Viewing entries tagged
life blog

The Most Complicated Relationship You’ll Ever Be In: Day 36 of 365 Days of Love

2 Comments

The Most Complicated Relationship You’ll Ever Be In: Day 36 of 365 Days of Love

Contributed by: Hager Eldaas, Multimedia Journalist

Get to know her on Instagram

Story from: Queens New York, USA



I can’t place my finger on the exact day that I started hating my body, but I remember vividly all the moments that may have led up to it.

The first time I experienced a deep awareness of its existence, my body’s existence, was when I got my period. My mom had done her motherly duty of telling me that it was coming and what to expect when it did. But I was a late bloomer compared to my friends and I got mine at 13. I wasn’t excited or scared, nor was I confused about the changes ahead of me. I was not ashamed like I had heard many girls were when they spotted that first red stain. I was annoyed. I didn’t tell my mother and just kept changing my clothes and hoping that it would permanently go away. I wanted to wish it into disappearance. And it worked. I didn’t get my period the following month or the four after that. But after five months, it came back and had apparently grown more resilient. It’s been a regular visitor ever since.

I now know that there are other women who can claim the same feelings, but at 13, my epiphanies only lasted as long as my longest teenage crush, and so, aside from when I received my bi-weekly migraines, I went back to forgetting that I had a body.

IMG_1729.jpg

At 15, I was interrupted. I had fractured the same toe twice in one month. Afterwards, I was taken to a podiatrist who revealed to me that I was walking all wrong, but I knew for a fact that this was no fault of my own. I had my father’s walk—barely lifting our feet off the ground, exerting minimal effort to drag our bodies along and hoping they’d learn to cooperate. But it was understood that I’d have to develop a new walk because my toes could no longer afford to go on tripping over and bumping into chairs and doorways and whatever else came in their way.

I could imagine that somewhere in between the time that I was practicing my new walk and the time I did away with the idea that I’d ever perfect the new walk is when I started noticing that I didn’t like my body very much. I was probably around 17. I don’t remember the specific instance when I acknowledged that feeling, but I do recall staring at the mirror often during this time. Puberty had hit me hard and I was putting on the weight. It might’ve been one of those days when I was feeling particularly metaphysical and had caught my reflection in the mirror and thought to myself, “That’s me. I am that. That girl, the one that I’m looking at right now, is the same girl who’s thinking these exact thoughts.” I probably didn’t like what I saw.

IMG_1731.JPG

At 20, I started to feel sharp pains at the top of my stomach and down to the right side of my abdomen. Anything I ate made me sick, especially if it was spicy or oily, which was all I consumed when I was in college. At 21, they told me I had to get my gallbladder removed. It made sense. I hadn’t been very kind to it.

I spent the next few years trying to fixate some of the fascination I had for my mind onto my body. “No, I don’t have a body. I am a body, just as much as I am a mind and I am thoughts.” But at 27, I was in a hospital room as my father’s soul was exiting his body and the idea that the two were one was no longer sitting well with me.

Shortly after my father’s death, my ears started ringing (that’s what they call it, but it’s more of a whooshing— tinnitus is it’s official name). My neck pain was unbearable. My hands randomly numbed and tingled. My doctor ran tests and then recommended a psychologist and maybe some yoga. My symptoms were likely caused by trauma.

At 28, I tried yoga for the first time. It was nothing too serious, just me following along to a Youtube video. The instructor often repeated the same sentence, urging us to focus on our breathing, which proved to be an impossible task for me. My breaths just aren’t the most cooperative. But the exercises did make my neck feel better, so I kept up with them.

And now, at 29, I wish that I could end this by saying that through yoga and meditation, I have finally found a way to love my body or even that I’ve been tapped in to it’s flow, but no. Most days I forget that I have a body, that I am a body— I haven’t decided which one it is yet. But I can tell you this: I take it out for a daily stroll and I think it’s grown accustomed to it’s strange little walk because it rarely trips over it’s own feet anymore.

IMG_1732.jpg

Hi Everyone!

This is Aida, Founder of 365 Days of Love <3

First, a big thank you to the inspiring woman Hager for sharing her story. I battled for years on my body image and developing love for my body. It is indeed one of the biggest battle I have tackled and still find ways to improve it. I have finally found love for my body and where I am today. I learnt how to stop looking up and feeling inadequate when I looked at magazines with super model. I hope you have been working on your body image and body love because it is a key to self-love.

Second a big thank you to YOU for reading this and taking the time to care for yourself, your heart and your life. If you enjoyed this and have a story or thoughts on love that you would like to share please get in touch (button below). We have 329 more articles to share and we hope to hear from you!

SUBSCRIBE/SHARE HERE.

LETS INVEST IN LOVE ONE STORY AT A TIME TOGETHER.

With Lots of Love,

Aida

2 Comments

Finding the Power You've Always Had: Day 10 of 365 Days of Love

Comment

Finding the Power You've Always Had: Day 10 of 365 Days of Love

Contributed by: Sumayya Tobah, Freelance journalist

Get to know her on Twitter/instagram

Story from: Washington DC, USA





Finding the Power You’ve Always Had




When I was six years old, I saw the fabulous 1939 masterpiece, The Wizard of Oz and heard something that would completely change my life.

Judy Garland’s unforgettable Dorothy had just learned that the titular Wizard had lied to her and she had no way of returning to her family in Kansas. The good witch Glinda (if you’re not familiar with these names, its okay, I’m getting to the point soon!) says to her, “You’ve had the power all along.”

“I have?” Dorothy exclaims. “Well, why didn’t you tell me?”

“Because you wouldn’t have believed it,” the Witch replied. “You needed to find out for yourself.”

At six years old, I wasn’t able to really able to apply this beyond the plot of the feature film. But as I grew up and was repeatedly faced with situations where I felt out of control or powerless, I learnt what I was capable of and how much power I really had.

unnamed-8.jpg

Every time I wanted something and felt like it was just out of reach, I reminded myself. I have the power. I’ve had it all along. My love life was no different.

I don’t know when we, as women, got conditioned to believe that we can’t make the first move. We are told to be shy but flirty, available but hard to get, tempting but chaste. Don’t be too much of any one thing. Not too colourful or too bland. Not too smart or too dumb. Be interesting but be one of the girls.  It took me a long time to understand that this mold of what an “attractive” woman looks like was designed to keep us in our place; this sketch of an “ideal” woman is so ridiculous, it’s meant to keep us down.

It took me a long time to release myself from this mold, not just forgive myself for the things I would never be but appreciate myself for the things I am.

It definitely didn’t happen overnight, and I would be lying if I said I didn’t have my own insecurities from time to time, but cultivating that self awareness and self confidence truly was the key to so many things in my life, including finding love.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a conversation with a friend who is wrapped up in playing games with a guy. She thinks he likes her, she scavenges his texts for hidden messages and she stresses out when she doesn’t hear from him for a couple days. She feels powerless.

I’m always that friend with the advice no one wants to hear. Tell him how you feel. What’s the worst that can happen?

unnamed-9.jpg

The idea of “the first move” is so antiquated, but is still seen as such a power play. I’ve seen women who are strong and independent crumble under the frustration of waiting for the man they’re interested to come through.

Women are afraid to come off as too forward, but what’s unattractive about a woman who knows what she wants?

The first move was created to take the power away from us. I know its nerve wracking. Nobody enjoys the freefall of putting themselves out there. But when you face that fear, or any fear you have really, and you still push forward despite it - that is powerful.

Acknowledge your fear, give it a moment, then push it aside; because the pros outweigh the cons and that one decision can change your life in ways you only dreamed of. I was terrified when I told the man who would become my husband how I felt. But if you had told me then that a single truthful conversation would lead to a life of happiness with my best friend, I wouldn’t have believed you. My life now is so blessed, I can’t remember life before we were us.

unnamed-7.jpg
I took this lesson and applied it to the rest of my life. I stopped being a “wait and you shall see” kind of girl, and became an “ask for what you want and work hard for it” kind of woman.

I got my first real journalism internship by emailing a senior producer, asking for an interview. And when she didn’t respond the next day, I emailed her every day for a week. I got the position a few days later. When I’m passionate about a story, I pitch it. When I’m having a problem with a person, I discuss it with them. And when I feel a situation is out of my control, I ask myself, “what needs to be done?”

After all, I have the power. I’ve had it all along.


Hi Everyone!

This is Aida, Founder of 365 Days of Love <3

First, a big thank you to Emily for sharing her story. I related to her on so many levels and am inspired by her resilience, strength and acceptance. I can’t wait till I celebrate the man you choose but until then I am honored to celebrate YOU today and every day.

Second a big thank YOU for reading this and taking the time to care for yourself, your heart and your life. If you enjoyed this and have a story or thoughts on love that you would like to share please get in touch (button below). We have 355 more articles to share and we hope to hear from you!

SUBSCRIBE TO THE STORIES HERE.

Comment

Friends to Partners: Day 7 of 365 Days of Love

1 Comment

Friends to Partners: Day 7 of 365 Days of Love

Welcome to 365 days of love! If you’ve been following the daily stories, welcome back! If this is your first time reading, amazing to have you and welcome! Here is the brief introduction to what we are doing here, but essentially I (and hopefully you by sharing your stories) are sharing one story a day for the next year (365 to be exact) to show incredible ways we could meet the love of our life as well as share insights on the thing we all crave the most as humans - Love. Why? Because we want to be the people who invest in possibilities rather than impossibilities (as well as increase the amount of love in our lives).

Every story would fall in one of the following categories (the category in bold is the one that we will discuss today):

  1. Fictional story of where we could have met someone today (fostering the mindset of possibility)

  2. Factual story of a love story (inspiring us from real life stories)

  3. Insights/thoughts about love


LETS SEE WHAT LOVE HAS IN STORE FOR US TODAY - DAY 7 OF 365 DAYS. LETS KICK THIS OFF!

-Aida


Earlier this year in Lebanon I attended an inspiring event that brought youth together to inspire them to create social impact. There had to be over 300 people each buzzing with excitement from a combination of their natural youth, the fancy pink lights and the $250k ticket prize about to be awarded.

maxresdefault.jpg

Being a person who is sensitive to energy I quickly gravitated to two individuals who were glowing (for this article I will call them Hiba and Khalid as they asked to be anonymous). In this event filled with brilliant people I spent a significant amount of time with them and found myself not wanting to leave their company. I could not tell at the time whether it was their energetic young energy, their love for social impact or love for each other but I knew there was something special about them two. Today I finally know why.

This week during my call for stories for 365 Days of Love, I heard from Hiba*. She shared her story with me about how that night when we met in the hills of beautiful Lebanon, Khalid* confessed his love for her.

They have been friends for years and on that buzzing night he took the plunge and leaped to risk their friendship to tell her how he felt.

He has loved her secretly for two years and she had no idea. She did too.

It’s all in his eyes. Where I find the hue of the most magical things in life and all my reasons why. They are kind you could lost in …and I guess I did.
— Anonymous woman (Hiba*)

In looking back I could see the mutual respect and love they had for each other. The details in how attentive he was to her, not being afraid to have her lead a conversation, making sure she had something to drink and just seeming in awe when she spoke. She very much mirrored that exact love, respect and attentiveness.

lebanon-beirut-sunset.jpg

Hiba* in her story to me says in poetic speech:

It’s the way he carries his heart in his eyes and I swear I saw my name there more than once. Like a deep ocean they immerse my soul entirely and I am not afraid of drowning.

In his eyes, I knew I might burn but I just had to inch a little closer. I took the plunge.

In his eyes, my worlds have been stolen away making me happily lost inside his, my new world. My me home.

In his eyes, all time stops, mirrored by the clocks that stop ticking the moment I stared into them.

In his eyes, my soul pointed at him and whispered to my heart “him”.

My heart showed me in light form that “everything will be ok” in a sky with a million people that went unnoticed. 

With my eyes locked to his, I knew he is all I want.

With my eyes locked to his, time had a different and new profound meaning.

Today I ask for time to be kind to us, for me to fulfill my wish of graduating with him, growing with him, succeeding with him, and never loosing him.

With our eyes locked to each other, I ask God to keep him for me today and every day.


This beautiful and sweet story is just a reminder that love could be standing right next to you and you would never have guessed it. It reminds me how your longest friends can actually become the best partners, the partners you dreamt of who were standing right beside you all those years.

It also taught me that details matter. The way he introduces you, the way he looks at you, the small attentive things (or lack of) matter. So as you embark on your journey of love take a moment to be aware of those precious and very telling details.

Thank you to the beautiful couple (names anonymous) for sharing that special night with me and more importantly for sharing a glimpse of your love story to inspire more people to invest in love. I deeply look forward to celebrating love at your future wedding and every single day.

Thankful for knowing you both, may God bless every moment in your life.

With Lots of Love,

Aida


A big thank you for reading this and taking the time to care for yourself, your heart and your life. If you enjoyed this and have a story or thoughts on love that you would like to share please get in touch (button above). We have 358 more articles to share and we hope to hear from you!

SUBSCRIBE TO THE STORIES HERE.

1 Comment

Never Give Up: Day 4 of 365 Days of Love

2 Comments

Never Give Up: Day 4 of 365 Days of Love

Welcome to 365 days of love! If you’ve been following the daily stories, welcome back! If this is your first time reading, amazing to have you and welcome! Here is the brief intro to what we are doing here, but essentially I (and hopefully you by sharing your stories) are sharing one story a day for the next year to show incredible ways we could meet the love of our life as well as share insights on the thing we all crave the most as humans - Love. Why? Because we want to be the people who invest in possibilities rather than impossibilities (as well as increase the amount of love in our lives).

Every story would fall in one of the following categories (the category in bold is the one that we will discuss today):

  1. Fictional story of where we could have met someone today (fostering the mindset of possibility)

  2. Factual story of a love story (inspiring us from real life stories

  3. Insights/thoughts about love

LETS SEE WHAT LOVE HAS IN STORE FOR US TODAY - DAY 4 OF 365 DAYS. LETS KICK THIS OFF!


In the past 4 days of launching 365 Days of Love I have received so many messages from both women and men telling me that they are about to give up on finding love. This was alarming to me on numerous levels as when you give up on something so major in life it becomes the start to giving up on many other things including yourself and what you my dear deserve. So the short answer to everyone who is thinking about giving up on love, don’t. Don’t do it.

IMG_2482.JPG

As in everything in life we will always be experiencing the ebbs and flows of life. As a practicing muslim I was taught that it is natural for our heart to contract and expand, where we experience days where our heart is so open and you feel so close to God. Then there are days where your heart is contracted and you wonder where did those feelings go. But the truth that i’ve been taught is that God is always with us, during our expansions and contractions and that no matter where we are in life, He is our constant.

This concept got me also thinking of Love. Where some times we are filled with it, feeling it from all angels from our family to friends to strangers, then on the other extreme we experience days where we feel no love and wonder if we are alone and if we will stay that way for a while or even forever.

My message to you is simple: Trust in life to give you what you deserve, trust in yourself that you are worth it and let it go knowing that something bigger than you will take care of you. It’s okay to have days where you are contracted and this is in fact if you see it with a different perspective a beautiful opportunity to take your attention inward. Take the days of contraction to identify what is it that is contracting your heart, to work on training yourself to be more centered, to work on loving yourself more and to push harder to see that love is truly all around us if only we see clearer.


My advice is when you feel your heart contracted, try the following (they have really helped me):

  1. Go into a room alone and take 10 deep breaths.

  2. Take another 10 more deep breaths where in every inhale you visualize breathing in love and fullness and when you exhale visualize breathing out any negative thoughts you have.

  3. Then imagine yourself as a child version of you. Remember how a child is filled naturally with love, how the natural self is meant to be curious, to fall a million times and get up typically without having scarred the inner self. Really feel that inner child and bring it back to life in your present day because children are truly a reminder of how we were meant to live life, without scars or negativity but rather with hope, light and love.

  4. Then with that child mindset go out and do something you’ve never done before. However small such as baking a new recipe or walking down a new road but go do something new. As you do it work hard on being present and try to train yourself not to think of other things (as adults do) but to be fully present in this one new thing (as a child does).

Wherever you are know that you are special, you are loved and that you are not alone. Never give up most importantly on yourself, love, and all the beautiful things that life has in store for you.



With Lots of Love,

Aida

2 Comments

Comment

What are you giving more weight to?

On this beautiful Friday morning, I went to my favorite coffee shop to read, catch-up on personal stuff and drink real good coffee before I dived into work. I was feeling good and I was envisioning the good day I was about to have. 

I get on a call with my mom then the person infront of me stares at me for a good minute. I thought he may be interested in the language I was speaking, Arabic. But then he interrupts my call by asking if i'm on a conference-call. Confused by this question, he follows up by saying I just ruined his peace and I should't be talking here. I responded, with being so caught off guard, saying but this is a public coffee shop.

He continued to say how I ruined his morning and how I should be quiet. I told him that i'm going to continue my call and he has problems and should work on himself. A fire inside me started rising. I was pissed off and my happy morning wasn't going as planned. He looked at me in disgust, got up and moved tables. 

I shut the phone with my mother and just sat there feeling so shot down asking myself what did I do to this man? and the angry side in me wanted to piss him off. 

Ten minutes later, I couldn't shake it off. I felt the negative energy around me. Then this great guy who works at the coffee shop started talking to me (without knowing what just happened) and said he would love to share some of the figs he just grew.

I looked at him and just wanted to hug him. I knew his fig tree wasn't that big (because how big of a fig tree can you really have in the middle of DC?) but it meant so much to see such a random act of kindness. 

Being positive is constant work, like caring for a plant. It needs to be watered daily.&nbsp;

Being positive is constant work, like caring for a plant. It needs to be watered daily. 

I started to feel the negativity peeling away and I immediately saw a very clear choice: I either give the negative situation or the positive situation weight. Which one was I going to choose? Was I going to let the rude coffee shop guy ruin my day or was I going to let the incredibly kind gesture of the fig sharing make my day?

Ofcourse, I chose the fig sharing. 

Moral of the story is, everything is a choice. You have a choice to be happy or not, to invest in the negative or the positive. It is always up to you and never think otherwise. You are in control.

With An Appreciative Mind,

Aida 

Comment