One Year Anniversary

Image Description: The words "One Year", each letter made from a photo of a previous post by Ahmad Abojaradeh.  O = beach scene with a man's silhouette at the coastline, N = ocean splashing on jagged rocks, E = feet in the air, yoga pose from beach yoga, Y = clouds and mountains from above, on a plane, E = photo from the "Belong" page of the website, showing a man walking away with his arm outstretched behind, as if beckoning the viewer to take his hand and share the experience, A = a boat in muddy water, in Vietnam, R = snowy treetops against a blue sky. Graphic created by Lina Abojaradeh

Image Description: The words "One Year", each letter made from a photo of a previous post by Ahmad Abojaradeh.  O = beach scene with a man's silhouette at the coastline, N = ocean splashing on jagged rocks, E = feet in the air, yoga pose from beach yoga, Y = clouds and mountains from above, on a plane, E = photo from the "Belong" page of the website, showing a man walking away with his arm outstretched behind, as if beckoning the viewer to take his hand and share the experience, A = a boat in muddy water, in Vietnam, R = snowy treetops against a blue sky. Graphic created by Lina Abojaradeh

It feels like it was just yesterday when I walked into a Cafe, ordered some hot tea, feeling entirely powerless and overwhelmed by the world, and started writing. I didn't have a fully formulated plan at the time, but I logged into the Square Space account I had created in November, chose the most basic template, and published my first post. It was a time when I questioned my safety, and was just gaining an understanding into the oppression causing my fear. It was the 51st anniversary to Malcolm X's assassination, and I wondered what I could do. For Muslim Community Link (MCL), I was running a campaign to countdown to spring with the 99 names of Allah, but I needed to say more that day. Up until that point, I had always written anonymously. That night, I couldn't do that anymore.

I have always known that Life in My Days would not be about me. It was always meant to grow as it has, and this is just the beginning. But that night I couldn't think about the vision of Life in My Days, as that had been debilitating for years. That night I needed to take a single step, get into the moment, and be vulnerable to the world in a way I had never been before. I had to overcome my insecurities about writing and putting myself out there. I had to step into the light, to be the example I wanted to be. That night, it was about me, and I knew that even if no one read the article, and everything fell apart, it'd be okay. I tried, I put myself out there, and I would never be the same again.

I remember the first “like”, the first comment, the first share. I remember the support I received from so many individuals in my life, support that allowed me to move forward, another step at a time, until getting to where we are today.

So where are we today? We're starting the year as a Non-Profit, with close to 15 contributing writers and 70,000 followers, and a team of amazing individuals ready to change the world. We've launched our first-ever crowdsourcing campaign, allowing you to be investors in the creation of this community. Everyone that has supported us, both financially and by sharing our content, has been instrumental in getting us off the ground. Life in My Days was never built for a single person, or a single community, it was built for everyone. Now you have the opportunity to help build a community that you, yourself, will use. If you haven't donated yet, please do so here. We have one week left to reach our goal.

A lot has changed over the last year, but a few things remain the same. The need to speak up has not gone away. Millions out there are feeling how I felt one year ago. Life in My Days is needed just as much today as it was back then.

I have struggled over the last three months with unhealed trauma and pain. I have questioned everything and have given up on more than I'd like to admit. I have gone to places I never thought I'd ever return to, and places I never knew could exist. But my purpose with Life in My Days has not changed. With everything going on in the world, it's critical for us to raise our voices, to share in ways that allow us to heal and grow, and to connect with others going through the same.

Over the last year, I have had the pleasure of meeting the most amazing individuals through the Life in My Days community. I have had the honor to support many individuals, hear their personal stories, and be inspired by their strength and resilience. More than anything, since starting this community, I have learned that we are far less alone then we can ever imagine. On the one hand that's comforting, on the other it shows just how much work we have left to do. No one person can make it all better, but together, together we can change the world in the most amazing ways. Will you join us?

Today, marks our one year anniversary. Today we start a month of celebration, with raffles, competitions, challenges, and so much more. Despite the pain, we must find the time to celebrate our small wins, every step of the way. This month is a celebration of not just the Life in My Days accomplishments, but also the accomplishments of each of our members. Thank you for all your support! We hope that you'll join us during this month to celebrate everything we've been able to accomplish together, and everything we can accomplish in the future.

Ahmad Abojaradeh is the Co-Founder of Muslim Community Link, An Engineer, a world traveler, a Peer Support Specialist, a Novelist and the founder and editor of Life in My Days. He hopes to spread awareness of living a life of wellness through his writing, workshops and speaker events. Follow Ahmad on twitterinstagram or facebook

To the Overwhelmed

20 Days

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