Monday, March 23, 2015

What happened to my nerve??

As I've grown older I've slowly started to lose my nerve. I don't even know how it happened?? 

For the past few weeks I've been toying with the idea of an extra ear piercing. And every time I go to Canal Walk to do it, I find some ridiculous reason why I just cannot do it right now. My hair is too grey, I still have more weight to lose, I look too mommyish today. Its just crazy. I've had a nose piercing and a belly piercing already just for giggles. And now a little hole in my ear is scary. Suspending yourself with hooks off your back is scary! Free climbing is scary! Come on, a little old ear piercing can not be where I top out on the scary chart. 

Back in the day I would just dive head first into any situation I thought might be cool, interesting, fun but now I think I've become a party pooper stick in the mud kind of person! Oh my Ghad. The more I think about it the more I realise how true that is. When I turned 30 I almost skydived, I had it booked and everything. When I turned 40 I had to have a lay down at a lovely luxurious hotel! Where has my gung-ho crazy self gone to? I've gone and killed it.

This situation requires a serious remedy. I want to say I'm going to do it tomorrow… but then I think I already drove out there today. Seems so silly to drive all that way again. Might as well wait a few days. Build some courage. And there I did it again. Its like an invisible shield. Subconsciously activated. Its exactly like gym. I know I need to go. But I never pack a bag and I always drive to the mall first because … well a girl needs coffee.

At the end of March it will be 1 year since I stopped working. I haven't learnt any discernible skill, developed any artistic talent, or advanced myself in anyway that I could proudly wave a flag for. I've taken a gap year and promptly in the flow lost my nerve.  

How do you reawaken that part of yourself? I love who I am right now. Its taken me a while to get here. I'm accepting and forgiving and loving towards myself. Seems perhaps I've also become to comfortable in the lazy section of myself. I don't know if its just getting older and wiser that makes you realise you don't need that much excitement as you did before. I actually need very little since I get excited when there's a new episode of How to get away with Murder on catchup!

I guess its this stage of life when you relax, enjoy and saviour each moment. When you let life wash over you for a little bit. And when you're done you plunge in and start to swim again.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Super mom

No one can really prepare you for the perplexities of motherhood. When you become pregnant you are so caught up in the glow and wonderment that is your body. And the development of the little person inside you is all consuming. No matter what any other mothers tell you, you just know you will be different and you will try to do things better.

Let me tell you this, you wont. All mothers are in the exact same boat. We all have the same feelings, the same frustrations, the same goals, the same guilt. We make the same sacrifices and worry about the same things. It's the great equaliser for moms. From the moment that baby lands in your arms, your mind is filled with thoughts and questions and preparations for preparations. You have to feed, clothe, bathe, love, hug and devote all of yourself to this cute little kid. Each phase has new challenges. Have you played with them enough, have you taught them enough words, have you challenged them physically. Its a never ending marathon of hurdles to navigate. Just when you figure out how to do it well and have the routine running smoothly like a navy seal team, the bugger gets one year older and suddenly the game changes on the head.

You always feel like you're one step behind since the kid now dictates the play for the day and you dance around trying to maintain the order and rules that you wish them to learn. They learn it alright, as long as you keep pushing your agenda. Push too hard and they will push back, too soft and you will be disregarded like an empty, licked out kinder joy. Every day is different and always unpredictable. 

The thing that struck me the most is how quickly you can swing between being cheesed off about something they did, to feeling guilty for feeling cheesed off. From punishing them to feeling guilty about punishing them! I mean how the hell are you supposed to discipline and teach a kid things when you feel so bad for them. Those doe eyes teary and sad, promises of never doing it again, and apologies for the 10th time. You can forgive anything when you're faced with that. If the transgression is really bad you have to dig deep and go into crazy territory. Thats the only place the face of an angel can't reach you. Even then you have to turn away so they cannot see how funny you found what they just did. 

Yes indeed, the first kid is all about learning the rules and formulating the strategy for the next kid. I'm sure with number two you can see that kid coming from around the corner with his tricks. You get to be in charge and dictate the order of things. But alas, if what the other moms are saying is true… number two comes with an upgraded chip and suddenly whatever you learnt with number one is null and void. Might as well be starting from day one again! Only this time, they have an army and you're alone. Lol.

Yes that's what super moms do. We battle for sanity, appreciation, respect, love, order, discipline, success, achievement, progress. Only we don't fight this battle for ourselves. We fight it for our kids.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Soft underbelly of the beast

Thank you to everyone who has taken a moment to read what I have written and also to those who let me know that they enjoyed it. I really appreciate it. 

There's a certain vulnerability when you expose your thoughts and write them down in an open forum for anyone to read, critique, mock, scoff, whatever. And no matter how confident you might think you are, a simple comment is enough to strike you down at the knees.

Everyone has a soft spot, a weak spot somewhere that if touched upon will bring the person to break in sadness or rain upon you in fury. There are two types of people when it comes to vulnerability. You have the raw type who exposes themselves to you immediately and somehow manage to offload their baggage on you without a moments thought. You have just been used as a free therapist, you think you have helped them but instead they have helped themselves to you and your mind. I love those types. You just know that they are fat, stupid, fearful, broke, whatever within minutes of meeting them because they told you. In an instant you connect with them because they decided to show you their underbelly. 

On the other hand you have the ones who lock their weaknesses away. Even from themselves. They build a fortress around it. Protect it. Defend it from perceived exploitation. Perhaps they are embarrassed or ashamed. Perhaps they feel others won't understand unless they are exactly the same kind of person. I have met a few people like that. You never really get to know them. Just the parts they allow you access to. Heaven forbid you try to pry your way into a restricted level. No free therapy. No thank you.

Who knows what results in the creation of either of those types of people. Neither of them is better than the other. Its just how life has played out. Humans are such interesting creatures. Someone once said to me that the creation can never understand the Creator. Imagine for a second how complex we are. Each of us individually has an infinite amount of complications. So when for a moment you can truly connect with someone it is an amazing accomplishment. 

So many people in the world with all their different, weird and interesting characteristics, so when you reach out its like shooting an arrow in the dark and hoping for the best. As long as you don't hit the underbelly, you'll be just fine.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Who killed chivalry.

The problem with men and women is that we want our cake and we want to eat it too.

Men want a woman who is bold, audacious, sexy, unafraid to take charge and make things happen. But they also want a helpless, whispery princess to flutter her eyelash and ache to be rescued by her dashing prince. Women want to rule the world, make their own money, make their own rules, dictate their terms and be their own bosses. But they also want a romantic, charming, sweep me off my feet charmer that makes their hearts rejoice with happiness.

There are always winners and losers in that battle. Who gets to have what they want? And who has to make the sacrifice so the other person can get it? If you want a chivalrous man do you have to be the helpless girlish girl waiting to be rescued? Or does a chivalrous man appear when you are at your most bullish?

The male ego is fragile. Perhaps thats the wisdom in giving them a strong body. Whereas women have softer exteriors and the toughest hearts. Together we make a complete, complex whole, each protecting the softness in the other. In the past the recipe was simple. In the romantic era, women dressed in a certain way, men behaved in a certain way. Society dictated that your bosoms be on display, that you could sew, play a musical instrument and speak and sing in the gentlest of voices. Men walked around all puffed up, dressed in boots, jackets, hats, smoked pipes and rode around on their horses bragging about war. You would book a dance on the lady's dance card and ask her permission to walk with her in the garden. 

Now its a lot more complicated and everyone is confused. Do you take flowers? Do you pay for dinner? Do you open the door? There should be a charm school for men and women. Since the dating rules have changed so drastically, everyone should get a chance to be on the same page at least. The line between appropriate and inappropriate courting has become so blurred that its a wonder when you do meet someone who does it exactly right. I suppose there are no hard and fast rules any longer except the ones you put in play.

Someone once said to me, it's the women who get to choose. Men put their offers forward and women accept or reject them. Have we forgotten this? We can dictate how we wish to be treated not the other way around. If we wish to be wooed with romantic gestures and flowers and such we have a right to want it. 

However, in the defense of men. You cannot be a dashing prince swooping to rescue a woman who appears to be stronger and more capable than you are. The key is to analyse each woman's needs individually. If you wish to find your way into her heart you have to use the door she opens for you. And if that means you have to cook a meal, rub her feet, write little notes of poetry, then just do it. Because thats what it means to be chivalrous and gallant.

So ultimately chivalry is not dead. Its just hanging in our closets. Dusty, unused and forgotten. Its up to us to implement its use. 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Extra credit?

I would like to know if we get extra credit everytime we use an arabic word?

Everyone is fast and loose with arabic words of wisdom, blessings, advice, strength and so on and I have no idea what these words mean. I have to google them to make sure I understand what someone is saying sometimes. Is it perhaps that everyone my age has now come to that level where we are meant to talk the lingo? I didn't grow up in Saudi so using the terms in my daily conversations proves to be very challenging. I didn't grow up in a household that did either so it is rather new to me and my English ears.

When you speak with arabic terms you assume that the person listening knows what you mean. You could come off sounding a bit condescending, making the listener feel inadequate in their knowledge. Inevitably preventing the person from understanding your message and killing any courage they might have to ask you to translate. To that person, I mean me, you could be speaking in Chinese. Perhaps the fault lies with me and my lack of arabic knowledge and understanding.

I had look at Mufti Menk's Facebook status updates for some guidance and his last 20 updates had zero arabic terms in it. If someone so learned doesn't feel the need to use them in those updates, then I wonder if it is necessary to speak that way to be a better Muslim? 

Will I get more credit? It reminds me of high school. We are all here to pass through. We will all pass through. Some with better marks than others. We all studied the same subjects in the same language. There was no extra credit if you could say 'atom' in five languages. The credit for atom lie in the knowing of what an atom was. 

By all means speak the speak if it makes you happy and proud. But remember without knowing what you need to know, the speak are just words without any weight. 

When I get old....

When I get old I want to be exactly like the old people. 

They say exactly what they want, do exactly as they please and drive like they're the only people in the world! Take turns as wide as you can, the other cars must move. Don't indicate, don't even bother looking. Lines? What lines? If you're between the pavements you're on the road and good to go. Everyone avoids old people drivers because we just know you don't have any insurance! And that you will scratch, dent, bump, total our new flashy cars with its expensive paint jobs without a moments thought. 

And that's exactly the kind of old person I want to be. The kind that giggles quietly as the other drivers swerve out of my way. I must make sure to have an old car too. The big ones with big bumpers and a very loud hooter. Because I intend to take it to the next level with copious amounts of hooting as well.

You have to admire that about the elderly. They just don't give a toss anymore. It's the best part about getting old I reckon. You don't have to make excuses or justify bad behavior. You can just let it all hang out. You can punish everyone if you're having a bad day and you will be forgiven because you're old. 

So carteblanche to the oldies I say. Do what you like. You've earned the right to be you. We make allowances for you and however you wish to behave. If you get a chance, watch the movie Nebraska. It shows old people at their finest, filthiest and canniviest. But love them you must because ultimately you know the sacrifices they made for you.

Swerve for now I will. But know one day, someone will swerve for me. Or else....Hoot!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

What is your addiction?

We all have one. 

Some are legal, some are not. Some costs you money and some costs you time, energy, life. There is always a price and there is always an addiction. We are all programmed with faults and flaws. Perfect in our imperfect state. For even those flaws are meant to teach us how resilient and powerful we are. We are given a challenge to overcome. How else would we know the impossible is indeed possible. 

There are reformed alcoholics, rehabilitated drug addicts, born again religious followers, these are just the big ones. The ones where the Anonymous group therapy sessions and the religious devout do their work. What about the addictions that are not that common? Where it can be quietly hidden from view. Porn, cigarettes, shopping, these are so common that to be addicted is just ridiculous, no? I mean who can't kick these habits? Everyone who indulges in them believes that they can abstain at any moment. Until you actually try…

My addiction has got to be shopping for shoes. I mean who doesn't know that about me? Its a well known fact that I love buying shoes. Wearing them is another issue all together. I never get to wear them all because I keep buying them so frequently. I met travellers on a group tour once, I spent a few days with them and in no time they had established that I loved to shop. Is it that obvious? I didn't even realise the magnitude of the addiction until I had to have a wall of closet space built to accommodate the mountain of shoes and boots I now own. 

These shoes have now become a constant reminder of an unfulfilled promise I made. I promised myself when I bought each and everyone of them that I would use them and that I needed them. And yet there they are, just waiting for me to wear them. Waiting to deliver on the promise they made to me of being the most comfortable, stylish, useful, trendy, shiny, pretty. Like a pretty girl at her prom wearing a beautiful dress waiting to be asked for a dance that never comes. And I am the wanker that brought her but I am too busy dancing with other girls.

Every effort has to be made to change this scenario. I quit smoking once. My goodness, I loved smoking. I still fight the craving every now and then. If I can quit smoking, I can change how I behave towards shopping and in particular shopping for shoes. Let this be the start of a new era for me. The era where my addiction changes into something that is good for me. Good for my soul, my mind and my wallet. Commencing with Day 1...

God help me.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Lost stars....

Please don't see just a boy caught up in dreams and fantasies
Please see me reaching out for someone I can't see
Take my hand let's see where we wake up tomorrow
Best laid plans sometimes are just a one night stand
I'd be damned Cupid's demanding back his arrow
So let's get drunk on our tears and

God, tell us the reason youth is wasted on the young
It's hunting season and the lambs are on the run
Searching for meaning

But are we all lost stars, trying to light up the dark?

Who are we? Just a speck of dust within the galaxy?
Woe is me, if we're not careful turns into reality
Don't you dare let our best memories bring you sorrow
Yesterday I saw a lion kiss a deer
Turn the page maybe we'll find a brand new ending
Where we're dancing in our tears and

God, tell us the reason youth is wasted on the young
It's hunting season and the lambs are on the run
Searching for meaning

But are we all lost stars, trying to light up the dark?

I thought I saw you out there crying
I thought I heard you call my name
I thought I heard you out there crying
Just the same

God, give us the reason youth is wasted on the young
It's hunting season and this lamb is on the run

I wish I had the words to explain just how deep this song is. Close your eyes and let it wash over you. Let the words soak in and permeate every corner of your mind. Everything about it just makes me want to fly, makes me want to soar, makes me happy from the inside to my edges. 

When i first heard it in the movie Begin Again, i just knew this is THAT movie. You know which movie I mean, the kind of movie you can't shake. It grabs you and makes you a different person. Makes you want to be better, makes you want to live harder, love crazier.

It was the perfect vessel for the perfect song. One of the things i loved was that the movie had no nudity or lewdness it was just human frailty and strength wrapped in amazing melodies. It makes you cry, makes you cheer and makes you believe. 

Who are we really? We are here for a fraction of a moment in time. Don't let the memories make you sad. Everything about being here is beautiful. And youth, it is wasted on the young. We are in the best physical shape when our minds are most under developed. Imagine for a second we were all Benjamin Buttons we would have a lifetime of experience in a young body! We would have the meaning and answers to all our questions or at least most of them. We would have a lifetime of accumulated wealth and adventures and at the dusk of our lives enjoy the last decade or so fully energised and focused. 

I suppose if we could all map out how we wished to live the life we were given it would all be different. Like timeshare. We would swop and trade and barter and sell. Some things are best left outside our scope of manipulation as we can be frivolous and serious in equal amounts. 

If i can leave you with just one thought, watch this movie. It says everything and more, but with pictures and music. It's a smorgasbord for your soul.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

50 shades of what?

So I turned 40. I wish I could say something momentous happened. Some fundamental change occurred. Or that aliens swooped down and gave me the secret to renewable youth. Nope. Nothing remarkable happened except that I got one day older.

Age really is just a number. You don't feel yourself age. In fact you just continually feel like you. You don't even know you're aging until you die. So there. That's the secret of life. You live and then you die. Everything in between is your life. Its not getting older one should fear, its death. So when you're alive, just relax and enjoy.

Which brings me to my topic at hand. What is all this fuss about with 50 shades? I mean really if you wish to read BDSM porn then just do so and enjoy it quietly like everyone else does. Suddenly this glamorous version of dominion of a woman is sweeping the world and everyone goes doe eyed. Its exactly like Pretty Woman. Making a vice romantic. BDSM is a form of sexual perversion. I certainly don't judge it because I believe it does have its merits among adults. However, my concern is that this romantic version of BDSM has now entered the arena of popular culture. Making it accessible to the most easily influenced, most vulnerable sector of any population, its teenagers.

I recently learnt that sexual intercourse for 12-16 years olds is now legal as long as both partners are in that age bracket. I mean come on! That is just insane. Children that young? That alone was hard to absorb until I was also told that girls no longer needed the permission of a parent or guardian to have an abortion. Any girl at any age can get an abortion without telling anyone! We are opening the doors for sexual promiscuity and lifelong emotional self abuse. Imagine for a second that your daughter could have an abortion and you as the parent would never know.

When I first heard that Singapore bans the chewing of gum in public, I thought what a crazy infringement of my rights to eat what I wish. But their reasoning is starting to make more sense to me. Their streets are super clean. No graffiti on their trains. No trash. Their focus was to start with the smaller problems. Gum being stuck on public facilities was a problem, so they banned gum. Free abortion and consensual sex is a major problem, and fixing it starts with not making 50 shades of grey a romantic movie. Its not romance. Its exploitation.

Lets start somewhere to get our morals back in order.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Waiting for my turn to dance....

It's less than an hour now. Less than one hour left of my thirties.

I feel a mixture of apprehension and almost falling short of fulfillment. Almost like when you're waiting at a club to hear just the right song before you start dancing. But if you wait too long and your song doesn't play you've wasted the whole night just waiting. Have I danced enough? Have I spent my time so far in the best way possible?

Looking back on the last decade, I've travelled to ten different countries, found the lion to my lioness, had a beautiful little cub, met amazing people, seen amazing sights. These are just the highlights for it is in the every day grind that the true beauty of life and love lives. It's the minutes that make a decade awesome, that make it epic.

It's also the grit that makes it all worthwhile. Losing people along the way, the hardships, the struggles. It brings a balance to life that just amplifies the good times and give it so much more meaning.

So looking back I say, just dance! Don't wait.  Make every song your song. That way you don't wait for the opportunity to come to you instead you make it happen out of whatever you have.

Have I done that? I think I have and thus far it's worked out great! Looking forward, things can only get better...

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Hello 40 … you son of a b*tch.

Its finally found me …  I'll be 40 in exactly three days. 

The months coming up to the day is kind of foggy and mysterious. Not the good kind of mysterious. The kind of mysterious when you're sitting in a helicopter waiting to go up for the first time and you realise how very tiny and tinny it is and asking yourself whether you trust the pilot and whether his nails are clean … yes that kind. The good news is closer to the day the fog starts to clear and I can see the makings of a plan. A plan for my forties.

It involves a number of tiny steps in the right direction. First, the facial, hair, feet preparation because I simply cannot be looking crusty when I make that touchdown. I bought a lovely old desk to set up my own little area to write, read and create from. A space to inspire and just be without excuses and justification. It's amazing how many times you justify your own ideas and aspirations to others expecting them to understand and pat you on the back. Is it our human need for acceptance surfacing again? Where we are afraid to go against the grain because something perceived to be different would result in us being ostracised from the pack?

Well to hell with it. I want to be different. I don't want to be you. I want to be me.

Yesterday I took my daughter to the circus. It was something I wanted to share with her since my experience as a young girl was magical! There is so much hype about animal cruelty and people just generally slating the circus as old and outdated. I bought the tickets anyway. And off we went. When I saw the clown at the door I noticed how old his costume looked and how dusty and hot the big top was. I kept looking for reasons why everyone else was right about how they felt about the circus. 

After a few acts of acrobats, poodles in hoops, jugglers, clowns… something happened. My daughter just got into it and punched her fists in the air, shouting whooo hooo at the top of her voice. And i started to enjoy it with her. She didn't care that it was old, dusty and hot. All she saw was magic… ballerinas that fly and acrobats doing handstands on galloping horses. And from that moment I saw the beauty with her. It was as if I was transformed back to my first magical moment. 

It's the old timelessness of the circus that makes it magical. It's the dedication and passion you see in the performers faces. Imagine the life they lead? Travelling continuously, love and sacrifice for their art. It made me realise that you can only find the most beautiful things when you follow your heart and commit to it. Commit to you.

And that is the kind of forty year old I want to be. The kind that follows her heart and makes magic along the way.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Where I am vs Where I thought I'd be...

When I resigned from work about a year ago, I had all these ideas of what I would do with all this newfound freedom. I planned to study, revamp my home, straighten out the extra curves on my body, take more pictures, make more friends, read more books... the list goes on and on. And the reality is I've dabbled a bit in some (by a bit I mean I put it on another mini list which I carry in my handbag) and straight out ignored the rest.

Made me wonder what am I meant to do with my time? Who am I meant to be? Or am I that person already?! I cant be. It feels as though I'm short of the goal. Way short. After all these years I still feel like I did in high school where I have no idea what to do with myself?

After a number of years you realise the things you love the most are the things you accumulate a lot of knowledge about, for instance if you liked cars you'd know what Jeremy Clarkson was saying when he was mumbling on that infernal show. So it stands to reason the stuff you know is the direction you should take yourself. Cause that's what everyone says, follow what you love. I love shoes. I love fashion. I photos of fashion. I love jeans, I love denim. I love leather. I love shiny. Am I just a regular girl or is there something more in there?

I also love to write, I love to read. Perhaps its that I love to hear the sound of my own voice inside my head reading what I write. So I ask, when all the have to do's are done, what is left on your list of want to do's?

An art teacher once said to me, art happens when you keep doing something that speaks to you. If you want to make circles, just keep making circles. Eventually the circles assume a life of their own and find the place where they wish to be.

So I think I will write. And I will Pin. Cause I think life without pinterest would just be dull dull dull.
Somewhere along the line I think perhaps I will write a book about denim trends, denim history, denim weaves and denim makers. And take pictures of denim wearers and their interpretations of the art that is denim.

And maybe one day you'll see my denim covered denim book on a coffee table somewhere and be reminded that whatever silly thing you like is your circle and that you should just let it be.