Past and future letter to myself

I was recently asked to write a letter to my younger and future self for my linguistics class. It was very hard to write, but It was a powerful exercise that I believe everyone should experience. Here is my letter…

Sweet young Fai,

Where do I start… Oh, the places you’ll go – It seems like you’ll never leave your small town life, but all of this will change with years to come. Lots will change when you go to college. Your decision to do a study of abroad in London and move to the across the country for med-school will be stressful at times but you will be happy you did. The friends and memories you make will be lifelong. Those you meet on your journey will embrace you. As you meet new people, be kind. Smile, make friends, get to really know them, and treat everyone well even if they don’t.

Don’t waste any opportunities that are brought to you. Just one rare opportunity can change your life forever. Knowing all the elements in the periodic table may seem lame and nerdy in middle school, but believe me it will come in handy. You will have a career that will take you to places you can only dream of. That cereal you brag hooyo (mom) to buy for you and the fancy makeup at the mall that you cannot afford someday you will be the formulation Research Scientist behind it. So many great things will happen. I can’t explain to you what they are but you know soon.

Your body is embarrassing to you and your introvert attitude is intimidating to others, but you will realize is what makes you, you. You’ll grow to love it. Your circle of friends will change; and the ones that fall like leaves, will be the ones your mom have predicted. Her repetitive advice will finally sink in. See that your sisters are your best friends and biggest supporters.

I can’t stress how much your parents love you. They’re willing to do anything for you and will give up all to make you happy! Your dad will need you more than ever, especially the last year of his life – remember what he’s given up for you. Make sure you’re willing to give everything up for him. Your mom will go through many dark stages but you will all be her light. Sometimes it will be hard to stay in that “I’m so blessed” mode when part of your world is missing. But even with the biggest lump in your throat you’ll wake up with so much gratitude; because you know It Could Always Be Worse.

Hold tight to your beliefs, your love for God, and your roots. Somedays it will be difficult to give back and easy to give up on Somalia, but you will find a way for Somalia to love you as much as you love Somalia. Speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. There will be a lot of obstacles in your path. But remember, the struggle you go through will make you become patient, kind, compassionate and humble.

Love,

Future you

Dear Future Faduma Sahra,

Take a breath. I wanted to write this letter to tell you how far you’ve come, even if you don’t feel it. You’ve been doing this adulting thing for a while now, and it’s safe to say you don’t totally suck at it. I admire your passion for God, people, and travel, and I hope you never lose that. When life gets hard, I hope you always remember how strong, funny, and capable you are! May you never forget the times you’ve endured and use that strength and courage to know that you can overcome. May you always choose fear over comfort!

I hope you don’t allow the pressure and opinions of others to be a catalyst for decision making in your life. I hope you continue to put God first and keep building that relationship. Remember that this life is much bigger than you. I hope you continue to use your passion and purpose to propel others. On that contrary, I hope you married, the love of your life and you are living out of your dreams.

I can’t wait to celebrate the future with you, and watch you develop into who God’s called you to be. You are so enough, even when you don’t feel like it.  I would be remiss to end this letter without telling you how proud I am of you. You are one the strongest people I know. I love you so much, and I hope that you keep learning to love all the parts of you, not just the ones that easier to love.

Love,

Faduma

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Fall: Life Changes

Every year I get excited as the temperatures begin to drop, the leaves on the trees begin to change array of reds, oranges, and yellows. It’s almost autumn, my favorite season fun foods, festivities, and cooler weather – dreaming of pumpkin lattes, apple pie and campfire S’mores.

There’s something about the change to cooler weather that causes a mindset shift for me every year. Maybe the fact that my birthday is in November has something to do with it – a reminder to me to take a look back at the past year and reflect. It’s a time to sit down and analyze what went well this year, what I would still like to accomplish, and what I want next year to look like.
Once I’ve mapped out the final months of the year, I turn my attention to the year ahead. This process hasn’t always been easy for me, and I never really had a method to my madness. I would simply brainstorm a giant list of things that I want to do and insha’Allah(God-willing) accomplish.

I’m proud of myself for accomplishing some of the goals I set last fall. Putting my career on hold to focus on my nonprofit (although, nerve-wracking decision) was great idea. The past year I did the most personal growth leaving my comfort zone, letting go one-way relationship, and unhealthy friendships to create space for something better. I think it goes without saying that growth is necessary. It’s a thing that happens, right? As we continue to live, we continue to change, and much has been said about this type of change.One of my favorite quotes on change comes from a world renowned philosopher: “Everybody look at you strange, say you changed. Like you work that hard to stay the same.” Jay-Z

I’ve heard the phrase “growing pains” used to describe it, but that doesn’t quite fit for me because what I’m experiencing isn’t painful. I feel more than anything like I’m in a stage of change where things are infinitely possible, and being open to all of those possibilities is resulting in an awkward floundering and figuring out. It’s not painful, just unclear at times.

One of goals was to let go unhealthy friendships so; recently, I’ve been evaluating the quality of my friendships. I don’t have a lot of friends and my circle is definitely smaller than it used to be, but that would be unfair, because I have a lot of people that I feel blessed to call my friends. People who support me, and have been there for me in amazing times, and times where I’ve felt like I was down and I’d like to hope it’s reciprocal. Friendship like any relationships needs attention in order to thrive. I wanted to share a few ways on how I try to invest in my friendships

  •  Be there – Unrequited love sucks- romantic relationships or not. In my opinion a lack of effort shows a lack of interest. People are likely to do for you when they know that you wouldn’t hesitate to support them as they do you. Friendship isn’t tit for tat, but it’s can be unmotivating to cross oceans for people who wouldn’t cross puddles for you.
    But what does it really mean to be present? I like to think of being present as beyond physically being avail because truth is life happens, and physical proximity just isn’t always possible. Being present to me looks like, paying attention, asking questions, engaging, not assuming (working on this) and meeting people where they are at. I can’t stress the importance of meeting people where they are at. We’ve got to learn to meet people where they’re at and help them develop.
  • Asking for what you need. I like to think of asking for what you need as a good form of self-advocacy. Relationships are likely to drift apart when we feel like our needs aren’t being met. Doesn’t it suck when you feel like people aren’t there for you? People aren’t mind readers, and can’t always anticipate our needs; so for the sake the relationship, it helps to let people know what you need, and also asking them what they need. Sometimes asking for what you need requires some vulnerability, and that can be hard for some people including myself.
  •  I don’t subscribe to the “no new friends” stance, but as you get older building genuine relationships can prove to be somewhat difficult because there’s a lot years that this person is just catching up on and vice versa, and the question of trust comes into play. Like, how much can I trust you, vice versa. These things take time, obviously. However, I’m always weary of the people who are friends with everyone or have to question where a person’s loyalty lie.It can be pretty difficult to friendship without a good communication. Like being able to say, hey that happened and I felt like this. That means sharing, sharing when you’re good and bad news. Communication means no secret keeping. If I can’t trust you to be open about the small things or celebrate your success, are we even friends? Cheers to being friends who are there during highs and low. I don’t know about you, but it’s important for me to have friends celebrate the good times just as much as the ugly.

But for all that has been said of change and the benefits of it, the good that comes along with the fresh new eyes you get from growth, I wish more was said of that weird space in between.

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Europe

I want to write an all-encompassing recap of my trip to Europe, but I’m not going to do since I’ve been there and done that before. You can read my previous blog posts or if you’ve specific questions over on Instagram (feel free to DM me).

Thinking about my trip gave me a feeling of this word that isn’t really a word, but more of a feeling —  sonder.

SONDER:
n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.

There is only one thing I feel compelled to tell you – my favorite part of my summer trip, and what I took home with me. A lot of my worst days are spent feeling dissatisfied with where I am and who I am. The fact that I am growing, that things are still happening, that I still have whole lives left to live often takes a back seat to my less than perfect present. God willing, I will live to be a 100-year-old woman with a million chapters in my book (some okay ones and some fabulous ones), and really just experiencing all.

The family that eats together stays together

Because breakfast is the most important meal 🙂

Nothing like crepes in Paris 

Favorite Souvenir from Paris

View from the hotel: Seine river statue of liberty

 
 

Hello Belgium waffle

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Neighborhood Farmer’s markets

Darlings,

Farmer’s markets are little neighborhood gems.
All of the fresh, organic, hand-made, home-grown, artisan and gourmet options
make a trip to one make you feel like a better person instantly.
I think my love for farmer’s markets started when I was a little girl, years ago at going to the farmers market with my mom.

Every market since then has been just as wonderful an experience.
The farmers are always nice and really get my need for free food and samples.
So basically I guess what I’m saying is if I can get something for free, I’m game.

As soon as spring hits, I make an effort to go to my closest market.
Since it’s outdoors, dressing comfortably is a primary goal.
Kudos to kind farmers for igniting my love for fresh produce and free samples.

Find a market near you, Support your local farmers!

 

Love-

Faduma Sahra

No, there were no tulips and peonies so I bought yellow roses

Smoothie Bowl

The last 10 days of Ramadan (Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, the holy month is marked with prayers and self-reflection –– as well as fasting daily from dawn to sunset). I have been focused on my health, eating right and my goals. I can say for the first time it’s going pretty smooth. I’ve been travelling/ working on projects while still working on my nonprofit org. It has been the best experience so far. I feel so lucky to be surrounded by people who are always working on bettering themselves

One thing I have struggled with the past year is the constant feeling I should be creating something. I have always gravitated to doing more. One of my goals for 2018 is to explore and to keep growing in every way that I can.

See below what I have been making for suhoor (a pre-dawn meal, before fasting until sunset) and Iftar (the larger night-time meal to break the day’s fast)

Smoothie Bowl:

Smoothie bowls are pure, simple and take only minutes to prepare. They are all kinds of satisfying and contrary to what some may think they are actually also quite filling thanks to the abundance of raw fruits, greens, protein, nuts and seeds you can add to the mix (pun totally intended). Mixing up the toppings is the best bit. Choose from a range of granola, goji berries, nut butters, coconut, chia seeds, cacao nibs, buckinis or fresh fruit. The options really are endless. Most of the time it’s just using whatever is in your fridge or pantry. Here’s some options that can make your bowl a little bit “fancy”.

Banana, 1 cup frozen strawberries with 1/4 cup frozen mango and 1/2 cup toasted coconut milk, topped with granola, coconut flakes and raspberries.

Berry smoothie bowl topped with granola, coconut chips and roasted cacao nips

I love mango smoothie bowls (Mango is my favorite fruit)

 

Papaya: Dairy free yogurt, blueberries, coconut flakes (I love coconut), chia seeds, bee pollen

Old-fashioned organic oats w/ Almond milk and honey
Topped w/ Chia seeds, coconut flakes and bee pollen

Mango peach smoothie bowl

 

Love:

In the midst of a world changing right before our eyes and trying to master each and every one of our life goals, it seems silly to think that whenever my friends and I meet up we end up in a long “love is lame” or “ugh, boyz” conversation.

We talk about work, we talk about our goals, we talk about our self-image, but something about love always strikes a chord, and I don’t know why that is.
Is love what makes the world go ’round? What I do know is that it’s taken me a long time to say this out loud. Greater than my fear of not understanding everything about love is my fear of admitting I want to know.

Why is that even a thing I have to be worried about?
Why is an interest in love seen as inherently female, and even further, why then does that make it something not to be valued?
I am an accomplished adult woman who plans to continue knocking down every single one of my goals—oh, and also, I want to talk about tingly butterfly feelings and whether or not they mean anything.

You find out a lot about yourself after your first real heartbreak. I learned so much about myself that I hardly can recall who I was before it happened.
I find myself sort of like a new friend. One of the things I’ve discovered about me is something I didn’t have words for until I rediscovered this poem by Nayyirah Waheed: I am a brutally soft woman. That’s it. One affecting line.

I am not made to be hard, and I won’t spend any more of my life around people who cause me to put up armor. I don’t want to protect myself—I want to be around people who I don’t need protection from. I like myself soft and exposed.

I know it’s imperative to find someone who chooses us and acknowledges our many layers, who can be open and vulnerable, and most importantly, who is ready. To meet someone and be met. To be chosen and to choose.
To love and to be loved. This is everything. All we need is that same energy reciprocated, and despite how open and loving you attempt to be, people can only meet you as deeply as they’ve met
themselves. Don’t be afraid to be the one that loved the most and give everything you had, because you’ve got to find people who love like you do and who are ready. 
Out with the old, in with the true. Ready for summer.

Love – Faduma

 

 

 

10 SELF-CARE TIPS FOR WHEN LIFE GETS HARD

 Happy spring… Happy Monday,

I wanted to take some time today to offer self-care tips for when life gets hard because that’s the time when self-care is the most important and when we usually let it fall by the wayside. 
I know how busy, and chaotic life can get at times, so today I wanted to share how I engage in self care in my personal life. I try to engage in one of the following ideas below on a daily if not weekly basis. Engaging in self care on an on-going basis really helps to reduce stress levels, not just when stuff hits the fan.
Let’s dive in

  1.  Unplug: In a world where we seem to be attached to our phones, social media platforms etc. Taking a break from your phone and giving your mind a break can be refreshing.

  2. Say No: If you feel that saying yes to projects or commitments that you are not in the space to carry out would add more to your plate, simply say no.

  3. EXERCISE: Just as sleep is important, so is exercise. For some, exercise is only about preventative health measures, but for others like myself it is also critical to my mental health. I am no longer using it as an escape, but as something that starts my day off on a positive note. I am able to channel whatever negative thoughts and feelings I have into an activity that improves my overall strength and clarity and leaves me feeling better than when I went in.

  4. Go to a coffee shop and  order your favorite drink: There’s something about ordering an almond latte from my favorite cafe that does something for me.

  5. See a therapist: There’s nothing like investing in your emotional health. It may be pricey, but it’s beyond worth it. Don’t be embarrassed about going to therapy either. There’s power and strength in feeding yourself emotionally to live your best life.

  6. Pray: My faith is the most important thing to me. It’s a driving force in how I live my life, and how I treat people. Praying, cultivating a personal relationship with my lord is a perpetual thing for me, and it honestly, just helps.

  7. Talk to a close  trusted friend or family member: Use discernment about who you share with and what you share. Again, why number 5 is so important.

  8. Make a dope playlist: Whatever speaks to your soul, sign into your iTunes, Spotify or music gallery and curate a self-care play list.

  9. WRITE: Even if you’re not a writer, get a notebook or journal to write about what is going on. If you are anything like me, your mind is racing a million miles a minute and you have a tendency to overthink every scenario. Spend a little time each day writing about your feelings, what is going on at that moment, and whatever you feel compelled to put on paper. Don’t worry about anyone reading it and just write. Even if you think that writing will be useless, do it anyway. I’m always surprised at what comes out when I start writing and the amount of free space in my brain after I am done.

  10. FEEL WHAT YOU ARE FEELING: This is one of the most important self-care tips. For many, many, many years I didn’t know how to feel my feelings. I ran from them at every chance I got because I was so uncomfortable. This led me to using anything I could to mask them. When I realized that I had to stop running, I had to learn what feelings, and how to specifically identify them.
    I know that any negative feeling is uncomfortable. No one welcomes sadness or pain with open arms, screaming “I CAN’T WAIT TO FEEL YOU!” The tough thing is, though, that we have to. By going through those feelings we come to terms with the situation, we learn from it, and we often come out stronger on the other side. The process is often the most painful, but not going through it can actually draw it out much longer.
     

These are just a few things I do when I need to refresh and take some time for me. Hope you found a thing or two on this list that you’d like to try. If you found this helpful, and think a friend would love it, please feel free to share!

Love,

Faduma