Thursday, April 11, 2013

What am I doing?

Trying to stay motivated

I've been back in NYC for three and a half months now.  I've been up and down in emotions but just trying to keep myself busy.  I've taken on a 30 day Bikram Yoga Challenge.  In addition to my  writing, I felt like I needed to get in shape and that I needed something else to occupy my time.   I chose a more tranquil yet rigorous exercise to try in order to connect my mind, body and spirit.  So far its working.  I feel better but sore.  I'm thinking more clearly.  I haven't seen any weight loss but.I'm ten days in and I'm sure it will come.   Now is the time for me to just be at peace, focus on what God wants me do, take action, and be patient.   I'm waiting lord...eagerly.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Losing the Weight-Mentally & Physically

L = letting go
I  = inward, illusions
M= me, myself, middle
B= Body

Being back in NYC for about two months now, I have managed to gain 5 additional pounds to the 10 pounds I gained living in Abu Dhabi.  I know, that's 15 altogether!!  Not only that, but my face has been breaking out like crazy!   I'm guessing it's my body finally releasing all the hormones in my system from the birth control pills.  I stopped taking them for a year now.  They kept my skin under control.  Now it's back to the high school face and covering it with make up. Ugh...

What rings in my head though was what everyone kept saying to me when I was married to my ex; "You're only in shape because your husbands a trainer".  What?    As if he trained me? Or that I was trying to keep up with him?  I grew up as a chunky kid, always teased for my weight, so as an adult I'm very conscience of my weight and work hard to keep it down. No one carried that when I met my ex it was at a boxing gym where I was exercising for two years before I even met him. And when I met him I was already in shape and lost the intended 15 pounds!  Do I get no credit for my efforts and hard work?!  Why do people take it away from me and project it onto someone else? Why does he get credit for my accomplishments?  It makes me fume! Huh...but now I'm back up in weight and hate to think that maybe they were right? 

 I haven't been jogging like I did in the past to keep my weight down.   I don't live in the best neighborhoods right now so outside jogging is out of the question. I've been doing a few of my insanity videos but I haven't seen any result.  Of course, I'm sure my newly acquired bad eating habits have a lot to do with it. I can partly blame this for my acne break outs although the only thing that ever seemed to regulate it was birth control pills. I'm on a quest to gain back my body mentally and physically!

I came to realize that part of being in LIMBO was not just actually being in the desert.  It's my mental and physical "Being". It's what I think of my self and project onto myself mentally, physically and spiritually. It followsyou where ever you go.  Right now my weight gain definitely shows in my body how I feel mentally and spiritually.

 I'm aware of my current limbo state in the form of self abuse of my body; my being.  I feel lost again and I have been binge eating. I guess the good part is that I'm aware. Don't worry I'm not throwing up but I'm causing damage none the less. When I'm depressed its what I do.  I'm no worse than an alcoholic or drug addict.  We just use different things to numb our selves. But, this must stop before it leads to health issues and a large amount of weight gain.  Like I said, I'm already 15 pounds heavier. This follows an endless cycle of guilt and shame.  Illogical I know, but we all do it in one way or another-especially us women. Today the guilt and shame stops!! I'm on a quest to repair the mental and physical abuse I inflict on myself.

So here is my plan...
1)To read my bible and meditate daily. I will spend at least ten minutes in the morning reaffirming my self with positive affirmations on body image, my asspirations, and eating healthy.

2) I will exercises daily.  I decided that for now I will do more tranquil exercises combining at home Pilate's videos and attending Bikram yoga.  I find that after I do these exercises I feel more centered.  I think that's what I need right now instead of the high impact ones.  Bikram Yoga is rigorous and hard in a 100 degree room (not for everyone!) I feel motivated after it'sdone. I will return to jogging soon but first I need to align myself mentally, physically and spiritually.
3) Eat more healthy foods.  Notice I didn't say all healthy foods because I want to be realistic.  There will be a time I want a cookie or some chips or whatever.  I don't want to deprive myself but I don't want to over indulge either. My healthy eating habits should dominate my weeks and not the other way around. Also I plan to take my time when eating to savor every bite.   And last, stop eating right before bed.  This is such a bad habit of mine.   But it ends today!
I will keep you posted! Wish me luck!

Monday, February 18, 2013

A New Years Resolution

Sunrise East New York, Bklyn 
I went to see my father, Poppy we call him, yesterday for the first time since I arrived in NYC.  I was nervous about going to see him because of one of  the many new years resolution that I made to myself.  That resolution was to be honest. Not that I've been lying, but I haven't been "telling"...does that make sense?  Well, I haven't told my father that Simon my ex-husband, and I are no longer together.  It's been almost two years since he left and my father doesn't know a thing.  

My family is good at keeping secrets.  My siblings never said anything to my father.  I never asked them not to but through some sort of osmosis, they automatically knew.  And being that my family isn't close, its now easy and effortless for us to keep secrets even when they're no big deal.   We love each other but we live in our own bubbles that are not holding up anymore.  They're suddenly beginning to burst and splatter our lives everywhere.  It's a bad habit that I can trace back to my childhood, through family, through my cultural background, through watching others.   Keeping secrets is a great skill if you're in the CIA, but we're just regular people so why the charade?

 So how dis I get around this? Answering without answering!  By saying things like "We'll see what happens", "Oh he's fine".  General answers you know? And people are smart, they figure it out or at least guess that somethings going on but they accept it; at least for a while.

When I arrived at my fathers place he ranted on and on about the usual subject, his children and our mother.   Both my parents go on and on about each other all the time like broken records.  I decide to change the subject by asking him questions on Haiti.   It worked!   All the while I'm thinking in my head "How do I tell him about Simon"? 

It wasn't all a ploy.  I really wanted to get some information about my fathers life in Haiti because my friend and I are working on a project.  As I grow older I also realize how little I know about my family.  My parents hardly talk about themselves or their lives before they got married and had children.  It's like the past never existed.  But they do have a past and did have a life before America, before we were born.  I learnt that my father was once a young man in his twenties, lifting weights with his friends in Port Au Prince, getting into fights with a friend who was part of the Ton Ton Macoute (military force during president Duvaliers dictatorship in Haiti)  "to show that you're strong" my father said. "Because I beat him up he told me that he was going to bring some men for me.  But I told him I know people to".  "As a man in Haiti you can't be weak, that's when people come after you".  He couldn't remember which arm it was on as he lifts his sleeve to show me the bite mark that proves this battle was real. On his left shoulder is a scar obviously shaped like teeth that I never knew was there.

After three hours of talking I get ready to go.  He asked me if my husband was working. Here it was...the opening I was looking for but dreading.  In honor of my resolution I knew what I had to finally say.  "Simon and I are not together anymore".  His response was " Oh I'm so sorry. So now you're alone?  I kind of figured something was going on".  "You couldn't work it out"?  "No" I said.  "So, if he come back you not going to take him back"?   I knew this question came because he didn't know the details or how long ago this actually happened.  "He's not coming back poppy" is all I said.
I left my fathers place full of information, like I knew him a little better and that hopefully he was getting to know me better.  I feelt like this was the beginning of a new day now that I'm back in Brooklyn. But at the same time it left me trying to swallow a huge lump of reality.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Fuerza Bruta: A Brazilian show about overcoming the brute force in life.

So...I know it's been a while since I blogged.   Sorry about that.  But I'm back and I have to tell you about this great show I saw called Frueza Brute!   It started in Brazil and made a nice home run in NYC. It was amazing and delivered an unexpected but well needed message.
Life Rave!

Frueza Brute is show about the celebration of LIFE!  When life brings you blow after blow, when you're going through the hard times; don't let it keep you down.  Get up again and again and again and celebrate life. Dance in the rain, live in the moment, and celebrate you! Be proud to be you, to be alive!

This show has left it’s mark in my memory for ever!  It was my second week back in NYC since my dramatic departure from Abu Dhabi.  I was feeling confused with mixed emotions about my decision and my life. A dear friend of mine invited me to see Frueza Brute; a show I’ve wanted to see for a while now-and I accepted. When I said yes to the tickets I had no idea what I was in for. I knew through word of mouth that it would be an experience that ignited all my senses, and have me dancing to the beat; but it was so much more than that!  Many reviews say how fun and energized the show is but that there is no real plot to the show. Just enjoy the party.  They are wrong.  They missed the whole point. Frueza Brute is a metaphor of life!

The show is a standing show. Yes we had to stand up for about an hour but it was worth it! The atmosphere is club like and smoke filled. They tell us to stand in the center of the room first as the rest of the eager audience gathers around to fill the room.  The show starts out with a huge treadmill being pushed out into the center of the room.  We are directed by the shows crew to move out of the way.  Walking on the treadmill is a man wearing a white suit.  Music is blasting.  I'm immediately hooked and trying to figure out what is going on.  The man begins to run and then BAM!  A gun shot is heard.  The man in the white suit bends over in pain and blood stains his shirt.  He  then falls over and lights go black.

 Lights up again.  The man in the white suit stands up and continues to walk while taking off the bloody shirt and reveals a clean new one underneath.  He starts to run. A wall with a door opening passes in front of him and he bust through the door.  A second wall comes down made of card board boxes and he bust through that wall also and confetti flies every where. And then BAM!  A second gun shot is heard.  He is down on the floor.

The man in the white suit gets up again, takes off the bloody shirt and walks.  Several people begin to walk on the treadmill as well.  They are bumping into him as if he doesn't exists.  After they leave, the man with the white suit is then bombarded with chairs that are placed on the treadmill that fall off on the other sides but is replaced over and over again.  The man walks.  Tables and chairs are placed on top of the treadmill and the man tries to sit and rest but he has no time before it falls to the other side.  He  picks up the chairs and table and tries to reposition it so it doesn't fall off and he can sit but that was pointless. A bed is placed on the treadmill and he finally lies down and sleeps. We are then gestured to move around the room and a big silver curtain comes out and wraps the room.  These two women flowing like fairies are hanging from the ceiling and roll around the silver curtain wall back and forth.  After several rolls they become angry and wild and chase each other along the wall.  When that scene is done, the man wakes up from this nightmare looking very tired. He picks up his bed and drags it with him as he walks on the treadmill.

Later on there are people dancing that he joins and they get the audience to dance as well!  Foam ceilings with confetti fall on their heads but they keep dancing.  They also break foam boxes on their heads, dance in the audience, bring people on stage to dance with them and foam boxes are broken over every ones heads.  They dance and dance.  We dance and dance.  Misty rain is sprayed over the audience and we continue to dance. 

Next a clear ceiling comes down over the audience and women wearing thin dresses are sliding, gliding and curling in a small pool of water.  As we look up at them in awe, they looked like x-rays of embryos in the womb.

                                                  New Beginnings
After 15 minutes of that, more celebrating! 

The treadmill comes out again with the man in the white suit walking through his life. He begins to run again.  A wall comes down for him to bust through and when he does, two other people are running on the treadmill next to him.  They are smiling and running together.  A large staircase comes out in front of them.  They hesitate and walk up to the door on the top.  They hesitate, they look down and then they jump together swinging through the air and busting through walls!  They land back on the treadmill and they end by walking on the treadmill together.  Then a mini after party of dancing happens with the actors in the show and a shower of rain pours down.

I may have missed one ore two scenes but this is pretty much the whole show.  It ends with the man in the white suit walking through with the support of others.  Lesson learned: you can't go through life alone. Support each other, take a leap of faith and celebrate your life!!  Dance in the rain!  I loved it!!
Taking a leap of faith



Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Change... it's always constant

It's been a month since I've blogged. A lot of changes have been going on in my life.  My intention was to blog about my amazing Christmas vacation to Vietnam and Cambodia.  Wow!! What an experience!  I'd like to tell you more about it but first I have to tell you why I haven't blogged in so long. Not only have I been traveling, I've also been transitioning.

After coming back from a three week vacation in Vietnam and Cambodia feeling great, I arrived back to my villa in Abu Dhabi on January 4th. Three days later I was on a plane to NYC.  Yes, just like that I was out of there!  It was so unexpected that I even shocked myself. I walked into my apartment, dropped my things and looked around.  I immediately felt the urge to leave.  I didn't know what it was?  Maybe seeing all my school work lying around?  Or the idea that I was back in a remote area of the country?  I just knew I had to go.  And so, hysterically emotional and all, I did.

I was very confused by my actions. I didn't make sense.  Leaving my job in the middle of a school year made me feel guilty.  I also would be sacrificing the end of  my contract bonus, traveling during school breaks, and the Kanye West tickets on Yas Island!  Ugh! It's killing me!!  Why would I sacrifice all of these things that will unfold in just  6 months?!  That's not a long time?

 I initially told my job I would only be away for a week.   I thought if I came back to New York it would knock some sense into me.  I would come back, feel the love from family and friends in NYC and feel energized to go back!  But that's not what happened.

I waited until the last minute to make my decision official.  I consulted others, meditated, prayed.  I knew all along what I would do but I was trying to talk myself out of it. It didn't work.

So here I am in NYC.  Although I know it's the right decision I'm sad.   A lot of great things happened in Abu Dhabi.  I met great friends, did a lot of traveling and had a new experience.  I think back to when I first was interviewed for the job. I was very indecisive. My husband had just left me.  I was on an emotional roller coaster and I felt like I couldn't breathe in NYC.  I knew I needed to do something but was this it?  One of the people who conducted the interview was a Muslim woman wrapped and covered from head to toe.  She said "listen to me. If you do this, even just for a year or when ever you decide to leave, I guarantee that you will learn something about yourself".  I signed the contract right then and there.

I definitely have grown and still have a lot of growing to do.  I learned that the world is big and open to possibilities.  That I can do anything I set my mind to.  That change means I'm growing.  That we are more connected in this world than we think.  That my story is important and telling it can heal others.  And that my life is purposeful and constantly changing for the better.

Monday, December 10, 2012's always complicated.

I always feel bad after I get off the phone with my mother.  Our relationship has never been the best but she tries; I try.  It's not the typical mother daughter just don't get along scenario.  It's more of the, as a kid we never got the warm nurturing mother but the hard working two jobs mother.  Now do you understand. We never had the could talk to you about anything mother we had the do what I say and that's it mother.  We never had the mother giving hugs, saying  I love you and tuck you in at nigh mothert. We had the no affection, never said I love you and never home because she's at work mother.  And now as an adult, I feel her trying to reach out.  I hear her say I love you and I see her making efforts to bring us close and i ignore it.  Although I love and respect my mother dearly, I find it very,very difficult to open up to her and let her in.   It's very foreign to me and almost feels unnatural!  That's weird right?  As a kid I longed for the closeness of families I see on TV and even my friends families who had the luxury of  that life.  But now, as an adult when my mother tries to reach out to me I kind of cringe and I hate that!    I don't talk to her about anything.  Even when the separation happened with my ex husband I waited until the last minute to tell her about it.  I cried many of nights to myself, with friends, to God, but not to my mother.  I didn't even want her to see me cry over him.  In fact when she tries to bring him up I change the subject and if she tries to push it I go off on her like a mad lady!   And I ask myself over and over again why?  Why can't I open up to her?  Maybe its because of my childhood?  Maybe it's because she talks so negatively about all men-meaning my father mostly- that she can't have a regular relationship conversation? Maybe it's because when I talk o her I feel like she never hears me? Maybe it's because I'm really just a lost little girl inside who had to do everything on her own and is secretly resentful?!  Then I end up feeling bad that I'm thousands of miles away from NYC living in Abu Dhabi and our phone conversations are vague, shallow and last only ten minutes.  The distants physically and emotionally taunts me. I mean at least  I'm the only one of her daughters who has not shunned her like the unwanted step mother.  But the distance is still there.  I don't know how to change it and open up to her.  I guess I just have to do it?  Just start with something that I know will irritate me when I talk to her about it because I can almost predict her response and then I'm pissed and...okay calm down. Okay, I guess the first step is try not to get pissed.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Grateful: Giving thanks today and everyday.

                                                        Desert Thanksgiving

Its hard sometimes to just be Grateful.  We forget.  We walk around complaining and drowning in our own self pity.  We spend our time trying to get material things and measure our worth by what we have. We spend our time wishing and hoping for what others have and not seeing what's right in front of our face.  Life.  We are alive and breathing and here on earth at this very moment just being.  We may not be who we want to be or what we want to be, but because we are here we have a choice and opportunity to embrace life and that's something to be grateful for.
Being here in Abu Dhabi, even more so the western region where things are more traditional in the face of westernization; where people, particularly women, don't have choices puts things in percpective.  Well, they do have choices which are one of two; follow their rules or be ostracized and outcast.  In their culture a women has to be fully covered or where a veil over their face.  A place where they're is no room for era and a mistake can have great consequences. Now, I'm not judging how they live their lives here on the other side of the world because each country has its own.  But I'm grateful for the choices I do have and the little things I've taken foregranted.  I'm grateful for the opportunity to be here over seas and the great people I've met and what I've learned. The kind Arabic teachers in my school and western teachers in my villa.  I'm thankful for my family and friends back home who I miss during this holiday seasons. I'm thankful that has kept me sane during this tough period of my divorce and that he has placed great people in my life. I'm thankful that I'm growing and learning everyday.  I think that being grateful makes you aware of the little things you would pass over and realize they're more important than you thought.