The photo of me above was taken in Colombia and I felt it was the best representation of this post. It's surprising, in your face but fun at the same time. The reason for it?
Corbett Barr has been someone I’ve looked up to for a while. His site ThinkTraffic is hands down the best resource for anyone trying to understanding how to generate more traffic to your website. But Corbett is more than just a numbers guy. I had the chance to meet him at WDS and I can assure you he gives a damn. He’s a real person.
Is Corbett paying me to write this? No. But I want to continue sharing the utmost value to all of you and to be sure you know who I am more and more.
Corbett had a great post titled: 33 Things I’ve Never Told You (or How to Re-Introduce Yourself and Kick Your Watered-Down Self In The Ass) and it was absolutely inspiring. So I thought I’d follow suit and step out on the limb of vulnerability to reintroduce myself to all of you and hopefully tell you a bunch of things about me you never knew and stuff you couldn't read in the "Founder's Story" section of this site.
It's me trying to continue to own my voice via this blog, to be the same voice here as I am in real life. It's not easy but as Brene Brown said, “Your experience in this life cannot exceed your willingness to be vulnerable.” So...here goes.
- I had a pretty bad stutter that reared its head in high school. It wasn’t so much a continuous stutter, it was the inability to get out the first syllable. Many a times I wanted to make a point but no one saw me powerless to get out what I wanted to say. I still have it now but I’ve learned to hide it. It’s definitely more prominent when I’m tired or having to talk about something I know nothing about but it’s there every day no matter what. “B’s” “D’s” G’s” and “K’s” are sometimes hard to start with. Unfortunately for me, my name begins with a B. So if you meet me and introduce yourself as “Emily”, you’ll most likely hear me say something in front of “Bassam” like, “Hi, I’m Bassam,” or, “Nice to meet you. I’m Bassam.” I still have to dance around the ol’ stutter everyday. Keeps me humble
- My nickname among the film festival founders is "Stalin". I can be a bit controlling/direct/no frills. This comes from what I’ve learned in previous ventures and because I’m dedicated to keeping the ball moving forward. I can’t stand stagnation.
- I’ve been arrested in Mexico and thrown in a jail cell which was already housing 2 other guys who were in there on suspicion for a murder. The thing was, I didn’t do anything to get arrested. My buddy and I were drunk 18-year old Americans at the wrong place and the wrong time. We ended up being arrested for allegedly breaking the antenna of a taxicab and were being charged $500 each. We received this charge after walking out of a club. That’s the Mexican judicial system for you. That entire story of how we got out is a much longer story but something I learned very quickly is that when the two guys in your cell - who were arrested for murder - start talking about how they are going to kill these cops when they get out, you just nod and say, “Yeah! Me too.” One can never have too many friends in jail
- I’m the only member of my family and extended family of my generation born in the U.S.
- I was one person away from writing: “24: The Official CTU Operations Manual”. This thing. I used to write for a comedy website on the side when I lived in California and one of the creators of the site told me about this writing opportunity. I was a huge fan of the show 24 so they asked me to write a section of what the CTU Handbook might look like. What I wrote blew them away but they decided to go with two writers they already knew
- Outer space. I would pay every cent I have later in life to get a seat on a ship that went into space. That would be my outrageous pleasure purchase
- I didn’t like living on Oahu, Hawaii for the most part. It’s crowded, I was an outsider, I didn’t know anyone and I was 23. Sure, I was a nuclear engineer for the Department of Defense, working on refueling the reactors of Los Angeles class submarines but believe me, that sounds a lot sexier than it was. It was still work and it wasn’t work I was enjoying that much. I was trying to convince myself that I was happier than I was so that I wouldn’t feel embarrassed towards my friends who thought I was living the dream
- I’ve had some weird injuries playing sports
- 4 concussions
- torn quadricep
- torn retina
- shattered radius & ulna
- herniated disc
- I’ve partied...a lot. I still like partying. A lot of my memories from life are from traveling and partying with friends all over the world. Those are always the events that allow me to figure out what year I did such-and-such. But...
- I’m an introvert. As much as I love helping people, being around my friends and understanding the power of groups, there is sometimes nothing better than being home by myself watching a netflix movie, reading a book or pondering something I'm curious about. In fact, I’m always seeking me-time more often than not. At least half of the movies I see in the theater are by myself. I wouldn’t call myself an extreme introvert but I’m definitely an introvert. Being an introvert doesn’t mean being shy though, it just means that I am not bored when I'm by myself.
- Cockroaches scare the ever living shit out of me. I don’t squeal or jump on a coach or anything but I do have a mild heart attack when I first see them. Maybe it’s because they’ve remained relatively unchanged for 300 million years of evolution. They are perfect living machines. They are super insects. Nuclear radiation couldn’t kill them. Keep them away from me, please
- I waited tables in Charleston, South Carolina after I was working as a nuclear engineer in Hawaii. I was waiting tables because I tried to start a film production company with a friend of mine
- I’ve written 2 feature-length screenplays. These were two of the hardest things I’ve ever done. This taught me a lot of discipline. I wasn’t writing these for pay or for a class. I just wrote them because I wanted to
- Along with writing long stories, I used to write a lot of sketch comedy. Everyone likes making fun of Coldplay (even though everyone has Coldplay on his/her ipod) so I did too. Here’s their video for Yellow http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1MwjX4dG72s Here’s mine (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R__0RP5l-Cs)
- I was in the Mortgage Banking Business in California for three years but didn’t make a dime
- I’ve been the best man in 3 different weddings. It’s one of the things I’m most proud of in my life because I’d like to think that this means that I’m a pretty good friend. I need to be because...
- I have the coolest friends on the planet. Seriously, I have made friends throughout my life who now reside on 6 of the 7 continents and they are way cooler than I am. I am always impressed with the things they do or are doing. To top it all, my brother and my sister are probably my two best friends.
- Speaking of that 7th continent, I was once standing at the Southern Tip of South America and had a chance to go to Antarctica via plane for $1,500 for a few hours but declined. I don’t regret anything in my life but this is close to it. I think having the 7 continents under the belt would have been a cool thing
- I am still $25,000 in debt. That’s college and the fact that some things in life didn’t pan out how I wanted them to. I used to be $60,000 in debt in 2008. But I love paying back my debt every month. It is the small price I pay for living the life that has made me...me
- I’m a sore loser. I’m trying to get better at it but if we’re playing Yahtzee or fighting to the death, I’m going to try to win just the same. I do not know how to play something “for fun”. I once snapped at someone while playing Taboo because she challenged me when I said that Nitrogen is the most abundant element in the air we breathe
- I’m obsessed with music. I will DJ parties at some point in my life. I’ve DJ’d a Nomading Film Festival after party in Portland. It was for 7 hours and people told me afterwards things like, “That was the best dance party I’ve ever been to.” It was one of most fun and most fulfilling things I’ve done. Making people dance and smile is quite the uplifting feeling. If you’re looking for a DJ...
- If we were on Survivor, I would steal food when no one was looking, no questions asked. “Together. Be Better” disappears when I’m hungry. I'm always hungry. Diabetics need insulin at specific, short-term intervals. I need food at very specific, short-term intervals
- Whiskey - Rocks; If we ever meet each other in a bar, you don’t need to ask me what I want to drink anymore because now you know
- I am an obsessive soccer fan. It’s borderline problematic
- I hate owning anything. I just feel tied down by it
- I haven’t read a fiction book in over 4 years. That’s probably a bit sad and I should read one soon but I’ve just been pretty focused on absorbing non-fiction lately. Any recommendations for a good fiction book?
- I’m an atheist inasmuch as I don’t believe in a personal god, spirits, devils, people looking down on me or angels of any sorts. Despite what people think that would mean for my life, I am very humbled and thankful to be alive and am at least 2 or 3 times a day, contemplating some wonder of the universe and how we can all better experience this life together. I think that the stories that religion have are wonderful stories. The messages are things we can all use to treat our fellow man better. But I think they’re just stories. I do respect everyone’s beliefs as long as they give me room for mine. In the end though, I believe that when I die I’ll be worm food, and I’m perfectly ok with that
- I’m extremely liberal but I consider myself a logician on all fronts. If what you’re saying doesn’t make sense, I’m going to call you out on it even when I shouldn’t (See: Taboo + Nitrogen above)
- I’ve never been punched or punched anyone. Lord knows (figure of speech, folks) I’ve deserved to be punched in the face but with those 4 concussions, I’m pretty cautious at making sure no one has a reason to punch me in the face. But sometimes I get lucky like...
- When I was living in Madrid, Spain, a man had a knife to my throat and said, “Give me all your fucking money.” Instead of doing so, I shoved him as hard as I could and said, “Give me all YOUR fucking money!” We were both shocked at the fact that I chose to react in that manner so I was able to get away. A word to the wise: DO NOT do what I did if someone has a knife to your throat. $200 bucks isn’t worth as much as a fully functioning jugular
- I don’t speak a lick of any language but English (other than some conversational Spanish). Sad really. My mom, dad & extended family speak far too many languages. But not me, my brother and sister
- Other than my job washing used cars at Bob Sharp Nissan in Danbury, CT, when I was 15, I’ve never had a 9-5 job where I didn’t know someone who was able to help get me the job
- Bus Boy at Country Club
- Department of Defense
- Waiting tables
- Mortgage Banking
- I seek out life experiences that are intentionally painful or uncomfortable. I wouldn't say I am a flat out masochist but I do like purposely having to struggle to get something. I've finished in the Top 5% of the Tough Mudder, I've trekked a 14,000 ft mountain when I had the flu and I rarely wait as long as a doctor tells me to resume exercising after an injury
Thanks for reading all the way through! I hope you enjoyed this even though I'm sure some of you hated it. If you're part of the latter, I'm sorry about that. But like Corbett said in his post, it feels good to be this honest. I challenge you to express yourself without any training wheels on your blog or in your life.