For a friend

I know not how to make my voice say

That my heart cries for you today,

And I know not how to comfort thee

With much more than an earnest plea;

Today I ask all angels in the sky

To turn each gasp and every cry

Into beds of roses for her to sleep,

And may your soul learn not to weep

For we’re all but visitors doing time

Till those promised bells begin to chime.

We are so near the sweet departed

Who want us not so broken-hearted;

Despite the void and all the pain,

Remember not these days of rain

But count the days of sunny splendor

Given to us by ones so tender.

It is not far, this new hello

Though hours seem to pass so slow,

We’ll see their bright faces again

So keep in mind that until then

If your strength begins to sway

I am only a few steps away.

Advertisements

The teacher’s kid

When I reached the age of 3 and went to school for the very first time, I discovered something brutal: I was the teacher’s daughter. Not only that, but I was the teacher’s daughter in 3 different schools! My mother taught in one school and my father in another and he owned his own language institute in which they both taught. I can safely say my parents were literally and factually a school.

My first day at school marked my first day as the 50/50 kid, the child whose appreciation was based on how beloved or despised my father was since my mum taught elsewhere. I was a 3 year old big eyed ball of everything happy when I came face to face with “that guy” on my bus – a 15 year old mess who detested my father and made it impossible for me to get the clean slate I deserved; I was henceforth marked. As days went by, the bittersweet reality became clearer, the random squeals of ecstasy my appearance provoked in some and the flagrant eye rolls and grunts I obviously inspired in others, it was all due to my father being a teacher, the perks and the suffering combined. I later received the same treatment from my mother’s students, but by then I had grown accustomed to the whole charade, numbed to the itchy label I seemingly wore on my forehead – watch out, I’m “the teacher’s kid”, the miniature daytime boogeyman.

It took me my whole pre-teens and a few years into the delightful years of puberty and awkward self-awareness before I truly understood how valuable and just how extraordinary my life actually was, being blessed with two teachers for parents, livng in my own private classroom. I was amazingly lucky, there is no better word to describe it. Under one roof stood gathered walking and talking human dictionaries and encyclopedias, two beautiful souls who had dedicated their lives to the sole purpose of guiding young minds (not to mention adult ones at my father’s institute) down the road of knowledge and haphazardly through life in many cases. I was taught to value people, give as much as I could and stand by all those who needed help in any way possible, to share what I knew, and something I will never cease to thank them for, to understand the value of hard work and hard-earned remuneration.

Our time on Earth is limited and precious, and while we’re here roaming its uneven roads, we might as well make our stay profitable to others, be the gardeners of minds around us, give more than we receive in the hope that someday we too will run into someone we once helped and rejoice in their resulting successes just like my parents so often do. With their minds, they could’ve been anything they wanted, but they chose to teach, to suffer through long parent-teacher conferences, long invigilation hours, endless correction nights, cancelled weekends and their kids blaming them for their lack of energy, too young to fully understand the worth of each day they spent bent over piles of papers, watering the roses of tomorrow.

I was 3 when I understood my parents were teachers, 3 when I started learning that those who teach can in fact do, those who teach know enough to understand that without what teachers do, CEOs wouldn’t be able to type their names, presidents wouldn’t be able to read their speeches and doctors wouldn’t know the difference between a vein and a nerve. I was only 3 when I understood that when I grew up, I wanted to be just like my parents: a giver.

Every day is women’s day

Social media reminded me as soon as I opened my eyes that it was international women’s day, and I cannot help but compare it to all other hypocritical celebratory days like Valentine’s or even Independence. Let’s drink to women everywhere so tomorrow we can go back to throwing the empty bottles at their faces for daring to be just that: women.

It took me several years to appreciate the fact that I was a woman, to celebrate my double x chromosomes and proudly wear the label. As a child, all I could distinguish of the female gender was the “fragile” stamp we seemed to all receive at birth, one we couldn’t wash off or replace in a society too stubborn to acknowledge our strength, our power and our deserving all the same rights and opportunities as our male counterparts. Then I woke up, and how glad I was to finally brandish my lipstick and fire away all the sparks my womanhood had bestowed upon me.

However I can’t shake the feeling that giving women a day to celebrate them somewhat diminishes their value, just like Valentine’s or mother’s and father’s day diminish all the fireworks our loved ones deserves every single day. It also feels filled with hypocrisy, the way everyone picks up pink pens and paper on this one day, writes a post on Facebook quoting whichever prominent feminist the internet provides in the search results, and then goes back to not caring or worse, going against what feminism stands for the day after. Your neighbour is a human you should respect, not catcall when she picks up her newspaper in her bathrobe. Your waitress is serving you to pay her bills, not to worship all the nonsense you think you are entitled to utter as a paying customer. That girl didn’t wear a skirt for you, she wore it because she feels good in it. That lady is feeding her child so he is well nourished and can grow to become someone who will stand up for the mothers you deny the right to breastfeed in public spaces because it makes you queasy. Every woman is a being to be respected just like any other being on Earth, with beautiful superpowers like those of procreation and overflowing emotion and empathy. To all those who still doubt it, our hormones are one of our sources of magic.

Ultimately, everyday should be women’s day and mother’s day and an occasion for all those beautiful celebrations to remind us that we should love each other with no boundaries, no misogyny or sexism or antiquated patriarchal ideas on the place of women in society. A woman’s place is wherever she deems fit, wherever she feels comfortable, wherever she feels useful and hopefully, wherever that is, she can feel safe and strong.

You celebrate your half birthday???

As I mentioned in my previous post, I celebrate my half birthday every year to make up for my actual one which rarely fails to deceive my low expectations. Besides, twelve months is just too long a wait!

I was born mid August, mid summer, a leo supposed to celebrate in warm sunny weather; however, every year precisely on my birthday, wherever I am at that moment, it rains, and I have checked, it only rains where I am. Usually in France in the countryside during that period, I have celebrated twice in Paris and once in Lebanon and believe me when I say it has rained in the exact region I was in when candles were lit, every single year since my 5th. If I recall correctly, my parents had prepared a surprise celebration on that day and upon my return home from my summer day camp, I found a kiddy pool in the garden and little presents on every step leading to my room, bathing suit and accessories spread out on my bed upstairs. I got dressed and came down excited and giddy only to find the garden submerged in water from a sudden summer storm. It may have been the saddest sight I ever beheld as a child. Ever since, I have always celebrated carefully, preparing myself for things that often ended up happening, whether friends getting ill at the last minute to the ice skating rink being closed just on that day to being stuck at work on a Monday with colleagues I had to force a smile for.

Today is my half birthday, and from the looks of it half way in, it’s apparently a year-long curse I suffer from. Cheers!

The clumsy chronicles pt.2

If you’ve been following my ramblings long enough, you’ve probably noticed that I have already talked about how clumsy I can be, but in all honesty, I reach new levels each day and therefore have to update this public diary of clumsiness.

I woke up this morning dreaming of the decadent cake my mum had promised to make for my half birthday, my actual birthday almost always ending up a complete failure due to some bizarre curse – I’ll expand on the subject in another post. So I got up, brewed my coffee, added a splash of milk then toasted a nice big slice of crusty bread and slathered homemade chunky marmalade on top. Breakfast in bed is something I particularly relish in and have had since I was a kid (mostly on weekends), so nothing was really different than my regular habits. My phone’s battery calling my attention, I deposited my plate on my bed and went to plug in the weeping device, then sat on my bed’s side as I took a sip of my comforting warm beverage. Looking around, I couldn’t locate my breakfast which I was certain I had brought to my bedroom. Lightbulb. I get up and realize I had sat on it and the plate I was staring at was, apart from the occasional crumb…empty. My sandwich had gotten stuck on my bum! Furthermore, as I tried to detach the sticky mess from my pyjamas, I inevitably spilled half my coffee on my slippers.

Needless to say I decidedly have no better luck on my half than on my actual birthday, and my clothes have already had more sweets than me today.

Too little too much

Ever since I was a child, I have been taunted by the fear of being too much of anything, too loud, too different, too nice and yes, even too loving.

In a society that promotes distance, casual relationships with no profound attachment, caring too much has somehow become a defect of the human heart, something we’re doing wrong. Every time we get too close to another, whether friend or more, an alarm resonates and we pull out of our mischievous trance; today’s society is based on nonchalance and vapid companionship, anything more can turn out fatal. We call friends people who make our hips dance but our souls stand still, lovers those who offer us everything but their hearts, and for some inexplicable reason, this has become completely normal, synonymous with happiness.

I remember watching old films with my parents, listening to fabulously written dialogue and loving diatribes spoken with passion and glistening eyes, and I dreamt of the day I’d be old enough to have someone come up with words as warm and tender as those uttered by the likes of Cary Grant and Gene Kelly, swoon under the riveting gaze of chivalrous men burning with untamed passion. Instead, all I have seen of courtship has been reduced to strangers finding solace in strange bodies, short-term internet-made friendships, divorces happier than weddings and a world much less inviting than my innocent heart had dreamt while watching those films with the only two people who ever made me dream of more than society allowed or taught me to seek.

In the end, it isn’t being too much of anything that truly scares me, it’s the world being too little endowed with what makes my soul flutter and my heart beat faster; I will always do and be more than is advisable, and maybe someday society will finally decide to catch up.

The perks of my quirks

We all have these little habits, pet peeves, random fears, phobias and superstitious inclinations, some are outspoken about them, others less so, but nonetheless we are all guilty of some unexplained quirkiness, and it could be the most interesting part of us, whether we’d like to admit it or hide from it.

When I was a kid, I had this odd fear of bunnies, mostly the white ones. You know those tiny furry lovable creatures which rarely harm anything…yeah those. I used to stare at them in awe because I truly found them beautiful, but if you tried pushing one closer to me, I’d run away. Later on in life, I traced my fear back to a strange incident in my childhood, something one could almost qualify as a “made in china” phobia. Around the age of 4 or 5 I had been given a toy rabbit, white, red eyes and barely any fur. It was pretty on the outside but touch it and you’d realize it was a thin plastic carcass with barely enough plush to hide it. I can almost remember the touch of it, the bony structure of its body that would send shivers up my spine at the mere sensation of it. For years, the idea of a rabbit coincided with that skeletal toy, and just seeing one would project me into a distressing daze where I’d be caressing a carcass. Needless to say I still have visions of that horrible toy every time I see a bunny, but my brain now understands how far reality and Chinese products are from each other.

Another random fear my childhood brought me was from sunflowers. Of all the flowers in the prairy, that is the one I saw most growing up, spending 2 to 3 months each year in the French countryside. We’d walk near whole fields of it, and one thing always struck me as oddly disturbing; in the morning they’d be facing the sun as if part of some yogi salutation ritual, and at sundown they’d be turning their yellow heads away, all crumpled up and sad looking, faces towards the ground. They almost looked human, feeling, as if they understood the death of day was imminent and they were already mourning it. It might sound poetic said by my 26 year old adult self, but child me used to be terrified by the mere idea of human flowers, living stalks parading their emotions on their stage of soil.

I don’t know if I’d have preferred not thinking so oddly about what surrounded me as a kid, mystifying my surroundings almost built who I’ve become and most importantly who I was as a blossoming plant myself; the way I perceived the world was and will always be so inherent to my personality that, deprived of it, I might have been more serene, but also so much duller.