Saturday, June 29, 2013

three thoughts and three feelings

today marks the 1st month-iversary of my husband's return from the USA trip, i heard him arrive safely at 4am, he came into our bedroom to give us three kisses, the kids and i have been sharing the big bed since he left. he could've used our son's bed but he was jet lagged and couldn't sleep. when i woke up, this is what i saw in our living room next to the apartment door...

yes, my husband is a systematic perfectionist, but what we weren't able to "perfectionize" yet is finding the time to talk about his trip, we went out for coffee once but it wasn't enough for me to hear a full update about what he did and his impressions about the whole trip. as for the photos, i haven't seen them yet because i want him to tell me all about every single photo he took, new person he met, and exciting experience he had. i realized today that it has been a whole month since he came back and we're still trying to find enough time to spend together away from the kids, and i felt disappointed because i kind of lost my initial enthusiasm about his return and now i'm back to taking things for granted, taking his presence in my life and the life of our children for granted, so i'm mostly disappointed with myself for deciding so many things during his absence most of it based on how much i missed him and how much we need him, but now we're caught up, once again, in the cycle of daily challenges and business...

June ends tomorrow, which means that half of 2013 is already gone and this should lead to a time of serious evaluation and reflection but i'm too lazy to do that because most probably i'll get depressed as soon as i realize that i haven't achieved half of what i wanted to do in 2013. i didn't have "measurable" new year's resolutions so i might get away with whatever self-imposed punishment i choose which means that i am on the safe side, when i shake off my laziness i have to first re-read this post and be open to do what needs to be done!!! so i'll just practice some denial and escape, i'll feel lazy for the rest of the day and time will pass quickly, tomorrow i won't have enough mental energy for anything other than worry about 30 June in Egypt...

i don't know if worried is the most honest feeling i have regarding tomorrow, i should admit that i'm scared, terrified actually. why? what will happen on June 30th in Egypt? i don't know, and THAT's exactly what's making me feel so scared, i'm a control freak, "being in control" is a false reality, however much i try to think of it as a fact, it's not true, no one is in full control of their lives and the lives of their family and dear ones. but i always fool myself into thinking that i have everything (and sometimes everyone) under control. thinking and worrying about tomorrow makes me realize that things are way much bigger than me so maybe i just have to give up on trying to be in control and admit that the uncertainties about tomorrow far outweigh what's certain. as a believer in God i try to repeat to myself that "i don't know what the future holds but i know who holds the future" and this time it's the near future, it's tomorrow, the literal tomorrow, 24 hours from now.... things have already started to be tense in Egypt. yesterday two people were killed in Alexandria one of them is a 21-year-old American, tomorrow is 30 June 2013, the twin sister of 25 January 2011 revolution... will there be too much bloodshed? will the current one-year-old Brotherhood regime fall like the 30-year-old Mubarak regime did two and a half years ago? will my husband be safe as well as everyone i know participating in the demonstrations?

one t hing i'm sure of is that my husband will be in the right place, where he should be, with every other Egyptian on the streets risking their lives out of love for Egypt and out of hope for a more humane life , and i'll be in the right place too, at home, with our children, trying to keep them safe because that's what parents should do at any cost... i'll do my best to provide a safe "day" for our children and my husband will do his best to demand a safe "future" for them... this is how tomorrow will look like for our family, but what will happen is so uncertain and too scary for me to think about... (today's post by the brilliant Lebanese cartoonist Habib Haddad)

today i'm disappointed, lazy, and scared... it's neither the best nor the worst weekend in my life... can't handle extremes at the moment so i'll just put these three feelings in perspective and wish my readers a good-enough weekend. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

catharsis with coffee on a blog

yesterday i got upset for many reasons so i tried my first therapeutic technique which is cooking, specifically baking and i baked a yummy carrot cake with the cream cheese frosting too and i thought it worked. today i discovered that it didn't work so my plan B was some catharsis on my blog and since English is not my mother tongue i googled the word, hens the above picture and found this too on wikipedia:

Catharsis (from the Greek katharsis meaning "purification" or "cleansing") refers to the purification and purgation of emotions-especially pity and fear-through art or to any extreme change in emotion that results in renewal and restoration. It is a metaphor originally used by Aristotle in the Poetics to describe the effects of tragedy on the spectator

my first encounter with the word was through Gilmore Girls so i kind of knew what it meant but still i had to check before using it, and here are the bits that i found relevant: this word is related to theater (and what are blogs other than a stage and audience), expression of emotions (and what am i other than a mass of feelings entangled like a ball of thread the cat left by the fire place), and art (and what is writing if not a creation of beauty from the mind of the "bethinker")

still i felt that my blog is letting me down, i can't say what i wanted to say and i won't hear what i need to hear. during days of similar sadness i try to use THE TICKET... if i haven't told you about THE TICKET yet here is a brief explanation:
the logic behind it is similar to a medical treatment that uses a greater amount of pain for the relief of the original less acute pain, and to my surprise i found that "catharsis" in the sense of dramatic art uses tragedy on the audience to make them feel better after the shock. so what i call THE TICKET (and i've created and used this term long before i knew all of this) is simply a sequence of thoughts that i force on my mind which are much worse than my condition, for example i think of people with certain disabilities in order to thank God for my situation, now i read about mothers who struggle like this amazing woman and realize how blessed i am and how lala-land-like my life is compared to these people, the tragedy might not be directly related to the reason of my sadness but the technique works

recently, THE TICKET has become SYRIA... whenever i feel down or tired or in need to complain about how difficult life is, i use THE SYRIA TICKET... i start thinking about how people are suffering from war there, specifically mothers of young children and this automatically makes me endlessly grateful for all that i have, including the very reason of my sadness

i don't know if this is a healthy or mature technique but at least it works for me, i don't have any close friends living nearby whom i can call for some catharsis over the phone time, and what i mean by close friends, friends who know me well, they don't think too highly of me making me scared of disappointing them, they also aren't skeptical of my motives making me feel that i'm gossiping or talking behind people's backs. so if i have no one to turn to for an "emergency catharsis" phone call or coffee and if i'm still too afraid to go into details or get personal on my blog (which is supposed to be my virtual friend) then why not use THE TICKET and make it as flexible as need be... i update it and upgrade it whenever i hear a real-life story or news that includes death, loss, illness, disability, poverty, struggles, challenges... you name it

who needs a friend when one has a blog, a cute mug of great coffee, and THE TICKET... oh, i shouldn't forget to mention the piece of me-made carrot cake i've just had... it all works, surprisingly enough, but i still long, deep down inside, for a friend, a real one made of flesh and blood and mistakes and business and ideas and tears and laughs and talents and shortcomings and perfection and imperfection.... then i can share my coffee with her, laugh about my last blog post with her, pray about the war in Syria with her, and talk about what was upsetting me in the first place, and have some real one-on-one non-virtual catharsis time with her.

Monday, June 10, 2013

blogging, motherhood, and perfectionism

so today i was sitting on a stone bench under a tree right outside the nursery school, a few minutes ago i said to my 21-month-old daughter: "mama is going for a while and she'll be back soon, bye", she looked at me but apparently she didn't TRULY hear what i said, because a few minutes later, a couple of pages into my book i could hear hear crying asking for mama.

i don't usually recognize my daughter's voice, this is her 4th day into this new adventure and i've been staying with her almost all the time during the first 3 days. so i guess i've heard many OTHER toddlers' cries which enabled me today, eventually, to recognize my baby's. as i sat there enjoying my book, i felt guilty, should i go back inside so soon or should i stay a bit longer or maybe as long as it takes, maybe i'll just wait for somebody to call me (literally yell my name from the window or use mobile phones) saying: "please come back inside!"

after shaking away these thoughts i jumped back into the bliss of my book. it has been years since i was able to carry a book in my bag and actually read it instead of counting it as some kind of interior-accessory for my smart outfit !! then i felt guilty again, because i wasn't reflecting on the moment, i wasn't constantly thinking about my daughter with her big move and my feelings towards that and my struggles and fears as a mother leaving my daughter for the first time in the hands of strangers.... i just sat there enjoying, yes ENJOYING my book. by the way, the book is "How To Be A Woman" by Caitlin Moran. i looked to an outside observer as if i was a carefree -obviously married- lady reading a book, while inside a zillion thoughts -per minute was the rate of my brain cells function.

then came the eternal question i always wonder about: "so if i decided to write about this, would i write in English or in Arabic?" so it was easier just to say to myself: "there's nothing new i can say here, every single one of the female bloggers whose blogs i recently started to read and admire, every single one of them is a mother of two (like myself) or more children and has -surely- written about this on her blog at some point". this was enough reason for me to continue chewing and gulping up the pages of my book carefree-ly then later enjoying the progress we've made, and by we i mean my daughter and i: TWO hours of no-mama time spent by my daughter at the nursery school.

it was time for me to pick her up, greet her with enough passion to write about (if i ever changed my mind) as she ignored me with embarrassing enough disinterest that i'll avoid in my writing or decide to use it as more reason for me to again give up on the idea of writing about this. my son also came down from his classroom to play in the common room they call the "House Play". i buckled my daughter up in her car seat and my son was generous enough to offer his car seat to his two-and-a-half-year-old friend who came with her mother back with us (car seats are optional in this country, actually a "luxury" so my son sat seatbeltless squeezed in between the two girls' car seats).

driving with three children in the back seat is surely not a time to think or reflect, so there were a few sentences i exchanged with my friend about how the day went because it's her daughter's 3rd day and both girls did a great job today. when i had thought that the idea of writing about my day was over, i accidentally stumbled on this blog post by Lisa Jo Baker and i went: "HERE... YOU SEE? I WAS RIGHT" besides, it's my first time visiting this blog, so when i'll add it to my reading list i'll also include it in my "bloggers who write for and about their daughters' major life events" list...

but deep inside, the REAL reason for me to "run away" from writing was that i haven't written a blog post here in three weeks and i was afraid that this (and a bunch of other ideas that crossed my mind during the past 3 weeks) is not good enough... the longer i leave writing the more scared i get and the more my perfectionist side gets to dictate the rules.

so i discovered a fact that for me, blogging and perfectionism can't befriend one another, i can't expect every single blog to be a perfect one for it to deserve to see the light, besides, blogging is messy, it's public, it makes you feel vulnerable (if you're honest in what you write) and exposed (depending on how deep or personal you go)... i have to admit that it's tempting to add more real photos to my blog, i was brave enough to do this twice, but on many occasions when i took pictures of my kids i thought of how good this or that shot would be on my blog with a post about so and so... yet, i'm still scared thus i don't use real names and this gives me an imaginary sense of safety.

"blogging perfectly" is an oxymoron, because each one of these wonderful lady writers who have perfectly written, carefully colored and creatively designed blogs talk about motherhood, motherhood is messy, it's perfectly imperfect, so blogging about motherhood can not and should not be perfect and with the grace of writing an imperfect blog post i tricked myself into writing about my daughter's 4th day of nursery school ;)

well done munchkin... well done mama