Jbeil (Byblos) Lebanon.
This is my place. Where I go to when in Lebanon to relax and unwind. It’s the place I imagine myself in when I need some silence.
In spring, summer and just before the first end of autumn rain shower you’ll find me there either alone or with friends. With friends we’d usually have a good meal and then head to the pier, we’d have playing cards or backgammon and a shisha. We’d make drinks, usually arak, we’d play a few games and have a few damn good laughs.
In summer it could be difficult to find some space if there was a music festival taking place. We would have to be on a the beach, sitting on the sand and listening to whoever is performing just a few meters away. It’s almost always humid there but the smell of the sea, combined with the different smells of various foods being cooked in all the good seafood restaurants and the scented shisha smoke would fill the air. if lucky enough to get a good spot you could smell the pomegranate blossom, the jasmin, orange blossom and honey suckle. Young boys walking along selling gardenia as necklaces on a thin string that they would have spent hours making would pass by and aometimes we’d buy some for just under $1 so we could allow that scent to fill our air. Occasionally we’d get a cool breeze drifting by at just the right moment, as though we’d asked nature to cool us down. I love the sound of the waves crashing against the rocks, mixed in with laughter , chatter, singing and music. It’s a place that has never shown my eyes sadness.
I’d lose a sense of time as would my friends. Time means nothing there but here and now. We’re joined and connected in the present. When time is not an issue the world just goes by, and you enjoy, rather than endure. After hours, the sun would rise and we’d somehow be astonished as though we’d never seen this before. The shisha would be finished, the crowds would have left, we’d have forgotten about the cards and the backgammon and we would stop and watch as the sun rose behind us and the sea became alive once more. In that moment we’d always remain silent as though we were witnessing something new and in a way it was, a new day and a new adventure.
Today I wish I was there, in that space, alone. I feel at peace and I find clarity. The noise in my head is drowned out and somehow released. Then I hear nothing but silence and that silence it enters me, it leaves no place inside me that it doesn’t visit and I keep it there and I feel whole again.
In life in general I always trust my intuition. It seems recently I’ve upset a few people because of my intuition. I’ve refused to work with some people because something inside me doesn’t feel right. Sometimes I just can’t put my finger on it and I cannot give a direct answer apart from “it doesn’t feel right” and to me that’s a valid argument. Some people may think I’m daft since I need to work a lot more than I currently am. I know this; when I wake up in the morning I feel happy to go to work. To me that is more than enough. I didn’t go self employed so that I’d work with who ever just for whatever. I made a choice to work with a select few who I enjoy working with. C ‘gets that’ and never questions me. She knows that when I say “it doesn’t sit right with me” or “I’m not sure” that is means I don’t like the person and something inside me isn’t comfortable. In every case I’ve been proven right. I don’t possess any magical powers and I have what we all have “intuition”.
Two weeks ago I was offered a contract by a former colleague of mine. I asked her if possible that I can meet that client and interview her. My friend was surprised she said “actually she wants to interview you” I immediately took the opportunity to be interviewed. The contract would be semi permanent and I’d work around my schedule so it was really quite flexible. C was excited as it meant it was in Hampshire and we’d spend more time together rather than me being in London most of week.
Interview day arrived and I met with P. As soon as I saw her “something just didn’t feel right” and I told C exactly that afterwards. P told me what a wonderful opportunity this would be and I listened attentively. I watched her talk and I paid attention to her body language and her intonation. Something felt wrong. I felt uneasy. At the end of the interview she asked me if I had any questions and I said “just one. Are you happy when you wake up and know you have to come in to work” and she glared at me. She wasn’t expecting that. I suppose if I wanted a job I could have asked her something about the role or the organisation, because it was obvious that she is miserable. There’s nothing worse than working with someone miserable and spending a lot of time with them, especially if they will be – to a certain extent – my boss. She forced a “yes, I am. Is there anything in particular that you’d like to know about the role?” I smiled “no thank you. I know enough”. A few moments later I was out of the door. When I got into my car I felt relaxed. P had a bad energy about her. That evening my former colleague called me and was excited ” how’d it go with P” I wanted to be diplomatic since they could be friends “it was okay” there was a pause “only okay? I don’t get it. I think you’d be perfect for the role” I replied “possibly but I can’t think of why something doesn’t feel right about P and I just need to sit and think about it. Besides I haven’t even been offered the role”.
The next morning P calls me ” Maria I’ve got a big question mark about you. I can’t decide whether or not to invite you in for another interview”. I replied ” that’s your call not mine”. P said “how do you feel about that” and I couldn’t help myself I knew she was on a power trip “well P, it was a pleasure meeting you. I must say this to you though, something didn’t feel right and I whether or not you want to invite me for another interview is besides the point. I am sure I cannot work with you or for you”.
Later that evening my former colleague called me “do you realise what you said to P was incredibly rude” I replied “I always trust my intuition” She said “you’ll get nowhere in life if you take that approach when it comes to work” I paused “what’s important to you in life” She paused and thought about this “what do you mean” I said “if pleasing others is important to you then go work with P” She said “I never knew you were so selfish” I replied “the concept of being happy doesn’t enter your mind. Until you’re happy you can’t please others. Just something to think about”. I ended the call there.
I believe there are two things in life that we often lose sight of; trusting ourselves to make confident decisions and happiness. Combine the two and life is good – as far as I’m concerned.
I find it interesting how I almost always have a delayed reaction to major things in life. My coping mechanism is to switch off emotionally while I’m going through something big in my life. Then when I feel I’m in a safe environment and I’m able to process all that I’ve seen and lived I start to unpack the impact that certain experiences have had on me and try to make sense of what I’ve lived. For example, Lebanon, I always feel tense there, on edge, I’m almost always experiencing an adrenaline rush and I feel trapped. Sometimes when the situation isn’t great I feel stuck and so far from the rest of the world. In the past there was always Syria to run to or Cyprus to get a ferry to. However, Syria is no longer a safe haven and Cyprus just seems so far and almost impossible to get that damn ferry. In my head the airport is always out of the question for some reason. I always expect the airport road to be closed or the airport to be attacked. It’s not as though that hasn’t happened before and I know these thoughts can be irrational and emotionally driven.
It’s strange that I need this feeling to keep me going. I used to be a thrill seeker and engage in adventure activities/sports in order to feel a sense of euphoria. I wonder if I’ve out done those adventures and my euphoric rush comes from being in a very unstable country. You know the “I could die doing this” feeling? That’s the feeling I’ve always loved and always chased. It’s not the most sensible feeling that I could have but it’s the only one that makes me feel truly alive. I had hoped that it was a feeling I’d grow out of but I clearly haven’t.
Back to delayed reaction. I doesn’t happen as I wish. I don’t plan the reaction and tell myself “Maria on Friday at 2pm you can have a delayed reaction”instead it just seems to bite my ass and shout “I’m here, how are you going to handle me this time?” I have given up promising myself not to go back, not to jump in the deep end and not to attempt to convince myself that the best thing is to keep well away. Sometimes I have no idea at all what to do other than “sweat it out” like a fever. It’s not something I can switch off too. It’s knowing that when your instincts tell you “no” that you listen and don’t ignore..But I can’t do that because it’s an addiction to me.
When someone mistakes you for being Italian and talks and talks and talks. I just smiled and she said “you’re not Italian?” And I replied “it doesn’t matter please keep talking”.
You know monogamy is a human order and apparently a moral condition?! Well if you didn’t you do now. I’m not going to go into the history of monogamy because there’s a lot of history around this subject which makes both a fascinating and frustrating read. If you are interested please research there’s a lot on this subject.
I often find myself frustrated when I hear the words polygamy and monogamy. Both words are loaded and both lead to judgement on some level. What happened to the good old fashioned affairs? Fuck buddies? The dirty little secret? I mean seriously can any one tell me that sex with the same person after 10 years is as exciting as it was in the first 10 months of the relationship? Human attraction is normal and natural and sexual urges are equally so. I think holding back on sexual desire in this context is unhealthy. Why not have a 10 year plus relationship with someone you love dearly and live out your sexual desires on the side. No one needs to get hurt and no one else needs to know. Why does that seem to upset so many people? I think it’s unnatural to stop ourselves sleeping with who we want when we want irrespective of relationship status on all sides. Those who thought monogamy was a good idea were idiots.
Hozier – Take Me To Church: http://youtu.be/MYSVMgRr6pw
Has been in my head for the last 2 days. It’s kind of like on repeat and I’m diggin it.
Side note: what to do when you discover someone you thought was awesome turns out to be a Lara Fabien
closet case fan?
Another note: I’m also singing “I can see clearly now the rain has gone. ……………….!” Go figure. Oh and the odd nursery rhyme. Weird. Just plain weird.
I’ve been looking back recently. Every once in a while it’s healthy to look at now and all the steps that brought me here. No regrets, that’s the main thing. No sorry for myself and no sorry to anyone else because I did and always do what I believe is right.
Life! Life happens. We live to die but all that’s in between shouldn’t feel wasted. Shouldn’t feel defeated. Shouldn’t feel regret. Life happens and we can choose to happen with it or happen alone.
Recently I’ve been looking back a lot. What brought me to where I am today? Everything and everyone I ever experienced. Were all those experiences worth it? Yes and I’d do it all over again without deleting or removing anything from any of it.
Tomorrow is exciting and I live by that. Tomorrow is a whole new adventure and today is the present adventure that I shall live and experience and maybe you’ll be with me today or tomorrow or maybe you won’t. Physical presence sometimes is worse than the memory and the memory sometimes is better imagined greater than it was.
Now I’m sure I sound a little peculiar but it’s that peculiarity that seems to define me. It’s what has shown me everything I’ve needed to see so far in life.
Apparently 1 in 1000 people suffer a traumatic event in their life and 1 in 2 end up with ptsd. When you see thousands of people in one place all traumatised you think “fuck statistics” and wonder; what’s real and what’s false. Do I still look at the statistic and hope when telling 1 in 2 traumatised people that they’re one of the unlucky ones that they’re going to feel better or understand better? Of course not.
Life. Live it as best you can. No regrets and no feeling defeated and always accepting all that’s happened without questions.