My friend: the fridge

Screenshot_2016-04-03-14-52-43-1Food. I could talk and write about the subject for hours, and then hours after that. Nay, I wouldn’t stop talking about it unless I was eating, then I really wouldn’t need to talk because the yummy food on my fork would do the job for me. It would talk to my nose, to my palate, to my tummy, to my brain… it would probably whisper to my soul because souls are poetic that way. Food is beautiful.

I woke up early this morning, just like every morning of my life, for no other reason than to torture my body by not letting it sleep. Oh well, more time to dream about food, because you don’t need to be asleep to think of cake and melting cheese and boatloads of rice drizzled with soy sauce. Yes, I have a huge appetite at 7 a.m too. I got up, made my ritualistic tea composed of water, English breakfast tea, a splash of skim milk and that fake sugar that looks like a pill and tastes like something you shouldn’t ingest but still do because sugar is bad for you and chemical sugar is obviously better (I have my stupid moments). Then, armed with a pretty knife, I sliced a piece of the molasses cake on the table and dipped it in my tea. As I bit into it, moist and slightly chewy, I started thinking that if I had used more milk, of the full fat type, and put honey or sugar in my tea, then eating cake would have been somewhat of an unhealthy choice, but since my drink was so light, it’s as if I had cut the cake’s calories in half. This, with the help of my twisted logic, made me cut another slice because apparently I was having “diet” cake. I have issues.

Food is such a pleasure, especially when you are able to make your own, crave a dish and make it a reality with just two hands, some utensils and a bunch of ingredients. I believe diet fads are a ploy to take away one of the simplest pleasures in life, the thing that can make you smile even when alone or tired or angry. Being skinny isn’t as comforting at 3 a.m as a piece of leftover fried chicken followed by chocolate fudge ice cream. Fitting into size 0 pants doesn’t cure the Monday blues, doesn’t make your fingers tingle at the thought of buckling its buttons like it does when you split a crispy mozzarella stick and the melted center oozes out on your plate waiting for your senses to be enthralled.

I like salads, I’m the biggest veggie aficionado out there, give me anything from lettuce to eggplants, even Brussels sprouts and stinky boiled cauliflower, I’ll eat them all with a huge grin. Mum even describes my eating a bowl of spinach like a kid given a tub of ice cream. Loving food isn’t loving bad food, fatty food or fake processed food. Being a foodie is knowing what to eat and how to eat it, choosing quality and understanding what’s on our fork. I don’t eat hot dogs or squeeze “cheddar” out of bottles with a thousand ingredients I can’t even pronounce; I eat what I understand, what nature has given me, and I enjoy it. Some would say I enjoy it too much, but I don’t see the problem in doing so. I’m not obese, I don’t have health problems, or at least none related to my fridge-raiding habits, and if there’s one moment in the day you’ll find me smiling naturally and unconsciously, it’s when I’m in the kitchen stirring a big pot of curry.

There’s nothing wrong with loving food, waking up with recipes screaming at me, vivid images of dishes I once had the pleasure of trying, meals planned out for the day, week or even a month from now. Some obsess over celebrities, I obsess over perfectly cooked eggs. Yum.

Somewhere else calls my name

IMG_20150910_090241I am not a career person, someone who aims to become more important, gain more titles, make more money, more more, more. Don’t mistake this with me not being ambitious, I am, just not socially ambitious, not driven by the conventional upgrading of one’s position vis-a-vis their comrades. I aim to upgrade my life, my experiences, my knowledge, I willingly spike my adrenalin, follow my intuition and whims full throttle.
From a very early age, I dreamt of discovering the world, the corners different to mine, the faces I was taught not to identify with, the languages I can listen to for hours without understanding a word said, yet keep lending an ear in fear of missing a vowel. I have daydreamed of adventure, of shaking hands with wild gorillas, climbing up trees like I would push a supermarket trolley to pick my fruit, bathing in the Amazon river instead of wasting water in a tiny glass shower cabin… there has never been a limit to the things I could achieve if I set my mind to do them, the only limit was myself, my socially subjected fears and the stereotypes I have time and time again been conditioned to believe I had to conform to. I finished school, finished university, got a job in a big company and…quit. i just couldn’t. The road called my name, the wind whispered enchanting poems of life, mapped routes for me to follow and I yielded to my nature’s temptations, weakened by my heart’s longings, empowered by possibility. Then I tried again, got another job, did well, loved everyone there, then… quit again. My mind is too fidgety, my passions fickle, my thoughts confused, but one thing remains certain: I abhor routine, safety, constancy, I dislike feeling stuck when I could be running free. I wasn’t born rich, wasn’t given all I asked for unlike many of the kids I grew up with, but I learnt over the years to not base my fears on money, to not let the lack of it hinder my progress or my aspirations. Money is an evil, just not mine. I’d work as a waitress to fund my month in Nicaragua, do one odd job after the other to keep going on the path I see so clearly in my mind.
We have no limits except those we set, unless we listen to the deluded voices haunting our days telling us we can’t live wild and free, nothing prevents us from embodying the persona we feel fits us best. I belong on the road, found in transition, lost in my dreams.

Beirut, this is not the end.

What saddens me most today is everyone’s reactions to the preliminary results of the municipality elections polls. All I’ve been seeing since last night’s scandalous pictures and videos is negative and defeatist posts on how Beirut’s future is now plunged in a gloomy pool of uncertainty and how our city is doomed and done with. Has the wind of change rushed elsewhere because of one (possible) loss?

The results may have been tampered with and Beirut Madinati’s support may have been spat on by chaos-loving imbeciles, but that doesn’t change the fact that everyone’s support is requested and the city’s still in dire need of everyone’s help no matter the idiotic income of yesterday’s voting mess. We all knew the probability of Beirut Madinati not making it was high, the dream was too grand for a country so used to betrayal and conservative foolishness. As a big part of the population strives to keep things ludicrously the same even after watching their beloved country crumble more and more with time, there’s an even bigger part that dreams of making a difference, a huge chunk of people who dream of more than the undefining mess we have been reduced to. Where are those people, those dreaming spirits, those optimists that only seem to surface when others take the lead, when others venture in complicated manoeuvres in their place? Why does everyone go into hiding when their voice can summon so much good? Beirut Madinati started as a group of determined individuals with enough hope to sell those who had stopped believing things could change, and they succeeded in challenging the status quo of our sinking ship. If they could scare them all into cheating so openly, then why can’t we all rise against them once more, and once more after that, and as many times as it takes to make a difference and get our ship sailing steadily and proud once again?

Defeat doesn’t suit you, Beirut. Defeat doesn’t define you. You have risen time and time again, and even though you’re weary and exhausted from all your failed attempts, there is no limit to hope, and as long as everyone keeps their faith in a brighter future, nothing will kill our dreams, not even their defective money-craving souls. Beirut will rise once more, brighter than ever.

I dip, you dip, we all dip for change

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Today I voted. I usually abhor the simple idea of politics, but today wasn’t about politics for me, it was about my city, the one I grew up in, the city I walked around a million times, sometimes half-heartedly, sometimes reluctantly, but it is still where I’m from, and that was what drove me to dress and dip half my thumb in stubborn purple ink.

First of all, it was probably a bad idea to wear white with all the ink my clumsy self had to keep from my clothes. On a more serious note, as I said a few lines earlier, I have often looked at my city in a negative way, almost disgusted by what it has managed to become compared to what it used to be; maybe that’s the problem. No, that is exactly the problem. Beirut is my city and I should love it, I should cheer for it, and most importantly, we should all stop whining about the current situation and the many years Beirut has been condemned to endure with no improvement to its situation and shake things up. Well, obviously, we don’t all have solutions or the right voice to fix things, but a group of people, with the mindset many of us have been lacking, decided to take matters into their own hands and push through the black hole that is our hand-me-down municipality to give us all a chance to see things change, to hope, and to stop repeating the same bloody mistake of re-electing incompetent self -loving individuals. Things can change, but only if we allow them to, and only if we work towards improvement. There is no such thing as not loving one’s city, even if elsewhere seems nicer, even if the city has done you harm or anything that would make you not care for it; each city should be respected and loved if just in remembrance of those who once made it great, ¬†of all those who on a daily basis still strive to make things better, in honor of a land that hosted us even though we managed to sabotage it daily with our unconscious neglect. Beirut rose 7 times, Beirut survived several wars and countless idiots, and that alone should push us all to care enough to fix it, give it a chance to become once again a city to be proud of.

I voted today, because I have undying hope in my heart that some day soon, the city I keep trying to run away from… will have me running back to it.

Stop, drop and…shop?

I am totally capable of leaving home in my pajamas, or in one of my dad’s old shirts which I always steal. However, unlike what some would think, I love shopping. I’m a designer after all so that isn’t such an odd occurrence, dressing up can turn into hours of fun. Problem is, in Lebanon, there’s a big chance you’ll end up dressed like someone else, everyone buying their clothes from the same places, everyone imitating everyone. I’m lucky enough to be able to shop in different countries, but there’s no escaping it, I sometimes end up buying things from here. There is nothing wrong with it, but when I ended up at a party sitting next to a girl wearing the exact same dress as I was, I exploded into a fit of laughter; after years of making sure this wouldn’t happen, it just… had to happen.

In a world where everyone wants to be like everyone else, and where capitalism has taken over every single aspect of our lives, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the chances of us owning similar wardrobe items and matching outfits with people we’ve never met grow higher each day. After vain attempts of trying to look different, we somehow find ourselves sucked into the masses, and after a while we start accepting that it’s just an inevitable result of globalisation.

However, mass-produced clothes and accessories are becoming more and more schizophrenic as time goes by. For example, why do many women’s pants and vests have fake pockets whileas babies’ bibs and shorts have real ones? Do they need them to put their tiny wallets and their toy car keys? And what about those tiny shorts everyone seems to be sporting, bums barely covered by oddly overpriced pieces of denim? I’d rather wear my bikini on the street if I’m going to be charged this much to look completely and utterly indecent and distasteful; we get it, you do squats.

Fashion used to be about individuality and mastering the art of mixing colors, patterns and shapes, whileas nowadays, all this word seems to summon is nudity, cheap materials and one-size-fits-all unoriginal trends. If people started caring more about what set them apart instead of what made them so comfortably similar, they’d realize fitting in is the real disease the media has managed to masterfully spread.

When someone asks me if I like fashion, I always hesitate to answer, because if I say no then I’d be lying, and if I say yes, I’ll have to explain that what I mean by fashion is completely different from what is understood by the masses. I believe fashion is a wondrous tool, one that can be used to express much more than what we commonly imagine; Vivienne Westwood gave a voice to the punks, Margiela gave a second life to random everyday objects, Hussein Chalayan questioned cultural practices… It is true the price tags would make one question the necessity of such creations when the world is in such economical distress, but compared to how much money is poured into war and arms, the bill seems quite benign and the practice quite harmless, at times even educational.

Fashion is just another form of art, and as long as it has meaning and comes from somewhere deeper than the need to see more skin on the runway, then why not?