Love, Hope, Strength, Faith: Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure

By: Rhonda Nemri

It was last May of 2015, I signed up to do the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. I decided to join because most of my coworkers/friends had joined, and I thought to myself it’s for a good cause. I didn’t know anyone with breast cancer, but I still felt connected to it because cancer had affected my family. My father was diagnosed with bladder cancer in November of 2012, and had lost his battle in June of 2013. So the connection was highly there, as I related this race to the loss of my father from cancer. It was my first 5k for a cancer event. Even though it was an unrelated cancer it still pushed me to participate, and feel the pain those felt fighting breast cancer, and losing to it. 

This year as the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure approached it was different for me. I wanted to join not only because it was for cancer, but because my mother was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in January of 2016, and is currently seeking treatment for it. I don’t share this with many people, but this event has prompted me to share my thoughts.

Signing up for this race I thought to myself I’m going to participate in this and experience it in a different light. I was supposed to meet my coworkers/friends for a pre race photo at our company office the morning of the race, which is only a few blocks away. I was running late, and thought I will just walk to this event alone and wait for them there since I was running a bit behind for the photo.

When I actually got to the event, I noticed so many people there dressed in full support for the cause. Women and even men all dressed in pink, children running around with supportive gear, and different booths set up for free items for supporting.

When I got closer to the main stage, they began their announcements, and upbeat music to get us in preparation for the race/walk. They announced that they would have a survivors parade, which entailed breast cancer survivors walking and cheering with signs that stated Faith, Hope, Strength, and Love. At that moment I felt very connected and tears rushing down my face. I wanted the tears to stop to avoid people staring, but it didn’t work. It was an overwhelming feeling I couldn’t control. After a few minutes I felt this positive vibe, and  then realized how many women and even men suffer with breast cancer. These survivors allowed me to see the strength in these women who have fought with it, but also those who have lost their battle. It did however give me hope and faith.

I’ve connected with these women and they didn’t even know it. I thought about my mother through this all, and remembered how strong she is. She doesn’t have an easy life, but she manages to wake up and get through her day fighting. Something I believe I may not be able to do if I were in her shoes.

I was alone for the most part of the beginning, and wondered if my coworkers/friends should be with me so I wouldn’t cry or break down. But I am glad I had that moment to myself. 

I was doing the 5k run, and most of them signed up for the 10k so I even ran alone. I kept thinking I don’t care about what time I would finish this race, I just wanted to finish it regardless of time. 

The race started at 8 am and run start time began at 8:03 am. As I was running I noticed all the different types of runners. The ones that were survivors, the ones that were running for the cause, and the ones that were running on behalf of those who lost their battle. I was the runner that was running on behalf of my mother who is currently living with this cancer and fighting it each day. It inspired me to keep running.
I passed my first mile, and felt I’m not going to stop. I did eventually stop for a moment to walk, but I kept going. As I was approaching the finish line I noticed those cheering me and the others near me to finish. I sprinted to the finish line and the tears came down. I was again alone and just noticed all those around me celebrating their finish. I was happy and proud for them, even though I didn’t know them. I grabbed my banana and water and sat on the cool grass watching those finishing the race.

When I finally met with my coworkers/friends I was happy to see them and high fived them for finishing the 10k. We took plenty of picture and danced a little. It was beautiful and an experience I won’t forget. I have done plenty of 5k races for different diseases, but this one in particular will always be one I won’t forget. 

Participating in these races allows you to give to the cause, as well as running for those who have fought and/or lost their battle. It actually pushes you to keep going. 

Ever since losing my father to cancer, and watching my mother fighting breast cancer, life has been seen in a different perspective. Cancer is a scary word, and we automatically think of loss. But we must continue to be there and fight with those battling it. Your world may be turned upside down, but eventually you will learn to see the beauty of life and how fragile it is. 

It’s a cliché thing to say “you never know when it is your last day”, but this is a true statement. I never knew I would lose my father at such a young age, and I never thought my mother would get breast cancer. But it has helped me to want to help those who may have experienced a loss, and going through grief. It isn’t easy to live with so much grief, but it shapes you to be a stronger and better person in such an unfortunate way. 

I’m thankful to know I am not in this alone, and there are many supportive people. I thank them for their existence in my life, they know who they are 😊

Check out the few pics from the event!

   

   

  

    

    
 

From Bonds to Chains

Eagles Point

This is just a short insert, more of a publicized memo that might be an enlightenment or encouragement to someone in the process of adding to my blog’s file cabinet…

It is tempting for me to make the following cavalier statement out of a place of vulnerability:

Maybe I should be like many other men…lazy, selfish, prideful, using physical intimacy as a hook to get what I want, etc. A few or more of these attributes…these guys have most all the good women, it seems. They have girlfriends who are so devoted, forgiving, forgetting the bad things, the bad habits, the lack of spiritual intimacy with God, the cheating, the lying, the abandonment. Because after all, they say they still love the woman. Yeah…maybe I’ll do that, and I could become physically intimate with a woman so she’ll be bonded and hooked, and maybe if she gets pregnant, I could become…

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Don’t Let the “Good” Fool You

By Rhonda Nemri

I have come to realize over and over that the people you deal with will not always portray who you are as a person. That just because you are nice and considerate, does not mean they will be too. I have this conversation with people many times about genuine good people versus people who do good things, but are not always genuinely good. It is very irritating when meeting people, and always wondering are they really who they say they are. We can ask them what are some of your pet peeves, and they may respond…”rude people”, “mean people”, “liars”, “cheaters”, “inconsiderate people”, so on and so forth. Yet, they portray these types of negative characteristics on a daily basis. I’m nowhere near a perfect person, but I do believe I have a decent approach to how to treat people, even when they do not deserve to be treated well. Being a good person means not expecting people to constantly say you are good, and not constantly trying to convince others you are a good person. You can say you are nice and considerate person, but can you show for it?

I’ve met many people who tried to convince me of the person they are, yet they don’t truly fit the description they have set out for themselves. It is just a cover up to fully be accepted. Bad people exist in this world. Some know it, some don’t. I’ve come to write about this topic because it is becoming more apparent to me that people are self-centered, and tend to do things for themselves only. Now, doing something for yourself is not bad, but you have to stop and think to yourself, that there are people in your lives that deserve to be treated well.
Do not ever tell an inconsiderate person your feelings, or what hurts you in life. They do not listen to these words. They hear it, but they do not truly grasp it. This just makes you get emotionally hurt when you tell someone your feelings, when really they were not listening. You expect them to treat you differently when you tell them what you do not like. A considerate person would take what you say, and use it to their advantage to be a good person to you instead of turning things around on you.

Overall, the point is that life is not always pleasant, and it is not always on your side. We will meet people who belong in our lives, and we will meet people who will be in our lives for a short time and leave. Learning to let go the grudge of a bad person is hard, but what I always say is if you treat me bad, I won’t treat you bad, this is your ultimate choice to do so. But if you do treat me bad, I will make sure you know that I do not belong in your life, whether at all, or barely.

How The Middle Eastern Culture Can Be Toxic

By: Rhonda Nemri

Now I know some people will take this to offense, and say “how could you say this?” Or that I am not prideful of my culture. If that’s your first instinct about this, then you’ve already proven my title. However, there are many ways in the Arab culture that people depend on because it is “safe”, and a better excuse for getting away with their hostile behavior. I will explain what “culture” does to people, and how it affects our society; mainly the Arab community. The list will predominately focus on the Arab/Middle Eastern Culture, but can relate to the general idea of culture.

1. Culture is established by a group of people’s norms, and their own perceptions of life, and something that usually sticks with them for a lifetime.
2. Culture brings people together, and creates traditions that can be passed on to generations.
3. Culture allows you to identify with a group/race.
4. Culture is something good, but when taken too far, it can actually create toxicity among family, friends, co-workers, etc.
5. Saying “this is how it is supposed to be” is based off of what someone created to be the norm. Therefore basing everything you do in your life a norm that you only live by because someone else told you this is how it is supposed to be.
6. Culture makes people become hostile towards those who do not fully abide or engage in cultural norms.
7. Culture puts a timeframe for when to be married, when to have children, and requirements on whom you should be with/shouldn’t be with.
8. Culture creates an identity crisis. Arab/Middle Eastern culture versus other cultures can cause one to conflict between being authentic versus being what someone else wants.
9. Culture creates a sense of fear for living authentically. The constant thought that people are monitoring your behavior, and being worried of what other people think of you.
10. Culture makes people believe that because specific norms have been around for so long, that they are correct or acceptable.
11. Culture has created strict tendencies and traditions that have been the cause for separating family units, or has hindered the quality of life.
12. Culture has repeatedly made women to be the lesser equal. Invoking certain lifestyles, do this and don’t do that, limiting career opportunities, etc. As well as creating standards for men to be and act a certain way to appear masculine.
13. Culture for Middle Easterners has been a reciprocated understanding between several religious faiths. (Examples: Christians/Catholics and Muslims). Thus prohibiting many ideas, and new values from different men and women.
14. Culture does not allow mistakes, because your reputation is a representation of your family, and is always accounted for. If you make mistakes, then the people in your family also live through repercussions. People then bad mouth, or speak badly about each other.
15. Culture makes religious people focus more on cultural values, than religious values. This can be detrimental for those who try to live through their religion as Godly-like beings.
16. Lastly, Culture would be something great if people allowed each other to live freely, and not have to live for other people.

Final thoughts:

If we would see the negativity of our culture and become more positive we would be happy individuals. Stop paying attention to other people, and grow as an individual. Making someone suffer because of what you think is right, does not make you right. It’s bad enough we have to live to see the Middle East falling apart because of control, power, and greed. So why do this to the people who you call your family, friend, acquaintance, or someone you vaguely know. Give each other a chance to live life, and a chance to know them before you let culture dictate your every move in your life. Culture is important to have, but not to make you hostile towards humans.

A Writers Intent

By: Rhonda Nemri

A writers intent is to provide a different perspective to others. To let the reader experience another persons experiences whether fiction or non fiction. A writers need is to fully express themselves, and most times it’s done creatively. A writer hopes for many readers and commentaries on their writings. But whether one reader or a thousand readers, the writer is at ease because they have released all internal thoughts out. It helps a writer release their thought process out on paper or typed in their computer.

When writers express themselves, they are risking a part of them. Their vulnerability, sensitivity, rage, and passions are exposed, and can be ridiculed by those not agreeing with statements of the writers beliefs, attitudes, and values. But that doesn’t stop them.

A writer may not care for the amount of readers, however a writer surely hopes to reach out and be a helping hand for those who may be internally struggling. For those who may not have the courage to speak up, but to feel connected and not alone in any issues in their lives.

A writers intent is to inspire those who need inspiring, help those that need help, and create another world for those who choose to be lost in words.

A writers intent is to help themselves understand their own voice, and realize the wretchedness of their own oppressions.

I dedicate this to all the writers who inspired me to write, and allowed me to express myself with no regrets.

Destructive Power

By : Rhonda Nemri

They cut you. They cut you so deep, you bleed. But you don’t bleed to death. Just a bunch of cuts that become scars. You don’t walk away, you forgive them. Each time you forgive them, you think to yourself it will be better. When really, you’re handing them that power.

Now this power is so destructive that every time you legitimately have the right to be hurt and upset at them, they make you feel it’s your fault. Each time this happens, another scar is added. You try to walk away, but it’s that power thing that just can’t seem to go away. Whether you are with them or without them, they seem to have this power over you. You lose sleep, you don’t eat, you overly think, you lose yourself in all of this.

Each time you come back you hand them that power again. The sad thing is they know it, and they feed off of it. They need it to survive. And they will survive because you are feeding them your precious soul. You are feeding them your life that used to be yours. But something keeps you around them. Something makes you whole again when they are good. It’s this drug feeling that numbs you, that you can’t even see what’s wrong. But you enjoy it, because with it, it keeps you alive.

They say they need you and want you, but what they need is that power that someone else may not give them the way you give them. That’s real abuse. Not the physical kind, but the emotional and psychological abuse. That abuse will stay forever with you if you keep handing your self control over to the person who thrives over having you by their side only for the sole purpose to control you. This is toxic, and you know it. But you’re afraid that if you walk away, no one will want you the way you’ve laid out your life to the last person. So you stay and forever have lost yourself.

*NOTE*
It isn’t just our intimate relationships that this applies to. Power is a necessity for some in your family, friendships, colleagues, superiors, etc. we all struggle through powerlessness in our lives. But to let someone take over our lives for their sake, we should reconsider them in our lives. Emotional and psychological abuse hurts more than physical. All abuse is harmful, but it is the words that affects us coming from the ones that say they love us.

The Fools Will Chatter

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By: Rhonda Nemri
Photograph painted and photo edited By: Rhonda Nemri

I mustn’t show my tears. Or else the fools will chatter.

I mustn’t show my smile. Or else the fools will chatter.

I mustn’t grief out loud. Or else the fools will chatter.

I must show my tears. Or else the fools will chatter.

I must show my smile. Or else the fools will chatter.

I must grief out loud. Or else the fools will chatter.

Yes the fools will always chatter. With chatter they speak as fools, and fool you to believe they stand beside you as if you’re a fool. But indeed the fool will always be a fool, full of ignorance.

Visionaries

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By: Rhonda Nemri
Photograph taken by Rhonda Nemri

Lying there with your eyes closed and your cold delicate skin, I see you but can’t feel your touch. Throwing myself at you with tears rushing down my face, dripping to the cold ground.

Catching the last moment of your presence as I press my warm face against yours and sing you a song that once was heard.

Revealing my story to you in the last moment before the doors shut. Staring in the eyes of the lost souls, feeling their pain, but nothing can be done.

Consoling one as I feel the wind knocking me down. Creating visionaries in ones mind as we lose the branch off the tree of life.

Whispering voices, crying eyes.
Look around, touch the ground. Fall in hurt, reach for support. Crazy scenes, loud full screams. Stop the ride, feeling to confide.

Moved away quick as they give one last look. Running back to just hold you in that split moment I’m shook.

Soil is moved for your rest. Feeling this urge to fall apart, as the dirt shall fall, and the grass will sprout.

Digging with my bare hands, as I visit your long stay. Feeling this pain that won’t go away. Dig, dig ,dig, but I don’t go far. As I stop the dreaming and walk to my car.

I look one last moment before I leave, and pass through the gates as I weep.

Your memory is in my mind throughout the day. As I place my hand to my broken heart, and hum this way.

As the sun shines I feel your smile. I hope this feeling will stay for a while. I rest my eyes through the night. As I wake things don’t feel right.

The final thoughts are of this life, without a moment of you things don’t feel right.

Painted Silhouettes

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By: Rhonda Nemri
Photograph Taken By: Rhonda Nemri

Colors changing into the mood.
Loud as the fire bursts with creation of realism.

Layered in black cloth as it resembles the feelings of mourn.

Stripping the darkness from its root, and bringing back life.

Shameful appearances of the painted silhouettes.

Once again it shall appear to be solid, but soft as the inner core of the bodies falls to the ground in grief.

Surrounded by the cold and warm structures that create no absolute.

But to signify once again the wretchedness of this long gone chapter.

Expressions of Loss

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By: Rhonda Nemri

The sadness that is exuded. The straight face that is expressed.

Expressions of loss and discomfort. Weakness is not portrayed, but is a reaction to the unfortunate past, that must be accepted.

Cringing reality, in which is a glimpse of darkness in search of light, and comfort.

The salty waters come rushing down the soft warm apples. Lost in the depths of life. Lost in the thoughts of mind.

Just to touch the flesh of love, is a wanting that won’t be received, but shall be done in deep imaginations.

A smile is seen for a moment, but is lost quickly as the feelings of sorrow is remembered.

The skies of light and clearness as the rays beaming on my skin, deep down in my pores. A remembrance of closeness that brings one at ease.

Strength is within, but sadness as well. The exterior portrays the interior, for true happiness cannot be apparent until true acceptance.

In Loving Memory of My Father: Rest in Peace July 26 1960- June 8 2013

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