Lost

“Every man at some point is going to lose a battle. He is going to fight, and he is going to lose. But what makes him a man is that midst that battle, he does not lose himself.”

You cringe at the gender exclusiveness, yet you know these words ring a bell of sorts.

You have always thought of yourself as strong. You always achieve everything you set yourself to, you hold on to everything as if your life depended on it, and you care so much it sometimes hurts. But when you hear that sentence, when Coach Taylor whisper-yells it at the Panthers during half-time, you realize your definition of strength is far from being right.

You know what? Forget all of that. Scratch all of it. I tried to write in second person, sticking to that writing style that allows me to connect with the readers but it is not working, not this time. Everything racing through my mind right now is too personal for me to be so detached from it in such a way.

You know when you hear something and everything just clicks? It happened to me with that sentence. I spent days trying to figure out why is it so easy to relate to? Why does it hit home in such a way?

It was at 4 a.m. As I was racing through my studying session before birds start chirping and the sun rising. It hit me. Just like that.

I fought, and midst the battle, I lost myself.

Going back on the events of that battle, I can see how in denial I was. I was naive, lost, broken, and holding on with all my might to something that I never had. I thought I was as true to myself as I possibly could, while in reality, it was the most Out of Character chapter of my life. It almost is as bad as some poorly written fanfiction that you decide to read just to kill time. I had failed myself in ways I did not even know possible. The worst part is I kept denying it. I did such a good job with the denial that it took me a whole freaking year to actually accept it. I was simply infatuated with a person, in love with an idea.

My inability to even fathom the raging storm inside me into coherent sentences only adds up to the emptiness eating up on me. I have been so terrified of losing my battles and failing at everything I do that I did not think I was losing myself slowly.

I have fought and lost, and I have not forgiven myself for that yet.

Allow yourself to feel.

Allow yourself to immerse thyself in the depth of your emotions.

Allow yourself to feel as complexe as can be.

Allow yourself to feel as superficial as possible.

Allow yourself to feel bad if you want to.

Allow yourself to think highly of yourself. You are radiant as the sun. Always.

Allow yourself to put high standards for everything. 

Allow yourself a little bit of pride and a lot of ambition.

Allow yourself to feel for imaginary characters. We both know they are not imaginary in the now.

Allow yourself to cry, for not a single reason in the world. It helps. I promise.

Allow yourself to crave human attention and touch.

Allow yourself to be free as the wind. Stand at the edge of all things.

Allow yourself to lose your breathe for the smallest things, for their size does not really matter.

Allow yourself to feel alive. Allow yourself to feel numb.

Allow yourself to be in control. 

Allow yourself to let it all go. 

Know you are not a right or wrong, yes or no creature. You are a ball of rubberbands forever intertwined. A multilayered onion with a soft skin. Allow yourself to dwell on that. Allow yourself to do all that because you can. Because you deserve it. 

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Anyone who is friends with me or has any remote contact with me through social media (mainly Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) probably knows by now that I went to Joss Stone’s concert last night.

As the opening gig of both Jazzablanca and the Joss Stone Total World Tour, the British lady held a concert last night (Saturday, March 29th, 2014) in Casablanca. To say it was my favourite concert ever would be an understatement!

The ‘shitty phone camera’ quality picture I took because of course I forgot to take my camera with me!

My dad, sister, family friends and I headed to Casablanca around 6pm and were at the concert venue around 7:30 pm (some 1h30 before the start of the show) after waiting in line in a small breeze and some cold, we had access to the actual concert room around 8:30 pm and the actual concert started sometime around 9:15. Let me just say it was really worth the wait!!
In a long sleek blue dress and her usual bare feet, Joss opened the gig with none other than The Chokin’ Kind a slow song after which she brought the whole room to their feet covering different songs from her repertoire. With her joyful persona on stage, she managed to take everyone with her on a musical journey. From You Had Me to Right to Be Wrong not forgetting an iconic cover of Janis Joplin’s Little Piece of my Heart , Joss Stone managed to entrance the whole audience and I for one could not sit down throughout the whole thing!

The other songs she performed (not in order and sorry if I forgot any one):

 Put Your Hand on Me/Baby Baby Baby medley, 
Big Ol’ Game,
Fell In Love with a Boy,
Jet Lag,
Less is More, 
Stoned Out of My Mind,
sideways Shuffle
(For God’s Sake) Give More Power to the People
While You’re Out Looking for Sugar
Teardrops
The Love We Had
 However, my absolute favourite moment of the night would have to be, without contest, the duo between Joss and the Moroccan Oum. The two ladies sang Stone’s Newborn and I, naturally, cried! I later on tweeted about it and my tweet was favourited and retweeted by Oum herself. Yet another reason for me to fangirl about last night!

Joss Stone and Oum performing Newborn on stage! Credits: Mo Styles

We could feel the concert coming to an end but Joss started singing snippets of some songs a capella, like This Is a Man’s World and Snakes and Ladders before her unofficial final song. She closed with Right to be Wrong changing the last line to “Don’t you leave me alone!”

The whole audience was standing on their feet, clapping as loud as possible before Joss came back on stage for an encore with Tell Me What We’re Gonna Do Now. Not before she jokingly scolded us a little and made the audience promise to go to sleep right after.

Credits: Mo Styles

All in all, it is easy to say that this was my favourite concert so far. I don’t think I sat down throughout the whole concert, or shut up for the matter! That was the first time I went to a concert and knew the lyrics to every single song. Good thing I was almost front row and there were no people in front of me that I might have/could have annoyed.

Credits: Mo Styles

It is safe to say I am currently going through post-concert-depression. Let’s just hope a video of Oum and Joss’s duet will end up on the internet because that kind of performance should be seen by the whole world!

Joss Stone at Jazzablanca – The Concert of a Lifetime

Wonderfully Lost

Upon taking a part time job last semester and a few freelance things here and there, I decided that I wanted to spend my money on travelling. What better way to do that than show a group of at least 25 people around one of the oldest cities in the country.

After an alright first week of school, I decided to join a group of exchange and local students on a day trip to Fes. Seeing as I haven’t been in the old Medina in a very long time, I was as much of a tourist as people who were there for the first time but that did not bother me at all. I enjoyed the I’m kinda a tourist thingie and brought out my camera at every possible occasion.

Something about Old Medinas just screams Black and White to me.

Something about Old Medinas just screams Black and White to me. (I know it’s a bit out of focus, I still love it)

I am trying to think of one highlight of today and so many things just keep flashing in my head. From craming 20 people into an already packed bus to getting invited into a shop that apparently sells flying carpets (I swear I am not making this up, their tagline was “come in, we sell flying carpets”) not even forgetting an afternoon spent walking around the whole of Fes looking for old doors and gates to take pictures of. Today was full of a bunch of moments that made me laugh so hard my stomach hurt and I loved every single bit of it. Even the part where the Grand Taxi drivers at the taxi station started fighting (fists and all) about the fare they should make us pay. But hey! At least we made it back to campus in one piece!

Hands down, my favourite picture of the day

Hands down, my favourite picture of the day

 

Happiness

I am sure you have often come across quotes by some famous, or not so famous people, talking about happiness. I bet most of them say things like you are the master of your own happiness or that your happiness is only real when it is shared with others or things of the sort. I am one of the people who upon reading one of those sentences wrinkles her nose, laughs sarcastically and moves on to the next thing. The main reason for that is because I am cynical and pessimistic in almost all possible situations. I expect the worst from people and events in order to avoid being disappointed. I also try not to get people to have a certain image of me so as not to disappoint them! However, this year I decided I should maybe, just maybe, try to be a bit more optimistic and have a more positive outlook on life.

I was browsing through my Tumblr dash one evening when I found a rather interesting concept. It was some sort of positivity jar. Basically, all you had to do is write down one good thing that happens to you each day on a piece of paper and put it in a jar throughout a whole year. Eventually, you would read all those pieces of paper and reminisce on the good times you had over the past 365 days. Considering that I have a vivid memory and in a year I would most likely remember what I was doing tonight, I figured I could adopt the concept for my own purpose.

My Positivity Jar

My Positivity Jar 

I have started this on January 1st, and so far I have not skipped one day. Trust me, the fact that I have found at least one good thing to be happy about (yes, on certain days I was hesitating between different events during one day to write on that tiny piece of paper) is much of an achievement. Now, I am not going to say that I completely agree with the statements I spoke of above or that I will be putting them as my cover picture anytime soon. That is probably never going to happen. However, I will tell you that happiness can be anything. It might be hanging out with your best friend doing nothing but talking about random nonsense and enjoying each other’s company. It can also be a good morning text or even finding out that you are not as sick as you thought you were. Happiness can be anything from a word, a piece of cake or chocolate, to a sunset, or even and event. Happiness is what you make it to be. In Albus Dumbledore’s words: “Happiness can be found even in the darkest times, if one only remembers to turn on the light”

Bring It On 2014

2013 was the first year I actually made resolutions for. They might have been rather mundane or shallow but I did stick to them to a certain degree:

  • Start a blog: The fact that I am writing this post proves that I have done so and managed to keep it up more or less.
  • Use my Instagram account more: Don’t ask me why I decided to make this resolutions. It was on a whim and the 204 posts on my Instagram Account prove that I did do so.

But these are not the things that made 2013 special. This past year was one for self discovery and character development. I took a writing class and enjoyed every bit of it. For the first time, I channelled my emotions into something productive. I wrote of real and imagined things. I wrote of losing people I still got and getting back people I had already lost. It was the year I stopped with the “Could Have Beens”. It was the year I stood up for myself in more ways than one. It was the year I loved and lost. It was the year I learned to take out the people I like to call weeds out of my life. It was the year during which I did not only face my deepest fear, but also took a couple of steps to conquer it. I may not be there yet but I’m working on it.

In 2013:

  • I crossed off one thing from my Bucket List by working with Amnesty International in the summer and then making it to the National Youth Advisory Council in November.
  • I experienced commuting for the first time and hated every bit of it.
  • I went zipplining and it was terrifying yet extremely satisfying.
  • I witnessed a sunrise and a sunset in the desert and cried at both.
  • I stargazed in the middle of the dunes.
  • I saw more shooting stars than I can remember and dont think I made a wish at each one.
  • I sat on top of a moving 4×4 in the middle of the desert.
  • I attended random concerts of artists I knew and some I don’t.
  • I went back to photography and I’m working on making my portfolio more interesting AND I’m getting paid to do it.
  • I went on stage and performed a Joss Stone songs barefoot.
  • I used a typewriter.
  • I took random walks in the snow and the rain.
  • I had trips on a whim.
  • I got rained on and hailed on while it was sunny in the middle of April all of this at the same time.
  • I got nicknamed Granny by my friends and did not mind it the least bit.
  • I got mad and ended up in tears more times than I’d like to admit.
  • I wore short shorts and patterned pants and shirts I made myself out of scarves and loved it.
  • I made myself more clothes: a skirt, two dresses, and recently knit myself a sweater.

These are the main things I could think of that happened this year. Most of all though, I tried to spend a bit more time with the people who matter to me most. I would like to say sorry in case any of you did not feel that and I will try even harder this coming year.

On this first day of 2014, I am not going to say the cliché “new year, new me” random stuff, that would be a waste of everything I have accomplished in the past 20 years of my existence. As a person, I see myself as some sort of onion made out of numerous layers and this upcoming year will be yet another 12 months bringing more tears and laughter, high highs and low lows. Whatever you got 2014, bring it on. I will see you on the flip side!

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Photo Credits: Ghassan Mhaifid

Caught

Check.

There is warmth spreading. Slowly. Life coming back to you. Your emptiness turns into something else. You cannot really tell what it is, but it is changing, slowly, into something beautiful. It feels good. It feels so good that you forget where you are. Not completely though, just for a split second, long enough for you not to freak out. Those familiar faces surrounding you, some you have known for years, others for merely a few weeks, but it made no difference. You are there, all of you, engulfed by the aura of the last night. You don’t necessarily speak of it. You don’t necessarily judge whether it is good or bad. But everyone knows it is the last night. Of what? You may ask. None of you actually know. The lot of you are just there, in the midst of the moment, and you are caught up in your own self, as always.

“Go beyond your existence” someone once told you. It never made absolute sense. Yet, in that moment, you could tell you were, in fact, caught within your own existence. How to transcend? Perhaps Thoreau or Emerson would have an answer, but you were not really looking for one.

Fold.

You found something else to get caught up on. You could feel a ghost of a smile being etched on your face. A tingling feeling. Peculiar eyes. A moment of instant infatuation. It all came crashing in at once and the ghost left instantly, going back to its original concrete state. Your smile was no longer a ghost, it was alive. It made your eyes sparkle and your cheek ache but you did not stop.

A tug on your arm. Gazes meeting halfway. Two bodies as one, intertwined in one honest hug. Goosebumps despite layers of clothing. Exaltation. And then, the cold. Except this time, it was not from within you. It was the real cold, one from the outside caused by the noblest form of precipitations. The memory of that one moment was hovering over you. It would keep doing so until the cold leaves you and you are all mush inside. However long that takes.

Check.

You are unsure, as always. Hesitant. Tentative. Short-lived craze? Forever lasting reluctance? The walls, they’re still there. Fencing you in. Freeing you out. Though they seemed to be getting thinner, they had yet to crumble and fall so you could rise and shine. At least, that’s what they say. They, the abominable they.

Despite the reluctance, hesitation and built up fear you carry around with you. You decide not to think of it. For one day, one day only, you are one foolishly crazed person on a train with a dumb smile on your face looking out the window at one breathe taking sunset. You are content.

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Photo Credits: Nada Allouch

The Enemy

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You close your eyes and try to breathe, let it go, let it all go. But the currents, they’re there. They’re always there. The waves crashing into you? Still there. And you feel redundant, your life pointless steering towards ridiculous destinations. Nothing screams help more than your silence, your broken smile. Yet, you refuse to admit it. “I am fine” you say. “I am fine” you lie. Stone cold. Emotionless. Emotionfull.

There is light. You know there is. Every day you have a few moments, hours if lucky, when everything is fine. It always happens when you have your tool, your companion, in your hands. It happens when you are painting with light. Then, as soon as you stop seeing, darkness and hurt wash over you again. Still, you don’t necessarily fight. “I am fine” you say. “I am fine” you lie.

Snap. Crack. Bang. It all clicks. It all breaks. And you fall down. You don’t know who you are fighting. The currents. The waves. The mundane redundancy of your pathetic life. The push and pull you have with the people surrounding you. It’s all part of you. Snap. Crack. Bang.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

The enemy is you.

You think of it while sipping a cup of your favourite tea. You think of it in the thick of the night when your only company is your fever-induced nightmares. You realise it when your anxiety is at its peak. You accept it when you are in the arms of your dearest people.

You are your own enemy and there isn’t much you can do.

Photo credits: Ghassan Mhaifid