I wish I were born just 10 years earlier!

If you haven’t already surmised, I hate being a “millennial.” I think it’s an unfair lumping that I had absolutely no choice over. The rest of my siblings are not part of this Generation Y, so why am I? Really, mom and dad! REALLY?

I mean, because my best friend for pretty much all thirty years of my life is 13 years older than me (i.e. my sis), it’s natural that I would act, know about, and be interested in things that people of my generation just don’t have the institutional memory of. Their parents are, like, my sister’s age! Kidding, Baajoonoos! You are ageless <3

But it’s not just my musical interests and insane knowledge of ’80s and early ’90s pop-culture that reinforces my oddity compared to people my age, it’s also the social media culture in which we live. I feel that if you were born in the ’70s or earlier (perhaps even early ’80s), you can claim ignorance and still function and be acknowledged as a normal human being. I was discussing this with a friend of mine a few weeks ago – she’s older and also not on social media – and she reinforced what I already guessed to be true: that my generation really can’t get around social media without being considered a pariah. It’s not just socially either; it affects your professional life, as well! I may be a bit odd, but I still gots to eat like everyone else!

I’ve been a pariah for a good chunk of my adolescence and early adulthood. I only rejoined Facebook after 5 years of being off it because I handle my work’s social media accounts. It’s not my work’s fault that I am privy to these online arguments between public figures I “follow” or have the privilege of reading comments essentially stating that not liking something that has a million hits somehow makes you a bigot. Does no one have an appreciation for decency or aesthetics anymore?

Social media is like a gateway drug. Okay, that’s harsh. It’s more like sugar. Once you get it, you can’t stop (me, anyway – I don’t understand you “savoury” people). And I literally have to pause to stop myself from making some banal “status update” that no one cares about… because I am not a public figure or even close to it.

I am aware that in this day and age, one only need make a controversial comment or decision and then BAM, you’re as famous as Emeril (or as famous as he used to be).

Still, I hold on to the foolish belief that if I ever become famous it’s because I achieved world peace.

P.S. My blog is my status update.

Finding your personal truth amidst the fray

What do you do when so many things you once believed are questioned and put in doubt? Do you continue to hold on because people from your past insist that is the way to do things? Or do you embrace this new space given to you and just run with it, while keeping in the back of your mind that you may be in the wrong?

I’m merging two separate issues right now and so the above stream-of-conscious self-questioning probably won’t make sense to anyone but myself, but I’ve come across a few notions in the past few days that have gotten my head spinning in many different directions.

But whatever people may say – and I won’t be able to please them all, I have to accept MY reality. I can’t look to others to tell me what to do, even though I’ve gotten almost comfortable with living my life that way. I didn’t even realize that I was doing this until I got married actually. The change in environment was a rude awakening for me, but perhaps one that I needed. For the first time in my life, questioning was not only allowed, it was encouraged. In fact, I had to do it.

I’m not really sure where I am going with this post, but I just had to let it out. I decided against making a Facebook update (since I am now Twitter-less) because the site is too public and not really the appropriate medium for my ramblings. I like the obscurity of the blogosphere. It suits me. Especially for posts that are incoherent and impromptu like this one.

If you’re reading this and feel comfortable commenting, I have a question for you: How do you find your personal truth amidst the different competing positions when “right” and “wrong” are no longer as clear as you once thought?

Oh yeah, happy new year! ;)

I must say that reducing my social media “presence” (I can’t think of a better word – it really felt like I was hovering and not really a part of it) has been so freeing.

The irony is not lost on me however that many people who will read this (paragraph) will chance upon it through Cake & Cows’s Facebook page (but if I am aware of the irony, is it still ironic?). I considered deleting it because “I don’t like being a hypocrite” (future blog post… if I ever get around to it). But given that I am a writer, I do want to be read. Otherwise, my journal would be the only place my thoughts are transcribed.

It’s a tension I’ve struggled with for many years and one which has not been resolved.
But regardless of whether it’s resolved or not, I no longer feel the need to write “bloggy” topics anymore. What do I mean by that? Posts that always have a neat ending. Posts on topics people expect to read. Sure I’ll most likely do those from time to time, but my last unfiltered post felt so good to write. It took me back to 2003, when the few people who read my blog were people that knew me through my words only. There’s something beautiful about that.

I don’t mean to say that I want to project a false image of who I am. I’ve never been dishonest, but I can’t say I’ve been fully honest either. So many times I’ve had this urge to blog, but decided it wouldn’t make for a “good” blog topic, because it would make reference to something most people wouldn’t get or would find boring. Well, you know what? Screw that! Being able to be myself is why I latched onto blogging in the beginning and why I picked it up again last year. Don’t get me wrong: I don’t wish to “be myself” at the expense of another person’s privacy, which I have never done by the way, but I am so over being damn PC. Maybe it’s because it’s a new year, or because I’ll be turning 30 in less than a month, or because I currently feel like the Phantom of the Opera. I don’t know what it is, but it doesn’t really matter. If I want to write about the mundane everyday things of my life, like how I’m currently suffering through an outbreak of perioral detmatitis and how it’s making me hate my life right now (hence the reference to the Phantom earlier), I’m going to. If no one reads it, fine. I’ve been there before and it’s not the end of the word. I’ve never gone viral and I’m completely okay with it. That’s not why I started writing in the first place!

I’ve been reading a lot lately and one thing I’ve gleaned is that each writer brings with him/her a unique voice. If I filter myself to be some cookie-cutter, I’ll never be satisfied and perhaps those of you who do take the time to read my stuff (which I appreciate more than you can imagine) would be missing out on the full range of what I can offer. Is that confidence? Well, I need it, so I’m keeping it! ;)

If 2017 is the year Rafia gets back to her roots of being her unabashed self, then that’s the best resolution, albeit unconscious, I would have made for myself in years, if not ever.

Haha, so this post ended up being a disclaimer, but that’s fine. Hopefully it’s a beginning of something new and more raw.

(Mostly) unfiltered thoughts on self-worth, jealousy

It’s so hard not to be jealous. But what am I jealous about? Because she has amazing hair? And has that elusive “group of girls” I always wished I had? Is that really worth being jealous about? A part of me that I am not proud of seeks praise. But what does that actually do? Does it make me any happier? It’s not like I’ve never received compliments. It’s just that I easily forget. I’ve somehow absorbed the idea that thinking well of myself is akin to vanity. But clearly, I’ve taken it too far. It’s not conscious. The point was to not become so demoralizing-ly self-effacing as a result. But once you’ve believed the lie that others are more worthy than you, you need a drastic change. I don’t need to proclaim it to the world, but I am worthy. I possess characteristics and have achieved things that those girls I see do not and have not. We all do. And if you’re anything like me, please keep reminding yourself this. You don’t need to share it with the world. In fact, I would say keep it private. But don’t bury it so deep down that you forget it.

Clearly, deactivating my Instagram and Twitter accounts last week was a step in a positive direction. Unfortunately, I cannot delete my Facebook account. Maybe that’s a good thing. But in any case, with just two clicks from my Facebook feed, I couldn’t help feeling again this morning those same feelings that led me to reduce a good chunk of my social media presence.

I can’t blame social media for a human defect, but it does make it easier. Oh so easier. To judge others. To perceive that others have it better than we do (based on carefully calculated images and text, lest we forget!). To decry what we have.

I’m a sensitive person, for better or for worse. But because I am so sensitive, I have to be very conscious about what I consume (I don’t mean physically here – I ain’t never gonna stop eating cake!) and what I say to myself. I wrote the above (almost) unedited blurb in a moment of jealousy and self-loathing. But because I am trying to be conscious about the images I allow into my life and disseminate, I didn’t allow myself to wallow for too long.

Still, I needed to email these thoughts to myself to remind me, and to post it here to remind others who feel as I do, that we need to stop. Braggarts are a problem and they need to be dealt with. But self-effacement that goes beyond modesty is also a problem that needs to be dealt with. I really don’t think the model I’ve been following thus far works. Sure, people can say I am being humble. But unless I am content with what I have and who I am, it’s not really a virtue; it’s a front, and perhaps not any better than the vice.

Obligatory blog post from your favoUrite Canadian-American (because I’m most likely the only one you know!)

I find myself in a unique position being a Canadian-born U.S. Citizen. And never more than today: the day the endless cycle that is the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election finally comes to an end – or so we hope.

On Facebook, it’s been a continuous feed of “I’ve voted” status updates and photos. I voted early, so I don’t have any photos from today. But I did want to contribute to the mix by making my temporary profile pic a photo of me wearing my Canada shirt when I visited Washington, D.C. during Memorial Day Weekend. But perhaps it’s a little too tongue-in-cheek for social media. My sense of humour seems to go right over most peoples’ heads.

So, I will post it on my blog.

I post a lot of pics of myself, don’t I?

Ah, I feel better.

I like to make jokes about how no matter what happens, I still have that fail-safe option which allows me to move back to the Motherland. But, as I’ve written before, I am neither wholly Canadian nor wholly American. In ways, I am neither. In ways, I am both.

Mr. Rafia will most likely be up all evening watching the news. I’ll probably head to bed around 10 PM and read my latest book (“You Can’t Make This Stuff Up” by Lee Gutkind – such an apt title for our times) until I fall asleep. I’ll find out who wins tomorrow morning along with everyone else. It’s not nearly as fun watching CNN’s John King play around with his Magic Wall (If there were such a thing as a ‘dream job,’ King would have it).

I don’t have anything substantial to add to the fray with this post (quite honestly, we’ve been hearing the same thing from everyone for the past 500+ days – I’m just practicing my First Amendment Constitutional right as a U.S. Citizen ;). I just wanted to say that today my status as an observer/participant has been more heightened than it usually is. That’s all. Have a great day, y’all!