Throwback Thursday: My Likes and dislikes (a pointless ranking of items that many people despise because, well, why not?)

Hello and welcome to my blog! Welcome to throwback Thursday where I bring back a post from exactly a year ago, and give my insights about it. Today I’m going to see my likes and dislikes from a year ago and see if they’re still the same.

My likes and dislikes:

I have a lot of pet peeves (things that annoy me). Seeing hair on a plate makes my appetite go away. When people talk while they chew, I can feel my stomach turn.

Here is a list of things that I will rank from disgusting 🤮 to intolerable 😱 to infuriating 😠 to “I couldn’t care less” 🙄 to “what’s the big deal?” 😒 and finally to “actually, I like this!” 😅

Using the above emoticons.

Here we go.

1. Country music: 🙄

I rarely listen to music, but when I do, I don’t listen to country music. I still don’t like country music, but if you do, who am I to judge?

2. Blue cheese: 🤮

Mold. Fungus. You get the idea. Do you like blue cheese?

3. The word moist: 🙄

Words are powerful, yes, but I think the only words that make me cringe are swear words. Are you triggered by the word moist?

4. Cigarettes: 🤮

They smell revolting. They’re bad for your health. They’re toxic, and the smoke makes me cough and my eyes water. Also, I’m convinced they’re prohibited in Islam. I stand by that, forever and always. Do you smoke?

5. Reality TV: 😠

I think all reality tv is fake. When you know you’re on camera, you act differently. There is no way that reality tv is real. It’s rehearsed and overdramatic and just a waste of time. What about you? Do you watch reality tv?

6. Loud chewing: 🤮

Lips smacking. Mouth opening, showing the food inside. The noise makes me want to throw up. Do you or anyone you know chew like this?

7. Mushrooms: 😅

I used to only eat the canned mushrooms, but once I tasted fresh mushrooms, I fell in love. They’re good with pasta, chicken, meat, and salad. But they’re really expensive in this economic crisis we’re going through in Lebanon. I miss eating fresh mushrooms. Do you like mushrooms?

8. Astrology: 😱

I feel strongly against anything that goes against Islam. Of course, for non-Muslims, to each their own, but when Muslims read and believe in astrology as if fate and God mean nothing, it makes me feel self-righteous. Nevertheless, I must remember not everyone has the same Islamic background as me, so many people are unaware that astrology is involved with witchcraft and the devils trying to listen in on the angels in the sky. Do you believe in Astrology?

9. Early mornings: 😅

I’m an early riser, not 5 am but more like 8 or 9 am, sometimes 7. Sometimes I have trouble going back to sleep after Fajr (dawn) prayer, like today, because I’m anxious to do something specific or have a lot on my mind. When I wake up at 10 am, I feel groggy and disoriented, and grumpy the whole day. Besides, I’m more productive when I wake up early. I still wake up every day at 8. The only difference is every day I feel like I’ve been run over by a truck.

10. Hair in the drain: 🤮

Just yuck. Especially if it’s not my hair. In my house, I put this thing on top of the drain to catch the hair before it gets clogged and disgusting. Do you leave hair in the drain or remove it right away?

11. Republicans: 😠

The only thing I hate more than injustice is flaunting injustice and being proud to be racist and rude arrogant and…👀 I mean, everyone has the freedom of political opinion but… Come on! Of course, I don’t know enough about politics to claim one party is better than another but I was referring to a specific republican and his supporters.

12. Waiting: 😱

I don’t like it when someone wastes my time and keeps me waiting. I got used to it because people in Lebanon are fashionably late, but it still annoys me. If there is a long queue to get something I want, for FREE, I wouldn’t stand in that queue. I’m not as annoyed with waiting as I used to be, but it does bother me a bit.

13. A tall glass of cold dairy milk: 😅

Yum. I mean, with peanut butter and jam toast. Heaven on earth. I’m not even going to start on those who drink almond milk. I mean God created cows, sheep, and goats, so you could squeeze an almond?! Anyway, you do you. I like my milk from a cow. I rarely drink milk these days, except in my coffee but I still like cold milk. I also like hot chocolate milk.

14. Sleeping warm: 😅

I can’t sleep without covering, no matter how hot it is. I usually get cold while sleeping in hot weather, with the AC off. I’m still the same in that regard.

15. Silence: 😱

Awkward. Deafening. Especially in an argument. Yell at me but don’t give me the silent treatment. In social gatherings, silence makes me want to lie in a hole 🕳 especially when everyone is looking at me. I’m still uncomfortable with silence.

16. Bad weather: 😒

I like sunshine and I like rain. I think there’s no such thing as bad weather, except hurricanes and tsunamis and avalanches. I just don’t like cold weather.

17. Small talk: 😱

The reason why I have social anxiety. I’m not interested in shopping and gossip and makeup. I’m not good at finding people’s favorite colors and favorite numbers. I’m not good at giving personal information without giving TMI, so I just sit quietly and hope nobody knows what’s going on inside my head. I still don’t like small talk but I think I’m better at it. I hope.

18. Raw tomatoes: 😱

I can’t. I can tolerate it in a salad, occasionally, but to actually cut a tomato and eat it next to something. No. The skin on the tomato weirds my teeth out. I now occasionally eat raw tomatoes with eggs.

19. The dentist: 😱

I admit I haven’t been to the dentist in 3 years. I know I need to go, but the smell. The sound of that zing thing. Having my mouth opened and afraid I’ll swallow my tongue or choke on my saliva, or have my tongue cut by that zing thing if I move my tongue the wrong way. It’s all too much. I went to the dentist a while ago and he said I need one of my wisdom teeth pulled out (the last one standing since I had 3 but removed 2 around 4 years ago). I just need to get an x-ray 1st. I still didn’t get that x-ray or get my tooth pulled out.

20. Cilantro: 🙄

I mean I use it in my cooking, but I don’t crave it. This is still the case.

21. Traffic: 😒

Yes, traffic is annoying, and I’ve never driven in traffic before. Maybe if I did, I’d switch this to intolerable, but as long as the AC is on in the car and I’m not running late, traffic doesn’t bother me. I just don’t see how people get into fights over traffic. Some people go into RAGE over traffic. I have never driven before so I have only ever experienced traffic as a passenger.

That’s all I have. I got this idea from Connor Franta.

He made a video on Youtube about just this. I edited the ranking a bit, but I thought it was fun to state my opinion of things nobody cares what I think of anyway. How would you rank these things?

Throwback Thursday: What are you optimistic about?

Hello and welcome to my blog! I am a mess physically and emotionally. My back and neck are strained (pulled muscles) and I have a migraine. Emotionally I’m either angry and yelling or sad and distant. Nevertheless, I’m trying to be optimistic and productive. A year ago, I wrote about a book I was reading but stopped reading a long time ago (I have 9 books I still need to finish) and I wrote this:

What are you optimistic about?

I started reading this book “What are you optimistic about?” yesterday, and it got me thinking.

What am I optimistic about?

The economic fall in Lebanon suddenly rises and for the Lebanese Lira to get its value back?

Nope. My thoughts were accurate. The then 2000LL to 1$ ratio is now 17000LL to 1$ and prices are tenfold everywhere.

The political bickering to stop and for us to finally have a democratic country that doesn’t imprison Muslims just because they have beards and who look after the Sunni Muslims of the country and build our wonderful country instead of putting our money in their pockets, leaving us to starve?

Not really. Again, I was right, and I wish I was wrong.

How about my son being able to go to school this year, as opposed to last year when he couldn’t go to school 1st due to the revolution and then because of COVID-19, and having a normal social life where he can play with his friends and not feel confused about what day it is and why he can’t just go to school?

This year no, but I have hope for him to go next year when he is going to be in 1st grade. True, this year he only attended 2 weeks of school, but he had a graduation ceremony and that made me very happy. Plus, I signed him up for summer camp and karate classes. He got used to staying at home so he makes a fuss every time he has to go but I don’t know if he will be attending school next year, not because of covid, but because of the fuel crisis.

How about this: Do I feel optimistic about getting over my anxiety and depression?

Yes, because I’ve done it before and I can do it again. That’s why I’m writing this post, to find things to be optimistic about. A year passed by and I’m still depressed. I’ve been in and out of depression several times this year. I’m disappointed with how my life turned out but I made my choices and I have to live with them. I’m working on finding inner peace rather than chasing happiness.

Before I continue, what is optimism? To me, it is hope for a better future and it stems from my faith in God. I now believe that optimism is being able to see the bright side in every situation.

Let’s talk bigger.

The book I’m reading was written by 100 people who have never experienced poverty, and who have high social statuses, but let’s see what they’re so optimistic about. In my opinion, the people who wrote this book are 1%ers who no one can relate to. Money and social status play a big role in happiness levels.

I won’t relay the whole book. I’ve only read a few pages so far, but 2 prominent things were:

1. Optimism about decreased violence.

As much as I find it hard to believe, but statistics say that there has been decreasing in violence over the years and that although violence still exists, it is usually hidden and condemned.

My personal opinion is that people with power still exercise their power on the weak, torturing people. And I believe it’s not well hidden, people are just too scared to do anything about it.

I don’t believe violence has decreased. Just have a look at what’s happening to minorities in America, Syria, and Palestine.

2. Optimism about the end of war.

I must say that if it weren’t for my faith, and the knowledge I have, I wouldn’t hold my breath.

See, I’ve read the book “the signs of the day of judgment”, and in that book, it says that Palestine will be freed, and that KSA will become all green instead of being a desert, and that Jesus will descend and kill the one-eyed gargoyle (dajjal) and bring peace to the earth. Now nobody knows when the day of judgment will be, but I have a feeling it won’t be during my lifetime. At the look of things, the apocalypse is nothing like the film 2012, but rather something different, killing us slowly.

I stand by this opinion.

So, what are you optimistic about?

I asked this question on Instagram and one person answered “nothing” while another answered “to get out of Lebanon“, so there’s that.

What am I optimistic about?

1. I’m optimistic about not becoming poor, or at least I have hope and I keep praying. I’m still optimistic about this.

2. I’m optimistic about not catching COVID-19 or any other serious disease. Still optimistic about this.

3. I’m optimistic about not becoming paralyzed, but I’m not so sure about cancer. Both my grandparents died of cancer and 2 cousins of my dad’s as well, but I hope I don’t get cancer. A year has passed and I still feel the same way.

4. I’m optimistic about not becoming obese. I’m not exactly model weight but I have the hope and confidence that at least I won’t go overboard. I’m a little optimistic about reaching my model weight, but not with my current diet.

I don’t know what tomorrow holds for me, and even today is full of surprises.

5. I’m scared, but deep down I have hope that tomorrow won’t suck and that I can become a better person if I keep trying to get over my social awkwardness, and most of all I pray for world peace and the end of poverty. I have lost hope in getting over my social anxiety, but I will keep trying to improve myself.

I still haven’t finished the book, though now I’m tempted to pick it up again, but I got a busy day today.
I got plenty done today but not enough.

Throwback Thursday: 5 free games to play with your kids from the couch

Hello and welcome to my blog! Welcome to Throwback Thursday, where I bring back a blog post I wrote exactly a year ago and reflect on it. I’m half-asleep in bed. Thursday is almost over, but I couldn’t sleep before bringing back this gem. I wish I read this in the morning. It would have come in handy while I was passed out on the couch and my son kept waking me up because he was bored.

5 free games to play with your kids from the couch:

I don’t know how everyone else is spending their summer. Some people may be spending it outdoors. Some may have enormous backyards or a house next to the beach or next to the woods.
For me though, I don’t drive, and the nearest park is 20 minutes away on foot. The weather is also really hot. So I can’t take my only child to the park every day, and the beach is too far and not free anyway (the swimmable one, not the corniche which is crowded so I’m avoiding it anyway).

I went to the beach yesterday for the 1st time in 3 years, and I wasn’t able to swim because I was looking after my son the whole time, but it was fun, albeit exhausting. Also, I took some great pictures and videos.

So when I’m trying to read and my son is nagging out of boredom, I whip up something from Pinterest and play an easy game. So here are 5 free games you can play with your kids when they’re bored while you’re on your couch, so they require zero movements (on your part).

1. I spy

You can play according to colors or shapes. It’s entertaining and educational. And you can take turns. Like right now, he is nagging because I’m on my phone, so as I lie in bed with a migraine, we are playing this game.

2. Simon says

This can be a great funny game and bonus points, exercise for your kid/s.

3. Scavenger hunt

You can write a list of items or just take a page out of Pinterest as I did. Have your child/ren find the items and tick when they find them.

4. Guess the sound

Have your child/ren gather items that make noise and then close their eyes while you shake it or move it near them and they must guess the sound.

5. Play sick

If all fails, pretend you’re sick and have your child be the doctor. You will be able to close your eyes for 5 minutes, or 1 minute, but it’s worth it.

Good luck.

Good night.

Throwback Thursday: How to minimize screen time for kids this summer

Hello, and welcome to my blog! Today is the 1st day of summer here because my son just finished school (today was supposed to be his last day but because there are protests due to the bad living conditions in Lebanon, school is out). I have been giving my son up to 1 hour of screen time a day, in total, but now that school is out, I’m worried his boredom will have him asking for more.

I plan on teaching him the rest of the curriculum so he can go to 1st grade more prepared (they gave him half the curriculum due to covid this year) and I also plan on enrolling him in karate classes, and then there are family visits in the weekend, but I’m a bit worried about how I’m going to fill his time otherwise. I have a lot of reading and writing to do, and I don’t know how I’m going to get my work done with him around. The whole time I’m blogging, he has been nagging for the phone (he sees me on the phone or laptop and suddenly he needs screen time).

Here is what I wrote about screen time for kids a year ago:

My son doesn’t have chores but we do play board games occasionally and he likes to draw, color, paint, and do arts and crafts. Legos, not so much.

Well, I’m not an expert, and I don’t give my son the same amount of screentime every day. There are days when he gets a few minutes of screentime and days when he gets a few hours. It all depends on my mood, my energy levels, his mood, his energy levels, and whether we leave the house that day or not. However, I have picked up a few observations and a few tips and tricks to help not let my son get addicted to screen time, and I thought I’d share them with you.

I don’t give my son screen time until he cleans up his messes.

5 don’ts and dos of screentime

1. Don’t give them screentime when they 1st wake up. I do it sometimes, I admit, when I’m too tired and need a few extra minutes of sleep, or when I’ve been up since dawn and need a nap and he just woke up at 10 am (sometimes I even have to wake him up because of lazy summer mode). However, I realized when I do that, he tends to throw a tantrum when I turn it off an hour later and is usually lethargic all day when he gets screentime 1st thing in the morning. The morning is the time when creativity is at its peak. It should be used for creative work. Writing, drawing, arts and crafts. It’s hard to implement daily, but do give them screentime only after they have done something creative.

2. Don’t let them watch videos on the phone. The phone is smaller and closer to their face. If they must have screentime, do give it to them from a distance, like on tv or a laptop.

3. This advice is something I don’t implement often because my son is a picky eater and he eats more while watching a screen, but I am a strong advocate of mindful eating, and although I don’t do it myself when I eat by myself but don’t feed your child while they watch on a screen. I was successful at this while he was going to school, but half the time I give him a game to play on the phone or YouTube on the tv because I desperately need my time and I gather it every chance I get. Do try to eat together as a family and open up a conversation with your child while you eat.

4. Don’t give them unlimited time. Do let them know beforehand how much screen time they’re getting and remind them every once in a while how much is left. If you’re going to give them an hour, remind them every 15 minutes. I sometimes get busy and tell my son he gets 30 minutes and end up giving him an hour. However, after his screentime session is up, I let him know how long he had been watching. This teaches your child to have a sense of time. You’ve watched movies before. You know how time is irrelevant when you’re absorbed in a movie or binge-watching a tv show.

5. Don’t leave your child to do free pay all day. While it’s important for a child to get bored, play independently, play imaginative play, it’s also important to have structured activities as well. Do balance between free play and adult structured activities where you do the activities with them (I’m guilty of not following this advice lately as I’m binge-watching The Vampire Diaries) and keep in mind to include at least 10 minutes of 1 on 1 time with your child where you simply bond with them and express your love for them.

That’s all I have for now, as my son is getting frustrated from me being on my phone for the past 30 minutes writing this. Remember, limiting screentime is not a punishment for you or your child. I’m not saying any screentime at all, but having healthy regulations around screentime is good for your child’s mental health and physical health in the long run.

Too much screen time can impair brain structure and function; it can cause obesity, insomnia, mood swings, and even problems at school. Because children’s brains undergo so much change during their formative years, this excess screen time can be even more damaging.

I’m proud to say I don’t give him screentime until after he eats breakfast and goes to the bathroom, not during meals and not for more than 30 minutes at a time. I also no longer binge-watch tv shows (not more than 2 episodes a day) and I also spend more one-on-one time with him than I used to. I also never finished past season 4 of vampire diaries and I’ve watched so many shows since, but currently, I’m watching “Superman and Lois”.

What are your rules for screen time?

Throwback Thursday: Racism; A tale as old as time

Hello and welcome to my blog! I am a very nostalgic person. I often go back to old pictures and videos, reminisce about the old days (before I got married) and so throwback Thursday suits me perfectly. I have too many blogs to go through all of them (767 and counting), but it’s nice to see what was on my mind exactly a year ago.

On June 10th 2020, I wrote about racism:

Disclaimer: I was very reluctant to talk about this because as a white person, I didn’t think I had any knowledge of racism, but a lot goes unnoticed when you don’t pay attention.

Close your eyes and put your hand over your heart. What do you hear? A heartbeat. I bet you if a Caucasian or an Asian or an African closed their eyes and put their hand over their heart, they would hear the same thing. A heartbeat.

We all have the same internal organs. We all feel the same range of emotions. Happiness, sadness, fear, anger,… Love. So why are some people treated with more preference over others?

You see… Racism is a tale as old as time. When the Pharaohs were still around, there were kings and there were slaves. There was a hierarchy in the society, and if you were born a slave, you remained so all your life. That is racism based on social status.

Around the time of the prophet Mohammed PBUH, there was slavery. The prophet banned slavery and made it clear in Quranic verses and hadiths that no white man is better than a black man except by piety.

I don’t know how to address this. I don’t live in America, but I have been bullied in Lebanon because I’m half American. Some Lebanese are racist and hate Americans and think that Lebanese are smart and Americans are stupid. They pride themselves on their attributes and think of Americans as selfish and ignorant. I said some. The thing is when you don’t know someone, and you make snap judgments about them, you come to hate them and your mind wards off any evidence contrary to your fixed belief.

The same applies when you believe all African Americans are drug dealers, or all Asians are whatever stereotype Asians are given, or all Italians as mobsters, or all Muslims or Arabs as terrorists, that’s racism. You are judging an entire race by the actions of a few. There are American terrorists. There are French mobsters. There are Swedish drug dealers. Maybe. I don’t know. My point is corrupt people come in all ethnicities and colors, and so do kind good honest people.

We should treat people based on how they treat us, not by the color of their skin. Another thing I noticed while living in Lebanon, is that the only dark brown people I’ve ever seen were Ethiopian maids. I do not know Ethiopia, but this made me believe that maybe it’s such a poor country that women are forced to leave their country and work as maids in homes, and are often mistreated because their lives are so bad in Ethiopia. So after some digging, I found that:

Ethiopia has one of the fastest-growing economies in the world and is Africa’s second most populous country, with 23.5% of the population below the poverty line.

Let me tell you something ironic. Before all this drastic fall of the economy happened in Lebanon starting October 2019, 40% of the population lived below the poverty line. There are no statistics up to date, but I’ll bet in a year there will be around 60% Lebanese below the poverty line, which makes Ethiopians richer than Lebanese. So according to racists who believe Lebanese are better than Ethiopians because they have more money, this does not make sense.

Back to the racism problem in America. It is only prominant in America because there is such a wide range of ethnicities in the “Land of opportunities”. However, this type of racism is present worldwide. A lot of people are denied jobs or given less pay because of their skin color. As a result, people who are not white are more likely to be poor. Click here for the statistics regarding poverty in America.

Here in Lebanon, the Syrian refugees are only given jobs as janitors or construction workers. I know that Lebanon specifically has a problem with job opportunities. An overflow of college graduates and not enough jobs to move the economy. Again, I’m no expert, but you tell me. When a Syrian is payed an amount a Lebanese would never agree to work for, isn’t that racism?

Again, I’m not an expert in economy. I only know that racism is when you think you’re better than someone because of the color of your skin or ethnicity or social status.

Your kindness makes you better. Your generosity makes you better. Your humility makes you better. You thinking you’re not any better than anyone else, and that we are all humans, worthy or life, love, respect, and dignity, is what makes you, in God’s eyes, better than the racists who think they’re better.

I try not to provoke anyone with my writings. I say I’m like an ostrich, burying my head in the sand when I’m scared, but that’s a myth. Ostriches stick their heads in the sand to hide their eggs and protect their young.

I hope my words explained what racism is, because you can be racist without noticing it. You can go along all your life functioning with what you feel is the norm because that’s what everyone around you does. So if you see any signs of racism happening in front of you, speak up, say it’s wrong, and if you can, prevent it.

As long as white people are quiet about the racism that happens around them, it will continue to happen.Good night 😴

1. Racism is still ongoing. Despite the increased awareness, protests, petitions, it is just ingrained in some people.

2. The dollar is now 14,000LL and the poverty rate is 55% in Lebanon.

3. Ethiopia is not richer than Lebanon. According to Global Finance, Lebanon is ranked 107 while Ethiopia is 165. There is yet hope for Lebanon.

4. I was listening to a podcast yesterday about unconscious bias so I will correct myself for using the phrase “you can be racist without noticing it”. People with unconscious bias are not racist. Racism is intentional. If it’s unintentional, it’s unconscious bias.

Throwback Thursday: Intagram and its effect on mental health

Hello and welcome to my blog! Today on throwback thursday, let’s look at my take on instagram a year ago and compare it to today.

Let’s talk Instagram and its effect on mental health

Hi everyone!

How are you doing?

I have a lot on my mind, but today I wanted to share my love-hate relationship with instagram.

I like to share the good and the bad. I don't like to pretend my life is perfect, but I also don't flaunt all my problems. I used to get angry when I overshared on instagram and didn't get the likes I thought I deserved. A while ago I asked people on instagram if they prefered I shared what I ate, read, and watched or if they preferred I shared about mental health, parenting, and nature pictures. Most people wanted nature pictures. Some wanted mental health or parenting content (which is what I post on the blog anyway, but most of my instagram followers don't read my blog. Out of the 1,807 views I got so far this year, only 70 are referred from instagram.)

However, NOBODY wanted to know how my day was going. This enraged me and made me feel so lonely. I like to share how my day went. I like people to share how their day went. But in this culture I live in in Lebanon, people are more private about their daily lives than Americans. So I started posting less and less, then started oversharing with my friends on whatsapp, then went back to posting on instagram. I even twice deleted my account temporarily in the last 6 months. In the past 3 months I did a 24 hour instagram detox 3 times. Those who follow me on instagram know how irregular my postings are. I often post only to delete afterwards because it got less than 9 likes (my limit was 10 before but I lowered it to 9).

I'm trying to grow my instagram account, but that's not my main goal. My main focus is to get engagement from my followers, who are mostly from Tripoli between the ages of 25 to 35, and to get them to read my blogs. I'm 28 and I live in Tripoli, so it shouldn't be that hard, right?

Well, actually, most of the people I know don't vote on my polls and nobody answers my questions. Most Lebanese don't read blogs, especially not in English and especially not the open-minded heart-on-my-sleeve type of thing. Nevertheless, I'm trying to get over the anxiety I get from instagram when I run to instagram to curb my anxiety of being a mom or being around people.

I'm glad I'm on instagram, and I'm reading a lot of inspirational quotes and memes and positive messages and tips for parenting and anxiety and islamic reminders, so going on instagram is not a total waste of time for me. I get in touch with friends and moms and child psychiatrists and other mom bloggers on instagram, so you can see the complicated feelings I have for this app.

I spend 1 hour on instagram daily (used to be 45minutes,but now that I post memes and quotes from my blogs using Canva app, I spend more time on instagram) and I rarely scroll through many posts. Mainly I view stories and react to them, send messages, send links to my blogs, post on my feed, and share anything funny or inspirational I find to my stories.

However, in the moments when I'm feeling down, I can't bring myself to watch other people's stories on instagram, especially if they're having a good time. I don't feel jealous or envious about others having a good time while I hit rock bottom. It just makes me remember all the things I don't have and forget about my blessings for a moment, so I steer clear from watching stories while I'm depressed.

That being said, on Saturday I was happy (I emphasise on this because I had been depressed for a week or two beforehand and it was important to me that I remembered to enjoy the little things). On Monday I was happy again. Don't get me wrong, a lot of things went wrong and made me aggitated both on Saturday and on Monday, but I was able to shake them off and enjoy my time, until the next day of course when I would overthink it all again and get angry at everything and feel self righteous.
Back to the topic at hand, instagram.
I was about to share a few pictures on instagram (after I posted a picture of the sky and a story of part of the bike I was riding on) and it dawned on me that maybe someone out there was having a hard time or struggling and seeing me having a good time will make them further depressed. And as much as I try to keep my posts inspirational and motivational, sometimes I just like to share my happiness or vent my frustration. So I made a poll on instagram and then forgot about it until now, so I have no idea if the people who voted were complete strangers or people I knew in real life because instagram doesn't let you see who viewed or voted on your stories from the archive.

Apparently, nobody is like me, but 60% feel bad about their lives when they view someone having a good time, 40% are not phased by it, and 100% (on another poll named "or maybe... Only when I'm depressed vs. I feel happy for their happiness) are happy for other's happiness.

Translated, that would mean 50% of whoever voted (not many people vote on my stories) are happy for other's happiness on instagram, 30% feel bad about their lives when they view others having a good time, and 20% aren't phased by these stories.

1st of all, my intro is different.

2nd of all, the title was too long.

3rd of all, I now spend 39 minutes on average, but 24 minutes today because the wifi was bad.

4th of all, my instagram is basically now nature pictures, and I have another instagram account to promote my books. I leave the oversharing for the blog.

5th of all, I got 5,195 views so far this year, and only 12 are referred from instagram.

6th of all, my minimum limit is now 11 likes, or 10 sometimes and 18 views if it’s a video. However, after doing a 21 day social media detox 21 days ago, I’m not as concerned about likes as I used to be.

Finally, I still feel as lonely as ever because my husband isn’t very chatty and is annoyed by my chattiness. I don’t have friends who reach out to me daily. I only see my family on Saturday and they rarely call during the week.

I’m glad I have my blogs at least to let things out. Some friends ask me how I’ve been and I laugh and want to say “if you read my blogs, you’d know the answer”. To me, if you care about me, you’ll make time to read my blogs, or at least to listen to my podcasts.

Throwback Thursday: Just a bunch of souls

Hello and welcome to my blog! This throwback Thursday, I found a poem I wrote a year ago.

We’re just a bunch of fragile souls
Looking for the next high
Navigating through the lows
Until everything’s alright

We fix a smile to the camera
Hope the pain doesn’t show
Hide behind passive aggression
And pray that no one knows

That we’re hurting inside
That we’re failing to find
A little peace of mind
And a good sleep at night

We try to act all tough and mighty
Like we got our act together
Until we break down crying
At the next endeavor

We take up hobbies to cope
With the fact that we’re alive
Some people like to mope
And complain about their lives

But then we have these moments
Of complete clarity
A laugh born in the moment
A smile of sincerity

We think back upon the past
Sometimes with melancholy
Sometimes with regret
Sometimes with happiness

Like I remember when I met you
You made my world complete
Then I remember how I hurt you
Thank you for forgiving me

Because we’re all a bunch of souls
Looking for forgiveness
Someone to love us as a whole
Someone to actually “get us”

We try to seem sophisticated
Like we’re different from everyone
But it’s not so complicated
Think of it as one plus one

We all want to be accepted
We all want to be understood
We all want to be appreciated
Through our highs and lows

We’re each unique in our own way
Each one of us has power to feed on
We can each shine in our own way
We just have to turn the lights on

We’re just a bunch of lost souls
Looking for each other
Looking for a glimpse of our soul
To love in one another

So close your eyes
And see with your soul
Wipe off all the lies
You’re already whole

This poem still rings true. It’s so powerful and deep. I haven’t been sleeping well and I don’t know why. Maybe because I’m freaking out on the inside about tomorrow. I’m excited but I’m also really anxious. I didn’t prepare questions to ask because I would probably forget the questions anyway. I’m waiting for my son to sleep so I can prepare the practical things I need for the outing.

If you’re new here, let me fill you in. Tomorrow I’m going on a picnic with 44 other people. We all volunteer at the same place but I’ve only ever interacted briefly with 2 or 3 of them. I’m sure they’re all nice people but my social anxiety is kicking in and I’m trying to play cool but I’ve been emotionally eating and sleeping past midnight all week!

Psychologically, I’m not prepared. There’s a lot of pressure on me about tomorrow. I feel like I’m in high school all over again. I can’t be myself with them since I can’t speak English or talk about my blogs and books. I’ll just see what everyone else is doing and go along and I’ll try not to smile too awkwardly. I’ll also participate in the organized activities they have planned. It should be fun. I’m not used to having fun anymore. Oh boy, I’m freaking out. Last night I couldn’t breathe when I was trying to sleep and I started hyperventilating. Deep breaths. Everything is going to be okay.

This poem was a great reminder for me today that we’re all just a bunch of souls so I should stop thinking about these people as different than me and think of them as similar. They’re all religious and they all love nature. I’ll find more things in common…

Any suggestions?

Throwback Thursday: It’s one of those days

Hello and welcome to my blog! Welcome back to Throwback Thursday (I’m easing back into the preramadan schedule) where I reblog a post from a year ago and state my thoughts about it. A lot has changed in a year, yet some things are still the same.

I wrote this exactly a year ago:

The nights are weighing down heavily on me.
They’re wearing me down with melancholy.
During the day I’m fine because I get busy.
But as soon as the night falls, the negative thoughts hit me.

I go over every mistake I made and every body language that indicated that someone was annoyed or uncomfortable because of something I did or said.
I remember every foot in mouth moment (the moments I said something and it came out wrong) and I wish I could take them all back.
Part of me wants to stop being socially awkward so that I can actually enjoy my time with humans.
The other part of me just wants to curl on the sofa with a book all day and not deal with people.
I feel like I’m walking on eggshells with people.
And maybe people feel the same way about me.
I’m still overthinking every word and I wish I wasn’t like this.
I wish I could let it go, laugh it off, and move on.
But no! I must go through every possible scenario.
I kind of feel like Doctor Strange in the Avengers movie (the one where Tony Stark dies, sorry for the spoiler) as I go through the infinite number of possibilities and try to choose one, except that the time has already passed and I can’t fix anything and I don’t have infinity stones and I can’t time travel.
I hope this weight lifts off of me soon.
Until then, I will keep being productive, keep reading, keep writing, keep praying…

A year ago today, I wasn’t feeling very inspired and motivated. I wasn’t sleeping well. My heart felt heavy. I honestly don’t remember that day (which is good perspective that when you feel horrible and feel like it will always be this way, it won’t. The sun will shine again). However, I was feeling a bit heavy hearted yesterday but I’m much better today.

I had ice-cream with my 6 year old on the balcony and I was so in the moment!

This isn’t to say I’m happy all the time. In the same day, I yell a lot and feel agitated and overwhelmed. I get hit by waves of depression that send me back to bed, not wanting to face the day. But then a hug, a smile, a moment brings me back to realize that I am so lucky to have what I have and that I’d better live in the moment and appreciate it before it’s gone. I don’t know for how long my son will want my company, so I’m going to watch him play with his animals delightfully.

I don’t know what will happen a year from now. I don’t know if I’ll be on my balcony enjoying what’s left of the spring breeze before it turns into summer, my son’s biggest worry being that the tail fell off his toy wolf. I want to remember today, not the parts when I yelled a lot, but I want to remember that I was watching season 7 of Gilmore Girls and I was happy being with my son, and thinking of how far I’ve come with my books, my blog, and my podcast.

The heavy feeling will come back, today or tomorrow or in a week, but then it’ll go again because everything is ephemeral.

So if you’re happy right now, live in the moment, and if you’re feeling a bit heavy, know that it will pass. You won’t even remember it in a year.

Throwback Thursday: Decisions, decisions

Hello and welcome to my blog! Welcome back to throwback Thursday where I bring back a blog post from exactly a year ago, if possible, and reflect on it. I wrote this post on May 12th 2020 (I didn’t write on May 13th).

Hello reader,

How are you doing today?

Moms specifically, how are you coping with this never ending quarantine?

Today, I will talk about the top 5 hard decisions a mother must make:

1. Should I sleep early and get my beauty sleep? Or stay up late and get my me-time?

2. Should I sleep in when my child sleeps in? Or wake up early to get things done and wake them when I’m done? Or wake up early and wake them up so they sleep early at night?

3. They’re playing independantly but I’m in the mood to do a certain activity with them. Should I let them play independantly and go do housework or read a book or take a shower or practice writing? Or should I play with them and bond instead of waiting until they throw tantrums and demand attention? But what if I sit to play with them for 10 minutes and they cling to me for an hour or two?

4. They offered to do something “all by themself”. Do I sit and watch and let them figure it out while they make mistakes? Or do I guide them calmly by voice but don’t touch? Or do I help them do it by hand (their hands but I’m doing it)?

Story: This one actually happened this morning. Cutting his toast into shapes and then putting peanut butter on top has become a thing here (my son is the type to obsess over a certain food for a week and then won’t eat it for a month or year). So I had been letting him push the shapes onto the toast but i take them out so they don’t crumble. Today he asked to take them out and I let him do some but said no to other shapes that I knew he would crumble. The problem was not here. It was with the spreading of the peanut butter. He demanded he get the jar (I carried him and let him get it down) and open it (he rarely shows independance because long story short I’m very impatient and I end up doing a lot for him because it’s faster, which I know is wrong but I’m working on it) and put the peanut butter on the spoon (easy part) and then spread peanut butter on the small toast shapes (it took a great deal of patience and I yelled a bit and then he gave up and didn’t want to do it anymore because I tried voice guiding, didn’t work, then guiding with my hand, it frustrated him, then I ended up doing it for him). I had an aha moment then and was mindful of what just happened so I coaxed him into spreading the last 2 shapes, with my help, in a calm voice and it worked. Then I thanked him for his help and told him how proud I was that he wanted to do it by himself. I told him “When you turn 6, before you know it, you’ll be cutting the shapes and spreading the peanut butter all by yourself!” and he liked the sound of that. 30 minutes later, as I’m writing this post, he came to tell me that he got one of his animals stuck in the heater (for the billionth time) and asked for that hanger I have shaped in a way to get it out (he’s been doing this for years and I never let him try to get it out by himself so he doesn’t hurt himself with the metal hanger or scratch the wall). Anyway, today, feeling guilty as I was for the peanut butter incident and sensing he wanted to feel independant today, and also because I was writing this post, I gave it to him and told him that if he hurts himself, I won’t give it to him again. So he took the animal out and didn’t hurt himself. He came back to me feeling so proud and I encouraged him and said “I’m so proud of you. You’re such a big boy. So independant” and he said “From now and on, I’m going to take out the animals on my own when I get them stuck. For those freelance parents, please realize that this is really difficult for me. I’m a recovering helicopter parent and I’m trying to undo the damage my helicopter parenting has done in the past.

5. The most difficult decision a parent has to make is when their child is experiencing negative emotions because of someone or somethinh else. When your child is being bullied or has experienced failure or someone said something mean to them or they failed a subject or lost a friend or a pet. How do you help them cope with the loss? Seeing your child in distress is overwhelming, and your motherly instinct is to protect them, but you can’t protect your child all the time. You can raise them to be resilient and love them in the process.

My son is now 6 years old, and I still don’t let him do much by himself because I get too frustrated if he doesn’t do it from the 1st time or if he is too slow or too messy. He dresses himself now completely, unless I’m in a hurry, I still dress him. I still bathe him, even though he knows how to bathe himself, but because he makes a big mess and I’ll have to clean it up. He eats by himself but makes a big mess everytime. He plays independently but also tells me frankly that he wants to spend time with me when he is bored. I know he should be doing a lot more on his own and I think he wants to but I don’t have the patience for it, sadly.

Do you do things for your kids or let them do it by themselves?

Throwback Thursday: What if (a poem)

Hello and welcome to my blog! A year has passed since I wrote this poem, and we’re pretty much in the same situation. I’m able to take walks now though, and have more me time. I’m happy these past few days and I don’t want to say anything to jinx it, so I won’t say why.

Anyway, enjoy this poem I wrote exactly a year ago (I know it’s not poetry Friday but a year ago I didn’t have this system).

Inspired by Angel, the bird 🐦 

Do you ever wonder?
When you see a bird sing
If it's happy or sad
Do you ever wonder?
When a dog's barking
If it's barking mad

What if animals had feelings
Do you think that they would cry?
Stay up all night staring at the ceiling
Wondering why?

What if when you went to the zoo
Would the bear like it if you played the kazoo?
What if the llama
Is all about the drama

Do you think sibling animals bicker and fight?
Or maybe the couples stay up all night
Talk about their feelings
What they are dreaming

What if the animals could speak
Do you think they'd complain like we do?
Do you think they'd talk softly or shriek?
Do you think they'd have hobbies too?

I know they made a few movies about this
But as i admire my birds i can't help but think
What if they feel trapped in their cages
This quarantine got me projecting my feelings on my birds, i think

I still have my bird Angel and he still sings like an angel.

He wouldn’t sing on film. He freaks out when I get the camera next to the cage.

I realize that almost a year from now when I get back to my 1st Throwback Thursday post, I’ll have to stop Throwback Thursday posts. Otherwise, I’ll have to write a throwback of a throwback. It’s okay, though. I’ll probably change the schedule long before then.

What do you think? Are you enjoying this new blogging schedule?