thought of the week: what a precious privilege it is to be alive

it still feels surreal to say that i am typing this blog post from my new apartment in the bay area. misu is settling wonderfully into our new space and while i miss la and many of the people in it, i am confident i made the right decision both personally and professionally.

today is august 15th. i have been pretty emotional for the last week. while that can be attributed to a variety of things, the closer we came to today’s date, the more heightened my emotions got. i realized that before last year, today’s date was not significant to me. now, it is a date that is forever imprinted in my head and heart. one year ago today, i was transported to the hospital and woke up over two weeks later. it ended up being a 35 day stay that felt like it would never end yet so much has transpired in the 11 months after that in some ways, it feels like five years have passed.

i don’t think most 31 year olds anticipate five week long hospital stays, ventilators, needing to learn how to walk again and just relinquishing independence and control. while i would not wish what happened to me on even my worst enemy, the lessons i learned (and still carry with me) are immeasurable. the most important lesson will sound cliche but has reshaped my worldview – put simply, it is remembering that nothing is owed to us and to not take a single thing for granted.

i came across this quote and it summed up how i have approached each day in the last year perfectly.

“when you arise in the morning, think what a precious privilege it is to be alive, to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.” -marcus aurelius

i am grateful to be alive each and every day. i am substantially more intentional with my breathing after having to relearn how to do so on my own. i am thrilled to be able to have free thought and to use my mind to do meaningful work with people in need. i have actively enjoyed things i hardly noticed before. the best part is the love – i have not hesitated in telling the people i love how important they are to me and i have allowed myself to be open to receiving love in a way i did not previously think i was even capable of. the last year has been the healthiest year of my adult life and i wouldn’t change a thing.

when you wake up each morning, what are you grateful for?

xoxo,

k.tap

thought of the week: say no without guilt and yes without fear

happy friday! i realize that most of my blog posts this year have included some kind of statement about how long it has been or how i am going to get back into a groove. after further reflection, i probably won’t be back into a good groove until june (when i have some time off). after that, my schedule will allow for more of doing things i love (like this) and i am thrilled about that. i hadn’t realized how many things i’ve been unable to do due to my current work schedule, commute and level of exhaustion.

that all changes in just a couple of months.

anyone that knows me can tell you that i am not someone who works somewhere for a short amount of time. i invest years. part of it is because of loyalty but i’d say the same amount is due to me wanting to figure out the ins and outs to be able to create meaningful change that makes a lasting impact. oftentimes, that requires more time than just a year. well, i started a new job back in august but was hospitalized after only being on campus for a week. needless to say, when i came back in mid october, i felt incredibly behind. i have been fortunate to work with the best team and they never once made me feel guilty about the extra responsibilities they took on in my absence. it is to the point where i feel like they can look at me and read my mind. we are able to be unfiltered around one another and when you spend as many hours per week working as we do, this is fucking crucial. i’ve told them frequently that they are people i would choose to be friends with even if we did not work together. that is part of why receiving a message from an old supervisor turned mentor turned friend back in march really rattled me.

i am a planner by nature. i think in one, five and 10 year increments. receiving a message about a position at my alma mater that she thought i would be a good fit for might have been flattering but more than anything, it was anxiety inducing. i questioned if it was even worth looking into. i feel like i’ve just gotten back into a routine of sorts and now, i might be flipping that upside down. millions of questions zoomed through my head:

what would i be walking into? what would moving back to the bay look like? who would i be letting down in the process? what message does this send to the institution that could have replaced me but instead, held my job for months while i recovered from covid? how would my family, especially my mom, receive this news? would i have more or less balance if i am stepping into a role that didn’t previously exist?

my interview took place a couple of weeks later (at the start of spring break). it was tough to figure out who to utilize as a sounding board because i didn’t want to be convinced of a particular decision because of someone who really wanted me to stay in la or someone who really wanted me to go to the bay. god bless my clinical supervisor because she was one of the only neutral parties i had. when i anxiously told her many of the questions that had been running through my mind, she listened, slowed me down and then asked me where the questions were rooted. it took some digging but i realized that i was not questioning myself because i was unsure if it would be a good fit, i was questioning myself because of guilt.

together, we outlined all of the ways both personally and professionally that this would benefit me. so frequently, i focus just on what a new job will do for me professionally. at this stage in my life, it is imperative that i also focus on what that means for me personally. coming face to face with that reality reminded me of this quote:

“be so deeply committed to your growth that you’re willing to say no without guilt and yes without fear”

i got the offer and i accepted it. i know that this will make me grow in a variety of ways, some that i don’t even know yet. now that it’s been about a month since i accepted, i finally am at a place where i no longer feel guilt. i move in july and couldn’t be more excited about it. it is truly a beautiful place to be.

are you in a place where you can say no without guilt and yes without fear?

xoxo,

k. tap

thought of the week: allow yourself to let go

there has been something in the air. in the last year, i have gone through countless transitions and seen many of my friends do the same. whether it be leaving a relationship that no longer suits them, getting married (after saying marriage was not for them), changing career paths (even if the new one isn’t as lucrative) and/or setting boundaries with family that didn’t previously exist. if there has been one silver lining in this pandemic, it has provided a significant amount of time to reflect.

one of the many things i thought about were relationships i was holding onto even if they didn’t feel like they suit who i had evolved into. for some, it was because the length of time i had known the person. for others, it was because i felt a sense of guilt for outgrowing them. for a couple, it was because we shared a bloodline or a last name. i came across this quote from billy chapata at just the right time.

“let the connections that have reached their sell by date fade away naturally, allow yourself to let go of what no longer serves you. milk doesn’t change back to its natural state just by putting it back in the fridge once it’s expired.”

simple yet profound.

i no longer have shame around letting connections fade naturally. i can want the best for you even if you are not best suited for me.

do you allow yourself to let go of what no longer serves you?

xoxo,

k. tap

32.

i cannot believe today is the last day of february. while january may have moved at a glacial pace, i feel like i blinked and february zoomed by.

while my 32nd birthday was on the 13th, my mom always taught me to celebrate birthdays for a full month. over the next week or so, i will be sharing about each of my birthday celebrations.

part one was on the 12th. i wanted to do an outdoor boozy brunch so naturally, we went to plate 38. it was sheer luck that the weather was even more gorgeous than anticipated. it was 81 degrees with the perfect little breeze. i honestly cannot remember the last time i had this many people i loved in one place – likely before the pandemic started. about 25 of us met to up to celebrate another trip around the sun. there were people present from all stages of my life – my immediate family, my extended family (all connected through my godmother), friends from elementary school, high school, college and my work family (both from the automotive industry and the education field). it made my heart incredibly full.

tj – aka my little big brother since he is 6’9”
hayley – recently did the math and realized we’ve known each other since 1997
drew – little brother from scu
ajaya (ram ram) – my aquarian bff
mama bear, auntie sheila, auntie rene, godmother, charm + my godsister
alan aka sonny
my godsister – been doing life together since 1990
reena, mama bear + mayra – true love is driving up from san diego through brutal traffic for brunch
reena totally makes me want blue hair all over again!
my convent cuties – these girls from my last job feel more like family now. also, if you love jumpsuits as much as i do, this loveappella number is currently on sale at nordstrom! while i am wearing it in olive, it also comes in a gorgeous burgundy.

my brother and his girlfriend took me out after brunch to continue the party. afterwards, the after after party was at my mom’s. then there was a pregame at my place before going out that night. *note to self – i am now 32 and not 22. my hangover on super bowl sunday highlighted that in a way i can hardly put into words. even still, the love i was surrounded with made it all worth it.

pooh bear 🤍
jordan 🤍
the only proof that i made it out the night of the 12th is this photo with annie

each birthday, i select a word to serve as my theme for the year. for 32, the word i selected is: intentionality. it is defined as the fact of being deliberate or purposive. after having a close call last year due to covid, i am intensely aware of how fragile life can be. to say it is important for me to be deliberate with my actions, purposive with my work and intentional about the relationships i pour into would be a gross understatement. each person present on the 12th was someone who showed up for me and/or my family during the time it was most needed last year. i am eternally grateful.

it is a beautiful thing to be able to tell the people you love that you love them while they are here to hear it. if there is any piece of advice i can give with my additional year of wisdom, it is to not wait another minute to say “i love you.”

what is something you plan to be more intentional about this year?

xoxo,

k. tap

thought of the week: the meaning of friendship

february 10th is one of my favorite days of the year. two of the most powerful women i’ve ever known were born today – my great grandmother (granny) and my best friend, anj aka twin.

when we met in 2010, it was odd to us that we hadn’t crossed paths before then since we had been at the same college (a small, private one) for two whole years. i am a true believer that timing is everything and like to think that anj came into my life exactly when i needed her. when we met, we were both 20. while we were definitely adults, there was so much growing to do. it has been beautiful to watch her evolve and to be able to go through my own evolution with her by my side every step of the way.

we’ve seen each other through it all. in our early 20s, it was wild nights at bars and house parties, helping each other move into new apartments and embodying the work hard/play hard mindset.

in our mid 20s, it was flying to see one another for weekends filled with quality time, music festivals and supporting one another through promotions at work and graduations.

in our late 20s, it was being present for the big life shifts – celebrating love and honoring those we’ve lost.

in our early 30s, it has been welcoming in new life (both human and fur babies included) and learning the importance of investing in ourselves (mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally).

across our 12 years together, you manage to ALWAYS show up. anj, you might only be three days older than me but i get the pleasure of learning from you every single day. sometimes, i struggle to explain just what you mean to me. however, i came across this quote back in december and saved it for today:

“friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain. it’s not something you learn in school. but if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.” -muhammad ali

when i stop and think of what it means to have friends who have become family, anj is the very first person to come to mind. happy birthday, twin! i love you endlessly.

xoxo,

k. tap