Posted by: yemenia68 | January 3, 2012

2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 7,700 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Posted by: yemenia68 | September 23, 2011

My Thoughts

 

 

It’s been exactly six months since I last posted. I don’t know why I stopped posting. I guess at one point I thought that maybe by posting I would find solutions to my problems, but most of the time I just wanted to be heard (you know what I mean). For some reason, I want people to know who I am, what I’ve accomplished in life, my hardships, my happiness and all the other highlights in my life, but the question is why?

Is it because I’ve lived an isolated life and I wanted and needed recognition or acknowledgement from others? And then I ask myself” recognition and acknowledgement for what exactly?” What exactly have I accomplished that deserved to be recognized?  After all, I am a normal person with a lot of issues in her life, but who doesn’t have issues, seriously, its 2011?

Is it not enough that the people who know me refer to me as strong, intelligent, driven, wise and compassionate? Or maybe it is I who does not have faith in myself and need to be reassured by others of my positive characteristics. Or is it possible that I crave attention?

One thing that I know for sure is that I fear failure. I fear that I will not be a good enough daughter, sister, mother, wife, and every other position that I will be labeled throughout my life. Which consequently pushes me to constantly strive to be a better me, and throughout the process I realize that, not everyone wants to be a “better” person.  After being shocked time and again, I wonder, is it me? Are my standards too high? Is there a limit to how high you set your standards? Is a common courtesy too much to ask for, or maybe a little respect every once in a while? You see, once you have to ask yourself time and again “is there something wrong with me that I ask for such things?” than you know that you should change your perspective on life and people.

Since I was a child, I have been moving back and forth from here to Yemen. I’ve never had a stable life. And since I’ve never stayed in one place for a long enough time to have a steady and secure place in one society, I’m constantly lacking a social life. I always felt “different”. Another reason for not establishing social skills, I guess, was because we (my sisters and I) simply weren’t accustomed to going to social gatherings since childhood.  For as long as I can remember, regardless of where I was, everyone always thought that we were conceited, merely because we rarely went to social events, which was far from the truth.

It’s funny how I try to be my own psychiatrist. I constantly ask myself why and how every time I feel in doubt of my actions. The thing is, sometimes I need to know that whatever issue I’m tackling has been somehow mentioned in some psychological theory or something.

I’ve been in a depressed zone for a while, which is why I needed to write something, anything for that matter, even these scribblings seem to make me feel better. This probably has something to do with the fact that I’ve regretted for a very long time the fact that I never pursued my dream of being a writer.  So you see……….now I know why I started this blog.

Posted by: yemenia68 | March 10, 2011

My Inspiration

 

The past few days, I’ve been feeling very downbeat. Everything from coming to terms with my inability to provide basically the most crucial equipment needed for Bilquis (my daughter), the fact that my husband does not comprehend the concept of helping out with things like bringing groceries, paying the bills, running errands and maybe even giving me a break sometimes from cooking, cleaning, and helping our son with his homework, or my 27 year old son who seems to believe that having a child every year is the next best thing to becoming the leader of your own tribe, although he constantly complains about the lack of income because of course, the bank of Motherhood is always open. Yes, I agree, very sad.

To be honest, these are things that I’ve already gotten used to. What really triggered my aggravation, was the flu, yes the flu. I have been sick for the past few days and It is literally painful everywhere. You would think that I should at least be entitled to a few days of rest, but no, there is no rest for me. Throughout sleepless nights filled with dry coughs, body aches, and major headaches, my husband felt that ordering out was out of the question, because of course “only irresponsible housewives ask for these kinds of things” according to him. Yes you read correctly. Let’s just leave it at that, no use trying to fix the unfixable.

So now that recovery is around the corner, I couldn’t help but remember my dear grandmother (Allah yer7amha). She was my inspiration, role model, and the most influential person in my life. I even wrote an essay about her a few years ago titled (The most influential person in my life), which starts like this:

“It’s okay sweetheart, don’t be upset with your mother. She really means well, she just doesn’t know that there are ways to get a point across without yelling,” my grandmother ( Allah yer7amha) would tell me with a peaceful look on her face which never failed to heal my suffering. She always knew how to make me feel better. I knew from the first day I spent with my grandmother when we reunited after 9 years of separation that she was my role model and a tremendously needed inspiration in my life. My grandmother taught me perseverance, compassion, patience, and wisdom. I can honestly say that I’ve become who I am today mostly because of her influence.

After spending nine years in America, my father had decided to go back Yemen to visit his family. The visit turned out to be longer than planned, so we ended up spending eleven long and dreadful years there. The only two things that I appreciated from my stay there were my gained knowledge of Islam and my grandmother’s teachings that I cherish forever.

After our arrival in Yemen, we stayed in the capitol Sana’a for a few weeks. After that we headed to a small village about five hours away from the city to meet my father’s relatives. It felt like we were time traveling into the past. As I sat in the back seat watching the scenery, it seemed like I was in a faraway land that existed a few centuries ago. Everything around me was ancient.  There were no signs of modern technology anywhere other than the few older model cars that we saw in the city.

Throughout our journey, we saw huge mountains and hillsides decorated with large houses of rock and clay,  and long narrow valleys with combinations of trees, shrubs, tall grasses, and endless fields of corn, wheat, rye, and other crops. There were cattle, sheep, goats, and donkeys everywhere. The most distinctive memory that stuck with me was the smell of fresh air mixed with an array of different aromas that only God can manufacture. The beauty of it all was captivating. It felt like a magical wand pulling us into a mystic world of nature at its best.

The magic and beauty of our journey faded when we finally arrived in the village. For the first time since our arrival, I felt uneasy. There were many strange faces that stared at us with disbelief, as if they saw something from a different world. But there was one face that was different, my grandmother’s face. I was only four years old when I left Yemen as a child to come to America but I still had memories of my grandmother. It almost seemed like she had a special glow that separated her from everyone else. As soon as my grandmother took me into her arms and started kissing me, I felt like I was home again. Her unique scent sunk into my soul and will always be a part of me forever.

I was going through a lot of frustration after we arrived in Yemen. I felt like I was in a strange place, as if my whole world was turned upside down. Having been raised in America, I did not know very much about my own culture, religion, customs, or traditions. I seriously needed someone to guide me through the new discoveries that I was facing. Not being able to properly speak the Arabic language made it difficult for me to communicate with others. I never felt that I could go to my mother for answers about this new culture and environment. It was obvious that she had her own troubles to deal with at the time. As for my grandmother, she always seemed to know what I needed, almost like she could read my mind.

My grandmother was never judgmental nor sarcastic like the rest of my relatives. Whether it was how I dressed, or how I couldn’t respond to their inquiries in the Arabic language, or the fact that I didn’t know anything about my culture, everyone had something to comment about. They always made me feel ashamed of who I was.

I had to learn how to cook on an oven made of clay and the only fuel was dry wood. What usually takes an hour to cook in a modern oven would take me two to three hours to cook in the clay oven. But I had nothing to fear because my grandmother was always beside me teaching me everything I needed to know. Every time I started to cough and get teary eyed from the smoke and fumes coming from the fire in the oven, my grandmother would tell me to stand outside of the dark kitchen until I felt better, but I would choose not to. I told her, “As long as you are with me, I can deal with it Grandma.”

My grandmother would constantly try to comfort me by explaining why my mother wasn‘t the one teaching me how to adapt to my new life. She told me that my mother was spoiled as a child because she was her only daughter. The fact that my grandfather, my mother’s father was a “sheikh”, an important public figure, gave my mother a sense of “arrogance”, was what my grandmother would call it. When I remember the past, I kind of understood why my mother acted the way she did because I read once that a person’s upbringing has a major influence on their personality. I guess in a way she felt entitled to having everyone take care of her.

My grandmother’s presence made coping with the new environment easier for me. She taught me everything from how to cook, chop wood, bring home water on my head from a well that was almost a mile away, feed the chickens, feed the cows and milk them, and work in the fields.  She taught me the importance of perseverance because she knew that I constantly felt like someone who was swimming against the tide. She would always say to me in Arabic, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” She said that ever since I was a child, she always had a feeling that I would have strong characteristics.

I never in my wildest dreams imagined that I would one day live in a remote village, where there were no televisions, ovens, refrigerators, microwaves, vacuums, absolutely nothing that had the simplest implications of technology. I felt like I was a character in a story about an ancient land, one of those books I used to enjoy reading as I sat in my room back in Detroit. Although it took me a while to adjust to life in the village, with my grandmother’s guidance I succeeded. After almost a year of training, I was a typical village girl. I achieved all the skills that the other village girls possessed, which made my grandmother very proud.

That experience in addition to my grandmother’s influence has helped me to stay strong, compassionate, and perseverant. Once I realized that not everyone is privileged to the life we have in America, I also learned to be more appreciative to what I have and to never take anything for granted.  Every time there are insignificant things in my life that bother me, I always remember my experience in Yemen; a great way to keep myself humble.

Posted by: yemenia68 | February 14, 2011

Cerebral Palsy: Part 2

For the past few months I’ve been “adjusting”, for the lack of a better word, to my daughter, Biquis’s, new medical condition. I don’t know what’s worst, the fact that I’ve been feeling depressed lately or that I simply don’t know how to deal with the situation in hand. The main reason I was feeling depressed was because I felt like I was failing my responsibility as a mother, which is the worst feeling any mother can experience.  It felt as if I was spiraling down into a dark hole.

 
I’ve been searching the web for support groups for parents with children who have disabilities; there are many, but this post (supermom myth), at one of the websites really hit home.  It talks about how moms with disabled children can stop competing with other moms because we simply are different. After reading the article, I felt reassured that it is okay not to always have everything done on time, or be tired during the day or to simply experience the overwhelming feeling of frustration. All this time, the one thing I needed was to know that I don’t have to be a “supermom” and just do the best I can; even if that means I can’t do it all. There are days that I am too exhausted to do anything other than care for Bilquis because I’m up most of the night when she needs me ever few hours to turn her in bed.

 
Another issue is providing her with an environment that will make it easier for the both of us to adjust to our new situation. A wheelchair Van, ramp, walk-in shower, and an adjustable bed are some of the equipment that would make her life easier. I’ve been also told that I should get a nurse to help take care of her, but for some reason, the idea doesn’t seem to register with me. I don’t know why it is so hard for me to allow a total stranger, even if that stranger is a certified nurse, to help me care for her. It’s going to take a while to provide all the necessary equipment but I’m taking it one step at a time. Although this issue has yet to be conquered, hopefully everything will work out for the best.

 
At least there has been some progress. After I was told that her insurance didn’t cover in-home physical therapy, I started calling the insurance company for answers. At first I was told that it actually didn’t cover so I decided to change her insurance. Once I told them I was changing her insurance, they said that they do cover in-home therapy; they just needed authorization from her doctor. My question is, “why was it so hard for them to clarify that the first time we tried to get her care?” She lost 7 whole months of therapy due to their incompetent employees who failed to explain that in the beginning.

 
I’m feeling so much better now that I’m on the right track.

Posted by: yemenia68 | January 2, 2011

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Fresher than ever.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 6,600 times in 2010. That’s about 16 full 747s.

 

In 2010, there were 8 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 45 posts. There were 9 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 78kb. That’s about a picture per month.

The busiest day of the year was May 11th with 55 views. The most popular post that day was Gender Roles and Social Structure.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were en.search.wordpress.com, qwaider.com, gambang-x.com, blog.sweetestmemories.com, and google.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for gender roles, hijab, television influence on children, influence of television on children, and tv influence on children.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Gender Roles and Social Structure February 2010
4 comments

2

Television’s influence on children April 2009
15 comments

3

Discrimination and Racism, why do they exist? April 2009
6 comments

4

Taking advantage of the “good guy” April 2009
7 comments

5

Why do women fear the “hijab”? April 2009
27 comments

Posted by: yemenia68 | November 11, 2010

Dealing with Cerebral Palsy

 

 

 

 

I’ve been trying to deal with my daughter’s condition as if someday she will get better. I think for the most part I’ve always wanted her to experience life as a normal, healthy human being. It always breaks my heart knowing that she can never participate in simple daily activities because she has cerebral palsy.

Other than her hearing loss, which she has had since childhood, she was pretty healthy. For the past few years she started having trouble walking, standing, and bathing. At first the doctor said she had stiffness in her legs, which to me seemed like a pretty odd diagnosis. I was sure there was something more than that. She was then diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

This past year I have taken her to see several doctors, Neurologists mostly, to understand why she has been having a hard time walking, sitting and standing independently. They discovered a tumor near her spine. Fortunately, it was a benign tumor; nonetheless, I was petrified to hear the discovery. I was looking for answers and what I got was a bigger problem. At first I was told that if the tumor was causing pressure on her spine, then they would have to perform surgery on her, which would solve her mobility problem. Then I was told that it did not have anything to do with her lack of mobility because it was not causing any pressure. The only thing left to do was to monitor the tumor every few months by having Cscans, MRI’s, nerve tests, and Eeg’s to make sure it doesn’t grow. I don’t know what is worst, for her to live with the disease or going through all those tests every few months.

The doctors recommended physical therapy for her and at first I tried my best getting her to her appointments. It was very hard getting her in and out of the house because she was in a wheelchair. There were times when she would fall and I was the only one with her. It is impossible to get her back up on her feet by myself so I had to call one of my relatives to come and help me. The same thing happened a couple of times before I decided to stop taking her to physical therapy. I tried helping her do simple exercises at home but she would give me a hard time.

It has been very hard for me knowing that there is nothing I can do to change what has happened to my daughter. There are days when I feel overwhelmed with thoughts of how or what I should do to make her life easier. I don’t know what to do or where to go for help.

Posted by: yemenia68 | September 27, 2010

Overcoming Pain

Why is it that the most important people in our lives are the ones most likely to hurt us? Is it because we tend to be vulnerable when we are with loved ones, and that’s what makes us helpless?
    It’s funny how we try to protect ourselves from pain, yet it never fails to prevail in our lives. Regardless of how you try to avoid it, it just sneaks up on you and never ceases to let go until you are run out of emotions.
      We can run from it, we can live in denial, we can even build brick walls to protect us, but unfortunately it will catch up to us no matter what we do.
        I’ve always been a supporter of the “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” theory, but too much of that kind of experience does take a toll on you.
          The best way to overcome it is to allow yourself to feel the pain, not to succumb to it, but experience it, it will hurt for a while and then we move on.
          Posted by: yemenia68 | September 17, 2010

          Thoughts of darkness……..

          Earlier in life, I believed to be a humble, sincere, patient, loving, and kind person. I’ve always strived to do what was right. And in most cases, doing the right thing was the hardest choice available. Always making sacrifices for everyone around me, believing that it would truly make a difference. I just recently realized that this kind of mentality has actually taken a toll on my spirit, believe it or not. It can be very consuming to always give and never get back.
          In making this realization, I start to doubt myself and everything about my fundamental nature. I find myself in a vague and blurred stage in life. Sometimes I doubt what the true definitions of right and wrong are. It seems like I’m trying to find reassurance that I’m on the right trail; a trail that is no longer clear to me. Not knowing how I started and when it will end.
          I see everyone living in world not my own. A world full of deceit, back stabbing, hatred, hypocrisy, jealousy and envy; a world that has led me to doubt myself and my values in life. A world in which sometimes I no longer wish to live in.
          Why have I become so hostile? Why am I trying to find someone to blame for my hostility? Sometimes I ask myself if it is validation that I seek. Do I feel sorry for myself? Do I want a confession from the people who have discouraged, intimidated, and dictated me? Why am I looking for answers to questions I dare not ask? And who do I ask?
          This is what I find myself thinking about late at night. I can’t seem to change my sleep schedule after Ramadan. Isn’t it funny how the silence and darkness of the night can turn you into a lunatic on a mission? Once the sun is up, everything is fine and dandy.
          But, of course, the thoughts do come from somewhere, don’t you think……is it the subconscious?

          Posted by: yemenia68 | September 15, 2010

          Conflict and Superiority

          Sometimes when I’m alone, I think about my life and try to understand which aspect of it has brought me to where I am now. There are even times when I want to know exactly who I am. Have I become this person because of the circumstances I’ve encountered throughout my life, or is it the other way around? Do my personal traits and personality contribute to the outcome of each circumstance I come across? We all strive to be the best we can be but sometimes you just wonder how one continues his/her journey with so much conflict in this world. It’s almost as if there was a mysterious source that just wants to break your enthusiasm.
          Of course we all know about the nature vs. nurture controversy, which in my opinion should be put as nature and nurture, as they both contribute to who we become. The only conflict here is which of the two contributes more. The funny thing about this issue is when you find yourself relating to a complete stranger, with a different mindset, religion, and culture. However, you and your own family member can’t seem to find a simple issue to agree on. This is when everything gets complicated, when there is conflict.
          I’ve always wondered what makes life so complicated. Is conflict to blame for the barriers that we come across in life? I believe so. Conflict is forever inevitable in our lives. It can be conflict between mentalities, opinions, standards, religions, race, culture, and so on. Not to say that dissimilarity, variation, and diversity are negative aspects of life but they are all sources of conflict.
          Some people will say that life without conflict is boring and maybe that is true. There is nothing wrong with being different. The only time there is a problem is when people refuse to respect others’ opinions or choices. When there are two opposing sides, each side strives to prove their superiority and that’s when people cannot get along. It’s almost as if humanity cannot survive without superior and inferior groups, mentalities, countries, races. Is this what we as human beings have created for ourselves or is it a greater source that compels us to participate in an ongoing competition for superiority?
          What brought these thoughts to my mind was after watching an Arabic series that aired on the holy month of Ramadan. It was about the years following the death of the Prophet Mohamed (saaw) and how his companions agreed on who would become Ruler after his death. I’m not going to go into detail about the series although it left me wondering about many issues in life.
          Posted by: yemenia68 | February 11, 2010

          Toxic personalities…..that’s it!

           

           

          This topic has been circulating in my head forever. I can’t even put my finger on the reason why I never felt like dealing with it. I dunno, sometimes I felt that people would think I’m paranoid to even imagine that this was actually going on. 

          Once I read this article on how “toxic people” can ruin your life, I was actually surprised, believe it or not. Talk about denial! I thought maybe ignoring the negativity that people projected was a solution. But deep down I knew that their negativity affected my perception of life. You would be surprised at how negative people can even change your attitude. There are even times when my children would make comments on how there has been a major change in my attitude.

          As strange as it may sound, a lot of people I know have toxic personalities. Their needs are always above yours, they want to change your identity, they take the pleasure out of everything, they’re judgmental, they kill your dreams, and nothing you do is ever good enough for them. Having to be exposed to this kind of negativity day in and day out can really impact your enthusiasm.

          The sad thing is, for how long can you avoid the closest people in your life, when terminating your relationship is not even an option?

          The web page on toxic people:  http://www.sheerbalance.com/mind-body/8-toxic-personalities-to-avoid/

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