Lessons I Learned From Stand-Up Comedy Class

If you can laugh at YOURSELF – then you are guaranteed a win. If you don’t win – well, you will just have more to laugh at!

Last year I took a couple of stand-up classes at Second City mainly because I wanted to conquer my fear of public speaking, and I heard that was a great way to do it, but also because I’ve always secretly fantasized about being a Comic. Since I’m a huge nerd, I was also just really excited for a reason to go back to school. Besides confirming that puns are my favorite type of joke in the entire world, I picked up some other life enhancing tips. Read on for more!

Today’s post is in collaboration with Thacker NYC, one of the first brands I worked with here on the blog and still one of my absolute favorites. I describe my Thacker pieces as the stuff in my closet that I actually wear – and wear over and over and over again. Basically what I live in. See some of my past collaborations with Thacker NYC here and here.

thacker-nyc-trench wicker-bag-thacker

thacker-trench-wicker-bag striped-top-wicker-bag-thacker-nyc-gucci black-trench-coat-gucci-slides-thackerTrench coat Bag + Knit Top thanks to Thacker NYC | Shoes: Gucci | Jeans: DL1961

On to the lessons…here are the top five:

  1. Self-awareness is everything. Know yourself. I don’t know if I’m just not very observant (i haven’t really noticed ;)), but my self-perception was way off. I’m not really a girly girl even though the outside world sees me that way. Probably because I do love fashion and makeup and stuff but deep down I’m basically a teenage boy – I love getting dirty, wearing sweats, and sometimes forget to brush my teeth. Just kidding…kind of.  Also, I honestly thought I came off as a tough chick, when I now know I’m perceived basically as non-threatening as they come. Which leads me to the second part of this lesson, that it is ALL GOOD! Knowing yourself is number one but accepting yourself as you are is even more important. I still feel like a tough male teenager inside but I embrace my gentle, sometimes awkward non-threatening persona now.
  2. Practice Makes Perfect. You see, what had happened was…I was on stage at an open mic, and I didn’t have my bit memorized – which is fine because it was just a bunch of comics testing out new stuff – but I forgot my notes and tried to wing it and basically bombed out of fear. (Luckily I had brought a friend there with me solely for the purpose of laughing at my jokes.) People who do well at anything usually aren’t winging it. Also we only get better by doing, so practicing is the only way.
  3. Mean isn’t (that) funny, smart is funnier. Examples – mean: Roseanne. smart: Trevor Noah. Sometimes being mean is funny, but only if the subject is like, Donald Trump or something equally horrible. That also goes with all areas of life, like criticizing people or pointing out their flaws – it might make you feel slightly better in the moment but as a whole its not doing you any favors and most importantly – its just not cool. I’m so guilty of this and it is one thing I am really working on in my own journey to improve myself. I realized that sometimes I’d criticize someone or make a sarcastic joke about them – and then I would think, why did I do that? After a lot of reflection I figured out it often came from a place of insecurity within me – like deep down I might have felt threatened by her looks or success. Now, instead of being mean and criticizing, I try to focus on what I can do to improve myself or achieve more so I can feel successful.
  4. Commit to the bit. Don’t give up on your dreams! Your path may not be like someone else’s but keep chipping away at it. Since I started Love Zahra in 2012, I’ve had to teach myself everything from using a mac, to coding, to photography, videography, editing, and it was HARD. If you look at my old photos they were never not blurry. Also, even though I am a natural salesperson and excelled in my previous career,  when it came to running my own business, I had a lot to learn. So I’m taking it a day at a time, learning as I go, trying new things all the time, not giving up. Right now that means taking more classes (also because: nerd) to learn more about photo and video editing, making better pictures for my blog and more fun videos for my YouTube channel.
  5. When all else fails – laugh at yourself. The single best thing I took away from my stand up classes. Nothing is that serious, and if you can laugh you will get through anything. If you can laugh at YOURSELF – then you are guaranteed to win. If you don’t win – well, you will just have more to laugh at!

Thank you for visiting as always! xx

Better Late: A Summer Story with Thacker NYC

But for real, I’m making some changes- in life – better late than never is my motto!

Well hello there friend! Welcome! I’ve got a few life updates to share with ya today! This post was hard to type, and that is not because I have some crazy long acrylic nails on right now – even though I do (seriously how do you girls do it?). But for real, I’m making some changes- better late than never is my motto!

Anyway, for the past five years since starting this blog I’ve had so many amazing experiences: from going to runway shows at NYFW to being a ‘Fashion Expert’ (side note: what IS that even?) on TV, being featured in magazines I only dreamt of being in, to attending countless Industry events where I met and befriended some of the most creative, talented, passionate people in the world.

But lately (for like the past two years or more actually), I’ve gotten a little a lot jaded. All the content I was seeing was the same, which was actually really boring to me. Not throwing shade I swear, I get it because to be successful in this game you can’t be ‘off brand’ and sometimes that means losing your true voice and unique personality.  I’ve been declining almost every ad or sponsor opportunity because I felt like I was being trapped to keep my content a certain way to please the brands I work with.

I started on my journey to find that spark I started this blog with, and just slowly started making changes without caring what the result would be. I stopped shopping at Zara and any other place I know has unethical labor practices, which also coincidentally is a turn off to many big brands (guilty, much?). And lastly, I started writing more open and honest blog posts and videos sharing my struggles with everything from religion to colorism. I told myself I’d take these next couple of years while Sophia is still a baby and explore and find what I really love to do and focus on that.

 I really love connecting with people, sharing life experiences. I also really love having fun making videos. And, I love making people laugh. So what I’ve decided I’m going to do is…(Drumroll…) Make funny videos! Yes you read that right. I’m too old and busy to be roaming around bars in Chicago doing open mic comedy shows, so I’m going to post them here. I’ve got some in the works and I already have some collaborations planned!

I tell you guys – once you decide to do something the universe makes it happen! I hope you stick with me in this new chapter of Love Zahra – and don’t you worry there will still be plenty of fashion and beauty because – your girl still gotta look fly! I mean…obviously!

Like today’s look, in this pretty and perfect-for-summer dress by Thacker NYC that has the cutest arm peeking out detail. Or my bright new bag that is the perfect orange sherbet creamsicle hue, something I also love to eat in the summer.

Thank you so much for visiting  – I love you – bye!

xx

Z
floral-dress-summer-thackernycthacker-floral-tie-sleevethacker-nycthacker-nyc-dressDress + Bag thanks to Thacker NYC | Shoes: Sigerson Morrison (avail in black) – Similar Style