It’s been some time that I have not been publishing regularly on Ceecee’s Stories. The reason is that I got pregnant and the nausea was crippling.
While this is so #blessed, having to admit it puts me in a weird place.
On one hand, I feel guilty and ashamed that I let nausea keep me from writing regularly, mostly because I had lots of help with the housework and cooking. Truly, I asked myself every day “How can I be taken seriously as a writer if I pull things like this?” and “What kind of work discipline do I have if I stop working every time I feel sick?”
On the other hand… Excuse me while I go throw up.
It might be just the tired version of me talking right now, but: Are the expectations we have for the modern woman actually healthy?
I’m not talking about me, but for the every woman out there, who is expected to perform 100% at work, while maintaining a stellar home, being there for her kids and looking like the tireless fairy of your dreams, despite the constant changes of her body including hormones, periods, pregnancies, and menopause. Something has got to give! When it does, we are told this why some believe the sexes could never be truly equal.
But we are! It’s just that more is expected of women than of men.
I hate the “us versus them” argument because I love, respect and appreciate the men in my life, but how many men are expected to be successful businessmen, while spending a good amount of time with their families, work around the house after work, and actively try to look like the Greek gods while their bodies undermine them?
I am sure some perfect men exist, like there are superwomen out there who are able to do it all, but the thing is, men “doing it all” do not set the bar to a man’s success. With men, it’s enough to be successful at one thing, mainly with their career, and this is not the case with women.
Yes, it’s definitely the tired version of me talking right now, but can we cut some slack to the business woman whose house is a mess? And to the family woman who sacrificed her career and settled for a job with lower pay—or, gasp, quit her job altogether—so that she can have more time with her kids?
No, I am not asking for sympathy because I was not fruitful for 3 months. I am definitely not setting the ground for making excuses for any future shortcomings. I know that if don’t produce good enough work in a competitive world that does not take into consideration individual shortcomings, I will never be successful. The point of this blog is to say screw it, my house is going to be messy sometimes. On some days I WILL leave the house knowing full well my hair is all over the place and you can’t say anything about it. Sometimes, I have to throw up all day.
I am not weak for it. We are not weak for having the bodies we have. Our minds make us weak, our minds make us strong, and if we are not superwomen all the time, that’s OK.
Now can I be excused?
Whoever thinks a time machine is a fine idea, they’re wrong!
I know time travel is the stuff of fiction but suppose there is a scorned mad genius somewhere in the world right now, or a group of scientists in a secret, underground, government facility and they are close to making this a reality.
I mean, flying was the stuff of fiction at one time, so in case you crazy scientists exist my message to you is this: Don’t do it!
I can understand the fascination with time travel: you can undo wrongs, meet important figures, witness historical events. Plus, I believe scientists such as geologists, archaeologists, and zoologists could really have a unique perspective of how things truly were, if they only could only go back. But is it worth it?
Who would you meet if you could go back in time?
Now, if I also ask the whole of humanity this question today, I bet some specific figures — could be religious leaders, artists, or conquers— will get 100s of millions of mentions.
Time travelers wouldn’t have to meddle with anyone’s affairs, or actively try to change history, for time travel to be bad. Just being there to, let’s say, watch Da Vinci paint the Mona Lisa in Florence during the renaissance, it would create quite the crowd.
The reason I am against time travel is because people will find a way to pollute everything, and the time line is no exception.
Yes, I have no doubt that if people can be greedy and inconsiderate, they will be. If they could be able to pollute a time line, they will do it.
No doubt, the rich will be the only ones at first to be able to afford “time-tourism” (I am sure this is what time-traveling will be called), but before long everyone will be able to do that, effectively ruining history.
So please secret government scientists in the underground facility, and scorned mad geniuses of the world: Don’t do it; don’t create time travel! Let’s just read, or watch a terrible movie about it now and then. Let’s imagine we are there through fiction, without actually being able to have tea with Queen Elizabeth the first. Remember, they say you should never meet your heroes…
By the way, crazy scientists and people who disagree, I published a time-traveling story on the Medium publication: Curiosity Never Killed the Writer. Read it and just think about it, it may open your eyes.
You can read my short story fiction at ceeceestories.wordpress.com
Dear Future kid,
If you grow up and have great empathy towards others, I will consider myself a successful parent.
This is the one greatest thing I could teach you.
And this may sound like a sweet trait that nice people have, it is also a trait that tough people have. It is a characteristic that could help you change the world for the better, but it is also one that will cause you great pain.
I am going to warn you first. Empathy is not something that you should expect to be reciprocal, even by the people closest to you. But, my child, if you have it you will not only feel with your fellow man, you will also know people, understand their joy, their anger or pain. You will be able to see where they come from and what drives them. Even if you don’t agree with them, you will be able understand why they are acting the way they are.
I want you to try to understand everything; understanding is power.
I am going to explain to you what “understanding is power” means, because I don’t believe in using important words for pure wow effect without providing any real essence.
Understanding and empathize with others, gives you power to cause change. This is because if you choose to help, or intervene, you will act in a way that matters.
Sometimes you will be able to predict behaviors, even.
But the number one reason I want you to have empathy is that you will be unable to hurt any living creature. Treat others as you want to be treated. Be gentle. Gentleness is not a weakness either. The world has enough harshness, cruelty and darkness, but if there is one individual willing to make it just a little better, there is hope.
Love and Kisses,
Your future mama.
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?
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….
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.