MsTanfra is back to ja3dani featuring “In my country”

outoforderIn my country

You are either a “Aouni” or a”Kowwetji”

You are either pro Hizbullah, or pro Hariri

 

In my country

You are either freakishly rich, or barely making a living

You are either a mama’s boy, or you haven’t talked to your parents in forever

You either drive like a monster, or you prefer to walk it off to avoid the monsters

You either own a motorcycle, or curse all those who do

You either don’t see your kids because you’re at work all day, or you don’t see your kids because you’re in “sobhiyet” and shopping all day

You are either a fanatic, or an atheist

You either own a dozen machine guns, or freak out if you hear one triggered in the far distance (or even hear some fireworks for that matter)

You either watch the news on this or that channel, or you simply just stopped giving a sh*t and watch silly sitcoms instead …or -God forbid- read a book

You either have at least 3 plastic surgeries done on your face, or you are considered an outcast to our plastic society

You either pay hundreds of dollars on your insurance bills, or you take bank loans with ridiculous terms to cover your medical costs…or you die at the hospital door step

You either have a second nationality (smarty-pants!) or you suffer whenever one politician or the other decides to “fix” the country setting it on fire and you wonder what you will do with your family

 

In my country

You are either an a-hole, or a gullible idiot

 

In my country

You are never human

 

In my country

You are nothing but a number … A vote

 

In my country

You are a freak if you are moderate and just want to live a simple, decent life . . .

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My BIG 3-0h!

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So I turn 30 today. Yay…I think?

No it’s no biggy and, no, I’m not feeling it.  I am blessed in so many ways. I can and will try to do better in some aspects of my life. We all can and should. I don’t have much to regret, though. No enemies. Lots of love. So it’s all good . . .

But it IS technically a special day in my life, and in such occasions I usually like to send and show my love.

So let’s start where it all started. . .

1-      Dear God Almighty

Thank you. Thank you for my existence and thank you for offering me so many blessings and for letting me learn from my mistakes and from life’s hardships. Thank you for blessing my family and loved ones. I will always have faith in You and in Your ways. I hope I will always have strength and faith to believe in You and worship You. I hope I will be more appreciative and I am so sorry about all the nagging…It is just human nature I guess.  May you always light my way. . .  I love you.

2-      Dear Mom and Dad

First of all, thanks for bringing me to this world 🙂 Thanks for all the love and the sacrifices and for all the molding and strength it took to make me who I am. I will always be a part of you, as you will be a part of me. You have been amazing parents and I have no idea how you did it, now that I have kids of my own. I appreciate everything you have done for me. And everything you do and will do for me. You are, not only the greatest parents, but also the greatest grandparents anyone can ask for. You are my support and my backbone. I love you.

3-      My Dearest husband and true love

Your presence in my life is what helps me keep a smile on my face despite the hardships. You are the sweetest and the most affectionate person on earth. Of that I am sure. So understanding and supportive. Loving and caring. I am so glad we went through with our relationship. Look how far we’ve gone my love after these many years… It still feels like a hazy dream that was not too long ago. The sight of you interacting with our kids just melts my heart. I hope that they will grow to love you as much as you love and care for them. Thank you for taking such good care of me (especially with my birthday “festivities”) and for being so patient with me. You’re the best. I love you.

4-      My Dearest Boys

You are my sunshine. Only now do I understand the simple lyrics of this song. You really are my sunshine. You are the source of warmth and happiness. You make me want to be strong and carry on with whatever I do. You make every day worth living because a simple look, or a smile or a hug from you makes my heart skip a beat. I hope I can ever show you how much I adore you both. And I pray every single day that you will grow up to be the healthy, happy, wonderful men I see in you. I pray that you will always have faith no matter what. And I hope that God will surround you with his Glory and Light in every single step you take. I love you.

5-      Dear friends and family

Thank you for all the love and support and for being there to make my days a little brighter. Thank you for accepting who and how I am. I hope that we will see each other more often in the coming year and I hope we will always have a place and time for each other. I love you.

With lots of love and cheers for the next decade . . .

Here goes nothing . . . a post about: RELIGION!

Yup, I’m doing this.

I have been wanting to do this for some while. But every time I get the balls to do it, I say I will not go through with this. I don’t want people discussing this via my blog. And I don’t want racist comments here.

But after all what’s going on in the region, and after being convinced that this crap is far from over, I am doing it. I will speak of politics vs. religion.

Now, everything I will write from now on comes from my personal experience and my very own opinion. And arguments will definitely hold. BUT, please make sure your arguments are respectful and tolerant.

religion-public-sphere-overviewso here it goes . . .

I, like many fellow young individuals living in a sick society that wants to know your name to see where you’re from and what you believe, am completely, extremely, definitely sick-n-tired of the way things have been going lately. I see racism and division and I am disgusted by it all.

I believe that it is time for change. Real and comprehensive change. And I look forward to the day when I don’t have to specify my sect on a job application, or a government document, or whatever.

Why? Because I believe that it is crazy, and stupid, and so unfair to be judged or labeled or categorized because of what your ID says you are.

And yes, I believe that it is time: new, non-sectarian blood is needed. I know we have it, but I just hope we have enough of it to be able to turn the ruthless system around and actually accomplish something worth belonging to for I do not feel that I belong in my very own country seeing the way it is at this point.

But saying that, there is one small differentiation, or addition to that formula that I would like to add, simply because I don’t hear it much.

Yes, I believe that politics and religion are two separate entities that SHOULD be handled separately. No church or mosque should lead my country. Honest, educated, liberal and just men and women should.

This is an argument which I would fully support. A reality I would dream of.

On the other hand, I don’t really believe that such a formula would have to nullify all beliefs and religions.

Certain people who happen to follow certain religions are bad people. That doesn’t mean that the religions they follow are bad. Why do I say that?

Because:

1) there are people from different backgrounds and different religions who are criminals and who deserve to be in jail

2) Most of these criminals do not follow the religions they claim they do . When you analyze, you will see that they follow power and money, but not really what their religion is all about

3) there are many good and honest people who are religious

I really wish that we could separate certain figures from their religions. Yes, Bin Laden is an A-hole. But not because he is Muslim, but because he’s a monster, a criminal. That is one exaggerated example. But even if we look at leaders worldwide, be it Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Jews or Atheists, they all rob their countries and lie and manipulate (or kill) so many innocent souls to get more money, or more power.

My point here is that it doesn’t matter what you believe in, as long as you are a good person. And this is why, although I fully support anti-sectarian movements and scientific/legal justice rather than religious quarrels and judgements, I am totally AGAINST attacking religions.

We can all have our own beliefs, regardless of what they are. But we need to practice these beliefs at our homes and communities in a respectful manner. Without offending others. Without judging others. Without getting into politics. Practice what you want. And believe what you want. Just be a just and peaceful being and don’t interfere with other people’s beliefs.

Having faith, in my personal opinion, gives the person strength and depth and peace of mind. If a religion does not give that to someone, then, by all means, let him/her search for what he/she should believe in. It is no taboo to be spiritual and at peace with yourself. And it is no taboo to believe in something or someone, as long as this is for the benefit of the individual and ultimately, of mankind.

I do not like the attack on religions, but I do agree that half, if not more, of religious leaders are bad examples not only of their fellow “believers”, but of humans as a whole. So if a religious leader, or any person is bad, by all means, let him/her be penalized. Regardless of their beliefs.

But, just because people are setting bad examples and misrepresenting their beliefs, that does not mean that we should walk around stereotyping others and judging them.

So I say, let someone believe whatever he/she wants. For all I care, someone might believe that someday goldfish will take over the world and enslave humankind. If that person is a good person because of that belief, then be it.

I believe we are all here to make the world a better place, somehow. In our own way. With our own beliefs.

I really hope we have something to look forward to in these difficult times. . .

Love-Hate is no “no-no”

I have been torturing myself about how I get yo-yo feelings about not only things, but also people in my life. There, I said it.

It sounds horrible and I always thought it was a result of mood swings, or hormones, or schezophrenia perhaps! But you know what? With time I have managed to cope with these feelings, and endorse them and appreciate them.

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Yes, it probably sounds “saner” to have the same feelings about a certain person all the time. But you know something? To me, personally, that would really hurt my relationship with that person. Why? Because feeling and acting the same exact way around someone is boring. It makes me feel as though I am trapped inside a cage, a deadly routine and a kind of hypocrisy, that I simply can’t handle.

We are human beings, who feel different things at different times. So it is only normal that these feelings show around other people, including those people whom we adore. Yes, I admit that sometimes I get home and am not in the mood to anwser a simple question that my 3 year-old asks. Sometimes I can’t even manage a smile when I first walk into the house. Yes, he is my bundle of joy and a little piece of me and yes I love him more than I love myself. But, I don’t do it because I’m a mean mom, or because I am neglectful. I am on the other extreme opposite side of the spectrum from being neglectful. But every now and then, I need some “me” time. And if I don’t get that me time, I am sure that I would not be able to be there for him, with my usual big smile and my hugs and my ability to listen and converse with him for hours and hours until the very last moment before he finally, falls asleep in my arms.

I torture myself sometimes when I don’t find the ability to be my usual self around my beautiful son. But then I think, this is life and this is reality. He needs to learn how to deal with this. Sometimes mommy is tired, or sick, or just simply not in the mood for me. That doesn’t mean she loves me any less.  She will be back to her senses in a while.

I am giving this specific example because it involves my very own kid. My son, whom I adore more than anything that walks this planet (or any other planet for that matter). Why? To say that it’s ok to give ourselves a break every now and then.

I wish I could be a perfect mom, always there for her kids, smiling and baking cookies and singing and hopping and making a mess of every room in the house with them, just for fun. And many times I AM that mom, but I can’t do that all the time.

I wish I could be the perfect wife, smiling at my amazing hubby and cuddling beside him all the time and preparing a new home cooked meal from some exotic country every single day and looking splendid every day for him and only him, even when at home. But the reality is, I come back from a hard day at work, tie my hair in a knot, wear whatever PJ I come across, and barely have time to sit with my family, shower and have a decent dinner and, hopefully, do a couple of chores and-POOF!- it’s 10 pm! That doesn’t describe my life every single day of the week, but you get the picture.

I wish I could be a perfect daughter. I wish I could listen to my parents’ conversations (and many, many comments) for hours and hours. I wish I could cook and clean for my mom now that she is sick, as she has done for me for so many years. I wish I could spend all my days with them, without arguing about silly little things that don’t even matter. I wish I could go see them everyday after work. But that’s simply impossible.

I wish I could be the perfect grand daughter, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, niece, cousin, friend, employee . . . I wish I could be perfect. And who doesn’t?!

But let’s get real. We have to give ourselves a break! Life these days asks for so much. And I’m not saying we shouldn’t try doing as much as we can. Yes, we should be achievers. Yes, we should have work-life balance. Yes, children deserve and need our love and affection. Yes, family comes first. Yes, we need to be there for our friends. And yes, our partners are the most important part of our lives and they are the ones who share our hopes and our dreams.

But ” WE” are the core here. Because when we don’t take care of us, all the others will be harmed. My son might be disappointed for a couple of hours when ‘mommy is not in the mood’. But on the long run, he knows I’m there for him and I’m doing my best to be. Same applies for all other people in my life.

We will all have our bad moments and our embarassing anecdotes and our extremely crazy outbursts. We all have weaknesses and flaws. And as long as we are trying to be better persons, there is no need to torment ourselves and make a big deal of every time we are weak. Otherwise, we will all go cuckoo! (not that I’m not on the fast lane of a highway to get there :P)

Patience my dear friends… is indeed a virtue. A virtue we should all dwell and be drenched in. That is the one thing I wish for myself when I pray everyday . . . patience.

Leuve,

MsTanfra

Why would anyone want to be a hypocrite?!

Everyone is a hypocrite . . . in some way, somehow, we all tell lies or act in certain ways to impress others.

And that is totally understandable when living in a harsh and judgemental society such as ours.

Telling a white lie to save a situation, or to make someone feel better when down is one thing, but being a full-fledged hypocrite and pretending to be someone you’re not is something else. And it’s something I hate.

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Hypocrisy comes in different forms and is usually due to different factors.

For example, there are those who say “yes” to everything and agree to all opinions just to fit in. I hope I would never do that, but I at least pity these people because they lack confidence or have experienced certain bad events throughout their lives …leading to this method of adjusting.

But then, there are those smooth-talkers who keep the compliments pouring all day when they’re around you. And you know (for sure) that whenever they’re talking to anyone else, they’re cooking, spreading and flavoring all kinds of rumors about you.

I don’t get what these people get from all this. I don’t understand why they do this. Oh, but they do. And I believe they enjoy every bit of it.

I read an article about “how to reduce stress at the workplace” and “gossip” was number 3 on the list, meaning that gossiping would help an employee soothe his/her stress. Seriously?! I think it’s better to advise employees to punch a wall or something! Maltreating a fellow human being is no joke!

We all blabber and share thoughts and let out steam to friends or colleagues. And that’s only normal. But my personal take on this subject is as follows:

1- Try to resolve the issue (and your anger) directly with the concerned person

2- If you cannot do that at all, try to dish to someone that is not in the same circle (for instance, dish on friends with colleagues and on colleagues with friends). The person you’re talking to will not be personally absorbed in what you’re saying, but they’ll listen just to be supportive. This will reduce the possible harm of your “dishing”.

3- If this is not possible at all and you feel that you would burst if you don’t let it out this second, make sure you do the following:

a) Never make something about someone up

b) Never share information that might be harmful or easily misrepresented

c) Say explicitly that you’re just dishing and need to talk and that you have nothing against the person

d) Try to tell the person at some point (when you’re calm) that you said so and so about him/her (or at least hint that you were mad when a certain incident happened and might have said a few things)

e) Apologize – it would make you feel much better afterwards, but more importantly, it would allow the person to keep his/her trust in you, knowing that you have nothing personal against him/her and that it was just about a particular incident.

I know this post contradicts itself. . . . But come on, we’re human beings, and we have so many grey areas to tip-toe around. And the picture says it all…ofcourse I’m no angel and often fall into this trap . . .

The key message here is it’s ok to err and to be human and weak, but it’s not ok to be a hypocrite and intentionally harm someone.

With all ze leuve,

Ms.Tanfra

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Only in Lebanon!

Only in Lebanon, taxi drivers listen to the news on the radio and curse one of the political parties and MAKE you get into a political/religious conversation you are way better off without . . .

Only in Lebanon, a complete stranger you are meeting for the first time in your life asks about your family name just to judge you and see if you are “minnon” or “minna”.

Only in Lebanon, students in Elementary grades can identify the faces of all our dear politicians and associate every shape and color with a certain  polititian. They can also imitate and mimic most of them.

Only in Lebanon, these same students cannot identify the faces of people who actually made history in the world.

Only in Lebanon, an address can give away more than just where you live. For in some Lebanese people’s heads, every street and corner is “labeled” for a certain sect.

Only in Lebanon, do people head to the streets at the blink of an eye if a leader “summons” them to.

And only in Lebanon, people die at the doorsteps of the emergency rooms, receive no healthcare, eat spoiled food and expensive bread, get no water or electricity or any other decent  right from the government, and no one moves a finger.

Only in Lebanon, trees and mountains are butchered every day, and people don’t care.

Only in Lebanon, rain water goes to waste, and people have to pay to get water for their homes.

Only in Lebanon,  السلاح زينة الرجال (holding a weapon ia an honor) and not a disgrace. 

Only in Lebanon, schooling expenses have sky-rocketed and teachers’ incomes are as they were in the 80’s or so.

Only in Lebanon, you are not allowed to “not take sides” and simply ask for peace and decent living  conditions.

Only in Lebanon, you are expected to accept that some streets are “owned” by nasty little kids with guns.

Only in Lebanon, those who always held propagandas and speeches against violence and armed clashes suddenly “change their minds” when it comes to their “herd” .

Only in Lebanon, giving a child a certain first name is like giving him/her a permanent provocative tattoo on his/her forehead.

Only in Lebanon, people who speak in the name of religion speak the language of hatred and intolerance, rather than preach about love and forgiveness and acceptance.

Only in Lebanon, people with no political affiliations are roaming around the planet looking for another nationality, a different  place that would accept them and offer them the least amount of respect that they desrve.

Only in Lebanon, people and governments see upcoming trouble and chaos and expect the worse, but do nothing.

Sometimes, I just wonder if they do so because they truly believe that they cannot change anything, or if they just enjoy the show and the stimulation that comes with it. If it is the latter case, well then DAMN! That would be pure sickness . . .

Just another sick Lebanese in need of a cure,

MsTanfra

About taking things for granted . . .

Hey there, dear friends! It’s been a while!

I had a crazy couple of weeks, so excuse my laziness in posting new stuff.  But I’m back- I think.

Today’s dull topic is “taking things for granted“.

 Actually it’s about taking people, things, habits, reactions, ideas and places for granted. We all have the awful habit of taking things for granted. And I might be the master of that habit, but nonetheless, sharing my thoughts about it is no mistake, I guess.

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I believe that, by nature, individuals always look for some kind of stability or routine. Even if they are adventurous and crazy and adore change, they tend to have some kind of routine or schedule somehow, in one way or another.

We all get bored from the “standard” parts of our daily life. For example, we all hate going to work at the same time and seeing the same people and then taking the same way back home to, again, see the same people. But not everyone is capable of choosing a lifestyle of instability just to bypass routine in his/her life.

Routines might suffocate us at times, or might seem to be the real problems in our lives. And yes, it is true that many times, these routines SHOULD be changed or adapted somehow.

But my curiousity always pokes at me and asks, what would happen when these little routines change? Is the person going to be better off?  Or is she/he going to regret the change and stop taking things for granted?

Of course there is always a grey area when it comes to answering such questions. There is no clear-cut response, since it all depends on WHAT the person is changing and HOW the person is changing.

But change, nonetheless, is difficult and it makes us realise what we once had, no matter how “bad” we thought something was.

Here are some examples, from different aspects of life, just to highlight how taking things for granted is a really tricky thing:

Example 1: A couple who have stuck together for more than 50 years are always complaining about eachother. The man snores and leaves his filthy socks on the floor. The woman watches a silly soap opera at an incredibly high volume, three times a day. He complains that she made him spend all his wealth on her shopping and on her trips. She complains he never gave her the life she deserved and never bought her a decent gift or invited her for a romantic dinner. She complains that he hasn’t touched her in over a decade, not even to cuddle her. He claims she doesn’t love him anymore and isn’t trying to look attractive for him. One morning, she wakes up and prepares breakfast for the old grumpy man, as she always does, and then goes to wake him up at the usual time, but he wouldn’t wake up. He was dead, and the last memory she has of  him was waking him up in the middle of the night, blabbering something about his snoring. And now . . . he’s gone.

Example 2: An employee has been at the company for more than 10 years. Everyday, he would come in on time, work really hard all day and leave a little late. He was honest and sincere and was committed to his work and to his boss. Always there when his boss needed him. Very consistent and reliable. His colleagues would often go on sick leaves or come in late to the office. They would always find excuses and the boss never complained. He, on the other hand, did not like to do that. He only left when he really needed to. And every time he HAD to, his boss would go on and on about it. Why? Because his boss took him for granted! The boss was not accustomed to the employee getting sick or needing a break. 11 years later, the employee leaves the department…and the boss loses one of the most reliable assets and only then does the boss realise the employee’s value.

Example 3: A little girl lives with her parents on a block that has a small mini market. Every morning, her mom would take her there to buy fresh juice and cookies. Every single day, for more than 5 years, the little girl would complain that her friends had cookies that were star or heart shaped, whereas this mini market only offered dull boring cookies that looked horrible. The mini market shuts down when a major  brand opens a big shopping center. They have all the shapes of all the cookies in the world. But they taste different. they don’t taste like home anymore. The girl asks her mom if she could bake the cookies at home instead. . .

The examples above are simple, and yes, kind of obvious. But you know what? Such things don’t seem so obvious when we are in the “complaining” phase.

Sometimes, the people and things that we take for granted are in fact a really important part of our day and of who we are.

We all need change and we should always look for new things. It is healthy to do that. But let us never forget the old things. The good old friends, the dear family members surrounding us, the pets, our favorite spots and gathering places, all random people we see everyday ( the grocer, or the concierge or our favorite barista who makes our coffee just the way we like it to be).

All these matter . . . and every person, place, animal, or thing offers our life value, for it can give us the most precious thing in life: MEMORIES.