The ghost of motherhood

I can clearly remember the day I came to a full conscious decision that I don’t want to procreate or become a mother. My mother was having a full blown argument with my grandmother and I just stood there like I always did when moments like this occurred, and in the silence of my mind I could hear myself saying, “I don’t want this, I don’t want to be a mother, I don’t want to have children”.

A sense of relief overcame me as I let that silent testimony take place. I was between the age of 12-14 at that time, and for the longest time I remember not being interested in the “Baby” doll range, where most came with diapers and feeding bottles and would coo and cry, while other girls aspired to get them as gifts my skin would crawl at their sight, I hated even looking at them, the idea of a doll the “poops” freaked me out. I would find myself in the bike section of the toy shop, or crying over the latest 500+ piece jigsaw puzzle or begging my parents for an arts & crafts machine. I loved constructing my toys, carefully putting together my jigsaw puzzles as I braided my friendship bracelets.

“You will change your mind”, “Your maternal instincts would take over”, “You’re too young to make such decisions” and so on and so forth…but as the years passed my feelings grew stronger. The maternal wind never blow me over, as a matter of fact most of my post-maternal related arguments ended up with me having nightmares of monster babies ripping me from the inside or birthing deformed blood hungry beasts. I would wakeup with cold sweats and tears.

Pollution and over population plague the world yet people still continue to drain natural resources and inflect pain and suffering upon each other from chemical warfare to GMO’s and everything in-between, what’s so appealing about bringing a new life into all of this? When we have nations that suffer from -literally- overeating themselves to death to nations that can’t even find a scrap of dried bread to survive a day on. If aliens were to survey for inhabitable peaceful planets, ours would be their very last resort!

Now lets put that aside and try the half-full glass approach, what if I simply do not want to be a mother? is it so hard to grasp? Maybe I don’t want the responsibility of another human, a human which would bound me in one way or another with a partner that I may or may not get along with in the long run.
If children were somehow refundable I would consider it, but unfortunately they aren’t.

With child abuse support groups and campaigns, don’t you think that I might not be alone when it comes to the notion of not wanting kids? I just wasn’t drastic enough to give birth to one before changing my mind, not to say that I will abuse my child but how many cases are out there of children being born into poverty and suffering and catastrophic marriages and abusive parents. How many “mothers” regret becoming one due to peer or spousal pressure?

People push you to get married, push you to have kids then scold you for being a “bad parent” (which might range from simply pursuing your career and/or not beating your children up as a form of discipline). Funny enough 99% of the time those people are not even part of your inner circle or even your family yet they feel entitled and obliged to instruct you how to lead your life.

Well guess what, I’m done arguing, I’m done justifying and I’m done accommodating. My life, My body, My rules.

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The ghost of motherhood

The Age of Digital Baggage

As I cleared my calendar of birthday reminders and my contacts from numbers that haven’t been called in 6 years I felt a sense of relief come over me, that’s when I realized how “digital” baggage can be, as or even, more exhausting then actual “physical baggage”.

We join WhatsApp groups and Facebook groups and now even Snapchat groups! We participate in the art of social media soiree where we exchange followings from Twitter to Facebook and beyond.

How many times have you glared down at the little bubble notification and felt a sense of anxiety as the number increased, but at the same time you couldn’t bring yourself to open the app and face your fears?

I transitioned from a social media free childhood into a social media filled adulthood and I feel a million years old trying to remember how it was when you had boundaries and limitations for social interactions. Don’t get me wrong I love my social media, heck I even majored in it. But at times I wish I can disconnect without feeling a sense of overwhelming guilt for not partaking in the daily update rituals of the social sphere.

The past few days I been clearing chats left and right and unsubscribing to newsletters and deleting contacts and just trying to minimize my digital baggage as much as possible. I think it’s about time we gave ourselves a well deserved “digital cleanse”, so what if you been added to the “Bake Group”?? or the “Movie Monday’s” chat, if you are a heavy participant by all means stay, but if you feel your gut wrenching with every notification beep, then ask yourself, why am I still “here”?

The internet may have made the whole world a small village, but I say it’s about time we put curfew hours and established visiting etiquettes.

The Age of Digital Baggage

The Kindess of Strangers

A while back I had to take my car for the normal mileage service, but due to unforeseen issues I had to leave it at the service center and had to use public transport (not that I am complaining I actually love walking around for a change.)

When my car was finally ready for collection I decided to do the “unthinkable” and take the bus, to further explain the previous statement, some people tend to look down on public transport and think it’s ludicrous to even bring up such a topic!

Well luckily I am “crazier” than most, after shocking my mom with my announcement that I am going to walk to the bus station and her pleas to get me to reconsider and that she will call my cousins, my friends, anyone just to drop me off! I said no thank you, I am trying the bus for a change and made my way out of the house.

Google maps told me that the closest two bus stops were a 5 minute walk away, I walked to one of them and waited till the bus came and just got on not realizing it was the wrong bus, my bad, but it just took me back around my house and dropped me to the second bus stop (hey at least I got to see two bus stops close to my house, silver linings!)

I waited for around 15 minutes till the bus came around, and funny enough it was the same bus…the driver noticed my puzzled look and he spent the next 20 minutes explaining how a circle route works. It’s a shame that I can navigate public transport abroad better than I do in my own country!

I exited at the metro station for the second leg of my trip and a Filipino lady who was on the same bus was going to the metro station as well, she approached me and she asked me where I was going and I told her to the service center at so-and-so location and she said that she’s going towards that direction and she can help me, I thanked her and told her I am good here as I know my way around the metro, it’s just that I am not used to taking the bus. She just smiled and nodded and walked and stood waiting for the metro to arrive.

Now to those who are not familiar with the Dubai Metro there are different carriages, there’s silver, women’s and children (which is part of the silver section) and the gold carriage which is at the front of the metro, the silver is more economical and bigger while the gold carriage is smaller and you pay 2x the price of the silver.

I have the gold NOL card (that’s the name of the public transport card).

She stood in front of the women’s and children carriage, which belongs to silver. I thought to myself, I always ride gold but I don’t always meet such nice people, so I walked over to her and told her I will sit with her and she had a delighted look on her face.

We chatted for the whole train ride, I found out that she just recently moved to Dubai and that she works as a nurse and she just came from her patients house, and elderly lady, she sometimes cares for toddlers.

It was a nice change to share a conversation with a fellow human being that was completely random and unplanned for. She offered to help me without even knowing me, the least I could do is sit and talk with her.

“When we feel love and kindness toward others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace.”
—The 14th Dalai Lama (1935)

The Kindess of Strangers

A visit to Emirates Airline Festival of Literature

On Thursday 5th March I decided to visit the “Emirates Airline Festival of Literature” which was held at Intercontinental, Dubai Festival City. The festival is a yearly event and it was held from 3-7 March this year.

I tried my level best to avoid book temptations, but ended up buying 4 books (and got one signed by the author as well!) the smell of books in the air was too strong to avoid, bookaholics beware you -will- spend money at the festival of literature!

After browsing/buying a few books and roaming around the crowds I decided to attend one of the talks offered that day, a panel discussion called “The Sticky Arts of Interpretation and Translation” caught my interest and I went ahead and got my ticket, the hour long panel talk was moderated by Kamal Abdel-Malek and on the panel were Leslie McLoughlin, Yasir Suleiman and Inaam Kachachi.

The panel discussion was very interesting and from the start Leslie mentioned an Italian phrase “traduttore tradittore” which literally means that a translator is a traitor, to highlight the difficulties that translators face, and even Yasir mentioned that a translator is at fault whether he get’s it right or get it’s it wrong.

One of the few valuable nuggets of knowledge that Leslie shared during that session was that a translator must have a high sense and regard to each language he’s translating to, to enable him to translate in an efficient way.

He said one of the difficulties he faced during his early translation years was trying to translate the different forms of the Arabic dialect and carry on the meaning to English. He gave an example of a sentence in Arabic “Ya Shab” which if translated directly would be “Hey Boy” but it won’t carry the intended weight nor meaning of the full text, so he translated it to “Hey young man” and Yasir added that in Scotland “Hey Jimmy” would be the equivalent to that phrase.

Yasir mentioned that the translation must carry the effect from the original text, and this is the tricky part, there’s a word by word translation and a meaning translation, and some things can’t be directly translated. I was very amused when he mentioned that when he flirts he does it in Arabic and how some languages are better suited for a topic than the other.

I liked how Inaam agreed that a translator is a traitor, but it can be a beautiful traitory, as a translator can take a text that she described as “coal” and turn it into a beautiful diamond and sometimes visa versa!

Kamal added that languages can get jealous of each other and the translator can get caught between them.

The panel discussion could have carried on for another hour and I wouldn’t have noticed, honestly I truly enjoyed the session and I learned so many things and they made me think of transnational in a whole different sense.

A visit to Emirates Airline Festival of Literature

Weekly Photo Challenge – Shadowed

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My entry to the The Daily Post, weekly photo challenge. Taking at Manarat Al Saadiyat, Seeing Through Light: Selections from the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Collection

وما نحن غير ذرات في محيط المجرات، وبين كل الأرواح تشع روح اكثر عن غيرها وتأثر فيك بطرق لم تخطر على بالك.
——
We are all tiny specks in the vast ocean of the universe and among all the souls out there, there’s one that will shine brighter and touch you in ways you never know possible.

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Shadowed.”

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Why am I blogging & a look into 2015

I want this year to be about me, as narcissistic as that may sound I have a very valid reason for it (and although I want it to be about me but that doesn’t mean it wont involve others).

So why “me”?

The past couple of years I focused my time and my energy around others, I would plan my outings and plan my day to accommodate the people in my life, even if it meant that I had to sometimes stay up late when I am craving a spot to curl up and sleep in, or waking up early to keep up with the early birds and the sun chasers (while I, myself, prefer the night and the moon where I feel at ease under the stars).

I tip toed around others worrying that a single wrong word or action from me might fragile them, yet most didn’t hesitate to stomp down on me when it was my turn to request some comfort and peace.

Worrying about what others might think only got me black circles beneath my eyes and a tired body and soul to flatter and enhance them. Ironically as it may sound, I hesitated to blog because I was worried it might take time out of my day that I could devote to others.

Upon a series of domino like events that lead to distress, despair and gloom, I found myself being labeled a “loser” and that I should just simply go “get a life”.

Get a life? But wasn’t this, or more correctly, that (past tense) my life? I felt like I was in a fast car that came to a sudden halt and I wasn’t wearing my seat belt.

Oh, did I mention that the car was a convertible, with the top down?

After a period of recovery, shame and a few tears of sorrow and regret, I stopped. Just simply stopped thinking, stopped daydreaming and stopped bothering to explain to myself something I couldn’t even understand.

“What can I do now?” I thought to myself, all my scenarios didn’t involve this, I had my life mentally planned till the grave and suddenly the entire script was torn and shredded apart. So I stepped back, and looked at myself, who am I? what have I done all the past years? am I happy? is this what I want? can I go on like this?

Although I never experienced it, but I truly did feel like I was in a coma for the past few years of my life, the more I tried to remember the less I recalled, finally I found myself thinking about my teen years, what did I actually do or who was I back then? 13,14,15,16? Nothing, it’s just blank..

“What would the teenage me want?” I thought to myself, suddenly all I wanted to do was ride a bicycle and try different burger joints and sweet shops, as simple as it may sound, it made me feel happy, I could slowly start to see the things “I” wanted for a change.

Which brings my back to my blog, it’s part memory keeping and part experience sharing and part holding myself accountable, I created this blog with aims of sharing “my” world with everyone, be it a movie I saw or a new restaurant I liked, I am holding myself responsible for making sure I accomplish the things I want to do in order to share and be proud of sharing them with everyone.

So here’s to a year of “me”, a year of living the way I would have wanted to live at 16 but with the added bonus of a few years of experiences that some may call wisdom.

Why am I blogging & a look into 2015

“Sailing” into 2015

As the tittle suggests, I celebrated the new year in a slightly different manner than most years. I wanted it to be low key but at the same time with a company of like minded people. I booked an Abra which is a wooden water taxi and sent out an open invite on Instagram to whoever wanted to join the “Instameet”

A few messages back and forth and the total came up to 18 attendees, the Abra capacity is 20 people so I can safely say it was a successful turn up!

We met up at Al Fanar restaurant at 7.30pm for a quick traditional Emirati dinner and then embarked the Abra at 10.30pm, we took a short trip down the creek and then made our way up the creek to the fireworks watching spot, where we watched Burj Khalifa light up the night sky. It was nothing short of stunning and the event is online for all to see at http://mydubainewyear.com/

It was cozy and chilled out, no fancy lights or mile long queues, just a quiet wooden Abra with a fun bunch of people to ring in the new year.

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“Sailing” into 2015