In Repair

 
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After a rough stretch of days, I officially declared myself in a “funk”. You know the feeling- you don’t quite feel like yourself, every emotion and feeling seems to be heightened. My first memory of this feeling was when Marissa Cooper died in The O.C….BUT THAT WAS DIFFERENT! A “faux funk”, if you will. A real, adult funk is hard to shake, surrounded by feelings of self-doubt, uncertainty and unworthiness.

I have very little reason to be anything less than ecstatic these days. We just closed on a house, we have a cute new puppy to love (and to chase around the house when he steals my underwear from the laundry and puts it on his head. MY GIFTED SON!), we just got back from a vacation, I’m healthy, and I actually like going to my job.

But for the past few days, I just haven’t been feeling it. I have felt removed from myself, my routines, my usual character. I’m not going to be too hard on myself here- these periods happen no matter what your life looks like in that moment. But I knew I had to take back my humanity. I’m not a runner, I don’t “find myself” with yoga, I can’t “sweat it out!!” with boxing. Over the last year or so, I’ve had to find activities and practices to put in my arsenal that bring me back to myself. My personal practices include:

-Going to the library and finding a new book (cookbooks are therapeutic to me, even if I never make anything from them.)

-Sipping my coffee in the morning at home, not from a to-go cup in my car (great news for my cup holders, which are usually espresso stained)

-Reading outside

- Going to Trader Joe’s and perusing every aisle, grabbing all the snacks that look good (and usually opening a box of something in the car to eat on the way home…maybe I should be taking better care of my car)

-Baking something (this week it was a cherry tart, which I overcooked but Michael said it’s the best tart he’s ever had. 1000 POINTS TO MICHAEL!)

-Buying flowers that I will most likely kill within 3 days but that first day…they are healing!

Even writing this right now, outside with a glass of wine (blame any errors on the Pinot), is a therapeutic action in repairing myself. I take these mundane, somewhat daily things and I put them on priority. Some may call it “self-care”, but it’s more than that. It’s the practice of reminding myself that I am worth caring for.

We all require healing. Maybe it’s once a month, or once a week. Maybe it’s massive work (I firmly believe therapy is the greatest gift you can give yourself), or just a tune-up. To heal is to be human.

In my favorite book, Heart Talk , Cleo Wade says “It does no good to think about running a marathon when you still have a broken foot”. Take the time you need, put priority on your practices, your “self-activators”. Find your way back and remember, you can never be truly lost if you know who you are.

dust

 
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Don’t worry- I’m not going to start this post with an “I’m back after a little hiatus!” bit. I’ve played it and it’s gotten old. The truth is, I just stopped writing. Not because I didn’t enjoy it or have anything to say, but simply because life got busy. Right after I published my last post in November, I finally got a job in Nevada. A job I love, and I decided early on I would give it my all. I put all my focus not just into my job, but also my marriage, which was finally back on the ground after a difficult move, and immersing myself in our new community. The last few months have flown by, and it’s almost a year-to-date that we found out we were leaving Detroit. And guess what? I’m happier than I’ve ever been, and it completely snuck up on me.

In all my contentment, I still I felt an itch to put pen to paper again (I write all my posts in a notebook before typing. Eat your heart out, Shakespeare!!!) Every day when I would walk into my closet, I would pass a framed copy of “The Nines” logo that my friendly so sweetly made me for my birthday one year. I would walk by it, think “I should write soon”, and then just go in my closet and get distracted by a sweater. But yesterday as I walked past it, I noticed all the dust that had accumulated around the frame, and it hit me. I was letting the dust collect around something I loved. I gave up on something that was supposed to be growing. And in true “Carrie Bradshaw” style (even though she is THE WORST, don’t get me started) , I had to wonder “When being content stunts your growth-is it really such a good thing?”.

No-one made me stop writing. It was actually the opposite. My husband would ask if there was anything new to read, my boss said she really enjoyed my writing. I feel supported by the people around me. But I used all the things going on in my life as a crutch to avoid doing something that was enjoyable, but required a lot of effort. I was so busy with life and happy with just-the-way-things-were that I forgot that growth requires doing. That in order to have a voice, you have to speak. I neglected the piece of me that loves to talk about women’s rights and skincare and how not needing a bra until 8th grade ruined my self esteem- we’ll get to that later, OH WILL WE EVER!

This post isn’t about “being back, guys!”. It’s meant to serve as a reminder that if you have let dust collect around something you love, something that makes you who you are-you can always clean it off and pick it back up. You can also hire a cleaning company. That has no double meaning- the dust was so alarming that we literally hired a cleaning company. Talk soon. xx

Viva Las Vegas!

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That's right- the Ayaubs are moving from Detroit to the desert! We are living the dream of being closer to Celine Dion...OK, OK, Michael got a really great job, too. This summer, Mike and I will be moving to Henderson, Nevada to pursue the next stage in our careers. 

When Mike initially got a call about a job in Las Vegas, I stubbornly declared that I could never, ever move to Las Vegas. I had images of someone handing me naked-lady cards on my way to get coffee, or running into one of those giant "Elmo" characters on a morning walk. And although this new job sounded like this would be a great opportunity for him, what about my job? We are both two very career-driven people, and I got overwhelmed with the thought of not finding an opportunity for myself out there, too. 

When we flew into Las Vegas for his interview, we drove about 25 minutes from The Strip to Henderson. I was ready to hate it. I told you guys- I'm horribly stubborn. We toured around the town and even looked at a few apartments. My ego was displeased to find that I didn't hate it at all- I actually loved it. It was nothing like the flashing lights and endless buffets that The Strip boasts. It was very comparable to our life here in Birmingham, just with more palm trees and a bigger "Whole Foods" (put that near the top of our "pro" list). We saw an apartment we loved, and now we had a decision to make.

When we got back to the hotel that night, I completely shut down. We cancelled our dinner reservation. We got room service and I cried. The overwhelming sadness of leaving all our friends and family behind hit me like a true Vegas hangover. I couldn't imagine not being able to call up my parents and meet them for breakfast on a Sunday. I couldn't fathom not being able to drive 10 minutes to my best friend's house, or meet my sister for a pedicure, or visit my in-laws for dinner. And what about my job? What was I going to do? 

I realized I was using the word "I" in my thoughts far too much. I wasn't in this alone, I had my husband, who had this really exciting opportunity, and I cried all over it. I will say, I haven't quite mastered some parts of marriage yet. This isn't to say we aren't happy. Being married to Mike has been my favorite 6-months ever. But anyone that says this is easy, is probably lying. It's not just about you anymore, there's two people that need to be considered in every single situation. You have to compromise, work together, and always keep in mind that it is the two of you fighting against the problem. Not fighting against each other. You work on these things everyday, and sometimes you fall short.

When we got back to Michigan, I felt calmer, more excited about this next step in our lives. I knew moving was the right thing to do, and so did Mike. We applied for the apartment and started calling moving companies.  We came to terms with the fact that our parents won't be a drive away for dinner, and we will go a while without seeing our siblings and friends. But we thought of how fun it will be when they visit, or we road-trip to California to meet up with them for vacation. This is going to be a huge change for us, and not every day will be butterflies and swimming pools (ok, we will have a bomb a$$ swimming pool though). But change is just a part of life, and we can choose to panic or embrace it. 

I am going to miss the hell out of Detroit. I tear up just as I type that, because I have grown to love this place after complaining about it my whole adolescent-life . I'm going to miss our neighborhood in Birmingham, and walking to get our favorite coffee. I'll miss driving downtown to a cool new restaurant, or store, and experiencing the thriving, beautiful culture of Detroit. I'll miss movie night with our friends, brunch with my girlfriends, Mediterranean food-binges with my sister, seeing our parents almost every week. I'll miss the people and places that made our life here so hard to leave. 

But I am excited- WE are excited! I can't wait to find a new pizza place together, decorate a new apartment, not experience winter (sorry guys), see Celine Dion more often (sorry, Mike), walk outside and sit by the pool with a book in January, experience all the ups and downs of change with my husband. I'm excited to see what's next for my career, while watching Mike's take incredible steps forward, too. 

We don't know how long we'll be in Nevada. Or if we'll move to California next, or London, or Idaho, or back to Detroit. We are taking this all as it comes, and I can't wait to see how it all turns out. 

To the desert! 

Lately.

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The start of a new year- typically filled with optimism, new beginnings and a whole lot of green vegetables. But so far in 2018, I’ve felt a bit anxious, un-easy and filled with more cookies than kale. So this year hasn’t been off to the best start for me emotionally, and I feel the only way for me to face that, is to address it and move on like a the lead singer of a boy band on the brink of extinction.

I’ll start off by saying I am happy. I am fresh into marriage and truly loving it, happy with my job and other endeavors. But what keeps me up at night other than binge watching “Game of Thrones” are the thoughts “Where am I going?”, “Am I good enough?”, and “What SHOULD I be doing?”.  A consistent theme in my life has been comparing myself to others and their doings, and feeling inadequate when mine don’t seem to be up to par with “theirs”. Lately, I’ve found myself on a lot more Instagram benders, watching other people’s lives while mine slowly passes me by. Time I could spend bettering my future is spent admiring the lives of people I don’t even know. And I’m anxious while I’m doing it, because I know it’s not time well spent, and that leaves me beating myself up and feeling badly about my laziness. And repeat, and repeat, and repeat.

I saw an article on Facebook the other day (yes, another social media bender!!), from a 26-year-old Australian woman named Holly, who was dying of cancer. It was all over my newsfeed, so I clicked on it while I was eating breakfast. There was one part in there that hit me like a truck:

“Life isn’t mean to be lived through a screen nor is it about getting the perfect photo…enjoy the bloody moment, people! Stop trying to capture it for everyone else.”

Stop trying to capture it for everyone else.

I know that social media is a business for a lot of people, and I think that’s a really cool thing about the world we live in today. But I have come to the realization that I am not one of those people. I don’t think I want to be a professional blogger, or "influencer" (it’s hard work and I give those people who have made a legitimate success out of it their props). And not because I think those are dirty words- there’s a lot of bloggers I look up to and keep up with regularly. I struggle with this a lot every day- in that I don’t know exactly what I want to be yet. And if I don’t know, how can I convey a specific “image” online if I don’t even know what that is yet? I just want to be me- un-photoshopped, un-calculated. 

Here’s what I do know:

I want to write. I want to impact someone’s life. I want to do something someday that will change the lives of women and other underrepresented groups. I want to give back all the kindness and support that has been given to me. I want to chase a dream and a goal and not a an Instagram-able life. I want to be more present in moments-big or small. I want to not be so hard on myself when I do find myself binging on social media- but I want it to be for positivity and motivation and knowledge. Not to make me feel inadequate and bad about myself. I want to enjoy and capture moments for myself- without needing the validation of the world and their likes.

This isn’t a vendetta against social media. I am very grateful to it, because I have met some truly amazing people- some of which have become my greatest friends that I talk to every single day. I love communicating with people everyday- I always got my seat moved in class for "excessive talking" so this makes a lot of sense. But in this year, I am actively going to try to enjoy the moment instead of capturing it for someone else. Yes, I will still share by beauty routines, my matcha-lattes, an outfit I feel bomb in, something funny that happened to me in the meat department at Kroger, or a new lipstick I’m excited about. I enjoy sharing those things, and getting to interact with people. But I am no longer going to force it. This may mean less ~content~, but that means that maybe I’m out enjoying the moment for myself a little more.

I don’t want to wait until something catastrophic happens in my life to realize these things, and I think that’s why I wanted to write this all down. I needed to hear it, and maybe someone out there needed to as well. This is my reminder and your reminder that we are not deemed inadequate or less because our lives don’t look like someone else’s. Life has different stages and plans for everyone, and I intend to seek mine out, starting now (okay...gonna finish this coffee first).