Tag Archives: maya acra blog

#3aybeshoum : We Are All In This Together

There is only one way to explain the waste situation we are living in in Lebanon: the government wants us OUT of the country. There is only one way to solve this situation: get THEM out of the country – out of their positions, right back to the barns they belong to.

If they’re fine with the waste being all around, we are not. It saddens me to see the difference between the Lebanese activists and the people in the government. It saddens me even more to know that the educated people, the cultivated individuals, those who are worthy of being in power – those who are not hungry for power or for money, like the our “powerful goats” – are abroad helping other countries evolve instead of being in positions here to induce change in our country!

No revolution has ever worked in history without a change in the hearts of the middlemen between the people and the government, and I am not talking about the parliament members, but I am addressing the police forces “the darak” who receive orders from our goats to eliminate the peaceful movements of our civilized citizens – who refuse to die out of malaria, cholera, and lung cancer. Should one of those darak’s families get intoxicated before they realize that they are one of us and not one of those goats?
I understand that it’s the darak’s job is do whatever they are ordered to do, but a revolution and action happens when ALL of us – I mean ALL the Lebanese people – the darak included, the ministers who want to prove to Lebanon that they deserve their positions, the MPs,  the ministers’ wives, the acitivists, the students, the mothers, the army, the bloggers, the media, the journalists, the immigrants, the CEOs, the kids (and possibly even our pets) do their own share in helping Lebanese people get their basic human rights.

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These pictures are not what we should get out of a peaceful movement, this is not how you treat civilized protesters:

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We are ALL in this together, Ahmad, George, Ali, Hussein, Maroun, Seyid  Maria, and Alia. Those of us who cannot join the actual physical movement, can do their own part with solving all this corruption. Whatever power you have as a journalist, as a school teacher, a police-man, a politician, do your own share with making a change. Even if it was resisting an order, writing an article, starting a campaign, recycling at home and at the office, opposing corruption; asking for action, pressuring, demanding, and forcing change!

They say Lebanon is a Dream, and the dream was taken away from us. It’s not a dream to have a normal country where other countries that were deserts are now being compared to New York City. It’s not a dream to have fresh air and a normal government, when other countries are creating green space and ice out of nothing. It’s not a dream for women to pass their nationalities to their kids and for the homosexuals to not be treated as country traitors, when other countries are legalizing gay marriages and women are getting to the highest positions. It’s not a dream to have our educated young individuals working and not getting high at some random friend of a friend’s house, regretting they were born in Lebanon, instead of offering jobs for the unworthy.

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What we do not get is that we are not only in THIS together, we are in everything together. Our unity will only change whatever ZBELEH we are living in.

Politics is mind games. Let’s just hope this is not a game to get even more ridiculous, greedy people to power.

It is a shame!   #3aybeshoum #طلعت_ريحتكم

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Only if you’re in your 20s

Being 23 reminds me of being 13; girls with moustache, unibrows, underdeveloped tities, and body hair not knowing whether they should start shaving, whether wearing a bra is okay or not, and if playing with barbies is so last year. You know some girls almost lost their virginities at 13 whereas other girls still wore those tutu dresses and went to church every Sunday with their grandmas. Just like thirteen didn’t really feel right, 23 feels really perplexing – different people experience it differently.

I somehow tend to categorize us 23/25 year olds into four categories:

  • Those who are settled down (jumped the 20s)
    Honestly, I believe that being in your twenties is like getting an appetizer at a diner. Being an adolescent is more like only chips. You can’t really afford the appetizers when you’re still (generally) depending on your parents’ salary. In your twenties, you have the luxury to see it all yourself. You start generating your own income that allows you to do whatever you want, spend your time wherever you want, and be around whomever you want. Cause hey, we both know you had curfew before. Even if you didn’t, there were many factors stopping you from getting into certain places or being around the people you want to be around.
    Those who chose to settle down, meaning got married, I guess jumped that appetizer stage and went directly to the main dish. No matter what you tell me, being married in your early twenties is somehow running away from all the challenge and getting into ‘safe hands’. If it weren’t safe, well, it’s actually worse. You are actually not only responsible for yourself but for another baby (other than yourself). If you’re just a couple who doesn’t want to get mini you-s, you as well, jumped into a whole different lifestyle of sharing everything with someone else. It might be nice sometimes, but I guess you could’ve tried to do it first yourself for a while, then got into all this. The feeling of being independent is beautiful, and it’s different than when you were in college.

kidsGetting married at a young age has advantages like being closer to your kids (decreasing the age gap), enjoying retirement with your spouse, and sharing your life with someone else. However, with all these divorce rates, I can’t guarantee married couples will last till retirement, and if they do, they would’ve had some really tough years. Moreover, I guess I have a big age-gap with 20 year olds, it’s not even funny. If I slept for 2 months, I’d have an age gap with my friends my age. The age-gap is bound to exist if I were ten years older than my kids, the generation gaps are so wide these days, I’d rather enjoy my golden years.
However, I am not entirely against early marriage, I have some close friends who are happily married and I wish them the best.

  • Those who are living their teenage years (filling the space)
    Just like some people jump into adulthood full on, and don’t enjoy the moment, others do the exact opposite… those are the people who basically had hard as hell curfews / or were studying all the time back in college/ or where super ugly and had a major plastic surgery makeover (but I’m not gonna go shallow on you) that now have the freedom/ chance to do what the cool kids used to do in college. They’d be throwing house parties every other day, getting high, recklessly partying all the time, getting shit ass drunk and hooking up with random people, getting excited about making friends at any given occasion; not searching for any sort of stability in their lives.ted-movie

I’m not contradicting myself, stability is definitely what a 20-something year old person should aim for, however settling down needs far-seeing and acquired-wisdom that I doubt people might have in their early 20s.
Now you see, there’s a thin line between that and being a free-spirit in your early 20s. Enjoying your 20s definitely includes partying, dating, and meeting interesting people, but with the experience and emotional intelligence that one is bound to have in his 20s, the same activities become different. Different goals. Time becomes too precious to waste it on fake relationships and pointless friendships.

  • The Entrepreneurs (the Risk Takers)
    Those are the freelancers, free-spirits, or the dreamers. If you are one, you have earned my respect already. The entrepreneurs are people who are willingly or unwillingly not working a day-job, but working either freelance projects or building their own small startup businesses.
    Both are definitely risk takers. I know some friends who have even quit their full-time job to work on their projects – dreams. Those people are an inspiration. Again, it’s better to do that in your early 20s than in your 30s -you can’t go all Kramer vs. Kramer on your wife/husband. It’s either you fail or you make it big. If you make it big, I applause you. If you lose, well you can either try again till you win, or you can just surrender to the economic lifestyle everyone else is doing, and be employed.
    If you’re giving this a thought just know this:
    Your lifestyle would be either doing absolutely nothing all day, or zillion things in one day. Some days you’d feel super depressed/unproductive and other days you’d feel you’re on top of the world when invited on radio/tv shows or to events/ seminars.
    *There are some programs, that I’m a fan of, in Lebanon like seeqnce and BDL Accelerate that actually support/fund start-ups. You can check those if you want.
    BxKadavIYAAPCWf.png_large seeqnce
  • The young-Adults (TGIFers)
    Whereas other 20 year olds (mentioned so far) cant really keep track of what’s-today, the young adults count the days till the end of the month – when they get paid. In our capitalistic societies, the TGIFers are playing it safe. They are ofcourse enrolled in a hierarchical institution, working their asses of aspiring of gaining the experience, the know-hows, and the connections in their fields.
    They either want to reach higher positions or want to eventually open up their own businesses with their acquired knowledge. Most of them stay employees their whole lives – dedicate their life to the company they work in. I do admire those, especially if they’ve worked in one company their whole lives. That’s like dedicating your life to God. Of course no company is God, but I appreciate the dedication and I value the opportunity cost those people had to sacrifice to remain in the same environment for years. Others jump around. I appreciate the ambition and adaptation ability of those. Few of them, who have the right resources eventually, open their own businesses. Those would be experienced entrepreneurs – and again risk-takers that I respect.
    Young adults understand terms like Sad Monday and Thank God It’s Friday. They have the luxury to go out every night, but they stick to watching a DVD, reading a book, or even sleeping early on some nights. They hate Mondays and love Fridays just like students. They are busy during the weekdays, so they sometimes forget to plan a cool weekend – but they don’t mind it because hey, it’s always better spontaneous. Young adults lose a lot of friends and tend to feel alienated around the first two categories. They usually associate themselves with older people, but still love to spend quality time with their childhood and family members. They usually have a good-5/10-contacts-group-on-whatsapp that is basically their escape. They’d be sending silly voice notes and pictures back and forth throughout the day. I’d say that usually the young adults make up around 60% out of the population – but unemployment rates are drastic these days, I don’t know if they are the majority.
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    Bottom line is, life is all about decisions. Whether you’ll live your teens in your eighties or if you wore makeup when you were four, nothing is wrong or right. If you were lucky enough to find your soulmate at a young age, make sure you are wise enough to take a life-long commitment decision, and make sure you are both adequate to make a living. If you were now discovering life because you couldn’t before, make sure you surround yourself with younger- or at least people you trust who wouldn’t take advantage of you. Know that this phase you’re living is simply what they call psychological ‘défoulement’ – that shouldn’t last forever, or else you wouldn’t really get anywhere – except if you’re planning to be like John, from the movie Ted. If you have the skills to make a living as a freelancer or ambitious enough to start planning your own business, make sure you know the ups and downs of that. As a freelancer, make sure you don’t spend all your money at once when you get money, cause it might not always be available. Even if it’s not your ‘thing’ to be safe, with money, make your best to play it safe. You don’t want your friends paying your share when you go out do you? As a dreamer, know that the probability of failing for a beginner is more than 75% (FFFW). You got to pick up the pieces and start over a lot of times, and if you don’t ever make it, congratulate yourself for trying – not everyone does. Lastly, if you were fortunate enough to land on a job, make sure you don’t succumb your full energy and time into your job that you forget your ethics, or yourself completely. Remember what you loved to do before you started working, do more of your habits. Paint, exercise, play music, go out with friends, watch movies, and act silly. Even if your job is super serious, don’t wear all beige and turn into a dull character. Your job doesn’t define you, it’s you job period. Plus, don’t just settle to one job no matter how safe and easy going the environment is – except if it’s really your dream job. Don’t forget your dreams. Always be up to new adventures/ opportunities. Finally, no matter what, TRAVEL. When you have money, instead of buying a couple of Prada bags or moccasin shoes, book a ticket to whatever country it is, and go. Don’t be picky. Any country in the world is worth it – just don’t go to war zones.

travel-quotesLife is easy, and it’s all a matter of cause and effect. You are now what you’ve been living your whole life to be. If you have dreams and you’re not taking any action towards them, start a to-do list of short-term goals and long-term goals. Keep track of your improvement. If you have friends that you don’t like, cut them off. They wouldn’t have you around if they don’t want you around. If they would, well… Should I continue? Start planning right and you’re going to achieve your dreams. Oh and dream big because dreams do come true.

*So Marc recommended to me this article “The Brain on 23” by Molly Sprayregen that somehow got me writing this article. You can check it out: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/molly-sprayregen/the-brain-on-23_b_6046888.html
Much love!
Maya Akra

dear lebanesers

dear lebanesers,
1. hayfa wehbe is hot, stop trying to be cool saying shes not
2. no guy would fake being gay to gain attention, so get over yourselves
3. your plastic surgeries wont make him love you more, if it did.. goodluck with changing his diapers and in being cheated on once gravity plays its role on ur extra cheese
4. pose infront of the camera not in the middle of clubs. dance. move. ruin ur makeup. let there be a pond under your armpits. its understandable.
5. reading a book or anything longer than 10 lines is okay, it wldnt make you seem less cool or lifeless
6. theres a difference between fuckbuddies and lovers, thats why the two words exist in urban dictionary
7. make up makes all girls(not just this one) look more attractive, thats why they put it; you are no genius
8. deleting the bridge btween ur distinct eyebrows is being clean, dont panic and outsmart our eyesight – dont leave few rocks from the bridge. you can do it. if you cant do it, no one can :))
9. doing the duckface, selfies, and mirror pictures for girls is like playing a fifa game for guys, theres no need to comprehend it – just accept it
10. we live in lebanon. not in brazil nor germany, not in USA nor Iran, not in France nor Canada
11. traveling to a country doesnt make you one of its citizens
12. stop investigating celebrities’ roots, even if they had lebanese origins, if they were living in lebanon they wouldnt have become celebrities.
with love
M