Category Archives: Human Nature

Misplaced guilt

Misplaced guilt
You can't steal from the cookie jar and not expect to gain a few pounds

You can’t steal from the cookie jar and not expect to gain a few pounds

“Feel better now? Then let’s get to the bottom of this. You say if you had it to do over again, you’d do it differently. But would you? Think, now. Would you?”

“Well –“

“No, you’d do the same things again. Did you have any other choice?”

“No.”

“Then what are you sorry about?”

“I was so mean and now he’s dead.”

“And if he wasn’t dead, you’d still be mean. As I understand it, you are not really sorry for marrying Frank and bullying him and inadvertently causing his death. You are only sorry because you are afraid of going to hell. Is that right?”

“Well — that sounds so mixed up.”

“Your ethics are considerably mixed up too. You are in the exact position of a thief who’s been caught red-handed and isn’t sorry he stole but is terribly, terribly sorry he’s going to jail.”

– Margaret Mitchell, Gone With The Wind

It’s something I’ve never understood, especially now. We make the conscious decision to do certain things — lowly, despicable things — and we keep doing them because we’re sure that we’ll be able to get away with them. But then when we are found out, we go on a rampage, blaming everyone but ourselves for our abysmal lapse in judgment because now the world sees us for what we really are.

So it’s perfectly acceptable to be a psychotic stalker, as long as nobody calls you out on it? That’s like trying to kill the judge who sent you to prison for murdering someone else in the first place.

Divide and conquer

Divide and conquer
Wonder Woman, the original multitasker

Wonder Woman, the original multitasker

The phone could not have rung at a more inconvenient time. Without looking at it, I knew who it was, because of the ringtone, so I impulsively slowed down to contemplate answering it, at the same time using it as an opportunity to catch my breath.

“Do you have to get that?” he asked, with just the slightest hint of disapproval in his voice.

Technically I didn’t, but the only reason Shirley would be calling me at 2am (EST, obviously) was if she were drunk or miserable, and usually she was drunk because she was miserable. “Yes, but I can still do this,” I panted, so I put on my Bluetooth earpiece and answered the phone, trying my hardest not to breathe too heavily because I really was getting quite winded.

“Are you having sex?” Shirley managed to laugh in between sniffles. “Isn’t everyone out of town?”

No, I’m in the gym!” I chuffed. “But go on, I can talk.” So our conversation plowed through nearly half my workout time, while my trainer almost wordlessly put me through my paces with deadlifts, squats and presses. By the time I could hang up, Shirley had told me that although she had never heard it for herself, I sounded like a water buffalo in heat.

“You know, it’s weird, but I could swear your performance was better while you were on the phone,” my trainer remarked at the end of our session. “That shows you can multitask very well because your brain and your body are fighting each other.”

I didn’t think much of it at the time. As someone who has worked in public relations and publishing, I’ve always worked better under pressure and with deadlines hanging over my head. I suppose it should have been obvious when I had to deal with the insanity of Empire: Lebanon at exactly the same time that I launched Kelip, but lately I’ve realized that this is because I function better when I have to divide and conquer. When I have only one task to complete, it takes me ages because I allow my mind to wander and I move on to other things for a bit before coming back to the task at hand, but when I know that there are still five other things on my to-do list that need to be done by the end of the day, my concentration skyrockets and I’m able to get everything done even ahead of schedule.

It even comes down to something as mundane as social media. I used to marvel at how people could manage having two phones and more than one social media account and thank God that I never had to do that myself — until I did. Now that I control three Instagram accounts — one personal and two business accounts — as well as their corresponding Facebook accounts, and have a separate phone line for the business, I realize how much more organized I’ve become, because the brain* innately adapts to the workload and literally creates channels of efficiency in order to make everything run seamlessly.

So far it’s been a breeze, and what makes it more interesting for me is that I get to put my own touch on everything I do, although Malisa did say that both the Kelip and Byblos accounts are beginning to sound similar, and that anyone who follows both would know they’re being run by the same person. Maybe that’s a sign that I’m slipping?

* Well, my brain, at least; I don’t know about yours.

The good prison

The good prison

“The worst punishment of all is that, in the court of his own conscience, no guilty man is acquitted.” – Juvenal

Incidentally, this man looks a lot like my ex-boss

Incidentally, this man looks a lot like my ex-boss

Almost exactly two years ago, I stopped being a gainfully employed person. That is not to say I stopped working altogether; I just stopped being a registered employee of a registered company that pays (or may not actually pay, come to think of it) taxes. I would like to say that I quit my job because I was about to embark on some life-altering adventure that also happened to earn me hundreds of thousands of dollars, but that is not at all the case.

I quit my job because it was the one job that would scar me for life.

I suppose I should backtrack. I was the Public Relations Manager and Glorified Janitor for an Indian jewelry brand that has part of its operations — a boutique and office — based in this country, and I took the job mainly because I was in a relationship with its owner, who wanted me to leave my publishing job and help him with his business. Needless to say, that relationship came to a horrific end, but I remained his employee for a few more months, until I realized that he was a worse boss than he had been a boyfriend.

The last straw was the day I discovered that he had been snooping through my computer, iPad and phone whenever I wasn’t in the boutique. It was fortunate that he did not know how to operate a MacBook, and therefore didn’t know how to exit programs or shut down the computer itself. At that point I told him I would not spend another day, another minute, being associated with his company or a boss like him, and I told him exactly why. He then passionately denied that he had ever gone through my computer, and went so far as to say, “I swear on my mom that if I did it, God will strike me down now!”

It took all of my self-discipline not to laugh in his face, but I managed to say, “It doesn’t matter, you can deny it all you want. But you know you did it, I know you did it, and most importantly, you know that I know you did it.” And so ended any and all ties we had, and I immediately swore off bad jobs, bad bosses and bad boyfriends.

This phenomenon is something I’ve had to deal with a lot over the past year. After episodes of hacked emails, fake social media accounts, accidental calls and messages while stalking me on WhatsApp, and notifications about unusually high traffic from specific visitors to this website, I’ve had to make peace with the fact that it is not in our nature to have the courage and maturity to admit when we have done something wrong, and denial is merely a defense mechanism that buys us a little more time to get what we want by other means. And making peace with this also means that I have to stop fighting so hard for what I want, because what I want is already exactly where I need it to be: in the heart, mind, and conscience.

It may have bothered me for a while at first that my ex-boss refused to admit that he had been going through my personal effects, but I soon realized that it really didn’t matter. In his heart of hearts, and in his conscience, he knew what he had done, and he knew what I thought of him for doing it, and that was punishment enough for him. Because words of denial are just that: words. What matters is that in the end, we will have nothing but our own conscience for company, so it falls entirely to ourselves to make sure that our conscience doesn’t keep us up at night.