Yea, you.

I’m just as surprised to be writing about you too. You haven’t been in my life for an entire year, but living here has taught me more about myself then I have learned in 23 years. While you are still not my favorite place to be, I can only be grateful for the lessons you’ve given me.

When I first visited you in June, there was nothing about you that caught my eye or struck me. I didn’t experience love at first sight. I didn’t find anything negative about you, but I struggled to discover the positive aspects that would make me feel at home. I ate your food, explored your neighborhoods, but nothing drew my heart closer to you.

Desperate to branch out of my comfort zone and experience life beyond what I had known it to be, I was eager to move. I was excited about the prospects you would reveal behind your brown pollution cloud and rich American history. And you haven’t disappointed. By next semester, I will be filled with knowledge that couldn’t be learned anywhere else but here.


Though it is filled with critiques, I am attending one of the best social work programs in the nation. I have been supported by professors and administrators alike who have provided me with opportunities to expand my knowledge. I have been offered an internship that has taught me the power of boundaries. I am challenged, not with curriculum, but the way that I think about things, about what I choose to believe. I have created connections I would not have made anywhere else. I am able to experience an education that will undoubtedly impact my social work career for years to come.

Pittsburgh, you had given me the gift of solitude when I didn’t realize it was necessary. To live outside your comfort zone is vastly different than experiencing short-term. For the past four years, I was surrounded by love and support in the form of my Chicago family. I left this support, this community, to live in solitude. This has been one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made. With only two people I knew in the entire state, I have been forced to put myself out there and seek relationships that will provide meaning in my short time here in Pittsburgh. Admittedly, this has been difficult. The moments I usually fill with people, I’ve had the opportunity to be with myself.

Solitude has changed my outlook on life. I value myself more, am grateful for the quiet moments. Before you, Pittsburgh, I would cry softly to make sure that no roommate could hear me. Now, I weep at every moment and feel no shame in doing so. I dance loudly to music on Saturdays, when I should be cleaning. I take off my pants when I enter my home. When I write in my journal, I write with more honesty. No one is watching. I dance with more passion because no one can judge. I am more me than I ever was, and my solitude has made me unapologetic for the Hannah I’ve become. No matter where I am, I can find a home, and it is now within myself, not in others.


I still don’t like you very much and will be excited when I get to leave you permanently. But who knows — you may teach me something in 2018 I am unprepared for, and then, maybe, just maybe…you’ll have my heart forever.



A year, especially a year like 2017, can seem like it can go on forever. These 365 days taught me more about the relationships in my life than I ever expected. Many links I thought would last permanently ended. Family members who were perfect in my eyes disappeared from my life with a blink. Despite these rapid and drastic changes, few consistently stayed in my life from the beginning to the end. Jalyn Greene began 2017 with me and will end 2017 with me. For this friendship, I am forever grateful.

This has been difficult to write. When I think of Jalyn, I think of so many things — growth, love, kindness, and support. Even when my growth, love, compassion, and support was unstable, you consistently gave them to me, no questions asked. Consistency doesn’t seem to be enough to describe what you have given me this year, but it has been the most unique gift you’ve ever given me.


For our friendship, you’ve consistently supported me in some of the most pivotal moments of my life. When I graduated college, you were there right by my side and watched me walk down the aisle. When I struggled to make friends during my first semester of graduate school, you stayed on the phone with me for hours on Saturday nights until I was tired and reminded me everytime that its hard, but the process would be worth it. You counted down the days I would return to Chicago and gifted me with support as soon as I arrived. You talked me through depressive episodes, even if you were going through your own problems. Not once did I feel your support waver.

I watched you consistently grow as an individual as well. I watched you advocate for yourself when someone inflicted pain on you (including me), and articulate your needs and wants. I saw you make risky career choices that aligned with your purpose and see positive results be gifted to you. I witnessed you turn 25 and grow more in-depth into the individual you are meant to be.

I saw you PERFORM, for the first time, in a role that was meaningful and impactful. Watching you become Angel, seeing you for the first time in your craft, was a reminder of the intentionality you bring to all aspects of your life. The first show back, and you choose to tell the story of girls that are silenced every day. You brought life to a real issue. You became Jeff recommended! Watching you be a support for someone on stage reminded me of the miracle that you are in my own life.


Our relationship has not been as consistent in this year, but the love for each other has. I’ve seen the way that our love for each other has made us better individuals and will ultimately change the way we navigate relationships in the future. No matter where life takes us, I know that consistency will always be our most potent trait.

But the most unique thing I learned from you is your beauty in consistently remembering moments that are lost in my subconscious. You remember the firsts for everything in this year and the days that mean the most to you. For my 23rd birthday, you gifted me a music playlist. Each song is attributed to a vivid memory. 36 songs. 36 memories. 36 memories out of the many that we have. Many I would not remember, but when I listen to the song, it is clear, like it occurred yesterday. Your ability to attribute some of the most significant moments of our relationship to a song is one of the greatest gifts you could’ve given me.

Thank you for giving me so many memories, and for consistently providing me with the love, kindness, and support that I needed all year.




The love I have for Rukhsar is one of the greatest loves I’ve ever known.

The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves.

I have made a lot of mistakes in our relationship. I chose others that did not deserve to be chosen over you. I took advantage of the love you had for me. But, in 2017, I have finally learned the significance you have in my life, how much you mean to me, and the things that you have done for me.

When I first met you our sophomore year, I don’t remember you at all. A picture proves our first meeting, and yet the only conversation I remember is with another person. You remember the interaction like it was yesterday, and it makes sense there’s a picture to prove it — photographs capture your feelings, the moments that take your breath away, that make you feel whole. At the moment, I usually find it annoying. But with 2017 as a shit show as it was, your pictures — filled with memories that live in the crevices of my consciousness — were a source of comfort, a source of pride. Each image, each memory reminds me that one of the greatest miracles of my life was God bringing you into my life.


2017 brought you changes. Rapid changes, and sustainable changes, that even Superman would be overwhelmed. You gave me the gift of being there, with you, every step of the way. I have never wanted to fiercely protect someone as I have tried to protect you, to the point where I feel physical pain in the few times you have shown it. I have yelled at people, strangers, for issues over pronouns and identity because of you. I fight for love because I have a physical manifestation of this love here on Earth: you.

I watched you act as a figure of strength and act as a role model to a child, not your own, and see her pure love emanate toward others only because of your presence. I have watched you struggle as many of your friends leave and you create an identity from that pain, one that is your own and one that is powerful. When I feel fearful, I think of your immeasurable courage, and suddenly, I have nothing to fear. There is nothing I HAVE to worry as long as I have you by my side, encouraging me every step of the way.

2017 brought me confusion, genuine pain and love as I struggled through romantic relationships, and you were there every step of the way. You always knew when I needed to watch a Bollywood movie when I needed to cry but couldn’t. You bought me food when even I forgot that I hadn’t eaten that day. You sent me flowers for any occasion. You forgave me for things I only realize now I must apologize for, the pain that I have inflicted on you in our almost four years of friendship, in all of my mistakes. Never in my life did I feel that I deserved something as good as you, and yet, here you are.


Thank you for being an unconditionally loving being. Thank you for your unwavering loyalty, no questions asked. Thank you for watching Game of Thrones so I can FINALLY talk to someone about it.

“I Am Light”

It’s hard to write a short and simple post on how much light LUCES brings into my life. Gratitude does not seem to suffice; when I think of LUCES, I think of warmth and light, as its name denotes, but love, compassion, strength, courage, happiness. Self-care.

When I entered Loyola, nothing could prepare me. As an 18 year old, I truly believed I was ready for the world, and these four years were simply another barrier to that. My first year felt like the end of the world. I was desperate for a community, for a purpose. I joined dozens of organizations, tried desperately to make friends, develop relationships, but I never felt sufficient.

LUCES taught me bravery. From the beginning, LUCES was there, but my first gathering left me intimidated and nervous. These women were self-loving, compassionate, driven individuals; didn’t seem to make the mark. It was bravery and courage that allowed me to continue attending, to discover that the space was welcoming, safe, and inclusive.


LUCES has the ability to show and teach every individual who enters the space what it means to be a leader and to combat the imposter syndrome that prevents us from being strong, and brave. LUCES speaks on identities and encourages you to embrace them so that you can use them as tools of strength, rather than as debilitating. When it came to my racial identity, I thought I knew exactly who I was entering Loyola. For the first time, I was able to find the word that defined who I felt I was: multiracial. I didn’t have to pick one identity and leave the rest at the door. When I questioned my sexuality, LUCES held examples of what it meant to be queer as well as a woman of color, identities that are often mutually exclusive. I felt the courage and the strength to embrace my identities, even if the world around me didn’t.

LUCES also taught me that the identities you did or did not grow up in do not define who you are. Identities are fluid, they constantly change, and I learned to ride the tide of those identities. And with those tides of identities comes radical self-love.

To love yourself each and everyday is a daily challenge, and there are days you will no doubt feel hatred, guilt, or shame about yourself. But with the support of my LUCES cohort, I know that I can do anything. Though I have only one more year with LUCES, I know that it will forever be in my heart, and the women always there to support, nurture, and care for me. Thank you, LUCES, for my strength.

Shame & Gratitude

Shame is one of the most powerful weapons in this universe. It has the ability to shut people up, to close in on themselves, to fester in it, to think about those things over and over, and continue to feel that shame over and over again. After reading about the negative effects of shame in Brene Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are,  I came to a sudden clarifying conclusion that quite honestly, overwhelmed me. Shame is something that controls many aspects of my life.

Shame thrives when it is not shared when it is hidden and closed off. There are a number things I can feel ashamed of, feel bad, but it is time that I take the first step to loving myself again, to sharing that shame so that it cannot survive. My actions and behavior have no doubt brought shame and guilt, but the power of forgiveness is infinite, and it takes courage to share that shame and ask for forgiveness. I will use this blog to continue to speak about the things in my life that I find gratitude in, but I will also share the things that keep me from getting out of bed, for fighting for things I believe him. This is not a how-to or a post that says “this is how I overcame it”. I am using this as a tool to resist, release, and transcend.

2016 has been a rough year. I have made more mistakes than I would care to count, I have hurt people unintentionally and well as intentionally. I have pushed down so much stress that it often feels like I am drowning, and it has caused me to direct my pain toward others who didn’t deserve it. This year has also brought pain, and injustice, in personal and societal ways that felt unfair. I often pray, but it felt like I was asking God “why?” rather than thanking them.

I try my best to be optimistic. But today, I cannot. Today, it feels impossible to look on the bright side. And, in remembering a book, called Just Mercy, I came across this quote:

“I am more than broken. In fact, there is a strength, a power even, in understanding brokenness, because embracing our brokenness creates a need and desire for mercy, and perhaps a corresponding need to show mercy”

Embracing my brokenness means that I am giving myself mercy, rather than continuing to punish. I cannot be good for others unless I am good to myself. I cannot heal unless I feel the pain associated. I cannot forgive myself until I acknowledge the mistakes I have made. I cannot stop being angry until I acknowledge that every person’s decision is not as a result of me.

Until then, embrace the brokenness.

30 Days of Gratitude

For the month of July, I will be challenged. I honestly have trouble being grateful for the simple things in my life. I often stress and worry without thinking about the things I do have. While some of my daily struggles are justified, I really want to add more positivity in my life.

DAY 1. First day goes out to the OG. Mama.

My mom is quite literally, the strongest, most humble, most giving human I may know. One of them, at least. From giving me life, to giving me knowledge, she has always been my guardian angel, whether I knew it or not. These are the reasons why I love her:

  • She educates me.

For years, my mom sent my sister and I volumes of books that I had no interest in reading. From Borderlands to Life of a Slave Girlshe was determined to make sure I was as educated as possible, and not through the lessons taught in school, but in the lessons I would never hear about: slavery, systematic oppression, colorism, police brutality. Before I had a name for these issues, I had an awareness for them, and I can only thank my mom for that.

In my mom’s house, she has a book for every thought I have ever had. Whether I have wondered about spirituality in business, or Sikh women and relationships…there is a book, and she has read it. Every statement I make is a learning tool for my mom, a way to challenge me, to think critically, to understand the deeper meaning behind each of my actions and the power behind each of my words. No other woman has done that for me.


  • She taught me forgiveness.

Since I began to live with my maternal grandparents at age 5, I have always battled with severe abandonment issues and anger issues, wondering why my mom and dad did the things they did. It took me years to understand and truly come to terms with those circumstances, and my mom continued to love me unconditionally despite every dramatic moment of angst. She never retaliated when I said mean things, when I told her she was not my mother…not once. She continued to state her love for me even when I was sure it did not exist. That moment alone made me realize that forgiveness is not about the other person…but for yourself. And forgiving my Mom for things she could not control was the greatest thing I could do for myself.

  • She gave me great genes.


All seriousness aside, HOW HOT IS MY MOM?

  • She taught me the importance of knowing where I came from.

My Mom practices Yoruba, a following of faith that ties back to Africa prior to the slave trade in the 1700s. When first hearing about this years ago, I really thought my mom was crazy. But learning about these things through her eyes has helped me understand that while I may not practice Yoruba, it is important to know where I came from in order to determine my future. My surname is Honor, a name an ancestor took after slavery that exemplified their hard work and resilience. The name fits well with the family. I come from a long line of strong, independent, and resilient women who have sacrificed their lives for their family, their partners, and their Earth, to be better and so others could have better lives. That sacrifice lives within me. I would not be the same without it.

  • She keeps me grounded.

This woman knows every spell in the book when it comes to feeding the mind, body, and spirit. She makes the greatest food, that practically steams with love and affection. She knows every elixir (no matter how gross) that will nourish my body ravaging after a sickness. She has used an avocado to make my hair feel like a baby’s bottom. She fills my head with the women of my past, present, and future, to inspire me, to challenge me, and to allow me to reflect on my purpose here in life.

Thank you, Mama, for all that you have given and continue to give me.