Saturday, October 1, 2016

You are NOT a burden

"I just don't want to be a burden."

How often have you told yourself that and hidden your feelings, fears, and pain from loved ones?

Earlier this week, I was talking with a friend for whom I have some affection. She's been through a lot the past couple years and as we discussed coping with life's challenges by relying on loved ones, she said, "I just don't want to be a burden."

Relying on loved ones can be scary.

For so many of us, something in our past frightened us into thinking that sharing our pain with others puts an unconscionable weight on their shoulders. We fear becoming an inconvenience. We fear they'll get tired of us and reject us.

And that's true. They would reject us... if we really were the people we perceive ourselves to be.

But we're not. Mirrors are ugly. We see too many blemishes and scars to love ourselves and the beauty of the person we really are; the one we've hidden from the world.

We all have our ups and downs. Sometimes the crushing weight of the world drives us into despair and sometimes we find ourselves soaring above it.

When we love someone, we don't just experience their sorrow. We also experience their joy. And we experience their peace and their chaos and their awe and their anger and so much more. That's what makes us all human and we fall in love with humans, not robots.

Not only did I see this in my friend that night, but I saw it in two other friends over the past two weeks. I see it in myself, over and over again.

For as long as I can remember, I buried my negative emotions where no one could see them. I suppressed my feelings in fear of burdening loved ones. I was scared that if they knew me, they wouldn't like me; that I'd be nothing but a weight on their shoulders.

I felt I wasn't worthy of being loved. So I hid behind perpetual "happiness".

The great irony is that what brought me authentic happiness was being there for the people I love in both joyous moments and painful ones. It's a gift to share in another's woes as much as it's a gift to share their abundance.

I'm not a burden to those I love any more than they're a burden to me. You not a burden to me.

You are NOT a burden.

I love you and you're the joy of my life. Let me be there for you just as you want to be there for me. Consider it a gift to me. It's what I yearn for more than anything in this world.

Let your sorrow carve a valley deep into my soul,
That I may fill it with the joy of our love.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

How to Cry: A guide for the emotionally unavailable

  1. Be emotionally unavailable
  2. Meet the love of your life
  3. Fall deeper and deeper in love with them as you grow together
  4. Be devastated when they mysteriously cut off all contact
  5. Talk with them when they reappear a month later and realize you're both still madly in love
  6. Choose to remain apart, even though that's not what you want, because you both need to heal individually
  7. Cry

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Fuck it, hit publish now

One of the privileges my work and community involvement offer me is interaction with a large number of interesting people. About once a month, someone I meet will tell me they read something from this blog and that it had a meaningful impact on them.

In fact, this happened about 2 hours ago at a hackathon we're hosting at my workplace. One of the participants introduced himself and said he appreciated my post about how I royally screwed up in school. He shared how he went through a similar challenge, failing several classes and thinking he should just drop out, before finding his passion and turning things around. Like me, he ended up at one of the world's top software companies.

That conversation meant a lot to me.

Despite these kinds of experiences, I haven't posted in over 9 months. Still, I jot down notes all the time and have over 25 pending posts that are half-written. So, why haven't I posted?

The reasons mentioned in my first blog post, titled "Why Blog?" and published Nov 2011, are still relevant. Shared experiences are valuable. In fact, I've learned that there's even more value in creating content than I originally saw. Sharing experiences publicly has given me amazing opportunities to connect with and learn from others.

I think my biggest issue has been with agonizing over perfection. I spend hours writing, re-writing, regretting, revising every post. In that original post I said, "anyone can take 15 minutes while waiting for the bus to jot down a few thoughts." What I didn't realize at the time was that I'd never feel satisfied enough to publish after 15 minutes. Or 30 minutes. Or 120 mintues.

I crave more experiences like the one I described at the beginning of this post. Opportunities to form deep connections with others means the world to me.

I'm going to give two things a shot for a while. First, I'm going to relax my standards to a point where I'm less comfortable publishing, but still willing to hit the publish button. Second, I'm going to write on a regular basis, starting with 15 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Over time, I'm hope to see a rise in quality and a fall in time spent per published post post.

Well, it's been about 1.5 hours since I started working on this. Fuck it. I'm hitting publish now...

[Edit: 2 minutes after hitting publish, I saw that I'd forgotten to give the post a title. *sigh* Well... that gives me a good idea for a title.]

Monday, May 4, 2015

Podcast Discussion on Value-Add at VC Firms

I just had a great conversation with Mike Schneider, where we spent some time discussing how we support portfolio companies after investment at Madrona.

Listen in on the conversation: The Law of Startups, Episode 10

For some additional thinking on the topic, one of OpenView's founders recently did a great post on their take on this topic.

Thanks Joe Wallin for setting up the conversation!

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Capacity to Love

Today will be remembered as a day of mourning and reflection for nerds, geeks, and science fiction fans around the world; the day Leonard Nimoy passed away.

For me, personally, it'll be remembered as a day of revelation, inspired by this heartfelt, parting message from William Shatner to his dear friend:

"I loved him like a brother. We will all miss his humor, his talent, and his capacity to love."

I don't put much thought into legacy or how people will remember me after death, but if I'm remembered at all, even ephemerally, I want it to be for my "capacity to love." The message strikes a chord deep within my bones. One that reverberates with my sense of humanity. It's how I intend to define my living years and if I earn the right for it to be the culmination of my short time here, this will have been a life worth living.

Thank you Leonard Nimoy, for inspiring us. The love you showed the world carries on.

February 27th, 2015

Monday, February 2, 2015

Dear Mr. O'Brien, I found your hair, please advise

Dear Mr. Conan O'Brien,

When I awoke this morning, much to my horror, a strange beast was attacking my head.

Upon consultation with my friends, I later learned that you hair has come into my possession.

As some consider it to be a national treasure, it thought it of critical importance to notify you immediately and to attempt to return it with the utmost priority.

Awaiting your orders,
Hakon Verespej

Thursday, July 17, 2014

My Condolences to Laid-off Microsoftees

My heart goes out to all of you who were affected by the Microsoft layoffs.

I was an engineer at Microsoft during the 2009 layoffs and, even though we knew they were coming, it was a shock when whole teams were eliminated regardless of performance. The layoffs announced today are just as difficult and several close personal friends came back from lunch today with no manager, no team, and no job.

This will be, without a doubt, a difficult time. Not just for those laid off, but for their families, friends, and our entire Seattle tech community and beyond. At the same time, I'm certain it'll open the doors to many new opportunities.

To all my friends and everyone else affected, my condolences. On to better times.