When I first saw you, this morning in the mirror, I wasn’t sure what to think. Is it a shadow, the effect of the bad lighting in the bathroom, a bit of makeup leftover from last evening, a mark from the sheets, I asked myself. No, I wasn’t ready to admit, that approaching thirty I was also approaching that age when wrinkles are to be accepted. And so I decided to welcome you. After all, even though you were not invited per se, you were here to stay.
And so I realized that you did not come that easy. No. You are the result of late nights drinking on the balcony of a Gloucester road gloomy studio. Of last minute studying for a commercial law exam, skipping meals, nights of sleep and catch ups with friends. Of midnight walks to the nearest tesco for an oh so urgent jar of Petite Maman strawberry jam. You are the product of 6 am alarm clocks for an 8 am start at the 17th floor of a Canary Wharf tour. Of constant flat moving, house-warming parties, boeuf bourgignon failures and Dominos pizza 2 am deliveries. Of love stories, heart breaks and tragic losses. Of hope and exhaustion. Of pushes in a delivery room and diaper changing. Of fights and make ups. Of insecurity and moments of confidence. Of weight gained and short episodes of involuntary anorexia. Of summers burning in the sun for a golden tan short-lived, fast gone. Of long English winters that knew no spring. Of mice in my cupboard. Of 5 am essay submissions. Of long phone calls with a friend I never met.
You are the result of all that and more. My first wrinkle, you are beautiful for you come from a beautiful place and you give meaning to my face.
Why do we become more vulnerable with age? I always looked forward to growing up, hoping I would get rid of my naiveté, my need to please, my quest to belong, my constant and obsessive fear of losing the ones I love. I was hoping that the betrayals, breakups, losses, deceptions, failures and disappointments I have experienced would teach me to be more careful, more skeptical, more reserved and more private. I was certain that with time I would finally realise that living a low profile and quiet life was the secret to happiness. I really wanted to reach that point where I would choose who to allow into my life more carefully. That I would take my time before jumping into new relationships. That the days that pass would allow me to differentiate the genuine from the fake, the real from the glitter, the simple from the extravagant…
Once again I find myself packing all my belongings and moving out from what has been my home for the past year. I have moved seven times in the past five years. And although I have become more detached from materialistic possesions and developed the art of letting go, I still manage to find myself with three huge suitcases impossible to lift. How did I manage to accumulate so much stuff in so little time? And I thought I was doing well!
I have definitely made an effort. While I was a compulsive buyer in my younger years, I now find myself more content with one new quality item of clothing than four average skirts on sale. Decluttering has become my favorite activity, one that I perform every season.
Filed under clutter, Goodbyes, home, Life, London, minimalistic, moving, packing, philosophy, storage, suitcases, travel
There is nothing cool about being in your twenties. Whoever said it was is a big fat liar. When you are twenty-something, you worry about university. About exams. About last minute revisions. About whether you did well or if you could have answered question 5 differently.
In your twenties, you suffer your first major heartbreak, the one that changes you as a person. The one that makes you insecure, lonely, bitter. The one that makes you write poems, listen to Radiohead and eat pizza in bed. You make new friends. You go out a lot. Only to come back to a very lonely place.
Filed under disappointment, Dream, Family, freedom, Friends, Goodbyes, growing up, Lebanon, Life, London, loneliness, Love, Memories, people, Relationships, soul, struggle, Work
So just like that I decided one day that never again will I be reduced to a ball of frizz. Never again will I be the girl with big hair. And never again will I ruin a chic, structured, well-behaved outfit with crazy-all-over-the-place dirty-blonde locks. That’s when my mission to become the lucky
bitch goddess in a Pantene advert – with shiny, sleek, smooth hair – started.
But unlike that girl in the advert: I wasn’t ‘born with it’. Hell no. I had to work hard to get – not even close to – it. I made it my sole occupation. I visited hair salons three times a week, be-friended Paolo my local hairdresser (that I even chatted with on Whatsapp in the event of hair emergency) and invested in anti-frizz products at exorbitant prices: Moroccan oil, Kerastase Elixir, Shu Uemura intensive repair, John Frieda 3-day straight, you name it.
The Lebanese passport is not the best one to have. Don’t get me wrong, I am proud of my country. Yes, I am proud. Proud of being able to ‘ski and swim on the same day’, proud of our hummus, proud of our multi-lingual upbringing, proud of the Lebanese success stories on the international scene keeping in mind Lebanon is a tiny-teeny country, proud of our family values, of our strong educational institutions, of our sophisticated banking system, of our ability to (kind of) cohabitate when we are 18 officially recognized religious groups, proud of our ability to survive (and somehow forget) a painful – and recurrent – history, of our persistence to make it happen on our land despite all odds, of the fun in our clubs… Being Lebanese has however a lot of downsides. Holding the Lebanese passport is one of many.
Filed under Ambition, Dream, Family, freedom, Goodbyes, growing up, Lebanon, Life, London, struggle, Work
Je me souviens du 8 Mars d’il y a deux ans comme si c’était hier. Je t’ai retrouvé à l’hôtel, tu buvais une bière. Quand je suis entrée dans le lounge, tu as dit à la réceptionniste, le sourire ému, le regard fier, ‘C’est ma fille, elle habite juste derrière.’ Tu m’as offert un verre de vin, un blanc de Sancerre. Je t’ai raconté ma petite vie londonienne et tous ses petits détails, le futile et le nécessaire. Tu portais un foulard bordeaux et un blazer bleu clair. Je me souviens d’avoir pensé ‘Mais qu’est-ce-qu’il est beau mon père!’ J’avais hâte d’aller au restaurant. Je t’avais préparé une surprise pour tes soixante ans. On a mangé une pizza et des aubergines au parmesan. On a discuté la vie et ses tourments. On a bu à la santé de la famille et de nos confidents. Tu as soufflé les bougies, je t’ai embrassé sur la joue. On a mangé le gâteau, c’était un tiramisu. J’ai payé le diner comme une grande, de mon premier salaire. C’était la toute première fois que je t’invitais, j’en étais fière. Ça t’a amusé, tu as ri. Je restais ton enfant, ta petite fille chérie. Tu as voulu me ramener en taxi sur ton chemin de retour à l’hôtel. Je n’ai pas voulu te lâcher déjà, la nuit était belle. J’avais peur de retrouver ma vie solitaire. Te revoir m’alourdissait les ailes. On a marché sur Oxford Street. Tu marchais trop vite. Je marchais lentement. Je voulais que s’éternisent ces moments. Un peu plus tard vint le moment des adieux. Je t’ai serré fort contre mon cœur et j’ai senti tes cheveux. Je connais encore l’odeur par cœur, surtout en fermant les yeux. Tu sentais le tabac et ton parfum. Tu sentais aussi un peu le vin. Je suis rentrée chez moi le cœur lourd et ses battements forts. J’ai pleuré toutes les larmes de mon corps. Je ne comprenais pas ma tristesse, elle me semblait injustifiée. Pourtant je savais ce bonheur passager, je le savais… C’est aujourd’hui, ton anniversaire. Une date sublime, mais je ne veux rien faire. On a célébré ensemble il y a déjà deux ans. Ça aurait pu être ce soir, si seulement je comprenais le temps…