Daily Prompt · Memoirs of the Innocent

Shadows and Monsters

monster

Last night was the first time, in a long time, I slept with the lamp lights on. Monsters, they come in different forms, and always, they leap from the shadows. Unexpectedly, just when you thought you’re safe, they come out.

When sleeping, I prefer the dark, but last night was different. In the shadows, I could see the monster, one that has always been creeping behind the curtains. I’ve always known it was there, but it never showed itself until now. And just like that, the nightmare comes to life.

I drank a glass of vodka to calm my nerves. By midnight, my eyes were finally tired, from all the crying and my brain is trying to shut down. In the comfort of the small light from the lamp, I fell into a dreamless sleep.

At 2AM, the monster woke me up with a shake. A chill in my body pass through me, I turned off the AC, I stood up, but it didn’t go. I looked at my phone to check the time. Just two hours of sleep. I feel myself, no fever, but my bones were cold, from my shoulders down to my toes. I almost cried again but I stop. I will survive this night. I waited once more for sleep to come.

It was 7 the next day, the monster was still there. I thought I would open my eyes and it’ll be gone, but it’s not. It lurks behind my shadow, I feel it in my shoulders sitting. I see it when I close my eyes.

It won’t win. Sometimes, we need to face our greatest fears for reasons we won’t know until we win. I won’t let it win. I’ll light a candle to make amends of all the versions of me and pull the strength I have to win this battle. Because monsters, they belong under the bed, the outside world is not for them.

 

Daily Post: Candle

Memoirs of the Innocent

When I Was Held at Gunpoint (and why I never really talk about it)

This is a true story. My friends and I were once held at gunpoint while two men robbed us. We never talked much about it. We didn’t report it to the police. We pretend that it never happened.

We were out late, sitting just outside our University, laughing and talking about everything in general. We didn’t talk much about the incident because every time we do, we were always stared down and asked why we stayed out so late? And were told, we should have known better. We never went to the police, because we just knew they were going to shake their heads and laugh at us.

Victim blaming. At that point, I was two months shy of turning 17 and victim blaming was not a familiar concept to me yet. Today, I have only had the epiphany that the shame I felt (and maybe my friends too) at that time is due to victim blaming. And yes, this has connection with what happened to Kim Kardashian.

When I first saw the news, I immediately had a flash back of that feeling of fear that crawled in my body that very night. I had chills and I felt very sorry for Kim, gagged and bound with a gun at her head – no, you would never wish that on anyone. If you do, you’ve never felt true fear. If you’re laughing, your sick. If you’re saying its her fault because she flaunted her wealth, you need to really look in the mirror right now and apologize to her and to yourself.

People often forget that we all have roles to play in someone else’s life. When I was 17 and held at gunpoint, I was a daughter to two loving parents, and so were my friends. We were all daughters and older sisters. I still remember the way the man held the gun and how he slowly pointed the gun at each one of us until he found my friend’s head and decided it will stay there while we scramble and gave him what we can reach.

I remember the flash of fear in my friend’s eyes. And I remember how slowly I processed everything. I thought the man was asking for directions until I saw the gun. I had to ask him twice what he wanted, before realizing we were actually getting robbed. His partner was riding the motorcycle, their getaway vehicle and he was watching things unfold.

When my friend, the one who had the gun at her head, and I got home, she lost it. She cried hysterically and melted to the floor. She was shaking and I stood there, frozen, I couldn’t even comfort her, because I was in shock too. It was like my being just floated away from my body and I stared into my friend in the floor and myself standing staring down at her.

Fear comes to your life in different forms. I got to know one that night, which I would never hope for anyone, even to my worst enemy. You never really get to know it until your life is in someone else’s hand – and that someone has every intention to take it away from you if you don’t follow what they say. A lot of things happen to you simultaneously. For me, I began thinking about my parents while I scrambled for my phone and wallet to give to the man (which he never took – thank god, because people across the street were finally realizing what was happening and was starting to make noise). Then came my voice, which sounded far and hollow. And then, there was my indifference. It’s a strange thing.

Lastly, there was the shame that came the next day. I never understood why I felt that until now, really. Victim blaming is not new to me anymore, but reading comments and tweets about the Kim event, was just unnerving. I couldn’t believe that people who has never been in danger in their life would laugh about something so serious and actually had the nerve to say, “it’s her fault.” That’s like saying, “she got raped because she wore a mini skirt or that because she was drunk.”

That’s when I realized why my friends and I never went to the police or even reported it to the University. We or maybe I never said it out loud but that was because we felt it was our fault for staying late outside the University where behind us, literally (and I mean that as literally as this is actually true), was the security guard’s office who never saw the incident because it happened so fast. Because there is a culture of victim blaming.  Instead of saying “people should not rob,” they say “you should have never done that.”

It’s so easy for people to say this in their computer as they sit down in their comfortable chair. There is something wrong with society, and we should change it by teaching our kids the right way.

Kim is a celebrity and it’s easy to forget that she’s a mother, a wife, a sister and a daughter. But she is. We all have roles in someone else’s life, think about yours and would you really want to leave that role because of senseless violence?

 


 

Sorry for the rant, if it felt like that. My experience with guns are bad, and it doesn’t feel right for people to blame victims nowadays. We should really try and be more sympathetic towards each other, because this is what makes us human after all.

Abu Dhabi Memories · Memoirs of the Innocent

A Confuse 20-Something on her Future Plans

It’s a beautiful Saturday in this part of the world. Winter is finally coming, and weather is finally bearable. Soon, I will be able to take a walk in one of the city’s famous walking park, the Corniche road.

I’m here in my bed right now, writing. I’m on for a three-day weekend, so yey! Did you know? Tomorrow is Islamic New Year, or they call it Hijri. The Islamic calendar uses the lunar calendar, so most of its celebrations have different dates every year as it depends on moon sighting. Last Wednesday, it was officially declared that the Hijri New Year will be on 2 October, so today, it their New Year’s Eve.

Once again, I was absent for a whole week from my blog. It has been a crazy week for me and it is only the beginning. As a hotelier, we have “pick-up seasons,” in our language, this means when our hotels are filling up. For leisure hotels (such as resorts), this is usually summer or autumn or when it is a good time for the beach (in this part of the world, summer is dead because it is sooooo hot, we can’t bear the heat). In the UAE, pick-up season starts in September all the way to March, this is because the weather here is just perfect!

People often ask me how the weather here, being that it’s a desert. Well, in summer, if we were made of plastic, we’d all have melted by now. We’d go up to 40-50 degrees Celsius, and because we’re a desert and we don’t have much trees here, the heat is much worse and the humidity! But in winter, we go down to 15 degrees Celsius. Now, for those of you who experience snow, that’s not impressive, I’m sure. We do have the Arabian Gulf and the wind is crazy, it gets so cold I won’t ever go out without a sweater on. The best month to visit the UAE (if you plan to) is in February-April, weather is not so cold but hot enough for the beautiful blue beaches here.

So anyway, yeah, it’s busy season now and I had to do so many things for all the promotions the hotel is doing right now.

I’ve been thinking about my future lately. My contract here will end in March and I’ve been thinking of not renewing it. In fact, I am 90% sure that I will no longer renew my contract with my employer here. Career-wise, it’s a smart move because I’ve been feeling stagnant here and I need to grow, so I’m looking for new challenges and landscape. To be honest, I don’t see myself growing here in the UAE, despite its hospitality.

I don’t have much options, I can either go home and look for a job there or put up my own business (which I would need capital for, which means I’ll probably take a loan but I’m not ready to commit to that yet), or go somewhere else to look for a job. Another option is that I take my Masteral degree somewhere abroad. I’m really leaning towards the latter but this is also going to cost me, so I’m going through scholarship funding, and it’s not easy at all! I don’t know where to start and I’m so confuse right now. I’ve always wanted to go back studying so I’m really hoping this option would work out for me.

Anyway, this is just my meandering mind once again. Hopefully, things will work out. I’m glad I have this three-day weekend to think things through and to write some entry here.

So, what do you think I should do? 🙂

Memoirs of the Innocent · Note to Self

The Good Karma

karma

I’ve always loved the word Karma. It’s short and simple, but it has a totally complex meaning – and a very deep one. Whether you believe in karma or not, its rule is basic and comes in different terms.

One of the more famous is

What comes around, goes around

But my personal favorite is the quote, “what you give is what you get.” One of the things that my parents taught me when I was younger is that whatever I give, it will come back to me ten times more. And that lesson still resonates to me and I truly believe that if I give something, without prejudice, it would come back to me in a better form.

This is the best form of Karma and I want to be able to live in a way that this karma follows me. It’s a matter of principles and if people only believe that whatever they give out to the universe comes back to them, we will have a better world.

One of the things I do is giving out positive energy around me. This hugely affects me and the people around me. And because the people around me can see all the positiveness, I can avoid a bad day. It’s a simple thing, I try my best to do that.

It’s like being in a bank. Whatever you deposit, it will be what you will be withdrawing. And if you’re only depositing bad attitudes and negative criticisms, you won’t be withdrawing smiles and thumbs up.

There are other ways of giving out without physically giving something. Be generous of your smiles, of your compliments and mostly, be generous to your self. Look in the mirror and give a shout out to yourself. It will immediately make you feel better.

So let’s make this world a better place in our own by remembering karma, whatever we give, is what we will get.

 

This post is inspired by today’s prompt, generous.

Blogosphere · Memoirs of the Innocent

Milestone: 100 Posts (say what!?)

thank-you-my-dears

Yesterday, apparently, was an important day for my blog. I got a notif from WordPress telling me that my For Our Own poetry was my 100th post in this blog.

100

To some, this might not be a big deal, but for me, this is a win for my sanity. I’ve stopped writing several times and I make excuses but this milestone, is truly an inspiration.

I first started blogging back in 2008 in Blogger. I was in college then and writing was my way of escaping every day stress of school. When I entered the labor force, I somehow had a case of amnesia and forgot all about my blog. I would still visit it every now and then but I never wrote anything on it. I think my last entry was 2013.

When I moved to Abu Dhabi for a fresh start, I created this blog in April or May. I thought I’d be documenting my adjustment period here and share to the world how its like to live in the Middle East. Unfortunately, a series of writer’s block coupled with laziness and adjusting to my new life led me to abandon this blog for the rest of 2015.

I bounced back this year, in January. It was part of my “new year’s resolution,” Ha! And instead of writing about Abu Dhabi, I started writing poetry and anything that amuses me. But I realized that I can’t keep a blog solely with just poetry because I also like writing prose and short stories and anything really. So basically, this blog is as random as it can be.

I was absent for more than two months in my blog, I’ve only recently returned at the end of August. It makes me feel shameful sometimes, I feel like I’m a failure when it comes to keeping this blog and the blog before this. When someone asks me what I like to do, the first thing that comes to mind is writing, but somehow, I can’t even keep my blog.

So, this celebration of my hundredth post is really a milestone for me. I feel really inspired to write and bare my soul. I don’t call myself a writer, because I’m not yet at that level.

This blog is my open book, whatever you read is a piece of myself and I want to thank everyone who had followed me, liked my posts, commented, those who encouraged me to continue writing, everyone that has stumbled on my blog, for taking care of that piece of myself.

I have made friends here and I found a community of amazing writers that inspires me to write. THANK YOU, it has been truly a privilege to have you as my audience.

Cheers, here’s to more hundreds of posts in the future.

 

May J

Memoirs of the Innocent

Anxiety Sits in my Shoulders

memories-1

 

This is how my anxiety feels like. It’s always shortness of breath, it’s always that sinking feeling. It feels like anytime, the world would go dark and I won’t be able to see light again.

It manifests differently with each individual and it is triggered differently too. Mine is when I’m at a crowded place. My friends used to laugh at me about it, but they finally realized I was serious. I just can’t be in crowded places. I literally have to take one of my fingers close to my nose, just to assure myself, that I am indeed breathing. It’s not easy, but I make the best of it.

I’m still lucky, I consider mine as mild, very mild in fact. And I am taking steps to overcome it, someday, I’ll fight it off.

It’s an invisible monster that sits in my shoulders, bidding its time to whisper fear in my ears. I won’t let it win and to those who suffer the same thing, don’t let it win too.

Photo Credit
Memoirs of the Innocent

A Confuse State

It has been quite a while since I posted anything here. I am currently going through something personal, an inner battle within my soul. I have not written any poetry – I think, I’m on a dry spell; I can’t seem to find it in me to write my thoughts for poetry. It’s not writer’s block because I’m currently finishing a fan fiction that I am writing, one friend has been reading it, and it is her encouragement that keeps me going. She keeps pushing me to finish it, otherwise, I will keep her hanging, and I don’t want that.

As you know, I’m currently living in the Middle East as an expat. After I came back from home, I’ve gotten the vacation blues. I dream of the crystal blue seas and the refreshing palm trees in the tropics. I came here for a purpose, to soul search. And so far, whenever I look into myself, I see it back home and maybe this is where I’m supposed to be. Maybe I was always meant to go back home and build my life there.

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Everything is a blur right now

And even with this, I am struggling. A conflict rises within me, my hopes and dreams to travel, to meet people and experience, will be on pause should I choose to go home. It’s scary to admit, but this fear paralyzes me (maybe that’s an overstatement, but you know what I mean). I feel like somehow, I “made” it already and moving back home is a move backward, and not forward. But at the same time, I see it as an opportunity to prove myself once more. I feel like if I do go home, I’m back to zero. And this could be both a positive and negative thing, I’m focusing on the positive right now.

For now, I have six months to think things through until my contract ends. Within those six months, I can only hope that both my vision and path are clearer. I still am blessed to be able to have these kinds of choices in my life.

On another news, I’m currently on a reading trance, I call it that because there will be moments when I jump from one book to another with no rest. Within the last week, I’ve finished four full fledge books, and now, I’m reading another one I intend to finish in the next 48 hours. And then, when the magic stops, sometimes, I don’t pick a book for weeks long. And maybe this is my way of escaping / ignoring whatever thoughts I have right now. So I’m just enjoying it.

Anyway, thank you for all your support and reading my never ending drama. Hahaha ☺

 

Books Collage
In case you were wondering what those four books were. I absolutely loved Aristotle and Dante by the way, a must read. 🙂