Before I dive into the raw details of all things mental health during this continuous unforeseen time of COVID-19, I thought the appropriate thing is to first introduce myself on this platform. By the way, I am not going to bore you with what I do for a living, which actually at the moment is “unemployed.” Regardless of what I do or don’t do, that’s not what defines me. What defines me is how I decide to treat myself and others that I interact with on a daily basis. So, I am a millennial who just recently completed her Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. To say that I completed this most applicable degree in such a time as today would be a complete understatement.
Aside from me having studied therapy/counseling, yes, I do attend therapy for myself. Returning back to therapy has been one of the best things I could have done for myself in the year 2020. I know my healing process cannot be done alone. Healing and helping is how I like to describe myself in a nutshell. This is my journey — I allow myself to choose how to live it on a daily basis, moment to moment. Every single breath I take is another opportunity for me to heal more unbalanced parts of myself in order to regain a better sense of connectedness. Every single action I take is another chance for me to support the healing of others, guiding them to the light that has always been there. There’s nothing wrong with a little more evenness in my life especially during a global pandemic. Talk about shaking one’s world upside down or rather flip-side, whichever direction you’d prefer to ride this thing through.
For me, this time has truly been a mixture of holding on and letting go. It has been quite challenging to remain grateful throughout these challenging times. I’ve had to repeatedly remind myself that I have more than the basic necessities that a human needs. I’ve had to remind myself of so much — it’s not even funny. At the same time, I’d like to think that I have “it” all together, whatever it is. I guess what I’m realizing as I’m writing this is that this past year has been a time of relearning and unlearning. It’s like I’ve been learning how to square dance sober and I can’t even walk without tripping on myself. Regardless of choosing to dance sober, I’ve felt quite discombobulated.
I haven’t given myself enough credit for completing my freaking Master’s degree amidst a global pandemic. Despite still figuring it all out, this life, I deserve to give myself a pat on the back for all the procrastination I survived and all the people I let go of who were merely holding me back. Most of all, I’ve been the true one responsible for holding myself back. I’d like to say that I was able to travel overseas this past year, however I did not. I did, however get the opportunity to travel to the West Coast. Now who doesn’t love the West Coast, right…!?
Traveling during this time though, well that whole experience in itself is enough to write about in another article. 2020 was the first year though in awhile that I did not travel overseas. I consider myself a world traveller; I’ve been to over 16 countries. And I have a love for languages and accents like no other. I fluently speak English (obviously), Spanish, and some Persian (quite rusty at the moment). I also understand a plethora of Italian. Oh, and have I mentioned that I even lived in Spain for several years? Yes, there’s a lot about me that oftentimes doesn’t come up in basic conversation unless I just put it out there.
So, not only do I think of myself as an avid world-traveller, I consider myself a very cultured, open-minded person. Oh, I identify my culture/ethnicity as Persian/Iranian. I am a first generation Iranian-American, as both my parents were born in Iran and immigrated here many moons ago. Below, you’ll see a very “Persian” picture of me taken around “Nowruz,” known as the Iranian New Year, which takes place on the first day of spring, typically around March 20.
Within every culture, there are many traditions and values that one upholds and although I was born in the USA, I hold my culture’s values near and dear to my heart. I have travelled to Iran several times and I hope to go back when things are safer to travel in order to visit family and experience more of its unique culture and beauty. You’d think, oh well this young woman has had all this time on her hands during the pandemic, how come she hasn’t put the time and effort into learning how to read and write Persian…!? It’s something I still want to learn, despite saying “oh, I will…” what better time than now, right?
At some point, I’ll get there. For now, I’ll speak my strange mixture of English-Persian and call it a day. A big part of the Persian culture in my view is “respect.” It’s always so fascinating to teach non-Persians the Persian ways of living in the 21st century. That’s also part of my journey, this being, this being human, identifying as American and Persian…quite the combination, right!? Growing up, it was quite the challenge to want to “fit in” and now that I truly know who I am, I don’t want to “fit in” because I stand out. I was born to stand out and that’s how I’m going to live my damn life.
There will always be someone who will poke me in the right spot in order to trigger some sort of negative reaction to what I identify as. At the end of the day, just like you — I am a human being and I have just as much right to be here as you do. I once had a professor who told me that when people ask where he’s from, he merely states “I am a citizen of the earth.” There truly is no better way to put it because I’m here for whatever time I’m meant to be and that’s it. The rest of it, the makeup, the purses, the clothing, the shoes, etc…doesn’t define me, and I’m more than okay with that.
Judgement of this or that, as I’ve mentioned before, I am learning and unlearning as I keep moving one foot in front of the other. Each step I take is getting me closer to the person I am meant to be. I am a work in progress and a masterpiece all at the same time, and you know, so are you! I don’t and most likely won’t ever have this “life” as I know it completely figured out, so all I can do is be here now, in the present, going with the flow of all the healing and helping.
So, yes, this is me — thank you for allowing me to be here with you all and share bits and pieces of me. I hope you’ll continue to follow what else I decide to write about once I’m done procrastinating like I did with my introduction. There’s obviously a lot more to say about myself, so I’ll guess you’ll be back if you want to learn and relearn more about myself as you and I both continue on our journey’s.