Anywhere but Here

The last two weeks have been relatively tear free. I saw family, then spend 12 days confined to a small offshore oil rig. Today in the helicopter flight back to the city, I found myself holding back tears. The grey sea revealed while cresting waves. The misty air looks humid like summer time in the Gulf of Mexico. I thought about what to do with the rest of my day. I thought about the abound nothing waiting to welcome me “home”. Doha is cold this morning. After an hour in traffic, the driver let me off at my building. Twenty three floors high- my door lock blinks red, indicating an error with my key card. Twenty three floors down- I hold back tears and hand my card to the reception desk. The man nods and reprograms my card without even saying a word or asking me to remind him which room is mine. Walking back to the elevator, the tears start to flow.

I slide my sunglasses over my face and lean against the wall of the elevator the twenty three floors back up. I wonder out loud to the mirror- What am I doing to myself?

I hate this face- an uninspiring shade of sunken manila. I lift my shirt and look at my body- I hate this body. These are fleeting thoughts from the angsty teenager who pops into my mind just to check in and she’s gone again. I can’t hate myself for long. I’m healthy and really, I’m fine. I just wonder, as I watch my stomach shake from the sobbing- What am I dong to instigate the sobbing? Is it the key not working in the door?

It’s an obtrusive reminder that this is not my home. I don’t belong here and the key cark knows it so well, the receptionist even knows my face.  Is it less about the symbolic mockery of a crappy technology and more about the fact that I can’t handle any more stress in my life? Is this why any extra curveball, no matter how small, feels like the end of the world?

I wonder if there is a link between the days- a delayed affect of my thoughts. Yesterday, I spend a considerable amount of time dreaming about being somewhere else. I looked up furniture I want to have, places I want to live, and their proximity to the activities I want to do. I thought about my hobbies, if I had the space to pursue them. I’d get an OC1 and take to the waters. After hours of picturing an alternative life- coming home to a malfunctioning lock just seemed like too much.

I’m living in two realities- on of metaphysical events, which I want to and know can be materialized; and another of the circumstantial events which are materialized, but not accepted by my perception. When the two collide, the results are devastating- knocking my marbles all over the place, shaking my body in heaves and sobs, sinking my face and eating my insides. It’s not even homesick. I’d describe the state of mind as anywhere-but-here-sick. Is this a metaphysical or actual place.

Where am I?


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Music: Greatest Hits- Creedence Clearwater Revival; Ultimate Santana- Carlos Santana & Friends

Movies: I should probably watch Hook later today






My Humble Opinion on Opinions, Humble and Otherwise


Nothing is more dangerous than an instinctive opinion or compulsion with no logical or empirical foundation. This is why elders deserve the respect and appreciation not only from their children and students, but from their society and the world at large. It is summarized as “life experience”. I’d like to think of it as knowledge through years of research. People take time to fully understand a concept and learn enough about it to make a real opinion. Otherwise, they may come  to appreciate their place in the world and be unassuming enough to know they can successfully get through this world without ever having an opinion- at all.  The latter is more humbling, for there are many things beyond us which we’ll never understand. There are many things in this world which we’re not meant to understand. In a way, it give a person their sense of wonder- their innocence and youthful energy to approach everyday. Wisdom and ignorance dance a delicate tango. They intertwine with finesse and strength. An opinion is a state of mind which shuts you off from absorbing new experiences into your bank of research.

Fearless Years and Untainted Spirit


Just as people enter your life briefly and are gone again, people enter this world, only to depart a short while after. This post is dedicated to someone who lived his life to the fullest, and through his enthusiasm and charisma, encouraged all those he encountered to do the same.

I recently learned of Drew’s tragic death through an announcement his father made on his Facebook Page. I was shocked to hear someone with such a gift for making people smile could be suffering inside. I wonder for how long Drew was suffering. For how long did we not know?

Drew and I first met during the 2008 Super Bowl in Phoenix Arizona where the New York Giants played the New England Patriots. We were part of the Arab Student Association group who volunteered to be in the crowd who rushes the field during Tom Petty’s half time show…

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The art of missing someone–Among other life realizations, the last several months have been characterized by solitude. Truthfully, I miss someone, more than I ever have before, more than I had noticed. What about a person makes them “stick”?

The art of missing someone seems to take place in phases. It inspires true anguish with no outlet. As my favorite fortune cookie from Khai Hoan Vietnamese Restaurant in Tempe, AZ said in the winter of 2008: Time makes lighter what sorrow may not heal.

 The Void. You’ve internalized and suppressed a lot of the feelings which comes with missing someone. The pain is one thing, the void is another. The void of day dream. The void of optimism. The void of companionship. Nothing makes you happy the same way these day dreams would. Nothing makes you smile like his conversation made you smile. Nothing feels as close as just knowing he’s there… somewhere. You think about nothing.

Grasping the Void. After several weeks of attempting to sustain some sort of contact, you realize that you have nothing to say, though you’ve said plenty. It’s meaningless, and you regret most of what you say, for nothing really explains your state of mind. You realize, most importantly, that he has nothing to say. He listens without responding. He is uncomfortable; you are strangers again. The void materializes in your mind.

Filling the Void. You think this is something you can recover. Nothing specifically went wrong, but whatever it is, it’s in your control to change. You think so highly of each other. You can visualize yourself reaching out to him. You can visualize him responding. You’re delusional.

Becoming the Void. Your head is empty. You’re functioning. You’re unhappy. You’re a shell of who you thought you were. You realize you’re a stranger in your own body. You have no one to define yourself by. You lack definition. You cut ties with your definition. You’re finding yourself, only to become more lost in the structureless pile which is now your personality- own it. You lose focus. You can only swallow simple sentences. You reduce your media intake and spend your time sitting still, sleeping, being the void.

Escaping the Void. You cheat on your goals. You allow yourself to day dream. You excite your emotions with memories of him. You can’t talk to him; you still have nothing to say. You fill the void with superficial thoughts just to step across something without being swallowed. You cry alone sparingly. You feel like you’ve truly lost something which is still making you happy. You seek things which remind you of him. You hate yourself for it.

Projecting the Void. This is the vicious cyclical compulsion which is why you knew you had to cut all communication long ago. You spend sleepless nights and thoughtless days with a singular inquisitive notion in your head. It is the center of your thoughts, it is there, pulsing and emanating into your every move. Like a dull pain, it never strengthens nor subsides. You’re just wondering…. Am I totally alone with this void, or does he feel it too? You’re wise enough to do yourself the favor of never asking.


A poem or two, I’ll write just for you. Though rusty, I used to do this all the time.

Before I could speak the words which repel my prey. Regret and mistakes are only words, blotching the sensation consuming me.

Elated- I have no photographs or many physical memories to clutter my space. It’s simple and plain. Blank as I’m drawing rhetorical shots to take. Me demons scoff at my shoulder, instigate the vain attack.

They’re vicious and repressed, they’re mocking and childish. Uncultivated shadows, coloring my thoughts black and white, blotching the sensation. Callous demon creatures.

A brilliant one of three, among what must be masses to hang my pride on this glowing achievement. A shame to say: You’re one of one.  The demons howl at what  fool must believe how dazzling people say I should be. To be told I am loved is a singular occurrence in my world of plenty.

The attachment which comes with the territory of firsts is a stranger. A shame again, to expose the brittle truth, I sometimes break before I bend. Break to detach, I’ve never held on before I’ve let go. In a whirl of firsts, I’ve never let go without forcibly prying the fingers from my wrist.

Only words now mean nothing- before, I could speak. Regret and mistake, a duo of demons perched on my shoulder.

I want to tell you how I’m hurting. More than anything- I want to hear something from you. An outcry of honesty, your frustration, annoyance. Whatever is the genuine sensation consuming you. Regret and doubt glare just as strongly as the sweet nothings, one of three.


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Music: This song. This playlist. Sweet Nothing- Calvin Harris feat. Florence Welch; Black and Blue- Miike Snow; Sittin’ up in my Room- Brandy

Television: Don’t Trust the B— in Apartment 23; Scrubs; Remember the Titans

Conquering Knowledge and Courage

What is the Muslim World? Is it a geographical place? A past empire? A Population? Where do they live?

It hardly seems like a religion, for a religion is not a world separate from the planet. I think about my childhood and the identity my family gave to me. I remember attending Q&A panels and watching my mother and other Muslim Americans speak and answer misconceptions about Islam. They were ambassadors from this Muslim World, aliens with their hands in the air claiming “I come in peace.” The face of a foreign group, yet among their own people. It is a singular world we live in. Coexistence is not a new, hippie, progressive concept with neat bumper stickers and political motives, but it is the most primitive unspoken law of the human verve.

Within these imaginary “worlds” we create to group ourselves and form an unspoken alliance with like minded thinkers subsists all the diversity in the universe. Within our factions and fragments, our families and friends, our own flesh and self proclaimed brethren, we differ instinctively. Our most similar counterparts are often camped across the universe in another “world”, believing we’re fated enemies.

I’m finding recurring themes through random conversations: strive and strife, the will, faith and ability to fight for what you want need. Maybe it is merely a survival instinct.

I met a girl from Nairobi. We talked about education, infrastructure, family, addictions and dependance. Within one family, you may have those which sacrifice to get an education. They’re driven by discipline. In the third world, education is available, but it is something which people sacrifice for. It is not compulsory, it is not easy. They wake up early, the walk alone to school, the forgo activities with their friends to study, they don’t have the technological resources to aide them when they struggle. People who choose to go through this are few and far between, but this is all for the chance to get ahead in life. Within the same family, you may have dozens of uneducated, unmotivated people who accept their plight and view it as just the benchmark for their society.

What’s the difference between him and me? To accept the status quo wherever you are, no matter the standard of living should reap the same fruit, but it doesn’t. Being educated at the compulsory level for your society does not prove your mental toughness. Rather, the thirst for knowledge and the hunger for something better, anything better, unites people by their common primal instinct to survive. Knowledge is survival.

I met a girl from the USA. She described her family to me as an upper class white suburban couple. There seems to be a distinct disconnect between her and her doctor/lawyer mother and father. They don’t speak, as her father is unapproving of her bi-racial relationship. Shut off entirely from her family, he makes an effort to announce his intentions to an austere racist. He’s met with nothing in return, no conversation, no reply to emails. She’s married without her parents involvement, approval, or knowledge. Facing a girls father is terrifying on principal, yet when you know you want something in your life, its just another obstacle. A focused person can conquer his fears when he has faith that it’s worth it. Faith in something better.

The world is full of drive; it comes from all places. Who is driven? Can anyone be driven by equally strong feelings of conviction? Or are some of us simply not equipped to overcome our circumstances and our fears?

In a round-about way, I’m trying to capture the idea of self representation. Whether you’re answering questions and trying to bridge the cultural gap between you and your neighbors, walking to school alone, or defending your identity to be with someone you love- what motivates your actions? They are merely a representation of your convictions, your inner self. These compulsions exist across cultures, religions, races, and geographic boundaries.

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Music: Citizen Cope; Carlos Santana; Tycho

Television: New Girl; Big Mommas House

Grand Experiment

I want to write and fill up pages with ideas. But in front of the empty lines, my pen shies away. Today, I went to a psychologist. I didn’t really know what I’d say to her, or how in depth we’d get. Maybe she’d find my misdirected concern and agony shallow and trivial. We started simple. I told her about my job. I told her the trouble I’d been having at work- the unannounced and irreversible crying spells, the days I laid in bed with no will to move. I briefly mentioned my crumbling social life, which I thought contributed most to my deteriorating state. She asked about my adolescence, 12 to 18 years old.  The important thing about my adolescence is that I have a sister. I described myself to her: My sister and I both did very good in school. We were very involved in clubs and honor societies. I played soccer, I had a couple jobs- one at a pizza store, and one at a gym teaching swimming lessons and soccer. I was very active. I always had more friends than my sister. I was just really involved and outgoing. her preliminary advice to me is to take care of myself physically- eat better, have a routine with priorities.

She said I am trying to find my independence.

I’ve always been independent. I’ve lived alone, more than once, in more than one place.  I’ve always had someone to look after me or some group to belong to. To be independent means taking care of myself without concerning anyone. [to be filled in later] I’ve become exhausted.

Who do you talk to when you have nothing to say? Who listens when you have a million things on your mind? How do you describe the things which stimulate your mind when there are no particular thoughts or conclusions in outcome.

The things I see elude any words, just alter the way I approach my thinking. There’s a saying that people will forget what you say, they will forget what you do… but they will never forget how you make them feel. Lately, my experiences, though rich in detail, are becoming memorable by how they are altering my feelings towards humanity and the world.

How do you prioritize yourself when everything around you saturates your thoughts?

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Songs on repeat: Third Eye Blind, self titled album; King of Pain- The Police; Dancing on my Own- Kings of Leon covering Robyn; Someday- Steve Earle; Pharrell- Despicable Me

Television: Cheer’s; BBC News

Books: The Crisis of Islamic Civilization