Author Archives: Ammar Khawaja

Haunted By The Past

Scars have the strange power to remind us that our past is real.

Cormac McCarthy – All The Pretty Horses
Photo by Luis Quintero on Pexels.com

The past will creep up on us when we least suspect it. One moment you’ll be happy with your friends or relaxing in bed before falling asleep. Out of the blue, it jumps out and reminds you the time you “messed” up in the past. You relive those moments in a loop.

“Why did I do that?”

“I wish I had done that instead.”

You start to regret those moments. You get stuck. You cringe at those moments. All those emotions come flooding back. You feel awkward, scared, vulnerable and ashamed. Most of my life I have dreaded my past. I have tried to repress the feelings that come up. Pretend like it never happened. Pretend like I have grown from it.

Yet, I find myself going through the same motions. Feeling the same emotions in the present as well. Clearly, these feelings and emotions have weight. They are heavy. They are real. They are still affecting me. They are still unresolved.

In order to work through this I need to realise the importance of the past traumas in my life. It is important to understand that these feelings emanate from my childhood trauma. The roots of these feelings are deeply embedded in the past. Once you acknowledge this, you can then move on to resolving those feelings…dealing with those feelings.

The importance of the past is often overlooked. People tell you to forget about the past and focus on the present which will affect the future. While that is true, it is important to acknowledge the past. We learn from the past.

We must look back to understand why we act the way we do. Why we feel the way we do. It’s all linked to the past. Only then are we able to grow.

Take the time to reminisce. Acknowledge your feelings. Try to find the root in the past. Hopefully then you will be able to grow.

Surrender To Life

Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.

Charles R. Swindoll
Photo by Simon Clayton on Pexels.com

Complete Surrender. That is how I try to live my life, in complete surrender. I try to surrender to life. I try to surrender to love. I try to surrender to the universe. I try to surrender to the environment. I try to surrender to what may be happening to me.

As we live life we come across many things that affect us. We often find ourselves worrying about the future and contemplating on the past. While it is good to have a plan for the future, we tend to live in the thoughts of the future.

I went to a Tai Chi class for the first time. I have wanted to do Tai Chi since the day I found out that in the TV Show Avatar The Last Airbender, the movements for water bending is based off of the ancient Chinese martial arts of Tai Chi. I love water bending because of it’s healing properties so naturally when the opportunity came to try it I couldn’t say no.

Tai Chi is all about the breath. It’s about relaxing. It’s about letting go and flowing with what comes towards you. I just flowed, with whatever was happening. I was in a state of tranquillity. I was relaxed.

I was reminded by how I want to live my life, in complete surrender. I will only worry about the things within my control. The things that I do not control, do not warrant any attention or effort from me. We are not going to spend our time thinking about that. We are going to spend our time, energy and efforts on what we do control.

We are going to focus on the now.

I control my actions. I control my work ethic. I control me. I cannot control anything outside of me so why bother?

Does this person like me? Will I get this job? Will I do well in my exams? I do not have control over all the factors that will affect these decisions.

All I can do is control my own vibe and let things flow. Whatever will happen, will happen. I can only hope for the best.

We are constantly reacting to whatever happens to us. That’s all that we can do.

Relax. Breathe. Let go. Channel all of your energy into yourself. Enjoy Life. It’ll all be fine.

We got this far. Don’t worry. We’ll also get to where we need to go.

An Unwelcoming Household

The first step to living the life you want is leaving the life you don’t want.

Karen Salmansohn
Photo by Renan Lima on Pexels.com

For me leaving the life I don’t want includes leaving my family. I do not want to live with them anymore. I want to have my own space and more importantly the freedom that comes with it.

I have always imagined living a minimalist lifestyle. I hate clutter and unnecessary things. I picture a very clean and spacious room. Spacious not in terms of size but spacious in terms of how empty it is. I don’t need much to live a happy life. A happy life in itself is a weird concept but that’s for later. I just need the essentials.

To truly understand what happens to me when I come “home”, I’ll tell you what I am like when I’m not “home.” When I’m outside, I am happy. I am loud. I am having fun.  It’s all about love and positivity. I enjoy the moment. There is no worry in my life. I just relax and enjoy whatever comes my way. My brain is clear. It doesn’t hurt. That’s why I really enjoyed this quarantine.

When I didn’t have work I’d leave the house at 5 AM and go sit on the beach. There was no worry in the world. There was nothing to do, except for enjoying the moment, enjoying THIS moment.

I feel unwelcomed in my house. The moment I enter the door, a switch flips. I am this serious and sad person. I feel uncomfortable. I stay quiet. I am just by…myself. It feels like there’s this heavy dark cloud hovering above me whenever I’m home. I don’t talk to anyone. I am just there, breathing…existing. It honestly feels like the real me is supressed deep within myself just so I don’t get hurt. I numb myself so that I am unaffected by all the things bothering me at home. I temporarily kill myself in the metaphorical sense for now.

I grew up in an emotionally unavailable household. I guess I’ve associated this house with that feeling now. My life is good but I don’t feel welcome at home. Robin Hobb wrote “Home is people, not a place.” Elvis Presley says “home is where the heart is.” In both cases I know that this is not home.

This is going to be harsh but this is all coming from the heart. This will not sound like it at all but please remember that this is coming from a place of love. A place of self-love and love for my family.

In a way I have begun, or already do, resent the people at “home.” I resent my family. They do things that I want to avoid. Their habits and mannerisms are everything that I do not want in my life. They are everything that I want to outgrow in my life. Every time I am home I am constantly reminded of these habits that I want to avoid.

There is a lot of clutter in the house that I want to get rid of. Living in clutter has made our lifestyle very disorganised which I do not like at all. There is no space to clear your mind and just breathe. They leave the lights on in rooms that are not being used. They leave doors open. They focus on problems that they have nothing to do with at all. There is this stream of constant toxic words that come out of them about what other people are up to. Instead of fixing ourselves, everyone in this house is too busy trying to fix others. I just want everyone to relax and chill for a moment. Forget about the world and other people and focus on yourself.

I want to get away from all this. I will get away from all this the first chance I get. Their negativity seeps into me. I can feel it corrupting me. I am not delusional. I know that life on my own will be tough to deal with but at least I can move on to a different chapter in my life. At least I’ll have a place I can call home. A place where I can truly relax. A place where I am not suffocating. A place where I do not have to supress any part of the real me. I would finally be able to love myself 24/7 or at least more than I can now.

I feel like if I was to move out and get away from all this, if I could get my own space, I’d be able to start loving my family. I would be able to do all the things I have wanted to do like get into photography, videography and start making podcasts. I can’t do these things at “home.” There are too many disturbances at “home.” Things the family just wouldn’t understand. For a long time, I have blamed the house and the family for why I have not been able to pursue all these things.

If I move out I’d finally be able to get rid of this excuse that I have been milking for as long as I can remember. I would be able to grow out of this mind set and this rut. Life would change for the better or the worse but I know I am ready to move on. Maybe once I start pursuing all these things that I have been thinking about and planning for the majority of my life I might stop resenting my family.

I might stop thinking of them as the reason for my failure and discover that I am a failure on my own. It’s easier to blame my short comings and failures on other people and in this case it has been my family for a long time. Once I move out, I might discover other challenges and reasons that contribute to my failure shifting the blame off my family. I might be able to grow. More importantly, I might be able to love them.

One things for sure, I am done. I know what needs to happen. I have to move out when I can. I have to keep reminding myself that this is all coming from a place of love. Firstly, this is so that I can love myself. Secondly, this is so that I can start loving my family. I may resent them now BUT I want to move out to separate them from my failures. They are free to live the life they want to and so am I. Once their negativity and vibe can no longer affect me, I believe I would be able to look past it and star loving them.

Stay safe. Keeping loving yourself and each other.

Crushes Are Normal

Sometimes I can’t ignore the way I feel when I see you smile.

The Ataris, Bite My Tongue
Photo by Gustavo Fring on Pexels.com

I used to, or still to some extent, get uneasy at the concept of having a crush. A crush by definition is “a brief but intense infatuation for someone, especially someone unattainable.”

“A brief but intense infatuation,” There’s the issue I have with the word crush. The problem is that it is an infatuation, an obsession. I have no clue what that person is actually like. I have developed a crush based on physical appearances. I find that hard to deal with. I feel like it’s wrong. I know it’s natural but it feels wrong. It feels like I am objectifying her.

The person I have a crush on is so much more than that. There is the mind and soul that I have no idea about. I just think that this person is beautiful and I am attracted to them. I am just attracted to the idea of them rather than the actual person.

The crush then builds up. Your mind picks it up and runs with it to places you don’t want to go to. It takes you to ideas that you know are unrealistic. It gives you all these unrealistic thoughts and expectations that you have of this person. These “unhealthy” thoughts build up.

Do I act on these “unhealthy” thoughts?

Of course not.

However, these thoughts feel wrong to have.

I imagine living a life with them. I imagine sharing a box of pizza with them under a blanket while watching TV. No one else is there. There is no other worry. It’s just this person and me. Complete peace. Sometimes I imagine us driving together. I don’t care where the road leads to. I am just happy that I am with this person.

There are 2 things that remains constant in these “unhealthy” thoughts, as I like to refer to them.

The first is that there is this sense of complete peace and serenity. There is no care in the world. All that matters it that my crush is right here with me. These thoughts never get sexual. I am simply attracted to the intimacy and vulnerability in that moment.

The second is that person’s smile. I always imagine them smiling. A genuine smile just puts me in a state of tranquillity. There is a vibe in that smile. A vibe that tells me that everything is alright in the world. Just enjoy this moment. I absolutely fall head over heels for a smile that just exudes love. A smile that embraces you, that coddles you. I don’t even know anything about this person and here I am dreaming of a life together. I don’t know if this person is how I envision them to be.

I fall in love with that though. I have no clue yet I fall in love. The peace and happiness in those “unhealthy” thoughts. It makes me wonder, are these thoughts really “unhealthy” if there is so much positivity and love in them? Is it really “unhealthy” to feel happiness? Why do I assume that these thoughts are “unhealthy”?

Sure, I can call these thoughts unrealistic because reality is far from it. Yet, I choose to refer to these thoughts as “unhealthy.” I could be doing this on purpose. I could be doing this to prevent any notion of actually doing something about the crush. If I never act on my crush and try to get to know them better, then I will never be in an uncomfortable spot. I will never give them the opportunity to reject me. Therefore, I think of having a crush as a negative thing. That way I’ll never act on it.

I can count all the crushes I have had, throughout my entire life, on one hand. Obviously, I have never acted on them. Around 3-4 months ago, I had a mini crush and attempted to get to know her better. If I am being honest, it wasn’t a real attempt. It was more of a sad excuse of an attempt. It was to give myself the false assurance that I tried and failed. In all honesty, my attempt was pathetic. When I realised that the other person was not vibing, I decided to dip. I didn’t want to bother her. The vibe was telling me that it wasn’t meant to be.

A crush doesn’t necessarily have to be on someone unattainable as defined. I believe it’s defined like that because a lot of people get to know their crush better and realise that the crush is not meant for them. They were infatuated by the idea of the person and the idea of being in a relationship with that person. Once they realise who that person is, they decide it’s not for them and bail. They could also bail because they realise that it takes effort to get to know a person and be in relationship. They decide that their crush is not worth the effort and bail before it turns into anything real. They bail before committing.

Me personally, I’ve never had the courage to do anything about it in the past. I want to change that. I want to put in the effort. I want to be courageous. I want to take that first step. I want to grow a pair. I’m sick of living like a coward. I’m sick of being anxious all the time. I just want to relax and let these natural feelings flow. See where they take me.

If it works out, it works out. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. At least I won’t regret anything. At least I’ll know that I actually tried and gave it my best shot. At least I get to know another person. We might not end up dating but we could become friends.

I feel like with all the growth that I have done in the past year or so, I am a bit more comfortable with the idea of having a crush. I still get uneasy when I think about it BUT I feel like the first step is to realise that these thoughts are not unhealthy at all. These thoughts are natural. Once I can come to terms with that I feel like I would be able to better handle having a crush.

I might become more courageous. I might become a man of action. I might decide to actually take some steps and get to know that person well. Hell, if I still like them or rather if I allow myself to like them without the fear of getting hurt, I might actually ask them out.

I might be able to acknowledge, without feeling shy or guilty, that I do have a crush right now. It’s easy for me to say all this on the internet. Sure, I’m not anonymous but what are the odds that my crush will actually read this. What are the odds that she’ll actually realise I’m talking about her? I’m willing to take that risk.

Maybe this is again me being a coward. Maybe this is me being delusional, telling myself that I have actually done something to comfort myself. Why don’t I just tell her in real life? Why don’t I put in the effort to get to know her better?

Maybe getting all this out of me and into the real world is the first step I need to take to become more courageous. Maybe after this is out, I might actually take the first step to get to know my crush better. We shall see what happens.

At the end of the day I know one thing for sure, I don’t want to live a life of regret. I don’t want to look back at my life and have those “What if” thoughts. That’s not the life I want.

Stay safe. Keeping loving yourself and others. If you have a crush, get to know them better. Who knows, they might have a crush on you too.

Intimacy Around Women

I have learned that there is more power in a good strong hug than in a thousand meaningful words.

Ann Hood
Photo by Helena Lopes on Pexels.com

Recently, a very a brave and amazing friend of mine shared something that she went through with the group. I was very moved by it. I teared up. While she was telling her story, I listened. I was amazed at her strength. I was amazed at how she managed to love, so purely, and have lost that love. That is not something I have experienced yet. To have loved so purely and lost. Her story, her strength, her love truly amazed me. I could feel the pain she had gone through. It was raw and honest. It was real.

Naturally, when talking about an event that has a lot of emotions and history attached to it, you are bound to get emotional and cry. When she started to cry my first instinct was to hug her. I wanted to comfort her, as a friend should. Another friend of mine had hugged her and stayed with her so I stayed where I was.

At the end of the day, before leaving, we all got up and she started to hug everyone. I wanted to but I couldn’t. I want to comfort her, let her know that it’s all going to be alright. I wanted to let her know that she is brave and strong for doing what she did. I wanted to let her know that I am here for her should she need someone to talk to. I wanted to let her know that she is not alone, that she is loved.

I stood in the back contemplating, should I go or is she going to come and hug me? I felt so awkward in that position, not because I am not her friend or didn’t care about her at all. It’s because I have an issue with hugs and contact with women in general. During the time I wasted contemplating, she had left.

I felt like shit. I made it all about myself rather than comfort her. I should’ve told her all the things I wanted to say in support of her. I was too weak to go and offer my support.

“What did I do?”

“Why didn’t I go?”

“Why did I make this awkward as hell?”

All these thoughts ran through my mind. I felt like shit when I got home. I had let myself down. I was disappointed in myself. I could not believe that I did not have the courage to go and comfort her. I sent her a message saying the things I wanted to say but I felt bad. This has been a running theme in my life. I thought I had grown…gotten over it but clearly I hadn’t.

My whole life I have avoided any sort of intimacy or contact with women. I believe it has something to do with the way I was raised. From an early age I had been made aware of the issues that women go through on a daily basis. Men putting women in uncomfortable positions on a daily basis. Creepy men who go in for hugs when the woman is clearly uncomfortable. Men who catcall women and harass them. Men who can’t take a hint that the woman is clearly uncomfortable. Men who go initiate a handshake and the woman is forced to comply because it’s “just a handshake.”

I grew up in a society that looks down on women. Anytime a woman tries to grow and be better, men like to put them down. Anytime a woman voices her opinion or takes a stances, men like to put them down. I grew up, surrounded by this. I grew up being aware of this. I grew up being aware of how men objectify women. I grew up surrounded by men telling me “it’s a woman’s job to take care of the house. Find yourself a wife that will cook for you and give you kids.”

How fucked up is that? A living human being is reduced to nothing but a glorified slave. There to please every little desire that you may have. I grew up with men telling me that “a wife cannot say No to her husband for anything. She cannot deny him sex or whatever else he may want. It is the husband’s right to demand these things.”

I think growing up surrounded by all these things has traumatised me. I get very uncomfortable around women regardless of if I find them attractive or not. It’s the weirdest thing ever. I have a hard time shaking their hands, hugging them or even give them a friendly tap or touch. I was told that you never shake a woman’s hand unless she initiates it first. That’s how I’ve been living my life. I guess this is why I barely had any female friends growing up. Now that I do, I have noticed how I am unable to provide the support they may need such as a hug in a time of vulnerability.

Being around this group of friends and seeing how they interact with each other makes me realise this even more. I want to be a part of this but I don’t know how to. I want be normal but I can’t get myself to act normal. I see them hugging and playfully pushing each other and I cannot be a part of that because I feel uncomfortable.

Another reason could be the relationship with my mother. From what I can recall my childhood was good. It wasn’t perfect but it was pretty good. Everything that I could possibly need was provided to me. Except for the emotional support. Both my parents worked. When I would come home they’d be taking a nap because they were tired from a full day of working. After the nap, mom would wake up and get the house in order. Food, clothes, cleaning etc.

Anytime I had an “emotional” issue she was unavailable to help me deal with it. Her usual responses were “this is what happens when you trust other people” or “this is what happens when you don’t listen to me.” Both parents were very pessimistic in their way of life. They had this outlook on life where everyone is evil and you cannot trust anyone other than yourself. I think that caused me to develop this issue I have with emotional intimacy.

Displaying emotional intimacy makes me very uncomfortable. It takes me back to that hurt boy who just wanted some help in dealing with the overwhelming emotions. All I want is for someone to say “It’s Ok” I suppose. I don’t really know what I want. All I know is that I don’t want to be like this. I don’t want to be emotionally disconnected. I don’t want to freak out at the prospect of a fucking hug to comfort someone. I was legitimately on the brink of having an anxiety attack when I saw my friend walk in my direction and hug the people in front of me.

I guess the point of this is to let other people, who struggle with the same thing, know that they are not alone. I know I need therapy for this so that I may process it better. I do want to improve in this aspect. I do want to be there for my friends. I have no problem in striking a conversation with anyone or introducing myself to strangers. The problem arises when there is a touch of intimacy whether that may be physically or emotionally.

I do believe I have gotten better at it. I believe that me acknowledging the problems in my behaviour is a good start but I am not happy with how I dealt with the latest situation. I want to get better to the point where I don’t need to second guess anything. I can just be a good friend.

I hope all you are staying safe. Keep loving yourself and each other.

I See Things – A Story

Photo by Stijn Dijkstra on Pexels.com

Am I the only one seeing this?

Shawn was standing in the middle of the meadow, on the outskirts of the village where he grew up in, puzzled. The long grass swaying with the wind, like waves in the ocean. There was a golden shimmer to the long grass; it looked like fairy dust. It lit up the meadow in the black night. As the long grass moved, the golden dust floated in the wind, dancing to a rhythm of its own beat.

The hair on the back of his neck stood up. His eyes widened for a brief moment, his mind frantic, struggling to come to terms with his senses. Every single fibre in his body was on red alert, telling him to turn back, to walk away. Telling him to ignore the obvious signs.

I must be dreaming. This can’t be real.

My whole life I have been seeing…things. I have been feeling…things. I say ‘things’ because that’s the only way I can describe them. Things like what I’m seeing and feeling right now. Things that feel real but don’t make sense. To make matters worse I’m the only one seeing these things and I don’t know why. I have prayed and I have asked all the Gods of different beliefs but nothing and no one seems to know what’s happening.

Everything in my life was planned out for me. I was to go to church school in the mornings and then help dad out in the farm after school. When I was at church school they would teach us how God was here to watch over us and if we committed sins we would be punished in this life and the hereafter. Then on the farm… well there was a lot of work to do on the farm.

I didn’t have much time to myself, to think about what I wanted out of life. I was content for I knew nothing else. All I knew was that the lord is watching over us so we must do good things and that I had to help out at the farm. I was destined for a normal ordinary life. All I want is a normal and ordinary life but we don’t always get everything that we want.

There was an order within the chaos. The grass was not just swaying randomly, the dust was not just floating in the air randomly. There was purpose, intent. This was sentient.

The first time, I saw something unusual, I saw a sea monster flying in the skies. I was around 13 at the time. Ken, the fisherman, would talk about the sea monster at the port but no one would believe him. Not even his own brother. Father would take me to the port once every new moon. He would be off gathering supplies and selling some of the harvest we had gathered. I would spend most the day at the docks listening to the amazing adventures of all the fisherman.

Ken had a small boat and would go fishing with his brother Hunter. Ken told me they had been out at sea for several days. Ken swears he spotted the sea monster but Hunter saw nothing. Ken described the sea monster to me.

“This creature was magnificent, terrifying but magnificent. It was as big as a town, massive. Its tail was bigger than a house. Black as the night sky, it had a hole on the top of its head where air would leak out from. I think it uses it to talk to the other monsters in the ocean depths. This creature had just come up to the boat…as if it was curious. I looked into its eyes. It was no ordinary monster. It was…kind and intelligent. I was terrified but when I stared into its eyes I just calmed down. I forgot that it was a monster. We just stared at each, the monster stared through me. It could see inside me.

I swear I felt the sea monster speak to me. I heard it tell me to calm down. It told me that I am a monster like you are a human. It told me that we both exist, that we are both real. It told me to relax and just let it be. I listened to the monster and we just shared a moment together. Then the monster let out some more air from the hole and dived straight down. It was unreal.”

I saw it floating in the skies and just like Hunter, my father did not believe me. It was majestic as it swam in the skies. It was not random, the sea monster also had purpose. These unnatural things started becoming more apparent and frequent. I would feel whatever I was seeing. I remember feeling frightened then calming down just like Ken when I saw the monster. I had let go of all logic, I had to go against what my body and mind were telling me.

Shawn heard a voice within him, calling out to him.

“Listen to your feelings. They will guide you.”

This has to be real. I can hear it. Who is this? Was it the golden dust? At this point what is real? What is fake? I don’t even know anymore.

“No way?!!” Shawn exclaimed in awe.

The golden dust formed a path, like the road back in town dimly lit by the lanterns at night. The dust formed a cushion behind him as it pushed him forward. Shawn did what felt natural. He started walking the path.

My father used to snap at me saying that this was the devil’s work, all these things I was seeing. The priest at Church would tell my parents that I was possessed, first by demons then by the Devil himself. I was overwhelmed by emotions. Emotions of fear, anxiety, pain, excitement and awe. It was all so confusing, very confusing. I didn’t know what was happening to me and it seemed like no one else did either.

They tried to ‘treat’ ‘it’. They called it an ‘illness’. It started with a concoction of some herbs that I would have to drink. It escalated into physical treatment where I would be caned and punished, to push the demon possessing me out. They tried to baptise me again but that did not stop me from visualising all these ‘things’. I was exorcised several times by many different priests. They would come in from neighbouring towns and villages. I was a…challenge to them. To prove their own worth to themselves? To society? To the Vatican? To God? Eventually I learned to lie…it was the only way out.

I kept the visions to myself. Tried to ignore it as best as I could. Thought that I was crazy for a long time. I denied myself from this greatness. Denied myself from the opportunity to experience my life to the fullest. I stayed at home, on the farm, with the animals that understood me, that didn’t judge me. Even the plants understood me. When you shut everything out and listen, you can hear the plants and trees talking to you. They are always talking. We just need to listen.

This was a fate that I had forced upon myself. One thing I knew for sure was that this was much better than what the priests or my own father had planned out to ‘help’ me. It was better to live this lie than to face the truth that had already caused me so much pain.

The more he walked, the more he let go of his ideals and beliefs. The more he embraced what was happening, the more it made sense. His heartbeat returned to normal, his senses were no longer heightened. He was finally at peace.

About 3 days ago, I was down at the port with my father and I remember Ken telling me about an unusual visitor at the docks. I saw Ken on the bow of his boat, perched, like the gargoyles pictured on the glass stained windows at church. He gestured with his good hand and I ran onto his boat. He told me about a mysterious visitor on the docks. He was dressed in a plain and frail green cloth that draped over his shoulder and wrapped around his waist. He was darker skinned than the rest of the people on the town and port. He stuck out like a sore thumb.

Ken told me he had seen this visitor in one of his dreams. He saw this visitor walk through barren deserts and destroyed towns. With his every step, life sprouted again. He saw me converse with the visitor and breakdown. After a hug and a pat on my shoulders, I had sprouted wings and flown into the skies, laughing maniacally. I was intrigued. I asked Ken if I should go talk to him. Ken, in his usual kooky yet wise manner, told me to do what felt right. I went to go find the visitor which didn’t take me long considering how he was the only man dressed in a plain green cloth walking around oblivious to the world around him.

The golden dust was leading him somewhere, it did not matter where. All that mattered was that this was happening now, this was happening in the present. He walked, thoughtless. Guided only by his emotions and the golden dust of course. He had lost track of all time and sense of direction. He did not recognise his surroundings but he was not alarmed. There was a sense of familiarity in the unknown, a sense of belonging.

You cannot forget a man like that.

His name was Pakku. He was old, looked very old but he had this pep in the way that he carried himself. He had a very distinct scar on the crown of his bald head. He had a warm smile and an open heart.

I could feel a sort of…light emanating from within him.

“I can sense a lot of discomfort within you.”

I hadn’t said anything

“You deny all these things in your life, all these experiences that are happening to you. In return you are miserable. Obviously you would be miserable.”

He just knew.

“If you take a fish out of the river and keep it in a small bucket, while that fist may be alive, is that fish actually living? Take the same fish and call it a dog. Will that fish stop swimming and start barking?”

He was here for me.

“Why are you denying yourself from living life? Life happens whether you choose to live or not. Learn to let go and let things be as they are. You cannot choose what happens to you in life, not all the time. Even when you plan every step of the way things will not end up how you had envisioned it. All you can do is choose how you are going to react to it.”

It all made sense at that time. He said those words, gave me another smile and walked away. After so long I had finally heard something that made sense to me. The words that Pakku had said resonated with me on a deeper, cosmic level.

I just needed to let go. I cannot control everything that happens. Whatever happens, happens. I just need to accept it for what it is.

Shawn waded through the long grass and up the hill, guided by the golden dust. At the apex of the hill, his eyes focused on a golden staircase in the middle of the field. This time he was no longer alarmed. A smile formed onto his face, unconsciously. His arms hung loosely by his side, his walk more and more comfortable with each step as the grass caressed, soothed, his legs.

The golden staircase was formed by more golden dust. Nothing about the staircase stood out anymore. It was what it was; a golden staircase in the middle of the fields going up into the sky as far as Shawn could see.

Shawn stepped onto the first step, body at peace, heart content, mind free.

“Let’s do this one step at a time.”

Je Suis Un Virgin

“Being a Virgin in this day and age is something to be proud of, you’re like a unicorn.”

Shirley to Annie on the TV Show Community
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Well strap a carrot onto my forehead and slap my Hiney because I’m a Unicorn baby.  Here’s another detail about my life that is irrelevant and unnecessary but fuck it.

Hehehehe “Butt fuck.”

As surprising as it may sound, a hunk like me is still a virgin. I’m 27 and you must be wondering how have I managed to stay a virgin for so long despite having all the honeys doing whatever they can to get some of this sugar. How have I managed not to give my flower to anyone despite being so sexy? Let me enlighten you my friends.

Firstly, I am a man of God.

That booty may be fire but it ain’t hotter than Hell. I am not risking going to hell. 10 seconds of booty time will lead to an eternity in hell. Is that trade off worth it? Hell naw. Y’all must be out here like “Wow, this guy IS a virgin cuz that booty sure as hell is worth it.” To that I say, join me my brothers and sisters. Together we shall make our way into heaven.

Secondly, I use the terms honeys (ladies), sugar (my love), dope and thebomb.com.

While the boys sure appreciate these terms, the honeys do not. Now that I think about it, the boys have not offered their booties to me…Are they really my boys if they haven’t done that yet?

Am I going to change myself for the honeys? Hell naw. We out here chilling like villains. I’d rather stay authentic than sell myself out for some booty. It’s all about integrity and “respek.”

Thirdly, I am a certified “gangsta”.

Look at my IG. You can see all that fresh drip…dripping off me. I have major cojones and need a girl that can vibe with that. That intimidates the ladies. I am so fuck-able that, it has entirely backfired, and I am equally un-fuck-able. I am a living breathing paradox. Life is a cruel mistress but we’re still out here chilling.

Fourthly, I am a gentleman.

You have to wine and dine ME to get some of this loving.

“No thank you ma’am. I am a gentleman and will not fondle your breasts no matter how much you may insist.”

Women no longer have the patience for the process. They just want to get a good bang for their buck and move on. You have to seduce me. Make me want you. I am here for the long run and women are scared of that commitment.

Fifthly? I never had a mobile phone.

I got my first phone at the age of 23 for work. It wasn’t even for myself. It’s not like my parents were against me having a phone throughout my childhood. In fact they really wanted to get a phone. I was opposed to the idea of having a phone. I didn’t like the idea of being on the “grid”. I didn’t want to be available 24/7 for anyone to contact me.

Now if I was smooth, I could’ve used that to my advantage. I could’ve tried to create a persona where I was a man of mystery. A man of few words. Unfortunately, I was neither that smart nor that smooth to A- conceive the idea and B – actually execute it. In fact this wasn’t even an idea I came up with on my own at the age of 27. A good friend of mine told me that this was a possibility… Oh well.

I now realise that this may have been detrimental in both making friends and finding a girlfriend. While everyone was connecting on WhatsApp or Facetime, your boy over here was too busy watching movies, tv shows, anime or gaming. While everyone was socialising and interacting over the internet I was too busy in my own world. No wonder I had a difficult social life during school, college and even university.

Now for all those wondering how I was contacted by my parents and what little friends I had, well that was only possible by 3 ways. The first was through MSN until that died. The second was through FB Messenger. Both these options were only possible if I was at a computer or laptop with internet so basically if I was already at home.

The third, and you guys will love this, was through calling the friend I was hanging out with. If my parents or my friends knew who I was going to be hanging out with, they would call that person who would then give me their phone and voila, you have now reached me.

If the friend I was with, was for some reason unable to answer his phone, my parents did not hesitate at all to contact his parents to get to me. In hindsight I was just being an idiot and made my own life much more difficult.

I feel like you’ve all picked up on the fact that the reason why I am a virgin and have never had a relationship is because I tend to shoot myself in the foot by being an idiot.

Sixthly? And I guess my first and only serious point, I don’t want to bother the ladies by asking them out.

I feel like women go through a lot and the last thing they need is another guy asking them out or putting them in a position where they feel uncomfortable. I am also very bad at picking up hints so for all I know women have been trying to tell me they like me but that hasn’t worked out yet.

I’m going to go off a tangent here but why don’t women just shoot their shot? It would be so much easier for women to go out with the guys they want if they took that chance. If a woman was to ask a guy out, the chances of him saying yes are very high. It’s a win-win situation. Whipping your hair or fluttering your eyes at the guy you like, hoping he’s going to notice is probably not going to work.

Unless it does work and I’m the only idiot here.

I know women are scared of getting hurt just like men are. Some women may have to be more cautious for their own safety as well. I’m just saying it would take the pressure off me if women who found me attractive (statistically there has to be at least one) would just shoot their shot with me.

Lastly, I am very delusional.

In reality I have an intimacy issue with women that probably stems off my rocky distant relationship with my mother. I do not possess the cojones that I have mentioned in point number 3.

I am terrified of women and the idea of a relationship, that I actively choose to do everything I can to be as unappealing as possible. I try my best so that they may deem me as an unfit and unsuitable partner and “bingo bango” I won’t get into a relationship. This way I will never have to deal with my issues. Refer to points 1-4 for proof of how I do this.

“I embrace my virginity” said every virgin ever.

If you think you have what it takes to change my mind feel free to hit me up on my socials or drop a comment below. If you think you have what it takes to change my sexual status, feel free to hit me up. I will probably hide and avoid talking to you if you were to actually send me a message.

For all the readers out there, who can’t pick up on the tone of the article (like me with women), I would like to clarify that this is a satirical article. I am joking…to a certain extent. As J. Cole says in his song Fire Squad “All good jokes contain true shit.”

Feel free to leave comments below to educate people, yes even myself, on the daily struggles that women go through every day.

Get Out of Your Head

Your cure is within you, yet you do not sense it! Your sickness is from you, yet you do not see it! You consider yourself a small body; yet encapsulated within you is the entire universe.

Quote by Imam Ali RA
Photo by Lukas Rychvalsky on Pexels.com

A good friend of mine shared this with me today and this is absolutely beautiful. We come into this world on our own and we leave this world on our own. Sure our family and friends are there but the majority of our time is spent alone.

We spend a lot of our time thinking in our heads. We have happy thoughts and sad thoughts. There are moments where we feel great. We are ready to take on the world. There are moments where we feel useless. We just want to hide from the world. There are moments where we feel big and powerful. There are moments where we feel small and worthless.

In my opinion, there will always be positive and negative feelings…emotions that we have to deal with on a daily basis. Depending on our mental state, some people have an easier time while others don’t.

There are a number of things that I do to help me deal with the negative thoughts and emotions that I go through. I am aware that these are unhealthy thoughts but I can’t help feel and think these thoughts and emotions. All I can do is try to deal with it the best way I can. I believe therapy is the best way to do this but until I go get therapy I try to cope/deal with them the best I can.

1 – Forgive yourself

Making “mistakes” is inevitable. Straying off your routine is bound to happen. We as humans are designed to make “mistakes”. We are designed to fail. We are also designed to persevere when we do fail. To be able to get back up after making a “mistake” or missing a workout is important. In order to do that you need to forgive yourself and move on. If you dwell on your shortcomings you’re going to be stuck in this rut. You will hold yourself back. You won’t love yourself and it’ll make life harder than it already is. Forgive yourself when you make a mistake and move on.

2 – Empathy

We tend to be more empathetic towards others than we are to ourselves. Think about it. When you miss a workout you tend to be harsh on yourself. You call yourself useless and fat. You beat yourself up about it. When a friend comes to you and complains how they missed a workout you tend to be more supportive. You tell them things like “It’s ok to take a break” or “You’ll get back at it tomorrow.” We tend to criticise ourselves very harshly. What I’ve tried to do is to talk to myself the way I would talk to my friends, with empathy. I’ve been trying to be less harsh towards myself.

Hold yourself to the same standards that you hold your friends to. There’s a hypocrisy in the way we act. We pretend that the standard we have set for ourselves is much higher while for our family and friends is much lower. Why do we do that? Shouldn’t the standards be the same? Isn’t that why we call them standards?

The reason why we hold our family and friends to a lower standard is because we look at them with empathy. We understand how life gets in the way. We understand how lack of sleep can be detrimental. However, when it comes to ourselves these excuses become unacceptable. Our ego pretends that we are better than the rest of them and in return we are very harsh on ourselves. That becomes more damaging than helpful.

3 – You hold the power

You are not helpless. This is what the quote above pertains to in my opinion. It is important to remind ourselves that we are not helpless. We hold the power. If we want to change, we have to put in the effort and change. We have to mould ourselves. We have to focus on the things we have control over. There is no point in thinking about things out of your control. Realigning your focus on things you have control over helps by changing the task at hand into a more manageable and less overwhelming tasks. It helps you come out of the victim mentality where you feel like everything is someone else’s fault rather than your own. Once you are able to come out of that mind-set, you start taking charge of your life. You start controlling and changing things within your control. Before you know it, you’ll be on the way.

4 – Rationalise the negative thoughts and feelings

This is a huge one that I struggle with on a daily basis. One of the absolute worst thoughts I have, that I’m assuming many others do as well (if not…oops), is I think people don’t care about me or love me. I tend to get disheartened when I don’t get a reply to a text message. I feel unloved when plans get cancelled or people hang out without me. I know I need therapy for this. From what I’ve read my behaviour is as a result of childhood trauma. Don’t really know how to STOP having those negative thoughts and feelings. Maybe they never stop. I don’t really know.

Instead what I try to do, to cope with this is rationalise those negative thoughts and emotions. I start with reminding myself that everybody has a life. They are busy doing other things. They are probably too busy to respond as I am when I get busy. That does not mean that they do not love me. If they did not love me, they would not be my friends. Once I remind myself of these things, most of the times, those thoughts and feelings go away. Sometimes I’m just lonely and would like to hang out with someone but since no one is free so you occupy yourself with other things.

5 – Look at things with Love

I try to look at every possible situation from a place of love. If I put on those “lenses” and look at the world from that perspective, suddenly, all of life’s problems disappear. My friend didn’t reply to me. I could choose to believe that they are ignoring me and hate me. I could choose to look at it from a place of love. They are probably busy and will reply when they are free. I am useless. I can choose to believe that or I can remind myself that I have accomplished so many things in life. A friend of mine has achieved something amazing. I can choose to be jealous of their success or I can choose to congratulate and support them reminding myself that their success does not take anything away from who I am.

I have noticed that when you’re first instinct is to come from a place of love or to look at things as an optimist you tend to be happier. All those negative thoughts disappear and you feel great again. I will talk about love on its own separately. Try to look at everything from a place of love.

These are a couple of things I do to try to keep loving myself. I try to remind myself of my worth to myself. I try to forgive myself.  Obviously these are no substitutes to therapy but hopefully it helps knowing that you’re all alone. We are all in this beautiful messed up situation together.

The most important thing to remember is to Keep Loving. Love yourself. Love others. Love everyone and everything.

Discipline is Key

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

At the age of 27 I have realised that Discipline is the key to life. If I’m being honest there are many keys to life, each one connected to the other BUT Discipline is a major key in life.

The way I do it is I have split my tasks into 2 groups:

  1. Shit that needs to get done
  2. Shit that doesn’t need to get done

The shit that doesn’t need to get done, most of the times, is the shit that I WANT to do so it gets done anyways. Things like watching a show on Netflix, shopping or eating at a fancy restaurant. These aren’t things that I consider compulsory or mandatory to do but I enjoy them and so they happen. I tend to let these things flow and not focus on them. If it happens, I enjoy the moment. If it doesn’t happen, it didn’t happen and I just move on. These things flow like the waves of the ocean. Some days I’ll do them, some days I won’t.

The shit that NEEDS to get done include things like working out, eating healthy, going to work or writing. To me these things are essential in living a healthy lifestyle. The working out and eating healthy keeps me physically fit. Going to work gets me paid and helps maintain the healthy lifestyle that I want. The writing helps keep me emotionally and mentally fit.

To get these things you need to develop a healthy habit of doing those things with keeping discipline in mind. Let’s use working out as an example. You need to start small. If you go on a 5k run on your first session, it’s going to do more harm than good. You may hurt yourself physically and you’ll be demotivated mentally as well. You’re going to be disheartened to continue running the next day.

The faster you try to change, the harder you’ll revert back into your old habits. They may even become worse.

The idea is to start slowly. You start by walking 1k a day and build on it until you get to 5k. Then once you’ve begun walking 5k a day, you can start to run 1k and walk the rest of the 4k and build on that. Once you manage to jog 5k, you can start working on improving your time and doing it faster or increase your distance. That’s just the way I did it.

The idea is to develop a healthy habit in a small and manageable way so that you develop a habit that will last longer.

The same can be applied to eating healthy. You start small. Remove one or two items from your current diet. You can remove fizzy drinks and chocolates. Stick to avoiding those 2 items. Before long you’ll notice that not only have you not consumed those items but you no longer have this need or desire to consume those items. In a way you have developed the habit of not consuming those items. After that you can build on it and move on to other sugary items or items high in calories. You can implement intermittent fasting in your diet if your goal is to lose weight or feel more energetic.

I have been intermittent fasting for 6 months now and I feel great when I wake up. I feel like I have more energy and I am ready to take the day on.

Have a think about your life. Decide what type of life you want to build. Start small. Use discipline to keep going and before you know it you’ll start to notice changes in your life. Focus on the process rather than the goal. You do want to lose weight but obviously you don’t want to be miserable while doing it. It can be done. You just need to sit down and start changing small things and they will all add up.

Think about it. When we are born we can barely move on our own. Slowly we start crawling, then walking and before you know it we start running. With time, practice, resilience and discipline we manage to go from a baby that can’t move on its own to Usain Bolt winning the Gold medal at the Olympics.

People tend to rely on motivation to get promoted at work or lose weight. I think motivation is bullshit. Motivation comes and goes depending on your state of mind. Your mind/ego likes to play tricks on you. It doesn’t want you to succeed and be self-reliant because it wants you to keep needing it. You’re in this loop where your ego makes you feel like shit, you continue to live your unhappy life, you feel like shit and it repeats. This helps sustain your ego. I’ll write some more about this in a different piece.

Discipline on the other hand works independently. I do not give a fuck if I am not in the mood to work out. We are getting out of bed and going for this run. Once, I start running I get into it and before you know it I am done. I don’t care how much I want to eat that pizza past 7 pm. We are not going to eat this pizza. We are going to drink some water and move on. Even if I am not in the mood, I’ll still try to do something as that is better than nothing. I try not to beat myself about it. Just get to work. Do a small workout and move on. If I am really hungry I’ll eat past 7 pm and move on.

It all comes down to you and how you want to do it. You set the goals, the method and the pace because you have to do the work. You do whatever it takes to get the lifestyle you want.

Discipline is the key. Hold yourself accountable to small things and you will develop the healthy habits that you want to develop before you know it. Look for the development of long term habits rather than short term goals. When you revert and fall back from those short term goal oriented routine, you fall harder.

Take it slowly. Start small and build on it with time and comfort. Enjoy the process. You’ll have gone farther than you had anticipated before you even realise it.

Remember, you are doing this for you and for no one else. No one else cares if you have a healthy lifestyle. In fact some people might thrive on watching you be miserable. It makes them feel good about themselves. Remind yourselves that this is for you and stay strong. There’s no harm in taking a break if you want to. Just learn to be content and disciplined and life will work its way out.

If you want me to write some more about how I have transformed my physical, mental or emotional state or have something specific you want me to give you a different perspective on, feel free to ask in the comment section below or send me a message on any of my social accounts that are linked at the bottom of the website.

Stay strong. Stay safe. Keep on loving.

Decision Making

Photo by Hrishikesh Deshkar on Pexels.com

There is a fable from Aesop about the Miller, his son and his ass. The fable talks about how the Miller tries to please everyone and in the end loses his donkey. The moral of the story is that if you try to please everyone, you will lose everything. We often think too hard about what decision is the ‘right’ one and what the ‘wrong’ one is.

How can we tell if what we are doing is ‘right’?

Once we manage to make a decision, after much deliberation, we then tend to regret that decision and think that we would have been better off with the other option. After all, hindsight is 20/20. There’s a lot of uncertainty and regret when it comes to decision making in life, regardless of how big or small those decisions are.

I have found a way that makes it easier for me to determine what is ‘right’ and accept the consequences that may arise as a result of making that decision. This works for me so it might help all of you.

Before making any decision I ask myself 2 questions:

1 – Am I coming from a place of love?

2 – Will this make me happy?

I try to do things from a place of love and let the consequences take care of themselves. I may do something out of self-love or love for others. I am trying to focus more on self-love but both points of views are valid in my opinion. The idea is that if you come from a place of love, you know that the intention of your decisions are coming from a good place. Therefore, whatever decision you make, you have made with good intentions. For some of you that may not be important, but for me it is.

The means matter more than the ends.

If I can see this decision making me happy then I am going to take that decision. Happiness is achieved by doing something that resonates with you at an inner level. Obviously, things will not go the way you intend for them to go BUT as long as you keep that in mind and focus on the journey rather than the end goal then you’ll be happier.

The idea is to find happiness in the pursuit of your goals and not in your goals.

While making any decision it is important to remind yourself that you have made this decision to the best of your ability with the information that you had at that time. You need to be content with the decision you have made and be willing to accept all the consequences. You need to realise that you can only control your own actions. If you have given it your best shot then that’s all that matters. Whatever happens past your control happens.

Surrendering yourself to this mentality will help you be more content and at peace. It will focus your attentions on things that will matter and before you know it you’ll be in a place that you had never envisioned.

Think about it.

5 years ago, even a couple of months ago, no one would have thought that we’d be in the midst of a pandemic. The whole world has been affected. Yet here we are. Do we have any control? To a certain extent yes. We can choose how to spend all this free time that we have suddenly found. We can choose to follow health guidelines and protect ourselves and others. We can choose to put ourselves in the gloom and doom mindset where we focus on all the negatives, where we focus on how we can’t go out and meet our friends. Regardless of what you do the fact that we are in this pandemic will not change. Therefore, why focus on what we have no control over. Why don’t we focus on what is within our control.

Life is always bliss. It all depends on how you choose to direct your energy and focus.

These things will help you develop a sense of self-love as well. When you make decisions that are in line with your true self then you are able to be happier.

How do you know what resonates with your true self?

You experience life and enjoy it. Listen to your feelings and life will guide you.