Being an Introvert; a blessing or a curse?

Well to be honest that is somehow a difficult question to answer to.

You see I am an introvert, yet sometimes, regarding the situation I find myself in, I feel I am open to others.

However deep down, I carry the introvert flag (loud & proud).

Is being an introvert a blessing or a curse? In total honesty, it is both.

What is an introvert? According to our faithful search engine, google, an introvert is “a person that tends to turn inward mentally. A person that avoids large group of people, feeling more energized by time alone”.

Guilty as charged.

In short, the days that I go MIA, are the days that I am on a me-time spree #MeMyselfandI and you should all respect that and not judge (especially something that you are not fully acquainted about).

 

What are the blessings tagged to an introvert?

  • Keeping far away from drama >> picture yourself being far from girlfriends bickering, gossiping/bad mouthing, nagging about some nonsense or the other. Peaceful isn’t it? Why waste my breath on useless conversations I might add…
  • Focusing on Your Self >>mentally, spiritually and physically. Learning on being your own person and relying on yourself, because not everyone is going to be there for you, despite their assurances.
  • Developing your selfish/me-time hobbies >> reading, writing, drawing.
  • You become a professional in behavior analysis >> I know that I can easily decipher hidden messages, furtive glances and failed secret mimes between parties at a social gathering (because I watch behaviors rather than immerse myself into conversations).
  • You have a tight circle of friends >> quality over quantity and real over fake friends.
  • Let’s be direct, every social outing becomes appreciated and looked forward at.
  • You develop your personality traits a notch further >> I know I became stronger and determined thanks to my introvert-ness.

Routine bores me. By being an introvert, one would assume that all that me-time would drain me. Surprisingly, not at all. Being away from human interaction, empowers me to continue doing the things that make me happy. Isn’t it a known fact that most of the time one is unhappy by his interaction with other people. Deceit, jealousy are just simple examples of the point that I am trying to convey to you previously.

** Do take in account that I have the just number of friends that I do interact with, enjoy my time with and vice versa. I am not a hermit after all (with all due respect).

I just don’t like to waste my time within large groups of people and push myself  into useless conversations just because it is the norm to do so. I, specifically, hate being dragged to dinners parties knowing that more than half of the people there are talking superficialities. Why waste my breath I say, and tend to sip on my drink while analyzing the hidden glances between two people on the left corner of the room. I remember a few years back I was going out with this guy who when breaking up accused me of being anti social with his group of friends. Well if not talking to a bunch of late thirty year olds acting as teenagers working at their daddy’s company and laughing like a bunch of airheads is anti social, then be it. Oh yeah and let’s not forget the joint passing drama along the way. Haha? I kid not!

**Most of the time my analysis of the situation, without being part of the circle of people and part of the conversation, tends to be 100% accurate. Watch out!!

 

Now, is being an introvert a curse?

  • Acquaintances will no longer include you in their plans >> a blessing in disguise really (said the introvert in me!)
  • Awkwardness when attending obligated social events >> sip on those cocktails and time will fly (said the introvert in me, again!)
  • If you are not a 100% introvert, you will be labelled as one despite your claims on the contrary >> you will spend your time trying to convince and prove them wrong (now that is a pain!!)
  • You might lose interesting job opportunities that require some social interaction (because as mentioned above, they are labelling you, misunderstanding your whole trait…I mean come on I used to be a customer representative at a bank, now would I have been able to manage that position if I were a 100% introvert?)
  • You will feel an unspoken pressure,of constantly being misunderstood because of your characteristic.

 

To be completely honest with you, being extreme about everything is bad. Am I an introvert? Yes I am. I enjoy myself, my person, more than I do anyone else? Again, yes I do. Say what you like, think what you like, but I know that’s a logical thing to feel (although a lot of you won’t admit because Awkward!!)

With time passing by and circumstances changing (worldwide), more and more people are becoming hypocritical of one another (especially behind their backs) and fighting for their survival (even if it means crashing their friend on their way to success).

I am an introvert with a set group of friends (who shrunk even further after I left Lebanon). I enjoy going out whenever I want to, meet new and genuine people in interesting settings / parties, and I am in no obligation of defining and proving my extrovert-ness to anyone’s peace of mind.

You like my company? Tag along.

You don’t? What a bliss (says the introvert in me, again & again & again!!!)

xo

**My next post is going to be about what I LEARNT from being in Lebanon 10months in between my relocation to Canada. Stay Alert!! 

 

If you decide to do it – Don’t be AFRAID.

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This blog post goes out to all of you who are indecisive in taking the next big step in your life.

I know the struggle.

You want to spread your wings and fly away towards new horizons. Those, you have been dreaming for the last couple of months, if not years.

You want to become independent from the gripping hands of your surrounding.

You just want to get away from all the negativity and discouragement the ones around you have inflicted upon your person.

What’s worse in this dilemma is when your closed ones are those that will pull you further down instead of just giving you that extra push to let go and grasp your future.

Hereby I am writing to you, as I have experienced it first hand, why and how you should let go of their pettiness and jealousy and just throw yourself into oblivion.

  • Every one has a goal in life (those who don’t, well seriously, jump off a cliff). Your goal is yours. It is your baby and only you will work it, manage it, excel in it so as to succeed in it. No one will as they are not you. And thankfully will never be you.
  • A purpose in life is part of the cycle of life. You are put into this world to achieve something. Never underestimate your goal, never put others’ feelings about your purpose before your gut feeling.
  • Speaking of which, gut feeling is important. Gut feeling never lies nor unbalances you. It sets you straight towards attaining your goal and sometimes even better, abstain from certain decisions for better ones.
  • Critics are everywhere. And thank God for them. Never take them seriously, sometimes their reaction, behavior and opinion is what will let you remodel your purpose to excellency.
  • Jealousy? Well let’s face it, when a person is remotely jealous from another person’s vision, it is because he cannot relate. You will be surprised to notice that this same person has nothing going on with his own life, no goals, no achievements no nothing, hence that negative reaction. Logical right? (take a min and remember + think what I just said).
  • Always compare yourself to a successful friend, acquaintance or a family member. Their success will pave your way into the right direction.
  • Surround yourself with positive energy. If the household is pulling you down, grab your things and go work outside, in a coffeeshop or a co-work venue. You will surely be more focused, meet new people and get that pumped up energy into realizing you goal.
  • You don’t have your family support, fuck it! Haven’t you heard of the “friends become your chosen family” saying? Well now you have.
  • You have to, need to shine and make an impact in this life. Remember you are leaving a legacy behind , regardless its size. You are proving that the sky is your limit.
  • Most importantly, time is key. Stop delaying. Start.

My friends, the most important thing that I have learnt about achieving a long lost dream, is the effect of the reaction of your closed ones to it. I let discouragement and negativity affect me for a long time. But no more. Pursue your goals everyone. No one fails. because even if the outcome is not spectacular, but good, you know that the mere fact of daring and putting yourself out there is the most spectacular achievement of them all.

Love you all ❤

Hiking at the Shouf Cedar Nature Reserve – A Sunday Getaway

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Sunday 22nd of January 2017, my alarm rang at 7.45. Why that early? because I had promised my very close girl friend to join her on a hiking excursion that very same day. A promise I intend not to cancel as I am known for backing away last minute.

No No Ranya, this time I am IN, I said to myself, over and over again in my head as the time to meet up drew closer. What was I getting myself into? Whoever knows me, knows very well that I am regularly active at the gym. Squats, jumping jacks, rope jumping, running, I do that easily, but hiking? Meh!!

And I went.. and I was up for a (good) surprise. Not only did I meet very interesting and well grounded people, I experienced newfound feelings and very much challenging constraints that I overcame.

The Shouf Cedar Nature Reserve is located approximately 30-45min drive out of the capital in the Shouf district of Lebanon within the slopes of the Barouk mountains (an area of 550Km2 comprising the forests of Al-Maasser el Shouf, Barouk and Ain Zhalta). Yes you can imagine how vast the area is. I was thrilled when I knew we were going to the cedars of the shouf as that mountainous region is my favorite in Lebanon.

We arrived at destination and after renting our hiking ski shoes started onto our journey. My face dropped when I realized we were climbing the damn mountain. Sue me, I thought hiking comprised a straight forwarded path. Yes that triangularly shaped blessed mother natural thing, I was going to C-L-I-M-B. Thank you Ranya for your on-point information. I guess if she had told me that specific detail, I would have definitely not taken part of this suicidal mission. Did I forgot to mention to you all that I am scared of heights so ..yeah imagine my face. I took my destiny into my own hands, I mean bodily composure, and walked. And walked is what I did, for 3 hours!! Climbing those narrow passages were not easy. Zig zagging to make way to others when stopping to catch some breath, wanting to damn give up in the middle of this wonderful joy ride and trying not to look down (that much) was quite the experience for me.

It is only when we all arrived at some grounded snowy area and I was sure that from this point on there was no way I was facing oblivion, did I realize that I loved every minute of this hike.

The fresh air, the physical as well as the psychological challenge were overcome beautifully. Mother nature sure engraved some beautiful snapshots in my head and my phone (which I will share with you further down the blogpost).

We ended our journey having lunch catered by Bio Coara which produces organic and vegan healthy food. A soup to start with, salad, a main dish comprising rice, potatoes and the vegan type of Kafta, ending with dry cake. You can say that the whole day was perfect for a #HealthyLiving #HealthyLifestyle Instagram blogger.

Would I go hiking again? yes, now that I know what to expect. If there is a straight walk pathway, I’d go now though 🙂

Hope you enjoy the rest of this wonderful day with these picture perfect moments.

Thank you Galeb and Hussein for this unique experience and my lovely Ranya for the beautiful much-needed company.

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ps: Thank you guys for the pictures shared (Galeb, Hussein & Rasha) and check the FB page of “IAM Production by Imad & Monah Ashkar”  by clicking on the following link https://www.facebook.com/IAMproductionlb/  and if you are interested by the vegan and bio food I mentioned earlier, click on their page and #EatHealthy https://www.facebook.com/CoaraKfarqatra/  😉

xo

The Friends from the past; a blast!

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“There is something about childhood friends that you just cant replace” Lisa Whelchdel

If you are at university , even in high school, then this post’s timing couldn’t have been perfect. Mark my words when I say that, flash forward ten years, you will come to realize that good friends were, are and will forever remain the ones you spent most of your childhood days with.

Your childhood friends are those;

you have spent all your recess time with,

you hung every Friday after noons together at the mall,

you went to the movies, grabbed a bite, gossiped over your crushes,

all these and more will forge a place in your heart and will forever remain your most cherished memories of your past.

Come university years, many of you will separate and your path will diverge. Your dreams will take you to distant lands, different educational systems and rare, rare are those who will remain in contact with one other.

Within the confines of your new environment you will meet people that will share the same interests as you. The physicality, the distance, will play an important role in the separation of your childhood friends. Maybe not the first semester, but later on. Trust me (again).

I am sharing this with you because I experience this first hand (twice).

Georges was my best friend in high school. He was like a brother to me and always there for me. The true definition of a best friend. At university we separated and each went to its own. Thankfully the rise of social media brought us back together (online only). However, after 16 years of separation we finally made it and met over coffee. I did not know what to expect, yet I found my old friend. Same old Georges + married + wiser + as witty as before. I realized that after two decade of separation (HEY! I’m rounding the years here) we turned out to share more similarities in thoughts and how we viewed life and society in particular.

I really enjoyed my time with him and I anticipate our next get together before the distance separates us again.

An old friend of mine, whom I met a couple of months back (after 6 years of separation) told me something that struck in my mind “Your good friends are always going to be those that were in your life during your late teens. Those that no matter the separation, once met for coffee, will make you feel as if it were yesterday you last saw each other. And you will pick up the pieces and forge a stronger bond ..as if nothing ever happened”.

To you my friends, the day will come and when you go and catch up with your high school bestie, remember this; she/he will always be there anytime anywhere and any way imaginable.

xo

ps: do not misundertand me ; the friendships forged later on in life are genuine as well. However, those will never understand you fully, deeply as they were never there when your roots were being built.

pps: same goes to those childhood friends that were always there all those years; you grew up together only to be set apart unexpectedly suddenly…

 

“I’m engaged, I can’t talk to you”

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I am never going to understand Arab mentality and the dos and donts of the society I come from. Over the many years I have spent in Beirut, Lebanon and the many men I dated and had long term relationships with, I have never quite understood the few silent agreements between couples, especially those engaged to be married within the year.

Apparently there is a hidden rule that states that once you are engaged, you, automatically, will have to stop interacting with humans from the opposite sex. Yes! Shocker!!

Yesterday I was catching up with a very close friend of mine. From the moment we took seats, I felt she wasn’t herself. Born in Canada, but raised in Lebanon, Saria inherited the Western values vs the Middle Eastern ones.

Here is her story.

Her very close friend who immigrated to the USA a few years back was in Beirut for the holidays. Both friends have kept in touch(whatsapp/fb messenger/instagram all that jazz) throughout the 9 years of his leaving and it was his first time back to visit friends and family. One itch however, he got engaged to his long time on-off girlfriend in the states and was here to officialize the union.

Don’t get me wrong, we are, oh-so-happy for the chap.

What we are appalled by is the fact that, although a few days before his arrival and anticipated reunion with his close friend (Saria) through a whatsapp message, Mister X shifts 180 degrees on Lebanese soil. We give him a few days, even a week (we are generous) to catch up with his family, close, far, in between. On the second week, we decide to get in touch and set a date for the meet up. Busy one day, sudden appointment the next day, and many “I will let you know, we will play it by the ear” (Lebanese style) came the day of his departure!

No wait, let me be specific, I rephrase that, ….came the morning of his departure.

Saria is no naive girl. Trust me. She knew something was wrong the moment she heard his voice on the phone. She knew that the person by the end of the receiver is no longer her friend. She knew all of that but for the sake of the 10+ years of friendship, gave X the benefit of doubt. All came tumbling down when he decided to give her 20min of his precious on his way to the airport (btw her house is a dot on that highway leading there, so two birds in one stone, you know the shizzle…). It all took for her such suggestion of a pop-up meeting to explode on the phone. He did what any lame boy would do and twisted everything to look innocently guilty. You know that “you are right, I was a jerk” blabla.. and they resumed their phone call on that.

As you know a story is not quite one without the cherry on the top moment. And her cherry came in the form of a block on Facebook and Instagram jointly in the same hour that it took him to get to the airport, on his plane and off to Washington DC. Pathetic. Loser.

Am I Right or Right??

Well when it comes to anything Lebanese related (friendship, relationship and social) I am not the least surprised at most of the experiences endured by my friends. From what I witnessed, my friend was more shocked than angry. This was a guy who left his family, friends and country for a better life abroad. In his lonely times, he connected through social media with his friends back home (among them Saria). I know Saria and I know the kind of person she is when she puts all her energy into her friends & family. And I know for a fact that this guy went through a depression, away from everyone (it’s normal) and that Saria was there, amidst the hour gap, conversing, cheering. Well being the definition of a very good friend.

Moreover, I very well know how of a coward Lebanese men are when they get engaged. I mean you got engaged, that does not mean that you have turned gay (my respect to the gay community) or are a cheater if you are hanging out with friends from the opposite sex. I mean if you have had feelings for that specific friend then ok you move away when in a serious relationship. Fine I’ll give you that, ok (although..well…). But just cutting and throwing away friendships like that, no no!!

How do you define these men?

Cowards?

Immature?

Full of low self esteem?

Not Trustworthy?

Have relationship issues?

Have life issues?

Well I would tick all the above and more.

If you have a friend who has cut you off because of the change of his relationship status, then know this, its not you, its definitely him/her and the above mentioned traits (and more).

You are better off with that sort of drama because if one thing is for sure, these people are going to be facing many issues when interacting with society as a whole.

Last but not least, congrats on your union!!

xo

 

 

What YOU should NEVER take for granted.

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Embrace Day 1 of 2017. My first blogpost of the year.

Happy New Year everyone! I wished for each and every one of you a pleasant evening surrounded with your loved ones (did you keep the champagne pouring?). I wish you all an amazing year ahead. I know most of you are excited and anticipating what 2017 may be holding for you. Hopefully everything beautiful and positive.

For my first post of the year, I decided to share with you a few of the things that I unfortunately took for granted, only to have them come bit my ass when I least expected it. I am fully aware that many of you are familiar with the notions that I am going to enumerate, still it’s good to refresh one’s memory especially at the start of the year. Remember never let your guard down.

Friends; 

And I, by no means, mean friends in general, nor acquaintances. I mean your best friend, or to some who would prefer not to label the relationship, the ones you see almost everyday, the ones you are constantly on Whatsapp with (yeah calling is no longer IN), the ones you tag, mention and send screenshot(ted) conversations to. Yes those friends. You think you are close because of the one too many deep conversations together but never assume the esteem you have to this person is reciprocated 100%. Do not pour your soul into just anyone.

Family; 

Some are blessed with family members who would sell their soul to see them succeed and happy. They would give their kidney to one another to see them peaceful. Some are hypocrites awaiting the downfall of their next to kin. Some are petty and ugly from the inside. Some will play with each other’s feelings to gain sympathy. Not everyone can claim his family to be his backbone.

Looks; 

Yes we are not getting younger. We are aging. I know most of you will not like the terms I am using but this is the reality. Your metabolism at 35 is not the same as when you were 25. Physically if you do not maintain yourself, you are going to put on extra pounds especially around the waist, the hip and the tricep/back area. Do not, and I repeat, do not find excuses of your weight gain from going to gym regularly (muscle mass gain). Have the full body mass exam at a dietician and you will be in for some surprise. A nip & tuck here and there is ok as long as you don’t go overboard (and look like someone else completely!).

Health; 

Your health is very important. Do a full checkup once a year to be on the safe side. I know we tend to always put the doctor’s appointment at the back of our minds, especially dentists, but it is very important we set the date for that yearly check up. I postponed my dentist appointment the last 3 years that at 2016’s checkup I had so much to do, costing me an arm and a leg. Destress and go get that full body massage you have been craving since forever. We all deserve to splurge once in a while.

Time; 

Are you with me? Yes we tend to take it for granted so much that we tend to postpone projects, phone calls, meetings and most importantly saying how much we love one other. We might be robbed by time when we least expect it. Never postpone, seize the day and amidst the turmoil and the obstacles, go for it, do it.

 

“Hamdellah” the year ended on a good note. I learnt from my mistakes and though disappointed by my expectations from others, I am grateful to know what awaits me from the external world, from friends and strangers alike. Life is a bitch for petty people. Karma is never on their side. Time is running fast, 2017 just started. Let’s not waste any more time. 2017 you are my year for everything. I will never take anything for granted anymore, especially not human beings. oh yeah I am considering adopting a dog …in 2017. 

 

 

 

A Best Friend? My real Myth!

What is a best friend? Do we need one in our life? How does one become another’s best friend? Are there guidelines? Actions & behaviors to cross off before becoming one officially?

I have had best friends all throughout the different stages of my life. As you all know, we grow up, circumstances change, location even, hence new friendships formed and best friends born out of. However I have learnt through my experiences that the notion of a best friend is over rated and I have decided not to have one. Seriously, why should I favorite one person, if not two, out of the people that happen to be part of my life? Is it because I am in contact with that specific person more than the others? Or because some unfortunate event drew us close to one another? Experience taught me not to confide into anyone if not related by blood.

Regardless of the reason, I do not believe that one person should be held on a pedestal.

When you know you have to call it quits:

  • Not receiving the same amount of attention, emotion, care and respect. I noticed that I have been far more reaching to my best friend’s distress and call of help that I did not realize the lack of reciprocity. Much energy was drained from my person that I stopped altogether looking forward for casual meetings. We all need love and care. Even a therapist sees a therapist.
  • The physical distance which was there for years started having an impact on the relationship. Less texts, less social media contact, and non existent phone calls paved way to us drifting away. Even when in the same city, keeping in touch seemed less frequent. Mind you, it takes two to tango.
  • Every person is broken, that is why we seek refuge into another human being. To feel whole again. But when unexpected situations and actions further cut your wounds deeply, you set some boundaries, build a wall and distance yourself.
  • We grow up. We change. Friendship changes. It is not supposed to stand the test of time. Circumstances leads to different mindset, different approach and different, sometime contradictory, behaviors. However, if you ask me, the worse slap in the face is when one matures whereas the other one is still stuck in a rut, a mindset of his own.

You changed? Life happened. If you are not feeling loved and you are not happy with the current situation, then stop fighting for that friendship. Cherish the memories. Call it quits. Trust me you have gained and not lost.

Can I untag myself from being your Best of Friend? Thank you!