At the end of 2016 I was completely depressed and miserable, and I vowed that 2017 would be my year; little did I know that it actually would be! It seems almost impossible to remember that woman and the life she lived, it all feels so long ago and unreal in a sense. To go from where I was to where I am now is complete proof that YES, life is what you make it and that anything can turn around and change for the better, if you just go for it.

If you follow my social media at all then you know that I went home to visit Tennessee a few weeks ago, it was my first trip to the states or to see my family in over a decade. So many of you all were there for me and knew the feelings that I was having without having to say a word. I’ve been in Saudi so long now, that it’s my home, I’ve grown into the person I am here today, I’ve planted roots and everything that I now know are all here in Riyadh. Let’s not forget that Riyadh is a huge melting pot of culture and a large city.

I was able to get my permanent iqama about a month ago (thanks to Talal) which means that I can live here just like any other Saudi, I can work just like a Saudi and all the other advantages that citizens have, but I can also come and go from the country as I like. As soon as I received it, I booked my ticket home. It was a pretty rough journey (a full day) and I had a bit of a culture shock after living in Saudi for so long. I had joked that I would, but it really was just a joke, not something that I actually expected. Americas, where I was born, where I was raised and where my family is, but I was gone for a really long time and I learned a completely different way of life. It was also pretty hard for me to go and be around people that hadn’t really kept up with Talal and me over the years. How can you go and talk with people normally knowing what you do?

I stayed with my mammaw the entire trip, because it’s quite and I’m comfortable there, but we live in the middle of nowhere and without a car or license you’re stuck. So for someone whose completely used to using Careem, the city and doing what you please, it was hard. I found myself missing Talal, my friends, the city and just everything that I had. It was great because I had a complete cathartic experience. So many things that had been in my heart and brain was completely released. It was amazing and I have felt incredibly happy since.

Also, not too long before I left I resigned from the job that I had. There was a lot that I liked about that job and it was a great learning experience for me in so many ways, unfortunately I always felt drained from the negative vibes. Luckily, the same day I was offered a new job and I started it as soon as I came back. I LOVE everything about my job and I feel so blessed that everything in life has worked out for me, thank you so much God! I’ve really been putting myself out there more to meet new people and be more active in the community and I have to say that it’s really worked. I’m absolutely loving this part of my life!

Life is what you make it and yes, sometimes (a lot of times) there are forces that can and WILL hold us back, but you can never give up or expect your life to stay that way. When you get your chance to get out of that situation and if you don’t have a plan, it’s okay, God already does. Life really is what you make it, and it can be beautiful and amazing. You will be able to make up for all those bad days I promise.