Category Archives: Life Stuff

Balance & Blessings

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Balance & Blessings

In light of what happened recently, I have grown more focused on the blessings I have in my life. I truly believe that there must always be balance in our lives. Otherwise, we’d be thrown into turmoil that often presents itself as stress. And since my uncle and father reached out to me attempting to shame me, I feel surrounded by a lot of negativity.

My effort to balance the negativity out is to focus on the good that is happening around me.

First of all, the astounding supportive response on social media has overwhelmed me with the realization that I am surrounded by positive loving people. For that I am truly grateful.

Second, I have the best boyfriend in the world. Through everything we’ve experienced together, he continues to be understanding and supportive. I have not met and I know I will not come across a better man than he. He is so much more to me than just a boyfriend, he is my partner, my companion, my supporter and my comforter. For him I am truly blessed.

Third, I have a job that I love. This is something I didn’t even know existed last year. Working at the school I did, brought me to the verge of quitting teaching completely. The students at the school I work at today are the best anyone could ask for. I love them very much and if it were up to me, I’d be their English teacher next year and the year after. For them I am truly honored.

Fourth, I have family that are quick to respond and always have my back. Our relationship may not be the best, but I’ve grown to be very appreciative of my sisters and my mother. They have shown that no matter the path I take, and no matter what others may think of us, we are still family and will support each other through the ups and downs. For them I am truly humbled.

Finally, I am reminded each and everyday how blessed I am to be who I am, to have the healthy body that I inhabit, to be of sound mind and clear judgement. This is what affirms to me the existence of a higher being and makes me feel complete. I am grateful for what many take for granted (my health, wealth and wellbeing) and others wish they had. For that I am very thankful.

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Tedium My Enemy

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Tedium My Enemy

It scares me when things get like this. When my day becomes my everyday. I wake up, get ready, go to work, clock in, teach, spend my lunch break with depressed and unhappy coworkers, teach some more, go on after school duty, clock out, face traffic, go to the gym, go home, eat, watch an episode of something while I prepare for the next day’s lessons, then finally go to bed. The next morning it’s as if I just hit the reset button.

It feels like a never ending rat race to no where. The sun rises everyday whether or not it shines on us and sets every evening to render us in the darkness only to rise again. We rise everyday whether or not we are in the best of spirits and return to our homes even when the day’s work is yet to be completed. Only to awaken the next day and continue. Is this what life boils down to? Work to pay the bills, work to survive?

In an odd way, there is a sense of beauty to this cycle. A terrifying beauty.

But not beautiful enough to make me feel content. This stagnancy does not sit well with me. It makes me twitchy. It makes me antsy. It makes me want to look for more. To explore more. To discover more.

On days like this, I am not satisfied with my life. I must continue my journey forever striving for more. For better. For change.

How Not To Raise Children

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It is no secret that my 8 siblings and I grew up in an abusive household. My childhood is one of the reasons I never want to have children of my own. However, I still do put a lot of thought into what I would do if I did raise a family. I do watch families closely to see what is working and what isn’t. My career is one where I must interact with children on a daily basis.

Through these varied experiences, I’ve developed some points that I believe are non-negotiable. A lot of my insight is based on my childhood (being the 3rd oldest of 9) and the repercussions of the way we were raised that I continue to see affecting myself, my siblings and the relationships we have now as adults.

1. I will not allow my children to tell on one another. Nor will I ever reward tattle-tailing. This causes a rift between the siblings that will carry on to their adulthood. Ratting out one another encourages disloyalty and distrust. These are not building blocks to a strong, loyal and dependable relationship.

2. I will not discipline my children via text, email or any indirect methods. We live in an increasingly disconnected world. Of course, I’ll communicate with them via text, snapchat and whatever new app is the next big thing, but I will not allow my disciplining and any resulting discussions or arguments to take place anywhere but when we are face to face.

3. I will not focus on punishments, but instead I will focus on good intentions. Growing up, we lived in fear of being beat, of being told on and, more often than not, the good we did went unrewarded. Or if it was rewarded it was at the expense of putting down a sibling. We learn from our mistakes and I believe children should analyze their mistakes to find the lesson hidden within it. Turn the mistakes into learning moments and a point of progress instead of as another reason to punish.

4. I will not have the “I’m the parent, you’re the child” relationship. That only leads to mistrust and disconnect. I will be open. I will invite a level of understanding and I will always explain myself to my children. There is no place for “because I said so” or “because I’m your mom” in my family.

5. I will not shelter my children. I didn’t know the exact mechanisms of sex until I was 17 and a friend of mine from across the world was the one to break it down to me. I believe adults need to stop treating their children as though they’re better off not knowing what’s what until it’s too late to reach them. The first people a child should hear the realities of life from are their parents. Not their friends, not the TV and definitely not the Internet.

6. I will not put them down. I will not criticize my child for something they have no control over, such as their height or cognitive abilities. I will not obsess over what is wrong with them or how they should be. Instead, I will always try push them to be better versions of themselves, by (you guessed it!) always striving to be a better version of myself. When I says “versions” I am taking into account the abilities and capabilities of each child as an individual.

7. I will not force them to see things the way I see them. I will value their views even when they are different than my own. I want my children to grow up in a household where their individuality, opinions and beliefs are welcome. I grew up in a family that didn’t value any of these things and the result is a painful battle of esteem and confidence issues that I am still fighting. Obviously, I will be there to guide and mentor them, but it isn’t my job to force my views on them. I want my home to be an environment where my children feel free to communicate their thoughts and opinions without fear of judgment or disapproval.

8. Ownership will not exist in our home. This is not my house, this is our home. This is not my candy bar, it is ours to share. We never shared as siblings and had this extreme sense of owning what we had even if it was a Barbie doll or a small bag of chips. This mindset has no place in my life. Yes, we have responsibilities, but we also have each other to help and share with.

9. I will not beat my children. Don’t give me your shit about how physical punishment works. I was beat as a form of punishment for almost every mistake I made. It got to the point where I’d rather be beat than hear a lecture, because it was over faster. Just like the lecturing, the beating did nothing to make me feel bad for what I’d done. It made me more in contempt of my parents. And guess what, I was hurt most when I realized I’d disappointed my mother and she did nothing but make her disappointment known, than when I was lectured for an hour and beat.

10. I will not lecture my children. This kind of piggy backs off of #9. As a teacher, I’ve been told not to “lecture” because children don’t learn that way. They tap out pretty quickly. And I got so used to “tapping out”. I became such a pro at it that when I took an Arabic course in university, I struggled to “tap in” to the lectures because the man had a similar voice to my father and he would just talk and talk for the duration of the class. What does this have to do with that? As a teenager, I figured out how to deal with my father. I would let him rattle on about what I was doing wrong and would just nod from time to time. During his lecturing, my mind wandered on to better things, like what I was going to blog about, or what I was reading or a number of other nerd related things. Of all the things I did while he lectured, listening to him was something I did not do. I also realized that if I acted like I agreed with him I had less of a chance of being physically punished. This doesn’t mean I won’t have long discussions with my children. Of course, I would. But these will be discussions that foster communication and understanding. They will understand why they are being punished. They will understand why I’m disappointed. They will not be physically harmed or lectured at.

Many may disagree with my views, but I know that I lived through each and every one of the rules I’ve set for myself and they did not work for me or my sisters and brother. I’ve also watched my friends raise their children. I began to formulate my opinions and views through what I’ve experienced as well as what I’ve observed. I’m not sorry for my views and don’t tell me “You’ll change your mind when you have kids” if you even think that then I feel bad for your children.

Diamonds are Temporary

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My parents never had a ring to symbolize their love. Even though they did end up divorcing 25 years into their marriage. But that’s not the point.

I’ve never understood the seriousness people put on things that are considered “traditional” in a marriage. Mainly the engagement/wedding ring. First of all, since when did diamonds become so important and integral to an engagement? The first thing anyone asks when they find out she just got engaged is “Can I see it?”

It being the diamond on the ring. For a moment, no one cares about anything else but judging the foundation of the relationship & the closeness of the two by looking at how big the diamond is. I, myself have done this before.

Some take it even further and instantly begin to bet against themselves as to how long the marriage will last based on nothing else but the diamond on that ring finger.

I can only imagine the stress and anxiety this creates for a man who is truly in love with his woman but just can’t seem to live up to society’s expectations. Is the rock big enough for her, for her family, for her friends and for his family and his friends?

We’re made to believe that the diamond engagement ring is a tradition- something that’s been happening for at least a few hundred years. Call me old fashioned, but it’s more “new fashioned” to give a diamond engagement ring.

Yes, the engagement ring can be traced all the way back to ancient Roman and ancient Egyptian times. But they had nothing to do with diamonds. Even some of them were just simple iron rings. A way to quickly and with the least amount of embarrassment know who is “taken” and who “available”.

Besides, why is everyone glossing over the fact that diamonds are cheap. There’s plenty of them to go around. I’ve actually heard that rubies are one of the rarest gems available. Why aren’t rubies more expensive? More hyped up? More sought after?

And then there’s the issue of the diamond itself. It’s clear. Colorless. Boring. And just about every married woman out there either has one or resents her husband/wife for not getting her one.

Why would any woman want to be exactly like the next? Why not give unique rings that show the couple’s personality with a multitude of color and different metals?

Are women so gullible that we are so easily swayed by being told what we should “want” and “expect” for our “big day”? Media is all over that sh*t. Force feeding little girls that she’s truly found love when s/he gives her that huge diamond and the glorious wedding that comes with it (but that’s another post).

Is that really what true love and happily ever after are all about- how big that diamond is? I’d like to think not.

Always A Balancing Act

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Always A Balancing Act

I know it looks like what it looks like. That I’m all motivated to go workout because it’s the new year and I have resolutions to uphold God dammit! But really, it’s more than that.

2015 is the year. The year I find balance between my work life, my personal life and my fitness life. I’ve always been able to balance two of the three out. Usually it was work and personal or work and fitness. But never the three together.

So far it’s been working. But now my blog is taking a back burner. Can I blog, work, workout & still have a little social life added into the mix? I sure think so! At least I’ll try my hardest.

First though, I need to finish That 70’s Show. It’s gone & taken over my life.

These Friends Ain’t Loyal

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Warning: Tantrum time.

Growing up. my family moved every three to four years. During my childhood, I made no lasting friendships. It wasn’t until social media evolved (high school/ college) that I was able to keep in touch with the friends I’ve made over the years. And even then, I consider only a small handful of those people as my “close” friends (aka friends who know me beyond my Facebook statuses and Instagram pictures).

At nineteen, I moved to Michigan. This was my first major independent move as an adult. And I lived in Michigan for seven years, building (what I thought were) lasting friendships. Then, last summer, I moved to Houston.

I’d never revisited a previous home before and so I was really excited to visit Michigan this last December and see all my friends again.

My trip was for only five days and I felt that I wouldn’t have enough time to see everyone I loved.

By the third day, however, it dawned on me: I have very few Real Friends (right now I can count them on one hand if half the fingers were cut off). Those I thought were my friends really aren’t (I’ll now refer to them as my Fake Friends). And many that I viewed as my “friends” because they were (originally) friends of my Real Friends, are more friends to me than my Fake Friends. These Friends of (my Real) Friends came out and spent time with me, while not a single Fake Friend contacted me and if I contacted them, they had an excuse for not being able to see me (unless they were out of town that is).

As an adult, I’ve developed into the kind of friend who will go out of my way for a friend. I will do almost anything to preserve a relationship with those I love and will be there for them whenever they need me. That is what I consider a Loyal Friend.

Apparently, Loyal Friends are few and far between. I am deeply hurt by every person I thought of as a friend who hasn’t even reached out to me. I’ve been gone for almost five months, and am in town for five days (including the weekend) and I’ve publicly announced my arrival and sent group texts out and so far the only friends who came out to see me were (besides my half a handful of Real Friends) Friends of Friends.

The Tally: I have a handful of Real Friendships, numerous Friends-of-Real-Friends Friendships and even more Fake Friends than I can count.

The Lesson: Don’t waste your energy on Fake Friends. If they’re real they’ll be there. I’m going to focus on my well being and health and stop bending backwards for people who disappear when it’s not convenient for them. Friendship is a mutual meeting of “half-way”. I’ll continue to meet my Real Friends half-way and leave behind the others.

Tall People Problems

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The longer I date a tall man, the more I realize that this world is not tall (or short) people friendly.

Door frames are too low for him and he’s constantly ducking to avoid hitting his head. Airplane and car seats are too tight that even the shortest trips are deemed not worth it. Toilet seats are too low. Sinks are too low. Mirrors cut off his head every time.

And I can’t seem to be able to take a selfie with him without cutting off part of his forehead. Let’s not talk about how it’s virtually impossible to find shoes for his size 17 feet or shirts with long enough sleeves when we go shopping. He drinks a bottle of water in two gulps and I’m sure toothbrushes are much too small that it takes him twice as long to fully brush his teeth. He can’t go on half the rides at amusement parks because his long legs don’t have enough legroom or his torso is too tall to allow the body brace (harness?) from fully closing and locking into place.

People are naturally wary of him even though he’s the biggest softie I know. Or they’re drawn to him and ask him personal questions like how tall are you (6’7″) or what size shoes do you wear or can I put my palm up against yours (I can fit both my fists inside one of his). They tend to be enamored by his height, but I’m beginning to believe him when he tells people “Being tall is overrated.”

What are some other things make life difficult for tall people?