self perception


This weekend I indulged and still am indulging in some much needed escapism. Escaping my reality has been something I have been doing since I could remember. As I grow older though it keeps getting harder. 

So what is it I am trying to escape and how? I’ll answer the second part of that question first. There were and still are many forms of escape for me. Reading and getting lost in a good book, becoming the characters, taking on the plot and getting totally immersed in it is one form. Turning up the music and letting it wash over you, happy music, sad music, dancing music all of it works. Walking or dancing to physical exhaustion. Socializing and getting lost in other people’s lives and issues instead of your own. Working and being totally engrossed in something that is not you. Writing it may not be a full escape but it works to help work things out. And many other forms of escapism that I am sure you are all familiar with including mood altering substances like chocolate. 

To answer the first part of the question, I am running away from my reality. There is nothing really wrong with my reality. In fact, I am quiet privileged in many ways. So why is it I indulge this habit of mine? Why is I am always running away? 

When I look at the things I did to escape and try to do the same now it is no longer enough. Thankfully I found my escapism this weekend at the bottom of a glass and on a dance floor, a day trip to sit in the sun in tranquility, some nesting, and a hubbly bubbly. I dread the day when that wont be enough. Just like today books, movies and music can no longer offer the stillness of mind and the escape I seek anymore.

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The other day I was helping a friend organize her pictures. She is never far away from her camera and is ready to snap away when you aren’t. We can always depend on her to capture and document the moments of time that we are all together.


After we were done organizing I started to sift through the albums, and there it all was. I laughed, smiled, was horrified, was shocked, and was sometimes surprised at what I saw. Our friend has documented our lived through these pictures, the good, the bad and the ugly in full color. I saw all of last year’s memories in front of me. Things I thought only existed in my faulty memory, and things I had deleted from my consciousness were all there. There I was, as were others, forever immortalized in full color prints, sorted chronologically and filed in indexed albums. 


I am not sure how I feel about the whole matter. I used to be a believe that if its not worth remembering then it wasn’t that good. However with a faulty memory my belief faltered. Seeing some of those pictures I was able to relive some great emotions and good times. I was also seeing some really bad fashion choices, bad hair days, and not so great poses! All of this was now immortalized.


I’m horrified that not the best of me is preserved. But does it really matter? It only shows I’m human and thus flawed, not always picture perfect. The other more important question for me is Do I want to relive all the emotions and feelings of the past? Do I want to go back in time to the things I want to forget? Isn’t forgetfulness a blessing?

The flip side of this is since we forget there will always be a record. We’ll be able to see old friends and new, people who have come and gone from our lives. A history in pictures serves as a reminder of who, what, where, and how, and somehow that’s not a bad thing at all.

 

I was watching an episode of Sex in the City that questioned and then celebrated singlehood. It made reflect on my weekend, and yes, how great it was to be single. 

 

 

Thursday night was spent at home with DVDs, my thoughts and books. Friday was getting pampered at the hair salon and then an afternoon with the girls followed by social hopping from one place to another.  Saturday came and it was time for me to really start the year and so after the dietician, the dentist and the credit card company I went off to do something for me. I went to the Rembrandt exhibition. I spent a full hour with myself and the reproductions of Rembrandt. After leaving I went to my favorite café to spend some quality time with myself. 

 

 

 

Something dawned on me. I love spending time with myself, I love having my own space, I like to do my own thing, I like disappearing when I want to unasked, unaccounted for, unquestioned. I enjoy being single, I like being a hunter (Think Dido’s song, Hunter).  

One may be the loneliest number but its easy, uncomplicated, and it’s the number of freedom, independence.  I like being a one, or as they said on the show, Single and FABULOUS!

 

I still my pen because I still my mind. It leads me to places that I have visited time and time again. I am tired of my mind and so I am tired of where my pen goes. 

I still my pen because I still my mind. It leads me to beautiful places that only exist there. I want to share them only with myself and so because I am selfish my pen is quiet. 

I still my pen because I still my mind. It remembers a history told before. It remembers happiness and pain. It remembers laughter and anger. It remembers what cannot be shared, and so it forgets as does my pen. 

I still my pen because I still me mind. Nothing is worthy of the ink. It dries on paper with empty words. There is no story to tell. There is no inspiration.

I still my pen, I still my mind, I still my heart.  

Today I have been a chameleon in different worlds with in my city. Today I have hob knobbed with the underprivileged and stood side by side with the upper echelon of society.  I do this belonging to neither. 
 

Today I visited more than one location in the lesser privileged or served areas of Amman for various reasons. Whenever I go to these neighborhoods, I am greeted with a sense of belonging; a belonging to society and humanity with its true daily struggles. The smiles are genuine. Their hearts clouded and heavy, but simple and pure. The people walk, carry their own bags. They know their baker, butcher and candlestick maker. They are appreciative, and ever so giving. They aren’t afraid to loose because they have nothing to loose. They are the salt of the earth, and you can’t live without salt. 


 

Today I also was in more affluent neighborhoods and places, whether it was the elitist gym of Abdoun, where I took my laptop to work use their free wireless or the mall up the road with all its designer stores. But what took the cake, or chocolate, I would say was the opening of a new chocolate house I went to. This place was full of society men and women, I saw three fur coats, many coiffed heads and the ostentatious atmosphere was all around. What saddened me was I fit right in too. 
 

I traverse time, space, and privilege nearly everyday with the various duties of work, society and family. The contrast I see is widening, it scares me. I walk a middle ground between the two lives but the path is getting narrower and narrower and it is only a matter of time when me and the likes of me will no longer be able to traverse between the two lives seamlessly. When the time comes to choose, I know that I would be happier being among the salt of the earth, because you can’t live with out salt.  

How many times have you come across themes like live your life to the fullest you never know when you are going to die? I know I have come across this theme in numerous forms and apparitions. I know I am a staunch believer in this concept. A friend of mine forwarded to me a video the other day. It was of Steve Jobs the founder of Apple delivering a speech at a graduation ceremony. He had a similar message; I found it very inspiring and uplifting. 
 

He spoke of connecting the dots and how you try to look forward and connect the dots but you really can’t. You need to look back to connect the dots. I thought about that and I thought about how I view life. Am I predestined to do what I am doing? Am I working towards a preordained, pre-prescribed path? I don’t think so. I think that we make our own destinies. What these destinies are though is something you can only figure out by exploring your past as much as planning your future. But even with planning you can veer off track and end up doing something spectacular. I for example am a computer scientist by formal education, however I am so far away from that and it is great. If I followed that plan, which I did for a while, I would be miserable. 

Jobs also spoke about fulfillment. He said something along the lines of live everyday like you are going to die. Death has an amazing way of waking us up. I always think of not my death but what imprint I will leave behind. I was at a meeting recently when a development colleague said something very profound. He said, and he was quoting someone else “Children are the message we send to the future we will never see.” And I agree wholeheartedly. What I want to leave behind is nothing material but positive imprints on people through the interactions I have with them. I don’t think I need to even leave a genetic imprint with a child of my own genes, because I know I can pass on what counts not through genes but through life. 

My cradle was not my choice, and perhaps even my grave will not be. But my destiny is as is my imprint in life. I choose the messages I will send out. I hope my choices are right.

For the whole speech by Steve Jobs click here:

http://www.dailymotion.com/popular-week/tag/apple/video/x3j81k_steve-jobs-ac-kal-budala-kal-alt-ya_people

It’s coming close to the end of the year and it’s that time when I look back and remember the year that was: what I have done, where I have gone and how naughty or nice I’ve been. I reflect back on the year and recap the highs, lows and the in betweens. 

I started the year with a bang and will hopefully end it with one. I know that its important to be around people whom you like and enjoy being around on such a special day as the new year. I started mine with some of my nearest and dearest around me counting in the New Year. I was so happy to see 2006 go and to start 2007 that I forgot to set my new year’s resolutions. Which was not a bad thing at all. I floated through the year and did things I didn’t think I would do. 

So what were the accomplishments of the year? I went places I never thought I would go, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically. I partied through the first half of the year, I came to terms with a troubled past, I lost weight, 20 whole kilo grams, I fell in love, I started a blog and wrote like I never did before, I explored the poet within.

My greatest accomplishment this year is realizing that its OK not to the superwoman I always tried to be. I learnt to acknowledge defeat, to hurt, to feel and to let people know it. I learnt to be human. And that meant to feel, to hurt, to cry, to laugh, to jump, to make mistakes, to be a child, to just be. 

Another great step this year was goal setting. I made a decision last year to travel to Sri Lanka and I actually saw it through. I never was good at long term planning and to be able to actually go from concept to planning to execution was amazing. The trip itself was amazing and life changing in many ways. 

2007 was also the year the cynic in me died, a little at least. I experienced a whole spectrum of colorful emotions that helped me open circles and close others. What a different world it is when the cynic is quieted. You see so much more. You don’t get in your own way with your misgivings about the genuineness of life and its beauty. 

I think back to last year and what the fortune teller on the streets of Bangkok said to me. He asked my birth year, played with the numbers and looked into my eyes while he held my hand and said “30 good, 31 better, 32 BETTER: good money, good job, good lover!” Thirty has been good and if the next two years are gonna get better than this then I look forward to ring the year away and welcome the new one with open arms, closing the circles of the year only to open new fuller, bigger ones.

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