Humbled and Jumbled

By: Rhonda Nemri

The one thing I constantly tell myself is to not keep track of all the good I do, or show people what good I have done for them.

I think the word humble is thrown around way too much, that it is losing its pure definition. People tend to think they are humble, and this is great. But what does it actually mean to be humble? Can humble people also have bad intentions with other people? Can humble people treat others with disrespect? Are humble people only humble in certain instances, where it benefits them?

I consider myself to be humble. However, I wasn’t always so humble. In my early teens and early 20’s, I actually didn’t embrace who I was as a person. I constantly compared my life with others. I didn’t like my upbringing. I didn’t even associate myself as a Middle Easterner. But as I started going to college, I began to meet people who were not me. I met different races and ethnicity. The more I was around people who weren’t me, I was beginning to embrace my culture a lot more. Then I started experiencing trauma with people in my family dying. It was to the point from 2005-2014 we have lost people close to us. One of them being my father. These experiences made me appreciate life just a little more. But this writing isn’t about death. It is more about being humble and genuine about it.

The reason I bring this up is because I consider myself to be a fairly decent person, especially to others. I am self-aware to the point that I know when I am crossing the line, and when I need to apologize. Some people don’t want to come to terms when they are wrong. They believe it shows a side of weakness. I even believe that I am this way because I tend to want peace in my life. Even when people don’t deserve to receive my goodness, I still give them a piece of it. I am working through this right now on whether I should limit my goodness to others. It is not a form of being bad, it is more of helping myself have sanity, and remove the burden of always trying to make others feel good. I love making people feel good and bring their self-esteem up, but not when it’s getting in the way of my mental health.

Back to my first statement about not counting or keeping track of all the good I do. Sometimes when dealing with not so level headed people, they tend to push you to start recapping all that you have done for them, just to confirm if it is worth continuing being generous to them. People will live their lives being good in certain instances, but never really  a good person all around. I at times start thinking, “what if I start treating people the way they have treated me”. I am not talking about the ones that are good to me. I am speaking about the ones who are just there, and taking advantage of me.

I know some people know my personality enough to control my behavior towards them. It is like they know I will eventually crack down, and let them have their way. So they act outrageous, and feel they have no consequences, because I give them a free pass. But I am sure this will be changing soon. To the point where I will still be a good person, but not let people slide, and stomp all over me.

There are people in this world that walk around angry about how certain people treat them, but they are the same. They get so upset when someone is rude to them, or doesn’t respect them. Yet they are the same. If people would just follow their own advice, or follow the certain life quotes that they tend to post on social media; they would be okay humans.

We all have the ability to have goodness in our lives. But we are too misguided or distracted by the things that have no importance. Maybe it does have some importance to you to some extent, but it is short term. We tend to want success, but not work hard for it. Money of all things has been the cause for our turmoil and sadness. We are NOT humble human beings if we can’t even for a split second share our wealth, even if it is just a little bit. We all define wealth in different ways, however being rich in life is not only through money. Be rich with love, respect, happiness, compassion, consideration, etc. The list can be as long as you want.

With strangers I don’t tend to take to heart how they treat me, so I look more at the people in my life that I care about. However, I do care how I treat strangers as well. We should not be so centered on just family and close friends. There are people out there in this world that actually need you. Even if you don’t see it. How many times have you met a stranger, and spoke to them for just a moment, and realized you have much more in common with them, than you do with the people you call blood or best friends? I have met people randomly, even in a grocery store line that have shown me more compassion, than the people who call me a friend.

Just remember when you die, you don’t take all those goodies you bought. That nice car, watch, or house doesn’t get buried with you. But what does get buried with you is you, and the person you were to people. If you have just a month to live, what would you do? How would you spend your last days?

No matter what, I know I can still remain to be a good person. We are not perfect human beings. We never will be. But we can be decent humans walking this earth, and paving the way for the generations to come after us. This sounds cliche, but so what!? Why is it becoming easier to be ungenerous, disrespectful, and greedy?

Don’t count all your good, and share with the world what you have given, but know your self-worth and do not let people walk all over you. Be humble!

 

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Do They Know?

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Do they know? Do they feel? Do they wonder? Do they see? Do they expect? Do they have hope? Do they still love? These questions all surround one explicit idea, and inevitable part of our lives. The dying.

How hard it must be to come to reality that you will not get better. How terrifying it must be to know there is a chance you will one day take your last breath unexpectedly. Just that small ounce of hope they have. That look they give you that they have given up.

The most petrifying look you can see in their eyes. Would they still be here if they would have tried a little harder, or was this it? It was that last look you gave that you may not return home. The sickness that made you weaker. The sickness that took your strength. The sickness that made you doubt. The sickness that made you cry. The sickness that made you lose yourself. The sickness that left your family within darkness. The sickness that took you away. The difficulties to look before your last days. The difficulties it has been to accept, but regardless move forward. You were smart, and you didn’t kid yourself. You knew. You felt. You accepted it, without us knowing you did. You tried to be stronger, but it took over you. The last days of your life were the most difficult, because it was supposed to be the road to your recovery. But instead it was to a dark, and unsettling road. It was your destiny. It was your story coming to an end, but your memory to an eternal life.

Your eyes had darkness, your heart of gold.
Your sounds of love, your feelings of old.
You whispered in my ear, you are strong.
I looked to your eyes, and hymned your song.
The song of strength. The song of your life.
Despite your end, we still stand.
Never forget you, as we still hold your hand.
Your memories are forever ours.
As each one of us were your stars.
A father we loved together with those days.
Together as a family we made our ways.
As we still remember in our lives.
We think of you still standing by our side.

In Loving Memory of My Father July 26, 1960-June 8th, 2013

An Open Letter: What Happened To Us?

Dear family, friends, and acquaintances,

What happened to us? What happened to the concept of family and close friends?

Have we really lost all reality of what it means to be family? Have we engaged in such superficial dialogue that when we speak to each other there is some hidden agenda?

Can you remember the last time you actually asked about each other without feeling it was an inconvenience? We hide our troubles and pain from each other. Not because we may cause a burden, but because there may be a small portion of that discussion that we may feel will be used against us.

Whether we lost a parent, child, uncle, aunt, grandparent, or cousin, we only appear to ask about each other when in mourn. We are quick to say “if you need anything let me know”, but also so quick to turn away from those who require someone to be there for them emotionally.

We are appearing to engage with each other through online mediums such as Facebook or snapchat, but find it hard to really ask a person how they are doing to their face. We have superficial dialogue that comes immediate to us to ask a person “how are you?” But not really care for the response.

We portray a different person online, comment on pictures, or share photos hoping someone would like it.

I remember as a child when it was someone’s birthday we would always get together. Whether cook outs, holidays, or just to get together. Now we use the excuse that people are getting old, or people have their own families to deal with. This is the time where we should be around each other.

When someone’s in trouble it becomes difficult to help them because we don’t have time. We only grow closer to someone when we lose them.

Some of us are hurting in silence. Some of us are showing hurt in front of all. But we refuse to actually ask our family to speak up and dialogue about the pain.

We defend those so quick that aren’t family or close friends, and put down those who need us the most.

Some things are personal and should be left personal. Your business is yours! I’m talking about the support system that has disappeared. It’s so easy to say “did you hear about so and so”. We enjoy gossip, and talking about other people who we call family. We get involved with someone’s life decisions when it’s convenient for us. We become judgmental because people’s life choices are not ours. We don’t stand up for those who need us the most.
We are quick to make a Facebook status about our feelings, rather than talk to the person about the problems. We seek validation from strangers, and not solve the issue directly with the person we have the problem with.

When someone wants to get married, we talk about why we don’t like the person they chose, and instead we choose not get to know the other person, and see for ourselves. We tell someone how they should spend their money, or ask how much they paid for something. We are consumed with the idea that money is above all. We let money come between family. “He owes me this, or she took this from me”.

We tell those to get a better job, without even knowing what job they already have.
We are too quick to make recommendations, and not understand the other persons perspective.

We believe we know best about someone else’s bad or good choices, without examining our own faults.

We call ourselves Godly, and find it hard to help people in need.

We teach our kids to live a materialistic life, and not understand the true meaning of living.

We separate ourselves from each other based on social and economic status.

We are becoming greedy, and teaching our kids to be greedy as well.

We expect something in return when we do something good for someone.

We get mad or stop talking to each other for things in the past, and go to church with hate in our hearts.

If you believe you have some dark things about yourself that you need to change, take the time to do so.

Show love and compassion to one another.

Visit family members when you can. I know it’s not easy for myself to visit family. But the attempt to actually know your family is needed. What we knew about each other before, is different today.

We get defensive when someone points out the wrong in us.

I know who has been there for me and my family. I also know that my family is open to helping others. Let us help people without any expectation to get something in return.

There is a deep sadness and nostalgic feeling in me that wishes it were my childhood, because that’s when I have felt the most happiness. No technology, no Facebook, just family and making memories. Playing dodgeball with my siblings and cousins, basketball, playing outside and just being children. To go back to that is impossible, but we can make the best of it.

Redefine family to what it used to be and not just something that is disposable.

If I have wronged anyone at all I apologize. I hope that someday we can be honest with each other in a positive way before it is too late. When someone leaves this earth, we begin to feel a bit of regret because of the way we treated them or didn’t treat them.
We all go through something that can’t be explained, but we can be compassionate to one another because we have the ability to be human and loving.

If you got defensive or angry from this, that wasn’t the point. Just to redefine your purpose if you feel a bit lost or hurt.

Sincerely,
Me

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

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.

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