, but most things are better. What’s stayed the same is my love of stories, passion for working with students, and desire to do something new every day – after all, why would I switch disciplines if this wasn’t the case? I made the jump into Human Centered Design & Engineering and then Microsoft and then working as a course assistant and researcher, all while retaining my identity as a writing tutor. I get to make thing that I’m proud of share them with the whole wide world and on my portfolio – and what’s better, I get to share it with people who really love me.
Few of us get to have a dream like this, one that is lived out. I’m lucky that I do what I love every single day: how often do people get to make a living and a life all at once? I feel profoundly connected to my work because I get to talk to students about their goals & identity in the hopes that I can help them craft an authentic narrative about why they should get a job or internship or spot in a competitive major. And I hope that seeing a brown woman, one who changed her major and is doing a fifth year because the right major is always worth it, inspires all those little brown girls who come in looking for someone like them, even if it’s only for 45 minutes. I hope that my existence is resistance that proves why I deserve to be in a higher education system that never made for me, all while humbling myself to recognize that I will never fully understand what it means to be fully excluded from these spaces. I will never stop learning this lesson, and I hope to keep fighting for those that deserve to be here the most.
But even as I’ve nurtured others throughout this quarter, I haven’t always taken care of myself – in fact, I sometimes take of everyone else except me. And this works for the most part because I strive to make a life through service, but it’s hard when I’m not remembering what I need. I don’t know what it really takes to actually choose myself, but at least I’m closer to recognizing my own worth. At the very least I’m grateful for the things I’m making.
I learned to tell stories that needed to be shared the most urgently, trust others with the most vulnerable parts of myself, and thank people for what they’ve given me even if they have to leave. I live with the pretense that I have something important to say, so I seek out people who really listen and care about me all the time, not just when it’s convenient.
2017 has been a year of blooming & growing & recognizing that I deserve the love I give to others. It’s realizing that I’m not a reflection of those who can’t love me no matter what they tell.
a poem that I keep in mind when reflecting on this year:
there are feelings
you haven’t felt yet
give them time
they are almost here
I hope to keep these things in mind as I reflect on love and loss.
One day, I’ll find the right words for the turn and churn of this year, and they will be simple. For now, I’m glad to make it out on the other side in one piece. So, current/future/past (?) me, you’re making my dreams happen so never stop fighting for what deserves to be mine. And my capacity to love doesn’t diminish, even when my faith in love does.
So when I’m told that I don’t matter, that my perspective isn’t necessary, that I’m not worthy of love and listening, I’ll remember to love myself first. I’m blessed to survive another day even though OChem and being pre-med and meanies from my past almost knocked me out. I hope to make the products I’ve envisioned (so don’t wait for developers to make the user-centered product of your dreams) / work at companies that value my work / hone in on my identity as a storyteller / surround myself with people who love me – really, really love me.
Things I’ve done this quarter:
- Worked on an end-to-end design project and learned how to use design software like Balsamiq and Figma
- Worked in a 10 week DRG to conduct exploratory data science research (and made some cool friends in the process)
- Worked at two different writing centers and as a course assistant for an HCDE class
- Visited my favorite cousin in Chicago
- Met some friends who challenged me to see the impact of my attitude
- Took a coding class and helped some peers in the process
- Lived with roomies who said they loved me and meant it
- Told 2 digital stories and shared them prominently on my website
- Applied to namebrand internships and dreamed I could get them
- Realized that I deserved to be valued in my workplace
- Celebrated 21 years of life
- Lived out my dream of making & doing things all the time
And what about the rest of this year:
- Interned at Microsoft and achieved the most financial independence of my entire life
- Performed in the Blank Monologues and told my story on stage
- Told stories of struggle and survival every single day
- Honed in my love for teaching
- Fell in and out of love in a few different ways
- Listened to over 107,000 of music (Spotify, plz hire me)
- Saw some of my favorite bands – namely Bad Suns, Young the Giant, J. Cole, Chainsmokers, Coldplay, and Two Door Cinema Club!! – in concert
- Celebrated my birthday with the most important people in my life
- Wrote about the things that kept me up at night
+ many more! As always cheers to this precious life where I get to live my dream of serving others every single day.
Cool things I’ve learned recently:
- Wizards never lose their power as long as they practice it.
- Remind teams to push the bar and not just with PowerPoints.
- The person I have grown into recognizes the impact of silence within academic, personal, social, and professional spaces.
Song in my ear: Adore You by Miley Cyrus