Saturday, March 8, 2014

an elephant in my life

March 11th marks my two-month anniversary of not blogging, i could've felt proud of myself had this been a time of "fasting" just like some people now do when they get off of facebook for a while, but for me it's ridiculous to even think of a "blog fasting" because there's no such thing as "medicine fasting" in the first place! when blogging becomes addictive to me then i might need some kind of abstinence, but not quite yet, because blogging has been nothing but therapy to me, it's also a form of paying it forward simply because my life was changed when i started to follow blogs of great women writers and felt obligated to do the same. so why did i stop for two long months then?

tracing all the reasons i could think of kept leading me to one single spot, the "elephant in the room", the "F" word... apparently i had a big fat elephant in my life that i knew was there but i kept ignoring . wikipedia says the following about the elephant in the room:

an English metaphorical idiom for an obvious truth that is either being ignored or going unaddressed. The idiomatic expression also applies to an obvious problem or risk no one wants to discuss.
It is based on the idea that an elephant in a room would be impossible to overlook; thus, people in the room who pretend the elephant is not there have chosen to avoid dealing with the looming big issue.(emphasis added)

SO... yes go ahead and re-read these "wicked" lines! now i have a mark of four fingers on my cheek... what a wake-up slap this was, calling apparently wasn't enough for me to wake up so i needed more powerful words, WRITTEN not said, so that i would put "pen to paper" or "fingers to keyboard" and get back to therapy... get back to typing, just like playing the piano, get back to the music my laptop keyboard creates, music therapy / blogging therapy

this big true risky problem that i've chosen to unaddress, ignore, avoid, and pretend  it's not there is my beloved elephant: FEAR. maybe i should start wearing elephant earrings or find a really charming elephant pendant so that i wouldn't miss my pet once i get it out of my life (an elephant with the letter F on its belly)

the problem with fear is that it starts as small as a mustard seed, then the more you feed it the more it grows and the harder it gets to move it out, no window or door in your life will be big enough to allow it to pass through, so it stays there until you undo what you've done. and it took me two months to learn how to UNDO FEAR

the good news is that it worked, whatever technique or recipe i used to undo my fear seems to have worked really well to shrink down this elephant into a size that fits my front door then get it out, but the bad news is that this formula is not fixed, i can't re-use it or pass it on to others or learn it from anybody else... your fear is as unique as your fingerprints, but unlike your fingerprints which are fixed, your fear changes over time. i remember writing about this changing fear last summer on facebook how you develop different kinds of fears over the course of your life, the fear you have at school then adolescence then university, followed by finding a job, a life partner, then fear of financial burdens and establishing a family, this includes pregnancy and kids getting sick... so on and so forth

that's why it's a constant fight against the seeds of fear, the tiny cute elephants that are tempting to keep and feed thinking that they're as harmless as fish, which is true somehow because no matter how big the elephant grows it's not a monster that will literally eat you up, it just eats up the space in your life so you have no room left for anything else

my fear left me no room for writing, which might sound ok, but if i identify myself as a writer, then a writer does three main things "read", "think", and "write" and when i stopped doing the 1st and 3rd, i kind of stopped being myself. my elephant's trunk was too long it could reach me wherever i went and whisper a variety of negative messages in my ear: "you're not good enough"..."nobody will like what you're doing"..."you have nothing to write about"..."drop that book and go do something useful"... "you call yourself an expert?"... "brava bad mama"... "oh, your poor husband"...gradually i started to believe these lies, too many lies about myself, my worth, my work, my Rihamiat project, even about me as a mother and wife

it was about time i placed a cork in that trunk (or maybe two corks to be precise in my elephant anatomy), stopped these lies and worked on how to get this elephant out of my life

i wish i can say i'm no longer afraid, no longer scared of failure, no longer terrified of making mamaland-related mistakes, no longer doubtful of my self-worth... i still am scared to death of so many things, i still see little elephants (just the right size to fit into my front door) wandering around, trying to get into my life... and when i do let one in (only the super cute ones!) feed it till it grows, get the cycle going once again i try to always keep in mind that these elephants never killed me and they never will, so they are only making me stronger, and every time i bid farewell to one of them i turn back and step once again into my life to claim all that space as MINE. i hang an "i was blind and now i see" sign, say out loud: "it's time to clean up" time to get rid of the mess that fear left behind and start again, dream once more, look forward to great things yet to happen, spread hope and color in every corner of my life... and write a new blogpost

photo cutline: meet my two "monkies in the room" using Rihamiat sewing thread reels to pretend they're REALLY SCARY... ya mama

This essay and I are part of the Messy, Beautiful Warrior Project — To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE And to learn about the New York Times Bestselling Memoir Carry On Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life, just released in paperback, CLICK HERE!


  1. I really enjoyed reading this post! Good for you for fighting the big-F elephant. I'm honored to be part of Momastery and the Messy Beautiful project with you.

  2. Thank you Jessica for your encouraging comment, sorry for the late reply, I'm visiting your blog today, Happy New Year to you.