Welcome to 2017! This has been quite an eventful year already, and we’re only one month in. A lot has happened since my last blog post:
#1: I celebrated a birthday in November. I went to the Morris Arboretum with friends. Amazing place, so peaceful. I work in an HR department, and it can be a hectic, fast-paced environment. Ever since my dad died, I find that stress is harder to handle, and something I need to proactively manage.
I like to celebrate in nature on my birthday and go to places that clear my mind and detox me from all the emotional and mental toxins that life can throw my way. it’s great to destress and set the reset button in an environment such as this:
Last year for my birthday, I went with friends to Coudersport, in upstate Pennsylvania. We visited Cherry Springs Park, the largest Dark Sky Park in North America. Beautiful place to see the stars.
#2: America said goodbye to President Barack Obama, and the Obama family.
President Obama was the first person I ever voted for.
The first time he won in 2008 was a surreal experience for me, and I’m so proud to have contributed to his victory. I was studying at an international school, Sciences Po Paris. There was only one other American kid in the school, but everyone had their own opinion about the election and everyone was sick of the Bush Era. I stayed up late Election Night, well beyond 6 am because of the time difference, to find out if he won.
My mom called my cell phone long distance when we learned that Obama won the election and I talked to her and my dad and we cried. It was an end of a dark chapter, and a new chapter had begun. A chapter of Hope and Well Being, and Faith in my country. A chapter of Honesty. If a black man could become president, I could do or be or achieve anything. And the symbol of black love- Barack’s love for Michelle, their beautiful children Malia and Sacha- was & still is powerful beyond words.
The next day when I arrived at school, there was a camera crew from the local news that asked us questions about the historic win. I was sleep-deprived, anxious because my French was still shaky at the time, but happy beyond belief. In the news clip below, I’m saying, “Il a gagné!” which means “He won!” 🙂
#3: America elected a new president. So far, he has released many executive orders that I don’t agree with. I’m not sure how much of this is showmanship to please his supporters and feeding his ego versus being actual policies that he genuinely believes will be of service to the majority of Americans and make this country a better place to live in.
#4: I rekindled my faith.
I can’t lie – the past six years have been a difficult time for me. My 20s have been an emotional rollercoaster, starting with my father being diagnosed with lung cancer in 2011, to his journey to recover his health and remission period, to eventually, sadly, losing him at the very end of 2013 – and dealing with the emotional fallout afterwards. Not to mention the financial struggles and practical considerations that no one talks about but that everyone who loses a close loved one has to deal with. There have been many very dark days in my life for the past few years – one too many dark days. For some time, I gave up on God. I gave up on going to church, gave up on my religion, gave up on my Catholic faith, just plain stopped believing that God wanted the best for me or even liked me. I knew that God existed and I knew that God loved me – but I thought that He didn’t like me. If we were a family and I was one of his daughters, I thought of myself as one of the least liked children. He had favorites, and I certainly wasn’t one of them.
This all slowly, slowly started to change at the end of 2016. And it all started with one, seemingly banal change in my life – I stopped eating sugar. I cut processed foods out my diet for a month, as an experiment. I started exercising every day. As my physical health started to improve, I noticed that my mental health started to elevate as well. And one day, I thought, “I want to go to church.” The rest is history. If you’re interested, I can write a longer blog post about that.
#5: Last, but definitely not least: I started a YouTube channel!! 😀
I recorded the process of making myself a couture dress in raw silk for the holidays.
I filmed nearly every portion of the making of this dress. I ended up filming about 8 hours of footage, which I distilled into 3 minutes for YouTube.
This experience taught me a lot and gave me a newfound respect for YouTubers. It’s not as easy as pushing the red record button on the camera & taking off. You need a tripod, the tripod needs to be adjusted at the correct angle (easier said then done) so the camera will capture what you’re doing…and on top of, you must look presentable because videos are visual and you want your clip to be pleasing to the eye.
You want your viewers to come back to your channel because of the great content you provide, not post comments complaining about how messy your hair is or how distracting your roommates talking in the background is.
Right now, I’m writing this blog post at 6 am in my PJs, snuggled under a comforter in bed. You can’t do that for YouTube – you have to brush your hair, smudge on a little lipstick, and make sure the parts of your room that will be in the background being filmed are clean. It’s like inviting someone (read: the whole world) into your home.
I plan to do sewing tutorials and vlogs. My first vlog will be on my trip to Trinidad! Let me know if you have any other ideas for videos. Natural hair tutorials seem to be popular. I started filming one, but I’m conflicted on whether to post it to my challenge or not since I’m not 100% happy with it. But I’m trying to be less of a perfectionist this year. We’ll see.
If you’d like to check out my channel & subscribe, here’s the link below:
All in all, the end of 2016 was an eventful last couple of months, both for my country and for me. Although I look towards the future of American politics with anxiety, I know that my future is bright and full of potential. And I can’t wait to see it all play out and to share it with you. 2017: Here we come!
Comment and let me know what types of blog posts you’d like to see in the new year. I hope you all have a beautiful, fruitful, successful, BLESSED 2017.