It’s Not About Actions Speaking Louder than Words…

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In case you haven’t read from the snark in my previous posts, I am going through a rough spot for a number of reasons, none of which do I get into on this blog…. ha ha…

Truth be told, someone I know (obviously someone I know) did something I am having a lot of trouble coming to terms with/ betrayed my trust in a sense and I haven’t dealt with the ramifications of that on me in an expedient or efficient fashion. Like many things in life it’s complicated, mainly because the situation is complicated— As evidenced by my lack of an ability to come up with singular descriptor of what happened. Needless to say, they did something cut a bit, well more deeply than it would had the perpetrator been just about anyone else (Gazelle is really good at shrugging people off… ha ha…). And to top it off,  I was, it seems glaringly apparent to me now, complicit in my own demise.

But the offender was a drunk driver, not someone who plotted my murder for months before carrying it out. And so, it’s more of a case of involuntary manslaughter than it is first or second degree murder…. hmmm I quite like that analogy.

Like I noted above, I played a part in this too, for lack of better language I was stupid, and naive and trusting—- way too trusting, not so much of them, but of my own optimism for the future, (blurred) vision of the present and  overconfident (to the point of hubris it seems) of my ability to learn from past mistakes. I also ran on the assumption that someone who has known me for a long time, and knows me as well as they do would never cause me to feel like this (like I said bluuuuuuuurrrrrrrred vision!… ha ha… even writing this is so sad because I really should have known better than to ever base anything on an idiotic assumption like that… sigh).

blurred-vision

Yeah, the world around me looked like this. source

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But I could have sworn that the image was crisp, like this one. Sigh. source

 

The thing about past mistakes and learning from them though, is that every new situation is new: There’s something unique about it that usually makes it hard to just plunk it into a lessons learned box.

So I found myself at an empasse, dealing with something very new, which echos of old things- dealing with something I never thought I would have to deal with, not in a million years.

To be fair, I ended up speaking with the person about this situation and they did apologize. Like my drunk driver analogy above indicates, it was not their intention to leave me feeling like, well for lack of better language — a pile of shit. But to be fair to me, that’s what happened all the same… apologies don’t change the reality on the ground all that much 😦

Most days I am fine, but things happen that trigger thoughts and then boom! I am back in self-doubt and self-blame land. I can’t help but feel like I haven’t been able to fully let this go because there is some lesson that I still haven’t learned

And this entry, I guess is another stab at a lesson that I should learn from this.  I had a thought today about how I can best learn from past mistakes and have finally been able to articulate something that’s been a useful framework for my reflections:

I lived by this:

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Well… as long as the two don’t reinforce one another you do in fact have a problem, Houston: Source

 but, now I think that

It’s not that Actions speak louder than words, it’s that actions and words need to line up.

I don’t know who else is excited about this little self-help mantra that I cooked up, but I sure am.  In the context of the bump in the road of life that I discuss above,  just thinking even semi-critically of my situation through this prism would have saved me a lot of head and heart ache.

If you have a friend who claims to adore you but then does things to make you feel inadequate… you may need to think about those bold letters up above.

If you have romantic interest that swears to adore you in private but acts like they don’t know you in public…. you too may need to think about those letters and how to apply them to your life.

If you have a friend, lover, family member, that has categorically told you that they can’t do a certain thing for you, but they do other nice things for you…. you still might need to think about the words up above.

It’s not about kicking people to the curb, (not in every case!)… but it is about understanding other people’s limitations as stated AND demonstrated. I think there is a nuance that I was missing in my interactions with others, that perhaps I can now at least be aware of it’s necessity.

I hope this makes sense. The idea popped in my head about half an hour ago, so maybe it’s not as genius or as comforting as it is for me right now in this moment.

Sigh. Too little too late, for me anyway. But maybe not for someone else. Maybe this will be useful the next time I encounter a situation like the one I’ve been peeving about…. (*** rolls my eyes superciliously***)

****Note to LJ Cul de Sac: I don’t think you read this blog anymore, yes it’s a post about you…I don’t think I’ve stated anything there that I haven’t stated to your face, but I apologize on the small chance that you are offended by anything here or claim I’ve made. And of course, I can certainly clarify anything that seems unclear. I tried to write this post without giving specifics so there are things that are and aren’t directly related to you. ****

And with that I am off to something else. Here’s to making the last year or so of blogging count! … ha ha

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ON Thinking I Might Have Been Mistaken for a Prostitute….

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So I was staying at hotel in Oman. My friend and I bought tickets to see a show in the Royal Opera House in Muscat.

And it was beautiful! Both inside and out!

It was my first time in Oman and like I wrote in a previous post, I had opted to be muhajiba for a weekend rather than deal with potential street harassment.

I kept myself covered and men largely kept their distance. Well after the show my friend and I went back to our hotel and had dinner there. I, being the forgetful Susan that I am, left my phone in the restaurant and had to go back downstairs to get it. … After I had already put my pajamas on!

Not hijab appropriate at all!…. do I throw my abaya on and shayla (the scarf that comes it the abaya) and head down stairs. My friend and I were joking about something as I left the room and closed the door. A man apparently had just left his room a few doors down, stopped and turned around when he heard my voice, and no doubt saw me fidgeting with scarf.

Now, please note, my hotel room was as far away from the elevator as you can get and still be in the hotel. So after a 2 minute walk in silence, I reached the elevator. The man was there. He had already pushed the button.

Of course, as I said, people were pretty much always assuming I am Arab while in Oman. And this guy was no different. He greeted me in Arabic with a “Hi, how are you?” and I replied with a “I’m good thanks, how are you” but in Egyptian dialect. He was a bit confused but whatever.

Then, before we enter the elevator and he asks me, “Wayn al disco?” (where is the disco/club?) I was confused as heck and wasn’t really sure why he was aksing me this. I replied that I didn’t know.

He then asked me where I lived. Again, strange as heck question for someone you meet in a hotel. He did not ask where I am from, but rather where do I live. He then asked if I was staying at the hotel or something like that.

I just said, I am of course a guest at the hotel but I don’t live in Oman. The man then proceeds to ask me again about where the disco is. At this point he is creeping me out and we are both in the elevator.

I just tell him with as much indignation as I can muster, that I don’t know nothing about no disco and that he can ask at the concierge desk (which is where I was headed to see if they had my phone). Why was he still asking me about the disco? Why was he being so insistent about it?  I got off on the ground floor, but the guy stayed in the elevator, headed no doubt, to the disco on the lower floors (so he knew where it was all along?????)d….

I got my phone and went back to my room, but reflected on the incident and decided that this guy was looking for something more than just the disco. His barely coded language flew right by me because I don’t know nothing about that stuff… ha ha…

An in retrospect walking out of a hotel room while looking like I was adjusting my clothing (at around midnight) probably led him to jump to some crazy conclusions.

A word on why I think he might have been Saudi… 1. The way he was dressed. He was not wearing Omani clothing and was dressed more like Oman’s richer Gulf Arab neighbors.

He pretty much was dressed like the guy in middle in the all white

2. He didn’t look Emirati or Qatari… not that I have seen every single one, but his features and skin tone didn’t strike me as Emirati or Qatari, based upon my time in both places. 3. His accent. I am not a Gulf dialect expert at all, but he didn’t sound like the Qataris or Emiratis I have heard speak.

But I could be wrong on the nationality front. Truth is, I will never know.

Maybe there is a benign perfectly good explanation for this man’s weird behavior… but I doubt it.

On Getting what I want but wanting what Can’t get just yet

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It’s been a while dear reader, Gazelle has been living life and trying to figure it out. Since my last personal post in February I went to the States for spring break, had a really restful time in San Francisco, CA.

 

Well, I don’t know how restful it was because although I basically slept and ate while doing little actual work, my mind was turning, thinking replaying and approximating. It will soon be time for me to move on from where I am now.

The realization has not come suddenly, but I have indeed received a myriad of clues from those around me and from within myself: I am starting to get restless.

 

As I tell women when they ask me about the dating scene here in the UAE, when I decided to come here, I knew that that was a part of my life that was going on hold.. ha ha…

So yeah I wanted to work here and was fine with what I gave up, at first….

It’s so strange to be so grateful and happy with a decision, to know it was the absolute right oen to make, but at the same time be ready to move past this happy experience, one that I have benefitted from greatly and go on to…. What exactly?

 

America, I don’t know.

 

I have major decisions to make in the next few months and am hoping for nothing short of a miracle if I hope/expect for things to work out the way I ideally would like them tooo… haha…

This is basically what I am trying to figure out

Not much has changed. Chatting with a friend from my last job, where we spent the day talking about the jobs we were applying for and how we were ready to move on from our current positions did make things very de ja vu-ish. Le sigh.

 

I know I sound cryptic as hell but here’s the skinny:

 

I can’t regret coming  because my being here caused a certain experience to happen and me to realize something very important: that I want to go home. No, I don’t hate it here. But I have realized that there are more things pulling me state-side than are keeping me grounded here.

 

So I can never regret the experience, but I still am eager to move on to the next one. Ya’ll can read between the lines on that one. It’s still too early to tell which way the wind will blow; Lord knows, have no idea how all the pieces will fit together. But Al7amdullilah I have faith that they will.

Right now, as in right now???

So if you happen to have job leads for someone with Arabic language, program management in an academic setting or qualitative research skills in either the DC Metro or San Francisco Bay area… hit me up! Pleaaaaaaaaaase!

 

😉

What 29 year old me has to say to teenage me…

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Yesterday, I was talking on the computer (cuz you know how international calling goes these days, right?… haha) and doing mindless facebook clicking: One friend’s profile led to another friend’s profile which led to the profile of someone I am not longer in contact with on FB or otherwise. Nothing serious, I just had a phase when I went through and removed most of my high school connections. At the time it was freeing.

At any rate, this no longer FB friend is doing well (and I had no doubt that he would) He’s apparently in medical school or maybe graduated from there and has a cute girlfriend/fiancé. All in all kudos to him. I am writing this entry about this encounter because this guy used to be that boy: The one that was soooo into me (and I had no idea why) and would be annoying/creepy about it. Well that is how I felt about it then. He was never stalkerish, but would wait for me in the mornings in my classroom. He had no business there, no friends there per se, so it was painfully obvious to my friends what he was doing. (un)Fortunately, through no fault of my own, I was habitually late to that class… ha ha…. But he faithfully waited like everyday for moooonths. On the rare occasion I actually got there before he had to make a dash to his own, all he would do was smile with one of those goofy, awkward , dorky smiles you see on tv and say hello.

 

Sometimes its better for all if things are left unsaid… ha ha…

 

Ugh, I was teased quite a bit for that. But, that was then, and this is now. My how things have changed! Ha ha… First off, NO! seeing his FB profile did not change my mind about not wanting him…. Ha ha… I’m genuinely happy for said brother.

Looking at his profile just made me think about how much life changes. Gazelle has gone from pushing 30 to being damn near dragged over the line into the next decade and has started to think about how have I changed.

I always like to think that it’s the people around me who change, but I, at my core and for several layers of epidermis after that, am still the same old girl from the block. But Alhamdullilah that is not true. I have matured in my thinking about a a whole slew of things. For one thing, I could have handled the situation with Early Morning Romeo a lot more smoothly. I was never mean (was old enough to know better than that!) but I can’t help but cringe at my immaturity in all of our interactions. I can’t turn back time, I can’t change a thing, but if I could, 29 year old me would whisper in 16 or 17 year old’s me’s ear and say… get it right girl! Ha ha….

What else would 29 year old me tell teenage me? Hmmmm… probably something about embracing that aweseome size 6 body while it lasts, because aside from that fall semester after your extremely malnourished junior year abroad, it’s NEVER EVER EVER EVER getting back together…. Ha ha… but seriously, I would tell me that the things that I think hold constant aren’t necessarily true.

 

Yeah I used to be pretty badass, now it’s all gone… sigh… wait, it probably was never there like thaaaat to begin with… ha ha…. The past is always how you remember it, right….

I would encourage her to follow her mind a little more than her heart, because the heart can say some crazy ish that makes no sense and will take on wild goose chases for things, careers and people you can’t have. But your mind knows that you know better than that… ha ha… So yeah maybe teenage me would not have been so caught up in the other point on that – Gazelle- early morning romeo- Mr. ugh, I can’t believe that was a thing for as it was

Triangle…. (Because that was a mess and made me a mess, and was full of cringe-worthy episodes).

Oh God, if that was the higlight of my love life…. yikes!!!!!!!!!!! I demand a refund!… ha ha…

Maybe I would have buckled down and been a computer science major and had more options. Maybe I would have know that just because a 6 foot three guy with a basketball player’s build, Elite University degree and killer smile pops out of no-where and we happen to hit it off, it doesn’t mean anything…. Because you will discover that he kind of sucks as a person… ha ha….

 

He sucks, like as a person… he just, sucks 😦 … ha ha…

Naw, what I would probably tell teenage me is that you smart, kind and important so own it! Sometimes I look at older pictures of myself and sigh because I don’t think I saw then the awesome person that I see now.

So yeah , I guess that’s 29 year old me’s advice to 30 year old me: See the awesomeness that you are NOW, relish it, embrace it, and OWN it!

Even if the scale is a little (or a lot) heavier, even if you get tired and can’t party like you think you could have when you used to… ha ha… you will probably look back and think, dang I was so cool. Let’s hope this time around, you don’t say, I wish I had know that back then.

 

So Yeah, all of this to say it’s time to reflect, on a lot of experiences and interactions and figure out what pearls of wisdom 29 year old me can give to 30 year old me and probably wishes she could give to 16 year old me… ha ha…

Expect more posts to come…

My Real Unemployment Chronicle: #2 the hoops you jump through

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Saying that most companies, even teeny ones, now act like they are the royal family when it comes to hiring is an understatement.  When I first started looking for a job, I would bend over backwards for interviewers, but after not being selected as the final candidate enough times,  I got smart.

You have this happen enough times and you say enough is enough America!

It was no longer worth it for me to sacrifice the amount of time and money that I sacrificed (not much to some, but when you are unemployed/don’t make much every penny counts!).  Case in point:

I received an email interview offer.  They wanted me to come to NYC.  My immediate reaction was “No, you can talk to me on Skype or via phone, but I am not coming to NYC.”  The travel and lodging all for a chance to work at some not-that-illustrious organization, was too rich for my blood.  I ended up taking off half a day of work for that interview.  And in the end, they didn’t even have the decency to tell me that I was not selected, not until after I emailed them.

On another occasion, I was granted a phone interview and invited for an in-person interview.  The only problem was that I had less than two days to prepare a presentation that I had to give at the interview. Plus, the branch of the organization was a lot further away than I had assumed when I first applied.  It hurt like the Dickens to turn it down, but I didn’t see the point in going through this decathalon of events all for a chance of a job. Maybe it’s the privilege in me talking, but it seems like employers are making more and more ridiculous demands from applicants, and I’d just had enough of it.

Ha ha as if this had anything to do with landing a job

I was proud of myself then, because I would have been kicking myself and my wallet for having spent so much for what turned out to be fairy dust.  My new motto was forged then, and should I have to look for a job again, I think I will do the same.

I am willing to jump through hoops, but I must have some say in how high the hoops are set.  If not, then it’s not a game that I am interested in playing.

Say What?!? I don’t think so… I guess I don’t want it badly enough…sigh

In the case of scenario #2 it was Divine providence.  I was later invited to Skype interview for a position on the day/time that I would have had to have been giving a presentation at that other organization.  Rabna Kareem.  I got this job now, and it’s so much better.. More on that later.

On 2013 Being the Lucky 13: My Unemployment Chronicle

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Wow this post has indeed undergone many incarnations… I added this final bit to it in September 2013… the moral of the story: The job hunt is not for the weary… The funny thing is that this post, the “job” I supposedly found is not at all the job I ended up with.

Exactly what I did when it was finalized….

You see, sometimes I write posts that will be future posts, if they could just happen in the present.  It’s a bit like positive affirmation.  In the end I am employed, and will tell that story in another post, I just wanted to share just how long and arduous my job search journey has been this time around.

And just an fyi, I know I am one of the “lucky ones” being underemployed with two Masters degrees, is a lot better than being unemployed with only a High school diploma.

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And here it is July 2013 and I can finally post this!… yes, this post had undergone many incarnations and additions.

I didn’t want to post about the ups and downs of the job search because it’s pretty darn depressing.  I made a decision sometime circa March 2013 that I would just wallow in self-pity all by myself.  Some things are better left unshared with the world… ha, ha…

But, I was severely underemployed since February 2013 which was indeed a step from being unemployed.  My job, a full-time, paid internship, was something to pass time with, and afforded me the chance to keep up with my Arabic (that’s for sure!) but it paid a paltry salary: There are people with high school diplomas who make more than that… and certainly people with fewer degrees/experiences than I have.

At any rate, the past few months were difficult for a number of reasons and having a job that fell so far below what I should be capable of earning, hurt like the dickens.  But what was a girl to do?

Oh God, I wish it were that easy…

Sometimes I hated my job and everyone I worked with, but then I would come down from my depression high and realize that how I felt had nothing to do with them, and everything to do with my circumstance.  I talked a good talk, trying to give pep-talks to my underemployed/unemployed compatriots.  But I was actually trying to jazz up my situation in own mind, “everything happens for a reason,” “Rabna Kareem (God is generous…i.e. He will work it all out)” “My situation could be a lot worse” “One day, I will get out of here”…

My life for the past several months…

But the reality was that sometimes I would literally go the restroom and cry for 5 minutes… It would really suck when someone else came in and I had to make sure to stifle my groans… ha, ha… (but not really funny, because it really happened, like a lot).

I largely kept to myself, (for financial reasons and for personal ones).  Socializing wasn’t on my brain, not when that time could be spent applying for jobs.  Networking for me, always turned around to bite me in the butt… to this day, I have never ever got anything via networking, besides a bunch of false hopes… ha, ha… some people’s lives are like that.  I just got tired, and grew increasingly so with every passing day, with each application that didn’t end in the way I wanted it to… the best (i.e. worst) one was when the person who was hired in my stead had Zero, 0, zilch, no middle east experience whatsoever!

I’ve gotten that one a few times too… fml

It wasn’t a wake-up call per se, it was just another one of those wtf moments… fml…. It was ironic in a way, the people I felt were my real competition turned out to be rejects just like me, at least at the time.

Yup, besides all the positive reinforcements that I was giving myself, the fact of the matter was that my life was in fact F*&* up…..Sometimes I wondered if I wasn’t cursed… like for real, cursed (and I am not overreacting… my underemployment was just the cherry on top of my cake of problems… I always allude to things, but can never delve into everything on this blog… suffice to say my life has been a shit show in a lot of ways… sigh)

But, that part is over now.  Now, I can finally publish this post that I had hoped to be able to put up months ago without the edits and preambles that it now has.

Oh well…..

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from circa December 2012:

Alhamdullilah! all is not lost, I have been hired for a position. ( and that apparently is no small feat).  I will get to speak Arabic, maybe travel to the Middle East and get some meaningful, full-time work experience under my belt.  So Gazelle the constant traveler is docked on this hemisphere for a while.  No more extended trips out in God knows where, doing God knows what.  That is a relief?

I always say I want more family time. Well I get it now.

So life is not quite as disappointing as it felt a few weeks ago. Or last year…  This job was a welcome surprise. Knowing that my Spain dreams were grinding to hault, I began a daunting job search in earnest.  Did I mention how much job searching in this economy stinks?  I went from being upbeat and optimistic at interviews to making my heart as cold and unfeeling as the whole job-hunt feels.  I tired of the waiting on bated-breath as some really nice and some not- so- curteous institutions got back to me with a big fat “NO!  We don’t want you!”  I think the rejection after the interview is worse than just getting a you didn’t make the first cut rejection.  By the time you interview, especially if it’s a second interview, you have so much vested in this process/organization…. it just makes your denial a little more personal.

(incidentally, I first drafted this post while on a high  after one of those what I thought was a shoe-in interviews.  Then, I had to pump the breaks on posting because, well the wonderful job opportunity was not mine.  I could definitely go on and on about the self-doubt and just complete despair this process engendered  but let’s leave that to other bloggers.  I am just glad it’s over).

Is all right with the world again?  Hardly. But God threw a flashlight at me, which enabled me to see down here in this pit of despair.  2012 has been a weird year.  I have much to be thankful for, that’s true, but also much to sort out.

I have had a nagging feeling since my uncle passed that I wasn’t going anywhere— and I don’t mean in the physical sense.

In short, this  lost opportunity is the least of my worries.  Here’s to 2013 being lucky 2013…

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