Been sitting here contemplating how to open this post up. What is something profound I can share or statement I can make. The best thing I decided was that I could just openly begin sharing my story, my gift to you is literal word vomit. A (sub)conscious stream of the narrative I’m retelling in my head.
My name is Shayda Torabi, I’m in my late twenties. I was born and raised in Austin, Texas and other fun facts about my upbringing, I went to college in Austin, got my first job in Austin and thus have only ever lived and called Austin home.
I grew up with an American mother and a Middle eastern father. My dad immigrated when he was just a teenager right before the revolution happened. As a result of the revolution he ended up staying in America. Fast forward some odd years, he met my mom, they got married, and had me. Their first born daughter, of what would become a triplet of three girls.
My sisters Sydney, Nika and I are roughly 3-4 years difference in age. We grew up an athletic family. I was the first child who got into competitive sports, and we quickly became a club swimming family. So much so that Sydney ended up going on to study and swim at the University of Texas, which is pretty prestigious.
In addition to growing up athletic, we grew up in a religious household. In fact I spent most of my elementary and middle school in private school. I ditched it in the middle of middle school to go to public school. And it was at public school that I first learned my love for communications, photography, and all things journalism.
My junior year of high school I launched the first of what would be many WordPress blogs. My best friend and I were into interviewing people and wanted to get closer to the music industry that we grew up attending (granted at this point we were literally barely 18 years old). But we were semi successful in doing so so we kept it going and that would be the first stop in my journey with blogging, content, and SXSW.llacI ended up graduating high school and going back to private school for college. I attended Concordia University here in Austin, where my mom was an alumni from. I majored in communications and had a radio show on campus. I also found who I thought would be my forever person my Junior year. We proceeded to date (and co-exist together) for close to 6 years.
This is where it gets juicy if you’re scrolling.
About a year into dating this guy, I would graduate college and get my first job in technology. The goal was to graduate and get a job in the music industry, but after two successful internships at C3 Presents (ACL Fest and Lolla) and The Texas Music office (which was an office of The Governor of The State of Texas), there just weren’t any full time jobs in “the music industry”. So tech seemed like a reasonable backup, I joined a company called WP Engine, a managed WordPress hosting platform (they’d probably hate I called it that now, they’re a digital experience platform, but humor me for old times sake). I was employee 13 of what would grow to be a 550+ person team by the time I exited 6 years later. Fun aside, I found them at a hiring event during SXSW, that I did NOT want to go to. I remember literally crying in my moms office because I had to go network by myself downtown and it was raining and I almost didn’t go.
Pretty glad I showed up. And it was because of that music blog I started in High School that I even had the chops and knowhow with WordPress to get the job with WP Engine.
It was at this company that I learned so many things about the world, about myself, and built what would later become the foundation for this blog and this life that I live. Honest to God, it was not easy by any means and a lot of sacrifices were experienced during my tenure there. However, I am extremely grateful to WP Engine for the opportunities they provided me to build my personal brand during that time and I walked away with a lot of lessons learned and a lot of grace and gratitude.
I was our events manager, I essentially got paid to represent this brand at events all over the world. I attended conferences in London, Paris, Dublin, to Los Angeles, New York City, and Seattle, which at the time were all new experiences for me. I would go on to become a very popular persona in the WordPress community, speaking at over a dozen different conferences, meet ups, and events. I was traveling almost every other week for three years of my life, and that was truly the inception for *this* blog in particular.
I would find myself on these trips, having to organize dinner for our partners, customers and my colleagues. And since I was the events manager, it was my job to scout out a place. Naturally I wanted to go to the best of the best. Best vibe, best experience, best menu, best kept secret, you name it and I was digging it up and making reservations for our group.
So legit I had a coworker who one day was like, “we LOVE eating out with you on these work trips, you have THE BEST recommendations”, you should start a blog. Because at this time my music blog had fallen by the wayside, I was working full time, traveling, I HAD NO TIME TO BLOG. But as someone who was becoming public in the WordPress community, it seemed reasonable to have a blog again and document the trips I was taking and so it was just that. A place for me to start documenting the places I was eating, mainly for me and my friends who were asking.
I had NO IDEA IT WOULD TURN TO THIS. What an evolution.
So at that time I originally launched as “Dine With Shayda”, I dropped the “dine” part about 8 months ago now when I realized I create so much more content than food. But we’ll get to that transition.
You still with me?
Work was fun and games, I accomplished a lot, I had some crappy bosses, I learned how to handle it, sometimes I didn’t. It’s what ultimately led me to parting ways in late 2017. BUT before we get there, in 2016 I found myself in a pinch.
It was November 2016, I had been blogging since January 2015 and had been growing in popularity locally by that time. I was actually invited to an event at one of my favorite restaurants and was walking home when something pivotal happened in my life.
I was hit by a car as a pedestrian. OUCH. I was rushed to the hospital, where I was told I had broken my pelvis in two places. I became immobile for about a month and ended up putting on a lot of weight as a result of that. Not only was I physically at my lowest, at this point my relationship with m ex was at an all time low also. We were together because it was comfortable, not because we loved each other. And neither of us could walk away. That when my accident happened, we just stewed in it for another year or so.
I was in pain constantly, it was small, in a tight spot, and extremely chronic. I was in PT for 8 months, and while my body regained strength and mobility, my pelvis was just learning to accept living in pain.
It’s funny because looking back now everything happened that way for a reason, but nonetheless at the time my mom actually introduced me to CBD. I know, my mom!! It was the first time I had taken CBD oil, and it’s obviously not the last. That was three years ago, and here I am three years later running a CBD business. Which was built out of sincere passion and personal relief with using CBD oil.
I ultimately ended up healing my body through continuous movement and CBD oil. I began to lose the weight and found myself on this upward trajectory. I was still with my ex, until about a year after the accident he decided to end things for good. It was the hardest day of my life, and I actually haven’t spoken to him since that day. It’s now been over two years, and the other day I was driving and broke down crying because I finally see our relationship and him for what it was. It was beautiful, broken, and brought me to the point where I left that old me behind to become this version of me. And this version of me is so much happier, and healthier, not just physically but mentally too. He was part of my transition into this journey and at the time I couldn’t see how imperative he was in all of this, but if you ever come across this. Thank you Billy, I wish you every piece of happiness in the world.
So we broke up, I was single for the first time in 6 years. And around the same time I decided to leave WP Engine. I lost my identity basically and while I was getting healthier I was also trying to figure out who I was without this person and without this place.
But let me tell you, THAT journey has been the greatest story to date. Everything that happened to me happened so I could get on THIS PATH and begin to live THIS LIFE. It’s still a messy life, full of imperfections, but every day I wake up and choose to live life according to my own rules and I’m choosing to write rules that empower me and put me in the best position to succeed.
I now have completely transitioned this blog around. On my journey of health and wellness I began discovering that it’s not only about how you move your body, but how you feed your body, how you listen to her, and what types of conversations you have with her. I lived most of my life not listening to any of those things. Or so I thought I was but it was all a facade. This is the truest life I’ve ever lived and it feels liberating to just wake up knowing everything might not always be okay, but that I’m going to be okay. Because I CHOOSE to be.
I want this blog to be a manifestation of what it means to live an authentic life. Not just with others, but with yourself. Do you believe in you? How you answer that says a lot about how you talk to yourself, which in return is how others perceive you.
I do not have it solved by any means, I’m still learning. But I know that heartache is inevitable. Death and taxes are for everyone. So what use is worrying about what I can’t control? I should focus on what I can, and what is in my present view. No use looking in the past, except to appreciate the present.
Forever learning, forever practicing grace.