Sunday, March 27, 2016


The more I move ahead in life, the more I converge.. The longer the passage of time, the more I converge. Going back to the center, reaching in. In my self and in others. I am growing fonder of my roots by day, longing for the concept of home, of "sakan". I am looking for answers within and without.

It is ironic how as children and as younger adults, we want to drift as further away as possible from the core, we feel a constant need to reach out and extend, expand. Now I relate more to people who remind me of home, no matter how unrelated to me in blood. I like people who look like family, who feel like family, I like people who know about my family.

The concept of home is beautiful, and what is more beautiful is that I am learning to carry my home within myself. 

Monday, August 03, 2015

Lobsters & Insecurities

In psychology, there is a term called “loose associations”, it describes a sort of a brain disorder where a thought or term instantly triggers a response/memory/thought/word that seemingly have no logical connection. I learned this as a teenager in university and I was surprised.. Disorder, they say! This is how my brain functions most of the time and they call it a disorder! The idiots! 
I think of loose associations, when I see on a French food blog the image of a lobster getting ready for the boiling.  
It makes me think of Annie Hall and the famous lobster fiasco scene with Woody Allen.
I think of the time I watched the movie for the first time with him. I think of me falling asleep during the end of the movie, after all it was almost dawn, the sun was rising on us, and we were in that content relaxed mood that makes staying awake an epic challenge for a person like me. 
I think of how offended he got because I fell asleep again watching a movie with him, then how I explained that I have to be at my maximum levels of trust to have done that several times. 
I think of another time he got offended, when I chose to be in opposite teams to him in some board game, thinking I do not trust his abilities to win, whereas I just thought it would be cooler to banter on opposite sides than be lovey-dovey on the same side.. I liked the teasing involved with the competition more than the collaboration. 
I think of insecurities.. I think of another insecure guy and how I had to pull off several “dumb”/girly/weak acts to have him supposedly step in and save the day. Until he believed it and so did I. 
I think of my own insecurities.. Insecure of leaving and of being left. Insecure of not leaving, of being stuck. Insecure of being too good or not being good enough. I think of how hard I fight my inner demons on a daily basis, with a poker face, and -at most- the fish mouth as Dudu calls it. 
I love Diane Keaton’s wardrobe in Annie Hall, it reminds me of my mom as a younger woman.. But I do not like Woody Allen’s insecurities in that film. They just fucked everything up for him. 
Lobsters and insecurities.. this is all what it boils down to… Lobsters and insecurities.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

ما مشي الحال

One of the advantages of being multi-lingual multi-dialect is that one is rarely stuck for a word to express oneself and one's feelings.. I find Arabic a highly flowery/pretentious/heavy language at times so I avoid it when expressing myself in writing, I feel fake sometimes if I do. English is analytical, like me and my thinking, it is clear and direct. The first thing they taught me in my American liberal arts education is to forget what I had learned at school in writing. It is about quality not quantity. MH later at work told me another simple rule; take every complicated difficult word and replace it with a simpler one, until you no longer can. Omit repetitions. Core ideas only.. pure, filtered, stripped raw.

Mapping and differences between languages and semantics amuses me a lot. In English, we say "I miss you", it is about me and about the feeling *I* am feeling. In French, however, it is about the other: "Tu me manques". It is YOU who is missing to me. There is a lack of "you", and "I" am just an indirect object here.

There is an expression used a lot in Lebanese (and Levantine) dialects.. "ما مشي الحال".. It means it did not work out, but it says it in a passive, resigned tone that doesn't let on the reason things did not work, whether it is you, others, or just fate.

So how is your new start-up?
ما مشي الحال

Weren't you getting engaged to that guy?
ما مشي الحال

How is that diet going?
ما مشي الحال

The French also have a similar expression when you ask someone how they're doing, "ça marche" they say. "Ca marche", "it goes", not great, not bad.. Just life as we know it.

So, ça marche, until one day it does not.

Monday, November 10, 2014

the spectacle

It is interesting this spectacle, but I'm tired. I have always been a wallflower, and I never seemed to mind it at first, then I did, then I went back to not minding. I have the advantage of watching, observing, assessing. But I am cursed with a goldfish memory for bad things. They say a person will forget what you said but they will never forget how you made them feel. Well, I tend to forget both, and in my head, my memories are woven together like incoherent fairy tales, or surreal dreams.

For as long as I remember, I have been observing myself and others. One of my clearest earliest memories was when I was not more than 3, my older brother (19 or 20 at the time) asked me why I talk so much. We were in his dark grey Fiat Ritmo. And I remember very clearly that I said "I am the mother of all speech" (مامة الكلام كله). I find that funny, amusing, insightful now. And I think he is foolish for not seeing it at the time, or now. I do believe in words and in thoughts, maybe more than actions sometimes. I love words and how we can play with them like little play-dough, and I feel sad for those who do not express themselves as freely or as expressively..

I have been reading a lot on personal interaction, validating the other's feelings, and I realized that between intention & impact I am lost. I reached an epiphany. I say what I mean, but I do not say what I feel, or what I need you to feel through me... my words are wasted... I should follow the earlier advice then: replace every difficult word with an easy one, read it from the other's point of view, and then feel the impact, not the intention.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

the lonely culture

Ours is a culture of loneliness. We are forever haunted by being alone, so much so that it has become one of our defining characteristics. I realized that when -walking alone in stranger cities- I found myself reaching for my phone; texting, calling, receiving calls. Trying to kill the "alone"-ness by creating some virtual connection. Going into a shop to have a coffee and pastries, I would read my book, but lunch/dinner is another affair. How would I sit somewhere, order a pasta dish, and eat it in complete silence and loneliness.

In earlier years, I never felt weird about people on their own in cafés: a little me-time to work, study, read or just sit and ponder over a cup of coffee is okay, yet I always wondered about those eating in restaurants alone. Does he not have a family/spouse/friend/companion to keep him company during lunch? When I started traveling for work, I understood how it is sometimes inevitable. You cannot live on café food for a week! So I was bound to go into restaurants, sit on a table for two, and order for one. Again, it was merely out of inevitability not out of choice. Recently, however, I started acknowledging being alone as a choice. It still confused me, but at least I acknowledged it. I started understanding the thin line between being alone and being lonely, and how the latter had nothing to do with having people eating with you on the same table.

The culture thing hit me when I started thinking how we would almost feel "sorry" for someone who would go watch a movie alone, eat a meal alone, live alone. We are forever longing for companionship that we even use the little time that we are on our own to catch-up on our phone-calls, making sure that we are NEVER having a silent pensive moment, God forbid! I would compare that to others around me in stranger countries in Europe, and they all seem pretty much fine with being alone without having to mask that with random phone calls.. They seemed at ease, either out to finish a task or just out to enjoy some quality time with oneself.

Some years ago, when I saw an old man or woman walking alone in the street, carrying groceries or maybe carrying the morning's newspaper, I would tell mama "we will never let you be that alone when you are old", and she said "but maybe I want to have some time on my own."

We are trying so hard not to be alone that we have forgotten what the connection is all about. Instead of appreciating these links, it became simply about mental/verbal/emotional dumps, word vomit. No need to "connect", just some random need to not eat alone. 

Monday, September 08, 2014


life should be simpler.. grudges should not be held.. everything should be sorted out if someone in denial texted the other with a reminder of love, and asked to go see a movie or have a coffee.. A lot of time is wasted on blame and finger-pointing.. a lot of energy is wasted in blocking the other, even more so than the energy spent in the actual fight..

I do not know if it is wisdom that came with age, or simple resignation to the reality and burdens of life, but I have developed tolerance.. accommodation.. forgiveness.. understanding.. and I look for the same.. I have even gone so extreme as to fight over intolerance! (quite contradictory)..

I am having "dreams" again these days, the ones that blur wakefulness with sleep, and where I wake up knowing answers to questions I was asking. I wake up satisfied, knowing truth in my heart. But does the other know that?

A dog has a terribly loud and scary bark, and a man is terrified. "Don't worry", the owner says, "don't you know a dog's bark is worse than its bite?". And the man responds, "I know, but I wonder if the dog knows."

It is like that. I know the truth in my heart, and I believe, but I wonder if the other knows it. And I mean no moral or intellectual superiority here, it was not exactly an easy ride. 

Monday, August 25, 2014


Two years ago, I did not know how to float. I had always been terrible at learning how to swim. My father was a great swimmer, really one of the best I've seen. Like he taught my older brother and my cousins, he really did try to teach me with no success (and maybe he lacked the time & effort to follow through). What's more, I couldn't do something as basic as floating. I would float as long as his hand was under my back, even if not touching me, it was my placebo. But as soon as I felt it gone I would lose control and stop floating, arms splashing and flailing all over. Afterwards, there were several attempts through self and through friends to learn the same, but again with no use. "Trust that water will carry you" was only theoretical when it came to me. Water did not carry me, all laws of buoyancy & physics were rendered obsolete. I could not float.

It was not until two years back that S attempted to teach me to lay back and float, and succeeded. I suddenly could ease back into floating and I LOVED it! When he saw how my friends reacted to that, he realized what a big accomplishment that was. I even started to draw observations and improvise on my floating patterns (childish but it was still my baby steps).. I realized that while laying back (a very conscious & aware process in my case), there is a certain split second where an internal statement is made: I will let go, and all will be well. If this split second passes successfully, I could float forever uninterrupted. If it does not, here comes the flailing arms, the panic and the doggy swimming.  

To me, letting go of this feeling of control (emotionally/physically/mentally), is exactly like this split second. Over and over and over again. It is a lesson in trust, and so far the "metaphorical" water keeps failing me, so there is no reason to believe I can float if I let go.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

brain dump

At times of profound confusion like these, I am looking for signs. Even signs that my own brain plays on me to make me believe. I go to a friend's blog, not to see the recent posts but to dig deeper into the holes of history, even before I knew her. Not for any reason except to find fragments of ourselves in others. For reverse solidarity. To look for clues elsewhere that can crack a puzzle I have the answer to. I also listen to music that would induce the right moods and thoughts. Adaweya is surprisingly too painful, or maybe not painful but rather very subjective, and why wouldn't he be! Mozart and Abdelwahab are the answer. Listening to Lacrimosa I hold back the tears. I wonder if somewhere in my head the definitions of strength and weakness or courage and fear got confused, because right now telling the difference is becoming increasingly difficult. In my head, I go through the exercise of splitting up the memories, what’s mine and what I should leave to the wind.

I think Sh is more talented than he believes. I think he is both better and worse than he thinks. But no matter how many times I have to say this, he still won't believe it until he's ready. He tries too hard and sometimes I want to tell him, like the puzzle, that the answer is simpler than he believes.

I am sleepy because I have been having dreams that exhaust me. Last week I dreamt it was my wedding in few days and I can't reach him! My dreams think it is funny to mock me like so!

I don't know if it is age or what, but I started in the last year specifically to focus on joy factor: I would rather stay hungry than eat something I do not like. And so on.

Also I was right to not trust people who tell me ya sett el kull without knowing me. I hate bullshit and bullshitters. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013


This cold winter air smells heavily of anticipation, and I cannot ignore it. Something is bound to happen, something good I feel, but I've been wrong before, and "good" is really very elastic. I still cannot ignore my wary sense of anticipation. Cannot ignore the feeling that I'm walking with sure steps (yet somewhat unconsciously) towards a self-fulfilling prophecy.

What if, what if, what if.
Padam.. Padam.. Padam..

Monday, December 02, 2013


For the last few weeks, the highlight of my days has been a sugarless banana-orange concoction I've taught the juice bar guy at work to make. 

Friday, November 08, 2013

Things I've been silent about..

* how most words lost their meanings.. almost everything that could be said and done, has been said and done before.

* how I became in total control of my anger, yet fully aware that I am letting go.

* how I lost interest in expressing frustration, blame, reproach, disappointment because of how useless it is. I learned if I cannot fix it myself, then I'd better not bother. 

* how much I am ignoring inner alarms, and how tired I've become. 

* how much I do not feel like myself most of the time. 

* how I learned to say what I should feel rather than what I feel.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013


I miss familiarity. Familiar faces. Familiar friends. Familiar feelings. Not routine. Just the comfort of not feeling alienated... even the comfort of having familiar arguments.

The frustration that comes with this boring yet unfamiliar feeling is a silent but strong frustration... like a dull throbbing pain in the background.. a passive aggressive frustration that takes out its energy on me in different outlets..

I am tired and I cannot complain, because complaining means ungratefulness, and the truth is I am very grateful.

Tamed vs. broken. 

Friday, August 09, 2013

small talk

why do people even bother to ask questions when they won't listen to the answers? 

Thursday, August 01, 2013


this has been the longest period I remember where I have controlled what I really wanted to say, and instead shared the toned down filtered diluted feelings...

I have a lot of words, but I choose not to use them.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


I miss bonding, connecting, talking. He says I talk a lot. Said so in several occasions, some pleasant and meant as a teasing joke and some not so much. Truth is, I have not really talked for a long long long time. I share, I tell stories, I confide in people some very personal secrets, I give my uncalled for opinion, I judge, I reminisce... but I do not really talk anymore like I want to. I keep most vulnerabilities to myself. Most fears. I "smile, wave, and nod" more than anything, and I try to sense and feel. But I have stopped talking. I prefer to talk through sharing, art, songs, articles, quotes, creating a collage of other people's thoughts and creations to express what I feel.

I miss myself sometimes, but I am here with her all the time, and we're getting to know each other again and again.

Sunday, July 21, 2013


You must remember this
A kiss is just a kiss, a sigh is just a sigh.
The fundamental things apply
As time goes by.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

don't forget to exhale

I am forever holding my breath.. forever thinking I should be somewhere else, doing something else.. People my age did this, people my age did that.. I did other things, but not this and that... and age? so what if I'm behind on this or that, or this AND that? what's a few years in a person's lifetime right? wrong? maybe? I reached the point of staying silent about my experiences. Dissociating myself from them. And the more I pretend to not know, the more I forget I know. A vicious self-fulfilling prophecy.

always holding my breath so hard, trying to focus that I don't lose grip... so much so that I end up focusing on the focus and not on the grip.

Even in gym classes, my biggest mistake is always forgetting to exhale.. inhale when you go up, exhale as you go down.. the harder part of the move is always the part where you should exhale. It helps you get through the move, they claim. I inhale, but I hold my breath and try, and try, and try.

I learned over time to reassure myself, instead of waiting for external reassurance. But it leaves me no energy to reassure the other then... but will it matter?

The future is gloomy, scary, so I ignore it. Until it looms over me and then I confront it and force the other to confront it. But I am always waiting on actions to react to, or reactions for my actions. Always waiting.

I think the only time I manage to let go, to breathe, is when I consciously meditate. I drift, floating slowly, becoming in sync with the rise and fall of my chest with every breath. The only time I intentionally choose not to think, but just to "be".

Be here. now.
in the moment.
become aware.
become present.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Stephane, Stephanie... click clack

How could I have missed the Stephanie reference? or did I get it and pretend not to? I forgot. I miss in-betweens.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Tolerance and Love

Things lose their meanings. I used to have a lot of fire and anger for my beliefs, now I do not fight as hard. Growing up or growing tired? 

I have learned a lot on love and tolerance over the last couple of years, learning it from where I least expected it. I have also learned by experience that tolerance, as a "higher" state of mind, takes a lot of energy, albeit renewable energy. It needs a constant conscious effort until it manages to become a habit. The watch-out? It can slowly lead to apathy. 

Acceptance, accepting the other, accepting oneself (not only pretending to), being accepted. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

city of the dead

It is very cruel in this city that is a mixture of Gotham city and Ankh-Morpork.
People are cruel and they smell like a mixture of feet (that unclean masjid bathrooms smell), dust, and gebna roumi.
A city that never sleeps but is lazy in its endless waking hours... I am so tired here, so exhausted. Everything is so dusty, even the people's souls..

Yes I am judgmental, they tell you to start with the change in yourself. Well, I take a shower every day, I wash myself and I wash my thoughts.. I started carrying smaller weights, to be lighter to move... but then the loads come on and start piling up again, and I go back to moving on with my 2 loads... wanting my laptop to be identified as a separate entity from my self. Here you go, I started. Your turn, world.

I get my energy refill from my favorite baby boy, followed by my closest circle. But I fear for the souls of those closest to me, I see them withering like I am... on and off.

Mama has become incredibly considerate at times. I think she is going through the same, and hence we are exchanging the care-taker role.

I think I am suffering from chronic stress... I noticed my heartbeats race faster whenever people raise their voices (even if not at me) and whenever I hear car horns. Please, don't raise your voice. I raise my heartbeats and my voice to match you.

I do not bite my nails anymore, have been nail-biting-free for more than a year now.. Papi would be proud.

I have become nostalgic to my father's family, kinder to strangers, tolerant to stupid waiters -letting go their small insignificant mistakes..

This world needs more error-tolerance margins.