Weirdest questions I’ve been asked as a hijabi

Are you not hot with this they say…Are you not dying with this they say…Are you trying to threaten us with this they say…Are you trying to take over our world they say…well no peeps! I promise! This thing I have on my head is called a headscarf, a hijab, a veil, not a towel, not a rug and certainly not a THIS! I am usually very very tolerant when it comes to ignorant comments coming my way about being a visible minority and about being a Muslim girl. I am okay with it, it used to bother me when I was younger but since I don’t feel like I owe anyone anything, I don’t feel bad anymore…because I too am a Canadian and I too work hard and pay my taxes. I am as vital of a citizen as everyone else. Anyway, I now take it light-heartedly because we are not all at the same level of education when it comes to cultures and diversity. There are misconceptions about the West in the Occident as much as the West has about the Occident, it really is a matter of self-education and awareness and about the time you decide to take to learn about other cultures and religions. And please bear in mind that there is a huge difference between religion and culture. It shouldn’t be an obligation but rather an inquisitive quest. Perhaps because I am bi-cultural, but I have always had the munchies to learn about other people…it’s just in me and I can’t help it. In today’s post, I wanted to share some of the weirdest questions I have been asked lately about my veil and please take it with a grain of salt because I do and I find it so funny sometimes what people have to say about this whole subject.

rhdr

1) Do you have hair?!

This one is probably the funniest….is when they ask if I have hair, can’t help but laugh. Like yes, I have hair. If you educated yourself a little, you would know that the reason why I wear the hijab in the first place is to cover my hair. I won’t blame the ignorance as much in this particular matter because I can understand how it may be confusing to some when they see the different ways different Muslim women choose to wear their headscarf. Some wear a hat, some wear a turban and some decided to full on burqa. I think it is important to understand the meaning of the word hijab; basically in Arabic, it means “barrier” and its purpose is to basically help women cover up and be modest around men they can potentially marry. It is to put the emphasis on the brain of the woman rather than her body. And yes, there is modesty for Muslim men too; they too have to follow some rules…it’s not just the woman, trust me, we’re not oppressed, on the contrary, we’re glorified in Islam. It’s just unfortunately some idiots mix up culture and religion together and then extremism is born. So, yes, I do have hair, I promise I am not bald!

2) Did your parents force you?!

No…they didn’t. I just woke up one day, went to school and wore it. I knew that eventually I would end up wearing it…so I figured; high school is the perfect time to stir some shit up and start gossip. It was actually quite fun at first, I was called a princess by many of my teachers because of the way I started to wear the veil. I remember having a small little lace piece peeking through under the hijab and it looked like I was a Victorian princess and it pissed a lot of kids off…I was bullied because I was the “teachers’ pet” (not something I wanted in the first place). So, just to clarify, perhaps some parents do force their kids out of fear of losing them completely to the way of the devil but my parents didn’t. If you do follow Islam in its true pure form, you would know that it does not oblige anything onto anyone, because Islam is about peace and tolerance and you should be convinced on your own when following a certain rule. Islam is not a difficult religion and there is no compulsion, meaning, “Do not force anyone to become Muslim, for Islam is plain and clear, and its proofs and evidence are plain and clear. Therefore, there is no need to force anyone to embrace Islam. Rather, whoever God directs to Islam, opens his heart for it and enlightens his mind, will embrace Islam with certainty”.

3) Are you oppressed?

Like why is it that because I am wearing a headscarf, I am automatically put into this category. No, like have you seen me?! I mean woman can be oppressed in any religion, any culture, any country, and any race in the whole wide world. I am free to work and live and laugh and dance (not in public…for modesty reasons) and just be who I want to be as long as I respect myself, my family and most importantly my faith and religion. I was not forced into marriage either, trust me, my parents struggled with me so much until I found le husband. I wanted to build my empire before I settled because that’s what made me truly happy. Again there’s a thin line between religion and culture and many Middle Eastern men suffer in that department and perhaps this is where extremism is born…but there’s that in every corner of the world….it’s not an Arab thing! Besides, in any aspect of life (not only religion), when there is balance, there is healthy peace and that goes into everything.

4) Do you take a shower?

Um, like no! I don’t take a shower because then I’ll go to hell (sarcasm highlighted massively here). Of course I can!! What in the hell? Again, this goes back to the first question, we don’t wear it 24/7. We only wear the hijab in the presence of men that could potentially wed us…meaning your father, uncle, brother are not included in the list. So, the minute you get home, you are in fact free to take it off and yes that means you’re allowed to shower and do other human activities such as yoga, dance, trampoline and even bungee jumping. The hijab doesn’t make us any different than any other woman on the planet, we just have it on for extra modesty reasons and we only wear it if we’re convinced to do so!

5) Can you wear a wig?

No, then what’s the point of wearing the hijab in the first place if you’re going to top it off with a wig? Then just don’t wear it at all. You don’t wear it to please others but rather for yourself and religion is about your relationship with God, it has nothing to do with anything else. You have to maintain modesty when you’re 100% convinced about it or else it doesn’t count. I have seen many girls do it to get their parents of their backs and that sucks because that isn’t how it should be. I remember when I decided to wear it, I struggled a little bit to explain why I chose to wear it because I was still new and perhaps I didn’t feel secure or settled into my own skin yet, but as I grew older, I couldn’t imagine myself without it. My hijab gave me more strength and more confidence in myself to purse my dreams and to carve a path for myself in a society where it wasn’t fully understood. I wouldn’t change my experience for anything! I honestly don’t feel like I am impaired or pulled back in any way, because so far, my list of accomplished is pretty awesome.

There are many more silly questions that come to mind but it would take me an eternity to go through them all…it’s so funny! Like I said, I take it super lightly now, because it doesn’t bother nor offend me anymore. Life is way too short for me to keep thinking about what others think of me or the likes of me. Having to always be defensive is super exhausting but if someone comes up to me wanting to sincerely know about my religion or culture or habits, I am more than happy to share info. I too sometimes can have those silly questions towards other communities, it’s the way we ask those questions that differentiate a racist from a genuinely interested person. Most of us humans have the ability to read and educate ourselves about others and other cultures of world, so it is either you take the time to do so politely or just keep the discriminatory derogations to yourself so that we can all co-exist in peace and harmony.

 

Four highlights for the month of July

Seems like yesterday that the month of July just began and I remember crying helplessly to the hubs that time doesn’t pass as fast as I want it to…but being so busy with life and preparing for the arrival of our little monster, I haven’t noticed how time ran so quickly. We humans always seem to countdown for something and we never actually take the time to enjoy the little treasured moments of today. We always seem to think of the future and it is a mistake I always seem to make. I try now, as much as possible, to not always plan ahead, because then you end up getting punched in the face by reality. I figured, from now on, I will live life spontaneously and enjoy today for today and leave the rest to fix itself into the right place. As I sit down and reflect about these past few weeks I end up smiling to myself as to where I am compared to a year ago and I can’t help but grin like an idiot and be thankful for every little moment. Although it has been a little hard being away from my best friend and my husband, I still am thankful for the rest of the goodness I have had lately. So here are some of the things that kept me content this month….

1) Going eight month into my pregnancy

As much as I am nervous, I am excited to meet our monster. I am terrified to be honest and perhaps I will share my thoughts on that in another post. I decided to go with a birthing house and attempt giving birth un-medicated and see the possible limits of my body. I know millions and millions of women have survived un-medicated birth…but seems almost impossible to me when I think of it. But I guess you never know how strong you are until it’s your only option. Ok, back to the main point, I am finally 34 weeks and there’s not much left till we have a new member added to our little family. As the times passed, as the baby grows and as the kicks become harder, I can’t help but smile to myself. I am super stoked to see what our little baby will look like and what she’ll be like. Being a mother will definitely be a challenge and I can’t imagine I will do an amazing job, but I am up for the challenge. I mean, I am still a child myself, so perhaps this will be more like a friendship rather than motherhood. Who know?!

2) GLOW

1498154144807-Glow_US

Watching this Netflix series is giving me all kinds of feels. It’s empowering to see what women are capable of and it gives me an extra push to keep going forward in my own life. I know it’s TV and all, but still I find it super inspiring. I have a huge crush on Alison Brie and Betty Gilpin…I mean all the cast is so badass, but these two have me hooked! It’s well balanced, it’s charismatic and it gives you all the girl power you need. I love how, despite the drama, the women in the show stand and support each other; they build each other up rather than breaking each other and this is why it has to be one of my favourite shows I have watched in a while. Fierce, ferocious women, what more can you ask for?! It’s all the boost you need! Plus…the series is set in the 80s…so the terrible fashion and the workout tights and gear is all there, a touch of vintage is always a plus for me!

3) Sunshine/Nature

oznor

Since I have landed, it has been a constant high of good weather and sunshine…there were a few days where it rained, but it was mostly sun. I don’t mind the rain, in fact I am a pluviophile, but the sun has given me extra love and extra energy even though there were days where I felt pretty shitty. I try to walk around on a daily basis for at least an hour and honestly, not to sound too cheesy, but nature is healing me slowly back to where I want to be. My soul has been feeding off the sound of the birds and the green of the trees and today, I can say that I am feeling much better than I used to a few weeks ago. If you let nature guide you, you will eventually be comfortable and be happy again. We have a little path going through a small preserved forest in the back of our place and I try to walk there as much as possible or spend time in forests as much as possible. Some days, I feel like I just want to lie on the grass like a little star fish on the sand and just stay there for hours without being disturbed (it’s a little too sunny unfortunately). Spending time outdoors has lifted most of the stress I have been feeling lately and it has taught me to take each day as it comes and keep my faith in God strong; what it meant for you will eventually come to you. Besides, being physically active and out there in the world helps you to mentally stay alert and happy…more oxygen in the brain!

4) Family

020a6e549e5b19e481277afcbb019d61

This probably one of the biggest thing that has pushed me back to being happier. I spent most of my time last year being alone and probably disconnected for the world outside of my own home…and no one is to blame but me I guess. However, being back here between my family, it has almost brought me back to life. My family is super tightknit and so we only have each other and despite our little anger fits, we try to stick with each other as much as possible and lift each other up. As every dysfunctional family out there (we all are in our own way!), we push each other to be out there and dream but we still stay grounded. I have to stay that my sisters are definitely one of the reasons why I am grounded despite being a big dreamer…they have smacked (figuratively speaking) me time and time again back to reality and for that I am eternally grateful. Spending a lot of time with them lately, I am much more comfortable and happier, they help me set up for the baby and make me feel at ease with the whole process and they never sugar-coat anything, which is exactly what I need.

How I learned to stay true to myself after years of self doubt!

We all have been through difficult times where we weren’t sure of who we truly are and what our mission really is. We don’t all grow up to be super secure and self-confident from the get-go. When we are teeny tiny monsters (most of us anyway), we’re more confident because we don’t have any care in the world, because we have our parents to guide us and because we haven’t seen how hard life gets; we still live in a fantasy world where everything is possible and everything is beautiful. I for one remember thinking that I will conquer the world and with easy to follow steps I will be the next mother Theresa. All I wanted to do was go to Africa and save all the children from famine and poverty, but then once reality hits you and life experiences beat you down, you start losing focus and confident in yourself.

Self-Doubt

I am no stranger to feeling unsure and unsecure as a teen and even in my twenties…I spent a lot of time trying to please others because I had no backbone and I didn’t know how to get about in life. I always thought I was not good enough and no matter how hard I worked, it wasn’t enough. I spent most of my twenties feeling angry because I had no goals (I had plenty btw) and no massive successes. I didn’t own a luxury car or have a penthouse downtown or had a real substantial relationship. I felt stuck in a rut and I figured, that’s just how life will be for me and it won’t get any better because no matter how hard I work, it’s never good enough anyway. Why is it that we always need to hear someone else tell us we’re good? Why is it that we can’t pat ourselves in the back and say you did a wonderful job? It took me years of feeling sorry for myself to finally say, you know what, fuck it! I am good enough and I accomplished a lot!!!

11813303_10153512353966197_1729528658632364882_n

After years of self-doubt and endless mental battles, I have finally come to the conclusion that success doesn’t have to be an ongoing thing; it can be in shorts amounts of time and in different chapters in our lives. We Millennials spend so much energy on having 1 set goal and accomplishing that become our Holy Grail mission but we end up missing the mark and missing the point of life. We sort of want it all and all at once which is one of our biggest downfalls. Through the years, I have slowly learned that I no longer need approval from anyone anymore. I learned to set smaller goals and accomplish them one by one and be proud of everything despite what others may think. I learned to tune out the negative voice in my head and that even though I am scared about doing/accomplishing something, to push myself out of my comfort zone. As Mr. Walsch once said: “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone“. I am not saying that I am a pro at this but I managed to feel less stressed about everything. Self-doubt can be a huge issue and can paralyze you from doing so much in your life and you end up missing a lot of opportunities because you’re scared to fuck up and worried that you won’t be good. Believing in myself even though others don’t got me through a lot and I am proud of what I have accomplished so far and where I am in my life. Yes there are a few disappointments but never any regrets and this is exactly how I try to live my life. No regrets! Always do what your gut tells you, even though that sometimes it doesn’t make any sense.

11738092_10153487794751197_1825272038306383334_n

There’s no real key to overcome self-doubt or fears or self-sabotage but the mission is always to put in the effort to move forward, to stay true to yourself and to stay humble in the process. Nurturing yourself and fining balance can give you the energy to keep fighting your demons and battles. It is also very important that in life some of us have to work a little harder than others to achieve certain goals and there is nothing wrong with that, we simply have to have faith and keep fighting.

11693959_10153487795026197_2181337579404715903_n

Self-love is necessary and never selfish! Do you first! Always have power to dream, believe and achieve. Finally and most importantly, surround yourself with inspiring people; those who challenge you, who push you and who aren’t afraid to point out your mistakes and help you to become a better version of you. This is how I managed to stay true to myself…as cheesy as it may sound, mistakes teach you to become better versions of yourself.

 

One year later; marriage…a beautiful mess!

For those who’ve been reading my blog since the beginning know that I have been married for a year now. Gosh, I never thought I’d get here; always bet on ending my marriage at 6 months…haha! Only because I am a fierce, wild creature that cannot be tamed and many bet on me giving up quite quickly. Well for those who did, ha! In your face! On a serious note, I am very proud of how far we have come, both my husband and I come from different hemispheres and when I say different I mean it in every sense of the word. My husband is a complete oriental man, so much so that there are rules and ways about everything. I, on the other hand, am more western and although I come from a conservative home, we are freer to speak our mind and express ourselves to a certain extent (respect our elders is obviously a number one priority).

20170802_230318

I have known my husband for three years now…been married for 1 whole year and what you expect and what you get is completely different. We were long distance for two years prior to me moving to Jericho and getting married and that wasn’t easy because you can never really get the actual feel of the relationship without seeing the person and feeling their energy. Although I feel in love at first touch…I feel like there was still a lot more I needed to learn about my husband (as he did I am sure). However, talking to him daily made me fall in love even more, he wasn’t what I was looking for but he made me feel special in a way I couldn’t explain to anyone. The first months of marriage were really rocky, as we were still trying to figure out how to deal with each other and we were constantly bickering (mostly me…because I was in a different environment) and making up…just like kids in high school. Even though I was angry with him a lot, it never got to the point where I hated him…which was in fact a good sign (except for that one time where I packed my bags and wanted to leave). I would say it took us a good 5 months to finally settle into each other’s habits and ways. It was healthy for us to argue but more importantly, it was even healthier to know when to stop arguing. As time passed, even though he was annoying me as hell, I fell even more in love with my husband.

My main issue, I guess, during my whole stay in Jericho was that I was not only marrying my husband but I was also marrying his whole clan, which something quite common in the Middle Eastern world. LOL (not so lol when things get real ugly)! I think it is really important for any couple to make it a point before going in too deep in a relationship to put limits to other people’s point of views and opinions because that will most definitely be a breaking point. If I allowed it to be the main focus of my attention, I would have long left my husband because I have no energy for negativity nor uninvited and pointless criticism.

Coming back to my husband…so like yeah he’s oriental and all but not so much that he has a stick up his behind. He is totes more conversation that I am and there are points where he needs to let go some of his shyness and perhaps “prestige” because life is short and being able to take things lightly will make life much more fun. He’s got some weird ways in acting with others but I think that’s more because of his career than anything else; he is a lawyer after all. I am an artist and so we’re complete opposites and I think it is true that opposites do attract. My husband is organized, calculated, safe, simple (in a good way), overly sensitive and very kind. He’s not as driven as I am and he likes to be where he knows his environment and doesn’t like change and sometimes doesn’t accept it too well. He needs time to adjust and needs to study everything very very very (I can go on and on) well before making any decisions. I am soooo not like that and that’s where his patience is very much appreciated and welcome. He’s got patience of a monk and I respect that very much. I am very impulsive, irrational, wild, carefree (somewhat…less than now) and very creative. I am kind to an extent but also bossy to another extent…I sometimes don’t have balance and I think that’s my biggest flaw and that is a point where it could either make me or break me. I am definitely fire and my husband calms me and pulls me down to earth and that helps me be more realistic about life. He lets me get my anger out and absorbs most of it very gallantly and I am grateful and touched by how easily he brushes it off. He loves me immensely and has made me fall in love with myself despite how hard I was on myself all those years before meeting him. I think us women, we tend to always want more from ourselves and we are our worst enemy but it is important, to succeed in other relationships, to accept ourselves first and be in love with ourselves first.my husband played a huge role in that and that is one of the main reasons I was able to comprise so much and worked hard to make our first year of marriage work.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

I guess what I am trying to say is, for a marriage to work; you need to communicate openly and work on the issues rather than letting them pile up on the side. Even though some subjects are hard to discuss, it is always important to be honest about your feelings and not be shy to admit that you are at fault. It’s not about who is right and who is wrong; it is about making your relationship flourish and blossom into something crazy but beautiful. I cannot predict the future nor can I say if my relationship will be forever, but I am damn will work hard for it to last as forever as possible. Marriage is not the easiest job, just like motherhood, but it can succeed if you know how to work around the little bumps and learn to be respectful with one another. I can absolutely certify that my husband is now my best friend and partner in crime more than before. We has our inside jokes, we have our little special bonds…we lose ourselves sometimes but we do find each other at the end and for that I am eternally thankful. So if you’re in a marriage and feel like giving up, I say don’t, try to make it work and talk it out because I am sure that at the end, there is a way. Marriage is a mess but it’s a beautiful one!

Diaries of an anxious girl

So like many of you out there, I am an anxious child, always was and always will (probably) be. When we are young children, we tend to be more ruthless and more out there, we search to discover and learn about the world around us and sometimes I miss that. Although I am an introvert, I tend to make huge efforts to follow my dreams and take big steps…for some, those steps are of no import, but to me, they are huge accomplishments because the fear and anxiety I go through is unreal. Because of my huge anxiety issues, I ended up with IBS and it’s the worst!!! Stress is a killer yo! I think for many of us, it’s so much easier to hide behind closed doors than putting ourselves out there to be judged.

11694890_10153205871593173_532251521406190433_n

It is hard to believe for many that I am an anxious person, because I tend to hide my feelings super well, so well that my poker face can’t be broken. I am hard on giving away anything at all…sometimes, especially in the beginning or our relationship, my husband would get frustrated with me because he couldn’t read me or know truly how I felt. But over the years, I have learned to let my guard down and full let him in, it was hard, but I made it and even though sometime I don’t tell him everything, I would say that the progress I have made is tremendous. It’s all partly because of him really, my husband helped me get through a lot of self-confidence issues I have had in my life and has made me fall in love with myself as he fell in love with me. He made me accept my flaws and work with them for the better. He doesn’t judge me but instead takes the time to guide me and push me out of my comfort zone. I truly am the luckiest girl in the world.

This doesn’t mean that I am over my anxiety, on the contrary, I feel like since moving to Palestine, it got worst. I was afraid to leave the house on my own, go shop on my own or be anywhere in public on my own. If I had a meeting or an event to go to in Palestine, I would start thinking about it for weeks beforehand and then go through sleepless nights dreading for the day to arrive. I, sometimes, made excuses to avoid going to certain meetings because I was so anxious; I would have really bad knots in the pit of my stomach, which led me to eating less, sleeping less and stressing more. Ugh, sucks!

I remember when we used to go to public places when I was younger, my mum would get frustrated with me when I was impatient and wanted to go home, I would try to explain to her how I felt, but she couldn’t get me…I guess the language barrier was much too strong. But reflecting on it now, perhaps I didn’t need to be as nervous or uneasy with life but I couldn’t control it.

This anxiety has given me a clear title in many of my social circles…I was either known as the bitch face, the conceited girl or the ice queen. I wasn’t proud of those titles but I never felt like I should defend myself because it was pointless. The first impression I always gave off was bad and perhaps this is why I struggled to make any friends in Palestine. I never intend to be that way and for those suffering with anxiety know what I mean. I am socially awkward and that I know I have tried to be more open and less rigid when attending public event. Working with a huge group of people and in the fashion industry has given me the chance to improve my social skills. I think, as long as we try to do our best and improve, that’s all the matters. And no matter what, do not listen to other people’s negative comments; you’re full of yourself, you’re bitchy, you’re dry….just let it go, because those who don’t have anxiety don’t know how real the struggle is, to get out of the house sometimes is so stressful I want to pass out.

I remember cancelling many events and outings with friends because I was dreading the whole going out in public part. I always prefer staying home, curled in the comfort of my sheets and the comfort of my room. I realize now how stupid I was for not taking more chances in my life, will I call it regret, absolutely not! Because I still did a lot and accomplished so much. However, there are opportunities that I never took because I was too afraid to take them and let my self-doubt and anxiety take over; working for Cirque du Soleil or working for Maire St-Pierre or even opening a store…those were some of the major let downs that I went through in my adult life. Even starting a blog was a dreadful task for me, I love writing and wanted to do it a long time ago, but I couldn’t because I was too anxious from the response I would get. My sister pushed me to finally go through with it and I am forever grateful! Regardless of what happened in the past, I still have my own fashion line, my vintage online shop, got through many TV interviews and went on insane travels. But most of all, I moved continents, to an unstable place; to be with the man I love…that to me is brave! I am not going to lie about how much of a battle I went through to do that move and how many panic attacks I got…but I finally did it and this is a story I will tell my little child over and over again to help her be the strongest woman she can be and to push herself and explore the universe and to leave her mark for others to see.

Despite my “issue” I always was a doer and never a follower, I always wanted more for myself and had too many ambitions. So, at the end of the day, I think what helps me most with my anxiety is to surround myself with people I love and who push me to get out of my comfort zone. Even if I am afraid, I still want more…besides LIFE BEGINS AT THE END OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE. So, get out there and do what you want to do, even if you’re anxious, because we only live once!

Living in Palestine: a year in review.

It’s a year, exactly tomorrow, since I moved away from home, the only home I have ever known. Montreal was pretty much my sanctuary; I was free to do what I wanted, whenever I wanted. I know that life isn’t about just that, but I felt free to express myself even though I was an outcast due to being part of a visible minority. I felt more myself in Montreal than I do here in Jericho to be completely honest. This post is to share my story and my transition into living in the Middle East…more precisely Palestine. First of all, whenever people ask me how it has been, I simply say that it was the hardest year of my life…not because I didn’t have all the goods or all the money or all the materials in the world, but mostly because of how easily I seem to have lost my true sense of self. It is probably hard to understand for many because I am an Arab, I should easily fit in…but on the contrary, I was and will continue to be an outsider and that people remind me of every day.

1-20180110114915

One of the main issues that had me so depressed was the fact that due to political unrest and issues in this country, I ended up losing my Canadian citizenship here and was treated just as those poor stateless citizens, which is fine by me (now at least), but I will not lie and say that I took it with a grain of salt. I felt like I lost a big part of my identity. I was not used to be stopped and interrogated and watched and followed. I felt alone and hopeless. Being away from my family felt hard and not having much here made me depress even more. Nothing seemed to cheer me up and for the longest time, I buried myself at home and didn’t want to see anyone or go anywhere. I wasn’t interested in making friends or going out with my husband even. Besides, It wasn’t even easy making friends, girls can be so vicious and hurtful sometimes, it’s scary. I was considered an idiot because I didn’t spend all my waking time painting my nails or brushing my hair. There was no girl power to say the least…that made me realize how lucky I was back home to have my girl squad by my side. My girlfriends helped shape me and push me out of my comfort zone. They lifted me up when I was down and I did the same with them. That to me is pure gold! Therefore, I guess what I am trying to say is that my experience here in Palestine further pushed me to stay safe in my own house at all times. Months passed and losing myself seemed more easy; I let everyone use me, abuse me and step over me.

I couldn’t for the life of me find a job to keep myself occupied…like no one wanted to hire me!!! They all knew I had the qualifications, but for some reason everyone seemed threatened by my baggage. I never wanted to take anyone’s place, I just needed a job to keep me busy and occupied. Unfortunately, everything I tried but I failed, miserably. I felt ashamed, hurt and very much incompetent. I know it really wasn’t my fault, but I couldn’t help but think that I sucked at life pretty much. I couldn’t even get a volunteering gig because I seemed too nice and by that, I mean, I was probably hiding something (totes wasn’t). Adjusting to my new life was quite difficult, but I did it anyway because I was at least with the man I love. Then when light seemed to appear at the end of the tunnel, I worked in a tourist area for a good three weeks only to have the owner not pay me anything. It has been seven months now since stopping that job and still got no money from them…every time something bad happened to me, I kept saying I deserve it; it’s what happens when you’re nice; which ended up pushing me into my sinkhole further down. I think I ended up being harsher on myself than others were. I mean yes I was labeled as an outsider, but for some reason my will to keep fighting has faded and I was completely unhappy with the life I had. If it wasn’t for my husband being by my side, my depression would have been tremendous. I went to other touristic related jobs, here in Jericho, only to be told that I needed to remove my veil. Like why??? I never removed it in Canada and worked pretty much my entire life, why would I remove it now??? It was such a struggle for me to find any job that I gave up on that and that led me to feel like a failure to humanity.

I am not saying it was all bad, life is certainly difficult for many people here and I am thankful that what I went through wasn’t as hard as what others go through, but never in my life have I felt completely alone as I felt here in Jericho. I asked for help only to be rebuffed brutally. I tried to make my surrounding better but I was laughed at for caring for stupid things such as the environment, charity and kindness. People are so oppressed here that they lost all sense of care for others in their own community. No one has the time to be socially charitable, which is very sad because I know it’s not their fault but that doesn’t have to stop them from holding on to what’s right. I think this is what bothered me the most in my stay here, not finding someone with the same values as me made me sick to my core; so sick that I too wanted to be evil. Twisted, I know! I felt like everything I learned from my mother and family no longer had a meaning.

I guess what I am trying to say is that even though life hasn’t been easy for me here, I am thankful for having went through what I went through because it showed me to be even more grateful for what I have in my life; my family and friends are more important than any amount of money one can have. Living simply and modestly is even more of a mission to me than it was before; being around the people you love is enough to keep you happy abundantly. Life is too short for us to waste our time to fight for titles, positions and social/political status. It is all meaningless!! Just be content and satisfied with what you have in front of you, and then life is so much sweeter!!!! I would never have made it through without my loving, understanding, selfless husband. I have been hard on him many times through my stay and was probably my punching bag but never did he ever complain about my stinky attitude and for that I am truly and utterly indebted. So, even though this year was hard, I think I came out stronger and more focused to remain humble and happy.

See, no one pushed me to go through with this change or with this adventure, but taking the chance was worth it in the end, because the love I have for my husband is endless. I will treasure this year in my heart and use it as a guide to lead a life of yes! I will follow my dreams relentlessly and ensure that every moment goes by with a purpose; never wasted and never meaningless. I know that many might judge me for being somewhat open about my experience here in Jericho, but this is my side and I stand by it!

The 5 things I learned from my mom.

In lights of mother’s day…which was yesterday, I wanted to write a little blog about the things I learned from my mum growing up. I can safely say that my mum is my hero, I look up to her so much and I couldn’t be more blessed to have her in my life. Whenever anyone asks me who my idol is, I always say it’s my mum, as cheesy as it may sound, but it is super true. My mom raised five rascals on her own, well we weren’t really rascals, but sometimes (rarely) we gave her a hard time. My dad shipped us and dropped us in Canada when the Gulf war started and it was a little overwhelming for all of us. I was only 7 when we moved to Canada and it was so surreal for me. I was confused and quite honestly I felt abandoned by my dad. Long story short, we couldn’t get to higher education where we were because we were immigrants and my parents being both university graduates, they wanted to offer us the same opportunities as they had, so Canada was obviously was the fitting option. My dad said that it was only for a couple of months until things settled down back in the Gulf region, but a year passed and two and three until it has been over 30 years being there. So basically, my mum was stuck learning a new language, trying to provide for us by working full-time and raising us and helping us with school. My mum gave up a lot to get us where we are today. I am humbled and touched by how much she has given us and today I want to pay tribute to her and share what she has taught me.

20517752_10155535966381197_1857560470_o


1-Being kind and humble

Amongst her friends and acquaintances, my mom is known for being overly kind. She often times puts herself before others. She always has that when slapped give the other cheek kind of attitude. We (my sister and I), for the longest time, followed in her footsteps and I wouldn’t have it otherwise. I know it sounds kindda petty, but I would rather be kind and taken advantage of than hurting anyone. Although, today I am more wise and try as much possible not to be naïvely kind (hard but doable). Being humble was super important for my mom, I wasn’t the most humble teen I must say, I had attitude problem and sometimes borderline selfish. My mom would always tell me to avoid looking up to the sky, because I would stumble onto something, then fall and hurt myself. She always told me that to be better than others; I must stay humble and kind and not be a show off. I had a hard time to adjust really, but she showed me balance. Kindness gives me peace of mind and helps me live life happier and better. My mom takes care of everyone, so much so that she forgets about herself. I feel like giving her millions and telling her I love you daily isn’t even enough for how much she has given us. I feel like being kind and being humble goes hand in hand and these both help you live a modest but very wonderful life.

2-Being strong

Through her attitude and her way of being, my mother was always the strongest woman I have known. She was a trooper, always battling and always running after what she wanted to be able to provide us with the best possible. She had a horrible job and was super underpaid, but she stuck by it, because she had to, then she ran to English school and then finished up with French school. During the winter times, when we didn’t have car, she would carry boxes of grocery over her shoulders to make sure there was food on the table for us to eat. Yes, perhaps she wasn’t all that present in our lives, but we knew that she did that all for us, so we didn’t complain that much. My mom, for as long as I remember, has had loads of hardship and many humiliating moments in her life, but despite it all, she always kept her head high. Yes, I have seen her cry many times, but I never took that as a sign of weakness, on the contrary for me that was strength, for her to battle through life and still wear her feelings on her sleeve, that to me is the epitome of bravery. I am quite like my mom actually, and I get it a lot but she truly is one of my best friends and I am proud to be compared to her (even in the slightest way possible).

3-Being charitable

Very much like kindness, this is the core of who my mom is. She makes sure to help others and give back to the community as much as possible. Doing charitable things and giving to those in need is big in our family, thanks to mom. Volunteering could be a part of it; she always pushed me and still pushes me to volunteer if I have a lot of free time on my hands. Put better use to your time, she always says. Donating, whether it is money or food, is a big part of the Muslim religion but sometimes, people don’t apply that in their daily lives. My mom, on the other hand, made sure to instil this in us from a young age and we make sure to donate as much as we can. It almost feels like you live a healthier, happier life in doing so.

4-Forgivness

Forgiving others, no matter how much they hurt you, is key to inner peace. I took that from my mom and some may say I am very naïve but I cannot explain the feeling of letting go, it’s truly magical. Yes I get hurt and get down and beat myself senseless, but forgiveness is much more important to me than revenge. My momma always says, what goes around comes around, so make sure to put good into the world. If someone hurts you, just believe than God is there to help you through and that others will get their punishment one way or another. Move on, let go and keep living life simply. Sometimes, I get sucked into this bitchy, revenge mode, but my heart stops me and the guilt build in. Balance is key and I still got yet to learn, but we always learn till the day we die.

5-Wildness and free-spiritedness

Although she would never admit it, my mom is super adventurous. She likes a little risk and a little danger. She lives on the edge sometimes which is super cool on her part. I remember her telling me stories of her childhood and teen years about some risks she took while following her guts and she is an impressive woman to say the least. She would never ever tell anyone that she likes risk but she’s a silent live it on the edge kinda woman which makes me fall in love with her even more. I would safely say that this is a side I got from mum; being wild and carefree. Although, nowadays, she’s always worried about us and the future even though we’re all settled and married and go about our own lives. She secretly is the type of woman that cannot be tamed. She accommodates, yes, she compromises, but deep down I know that the wild will forever be in her. She always up to trying new things even though they’re scary! And she’s always interested in visiting new places and traveling and meeting new people. Way to go mom!

12534355_1551772195145164_221670733_n

Even though this post does her no justice, my mom is the woman I strive to be when I grow older….a little less stressed though, but at the end of the day, she’s given us more than we can ask for and for that I am forever grateful. God has blessed us in more ways than we think, because no amount of money can ever get us the love that we got from her! So for that mom, happy mother’s day, today, tomorrow and forever!!! You are my hero! Heaven truly does lie under her feet!

♥♥♥♥

To all the moms out there working hard, struggling to make ends meet…keep killing it! You’re doing great xxx