Some Things Need to Stop, Others Need to be Done

I haven’t blogged in a while, but I am back.

I am here to tell you about something that is bothering me in a way nothing else has ever bothered me before.

We are living in a world where women are constantly objectified, catcalled, beaten and harmed, treated like a second-class species, and regarded as projects that need to be enhanced.

Young teenage girls look up to people like Kylie Jenner who, even if she denies it, has underwent more than 5 plastic surgeries to look the way she looks now. They think that thick and full lips, wide hips, big butt, long eyelashes, and an extremely flat stomach are the correct idea of beauty. Yes, Kylie was able to build her own empire at only 19, but she’s far from a natural. Millions of people are going through plastic surgery to meet the idea of “a perfect face”, when in reality, all they did was turn into dolls full of silicon. Looking up the “baddies” of Twitter and idolizing models/TV icons are pushing young girls to hate their bodies and their appearance and thus creating depression and anxiety when they fail to reach the standards of beauty. Girls don’t want their thighs to touch, don’t want their butts to be flat, don’t want to be flat-chested, don’t want to have stretch marks etc. What they see on Instagram is in reality the outcome of time spent on Photoshop to perfectionate the model. People don’t actually look like that. What’s funny is that girls I know always complained about having natural wide hips, when the idol of many (Kylie) had a surgery to have that body shape.

Moreover, I traveled recently and everywhere I went, it was as if girls and young women wore pretty much nothing. Cropped tops look like bras, and shorts are so short you would think girls are walking in their underwear. The questions I ask myself are why would they expose themselves like that? Is that considered “eye candy”? Do young girls feel better about themselves and how they attract people’s attention that way? I don’t understand. What happened to elegance?

Don’t start barking at me with all your “she can wear whatever the fuck she wants” bullshit. Elegance is my standard, and I wouldn’t allow my daughter or even my sister to walk in the streets wearing clothes that look like underwear. This isn’t about feminism, or women’s rights, or I don’t know what other shit people use as an excuse. This is about self-respect. My body is not an object for display. A woman’s body isn’t eye candy. The only things that should catch a man’s attention should be the way a woman treats others, respects others and herself, how she thinks, how she tackles a problem, and how elegant she is. However, this is only my point of view on the subject. But if a young woman wants to wear these revealing outfits, she should not be objectified, and it shouldn’t be an excuse for anyone to attack or harrass this young woman.

HONY

HONYCAP

“YOU DON’T HAVE TO SHOW SKIN TO GET ATTENTION.”

Now, onto advertisements. I’ll start off by showing you these two videos.

It’s disgusting to see and know that women’s bodies are used as advertising material to sell products. What’s worse is that it is not just found in advertisements, but also in video games (as shown in the first video). The graphics used in video games are highly powerful and portray an image of women that is not technically appealing. Video games also give many male gamers a chance to approach the female character in the game in many sexual ways. Night clubs in video games also have strippers in them, so you can clearly see where this is going.

What’s even worse is that kids everywhere are seeing these advertisements. I’ve come across the idea of the effect of seeing naked women and pornography on children in two books. In the first book, Love Won Out by John and Anne Paulk, Anne tells readers that she had found pornography magazines in her friend’s house and seeing the women, in their very unappealing positions, terrified and scarred her. These images made her feel ashamed of being a woman and were one of the few factors that pushed her to become homosexual. In the second book, A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, Mariam, who was married at a young age to a man older than she is, found a pornography magazine in her husband’s drawer. Again, she was scared and disgusted by the women in the magazine. I’ll show you a third video about kids’ reactions to seeing disturbing ads.

Credits: WomenNotObjects

I think the video says enough. We should protect our little ones, before protecting ourselves.

Furthermore, I would like to talk about a phenomenon observed in my country. My country has welcomed many refugees in the past years and there have been a few incidents ever since. Because of these incidents, girls are afraid of walking in the streets. And it’s not just because of refugees, but men in general. It is highly uncomfortable to walk in the streets and to be looked at as if you were a cookie. No, not all men are uncontrollable, bad, trash or harmful. But what I’m trying to say is that the existence of street harassment cannot be denied. Phrases like “Hi ya helwe” (Hello, gorgeous), “Shou hayda, shou hayda!” (their way to say “hot damn”) are quite often heard in public areas, and the number of girls who are uncomfortable walking in the streets or taking a taxi is increasing. Street harassment needs to stop, and that is by educating our younger ones about respect.

Catcallslippery slope of street harassment

Street harassment has many forms, and until the issue is resolved, the only thing we can do is raise awareness.

Also, There is a project known as the KIP Project on Gender and Sexuality  that tackles the issue of street harassment, and when it comes to my country’s case, the following video was done (it’s in Arabic): https://www.facebook.com/theKIPproject/videos/1782181905406104/

The following video encourages the community to stop street harassment through the use of the hashtag #مش_بسيطة (#ItsNotOkay) and by making powerful campaigns. Thankfully, many non-governmental organizations have succeeded in defending women’s rights in my country and in others, so there’s a lot of faith in the KIP Project.

Read full article: http://stepfeed.com/lebanon-says-mesh-basita-to-sexual-harassment-7470?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=PagePost

Now, what I would like to do is tell you a few things.

  1. Your body is something that belongs to you. If you want to set a goal, take my advice and let your goal be HEALTHY. Not skinny, but healthy. If you want to eat, then go eat. Eat whatever you want.
  2. Your standard should be elegant, not trashy. Trust me, the fashion industry is full of classy clothes that you could wear. And if you insist on wearing whatever you find cool then I can’t really stop you.
  3. Do not respond to catcalling. Or, here’s a trick given by a 23-year-old woman: elevate the comment to your comfort level. If he says, “How are you doing, baby?”, she would say, “I’m doing very well, young man”. And if the form of harassment is a whistle or so, she’d just ignore it. (I love this article: https://www.bustle.com/articles/97065-do-you-respond-to-catcalling-23-women-reveal-how-they-reply-to-street-harassment)
  4. Do not look up to TV icons or celebrities. They enter the industry to try and look appealing and make money out of their stupid products.
  5. Protect your children by observing what they are watching and which games they are playing. Make sure everything is under your control.
  6. Encourage your loved ones to talk if they ever encounter a disturbing ad or go through something that made them uncomfortable.
  7. Love yourself. Love your curves, your bruises, your teeth, your stomach, your clothes, your hair. LOVE YOUR FLAWS.
  8. Change is good, as long as you’re not doing it for others. Yes, go through plastic surgery, not because others pointed out your crooked nose, but because you think it’s better for YOU. If you want to try a new dress style, do it. Because you WANT to, not because you HAVE to or you FEEL LIKE THEY WON’T LIKE YOU if you don’t.
  9. People who don’t like you for who you are are definitely losing an incredible person from their lives. Forget them, find people who will love your personality and your natural looks.
  10. Let a man fall in love with your mind, not just your body.

 

Now I support the WomenNotObjects campaign.

I stand up for my future.
I stand up for myself.
I stand up for my future daughter.
I stand up for my mother.
I stand up for my best friends.
I stand up for my dignity.

Stop objectifying women. Stop hurting women. Stop undermining women. Don’t talk to a woman in a disrespectful way. A woman’s place is not under your power, but in the outer world, in the revolution, in a place where she could make a difference. #WomenNotObjects

 

 

 

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New Beginnings

We can put it all behind us.

There is no need to spend the summer miserable, thinking of what we could’ve done. There is no need to remember all the tears that have been wasted on people who made us feel bad or unimportant. There is no need to remember that our high school crushes actually never liked us back. There is no need to think of all the failed tests, or all the negative attitudes of others, or all the jealousy that has been born, or all the drama that has been created over the past years.

High school is officially over. I graduated. It’s all behind me now.

I would like to thank my parents and friends for always sticking by my side and for reminding me that failure will never define who we are. They played a big part in molding me into the person I am today.

All I can hope for is a promising future, and a bright college experience.

 

Controlled

It’s been a while since I last shared some of my drawings here. 

I’ve been looking at other people’s drawings on Instagram and Facebook and I saw that some of these drawings have a deep meaning behind them; things concerning society and culture. 

I’ve sketched two drawings really quickly the other night and I thought I should share them with you. 


The first drawing (if you can tell) was inspired by the idea that “skinny” is people’s, and especially young girls’, goal. The man is being suffocated by the waistband, even though he’s gotten too skinny to the point where his ribs are showing. 

The second drawing is pretty obvious. Our emotions, as well as society’s standards and criticism, control us. We are like puppets succumbing to the desires of society and to our emotions and feelings. The hardest thing for a puppet is to come alive and break free. 

I’ll make sure to post more drawings from now on…so many things I want to share with you. Until next time, create and keep blogging. 

April 30th, 2017

I believe I have gathered enough “life lessons” to write a decent inspiring post.

I would like to begin by telling you that no matter how tough the obstacles you’re facing might seem, and no matter how impossible you think life’s being at the moment, it’s important to remember that time always makes things better. When you give things time, without trying to interfere every now-and-then, things eventually get better. Time offers people the chance to look back on whatever has happened. For example, if two friends had an argument, the logical thing to do would be for one of them to apologize. The problem in many cases is that none of the people involved in the argument accepts to admit that s/he is wrong. However, if this is the case, I suggest that each person gives things some time, because the others would still he enraged, and having a discussion with someone who’s mad never goes far. Give the others 2-3 days to calm down (and don’t bring up the subject before then), and that is when you can try to fix things. Time heals.

Another thing I would like to talk about is learning to not be selfish. And by that I don’t mean selfish as in not giving others anything, but as wanting your favorite people only to yourself. Let me elaborate because I am haunted the most by that bad trait. My best friend and I talk every day, and I introduced that friend to my other friends and I was completely cool. But with the years, I started feeling like my best friend and my other friends clicked so well and I had no place in my best friend’s life anymore (yes, maybe I’m overdramatizing it). The sad part is that I started blaming myself for introducing my best friend to other people! The thing I want to tell you is that people can’t be yours. We would love it if they could, but they can’t. And perhaps it’s all in your head. I’m pretty sure your best friends love you a lot (and I do mean a lot) but you have to give them their space! I know it hurts to see your best friend and other friends bonding so well, when you know it’s what you and your best friend always had, but that’s life, and you can’t really stop it. It definitely hurts, and I get it, but you can’t go up to the person and say “hey, no talking to anybody else but me.” 

The last “lesson” I want to mention goes as follows: 

Never, ever, under any circumstances, think that everyone is better than you are. Certainly there are people who are smarter, prettier, or funnier than you are but that doesn’t mean that everyone is better than you are. I am 100% sure that you are extraordinary, that you have a gift the people who are prettier/smarter/funnier would die to have! You are incredible just the way you are, and somewhere out there is someone who will think that you are nothing less than phenomenal. 

That was it for this post, and I would like to tell all the fellow readers out there that  yes, I do talk to you like I’ve had my entire life figured out, but in reality I don’t. Obviously. But these are things you are taught and things you learn every day of your life, and spreading morals and life lessons is actually a good way to grow and turn to the better. Never settle for less than what you deserve, learn to live and be happy even if it takes time, give without taking, love unconditionally, forgive the haters, forgive your mistakes, and keep blogging. 

Moments 

“Nick, stop!” Jane screamed as she followed Nick, who was running madly in the streets.

Nick had avoided getting hit by a car several times, but there is nothing that showed he will certainly remain alive if he continues running.

Jane ran recklessly, avoiding buildings and road signs, and tripped. 

She shrieked. She tried to stand up, but her ankle was too swollen. She cried, screamed in pain, and tried finding a way to stand up again but it was useless. She cried a little more and when she lifted her head, she saw a hand extended towards her, there to help her get up. It was Nick. 

“I can’t stand up,” she said.

“Stand on one foot. I’ll carry you.” 

He carried her all the way to the nearest bench and they both sat there. 

“I called an ambulance. They’ll take care of you,” he said.

Jane was silent. 

“Jane, I…”

“I don’t want to hear it. I’m furious. Why in the fucking world would you run like this?” 

“Jane, I was running away because it was the only way.” 

“The only way for what?” she asked.

“This might sound illogical, but it’s the only way to avoid facing my problems. I thought of running as far as I can, running away from it all. I couldn’t stand it, I was going insane.”

Jane sat there silent. 

She said, a little calm now, “Nick, you have no idea what it’s like to have to deal with something that kills you inside.”

“I think I do. All of what I’m facing right now proves that I do,” he said.

“There’s something I need to tell you…” 

“Nick,” she continued, “I…I am jealous and selfish.” 

“You? Selfish? Jealous? How does that even make sense?”
He looked surprised.

“I am fucking jealous of Rosie. I can’t handle the way she gets everyone to like her, nor the way her hair has volume in all the right places, nor the way she aces all her courses, nor the way she’s so good at everything she does, nor the way she took you away from me.”

Jane paused. Nick seemed to be puzzled.

“Woah, woah, woah,” he said, “Take me away from you? Where’s that coming from? You were always okay with me sometimes hanging out with other people.” 

“I thought I was but, Nick, I can’t stand seeing you so happy with her. What happened to Nick and Jane? The incredible duo? Our laughs? Our memories? Our late-night conversations?”

“Nothing has changed,” he continued.

“Oh, it has changed a lot. Nick, I apologized the first time for trying to pull you and Rosie apart but it is killing me inside. I can’t do anything but smile, but in reality, my heart is being torn into a million pieces.”

“I’m selfish because I want you all to myself, Nick Dawson. I don’t like it when Rosie interrupts our chats, when you talk about how much fun you two are having together. In fact, that breaks my heart.” 

“…It breaks my heart to see you so happy with someone else.” 

Nick remained silent, looked Jane in the eyes, and grabbed her hands.

“Jane, you are the most important person in my life. I would never want to make you feel unwanted or left out or replaced.”

“Well, you did.” 

“Would you let me finish? I have to remind you how special you are to me. And there’s only one way to do it…”

Nick was interrupted by the sound of thunder. The lightning blinded them for a second, and the rain started pouring heavily. 

“Looks like the universe wants to make things special,” Nick said with a smile.

“What’s happening?” 

“Grab my hand. I’m going to sweep you off your feet.” 

“You want to dance?” said Jane, “I can’t stand up.” 

“You don’t have to,” he said.

Nick immediately carried her in his arms and twirled her around about five times, and enjoyed every second her scared laugh.

He put her back on the bench, and she said, “I can’t believe you would spin me like that! Why would you do that?” 

“I want to hear you laugh. I want to hear you scream and hold me tightly because you’re afraid you’d fall. I want to hear you yell at me to put you down. I want to hear your breath as you try to calm down from all the spinning. I want you to love me again.” 

“I love you, Nick, you know that.” 

“The feeling is mutual. Now, anything else I could do for you before the ambulance gets here? It’s about time it arrives.” 

“Well, there is one thing…”

“Name it.”

“Hold me tightly, and protect me from the pouring rain. Hold my hand, and say you won’t let go, even during our darkest times. A promise for our friendship.” 

“Anything you want, milady.” 

He hugged her tightly and kissed the back of her hand. She blushed and they both admired the rain and looked at how wet their clothes got until the ambulance finally showed up. 

The Wiseman

“What is happiness?”

I replied with a grin, “Happiness is when you make other people smile. Actually, it’s when you see them smiling and enjoy it, even if you’re not the reason behind it.

Happiness is helping someone, directly or indirectly, and seeing that person’s mood change to the better after you’ve helped.

Happiness is knowing your hard work paid off, knowing that you have people in your life who’ll always have your back, knowing that God is with you, always.”

– “What is love?”

To that I replied, “Love is a powerful thing. Love stretches over any distance. Love is when you put other people’s happiness before yours, when you’re ready to sacrifice something without hesitating, when you feel the need to give your all to someone.

Love is that little fire that ignited inside the hearts of a man and a woman when they first met, and when they saw their baby child for the first time.

Love is when you feel like you have to check up on a friend or a family member who is sick, when you feel like calling someone because you miss that person and you need to hear his/her voice.”

– “What is passion?”

“Passion is when you’re ready to do something you love and give it your ultimate best. You love that thing so much you feel like you always have to improve to be the best. And the greatest thing about passion is that, even if the path to excellence is long and bumpy, you’re always happy while taking that path because you’ve got passion.”

– “What is sadness?”

I lowered my eyes, took a deep breath, and said, “Sadness, my boy, is that bitter feeling you get when you lose something you love. You remember when grandpa passed away? Remember how much I cried?”

– Yes, Baba.

“Do you know why I cried? I cried because I was filled with sadness. But sadness comes in different kinds. There’s that little sadness you feel when you get a bad grade, or when your favorite football team loses an important game. There’s the sadness that lasts a little longer and that tries to inhabit your heart, but fortunately fails to do so. This kind of sadness mostly comes to you when you lose a loved one. And lastly, there’s agony. Agony is that ultimate level of sadness that inhabits your heart and somehow refuses to go away. It stays there, fighting for refuge in your heart.”

– “How to avoid agony, Baba?”

“Well, son, agony settles in your heart once you let it in. But I think the only way to keep agony away is by trying to be a good person. Don’t get me wrong. Some of the nicest people secretly live in agony.  But, son, take my advice and choose something that makes you happy and pursue it. Find people who bring out the best in you, and who push you to try new -safe- things. Find your passion in life. Love more, smile more, help more, accept remarks, challenge yourself to improve…and if you fail – once, twice, or even 10 times – you keep trying. Never tell yourself that you’re a failure. You are incredible. You know what they say…”

My son looked at me, smiled, and screamed, “When there is a will, there is a way!”

My little man was growing up.

– “Thank you, Baba. I can kick agony’s behind now, I’m going to be a happy boy!”

“I sure hope all the best for you, son. Give your old pops a hug.”

He hugged me and went to play with his friends.

My wife came in the room, patted my shoulder, and said to me, “I heard everything. I love you and that beautiful mind of yours. You’re teaching him well.”

Quick Reminder

It’s been a while since I last posted anything, but I’ve been really busy lately. Between school activities, extracurriculars, my studies, and family commitments, it’s hard to find the correct time to blog and to actually think and write. 

I won’t blabber much. I’m just here to tell you a thing or two. First of all, the most essential thing in life is to always be there for the people who need you. When someone needs a shoulder to cry on, be there for that person. When a friend needs to take a load off his/her chest, be the one who listens. The feeling of serenity you’ll feel afterwards is beyond satisfying. Not only have you helped someone out, directly or indirectly, but you’ve also been able to achieve inner peace. 

Also, be thankful for what you have. Lately, I made a decision to stop complaining and learn to accept and be happy with what I have. It worked fine the first week, so I’m trying to make it a lifestyle. Be thankful for your friends. At least I know I am. My friends are incredible, and I don’t know what I’d do without them. Be thankful for your family. No bond is stronger than the one that connects a man and a woman to their children. Family is irreplaceable. And lastly, instead of focusing on the negatives, learn to embrace the positives. 

That’s all I have to say. Put a smile on your face, be good to others, and be kind. You’re awesome, remember that.