A short message to caregivers

This is a short reminder to people who care too much and take care of everyone and everything without complaints. I know all about your long days and sleepless nights. I know what it’s like to spend days running errands and running out of time while doing them. I know that being a caregiver is the best thing that ever happened to you because making others smile is so rewarding; but you know what? 

While we’re at it, we deny ourselves what we so willingly and easily give away; love, patience, forgiveness, support, time.

We simply don’t know how to love ourselves the way we love others, nor forgive ourselves the way we forgive others.

Why is it so hard to be just as kind to yourself as you are to others when you’re a caregiver? 

TAKE, dear CareGIVER, take care of yourself, your heart, your mind, your sanity. You deserve appreciation. But if you can’t appreciate yourself, no one will ever be appreciative of who you are or what you do. 

The Last Chance

This may be the last chance

To finally be whom I want to be

To let go, say “No”

to a world that looks nothing like me 

This may be the last chance

To live up to the words

I have been writing endlessly

To be the narrator, not just a character

In my life story

This may be my last chance

To forgive myself for my mistakes

To love or die for love

If that’s what it takes

And if this is my last chance

Then, let me die with a fiery soul

Let me be cursed, let me be stoned

Than live a life I don’t even own

This may be my last chance

And the choice is mine alone

A Letter to my future teenage kids

If you ever come asking: “Mom, how can I make my friends like me?” my only answer will be: “by never seeking their approval.” We are nice because being nice is an obligation, it’s something we, your parents and teachers, have worked day and night to instill in you. But to go out of your way just to fit in and be a part of a certain group: the cool folks, the elitists, the sports squad, the cheerleaders, the debate club, that’s never going to guarantee an everlasting friendship. Take it from your mother, the only friendships that have stood the test the time are those in which I felt loved, accepted and even celebrated for my individuality. Sure, they thought I was crazy at times, and literally had to pull me out of my shell at others, but we made it through the decades. At our time, nobody really cared whether you had thousands of followers and your social media content went viral. We saw the change each one of us could make, we wished each other well, we cheered each other on, we had each others’ backs, we were sincerely connected by the heart. We never needed an internet connection to maintain a friendship running that deep. Try to make at least one everlasting friendship, kids. Find friends whom you can connect with spiritually and mentally. Don’t melt in a crowd and wonder why you’re constantly feeling anxious, dissatisfied and depressed. Be people connectors, not just people collectors. Someday you’ll understand that rebels don’t spend their time at middle and high school breaking rules and having parties. It takes more to be a rebel. It takes a person who’s not afraid of being called crazy or weird for trying to live by their own terms. That’s a spirit that can’t be tamed.

~Z.

Insomniac

Night falls, I lay my head to sleep

Then the sedating silence is broken 

As thoughts begin to creep

Guilt calls, saying “It’s been a while

That we haven’t gone over failures,

Or the memories you had as a child”

Sleep’s gone, and so has the peace

If only our thought patterns had a switch

I’d turn off the anxieties

I’d rest my head on that pillow

And dive into a sea of tranquility

And while this body is weary

I can’t meet its simple needs

Because the heart is roaming freely

And the mind’s agenda impedes

Sleep is a necessity

Only when there’s nothing to miss 

When there’s no inspiration to guide you

Through a world of writing bliss

Sometimes I envy the oblivious

Who are not shaken or stirred

Their hearts are void of anguish

Their heads are void of words

That they must unload like baggage

Too heavy to carry around

If only I were just as unaware

If only the world just passed me by

Without a trace, without a sound

Roses

I’m addicted to your sadness

Your words rhyme with my sighs

I’m enthralled to this madness

That’s taken me by surprise

Whether I confess or restrain

These emotions, overflowing

Boiling and bubbling in my brain

Without you even knowing….

Or do you…know?

What is happening

Why are there roses growing

In the gardens of my pain

That once were cold and barren?

And if we lose each other

When, soon enough, they wither

The scent of these roses will forever remain

Star-crossed

Didn’t know if I was

Lovesick or homesick

I was longing for a place

I could call mine

When all my scars

Have stood the test of time

Something came along

And shook the roots beneath me

Didn’t know if I was wrong

Or I was right

Sinning or winning

Back my life

My happiness

Thought I’d finally found meaning

In the meaningless

Star-crossed, we were

Imperfectly placed in this galaxy

We belonged to a perfect world

One only made for you and me

We fell hard, we fell slow

A million light years ago

We crashed and burned

It was perfection, but time

Was never on our side

Well, since when has time 

Ever been right? 

I watched you leave

You never turned around

And all the cries in the Universe 

Echoed with no sound

Anxiety: Poem & Facts

They say anxious people
Have a head full of dreams
But let me tell you
Anxiety is not all what it seems
It’s not butterflies in your stomach
Or a rush of blood to your head
It’s a thousand pounding drums in your chest
The stuttering, muttering, mumbling
Of words your lips can’t expel
The beads of sweat breaking out on your brow
Then trickling down your cheek
Anxiety is desperately trying
To look strong when you’re undeniably weak
“I’m calm, I’m in control”
“I can do this” … No, no, no
“I’m not worthy at all”
And in between all your “what ifs”
You realize anxiety is just a thief
Stealing your joys, grinning slyly
As it jumps off your window
Breathe, breathe…
Every day you have a choice
Walk out of the house
Leaving your agitation by the door
Or collapse, curl up in a corner
And watch your teardrops splatter on the floor
Anxiety is not a flustered irritable being
It’s a person who may be worth knowing
A naked soul you wouldn’t blush when seeing
A heart wide open peeking through a trembling body
You can’t see all the quivering and shaking
You see, anxiety is often invisible
With all the colossal efforts a person is making
To stand tall, and say the right things
Which they often don’t, by the way
So if they choose to remain silent
Just know it’s for your own sake
It takes courage to love them
And more courage to keep this love awake
It’s hard work, confusing, perplexing,
But loving an anxious person may just be
the best mistake you’ll ever make
~ Zeina
 
******************
 
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness, they include: panic attacks, certain phobias, obsessive-complusive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorders, amongst others.
 
Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only about one-third of those suffering receive treatment.They develop from a complex set of risk factors, including genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life events.
 
Many people with an anxiety disorder also have a co-occurring disorder or physical illness, which can make their symptoms worse and recovery more difficult. It’s essential to be treated for both disorders.
 
Source: Anxiety and Depression Association of America
 
#endthestigma
 

5 things that parenting is NOT

Ah, parenting…the most exalted, most exhausting job ever. Bringing a child into this world is perhaps one goal we all seek to achieve at some point in our lives, but once we have this child our whole existence is changed. It’s very normal to feel frustrated, overwhelmed and even shocked at how parenting is nothing like what we had imagined it to be growing up. Who would have thought that dinner time, bath time and bed time would be so nerve-wracking at times? In our imagination we only pictured our little ones to be perfectly-behaved, obedient, sweet angels (not that they are not). Reality hits hard sometimes, doesn’t it? But wait, we’re NOT heading down desperation lane with this post. There’s hope, there’s always hope when it comes to how much we love our children. After all, when we are tired, wired and at our wit’s end, it’s only because we want things to go our way and they’re not. Those expectations of an ideal parent-child relationship are simply standing between us and our kids, keeping us from bonding with them the way we had hoped. 

What are we doing wrong? Why isn’t parenting as rewarding as the media portrays it? Why are some parents more fulfilled than others, you may think? Because we often conceive parenting as a set of rules and theories that apply to ALL children. We’ve been socially trained to follow the footsteps of our predecessors in raising our young disregarding the ever-changing environment we expose them to. As a mother of both a boy and a girl living in a modern city, under normal circumstances, I can’t help but observe those fast-paced changes and worry about my children’s future. Will I be able to raise healthy, kind, loving, well-rounded individuals? Just thinking about this grave responsibility makes me hyperventilate! But I know one thing I had to learn the hard way. Parenting doesn’t come with a manual, it comes with a child, a unique child whom you’ll learn to understand as much as you’ve already loved. It takes time. And you’ll get there. In this post I’d like to share what I’ve learned so far in my 8-year-long motherhood journey. I’ve summarized all the irksome, worrisome, troublesome parts of my parenting experience, which you may pretty much relate to. So here are 5 things which are NOT parenting. 

1. Parenting is not a race or a competition: I know, it’s tempting to compare notes with other parents, gather experiences and share advice but once you feel that you’re really failing at this thing called parenting because you’re not doing what other parents are doing, you need to stop. We’re not competing. We’re in this together. And if you ever feel that you can’t handle any more braggers, just keep your distance, there’s no guilt or shame in choosing what’s best for your kids, AND your well-being. 

2. Parenting is a means not a goal: you know that cheesy proverb that says “happiness is not a destination, it’s a way of life.” Well that also applies to parenting. Instead of worrying about accomplishing milestones and checking off lists, just enjoy every moment you get to spend with your kids. Your presence and role-modeling is enough of an accomplishment. So if you don’t get them to stick to a routine within a week, that’s really OK. Be consistent, yet flexible. Firm yet understanding. The last thing your kids want is to feel their home is more of a military camp than a cozy atmosphere to learn, grow, and just be themselves. 

3. Parenting is not self-sacrifice: We’re always told that fully-dedicated moms are the best moms. Can you imagine how depressing this statement may be for working moms? Why is motherhood always portrayed in such an overly idealistic light? Please stop feeling constantly guilty for excluding your kids in some activities you pursue on your own or with your spouse. It’s perfectly acceptable to want some time for yourself to recharge. Your kids will thank you the most for being a happy, well-adjusted, and outrageously creative parent.  

4. Parenting challenges don’t get easier with time: you know what we parents don’t need along the way? Illusions. But negating the statement that things won’t be getting easier is not…”negative” (does that make sense?)  Actually, it’s not the parenting challenges that will get better, but you’ll be a more equipped parent to handle those ever-increasing challenges. Yes, sadly every phase of parenting has its glitches, but trust me, you’ll nail them. There will be tough days, tear-jerking incidents, and lots and lots of self-doubt along the way, but you’ll be ok. Really! Negativity, busted! 

5. Parenting is not all what you are: when they placed that bundle of cuteness in your arms, you instantly realized that nothing in your life will ever go back to the way it was before. But this doesn’t mean you’ll have to adopt a new personality as a protective, superheroic parent. Regardless of whether the kiddos believe mommy and daddy have superpowers or not, mommy and daddy are (Your name) and (Spouse’s name) first and foremost. Your interests, needs, likes and dislikes should never be affected by your responsibility as parents. In reference to point 3, keep those parts of you alive – for sanity’s sake at least. Avoid falling into the trap of begrudging the single life. 

So whether you think you’re doing this parenting thing all wrong and can’t help but feel lonely and isolated at times, you’re actually never alone in this. Loving someone who is totally dependent on you in their first few years can be quite scary. But have faith in this love and your strength as a caregiver, mentor and protector of this child. You were made for this, and this child is exactly the way he or she is supposed to be. If you can remember to parent the child you have, not the child you always wanted, you’ll succeed in every level of this parenting game, with a little help from them, believe it or not 🙂 

Happy parenting! 

~ Zeina

Lost sparks

When poetry has lost its rhyme

Silence defeats the thoughts in your mind

And the only words you’ll find

Are silly faces in a pantomime

Dull as a colorless dream

With no beginning or end

Never saying what you really mean

Or meaning a word you said

Can’t get this out of my head

Like the lyrics of a song I once knew

And I’ll never quite understand

What wrong did I ever do?

Blank papers staring

Feelings hollow, barren

The guilt is tearing me apart

But I’ll write and I’ll pray

Till sparks find their way

Back to my heart

Cry, little girl

Hello, little girl

It’s been a while since we’ve talked

It’s been a while since we’ve walked

Down that old road

I guess we’d both forgotten

What it’s like to have fun

All those dreams never got old

How did we lose touch?

I wish I could have been there

To tell you you were loved so much

To let you know that someone cared

Burdens you carried for long

Tears you never showed

You held them back but now

It’s time to let it go

Cry, cry, little girl

You’re only a child

One day you’ll grow

And those memories will subside

You’ve been your own hero

Written your own fate

But cry, cry, little girl

Growing up can wait