Thursday, July 21, 2016

Perceptions and its follies

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder and that one man's trash is another's treasure. If this could be the loudest sentence you've ever read and this right after could be the quietest, then can we confirm that we all live in a prison of our own making?

We all have our own realities - facts that we know to be as true as the sun. Many of those realities are often based on other realities or what we would like to think of as realities. Like creationism and evolution - much debated though one is the scientific truth and the other mere religion.

I live in my own reality, one in which I play just a part. I am a performer that is putting on a show and acting like I think people want me to act. But apparently I do such a good job that nobody believes me when I tell them I'm an introvert who is most comfortable when alone.

So what's really real? Am I what I perceive or the impression others have of me? I'm sure others have the same problem and in some cases it may even be amplified. At least I don't have a third choice, that version of me that is expected of me.

I've tried my hardest to not have people around me who expected me to behave a certain way. I was spoilt by the fact that my parents let me get my way more often than not. And then an abusive relationship made me abhor being in situations where I wasn't in control. Now I live life on my own terms. I work as hard as I can and I make sure I don't have to ask anyone for permission for anything.

That's part of my reality. Just like my introversion and my occasional need to be social. So if you only see a part of the puzzle, do you even realise there is a puzzle at all? Your perception is your reality and none of us know more than we perceive. We may assume a lot or told about some more but linking it to the truth takes a lot of time. And time is always short in supply.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Something about Marina

Watching this documentary about Marina Abramovich. Have never been a big fan because I don't understand performance art, or even modern art at all. But it amazes me how she started with nothing but a vision, living for years in cars without knowing what lies ahead.

I may not understand her art but I respect that passion. There is something to be said for that naked resilience and actually going after what you want without being encumbered by laziness. I have often longed for that zeal in my life, which would help me conquer my laziness and help me do the things that I think will make my life what it needs to be.

But here I am accepting that this is all ill ever be and maybe that's okay. Maybe my limitations don't need to stop me from achieving what I need to. My dreams are far fetched but then so was the concept of a double passport to a girl whose father went without seeing his family for 2 years to save money.

She ended this documentary talking about how her funeral would have 3 coffins. Each would represent a part of her that she was ashamed of at some point in her life, her brashness and ambition, her spiritual side and her fashion and pop culture loving side. She went on to say that nobody would ever know which coffin would really have her body. I think that's fitting. We are all a composite of our parts.

There are parts of ourselves that we like and those we don't. We hide parts of ourselves from others as per convenience. Sometimes we hide from ourselves too. We keep hoping for change or a miracle. But according to Marina, true magic came from accepting all her sides. Nothing has been truer about us.

This acceptance of all our sides can maybe help us accept the differences in others. Where colour, race, gender and sexual identity isn't the reason we love or hate something. Where like and dislike is based on interests and behaviour, not ignorance and apathy and intolerance.

Just learn to accept that we are all parts of a whole, in so many ways. All of our parts make us who we are and all of us, in our differences sum up the whole of this world. What's to hate?

Thursday, November 5, 2015

I am my own darkness

I heard this dialogue about how we should own up to our darknesses. But then I got to thinking... are we not our own darkness and our own light? I do want to own up to these facets of me. I cannot begrudge me having my highs if I cannot accept my lows.

I had a coworker tell me that she always knows when I'm in the office because I'm full of life and character. My desk is the one with postcards and bookmarks, papers and notes, books and magnets from my friends. It's messy, chaotic and full of the remains of a life being lived at its fullest.

But there are moments it all falls apart and the only light I see is through the cracks. These times are getting fewer because growing older seems to be bringing with it a sense of calmness. It also helps that I'm slowly achieving some of my life goals.

Travelling and writing both bring with it a sense of I'll-be-fineness that I've never had before. The more places I see make me realise how much more I want to see. When I'm travelling, I'm more ambitious and adventurous and push myself harder to get the most of my time there.

I have to see everything, experience everything because regrets would be an easy way for my depression to get in. And I cannot be the reason that the blackness gets to me again. I have owned up to my darkness but I know that my light will always be around too.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Luck, blessing or hard work?

There was a time when my life was just a series of dreams but lately I have memories of the times I made those dreams come true.

For example, I'm writing this post as I sit outside my room in a South African game reserve watching a herd of Zebra.

Is this me being incredibly lucky? Or is it a special blessing from my parents' gods? Or indeed an offshoot of my hard work?

It can't be mere coincidence that somehow things work out in my benefit. Is it because my mum prays to every god she knows? Or is it the universe balancing  out the good with the bad?

After all, I don't have many luxuries in my everyday life, I don't get to stay with my family and I don't have any savings. But I have a bank of experiences that I can draw from and I wonder if this can sustain me.

I haven't had a hard life but then it hasn't been easy being me. I've fought back through my share and I'm still not sure how I'll get my happy ever after.

I see people who work hard and save for a better day after tomorrow; and I see those who are content with comfort and the same everydayness of life. But my fear of missing out and losing out and not knowing when this luck/blessing might run out propels me towards the next travel dream.

So maybe it's a grand combination of it all, my hard work starts the foundation of a new travel dream and the luck/blessing combination ensures that every trip has a moment for which I need to step back and thank the world.

London - meeting Perina and the favours she did for me
Paris - Anita's company and Sainte Chappelle
Florence - the view from Santa Maria Majjore and the Latin vespers
Turkey - the boy
Cairo - the almost solitary visit to the pyramids
Beirut - Mansour taking me on a trip from the hills to the beach
Amsterdam - getting a ticket to Anne Frank's house without standing in a queue
Oslo - seeing the snow unexpectedly
Qatar - the Damien Hirst exhibition
South Africa - the lion getting up just as I was looking at him through the binoculars

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Beirut blogging

I'm sitting here in my gorgeous Beirut hotel room which has the most amazing view of the city. I'm tired and can't deal with the idea of having dinner in the restaurant and having to deal with all those people. So I order room service, post on FB and settle in for some TV.

The Fault in our Stars comes on from the dinner scene, "I'm in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we're all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we'll ever have, and I am in love with you."

This kind of timing when I'm in such a gorgeous room in such an amazing city blows my mind. This can't be just a coincidence. I can't just be this lucky. This life of mine feels like a series of random occurrences that never quite make sense. It reminds me of a giant puzzle that only makes sense from an aerial viewpoint.

Then this scene comes where they are listening to a classical music group busking at Rijksmuseum, and I suddenly realised I've stood there. I've stood there listening to music too. Me. The girl who grew up envious of everyone because all she had were dreams.

Dreams are hurtful to grow up with when you don't know how to make them come true. But then when you've given up on yourself and the world, somehow the world will find a way to surprise you. At least that's what keeps happening to me.

I'm surrounded by others who are travelling the world and they fuel my dreams. My passion to see the world is rivaled only by my love for my family. It is a strange balance but it is one that somehow sustains me. Now to see where my passion takes me next.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Learning to open a door

Why is it that the first thing a heartbreak does is to help you shut the world out? Shouldn't a broken heart try to heal by finding love elsewhere?

Maybe it's just me but I have been shut away from the world of love for a long time now. I have my lovely job and some amazing friends and have never really felt the need to have more just because I should. And my heartbreak has kept me unable to trust in anybody without them having to prove themselves to me.

Most men don't think I'm worth the effort they will have to take, especially after they see me. An acquaintance once told me my expectations were too high for someone who didn't have too much to offer. Maybe that's true but I don't see it that way...

Yes my packaging isn't great. But I'm a good person with a great heart and great brains. That counts for something right? Even in this appearance-driven world? That's what I tell myself every time an online friend disappears after meeting me.

But I do a good job of keeping my guard up too. I push everyone away as much as I can, almost like a defense mechanism to cope with the eventual pushing away they will do. I do wonder however if this behaviour forces away someone who could have been interested.

Am I expecting too much from a world where I don't give enough in return? People say no one gets everything and I've been very lucky in terms of my family, my friends and my job: so maybe this is one thing that I'm left wanting for...

Friday, September 4, 2015


No one believes me when I say I'm an introvert. I don't like most people I meet & am convinced that most people who meet me must not like me either. I have to make a conscious effort to show up for social engagements. I have to prepare myself for social interactions & feel incredibly surprised when people invite me to or involve me in events.

I try not to let the world see this side because my job requires me to be more than I am. There is so much to be done & standing by isn't part of the job description. It is a good indication of how much I love my job that I push through all my psychoses for it.

There are also just a handful of people who truly know this side of me and thankfully most of them don't judge me for it. However, some just don't understand. My parents, for example, don't understand my need to shun society. They don't get why I can't be like other girls who love family events and dressing up for said events.

On the other edge of this is my need to not completely be cut off from society. To that end, I will organise events with people I like and hope and pray that they will want to come. And then they do and all is good in the world. I have made some amazing friends as I've grown older and more comfortable with myself.

These friends have had varied lessons to teach me; some have shown me how to like myself while others have shown me that it's ok if everyone doesn't like me back. Yet others have shown me the importance of having values and passion while some others have helped me see the value of being single.

Having said that, now I feel that I'm getting to really like myself and understand what I want out of life. And I think the next step is to find someone who can hold on to me and make me want to let go of everything else. At least for a while.