(Still) In Europe– ON Finding Elucidation in a Jet-lagged dream

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Well my week in Dublin came and went… Ireland was great, from what I could see, unfortunately everything closes early besides pubs, so my work schedule didn’t really allow for much of anything else.

My impressions of Ireland though is that it’s pretty meh weather, very friendly people (or at least less of a culture of otherizing than what I experienced previously… it was great to walk around in space where I was only 1 of a very few number of black people and it was not a big deal… the other black people didn’t make eye contact, didn’t try to connect since we were the only ones of our race in a hostile space… ha ha… but everyone else went around their business: I never felt otherized).

Food was ok, but from what I understand, traditional Irish food is a lot of stews and a lot potatoes.  I didn’t really eat much of that… it was more hotel/restaurant food. I think I should have stayed through today (Saturday) so that I could really get a feel for the town.

I did go to the city center my last evening there and thought it was really cute (too bad again, everything closes so early…. 7pm ! on a Friday night!)

But something else happened during my trip, that I wanted to codify, a little bit. Laying in my lovely hotel apartment (it had heated floors!… ha ha, and a pretty comfortable mattress,  but overall I think it was a little hyped up… not complaining though it was lovely). I have been thinking about a  few things… related to my “new  year” philosophy.  I have had a disquieted spirit for a few weeks. Well, not disquieted really but there was some stuff I was trying to make sense of, because I felt overwhelmed and preoccupied by a a lot of different thoughts. The anxiety has been building, tbh, I was looking forward to going to Dublin and the subsequent vacation. It wasn’t just one issue, really, it’s a bunch of separate ones, some interrelated, some not. But it all felt so daunting.  Anyway…

Jet-lag is weird… I lay there that first night in Dublin, desperately trying to sleep and focus on sleep. But my mind kept staying super active, and going everywhere but to counting sheep. And boom somewhere around three AM I realized two important things: The first, about an issue that has lasted the past couple years. I have been trying to resolve it within my heart and mind, and succeeded only to a certain extent. But there was sort of a final piece that I realized, acknowledged and came to terms with and I immediately felt a source of peace…. The only hitch is that I also shared what I had realized that morning… In a manner that I thought was tactful with the other person involved… And their reception of it is still TBD.:

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FWIW… LJC if you happen to be reading this, I meant what I shared, but hope it wasn’t taken as an insult of any kind. I thought sharing was what you wanted, but maybe not… Ironic though, when I finally feel like the issue is completely resolved that manages to have (potentially) cringeworthy repurcussions. I can see how it can feel dragged out and maybe even like some sort of attack. Am hedging my bets that this is not the case here, that this is not how you read things. But I know that everyone has to do what they have to do. Sigh.  With that said, I value you and your friendship greatly.

And it would be really sad if as everything was making sense to me, the craziness of it made you say, fuck this…

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Can’t put it back, honestly I wouldn’t want to… There is a freedom in pointing out certain things… At least, I hope all parties can see this.

 

The other issue, is a newer one, in a newer dynamic that I am still trying to figure out… but as I tossed and turned, I figured out what I need to do for now… Some rules that I needed to clarify for my own self.  Gazelle figured out what she’s doing!!! —- in a situation where I didn’t realize there was figuring to do.

So it’s  a little crazy that it took traveling almost 5,000 miles to help me realize some key things that have been weighing on my subconcious. Still a lot of other things to sort out, but checking off two things from the list still feels good.

 

And now I am taking it easy this weekend. Breathing in and out… hoping for the best.

Somewhere Between Anger and Depression

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I lost a lot of stuff last year.

Physical things, metaphorical things, optimistic perspectives about a lot of things. I’m chocking it all up to growing (up) which apparently I have not done enough of.

But I am in a funk, and am accepting that maybe this funk is here to stay for a while. In high school we were taught the five stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance.

The sad thing is though, that I’m not sure about my current stage. Sometimes, I think it must be anger. It’s come to my attention that a lot of people and things annoy me this day, to the point where I am audibly or visibly demonstrative: We need to fix this.

But does Gazelle even want to?

I am waxing tired of doing things without good reason (because others around me tell me to do so), tired of people who can’t face the realities on the ground, probably growing increasingly weary of ex-pat living and apprehensive  about a hella lot.

So yes, I am angry. I wish people would just leave me alone. Like for real, no one talk to me until April… ha ha…

And it’s on this point that I get confused because I think maybe I’m just depressed. Some days I would like nothing more than to stay home all day loooong. Maybe I’m not angry at people and things, so much as I am really saddened by how things have panned out as of late and don’t know how to fix myself, much less anyone else.

And here I am trying very hard so that the glum awfulness that was the last quarter of last year, doesn’t drag me down the first quarter of this year. Sigh.

It’s not that good things didn’t happen last year, it’s not that I didn’t have milestones that I accomplished. That’s simply not the case.

But that’s life, I guess. It’s part of humanity’s nature to focus on what went wrong as opposed to what went right.

Or maybe it’s all related to my being tired of a lot of things: There’s but so much bird shit that can fall on your jacket before you go home, take it off and perhaps decide to stay in for a while.

But I gotta get out of this shit hole. Being tired is tiresome.

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But, not really.        Source

Maybe I should take heart, and read messages like these:

On Feeling Validated

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It was refreshing a few days ago to have a few different conversations with single women I know about life and love and standards of beauty. It was the first time in a long time that I wasn’t served cold platitudes of “Oh but Gazelle, you are beautiful!” (and what does me or you KNOWING how amazing I am have to do with society’s tendency to pick apart the notion and dump it in a trash heap?)

Or, “You don’t have to be statistic if you don’t want to be, just get out there and try.” (Um, ok. Yeah all I have to do is get out there and keep going at it. Why didn’t I think of that??? Gee, your advise is amazing.. cue the rolled. eyes… ha ha).

or the worst of them all “But so and so is a black woman and she doing just fine.” (Oh, ok so by your logic, we have a black family in the White House, so all black people in America are doing just fine socially, economically and politically, and if their not, then it’s their fault??????)

So conversation one, was with an Asian friend. Whenwe were talking about I was no longer on a dating site (all halal I assure you…ha ha) that she is still plodding through, she at first was very frank with me and told me that she didn’t think I tried enough. We are friends and I get it. I am grateful for her honesty. And even more grateful for the chance she gave me to explain why I just am not all Pollyana about this stuff anymore:

I come from a place where people like me more often than not end up alone, and I have made peace with it. I’m an educated black woman with African features and a curvier (and by no means fat… I am still really confused as to when one became a euphemism for the other… sigh) figure. I don’t know when people who look like me were ever in, but we’re not the “it girls” of today. And Apparently the dating/courting scene is a lot more superficial than I thought when I was younger, fresher and more optimistic. And my younger, fresher, more optimistic about live and love days were when and how I discovered these noble truths (and yes, I realize that they don’t have to be truths for everyone).

And I feel super respected for once

But yes. I am the person least likely to get an OK Cupid Reply. I am more likely to have fewer matches on Tinder.  And the same goes for any other dating site/arrangmeent/set-up in the virtual world or in the real one. I am just not who most people think of when they think of the girl of their dreams. Don’t get me wrong, I am the type to get hits now and then, from way to old pappi picantes and other inconsiderates who haven’t read my profile. Or even worse from random men who think a way to a woman’s heart is through vulgar messages. :-/… but that’s every woman’s lot these days.

Wow check out those figures! Why am I so complacent about being a statistic???? Shame on me, GAzelle …ha ha

Don’t get em wrong I am not a pessimist. But I am damn sure a realist. My predicament is not unusual but it felt good to talk to someone that didn’t judge and didn’t call me a whiner. Instead she just said “oh, I didn’t know. Sorry. I guess I understand a little better now.” She told me not to give up hope (yeah girl, too late… ha ha… And the well just marry a blue collar guy solution is well… meh.. it clashes with compatibility, I think).

Another friend, one whose physical characteristics are closer to mine gave me understanding nods sighs. Can I just say it felt good to be validated. To not even have to explain myself and defend the validity of my own lived experience!

I’m not delusional. I don’t have low self-esteem (I will kick someone to the curb with the quickness!) I don’t have too much self-esteem. I’m just real. and as for her, well she too is trying, putting her best face forward and herself out there being open to love.

Somehow other people here me (complain) about my dating/lackofalovelife woes and ASSSUME I am not proactive or assertive or optimistic at all. WRONG

I understand how things work. And although I wish they were different, there’s but so much I can do to fix where I fall on the totem pole.

Actually Eff the totem pole!

My problem is actually that all of these concerns fly out the window far too quickly when I’m in certain settings and situations.

Sigh. At any rate, I’m just gonna live life and be me. If that means finding and marrying somebody (educated) that I love and who loves me back, and has the same values that I have, similar passions (broadly defined) with whom I share a mutual attraction then great. But Gazelle can do but so much.

Actually, the only thing Gazelle can control is Gazelle. I started this blog with woe is me, will I ever find someone posts. I’ve posted periodically about the fish that had to be thrown back in the sea (and not quite so much about the ones that never too the bait, since I’ve chosen this rather crude analogy… :-/

But it’s been over 8 years and I think I don’t want to spend to much time thinking about what I already know. For now, it’s enough that my experiences and perspectives were validated. Someone out there knows that life for me, is not about trite platitudes doled out as advice or other people’s lives held up as examples for me to follow (without consideration for the privileges we do not share).

My experiences and the viewpoints that have developed as a result are valid.

Now if I could only decide between (re)downloading Tinder onto my blackberry… or signing up for another service….

Or maybe  should just hold my American passport up in a bunch of profile pictures (that should have them rolling in) ha ha… #Youneverknow 😉

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!

 

😉

On My Valentine’s Day Playlist

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About 10 years ago, I spent a semester in Morocco.  One of my closest friends from that semester did a really sweet thing for her boyfriend/love interest of the time.

She made him mix CD (do people even use CDs any more???) of songs, all with the theme of young love. When I state young love, I mean budding romance… songs like Groove Theory’s “Tell me if you Want Me to”

I thought it was the cutest idea and ever since had hoped that I would one day have a SO that would do the same for me (selfish I know!)…Songs are so awesome and poignant, even when they are simple and seem stupid. I think almost everyone can think of a song that pretty accurately and aptly encapsulated how they felt at a certain moment in time. I am that on steroids… It’s all about the words more so than the beat and such… and yet, It’s something that people tend to not notice about me.

So it’s no surprise that now that it’s ten years and counting and this old brown cow has crossed the 30 threshold,

9 Months? … Try 30 years!…. Some of us are the experience personified on earth!… ha ha

I am willing to give up on that dream (and I never expressed this wish to anyone, and somehow hoped that some guy would intuitively do this thing, so you get what you put out there).

But before I let my dream die, I decided to create the mixtape/playlist on my own.

Here are the tracks

12. Jon B- They Don’t know

Jon B paved the road for Justin Timberlake and all these blue-eyed soul artists that proliferate the market these days.  Tu Amor is a fave of mine because of the mix of Spanish, but also because his vocals are on point.  Some group did a cover of this song and their version just doesn’t cut it.  There had to be some LaFace representation on this list… just had to be (I am child of the 90s, after all)

11. Michael Jackson- Remember the Time

This is my favorite MJ song (next to Stranger in Moscow) and I remember watching it when it premiered, I was all of 8 years old.  But that video ya’ll, it was epic. I am a sucker for a song about old love that is still there after years have past.

10. Backstreet Boys- All I have to Give

This was the first Backstreet Boys song I ever heard and still love it to this day.  The message is simple, it’s not about nice things, it’s about the sincerity that comes with truly loving someone.

9. Luis Fonsi – No Me Doy Por Vencido (I am not giving up)

The song is about not giving up on a relationship, that saving what they have is worthwhile.  I listen to it when I need inspiration for other stuff too… go figure.

8. Jen Carlos Canela- Mi Corazon Insiste (My heart Insists)

Not only do I think Jen Carlos has the coolest name and is the quintessential example of the Hot Latino leading man, but I love this song (duh hence it’s on my playlist!… ha ha). It’s about loving someone despite yourself, trying to replace them with someone else, or to erase their memory, all to no avail.  Some loves are like that, I think.  Their’s something really passionate about that  yet, calming because in the end, all roads lead back to that major love.

7.  98 Degrees and Stevie Wonder- True to Your Heart

Aside from being the song off the Mulan soundtrack, le message rings clear and is pretty self-explanatory.  Plus, I loved the late 90s Boy bands, well just the three that make this list, and this is probably my favorite 98 Degrees song.

6.  Sabr Alroba3i- Atahada al3alam (Usually translated as “I Defy the World” but I think that “I Declare to the World” makes more sense)

The song is awesome… and I love it because it’s one of those that I loved even before I actually understood what the words meant. Sabr alroba3i has an amazing voice and this song, this song… It was on my list as possible wedding song back in the day… ha ha…. my favorite line translates as something like (and You are my love, my heart and soul are with you, come close and let me live out my feelings of love…. hmmm this translation is weird… ha ha).

5. NSYNC- Something like You

It was really hard to pick just one NSYNC Song, there are too many that love, these guys were the bona fide soundtrack of my youth…le sigh.  I actually wasn’t a great fan of “This I promise you” or “God Must have Spent”… mostly because they got so much play. I like this song because it’s about love in its early stages, but the singer can tell it’s something deeep… ha ha… yup in case you haven’t noticed I am soppy romantic at heart.

6. Billy Joel- The Longest Time

The message is pretty much the same as the NSYNC song, but it’s Billy Joel! Funnily enough, I love this song because Alvin and Chipmunks used to sing it a lot… ha ha…

5. India Arie- I see the God in You

This is one of those songs that were on constantly for me ten years ago.  Aside from featuring Ms. Arie’s awesome voice, the message is yet again about young love, about feeling this intrinsic connection with someone else. I still remember walking down the streets of the old Medina in Rabat with this blasting in my ears…. FYI… I did not see God in any of the men that I past by daily… not in the way she is talking about anyway… ha ha…

4. Alanis Morissette- Head Over Feet

Probably my favorite song from Alanis, and the lyrics are simple, but awesome. I think the little things the guy does in the song, have always clicked with me like (yes!)… again going with the theme of it’s not about the materials crap, it’s about things like Asking me how my day was, just saying the right things at the right times… the kind of love that makes you love the person back for all that they are!

3. Rob Thomas- Lonely No More

Because I looooooved Matchbox Twenty and because this is the ultimate “Piss or get off the Pot” type songs… like, I don’t want any more BS so be sure this is what you want.

2. Banky W- Strong Ting

Practically an ancient Afro-pop song, but it’s still one of my faves.  Just another song about young love, although this is probably more of the superficial sort… ha ha …

1. 112- Only You

One of 112’s best songs, back when Biggy was still alive and Bad Boy was in it’s heydey. Yet another where exactly do we stand?- type songs… but their vocals as ever are awesome. And this song also happens to be one the biggest ones out there back when I was in 8th grade.

Of course there are tons of songs left off here- Celine Dion could Easily be on this mixtape as could several others (Mariah, Whitney, some more representation from girl groups and a few other Arab artists… At least one Country song), but whatever. … no revenue will be made or collected from this post. So, I don’t think anyone cares…

And with that, the dream is put to rest. Moving on to other things.

Got the playlist. Now all I need is the date… Wait, I said, moving on to other things Gazelle!

On Being Grateful

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I am thinking about where I was a year ago, feeling a little hopeful, because for once an interview process with several stages resulted in an offer.  I was a little less depressed than I had been earlier in the year.

Alhamdullilah!

What I am trying to do each and every day

It’s not all rosy, this new chapter in my life has brought with it new challenges, personal, spiritual, professional. But I am learning to slow my pace and take things as they are, accept the things I can not change and fix the things I can.  I am turning 30 in less than thirty days but I’m just looking at it as it “is what it is.”

 

yeah, I am realizing that some of the stuff I cared about isn’t really important at alll

This life is not what I envisioned for myself at 22.  But I see the the bigger picture in terms of why certain things were meant to be.  Of course, there are things that I wish were better, that had gone the way I wanted, but such is life.  It might have been great if that project I started actually worked out, or if that encounter had lead to something more fruitful, but, ya know.

 

Now, it’s all about thinking short and long-term, reflecting each day and keeping calm.  Yup. Alhamdulilah!