Read this as it’s written with pain from a heart full of pain. This is the other side of the workplace that some will never understand.

I still remember the day when I was searching for my first job, just like any other person. I walked into a local store that was hiring to drop off my application and then the woman I gave my application to dumped it in a garbage can while I was standing there to witness it. My eyes was filled with tears and I tried hard not to cry, but that was impossible. I can still feel the pain as I walked home crying.

I still remember that day when my co-worker pointed to a chimpanzee photo and told me: “See, that’s your great-grandfather.” We all laughed. Each time I remember this, I don’t understand my purpose of laughing and I am so angry at myself for not doing anything about it. I knew it was not funny. I am so angry that I let that happen to me.

I still remember the day when I had an issue with a co-worker and, when I went to my supervisor to report it so that I could get help and solve the issue, my supervisor responded “Well you immigrants have a strong accent and we have hard time understanding you. Maybe ***** did not understand you.” I went to report an issue, but that was the response. How sad is that? Painful. I remember walking away as my heart was breaking.

I still remember the day when my fellow co-worker greeted me in our native language. After half an hour, we were both warned not to speak any other language. I never read a policy about this.

The hard truth is that sometimes “people like me” are simply not white enough to qualify for a position, no matter how hard I have worked.

This is just few examples of what I have experienced, but, if I write all of them, I might end up writing a book. All of these experiences break me down and cause many sleepless nights. I keep asking myself, “Why is this happening?” A friend told me that this was just beginning and that there is still more to come. Well, that’s scary. I give unending kindness and smiles all the time, but with all of this pain in my heart, sometimes I wonder if I am faking it? Well, I guess that’s how life it is.

However, with all the pain we go through, there is always a lesson we learn. As Ginni Rometty says, “Comfort and growth never co-exist.”

Since my goals are to participate in building a strong a community, then I need to learn to be uncomfortable and welcome all kinds of challenges. Obstacles are wise person’s best friend.

Sure, I might have felt pain in my heart for all of these experiences, but, I have sad news for those hurtful people: they are making me stronger and stronger everyday. And just wait – I dream big. I will keep smiling and spreading kindness, for I was born to do that.

After all, my name is Nasra, and Nasra means Helper.