Monday, July 16, 2012

28 Years on this Planet

Woohoo, I'm 28!!
Last weekend was a celebration of just that, my 28th birthday. I intended on writing much sooner, but a few things came up. One, how do I follow up two emotional posts about a friend's passing, I mean really it's not so easy and it did take a lot out of me. Second, I was in Vegas for 4 days with spotty Internet service and um, party side-effects. Both are not conducive to blog writing, and to top it off, another party side effect was spending 2 days sick after coming back from Vegas. All in all, totally worth it though.

Soooo worth it!
I'm not sure about most people, but there are two big reflection points for me every year: New Years and my Birthday (and everyday, but you probably already knew that). When I think of my birthday last year (which was covered in a previous blog posting), I was surrounded with Bay Area friends, great food at a packed get together in my own backyard. It always amazes me to see how much life I lived in that year, from 27 to now. To sum up how I felt at 27, I include this picture...

I tend to use this picture a lot...
And my piece of advice at 27 was "I don't know shit. And when I think I do, I'm just fooling myself." Sage advice, funny how it'll most likely be relevant no matter how old I get.

But things have changed of course! I'm a year older! and wiser (perhaps?). What's funny is that a year ago I felt very immature and this year, I just feel old. Does that make any sense? I feel like my older friends are wanting to toss their laptops out the window when I make that statement. But I mean it, this past year of my life has been overwhelming and brimming with lesson after lesson. To the point where I feel like lessons are right-hooking me to oblivion. At this point last year I was hopelessly contemplating a career direction (while consulting at one part time gig only) and hoping to combine my love for art/poetry/photography into something that made sense.

Now I do have a full time job! Just recently I started working full time for a health and wellness organization in the East Bay that works with marginalized API communities called Community Health for Asian Americans (CHAA). I will be working as a Community Wellness Advocate for Youth, but this was after working as a part-time social media coordinator for the organization (you can check out the blog I started here). So I was using photography and writing to cover the work CHAA was doing, and also documenting the issues, lives and cultures of the communities we worked with. I am also now the South Asian Political Blogger for Hyphen Magazine, a super hip and super connected magazine that recently had George Takei on the cover.

George Takei is my internet God
It only took me 2 years to find a full time job again. It was a tough two years, one year on unemployment and another working two part time jobs with no benefits, and a constant splitting apart of the little focus I do have.  Man, that was tough (say "first world problems" and I will e-punch you in the face). The economy took a toll on so many people, including myself, and being in California was hard as well since I had left my entire network on the East Coast.

But here I am, not only with a social network, but a political network as well. I am serving on the boards of two Democratic organizations, on the East Bay Young Democrats and the Black Young Democrats of the East Bay. It's crazy, it's a lot of work, but I am learning so much about the political process. It's a good thing to know, who can figure where any of this will lead me one day (running for office? maybe? maaaaybe?), but regardless it's all  part of my 'process' right now.

See: My Process

Speaking of process, the next big (see: Huge) event in my life is Charlotte, NC. I was recently elected to be a delegate representing California's 13th Congressional district at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina this September 3rd. I actually came in as the third highest vote getter amongst 19 women who ran! It's nuts, I still can't believe I was elected, and as the event gets closer I find myself getting more and more excited and nervous. Will this be a life changing event? Will I do something embarrassing on National TV? Will I high-five Pres. Obama? Will I be tackled by the Secret Service? I DON'T KNOW, but I do think it'll be an amazing experience for sure. I am fundraising $1,200 to go to the convention ( hey broke homegirl is still working for the non profit world!). So if you want to help a brown, progressive, South Asian, Muslim, API, young, kick ass sista make it to convention, please click here to support. I will be forever grateful to you, and steal you an Obama sticker. Or you can just think of it as helping someone get further in the political field who actually has the interests of marginalized communities and human rights in the forefront of her efforts. Anything helps, even 10 bucks adds up!

Yay, help get Nadia to Convention!
So here goes another year. Another huge event (convention), more fundraising (see above), and having more life changing, heart wrenching and mind expanding experiences. In the past year I attended so many political and human rights events as I looked to empower myself and my community. I went to Vietnam and had one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I was able to advocate on Capital Hill both in DC and Sacramento with NAPAWF. I did another year of the South Asian Vagina Monologues, and the wonderful experiences just never stopped unfolding.

And this was the year that I met Travis, a person who's passing still weighs upon my mind and heart. A year ago I didn't even know he existed, and in such a short time he came and went through my life. I also lost my friend Yvette, who attended my birthday last year and was the last person I dropped off that night. I lost my Barbara Nanu (great aunt), who took care of me and my sister when we were babies.

My dear Barbara Nanu, R.I.P

My 27th year was so bittersweet and beautiful- full of hope, new experiences and heartbreak. I am grateful for those experiences, though I do feel a but overwhelmed by it all.

But 28 will only bring more life trials and joys. I gotta stand proud and take it all in. Bring it on 28, I'm ready. And even if I'm not, I'm gonna give it one hell of a try.

My 'Bring It" pose