Sunday, June 20, 2010

Of father's day, mother's day, parenting and all that jazz

Today is Father's Day- the lesser day to mother's day because fathers are more often taken for granted because of their inability to carry and nurse their own children. That bears reflection.

Is the burden of the father any less than that of the mother? Are all mothers equal? Are all fathers equal? Are mothers and fathers equal in their contribution to the lives of their children? "But why do so many fathers desert their children?" You may ask. Well, what of those women who themselves desert their young?

Different people facing circumstances only they can appreciate react differently than we sometimes hope. But such is life. Some of us have to make up for the absentee father or mother. Some, both. Some of us are orphaned by life, brought and left into the world by their parents. So it begs another question.

Who is a parent? One who performs a biological act or one who goes through the inexact social science of trying to raise a well-adjusted human being? How about both? The biologist performs an essential role in giving the social scientist tangible subjects to work with. Maybe that was all he was meant to do. It may have been your mother or granny who "fathered" you but understand that you are no less off than anybody else. Yes it would have been nice to have a father around, but trust me, if your father knew to walk away, he probably loved you more than you think. Still too many children get stuck with parents they would have been better without, impairing them for life.

So, this father's day, say a prayer for the one who brought you into the world, no matter if he is absent, dead, or in prison. He is half the reason you are here. He is half the reason you are and are not. Forgive the fathers who hurt because now is the time to make peace for you as well as for your own children.

I know some people have been hurt deeply by their parents-father and mother. Some directly, others or us indirectly. However, there comes a point in your adult life after we assess them as adults and find their sum wanting, that we just have to accept that parents do the best they know how.

So many of them battled all sorts of drama. We are an evolving race, so every generation gets a chance to learn from the last and yet we are still prone to making mistakes of our own as well as repeating those of generations past.

I was talking to a cousin today and she said.. "I had to forgive my parents and set them free because God knows, one day, I will be asking my own children for the same." She is spot on. Forgiveness is the only key fitted to break the cycle.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The trailing spouse: this woman's story

My cousin asked very poignant questions about the possibility of me packing up and moving again to follow ESC and where in all that would I find a place for my own dreams. I answered her comment directly but I am posting parts of it here because I thought others may be wondering the same thing.

I am living my own dream, even if it is while trailing his. Fact: I love to travel. Fact: I dream about living all over. Fact: He is more likely, based on his own career choice to be the one who will easily get work.

We decided before we got married that we would spend several years living the expatriate life, soaking up the experiences and then eventually settle down when we had children who were ready for school.

I made a choice to come over on his visa because the other choice was him on mine since the jobs that he was interested in nearby me had dried up due to recession. I decided that I didn't want to start off a marriage with an emasculated man and since he was willing to give it all up to come and be with me, I decided not to let him and come instead.

There are a million zillion things and dreams I have and marriage doesn't stop me from reaching them. In fact, my marriage is the conduit for a lot of them.

We are BOTH making sacrifices for the first three (or so ) years of our union that will have a HUGE impact on our lives later on.

Fact: His hours are RIDICULOUSLY long. Longer than even those in the same industry in the Caribbean. Fact, the quicker he gets higher, the more time we will have together.

Fact: His next appointment is seeking to place me also so I will have my own work even in the midst of him rising. It makes sense for me to transition into the industry to ensure long term job placement as his trailing spouse.

Fact: Even when he reaches Exec Chef, he will have really long hours, it would be wise to ensure that I have a chance to work part-time so that I can satisfy my desire to work part-time when we have children because the two of us cannot be hard hitting at our careers and raise a balanced family.

Fact: Even if he reaches Exec Chef and I decided that I wanted to head back full force into the game- switching Mom jeans for a smart business suit- after being sick of trailing him he would be willing to put his career on hold for me and mind the chilrun.

Fact: Two of us cannot give the same output at the same time due to the nature of our careers and expect anything but a failed relationship.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Friendship in the desert

I now know, without any doubt, that I was made to work. Why? Because I have got too much going on in my head to be left too long to my own devices and if I must live away from those with whom long phone calls are customary, I should earn enough for the massive phone bill.

I know I should give a call to somebody in a mood like this but my only true friend is away in the UK on a short vacay. I think I want to go spend a couple days with her when she comes back. I could use some authentic, genuine energy and ESC could use some sleep and a break from the girlie conversations that i force on him.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The sky is about to fall: the prologue

I got married eight months ago today. I remembered just now at 8:52 pm when I glimpsed on the date for the umpteenth time for the day. I am more concerned about not missing my youngest sibling's B-Day than remembering my monthly "anniversary." We did it for the first five months. ESC would write me these cute notes, which then tapered down into SMSes and just fizzled out altogether. I have to keep track of bill payments and whether we are running low on toothpaste and milk and clean socks. Who has time for another reminder?

I think I have Married People's Writer's Block. I came up with the term in my usual self-diagnosis. How else can I describe the fact that I just feel I have been self-editing ever since I got married? (Maybe that is exactly the problem: "Writers block caused by self-imposed self-editing resulting in chronic constipation and blockage of energy and writing channels")

It's weird. I just seem to not have much to say. I look back on some of my older posts and I marvel at the writer I once was. Now, I feel like I write about the arcane and mundane and my entire existence has become so much less than sensational. Yeah right, who am I fooling about being slightly mysterious? Ha!

But when did this blog become mindless recounts of days spent as opposed to something much more meaningful? This is not a "Today I walked a mile in red hooker heels" kind of blog. It's a "Hooker heels were made for a gal like me." The difference? One statement is descriptive, the other, narrative.

I like to tell stories, not just facts. It's just that I am coming up dry these days. Maybe it's time to switch expression media and delve into photography. Whatever it is, I just need to get my shit together because I am the writer of a Twentysomething blog about to turn 30 in less than two months and I better find my voice and say something meaningful soon because in case you haven't already noticed, the sky is predicted to fall on August 9!

To be good enough

Sometimes I come across challenges that test the very mettle I am made of and we sit and wonder- am I really good enough and if not, will I ever be?

We think that the world is based on meritocracy but it isn't. Kisses follow favours. We are not competing as equals on a level field. It's not an excuse to bow out, just fuel to the fire that drives us to prove how wrong they were about us.

We were always smarter. We always worked harder. You just had easier access. But our hardships have only made us stronger while you built not one muscle while you were being airlifted to the top. We will last the test of time because we withstood the heat and still rose to the top.

Do I envy you? No. You have to live with yourself knowing that you have been promoted beyond your competence. No doubt you will hire me to do the cleanup.

Friday, June 11, 2010

What I want to wear for my BIG 3-0!!!!

I have decided that I would LOVE to wear a romper for my B-Day!

That's my totally girlie goal and I don't give a damn. I have ALWAYS loved rompers and wore them a LOT as a child. I havent worn shot shorts in about two years and it's about time to work on those gams. Speaking of which, ESC was there watching my thighs while I was squating, lunging and kicking the other day and was like..."Oooooh the thighs are coming back!

Yeah yeah! Here is an example below (not me):

I think it's a fun and whimsical way to celebrate reaching a new decade- reminiscent of the childhood and representing my childish exuberance for life and the journey into me. So it's a romper and heels. Hmmn. I think I should dont ya think!??

Where I am now- fitness and re-balancing

1. In the last 18 days, I have lost 3 inches off my waist
2. In the last 7 days, I have lost 3lbs!!! ( I was at a plateau for over a month and just resumed losing again).
3. I have gone from 15% towards my physical goals to 38%
4. I have undergone a spiritual metamorphosis over the past 3 months... finding my centre and my Source
5. I have gotten stronger mentally... overcoming addictions that gripped me for years.
6. I got a job this week
7. So did my hubby in a new country
8. Hubby has lost 6lbs and some good inches himself.
9. I am enjoying how tasty my diet is and ESC is doing a better job cooking for me because he doesn't see any "culinary blasphemy" like skimmed milk in the fridge. !!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

A photo for today...

When it rains pours

You know that I have been underemployed here and have been looking for meaningful work for this time and nothing right? Consider this conundrum. I just got a job. Teaching 3-4 year olds so adorable you could bunch them up with a head of lettuce and eat them. The hours are great. I get to still have my freedom everyday from 2pm. So what is this dilemma? ESC just received a verbal offer for a job (a promotion and a fast-track development plan for him to advance to Exec Chef status in 2 years). Still no conflict observed? Try a different country for size.

We are waiting to see what the offer on paper will be. The person offering him the job is also trying to ensure that I get one also because if you thought I was on the Island Behind God's Back before, this one is Way Beyond God's Back. So unlike Dubai where I can happily dabble in a little photography and read a be a woman of pleasurable leisure let's just say this other place will be 'otherwise."

Either way you take it, both elements are really good news! I get to earn my own money. So ESC would buy me a car (because the job is all the way in another Emirate) but I would be able to make car payments. I have learned that we work not only for money but for sanity. Don't ask me if a bunch of Arabic speaking toddlers are going to provide much stimulation, I just know that I would have 20 of my biggest fans at work instead of the corporate bitches to contend with. But also, I have to seriously continue to tend to my career because anything can happen. Four hands are better than two.

On the other hand, ESC's career would benefit GREATLY and we could be pregnant by the end of that assignment (InShalah) while he scouts for an EXec position that would take care of family. Plus he will have more time in two years to spend with his family. And the perks would REALLY kick in. I could also get an opportunity to enter the hospitality industry which is not a bad idea if I am going to be moving up and down the globe with him. I am also thinking of getting my certification in Nutrition and Fitness whether we stay or go as another way to enter the industry and get freelance jobs when raising our family. You know me, I think short, medium and long. I also find a way to incorporate all my skills into something marketable in the long run. If we went, we would also be able to save because God knows we wouldn't have to spend much unless we were traveling. So that means that we could put down something to put towards a home for when we have sink deeper routes. He is currently in the negotiation process and the post hasn't been advertised. The GM is impressed with his resume and the Exec Chef is the one personally recruiting him.

Another thing is that my visa is tied to his so if and when he goes... there will I be also. The blessing is that we are making the final decision as a team with lots of continued prayer on the matter. The fact is that we already surrendered the issue to God so it is only a matter of time before the way is made clear.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Their Eyes Were Watching Allah - The Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi, UAE

This set was taken a couple of months ago. I am uploading them for you and as a reminder to me that this journey has been most sacred in so many, many ways. Sometimes blessings like destiny, travel in a circle. That's me in an Abaya and those or my feet on the largest Persian rug ever made.

What I know for sure....

Dont ask me to explain famine or serious natural disasters leaving millions hungry, hopeless and dead
Dont ask me why some who eschew the very presence of evil seem to suffer a load unbearable by the average man
Dont ask me why the good suffer for the bad and there seems to be more bad than good
Dont ask me why the very religions that should teach us to love on another as ourselves has been used to exploit those same neighbours
Don't ask me why the good die young and so many of the wicked are here to wreak havoc on the rest of us

All I know is that:

God takes care of him own.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

NO I am NOT pregnant, I am just FAT, now leave me alone!!!

There is a difference when my Ma and those women in my family henkering for a baby to coddle ask.. "You pregnant?" after hearing that I have been vomiting or something. But.. under the following circumstances, who wouldn't be just a tad upset? This has been the subject a lot lately and I swear I am burying this issue once and for all. Read on.

I just need to vent....
Last night I met a sister of my hubby's friend for the first time and she asked me if I was pregnant. Let me tell you ladies something. This is THE LAST TIME someone is going to ask me that question unless I am really pregnant!!! It totally upset me and not because I was packing some weight but because I have been working hard for months and had already sen improvements. Even my own hubby the day before offered " Your body is really re-shaping... i can see the changes in your thighs, arms, stomach and back." Now one day later this woman WHOM I HAVE NEVER MET meets me and unwittingly attempts to shatter my progress?1?!!?? NO sah! A no so it go! I know that she wasn't necessarily being mean- we are newlyweds - but no woman over 25, much less over 30 should EVER be so insensitive to another woman. If I am pregnant, she willl find out, no?

Of course ESC was upset that the comment was made... he has publicly defended me in the past. He is still trying to convince me that i really dont look pregnant.

Furthermore, I don't want to be put in the defensive over my own body. I am working out my issues on my own thank you. Sometimes we women are just too nuff... (inquisitive). Why do we need to know if if that is a weave or her own hair, eyelashes or a real Prada bag? When can "how are you?" or a mere "You look happy" suffice.

We are our sister's keeper. Men look about each other. We on the other hand, even though sometimes unwittingly can be our worst enemies. My granny always said "If you have nothing good to say, say nothing." It is true! Smile and say "It's good to see you!" I used to hear visitors come by the house over and over and the first thing she greeted them with is " It is lovely to see you. You look WELL!" I think she was on to something.

"Wellness" is not just about fat or skinny or rich or poor or whatever. It goes waaaaay beyond the surface... like my granny did when she met somebody... she saw all the way to their souls. No doubt, people have always left her presence encouraged, even if she eventually challenges them, she does so with an art that builds and not destroys. We are active partcipants in each other's victories and we are quick to lift each other up even when we ourselves could use a prop. We are our sisters' keepers. Now, let's take that love and energy to the streets.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Still I Rise

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