2018: In Review

2018 has been a year of incredible highs and heartbreaking lows and I can’t decide if I want to tuck it away for a cold day with a cup of courage or watch it burst into flames in a bonfire. I’m so tired and so heavy but still trying to find joy and love and hope in the small things, as I always do. Right now I’m sitting in the only coffeeshop I could find open on New Year’s Eve, and in typical last minute fashion, trying to reflect back on a year I desperately want to forget. I am sitting underneath a neon sign proclaiming Thinking of a Master Plan and right now I’d like to think that’s exactly what I’m doing.

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What I've Read: The Short List

This is not an exhaustive list by far, but it’s one to get you started. These are books that I’ve read as part of my courses in Narrative Medicine that I highly recommend. I have a separate running list of books I’d like to get through in my free time so stay tuned for what I’m reading over my winter break.

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Seasons

I’ve been told the unofficial uniform of New York is everything black. My closet color scheme has always been anything but, focused more on light colors. I tend to navigate toward monochrome nudes, whites, camel, usually avoid black like the plague. Perhaps it was my Algerian mother who engraining in me that I should embrace bright colors in my youth, that for some reason, in our culture, wearing black ages you. According to her there is one thing an Arab woman with bare hands in her mid-twenties shouldn’t do — age herself. 

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a journey to coffee

It’s 74 degrees. I’ve been waiting for this weather. You’d think a Texan would be accustomed to heat, which I am, but I’m not accustomed to actually walking in the heat. Bathing in the heat. Sweating in the heat. Tones of the Sahara has now been coaxed out of my skin and I’m embracing long hidden melanin. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t have the pale cast of sunless hospital halls, but I’m welcoming this sand.

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Behind a Compliment

To the stranger at the ticket booth, who mumbled that I had beautiful eyes, words I did not hear at first because I was focused on making sure I was entering the zip code of a city far from here on the ticket screen, who I looked to and responded "huh?" when I realized words not heard came out of your mouth, who briefly locked eyes with me before sheepishly turning away and repeating the comment you were now ashamed to admit you mumbled, who left me trying to decipher the words you left in the air that had not yet reached my ears, who left me with the back of your head to thank for this gracious compliment, me who is still slowly processing what happens in this world, me who is still collecting the fragments of myself scattered on endless grounds.

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Making a Home

There is something about a cup of courage, a new coffeeshop, and the music they choose for the ambience that works together to immediately open the gates of my writer’s block. This is my third time here in the span of a week, which means I’m starting to grow fond of this place. One wall is exposed brick, which is an aesthetic I completely vibe with, and all the tables are made from polished wood. There are vintage-styled bronze chandeliers hanging and plants decorating every corner — Pothos in mason jars, in cups, in metal tins. Since I’ve last been here they’ve added autumn decorations around the espresso machine — pumpkins, corn, squash. Today is the first of October and we’re welcoming Autumn.

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