Beautiful, Musings

10 Life-Changing Things That Would Have Never Happened if OwlOlive.com Didn’t Exist

lifechangingRight now, as I write this, I am on a stay-cation (please don’t hate me for using non-words like ‘stay-cation’).

I’m taking this time to sleep-in, catch up on reality TV trash, see my grandmother more, get a massage, and dive headfirst into several chocolate cakes. Mostly, however, I’m on this vacation for one particular reason.

To step back from my life for a second, and re-evaluate.

Because here’s the deal: in the span of the last two years things have been feeling different.

Like wake up with a different face, in a different house, on a different planet and not even have enough time to fully register it kind of different.

There really is no better way to put it. My life has been exactly that feeling for the last two years and no one is more gobsmackingly shocked by it than me.

I’m not the kind of person I thought I was or could be. I’m not living the life I lived before or thought I eventually would. I’m not pursuing the same goals, the same milestones, and the same ‘dreams’ that I thought I had planned for my whole entire life.

And, y’know, that’s a little scary.

Because for the longest time now, I couldn’t figure out what it was exactly that had led to this monumental, unseen, overwhelmingly powerful overhaul in pretty much every single part of my life over such a short period of time.

But in the spirit of this zenned out, chocolate induced, detoxing stay-cation, I got to thinking about it. And I’m happy to say that, after many contemplative hours of heavy chocolate-binging, I’ve finally and totally figured it out.

It was just a blog.

This blog. This tiny, sporadically updated, totally non-particular, drop-in-the-Internet-ocean blog.

A blog that literally only happened because I was feeling bored and hungry one late night some few years ago. A blog that I thoughtlessly named ‘Owl Olive,’ for a reason that is ridiculously cutesy and kind of meaningless, really.

This one blog–OwlOlive.com–has incurred more life-changing events in the last two years of my life than almost all other things in my human existence so far have.

And, in celebration of this wondrous, sublimely beautiful, and miraculously true realization, here is a list of 10 life-changing things that would have NEVER EVER HAPPENED to me if Owlolive.com didn’t exist:

1. I Would Have Never Experienced the True Power and Comfort That Comes With Being A Feminist

I didn’t start calling myself a feminist until I took a graduate class on Feminist Theater at 21 and I realized that that’s what I was, which was about a year before I started this blog. TURNS OUT I’ve actually always been a feminist but I just never had the right name for it or I didn’t understand what the word feminist even really meant.

(I was totally one of those people who used to support and represent really female-empowering stuff but then I’d ring it off with something stupid like, ‘but I’m not one of those crazy feminists.’ If you do this, even subconsciously, congratulations: you’re a feminist.)

Before I started this blog, however, and even as an already admitted feminist, I didn’t realize how much power that word gave me not just as a woman, but as a person in general. Writing, sharing, and talking about posts like this, this, and this (and really anything to do with this), over so many mediums and social platforms has taught me that a) my words and thoughts on ANY SUBJECT are more powerful and important than anything I could ever wear or own and b) that there is a HEAPING TON of people in KUWAIT specifically and the world generally that care about this stuff just as much as I do and really want to talk about it too.

2. I Would Have Never Grown Such Thick, Drama-Resistant Skin

If I had ever come across situations like this, this, or this (plus about 50+ other horrible emails, comments, and actual real-life threats) before I started blogging I would have probably combusted into a pile of blithering mush. Now, however, I’ve learned to deal.

3. I Would Have Never Found So Many Kick Ass Readers-Turned-Friends

The amount of people who have become real-life friends of mine because of this blog, many of whom I now call, WhatsApp, email, and/or regularly interact with on social media is so many and so extraordinarily beautiful, that it makes me want to keep blogging just so I can keep meeting people like that. Also the fact that I even have something that remotely resembles a ‘readership’ is, frankly, a little bananas to me and it has humbled me in ways that I have never been humbled before.

4. I Would Have Never Gotten to Know and Work With Lana Al-Resheed

Okay, the only reason that this deserves a point on it’s own and didn’t get included in the previous point is very simple: my meeting and interaction with Lana Al-Resheed THROUGH THIS BLOG SPECIFICALLY AND EXCLUSIVELY didn’t just give me one more new, awesome friend like it usually does.

It changed the path of my professional and personal life in a very real and profound way, through the following series of blog-exclusive events:

  • I first met Lana for about 10 seconds at this event that I was exclusively invited to as a blogger a year and a half ago, during which time I told her I was a huge fan–something which, apparently, stayed with her and made her aware of me as a blogger for the very first time.
  • Six months later I started Running With Heels on the blog (note to self: revive that!) and chose Lana as my first feature interview. The post got plenty of comments; plenty of interaction; plenty of Lana lovin’ all around! A great kick-off to a cool blog segment but not much else, right? Right.
  • Unbeknownst to me, however, it was that interview and that blog post that talked Lana Al-Resheed into contacting me two months later, working with me on a small project, and offering me the position of General Manager at THE CITY Magazine all before she had learned my last name AND ENTIRELY BECAUSE she liked my writing on this blog and liked my interviewing style, which she had experienced firsthand also on this blog.

Which leads us to peppy number 5…

5. I Would Have Never Realized What I ACTUALLY Wanted To Do With My Life

All my life, I was told by friends, by family, and by myself that I wanted to pursue a career in English Literature academia.

I studied for it in college; went on to get my M.A. in it; had plans to eventually earn a PhD and teach with it.

I lived day-in, day-out without ever questioning my future plan as an academic because everyone around me from professors to friends to work colleagues all kept telling me how good I was at it and how this was so clearly what I was meant to be. And, all the while, I completely agreed with all of them.

I really was good at it and for the most part I really enjoyed doing it. But did I dream about it?

Was I inspired by it?

Did I imagine all the ways that I could enrich my life and the life of others through it?

Nope. Never. Not once.

And the more I blogged, the more I wrote creatively, and the more I connected with people through stories and conversations (instead of theories and analysis), the more I realized it. I realized how much I loved editorial work, loved journalistic writing, and loved content creation (all of which I actually had extensive experience in but that I never truly concentrated on because it wasn’t in ‘the plan’).

It was something that Lana Al-Resheed saw in me and saw in this blog before I even saw it for myself. And the minute she offered it to me, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that it was exactly what I had wanted to do all along. This is also one of the reasons that I will never not owe Lana Al-Resheed for pretty much changing my whole entire life.

6. I Would Have Never Found My Sense of Humor

Through blogging I’ve learned that a) It is absolutely possible to be PLEASANTLY sarcastic and cynical about stuff, which has allowed me to laugh at myself and at the world a little more, and b) this makes me a funny person, which I did not know that I was.

(Attention, trolls: I know that you are all so excited about this big, gaping troll-hole I just presented to you, and you can’t wait to tell me that you don’t think I’m funny and you could totally blog waaay funnier than me. That is totally fine. A lot of people don’t think I’m funny. But enough people DO think I’m funny that they have actually taken the time to comment SPECIFICALLY on my funniness on this blog, in emails, on social media, and in real human life. The end.)

7. I Would Have Never Gotten Over My Privacy-Phobia

When I first started this blog and established it’s ‘Owl Olive’ social media accounts, I was dead set on maintaining my anonymity (as a lot of Kuwaiti bloggers usually tend to do). This is was pretty comforting for me because I used to have a lot of hang ups about sharing personal details about myself and my life with strangers or, really, anyone who wasn’t super duper close to me.

At the same time, I was sharing more about myself, my mind, and my heart on this blog than I had ever previously shared with any amount of people before in my entire life. It didn’t feel half bad. Eventually, that made me want to share more stuff in places like social media, and made me want to identify the blog with other daily parts of my regular life–things like my work, my family, my home, and my actual name. More and more, I stopped caring as much about being private and started caring more about being selective instead.

(In case you don’t know this already: my real name is Shaza Ayesh, which beats the hell out of ‘Owl Olive,’ I must say.)

8. I Would Have Never Really Figured Out Where I Stood On Things Like Age, Marriage, Religion, Parenthood, Politics, or People In General

Self-explanatory really. The truth is that a whooole lot of things that I learned about myself as an adult 25 year old woman out in the world I learned because, at one point or another, I thought it would be a really good subject to blog about. Might not have realized it at the time, but it’s actually turned out to be the main reason that I always return to blogging no matter how long it’s been. It helps me find out who I really am.

9. I Would Have Never Realized My Deep, Unabiding Love FOR ALL-CAPS

I LOVE ALL-CAPS. I LOOOOOOOOOOVE THEEEEEEEEEEEEEM. ALL-CAPS ARE MY BEST FRIEND AND MY FOOD AND THE DEFAULT TYPEFACE OF MY GODDAMNED HEART.

I LOVE THE UNFILTERED, UNAPOLOGETIC PUSHINESS OF ALL-CAPS. I LOVE THE BREAK FROM PROPRIETY. I LOVE THE HONESTY OF IT. I LOVE LETTING LOUD FEELINGS BE LOUD. I LOVE HOW ALL-CAPS HELP ME FILTER OUT PEOPLE WHO PRIORITIZE CONVENTION OVER CONTENT, BECAUSE I DO NOT CARE VERY MUCH ABOUT IMPRESSING THOSE PEOPLE.

OH, ALL CAPS ARE “UNREADABLE”?

CAN YOU REALLY NOT READ THIS? (GET REAL PRIORITIES, WORLD. LOVE, SHAZA.)

10. I Would Have Never Known The Delightful Positivity and Hopefulness That Comes With Ringing Off Every Blog Post With ‘All My Love!’

And with that…

All my love!

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Beautiful, Musings, Writing

On Chasing Salmon (Or Writing The Tinderbox Project)

MR. PLOT

As you guys may know, a few months ago I decided to start sharing with you all some of my creative writing in a fiction series called The Tinderbox Project. This was a piece of writing that I came up with specifically for this blog and for you guys. The series has recieved so much love in emails, comments, and elsewhere, and I’m so pleased to see people take a real liking to it.

Unfortunately, the last time I updated The Tinderbox Project was 4 months ago. 4 months is a very long time. 4 months is damn near inexcusable because I’ve actually been writing the series for a lot of that duration. Yes, there was a brief stint of writer’s block but, really, I’ve gotten my writing legs back a good while ago and have been tirelessly churning out the creative word power ever since.

The only reason I haven’t updated The Tinderbox Project yet despite all the progress is this:

The more I write it the more that it loses the plot. Seriously. The more time and energy I invest in this fiction the more that its been proving itself to be an independent life form of its own. I know that sounds stupid–and IT IS stupid because ‘Hi! You wrote it with your own finger-tapping hands!‘–but writing The Tinderbox Project has honestly become a sort of transcendental experience for me.

A very deeply frustrating, difficult, transcendental experience. Especially when it comes to this plot business. I compare it to trying to grab a salmon. A big, wet, unwieldy salmon. The more I clutch at it and try to get a hold of it, the more it slips out of my fingers and I go chasing after it in anger yet again.

But now I’ve decided I’m not going to try to catch the salmon anymore. Instead, I’m just going to share it with you guys and follow it into whatever murky water it takes me.

But how in the world am I (or you!) supposed follow a plot when the plot disappears for pages on end? In reading and writing The Tinderbox Project, I kind of feel like the text is sticking its tongue out at me and at my familiar way of understanding plot. It is as if an outside voice is saying: What a mess you’ve made of everything by always harping on story, story, story! Because the reality is that our actual perceptual and thinking lives are so much more unpredictable, kaleidoscopic, unaccented, wandering, and always bumping against an outside world that, for the most part, doesn’t really know anything about us.

We all think that we muse constantly about our love lives, our jobs, our children or our dead parents, but is that really the case? Isn’t our actual thinking much more coincidental, serendipitous, filled with eddies and flows, with all kinds of random materials, than we care to admit? How much weight does ‘the important stuff’ really carry?

I mean, try comparing the version of yourself which exists in your résumé with the drifting, random noise that is incessantly being produced inside your head, and ask yourself: Is this noise me? Am I this noise? Where are the clean lines that I see on my résumé?

Or, try focusing on all the big, important events of your life, and mix those events with your actual living. You won’t get very far before you get overwhelmed by all the stuff about yourself that you never knew or even thought of.

You’ll either get run over by a passing car, or completely ignore those around you, or you’d just have to table ‘the big story’ (youth, love, work, family, death, etc.) so you can move on with your day. Because, after all, there’s work to do, places to go, people to deal with, money to make, food to eat, living to accomplish.

True enough. I mean, some of the best stories ever told are ones that very lovingly dwell on ‘the big story’; but how much space do those aspects of your life truly take up? If you had to draw a huge chart of all the time you actually spend tending to the needs of either heart or soul—as opposed to stomach or wallet—what would that chart look like?

Is your life like a structured plot line? A pretend scenario where only important things happen, where you are only ever thinking about the great issues, where every encounter is life-altering, every word exchanged is meaningful and resonant, every gesture significant?

No. Because life is not like that. And if life is not like that, then why the hell should my writing be any different?

So I’m going back to sharing The Tinderbox Project with you guys. And I’m officially jumping on this crazy roller-coaster ride with all those who care enough to join me.

All my love!

Beautiful, Feminism, Kuwait, Musings, Running In Heels

Running in Heels: Lana Al-Resheed (The Game Changer)

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I present to you Running In Heels: a new feature series on the many women in Kuwait who are worthy of our appreciation. Women you may know, women you should know, and women you’ll definitely be hearing more about in the future. All beautiful, vibrant, game-changing women who have caught my attention and that I think definitely deserve yours as well.

Lana Al-Resheed is the kind of woman you wanted to be when you grew up. She’s a powerhouse in her chosen field, an innovator, a talent supporter and, ultimately, a game-changer.

When I first heard about Lana Al-Resheed it was in the summer of 2011, in an interview she gave to CityPages magazine (for which I used to write sporadically at the time), and I was immediately intrigued and excited to read about her success.

That’s because, whether she realizes it or not (I’m inclined to believe that she does), Lana Al-Rasheed has made an incredible jump for women in Kuwait. Lana was not only the first Kuwaiti to occupy the position of Assistant Director of Sales in Marketing in the hotel sector, but she was also the first Kuwaiti woman to do so. She then went on to be a Director of Marketing and PR and she co-founded The City, a nation-wide magazine that focuses on a number of issues and interests around Kuwait and boasts of an impressive writing staff.

If you don’t realize why all these accomplishments are note-worthy and are making an active change in the role of women in Kuwait, then let me lay it down for you. In an economy in which only 4.58% of positions of enterprise leadership in Kuwait are headed by women, seeing Lana Al-Resheed excel as well as she has is nothing short of astounding. She has not only succeeded among men, but (and I’m sorry fellas) she’s outshining men at their own game. But Lana Al-Resheed isn’t doing this through any aggressive, destructive power play, instead she’s made her name and reached her position through a much more smart and fluid method. She’s excelling in a male-established, ever changing market by charismatically and sharply navigating her way through that well established system. She respects the system for what it is and then she adds to it her own contribution and her own name brand of achievements.

Women who prove they can win in this way are the most advancing and important women that our society has to offer. Because they’re the women who can change all of society’s perceptions about what a woman is really capable of. They’re the kinds of women who show that we don’t need to separate ourselves from a market that is too ‘aggressive,’ ‘competitive, or ‘fast-paced’ for a woman to take part in. Not only can we merely take part but we can also dominate and flourish in that very same kind of work dynamic.

That is who Lana Al-Resheed is. A game changer of the most subtle and clever kind. The kind that makes the ground shift beneath your feet but you don’t realize it because you’re too busy marveling at just how well she does it. Oh, but you better realize it.

Lana Al-Resheed gave me the pleasure of interviewing her to probe her mind on some key issues within the field and on some of her main, astounding, and various accomplishments. I also tried to reach an insight on who Lana Al-Resheed is on a more personal level with a few non-business questions as well. I hope you guys will enjoy reading into the intriguing experiences and opinions of this important woman in our society and that you will appreciate all that she’s contributed to women as capable, inspiring, and powerful members of Kuwait.

1. How did you first begin your career in marketing and why did you decide to follow this professional path permanently?

I love it. It is full of challenges. In the field of marketing, creativity is a must and you have to know the rules of the game. The rules change often, so you have to be up to date with the rules of the game. That’s how I like to look at it.

2. Not only were you the first Kuwaiti Assistant Director of Sales and Marketing in the hotel sector, but also the first Kuwaiti woman to occupy such a demanding job in this sector. How does this experience—both being the first Assistant Director and the first Kuwaiti woman in this job—give you an advantage? What were the challenges that you’ve faced and learned from in this unique sector of marketing, and as a woman as well?

It was coincidental! The market is very tough, but that tough market and experience is what gave me the biggest advantage in my career. I was learning as I went by. I feel that after the years I spent in marketing I can fairly say that I know quite a lot about the local market. I have met thousands of people — is it too much to say thousands? Honestly it feels like thousands of faces. I have made great memories, and it’s something that makes you smile when you realize you’ve helped in setting up many happy occasions and celebrations in your career. Weddings, anniversaries, dinner parties, award ceremonies, so much happiness and joy.

Overall there were many ups and some downs. Perhaps the downs were also many. I don’t like to look at the downs a lot. I just focus on getting over them and then forgetting they ever existed. It’s very tiring when you focus on your failures, so I learn the lessons and move on.

3. Because of your joint work in both the hotel sector and in marketing, I was wondering what your thoughts were on Kuwaiti tourism: do you have any ideas as to how Kuwait can revitalize its global image and ignite some tourist interest in the future? Do you have any opinions on Kuwait’s current tourism status?

I think we can really achieve a lot if we put our heads into it. I don’t want to sound too cliche but I really must, so here goes: we have what it takes here in Kuwait, we’re just not focused. We have a lot of land that’s not occupied and we have a lovely coast. The weather is not that big of a deal if you think of indoor activities. I don’t want to say ‘look at Dubai!’, instead I’ll just say let’s look at successful examples here in Kuwait. The Avenues Mall is one great example.

But if I was to rate the current status of tourism in Kuwait I would say it is honestly a disaster. It still feels like we’re in the 1990’s. I’m talking about the government sector of course. The private sector isn’t doing that great either. Regarding plans, we all have lots and lots of plans. I think everyone in Kuwait has at least a dozen ideas about this subject.

4. Going from a top-level director in the hotel sector and marketing, starting The City magazine was quite a departure. What was your initial idea behind The City? Why did you decide a magazine was the best medium to get this idea across?

I guess the fast success of theCITY Magazine answers this question.

5. What new and interesting challenges or experiences does working on a magazine offer you? How does it help expand your already vast knowledge of the marketing field?

Working in a magazine is extremely hard and very challenging. We have to think of a lot of things on a daily basis. For every issue we need to come up with new highlights and people to feature in the magazine and interview. So far we’ve been lucky and the number of writers continues to grow steadily, so that’s really good and comforting for us.

6. What do you hope to accomplish through The City magazine in the long run?

To see the magazine on shelves in bookstores abroad. I want the whole world to see the Kuwaiti achievers that we feature in the magazine.

7. As a woman who has made such great and notable progress in so many sectors of your field, how do you think your achievements might have changed the way society views the abilities of a woman?

I never paid attention to what people said. From the first day, I promised myself that I will focus on my job and that I don’t really care what society thinks in its backward mentality. In all honesty a lot of people around me were supportive, because they know that work is work, and I truly believe that great work shines and shows the world who you really are.

8. Do you think there are areas where women in Kuwait need to be better represented?

Women are doing fine. I think we all need to get our work done perfectly, whether men or women. We in this part of the world tend to talk more than we achieve, and I think it’s about time that we change this.

9. What do you think is your greatest quality?

I know what I want.

10. Your greatest fault?

I worry too much.

11. What is your most complete idea of happiness?

Peace of mind.

12. Who are your real-life heroes?

My father, the love of my life. And also my partner in theCITY Magazine, Khaled Al-Qahtani.

13. Your favorite thing to do?

Traveling, painting.

14. A talent you wish you had?

I’ve always wanted to be a horse rider and win medals but never did.

15. How would you like to be remembered?

Helpful.

I’d really like to thank Lana Al-Resheed for contributing to this post and for providing such interesting and important insight on her unique experience and on herself. Be sure to stay tuned to Running in Heels as I’ve got some more downright awesome women in store within the few coming days inshallah. I know that today is International Women’s Day so I’d really like to wish all my fellow womankind nothing but unity, respect, peace, and endless success. We kick butt and we know it.

All my love!

Beautiful, Feminism, Kuwait, Running In Heels

Running In Heels: A Feature Series on Women In Kuwait

runninginheels

So about a week ago I had an idea. I thought that I really wanted to do something on this blog to celebrate Kuwait in February–our happiest and most jubilant month of the year. And then I had an even better idea. I wanted to do something to celebrate Kuwait all year round. And, immediately, the idea was crystal clear to me: this had to be about women. The way that I knew I could best celebrate Kuwait in all her flickering glory was by celebrating her women. (C’mon! Even Kuwait is a woman! This idea is without fail.)

I decided that I absolutely needed to talk about and give mad props to all the hundreds of thousands–probably even millions (hello! Half the population!)–of women in Kuwait who are, by all means, kicking heads and taking names. At the very least, I could try my best to pretty much just thank as many of them for being made of 90% awesome (10% vital organs, cause they are humans, after all).

I could never call myself an all and out feminist if I didn’t take the time to bring that virtue back around to the only place I’ve ever called home: Kuwait. So many women in Kuwait (both Kuwaiti and otherwise) need to be celebrated for striving to break barriers (and actually breaking them!) which have previously stood in the way of other women, and are now making way for future ladies to continue this important work in our society.

Women in Kuwait need to be celebrated for, essentially, running in heels. Not only running, but also winning, and crossing that finish line every single time.

Now, I know that many important, wonderful women don’t prefer to wear heels at all (I, the lanky white girl, being one of them). To me, wearing a heel is about as comfortable as sticking my foot in a sharp, metal vice. I hardly ever, ever do it. The point is that many of these women are willing to wear this punishment footwear (according to me), and that they are actively running the whole freaking world anyway (Somewhere in East Hollywood Beyonce is extremely happy with us).

But, it really doesn’t matter if these righteous women are kicking butt in heels, flats, or scuba flippers. It doesn’t really matter what their favorite mode of footwear is. That’s why God gave us free will and Vogue magazine. Really, at the end of the day, feminism is much less about what you put on your feet than what you put in your head.

So, I present to you Running In Heels: a new feature series on the many women in Kuwait who are worthy of our appreciation. Women you may know, women you should know, and women you’ll definitely be hearing more about in the future. All beautiful, vibrant, game-changing women who have caught my attention and that I think definitely deserve yours as well.

All my love!

Beautiful, Musings

Remembering the View – Goodbye, Montreal

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Goodbye to your metro; your busking harmonica player in the corner; your rushing crowds of people surging in and out of doors like an endless wave.

Goodbye to your light and your dimension; to the singing, dancing fountains of Place Des Art; to the dwarfed allies lined with boutiques and taverns along the Old Port; to the towering skyscrapers on Saint Catherine’s Street, reflecting one hundred flickers of light and energy that the city has bottled up.

Goodbye to all your faces; faces from the four corners of the earth, united in the local Starbucks line; faces of stern and apathetic countenance, informing me that they’re only here to do their job; faces who have welcomed me into their lives, their homes, and their friendly hearts.

Goodbye to your snow; blanketing; purifying; starting anew.

Goodbye, Montreal. I’m afraid this post here–written at Gate 59–is it for me. I love you dearly and will miss you sorely. Even when a part of me wants to escape you, I know a bigger part of me will remember you fondly. Because in all your hours of frustration, anger, and homesickness, leaving you is hard.

In your good, your bad, your endless capacity to shock and awe, you will always stay with me, Montreal.

All my love!

Beautiful, Musings

OwlOlive, M. A. (Markedly Awesome)

owlolive MA

You know, I don’t think I have very much to legitimately brag about in my life. I mean, sure, my life is pretty wonderful in almost every possible account and I know I’ve got more things going for me than half the population of the planet does but, in the grander sense, I just don’t think that I’ve done many things worth noting, commemorating, and hanging on my living room wall.

I can honestly think of no more than 5 unapologetic, brag-worthy achievements that have occurred in my 23 years of life so far, and this moment right here? This is one of them.

As you guys may have noticed, the blog has been kind of inactive in these last few weeks. The last post I made was over 2 weeks ago and, since then, I have neglected to post; to update The Tinderbox Project feed on Instagram; have been very incommunicado on Twitter; and have been taking about a year and a half to reply to emails and comments. I apologize for this sudden dry spell and I hope you guys are still willing to stick around because from now on it will get so much better. This is because, from this day forward, I can finally reclaim all the endless MONTHS spent holed up in my Montreal apartment with my head stuck between about a trillion books, ignoring so many other people and aspects of my life (like this blog) all for the sake of putting two letters after my name.

But now, ladies and gents, the time has come. Yes, after the longest two years of my human existence, I have finally gotten through grad school with almost all of the hair on my head intact and just enough nerve function left to operate within civil society.

Yes, I am now officially Owlolive, M. A. Masters of Arts. Markedly Awesome. And not afraid to say it, sing it, and possibly print it on a t-shirt for the whole world to see. These last two years have been spent testing my ability to juggle too many responsibilities to mention and seeing myself come out on the other side of that overwhelming pressure with a freaking graduate degree to show for it is an achievement worth being proud of no matter what.

And I am proud. And thankful. And so very relieved. At least until I start applying to PhD programs. So… Blekh.

All my love!

Beautiful, Kuwait, News

A Reason To Celebrate: A Golden Jubilee of History, Pride, and Constitution

This post is going to be short and sweet. This post is dedicated to a simple yet powerful concept. A concept that, in so many ways, defines the historical achievement and the national pride that keeps Kuwait, despite every challenge and obstacle, the precious pearl of the Gulf. This is of course the guarding armor of Kuwait’s serenity: the constitution which, as of today, is exactly 50 years old.

Now, I’ve read the Kuwaiti constitution a few times and I have to say this right off the bat. The Kuwaiti constitution’s level of humane awareness; gender and racial quality; and the sanctity of the right to express and embrace any idea or lifestyle every individual may choose is in all honesty a thing of beauty.

Its no wonder that people fight for it; cherish it; and carry it with them through every high and every low. The constitution is, in many ways, the glue that holds us together–both resident and citizen–as a civilized, cohesive, and co-operative unit. The constitution was created for the sole purpose of insuring that no matter who you are, what you do, or where you come from, Kuwait is a home for you.

And, if you ask me, there is no degree of celebratory parades, fireworks, and decorations that can serve to honor such a precious, life-affirming document as this one.

So congratulations, Kuwait! Congratulations on 50 years of a truly historic, proud, and completely worthy constitution.

All my love!