Category Archives: Work

Same same but different


Earlier today I went to The Curve to look for some things for the restaurant and have lunch, after which I went home for my workout session with my personal trainer. One of the things I love about Mark is that even though he is a firm trainer, he is also a fair one, and knows how to work around little blips like sleep deprivation and my ACL- and PCL-ridden knees. So he knew five seconds into my first set of lunges that my knees are a little busted from working long hours over the last few days, but he knew to cushion the blow by saying, “You’re definitely more than fit enough to work long hours, but maybe lay off the heels a little? You’re not 17 anymore.”

Then he angled his head a little and said, “You look like you’ve lost weight after this past weekend, though!”

After I reveled in that observation — mainly because I didn’t even have to ask him if I look thinner from all the running around I’ve been doing in the last couple of weeks — I thought for a moment and realized that he was right: I’m not 17 anymore.

The restaurant has been open for all of four days, and just from being here all day every day, I’ve gleaned a fair number of things. These are just the most significant ones:

Time changes everything. Very few people know this, but when I was 17 years old, my father opened a restaurant in our old neighborhood. To this day I suspect that he timed the opening for November 30, just two days after my school-leaving certificate exam ended, because he had planned for me to run it all along while he oversaw the kitchen. And run it I did, from the day it opened right up until I moved to Buffalo for my Bachelor’s degree. Those were two years of my life that I’ll never get back, but it taught me to be unyielding in business and to be shrewd of the people around me, and I’m eternally grateful for that.

But that was 15 years ago, and to say that times have changed everything would be a gross understatement. Back then, all I had to do was be in the restaurant, make sure everyone had ordered and been served, keep the money safe, and yell at the meat and ice vendors for consistently being late. Today, even though I don’t handle the operations of this restaurant, I have my own business to manage as well, and I control all our social media platforms. I now fully appreciate how much work it is to own, operate and market a business all on one’s own. Were it not for my ability to work better when I multitask, I would be even grumpier than I already am.

Age changes everything. When I was 17, 18 and 19, running my father’s restaurant was the most significant part of my life, and even though sometimes it felt like it had taken over my life completely, the truth was that I still had the energy to attend classes, have some semblance of a social life, and run the restaurant all at the same time. Now, just a few months shy of my 32nd birthday, I don’t have the energy to do anything except go to bed once I leave the restaurant. It may have something to do with the fact that I go home at some unearthly hour, because I have to be in the restaurant for as long as my friends are there, but I don’t remember the last time I fell asleep so fast or slept so badly.

I must remain childless. For the last few years I’ve made peace with my decision not to have kids, because I always suspected that I would never find the right man in time (I turned out to be right, because I was already 29 when I did find him), and because I’ve always been terrified that I’ll be a bad mother. Now that I work all day every day, I am surer than ever that I can never have kids, and my cats have shown me this. I’ve placed so much importance on my work that I’m hardly ever home, and when I do go home Offa makes it clear that he’s not happy with me at all, and it’s the only time in my life that I’ve ever felt genuinely guilty about anything. I don’t think I would be able to live with the guilt of leaving human children at home to go off to work, yet I don’t think I could ever give up my career to be a mother, so the fairest option would be to not have any human children at all.

Stupid is as stupid does. This needs no further elaboration.

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.

Professionally personal

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Most of you who have been following me on this blog know that I am a writer, by passion and profession. Some may not know that I am also a public relations consultant and de facto event planner — a job I take mainly so that I have an outlet for my opinions on certain issues.

Today I ran the press launch of Nikky’s new (and by ‘new’ I mean five-month-old) nail salon/café/spa, the Nailsmith Spa & Bar.

ASIDE: I take pride in the fact that Nikky and her partner, Jane, decided to name their salon ‘Nailsmith’ after they looked at my business card. END ASIDE.


nailsmith 001To cut to the chase, the event went very well, and fortunately my old friends from the press were able to attend, so I had at least three familiar faces to hang out with. When it was over and everyone had left, Nikky and Jane each gave me a hug and said, “We couldn’t have done this without you.”

It’s not something I hear very often — it’s human nature to be quick to criticize and slow with praise — so it both moved me and took me by surprise. During the drive home, I thought about what they had said and for some strange reason, it hit me then why, of all the thankless jobs in the world to choose from, I chose public relations and events.

It’s because deep down, we all just really want to be appreciated.

For the last four and a half months, the travesty that is my relationship drama has stripped me of practically every protective wall I built around myself. From being stalked by a 47-year-old nutjob pretending to be a man (and sometimes woman) 4744 miles away, to being given a expiration date whereby this relationship will finally come to an end, I live my life with the unshakeable feeling that I am being watched while I take a shower. To live under such close scrutiny is to be left feeling worthless, and I realize now that when we lose our own sense of self-worth, we lose the will to live altogether.

In all my 16 years of dating, I have been cheated on, controlled, beaten and abandoned, and for someone who has Asperger Syndrome, those 16 years have done nothing but make me feel like I will never be good enough for anyone. And in the last two and a half years, I have perpetually been in someone else’s shadow, waiting, always waiting, and wondering if I will ever be held in my own worth.

It’s no secret that writing is not a well-paying job in this country, and public relations is something that people have only very recently discovered is crucial to a business’s success (or failure). So it would be a total lie for me to say I get paid well to do what I like. And when I’m experiencing a mental or creative block, there is little else to make me hold on to these jobs, except the notion that the end result — whether it’s a published article or a successful event — is the only way I ever get to feel like I may be good for something.

It’s also why I made the decision to upend my life here and start over in a new place, and to do something that I will earn next to nothing for. After all the mistakes I have made, all the terrible judgment calls and all the times I’ve had to patch up this broken heart, I know that I need to take some time out and channel my negativity into doing something good for other people, for a change. And then maybe, just maybe, I can finally, actually, be good for something.

But until then, here’s something pretty for you to look at.

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