Saturday, December 23, 2006
Sunday, October 08, 2006
Monday, October 02, 2006
Read all about the story here...
I can think of many fatwa's that I'd love to buy ;)
Sunday, October 01, 2006
Saturday, September 30, 2006
The news that 7DAYS readers have been waiting for: Etisalat have finally
decided to unblock a number of hugely popular web sites that, over the last few months have not been accessible to the public.
the public is once again free to enjoy sites such as Myspace.com, Youtube.com, Piczo.com, Metacafe.com and Hi5.com, among many others.
- 7Days Newspaper
This is great news! I'll start abusing YouTube!
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
“Let’s say you write this awesome entry - you research, you dissect your sources, you analyze, and you write a most stellar entry that you feel really shows your abilities as a writer. You check your email obsessively for the next couple of days waiting, waiting for the comments that are bound to flood your inbox. Only nothing comes, just some junk mail from the newsletter you signed up in class last month and a service promising to boost your penis size.
The next day you write an entry about how your dog Lucky just knocked over your aloe plant, spilling dirt and aloe babies all over your kitchen floor and about how you proceeded to slip on the dirt, thus whacking your head on the edge of the kitchen table and how you now have a lump the size of Nova Scotia on the back of your head and about how you think you are going to drop out of college to become a squirrel herder because you are pretty sure your fall in the kitchen was a “sign.” And, lo and behold, twenty people leave you a comment in the next five minutes.
What the heck?”
Friday, September 01, 2006
Why care what other people think? What society forces upon you? What you should believe in opposition to what you'd like to believe?
Why don't you do what you want to do just because it's good for you?
Forget people, think of yourself!
Sunday, August 27, 2006
Take a look at these examples:
A soccer player
For those of you who are interested, you can order a 3D custom-made poster. It's not cheap; prices vary from around $350 to $3300 depending on the size.
I don't think it'll be long before movie theaters adopt the idea and use such posters to advertise movies, especially within the sci-fi/action genres.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
For the meantime, I had the opportunity to surf the internet today, and did a little research. I thought that my findings would interest others, and that's why I'm sharing them:
A funny description on the Arabic-English chat language in Wikipedia. I personally don't mind reading such text, and I do use it for smsing and instant messaging, but I prefer to blog in a formal style. I feel that long texts need to be written in a proper format in order for the writer's thoughts to be digested in the best possible way by the reader. I also prefer to read proper English or proper Arabic rather than a mix of both; I feel that it gives a better understanding of the text for the reader. Too much use of color, too many "lol's", "ROFL's", etc., ugly fonts that are supposed to be funky, BLOCK letters and too much use of smileys can really turn me off wanting to read whatever is written no matter how rich the content may be. Text appearance is important to me.
Why can I sense Dots smiling? haha
Do you ever click on what appears to be a promising site from google to get an error "File not found" message? Do you ever google and not get what you're looking for? Here are a few cool sites that are pretty good at improving your googling abilities:
10 tips to improve your googling
Google Genealogy Style
Google Help: Cheat Sheet
One of the strange things about google is that it has powerful abilities that very few people know about. I personally feel that what largely contributes to that fact is its extremely simple search page which just has a search box present; adding a large sized link under the query box to the Cheat Sheet page would really help many people. I'm not suggesting an ugly Yahoo! page filled with all sorts of stuff, just a link under the query box would do; I love the simple Google style.
Why do people regard Tom Cruise as crazy? What does Scientology have to do with any of this? What is Scientology?
Scientology became quite famous after Tom Cruise's adaptation of the faith, and many people started to read up on the subject. Many converted to the faith. Most people say that it's a complete fraud while others strongly believe in it.
Read the following excerpts taken from 7days article "The truth about Scientology":
...there’s Scientology’s booklet, ‘The Way to Happiness’, which gives guidelines to better living such as ‘be competent’ and ‘don’t do anything illegal’. Whereas the bible makes do with ten commandments, the book runs to 21. But the leaflet, according to Miscavige, can work miracles. After being given a copy, no inmates in an Israeli prison were ever readmitted. A US cop handed out copies to known troublemakers and crime dropped 38 per cent.
Using a little science of my own, it’s time to turn to Google. Scientology was
founded by pulp fiction writer L Ron Hubbard.Hubbard is either a great man
who crossed the globe in search of answers, or a complete fraud, depending on
who you believe. His son, L Ron Hubbard Jr, claimed on TV in 1983 that “99 per
cent of what my father ever wrote or said about himself is totally untrue.” What
is true is that Reader’s Digest quoted Hubbard as saying “writing for a penny a
word is ridiculous. If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best
way would be to start his own religion.”
Several other people say Hubbard made similar statements to them. Following Scientology is certainly not cheap. To progress to the top level, study fees have been estimated at as much as $500,000. While it’s billed as a religious non-profit organisation, the Washington Post reported in 1994 that many US lawmakers considered it an unscrupulous commercial organisation. The German government considers it a commercial business.
But what is it? Scientology was originally a self-help philosophy, but Hubbard then began to add religious aspects. It aims to help humans achieve awareness of their spiritual existance, and ultimately regain ‘total freedom’. It’s made up of a series of levels – Hubbard believed rehabilitation takes place on a step by step basis. Believers follow the ‘Bridge to Total Freedom’, with each step allowing a little more freedom, and a little more knowledge about Scientology.
The basic beliefs are that people have an immortal soul, which will be reincarnated after the body dies, and it’s possible to retain emotional problems from previous lives. The other main belief is that psychiatry and psychology are abusive, which we’ll come to in a moment. The main practice of Scientology is known as auditing. Each new believer sits down with a trained ‘auditor’ and is asked questions about their life while a machine measures electrical impulses. The idea is that this helps a person unburden themselves of past mistakes and traumas. Scientologists have claimed benefits from auditing including improved IQ, enhanced memory and alleviated dyslexia and attention deficit problems.
According to Hubbard, an alien called Xenu ruled a Galactic Confederacy 75 million years ago. Faced with overcrowding on the 76 planets he ruled, and a plot to overthrow him, the evil Xenu used psychiatrists to drug billions of people and load them onto transports, which explains Scientology’s dislike of psychology. The people were taken to earth, stacked around volcanoes and blown up with hydrogen bombs.
The souls of these people were then rounded up and forced to watch a kind of propaganda video for more than a month. Given that the souls are reincarnated, many psychological problems today apparently result from this misleading information. The media, including 7DAYS, is routinely accused by Scientologists of being inaccurate, or even malicious, when it comes to the group.
Sure, and I'm really a pink alien lizard who came from the planet Lafoofoo.
The article's last paragraph was funny:
But taking what’s been written about Tom Cruise’s bizarre behaviour as an example, it’s all pretty much true. Katie Holmes gave birth in silence because Hubbard believed that words heard at birth could later trigger trauma in an adult. Cruise’s rant against psychiatry on the ‘Today Show’ also stems from Hubbard’s beliefs. Far from changing my mind, an afternoon researching Scientology has made me think it’s weirder than ever. Or is that Xenu’s brainwashing talking?
Apparently, Scientology's church claims that it is a non-profit organization. However, it's quite clear that they're rich. I researched more on Scientology after reading 7days' article. I read about one man whose best friend became a scientologist. After they took a lot of money from him, he decided to stop as he had doubts on the religion. They called at his office, got him fired. Spurred problems between him and his wife, who filed for divorce and many other things. They basically ruined his life. After it all, he just pulled the trigger and killed himself, the pressure was just too much for him to handle.
Check this link for more about Scientology from scientologists. Watch this interesting video on Scientology. As it turns out, Scientology has its own bible as well. See this page to learn about Scientology's bible. Most reviewers claim that Scientology basically takes common sense and presents it in what appears to be a scientific style. I want to purchase the book, it looks like it'd make an interesting read.
Watching how Muslim converts act towards Islam makes people like me, who were born into Islam, feel ashamed. Why don't we, who were born into the right religion, practice it well? There's a large difference between being a Muslim and a practicing Muslim. In one of the videos which I'll link to in a moment, one of the Muslim converts says that the Muslims that he was surrounded by weren't practicing ones and that they were really bad. They were shady characters; one of them got arrested and the another one of them is waiting for trail. He says that there was a turning point in his life which led him to look for a faith to follow, for he followed none. He never even thought of Islam for the characters that used to surround him. He looked into all sorts of faiths but as soon as he found an error, he left it. He felt that if it were the true faith and if it came from God, then it wouldn't contain any error; how can the Almighty err? One day, he went to listen to a mosque with his purple-haired girlfriend. He used to cause many problems there, until one day, he sat and listened to one of the Islamic lectures. He was bewildered by the faith, and started to ask many questions. After that session, he told his girlfriend that they were over for he can't sin if he wanted to be a practicing Muslim. Can you believe it? After one session only, subhan-Allah.
Another video that I'll share in a moment is about the youngest Muslim converts in the world. Two British sisters aged 9 and 12 convert to Islam. Their mom was shocked, but since she believed in freedom of choice she didn't stop them; she did, however, make it difficult for them. At first didn't allow them to practice Islam in their house or pray for she thought it was too much, she ordered them to do it in the mosque only. She forbade them to go to mosque at one point, until after speaking to the Imam who convinced her to let them go ahead. Unlike other children, the girls spend their evenings reading books and memorizing Quran as well as praying in their rooms.
Isn't it outstanding to see how Muslim converts act towards Islam compared to those born into the faith? I guess that they probably work harder due to the newness of the faith.
Here's the link to Ali's Video Blog, episode 10, where he shares his story on how he converted to Islam. Episodes 3 and 4 are interesting. Watch the whole season, I loved it.
Here's the link to the young British Girls' journey through Islam.
This video, copying Ali's style, is an interesting watch. This video is an interesting watch as well.
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Have you ever been surrounded with people and felt like you couldn't be any more lonely?
I've been emotional over the last few days. I'm better during the daytime, I guess it's cause I'm distracted. At night, though, I find it difficult to sleep, even when I'm feeling so tired. Dots once told me it's called, "Too tired to sleep". I keep rolling around, not being able to close my eyes for more than a few minutes before feeling my heart ache.
It might be a normal feeling that accompanies almost everyone who travels and makes one feel that way close to coming back home; or I just might be too emotional.
Regardless, the time spent in Saudi Arabia was good. Al Madinah had a really comforting feeling, I miss it. I'm blogging from Makkah right now. The Saudi government needs a lot of improving. Dots asked me to blog about the things I would change if I was able to; I probably will when I'm back.
For the meantime, I'll just type as I think...
Praying with the Kaa'ba in your sight, knowing that God is right there, watching you pray for Him, being in front of His house, in His devine presence... There's just so much depth in those soulful moments. It's beautiful.. I can't describe the feeling you get. It's heavenly, holy, almighty, blissful, celestial, sacred, spiritual... Above all, it's unearthly.
Why take drugs when you can get a high from performing a religious deed?
No matter where you are on earth, you're able to get the feeling. Close your eyes, concentrate, acknowledge His presence, know that your soul travels up to Him when you pray...
I hope that I can achieve that high when I'm back...
Keep praying =)
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Seraph is another word for "angel". A Seraph is one of the highest angels, if not the highest.
A few days back, I was bored out of my mind, and started googling "Seraph" when I stumbled upon the meaning in Wikipedia. To my shock, and to my amusement as well, I found a very interesting meaning...
A seraph (Hebrew שׂרף, plural שׂרפים Seraphim) is one of a class of celestial beings mentioned once in the Old Testament (Tanakh), in Isaiah. Later Jewish imagery perceived them as having human form, and in that way they passed into the ranks of Christian angels.
So basically, a Seraph is the Jewish equivelant of a Christian angel. How nice...
Did that bit of information shock you? It sure surprised me.
Watch this interesting video which compares the U.S coverage of the Middle East Crisis with the Middle Eastern coverage and how the U.S coverage reinforced false perceptions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It also exposes how the U.S's foreign policy interests of American political elites work in combination with Israeli Public Relations.
Monday, July 17, 2006
Comedies and tragedies share many of the same social ends, but the tone of the two kinds of works is very distinct.
Certain parallels can be drawn between William Shakespeare's plays, "A Midsummer Night's Dream", and "Romeo and Juliet". These parallels concern themes and prototypical Shakespearian character types. Both plays have a distinct pair of ‘lovers', Hermia and Lysander, and Romeo and Juliet, respectively. Both plays could have also easily been tragedy or comedy with a few simple changes. A tragic play is a play in which one or more characters is has a moral flaw that leads to his/her downfall. A comedic play has at least one humorous character, and a successful or happy ending. Comparing these two plays is useful to find how Shakespeare uses similar character types in a variety of plays, and the versatility of the themes which he uses.
Prohibited love, romance, controlling families, both plays have it all. With a few simple modifications, "A Midsummer Night's Dream" could have been a tragedy, and "Romeo and Juliet" could have been a comedy. Shakespeare however, uses many of the same character types, young, prudent, rebellous lovers, and controling family members, in both comedies and tragedies. The end results are character molds, along with theme molds that can be easily translated into almost any plot, in any play.
So why do people think that tragedies are stronger? If you were a movie director and had a story of a certain plot, would you adjust it to make it comedic or tragic? And why?
I've been told by most of the people I asked that they would, of course, make the movie a tragedy if they had wanted a certain message to reach their audience. This strikes me as strange. Don't they both tackle emotions on the same level? Why do certain movies do better when they're tragic? The finest example of that is Titanic.
Perhaps it has to do with the history of the topic. Aristotle, a Greek historian, gave rules to both comedy and tragedy.
Tragedy = Poetics
Comedy = Lost Treatise
Recent critics see a strong social pattern to tragedies.
While debating with someone over this topic I was asked to name one comedic movie which held a strong moral. A few movies came into mind, but it seems like most of the good stories are made tragic in order to be remembered. Why not make them comedies? Why not be happy and remember rather than sad? When you're laughing you feel light headed and don't think of what you're doing and quickly forget about it. When you're sad, though, you think deeply. Is this why the greatest thinkers were depressed? Does intellegence accompany sorrow?
I feel like I'm debating with myself here. I type as I think. I might be hanging on the fence here, but both comedies as well as tragedies hold extremely strong emotions. The fact that a tragedy is portrayed as the stronger emotion, though, cannot be denied. Perhaps a change is needed...
Thursday, July 13, 2006
Freud expressed a "death instinct" present in human beings. Is it possible for anyone not to be conscious of the concept?
The topic of death has always intrigued me, especially after reading a piece someone wrote online on the book, "Tuesdays with Morrie". Didn't you notice that dying old people become softer and sweeter as time passes? The closer you are to death, the softer you become. Most probably, it's due to the realization of your mortality. You know that you will die soon and you don't want anyone to hold any grudges against you.
Not knowing when we're going to die truly is a blessing. People wouldn't be so ambitious if they knew when they were going to die. If I knew that I only had a few hours left I wouldn't spend them on planning something; I'd spend them with loved ones and would pray.
Why do people gather when someone is born, and gather again when that person dies? Births and funerals serve to remind people of life; one is a happy occassion and the other is a sad one.
A friend told me yesterday that she had sat during a lecture on death. Apparently, the people who are already dead welcome the people they know who had just died into the after-life as one would welcome an honored guest. It made me think about who would be there to welcome my great grandmother; could it be my grandmother? Or maybe my great grandfather? I don't really know.
We also discussed another topic. Were you to die in a war, would you still feel the piercing bullets tear through your body even after your heart stopped beating? Does the soul feel what the body is going through after its death? Do those who get cremated after their death feel the burning flames lick their skin?
I once asked my 4th Grade tutor whether or not the Prophet (May Peace and Prayers Be Upon Him) cried when his wife died. She gave me a speculative look and replied, "Why should he cry when he knew that she was going to go to heaven? He should be happy for her." So I asked her whether or not he cried when his uncle died, to which she responded, "Why should he? His uncle is going to hell; why waste his tears on a sinner?"
That made me think: Why cry?
Only those who are extremely confident in what they spent their life are the ones who aren't afraid to let go and die, because they know that they'll be generously rewarded in the after-life.
My great grandmother was a soft spoken old lady. Her manners were those of your typical Arabian old lady; extremely polite and - expectedly - traditional. Her eyes had always intrigued me. They were green. She and a few of my cousins in KSA were the only ones in the family with such eyes. They were extremely powerful and, at times, frightening for their powerful glow. However, one soft smile from her would take all my fears away. The wrinkles running across her eyes when she smiled were magical; you couldn't help but smile back.
Most importantly, she had passed away in Mekkah - the holiest of places - and for that I am extremely thankful.
اللهم ارحم جميع موتى المسلمين
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Friday, May 19, 2006
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
Breaking the Chains:
"The difference between a good student and a bad one is that a bad student forgets the material 5 minutes before a test, a good student 5 minutes after."
Friday, May 05, 2006
How can anyone talk about “love” without sounding too cheesy?
It strikes me as somewhat impossible
If I speak of it in a rather dull tone, I’d sound like a newspaper journalist
And if I spoke of it with my emotions I’d sound cheesy
What is love, though, if not emotions?
Should I speak of it biologically?
They’re chemicals that the brain produces to entice the nerves, send heat and warmth throughout the body and give the human being a good feeling
Or perhaps I should speak of it philosophically?
It’s the meeting of two souls that became separated in the physical universe. Perhaps the feelings that we experience when we are in love represent a normal state. Being in love shows one how one should be.
How would a dictionary define the term?
Something like, “A deep, tender feeling of affection towards a person. A feeling of intense desire and attraction toward a person with whom one is willing to make his or her partner; the emotion of sex and romance.”
I should speak of love the way that I see it.
Simply put, love is:
Breaking the Chains:
"Love is not enough. It must be the foundation, the cornerstone - but not the complete structure. It is much too pliable, too yielding."
"Maybe someday, somehow, love will finally be able to conquer all... We can only hope."
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
It's funny how I hate making to-do lists and yet love to plan. To-do lists make me feel stressed, while plans make me feel organized, especially strategic ones. I was never a fan of the details. Maybe that's one of the reasons that make me such an endless procrastinator. People who think large rather than small have more difficulty in accomplishing their task (or so I like to think in order to fool myself so I don't feel so guilty when I procrastinate).
Sunday, April 30, 2006
I'd say that out of the one percent that the UAE is spending on education, three quarters of that one percent, or 0.75%, is being spent on higher education, while the smart thing to do would be to spend more money on schools rather than higher education. The UAE has many high school dropouts.
Is one percent really enough? Countries like Brazil and Pakistan spend around 3% on education. I think that the Ministry of Education should get more than a measly one percent (even if it did mean more than 5 billion dirhams in 2003)
I realize that this post has almost no sources to back up the claims, and I hate posting something without proof to back it up, but I think it's safe to say that I'm pretty sure of my claims...
Friday, April 28, 2006
Watch this movie
I know I haven't been posting much, I've had quite of a rollercoaster ride lately. You'll - inshAllah - be seeing more of me
Monday, April 17, 2006
It's pretty common to find unsecure wireless networks if you're living in an apartment, thanks to the generous neighbors who haven't locked their wireless networks or made them secure. Anyone who's lucky enough to find them gets a piece of chalk and then marks sidewalks, walls or poles with symbols based on an old sign language. Anyone who understands these symbols then knows that there's an unsecure wireless network that can be used around that area. Laptops and notebooks are charged, then brought to that area for free internet access.
The history of Warchalking goes as follows:
In 2002, London-based IT consultant Matt "Blackbelt" Jones came up with an idea for Wi-Fi users to help each other get online. Jones proposed marking sidewalks, walls, or telephone poles where networks could be found with a set of chalk-mark symbols based on the old sign language that hobos used to alert one another to food, shelter, or potential trouble during the Great Depression in the 1930s.
Jones dubbed this practice "warchalking," a pun on "wardialing," introduced in the 1983 movie Wargames, in which a young hacker has his computer automatically dial all the phone numbers in the area looking for other computers. Geeks termed the practice "wardialing." Add that familiar erasable writing technology and you wind up with "warchalking." Here are the universally accepted trio of symbols for warchalking:
Apparently, the most common used symbol is the one to the left. It reminds me of the Chanel logo with the opposing brackets. The ones to the right mean or symbolize closed networks. That means that they're closed access and no one knows how to access them. The one with the W in the middle means that you need a WEP or WPA key.
You'll find a few marks here and there in the big cosmopolitan cities such as London or New York, but most of them were made by the business owners themselves in order to attract passers-by by offering free internet access.
It's funny how some people would go to extreme extents for the sake of free internet access. A friend of mine told me that her driver would drive to Beach Center where there's an internet place for kids, which has a lot of games in there. The place is filled with 10-year-olds who would get bored after using the computer for 10 minutes that they'd just leave it. He'd go there and wait for a kid to get bored so that he could sit after the kid who left the computer and use the internet for free for almost an hour.
That's smart, funny too.
I wonder what sort of new trend will come along after the wireless craze fades out.
Breaking the Chains:
"The days of the digital watch are numbered."
Thursday, April 13, 2006
Friday, March 31, 2006
We have different types of people around us to aid us in this journey that we call life. Family is there for love, colleagues are there for work, lovers are there for security and finally, friends, for support. Of course, lovers and friends can be like family, which means that they give love.
I've always wondered, is classifying friends possible? Categorizing them according to a set criteria in your brain? This criteria is purely yours, each person has his or her own criteria.
Let me share with you my criteria for friends.
Firstly, I have the best friends. They're a few, of course, and each one of them has something that the other lacks. One is good for listening and advice, she's the sound mind; one is such a sweetheart; another is good for just making me laugh and finally, save the best for last as she always says, the take with me everywhere kind of friend. The friend that would do all of the above, be able to mingle with all of the above and also know what I'd be thinking without me having to talk. It could get quite annoying, though, especially when I'd try and hide something from her because she would eventually find out, most probably because I told her willingly. You can say that she's like me in a more advanced and crazy brain, and a different body. It isn't out of the norm if one of us called the other just to say, "It's 11 o'clock and I just finished a full meal of Burger King!" and then hang up, no reason needs to be given.
Secondly, there are the very good friends. We'd care about each other, ask about each other, good listeners and there for support, but not quite graduated to best. Those are a few, too, but their numbers are larger than the best ones.
Finally, the normal friends come. We know each other and trust each other but never graduated to being very supportive to one another even though we wouldn't mind offering a helping hand, but we don't mind each other's company and are fine with talking gibberish and making jokes to one another. We care about each other nonetheless and would probably stand up for one another. It doesn't matter so much if we didn't talk for a long period of time, though.
I think that pretty much sums it up for me, or for my "friend" classification.
I think that we each have our own criteria's and the aforementioned is mine...
God bless them all.
Breaking the Chains:
"A good friend can tell you what is the matter with you in a minute. He may not seem such a good friend after telling."
Thursday, March 30, 2006
Monday, March 20, 2006
Thursday, March 16, 2006
"There comes a point in your life when you realize who matters, who never did, who won’t anymore, and who always will…"
The past few days have shook me. They shook me to the point that the pain was so deep my body had to numb it for me. I think that because my body knew that if it let the pain bite at me it would be too much, it started to go upside down.
Have you ever been through something that hurt you so much that instead of crying you'd start laughing uncontrollably? That's how I was and probably still am. I think I'm starting to be sane again, I'm just waiting to break down so that I can finally start to move on.
Shock does this, doesn't it? When you get shocked by something that someone does to you, someone you'd have never expected this of...
My days are tiring, my weaknesses have come undone. I managed to knot them, thanks to someone who stood by my side, but now that they've left me in such a strange way, my old wounds are starting to freshen. It's funny how I can remain quiet for quite a while and would suddenly laugh for no reason. I thought that laughing was supposed to make you happy, why do I manage to end up with a headache after laughing? Sometimes I'd be listening to someone recounting a story that is anything but funny yet I'd have to bite my lip so hard to stop laughs from escaping my lips. The headaches make it hard for me to focus. Catching me daydream these days is very normal, I can't get the source of the headache out of my mind... The pain of the headache is also making concentrating on anything else almost impossible.
Yet I try.. and I try.
They say that time is the best healer. Is it a healer, though? I think that time just numbs the pain, it doesn't heal it at all. We become stronger because we start to forget, but if something triggers our memory and we start to remember a bad memory then all the pain that we experienced in the past will come back, all new. We never healed, we just forgot.. Being forgetful truly is a blessing...
For example, five years after the death of a loved one I wouldn't cry as often as I did one month after their death because with time I'd forget. But, if something reminded me of the person that passed away, I'd go back to what I used to do. Did time heal me? No, it didn't, or else I would've been fine. It just numbed the pain for me with the help of my receding memory.
There's just one thing that I would love to know...
Why, after knotting and stitching the wounds tightly for me, have they loosened them now?
What on earth have I done to deserve this...
Would I benefit from knowing why? Should I forget about my curiousity? Will getting an answer make this easier on me?
In the end, though, hearing one thoughtful kind word always helps to bring me one step closer to carrying a real smile.
Breaking the Chains:
"A torn jacket is soon mended; but hard words bruise the heart of a child."
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Thursday, March 09, 2006
1. Four jobs I've had:
- Daughter (not so much these days)
- Babysitter (look at the above)
- Work Placement last year
2. Four movies I could watch over and over:
- Where the Heart Is
- Shrek 2
- Girl, Interrupted
- Gangs of New York
3. Four places I've lived in:
4. Four TV shows I like:
- Desperate Housewives
- The O.C.
5. Four places I've been to on holiday:
- Europe: Switzerland, London and another place I forgot
- Asia: Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore
- Saudi Arabia (yes, once went on holiday, to visit my family there)
6. Four favorite dishes:
- Meshwi (Arabic dish)
- Pizza Hut chicken wings, fisherman's thingy (it's a sandwich with prawns) and potato wedges
7. Four sites I visit frequently:
- Google or Yahoo!
8. Four books I've read:
- The Present by Spencer Johnson
- Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
- It's not how good you are, it's how good you want to be by Paul Arden
- Redemption Song by Beatrice Berry
9. Bloggers I want to tag:
- They're all already tagged!
Breaking the Chains:
Ludwig von Beethoven
Sunday, March 05, 2006
Flashbacks are memories of past traumas. They may take the form of pictures, sounds, smells, body sensations, feelings or the lack of them (numbness). Many times there is no actual visual or auditory memory. One may have the sense of panic, being trapped, feeling powerless with no memory stimulating it. These experiences can also happen in dreams.
Terrifying, unbearable, scary, uncontrollable, confusing....these and many more words are what a survivor uses to describe how a flashback feels.
Not knowing why a flashback happens makes dealing with them confusing for survivors.
Emotionally loaded, flashbacks bring back feelings from the original attack. Thoughts, actions and emotions that a survivor kept repressed during their attack may be to blame for some of these vivid memories.
The very fact that flashbacks seem to be uncontrollable and unpredictable, makes stopping flashback memories seemingly just another pain to bear.
When we begin to understand why we have flashbacks and are not paralyzed by them, we can move further along the path to healing. Flashbacks are a natural process of healing and they are safe. Your mind is now telling you that it is no longer necessary to block such memories.
So how can we deal with these flashbacks?
1. Three Options
When dealing with a flashback there are actually three possible options. At the first sign of an oncoming flashback, you need to quickly determine which option you are choosing.The techniques used for each of these options are the same, but how you combine them and the intensity which you will use them will vary to bring about each of the three. This is not to say that you will be able to control your flashbacks all the time, sometimes it will be stronger than you. If what triggered your flashback was strong enough, then you might not be able to control or escape it. During such times, get yourself to the safest place possible and keep using techniques to manage the acceptance of the flashback.
Option One: Accept
The first option is to accept the flashback at full intensity. It looks like a ridiculous choice at first glance, but one of the reasons that you have flashbacks in the first place is to help your mind process the information contained in the flashback. There are times when this is going to be the best option because the information is going to come out anyway. So when the time and place are right, prepare yourself and try to control the flashback only enough to keep yourself safe. How do you know when the time and place are right? Well, there are several factors that may help indicate when it is safe enough to Accept a flashback at full force. The first of these is a safe environment, by safe I mean comfortable and comforting. This may be your bedroom, living room, or even your therapist's office. The second is the existence of a support person, or someone you can talk to afterwards if you need to. This could be a significant other, close friend or therapist.
Limiting the times a flashback is accepted at full force can significantly improve how deal the more devastating memories are dealt with.
Option Two: Control
The second option is to Control the flashback, or rather to make an attempt to diminish the effects of the flashback. In order to Control the flashback, you need to increase the effort you put into the coping techniques you have (or those listed at the bottom of this article). I find it useful to also continue to remind myself that I am safe and that I cannot be hurt. Controlling and Escaping flashbacks work by interrupting the thought processes involved in the flashback. Since flashbacks are basically electrical impulses within the brain, I look at this as short-circuiting the flashback process. When you have a song you don't particularly like stuck in your head, the only way to get rid of it is to hear a song you like and replace the thought that is keeping that song in your head. Short-circuiting a flashback is the same thing you are attempting to replace one thought process with another. Controlling is not the full replacement of a flashback but a redirection of the flashback onto a different and safer circuit. To do this, you will be using your coping tools to interrupt the thought process. You may need to interrupt the flashback several times to Control the impact, and it may take several efforts to cause a single interruption. Mixing your coping methods around and using them in combination are ways of intensifying the attempt at interruption. If your environment is familiar and you can feel safe, or if you are with someone who can give you a measure of safety, then Controlling the flashback may be the best option.
Option Three: Escape
The final option is the Escape of the flashback. Again, remember that this may not always be possible, but never give up your attempts. Mix up your coping methods and combine them, try the more intense methods and try new methods. Escape is both tiring and difficult, but it can be done.
2. Take Notes
- What triggered the flashback?
- What was your goal? (Accept, Control or Escape)
- Did you accomplish your goal?
- What coping techniques did you use?
- Which of these techniques helped, which didn't?
Having these notes can help create a better plan for flashback management.
3. Coping Techniques
Nearly anything you can do to help cope with your flashbacks is a good thing. I say nearly everything because anything that does harm to yourself or another person is simply inexcusable in my opinion. I feel I have a right to say this because like many out there with PTSD, I resorted to self-injury in an attempt to deal with some of the memory I recovered. Not only was self-injury ineffective, it put me in a very dangerous position.
Resorting to causing yourself pain to cover other pain simply amplifies your agony. You may temporarily feel what you believe to be relief but once things return to normal and the flashback is gone, there is additional pain to deal with and at times, serious injury as well. I view seeking affection from others and Alcohol and Drugs the same way (with the exception of drugs prescribed by my own doctor or therapist). They may not do visible harm like cutting yourself, but the damage is done and the problems are compounded.
Techniques When You Are Alone:
(Good for visual flashbacks)
One of the easiest ways to cope or manage a flashback is by distraction. Try to remember something challenging such as the lyrics to a particular song, or a favorite poem. This can helpinterrupt the flashback by redirecting the activity in your brain.
For some reason, memory games work well when I am having flashbacks that involved my hearing and balance.
Some of the more effective memory games I have used are:
- Humming songs or remembering the lyrics to songs
- Naming facts I learned in school
(Good for physical flashbacks - like feelings of touch or sensations)
This has been my most important tool in dealing with physically oriented flashbacks. The technique was actually taught to me by a Viet Nam Veteran who said he used it for every single flashback, adding "usually it helps, but sometimes it can't." I have found it to be effective to some degree almost every time I have tried it.
The idea is simple, take a fairly large ice cube and hold it tight in one of your hands throughout the flashback. The cold feeling keeps that part of you grounded to some degree and the physical sensation gives you something solid to focus on besides the memory you are reliving. It is important to hold the ice cube fairly tight and in the same hand for the duration of the flashback. I experimented with switching hands and holding it lightly and the technique lost much of its effectiveness.
I always use this technique in addition to some of the others when attempting to Escape or Control.
(Good for auditory, or hearing, flashbacks)
This technique involves selecting 4 or 5 brightly colored items in the room that are easily within vision and moving your focus between them. Make sure to vary the order and allow yourself to lock onto the items briefly before shifting to the next item. Keep this up throughout the flashback and continue for a short time afterwards.
Following the same pattern can actually cause you to become more involved in the flashback because your mind becomes used to the pattern and builds on it. By varying the pattern, you disrupt the thought processes involved in the flashback.
I suggest continuing the eye movements for a while after the flashback ends to allow yourself to get more focused on the present since I use this technique mostly for flashbacks with a visual element.
Cold Water on Your Face
(Good for any type of flashback)
This one is simple and can help with any type of flashback. This idea is one of the first ones any of us find that helps. Remember that it can continue to help. Try and use water cold enough to give yourself a good shock. There is a bit more evidence on why this works, it is called the "Mammalian Diving Reflex" or simply the "Diving Reflex" and relies on the fact that our bodies want to survive.
Sudden immersion in very cold water (below 70 degrees) triggers the Diving Reflex. The body reacts by lowering the heart rate, increasing blood pressure, and shutting down circulation to all but the body's core. The result is a lowered metabolism that conserves energy, which helps cold water survival. This is also why near-drowning victims in cold water have a much higher survival rate.
The effect on a flashback is fairly drastic. In short, the brain is shocked and interrupts the flashback to survive what may be a life-threatening immersion in freezing water. For this reason, make sure you use the coldest water available and use a good amount of it.
Techniques When a Friend is Available:
(Good for intense and strong flashbacks)
This is a technique I came up with while assisting a friend with a panic attack. I call this Counting for lack of a better term. The idea, like most of the techniques above, is to confuse the mind and disrupt the thought processes. To do this, remember that random is good.
Basically, your friend would make you repeat whatever they are saying and would start by following a predictable pattern. Throwing in random words breaks the pattern up and causes a brief disruption in the flashback. This can be very powerful against the more intense flashbacks and I tend to use it only when I am in great need.
The sample below is meant to illustrate both why I call it counting and how it can work.
I am unsure why this has been effective, but I do know it will not work alone. If you are selecting the order, than the order is not random, there are no surprises. The surprises catch us off guard and our reaction of "One, Two, Three, Eight?" is often enough to lessen the impact of fairly intense flashbacks.
(Good for intense and strong flashbacks)
I use an "advanced counting" technique to recapture my focus... it is derived from an old group game we used to play - we called it "Fizz - Buzz". Instead of simply counting sequentially, any time a number contains the digit 7 or is a multiple of 7, the word "Buzz" is used; when a number contains the digit 5 or a multiple of 5, the word "Fizz" is used. This is pretty easy up into the early 100s... when much more focus and concentration are required!
It can be done without a friend. If you mess up, you're supposed to compliment yourself! Pick any compliment, but pick a compliment. Then start again.
For more tips please visit:
Coping with Flashbacks: Goals and Techniques for Handling the Memories
Hints on How to Cope With Flashbacks
Flashbacks: A Natural Process of Healing
Tips for Recovery
I have such flashbacks from time to time because of a past event that shook me. I found the aforementioned to be beneficial, I haven't tried them yet but I think that I will when and if I pass through something that requires the use of these techniques.
I hope that this doesn't happen to anyone and, if it does, I hope that these techniques aid you.
Breaking the Chains:
"Thought is only a flash between two long nights, but this flash is everything."
Try not to fight it, it's hungry and it will drink your emotions in one sip. It force feeds you the love disease noisily and gives you sleepless nights.
The parasite strikes when we least expect it to. If we could control our feelings then we'd feel things that we don't really want to but it's impossible to do that. Love, especially, is the feeling that cannot be controlled at all.
The feeling is beautiful in all of the pain that accompanies the package of course - when both sides want it to happen. But what if they don't want it to happen? Maybe one of the sides doesn't want it or both don't.
When you fall in love because of this insect that is feeding you the "love disease feelings", you have sleepless nights thinking of that person; your eating habits change; you don't fall into the same mundane routine that you've accustomed yourself to daily, your days suddenly seem cheerier and your eye has the cutest glitter that gives your feelings away.
Sounds familiar? If it does, then I'm afraid that the parasite infected you too.
Is there some kind of spray to kill this parasite? Why kill it? Enjoy it if you can, if you have to kill it though then just have faith in Him and then in yourself.
This brings me to:
Factors of Love
Both Sides Want to Love
This factor is lovely, it keeps the feelings in the air and grows with time. The parasite keeps feeding and feeding them at the same time. It might bite instead of feed somewhere as it goes, but that just comes with the package. Love is, after all, a parasite. I never heard of a perfect parasite that didn't accidentally bite instead of feed. It's just normal.
One Side Loves, the Other Side is Oblivious or Is Pushing It Away
This is one of the painful factors. It's what is called a crush for it's not really love if both sides aren't sharing the same feelings. What's a crush? It's a crush when you love someone and they don't love you back, they wouldn't have called it "crush" if it didn't hurt. It could eventually progress to love from both sides or just fade away. Cards need to be dealt right here depending on what needs to be done.
Both Sides Are Trying to Push It Away
This is probably the most painful. It's like a crush but more major because both sides are experiencing the feeling of loving someone but knowing that they can't have them and they both know that they feel the same way about each other which is what makes it even more painful to bear. Here, they can either progress into wanting the parasite to take them over, or in living in the pain for some time until they are numb to the parasite's constant biting. The parasite could get bored and fly away, or just stay there. They'll be able to adapt either way.
The three words themselves are magical and do wonders to the soul:
I Love You
I was told by someone once that when you fall in love for the first time and hear those words for the first time they don't feel as good as you expect them to be. Only when the words come after something happens that proves their care for each other that's when the words make the harp that lines your heart with its strings sing.
The pain that accompanies the last two factors can be dealt with in many ways, here are a few ideas that I thought of to let the parasite know where it should stick itself:
Go back to your faith. Believe in Him and then in yourself, be confident. Tell yourself that you can and will get over it.
Don't regret what was because then you can't look at what could be.
Remember that when you feel like you reached the worst that you can reach then that means that there's no way but up from there.
Always look for a friend to take it out on, it makes all the difference. Plus, your friend might have good advice to give so that's a bonus in addition to their listening to you.
God puts us in pain because He loves us and because of Him already having written everything for us, He wants to wash away our sins by letting us experience pain because He doesn't want us to experience that pain in the afterlife; He loves us.
Tell yourself to be patient, know that Allah is testing you and He doesn't lose anyone.
Know that there's no such thing as a random act and that everything happens for a reason.
Be sure that everything that happens to you is out of goodness.
Try to eliminate any external influences, anything that might trigger this feeling in you again.
Love's a beautiful parasite that can get nasty at times. If it gets too nasty, or if the parasite is not wanted, anti-love spray can be used.
If you have any additional ingredients to add to the spray, leave them in the comment box. Or just comment with whatever you want, haha.
Breaking the Chains:
"It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all."
Friday, February 17, 2006
I'm standing at the tip of a mountain; all I need is a soft push and I'll fall really hard into a big bed of roses, sweet and beautiful, like nothing I've ever experienced before. Trying to keep my balance on that tip is so exhausting, I keep tilting myself back and forth; knowing that the logical thing to do is to step back a bit, but why do I find it so difficult to? Why don't I want to? It's like I'm hanging on a thin thread and it could break at any moment.
The life which is unexamined is not worth living
I keep looking down, looking at the bed that awaits me, wishing for the thread to break, waiting for it to give me the chance to fall.
We come from the same planet, but it's like we're universes away. As if they're so alien...
There might be a few thorns here and there, but I know I'd reach for the closest sweet smelling rose to pick and smell, and that when I do, the scratch the thorn caused will seem insignificant, and will heal itself like all scratches do. If I do encounter a bed of roses filled with painful thorns and there was no going back to the sweet roses, I know that I'll remember them and won't regret the timeI spent there, for they could be the best experience of my life. Looking back with a smile could be wishful thinking, as everyone would think that I'd be too busy trying to mend the scratches, but maybe it's just what made it all worthwhile, and that's what would keep me smiling.
To be matter of fact about the world is to blunder into fantasy -- and dull fantasy at that, as the real world is strange and wonderful.
Could I be living this?
The poet is in command of his fantasy, while it is exactly the mark of the neurotic that he is possessed by his fantasy.
I think that I might be neurotic.
I understand the logic behind the thin thread that's holding me, but maybe being too logical could mean ceasing all. Following the heart and living experiences makes a life worthwhile.
A fantasy is a situation imagined by an individual or group, which does not correspond with reality but expresses certain desires or aims of its creator. Fantasies typically involve situations which are impossible or highly unlikely.
I think it might be a fantasy.
Let's hope I wake up from it soon, hanging on a thread is really exhausting. Rollercoaster rides can take us up and down, into an emotional hell.
(written on the 17th of November, 2005)
I was thinking of these roses a lot lately, and now that I read this old piece of mine I can't help but wonder, "Would I have been that ambitious in wanting to break that thread if I knew that I would end up here today?"
Breaking the Chains:
وُئد في مهده قبل أن أتهنى به
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Pulling at my hair...
I can't say it!
I pull at my hair again tightly
I'm telling myself to keep calm
and I know that it's so obvious
But I act dumb about it
And so do you
I start to stare at my hands
Telling them to stop shaking
My teeth are biting into my lip
And my palms feel wet
My cheeks start feeling hot
And my mind's a constant swirl
If I could say what I wanted to say
Then I'd say that I...
Feel jealous to see you get affection from others
Feel angry when I am helpless
Feel depressed when the tiniest things happen
Pretend to be fine when I'm not
Feel resentment towards myself for not being perfect
because I experience these feelings
And I wish that I were perfect,
it would've been so much more easier
I wouldn't have to regret the time I didn't spend with you
or the things that I never got the chance to say
I wouldn't have to resent myself anymore
Nor will I have to wish that I could turn back time
and have another chance to play my cards right
And I wouldn't have to want to erase all the bad parts
I'd say that I cared about you
And that I only feel these things because I can't help them
I'd say that I wished if I could one day control my feelings
And spare all the bad ones, and keep all the good
If only I could say
The things that I'll never say
I’d say what about you
Be with you every night
Am I squeezing you too tight
If I could say what I want to say
I want to see you go down
On one knee
Marry me today
Yes, I’m wishing my life away
With these things
I’ll never say
It don’t do me any good
It’s just a waste of time
What use is it to you
What’s on my mind
If it ain’t coming out
We’re not going anywhere
So why can’t I just tell you that I care
- Lyrics from Avril Lavigne's song, "Things I'll Never Say"
Dots and MD, I know that I took such a long time for this update. I had a severe case of blogger's block if you will. I dedicate this update to the two of you (not the words, just the update haha)
Breaking the Chains:
"Never say never, for if you live long enough, chances are you will not be able to abide by its restrictions. Never is a long, undependable time, and life is too full of rich possibilities to have restrictions placed upon it."