Warriors talk about their battles

Two years ago, right after I quit my job, both impulsively and after much consideration, I found myself in one of the many galleries I visited in Australia – my second home. I knew I needed to go back there, I thought that I’d find myself there. I didn’t. Instead I saw a lot of art. I immersed myself in art. That is where I saw my life headed, somewhere in the art world. Now I know that it was the creative world I saw myself in.

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Damn Those Ducks

I never know what to say around people who think they know what’s best for me. On one hand, I want to say “fuck off, I’m living my life best way I know how”, on the other hand, I don’t want to risk being shunned. Well, I don’t really care, but one must keep the image intact. God forbid anyone sees you at anything less than your 100%.

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Tsk Tsk

I logged on today to follow someone’s blog and I saw that the last blog I posted was on November. Tsk tsk Reem. I said that to myself. I did.

Since Nanowrimo (November 2016) where I wrote 50k words towards the manuscript I’m currently working on, I’ve been spiraling down the rabbit hole. This time it’s a serious kind of hole. One I’ve never been in before. One I’m trying to claw my way out of. This isn’t exactly the depression I’m used to. Because for the most part, I’m doing things. I’m writing, working on my business and participating in life events. All of which I normally avoid when depressions hits. This hole feels deeper somehow and the only way out, I’m afraid, is by rocking the boat. Titanic is a boat right?

I didn’t realize 6 or 7 years ago, when I started working on developing and healing my self, that it would lead back to everything I’ve chosen to avoid, things I have no desire to dealing with. You have to face your fears in order to move past them. No shit! I don’t want to. But I’m gonna. I guess!

Well, at least now I know. And I’m working everyday…

I am proud of what I’ve accomplished so far. I’ve read 26 books of the 50 I challenged myself to complete this year. I am 52% into the goal within the first 31% of the year. I like my odds and I love that this means I’ll probably read more than 50 by 31st of Dec.

I have 130 something followers on my Deardorishop instagram page. Yea, that is my business and I just plugged it. Oh well. Go check it out, if you live in the UAE. I’m currently working on expanding it, coming up with a logo, a website, and the whole 9 yards. I have no idea if that phrase works here, but I wrote it anyway. I’m a rebel.

And I recently started working on my manuscript. FINALLY! That poor thing has been collecting dust since I finished it.

Those are the main things I’m working on that take most of my time. Well, Netflix takes most of my time, but right after Netflix, totally all those things I mentioned.

It’s hard. I don’t know why I didn’t understand how hard it would be. I feel like I have no idea what vision I’m working towards. At a company, someone had already decided what that is, and the job is simple, get it done. Working on my own, creating something by myself, I find it very difficult to stay focused. I get confused, side-tracked and disappointed when things don’t work out or go smoother than expected. I forget to leave my expectations behind.

In any case though, I’m working. That’s what I do. More than I’ve ever worked in my life. Even when I am on Netflix, my mind is constantly running. And despite everything, I am hopeful. I am always hopeful…

A year in the life

Usually when I disappear from people’s lives, social media and basically no one hears much from me, it’s because I am either overwhelmed and need to recover, or I have fallen into depression -again – and need to wallow. That’s how it’s always been. The people that know me well know this about me. They let me be for a while, until my disappearance lasts too long and they intervene. Bless!

I want to say that this is the old me, but I am a bit too scared to jinx it. So let’s just say that I used to do that for those reasons. Not anymore though. I haven’t posted to my blog in a while, not because I haven’t been writing, but because I’ve been too focused on all the projects I’ve got. All my energy and writing mojo goes into my book.

Nanowrimo is nearly over and most of you – those that read my blog and follow it are from the writers online scene thanks for following me btw – know how it could take its toll on you. My emotions are up and down every single day. On top of that, I am running my small business and working on three major projects. I don’t even have time to think about what to write for this blog.

Looking at my last post, I see that it was posted almost two months ago. My instinct is to beat myself up about it and feel shameful that I’ve let this go. But what would be the point. Other than make myself feel bad. Instead, I sat down to write this post.

I feel like I am slightly freaking out because I’ve been on an amazing writing streak. I am writing everyday and it’s been a breeze mostly. The idea just come to me and I show up everyday to let them come through me. I fear losing that. That fear is paralyzing me. But it’s part of it. Part of this journey. And that’s ok. Usually that would send me into a spiral, and maybe I am growing up, or I don’t want to waste my time falling into anymore spirals, but I don’t want to let fear control me.

I know a lot of people experience those feelings and I spent many years trying to find the answer, the cure. I don’t know if I found it, but I know that I choose to move forward. To get right back up every time I fall. I’ve fallen a lot this past year, but you wouldn’t know it because I almost always got right back up. Is this the right way? God only knows. All I know is that I’ve come so far with so many things, especially writing. I can always count on that.

I am thankful for November. I am thankful for Nanowrimo. I am thankful for writing. And I am thankful I get to do what I love every day.

PS: yes the title of this post is from Gilmore Girls comeback show. Which I am currently watching in the background. I just feel like I’ve been in the making, for over a year now, and things are coming together. It’s a little incredible how much has changed in just one year.

Blank Pages – A Procrastination Story

I turned on my computer and put on my noise cancelling headphones. I pulled out a notepad from the drawer that needs to be reorganized because I can’t find anything in there anymore. I grab for a pen. Realizing that it’s a green pen, I put it back and mindlessly search for my favorite pen. Meanwhile, I try to find the perfect playlist to write to. I spend the next 15 minutes listening to different playlist, unable to find what I am looking for, I decide that silence is probably going to work. I can’t focus on the writing if the music is not right. Especially when I am writing something new. A new blog. A new chapter. A brand new story.

Where’s my blue pen? I stare at the blank page, watching the curser blink aggressively. I can’t work like this. I need to find my blue pen. After I look everywhere for it, I remember that the last time I saw it was two nights ago. It was in my purse. I think. Maybe it fell somewhere? The car. I grabbed my keys and headed to the car. Sweat trickled down my forehead and the pen was no where to be found. Just as I was about to give up, I looked under the passenger seat and there it was. Right! Mom had to use it the other day.

I get back to my desk and I write the date and time on the top right corner of the page. Title. I don’t know. Let’s leave the title for later. I want to write about procrastination. I haven’t written a blog in a while. I’ve been getting distracted with all the other projects I’ve got going on. Maybe I can put down my first experience with procrastination and why I believe it’s the worst affliction ever. Growl! I am hungry. I better get something to eat before I start writing. I’d hate to interrupt the muse when she’s here.

The fridge is absolutely sickening. I can’t eat anything in there. I guess I’ll just make some ramen noodles. It’s quick and easy and I can’t be bothered to cook anything right now. I need to get back to writing. I’ve already wasted 2 hours and the page is still empty. Ok, ok. I’ll quickly eat and then I’ll start writing.

Twenty minutes later, I am back at my desk and the page on my computer is still empty. I swear, this cursor is mocking me. I jot some things down on the notepad but I make a mistake. I search for a white-out pen but I get distracted by how messy my drawer actually is. I pull it out and throw its contents on the floor next to me. OMG I remember that day at the park. I had so much fun with the sisters. Why don’t we go on picnics anymore. We look so happy in this photograph. I wish for more days like these in my life. I grab my notepad and start a to-do list. The first task is, spend more time with my sisters. Task number 2, write the damn post Reem! I slide all the junk on the floor back into the drawer. I’ll organize it after I write this post.

I know what I want to write about. I wrote down all my thoughts and main points. I put the headphones back on, get comfortable in my chair and move the keyboard closer to me. I am comfortable. Ok. Curser blinks. My mind is blank. I grab the pen and write “write a blog post about how much I hate blank pages”. I put the pen down. I stare at the screen. What makes you think that you can even do this Reem! 

My fingers finally move. Hit backspace. Delete that word. God, this doesn’t make any sense. What am I even trying to write here. Ok, just keep writing. Remember what you learned from Nanowrimo. Brain dump only. Don’t edit. You can do this. You quit your job to focus on this. No pressure or anything, but, don’t forget it. Isn’t Nanowrimo coming up? I need to outline my next book so I don’t get distracted next month. This time around, I have to make this book happen. Which reminds me, I still haven’t edited my first book.

Hours later, after taking every chance I could to step away from my desk and do anything but write, I finally have a page filled with words. Some of them are readable. Most of them make absolutely no sense. I hate everything I wrote and I ought to stop this ridiculousness. Who leaves their job to pursue a career as an artist and writer. Only a madWOman, that’s who. I wish I was better at this. I wish I didn’t get so easily distracted. I think I need to get tested. Maybe I have ADHD. My phone rings and I answer. I almost never answer phone calls. That’s how much I needed a break from the conversation I was having with my self.

After the phone call, I come back to my desk and I google, procrastination. I read a few blogs and articles and then I read what I wrote. I delete half of it, and rewrite the rest. I add some new sentences and then rearrange the whole thing. I give it a final read. Wow, this is actually good. Not bad Reem.

I wrote a blog post. I fought procrastination. It wasn’t easy. In fact, the mental battle I had was pretty brutal. For the whole day, I was fighting against myself to create something from nothing. For the rest of my life, this is what I have to do, every single day. I look back at everything I’ve done to date, my old job, the old blogs I ran, the previous micro-businesses I’d started and gave up on, and I can pinpoint the exact moment I knew that – that life wasn’t for me. That mean voice was loud then. That mean voice is always here and loud. But now, the mean voice goes away when I am in the zone. When I write, draw or create something, I reach a state of peace. I lose myself. I lose track of time and feel elated. It’s a magical feeling that I only get when I am creating. That feeling, is worth the battle I have to fight every single day.

Some days, the voice wins. Other days, I get too distracted and procrastination wins. But then there are days, glorious joyous days, where I win. It’s worth it.

Here’s a funnier version of this from the Tv Show Mike & Molly. 

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Inspiration

When the inspiration hits you, let it wash over you, shower you and take over.

Let it guide you, push you and take care of you.

 

Because if it found you, it sought you out and saw something in you.

Listen to it. Believe it.

A Review – Kino Cafe @ Kinokuniya

If there’s anywhere out there that has to be on the list of “best cafes to write/read/work at”, this would be it. Kino Cafe is located in Dubai’s largest bookstore, Kinokuniya at Dubai Mall. This place is one of my favorite places to go to when I want to write. Everyone is so quite and consumed by the book, notebook or laptop in front of them. I rarely see more than one person on a table. And if there happens to be a group or a couple, they’re mostly there to study or have a business meeting. I love it. I always feel so inspired to work when I go there.

The food style is very Japanese/Asian which means, amazing kinds of tea, not just the green variety. I love to order their iced green tea. So refreshing. It’s like green tea galore at this cafe. Their food is just OK. But I normally don’t care much about eating when I am writing. My goal at kino cafe is always to write, which is unlike going to a place for breakfast and wanting to both start my day with a delicious meal and then be able to write comfortably and effectively.

The cafe is so bright but super small. They have a silent room at the end of the cafe if you need an extra quiet space. Each chair in that room, has a socket and a table for your laptops. No one dares talk in there. They have some sockets on the workstations too, but I hate sitting at the workstations. They’re not comfortable and small and the last thing I need is to rub elbows with some random dude while I am trying to focus.  I take up a booth, which is supposed to be for four people. I always feel like a douchebag when I do that, but it’s the only way I feel I can write and the place is rarely busy so I am not making trouble.

There’s a huge glass wall on one end of the cafe, normally, that would be appealing because of the brightness coming in from the sun. But this is Dubai and we have two seasons, summer and a barely cold spring. Sometimes it’s winter, but that’s kinda rare. Also, the summer lasts about 8 months. I exaggerate to prove a point. Basically most of the year, the place feels like a sauna. I am not saying the place needs to be cold, but the temperature needs to be slightly cooler at this cafe. When you have an open space with a lot of glass, you need to factor in the temperature coming in from the outside. This has happened almost every time I went there.

Another annoying feature is their wifi. It’s very good once you’re connected, but the password expires every hour. I expect this from other places, but this is literally a work cafe. People are expected to sit at the cafe to read and chill and browse the internet. It’s located in a bookstore for god’s sake. That is the main function of a cafe that is inside a bookstore. So it doesn’t make sense to me that they use this system. I feel like wifi shouldn’t even be an issue in this day and age. I really hated having to ask for a password every hour, one for my phone and another for my laptop. The last time I was at the cafe, I was there for 5 hours. I definitely didn’t appreciate the looks I got from the waiters every hour. Extremely annoying.

Parking is a non-issue. The best parking for you if you don’t want to walk all around the mall is the fashion parking of Dubai Mall. It’s the closest to Kinokuniya. If you happen to park on the other side, the cinema parking, then you can take a shortcut through the foodcourt.

All in all, despite the temperature and the crappy wifi system, I’d say this is my favorite place to write. The iced green tea always helps. And I tend to do my research at home to avoid wifi issues.

Here’s the rating for this place based on my criteria.

Coffee – 6/10

Comfort 7/10

Food  5/10

Wifi 3/10

Music 6/10

Atmosphere 10/10

Parking 10/10

Disclaimer: I am not part of Kino Cafe or Kinokuniya nor was I paid to write this review. This is purely a way for me to review and document the best restaurants and cafes in The U.A.E. for individuals who want to write and enjoy good coffee. If their food is good, that’s a plus.

Bateel Gourmet – A Review

I never thought about reviewing Bateel for my ‘work friendly cafe reviews’ series. It’s not really known for that and It’s been around for ages. It didn’t occur to me. I happen to be in Town Center Jumairah early this week, to visit PaperLane; the crafts store I like to get all my scrapbooking papers from. I was there early, and hungry, and there was Bateel. It was meant to be.

It’s a very nice restaurant, especially for breakfast. And they have the most robust and strong coffee. They like to pair it with a piece of date. I hear the combination is delicious. I am not a date person so I’ll leave you to judge that on your own. They also make arabic coffee, but I’ve never been a fan of that so I have no clue if it’s good. Honestly, when it comes to things that are normally homemade, I almost never go for it at a restaurant. Arabic coffee is a homemade staple at practically every home in the gulf region. But, who knows, maybe Bateel’s is actually good.  Continue reading →

Fear Reared It’s Ugly Head

I keep going back to this memory anytime I am about to do something new. I am siting in class, chatting with my friends, and everyone is talking about a dream they have. Someone says they want to run their own company one day, and another one talks about how incredible and rewarding it would be if they could simply travel the world and experience the nomadic life. I nodded, oohed and aahed along with the rest of the amazed looks. When it was time for me to chime in, I said something about wanting to have a comic strip published in the newspaper. And then I said that I wanted to write a cute fun comic book, and it’s going to be based on our daily lives. Everyone looked at me with eyes wide open, filled with excitement. Someone said, OH MY GOD, LET’S DO THAT!! It would be so much fun.  Continue reading →

Paper Fig Desserts Review

I am not sure when Paper Fig opened exactly, but I remember being extremely excited about it. I love Sharjah, I can’t imagine living anywhere else, and I’ve lived on a whole other continent for years, so you know I mean it when I say that. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. However, Sharjah lacks a few things, hence the need to drive to Dubai. I worked in Dubai for many years. I woke up every morning, and I drove in that awful traffic you all know and hate, and then I drove back home in that same awful traffic. Driving to Dubai is a hassle. It’s the biggest hassle for me.

I love going out in the morning for breakfast, it puts me in the perfect mood to write and produce. Mornings inspire me. But the drive, well, the drive has the opposite effect on me. Knowing that good coffee and yummy breakfast are only 5 minutes away, is the reason for my happiness in life. You might think that I am exaggerating, but please, take my word for it. Continue reading →