Thursday, March 31, 2011

On inspiration, deception, depression and all the "sions"



Fear not dear, loyal reader (if there's anyone out there!) I am not really depressing. It's just that a lot around me calls for a great deal of sadness these days.

Mia aside that is, of course. She's probably the one thing that's keeping me from officially being  institutionalized.

2010 has been a bitch!

Naturally, I forgave her because she ended up giving me Mia just one month before she finally hit the road. But I just couldn't wait for 2011 to finally come. We all needed a break. Well...

2011 doesn't look any kinder

Which sucks, royally. Because I will need some good stuff to keep my sanity and chocolate won't do it anymore. Of course I still have Mia's cheeks but I don't want to be that annoying mother that keeps following her child and steals a few kisses by force. Because eventually, she'll get bored of my overbearing affection. Then what?

Hubby cannot reiterate it enough: I am a Drama-Queen.
Capital D, capital Q.
Capital DRAMA actually.
And I won't argue much with that theory because well, let's be honest, I do have my dramatic moments. Every day.

But these past months would have been unbearable for just about anyone in my shoes.
Or crocs, they're all that fits right now.

Too many people left us, way too soon

First there was a close friend's cousin. He was in his forties, in good health. To add even more cruelty to the tragedy, it ironically happened on his way back from jogging. He was in his living-room with his family when his 5 year old daughter asks him to read her a story. He gently declines telling her he is tired and lays down on the couch. Suddenly he tells his wife he's not feeling OK and has a stroke right there, in front of his wife, his daughter and his baby boy! I didn't know the man personally but we had many common friends. Clearly, the 995 people who joined the Facebook group created in his memory can only attest how appreciated he was.

It was disgusting.
He was young.
He exercised.
He wasn't that much older than us.
And he was leading the same kind of life we do.

The lifestyle similarities, the common friends, his age...
Everything was disturbing.
Utterly disgusting.

Ironically, he had been supporting a common friend who had lost her mother a few days earlier. Her mom had been sick for years and couldn't get out of bed anymore. And yet, it still felt as unfair as ever. She was my friend's only family. She raised her on her own. A real-life hero. And as if being horribly sick and in pain for years wasn't enough, she was robbed of the joy of  seeing her only child get married. She will never kiss her grand-children. And they will never have the privilege of meeting her.

Life's cruel ways

A few months later, it was another friend's turn to leave us suddenly. He was only 30, we attended high-school together. He was so friendly and socially and politically active that he became one of those popular guys that everyone loves in college. Three groups were created in his memory on Facebook. One has 2,366 members, the others 255 and 361. Obviously, "popular" is an understatement. He was riding his bike on one of the perfectly-maintained and super-safe highways in Lebanon when he crashed in a pit.  A freaking pit in the middle of the highway! Just like that.

It hit hard.
He was too young. Obviously.
And his accident was outrageously ridiculous and absurd.


Then came Ziad
Dear Ziad

Also in his forties, also with a young family; a three-year old baby girl. And also in the most unfair and dreadful of ways: Cancer. Ziad was the closest. He was family. We went to the doctors' appointments with him. We followed up his treatment. We supported him and his wife throughout the most hideous of ordeals. And he simply left. Just like that. Leaving everyone and everything behind. He had only begun to build a good life for himself and his family. He was finally happy at his job. At last he was close to home. He was close to his loved ones. He was close to us. And only a few months after we celebrated all these accomplishments which everyone had prayed for for so long; he is diagnosed with advanced Cancer. He struggled like a hero for months before his body finally gave up. His soul was never weakened. His heart was saddened, yes; but his soul remained intact. How can anyone justify that to his daughter? What do you say? Life sucks, deal with it?

Do I really have to say it?
There. Said.

Surreal and brutal

Only a few weeks after he visited me at the hospital to meet Mia for the first time and congratulate us, one of the sweetest and most innocent man I know was brutally attacked and murdered in his own home. He too was in his forties. He too was healthy. He too was young, bright, kind. He too was loved by so many people. And he too left in such a hideous and terrifying way. Murdered. I thought I would only know that word through movies and books. Maybe the evening news. It turned out my friend made the evening news this time.

The horror

Just a few days later, my dad goes to check on his best friend of 30 years. He finds him in his home, sleeping peacefully on his bed. Gone. Just like that. No warning. No reason. He was a bit older than the friends I mentioned above, granted. But 60 is still too young and too ridiculous. People don't just die for no reason. At 60. Not in this day and age. He was an artist; a filmmaker and a photographer. He was an activist always ready to tackle the most sensitive issues. He passed away before he could witness the Arab revolutions. He would have loved them. He would have been part of them. He, who made documentaries on the Israeli war on Lebanon; on Iraq; on Egypt's Abdel Nasser. He was supposed to be there. He was supposed to see and experience the pride of those he supported for so long. He was supposed to film the revolutions he's always encouraged. Was supposed to. Didn't. Never will again. Just like that. Ironically, because apparently life is too cruel not to be filled with disgusting irony, he was the healthiest man I know. Always giving advices on how to eat, how to exercise, what to do to live a long, healthy life.

It was much more than that to all of us at home.
My dad hasn't recovered yet.

Fate did not spare him anyway.

What the hell?!

A few weeks after he buried his best friend, the one he spent each and every day with; my dad lost his mother. On his birthday. The irony never stops, right? This date that will now be stained forever in his eyes. Yes, she was senile. Yes she was sick. And yes, she was 90 years old. But it still felt like a knife in the back. Forty days later we lost my grand-father. Forty days. Forty damn days. We consoled each other: they had lived a full life, together, up until the end. They had been happy. They got sick together (Alzheimer). And somehow, I don't know how, they left together. As it should be. Is it less disgusting?

Make it stop!

Now, a few days ago another friend my age, in his early thirties, left us. A day after his birthday. Didn't I mention life was too cruel not to be ironic? I hadn't seen or spoken to him in years. Then I see his name on my Facebook calendar, so I wish him a happy birthday and he replies that same day. We exchange a few messages and I wait for him to let me know when he'll be visiting Lebanon (he lives in Washington) so we can get together. The reply never came. He passed away that day, probably before he could even read my message. He was not one of those people who dismiss others. He was one of the kindest souls I know. Truly. absolutely not one person who knew him disliked, let alone hated him. Not one. And now every time they will remember his birthday, they will remember his departure.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Today is:

For that occasion, I did not really Photoshop The Day** but I added a few touches to the official UN poster:
The environment and water in particular are such important issues and although it will sound clichéd to make a whole speech about our social responsibility and simple ethical duty to get involved and do whatever is in our power to positively change our behavior and the world around us; well.... Well there, I did make the speech. Moving on then.
** I apparently have time to PHOTOgraph, especially baby Mia; it seems I also have time to SHOP, mostly for diapers; but I cannot seem to be able to connect the two... PhotoShop, I do sincerely miss you, mainly because I look like crap these days and can't find a moment for myself and retouch my photos!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Happy Mother's Day


Hubby: I am so tired, I want to go to bed...

Me: No way, you're traveling tomorrow; spend some time with us!

Hubby: I'm traveling every week! Do you expect me to spend time with you every day? It's not fair!

Me: ...

Hubby: Demands, demands... Always demands!...

Happy Mother's Day!

I should probably mention Mia & her papa got me the nicest gift today for my very first Mother's Day :) Yes, he's not always an ass! :P Love you both!

Bad Hair Day!


As a woman, I attest: relationships can be brutal.
Between women I mean.

Because men, they see things and do things way more easily than we do. As hubby always likes to remind me, while men think with reason, women think with their hearts which can only lead to a flood of emotions and an overdose of feelings. And overdoses are often fatal.

I am no feminist so I don't care for arbitrary defense arguments.

I am no woman-basher either, far from it; and I do not ever tolerate arbitrary sexism.

In fact, I do not appreciate extremism in anything, except Justice.

(And I am actually flattered hubby believes I think with my heart.)

He may be generalizing a bit and not all women (or men) act that way but he's just extrapolating from his mom, sister, ex girlfriends and highly lovable wifey (duh!)

Unfortunately, as I grow older (and sometimes, I can feel really really really old) I cannot but think that yes, women are indeed brutal to each other.

Out of all the girlfriends I've had since I came to Dubai in 2004, only one can be called a true friend and remains close.

Ironically, we met because her brother and I dated in college. While that relationship could have ended when my ex and I broke up; not only did it survive brilliantly but it also outlived other relationships which to me felt like they were blessed with more common grounds.

Obviously I was wrong. Some things you may think you have in common can somehow be understood very differently by various parties.

But with her, no misunderstandings.
We've been friends for 10 years now.
A decade.

It may seem long, looking at it like that, but really, that's not much for people who've been walking the face of this Earth for three times that time.

Could it be because I knew her before Dubai?
(Could Dubai be the issue? A place can change a person dramatically, yes, but somehow I feel ethical commitments can be preserved no matter where you are so I'm not really keen on blaming Dubai for certain people's choices)

There's a main secret behind this friendship's survival:
No back talk.

She's probably the only woman I know who I trust would never bad-mouth me behind my back.

She'll say things bluntly; yes, but to my face, and that's quite refreshing and actually very nice. It may also be a pain in the ass sometimes, but a pain far less atrocious than a knife stabbed in the back, no matter how abstract that knife may be.

I hope she thinks the same of me.
I think she knows the same of me.

Don't be quick to feel sorry for me already :)
I do have other friends :)

Some I only see once every blue moon.
And yet, it feels like we've never been apart.

Every time we meet, it feels comfy and warm instantly.
Like hot cocoa.
And believe me, I love my hot cocoa :)

It always feels great seeing these people. I instantly step back in my "inner time machine", that is my emotional time machine: I simply go back to feeling good.

No pretending.
No faking.
No 3 hours prepping, choosing something to wear, doing hair and make up for fear of condescending looks.

Because no matter how we show up, there will be no judging whatsoever.

Oh the judging...
Don't you just love judgmental people?

Some people have a certain quality, a certain ability to make you feel good about yourself without even knowing they've done a thing!

While others have the skills to make you feel so damn bad, you just want to scream. I wonder if it's acquired skills or just innate because it's quite scary to think that some people could be born that way.

With one look.
With one fake, really obvious bogus smile.
With one or two words that feel like a machete right in the middle in your chest (always said in the nicest of tones and washed down with a smile, mind you).

It should be easy not to cross a certain line. We're not children anymore. We don't bully each other at recess at the back of our high school.

Shouldn't we be mature enough to be able to be civil enough?

Sometimes it just feels like there's no way back. By the time you've finished fighting, the amount of bad-mouthing vomited behind backs killed any opportunity for reconciliation.

And forgiving is really, really, and I mean really difficult.
I personally have a hard time forgetting so it makes it almost impossible for me to forgive, which can be quite dangerous sometimes.

So how do I feel when...

Someone I absolutely loved decides to give me the cold shoulder?

Someone I absolutely loved says just one "hi" to me not only like we had never met before but also like there's no interest for her to get to know me in the first place?

Well I positively *almost* cried.

In public.
No, no, I managed to hold it but I was so damn crushed I felt like my heart was going to implode.

And the stupid pain stuck in my chest for hours afterward; and lingers still this morning, almost 24 hours later.

I mean when you've spent so much time together you can almost carry a conversation without words, you'd expect that even if there were or still are issues, you'd make the effort to be nice to each other. At least for old time's sake. Or simply by habit.

Well, apparently:

I was actually quite surprised when she passed by yesterday, said a cold "hi" and turned her back (and her baby's stroller) before I had the time to reply. I ended up greeting her ass.

All things considered, that specific incident wasn't that bad as I don't think anyone had the time to notice.

That definitely didn't last long since she decided to completely ignore me and pass by me a zillion times, without a word.

I should have probably said something, just for the sake of seeing how she would have reacted, but I have to admit I was actually scared she wouldn't reply at all or worse, throw a sarcastic bitchy comment my way which, at that time, I couldn't have managed to survive tearless.

Yes, yes, I am a big cry-baby.

I blame the hormones.
Those damn pregnancy hormones are killing me!
I cry over nothing these days!!
(OK, fine, I was emotional way before the pregnancy, but I still blame the hormones for both my new and old drama! There!)

I am still in shock as just last week we were invited to a barbecue at their place.

So I had absolutely no idea there was so much hatred.

Thank God hubby was away on a business trip that weekend and I am not keen on driving with the baby at night, alone, or I would have had to be humiliated in her own home which would have been so much more brutal.

So basically for two hours, common acquaintances would come, say a few words to me and just go back to sit far, far away. Totally felt like I was 15 and shunned by the popular crowd.

It had never happened to me when I was 15 so I am still a bit confused it happened now, when I am twice that age!

What hurts the most is that I should be the one all bitchy!

I got pregnant twice and had two miscarriages before being blessed with my beautiful angel Mia. She did save me that little one. For a little more than three years, I had been depressing to the extend that I hid at home, alone, and refused to socialize in any way.

Of course, friends understood me and never took it personally.

Well, the real friends that is.

Because somehow the others seemed to be very satisfied with themselves criticizing and being all upset I was "being so distant and unfriendly".

But that is behind me now.

Because I got pregnant with princess Mia.

And everybody knew how difficult my pregnancy was.

So unmanageable in fact that I had to leave hubby for almost a year and stay with my mom so she could care for me. I never went out of the house except for doctor's appointments not because I was down or depressed but simply because physically, I wasn't able to stand up.

Only a couple of my Dubai friends kept calling my mom for updates because they knew I couldn't hold a conversation over the phone without having to run to the bathroom and puke my heart out.

That also is behind me now.

I was so darn happy to be back to Dubai with a healthy baby, I was ready to see everyone!

That didn't happen quite as I expected.

Only three people called to welcome me back.

Only one came the very first day to see me and Mia.

I honestly thought, OK, we've had some bad days and issues but I'm sure she's going to be so happy for me, things will fall back into place.

After all, babies have that magical touch.
They can instantly bring people together.

Even the most stubborn parents cannot resist their grand-children no matter how final they were on never seeing their kids again.

So Mia and I came back, and not only did no one come to visit but no one even called to check how we were doing.

Just the simple social crap.
Not even that.

She came three weeks later with her husband and two other couples, probably to make sure we wouldn't be alone but also to make it clear it was a short, purely official visit; not a friendly, casual friend's meet. We had already gotten the message clearly when they said they were visiting us and another couple who had just returned to Dubai with their newborn and who live next door.

Indeed, that woman who I once took for my sister, got in my home, said hello like a distant acquaintance (I think I felt more enthusiasm from the other two accompanying her and who I only see on special occasions) and left after an hour.

That too, I've gotten over.

But what happened yesterday...

What really got on my nerves is that I truly love her kids and I was so excited to see them; especially the last one who I never had the chance to meet since she gave birth during my first month of pregnancy when I was absolutely unable to get out of bed. Hubby did go the very next day with a gift and congratulated them on our behalf.

I was so paralyzed from her cold shoulder as I was leaning down to say hello to her baby for the first time that I got speechless and couldn't bring myself to embrace her older son who I noticed was standing there only after she had turned her back.

It was awkward enough.
I was completely immobile and unable to speak.
After a few seconds which felt like hours, I eventually walked away.

That was it.
A clear message.

A fantastically obvious "I hate you".

And for what?
Because of what?

Because of some issues which with time would have eventually faded away?

Because I felt everything around me was failing: my work which I couldn't focus on anymore and my attempts at bringing a child to this world which both got me so damn depressed for three years, I had to get away from everyone including all those I dearly love?
(I am weak, fine; sue me!)

Because I had such a paralytic pregnancy I couldn't speak or see anyone?

Because I couldn't go (yet) to see the new baby?

Then why the invitation to the barbecue? Or maybe it was my lack of attendance that very weekend that was (also?) considered as a major misstep?

I honestly don't know.
And I am not sure I should really care anymore.

All I know is that unjustified hatred and immature actions in public are truly uncalled for.

I am not proud of how I reacted at the end either. I simply left without saying goodbye to anyone as all the ladies were orbiting around her and it felt like trying to infiltrate a gang.

What might have seemed like me making a point and leaving without a word was really just me being (a child) afraid of being ignored and humiliated in public.

In any case, it's over.
I know it's not new year's yet, but I've taken a new resolution:
Not allow anyone to make me feel like crap and never ever run away from anyone.

If you're still reading:

WOW! Thank you! LOL!
I can't believe you made it that far!!
I was just having a sofa-moment, ranting to my mute-shrink blog :)

Apologies dear readers,
I'm just having a bad hair day...

And as everyone knows, when your hair looks bad, the whole world looks bad!