The Power of Vulnerability

A friend of mine once sent me a TED talk about the power of vulnerability which I watched with gratitude and awe. It was a really long time ago but the video highlighted the power of letting ourselves feel all range of emotions in order to live our life to the fullest.

Despite being so captivated by the video back then, I’ve found myself limiting the emotions I feel or at least making excuses when they’re not the “right” ones. I would overreact whenever my boyfriend hung out with his (what seemed to me) clingy friends. I would get angry and sad and every other shade of crazy. So my mom decided it would be helpful to go the school counselor where I could hopefully get tips on “controlling” my emotions. To my dismay, the lady I saw would repeatedly assure me that everything I feel is normal; that I need to learn to feel my feelings instead of try to control them.

Tonight, as a recurring family problem came up again I cried and cried. I kept telling myself that maybe I was crying because I had forgotten to take my birth control, because I was tired from work or I was stressed out about an assignment I have to complete. What I failed to realize was I was crying because I was sad. And that’s okay.

I am glad I can now recognize myself trying to cover up negative and uncomfortable feelings. I am also glad to realize that I can’t be happy all the time. I can only be human.


New Year-Same Me?

You can’t escape your issues, no matter how hard you try. Two years ago on Christmas eve I had a major realization that I was way too insecure to be in a relationship with someone who failed to grasp my issues. I freaked out when he commented on other girls’ pictures or when he casually texted girls whose numbers he’d gotten the night before. I’d get this feeling in the pit of my stomach every single time I saw something which proved that maybe I wasn’t the only person he was interested in. But love is blind indeed and instead of building myself up I tore myself down. I’d pick the one characteristic I lacked that the other girl had and I’d use it as an excuse. Of course he’d want to flirt with her she’s so much more interesting and she is so much smarter. I suffocated myself with my own thoughts and anxiety over not being good enough. You can see why I felt like I had just been saved from drowning when a year later I got the courage to end the relationship. I spent months building myself up and telling myself I am wonderful. Until the next relationship hit and the same demons began to resurface. Sitting in my room on Christmas Eve this year I realized I haven’t changed much from the girl I was two years ago. I still let voices tell me that the other girl has better fashion sense, that the other girl is more artistic and more fascinating.

Fortunately, I also know now that I control these voices. I read a quote recently which has impacted me. “The most important relationship you will ever have is not with your spouse, your parents or your children. It’s with your thoughts. They are your most intimate companion.” I have always hated self help books and self help advice but I am at the point in my life when I’m finally realizing the validity of helping myself. Being told I’m good enough by others is not going to be enough if I can’t see it myself. When I have a bad day now I write down 3 things I like about myself. It’s tacky and embarrassing but surprisingly uplifting. I no longer pick things I have that other girls don’t. I only focus on myself and what I see when I look in the mirror. And when the ghost negative thoughts come creeping in I tell myself that I’m better than obsessing over some girl I’ve barely met and I divert my attention away.

I guess you can say my New Year’s Resolution is simple- To learn to love myself. And I hope you’re inspired to do the same.


Self Empowerment

Growing up we’re told that arrogance is wrong so many times that our line between confidence and arrogance has blurred. When someone says we’re beautiful, we’re talented, we’re smart we smile timidly. I’m personally okay with admitting the beauty of others. I can find positive qualities in everyone but it seems myself. I feel uncomfortable telling myself I’m beautiful and smart and talented because society determines my value. It’s based on what everyone else thinks but I have felt minimal gratification from compliments. And besides being showered with kind words I still feel inadequate. My value isn’t solidified until I myself understand and appreciate it. I’m tired of telling myself other girls are more beautiful and interesting. I read a quote by Wiz khalifa “worrying is stupid it’s like holding an umbrella waiting for it to rain”. And I agree. Though one day I might not be hurt as much by being left for someone more interesting or pretty because I worried so much Im also tired of holding the umbrella waiting for that day. I want to be confident enough in myself to not worry nonstop about being good enough. I want to put down the umbrella and enjoy the sunshine of today.



A friend of mine sent me a Ted Talk called the power of vulnerability a while back and I thought it was the most beautiful thing I’d ever heard. The lady talked about how we need to open up and how much better we connect when we let ourselves feel all kinds of emotions. Yet, here I am  trying to suppress every kind of flooding emotion that comes my way.

My friends in high school would meet a guy and begin an elaborate plan of their future together. They were fascinated by weddings and moving in together. Yet, I have never felt that way about anyone. I shy away from planning things too far into the future because relationships are too uncertain and fragile. One day they’re here and the other they’re not. I hate the idea of imagining a future with someone because I never knew if it will actualize. But I do have five year plans for myself which for some reason I am convinced I can achieve. The main reason for that is because for your career plans you don’t need to rely on someone else. You know you have to push yourself and if you fail then it was your fault for letting yourself down. With relationships you can’t control the other person and they can let you down at any moment in time.

For that reason I try not to get attached to any person I date at any time, ever. Yet this year it so happens that my boyfriend lives approximately 5 minutes away and we spent chunks and chunks of time together. &I love it which is terrifying because I don’t want to develop this habit which may eventually be broken. College couples are a funny breed. They do EVERYTHING together. I have a friend who grocery shops with her boyfriend as if they lived in the same apartment. But don’t these girls realize how difficult the transition to real life will be after we all have to leave the fantasy world of these relationships? I don’t think so.


Stop making college kids guilty for not having too much fun

When you first enter college you are more than inclined to believe that ahead awaits one of the most exciting times of your life. I was one of those people. I was an extrovert in high school and loved interacting with people every single day. I had built up a solid group of friends so I was expecting to enter college with people swarming my way and telling me how wonderful I am. I was convinced I would be best friends with my roommate, too. So you can understand my devastation when my roommate decided to sleep in a hotel with her mom for the entire first week and leave me by myself in the room (Not because I am a monster or crazy but because she’s an international student and wouldn’t see her mom until Christmas). So, I did the next best thing. I went scouting into my neighbor’s room. The door was open and there were four girls in there who were as sweet as can be. Three of them were my actual neighbors and the other was just visiting. They were all super sweet and sitting on the floor they were deliberating going out to a club that night. They invited me along and (of course) I said I’d go! Here was the perfect opportunity to make my college expectations come to fruition. Most of the girls were under 18 however so they quickly decided against the club scene and we all went to hang out at another floor. I was there physically but I hardly contributed to the conversation since when Im in a room full of big personalities I tend to close up and let myself disappear. Months went by and these girls went their separate ways. In fact, two of those who were my neighbors and didn’t move out ended up not even being courteous enough to say hello whenever we crossed paths.

My roomate who was supposed to be my best friend ended up having a completely different personality than mine. She hardly ever returned to the room and was always on the move doing thing with her friends. So, when I stayed in on Thursday or Friday nights I’d feel like quite literally the biggest loser. There was an entire world of adventures out in this college world and I was home watching movies with my boyfriend. Granted, by the end of freshman year I began to realize I prioritize different things and maybe I don’t need to go out, socialize and drink to feel happy.

I feel appalled and even disappointed that the same girl who loved spending so much time around her friends would much rather stay in the dorm and type this instead of trying to find anyone who is available to hang out. But you know what? I’m exhausted. After a day in class and then work I’m usually all “people”-d out and I just want to lay in my bed like a loser instead of putting forth the effort to dress up and go out. I don’t want to feel guilty for wasting away my youth because really wouldn’t my youth be more wasted if I was constantly doing things that didnt expand my mind? I thought so.

So, every time I see adults posting about how college was the greatest, wildest time of their life I want to tell them to stop. Stop building this illusion that college is this non-stop party because it’s not. It comes with stress, responsibility and yes, sometimes loneliness. So next time you want to ask a kid if college is a blast do so cautiously because it’s not for all of us. For some of us it’s still primarily about school. And not because I’m a big loser who can’t find anyone to take me to a party but because I’ve chosen to prioritize other things. And I refuse to feel guilty about it anymore.



History of Nail Polish

Apparently nail polish was used all the way back 5000 years ago by the ancient Chinese when the ruling class( female and male) would paint their nails gold and silver to distinguish themselves from the general population. In Egypt those who were royalty wore vibrant colors while those of the general population wore more nuanced tones.
Nail polish became popular in the Western hemisphere during the Industrial Revolution when chemists began experimenting with cosmetics. It was actually popularized in France not the United Kingdom or US. Women would paint all of their nails except the lunar part. As far as I understand the trend was popularized during the Victorian era which explains why it became commonplace only for women to paint their nails. It was an arbitrarily established rule that it’s feminine to paint your nails so to this day men are wary of using anything to enhance their nails. Today men who refuse to paint their nails will not give a real reason but that it’s not socially acceptable. So, in my opinion we shouldn’t mock those who choose to stray from this norm since it has no logical backing!



The Relationship safe zone

Two years ago I developed this theory of a relationship safe zone which would help me relax and open up. I had been with my boyfriend for six months and he would open up to me immensely during that time. I knew everything about his childhood, his fears his passions all the things you’d want to know about the person you’re in love with. He, on the other hand, had to constantly pester me about opening up. I would come up with a fraction about my life and then share it but it never felt like I was sharing deep parts about myself. I was so afraid of being vulnerable because how fleeting people tend to be. One moment they’re there listening to your deepest thoughts and the next you’re not speaking to each other. So I told myself that I had to be vulnerable if I wanted to be happy. I convinced myself that after a really long time you cross the relationship safe zone and your chances of breaking up decrease significantly. I told myself after 6 months of being together and knowing each other you’re probably be together for a while! So I opened up. I don’t remember how much but I let my guard down. I talked about things I’m passionate about and my childhood as much as I could. But lo and behold after our one year anniversary my boyfriend decided he couldn’t put up with my temper and gave me ultimates I couldn’t and wouldn’t stand for. So I sent him on his way.

I ended the relationship safe zone and my relationship.Most importantly I realized there is no such a thing as a relationship safe zone. Relationships don’t have predisposed expiration dates, they just expire when you least expect it.
Two years later the person who knew everything about me and who I was so in love with isn’t there. He is a new person with some questionable interests and hobbies and from what I hear an inability to be vulnerable. And I’m still the same. I cannot ask for help from my partner. I cannot tell him when I’m sad or having problems. For whatever reason I refuse to let my guard down. And some say it’s a matter of a partner and when I meet the right person I’ll be a big bag of mush. But as of now I’m still waiting for someone to wear me down. Or open me up. Or whatever other cliche phrase you prefer. For now I’ll just thank those who are vulnerable without effort (like my ex) and admire them for letting me see the deepest parts of them.


Race relations

Big shocker, I’m a huge politics junkie and some things get me fired up. One of these is the recent violence in Ferguson, MO. The more CNN I watch the more I see reporters trying to push the fact that the police officer was white. And in light of the black community saying that this happened because white men are afraid of black men we as a nation continue to drive a wedge between white and black instead of trying to find a unifying force. Instead of acknowledging that an unarmed man is an unarmed man no matter what color. And acknowledging that a police officer’s job is to protect the community and if there is no danger he should retreat. Sure, there is no way to decide if someone’s dangerous or not but how about starting by emphasizing that black men are men too? That they have children and families and troubles just like white men? That just because they’re black doesn’t mean they’re out causing trouble? Only when we stop emphasizing that it’s color that dictates our actions can we start having meaningful conversation. The officer shot because he was afraid, because he thought black men are dangerous? We weren’t there, we don’t know why. And trying to use this tragedy to divide the Ferguson community between white and black, to turn citizens against police is wrong and any media outlet who does should feel ashamed. This is a man on man crime which has potential racist roots but to try to strengthen those roots and continue to divide people is wrong. Instead we should be seeking the similarities: the common fears both whites and blacks feel. Because I know blacks are afraid of the police and vice versa. So instead of turning them against each other we should be helping these people start conversations and meaningful relationships with each other.


A Simple Manifesto: They Too Are People (Photo Essay by Hannah Stonebraker)

This is so beautiful

The Leftern Wall

Guest writer and photographer: Hannah Stonebraker 

One must recognize they too are people.

Photography by Hannah Stonebreaker

(This may seem simple. This may seem obvious. I wish, these days, all days, it was.)


They too are people. (Not animals. Not enemies, Not primitives. People.) Whomever you consider your other, whomever you consider to be your intellectual, ideological, religious, territorial enemy – they too are people.


They too have mothers and sons and daughters and wives and friends.


They too love and hate and give and take.


They too believe what they believe for reasons both known and unknown both to themselves and to others.


They too believe things with which I both agree and disagree – intellectually, emotionally, painfully, ideologically.


But hard as it may be – I shall try to listen.


Listen to these reasons, listen to their beliefs, listen to their pain and ideology and fear.

An overwhelming amount of fear.


For what…

View original post 164 more words


When the War Comes home

I just watched a CNN documentary about veterans with post traumatic stress disorder and it was such a jarring piece. Men who we think are made of steel shaking like leaves. Men with beautiful children and families who cant seem to escape their own demons and seek death instead. Such a scary reminder that there are actual human beings that are impacted by the wars politicians decide to support.