Authorrahwasthoughts

Sunshine and Shade: Summer In Chicago

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Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them.

-Antoine de Saint-Exupery

 

In the summertime, when the sun wakes up – so do all us brown kids.

I love early mornings – feels like a fresh page:

Another chance at “once upon a time.”

But Mamaiay? Not so much.

She always huffin’ and hustlin’

Talkin’ bout she runnin’ late for work…

Like she don’t hit snooze five times when the alarm rings every day.

She says all I got is one job:

Stay out the way and get ready as fast as possible.

I wash the crust out my eyes and brush my teeth.

While my Mamaiay oils down the frizz between my braids,

I plan out which socks I want to wear –

You can’t wear shoes at the Ali’s, so the socks gotta match.

They have one of them fancy rugs –

You know, the type that feel like pillows for your toes.

Say they brought it all the way from Iran,

Couldn’t bear to leave all of home behind.

Mamaiay takes so long to get ready,

I dunno why cuz she always look the same.

I mind my business,

Focus on eating my Honey Nut Cheerios.

Ugh – Mamaiay stays yappin’ bout me not chewing enough and swallowin’ too fast.

She don’t understand –

I’m not tryna break the Cheerio family up – they all gotta go out quick together

Like –

How you gonn’ buy cereal that helps the heart

N then get mad when I use it?

 

The Ali’s live in the same building as us,

But you’d never think it.

The higher up you go; the nicer things get.

All us poor kids,

We live on the first few floors.

We could kiss the concrete,

The Ali’s could lift the sky.

The worst days were when the elevator broke:

Mamaiay and I trekkin’ up more stories than I can count.

She says, “the way up isn’t always easy,”

Always tryna turn everything into a lesson.

I loved being at the Ali’s,

With all them other kids who were too wild be to left home alone

And whose parents couldn’t afford daycare.

The Ali’s were our parents’ alternative

To letting us roam into the devil’s arms.

The Ali’s got windows instead of walls,

When my Mamaiay drops me off I run –

Press my nose against the glass.

The world looks different when you lookin’ down,

As a kid, you always lookin’ up.

The air tastes sweeter up here.

 

Mama Ali says taking care of her family is her job,

Baba Ali’s job is to pay all the bills.

Having two parents feels greedy, when there are kids with none.

How you gonn’ grab seconds,

When there’s someone that doesn’t have one?

When it’s lunch time Mama Ali makes us set the table,

Says it’ll teach us to serve others before ourselves.

All us kids –

Sitting around a table,

With parents who’re digging for gold in the same mine.

Singing out each other’s names like melodies,

Names most others would choke on.

The first generation of the American Dream,

Feasting on curry thicker than the melting pot.

I ask for seconds –

I learn Halal isn’t a seasoning or sauce.

 

Mama Ali don’t let us out much – says it’s not safe.

Our playgrounds are our imaginations.

One day Mama Ali shows us a gift from Baba,

It was my first time seein’ a computer.

She says it’s the future,

I reach towards it…

Mama Ali swats my wrist – You can’t touch it!

Baba Ali is alright,

On good days,

He likes to teach us Farsi:

Yek

Do

Sei

Says learning numbers will help us count our blessings.

But,

On bad days –

He grumbles:

Peresooktay

Curses us back into the earth.

Baba Ali can get too friendly,

Mama Ali pretends not to see –

We pretend to play dumb.

Not havin’ a dad,

Don’t seem so bad after all.

 

Mama Ali always talkin’ –

Bout someone named Shaytan.

I don’t understand why she lets ‘em control her life.

During nap time,

I pry one eye open and

Watch her as she prays.

I wonder who she prays to

What she prays for

Who she asked first

And whom didn’t give her an answer.

 

Saturdays are filled with Saturday morning cartoons,

I plant myself in front of Doug, Recess, and Hey Arnold.

Mamaiay sleeps in past lunch time –

Two doses of sleep for working two jobs.

Mama Ali got a good life,

Maybe her Shaytan is kinder.

I go into my Mamaiay’s room and drape myself in her netsela.

I grab a rug from the bathroom,

Lay it flat facing the window.

I fall to my knees,

Raise my hands,

Bend my body over,

Kiss the ground.

I rise and repeat,

My throat runs dry

From humming.

I feel my mom’s piercing glare:

“Rahweetay, enti ti gebri aleki?”

Mamaiay, shhh I’m praying.

 

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I’m Sad At You: When Your Tongue Is The Trigger

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Anger is grief left untreated.

Values are much easier to uphold in theory than in practice. Freedom has always been my North Star, yet I struggle with the hypocrisy of honoring the autonomy of others when I become emotionally invested. I love hard, but not smart. My emotions often conflict with logic, and my communication skills shut down. This past weekend was really overwhelming for me, and I’m extremely disappointed in myself. It’s a bit discouraging to take a few steps forward with your growth only to take multiple ones back. I felt like over the past few months I was taking EQ classes but when the moment came to put my beliefs in practice, I ultimately failed the final exam.

When it comes to people, I am extremely territorial – this applies to friends, family and lovers. No, I will not put you on with my friend. Don’t talk about my family. Don’t be too comfortable around my man. I’m so protective of people that bring me joy that I immediately stir conflict when I perceive there to be a threat. I realize I’m still grappling with “owning” people, and the irony in having the desire for myself to roam freely. How irrational is it to expect people to be tied down to you, but you’re not tethered to them? I was up all night trying to understand this behavior and the root of it. I watched a Ted Talk a few months ago that talked about how humans should do more fear-based thinking to conquer our deepest fears. The speaker stated that we are often so debilitated by our fears we don’t dive deeper into what exactly makes us scared. The exercise the speaker asked the audience to do was to think about their biggest fear, then ask themselves why they’re scared of it, and then to ask themselves why they’re scared of that a few times over. Eventually you’ll realize the root of what it is you fear. e.g. often people fear not being successful when really their fear is not being able to be a good parent to their child.

I used this fear-based thinking framework to analyze my toxic behavior. What triggers my defense mechanism? What is my deepest fear? So, at first, I thought my biggest fear was being alone in the world, non-controlled or consensual isolation terrifies me. Then I peeled back another layer – So why do I fear being alone? Because it means nobody loves me enough to be present. Ok, so my fear is in not being loved. – So why do I fear not being loved? Because to me it means I am not valued, I am only convenient. – So why do I fear not being valued? Because I fear being forgotten, like my existence didn’t mean anything to anyone. Now, where do all these fears stem from? Seeing my Mamaiay struggle with mental illness and the debilitating impact being ostracized from the Habesha community had on her wellness. Should I see the day my Mamaiay passes, I’ll literally be all alone. I have no siblings, no partner, no kids, no close relatives, and my best friends are starting new chapters across the globe. I will no longer play a main role in anyone’s life, just a substitute. My trigger is feeling disposable, and my response is either over giving or overreacting. What I find upsetting about this realization is that it’s heavily rooted in ego. How dare I feel entitled to take up space when I am no longer present? – I am nothing but a visitor in the lives of others, and overall, I am but a visitor in this world. This feeling is as illogical as a guest coming into your home and requesting they leave their car parked in your garage indefinitely after they leave. Everything, and everyone has an expiration date. Impermanence is the only constant, and I’m grappling with that.

Nobody can get me upset, unless I love them. When I enter drama queen mode it’s stemming from “Hey, I really love you, but this happened that hurt me.” I’m working on my emotional maturity to be able to communicate this rather than lashing out. I’m triggered because I’m having trouble connecting with you. So, as cliché as it sounds I’m pushing you away when in reality I want to be pulled closer. I need help processing my feelings and communicating it – but it’s not a burden to place on anyone but myself. My tone and language come off as angry because it’s an easier emotion to convey and deal with, but really I’m just uncomfortable and upset.

This past weekend I was in ultimate beef mode for nooo reason. First, I misplaced my Passport the night a whole bunch of people were visiting from Seattle. I was distraught trying to find it but what made me the most upset was that I wanted to be included, and to kick it and make memories with these people. Not being able to locate my Passport pretty much threatened that experience for the whole weekend. In addition, I was losing shit all week so this was the cherry on top – like where the fuck is my self-awareness? When I was *drunk* processing my feelings I felt that nobody cared that I couldn’t participate in the club hopping (which wasn’t true) – it was that trigger of being forgotten or disposable. I realized my feelings were irrational and so I just locked myself in my room for the night and waited for the storm to pass. But I could not gather the words to properly communicate that in a manner that didn’t come off as abrasive. I process my thoughts better in writing than aloud.

My second happenstance was probably one of the top embarrassing moments of 2019. I picked a fight with my cousin because I felt she was too close to my guy-crush, who is her long-time friend (the audacity of me, I know). Drunk and toxic me are bffs. I literally felt myself burning up and I tried to calm myself down. I knew what I was feeling and thinking was completely irrational but I just can’t keep things in that bother me. I was upset that I was even upset because I knew there was nothing to be upset about in the first place. I’m not the most apt at communicating when I drink, I’m very brazen, and all that came out was “I’m beefin’ with you.” My emotions, logic and communication were all in conflict. When you’re not intentional with your communication you end up hurting others. I looked crazy and insecure, and made two friends feel uncomfortable. Losses all around. We had (drunk recollection) a conversation on entitlement and control and how my behavior was unacceptable. I agreed – I know I wasn’t right (logic) but I know how I feel (emotion) and I primarily act on my emotions. I was being irrationally territorial over a nigga that isn’t even mine, and I was perpetuating a sense of ownership in relationships I’ve been in and seen around me which is toxic.  The older I get, the more I reveal who I am to myself. I believe X but I’m acting like Y. Like how the fuck do you morph beliefs into behavior?

So, how do I process irrational feelings without obstructing everything and leaving a trail of destruction? I go home and think about it. I legit need 100% solitude and silence to fully analyze what I’m thinking and how I feel. Sometimes to the people around me it comes off as me throwing a tantrum but really, I’m just trying to think and reset. The process of being better, recognizing and undoing patterns is hard as fuck. Cheers to those that stick around during the process and hold you accountable along the way. Anyhow, I spent the remainder of the weekend apologizing profusely. One thing I do like about myself is that I’m not the prideful type that can’t admit when I’m wrong. I do, however, want to get to the point where I’m able to avoid reoccurring situations where I’m having to apologize in the first place. One of the double-edged swords about my personality is that I’m incredibly raw and I don’t operate within the walls of social cohesion. I’m not performative, you’ll see me in all my stages, good and bad. I just want to be more mindful of the bad stages, so I don’t cut those I love with my jagged edges. I wonder if this wisdom shit ever begins to kick in, because I feel like I’m only getting more foolish with time. Or, maybe, perhaps, self-awareness of one’s shortcomings is wisdom in itself.

Here are some affirmations I had to say to myself to realign:

  1. Nobody is responsible for my happiness – that is a duty only I can fulfill.
  2. I am not entitled to anyone’s attention, affection or time – I am grateful for those that choose to share these with me.
  3. Nothing lasts forever – including my presence, impact or memory.
  4. People are meant to be free – if they want to go, thank them for visiting and wish them well when they leave.

Note to Self: The sturdiest of elements take the longest to set. It takes concrete 28 days to fully cure; it takes 30 days to kiss or nick a habit. Who you’re striving to be, transcends the metaphysical and you might never achieve that in this lifetime and dimension. But, continue to build a better you – day by day, brick by brick.

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Treading Carefully

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to-drown-in-hell-robert-margetts

66% of witness accounts state that when someone drowns, they were a strong swimmer.

 

When you’ve conquered the tide enough times

Nobody keeps a look out for you

Because you’ve already surpassed

What most could fathom

People seem to think courage, infallibility, and indestructibility are synonymous

But all it takes is one sweep of an unsuspecting wave

To pull you under.

 

Sometimes, I get tired of treadin’

My limbs go numb

I gasp for air

I lose sight of the shore

I fight myself:

Should I call out for a name?

Or just say a prayer?

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Safe

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safe

After a long day of fighting the world,

I scurry home to:

Retract my claws

Shed my camouflage

File my teeth

Brush back my horns

Kick off my hooves

Recoil my tongue

Remove my shell.

I desire nothing but,

To be:

Naked

and

Defenseless

In your arms.

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Code-Switching

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I have a secret.

It’s about my mother.

There was the one I told my friends about,

The mom I wished I had…

Then, there was the other mom.

She faces her battles every day,

Even though

She may never win the war

She’s helped me see…

That I didn’t cause her disease.

I can’t control it.

And I can’t cure it.

This is my mom.

And that is her story.

And now…

I’m ready,

To claim my own.

–  Grace “Call Me Crazy”

8:16PM

Hello?

Hello?

Helloooo? Aieee this thing never works.

Mamaiay, I can hear you.

Rahweetay?

Yes, I’m here. Can you hear me?

Not really – they’re disrupting my phone.

Ok, I’ll speak louder.

Are you okay?

Yes, I’m doing good.

Really? Are you sure? I always worry.

Yea – I been trying to reach you for days though.

They block all my calls; they won’t let me speak.

How can I reach you if your phone is always off?

The monsters don’t let me, they follow me.

Just try to keep your phone on please and put it on loud.

They’re trying to kill me.

Focus, that’s not what I asked you.

Can you send me money?

I just sent you some last week, what did you spend it on?

They stole it.

What do you mean? The money went somewhere.

Aieee, you don’t understand they’re robbing me!

How much do you need?

As much you can give.

I can only give you $300 this week.

Okay thanks, I’m going to get a job soon.

You’ve been saying that for years. What happened to your interview?

The monsters don’t let me. They shocked me, my ears and eyes are disappearing.

Have you gone to the doctor to get them checked out?

Oof no – they can’t do anything.

Do you want me to schedule an appointment?

No, if you want to save me buy me a house.

We’ve talked about this already; I don’t want to buy one.

So, you’re going to let them kill me? I’m going to die.

No, you’re not.

The neighbors are poisoning me they send me gas through the walls.

You’ll be fine, just don’t start any trouble.

I’m not okay, they don’t let me do anything. You don’t care.                      

I do care, but I’m not going to argue with you.

Are you gaining weight? Moving apartments? Changing jobs? Don’t let the enemy win.

No – everything is fine.

You always do good. I worry for no reason, eh?

Yea, you do.

I’m going to pay you back and help one day.

It’s cool, I got it.

I’m sorry I know this isn’t life.

I have no complaints.

Did you put the money in my account?

Yea, I just transferred it in.

Okay, thank you zagualey.

You only ever call me for money.

What can I do? If I talk on the phone, they’re going to harm you.

But how am I supposed to know you’re okay?

I’m never okay. 

Well, what have you been up to lately?

Rahwa, they’re listening I have to go.

Wait, when will I hear –

I love you

*click*

8:18pm

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Ako Tomi

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I wrote this um poem because
A couple weeks ago I went um down to Watts with my homeboy
And uh he had some of his friends with him they was coming or whatever to take pictures or whatever
And they was looking like um
They had never seen black people
You know what I’m saying and um
I realized that uh
If you scared of your own people then you scared of yourself.

– Dom Kennedy

 

When Ako picks me up from school he asks,

“If you had to pick between your White friends and Black friends, who would you choose?”

I tell him in a mostly White school –

Us Black kids stick together.

He scoffs and says I’m pickin the losin’ team

That Mamaiay didn’t travel all this way

For me to sprint backwards

I don’t know how “Don’t blow your opportunity”

Became code for “Don’t be too Black”

But Ako echoes bein’ around Whites

Is the first step to success

That cuz I’m light skinned

It’ll be easier for me to fit in

But, I never wanted to be somewhere

That’d make me want to rush home

Ako lives next to all them motels

With the broken-down signs

And the broken-in women

He only watches Fox News at home

But flips the channel when Black people fill the screen

Says it gets him all embarrassed

That they’re making us look bad

Well, not really us –

Because, we’re not like them

But close enough –

To be mislabeled by others

He says we’re African

Never to be confused with

Black

Says nothing good comes out of Blackness

Just like how nothing good happens

After dark

Ako’s irons his name to please the White clients

Like he creases his suit before he chauffeurs them ‘round the town

He spends all day servin them

Says ‘Yes sir’ and ‘Yes m’aam’

Inhaling the relief of Nicotine during his breaks

Ako won’t ever smoke in his car though – his car’s too nice

He drives one of them fancy limousines

When it’s not making him money, it’s lookin’ the part.

He takes it to the car wash so much

It make the night sky look ashy

Ako’s always politickin’

Mamaiay’s stays mouthin’ back

Ako’s tryna strip me of my Blackness

Mamaiay’s tryna preach fellowship

She says she don’t see color

That only love lives in her home

They tuggin’ back and forth

Thinkin they’re on opposite teams

But I’ve always felt like erasure and hatred

Are two fruit of the same tree

Ako and Mamaiay helicopter my identity

As if I was mumbling my first word – or stumbling my first steps

They think they’re doing me a favor –

By trimming my Blackness

They don’t understand

That not all that is carried

Is meant to weigh you down

They don’t understand

I’ve always been the Black sheep

That gripped tightly to her coat.

When Ako picks me up from school he asks,

“If you had to pick between your Rich friends and Poor friends, who would you choose?”

I tell him in a mostly Rich school –

Us Poor kids stick together.

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Who I’m Not

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I’m not your kumbaya bitch

Nor your damsel in distress

I’m not your fuckin lady

Nor one you can possess

I’m not your dream mate:

Martyr who goes to bat

I’m not your ride or die

Rat-a-tat-that

Repackaging Dreams

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dreams

The purpose of freedom is to free someone else.

-Tony Morrison.

Over the past few years I’ve worked solely with people of color as they take on their next great feat. Being able to see that transition and the rawness of an individual’s dreams and ambitions isn’t something I take for granted. Seldom is one more vulnerable than when they reveal their aspirations for the future. The most heartbreaking thing that I’ve noticed repeatedly amongst my clients is that they drown themselves in self-doubt, they predispose themselves to failure to cushion themselves from rejection. I often hear I don’t think I’m going to get this or I don’t know if this is the best path.

I’ve come to realize that when clients reach out to me to help write their resume for a new career shift, to write their business statement for their budding venture, or to write their college personal essay as an aspiring first generation grad – they don’t necessarily want my writing. At the core, what they’re seeking is affirmation and representation – they want a tangible copy of their dreams on paper. I don’t, however, pencil myself as a writer. I firmly believe to define, is to limit. Writing is just one tool I use to accomplish what I do best: removing barriers and seizing opportunities.

When I first meet with clients, they tend to come to me with an idea of what is it they want to convey. It catches them off guard when I derail their agenda and go into an informal interview session. I always articulate that in order to write well, I must know who it is I am writing for. I ask probing questions about one’s past, present and future and my clients end up questioning whether they attended a writing or therapy session. That’s the very thing that sets my work apart – it’s not transactional, it’s heavily embedded in relationships.

As people of color, we are systemically conditioned to be humble. We are not taught how to be boisterous and it immediately puts us at a disadvantage. We are serial under-performers when it comes to selling ourselves. It’s extremely rewarding when I’m able to tip the beam and see my clients reflect on my work. I hear them murmur Is that really me? Wow, I did all of that? Yes it is, and yes you did. To write, is to advocate, and my role was to repackage the stories of my clients to adequately reflect themselves and align with their dreams.

I’m working on formalizing my writing, and shifting it from a hobby into a professional business. I’m ready to take it a step further than just filter through requests via my DMs, emails and text messages. I’m currently building out my website, which includes a portfolio of my work. I’ve included some before/after samples of work I’ve done with past clients and their outcomes. I want to profusely thank everyone who’s trusted me to take part in their journey – the support in the pursuit of our dreams was a two-way street.

I’ll never forget when I was in 12th grade and my friend Emily sat me down and gave me a pep talk on how to properly sell yourself to the admissions committee. She might as well have been speaking a foreign language because I still didn’t fully grasp what she was saying. Nonetheless, she sat me down hours before the University of Washington’s college application was due and we cranked out my personal statement line by line. She adamantly affirmed: these applicants aren’t smarter than you, they’re just more privileged.

I got in. Fast forward 10 years later and here I am. The old me wouldn’t have been able to even conceive what I’ve been able to manifest.

In sum, writing, is a launchpad – you take your tangible affirmation and run.

Business Statement

Before:

A Seeker of Life.

That’s one way to describe my father. He was the classiest, most confident, smartest, genuine, yet simple man.  He was a man of his words, a man’s-man to be exact who enjoyed traveling the world. He was sure to help everyone around him even while being sick and raising a family of seven.

The passing of my father crushed my family and his legacy was rarely talked about simply because it was one of those things that hurt. He left four daughters, two sons and a beautiful wife, my mother.

In recognition of his elegance, I decided to create a brand that represented who he was to me.

My mission is to share my watches with every man and woman who believes in the importance of legacy and honor. Through fashion and accessories, I am able to hone in on the idea that you are exactly who want to be.

After:

A Seeker of Life.

My father exemplified the sweetest fruits in life. He was the personification of love, empathy, confidence and resilience. His poise preceded his tongue whenever he entered the room, quiet by nature, it was his presence which wrapped his loved ones with affirmations. As a child, I religiously watched the habits of the man whose shoes I aspired to fill. As a man, I find myself catching glimpses of him – in the reflection of the mirror when I shave in the direction he taught me, or in the nostalgic yearning in my relatives’ eyes when they say I look just like him. My father had an insatiable curiosity, yet, he was wise enough to know the limits of wit. He was an avid reader, and the Bible was his favorite text.  He enjoyed traveling, yet, his favorite place in the world was with his family. A trailblazer, my father made superman obsolete. He was always first to rise, and now – the first to set.

Even the brightest of stars eventually burn out. When my father passed, my world went dark. It took me 18 years to accept that some wounds are too deep to patch. That sometimes, you don’t move on – you just move forward. So, what do you do when your hero falls? You keep their essence alive by sharing them with the world.

As I embark on this new journey of 28, I’m realizing that absence, too, is a gift. Although my father is no longer here physically, his spirit fortified. I’ve created the ADANƎ brand to pay homage to my father, and I’m now able to share remnants of him in each one of my creations. The mission of ADANƎ is to instill honor and cultivate legacy globally. Through fashion and accessories, I seek to convey that simplicity is the pinnacle of elegance and love has no bounds.

Outcome: Successful launch of business – verbatim text was included in the “About Me” section of the website.

College Essay

Before:

I Got It Bad and That Ain’t Good is played over and over again, I keep listening to the jazz melody, feeling the piano keys being played so effortlessly I can feel Oscar Peterson’s sentiment through the music, almost like licking an ice cream cone on a hot summer day. No words, yet the jazz ensemble speaks volumes, so beautiful yet so sad all at once, similar to myself. My life has played out in unison with this song, the keys play softly and harmoniously, but there is a hidden feeling that sometimes overcomes it; one of sadness.

My dad had moved out of the house when I was almost a year old; you could say we lived in a broken home. He would call us and try to be active in our lives, but only when he wanted to or when he had time to spare. Most of the time he would want to be present and would get my hopes up for the littlest things. But, because of countless broken promises, I kept getting let down, and it was like the older I got the more I noticed the excuses that he gave me. I grew up under the care of my mom and grandmother. They made me into the person I am today and never once gave up on me, even when I had given up on myself at times they made me believe in myself.

 Things seemed to be going smoothly for years after that, leading up to my transition from middle to high school, which was one of the hardest things I had ever gone through. I went from knowing everyone in my private elementary and middle school to going to a high school where I did not know a single person; this was when I had first experienced anxiety, which was when I first felt a beautiful soft melody transition into a sad emptiness. This was the one time I needed him in years, and he had traveled back to his home country Ethiopia. My mother called him for me, but the only piece of advice he had to offer was to “man up and be strong”. I threw the phone against the wall and started to cry. This experience made me want to be an independent self sustaining person, and one that does not rely on others for anything. That is the one and only thing I got from my father. I had built up so much resentment and hate toward my dad over the years that I felt like if I was never good enough for myself. The piano keys play a little softer and shallower than ever. It took me a greater part of my life to realize that I needed to stop doing things to try to please other people in my life and instead do what makes me genuinely happy, a lesson that I was glad enough to learn before it was too late.

So, I graduated from high school with hopes that community college would be a chance to start over. When I enrolled at Bellevue College, I had my heart set on studying Business, I took a few prerequisite classes, and just like that, the vibrations of the music shifted and I knew that, that was not what I was destined to do. I decided to, instead, take up communications classes and network with my school’s department of communications heads. The piano keys started playing in an upbeat manor, and I was so inspired by one of my communications classes that I went up to the teacher and reached out to the Communications department and told them that I was interested in starting up the communications club on campus. From that point forward, I knew communications was my calling. At that time, the club was virtually nonexistent. It had no registered members, and no set leader. My experiences with my father had made me want to capitalize on my leadership skills, and I had the chance to by revitalizing Bellevue College’s communications club. The somber tone of the beginning of my life has altered in to a hopeful new tune. And now that I have graduated from Bellevue, the music has changed. I want to move forward with my communications studies and hope to do so using a blank sheet of paper, and new notes, at the University of Washington.

After:

I keep listening to the jazz melody, feeling the piano keys being played so effortlessly I embody Oscar Peterson’s sentiment through his music. As “I Got It Bad (And That Ain’t Good)” loops on the record, I am overcome with solace like licking an ice cream cone on a hot summer day. No words, yet the jazz ensemble speaks volumes, so beautiful, yet so sad all at once, similar to me. My life has played out in unison with this song, the keys play softly and harmoniously, but there is a hidden feeling that sometimes overcomes it; one of sadness.

I knew the back of my father’s head better than the back of my hand and it seems that as I grew so did his excuses and absence. At an early age, my immigrant mother from Ethiopia instilled in me the importance of education and worked late to afford my private school tuition. However, with no support from my father she couldn’t continue, and I was forced to leave the community that temporarily fulfilled his paternal role. Adjusting to my new high school was difficult and I struggled to swim in a sea of unfamiliar faces. I began experiencing anxiety and the only support my father provided was to “man up” before he departed back to Ethiopia. I felt a beautiful soft melody transition into a sad emptiness. The hatred I carried for my father was debilitating until I realized that one invaluable lesson, he did teach me was self-sufficiency.

I began community college with high hopes that this would be a chance to start over and liberate myself from my father’s ties. When I enrolled at Bellevue College, I was set on studying Business, I took a few courses and just like that, the vibrations of the music shifted, and I knew this was not what I was destined to do. I decided to explore different departments of Communications after taking an introductory course. My desire only went up from there and every course increased my curiosity. I was so drawn to exploring the field, it was as though the piano keys started playing in an upbeat manor. I was so inspired by the contents of the class that I approached my mass media professor and told her that I wanted to create a Communications Club on campus. When I decided to concentrate on the focus of Communications, I felt confident in my vision for my future. My grades started to positively reflect my goals and I finally felt like I was in unison with my career path.

While I was taking my pre-requisite communication courses and building the clubs membership, I realized that of all the students that I was sitting amongst, none looked like me. The significant absence of minorities in the field of Communications concerned me and I passionately believed that the classroom homogeneity didn’t reflect an absence of interest, but opportunity.  One of my primary objectives as founder of the Communications Club was to recruit Bellevue College students of diverse backgrounds and educate them on the wide array of possibilities and job opportunities available to students with a Communications degree.

However, I did see a lack of clubs and social affairs regarding minorities and the spread/awareness in the Media/Communications Studies fields. Just like any community it is an integral part in one’s academic career to having students, especially outside of the classroom gather and share dialogue to form a bond with other students. I highly admire the growth and initiative of programs like the Black Student Union and the various leadership opportunities happening at the University of Washington. I believe it would be the perfect environment to satiate my appetite to learn.

When scrolling through the University of Washington’s Media & Communication website it instantaneously grasped my attention. The MCS program has been that piece of the puzzle that I have been missing. The program’s emphasis on exploring the evolving culture of Communications on a global scale aligned with my aspirations. I want to work towards providing impartial media coverage across the world and aspire to work for a global news outlet such as BBC or Al Jazeera. After finding the Communications Club at Bellevue College, I visited my family in Ethiopia and was able to witness first-hand how the government’s censorship was used as a tool to deliver biased and inaccurate media coverage to influence the masses. This experience made me see just how political and impactful information can be and further instilled my interest in Mass Media Communications.

I am eager to foster my insatiable curiosity at the University of Washington which offers exceptional programs and resources for ambitious students like myself. I would want nothing more than to be given the chance to seize those opportunities to help make the world that we live in better informed. The somber tone of the beginning of my life has altered into a hopeful new tune. And now that I have graduated from Bellevue College, the music has changed. I want to move forward with my communications studies and hope to do so using a blank sheet of paper, and new notes, at the University of Washington.

Additional Comments:

Spring Quarter 2016 my grandmother had fallen ill, I enrolled in an online and Hybrid course to allow more flexibility in supporting her. However, I was unable to find a hybrid course to fulfill my lab science pre-requisites and had to take an in-person Bio-Anthropology course. I was taking my grandmother to doctor appointments multiple times a week and it was demanding much of my time, forcing me to miss days from this class, so I had submitted a request for a Hardship Withdrawal, which was approved and supported by my instructor and academic advisor.

Outcome: Granted acceptance into the University of Washington, and graduated June 2019.

Resume

Before:

OBJECTIVE


To obtain a challenging career-oriented position that utilizes my acquired skill set and passion to learn while allowing me to demonstrate my proven ability to meet and exceed expectations in a performance-based environment

EDUCATION


Washington State University

Bachelors of Science in Economics

Graduated May 2011


WORK EXPERIENCE

Sherwin Williams July 2016 to October 2018

Seattle, WA

Outside Sales Representative

  • Manage an account base of 200 customers
  • Work with store team to generate new business and accounts
  • Deal with customer complaints and discrepancies
  • Use marketing tools to build customer base and stealing market shares
  • Help customers build their business using our marketing tools
  • 50 face to face meetings a week with customers both new and existing
  • Build trusting relationship with customers

Sherwin Williams April 2015 to July 2016

Woodinville, WA

Store Manager

  • Consulted with customers daily
  • Executed sales plans with staff to gain market shares
  • Hired and managed staff to assist in obtaining sales goals daily
  • Solved problems with customers to meet their expectations
  • Maintained stores inventory levels
  • Analyzed financial reports monthly
  • Lead monthly training and events with customers and employees

Sherwin Williams July 2013 to April 2015

Woodinville, WA

Assistant Store Manager

  • Led store’s Lead generation program which increase number of accounts and sales opportunities
  • Assisted store manager with inventory, merchandising, and financial activities
  • Provided excellent customer service to wholesale and retail customers
  • Assisted on developing the store’s annual sales plan
  • Made decisions regarding pricing, credit and other customer issues

ACHIEVEMENTS

Meet Sales goals as Sales Rep of $1,000,000 in sales in a new territory and was awarded to Leaders Club

Completed top 3 in the Seattle district in new accounts opened in 2017

Exceeded Sales goals as Store Manager of $1.2 million in sales and was awarded to Masters Club

Surpassed Sales Goals as AM of a new store and Manager was awarded to Presidents Club

After:

robelresume

Outcome: Received multiple job interviews within the first week, received a final job offer in his preferred industry with higher scope and pay, two weeks later.

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Sunday’s Sermon

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Banksy-Forgive-Our-Trespassing_558a18fa-e98c-413d-8a01-a475261030e9

Love is an act of endless forgiveness. Forgiveness is the Final Act of Love.

-Beyonce

Luke 7:40-50

Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now, which of them will love him more?

I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.

You have judged correctly…whoever has been forgiven little, loves little.

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Stitched Lips

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The oppressors stitched the past and the people called it history.

The oppressed stitched the past and the people called it ignorance.

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