texts that make me 🥺.

I freaking love that I was born in the 21st century and have access to technology. Specifically, I love that I have access to my cell phone. I do so much on my phone – from taking pictures, setting up calendar notifications, replying to emails, scrolling through Instagram, posting my BeReals, etc.

Most of the time I’m beating myself up over the fact that I spend so much freaking time on my phone (during one college seminar, I was told that research says that we should only be spending 30 minutes a day on our phones. please 😭 I could never). However, those once-in-a-blue-moon days I have someone, who I haven’t spoken to in ages, text me and say “hey! how are you? i was thinking we can grab some brunch or coffee one day when you’re free?” I become ecstatic.

Envision an extremely cheesy and smiley teddy bear running around in circles. That’s me when I receive those kinda texts. It’s the fact that someone thought of me and they wanted to take their precious time out of their day to share that time with me that gets me so senti and amped up.

This is exactly why I am so obsessed with my fifty coffees because it’s usually one of those people that reaches out months later. This shows me that spending that intentional time with people makes them feel seen and valued, so they will always (or oftentimes) try to make space for that intentional time again and again.

This is your sign to text that person you’ve been meaning to text, but life kept getting in the way, that you wanna hang with them and grab a cup of coffee (or a beverage/meal of your choice). Go. Do it. Send me (on IG: @_esha.kode_) a picture of that text (if you feel like it) because I would love to see these authentic & raw connections that we’re building with each other!

that person.

Last week, I had an epiphany.

I was always one of those people who said “I don’t need to see people all the time. I don’t like people. I like picking up from where we left off.”

I realized that every time I said that I was bullshitting myself and the people I was saying that to.

After Shivdaballer entered my life, a lot changed. I had never felt such an incredible connection with anyone else up until that point.

Shivdaballer is in the 7-year medical program, meaning she graduated after 2 years of undergrad (unfortunately for me). Since we ended high school and began college during the pandemic, I only met her when we were allowed back on campus – our sophomore year. This meant that I literally only had one year to cultivate a relationship with her, get unbelievably close, and then bid her goodbye.

Here I am now, my junior year of college – no longer conquering the campus with Shivdaballer. Meeting and connecting with someone on such a deep level and then suddenly realizing that that person will always stay in your life, but will not be with you for the next two years of your undergrad life hits hard. It cuts deeper when I see other people deepening their relationships because I find myself getting jealous that they get to have that extra time. My cousin put it this way, “You’re grieving the time you couldn’t have. It is normal to feel that way.”

There’s a reason why it took me much longer to get readjusted to the college life after Shivdaballer left compared to when I lost touch with many of my high school friends as I transitioned into college. Shivdaballer taught me a lot – a lot about life, a lot about myself.

The biggest thing she taught me, though, is to just not take myself so seriously. I used to always get hung up over the littlest things in life. Oftentimes, I’d be afraid of how I’ll be perceived; sometimes I’d freak out over academics. Shivdaballer showed me that really none of that matters. It’s important to work our butts off to get to where we want, but she made me realize that I can have everything and anything I want without ruining myself. She also taught me to embrace every inch of who I am. There were so many times when we’d walk out of our apartment wearing the most shittiest clothes and strut through campus without a care in the world because she showed me that people don’t care, and those who do, don’t matter.

There’s a long list of lessons and realizations that I can continue to write about, but my point in writing this post is to remind myself (and everyone else reading) that many people will come and go. However, there will be some who will come, stay, and be the main people at your Wedding Party. Shivdaballer is one of those who will always stay in my life and will be the wacko taking shot after shot with me at my wedding. It’s comforting to know that we can meet people at any time, especially during the most unexpected times, and they will just uproot our lives for the better.

Love you Shivdaballer ❤

Dear FutureMe…

It was my birthday on April 8th. I just turned 20 and I’m still feeling a bit lost and unworthy of a lot of things. New insecurities have manifested, some of the old ones are still present. It’s a work in progress.

I opened my email today and found this note I wrote to myself on my 19th birthday to give to my future 20 year old self. It warmed my soul <3.

Dear Diary

It’s currently 9:06am. I just finished a sweaty workout and am sitting on my Yoga mat with my gross hair in a bun, listening to Too Young to Burn and simply just vibing.

It’s been a hell of a couple weeks ya’ll. I feel like I’ve been getting whipped by a belt for the past month with the amount of stuff that I had to do academically, socially, even emotionally.

Today was different though.

My alarm went off at 6:00am. I physically just was not in a position to wake up, so my alarm went off again at 6:15am. Could not get up again. Alarm went off at 6:30am. I was awake. At least I thought I was. But then I check my phone again and it’s 7:11am.

I had a moment of panic, but then I smiled. I smiled at the fact that I gave myself enough grace to just sleep. I haven’t done that in a while. It felt good to just give myself unconditional love and permission to rest. I gradually got up at 7:30am, did my morning routine, got my cup of coffee, and submitted an assignment.

And then I finally got a workout in. I forced myself to stop working and just sweat it out. I am immensely grateful that I listened to myself because I just feel so freaking rejuvenated right now. It may also have to do with the fact that I was listening to Dr. Santos’s podcast while working out. The episode on Guilt made me feel incredibly validated. Listening to something that brought joy to my soul while simultaneously sweating my ass off with Kayla Itsines’s workout ultimately made my morning so freaking amazing.

I’m happy. I’m glad I got some endorphins out. I’m elated that I was kind to myself this morning. Just a reminder for all of you to also do the same. It’s a nice feeling 🙂

The Desire to be a Good Person

After venting about something I did yesterday, my roommate said to me “Esha, you don’t have to be THAT good of a person. No one is that good or perfect.” Though she said it jokingly, it stuck with me.

The “Self-Help” area of content has been on the rise – especially since the pandemic began in 2020. More and more people are becoming popular on YouTube, many more are creating amazing podcasts, others are writing killer novels. Every one of them has a different way of conveying, essentially, the same message about life: how to be better human beings.

One of the most notable people known for helping people find inner peace and develop better lifestyles is Jay Shetty. I watched so many of Jay’s YouTube videos and listened to several of his podcast episodes throughout 2020. He speaks about our natural human tendencies and offers solutions to become “better” people.

One of the things that stayed with me after reading his book, Think Like a Monk, was the chapter on gossiping. He claims that “negative feelings come out in the form of complaints, comparisons, and criticism. All three are dangerous traps to fall into because they cause us to forget the blessings we have in our own lives.”

I remember after reading that chapter, I started questioning everything about my existence LMAO 😂 . I felt like a terrible human for complaining to my mom that day about something someone did and venting to my friend about this other person for doing something terrible.

However, here I am, in college, surrounded by amazingly amazing people. At the same time, I’m also surrounded by people who breed negativity and toxicity. I learned that I do not need to feel guilty for talking about people who truly hurt my soul. It does, on the other hand, scare the crap out of me when I speak about the amazingly amazing people (I’m not sure if this made sense, but I’m just trying to get my feelings out here ya’ll 🙈).

That’s when Shivani told me that it’s okay. It’s okay to go back to our natural human tendencies. Us human beings are natural gossipers, and sometimes, no matter how hard we try, that inner sapien self comes out. This is when we have to be gentle with ourselves. This is also when we must realize that it is impossible to be a “perfect” person. We’re all flawed. And yes, it’s an amazing thing to be able to recognize our flaws and work on them. But it’s also okay if we mess up. We’re messy people living in a messy world.

Dear Diary….

You are okay. You are overwhelmed, but you are okay.

Your monotonous routine was suddenly bombarded by other factors and that has been the biggest source of anxiety for you. You have been unable to wake up at the dusk of dawn like you usually do. Your ability to work for hours on end has significantly decreased. You’re reverting back to the mindset of thinking that you are “falling behind.” It’s all of this and more that is scaring the living daylights out of you. You are okay.

Let me be your guiding light 💡

Rigid routines are just as anxiety provoking as not having a routine at all. Striking that balance is essential. You don’t regret any of your decisions when you prioritized your health and happiness. And if you do, you shouldn’t. Health and happiness should be strived for. They should never be second priority. It’s uncomfortable for you because you’re not used to it. But here you are, letting yourself try new things and feeling new feelings in 2022. Though you are now silently cursing yourself out for allowing so much work to pile up, remind yourself that this – “this” meaning the present moment – is a tiny tiny tiny drop in the vast ocean that is your life. Everything is so temporary. You are okay.

Let me also remind you that there is no such thing as “falling behind.” There are no ‘start’ and ‘finish’ lines in life. It’s just a wiggly and curvy path that only comes to an end when our biological selves decide to shut down. Up until that point, your only job is to navigate through that path at your own time and pace – free of comparison and full of an extreme amount of self-compassion.

Rooting for you always.

Rest Up!

Coffee Date #25 and I had some amazing Frutta Bowls today. I came back home from campus and felt the food coma kick in.

My original plan was to come home and bang out a shit ton of work so that I could get ahead of my classes that are beginning next week, and possibly even get in a good workout.

What actually ended up happening is my mom excitedly jumping up and down as soon as she saw me, me smothering my brother, and my cousin being her usual hilarious self.

Despite all the love and energy I was receiving from my family, I forced myself to go upstairs to start my classwork. I barely lasted 30 minutes before I realized that I couldn’t work anymore. Hoping that maybe having my endorphins pumped up would help me finish my work, I went to go put my workout clothes on. That’s when my brain decided to activate and tell me that my body was just not really feeling it today.

That ‘devilly’ side of everyone’s inner self began telling me that I already did not do enough work, so now if I skip a workout, I will be utterly useless, unproductive, and a disaster.

It took me around 10 minutes to come to peace with my decision: let go of work (you can do it tomorrow), listen to the combined connection of your mind and body (skip a workout), and go spend time with your favorite humans (especially because you haven’t seen them for a week).

I always read and look for a resource to bounce me out of my negative self-talk because, naturally, I seek for validation. I look to find other people who have a similar experience because it provides me with so much comfort knowing that I’m not alone.

Therefore, I found this article and it kinda helped me ‘snap out of it.’ Specifically, the part of the article that states that we need to “avoid feeling guilty about feeling guilty” and “focusing on what you love about your workout, rather than punishing yourself when you need to skip it.”

Overall, I’m just super proud that I was able to force myself out of this little rut because this is one of my 2022 goals: to not let toxic productivity or hustle culture rule my life.

Envision Your Purpose

Life got real tough as soon as in-person college began. It was a huge shock to my past regular and monotonous routine that I had created. I caught myself getting so tangled in the idea of the possibility of not getting into a good medical school because of the plethora of things that I kept telling myself that I lacked.

I then reminded myself of my purpose: to serve and heal as a surgeon.

I freaking love the Operating Room (OR). I fell in love with it since the first time I entered it when I shadowed a pediatric surgeon. It is breathtakingly beautiful how people from so many different fields work together in such an immaculate way as they open up a human body to restore. The human body was never meant to be opened up, fixed, and then closed up again! It’s jaw dropping.

I realize that me thinking solely about my med school trajectory is so superficial. I’ll burnout so much faster if I focus on that, when instead, I could focus on the purpose.

When I say “envision your purpose,” I mean envision. Truly just picture yourself doing what you’re so very passionate about.

I close my eyes. I see myself wearing dark blue scrubs and a hair net. I feel tiny goosebumps on my arms because I assume that the OR is always cold. I see my surgical team speaking to me as we have a patient laying on the operating table. I can feel my heart racing a tiny bit so as to signal to me that what I am doing is extraordinary. I feel the incisions I make and hear my mind telling me that this patient is going to be just fine.

Watching documentaries helps me envision to an even greater detail. Netflix’s A Surgeon’s Cut has further propelled me into the world of surgery. I watch that documentary every time I spiral and think about the superficial BS.

Here’s a little note I wrote for myself a couple days ago when I was flipping shit and thought I was “falling behind.” It now sits right on my desk, so that I can look at it almost every day. 🙂

The essence of this post is to remind myself and all of you that yes, it is good to take it one day at a time and live in the present moment. However, sometimes when we do that, we hang onto every little detail. This is why sometimes we just need to free ourselves and envision our greatest vision for ourselves. This will elevate us into a different mental dimension and will hopefully allow us to recenter.

“The Freshman 15”

The 4 years of undergraduate years are when us adolescents do the most growing – socially, academically, internally. Thus, many of us go through a phase of fat-phobia thanks to our societal norms. We’re so deadly afraid of gaining a few pounds that we start counting calories, starving ourselves, eat a bar of ice cream the whole day, workout way too much, and the most harmful – compare our beautiful bodies to other people’s and think that we are not enough.

I took the time I had at home during 2020 to try to heal my relationship with food and my body. I wouldn’t say I’m completely healed, but I do realize that the relationship is so much better than what it was a couple years ago. However, now that I’m in college, I keep getting triggered by the things that people around me continue to say or do. It feels like everyone I meet only cares about the amount of calories in a particular food or how they don’t eat Peanut Butter like I do because they’ll get fat if they do or how they’re going to workout extra tomorrow for all the “bad” stuff they ate today. Can we just get over it? Can we just realize that it does not freaking matter how fat or how skinny you are?

Of course the phase “The Freshman 15” does not help matters AT ALL. Who ever coined this phrase and embedded it into college students’ and their parents’ minds is ridiculous. It is inevitable to put on a few pounds in college. You don’t sleep as much. You can’t always have total control over the food you eat. You may consume alcohol on a weekly basis. It’s inevitable. What this phrase essentially implies is that students should aim to stay skinny in college – no matter what. #bullshit

College is so much freaking pressure y’all. And the way you look should NOT be adding onto that pressure because it doesn’t matter. Clearly, we all need to do some HARD work to heal our relationships with our bodies and foods.

Falling Off Track in College

Back home I was super disciplined and lowkey had my life figured out. My mornings were something that I took immense pleasure in because they were structured and gave me clarity. I enjoyed waking up to the loud chirping of the birds and the beam of sunlight on my forehead that escaped between the curtains. I adored the moments leading up to drinking my morning cup of coffee as I got ready to journal, meditate, and workout.

Now, as a full-time college student, my mornings have been anything but structured. I really did try to maintain them the first week of college: I woke up at 5:00am every day, got a meditation and a workout in, didn’t skip breakfast – I was doing great at being an adult. However, starting from the second week of college, I just completely lost my structured morning routines – no longer sleeping enough, working out, eating. This has to do with the fact that I am now staying up WAY later than I’m used to because college is not just about academics. It’s also about our social lives and unfortunately for me, social interactions tend to be a lot more fun only post 10:00pm 😉.

I now wake up feeling burnt tf out – not just because I sleep later, but because college is so much work ya’ll. We have to study hard, make our own food, be social creatures, attend club meetings, keep up with extracurriculars, talk to our families, take care of ourselves physically AND mentally. It’s exhausting.

I catch myself feeling so freaking guilty and anxious when I have to skip meditating or working out because time does not allow for it or because my body is just so tired. I started hating on myself for failing to take care of myself. Meditation and exercise were my sources of therapy every day. It was during these allotted periods of time that I could let go of the world and just tap into myself. Therefore, no longer having those moments to myself is anxiety-provoking.

To cope with these newfound emotions due to the sudden change of routine and lifestyle I had to constantly remind myself of the following:

  1. Not everything can be planned for. Life is unpredictable and I cannot control every single situation.
  2. Sleep is just as important as meditation/exercise, so it’s okay if I skip a day or two if that means I get some extra hours of sleep in.
  3. I do not work out to look a certain way. I work out because of the way it makes me feel – internally. Don’t get caught up in this superficial BS that most college students are hung up on.
  4. The days I stayed up late to go party or meet up with people are filled with good memories! So don’t feel guilty for wanting to make the most of college and create amazing memories.

For any of you folks who may also be feeling something similar, just know that we’ll get through it. We’ll reflect back on our undergrad years and think “Damn, we squeezed the living life out of every opportunity that came our way and we worked our butts off, and we also had an immense amount of fun while doing so.”