Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Closing Doors

I woke up on the 1st of January 2015 in a dimly lit corridor. On both sides of the corridor were slightly opened doors, not enough for even my thin body to slip into those brightly lit rooms behind them. As far as I could see there are 7 doors, with different sounds and scents coming out of them. I tried pushing open the first 6 doors with no luck. I really wanted to go in but couldn’t. As I reached the 7th door, I was almost convinced that it won’t open from past experience, so I kicked it really hard only for the door to easily open, slamming really hard to the wall behind it. I went in and made the most out of the room until I had to leave. While there and after a while, I heard 6 loud bangs coming from outside the room. I realised it was the 6 doors I’ve seen earlier each closing tightly without giving me a chance to even go in. It happened to also be the time I had to leave the room, the minute I stepped out I heard it close quietly. I stood still in the dimly lit corridor waiting to hear any sound to guide me where to go next, I can’t go back, I can only go forward. I saw 3 new doors two of them closed the minute I touched them and the other one stood there with no light coming out of it or sound, it later closed with a bang. I now see 6 new doors that I’m afraid to touch, with my fingers in my ears, expecting them to bang.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Dear 26

Dear 26,

I don't remember the last time I've been satisfied with something I've done. I continuously raise the standards for achieving to the point where I end up achieving nothing significant. I'm probably being harsh with myself but just let me tell you, you're most honest with yourself at 5:40 am , when you're awake but lacking sleep. When you've been struggling for long trying to make something, anything, workout. I refuse to lower the standards, and it sucks to continuously fail at reaching standards you've set for yourself and no one else. 

I'm my and your harshest critic. Be ready for when I reach you to criticise every little step you will one day take. Your foot should have been straight while walking rather than 5 degrees to the side. Be ready to hear criticism that doesn't come with explanation or suggestions for improvement.

And while I'll always be your worst and harshest critic, never, and I mean never ever, ignore me. Continue with the highest standards you know you have to achieve. One day I'll make it. One day I'll meet the expectations I've set for myself.

With best of luck,
The harsh one

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Dear 26

Dear 26,

I used to have a math teacher in school, Mr Ernie, who used to fix our grammatical mistake of saying something is hard when we really mean difficult. “Math is not hard, a table is hard. It might be difficult! But not hard.” Life is proving to be much more difficult than I thought. I’ve been warned about it by people, by professors, by book characters but I never really grasped what they were saying. I have always been up for a challenge, I work hard to get what I want but the outcome is not always good enough. When I’m pressured to do things the way people want it to be done I lose the need to be a perfectionist. I become ok with completing tasks effectively and in the best way possible. When I’m cornered to do things the way people want it to be, I lose interest, I stop working as hard and with it I lose my creativity my standards and myself. But I still complete my work! 

I have a short temper and no patience making my life even more difficult. I’m being weighed down by my own negativity and constant pressure to do things the way they want it to be done. I wish I had the power to just shut down my ears for a few minutes to allow a few moments of peace for my brain. I feel sorry for my mind, soul and body. I’m being unfair to them. The problem is I believe in karma, so I must to be fair to them.

For now I’ll wear my noise cancelling headphones and try to listen to my heart beats. They might tell me a secret.


Maria

Monday, May 18, 2015

That Girl

I knew that girl for a while now, saw her grow up to be the person she is today. I saw her growing up and loving herself. She got comfortable in her own skin earlier than a lot of the kids her age. She grew up to be strong and independent, smart and curious. And I was there in a corner witnessing how gravity pulled her smile low down and shoulders lower. How all the magic and optimism found a way to rot underground working as soil for her new disappointments. 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Dear 26

Dear 26,

I turned 23 this month, a small step closer to you. I’ve been working on a lot of tiny little steps because I do understand I can’t just leap the next 3 years, I’m not that athletic. To tell you the truth, I want to be able to be athletic and leap my way through to you, I’ll find a gym buddy and start working on that stamina of mine. 

I’m back to drowning myself in books hoping to find a solution in one of them or maybe stumble upon a guide to force life to cooperate with me for a change. I no longer just read books, I start challenging myself to finish a book in less than 24 hours and recently in less than 12 hours! It’s fun to set goals and work on them, which is why you exist really. 

In the past few months I’ve read enough about how you shouldn’t compare yourself to other people and you don’t have to know your life plans and figure things out before you’re 30. A vague future freaks me out and I prefer having a plan that might never work out than just live with no goals. I love the idea of living each day the way it is, live with the surprises it has for me. I say I do that but really before I go to bed I plan my next day automatically without even realising it. I also wake up and make a plan. I’m not sure how you are at 26 but I have a feeling you’d still be the same. Planning every detail you can. I’d say don't stop it, plan but be spontaneous. Stay spontaneous. 

Yours truly,
You at 23


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Inspirational Destination


I was approached last November by a passionate 1Pulse team member, Ashwaq Al Maskari, about their new project The Lounge. She reminded me about the Book Club I once suggested 1Pulse should host and she offered me the chance to personally start it with my choice of group members as part of the project. I don’t want to tell you about The Lounge in the traditional way of talking about projects; you can read all about it in details on their social media accounts (@TheLoungeOman on Twitter and Instagram). I’ll take the time to explain how The Lounge has and is affecting me since it started.

I think I met the team members for the first time in January and I fell in love with their enthusiasm and dedication to offer what they can to the youth. After listening to two of the members explain the project idea I got a flashback of sitting in the University of Leeds' student union -and in specific- the common room. During breaks in between classes, my friends and I would head to the common room after buying coffee and snacks from the Hidden Cafe and would sit and talk about anything and everything; from the Souviet Union to the Arabic culture and personal experiences. Sitting in the common room was one of the things I miss the most about my university life so you could imagine my excitement when I realised The Lounge's experience will be something similar.

I am happy to tell you that The Lounge hasn't, so far, failed to impress me and I hope it continues that way. Since day 1, the team included us in decissions to be made which created a sence of belonging even before seeing the actual Lounge. The comfy area makes The Lounge feel like home, I literally take my shoes off and help myself to a cup of coffee surrounded by people that I've learned to cherish after only a couple of times meeting them.

Every detail on the wall shouts youth and inspiration, I love it. I've had intense discussions about things as random as unicorns to more serious things like the management of free time and life plans. The entire team being younger than I am and standing proudly in The Lounge are inspiring enough to work on projects I've had in mind but never even put them on paper. I could say a few of the 1Pulse members know me at a raw level and know my concerns towards my future. I continue to go to The Lounge to be inspired by those around me and to hopefully figure things out while sitting in an area that doesn't judge your confusion even if you're older. I love how the team enjoys sharing their life experiences so far and talk about future plans I'm sure they'll accomplish.

I sometimes feel like I have nothing to offer in return to The Lounge for being Leeds away from Leeds and a plot of inspiration but I hope my attendance, contributions and loud thoughts to the different events and workshops will be of any help. Hats off to the entire 1Pulse team. I really hope The Lounge will continue to be an inspirational destination for the youth. I'll start the Book Club and will continue to attend workshops and events showing my utmost support to The Lounge for it to continue the journey to inspiration.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Faith

I always thought I have strong faith in God but I never had to test it. Until recently. For so long I've had things happening the easy way. I say things happened easy even though while things did go out of plan I thought it was the end of my world, end of my life. I can be very dramatic sometimes. I still remember not getting accepted into Med school, how I thought life is not fair. Today, I thank God I didn't get into it because I would probably haven't survived. Things fall into perspective when they don't go as planned. You get to slightly understand yourself better and the people around you. 

I've realised I'm very predictable with bad news; I stop for a while hoping the news is not being delivered to me. Then comes rage, reminds of bulls and that zodiac sign I fall under. Followed by a stream of tears that are usually stopped and dried by my pillow when I fall asleep. Then comes the reminder of God's presence, prayer time. I thought I have strong faith in God. I thought that I didn't need a reminder of His presence because He's in me, within me and around me. You'd think He will come first; before the shock, before the rage, before the crying.

Today I work harder than ever on my faith.