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My Body Image Epiphany

by Berrak on December 11, 2014

My body is a canvasWhenever my mom and I talk on the phone, she always asks me the same question: “Have you lost weight?”

The answer is always the same: “I’m working on it, Mom.”

As a 29-year-old woman, I’ve approached my battle with my body image every way possible. I’ve started and stopped diets. I’ve started working out. I’ve caved in and bought my favorite pair of jeans in a larger size. I’ve cried about it, and I’ve lashed out to others due to my own insecurities.

My body issues didn’t begin with my weight gain after I turned 24. When I hit puberty, my mom suggested that we begin bleaching my arm hairs because no one would like a girl with hairy arms. She had fine, light hairs you can’t even tell are there. I was blessed with the gift of darker hair from my dad’s side of the family. There were days I would look down and see a gorilla arm where mine should be. These were the days I was almost tempted to, but never actually followed my mom’s advice. Let’s not even talk about the hairs on my chiny-chin-chin. Look — I’m Turkish. It happens. [click to continue…]

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Leap of Faith

by Berrak on December 8, 2014

With shaky hands, I unfolded the two pieces of paper that had been taped to my door. I already knew what they would say but I didn’t expect the timeline to be accelerated. I was on my way to an important meeting so I composed myself, took a deep breath and willed the tears that were aching to fall down my cheeks to hold off for just 20 minutes. My eyes were burning and my breath was shaky but I composed myself for the 5-minute conversation with a potential employer that would be an important first impression  I smiled and hoped that it would reach my eyes. When I made it back to my apartment, I looked around and faced the reality that I may lose the roof over my head in three days. [click to continue…]


Anybody Out There?

by Berrak on December 5, 2014

I know I’ve been really neglecting this blog – and as I’m ramping up to get back to writing in it regularly, I find myself wondering: Is anybody still reading?

I stopped caring about subscriber numbers long ago. As I switched domains, I tried to be diligent with updating RSS feeds and letting people know, but really, how many of you out there get my blog posts through your RSS? Via email? Or do you just see it when I post the link on Twitter and Facebook?

It’s been a hell of a year. A great year. I even went on a crazy cross-country road trip I’m dying to tell you guys about.

So if you still read this blog on the regular – even as a lurker – leave me a comment. I’d love to know the lovely faces behind the arbitrary numbers.

I’ll just be over here, cuddling with Dot and hoping for your “Hello”




October 13

by Berrak on October 13, 2014

October 13, 2013 was going to be my wedding day. But you all know how that went.

In my search for closure, acceptance, and strength, October 13, 2013 became an animal of its own. I couldn’t figure out why I was so anxious as the day came rushing toward me. My life was good now – kind of. At least, it was improving, and I was in a good place – kind of. Things were moving in a positive direction, but I was still stuck on that date.

Then I realized that I never really mourned the end of my relationship. Yes, even though I was the one to end it – it was still something a part of me really wanted at one point. I began planning my wedding. I imagined my future with this man who was supposed to be my by side. Simply deciding that getting married would be a wrong decision doesn’t mean I wasn’t hurt as well.

It took me a damn long time to realize that. So that’s what October 13, 2013 became. The day I realized I would need to mourn the end of my relationship, potential future, and work on closure.

So October 13, 2013 came and went. I spent it with my friends, watching football and drinking (probably more than I should have).

Then the ugly cries came.

But I survived it.

Today is October 13, 2014. I decided that I would treat it as a mental health day. I took the day off from work and made an appointment to get my first ever massage.

Today is an anti-versary of sorts. An anti-versary of what could’ve been, and a celebration of the one person who is in control of my life now: Me.

Next year?

October 13 will just be another day without a significance. Just an ordinary day full of choices, consequences, and memories.



I have always had a hard time belonging. Always. There are days I don’t feel like I even belong in my own skin, but that’s a different kind of battle I fight every day.

No, I never really belonged to one group. I spent my middle school years feeling alienated, my high school years adjusting, and my early 20s feeling like the only people who understood me lived thousands of miles away. I wrote about how I wasn’t a girly-girl because I didn’t have a group of girlfriends I met in college, or anything that even remotely came close to fitting the Bring It On/Clueless/Sex and the City standards girlfriends seemed to live up to in those days.

I came to terms with it. Kind of. I grew up, I moved out, I made friends – I lost them, and for a moment, I thought I had found a group of girls I could call my tribe. They were the ones I could count on to stand by my side when I was going to get married.

Then that all fell apart too.

Once again, I started searching. I looked 40 years into the future and sought out my potential Golden Girls. I wanted to just feel like I belong.

The more I searched, the more I reached for a group to call my own, the more I realized how that, by nature, creates exclusion. The idea of finding ‘your tribe’, which has gained popularity in the female population over the last few years, is essentially a grown-up version of being Mean Girls.

No, hear me out. 

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t have people we trust more than others. An inner circle is essential, but it shouldn’t be exclusive. In the last few years, I’ve made girlfriends under a variety of circumstances.  I met all of them under unlikely circumstances, when I needed to in my life, and our relationships evolved over time. I trust, though, when they come together, they’ll get along because the qualities I seek in those closest to me are similar. They’re trustworthy. Passionate. Encouraging. Funny. Sarcastic. Empathetic. Smart. 

But I wouldn’t call them my tribe. We don’t all hang out every week. We don’t all have to hang out together every time. My friendships with them are separate, but when we all come together, there’s no exclusivity about it.

Finding your tribe isn’t supposed to be about inclusivity or exclusivity, but let’s face it, that’s what it’s become. That’s human nature. Over the years, I’ve observed so many people preach about being accepting while being negative behind closed doors. It’s frustrated me, because to me, that’s being hypocritical. While I could probably get along with these individually, it was clear that not getting along with one of them would mean being an outsider. There would be resentment, and more than likely, whispers within the rest of the group behind my back.

mean girls 1

So I stopped looking for my tribe. Instead, I’ve tried to focus on individual relationships. Anything that turns into group mentality and lends itself to exclusivity is out for me. The moment I begin to feel like I can’t be myself around my friends is the moment I begin shutting down.

I don’t know where my relationships will be in 5, 10, 20 years. Maybe I won’t ever find my Golden Girls, but I trust that whoever is by my side won’t ever make me feel excluded from our friendship.  In a world full of judgment, <stereotype>-shaming, and backstabbing, I choose to surround myself with strong individuals who don’t let their insecurities stand in the way of their growth.

Because, let’s face it, ain’t nobody got time for that.


Brain on Fire, Gone Girl, Dark Places

October 5, 2014

I’ve had fierce writer’s block the past few months, but instead of writing about that, I’m going to write about the books I’ve been reading.           First of all, if you’ve read Gone Girl, hated the way it ended but thought the writing was great, then you should read Dark Places. In my […]

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My Issue with the Date Rape Detecting Nail Polish

September 26, 2014

When I first read about the nail polish that the NC State students are developing to help detect date rape drugs, my initial thought wasn’t “Oh, this is great!” No – while the intention behind the potential product is a good one, it still perpetuates the number one problem with rape culture: It puts the responsibility […]

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Hold the Ice: How You Can Really Help.

August 22, 2014

By now, you’ve already seen and heard of the #IceBucketChallenge for ALS. It’s a viral campaign that picked up a lot of steam and there’s no arguing that it’s created a lot of awareness. I’m all about awareness. I know that in today’s world, something going viral makes a lot of difference. What I’m against […]

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Nanu Nanu. Rest in Peace, Robin.

August 11, 2014

I was in my car when I read the news about Robin Williams passing away, which is appropriate since his words kept me company during so many hours spent in the car commuting to school and work. I automatically did what I always do and posted about it. But I think I was in shock. […]

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The One Thing In This Life I Refuse To Give Up*

July 23, 2014

I made a bold declaration this week. I’m finally taking action toward becoming a digital nomad, so for my East Coast trip, I’ll be driving cross-country, spending a few weeks on the road while working. After my experience at World Domination Summit, a fire was lit inside of me that won’t die and I can’t […]

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