A Year That Was

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I wrapped up my 2018 on an emotional note. I am struggling with the resurfacing of suppressed emotions. I’m grieving a loss eight months after it happened. Or maybe, it’s just the feeling of such an overwhelming year coming to an end. But I’ve been emotional and always two minutes from tears.

This year has been all over the place. When I thought it couldn’t get worse, it did. When I thought it couldn’t get better, it did. Sometimes, I can’t believe it all happened in 365 days. But it was filled with lessons for a lifetime.

I started my year with a job offer. The people around me looked excited, but I knew it wasn’t the right one. I knew there was something better waiting for me. I still took it. I traveled 3000 miles for it. I sat in a hotel room with my mother who was there to help me settle in and I knew in my gut I wasn’t supposed to be there. I cried, sobbed and came back home like a kid on the first day of kindergarten. With that, I learnt to trust my instincts and tune out other voices because I was right.

But making that choice meant living off of my father’s money again. I know a lot of people who don’t mind this part. But I do. I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY do. My need to live on my money is high. And so I sank. Deeper and deeper into depression. The kind I haven’t known before. The kind where I volunteered to get help against the wishes of the ones near and dear to me. I was prescribed medication. Yet, on a dull afternoon, I picked up a pencil and started to draw anything that made sense. When I finally put the pencil down, a weight had lifted off of me. I was free. I can’t express why. I can’t tell you how. But it was like my emotions had poured itself out and a light had found me. With that, I learnt the importance of art for my mental wellbeing.

And I thought to myself, Well, the worst is behind me. Life sat in a corner and laughed knowingly.

For the first time in my life, I learnt loss. I learnt how to know and love someone and have them be taken away. I learnt pain like nobody can ever teach you. I watched as the light went out from my fur baby’s eyes. The young one. The sweet one. The one I didn’t fear losing because I had another four years older. And I never understood how to process that pain. I never truly felt that loss wash over me. I find myself unable to say her name without breaking inside today. The therapist tells me it’s because I didn’t grieve. But I don’t know how to. I’m so used to not letting myself feel this pain, I don’t know how to just let it take over. This year, I learnt to love and lose, never to see again. I learnt the importance of grieving as I continue to struggle today.

They said she took the evil away. That worse things needed to happen but she took it so we could have it better. I don’t find myself enjoying the better when someone adds that spin to it. Because if I had to be at home depressed out of my mind to still have her with me, I’d do it in a heartbeat. And that is how I learnt that I’m not going to be the hard-ass, heartless and cold entrepreneur that I hoped to be. Because I can’t walk over people I love to get what I want. I need the ones I love around me, always.

A few weeks after my fur baby passed away, I landed the job I knew I would get. The one that feels like a dream.

And so began the better part of the year. We adopted a stray dog. I identified my real friends. I announced my second book. I wrote the first draft of the second book. I ticked off two new countries on my list. I met global leaders, I shook hands with people I hope to one day be and most importantly, I found myself surrounded by women doing all the things the world I came from told me was absolutely impossible. I found myself inspired everyday and after endless months of not knowing why I’m here, I found my reason again. I found the need to move forward. And for the first time in a long time, I found hope.

My job makes me travel. And in October, I went to Paris. I saw the Eiffel Tower in shivering cold! It was magical. I remember standing there with four women who were way high up on the food chain at work laughing with me and teasing me. It was… perfect. Life laughed again. I spent two weeks in France unable to really experience my surrounding, faking laughter and fighting tears. Wanting to leave, knowing I should stay. I can’t ever explain what happened. But those two weeks taught me – I’m stronger than I think I am.

Because now I know. I know how tangible happiness is. How fleeting perfection is. And no, I won’t hide. I won’t be afraid to take bold and bright steps forward. But I’m going to be prepared. I have the ability to say, “I’ll make my plans, you do your worst. I’ll find my way again. I promise.” That was the biggest lesson 2018 taught me.

We all slip and fall. A number change in the date doesn’t change that. Sometimes, we fall harder than ever before. It doesn’t matter as long as you find the courage to rise again.

In 2018, I learnt the meaning of the words, “This too shall pass.” Because the good and the bad, they pass. And every morning is a fresh start. Every minute is a new one. Ride the waves as they come but be prepared to fall off the board. You’re the only one who can get back on it again.

I spent my last week of 2018 in Dubai. With people I love, doing things I enjoy. I created, I worked, I toured and of course, I fell more in love with life again.

2019 will change many things for me. Personally and professionally. For better or for worse. I’m going to tell myself what I hope you’ll tell yourself, too, when life gets the better of you – Keep moving. Life doesn’t stagnate, you shouldn’t either.

Have a fantastic 2019! Happy New Year from me and mine to you and yours!!

With lots of love, bright smiles and bear hugs,

Me

In memory of Mika (2016 – 2018)
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Winning the Loss of Lives

Multiple terror attacks leave 153 killed in Paris. The word Jihadhis has been thrown around. Innocent people run scared. Border controls tightened. “Death count might increase,” say sources. “We’ve got five terrorists neutralized,” say officials. What is Neutralized? Nobody knows. Could there be more? Nobody can confirm. What about the dead people? “Our deepest condolences to the loved ones of the deceased.”

“This is an attack not just on Paris, it’s an attack not just on the people of France, but this is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values that we share.” – Barack Obama, President of The United States

Let’s rewind a little. Let’s go back in time. A whole bunch of people sat in a circle and planned the very last detail of this. They decided who will be where. Which attack at which place at what time. They shook hands on it. They did one last huddle knowing this might be the last time they see each other. But they’re going to do this. Because a message has to be sent! The world has to know!

Know what?

Let’s take a fictional book such as Harry Potter. So many lives were lost so Harry Potter could live. Did he spend the rest of his life sitting in a room depressed? No. He went on to have children and a happy life. Ronald Weasley lost his brother. Harry felt bad for those ten minutes in the movie. Then he was fine.

This is how real life works too. So you’ve killed hundreds of people. Taken away mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, loved ones. You’ve taken away the bride who was to be married tomorrow. You’ve destroyed the life of the innocent child by killing the only family he had. You’ve broken the hearts of every family member there could ever be.

The person you’re sending a message to? He couldn’t care less.

“I’ll continue killing until I get what I want!”

Okay. Then what? You run out of civilians to kill? What happens when the person you’re trying to send a message to ultimately shrugs and says “We’re trying to stop this atrocity. We’re using all our soldiers.” ? You kill them all? Yet again, you’re killing people that don’t matter. Because the story isn’t about the ones who died. It’s the one you can’t kill. It’s the one your entire plan revolved around. And he will feel bad for ten days. Then his life will go on. He’ll be fine. He’ll laugh with his children. Love his wife. Enjoy old age. You’ll be rotting in prison.

And those lives you took? They become pointless. Because that message you sent was never going to have the impact you wanted it to. Your plan was a failure before it even began because people get over the guilt of losing even a loved one that ended their life to protect his/hers.

This is a bunch of people they’ll never meet. They’ll never know. Outside of the ones who love the people you took away, who are you trying to hurt? Who do you think you can hurt?

You’re not sending a message. You’re killing in cold blood just because you can. There’s no deeper meaning to it. There’s no bigger moment. There’s nothing but your stupidity and a lost life. So what’s the point?

Now fast forward to a day or two after the attacks. The countries across the globe will unite to bring justice for the ones they’ve lost. The terrorists will be sentenced lifetime or death. But here’s the thing. They already knew that. The moment they stepped out of that huddle, they knew their life was over. So that’s not really justice, is it? You’re simply giving them what they were already prepared for. So are you really winning?

The person targeted doesn’t win because what he finally does to the ones who were targeting was exactly what they expected. And what the person targeting is trying to communicate to the targeted is lost on deaf ears. So what was this entire ordeal about?

Killing 153 innocent civilians and robbing their loved ones of memories, moments and a lifetime of togetherness. Destroying venues that would someday be landmarks. Creating world news and hatred towards an entire community that really are very nice people.

So tell me. Who won?

#PrayForParis
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