• Chef Roro

Looking for a Light

Updated: Jun 20, 2020

I just got off a zoom call with my therapist. I haven't seen a therapist in five years and now I'm in my pj's having a virtual cathartic experience. I have been feeling lost lately and bad habtis banging on the door. So I decided to return to therapy in light of my depression and history of mental illness. Thankfully I did, my therapist had recently suggested I should work on finding my "light" again.

During our session she explained that sometimes there is so much darkness in front of you that it becomes "blinding" to your mental health and physical state when you are not looking for the positive in your life, or the "light" as she referred to it. Trying to walk around in the dark, you are going to stub your toe. She said that "I think everyone has had some pretty lows this year and is having a hard time not seeing anything but pain and sorrow".

That's exactly how I felt, that there was no end to how depressed I felt, how lost I have been. I feel that a lot of people probably feel the same nowadays. There is a pandemic killing in the hundreds of thousands. There are businesses and dreams burning to the ground. There are black and brown people being killed by those who have sworn to protect them. I feel so confused, scared, and angered every time I turn on the news. 2020 seems to be the year everyone, including myself, wants to cancel. I just never want to think of how it began, ever again.

On January 23 at 10:30pm at a hospice center in Virginia I watched as my mother took her last breath. This woman gave me life, went to every football game I ever had, bailed me out of police custody when I was 16, one of the few who believed in me when I told people I wanted to become a professional chef. She was my best friend and a single mother who did all she could to raise me and my sister right. Last year, she joined my Roro's food truck team to help me after she saw how exhausted and overwhelmed I was all the time. 2019 ended up being my breakthrough year and our most successful year as a Lebanese food concept, we won Washington City Paper's "2019 Best Food Truck", and I had received offers from investors to open my first brick and mortar. I wouldn't of accomplished any of that without my mothers help. Without her I wouldn't made my dreams a reality. Without her, there is no Chef Roro.

I owe everything I am and everything I will be, to her. When she was diagnosed in late September, with months to live, my sister and I spent every moment with her. From birthdays to fall holidays, we got to enjoy a few more special moments making memories with the person we idolized. It was a blessing and a curse. Watching my mom's body and mind deteriorate over the course of a few months tore me apart inside. To see your idol, your hero, broken down right of you is a feeling some unfortunate ones can relate to. As my mother was reaching her end, as her speech and cognitive functions left, as my mother passed to a "better place" I am still here and struggle to find my footing on my path.

Luckily, the light and love my mom poured into my life over the past 29 years still remains somewhere behind my sadness. So I will keep looking for the "light" in my life, I will keep trying to help others see it, and I will do everything in my power to make my mom proud. We have all been challenged lately with things that have broken our spirits, that have taken us to our worst places. All I know is that if you go into the darkness without a light, all you will see is darkness. I hope to find my light, to keep trying to shine it forward, and one day see the light again. I hope we all do, and we never stop searching for the light. Our world, our worlds, could use more light.

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