Musings

On the Sometimes Horrible, Mostly Hilarious Forms of Hate

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Here is an unwavering fact of life: at some point in your life, no matter what, someone (or maybe lots of someones) is going to severely dislike you. They may even dislike you so much to the extent that they will use the word ‘hate’ when describing how they feel about you. Now, before your minds trail off to far-flung pastures, let me just briefly clarify the kind of hate I’m talking about. This is the lowercase kind of hate.

Not violent. Mostly vibe-y. It really just kind of annoyingly hangs around like that errant fly that you just can’t get rid of for several days. I’m talking about super-intense, off the charts dislike. The severe aversion some people may have to all (or most! or some!) of the things that make you you. Either way, it’s pretty much an unavoidable rite of passage in life and growing up, especially if you’ve got any kind of existence online at all. So we’ve gotta learn to deal.

It will probably surprise about 1.5 percent of you that I have some experience being hated. Something about me, especially when expressed in verbal form, just tends to rub some people in all the wrong ways. I have way too many close friends who have told me this. I have a somewhat strong personality and occasionally strong opinions which are, unsurprisingly, a lot easier to hate than your average mild-mannered, get-alongness kind of attitude. Shocker.

But here’s a special caveat that’s important to note if you happen to be one of those people who has been ‘hated on’ one time too many: Not being hated does not necessarily mean that you are a super awesome person. It just means that you are not controversial. ACTUALLY, LET ME CLARIFY: Not being hated ever can SOMETIMES mean that you really are a super awesome person who is consistently wonderful and genuine and just a bucketful of sunshine AND HOW IN THE WORLD COULD ANYONE EVER POSSIBLY HATE YOU, BAMBI’S SECOND COUSIN? But, other times, if you’ve never even been mildly hated then it means that you’re basically human oatmeal. It means that no one has ever even noticed you enough to realize how mind-numbingly blah you actually can be. But, hey, it also means you’re lucky!

And, just because I don’t want to come off as an actual hate-mongerer (i.e. someone who condescendingly thrives on people hating me, i.e. Kanye West), let me just very briefly debunk some common ‘hate-talk’ that I don’t ever actually subscribe to.

Feminism, Musings

How To Say What You Need To Say (Without the Fear of Sounding Pitchy)

I’m blessed to know a lot of women who are educated, confident, and are as tough as nails. I know women who could probably form a league of their own and rule the entire world if they wanted. But many of these extremely well-adjusted superwomen seem to have a problem: They all live in the fear of being called that one word.

You know the one. It’s the word that rhymes with stitch, kitsch, and pitch. That’s right.

Here’s the thing–as women we’re supposed to be the ones always carrying the olive branch and making sure everyone plays nice. If we’re ever the source of any behavior that might possibly disturb this wonderful, shiny, happy situation we’re immediately considered as horrid creatures who are just born to raise hell and toil. In short, we’re called ‘pitchy‘ with a b. (How’s that double-talk working out for you?)

As someone who has recently fallen into this fear (and possibly been called a few of those endearing words) let me tell you how to get over it and actually say what you need to say, when you need to say it:

  1. Figure out what it actually means to be ‘nice’: By that I mean, reconsider if NOT saying what you want to say would be the ‘nice’ thing to do. You may think you’re being nice and understanding by keeping your emotions to yourself and not letting people know what’s bothering you, but the reality is that you’re just making sure that no one else around you knows how you feel and you could be misleading people left and right. As a rule of thumb, most people who actually, you know, care about you (friends, family, partners) wouldn’t ever want to knowingly or intentionally be a cause of hurt or discomfort to you. Also, there’s no reason for you to make your relationship with someone close go sour by bottling your feelings up and, eventually, being resentful. So, when you think about it, confronting people or sharing feelings of yours that might cause some temporary disruption is actually a loving and, oh yes, very nice thing to do.
  2. Practice, practice, practice: Personally, I find this part of any serious talk/sit-down scenario absolutely key. Speaking from experience, when you just barge into a confrontational situation, with your emotions at a boiling point and your tongue traveling at a hundred miles per second, you’re only going to create one big, horrifying mess even if you are justified. You’ll end up throwing out some unnecessary verbal blows, sound flustered, choose the wrong timing, and will not know how to make your point come across clearly. In response, the person you’re unloading this emotional baggage onto might feel defensive or crazy confused and end up wanting to smash your head through a wall. Trust me, I’ve been on both sides of this story and I’m just trying to save you the heartache. So make sure you thoroughly think about what you want to say before you say it. Make sure you figure out the best time to do that. And make sure you take enough time to verify to yourself that your feelings are real and valid (not just some hormonal, momentary upswing) before you start voicing them.
  3. Show a little love: Look, I’m all for you emoting and letting your true colors show and all–but that does not mean you have to be a class-A jerk while doing it. And I’m not saying that its your job to make sure that everyone is happy all the time, but there’s nothing wrong with cushioning a blow with some loving and appreciative remarks. Hell, those harmless side-comments actually make your point a lot easier for the receiving end to digest. BUT! Make sure you don’t get too carried away with your appreciative comments and start losing track of what you’re actually trying to say. These remarks are only supposed to form a pretty frame around the bigger picture (which might not be so pretty). As Mary Poppins’ would advise all you need is a mere “spoonful of sugar” to help that tough love medicine go right down.

So, there you have it ladies (and gents, of course): a full-proof way of making sure you stand up for yourself, say what you need to say, and feel as (emotionally) light as a feather, all while keeping away from receiving that cringe-inducing, unjustified, and somewhat sexist title.

You know, the one that sounds like stitch, kitsch, and pitch (with a b).

All my love!

Musings, SAY WHAAA...!

Solving an Algebra Equation by Chewing Bubble-Gum – The Case for (Kuwaiti) Men

I have a lot of girlfriends. Their nationalities are as various and as diverse as their actual personalities are. But a majority of these smart, interesting, and beautiful young women that I proudly call my sister-friends share something in common: They all have experiences with Kuwaiti men.

And, really, it’s not the most far-fetched possibility for any woman who lives in Kuwait to, you know, fall for a Kuwaiti. You’re in Kuwait–an abundant mass of Kuwaiti men is only natural. And while I myself have never gotten involved with a Kuwaiti man (not for any reason, just because) I can definitely see why a lot of women would. Many women might get easily beguiled by a flashy car (lets admit it ladies), a charismatic, masculine attitude, or a combination of the two.

I get it. They’ve got things going for them THAT A LOT OF WOMEN FAWN OVER. And, hey, kudos to them for having them.

But amongst all these women–from the Kuwaitis to the Egyptian to the Shami (i.e Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Palestine) to the American and the British–a common phrase is circulated about their Kuwaiti counterparts: “… that’s just Kuwaiti men.”

So its: “He can’t be faithful, but that’s just Kuwaiti men.” Or: “He’s a lying, chauvinistic hypocrite, but that’s just Kuwaiti men.” Or: “He has no ambition, all he cares about is material things, but that’s just Kuwaiti men.” Or (and this is my favorite): “He only has one thing on his mind, but that’s just Kuwaiti men.”

There are obviously variations to this phrase that have been repeated to me in English as well as in Arabic and a much longer list of similar excuses, but you get the gist.

The point is that I’ve literally heard these kinds of phrases SO MUCH and from SO MANY of my friends (and sometimes even their mothers) that I really feel like it needs to be addressed because, and don’t hate on me here ladies, I’m on the men’s side for once.

I’ll explain later why, but first here are a few ground rules that every relationship-impaired woman must follow:

Repeat after me: You teach people how to treat you. That is the first rule that girls have to understand when embarking upon a relationship with any man, whether he be Kuwaiti, American, or a freaking Martian. If you hold your own set of values highly, anyone will see it and they will respect it. If you cling too tightly to anyone, they’ll feel smothered and try to escape you. If you act like you don’t care whatsoever about anyone but yourself, then whoever deals with you will lose interest QUICK. Simple.

The second rule is: If it feels bad then it probably is. That means if your gut is telling you that there is no compatibility there then its highly likely that there isn’t. If you’re getting bad vibes from the person as far as the nature of their character goes, then you have to overlook the initial attraction to the car, or to the looks, or to the charisma and just walk away. Again, this rule works across the board.

The third and final rule: Don’t track garbage into the house and then wonder why the floor is so dirty. In other words, you get what you ask for. If you meet a guy cruising on Love Street, throwing his number out at every moving object that will have it, then don’t be surprised if the relationship doesn’t exactly end in marriage. And, likewise, if you meet someone who is wildly religious (and I’m not saying that religious men are ‘garbage’) and you enjoy wearing a tank top every now and then, then don’t expect the relationship to be a bed of roses. You can’t change people no matter how hard you try. It’s not possible–DO NOT EVEN ATTEMPT IT.

I feel like I’m stating the blindingly obvious here, but, hell, I hear girls say that stuff so much that sometimes I feel like they need to be reminded of what they probably already know.

Get real, ladies.

You KNOW that there is no preconceived gene planted within a Kuwaiti man (nor any other ethnicity) that compels him to cheat on you just for the hell of it. There’s probably been something wrong with the relationship itself and BETWEEN THE TWO OF YOU. Yeah, that means that YOU should also look at your part in the relationship and figure out what happened or how things could have led to this. But don’t get me wrong–cheating is still a horrible, nearly unforgivable offense. I’m just saying its not his ETHNIC gene pool that’s to blame.

And, you KNEW he was an ambition-less hypocritical JERK when you first got to know him but because he drives a tiny German boxcar you overlooked it and, now, you’re huffing and puffing all day long about it, pretending like its the biggest shock in the world? Sorry, but no. Not buying it.

And do not even try and tell me that you thought you could change his beliefs, or his habits, or his cultural attitudes. DON’T. Because you know you are lying. You may as well ‘fess up to the fact that there are things about him that you simply can’t live with and that are incompatible with you and your life. What you’re REALLY trying to do is have your cake and eat it too.

The fact of the matter is that there are nice guys and there are full-on jerks. Just like there are nice girls and the WITCHES OF EASTWICK roaming around out there. None of them are exclusive to a certain ethnic make-up.

I have met many women who are in happy, fulfilled, stable marriages and relationships with Kuwaiti men who are smart, kind, and decent. Just like I have also met a good bunch of women who are about to pull their hair out of their heads over the endless heartaches their NON-Kuwaiti counterparts are causing them.

Either way, this all goes to show that the ethnic blame game is actually a Pack-O’-Lies.

What it comes down to is YOU. You choose who you decide to jump into relationships with and you choose to commit your life to certain people and certain lifestyles and not others. Try and escape it all you want but here’s the painful truth (that you already know):

Relying on someone’s nationality, or the car they drive, or the way they speak to rationalize your man-troubles is about as useful as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble-gum. SO STOP CHEWING.

All my love! (and, yeah, I used a Shurooq Amin painting, cause it works perfectly AND its awesome)