Monday, 31 December 2012

2013

-->
New year’s eve and most people are writing their resolutions.
I am one of these people with a bucket list, but I am also one of these people who end up losing and forgetting that list. Then, out of nowhere, I stumble on it and realize that I have accomplished most of the things on it.
It was never planned and it didn’t feel that I have had a life of accomplishments.
New year’s eve to me is a time to look back more than look forward.
A time to introspect, to analyze and conclude (we don’t have to do that simply on new year’s eve).
I have accomplished a lot.
I have managed to overcome most of the things from my childhood that held my growth back.
I have managed to become a closer image of the ideal person that I want to be, a more patient, empathetic, balanced and alive person.
I have lost people, barely stayed in contact with even the closed ones, but I have made such great peace with my philosophy of “for each his/her own”.
I do not want this philosophy to be misinterpreted as not seeing the other.
It is important to help one another, but it is also important to grow as “individuals” and depend on ourselves for growth. 
I have met people with whom i shared meaningful experiences that i will always cherish.
This year was the first year of actions, all the thoughts and dreams and ideas turned into practice.
The explosion in achrafiye made me furious, and I learned how to transfer my anger into actions to help.
I wanted to listen and comfort people, so I did with the free huggers.
I have always wanted to work in a hospital and I have finally accomplished that.

I can write pages to express how much growth happened in the past years but I would like to leave it for the people to see for themselves.

2013, will be a year of actions and not just words.
A new attempt to create a way, to have a voice, to help and build, to inspire and educate, to touch and initiate.
I joined the “Take Back Parliament”, even though people have told me that my place does not belong in politics, that I am wasting my time and efforts, that it is not going anywhere.
I smile and I understand fully what they are attempting to say and I don’t disagree, but I have a different perspective. I have nothing to lose and a lot to gain, I have a long road of lessons and I am not afraid of failing, I have so much to fight for and years of frustrations to transfer into actions.
I have met fighters, not only through the movement, but also as friends and strangers struggling to get by, I want them to see what we could accomplish if we dare. I don’t simply want to challenge the system, I want to create a better system, even though I might not know better, I am willing to learn to create better and know better. I want to grow and share the growth.
I am tired of keeping my mouth shut, I am helping a person in need for a day knowing tomorrow he will be in need again, I want to provide the new generation with better options.
I will not despair. 


Sunday, 16 December 2012

a not so random sunday

-->
I woke up at 8 am. My body seemed to have get used to waking up early.
Too lazy to leave the warm bed, I opened my laptop to update myself.
I made myself a cup of tea and jumped in the bed near dad, discussing with him the problems we are facing in the country and the solutions available.
We start arguing about a solution and I get surprised to see how patient he stays with me.
I shower and dress up then decide to go meet a friend for coffee. On my way to take a cab I stumble on a man pulling over to throw some garbage bags in the garbage can, Then he jumps back into his car and apparently his partner forgot to throw few things and as they were pulling over again, I rushed towards them and offered to throw it for them.
They thank me and for my surprise, ask to give me a ride, which I accept.

I meet my friend in the coffee shop and he tells me how much I am changing, I insist on knowing how I am changing but the answers were vague “you’re tiring yourself, you need to forget these causes, you need to focus on yourself...you stopped being as fun…”
I tried hard to explain how important this is to me and that all my life I have wanted to accomplish something similar and that It is a high priority in my life, I can't close ignore it and continue with my day without trying.
I end up in tears, chocking on words, unable to express myself to him.
He comforts me and says “I don’t know”.

I had a discussing the night before with another friend that went in a similar way, everyone who knew me said “you do not belong in politics”.

I went over grandma and started talking with my cousin, and out of nowhere she said “Reine, why don’t we have a secular country?”
She, being highly religious and usually never interested in such things, shocked me.
I asked her if she knew what it meant and she said that she did, and she understands how hard it is to ever accomplish it but we must try.

I went with her and another friend to a public garden to spend some time and I observed children rolling on the ground and skipping around, playing on the swings and singing out loud. Their laugher was so contagious, so was their happiness.

After that, We went to marina to watch the sunset, and I climbed on a rock and called a friend.


 I tried hard to express what I had to express, the line kept breaking off and when it did the last time, I broke down in tears again.
But then he sent me a message telling me that he understood, and a sense of relief overwhelmed me.

I do not belong in politics, their corrupted politics, but as khaled said everything we do is political because it challenges the system.
The right people in the wrong place could make a difference.

We have nothing to lose, but possibly a lot to gain.

Thank you khaled, Nath, Antoine, the children, and my cousin Lea for today.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Charcter in a book

-->
You told me you will be back once you are ready.
Days passed by.
Weeks passed by.
Months passed by.
I tried to stop waiting; I didn’t know how to stop.
How do you stop waiting?
I lived my life, without revolving it around you.
I tried.
I still choke up and tear up whenever I think of you, I miss you.
I terribly miss you.
I want your voice.
I want to see you, I never got to see you.
My blue.
I love you, my character in a book.
I have to write, forgive me, but I have to create my closure:
the end

Ps: you will always be a part of me.

The truth is not black and white.

In between there is pain, a burning sensation in my chest, rage, disappointments and emptiness, a yearning, warmth, serenity and a person who will wait till i cease to exist.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Little Philosophers

they say that children are little philosophers, not yet used to this world, they tackle everything with a sense of awe and wonder.

A collection of children's portrait that i took.




Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Abuse and Parenthood

All parents fight, arguing happens in all type of relationships. How you fight though is what matters.
They tell you “don’t fight in front of the kids”
I tell you “Fight, but fight well”
Because in my opinion kids will most likely adopt your fighting techniques as they grow.
Argue with your partner but keep the tone of your voice down and try to avoid name calling and accusations and assumptions, and if you ever felt as if you are close to losing control, take a time out and calm yourself down before you let your anger controls you. That is a small example.

Parents need to decided when it comes to their children what is more important: Protecting an image of the perfect family (they could be doing it for their reputation and out of fear of what people might think, or for the sake of their children, or both) OR protecting the emotional and at times physical as well as mental state of their kids.
I would like to note that protecting the image of the family could be more damaging for the kids than the parents think. On the long run it could cause a lot of disappointments or feeling as failures for not being able to attain and make this “prefect family” or from having irrational high expectations to how a family it should be and expect too much from their partners and themselves to attain this image.
Parents have an obligation to protect their kids and give them a voice when they can’t have it on their own.

When you bear the abuse, you teach your kids that it is okay to be abused.
You teach them that they are not worthy or capable of seeking something better, that they should be ashamed or settle down for what they chose out of fear of what others might say about them or think of them.
They might feel guilty, if they felt that you are sticking in an abusive relationship for their sake.
Trust me, kids have a huge ability to feel guilty even when they are not responsible, this might make them feel worse instead of better.
Don’t lie to kids, they are often more aware about things than you might think, and clarify and answer their questions with honesty to help ease their minds and not let them live a life based on assumptions.

Little tips I learned from spending times with my little cousins:
-Don’t stand tall and look down at the child if you want to discuss something, don’t also yell. If you do so, the kid would feel vulnerable and would see you as an authority figure and will most likely rebel. Lower yourself to his/her height and make eye contact and keep your tone of voice low but serious.
-When the kid does something wrong (and you already made it clear to him or her in the past that it is wrong) do not tell him/her what he/she did, let him/her discover it for himself/herself. Put the kid in the time out zone and tell him/her that once you are back to talking to him/her, they must tell you what they did wrong and apologize for it.

Last but not least, spend some quality time with the kids for strawberry’s sake.



Monday, 3 December 2012

Tell me your story

Our dearest Noor

Thank you Bilal for the signs
This is how it started with few signs in arabic, english and armenian which say "tell me your story".
Location, Hamra main street, on the stairs in front of a bank, time, 5 pm.
It was our first time that we attempt such an initiative, I expected it to fail miserably.
When we all sat down, Sandy turned and asked me "what do we tell people when they ask us why?"
I told her "I don't know, why are you here? Why are YOU doing this?"
And this is how it started, We wanted to listen, we also wanted to encourage people to share.
When people share with one another with no expectations, it brings them close, and it can create a sense of a bond in the community, others wanted to do it to provide to people a chance to vent or take away some of the weight on their shoulder, help them feel better.
We told the people asking us what to share, to share anything they would like, we didn't limit them, it could be a happy story, or a sad one, personal or not, a joke or an advice... anything they wanted.
The stories opened up, from this person who fought cancer, to this woman who had a family member kidnapped the 80s, the refugees from syria who some had their home destroyed and some were still going in and out of syria regardless of the situation, to people from Baghdad who advised us not to vote...
One man who has been traveling for years told us how he is often viewed as crazy because of his life style, but he was happy and you could see it. He would volunteer from a work to another just to walk in people's shoes and have better understanding of their perspective... He was divorced with a 2 years son who he considered "my only friend". When we asked which was your favorite country, he said "Lebanon" and then explained "there are still some goodness in the people here, it is fading but it is there."
 He sat with us throughout the event and listened to other stories and before he left he asked me "I think people are only coming here because they see beautiful girls sitting, i don't think anyone would come if they were just males".
-"I think you are wrong"
-"why would you think that?"
-"would you have came here if they were only males?"
-"well yes it is a great idea"
-"then?"
-"touche"
and we started laughing.
This evening didn't end without reminding me of what really matters, acting towards making this world a better place when we have the opportunity to do it. Listening is good but acting too when can.
A man came to us for help, requesting food and medication and telling us his story.
I usually don't believe people who are asking for money, I also don't give money to ones not working and choosing to be beg in the streets. Though when this person asked me for food, I realized that he might really need it and it is the least that i could do.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Balance is the key


To live a life of moderation, it doesn’t have to mean that we can’t be extreme at times, but it is about when to be and how to be and not just be extreme.

Being a logical and rational thinker is important but it is also important to be a mature feeler, to embrace the feelings, to allow the self to feel and to connect emotionally with others in a healthy way.

As a curious person, I get interested in many things and it gets hard to keep up with my curiosity at times.

  • I want to work in a job where I am constantly being challenged and learning new things. I got this opportunity in my work in the labs.
  •  
  • I want to continue my studies, do a good portfolio and get good grades this year.
  •  
  • I want to be an activist and attempt to accomplish what seemed to be impossible and still seem so. I see the world for what it is and how it could be and I chose to focus on how it could be and work on making it happen.
  •  
  • I want to keep up with my social life and with some people online that I hold dear.
  •  
  • I have so many good articles and books to read.

For the past 2 months I have been doing my best trying to balance my life in a way which allows me to accomplish all that.

But I am failing terribly.

Physically, I am suffering from constant Migraine and fatigue.
It is like my body can’t keep up and keeps letting me down (or it is the other way around).
 I am skipping classes and unable to focus at work, and I am too tired to be online and social.
 I barely read anything interesting in the past few weeks.

Something must be done, I must work on my priorities and organize (which I suck at).


Sunday, 25 November 2012

Kino's journey

Pictures from the Kino’s Journey anime, episode twelve; text from the Kino no Tabi novel, volume one.

“Since that time, our two cities have not had a single real war. They have developed, and our populations have expanded. Young mothers today need never again experience the loss I suffered. They can bring children into the world and raise them in happiness, without ever fearing that they will have to attend their children’s funerals. People die in the order in which they are born. This is the meaning of peace; this is what our country has today, Kino. And this is the end of our tour.”

The curator folded her hand at her waist and smiled. “Thank you for visiting.”

Kino said, “May I ask a question?”

“Of course.”

“What about the Tatana people you kill? Don’t they have lives and families? children as innocent and as beautiful and as full of promise as your sons?”

“I imagine they do. But there is a cost for peace. There must be some sacrifice, or true peace can never be reached. In the past, that sacrifice was my precious children. Young soldiers would fight on that hellish battlefield, and die to protect their country. But things are different now. The Tatana people are unable to fight back. Our children no longer need to die on the battlefield. This is a wonderful thing. If we did not sacrifice the Tatana, Kino, Veldeval and Relsumia would go to war with each other again, and the number of victims would be far greater than the number of Tatana who die now.”

The curator had clearly chosen each word carefully. Now she repeated, “Peace requires sacrifice. We will not allow that sacrifice to be our children. If our peace can be achieved through the death of a few Tatana, then we welcome that with open arms.”

Kino thought about this for a moment, then said, “Curator, I don’t understand your reasoning. Perhaps in the new version of war the combatants don’t die but innocents do. At least with the old way, those who died were those who fought. And their deaths were, in a way, of their own choosing. The Tatana people have not chosen to fight or die.”

The curator’s brows had drawn together in a frown, but now she smiled. She stooped slightly, put her hands on Kino’s thin shoulders, and said gently, “No, clearly you don’t understand. But when you’re a little older, you will.”
 
“Will I? How so?”

“When you bear your own children, Kino. When you feel that life growing inside of you… then you will know the impossibility of sentencing them to die in war. You will understand.”

The girl called Kino looked up into the face of the curator and saw another mother, her eyes wide, her hands over her mouth, as she watched her husband attacker her only daughter with a knife. That girl could never have understood or responded.

“What I understand,” said Kino, “is that it would be impossible for me to sentence anyone’s children to die in war.”

Friday, 23 November 2012

The beauty of tears, Part 2.

 After a post I made yesterday, about capturing our weakest moments, embracing them, exposing them to the outside world, to strangers, friends... A friend decided to send me a picture of him breaking down few months ago. I haven't seen him in that state before and I know how much courage it took him to do it, saying "It is about time".
and sending me this beautiful quote :)

"To begin healing, you must let yourself fall" -rumi.

Thank you for removing your mask, for everyone else to see.

I love you.

A day later, another friend sends me another picture, that i shall leave it here.

It is a bit emotional for me to see people in such a state, a part of me wish i can take their pain away but another part of me acknowledge the importance of such phases in the process of growth. It is not about having a life pain-free, it is about coping with life better.
Pain is here to tell us that something is wrong, or that something matters.


Have a voice, but not any voice.

-->
What to do, what to do? Write.

While Pierre was walking in the Batroun sea side road, he was intercepted by 4 armed men and beating with rifle butts on his head and all over his body. He was taken unconscious and bleeding to the police station.

When his sister tried to see him and have them take him to the hospital she was brutalized herself and thrown in the street.

No reason or official explanation was given as to why this happened.

Such stories are not new, He apparently made some statements about the army before the Independence day which pissed off or made the army worried about his intentions and whatnot.

Anywho, regardless of who that person is and what that person did, I think it is scary to imagine being put in jail or mistreated for cursing an authority figure, or a group that represents an authority.

What if we all did the same, will they put us all in jail?

It gives me an urge to curse just for the sake of rebelling, but there is something stopping me.
-I rather attack the person’s acts and behavior instead of simply curse the person.
-Doing what others did just for the sake of rebelling is immature and useless.

All I know is that, there will come a time when I have to speak and my opinion might put me in dangerous positions but I will speak loudly and firmly and even if my voice was shaking and I was trembling, I will continue to speak.

Authority figures should be the ones open for the most criticism, but sadly it is the other way around in this country.
I admit that a lot of people have immature useless destructive criticism, but the more you attempt to shut it down, the more you will increase it. The only way to change the situation for the better in my opinion, is to be open to receive it and deal with it in the most mature way possible, allowing the person to have a voice and finding ways to teach him the importance of expressing that voice in a constructive matter.

My own conclusion: 
It is not about having a voice, it is also about the quality of our voice and what it has to deliver. You could turn your whole existence to a voice, and no matter how hard they might try to silence you, your voice will linger through your acts and marks and thoughts.
Sometimes your voice might scream louder through silence :) 




Thursday, 22 November 2012

The beauty of tears

I was thinking how most people (not to say all) often post pictures of their joyful moments or neutral moments to share, did anyone ever consider taking pictures of one of the most painful moments in your life, or saddest moments in your life? why not? Is it because we rather be isolated at that time? Is it because we do not want others to see us in that state, we do not want to appear vulnerable, weak? Or maybe we would be so caught up in the moment that this is the last thing we consider doing...
I will share mine with you. I like the sincerity in this one, I took it the day before yesterday when I was feeling melancholic.
I often appeared the happiest one in my surrounding, I rarely ever shared my struggles with others, or the fact that it took me a lot to drag myself out of bed, took me a lot of effort to simply eat, and breathing was even a painful task. I had my share with depression and being unable to digest and embrace emotions, something a lot of other people could relate to.
That was almost a year ago, I shared it on a public forum and I tried as best as i could be, to prepare putting myself in such a vulnerable way for display. Needless to say, The feedback was moving.

One of the replies (that picture played a big role in starting a friendship with that person).

Oh my gosh, this picture just ripped my heart out. I actually started crying when I saw it. It really reaffirms something I said in my blog a couple days ago:


But most times I feel like the best way for me to feel emotion is vicariously through other people. I feel pain for others who are experiencing pain, though I would not naturally feel pain had I been in the same situation. Matters that are personal to me rarely seem emotionally significant -- I possess this surgeon like disposition toward my own experience and try to glean significance from the activities. In doing so, I unintentionally remove myself completely from the situation and I'm left with a husk of feeling.
I hope you don't mind if I set that picture as my computer desktop background (it's only the second one I've ever had with this computer). There's something incomprehensibly beautiful and profound about melancholy to me. It makes me feel safe, or understood, or something.

Another reply:
 This is such a beautifully melancholic picture. I actually teared up, because your pain is right there for anyone to see, clear as day. The sincerity of it is almost crushing.
I think you`re far braver and stronger than you give yourself credit for.
I see no shame in crying and I never considered it as weakness, and I think that it requires a lot of courage to show yourself at phases that you might consider your weakest, it doesn't have to be for the support, or attempt to reach out, or a cry for attention, it could be simply to show yourself as a whole and as you are, without letting the fear of what might hit you back, stops you from removing your mask.

I will leave you with a poem i wrote years ago.  



Elle a pleuré comme seules les femmes peuvent le faire
Pas seulement avec les yeux, mais avec tout son être
Même en ne voyant pas mes yeux, elle a deviné leur mélancolie
Il y’a plus de dire qu’un simple “au revoir”








My mark

I dislike writing introductions.

I will write what i am thinking, what i am afraid of or hoping for, I will write as an attempt to remain sane and alive, as an attempt to help and be helped.

People talk about the importance of talking less and doing more. Acts are not that important on their own, sometimes words are as important.

This is my voice.
I will write to leave a mark.