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.

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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

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

Accusations.

If you see me now you might think I was very chatty and extremely popular growing up, but that doesn’t even come close to describing my childhood.

Before my age hit the double digits, I was indeed very chatty and bubbly, but then primary school happened.

Slowly my classmates became less fun and accepting and more critical and cruel, cliques were starting to form and I found myself casted aside.

From initially loving school I came to loath it, I hated getting up in the morning knowing very well that the cycle of bullying and verbal/physical abuse was awaiting me. I gradually stopped trying to chat or make friends, I stopped participating in class and I would sit there like a silent statue never raising my hand to answer.

To make things worse, the bullying came from my teachers the same, if not sometimes more, than my classmates.

Bullying and abuse come in all kinds of forms, but the one form that still irks me to date is accusation. I hate being accused of something I, and in most instances, the accuser know I didn’t do but rather accuse me with it for one cruel reason or the other.

Life taught me that some people are truly made of stone, no remorse or regret. However, the silver linings to the story is I learned to always give people the benefit of the doubt.

Accusations.

Toxic Humans

I am no expert on sociology, but I had my fair share with dealing with toxic/fake/manipulative people. More than I would have personally liked to be honest.

At times I am partly to blame because I allow myself to be kind to such people, in hopes that they would change or actually feel something, empathy, kindness, anything other than trying to suck the world into their empty souls..

I been told that I wear my heart on my sleeve, so unlike some, I don’t hide my tricks up said sleeve.I did however learn to tuck my heart in (a little bit).

Not all who ask about your fears care about your well being, that’s one of the biggest lessons I learned, they charm their way into your private courtiers, and before you know it they learned all your weaknesses and fears and used them to concur your life and enslave you at their mercy.

Then there’s those who charm you with smiles, laugh with you and are so funny and amusing to be around until suddenly you begin to notice that the laughs and jokes are being directed at you and the room is filled with eyes gazing at you with such mockery and at that moment you learn your no longer part of the joke, -you- are the entire joke itself.

Some extend you a helping hand, hugging you when you’re sad quietly listening to you as you cry and you feel like you finally found that shoulder you needed, until slowly your breath beings to shorten and the hugs being to squeeze a little too tight and the silence becomes so deadly around you. That’s when you find yourself engulfed at the mercy of a serpent that charmed you with it’s colorful scales as it slowly devoured you.

But the true master of all, is the crazy maker, and no one masters that trait like a Narcissist…they waltz into your life and place you under their spotlight, your are their muse, their nightingale, their role model. They make you feel that you have their heart in your hands, that you are molding them, and you foolishly believe it to be true, not realizing that the whole time they waltzed you inside a fiery furnace, slowly melting you down into their mold.The praises turn into criticism, your bright ideas turn into stupid mindless thoughts, your face no longer looks beautiful it looks tired instead, and you end up blaming yourself for not fitting into their favorite dress the way you used to because you gained weight and no longer look attractive, your hair is a mess did you even brush it? The questions pour on as they slowly turn into interrogations and in between the long Q&A sessions you glance at someone looking at you with weary eyes, almost sunk into their skull from fatigue and as your gaze fixates you realize you been staring at a mirror the whole time, unable to recognize yourself as you have been so busy trying to regain that beautiful mirage you initially thought you had with your one and only, it’s -your- fault you spit at your own reflection with blame, you destroyed that image you brought this upon yourself you became too fat goddamn it!!

And that’s when you break down, you cry for days hoping your tears would finally dry up and your soul would finally leave your body giving you relief of the bone and flesh prison it’s captivated in…

That’s when you finally realize that you have experienced the true power of a Narcissist.

Toxic Humans

She’s asking for it!

I recently recalled an article by the Emirati columnist Ayesha Almazroui, in her article she spoke about harassment and I can very much relate to everything she wrote about, the instances where guys chase you in the car just to force you to take their number.

Growing up I was taught that a women must dress in a certain way to avoid harassment, otherwise she will be simply “asking for it” if she dresses otherwise, and I must admit that when I was younger I firmly believed that to be very true. However I came to meet many different people from a variety of races, religions and backgrounds and I can honestly say that you should never judge a book by it’s cover.

During my conversations with my friend in Australia (Hey Izzy!) she was telling me about how women go out in groups and make a pact to stick together all the way till they get back home, and in between our chat she was talking about how women shouldn’t be shamed for dressing a certain way and how men shouldn’t use that as an excuse to harass/abuse/rape them.

And our conversation really got me thinking about that, and a few days after I was going to a mall and parked my car at the far end of the parking lot and I was fixing my hair when a car passed right in front of my car and there was a man driving it, he looked 50+ and he was alone and apparently he was following my car and he had his window down and he drove past very slowly almost stopping completely as he stuck his head out of the window and stared at me in a dirty way as I was fixing my hair, I was so tempted to honk at him or scream as he passed by but I knew that might actually “encourage” him more. I ended up being so upset that I left the parking space and drove to another mall because it looked like he was attempting to take a second turn to come back and stare at me some more.

When that happened I wasn’t dressed “provocatively” nor was I “asking for it” as I purposely parked at the furthest end of the parking lot to have some privacy. This really struck something inside me, who defines the standard of “asking for it?” or “provocative” to some men it can be a skirt over the knees or a tank top, but to some other men it might be a glance from a women that he could use as an indication that she “wants it” but to others the mere instance of a women being in a certain place at a certain time of the day, or just by simply being outside of her house alone and/or with female friends means she’s “asking for it”!

Women in Kabul are harassed and raped and they are all dressed from head to toe in the unified blue traditional outfit, was her outfit a lighter shade of blue than her counterpart when she was harassed? And in some other countries just walking in the street after sunset can lead to harassment, rape or even murder.

Some argue that the way she dresses or the time/place a women is at is an indication that she’s asking to be harassed, no she isn’t, and no one should assume that unless she verbally states “Please harass/rape/murder me”!

And as Ayesha stated in her article:

We can either move on in our lives, pretending that harassers are just “being boys”, or we can face the reality and act firmly to change it.

She’s asking for it!