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 ❤

Fifty Coffees: Why Black & White?

The other day, coffee date #25 asked me “Why do you only use black and white pictures for your coffee dates?” I actually put a lot of thought into this before beginning my Fifty Coffees project. Lindsay Ratowksy, the woman who inspired this project, uses black and white pictures for only a few of her dates. But I decided to use black and white for all of my dates. Here’s why:

  • The black and white filter is mysterious.

My main goal of going on these coffee dates with people is to understand the depth and dimensionality of human beings. My coffee dates are with varying people, from those I’ve grown up with to people I’ve connected with randomly on social media. The common theme, though, of every date is learning that every single one of them has so many different layers. Black and white pictures convey this message of dimensionality and depth.

  • People are less self-conscious with black and white pictures.

I found this ^^^ on Instagram and it perfectly encapsulates my desire to go fully black and white with pictures.

When I whip out my phone and ask my coffee dates to post with their drinks, almost every one of them suddenly feels the need to fix their hair, straighten their backs, plump their lips, and ask for validation. This is natural; there’s nothing wrong with cleaning yourself up to look good for the pictures.

However, those same coffee dates also request me to take another picture because they look at their picture and all they see are their acne scars, bad posture, frizzy hair, tired eyes. They don’t see what I see: their rawness, warmth, kindness, wisdom, and gentle smiles. After they tear themselves apart looking at their picture, I tell them “Relax. The picture will be in black & white.” That’s when they calm down and return to their normal and raw selves.

Black & white images tend to hide whatever one believes are their imperfections because it adds that extra layer of mysteriousness (as mentioned above). Additionally, I believe black and white images also evoke some type of warmth that I don’t really know how to describe. With color photos, I feel like pictures of people are not uniform. For instance, say I have a coffee date in a super cute cafe. The color photo of my coffee date will have cute lighting, the unique background of the cafe, and anything else that can make the picture more appealing. On the other hand, if I have another coffee date in the dirty living room of my house, the color photo will have messy paperwork in the background, terrible lighting on the person, and won’t have the same aesthetic appeal.

With black and white pictures, though, every image is equal and uniform. It doesn’t matter what the lighting is or what the background looks like or what the aesthetic appeal is because every image is the same, placing every person on the same pedestal. This removes the chances of people thinking that one’s picture is better or worse than another’s. It forces them to focus on the content more than the picture itself.

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.

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.

25 Coffee Recap!

WE FINISHED 25 COFFEE DATES IN 2021!

In a world where technology is so prevalent and social connection is no longer of utmost priority, I’m amazed that I was able to connect with 25 people to talk about our lives. 2021 was one of the most enriching and soulful years I’ve had yet solely because of this project.

Here are some of my thoughts so far:

  1. I’m actively trying to incorporate some of the lessons I’ve learned from these dates into my own life. For example, coffee date #15 talked about the importance of saying no in college. Last semester, I used his wisdom to prevent myself from staying up incredibly late just to finish one homework assignment. There were many times where I put my overall well being before academics because our lives are so much more than the letter grades we receive.
  2. I’ve become more spontaneous. This is in part due to coffee date #25. Being more spontaneous also helped me take more risks. A few months ago, I decided that I wanted to become a licensed pilot. I even flew a plane for the first time ever and was absolutely in love!
  3. I learned that humans are truly three-dimensional beings. There are SO MANY authentic layers behind every single one of my coffee dates, and to think that I would not have figured that out if I hadn’t sat down with them for a date. 🙈

Some lingering questions/future directions:

  1. Do I stop at 50 or do I keep going?
  2. I need to do a better job at implementing some of the things that the coffee dates have told me.
  3. I should keep in touch (as much as possible) with these dates after we had our dates.
  4. Should I only do coffee dates with people I know?

Thank you for coming on this journey with me. We have one more year to go – 25 more dates to go – and I’m ecstatic to share everyone’s incredible personalities with you all! I may or may not have another project idea in mind after I complete my dates, soooo stay tuned for that 🥰

Catapult #2 Update – Fifty Coffees

10 down, 40 more to go! 

Check out the journey and details here!

Reflecting back on all the conversations I’ve had with these 10 amazing people, I feel so grateful that I decided to embark on this journey. 

6 Important Things I’ve Learned

  • Envy is an innate human trait that is impossible to not possess. It’s more beneficial to recognize the instances when we do feel envious and actively find a way – whether that be taking a second to be proud of yourself or exiting the app/location making you feel that – to cope with this emotion. 
  • Perfection DOES NOT exist. Get it into your think head and listen to it. Despite what our society has embedded in us, claiming that productivity trumps emotional and physical well-being, YOU know better. YOU know that life is a compilation of many more factors than just how hard you’re working and how others perceive you. You’re better than that. 
  • Confrontation is necessary….but only when the other person is worthy of your energy input. 
  • Being vulnerable with others is the key to developing wholesome friendships and relationships. It is impossible and unfair to make others trust you with their life, but you won’t do the same for them. 
  • No one has their shit together. No one is as perfect as they may make themselves seem online or in public. We all have struggles. We all have suffering. Embrace it and develop resilience. Seek help – whether that be in the form of talking to your friends, finding a therapist, or taking medications. 
  • Discover your spiritual self. You never know, you might tap into your innermost euphoric self and discover a whole other meaning for life. 

I truly feel so much more liberated, encouraged, and enlightened. Every person had something unique to offer me and I am forever thankful that they took the time to share their scariest vulnerabilities and deepest life lessons with me. 

There were numerous times where I drove back home from a coffee date, and simply started tearing up with joy. The amount of exuberance, energy, and significant relief that I gain from each date and each person is extraordinary. 

I love this so much and am even more ecstatic to continue bringing you all with me into these conversations! 

Catapult #2

New Project: fifty coffees!

photo by  Daniel N. Johnson
PC: http://www.fiftycoffees.com/the-project || Depicted: Lindsay Ratowsky

I am so thankful that I found Lindsay Ratowsky’s fifty coffees website because it jolted me out of my confusion and opened a path that I didn’t know existed.

For months now, I have practically been strangling myself over a new passion project that I thought of. However, I’m now stuck. I have an idea, but don’t know what to do after. How do I start? When do I start? Where do I start? Is it something even worthy enough to start?

“A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.” – John Lennon

I’m not looking for validation. I’m seeking for people who will question, challenge, and drive me so that I can make my goals a reality.

After checking out Lindsay’s coffee dates and reading How 50 Cups of Coffee Can Change Your Life, I found that connecting with people I know and having my own 50 coffee dates will enable me to jump out of my current rigid state.

In 2021, I will catapult myself into the world of socializing, learning, and adapting via my 50 Coffees. I’ll document my coffee dates and findings from these dates on this page!