Category Archives: Epiphanies

An unending high

An unending high

The one constant about Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week is its enduring tardiness. Every single show starts at least an hour late, with a lot of waiting in between, and a general air of disinterest because almost every show features a few designers whom nobody has ever heard of. As a result, the only good thing about the shows running late is that you get to catch up with people you haven’t seen or spoken to in a while, and — if you’re lucky enough to be seated at the top row — judge everyone you see together.

Yesterday, I ran into a friend who was attending some of the same shows as I was, and it was then that I learned she had just started seeing someone new, and because he was so new, they were still in what people like to call the ‘honeymoon phase’ of their relationship. As a self-professed relationship addict who has been in long-term relationships her entire adult life, this friend told me that she is constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop, indicating that the honeymoon phase would be over and she would start seeing the bad parts of the relationship. And at one point she said, “You’ve been with Dani a long time. When does the honeymoon phase end?”

“Tell me your definition of the honeymoon phase,” I hedged.

She said, “To me, the honeymoon phase is like this period where nothing goes wrong, we’re always happy and I can’t wait to see him every day.”

Whether or not that was really just her concept of the honeymoon phase, or if she was projecting off a statistically-proven phenomenon, it made one thing very clear to me, which I said aloud to her: “Then there is no such thing as a honeymoon phase.”

She goggled at me, so I quickly followed up with “If that is what you think the honeymoon phase is, then whether or not it ends is up to you, and the one you’re with. I don’t think there was ever a honeymoon phase for me, because after three and a half years, I still can’t wait to see him every day.”

The cheesiness of that statement was not lost on me, even as I said it. Because it took me 15 years and far too many men to realize that, as important as trust and honesty are in a relationship, what matters more than anything else is compatibility, because with that compatibility comes the emotional support that no on else, not even friends and family, can give.

“At the end of the day, if he can give you that emotional support you seek, there is no reason that after three months or three years, you can’t still be happy. Of course men are annoying, and of course things will go wrong, but if he works with you to make them right, then it’s not even so much that the honeymoon phase doesn’t end, but more that there was never a need for one, because what you are to each other will always stay the same.”

Nine years later: Home stretch

Nine years later: Home stretch

Larnaca, Cyprus

Firstly, I would like to apologize for my absence on this website. To those of you who sent me messages, emails and even Tweets asking if something had happened to me, thank you from the bottom of my heart for your concern, especially since some of you told me you’ve been a reader for more than a decade. I’m aware that my responses were somewhat vague and perhaps a little generic, but I do assure you that I’m fine, health-wise.

What I did not mention in my responses is that for the last three months, I have been in a transient phase of sorts. DaniĀ and I have been trying to figure out our next step in life, exploring any avenues we can that will allow us to tie up our existence in this country as neatly as possible, set it on fire, and rebuild our life in a different part of the world. To that end, my mind has been on anything but writing, and I probably would not be writing this today were it not a very important milestone.

For today marks the end of my ninth — NINTH — year back in this country, and the beginning of the end of my life here. When I left my lonely but independent life behind in New York, nine years ago, and came back to an even lonelier subsistence here, it was with a vow to myself that, within a decade, I would find my way out again. Not to New York, if I couldn’t make it that far, but to anywhere else where I could start a new life on my own, away from all the reasons that I left here in the first place.

This date still holds its importance for me, because it is a constant reminder to myself to never get too comfortable here, and to never back down from my goal to be out of here before my 10 years are up. And if the last three months are of any indication, it’s that I have definitely overstayed my welcome in this country, and the time has come for me to let go of all the things I once thought I needed to live a life that meant something, but now seem so insignificant.

So here we are in the home stretch of our tenure in this country. We came, we saw, and we did conquer it for a little while, but we’re ready to go back under our rock now.

The continuum bubble

The continuum bubble

Frozen but flowing

Two days ago, I had coffee with someone who had discovered that I’m back in Buffalo for Christmas and New Year, and wanted to meet up because it’s been more than 10 years since we saw each other. We have somewhat of a history, this person and I, which left more of an impression on him (if the seven-hour drive up from Brooklyn is any indication) than it did on me. Still, we caught up over coffee and talked about what we had done with and to ourselves since we last spoke, and by the end of it, I like to think he had gotten some of the closure he’d driven seven hours for.

Yesterday, however, it dawned on me that he had never changed since we were in college, and whatever feelings of goodwill I had towards him the day before swiftly dissipated. While it made me a little indignant, it also left me with the same concession I had felt on my birthday: that this was just part of the lesson I had had to learn this year, coming full circle with the people who have stayed in or left my life for one reason or another.

2016 was, for me, like the coming-of-age novel I never wanted to write. I started it on a high — literally — thinking that I had found my way out of the cesspool that was Empire: Lebanon, only for that high to come crashing down around my ears within just three months. And even though things got a little better once work began on the restaurant, I was torn between being happy that I could spend those last months with Dani, but also dying for him to move back to Lebanon so that I could be free of the emotional chokehold his ex-wife had held me in for a full year.

And suddenly, before the year was half over, the tide turned and suddenly, we were faced with the very real prospect of being in a very real relationship from that point. And while it was everything that I had waited two and a half years for, it also meant having to deal with a fallout of sorts, and it’s a fallout that I’m still learning to manage.

I had gained everything I wanted at the price of so many other things I had already had, which was what led me to decide by the time I turned 32 that I would no longer hold on to the things I had to do without this year, and instead focus on what would be important for the future we always talked about. And as my bubble grows smaller and smaller with every decision that I make, my only hope for 2017 is that the world will finally open up to us again.