The Co-Worker Guide to Ramadan

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Ramadan Kareem to all my Muslim readers!

If you’re participating this month and keep getting questions from coworkers and non-Muslim friends about Ramadan like I have been you’re probably exhausted from explaining it over and over again. Not to mention we are already lacking water so all the extra talking isn’t going to help.

This morning I took it upon myself to draft up the following in a Google Doc and shared it with my colleagues. I thought it was a super quick read and added a little humor to show that I am not starving, just humbled. You can totally share it with your network, just please remember to give credit where credit is due, writers strongly dislike their content being taken.

Hello Work Friends!

As many of you already know, I am participating in the holy month of Ramadan by fasting from June 6 – July 6. I wanted to share a little info with you all so you can get a little glimpse into why/how I do this!

What is Ramadan?

  • Ramadan is the 9th month in the Islamic calendar which is based on the phases of the moon. Since the calendar is 354 days (11 days shorter than the Gregorian calendar) Ramadan moves up every year. So, that’s why it’s not always in the winter when the days are shortest. #boohoo
  • Muslims (1.6 Billion of us) all around the world will be fasting the entire month. In America we fast ~16 hours.
  • Ramadan is the month that we believe God revealed the Quran (our holy scripture) to Mohamed (Muslims believe he was a prophet). Making this month holy and extra special. Muslims believe during this time the gates of heaven are open and the devil is chained up.
  • At the end of Ramadan there is a 3 day celebration or “feast” called Eid Al Fitr. Families go to the mosque, perform prayer, give gifts to one another and celebrate with lots of delicious food!

What is fasting?

  • Abstaining from: Food, Drink (yes, even whudder ie: water), smoking, medication, gossip, swearing, war (proof that terrorists aren’t real Muslims) and sex from sunrise to sunset: ~4:15am to 8:30pm here in California.
  • Muslims wake up prior to sunrise (around ~3:40am) to eat a meal called: suhoor that can sustain them until sundown which is ~8:30pm when they have another, larger meal called: iftar.
  • There are of course exceptions:
    • If you are traveling, pregnant, nursing or ill ie: diabetic, you are excused from fasting. You can either make up the days you missed later in the year or feed one poor person for every day you didn’t fast. (That’s about $7-$10 a day).
  • Fasting is not just about abstaining from all these things, it’s a time for Muslims to perform extra prayer, give charity and become more spiritual and connected to God.

Okay, you get what it is now, the real question is: why?

  • Because God told us to.
  • Also, because it is one of the five pillars of Islam: Faith, Prayer, (5X a day), Fasting, Charity and Pilgrimage.
  • Because sustaining from food/drinking helps Muslims feel humble.
  • It causes Muslims to become more patient, nothing like not eating for 16 hours a day to help you become a patient person!
  • Contrary to common belief Muslims actually look forward to this month because we believe that our prayers will be answered and that it will cause us to become more spiritual. It’s also a time to be around family and friends. Muslims have a “celebration” every night to break fast!

Can I do anything?

  • You can ask me as many questions as you want, I would rather provide real insight or more info on Ramadan than have you wondering why I am so sluggish all day.
  • You can absolutely eat in front of me, I will not be offended, trust me, I have been doing this since I was 8!
  • If I faint from exhaustion or hunger feed me a chocolate chip cookie. Or call 911.

I hope this was informative/helpful, as always please feel free to ask me any questions!

XxH

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What I Gained When I Lost

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2015 was a year of loss for me, but more importantly I wanted to reflect on all that I gained.


 

I lost a love and I gained purpose

On New Year’s Eve this year I lost one of the most important people in my family, my dear grandmother. As difficult as it is not being able to say good bye to her, especially when she was half way across the world. From this loss I gained purpose. Let me explain. Reflecting on my grandmother’s life leaves me astonished, my mother never fails to mention how my grandmother spent every day preparing for the day she would meet our creator. She stood by her daily prayers, up until her last day on this earth. She gave to the poor without looking to see if she had enough for herself, which of course, by the grace of Allah she always did.

Every time I spoke to my grandmother on the phone, or the times I visited her in Egypt recently, prayers were never absent from her lips. She prayed for her family, for her late husband and son, for every single one of her 10 living children, their spouses, children and her grandchildren, for all Muslims and even for Egypt! You get the point. My grandmother loved in a way that is indescribable. And to show her love for others she prayed for them. Prayer from her lips was more valuable than any worldly possession.

The Prophet Muhammed, peace and blessings upon Him, was quoted to have said:

“Live in this world as a stranger. If you live till night, then do not wait for the next day, and if you wake up in the morning do not have hope that you will live till the night. And take advantage from your health before your sickness and take advantage of your life before your death (i.e. do every possible obedience in your life before death comes to you for then no deeds can be performed.)”

My grandmother gave to the poor, gave to her children, their children and their grandchildren with love and prayer. She lived her life in a way that I admire, in the way the Prophet (PBUH) commanded humanity to live on this earth. This loss gave me purpose that reminded me of the real reason we are on this earth, and that is to give to others and prepare for the only guarantee in life, death.

I lost trust and I gained self worth

Trust, I have learned, is one of the most fragile things we have. Once it has been broken or shattered, putting it back together is impossible. I find myself to be overly trusting of people. Maybe you would even say gullible. But it wasn’t until this past year that someone took my trust and manipulated it. How you ask? Well, I made the human error of trusting someone with my emotions. This is easily the most vulnerable state someone could ever bring upon themselves. It is when we trust someone, wholeheartedly with our emotions that we can get the most damaged. Some may say I am jaded or bitter, but I like to refer to this experience as bringing about self worth. To gain my trust, someone will need to break through barriers, tear down walls and fight like hell to prove their place in my life. Your trust is precious, and I have learned that you should only give it to those who deserve and earn it.

I lost friends and I gained lovers

“Show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are”.

I feel as though some of us go through life collecting acquaintances and mistaking them for friends. I have decided to stop trying to be everyone’s friend. I always felt inclined to accept invitations to birthday, showers, gatherings etc. When in reality we don’t need to feel obligated to be around people we don’t want to be around. It’s really that simple. We have to be so extremely careful who we make memories with, considering those things last a lifetime. I admittedly get anxiety in social settings. I am always self conscious of my every move.  For those who know me, reading that may come as a surprise. Well, surprriiseeee. Every time I go somewhere I think about: what I’m wearing, what I’m saying, who is looking at me, hidden meanings when someone responds to me etc. This may very well be because I am an analytical person but I have grown to realize that I don’t need to be in these situations that make me feel that uncomfortable. I don’t need to surround myself with “friends” when I can instead be around people I love, who I can be myself around and those thoughts don’t ever cross my mind.

Oh, as for the quote at the start of this section, I put it there as a reflection and a reminder, to myself of course. That when I get these invitations I need to think about who I will be surrounding myself with and if that’s who I want to be. Think about it Hoda, do you really want to be around these people? Do they reflect who you want to be as a person?

I lost expectations and I gained peace

I give way more than I get. My family tells me this, my friends tell me this and even people I barely know tell me this. I am, by nature, a giver. I am told I get this trait from my mom and my late grandmother. But unlike them, I always assumed that the same respect, appreciation and love I give others I would get back. Reflect and receive. Right? Wrong. I always saw this quote floating around:

“You’ll end up real disappointed if you think people will do for you as you do for them. Not everyone has the same heart as you”

Time and time again, I found myself bending over backwards, crossing oceans for people who wouldn’t move a muscle or cross a puddle for me. At one point this made me more than disappointed, it made me feel as though I was being taken for granted, it made me angry and pretty much miserable. I resolved to stop doing nice things because I would never have the favor returned. And then I learned, only after I was hurt in a way beyond my wildest thoughts, that I was not doing these things to get anything in return. I was doing nice things for others because it was my nature. I am programmed to be a giver and I should not be ashamed or change the way I am because of disappointment. I truly believe the universe will in one way or another reflect those things back to me. So no, cold people, you didn’t break me, you just made me stronger and showed me the light. I gained inner peace knowing that I gave all I could and even if I get nothing in return at least I can sleep at night.

Much love,

XxH  

Like Me Like You Mean It

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Like Me Like You Mean It

Friends, I have this new found talent. No, it’s not my inability to stay attentive. It’s the talent to attract boys that are incapable of making me swoon. Why you ask? Well, because time and time again it seems that my girl friends make better boyfriends than the dudes trying to court me. Does that make any sense?! I’ve been single for a pretty long time. Why? Because it seems that every time I get to know someone new there is a recurring theme. Over and over again I find myself having the same conversation with them. They tell me that they like me, but their actions make me feel like an after-thought and I get over them faster than I can unpack my luggage from my last trip. See below for details:

Call Me Back

I seem to have missed something… People do not talk on the phone anymore, and they don’t know what the concept of returning a phone call is. This is frustrating to me for one simple reason: I feel like if I can call someone, they can call me back. Right?

For me, I have the most fulfilling conversations with people on the phone or in person, if you can only hold a conversation over text it makes me wonder if you filter everything that you say, I see those bubbles coming up, then you stop because you see my bubbles coming up, just say what you have to say!… speaking of conversation…

Stimulate My Intellect

I hate meaningless conversations. If I didn’t learn something, or didn’t have my intellect stimulated I get bored and lose interest. I hate getting “wyd?” texts, just don’t even text me if you have nothing better to say or ask. I despise conversations that make me walk away feeling like my IQ dropped (let’s be honest, I can’t afford that, my brain is my money maker).. 

I love feeling inspired. Inspired to travel, to grow, to become a better version of myself and so on. 

Make Effort

Making effort goes hand in hand with respect and appreciation. Listen, it is not that damn hard to make me feel special. I don’t want your stupid mass-snap-chats. I feel like if I can take time out of my schedule to make efforts to hang out, talk on the phone etc, then I should feel like that effort is reciprocated. If you want to make a woman feel good about herself and secure in her relationship with you, all you have to do is show some appreciation and put effort into making her feel like she is special to you. I don’t think of myself as needy, I think of myself as human. Attention, respect, effort- that’s all I ask for. Maybe this is considered “high-maintenance” but if that’s what you call it, then bye, take a damn seat, because I guess I can just continue to maintain my damn self. 

Real Talk

As I grow, I learn more about myself and the things that make for a fulfilling relationship. I gain this whole new appreciation for realizing what I deserve. I am learning to walk away from people who don’t make me feel special. The truth is, I would rather spend time with my girl friends and my family than waste my precious time on someone who does not appreciate me. I think that’s only fair. So, if you can’t make me feel appreciated, step aside, take a seat, and watch me from a distance until you’re ready.

Scandal

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Dear Readers,

I have no excuse. I haven’t posted a blog post in what feels like eternity (five months, but who’s counting?). This is partially because I was busy #livin #travelin #datin #hatin etc. Also, I happened to have major surgery and I also changed careers. I guess you can say I had more on my plate than usual and while blogging was on my mind I seemed to have lost my passion and my muse, partially due to the fact that I was pretty unhappy for what felt like several months. Completely out of my character if you know me on a personal level. 

Anyhow- I am done with excuses. Time to get down to business.

There are two things I have been wanting to post about:

  1. My life crisis at approaching 25 years on this earth (what and how did this happen)
  2. My (mostly) online dating experiences *gasp* 

I am going to get a lot of heat, some eye-rolling and unwarranted comments about the fact that I am going to put my “dating life” or rather, lack thereof out in the open. But you know what? The dating scene for Muslims in America is actually, for a lack of better words: hilarious. A long string of descriptive words also come to mind, it is: pathetic, unreasonable, extremely difficult.. and well, you get the hint. It more or less sucks. The list goes on and on. 

I often talk to my married friends and those in committed relationships about how difficult it is to meet people. Let alone, meet someone who will eventually be your life partner, especially when my pool is limited to Muslims with intellect and ambition. I mean, I spend most of my time at work, at the gym or with my same group of friends. The odds of me finding a significant other in any of these scenarios is more or less slim to none. I am actually perfectly okay with that, I accepted, probably sometime in college, that I was not going to end up with anyone I already knew. I just wasn’t really into anyone I was hanging out with, perhaps because I knew too much about them and didn’t see myself with them for well, umentionable reasons.  Which is why I started to dabble in online dating. It just made sense to me. If my single-Muslim friends and I weren’t meeting people then naturally, there had to be other single-Muslim people out there looking as well. 

I wanted to really stress something here. If you are going to take away anything from what I’ve written in this post it’s the following: Online dating is not dirty, shameful and it certainly does not make you “desperate”. Actually, you know what it makes you? Human. Let me say that again. Online dating makes you human. You are simply putting yourself out there to meet someone because naturally, you want a companion to share your life with. It’s human nature. 

From experience, let me tell you something about online dating: Most of the people you talk to will be a bust, you may not even have anything to talk about. Some people you will have some really great intellectual conversations with, others you may even go on a few dates with, you may even, wait for it.. Befriend some of the people you meet and keep in touch. You may even seek out relationship advice from them. That is normal. You are normal, stop hiding it. You know why you should stop hiding it? Because I probably saw you on multiple platforms. Joking. Partially.. I can’t tell you how many of my friends from high school, college or just acquaintances I’ve chatted with. We mostly joke around about it, but other times, more often than not, we end up venting about how hard it really is to meet someone. In other words, we are facing, living, breathing the same dilemma. 

I started this blog initially so I could document the encounters I had with Muslim men, potential love interests I suppose. I then felt a nag of guilt. Why am I airing out my dirty laundry and the dirty laundry of others. Only recently did I come to a realization. And that realization is this: everybody is doing it, most people are hiding it and most importantly: I don’t give a shit. It’s no secret. Yes, I am “dating” in the Muslim sense of the term, I feel like instead of gossiping about that, people should be more concerned if I wasn’t. I mean, like, am I a lesbian? Do I not want to get married? (not that there is anything wrong with either of those things, #lesbihonest here, it’s 2015, anything is damn well possible). Also, most of my stories are pretty hilarious if I do say so myself. I feel like every time I talk to a friend about a certain scenario they can recount an almost identical situation (sometimes it’s even the same guy at the subject of our stories- I am not joking). 

So, friends, social media acquaintances, I am officially going to share with you these encounters. I hope they make you giggle, make you shake your head, give you hope (that you won’t end up a crazy cat lady) and most importantly, I hope they give you courage to put yourself out there. I promise, you will meet some incredible people. Quit being a pansy. 

Much love,

XxH  

 

Reflections

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Self Acceptance Vs Self Love

It’s always the 8am Monday morning conversations that get me to really reflect on everything I know about life. One of my closest friends told me that she came to the realization that she is the only person who really cares about herself. She reflected on the fact that if you don’t truly love yourself you’re screwed because nobody else will look out for you otherwise. I was not about to lie and tell her I do care about her more than she cares about herself, because let’s be honest, her mother probably cares more about her than I do or ever will. I am almost positive that in one of my previous posts I wrote about the importance of loving yourself first before allowing or being ready for anyone else to love you. Just a few months ago I was positive I had life and love figured out. I realize now that the idea of self-love is overly simplified when in fact it’s the most complicated thing we can do. I felt I had to disagree with her comment and rethink the statement I made previously.

Due to a series of events the past several weeks I have had way more time than I am comfortable with to really think about this romanticized idea of self-love. I have had so much time to reflect on self-love and happiness in general. And you know what I discovered? It takes a hell of a lot of energy to love yourself. Because, you know what? You are not perfect. Self-love requires a lot of hard work and mental maturity. What I have realized is that instead it’s more importance to realize self-acceptance. I think we should focus on accepting ourselves, flaws and all. Accepting that some things are beyond our control. To stop being so damn hard on ourselves and to stop setting these unrealistic expectations and deadlines in life. Love is just way too big of a commitment to make, even to myself. I mean, the truth is, I will never have the perfect skin, the perfect waistline, the perfect hair, the perfect body, the perfect mind or even the perfect soul. Realizing that you are who you are and accepting it, always working toward a better you is the healthiest way to feel content. As always, this is just my humble opinion.

Oh, and one more thing on this… I think it’s also really important to surround yourself with people who you can be your authentic self around. Find people who accept you just the way you are. Surround yourself by those who you don’t have to change yourself to be around. Take off that mask of happiness and perfection and just be you. I realized that I just spent a few months being who everyone around me expected me to be. I almost started losing touch with who I was and the things I truly value. This post is more of a reminder to myself, a reminder to “check myself before I wreck myself”. Speaking of changing…

Changing Vs Growing

In 8th grade a friend wrote in my yearbook a long note and at the end it said: “don’t ever change, you’re golden”. I remember going through my yearbook one summer during college, reading that and thinking how silly it was. Of course I was going to change, life is hard and circumstances more or less make us change. What I realize now is that I was confusing growing with changing. More on this in a sec, I just have to share another story first that will help this all make a little more sense.

For as long as I could remember every time my father did something that bothered my mom she would say the same thing, I can’t change him now, he’s too old, it’s who he is. For example, my dad will literally ask the same question, multiple times, to multiple people in different ways. Why? Just because that’s how he works and he will never change. I guess seeing this in my parent’s relationship always reminded me that I shouldn’t expect to go into a relationship, be it romantic or otherwise, expecting to change someone or expecting that person to change all on their own. People do not change. People grow. And so this means that you may grow apart, or it can mean you grow at the same pace and mature together and that can be such a beautiful, refreshing thing.

As always, I am writing this as a reminder to myself. Change due to growth is inevitable. I have never expected anyone to change for me only because I know I can’t reciprocate that. What I do expect however, is to grow, and as I grow the things that are important to me change.And if I allow myself to change for someone, instead of grow, grow into the person I am destined to be then I would be doing a dishonor to myself and those around me.

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Don’t forget to share on social media, follow this blog on wordpress and take the poll!

Ps. I decided to make my Instagram profile private, thanks for all the love but I guess this is just another opportunity to grow for me. Perhaps “grow up” 😉

Xx H

Pushing The Envelope On Mental Health. How Real Is The Struggle?

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The struggle is so damn real. In my ideal world mental health would be much more openly addressed. We would put a microscope on true happiness and combat the violence and drug abuse that plagues so many of those near and dear to us. Unfortunately society seems to shift its focus on outer beauty. Physical health and fitness are the new fad that consumes each and every one of us, get that #thighgap girl, because until you have that you won’t amount to anything. Dismissing the importance of making sure your mind is resilient before your lungs are capable of taking on HIIT sessions 5X a week. Why is this completely okay? Self esteem is at an all-time low yet my news feed is filled with “selfies”. I like to play the devil’s advocate and say that posting selfies is something the confident and secure do. But you and I are no fools. While this may be true in some cases, it’s mainly that we are just seeking the reassurance that if on the outside we look alright we must be just as happy inside. And with each “like” the picture we paint on the outside of ourselves seems to feel a little more real. Imagine each selfie we posted showed the inside of our minds? The size of the “smile” in our hearts? ❤ But don’t worry homie, you can always count on me for a “like” on your selfie. I totally support that.

In my humble opinion: It is really freaking hard to grow up in my generation. Perhaps harder than previous generations, even though they had to walk miles in the snow to get to school. They were probably happier because they didn’t take a selfie each step of the way #OMGsoCold #CantWaitToChopWoodForTheFireToMakeDinner. By the age of 22 most of my generation has racked up so much debt they are basically drowning up to their eyeballs in mail from Sallie Mae reminding them to find a job 6 months after graduation. Causing so many people in turn to rush into careers without even knowing what they are getting themselves into. Ladies and Gents. Let the misery commence.

The pressure to build a career, stay in top shape, eat healthy and have a booming social life is in the unwritten manual each of us is handed by our silent “parents”, the mainstream media, or whatever society is calling itself these days. Everything else we really need to know about life, love and the pursuit of happiness is on social media, you can document weight loss of peers, follow the breakups and makeups of high school sweethearts and figure out the exact date an acquaintance got a nose job. Why would we need to have meaningful conversations when we “know” everything about everyone from their Twitter feed?!

The other night my friend and I talked about our goals in life. That was the first time in a long time anyone asked me a question that actually made me rethink so many of my life decisions. I spent the last 24 years rushing through life. Doubling up on math and sciences courses in high school. Taking AP and honors courses to build my transcript, working part time since I was 15 to make sure I had the trendiest outfits. Submitting early applications to my reach, target and safety colleges two months into my senior year. Choosing the perfect mesh of majors in college to graduate in 4 years, land an internship that would guarantee me a stellar resume to get a full-time offer before graduation. Starting grad school 2 months into my full-time career. When the hell did I enjoy my teen and young adult years? No wonder I am completely burnt out. I’ve been in this race with myself ever since I could remember. It took me 24 years to realize I was on the fast-track nowhere because I rushed through everything in life yet I am still unsure where I see myself in 5 years. I put myself through unneeded stress and anxiety- for, what? A piece of paper framed on the coffee table in my parent’s living room? A paycheck that goes to my student loan, cell phone bill, car insurance and to grow my shoe collection?

When did it become a dirty, shameful thing to address the state of our mental health? Why do I keep losing friends and acquaintances to drug addiction, domestic violence and suicide? Why do we teach our children in schools about the college application process, put them under pressure to over-achieve in grade school but not address their anxiety and depression? How awful it must feel to suffer from a panic attack, feel like someone is holding you by your throat, barely breathing and have no pre-built defense system to cope? In writing this I hope to reach at least one person. To say that you’re not alone. That it’s so important to address the importance of building a strong mind so that you don’t have this “quarter-life crisis” so many are going through. It makes me a little more hopeful to hear stories of friends taking control of their mental health. Seeking professional help, and this does not mean you need to take xanax or prozac, it means speaking to a certified professional about your mental well-being. I have stopped being surprised that when the topic of anxiety and depression comes up a friend or two openly admit they have struggled with one or a combination of both. I wish this could be more openly discussed. Because the reality is this, if you are comfortable enough talking about it, it means you have addressed it. It means you are one step closer to battling and overcoming it. And for that, I openly applaud you.

I envision a world where the aunties in the communities we grow up in would stop asking young girls when they are getting married and start asking them about their goals, dreams and ambitions. Let’s stop the taboo around mental health and put the focus on mental resilience and happiness! Let’s educate ourselves on mental health so we can address early signs in our children so they don’t have to struggle to find happiness later in life.

Here’s a challenge: try doing one positive thing a day that makes you happy. This is so much harder than it sounds. Especially if you are unsure what makes you happy to begin with!

Here’s are a few tips for the anxious: 

  • Look for a meditation playlist on YouTube and try to focus on your breathing and clearing your mind for 20 minutes once a day. If you’re as over-whelmed on any given day as I am you will probably struggle the first few times you try this because you will be making mental lists of all the things you need to accomplish once you finish. Psst. If you’re Muslim, try to truly focus during prayer and praying 5x a day. The magnitude of the blessings will be life-changing.
  • Practice gratitude. Make a list (yes, a list- refer to my last post on lists) of everything you are grateful for. This list could include things like family, a home or silly things like your daring ability to mix different prints in outfits! This is a true gift, don’t listen to anyone who tells you otherwise. For real though. A friend and I recently caught ourselves being extremely ungrateful. We seemed to have lost sight of something important; we got so consumed complaining that we forgot there are people battling some real serious things out there. Take those suffering from incurable chronic illness. You feeling grateful yet? That’s what I thought.
  • Do something outside of your comfort zone. Ever have dinner alone? Try it! And when you do, listen to the dialogue in your mind and address the way you speak to yourself. You are most likely your own worst critic, change that. Be your biggest cheerleader.
  • It’s okay to cry. One of my biggest frustrations with society is the desensitization being programmed into so many at such a young age. Video games with murder and robbery make me cringe. Crying is taboo because it makes you less manly. No. Crying makes you human. If you don’t cry there’s a problem, seek help.
stop and smell the sunflowers. photo taken in Central London

stop and smell the sunflowers. photo taken in Central London this summer!

Don’t forget to share on social media, follow this blog on wordpress and take the poll!

Ps. Follow me on Instagram for a constant feed into my life: @Hodagram

Xx H

Your List Doesn’t Exist.

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Saying I like lists would be an understatement. I am absolutely, positively obsessed with lists. I always feel as though I have one thousand and one things happening at once in my life. Putting things into lists always helps me organize my thoughts and gives me the impression that I may actually have my act together. It also gives me satisfaction to cross things off, as though I actually accomplished something significant when I perform that simple action. *check*

I make lists for grocery shopping. I make to-do lists at work. I make lists for my life plans. Wait. Literally. My life goals are a series of lists. When I was 14 I wrote out my high school schedules 4 years out. In college I made lists of the courses I needed to take to graduate with a double major on time. When I go on vacation I make lists of “must-do’s” and “should-do’s”, I probably drive my travel buddies crazy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way #sorrynotsorry.

And then. When I was 21 I had life all figured out (or so I thought). So I sat down one night in a rage of disappointment and typed a list that was probably the worst list I ever made. I made a list of qualities I wanted in a significant other and insisted I wouldn’t settle for anything less than that. How ridiculous am I? The list had things I wouldn’t compromise on, like “ambition” and other things that weren’t completely set in stone like: “has to be really tall so my kids don’t hate me.” It took me nearly three years to realize that things always seem better on paper. That some people pretend to be someone they aren’t just to get in your good graces. And most importantly, I realized that my list doesn’t exist. So, here’s the story that made me discover it.

Story Time:

As I was driving home from work one night I got a call from my friend. As I grabbed my phone to pick up the call and saw who it was I immediately knew why she was calling. “My husband wants to talk to you, he says he has the perfect guy for you”. In my head I was pulling up my list, ready to asses the situation and ready to be on the defensive because “guys these days suck”. I listened to my friend’s husband describe this “great” guy to me. “He’s going to add you on Facebook, just chat and see what happens.” He said. After a few days passed and I didn’t get a friend request I couldn’t help but feel stumped. Did I just get virtually rejected? I did. Wait. I’m supposed to do the rejecting, I always do. I felt exposed. I needed answers.

Well. Turns out, this guy had a list as well (and a girl he had been seriously seeing for several months). My friend’s husband eventually called to tell me how his friend had “checked out” my Facebook profile and made a “list” of all these great things about me. “She’s tan, check. Works out, check. Seems a little tough, check. Egyptian, check. etc. etc. Bro, you nailed it with this one.” These were some of the exact words via text this stranger sent my friend’s husband. Someone decided to make a decision about me as a person based on a few photos (even though he was already seriously seeing someone, now you see why I said guys suck these days? #thesehoesaintloyal #notheyaint). My Facebook photos don’t reflect my personality. My ambition. My sense of humor or the ridiculously quirky things I do.

This person turned me into a list based on his needs and desires. A list just like the one I had been using to asses every man that came my way. A list that probably didn’t exist. It wasn’t until I was on the other side of the spectrum that I realized how ridiculous I was being. That people set these expectations in their heads of qualities they want in a significant other without realizing that humans are humans. You can’t turn a human into a list. Check and cross things out, that’s just not how it works. I was so grateful that this happened because it made me see things in a completely different light. The reason I was so offended was because I was getting a taste of my own medicine and I was not having it.

So this is to me admitting the need to live outside my comfort zone, rolling with the punches and allowing fate to takes its course. This situation happened almost a year ago and I’m proud to say I stopped mentally using this list and I am doing just fine without it.

from my heart to yours! photo taken in Thessaloniki, Greece this summer  with #BadGirlDaiDai<3

from my heart to yours! photo taken in Thessaloniki, Greece this summer with #BadGirlDaiDai ❤

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Xx H