On Living – Part I

I hope this will inspire other people, this is not about me.

Today I made a decision, one I thought I made months ago over and over again.
Today I did something a lot of 18 year olds long to do, but hesitate to.
I get it you know, it’s scary.

Today I walked down my department’s hallway for the last time as a member. It’s all white, with labs everywhere; it smells like in a hospital. You see, this smell, these people, that jargon, this world is my safe place. I grew up in a home where my parents were always supportive to whatever I was passionate about. But I also grew up feeling the happiest in Hospitals’ Hallways, always looking up to my dad in scrubs. This home I grew up in however was a medical specter. My whole life I’ve learned, without even knowing it, about the different drugs, their side effects, surgeries, illnesses, new scientific discoveries. Ergo my maintaining interest in Life Sciences. “I’m so good here”, I thought.
I found my passion when I was only twelve years old. I simply never took it seriously, “It’s just a hobby” “Keep it as a Hobby” “Have a good job, and do whatever you love aside”.

Last year, I let that little beast grow and scream when I transferred to the Economics and Sociology section. I found myself. My passion wasn’t just a simple hobby anymore; it was a part of me. Something I could and would never get rid of.
If you’re a friend of mine, you’d remember the days when I was asked “So, what are you applying to at AUB?” And I’d say “God knows.” Then, “Nutrition, but I don’t think I’ll stay there, I don’t know”. And we’d just laugh, like it was a joke; obviously, Nadine the nerd will get in nutrition, fall in love, pursue it with ambition and become successful.
This vision turned into my dream. My path was clear; clinics were waiting, patients were right at the door. I’m “bent el-Hakim”.
I jumped on every-one-I-know’s necks when I got accepted. Little did they know, I’d applied for Business too, Public Administration, after struggling between PA and Literature. Still, I wasn’t ready yet. I was convinced; the good, reasonable path was the right one, and hell did I love it!
I still do, I always will. It’s this first love you’ll never stop loving.

Until my English teacher walked in the classroom. Like an epiphany, it’s like I’d been blind my whole life. I finally got THE answer to the world’s question; “How do you see yourself in ten years?” Ever since, for three months now, I’ve been struggling between the voice in my heart, and the commitment to my good, right, future. I asked so many people, the right ones, not because I wanted them to choose for me, but for simple research. 90% of the people I talked to, all of them being graduates or doctors, didn’t do what they “really” wanted to do. Why? “Ma fi cheghel” “Cava, betreka hobby” “Haram mosryyet ahle”. Also, others who did do what they wanted to do told me “Nadine, I know you want to follow your heart, but at some point, you’ll dream of the job you can have in the right, good path.”

I struggled between doing a double major, have the best of both worlds, or leave my passion for writing aside.

Double major was a really good option. I’m a nerd, I can do it. One day though, I realized that once I graduate, I’ll leave my BS in Nutrition aside, and go for my dream. My heart was just screaming too loudly, it could’ve exploded and ran towards the old Fisk building on campus.

Today, I decided to do something for the youth who died early.
For all of the people who didn’t pursue their dreams, or didn’t get to.
Who were too afraid of the future, who wanted to do the right thing.
I’ve always been a “Good, right, person”.
Today I choose not to be. Not while getting drunk or cheating on someone, not by lying or getting high.
Today I chose not to be good and right, leave my safe place, and jump into the emptiness that is my dream.
I won’t let my job status define my happiness, nor the money.
I won’t let my reason suffocate me anymore.
I refuse to take my life for granted.
This is what “You only live once” means.

With loads of support of my family and friends, I still wasn’t ready to do it. With all my prayers, I still wasn’t ready to do it. It’s so scary. It’s terrifying. I love it.

This is one of the hardest things I ever had to do. Because the problem here isn’t society, or pressure, the problem is me. I am afraid to open that door.
I’m still afraid
however I’m confident: This is my right thing.
I have big dreams, you’ll see.

Today I said goodbye to the home that is a labcoat.
I said goodbye to Erlenmeyer flasks and test tubes.
I said goodbye to my family.
Today I said hello to Art, Passion, Humanity in its source, and true Wealth.
Do I know what I’m going to be once I graduate? Haha no.
But I know who I am.
Today I left for the first time my comfort zone
Goodbye childhood, today I chose to grow.

Today I chose adventure and I’ve never felt so alive

On a pair of Legs –

Oh the things you’ll go through once you attend university!
Oh the independence, the parties, the friends,
Oh the amount of work you’ll have, oh how you’ll finally see the world as it is.

All of these instances trust me, I’ve seen and expected.

If there’s something I’ve learned in the past month, it’s how insecure I feel in my society. And that’s very sad.

I’m sick of having to leave the library before 10pm, because otherwise I’d have to drag my guy friend with me to the end of the street, and hold my mother on the phone till I get out of the 7 floor parking, just because I’m in a poor isolated street in Hamra.
Walaw ? benet la hala ? Ma bi sir !” is how I got raised.

I’m sick of men staring and honking at me because I own a pair of shaved legs, a waist, breasts, and I walk like a lady. I hate it when they slow down to catch every bit of naked skin on my body, making me wonder “Is it too high? Is it too low?”

I hate the fact that I run out of the restrooms if they’re underground, just to avoid meeting the poor cleaning man and being alone with him.

I hate the fact that I have to avoid eye contact, saying good morning with a smile, or have a good day in the elevator to a man; oh the many times I did, little did I know I was being polite, and later he’d follow me to my destination asking me questions.

I hate the simple fact that ever since I’ve entered the adult world, I’ve felt like a prey.
All I can hear is “Rape”.

A little crazy you’d say, but I guarantee you 75% of the women reading this can relate to what I’m writing, even though they won’t admit it.

Wait till you grow up, it’ll get better, you’ll be stronger”.  I think you mean I’ll be in denial or get used to it. I’m taller, stronger, and more courageous than half the 30 year old women I know. This has nothing and should have nothing to do with growing up.

What if I’m fit just to have a better lifestyle? What if I have big breasts and wearing a shirt that hasn’t an opened area suffocates me? Hell, there shouldn’t even be an excuse for wearing shorts! What if I’m simply hot because of the 40 degree weather outside?

Wearing eccentric clothes is not what I’m talking about. It’s a whole other debate.
I wear very decent clothes but apparently knees appeal men just as much as thighs do.

Why can’t I feel safe in my own campus?

Again, a little extreme you say? What about the numbers? Google the percentage of reported rape in universities.  Would you report being raped? Would you tell people? I’m sick of it happening around me, and still having dozens of people telling me “Lah chou beke, ma bet sir chedde halik”. Chedd hale? Out of the 50 close friends I have, 5 got raped and that’s 10% for you.

Rape is one aspect. It’s the one that hurts both physically and psychologically.

If you already called me crazy, okay. Know this :

Honking? Staring? Judging? Being rude? Making me feel like a prostitute? Don’t make you any better as a person.

By the way, having the parking people asking to park my car for me in case “a bta3rfich madame” makes me want to hit them in the face. I can parallel park my car between two trucks, I can let it stick to a wall with all of them + their egos all around, and I can use it just as well as they do thank you very much.  What if a guy couldn’t park his car? Would he have the guts to ask for help? Poor little boy probably never will!

I don’t want this article to be about feminism. I want it to be about stereotypes like “She’s nice because she wants me” and about the “Hey look a woman walking! Let’s honk at it until it looks, sees our repelling expressions, gets disgusted and feels uncomfortable until we leave!”

Writing about how some women take it as a compliment is something I’ll definitely do. But that’s not the point here.

I don’t think laws and regulations are going to make me feel any safer. I don’t think anything will. I don’t, for once, have a proposition or solution to write about. Finally, I don’t think people (not necessarily women) who got raped aren’t afraid of going through it again.

I guess I’m writing this out of anger, sadness, and in some kind of support to other victims of all of this.

The fear will always be there. But you certainly don’t need masters and PHDs to control yourself from honking at a pair of legs.




On “Saving Yourself”

A lot of women brag and talk endlessly about saving their virginity for “The One”. Yes I’m talking about staying a virgin before marriage. While most of them, if not the total number, forget to actually Save Themselves.
You worry about saving a piece of skin for the one you’re going to spend the rest of your life with, while you give away every other thing of your soul, whenever, however, wherever.
This post isn’t about any sexual aspect or ideology, it was just a strategy to grab your attention.

I am an eighteen year old girl who’s single and not ready to mingle. I have loved more than you know, and been hurt more than I can count. I’m not writing this right after a break up, this is not reaction.
My life is simple: I am happy. You know when you meet someone, and it’s going really well, and you start singing in the car, shower, class, everything and everyone seem so positive suddenly, well yeah I get that every day, without being or having someone in my life.
I now get why my mother would despise me going out with boys when I was younger. It wasn’t because she’s too traditional or because she didn’t get me, it wasn’t even because of protection. It was because ( I think), she knew, that it would be a waste to share so much of yourself with someone, and it would be unfair to the significant other to be with them, while you can’t be with yourself. At the age of 14,15,16,17,18,19,20… the list goes on! At any age: We are not ready to be with someone if we can’t be with ourselves.
“Don’t trust a naked Guy who’s giving you clothes” Will forever be my motto. How do you expect to be in a relationship that is healthy, that lasts, where there is balance, trust, while the two participants don’t know themselves yet, where they are going through changes during which they should be alone. This is not about puberty. This is about life.
If you’re not happy and jumping and on top of the world when you’re alone, if you can’t manage to feel that rush of happiness in you by yourself, would you really be “saving” yourself up for someone?

Getting there isn’t easy. Getting there includes going through hell. The good part is, you eventually do get there.

I am an eighteen year old girl, first semester of university, first taste of true freedom. I mostly live alone, and I barely invite friends over. Not because I’m boring, but because I cherish more than anything my alone time. I love the taste of alcohol and music, but I don’t go out to “fish” for guys. I love my body, the way it looks, I work out and eat healthy, I fix my nails and hair, but I don’t to do it for someone. I don’t do it to appeal to anyone. I’m not looking for anyone. How would you be looking for someone the right way, if you haven’t found yourself yet?

Girls around me just keep on being broken hearted, after long relationships something for some reason whatsoever goes wrong. They don’t get it. I didn’t get it. Now I do. I don’t think any relationship (including marriage) would work if both can’t be happy alone, or weren’t happy at some point in their lives, alone. By happy I don’t mean grateful, or successful or surrounded by good friends. I mean feeling complete. Like there’s no gap anymore, to fulfill yourself, by yourself.

I am not I can assure you a desperate person in denial. I’ve had opportunities and decided to say no. Because I knew, I wasn’t okay, I wasn’t ready. This is how I save myself up for my ones. Yes ones. Not One. “Lak rouhe tsallilik bi chi wahad ma daroure serious ma serious ! LIVE YOUR LIFE” Etsalla? Are you freaking kidding me? What if I told you I’m living the most exciting happy life, I have fun. I go out. I dress up. I laugh my heart out. I do my best. I bring out the best in me. I have been with people; I know what it’s like! It’s amazing I love it, there’s nothing I love more than to love, share, and give.

Then can you imagine how amazing it would be how upgraded it would feel to be with someone after you’ve been with yourself? To save yourself up to people?
You know that struggle of saving your virginity? Yeah it’s nothing compared to saving yourself. Saving yourself is a long, hard, painful, doubtful, way. People used to tell me “You’ll get there”. I knew that. And it didn’t make it any easier. Because at the end of the day, you will have to climb that mountain.

Whether it’s the hard way, alone, or by endlessly trying to find someone, you’ll climb it. But trust me; the hard way is the one with the most beautiful results. You’ll be complete. You’ll be a free Spirit. And then will you be ready to be free with someone.

People who are going through something hard, blessed art thou. Life is giving you the opportunity to arrive On Top of Your World, and trust me, the view is magnificent.