Happy New Year

Hey friends,
Happy New Year!
Hope you had a good one!

I would’ve blogged sooner but I’ve been busy dying (flu). Some people might say that’s a pretty ominous start to a new year but I’m a Sagittarius and we are eternally optimistic so I think of it like this, I was bound to get sick so I’m actually glad that I did and got it out of the way as it’s less likely to happen again so soon. Logic!

2016 was a pretty good year for me, as it started off pretty rocky but things took a turn for the better around April. I was in the shower (where I do some of my best thinking) when I had an epiphany. Ever since then, I’ve been evolving (and have continued to evolve) to the extent that everyone I know has commented, at one point or another, that I seem like a completely different person! At first, it was just my immediate family so I didn’t think much of it. I figured they probably noticed that I’ve taken on an immense amount of new responsibilities and just wanted to encourage me. Then my extended family started picking up on it. Even my co-workers did too. Finally, my friends straight up asked me what I was doing because I “seemed like a completely different person”. Honestly, it’s just a mental thing. Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t dislike who I was. I just aspired to be a better version of who I was (which is human nature, no?) and so I worked on it and people noticed the difference. I never seek other’s approval (never have, never will) because I just sorta’ do my own thing, regardless of the norm, but their comments were not only strangely satisfying but also reaffirming (kinda’ like I’m on the right path sorta’ thing).

I feel great internally which shows externally and so more like-minded people are drawn to me and I to them. I’ve made friends with so many interesting people in 2016 and I’ve also reconnected with so many old friends whose company I genuinely enjoy! I’ve just about cut off all the negative people from my life as I prefer to be surrounded by true friends rather than fake “orbiter” friends. I’ve managed to land an extremely well-paying job where I’m out and about (meeting all kinds of people I wouldn’t normally meet in my everyday life) and I get to utilize my skills to the point where I feel like I’m making a difference, and most importantly I’m learning so many new things at my job which might very possibly help me start my own business someday. I won’t go too much into detail because as I said, I’d like to remain anonymous and also because I’m sure nobody cares about the details of my job but I will say that I have to drive to Sabhan at least twice a week. Even my previous jobs led me there a lot so it seems like my fate is strangely intertwined with Sabhan somehow.

I like to think of myself as an introvert so it was an honest-to-goodness challenge for me when I was placed in the toughest social situation I’ve ever been in and not only held my own but also “rose to the occasion”, as I was later told by a close friend, and “ten out of ten”, (which is a throwback to Arabic public school’s grading system, I guess) by a distant cousin. My stomach was in knots during the months leading up to the event but once I had my little epiphany, that too changed and I found myself feeling not only anxious but excited for the upcoming event. The event came and went without a hitch! People that were there kept coming up to me and telling me what an amazing job I’d done while the ones that weren’t there kept calling and texting me in real-time (during the event) to tell me how proud of me they were. Honestly, I was pretty proud of myself too. It occurred to me during the event that if I can do this, I can pretty much do anything!

I’ve done a fair bit of traveling in 2016 and plan to do a lot more traveling in 2017. I’ve learned a handful of new skills in 2016 and plan on conquering a completely new skill (or two) in 2017 because I feel like I’ve sussed out the secret. I don’t know how to explain it properly but I’ll try anyway. I feel like most things in life have a padlock (or y’know just a regular lock) on them and all you have to do is figure out which key unlocks that padlock. In this case, we’re talking about skills so let’s stick with that. These keys are more than just “learning the basics” of that skill. It’s about about some deep, deep, deep self-reflection. It’s also about the shared knowledge of everyone who has attempted to acquire that skill (including the ones that failed), everyone who has benefited from that skill, and everyone who has mastered that skill. Basically, as much current, accurate, proven information as you can possibly gather. It’s also about implementing what you’ve learned and practicing it. To quote Bruce Lee, “I fear not the man who has practiced 10000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10000 times.”

Back to self-reflection, it’s impossible to be unbiased about oneself but disassociating yourself from er… yourself, sorta’ like viewing yourself objectively (like an outsider) will help you be more aware of your strong suits and shortcomings, so you’ll be able to pin-point what you would like to work on, in hopes of acquiring whichever skill you want. All it takes is self-reflection every now and then but unfortunately many people view themselves completely differently from what they project out into the world. You have to be willing to acknowledge some things about yourself that you might not have necessarily associated yourself with. For example, let’s say you want to learn how to fly a plane but you happen to be afraid of flying as well as heights in general. After some deep self-reflection you’ve realized that your fear of heights is actually connected to the fact that you don’t like giving up control. Once you’ve sussed that out, you can work on your control issues. It sounds simple enough but believe me, not many people can even begin to face their true selves. It’s not so much about denial as much as it is about the fact that it doesn’t even occur to people that they might not be who they think they are. Think about it. Almost everyone thinks they are generally a good person (albeit deeper down in some). Even the ones that rape, lie, murder, cheat, steal, etc… can almost always justify their actions to themselves (“Well, I’m a good person but he/she was asking for it”) yet won’t be willing to accept it if someone did the same thing to them. It’s kinda’ like we all know we are going to die someday but nobody wakes up thinking “Today, I’m going to die”, because we can’t fathom the fact that it could happen to us, even though we all know it’s going to happen eventually.

I’m not saying all you have to do is a little soul-searching and you can just hop in a little charter plane and take off. Obviously, you’re going to have to learn how to actually fly a plane but in addition to that course or classes or whatever, do your own learning (however which way because everyone learns stuff differently). Do your own research. Try to view it from different perspectives. Understand it. Visualize it. See yourself flying that plane. Ride shotgun on a small charter plane if possible. If not, nowadays with augmented reality and 3D technology there are other options that can help you prep. Communicate with retired pilots. See what they have to say. Somewhere along the line, you’ll have unknowingly unlocked that padlock. Once you have the key, you’ll have the ability to acquire that skill and possibly master it.

The hard-working Generation X way of persistently trying to unlock that padlock, day in and day out, without ever giving up, for as long as it takes, might eventually work, which would be awesome… or it might not, which would mean that person had wasted his or her lifetime over something that might never came to fruition. Hard work doesn’t necessarily guarantee success. With that being said, nothing worth having comes easy. The Millennial way of halfheartedly attempting to unlock that padlock, while being on the lookout for a shortcut, before eventually losing interest and moving on, isn’t any better. Some will succeed and others won’t even care because they’ve already moved on to another padlock. People might use force in an attempt to destroy the lock while others might attempt to pick the lock, which is effectively them cheating themselves. Yet again, some might succeed and others might not. If you had a Skeleton Key (okay, obscure reference but I got it from the Jem and the Holograms cartoon which I haven’t seen in years but the term sorta’ stuck with me, don’t judge me lol) which basically unlocks everything (I could’ve just said Master Key but whatevs) you would then be able to unlock that padlock, acquire that skill and even have the ability to master that skill, down the line. I’m hesitant to call it a hack because that connotes a shortcut and that’s not what this is, which is why I prefer to call it a key.

These keys already exist because so many people have already gone through this before you and many more will continue to do so after you. Cliches are cliches for a reason. I’ll give you another example. Let’s say that you are a shy person and the thought of talking to people gives you anxiety, when someone walks up and starts talking to you. This is such a cliche but people love talking about themselves (even if they won’t admit it). Rather than freak out about thinking of something to say, just ask that person about themselves and watch them go on and on and on. Don’t ask questions that can simply be answered with a yes or no. Make eye contact (paired with a smile) to show that you’re paying attention and ask pertinent follow-up questions. Personally, I find people to be fascinating creatures (it’s fun for me to attempt to figure out what makes people tick) but you might consider the conversation not quite as fascinating or interesting or whatever but from that person’s point of view, they will walk away thinking they just had an enjoyable (if not great) conversation (because he/she talked about their favorite subject, themselves!). People don’t actually realize how self-absorbed they really are but honestly we are all biased. Nobody wakes up and their first thought is about how well their next-door-neighbor slept. You wake up, you think about yourself.

Any-who, after some self-reflection, if you really face and acknowledge your true self (not just cherry-pick the good stuff about yourself and ignore your weaker points) you can pin-point the reason as to why talking to people makes you break out into a sweat and begin to work on that. Maybe it stems from a fear of appearing less than, or maybe you’re afraid of being misunderstood, or maybe you might think you’re not interesting enough or a thousand other maybes. Whatever it is, once you acknowledge it, you can work on it. I mean when you really think about, truly think about, all these fears are in your head. It isn’t something that actually took place and happened. They’re just your assumptions or predictions of what might happen. You’ll never know until you actually try. Even if you do try and happen to fail. That’s okay. You just learn from your mistakes and try again. Aside from self-reflection, you can take a course on public speaking. You can read best-selling self-help books on the subject or listen to audio-books in your car on your way to work or whatever. You can watch videos on YouTube. You can talk to other people who classify themselves as shy. See what they have to say. You can also talk to the more charismatic people in your life and learn from them or study them (just don’t be creepy about it lawl) and try to implement what they do but with your own spin on it. Again, visualize it. View it from different perspectives. Start talking to people you wouldn’t normally talk to (for example a co-worker on a different floor or in a different sector) and gradually increase that number. Go to new places and meet new people. Talk about something substantial as opposed to talking about the weather (which is honestly kinda’ mundane). Talk about current events. Attempt to find common ground and go from there. Ask people about themselves and actually pay attention and listen to what they say. Somewhere along the way, you’ll have acquired the key that unlocks the padlock. It’s up to you if you want to build on your skill from there and master it or just leave it at that. To sum everything up, to acquire these keys, you have to think deeply. I hope that made sense :)

“No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.” – Confucius

I’ve read so many fantastic books but most worthy of note would be A Song of Fire and Ice Series which at first, I was reluctant to read because I didn’t want to spoil the rest of the show but once Game of Thrones withdrawal kicked in I just sorta’ gave in. Thankfully, the books take a sharp left turn (veers way off course) from the show. People that aren’t in the book, are in the show, and vice versa. I also read my first two Stephen King novels, The Long Walk (reviewed – here) and The Running Man which were both equally terrifying for different reasons. I purchased the entire The Circle of Magic Series by Tamora Piece and reread the whole thing. It was a childhood favorite of mine so I’m glad I got to finally know what happened to them. I also purchased the entire Selection Series Collection and the Uglies Series and read halfway through both of them before giving up. In the case of those two, purchasing an entire series in one go did not pay off. I felt that those two series were too “young” and honestly trite for my taste. Two books that particularly stood out to me were The Girl With All The Gifts (zombies) and Me Before You (romance). I’m planning on reading 172 Hours On the Moon (horror) next. I’ve already purchased the Lunar Chronicles (#1 Cinder #2 Scarlet #3 Cress #4 Winter), Starbound Series (#1 These Broken Stars #2 This Shattered World #3 Their Fractured Light), Red Queen Series (#1 Red Queen, #2 Glass Sword), Red Rising Trilogy (#1 Red Rising, #2 Golden Sun, #3 Morning Star), The Storm Siren Trilogy (#1 Storm Siren, #2 Siren’s Fury, #3 Siren’s Song), The Origin Mystery Series (#1 The Atlantis Gene, #2 The Atlantis Plague, #3 The Atlantis World), and Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children (#1 Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children #2 Hollow City #3 Library of Souls) but haven’t gotten around to reading any of them yet. There’s a handful of books that I’ve read but haven’t mentioned yet because I’d like to blog about them individually. I can’t sing it enough praises but Kindle (Paperwhite) is a game-changer! It’s just so convenient!

As I mentioned earlier in my Book Club post (here), I was always interested in the paranormal but it wasn’t so much about the paranormal itself so much as the idea of it (something science can’t explain… yet). I’ve always been fascinated by ideas, no matter how abstract. It started with a children’s book called Dorrie (The Occult), anime called Fist of the North Star (Post Apocalypse), star-studded movie Interview with a Vampire (Immortality), anime called RG Veda (Reincarnation), anime called Key The Metal Idol (AI Consciousness), and the list goes on and on. As you can tell, Anime is what mainly exposed me to all these new ideas, as did RPGs (Playstation) and after becoming obsessed with a certain idea, I’d go and do my own “research” at the school library. We didn’t have the internet back then. I think I got my first computer (family computer) around 1995 and access to the internet about two years later. Then free-file sharing became a thing and while everyone was using Napster, I preferred Kazaa because it happened to be what I came across first and was just what I became more used to. Finally, my older brother installed Azureus now known as Vuze and it’s what I use to this very day, still. At the time, I tried teaching my friends and cousins but they couldn’t quite understand it. Thankfully, they’ve all managed to find their own way to it now.

Back in the day, when all of Kuwait was all about mIRC (DALnet and EFnet was it?) and then MSN, I was all about Anime Forums (A4 and then 4chan) mainly because I saw these people at school for 8+ hours every single day bar Thursday and Friday (before the weekend was changed obviously) so I didn’t feel the need to spend even more time with those very same people on MSN and whanot, especially since the repetitive conversations bored me to tears (I mean yeah boys are cute and clothes are fun but there is more to life than boys and clothes and that was just the Kuwaitis as the non-Kuwaitis weren’t any better because when they weren’t getting high or drunk at a party they were planning the next party and that would be pretty much all they talked about). I liked them all well enough but flitted from one clique to the next because not one of them stimulated my mind, ever. I wasn’t interested in my studies but I wasn’t interested in mundane conversations either. Don’t get me wrong. Some of the best years of my life were in high-school and there were a handful of people that I loved and still love to this very day! That said, there wasn’t any particularly stimulating conversations. In fact, one of my teachers asked me to stay after class only to accuse me of plagiarism. Silly me, I thought she was going to commend me on a job well done. She said “This sounds like something out of a Spanish Telenovela”. At the time, I didn’t quite know what a telenovela was but ascertained that basically she couldn’t believe that I’d written it. I told her that I didn’t know whether I should feel flattered or offended but honestly, inside, I was crushed because I’d actually looked up to this woman and respected her. I smiled and told her I’d gladly write something else for her, on the fly, which I did, which shut her up.

College in Kuwait wasn’t any better. In fact, it felt like an extension of high-school except now we didn’t have to wear uniforms. Again, one of my professors accused me of submitting in someone else’s work because she couldn’t wrap her head around the fact that I’d written it. I mean I’d understand if these teachers had proof but they had no qualms with accusing me solely based on the fact that I prefer to sit all the way in the back and only listen to their dull lectures with half an ear while I draw doodles in my notebook. Honestly, I can’t blame the foreigners who come to Kuwait to teach for being prejudice against us because we Kuwaitis can be quite obnoxious, ignorant, lazy, and self-entitled. I wasn’t upset at all when she accused me (after being wrongfully accused in 9th grade by a teacher whom I had actually respected, I learned not to idolize teachers and this specific teacher barely registered on my radar) so I took it in stride. Thankfully, I’d written two articles (one of which was about Anime) in that month’s issue of Bazaar magazine (the owner had actively sought me out and sent me an e-mail via an older blog I used to run asking me to write some pieces for them), which was distributed freely on campus. I grabbed the nearest issue, flipped to the page of my article and pointed out my name. I wasn’t even smug about it. At this point, I didn’t expect more from my “teachers”. Honestly, my “homework” wasn’t even that good (I’d hurriedly written it 30 minutes prior to class) but foreign teachers expected us Kuwaitis to be illiterate, I guess, and the fact that I could string two words together to make a sentence didn’t sit well with the image that they’ve constructed of us. After I showed her both my articles, other professors kept congratulating me all week, telling me how I did them proud, which cracked me up. I was contacted via e-mail through my blog to write an article or two on my own time which was then published in Bazaar which means it had absolutely nothing to do with any of my professors or their “teachings”.

I credit my command of the English language to my father, who spoke to me in nothing but English for the first few years of my life. I credit my thirst for knowledge accompanied with my passion for books (and movies, tv shows, video games) and my somewhat uninhibited nature (I’ve never been embarrassed to walk up to people and blurt out my questions, even strangers, because learning what I want to learn is more important) for what little knowledge that I’ve acquired throughout my life. Obviously, the internet plays a huge part in that too, and with access to so much information (and misinformation lawl) there’s just so many new ideas for me to obsess over! One of the more recent ideas I’ve been obsessed with… has something to do with The Sims. Not trying to be a tease but I wanna’ see if people might be able to figure it out on their own. I believe I might start a whole new series on “interesting” ideas (and interesting people) on my blog!

I wanted to talk about some of the shows I’ve watched in 2016 but I’ve rambled enough on this post. I guess I might do a separate post on tv shows soon-ish. It has been awhile since I last blogged and I don’t want my regular readers to think that I’ve died or summat.

Finally, I’d like to thank all the regular readers of my blog for their support! Thank you for coming back time and time again, especially Mrs Strawberry Blonde and Rei <3

Mrs Strawberry Blonde (https://mrsstrawberryblonde.wordpress.com/) thank you for your continued support on each and every blog post without fail (yes, I’ve noticed) and I’m so grateful and truly appreciate it so much! It means the world to me <3

Rei (https://rawyablog.com/) Honorable mention for being so awesome ;)

3 thoughts on “Happy New Year

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