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The One Where I Turned 30

by Berrak on April 13, 2015

gut going after dreams

Want to give me a belated birthday present? Go show Philanthropy Quest some support on Twitter and Facebook

I always post my birthday posts on my birthday. Always. This year, though, I wasn’t sure how to approach it. I mean, it’s a big milestone, and I know it’s a big deal but I couldn’t exactly nail down why. I have a lot of thoughts about it – not necessarily related to the fact that I’m now 30 but just my life in general.

There wasn’t a magical change that happened when the clock struck midnight on April 1, 2015. I was in Scottsdale, AZ with 5 awesome guys who decided that even though I was on a work trip, I wouldn’t enter my new decade alone in a hotel room. On my birthday, I was at a conference, running full speed, doing what I love. To be honest, 30 has been amazing, but it wasn’t because the Earth rotated around the sun for 365 days.

The truth about my life is that in my darkest moments, I didn’t think I’d live to see 30. Even if I did, it’d be as a failure, or in miserable circumstances.

Then I took control of my life. I made an active decision to be selfish. I chose to own who I am, and finally build the life I’ve been stubbornly wanting for as long as I can remember.

My life is made up of the untapped opportunities of the future.

I am needy .

I am the memory keeper.

I am a cat lady.

I am ugly.

I am angry.

I am passionate.

I am an aspiring digital nomad philanthropist.

I am the heaviest I’ve ever been and I’m OK with that.

I am at peace with my tagged photos.

I am an Amplifier.

I am a writer.

I am 30.

I am surrounded by love because I stopped looking for my tribe, and looked for passion instead. A few days after my birthday, I stood in my apartment, overwhelmed. There were about 10 of my closest friends in my home, laughing, drinking and chatting it up. They were there for me – to celebrate me. To get to know each other through me. They chose me the way I chose them.

At one point, my anxiety got the best of me and I didn’t know what to do with myself. My awesome friend Nate took one look at me and asked me what I needed him to do – and proceeded to take control of the party. In that moment, it was like a self-fulfilling prophecy. I’ve always talked about looking for the people who can sing back the words to my song when I forget the lyrics. The moments that matter are when we can’t be there 100% but the ones around us can take charge, like a relay. They’re the ones we trust with the most precious torch of all – our heart.

My lovely friend Jessica made a comment about me being the Kevin Bacon of our group, which made me laugh. (Muslim girl, bacon…ya get it.) But it made me happy. See, the thing about my friends is that I am not the center of gravity in any single group. I’ve always been a drifter, but now, as adults, I choose to amplify the best part about my friends. So when friends I’ve made through the most random circumstance are all in a room together, they can get along without me having to navigate the conversation.

Career-wise, I cannot be in a better place. And honestly, I will be posting a different blog about that.

Ditto to the whole dating thing. I’m taking a break for a while, but that’s a different post for another day.

I won’t do a 30 things I learned about being 30, nor do I want to write a letter to my younger self. Every single moment of my life leading up to this point has had a purpose. There’s been a reason. Sometimes that reason was that I couldn’t fight depression and needed to be destructive. When friendships fell apart, the reason was to learn to trust my gut and feel that pain to grow.

beauty of being humanThe magic about 30 isn’t in the moment the clock strikes midnight. The magic is in the moments leading up to it. It’s in the intentional decisions you make in order to live the life you want. They aren’t all life changing decisions, like taking a leap of faith and driving cross-country. It’s in the smiles you share or that hello in line at the coffee shop. It’s in the random conversations you have with someone at the bar while waiting for your friend. It’s in the decision to take a bath and read for 30 minutes instead of going out for a drink on a Friday night. It’s in the chaos. It’s in the moments after a rain storm. It’s the 30 seconds you have before your alarm goes off, when your cat/dog/baby is snuggled up perfectly against your body.

The magic about 30 isn’t about being 30. It’s in any day, any age, any moment of your life.

So take a deep breath, set your intentions, and figure out what it will take for you to be happy.

I chose Seattle. I chose being a freelancer. I chose to stop dimming my own light to make others happy. I chose to heal.

I chose me – scars and all.

Oh and don’t worry – the ridiculous selfies aren’t going anywhere.

me

 

“Ma pensée, c’est moi: voilà pourquoi je ne peux pas m’arrêter. J’existe parce que je pense … et je ne peux pas m’empêcher de penser.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

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Do you believe in soul mates?

by Berrak on March 30, 2015

I’m an avid reader and when an opportunity comes up to read a book that’s outside of my preferred genre and topic, I’ll jump on it to expand my horizons. When I first began reading Soul Sessions, I wasn’t sure how I would feel about it at the end. I mostly read it in the comfort of my couch, with my Dot purring on my chest as usual.11066782_10102921732980534_7561294165989381019_n

As the book dived further into the idea of us having multiple lives, soul mates and how our past lives affect our path in this life  – I felt a little uncomfortable. The book is very well written and I could fall into the story, following Nick Dalton’s path as he explores his own past and spiritual path.

One of the most interesting passages of the book, for me, is when they’re discussing life plans. Although we still have free will, we “tend to follow the path that has the most energy associated with it.” Nick’s spiritual guide goes on to explain that “synchronicity and intuition are essentially a cosmic global positioning system, communicating with us to ‘re-route’.”

In my personal experience, this mostly aligned with the way I always listen to my gut. On the most basic level, our instincts are usually right, even if we’re distracted by other life events, environmental and relationship factors. I personally don’t believe in reincarnation, but this book explores intuition, free will and soul mates in an interesting manner. Although we’re exploring it from Nick’s perspective, I could draw certain parallels to my own life and how I view my life’s path.

While I was reading, I thought about one of my favorite movies – Serendipity. It’s all about destiny, signs and one of my favorite lines is when Jeremy Piven’s character says “Maybe you’re laying here because you don’t want to be standing somewhere else.”

One big theme that the book touched upon is the idea of soul mates, and how we have a “soul group.” I do believe that soul mates come in many forms – and more often than not, the relationship isn’t romantic in nature. In my life, my soul mates have been those who helped me be true to myself, and they’re the ones who remind me of my song when I’ve forgotten the lyrics.

Even if you’re like me and you’re skeptical about the idea of reincarnation/multiple lives, this book is an interesting exploration. It’s really well-written and will definitely make you take a moment to pause and evaluate the relationships in your life, your own life path, and whether or not you’ve been really listening to your own intuition.

 

Soul Sessions image

 

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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I used to cringe whenever Facebook told me that someone tagged me in a photo. I could feel the color draining from my face as I clicked to find a candid photo of me staring back at me. A photo that I had no control over. A photo in an unplanned moment. All I see is the imperfections, even after telling the world about my body image epiphany.

God, my hair.

Why do I have that weird look on my face?

My necklace is uneven.

Oh my god, is that how I look now? I have got to lose weight. 

Is that…is that a zit?

Ew.

WHY IS MY FACE SO RED?

Should I ask them to untag me? Everyone looks so great and then there I am.

But I’ve been completely unfair to you. To myself. To the memories. To that girl in the photos who is surrounded by love and having the time of her life. [click to continue…]

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Current Status

by Berrak on March 18, 2015

(Warning: This is a stream of consciousness post, also known as word vomit.)

I’ve talked about how I am always aware of how I feel and if I can’t figure out the root cause of a feeling – I dig until I do. Self-awareness isn’t just a fad for me. It’s necessary. When you grow up with abuse and mental illness in your genes, you either take control or get lost in the depths of fear. I’m a huge advocate of saying yes. Of experiencing life, no matter what. I own my feelings and let them run their course – even the ugly ones. I know what it’s like to deny my feelings, to try to drown them with glass after glass. Being self-destructive was how I got through anger and sadness when I was younger.

People make mistakes. People let us down. People use us for their own ego. People put us down to give themselves the illusion of feeling good.

We can’t control how others act. We control our own reaction, even when we feel out of control.strength

When I was younger, my way of taking control was being incredibly guarded and if anyone got close to the walls, I’d go with the trusted self-deprecation. I could go on and on about all the ways I put myself down, and maybe one day, when I finally write my book, you’ll get to hear those stories.

As I grew up, though, my way of taking control changed. Being guarded and closed off to potentially good experiences for the sake of avoiding the pain wasn’t worth it. It’s not how I want to live my life. I take the good with the bad, the pain with the pleasure. At the end of the day, I can say that I gave it all a try. I let love win.

Besides, people come and go. Experiences, both the good and the bad, are how we define our own strength.

There’s one feeling I absolutely hate, though. It’s one I try to avoid. If it comes around, I do my best to let it go. I know how poisonous it is and I know how it could easily consume me. Unfortunately, like everything else, it must be felt. It must be experienced. I have to let it run its course to learn my lesson and to feel that relief.

Anger.

I get easily annoyed. I get frustrated. I get impatient.

But angry?

That’s a rare feeling for me. The one that starts at the pit of your gut, and like a slow-burning fire, takes over your entire self.

When I decided to write about this, the first quote that popped into my head was the one we all know:

“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. – Buddha”

But the thing is – sometimes, we have to get burned. If I am feeling angry, that’s what I’m supposed to feel to process the root cause of that anger. It’s unfortunate, but the principle is the same as any other emotion: Telling someone (or ourselves) to just get over it doesn’t work. The longer we deny a feeling, the longer it holds on. Use whatever metaphor you want to but the fact of the matter is, like all emotion, anger must be felt.

I know that I also need to forgive. Forgiveness isn’t always about the other person because they may not even seek forgiveness. Hell, they may not even deserve it. Forgiveness is my reaction to the actions causing me to feel anger. But honestly? It doesn’t happen in an instant. Knowing that I need to let go of the anger doesn’t mean it will run its course any faster. The only control I have over that is to not let it consume me. To continue with my life, stay aware of my emotions and when the time comes, to forgive.

It could be tomorrow.

It could be next year.

So right now – I’m angry.

But I’m also satisfied, happy, loved, and grateful.

That’s the beauty of being human. We can feel conflicting feelings all at once, defining who we are at a given moment by choosing to embrace the positive ones as the negative ones run their course.

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Remix_Facebook_714x64 (2)

One of the many, many…many things I love about Seattle is the abundance of events and culture. In addition to all of the great breweries, hiking spots, the amazing coffee, wineries and live music venues, Seattle has incredible museums. Seattle Art Museum (SAM) is one of them. It’s a shameful admission that in the two years I’ve lived in this area, I have not paid a visit to SAM, although I’ve driven and walked past it on several occasions. Hangs head in shame. 

On Friday, March 13 – which happens to be my lucky day – yet another awesome event is happening at SAM. SAM Remix is a choose-your-own-adventure kind of night. The night’s activities will include:

  • Dancing with equal parts deep thinker, rabble rouser, party starter, and iconoclast DJ Doc Adam.
  • Exploring cultural intersections and contemporary Native culture in portraiture with Wendy Red Star .
  • Creating Duchamp-inspired silhouettes with artist Alicia Betty.
  • Building some absurd Rube Goldberg machines with Weber Thompson architects and Romson Bustillo.
  • Experiencing the galleries in new and unexpected ways with My Favorite Things: Highly Opinionated Tours led by artists, community figures and special guests.

Although this will be my very first SAM Remix event, rumor has it that no two events are the same! So if you’ve been to a SAM Remix event before, come mix it up with me and rest of the talented people attending the event. I am also in search of a +1 – Seattle friends, if you want a chance to attend this awesome event with me, send out a tweet with how you’d begin your adventure. Be sure to tag it with #SAMRemix & include my Twitter handle: @BerrakDC.

If you aren’t going to be my plus one, I still have a treat for you. When buying your SAM Remix tickets, use code: twitterremix0313 for $5 off your ticket.

remixdance

 

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I Love…Fridays: The One on a Saturday

January 17, 2015

Hello loves! I was swamped yesterday so I didn’t get around to posting this but don’t fret! I still love a lot of stuff and here’s your dose of positivity. I love…being excited about buying furniture and appliances. Because #adulthood. I love…finally having a solid group of girlfriends that I found after moving to Seattle. […]

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I’m Needy. So Are You. And That’s OK.

January 12, 2015

“I’m needy. You know this.” This is something I tell my friends often. When I meet new people, I warn them about my neediness, because I know it’ll come up. My friends know this all too well about me, and they fully accept it. “You are, but it’s OK,” they tell me. Of course, there’s […]

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I Love…Fridays: The One With AlltheFeels

January 9, 2015

If you’re friends with me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter, you may notice that I have obnoxiously become Little Miss Sunshine, full of love, gratitude and OMG ALL THE FEELS. And guys…it’s not going to stop. So I figured this was the best time to bring back I Love…Fridays – because I need […]

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Hey Neighbor, Can I Borrow a Cup o’ Sugar?

January 2, 2015

View from my little corner of heaven One of the biggest things that have been missing from my life since we moved to the U.S. is the sense of community that comes from greeting neighbors. It’s something that’s lacking in a lot of the places I’ve lived, especially as a single 20-something. I know that […]

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2014 – The Year of the Penguin

December 31, 2014

That’s what I named my album for 2014 on Facebook. I had no idea what my year or life would be like. I certainly didn’t expect my life to look like what it does now. I was trying to figure out what to write on here for my end of year post. I thought about […]

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