I'd rather do it myself.


In the six months since I graduated college, I’ve been drinking a lot of coffee. I got a bag of Stumptown beans as a graduation present, and I’ve been grinding away every other day. My favorite part about drinking coffee though is when I’m doing it with other people.

I’ve had many coffee dates with fellow grads and creative collaborators in the past six months, and with each conversation I’m only more excited for the next. I consider myself what is now called a “Creative”, working as a freelancer and blogger, amongst other things. Basically, I don’t lead a regular scheduled life and these coffee dates are my attempt to seek out new ideas and collaborations, and create some sort of a network. Making new friends doesn’t hurt either.


But why do I thrive off these coffee dates? Because I’m seeing a pattern in the way they and I are leading our lives. We’re either paying rent through some day-job or simply living back home with our parents, putting all our energy, time and mental capacities towards our arts, passions and projects. We’re all pursuing somewhat different endeavors, but they’re all somehow living under the same umbrella, running on the same adrenaline living on the same wavelength. What is this connecting thing?


Then I figured it out: DIY.

We’re not ready to hand over our lives and our art for someone else to manufacture and control. So, we’ll record our own music, we’ll dye our own hair, we’ll book our own shows, we’ll start our own non-profits, we’ll make our own websites, and eventually we’ll create our own communities of DIYers.

We’re Generation Y and we’ll do it ourselves, thank you very much.


I’ve read countless articles upon blog posts about the current state of GenY. According to some, we’re lazy, according to others we’re passionately motivated. We’re stubborn and we don’t want to conform to our parent’s lives, but we’re also moving back to their nests to avoid paying rent.


Regardless of what people are saying though, I’m simply writing about my own first-hand experiences with my network of friends and collaborators. I’ve realized what’s been fueling this adrenaline rush, what makes the next day so exciting and what makes my coffee date conversations so inspiring.


I’ve found other people who are doing it themselves, and now, we can do it together.  

Ireland and Seattle aren't going anywhere anytime soon

I was supposed to be living in Ireland by now.

 

6 months before graduation, I was determined to make the move happen. I believed I could do it, and spent months doing the research that would aim to get me to the wonderful, green country. 

Graduation hit, then summer came, then September started and no move across the pond was in sight.

 

Oh well, I guess. I’ll just plan to go spend the Winter Holidays backpacking through the Irish national parks and I’ll leave my Los Angeles home eventually…

 

With that in mind, I threw myself into  my freelance endeavors.

 

It’s six months after graduation now, and I’m currently living back at my parent’s house spending my days shooting musicians, editing videos, interviewing bands, writing and blogging.

I’m having so much fun and meeting so many like-minded people I never even knew existed while I was in school. My weekends are packed, my weekdays are busy, and my memory cards are constantly full.

 

Yet, even still, through all the great new things that are happening in my life, there’s a nagging voice in my head that’s whispering at all hours of the day, “Hey, you’re leaving LA soon, remember?”. Because that’s been the plan since you decided to stay for college: to leave. So why should you move out of your parent’s house if you won’t be staying for long? Why should you aim for big projects when you might leave any second?

 

The reality of it though, is that I’m not leaving. I haven’t left, and there is simply too much potential in creating great things out of these ideas I’ve got milling around in my head, and too many people to create them with. Ireland will always be there. Seattle won’t leave. And Portland will always be cool. It’s not like I’ll be missing an opportunity if I don’t leave right this second.

 The best part about leading this creative life is creating my own opportunity wherever I want.

 

I just need to keep telling myself:

Things are good right here where you are. You’re staying to make cool shit with cool people.  

 

lather, rinse, and repeat. (xinfinty)

Keep Calm and NO FOMO

So much is happening in November! Friends are releasing new music, concerts are being booked and parties are being thrown.It's going to be sick and I'm missing all of it.

In 9 days I'm leaving for a few different places and I will be gone for a total of 6 weeks. I'm going on tour up and down the west coast with one of my great friends, and the day I get back, I head to Scotland and Ireland to travel and shoot more music. It's going to be sicks and I can't wait. 

I think I'm getting antsy here. My weekdays are becoming duller as they go and my creativity has reached a weird stagnant peak. I am more ready than ever to GTFO and explore, manage the tour, meet people and get away from my room and my quiet corner of Westwood.

I need to stop thinking about all the things I'll be missing, because we've been waiting to make a tour happen forever!

I'll be back soon enough; for now, I need to crunch time until we leave, so when we do, I can block out Los Angeles for a bit and focus on nothing but the present that will be. 

If We Gave In To Our Weaknesses...

If I gave in to my weaknesses, life would be duller than a white wall.

Because my eyes can't focus on one point, I can't manually focus a DSLR camera, thus limiting my videography capabilities, and furthermore causing some awesome low levels of confidence when I'm shooting video.

           If I  gave in, EASY:I would  simply quit shooting video. 

Because of my legal blindness, I can't ever get a regular driver's license, so now I'm confined to asking for rides, using public transportation and on the rare occasion I feel like shelling out $$, I'll take a Lyft/Uber. 

      If I gave in, EASY: I would simply stay at home and never leave the house, because it would be too much of  a hassle to get anywhere across town. 

Because my hands sweat the majority of the time that I'm awake.... well yeah, it's annoying. 

     If I gave in, EASY: I would avoid any and all introductions. who needs to meet new people anyway...?

 

But the EASY routes sound a little... lame, for lack of a better term.

antisocial, passive, unmotivated. 

Passivity is easy to give in to.

So if waiting for my mom to pick me up at the end of the night because itll take 75 minutes by bus and she's already offered a ride is my route away  from passivity, then so be it.

 

Overwhelmed in the best kind of way: an open love letter to the Creative Life.

If you follow me on my social medias, it's needless to say that I'm having way too much fun with this postgrad life i'm leading. 

I'm shooting acoustic sessions every weekend, I'm going to at least one concert a week, I'm booking shows, I'm hosting shows, I'm promoting artists, I'm constantly talking to new collaborators and I'm meeting more and more like-minded people every day.

The funny thing though, is that I'm not making a single penny from any of it. 

Even funnier, I'm not the only one.

I've been coming across many postgrad creatives and artists lately who are on the same boat: creating new things and working their butts off doing what they love without a profit, in the eventual hope of making a living from it, one day, someday. Thankfully, we can live at home home and avoid paying rent, so that's a huge factor in our lives (thank you, parents!)

But it's not just us postgraduates who are highly motivated  in creating.

Some of my most inspiring and driven friends still have two years left until they get their Bachelor's degrees, two years left until this so-called "real world". So what's motivating them to do what they do for little or no pay? Playing shows, writing poems, creating non-profits, hosting open-mic nights, cooking, blogging or knitting scarves for the homeless? Passion.

The scariest part about our lives honestly isn't even the risk-factor, the lack of stability or the occasional nagging voice in our heads that's telling us to get a "real" job. It's the idea that if we stopped giving even 1% of the time and effort we're already giving to our passion projects, everything could easily come to a halt. I could stop booking shoots, you could stop writing songs, he could stop cooking, she could stop emailing: everything would stop continuing.  everything would stop yet life would move on. 

So that's probably, most likely why I do what I do, to the vigor and dedication that I put into it. Right?

 

Wanderlust.

Tu m'as trouvé quelquepart, quelquepart loin de là.

Tu m'as trouvé quelquepart, on peut partir demain.

~

Avec nos sacs à main, nous perdons rien

On laisse tous derrière nous.

Dans nos sacs à main, il ne reste rien.

Sauf un peu d'espoir. 

~

Arriviamo adesso quá, c'est une autre vie là.

Possiamo fare n'importe quoi,

Ma senza amici, solamente moi...

~

Non me importa che facciamo, o dove siamo adesso.

Solo importa qui est là insieme con noi.

~

Avec nos sacs à main, nous perdons rien

On laisse tous derrière nous.

Dans nos sacs à main, il ne reste rien.

Sauf un peu d'espoir. 

 

 

Beyond Small Talk: on making REAL friends.

Friends. It's become such an ambiguous term. 

The definition shifts depending  on the context. Everyone in your fraternity could be your "friend", this girl you met a couple times at those house parties could be your "friend", and the person sitting next to you in your science lecture could be your"friend". But the problem is we forget there is a context, and we start fooling ourselves into thinking these "friends" are real friendships.

As graduation in May was getting nearer, I was becoming more and more aware of the various, superficial friendships in my life that went no further than some lunches here and there, maybe a night out, maybe a conversation about why I chose to major in Theatre. But I wanted more. I want our minds to connect, for us to understand each other's goals, for us to put time aside for each other, for us to support each other's endeavors and for us to be able to share a bottle of wine talking about life  or nothing in particular on a Friday night without the regret of missing out on anything.

Real friends. That's the kind of friend I want and the kind of friend I strive to be. 

So now I'm going to be that friend: I'll want to get to know you, I'll want to send time with you (and won't stop asking you to hang until we do), I'll want to hear about your passions, and I'll encourage you to fight against the status quo (because I know it can be a bitch). 

And the best part? It's working. I'm creating deeper connections with people who have the same visions, passions and goals as I do and  let me tell you, there's no other high these days that beats a good conversation that goes beyond just small talk. 

So who are my real friends? I'm still making them, with new and old relationships.

Friendships can grow forever, and the way I see it, there's no limit to how real a friendship can be.

 

creation, collaboration & community : this is only just the beginning.

If you know me personally, if you've been reading my blog, or if we're just friends on Facebook, you'll know I've been wanting to peace out of LA since forever ago. I was born and raised here and all I want is four seasons, nice people, a little bit of personality and a good public transportation system: LA just hasn't been cutting it.

I graduated from college in May, and I thought that was it: now is my chance to leave! I'll hang here for a little longer until I figure it out, then I'm outta here.

So I've been hanging here, living at home (which is conveniently only 13 miles from the college I went to), freelancing, blogging, socializing and thinking of ways and places to move to.

But the thing is, while I've been hanging here, I've also been making a lot of new friends, collaborating with more artists, meeting more like-minded creatives and building a community. Everything feels so right. In the past 10 days alone I can name 5 inspiring people that I've met and conversations I've had that have pushed me in a direction that's closer and closer to something really cool. Can't quite place what that is, all I know is that it's REAL. COOL. Trust me.

And these conversations I'm having, I know they're feeling it too. The ideas that are flowing between us and the creative juices that are lighting up inside all/each of us, we can tell there's something really awesome in the works.  We're making something happen and this is only just the beginning. 

So maybe I'll leave eventually. Maybe life will throw me a frisbee and I'll decide to join the Ultimate team, who knows. But for now, shit's getting real and I'm not about to peace out before it's even begun. <3

When you've just become an alumni and most of your friends are still in college.

 I graduated 3.5 months ago and moved the whole 13 miles back home. I traveled a bit over the summer, applied for part-time jobs, shot a ton of people with my camera and made a lot of new friends.

But it's September now, and I'm realizing that a good majority of my friends are still in college. They're back at school, doing college-y things like tailgating, going to on-campus shows, club meetings at night and drinking on weekends. And from the looks of it, I'll be heading back to campus every weekend for a while. 

At first, I was very close to judging myself: am I that alumni who has no life after college and just keeps coming back to campus?!

But then, after that brief downer, I realized I honestly just don't want or need to  stay away. 

1. As luck would have it, things have just started taking off with Beating Lights. I'm becoming more in tune with the music scene coming out from USC, and as awesome as it would have been to get on this bandwagon a couple years ago, I'm meeting really freaking cool people now and I'm not about to stop anytime soon. If that means filling up my portfolio with solely USC affiliated artists, I'm down. If that means heading back to campus to shoot some underclassmen, count me in. 

2. Most of my friends are still in college, and you have no idea how badly I want to keep these friends. I'm not going to drop off the face of the planet just to 'not be that alumni'. if that means weekending at USC, then so be it.

~

My weekdays have been quite dull since everyone started school again, but I'm not worried. Weekdays I'll be dayjobbing to save up to travel/move out, nights I'lll be shooting and covering concerts, and weekends I'll be shooting/playing/friending/blogging/writing and hopefully meeting some cool people along the way. 

Going with the flow of things and I'm pretty damn excited. 

ProTip From An Amateur: make REAL friends

Freshman year was the worst. I wasn't making many friends, the clubs I was joining weren't sticking and I started going home every weekend because I had nothing to do on campus anyway. My roommate became my best friend, and if it weren't for her I may have gone crazy in my dorm room.

Sophomore year I decided to grow a pair and pledged a co-ed community service fraternity, and my life basically took a 180 turn on itself. All of a sudden I had so many new friends, so much to do every night, and I didn't even have the time to go home on weekends. My entire life became my frat, and I loved it.

But then I went abroad fall 2012 and came back in the spring of 2013 to a whole new game. My better friends were now abroad and I started realizing that although I had "so many friends" in my frat, I had no idea who to call to hang on a friday night or who to share new ideas with. Maybe, just maybe, I needed more friends.

 

So senior year came, and I joined more clubs, started meeting more people and sure, began making more friends.  Sure, I now knew more people in a wider range of majors and from a larger pool of cities, But the thing was, while I was creating so many connections and relationships with people, I still didn't feel like I actually had anything to call ours with most anyone. I was stumped, but I didn't do anything about it.

It wasn't until halfway through my second semester of senior year that I heard this song by an artist I hadn't heard of until that point (who I now follow closely because I'm pretty sure we're friends now) : 

The first verse of the first bridge goes " so I'll just sit alone / scrolling through my phone / wonder who my real friends are." I listened to this as I sat alone scrolling through my phone for what felt like the billionth time, trying to find a friend to go to a concert with.  And when, for the billionth time, I sent out dozens of "hey, are you free tonight?" texts with only a few positive replies, it hit me: REAL friends, Shab! Not JUST friends. 

 

The entire time I was making more friends, I was just creating relationships without building on top of them. When I figured that out, everything clicked. The last two months of college became the most rewarding and fulfilling way to end my four years at USC. I started:

1. Paying more attention to the people in my life.

2. Caring about my relationships.

3. Putting much more effort in growing said relationships.

If I want you in my life, you'll know: I'll want to carve out time for you, learn more about you,  collaborate with you, help you, support your interests/dreams/goals and hope you know you can trust me. Relationships won't grow into anything on their own, right?

 

I worried a lot about the time I wasted in college or whether I'd missed any potential connections I could have had with people. But at least I figured this out sooner than later, and by the time I walked down with my cap and gown, I was more ready than ever to start real life, meet more like-minded people, start conversations, collaborate, hear people's stories and make more real friends.

 

 

 

 

Come with me to Iran.

Close your eyes and forget anything you’ve heard about Iran. Forget what you saw on CNN last week, forget what you’ve read on blogs and forget what people have told you. Then, any opinion you may already have about foreign affairs or the middle east, rise above it; this isn’t about politics, it’s not about religion, and it’s not about the economics of a third world country.

It’s about the culture and the people seen through a lens free of bias, negativity and judgment.

 

I visit every year and it’s always a swell time when I go. Want to check it out for yourself?

Then open your mind and let me take you on a trip to Tehran.

 

1. We’ll drink a lot of tea. And by “a lot” I mean like seven cups a day. The kettle at my grandparents’ house is always on a hot stove 'round the clock. We’ll walk to the bakery on the corner (because there is one on every corner) and grab some Danish pastries to eat with our tea, and maybe even buy some barbari bread for tomorrow’s breakfast while we're there.

 

2. We’ll hang out with my family. And drink some more tea while we’re there because, as you know, with tea comes good conversation. We’ll sit in the round in the family room, eating pistachios, cracking pumpkin seeds, gossiping, and sipping on our 8th cup of tea. They’ll ask you what you studied in college and how much you weigh, because those answers obviously require equal amount of discretion. They’ll exchange recipes, talk about last night’s episode of that series everyone we know is watching and wonder, as they always do, when my parents are moving back to Iran (note: they’ve been in Los Angeles for over 35 years…).

 

3. We’ll visit the bazaar markets  in search for nothing specific, but will come home with bags full of souvenirs and gifts for ourselves. We’ll price antique tea sets, grab handfuls of handmade, printed tablecloths and scarves, and sample nuts and fruits that don’t exist in America. It’ll get crowded, and people will start to shove, but just roll with the tide and go with the flow and you’ll be fine! Just remember, watch your pockets. After all, every major city has its fair share of unwanted incidents.

 

4. We’ll spend afternoons in coffee shops. They’re all the rage there, and common hangouts spot for local teens and students. We can people watch and hop on that wii (yes, wifi!) to instagram a pic of our Café Glacé, a delicious coffee drink with milk and a scoop of ice cream.

 

5. When the day is finally over and the dinner finished two cups of tea ago, we’ll turn on the Farsi-dubbed Turkish soap operas and dwell in the romantic gestures and family dynamics that seem to be a common trend in Turkish, Colombian and Korean dramas. We’ll all be watching, the entire family, because this is how we come together.

A lot of tea, a bit of gossip, and a good boy1-loves-girl-loves-boy2 drama.

 

Did you have fun on the trip? I told you it would be a good time!

But next time, you should go for real! Go with this same open mind: it’s about the people and the culture above all else.

If you do, let me know! I already I have a long list of recommendations to give you.

 

 

Hey California, what about the blind?!

Dear California,

Do you realize Los Angeles is an expensive city? Do you realize that  offering a MAXIMUM of around $1000 dollars per month to blind adults to live off is close to impossible? Unless they live somewhere where rent is, like, 700 dollars which is, like, nowhere. 

Do you realize that blind adults probably are not able to do 90% of the jobs sighted people can do? (that's just a stat I made up based on my own judgement)

Thankfully I'm not completely blind (just 20/200). Thankfully I can still see the way I see. But holy shit California, wake the hell up. As of 2012, California had around 700 thousand blind residents.Forget me, WHAT ABOUT THEM? What about the blind who are barely surviving? I know you don't have a solution, and I know I cant blame  you for all that hardship, but I can very well blame you for not trying harder. 

http://ca.db101.org/ca/situations/youthanddisability/benefitsforyoungpeople/program2c.htm#SSI_if_You_Are_Already_18_or_Older

Dear Incoming High School Juniors and Seniors,

I have a few things I want to tell you. Just some tips and notes your teachers don't give you, especially if you're currently at a certain french school that shall remain unnamed (to let them save face, you know?):

1. You can take a gap year. You don't have to go directly to college: you can take a year off to work, chill, go to community college, travel. whatever! Mind-blowing right? When you get to college one year later, nobody will judge you. It'll actually be pretty cool that you had the guts to do something like that.

2. On a similar note, you don't have to go to college. What I've realized in the past four years, is that no matter what society says is "right", you can't be forced into doing something you don't want to. Whether you've already started building a career/passion in a certain field, or you just need some time for yourself, take your time and do what you want! I see so many people who are powering through school just because someone told them they should, and they're miserable: failing classes, skipping classes, and wasting a whole lot of time and money. 

3. College is not just about school. So then again, if you feel like college is  for you, remember that college is not all about the academics. You're not just there to get good grades and get a good GPA so you can get a good job. If that were the case, you'd be stuffed into an empty room for four years. When you go off to college, remember this: there are people around!! People you should take the time to get to know, care about and understand. Yes, try your hardest to do well in classes. But school is just one small aspect of college. 

4. Which finally brings me to this: you french school baccalauréat kids: it truly doesn't matter what French Bac or FAB Section you are in! ES, S, L? I went to college with all three. We took different Bac classes, different AP's. I was in the scientific section, and focused heavily on physics and math because I loved those classes. I entered college as a Fine Art major, and graduated with a Theatre degree. I never took a single math class in all four years of college. Do you see what I'm getting at? It.Doesn't.Matter. Study what you like, do your best, and you'll end up somewhere.

 

I hope this will find you well you, kiddos. I've learned so much in the past four years of college, and I feel like I have a duty to you, (especially you kids at a certain unnamed french school).

 

Bonne chance, mes amis.

 

 

Whatever happens, happens.

Once you graduate college, there are no more summer breaks. There are no more lectures or semesters, and the years start in Januaries instead of Septembers.

For the first time in nineteen years, I’m not going back to school this fall, and the lack of structure my future holds has been eating me alive. I’ve spent the past two months since graduation plotting, applying, brainstorming, researching and trying to create something (anything) for myself that will resemble a plan.

I’ve been Googling companies I’d like to work for, cities I could live in and trips I could take. Every day I had a new “plan” and every other day I’d have a mini quarter-life crisis. Should I travel? Should I take the year off? Should I just freelance? Should I move to a different state? Where would I work? And on and on and on.

But one day when I was sitting in my room staring at the wall with nothing else to do, it hit me: I’m spending so much time worrying about what I want to be doing in the future, that I forgot about right now. Forget waiting for 2015.  Why should I wait and plan for things to happen instead of having things happen right now?

In a matter of 10 days, I hit the ground sprinting and got an unpaid internship in the field I think I’m interested in and a part-time job to keep me going while I also freelance on the side.

I wasn’t panning on staying at home for this long and I wasn’t planning on delaying my travels. But the funniest part? I’m the one who made that plan! So why the hell not throw it out the door?

The best part about having an open road ahead with no map in hand is the ability to take any turn or stop I want. Eventually, 2015 and the rest of the future will come, no matter how much time I WASTE Googling things. And when the future does come, I will be somewhere doing something. But whether it’s the “somewhere” and "something" I had planned or not, it doesn’t matter to me much anymore:  Whatever will be, will be.  I have to accept that wherever I end up will be the best route I could’ve taken, since parallel universes don’t exist in my book and I don't believe in time machines that can change history. 

 

How I stopped freaking out about the future.

I never was one to obsess about getting into college, about my GPA or my resume. I played sports in high school because I loved it, not because it was going to look good. I built a photography portfolio in college because it was fun, not because I was aiming to turn it into a career. But the closer I got to graduation, the more I was worried I wasn't going to choose the right path. I had SO many ideas it was almost embarrassing telling people about them. Every day I had a new post-grad plan, and it was eating me alive.

All it took though was some (long and deep) reflecting to calm down.

 

1. I was set on moving to the East Coast for college. I got into NYU's Liberal Arts Program, and when it came down to 5 days before the May 1st deadline, we had to make a pro/con list for NYU and USC. The only pro NYU had? "NYC". I knew USC was the smarter decision, and looking back, I definitely was not prepared to move 3000 miles away. I was sobbing when I paid my deposit for USC, crying like it was the end of the world. 

But holy crap, USC was the best decision of my life. The person I am now and the people I have in my life would not exist to me if I were somewhere else. Who knows, maybe I'd be applying to grad school right now if I was somewhere else. The East Coast is no longer part of the plan, and for that matter, there is no plan. I realized I was holding myself to my own expectations, and when it didn't go as expected, I was utterly shocked. 

Nothing goes according to plan, so we just need to accept any decision we make as the best decision we could  have made (sorry, there are no parallel universes in my book).

 

2. I had no intention of  pursuing photography or blogging in a full-time manner after college.Three months ago someone asked me If I wanted to go the press/media route in the music industry, and I was like "hell no". I thought I was set on going into the business side of the field, some sort of management/marketing/development thing. Then as I was freaking out that I knew NOTHING about those aspects (theatre major, for the win...), I decided to  look at my strengths instead of my weaknesses. what am I good at? I'd like to think I'm good at social media, at content creation, at photography, at digital media, at building relationships. So now that I knew that, what now? Sounds a lot like the communications/media field right? maybe PR? definitely a lot like blogging. 

So here I am now, pursuing this music blog thing, shooting every weekend, concerting every week, meeting people and making friends every day, and trying to get a day-job that will allow me to do (aka finance) those things. 

Stop dwelling in what you don't know, but look at what you do: what do others thank you for? what do you feel proud of?

 

3. "To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong". I've been running on this for a while now, and I think it's what has made me as confident as I am right now. I'm so aware of how stupid my decisions could be when I'm thinking about RIGHT NOW vs LATER but I couldn't give less of a damn! Yes, thankfully I have the [parental] support to pursue this lifestyle, but I think anyone can live by this motto with the right adjustments. There's a Warren Buffett quote I love about philanthropy that I find very relevant, "It's nice to have a lot of money, but you know, you don't want to keep it around forever. Otherwise it's a little like saving sex for your old age." What's the point in life if we're always right? and perfect? and charming and charismatic and rich and famous and shiny haired? I'm over it. I want real, organic people around me and a real, organic, HUMAN life. I'm going to make all the mistakes and receive all the rejections until I get it right.

Of course, I've still got plenty of ideas for what the next year could look  like. I'm sending emails every day, but I'm not expecting any one direction. I'm so  very aware how quickly things can change, and I'm so very excited to let life happen. 

Keep Calm and STOP KILLING EACH OTHER

You're sitting in LA, watching CNN, when a story about yet another mass killing comes on. It's the third in 3 weeks. What is going on? Have people seriously gone mad? Are we safe anywhere? Why do people keep doing this? And why is this the only country where this happens this often?

Flash forward a few weeks, and you're sitting in Tehran, Iran. You turn on CNN International or BBC, and first you see a story about this new terrorist group raising hell in Iraq, then another bit about  3 Israeli teenagers kidnapped on the streets (who btw, were found dead a little over two weeks after...), and a few more stories about Syria, this bombing there and that shooting somewhere else. What is going on with the Middle East? Why can't it calm down? Killing won't solve any problems, no one will be happier.

I was so angry I wanted to write a Facebook status, or a tweet, and here I am writing an unhappy blog post.

But let's be real:

We can social media all we want, we can rant all we want, protest by the Federal Building on Wilshire, hand out flyers, get angry, throw fits, and write Opinion pieces for various press outlets, but realistically, all we can do is tune in to 3-4 news sources (because one isn't reliable enough) and hope really hard the world doesn't implode on itself. 

What can happen in a year and a half.

So freaking much. So much it's slightly trrrifying, but mostly thrilling.

Last time i set foot in Iran i was fresh off the boat from a semester in Florence, Italy. I was 20 years old with only an inkling of an idea about what i wanted to do with my life, but a bundle of determination to figure it out. 

I'd never interned before, hadn't stepped into a recording studio, had never shot a concert, had never been to a concert alone, had no video portfolio to show for, had never been to an American wedding, had never shot a wedding, didn't have any friends in the music world at USC, had never been to a rave, never been to Canada or the Pacific Northwest, and starting a music blog was just a subtle thought here and there.

 

it's just crazy how much people can change in such a short period of time. Heck, i was a different person just before spring break!  

I have more knowledge, more people who inspire me, more confidence in myself and give less of a crap about the status quo, 

looking back makes me that much more excited (and terrified) about the future.  

 

When Sports Was My Entire Life.

When we landed in Tehran on Monday, the Iranian Men's Volleyball team had also landed at the same time. Fans were standing iPhones out, whistles blowing, cheering the team home from a win in Brazil. The atmosphere was invigorating, and I couldn't help but tear up.

Lycée Lions Girls' Volleyball Team, Senior Season 09-10

Tear up why? Probably because I remember what it feels like to feel proud after a victory, to wear the same jersey as a bunch of other goofs who've got your back, to sweat, struggle and thrive with a team. 

Sports was my life in high school. Volleyball in the Fall, basketball in the winter, and off season games and practices in the spring. School spirit was rather low at the incredibly small French school I went to, and our crowds were rarely packed. But that wasn't the point. The point was the team. Week after week, Season after season. We knew which schools we hated, we knew which schools had the worst gyms, and we knew which coaches to stay away from. 

Lycée Lions Girls' Basketball Team, Senior Season 09-10

Goodness knows what high school would've been like if I hadn't had sports. 

Sports was my life to the point where I was considering a Sport Media minor before college, to the point where freshman year I spent my time looking for photography internships in the NBA (do they even exist?), and to the point where, for a brief millisecond, I considered studying physical therapy. 

I've had many a team in college, from my freshman year dorm-mates, to my pledge class sophomore year, to my knitting club while studying abroad, to my various photo teams.

But let's be honest, nothing beats the feels you get from a team you're playing a sport with.

I promise to get attached (carpe diem and stuff like that)

 

I’m planning on leaving LA, if that wasn’t already obvious. I’ve been here since before I was born and it’s time for something new. Yes, I know that “LA is perfect for what [I] want to do” in the arts/entertainment industry. No, I don’t care. I want four seasons, trees with leaves and a good public transportation system, if that’s not too much to ask.

3 months ago when I realized my adrenaline rush was called Passion, I freaked out. Everyone and everything important in my life right now (and in the near future) is in LA. How can I leave? Now that I’m building something here? Now that I’m creating relationships here?

 First thought: I just won’t get attached!

Second thought: HELL. NO. That was my whole problem: I hadn’t let myself get attached, let myself open up and give everything and every relationship all I had. I’d been putting up a wall and while I was hiding behind it, life was simply happening to me, not for me (with me? if that makes sense.).

I’m not going to think about what will happen when I leave, but instead just be. I’m so happy right now, so forget the future. I’m going to wear my heart on my sleeve, get as attached as I can get, and continue building on everything I already have.

I've heard the grass is greener where you water it, so for now, I'm going to water the hell out of the grasses in LA.