My name is Cynthia and I’m an Information Addict.

I am a junkie.

An information junkie. The kind of junkie that has to get their daily dose of information about anything and everything. It is a problem, as with all addictions it consumes the better part of my day. I tried to quit, but I got bored and irritable. I need help.

You don’t think it serious?

I am the most forgetful and easily distracted person in the world,because I constantly seek my next fix. I iron shirts and subsequently my fingers, because sometimes I have to read while doing it or else the task will prove too mundane for me to manage to get through with it.

Plus a lot of the info I consume can be gone. I worry that some survival info can be gone to make room for fresh new article on cat psychology. By the way I don’t own a cat, and I am not going to in the foreseeable future. I told you it’s serious.

There is something good about it though, because I have come to know, that having knowledge and being smart are two different things. I am exhibit A. I am certainly not the smartest one (who irons and reads a book at the same time?!)

Oddly, educated people often confuse the two. They might prejudge someone as dumb because they might not know what the Louvre is. Pal, if you tell them, what the Louvre is, they will know. Their ignorance in this area will be gone. But what would it take to cure a prejudging asshole?

 

The First Diary Log in a Long Time

I started to write again daily logs a few weeks ago as an attempt to make myself write when I am not in the mood to write creatively.

It was impossible not to remember the first time I started a diary and compare. I must have been around 15 then, or a bit older, still it was fun to remember how I was then versus now. As with all of us, some things changed and some didn’t and I discovered fact that most of my demons are still here, that I hadn’t faced them.

In the middle of that something happened, I gave a voice to my demons so I decided to share.

The following is my diary log as it is in my copybook (though edited, and run-on paragraphs have been omitted):

***

The last time I started jotting daily logs I was around 15, and carried on doing so till my 20’s.

Now at 33, I can’t help but look back at how different I was at 15, how I have changed, and what are the things I have and have not accomplished.

It makes me smile to think, that although I have achieved many things, I did so differently than my 15 year-old self would have wanted and that’s actually not only OK, but for the better. I am happy that my life did not end up being a dream come true for my 15 year old self, but a happy life for my now 33 year old self.

If I had to point the greatest change to my character these last 18 years have resulted in, it would be the loss of most of my idealism, in favor of realism, empathy, leniency, and pragmatism. The area where age least affected, I suppose, would be my optimism… I still a few negative traits I thought I would have shed by now, but I haven’t. I don’t want to mention them, as they may still go away if I don’t give them any attention… like I said I am an optimist.

I learnt a few things too growing up. I know now that some things are attainable if we reach out, and I also know, that hard work does not always result in success. I learned that failure does not mean incompetency, but that an unfinished work never counts as an accomplishment. It cannot even be a good indicator of potential, only a finished work can be. An successful person does not talk about the things he/she can accomplish, only the things he/she already did.

A good discovery I have made since I was fifteen is that I have never, ever regretted following my moral compass. Every single “great opportunity” that I didn’t take, every little oversight that I did not commit, and every time I was tempted to settle for something and I didn’t, it turned out for the best. Never there has been an instant in my life that following my moral compass did not only let me keep my dignity as person but also protected me from harm.

15 year old me will be positively surprised that following my unwavering faith to what love should be has led me to loving and marrying the most wonderful and amazing person that Johnny is. In retrospect, this just amazes me.

Well that’s all fine and dandy, 15 year old me would say right about now and then ask “so are you a published writer like we always wanted to be?”

Well, about that…

I could give a “clever” answer to why I have not been able to be there yet. I could say that maybe life sometimes guides you away from what you want in life in favor for gaining experience in other areas so that I can become a better artist or writer over the long run, but the truth is, this explanation  would only serve to make myself feel better. The no-bullshit-short answer is “No, because I am a lazy coward.”

While I have been published  a few times (in a couple of magazines like Time out Beirut, and Entrepreneur, I have a children’s story on the Lamsa app, and have self-published on Amazon and the ibookstore), I am nowhere near being a successful author.

Like my 15 year old self would want, I still want be a published writer, a capable illustrator, an artist that can create engaging works of art. I also wanna be a frequent blogger to entertain often and get in touch with people. I love meeting new people and getting to know them, even though I am such an introvert that just thinking about it physically tires me.

Even though I have published blogs, and I have published small pieces of my work, still the idea that i have to give others a piece I have written terrifies me. It makes me feel exposed, and ashamed.

(You are only reading this piece because I have been “psyching” myself up for it for 5 weeks now and some of the raw material has been stricken out)

I think this is the reason that whenever I come close to finish something, I just can’t. I try and I try to hide any detail that may reflect upon myself, what I truly think and how I truly am. I edit and edit until my work becomes a total bastardization of my original idea, it becomes devoid of any depth and just blunt. In the end, I become frustrated as the work becomes so irredeemable that my only option is to start another project.

This is not the worst part, the worst part is that it’s a cycle. If I stay like this I will never publish a book, not now, not 18 years from now. If I don’t fight it, if I don’t even try, I would have not lived a fulfilled life.

I had many paths to choose all along my life, I chose to try and be a published, to be successful writer and I have a plan. I am going to be a blogger and work my way up to a successful writer. Even if every blog is a fight against my demons. I will have to face them, one day right?

(Around here I was thinking maybe I should post this on my blog, and then my demons came as expected… I wanted to face them, to fight them, so the following happened– heads up: in my mind it happened colorfully like the hybrid of the movie where Scott Pilgrim fights the exes and Epic rap battles of history, except it is not a rap battle… in fact I am the least qualified person on Earth to rap anything)

Cynthia Fights Her Demons

ROUND 1: Me VS. the Self Doubt Creature (SDC)

SDC: You are not going to post this, are you?

me: Well, I was thinking it could be entertaining for people to see me talking about my demons, right? and it’s personal, truthful and real, and hopefully grammar error free.I think they might like it.

SDC: People you know may read it

me: Yes, I know. I usually never want people to know that I am struggling with anything. I want people who know me to think of me as happy, content and hopeful all the time, because I am! but this is just a struggle they could also identify with.

SDC: You should remove it from your Facebook feed, or create a new blog without any ties to your personal social media accounts.

me: I could do that, but the whole point of sharing this in my own established blog is that it is a personal experience. It could inspire people to face their own demons in amusing ways.

SDC: Now we’re being a little full of ourselves, why anything you write can be an inspiration to anyone?

me: This is more of a hope of mine. The log could be entertaining too.

SDC: Aren’t you kind of old to be doing what you are doing right now? You have too much self doubt to have any ambitions about writing. better not embarrass yourself with any of this.

me: Why have I always felt that I was too old to do anything? I swear I remember being 4 and thinking I was too old for ballet, because I got it in my head that “you gotta be 2 to start learning ballet.”

SDC: What would Johnny say?

me:  I could ask him

SDC: THIS WHOLE THING IS STUPID, once you think about it, you will realize it. Go ahead post it and be spontaneous. You’ll regret it, the minute it gets published. All this sharing and being an “extrovert” is not who you are. Better stay true to yourself.

me: Sometimes you have to get out of your comfort zone

SDC: … you’re hopeless

me:  I could write other things  suppose, instead of this. I don’t have to write personal things.

SDC: Whatever, it is probably going to be boring anyway. You are not that interesting. Why do even you think you could be special enough to be interesting

***Enter the Over-excited Optimistically Fantastical Fairy(OOFF)***

OOF: OMG! OMG! OMG! If you post this conversation between you and your demons, it’s going to be HUGE! This is soooo interesting! You are going to do GREAT THINGS!!!

SDC & me: Shut up!

SDC: Who left the window open?

me: I did, I needed someone to balance you out. Hopefully one day I can be strong enough to mute you both, forever.

SDC and OFOT: You will never get rid of us

me: Probably not, it wouldn’t be human, and I think I have wasted enough time talking to myself today.

I am going to ask Johnny what he thinks of this.

End Of Round 1!!!

*************************************************

….And this is how I ended the first diary log in a long time. Giving voice to my demons gave me a visual of how my subconsciousness works, and where it blocks me. 

I asked Johnny this is how the conversation went:

– me: so I have started a diary where I talk to my demons and it is actually helping me with my self-doubt as a writer

– Johnny: Cool, you should share that on your blog, it is interesting…

So after I took the approval of my hubby, I got a new sense of self-confidence and went right away to publish it on my blog… No I am kidding, I have battled with this for 5 weeks, and if you are reading this now I won… See why I need to face my demons? I will never get anything published if I can’t publish a frigging blog.

And here’s  something to look forward for next week. Next week, I will share the next log in my new diary. It is about facing the the demon that always seems to have the upper hand on me. If you are reading this, it doesn’t mean I won a round with him, it just means I am hiding from him.  Shhhhhhhh….

The Crete Experience: Hania, the Enchanting Town

We reached Hania by ferry from Piraeus. Yes, we knew by plane the trip would have been only half an hour away from the capital, as opposed to 8 hours by boat, but we felt adventurous and the journey was overnight. Plus, I had heard dolphins were often spotted before Hania, and for once I wanted the chance to see them.

That was a disappointment… Not the trip or the ferry, the dolphins were a disappointment. It’s not that they didn’t show up, no. Those bastards were sighted the moment  I was in the cabin packing. You see, you just don’t understand… I have been missing dolphin sightings all my life. When I was a little girl and my parents would take me on a ferry ride, they would spot dolphins when I was either in the toilet, or buying ice cream. The day before my wedding day, almost everyone invited at my wedding saw them at the beach where the wedding was supposed to take place, except me, because I was on the opposite side on the town! I am starting to think dolphins are doing this on purpose. I will see you dolphins one day, it’s going to be on open seas. I will have the last laugh!

Anyway, let’s talk about Hania. We arrived at around 6 am. We took the bus to go downtown instead of taking the taxi. Though the trip was terminal to terminal, it was not long at all. We had waited longer for the bus to arrive.

Once in town, a very helpful old man saw that we were kind of lost looking for our hotel and told us he would lead us there. He bid his friend at the coffee shop goodbye and walked with us to our hotel

This is why I love to travel to Greece, it’s not just that the country is beautiful, it’s that the people are warm, friendly and helpful. In my opinion this is what makes Greece great. Not just its history, it’s the people.

The hotel did not have the rooms ready, we had expected that and we did not care. We were feeling energetic and wanted to explore… and have a big breakfast too, that wouldn’t hurt. Thankfully the hotel, the Arkadi was not far from the old town that was waking up. In fact it was just across, i congratulated myself on hotel-picking skills. With our luggage left at the hotel, we went walking in the famous old town.

Walking through the old town I felt like  like Belle in Beauty and the Beast. In the morning you watch this old town bloom. Windows were opening, shops were being cleaned. We took everything in as we walked on the path towards the sea, to the old Venetian port. By eight, the town was hustling and bustling. There were people everywhere, one would think it was in the afternoon.

The old port was breath-taking, the crystal sea was enchanting and inviting, although I knew we could not swim there– there wasn’t a beach, it was a port–  the waters still called for me, like a siren would call an enchanted sailor. My spell was only broken by the crushing waves which doused my friend. That was funny.

We decide to have breakfast in one of the taverns there, to stop me from nagging. At home I never have big breakfasts, just a cup of something hot and a cookie. At Hania I had the international breakfast which consisted of fried eggs with bacon, a croissant,2 toasts with honey, some feta, a huge glass of orange juice and a big mug of French-pressed coffee. Yes, I ate everything and there were no leftovers. The price for such breakfast was decent, around 8 or 9 euro I believe, which is quite cheap from where I am coming from.

After breakfast we walked on, and visited the Nautical museum. It was ok, quite small, something you wouldn’t cry over if you missed it. There was an interesting ship made in the ways of old, The Minoan ways. That was pretty cool. We walked by the Mosque which had been turned into a museum that was still close and encountered a fisherman who sold sea sponges.

“I have been fishing for fifty years,” the old sailor told us. “These I have fished this morning. Try them.”

He was selling them from his boat with a younger man that could have been his son. We couldn’t but buy a few.

We walked by the boats reached a very windy sea and went into the back alleys of the Old Town. We found where the pubs are. We found leather shops, the knife welding shops, more traditional taverns, and shops that sold Cretan products. They had all just opened up, and were their first customers.

Best thing was not what we bought, but the people. We met interesting people, a particular girl selling Cretan souvenirs at her family’s shop comes to mind. She showed us the first present her grandfather, ever gave her. It was of course the traditional Cretan  knife made small by all the years she had it sharpened. Her family were blacksmiths, almost everything out of metal in the shop, they had made it themselves.

People at Hania were warm, liked to make conversation, and insisted that my husband was not only Greek but Cretan as well. I am the Greek one, my husband is Lebanese and he smiled each time they told him so. They made him feel at home.

Every day in Hania was a day well spent.

For food, you didn’t have to worry which tavern to pick. The sea food, especially the mussels were to die for. We paid at lunches from 10 to 20 euro per person, which again we found cheap considering the amount of food we were ordering. Gyro and souvlaki were consistently good and cheap at around 2 or 2.5 euro.

We forgot ourselves in Hania. We  walked for hours, scouting the shops and taverns, sucking everything in. We shopped for hours at those traditional places. It happened that we watched he Eurocup final there and spotted the French and Portuguese amongst us.

Three weeks have passed since i have left Hania but Hania’s spell is still upon me. I smile when I remember the town and I feel it still calls to me. I wouldn’t mind getting caught in its claws again. I wouldn’t mind doing like the enchanted and stranded sailor caught by the witches of the sea and never leave.

 

 

Crete Experience (part 1): Why Crete?

I have to confess, when my husband suggested that we go to Crete, I had other ideas. Johnny has never been to the Cyclades: Mykonos, Santorini, Naxos, Andros, Syros… and these are the islands Greece is famous for.

He had been to Greece around 4 times, and I figured he’d start asking me if the white houses with the blue windows and doors were a myth or not.

I wanted him to experience that perfect white and candid blue. Everyone in the world wants to. And hey, we could probably spot a Hollywood celebrity there (Leo DiCaprio and Gerard Battler were just there)

My husband then said the following magic words which made me forget all about Gerard battler abs, (he probably lost since the movie 300 anyway): “but the food is excellent in Crete.”

Each traveler interprets vacation time differently. For some, vacation is the time to unwind in a peaceful place probably by the beach. To have lazy morning and lazy afternoons, that would make up for the hustle and bustle of everyday life. For others, vacation time is one huge party. It is the opportunity when you can start getting drunk at 3pm all the way to early morning. Mykonos is a popular destination for party-lovers. I have friends who love to absorb the energy, the vibe of it all. I have other friends who travel solely for the shopping experience. Show them a center filled with things they cannot usually get from home and they are in heaven.

Johnny and me love to travel so that we can eat… No, I am joking. We take our vacation very seriously. It is the European way after all to live life awaiting the next vacation time. We both lived in Europe at one point, by the way. He lived in France, where he probably learned all that careful planning and I lived in Greece where I did not learn any planning whatsoever. I just learned to love beautiful Greece. Anyway, we have a checklist, whenever we are discussing a new vacation location. They have to have all the below:

1)  historic significance, must-see museums, or important excavations;

2) breath-taking scenery, jaw-opening architecture, paradise beaches;

3) and yes, I am not going to lie, we purposely choose locations that are famous for amazing food.

Crete has the most important excavation of all of Europe, the earliest European settlement, at Knossos and with Crete’s strategic location, the Minoan settlements are only the beginning. You can visit Venetian castles, turned Ottoman strongholds. You can visit monasteries that have played critical roles during the Greek revolt against the Ottoman empire, or during the resistance in World War II.

History, check!

When we looked at images of the natural beauty of Crete,we were thunderstruck. So to see, so little time. And lets not mention the beautiful beaches like Balos and Elafonisi… I can’t even describe how ignorant I felt about Crete. I had no idea Crete had such beautiful beaches. I was ashamed to call myself Greek…

Paradise location, check!

Last, but certainly not least is the culinary experience. Does Crete really have great food and how did Johnny know? Well during our honeymoon in Corfu there was a Cretan carnival, and yes there was glorious food everywhere. So with the third check for yummy-yum-yum food, we had our bags packed, our tickets bought, our passports in hand and ready to go to our first Cretan town, Hania!

Stella Diaries: 9- ILLUSIONS AND KILLERS

This world is full of killers.

Bang!

A shot. Metal. Destruction. Near. Wake UP!

The tin bucket in my cell was shot. It took me a few seconds to understand that.

It made an awful sound. My head is ringing. It was loud enough to resurrect me from a passed out mode.

Two men are watching.

The first man has a big mustache. He thinks scaring me was very funny and pulls in a second man who is holding a recording device, a camera, closer.

To have a better frame when he shoots you next?

I can only open my eyes better now, but I can’t see their faces clearly. It’s the sun behind them. I can’t tell who he is, yet he seems so familiar. I recognize who the second man is from his voice.

Read more here 

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Stella Diaries 8- FORCED FORGETFULNESS

A new updated has been published on Stella Diaries.

bit.ly/stellad8

Below is an excerpt:

“It is banned now, but it wasn’t then. Looking back, I must have been terrified, wanting to be with my parents, but then Chief told me that I was the ideal candidate of the Eraser application.

She was old when I saw her again, had changed her name, but I could see she was still as feisty as ever

She explained to me the other children who would be subjected to memory alternation, will always be at a disadvantage, that there will always be someone in their life who knows they have been that fateful day. They would always be at risk of all of the memories coming back. That was one of the drawbacks of The Erase, she revealed, but in my case, no one knew except me.”

Better Endings with Bunnies: Game of Thrones Beheading of Ned

off-ned-head-got

Reasons for making this:

1- Because I can be a baby when it comes to sad endings,i made a quick sketch of what should have happened at season 1 GOT finale.

2- Because in a way it is not too far fetched. Joffrey is not of age (i think) when he became king and has been slapped by Tyrion when he acted like a brat.

3- Because bunnies make me feel better