My Circumstance

backyard picnics

I’ve been thinking about circumstance quite a bit lately, the cards you’re dealt. It’s easy to look at those cards individually and see how crappy it is, there’s absolutely no way you can win this game. The game is rigged against you, the other player’s have the better cards, they’ve got the joker, they’re going to win, and you’re going to lose. 

C’est La Vie.

This is life. 

You can’t win every game, and you can’t always have all the good cards. Sometimes you lose, and that is okay. It’s not the win that is important, it is how you win and how you lose, what you do in between and how you react to the cards you’re dealt. 

How you react to the cards you’re dealt. 

This is the lesson that I am learning at 26. It’s how you react to your circumstance is what matters, not the circumstance itself. You may not be able to control or change your situation, but you can control and change your reaction to it.

I lost a grandparent in 2017, my mother was diagnosed with cancer in early 2018, my dad was diagnosed with cancer in late 2018. In early 2019 my mom finished her treatment, this followed with my dad and the beginning of his. In late 2019, I was in the room as I watched my Aunt die, and in 2020, well, need I say more? It was easy for me to see these cards and say “I’ve been dealt a crappy hand.” It was. Although these circumstances have touched me, and affected me in one way or another, they are not actually my reality. 

My reality is that most people don’t get a chance to spend a beautiful summer with their grandmother in a once in a lifetime trip, hold hands and spend nights talking about her good old days. Most people lose their mother and father to cancer, in fact, I know a couple who have lost their beautiful mothers so prematurely. Most people don’t get a chance to say goodbye, and I had the chance to say goodbye to my aunt. And although loss is painful and it stays with you for the rest of your life, and although cancer is, for lack of a better word, a fucking bitch, it is a part of life, it is inevitable, it is expected. It is life. And if I plan on living my life, the only one I have, fulfilled, I needed to stop seeing these situations with the lens of “this is my reality”.

I would say about late April, I got into my head way too much and started reacting in such a way that was detrimental to my health. I felt stuck. I’ve always had this gnawing insecurity with my role in the world. I was afraid I wasn’t tapping into my potential, that I would leave the world with untapped and unfulfilled potential. I’m surrounded by brilliant people who are so intelligent, creative and resourceful that I felt I wasn’t contributing in any way to society, that although I wanted to impact situations, people, laws, I wasn’t. And it seemed as though I would never get there.

What was even more detrimental, was the fact that I started to question who I was and what I liked. Do I actually like reading? Am I a biker? Do I enjoy running in the rain or is this someone else? Do I enjoy cooking and baking or am I just doing it for others? Am I a good writer? Should I write? Will people even care to read what I have to say? I found myself wondering if my favourite colour was blue and if my clothes matched my personality. What was my personality? Who am I? Who was I? Are those mutually exclusive? I didn’t even know what to identify as? What was I good at? Was I good at anything? I’m terribly afraid of heights but all those thoughts, questioning the very atoms that make me who I am shook my world, and I don’t think I’ve ever been this afraid. Ever. 

It’s weird, because from the outside, I’m sure it looks like I’ve got it way more figured  out than I do. But I don’t. Does anyone really? What we put on social media, on Instagram and Twitter is, as we all know, the best version of ourselves, but behind the screen, the post and the like, I’ve come to realize everyone has the same concerns, the same fears, the same aspirations, the same worries, our collective experience as humans are very similar, yet this is something that is hard for each and every single one of us to understand. We acknowledge that it is a collective experience, and yet when we are in this “slump” or “low” we are blinded by our own experience and the loneliness we feel in it, despite the fact that behind a like is a story of the same sadness you feel. 

To rewind back to April, I felt helpless and out of control. I couldn’t control my parent’s health and I couldn’t control the health of planet earth. The weight of those two situations were far too heavy for me to take on by myself. And as absurd as it may sound, I blamed myself. How could I not control the outcome of a CT scan? Of a cell so small I can crush with my own bare hands? How can I not do something to help the innocent 11 year old boy in Slemani with months to live because of his kidney failure? Why could’t I impact governments and change policies? Why couldn’t single handedly stop Turkey from killing my people? Every day we’re inundated with news of a new global crisis. How do you pick and choose what to fix? How do you decide where to put your energy? Who to fight for? What to fight for? There’s just too much that needs to be changed, to be fixed. So often, instead of doing anything, we end up doing nothing. And I felt so out of control, that that is exactly what I did, nothing. We wallow in our own exhaustion. We drown ourselves in the noise and turn on the new Netflix show or scroll through Instagram to avoid having to confront the issues all around us. What I failed to realize is that in my attempt to try and fix everything and everyone around me, to no avail, I neglected myself. I was not the best version of myself, I didn’t even recognize myself. 

Here I was, the only variable I had control over, the only thing I could change, and yet for a good 26 years, I completely ignored myself. I realized I needed to stop changing the world, fixing everyone and everything around me, I needed to stop focusing on circumstances beyond my control. I can’t be an activist, a politician, a doctor, a philanthropist, and superwoman all at once. It is physically impossible. The exhaustion of the weight of the world paralyzed me, and unbeknownst to me, I couldn’t impact anything or anyone, If I couldn’t focus on myself. If I couldn’t figure out what was limiting me and my potential, then how could I ever impact anyone else to change. 

I look to the people who inspire me and move me, and most of them do so through leading by example. I think the most important lesson of all is that the world is paying attention. To inspire change and be impactful, you don’t have to say anything at all, because the words is watching, and many will start to question what they’re capable of, their potential and how much more they can do. This is what it means to lead by example, to inspire. It’s not words, it action. The minute you invest in yourself and who you are, is the minute that people will start to notice you, the change in you, your accomplishments, without even saying a word. So forget social media, forget the weight of the world, focus on yourself right now. The ripple effect that follows will be far more greater than you’ll ever know. That is the lesson. It might even be the greatest lesson of all.


Turning 25

and other selfish thoughts

On the eve of my 25th birthday I was standing in front of the Bassin Octagonal of the Tuileries Garden in the first arrondissement of Paris. It was a cold and windy afternoon, traces of the earlier drizzle was all over the green lawn chairs that sat around the fountain, and although the sun was out and there was not a single cloud in the sky, the petrichor still lingered in the air, giving a subtle hint of spring and the promise of rebirth. 

I’ve never been one to make a big deal about my birthday, but it was also something that I looked forward to. Growing one year older, celebrating a day dedicated to you with family and friends, presents, surrounded by love, how can you not look forward to it? But standing in front of this, dare I say, mediocre fountain, I was overwhelmed with the memories of the last 20 or so years, with an emphasis on the last three. It wasn’t an easy couple of years and it definitely wasn’t fun. It was really hard, and quite honestly, very lonely. And that being said, I can’t deny the fact that I was surrounded by love, friendships and support my entire life, and I definitely do not take that for granted. What I mean to say is that in the past two years alone, the experiences I’ve gone through, the emotions I’ve felt and the loss I’ve endured was an experience limited to my own within the group of people I surrounded myself with. I’m sure someone in this world has dealt with the range of experiences and emotions that I have, but I haven’t met them so we can’t share our stories, learn from each other and heal together, if that is even a thing. I’m still searching for that aha moment, when I can finally understand the secret to life and living, where I turn the pages of my story and start anew, when I can finally turn my feelings off and not have a care in the world, or in other words, when I can raise my middle finger to the world and give it the metaphorical fuck you. 

But then again, that’s not me, I do care. In fact, I care too much about the people in my life, so much so that I forget to focus on myself, I forget to be selfish, and so I decided be selfish. And in selfish manner, all that I can think of is, that on this birthday, just like the past two birthdays, I will not be getting the call I always get, got. Its a selfish feeling, quite frankly, I think it’s the most selfish feeling to feel but I cant deny how much it hurts missing you Nana. I can’t believe that on my 22nd birthday, that that would be the last birthday phone call I would be getting. You were always the first to call me and wish me a happy birthday and ever since those calls had stopped my world stopped. So here I am in Paris, doing the most selfish thing during the worst time in my family’s life, chasing some sort of joy, some sort of comfort to my birthday, and all I can do is cry. I’m crying in Paris. If I can’t find closure or some sort of happiness here, how can I ever find it?

The big 25, I always said I wanted to live to be a hundred, and by that standard, I’ve completed a quarter of my life, and I don’t know how I feel about that. Adulting is hard when your heart is that of a child’s, I still believe in the naiveté’s of life, that good will always prevail, that life is fair, that good things happen to good people, despite the fact that time and time again life has proven me wrong. I tell myself I want to grow out of this notion, have a heart of stone, but I’m afraid if I do, the love I have for the world and the little things such as my appreciation for the languages, my love of Monet, my tears at the end of Harry Potter and the order of the Phoenix, I’m afraid all of that will go away, and then everything that I am, everything that I know myself to be will be lost. What a paradoxical world we live in?

I spent my day chasing Monet’s work, I went to four different museums to bear witness to his life’s works. They each tell a story, one unique from the other, and each story unique to the eye of the beholder. There was a sort of melancholy that spoke to me in his works, I didn’t come out of it feeling resolved, I came out of it feeling understood. 

I’m not quite sure what the point of this post is, much like the path my life is on, all I know is that it’s 7am in the morning in Paris, on my birthday, and I woke up with the sudden desire to write this. 

Be good to me 25. 


Exploring the 6

you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone

My life has always been a series of movements from one place to another, and I’ve always hated it. Over the years, I’ve moved homes, made friends, packed and unpacked, forgotten friends and reset multiple times. The worst part is, I don’t pack light. I travel with my clothes, makeup, and skincare (obviously), but I also have a couple hundred books that I’ve bought with the intention of reading, which happen to turn into decoration pieces on my bedside table. But that’s beside the point, the point is, I’ve grown up knowing that I will never subject myself nor my kids to that lifestyle when the time comes, I’m going to pick a city and live in it forever. 

Sounds like a pretty straightforward plan, no? In theory, yes, it sounds good, but in reality, things never go according to plan, and I’ve come to learn that notion the hard way, and surprisingly, I’ve welcomed it, I’ve learned to be adaptable to chaos, and believe it or not, I’ve realized that Canada might only be a chapter, not the end all be all. 

Truthfully, the different countries, cities, and cultures I’ve been a part of have shaped me to the person that I am today, and yet I go out of my way to travel and explore cities, places, and cultures outside of the very one I am a part of. So in the spirit of 2019 and resolutions, I’ve decided to do a monthly intentions list, where I make a list of the things I intend to focus on for the month, after all, it only takes 21 days to break a habit or start a new one.

Here’s a sneak peek of January’s intention list:

  1. Practice more self-care: body + mind + soul
  2. Be more positive
  3. Do my bed every morning (I’ve gotten lazy, don’t judge me)
  4. Invest in experiences, not things
  5. Be present
  6. Be patient 
  7. Explore my own city: Toronto / GTA
  8. Be vulnerable
  9. Read more
  10. Write more

Number 7 is what this post is about; exploring my own city, this is something that I’ve always neglected, or put aside because I always thought at the back of my head, I’m here, the city is not going anywhere so why rush? But like I said, I don’t know if Canada or Toronto is my future, and now there is an urgency in immersing myself in all things Toronto and so that if the time comes and I have to leave, I can leave knowing that I took as much as I can from the city. 

Also, I wanted to start small, baby steps, Toronto is my backyard, and I want to explore it. First Toronto/ the GTA, and then I can venture off into exploring different cities in different provinces, I’m giving myself until the end of August 2019, but until then, no matter how tired I am after work, I’m going to make the trip downtown and explore the 102 places I’ve saved on google, disclaimer alert, I have done a lot of these already but I want to do them again from this new perspective, and here’s a little peek of my list:,-79.5690948,10z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!11m1!2s59uggzp5HPek2y7NAtUWNO5YLaZJ9Q

I have a rough idea of how many people read this blog, and to be honest, there’s not a lot of you, but if you’re reading this, I have a proposition for you, join me join me if you can because why not? Even if we’re strangers (sorry mom), let’s change that and be friends, after all, we are only strangers of circumstance, we might be destined to be friends, you might even think by the end of it, “I wish I were friends with you sooner Mardin”. Just food for thought. 😉

First Stop – Toronto/ The GTA
Next Stop-?



a rebirth

You’ve felt a year’s worth of a cool shrug of a million blurry faces passing by as you lay lying down, standing stagnant. You’ve felt trapped in the eclipse of time between day and night until the midnight sun and the afternoon moon meet to conquer. You’ve been an extra in the movie of your life and someone pressed pause on you and play on everything else. You watched, paralyzed, as the gardenia seed you planted in the spring starts to fight the rubbles of her earth. Slowly, she peaks through the ground as if to glance around to test out the dangers of life, not quite understanding why she’s here and what she’s doing here. She says hello, but is shy and doesn’t completely come out. As the cool air turns into a warm blanket, her stalk starts to blossom, no longer shy, she tries to stand, slowly but surely. During the summer night, a hundred fleeting moments pass you and you watch as her stalk stands straight, unintentionally marking her place, her home, her birth, she starts to grow. You surround yourself in a sea of misery and then ask yourself why you feel diminished, and right then a thought occurs to you as her sepal starts to become more prominent, the sun comes and goes as the clouds hover over her nesting place, a scary thought occurs to you, what if, what if you disappeared right there and then. You’re already stuck, you’ve forgotten to move and as the rain falls down, drip, drip, drip, splash, creating a puddle in the crevice of the earth, you are masquerading your pain in a book of lies, life is happening as her stalk grows tall, gaining confidence, taking on life as her leaves start to erupt like a slow volcano. You hear school bells and children skipping, birds are chirping in the brisk autumn breeze and you see a squirrel digging a hole for his nuts, daylight turns into darkness, it is too good to be true, too good to be true to be under a blanket of stars. The sun comes out to play before you get a chance to make a wish and her petals fight their way into the light, and there she is. An honest beauty, but rays turn into rain, and rain turns into snow, you can’t let yourself be swept away in the beauty of her existence, and her pale yellow petals are now covered in a layer of snow, her stalk withered to nothing but a shell of a corpse. And there you are, as still as you once were, you let yourself be swept away and now you are broken, paralyzed, forever standing still as life happens. You reflect on the life that has passed and yet nothing has changed even though everything has changed. This is where you are, did you want this? Did you ask for this? Do you deserve this? What is left of you loosens, you start to walk towards your fairytale story of castles and prince charming, you take the long cut because you haven’t breathed fresh air in forever, you slowly start to pace yourself and then you run, you run faster than you’ve ever run, you’re running away and running towards something, an object, its vague and yet its clear, nothing but a mirror, nothing but a reflection, nothing but the truth, you are me, and I am you. And as the sun creeps in, I see the green sepal fight the same battle once again, as it rises from its corpse, this is her rebirth, her second chance. It’s our rebirth, my rebirth, my second chance. 


As 2018 comes to an end, I reflect on not only the past year, but the past few years of my life that I’ve meshed together and claimed as the worst two years of my life. And although I don’t feel changed in the physical definition of the word, there is a fire rekindled within, and that is a change I can’t describe even if I tried. This is what 2018 taught me, a year in review: 

  1. Fall in love with yourself before you fall in love with anyone else
  2. Mistakes can be a good thing, learn from them and then move on
  3. Everything is a phase, everything will pass, even the hard moments 
  4. Time will heal most wounds, but not all
  5. Things don’t always go according to plan, so learn to be adaptable
  6. Be spontaneous
  7. Family first, always
  8. Sometimes the walls you put up to keep out scary monsters also keep out good people 
  9. Be in tune with your body, your femininity, if you feel there is something wrong, listen to it
  10. A healthy body is a healthy soul, start taking care of yourself now 
  11. Idea’s come at night and in the showers, and execution comes in the morning
  12. Life is better with a playlist playing in the background (invest in AirPods)
  13. Bike more, it makes you happy 
  14. Friends come in all ages, from different backgrounds 
  15. There is so much to learn, but focus on one thing at a time, you can’t do it all, even if you think you can
  16. Not every day is going to be a great day, some days are just average
  17. Social media is not real life
  18. Budgeting is important 
  19. It only takes 21 days to change a habit
  20. Too much time alone can be a dangerous thing 
  21. Smile more, and laughter is the best remedy for anything 
  22. Don’t rush, enjoy the moment 
  23. It’s okay to let go of the people who keep you down
  24. Be yourself, be unapologetically yourself, even if that’s changing every day
  25. Starting something different is scary but worth it
  26. Clutter can be a bad thing, get organized
  27. Don’t give up, even if they laugh at you
  28. Friendships can grow apart, but they can grow back together
  29. Forgive yourself
  30. Be patient with yourself and with others, not everyone moves at the same pace as you do
  31. Follow your dreams, no matter how absurd, but remember that dreams require sacrifice 
  32. Women supporting women can be a wonderful thing
  33. It’s okay to ask for help
  34. It’s okay to put yourself first 
  35. Get out of your comfort zone
  36. Slow down and pay attention to the details, use that to write 
  37. Connect with your emotions 
  38. Don’t wait for an apology to forgive someone 
  39. Procrastination is your enemy
  40. You can create the life you want
  41. Just because you’re a good person, doesn’t mean bad things won’t happen to you 
  42. You are worth it
  43. Working hard doesn’t mean working smart
  44. Disconnect to reconnect, pick up the phone and call people, set up plans
  45. Never walk away from someone angry
  46. Don’t let the little things get to you
  47. Your gut is always right
  48. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else
  49. Surround yourself with people who dream big, and work with talented and brilliant people 
  50. Girl talk is important
  51. You’re going to feel lost and that’s okay 
  52. Invest in experiences, not things, so travel more

It’s funny how the first day of the year flirts with us and promises us a better life, a new beginning, “trust me” she says, and we do. We take time out of our day to look for the perfect outfit and then book appointments to style our perfect self so that when we finally meet, we are spontaneously different and forever changed. She flirts with us with her countdowns, and her fireworks and we fall for her every move. And even when we think we’re immune to her coy, we somehow manage to fall into the new year resolutions and new diet fabs while she dates other people in secret and tells them the exact same thing, “I believe in you” she says when we fail, and she gives us the promise of tomorrow, the promise of another day to restart. January 1st, the first day of the year represents different things to different people, but more often than not, it represents forgiveness and a second chance. We really don’t need a set date on the calendar to decide to reset and change something about ourselves, we can break a habit, or go to the gym, or read a book any time of the year. We don’t need a date to make that happen, but somehow we always fall for her charms, the first day of the year, after all, there are fireworks. And its so easy to want so many things for 2019, and I can create a list that will go on for days, but what I really want? What I really want is for me to hone who I really am, I’ve done the searching, I’ve done the experimenting, I know who I am, who I want to be, what I want to achieve, and this year is the year where I go after it, and believe it or not, I’m going to be ruthless.