The cake I waited six years to taste

If you’ve been reading me regularly, you’ll probably be pleasantly surprised that this post is a little shorter than usual. It’s about cake, after all. How much can you really say about a slice of cake.

The story goes like this:

In 2009, in between classes, I walk into a Starbucks near my college campus to grab a green tea. ‘No sugar please,’ I tell the cashier as I placed my order. I walk over to wait for my tea, and I felt the need to tell the barista one more time ‘sorry, can you please make sure you don’t add any sugar?’ You know, just in case. It was almost summer, which means almost time to go to Lebanon, which means looking like a fat foreign kid who can’t resist American junk food was just not an option.

As I waited, a slice of scrumptious chocolate cake grabbed my attention. It wasn’t like any other chocolate cake. This was heavenly chocolate cake. It looked so good. So sinful. My mouth was watering and stomach making all sorts of sounds just thinking about it. I couldn’t just leave it there.

Little did I care that what I was about to say was gonna make me sound like someone who’d lost their mind (you know, asking for a green tea with no sugar. Twice. Then ordering (what looked like) a 2000-calorie slice of cake): ‘can I also have a slice of your Chocolate Decadence Cake, please.’

I couldn’t wait to get out of there and go somewhere quiet, so I can peacefully devour my cake. A slice that had my name written all over it. I sat in a perfect spot, under a tree, all excited that I was about to have my first cheatcheat in a month. I opened the bag.

Wrong cake. I can’t believe he gave me the wrong cake. I debated going back to claim what’s mine, but it was time for class. (I found out later that the food-deprived me gave him the wrong name. Chocolate Decadence Cake was the name of another slice right next to my beloved).

In 2012, I walk into a Starbucks near my office in Abu Dhabi to grab a green tea, with no sugar. As I waited in line for my drink, I saw it again. Beautiful as ever. The same cake. The other side of the planet. Three years later. It’s fate. I wasn’t gonna get the name wrong this time. So I looked real carefully at the tag, and placed my order with confidence. ‘May I also add a slice of your Dark Belgian Chocolate Cake, please?’

‘Sorry, ma’am. The gentleman there has already ordered the last slice.’

You’ve got to be kidding me, I thought. I debated fighting for my cake, but I had already made a scene by confirming twice that my tea has no sugar.

In 2015, I walk into a Starbucks in Kaslik, Lebanon. As I stood with a friend in line, I saw the cake again, and smiled. I told him the quickest version of my cake story. ‘Tonight is the night,’ he said.

I knew the name by heart. They have more than one slice. No one is ahead of me in line. Nothing can go wrong. ‘Okay,’ I (happily) surrendered.

We walked over to our seats, and as he placed the tray on the coffee table, my greenteawithnosugar spilled all over the tray. I should have known. My cake is ruined. I’m sure it’s ruined.

It wasn’t.

I sighed with relief. Tonight is the night, I reassured myself.

I sat down. My eyes widened with anticipation. My friend pulled out his phone to document the moment. I took my very first bite, of the very cake I fantasized about for so long.

It was gourmet-less, taste-less, disappointing.

We laughed and joked about it. He thought the story was so funny, I should write a post about it. I smiled diplomatically and thought to myself, what the hell am I gonna say about cake.

I got home that night, and realized that this is not just about my cake. It’s about every single thing I’ve ever put a ‘my’ in front of, when it actually wasn’t mine. Be it a job, a boy, a trip, a dress, a cake. Every single time I put them on a pedestal and made them out to be the next big thing. My next big thing. When in reality, they were neither meant to be mine, nor a big thing.

Often times, we try to make things happen, against all odds, against all laws of nature. We ignore everything and everyone telling us to stay away. Because in our minds, it’s ours. And we want it.

Well maybe it isn’t. And maybe we shouldn’t.


With Beirut, we had it on a silver platter

If you’ve known me long enough or have been following Thoughts & Abouts for a while, you’d know that, despite my political science background, I’m not one to entertain political discussions. I don’t agree with some of my closest friends on political views, and, if you’re familiar with Lebanon, where I was born and raised, you’d know that it’s just better this way. But we’ll get to that later.

For now, let me just show you the place that brought me up.

Beirut was born to be exceptionally gorgeous. Shamelessly beautiful. A Goddess to look at. Despite the wars, the bombs, the insecurity, the high cost of living and low pay, the corruption and class disparity. Despite everything that normally makes a place unlivable, Beirut was where you’d go to live. My city never settled for looks, though. It seduced you with its charm, and drugged you with its appeal. But on the inside, it was arrogant, unbreakable with a heart of steel. It was shot from every direction, but shone through, more stunning than ever.

Over the years, Lebanese abroad would always tell you that their current situation is temporary. That this new place they live in, although great, is not Lebanon. “Akid badna nerja3” (of course we’re going back), is an expression you’d hear often.

Lebanese were hardly the only fans, though. State Departments and Ministries of Foreign Affairs around the world have had notices on their websites for the last 30 years, warning their nationals that Lebanon is highly dangerous, and visiting it would be on their own risk. You’d think this would stop them, but they adopted Beirut as their own and went every chance they got. Why? Because Lebanese mastered the art of living. Because Lebanon is where you meet people who would give you their bed and sleep on the floor. Where the food is to die for and the parties are unmatchable. It’s where everyone, regardless of where they come from, their likes and dislikes, could find a corner that would force them to be spontaneous. Drag them out of their comfort zone. Make them nostalgic for their best memories. Remind them of their first love. Awaken their dreams and ambitions. Reiterate their raison d’être. Whisper in their ears that they only live once.

And, We, the Lebanese People, didn’t have to do anything to earn the right to the country where everyone wanted to be.

But there is so much Beirut’s looks and charm can do.

Growing up, every Lebanese student without fail learned in geography class that Lebanon was strategically located to connect East and West. That with its moderate weather and diverse landscape, people could swim and ski on the same day. That its four distinct seasons made it all too attractive for people coming from countries that didn’t have that luxury.

They failed to mention in geography class, though, that our strategic location also meant that we should thank God for the Mediterranean, our only peaceful neighbor. That our neighbors on every other side have issues that have gone on for decades, often spilling over to Lebanese soil.

Also growing up, every Lebanese student without fail learned in social studies class that Lebanon was home to 18 sects “co-existing harmoniously.” That it was a democracy with a constitution, where people had a say in what goes on in their lives. That our electoral law allowed for proportional representation amongst all layers of society.

What our social studies class didn’t tell us is that the 18 sects appear to be co-existing harmoniously. That our democracy was words on paper. That in reality, we’re a hereditary monarchy, monopolized by a few families whose names we’ve memorized all too well. That our electoral law and constitution couldn’t make up for the sleaziness of our “leaders,” and the naivety of our people.

We, the Lebanese People, took Beirut and all that it gave us for granted and said “thank you, but no thank you.”

We have not learned. And I’m not sure we’re capable of ever learning.

We can blame our government. We can blame our economical situation and our debt and our neighbors and our political enemies and “el wade3” (the situation). And, and and. But, at the end of the day, we should blame no one but ourselves.

After all that has gone on in our Lebanon. After we’ve given time and time again the same people a chance to make a difference. After they failed us every time. After they starved us, split us up, disappointed us, ruined our lives, increased our debt, deprived us of our most basic needs, we still cheer them on and chant for them. Who are we. What is wrong with us. How have we not made those who have driven us away from our Lebanon accountable for every mishap?

Perhaps the only thing Lebanon has ever done for me was sign a no-objection letter, attesting that my government has no issues or reservations with me working for a foreign government. It was the quickest signature I’ve ever received from my Lebanon. And how awful did it feel.

I haven’t lived in Lebanon in 11 years. I know. Now you’re thinking ‘why didn’t just lead with this, so we could have spared ourselves the hypocritical speech.’ And I’ll beg to differ. Every Lebanese who, for one reason or another, has had to leave Lebanon, will tell you that distance has made our love for Lebanon grow fonder.

This same distance, however, has made us appreciate other governments that are doing for people who aren’t even their people more than my government has ever done for me.

I’ve been living in a desert, also known as the United Arab Emirates (UAE), for the last three and a half years. I dreaded this place at first. Maybe because I felt like leaving Lebanon for another Arab country didn’t make any sense. I was in the United States before that. But that was fine. I went to study, and that was justified. But how was I going to justify moving to the UAE when I couldn’t even justify it to myself. A monarchy in the middle of a desert.

I don’t think the way I saw the UAE changed until my parents came and visited. They opened my eyes to things I hadn’t seen. Things that are so different from Lebanon. Things they hated back in Lebanon. My parents who never wanted to leave Lebanon. Loved it here.

Their nod of approval redeemed my guilt in a way and allowed me to see the UAE from a different lens.

We co-exist harmoniously.

They were here on Easter Sunday, so we went to mass at a Catholic Church in a compound of churches and mosques. The priest led the sermon by “we thank His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates, for his wise leadership and allowing us to be here today.” I later found out that the Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, a Sunni Muslim, serving in the cabinet of a Muslim country where Sharia law plays a key role, cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony of the remodeled church and, according to sources, the government also contributed financially to the building of the church.

Major malls and stores here are decorated for Christmas. In fact, a few years ago, Emirates Palace, the UAE’s most luxurious hotel, put up the world’s most expensive Christmas tree to celebrate the occasion. In retrospect, Christians and residents of other religions are expected to respect Muslim observances through certain behaviors and modest dress.

We have a good life.

The UAE population constitutes mostly of expats, with UAE nationals only making up 10% of the population. Expats work across all fields and, for the most part, feel privileged to be able to work here thanks to the benefits and perks that the government has made possible. This has created a domino effect of feel-good everywhere you go, which has boosted the overall happy factor of the country.

The founder and first president of the country, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, whom everyone who lives in this country respected and loved, had a vision to bring civilization to the UAE and turn an economy heavily dependent on oil into a knowledge-based economy. To do this, the government looked at the rest of the world and brought the best of models to be replicated and implemented in all industries in the UAE from education and healthcare to aerospace and energy. The benefits of having these models here have evidently trickled down to all residents, regardless of their nationality, who now not only have access to the best hospitals, schools and technologies, but also increasingly impressive career opportunities. Ones they wouldn’t have had back home. In a tax-free economy.

But it’s a monarchy.

For a big proponent of democracy, the monarchy in the UAE hasn’t bothered me one bit. Before you spit out words like indoctrinated or brainwashed, take a second to think, realistically, about the reason anyone would want a democracy. To choose the people who would represent them in government and make decisions that would be in their best interest. I already have that here. Without having to lift a finger. So right here, right now, I don’t care whether or not I got them to government or they just happened to be good leaders who knew what they’re doing.

In a desert.

The UAE is only 43 years old. It was (obviously still is) a desert, where people, then called Bedouins, lived in tents and rode camels. When you step foot in the UAE today, not knowing anything about its past, you’d think you just landed in one of the most advanced European countries. With its towering skyscrapers, huge malls and spectacular luxury hotels, the UAE quickly made its way to the top in the region. It didn’t spare any expense to build and develop the best and tallest and largest and every superlative adjective you can think of. For the most part, it doesn’t get involved in the enigmas of the region, which made it a safe and stable place for businesses to settle and tourists to visit. It defied all laws of nature by planting and replanting flowers in sand, and air conditioning every single closed space, making the desert a pleasant place to live.

But this post isn’t about the UAE or anywhere else for that matter. It’s about Beirut.

With Beirut, we didn’t have to try. We didn’t have to fight for our spot as the Paris of the Middle East or the Bride of the East or the soul of the region. Beirut just threw herself on us and let us take advantage of her.

So when I say “ma ba3ref eza berja3” (I don’t know if I’ll ever go back), it’s never Beirut. It’s the people.

Beirut, Beirut was too good for us.

Some 48 hours I had

(initially drafted on July 3, 2015)

I hadn’t been home for my birthday in a few years. So I decided that this year, my 25th, is an ideal time to go. I kept hoping I’d get excited about the trip, but I didn’t. “Maybe I will when I get closer to the day,” I thought. But I still didn’t.

I’m not sure what it was. Perhaps the fact that I’m a Gerascophobic turning 25? Or maybe because I had put on a few pounds since my last visit, and no one notices weight gain like Lebanese girls? Or the fact that my sister’s future in-laws (i.e. her fiancé’s parents) invited us out to a post-engagement lunch on my very birthday, and my parents didn’t decline, so I felt like my birthday was being hijacked from me? Or because I’m going through a helovesmehelovesmenot period? Or the fact that I was questioning the questions that you’re meant to question yourself at 25. You know, the who am I, what am I doing with my life, what have I done, who should I be?

Perhaps all the above? I have no idea. All I knew is that right then and there I was down. And nothing was gonna change that. Or so I thought.

I landed in Beirut, and standing in the middle of the airport, at 3:30AM, were my parents and sister carrying balloons and colored signs with “Happy 25th Birthday” written on them.

We got home, and awaiting my arrival were more balloons.

Despite all the balloons and love, I was still down.

The next day, I went to grab a coffee with one of my closest friends, who got diagnosed with the unmentionable last year. For the purposes of this post, let’s call her Nour. Those of you who know Nour, would understand why the news of her illness was devastating. She’s what you would call full-of-life. Her energy is contagious. Her laugh is capable of turning anyone’s day right side up.

But those of you who know her also know that if anyone was gonna kick cancer’s ass, it would be her. And she did.

I got to the café and there she was. That familiar smile. That short hair that she rocked like no one else could. And there it was. That thing about her. Arrogance, perhaps. Towards the illness that thought it could steal her life and her laugh away from her, but couldn’t.

We hadn’t seen each other in a long time, so she immediately started asking about me. My life. My plans. And I didn’t have the courage to ask her about hers. Then I did.

How are you? I asked.

There was her smile again. Then she said amusingly “I had cancer and now it’s gone.” And laughed hysterically. The I-did-it laugh. The who-does-cancer-think-it-is laugh.

Then she said. “It was a good experience.” I couldn’t help the “yea, okay Nour. Keep telling yourself that” look on my face. And she saw it. So she explained.

I hit rock bottom, Rita. And now I can live. None of the little things phase me anymore because I’ve been through the worst.

And there it was. She gave me the first lesson of the trip, on a silver platter, without me having to go where she went.

The next day, we had the in-laws lunch that hijacked my birthday. My sister looked so beautiful and so happy, so I was happy. We partied and danced till we dropped. But I couldn’t help but think that I’m here celebrating her engagement, again, instead of my birthday, which I came home to celebrate.

And then it happened. The second lesson.

The waiters at the restaurant where we were came carrying a massive cake, with 25 candles. Then I heard an all too familiar voice singing my favorite birthday song – my dad. Who has one of the most beautiful voices I’ve ever heard.

I looked at my sister. She was singing and clapping and smiling. The I-gotcha smile. The you-think-no-one-can-ever-surprise-you-but-I-just-did smile. The I-love-you-so-much-I-would-turn-any-engagement-party-of-mine-into-your-birthday smile. So I teared up. At the hate I had towards this lunch that turned out being my surprise birthday party. At the selfless woman that my sister grew up to be.

That evening, I had plans to go visit a friend of mine whose father passed away a few weeks ago. She and I weren’t very close, but we talked sporadically. And when her dad fell ill, I’d check on her every once in a while and let her know that my family and I were praying for them.

My mom came along, one because I was home for a total of three days and she wanted to spend every waking minute with me, two because she knew her family well, and three, because I don’t know how to act in these situations. Do I talk about it? Do I not talk about it?

So my mom, who’s brilliant at everything, started the conversation. And it got my friend, whom we’re gonna call Nayla, talking.

Nayla: It kills me every day. I’m a believer, yes. He’s in a better place, yes. But he’s not here. I lost my father, and I’ll never get to see him in this life again. I am blessed, though, you know? I have no “ifs.” I spent every minute I could with him. When he got sick, I was always either with him or taking care of his diner, the second closest place I could be to him. And now that he’s gone, the diner is my priority. This place put food on our table. My dad spent his life building it and growing it to ensure that we didn’t need anyone and I can’t leave it now. Everything else can wait.

She then told us countless stories and memories of her and him. His best days. His worst days. She didn’t shed a tear. But the sadness I saw in her eyes and the anguish I heard in her voice were more powerful that all the weeping I’ve seen in funerals.

Nayla: In the days before he left, things were lining up like a puzzle. I believed more than ever that everything happens for a reason, you know? I’m so sorry, I talked too much.

Little did she know that I wanted her to. That I believed that too. That me going there on my birthday had clearly happened for a reason. Yes, she needed to talk, but I also needed to listen. Here’s this girl who just found a purpose in the midst of the biggest loss of her life. 

Nour and Nayla had every right to be bitter. I was healthy and the former wasn’t. My dad is here and the latter’s isn’t. But they weren’t. They graciously offered me the lessons they learned by going to hell and back, without even realizing that they did.

And then I saw it. The lesson of all lessons. Perspective.

Should women lose the pants?

(initially drafted on January 24, 2014)

You know life can have quite the sense of humor sometimes. This past week has been eventful. So eventful, in fact, that the title of this blog post didn’t start out the way it reads now. It initially was “Women Should Lose the Pants [period]”

The reason? Simple. At some point this week, I thought my pants are the problem and was ready to give up on them; but now, I’m no longer sure.

Chances are I’ve lost you at pants. If so, please get your head out of the gutter and think a little deeper.

Many years back, I dated a drop dead gorgeous guy. To this day, I still think he’s the hottest thing I’ve ever seen. So hot in fact, that I stayed with him for a whole year and a half just so I can look at him. That’s a long time when you’re 17. I was the girl who always built up his ego, reminded him how sexy he was everyday (though he didn’t need the reminder) and even complimented his brains every now and then; despite the fact that he wasn’t exactly what you would call smart. Guys need that, a woman who supports them, I thought.

Months passed and I realized that I was giving a lot more in the relationship than I ever took. That by staying with him [knowing he was having an affair], I was sacrificing my everything including my dignity.

I decided to put an end to it but blamed myself for the mishap for a very long time. I probably wasn’t enough for him, I told myself. A drop dead gorgeous guy needs a size 0, six-foot tall drop dead gorgeous girl so they can be gorgeous together and have gorgeous babies.

It took me years to finally get over him. But with getting over him, came another item.

The Pants.

Sorry it took me this long to finally get to the pants, but I needed you to be aware of the background before we got here.

I wasn’t always the woman I am today. Bitter is probably not the best word to describe it so let’s call it “pink-less,” “girl-less,” “pants-ful.”

To girls, I’m strong and independent. To guys [or some], I’m probably the Cruela who doesn’t need them or anyone else for that matter.

Whether Hotboy (HB) was the reason or not, is not the point of this post. He was definitely a trigger though. The trigger that brought out the pinkless in me.

I’ll give you a couple examples so you get the picture. I gave HB passes for everything; being hours late to dates, not putting me first, checking out other women when I was around, having no clue what he wants to do in life or even what he wants. Anything he did wrong in the eyes of everyone, I gave him excuses for. Because, I mean, he was him. The hot, handsome him. And he was with me, though he could have been with any other model-like girl. And trust me, we don’t have a shortage of those in Lebanon.

Today, I’m different. I surprise myself everyday with behavior that would be deemed too manly/extreme/harsh even for a man.

When I love, I still love with all my heart. And I’m still a giver, that hasn’t changed.

But I want things to be a certain way now. The guy I choose needs to meet me half way, put me and my needs above others’, respect me enough to show up. On time. Feel just as lucky that I chose him as I feel that he chose me. Because, I mean, (narcissistic comment alert) I think really highly of myself. I studied hard, worked tirelessly and overcame incredibly difficult experiences to build my “life Résumé” and become the me writing this today.

I now decide overnight to take trips to the randomest of places, by myself, because I can. I have no problem packing up tomorrow and moving to a different continent, because why not. I have no desire to tie the knot anytime soon and don’t see the issue in sitting at the movie theater watching a movie by myself.

Love issues this week called for several “meetings” with a few girl friends of mine who see life from the same angle. We decided that maybe our pink levels are too low, our pants are too high and that we need to act more like “normal” girls.

Okay, okay. Maybe there are things that we could do differently. Letting guys pay for things every now and then is a good start and not the end of the world. Getting their opinion on things before we actually do them is feasible. Not talking to them for days because they broke one of our rules is probably not the best solution. But I can’t act vulnerable and dependent. It’s simply unnatural. Un-me. Undoable for any guy regardless of how much I love him.

Do we need them? Undoubtedly. But in the same way they need us. To give us love, sex, babies and be someone we can build a life with. We (and by we I don’t mean Women, I mean the Pinklesses) don’t need a provider, a leader, a controller. We need a lover, a companion, a friend. Who respects our independence and lack of helplessness and understands that these attributes don’t diminish our love by one bit.

Is this too much to ask? I mean should we tone down the pants so we don’t emasculate the guys in our lives?


I kinda like my pants.

When the control freak faces the uncontrollable

(initially drafted on August 10, 2013)

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a couple weeks now but I couldn’t. For one, I haven’t been able to articulate what I want to say and two, the circumstances that triggered me to write it in the first place have taken up most of my time since. And I couldn’t be happier. But more on that later.

See, I’m what you would call a control freak. I’ve been self-diagnosed recently and am so glad I have as up until that point, I had no idea what that uneasy feeling I got when I was unable to control a situation was.

Depending on your beliefs, spirituality or religion, you may or may not think that you ever have control over a situation, whatever it may be.

I believe that God has given me freedom of will which allows me to have control over what goes on in my life, but not all of it. It’s the “not all of it” part that I have a problem with. It’s the unpreventable, unfixable, undoable, irreversible that freak me out; hence, the “disorder.” I want to be in control to the point that I couldn’t go on a slide at the water park a few weeks back because I felt like I was throwing myself into the unknown and that was too much for me.

Throughout my adult life, I’ve faced numerous uncontrollable situations and they range anywhere from not getting into Harvard to falling for the wrong guy. How did I deal with them? Okay I think. I mean the first and only time I’ve been really drunk my whole life was the day I got the rejection letter. And I’m still dealing with the latter given that it’s happened more than once and suspect it will happen a couple more times before I learn. But I’ve done okay.

Until the uncontrollable hit home. My very own. My téta.

You always hear of the “hal marad” (that disease) and the “Alla yeb3do” (may God keep it away from us and our loves ones) and for some reason you think that you and your family members are invincible. That it will never happen to you. Well it could and it did to the woman who practically raised me. The amazing woman who hasn’t and is incapable of ever hurting anyone.

That, I didn’t take so well.

Téta is in Lebanon and I’m in Abu Dhabi and when I first found out, I held it in and kept it together for my mom’s sake. Until I called téta one day and she couldn’t talk. That destroyed me. Only five days earlier I called her and we laughed and laughed on the phone but that day, she couldn’t. That’s when I knew that I needed to be there. That I needed to leave everything behind and be there.

A few years ago, back when I was living in the States, my other téta passed away and I couldn’t make it back in time and I still regret it everyday to this very day. I wasn’t going to let the same thing happen this time.

When I look back, I see téta in every big moment in my life. When I first walked, talked, my first day of school, my First Communion, my exams, my grades, every airport pick up and drop off. All of it. And I wasn’t about to let her go through this on her own. So I packed up and left.

I was there for 2 weeks and I think I spent more time with her than I had over the last 9 years (since I left Lebanon). And it wasn’t the sitting with her while checking what’s app, updating my Facebook status or plucking my eyebrows kinda time. It was actual quality time. She had to make an effort to talk but she did despite my pleading for her to rest and not worry. She wanted to tell me so much and I was eager to listen. She told me everything from when she fed me my own méghlé when I was a week old to when I talked at 10 months to her prayers to God that He keeps me safe every step of the way. And He has.

One night, four people were in the room with her trying to get her settled in bed as she couldn’t move much. After they left, she signalled for me to sleep next to her. She was too close to the edge for me to fit so she moved herself with all her might until I could. She put her hands on my hair and we just sat there, in silence. I knew right then and there that I was exactly where I was supposed to be.

Téta’s heart is still beating in Lebanon (heavily but it’s beating) and I’m back in Abu Dhabi. I don’t know if I’ll ever get to see her again but I do know that I did what I should have done and told her everything that I wanted to tell her especially how very much I love her.

I can’t begin to explain how hard it was to watch someone you love as much as I love téta suffer. Not eat, not talk or walk when she was the one who taught me all of it. I had to sit there and watch her shut down little by little and there wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it. This would probably be hard for anyone, let alone someone who wants to be in control of it all.

See you can’t and I know that now. But there is a whole lot you can do to make the ride easier to swallow.

Scared and free

(initially drafted on May 29, 2013)

Ever since I posted my last blog, I’ve been thinking of a new topic to write about. Something interesting. Something that you would care about. Something that I would care about.

Unfortunately, I had nothing.

Now I’m not the type of person who ever has nothing to talk about. In fact, ask my friends and they’ll tell you that I’m the type who has so much to say, I talk so fast to fit it all in 24 hours.

So it’s not that there was a lack of topics. Or that my life has been eventless since February (2012 that is –yes, I haven’t written in a year and 3 months). As a matter of fact, so much has happened since then, it scares me to even think about it. I quit my old job, I moved 2000 miles away from home, I got a new job, I co-founded an NGO, I fell in love, I fell out of love, I took a solo trip, I met countless amazing people, and most importantly, I learned more than I ever thought was possible in the span of a year.

So it definitely wasn’t that either.

The reason I stopped writing is because –as clichéd as it sounds –I didn’t know what voice I should be writing with.  I still don’t. I think I’m going through this stage in life where I’m just trying to figure it out. I never thought I’d live to see the day when I say this because as far as I was concerned, I’ve had it figured out since I was 5. I was going to grow up to be a doctor by the age of 28, then marry Mr. Perfect and have his gorgeous babies.

So I’m definitely not a doctor (I’m also not 28 yet so I still might meet Mr. Perfect by then or later and have his gorgeous babies.). I’m not even working in anything that has to do with science which had always been my kinda thing.

I’m actually working in PR, thinking of maybe going to law school, or maybe becoming a diplomat, or a politician, or a teacher. Some days, I want to sing for the rest of my life. And on others, I want to start my own thing. I’m all over the place. I’m so all over the place that I have 3 different standardized test prep books sitting on my desk as I’m not sure if the next step is law school, med school or just a good ol’ Master’s degree.

I’m sure this is an inevitable stage in life. But some struggle through it more than others. And for someone who has always made plans, stuck to them and put deadlines on every next step, this is a mess. It gets you to doubt everything else about your being and you start going all Oprah and questioning life and its purpose and your calling and your personality and who you are and who you should be and and and the list goes on.

Now I can’t say I’m writing again because I figured it out. Nor can I confirm that I ever will. But I think I’m starting to realize that maybe it’s not such a bad thing if I don’t.

Am I scared? More than ever. But I’m free. I’m scared and free.