The one where I talk about who I am…


I realized I haven’t really update the “about me” section for a while. I think I took out some key things that are not me anymore, but that’s about it. This doesn’t seem quite correct because, while I have “lost” a couple of things that were important to my being, I have also gained an exponential amount of things as well. So, let’s get started shall we?!

My name is Bri (Brianna, actually), but I go by Habbala here. Habbala was a nickname given to me when I was about 4. There was a little neighbor boy who couldn’t say Brianna, so he started calling me Habbala. My dad still calls me Haab. My dad and I aren’t the closest, and I liked naming my blog something that still connects us.

I started blogging as a way to keep my family updated and to keep track of pictures, stories, and such. But now, it’s so much more. I love to write. I love sharing stories that affect people. I love the community of blogging friends that gather here (Here being the interwebz, obviously).

When I started this blog, I lived with my boyfriend of almost three years. There was a lot of recipes and home-y stuff included in my posts. Part of that was because I really like that sort of thing, and part of it was because, at that point, I was trying to desperately to be the person he could “take the jump for”. I wanted to be perfect, and in that quest, I lost myself.

So, this blog has been a kind of record of my journey of finding myself again, and it’s a work in progress. I am a 24 and living on my own for the first time in my life. I am an academia drop out, leaving a PhD program after completing my Masters degree. I wanted to do something that actually had tangible results. I didn’t want to simply study social problems, I wanted to know that the work I did was improving a situation. I am blessed beyond belief to have found my job. I am challenged, appreciated, and given a long-lead to explore and fly.

I grew up in San Diego, but my family has always been here in the bay area. This is the first time in my life I have lived near my family, and it’s amazing. I live less than ten minutes from my grandparents house, and my grandparents are the most important people in my life.

I am hopelessly optimistic. I refuse to believe that there is not a silver lining in any situation. I believe in the healing power of laughter and red wine. I don’t stay still for long periods of time, there is a reason my nickname in middle school was Sugar High. I am learning to be alone more, but I am generally a social person with a full calender of get-together’s, coffee dates, and dinners planned.

I collect words. Fill journals with quotes, poems, and song lyrics– sometimes I write my own. I am a progressive liberal. I am also Christian. After a few years of being SO ANGRY with the hatred and judgment coming from people in the church. I am re-trying to see how my faith and my core beliefs fit together. I still have a lot of questions about Christianity and hesitations with a lot of the things that happen in churches, but my belief and faith in God has never been a question. But you should know that I voted for Obama, believe that my dear friend Jimmie should be allowed to marry his amazing boyfriend, and that being Pro-Choice does not mean I am Pro-Abortion. (How about that, politics and religion all in one paragraph!). I believe in being a good person. Helping people. Being kind and striving to make the world better.

If I were a genre of movie I’d be a musical. That actually sums up a whole lot about me.

NaBloPoMo Day 9

So, while getting a little more traffic my direction, I am going to take this week to re-introduce myself… and update my “About Me” information. But today we shall start with a simple Like/Dislike list. Hooray!

Things I do not like:

Vodka (A summer of Vanilla Vodka does this to a person)
Cooking for one
Coffee when it gets cold
Cheese (except for melted mozzarella and jack)
When you are trying to think of a song/movie/show/person and you just. can’t. remember.
Dave Matthews Band (Sorry Nora)
The fact that I hate Kanye West, but still like his music
Diet Coke/Pepsi
Guacamole and Sour Cream
Sarah Palin, that’s right I said it
Sitting in the back of cars
Making mistakes
When someone is mad at me
Talkative strangers on airplanes
Things I like:
Crème Brulée
Musical Theater
Gingerbread Lattes
Indian Food
Good Conversations
Taking jokes a little to far
Things that are pumpkin flavored
Every single Lauren Graham interview, ever.

Bumbling Walks
Sleeping with the windows open
Quotes and lyrics
Living Alone
Modern Family
Feeling Really content exactly where I am
Beautiful photography
My cats. (Even if oliver poops outside the box on purpose because he spites me)
People who know they don’t know the answers, but like to talk about it.
My little slice of blogging community. The encouragement and love… mind boggling.
Knowing I am where I am supposed to be

Sunday Inspiration

My best friend posted this on her blog this past week, and it made me cry. I just loved it. So I shall pass it on to you all. Hope everyone is having a relaxing Sunday. I am going to be cleaning, heading to the gym, then coffee (for a gingerbread latte) before I go to church tonight. :)

On Friendship
Kahlil Gibran

Your friend is your needs answered.
He is your field which you sow with love and reap with thanksgiving.
And he is your board and your fireside.
For you come to him with your hunger, and you seek him for peace.

When your friend speaks his mind you fear not the “nay” in your own mind, nor do you withhold the “ay.”
And when he is silent your heart ceases not to listen to his heart;
For without words, in friendship, all thoughts, all desires, all expectations are born and shared, with joy that is unacclaimed.
When you part from your friend, you grieve not;
For that which you love most in him may be clearer in his absence, as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain.
And let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit.
For love that seeks aught but the disclosure of its own mystery is not love but a net cast forth: and only the unprofitable is caught.

And let your best be for your friend.
If he must know the ebb of your tide, let him know its flood also.
For what is your friend that you should seek him with hours to kill?
Seek him always with hours to live.
For it is his to fill your need, but not your emptiness.
And in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures.
For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.

Proof the I am a wuss…

So, last night I had date night with my BFF Clarke. We went out for
dinner and then to a movie. I decided I wanted to see Paranormal
Activity. Even though I am SO not a scary movie person. Even though I
know I get crazy scared. Even though after watching Gothica in high
school I was unable to drive in fog without COMPLETELY freaking out
for, like, years.

I don’t know what I was thinking. Not only did I did the typical hand-
death grip, burrow in Clarke’s shoulder, screaming thing. I got SO
freaked out, we had to leave.

Yeah. We paid a whole lot of money. And I made him leave with only
twenty minutes left. I suck.

And then I came home to freak out about shadows and the dark in my
apartment all alone.

I might have slept with the lights on.

Sent from my iPhone

OMG Yay.

A few weeks ago I went and shot a wedding with my wonderfully talented friend Terra. She’s amazing. And she asked me to be her 2nd shooter, and I was SO freaking nervous!!!! I was so afraid I would miss some important detail or, forget to take the lens cap off. She just finished the editing, and the pictures are AMAZING. Mostly hers, obviously, but all the “guy getting ready shots”, “detail shots”, and a lot of the dancing pics were from my camera! Yay! Terra is such a talented photographer. I can’t wait to do it again!!!

Here’s a link to the wedding pics!!!

What I cannot live without.

This question is the 20Sb blogger topic this month, and we’re supposed to contemplate what we cannot live without. What is essential to our lives? And even though the deadline was yesterday, I am doing it anyways….

I could not, would not ever want to live without words. Ever. Me and words? We go way back. My need for words is two-fold, the first is the need for words to have books.

I have always been a bookworm. Especially when I was little and my parents got divorced. It was not a happy time, at all. And it was when I realized that reading allowed me to escape. I didn’t have to worry about my parents, or if everyone was happy, I could just go. Be with other people, happier people, places where things turned out the way they should. The pain part was only a little part, a minor step before the characters overcame it and moved on. And I have always loved that I can re-read a book, and get something completely different out of it. Books are a living thing, it seems… they change based upon the consciousness of its reader. What else does that?!

“It is with the reading of books the same as with looking at pictures; one must, without doubt, without hesitations, with assurance, admire what is beautiful.”
-Vincent Van Gogh

Secondly, I cannot live without words because of their power to transform. I believe that we can never fully experience anything unless we have the words to describe them. It’s why little kids are mad, sad, happy, etc… elementary emotions. But with words, we learn that we are conflicted, guilty, hopeful, resilient. I love the moment when I read something, a quote, a lyric, a blog post and I want to yell “YES! That is exactly it!” My journal is FULL of things people have thought, said, and written before me that have given me insight to who I am now, or who I was at “that moment”.

“Words have the power to both destroy and heal. When words are both true and kind, they can change our world.”
— Buddha

Day 4, The Person I will Be.

As a 24 year old, sometimes I get the feeling that these things I do, the decisions that I make… they’re dictating my future far more than any other time period in my life has. The people who I call my friends. The place I decide to work. The person I decide to be everyday.

Are any of you completely FREAKED out by this? I have a secret, it scares the crap out of me sometimes.

This is the first time I have ever lived alone. The first time I have been in a new place as “an adult”, meaning I didn’t move here to be in school. Being in school is completely different in terms of experiencing new places. You are basically thrust into a group of people– a dorm, a graduate school cohort– who are comprised of people who may be vastly different but are in the exact same place you are. It’s all so new, this freedom and responsibility… and knowing that this is it. This is my life, and now I get to make of it what I will.

Moving here, there wasn’t the safety net. And I decided things. Joined things… and I know, already, that they will be considered turning points in my life when I am old and grey. Joining the Junior League, for example… life changing. Not yet perhaps, but it will be. It will be something that defines me.

Here’s the thing. I don’t want to screw it up. I don’t want to be 34 and not like the person I am. I don’t think I will dislike the person I am, but that thought it always in my head. I think it generally is really beneficial. It forces me to really think about the kind of person I want to be– do I want to get into a career that makes boatloads of cash? or do I want to be somewhere where I am challenged, appreciated, and may not make as much? What kind of friend do I want to be? And what standards should I have for the people I call my friends?

Anyhow, here is a piece from Oriah, Mountain Climber via Dog-Eared

I just love it, because it really captures all the questions I’ve had as I become who I am going to be…

The Invitation

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for

and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon…
I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like the company you keep
in the empty moments.

NaBloPoMo, The Post where I Spill the Beans.

Ok. In the spirit of honesty, I have decided to tell ya’ll about this past week.

Basically what happened is that after 6 months, there was a little bit of contact between Ryan and me. And it didn’t bother me… so it was ok with me. Then last week, some really great conversations occurred. We talked about things that went wrong and we talked about things we missed. In a nutshell, I don’t think his life is as great as he thought it was going to be without me. I think he expected to be further along… or be somewhere other than renting a room in a friends place. Over chat he said “I feel like I am just floating, like I’m not anchored to anything”. And I was like “duh”.

I told him that, even though it sucked SO much, I am so freaking grateful for the past six months because I am FINALLY at a place where I can unequivocally tell you that I am so happy and so confident in my life and who I am. You see, Ryan and I started dating when I was 20. I was a BABY. I had not experienced being independent. I had no idea what I was doing. The way our relationship worked is I tried SO hard to be the right person for him. I tried to make myself irreplaceable in his life by doing thing above and beyond constantly. Ryan never had to work for anything. I mean, I was the girl who didn’t make plans with my friends unless I knew he was going to have plans. That’s just SO wrong. And I know he wanted me to be more independent, but I don’t think I knew how. I needed my world to collapse again so that I could be the one who completely independently put it back together.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I was NOT the only person who did wrong. There were things he did that broke my trust, rocked my foundation.. and for an insecure person already, things just spiraled.

So last week he asked “What if he bought a plane ticket to come up Friday”, and my response was that I was going to be out late seeing “Spring Awakening” with a friend. He said he’d take a cab from the airport. And I didn’t say no, so he flew here Friday.

So he was here this weekend. And It was weird. It was weird mostly because it wasn’t weird. But I was upfront about the fact that there was NO WAY IN HELL that I would even consider moving anywhere. So, it was a weekend. Is it a little extreme for him to fly here and take a cab just for fun? Sure. But I don’t really need to know what is going on in his head, it’s not my job anymore. I know where I am, and I know without a doubt that I will never go back to being that girl again.

It was a weekend where we remembered that we will probably always really get along. That conversations would flow, and it would always be really easy to slip back into comfortableness. I went along with it because deep-down, I really wanted him to see how well I was doing. I wanted him to see my apartment. I wanted him to see how good I look after losing 20 pounds. I wanted him to miss the cats. I wanted him to see that I have changed and grown. I wanted him to see that my life is AMAZING, and it’s amazing without him; and I got that.

What I am taking from this weekend is closure. And now I feel like I can comfortably and confidently close that chapter.

The End.

*Note, I didn’t even tell my bestie that he was coming until after he was gone. I knew it was a risk, letting him come here… but I needed to do it, and I knew (or was pretty sure) that I could handle it. And, I am really happy that I did. You know, for the record. It reminded me of a lot of things and it cemented a faith in myself that I kind of needed.

Company Bonding Time

Last week I went to a place called Asilomar for a conference with my entire department.

It was a complete blast, and without any TV’s or Internet, there was a whole lot of bonding time.

There are about 4-5 people who are my age in my department, and we were called the “Kids Table” all conference which was totally fine with us. We stayed up to late playing King’s Cup and B.S. the first night, and then on Thursday night EVERYONE meets up to have margaritas in one of the ladie’s rooms.

I also learned a lot, BTW. During the day I was very good about going to everything and networking! But I think part of the reason my company pays for us to go is because they know the “team building” aspect of it is pretty great.