If You’re Angry and You Know it…

The other day, I was escorting a mild-mannered colleague to the elevator while ranting about certain cretinous individuals I work with. He interrupted me in mid-curse with “You shouldn’t complain Sara. You should stay positive. Do you know how many people in the world are suffering right now?” Needless to say, his family is currently searching for his remains while I am left wondering when this non-negative trend erupted.

I get that it would be lovely to be happy all the time, to exist in a kind of Stepford wife stupor where one is eternally placated and tickled by every drain pipe that spills excrement on them. Yet know this: Life doesn’t work that way. I don’t know where these people were in Kindergarten but I distinctly remember the teachers showing us smiley and sad faces when trying to teach us about emotions and not picking our noses in public (at least I retained part of that lesson).

Even on social media, many are often berated if they dare to share a negative or angry opinion. Since when were only half of our emotions kosher? What’s so taboo, wrong or catastrophic with being angry, sad, or miserable? Of course, this is not to say that if you see someone out on a ledge, you shrug it off as ‘oh he’s just having bad day’. There are levels of depression and rage that warrant immediate action, however mildly wishing a colleague would catch a treatable STD does not fall in that category.

It’s completely unrealistic and inhuman to want to avoid negative vibes or emotions. It’s the same with friendships; friends who never fight are not real friends. You need to overcome the uncomfortable hurdles of hurt before you can relish in rainbow days of bliss ahead. If it weren’t for our negative emotions, we might never overcome negative things or behaviours that plague our lives.

Ultimately, trying to avoid negativity is like trying to avoid going to the bathroom. It’s unpleasant but absolutely necessary; otherwise you truly would be full of shit.

dark-side

New Year, Old Me

I don’t know if it’s my age or not, but having celebrated 30-something New Yearseses, the event is really starting to lose its thunder for me. Even more deflating are the annual declarations we make called resolutions, which are ultimate assurances of failure. Come January first, all forms of communicable media is gushing with messages of how to improve, enhance or further yourself into that gleaming shining star buried deep within your flaws. Read here for 6 easy steps to tightening that neck. Click this for the secret to building muscles on your eyelids. Why are we so drawn into that lure of bettering ourselves? What could possibly be wrong with the way we are now?

Every New Year, I head out and join throngs of intoxicated homo sapiens to count down, drink, scream, and inhale in the new year. And surely enough, once the celebrations have died down and we have located our abodes and dignity; there is always that talk of resolutions. It’s really funny when you see people who in the span of 12 hours go from trying to inject tequila and sniff detergent to singing up for Tai Chi and yoga retreats.

There is a fine line between what our perception of ourselves is and what we actually are. If asked to describe ourselves on a sheet of paper, I’m sure many of us would use words like “kind, smart, creative, funny” where in the same instance, we wouldn’t dote these adjectives so freely on other people and might opt for more expressive terms such as “genetically challenged” or “religiously bound to idiocy”. Point is, even if we think we are better than we actually are, the project of improving yourself is tantalizingly exciting and too hard to pass up.

Unfortunately, the resolution system is inherently flawed. The sheer fact that you need to wait until a specific date to adopt better practices for your health and life carry the same risk of failure as “I’ll start my diet on Monday”. If you can’t say no to those 400 snicker bars now, chances are you’re not going to magically acquire the strength to stop licking butter bars on a certain date. It’s an old cliché but the “there’s no time like the present” has stood the test of time because of its veracity. If you decide on December 3 that you’re going to quit smoking on the first, this means you are going to spend the better part of the month over indulging in a bad habit; trying to suck up cancer through every hole in your body. And unless you’re one of a few talented females in Thailand, I don’t think you can pull off that trick smoothly. Nevertheless, not only will you smoke more, but you will also probably just hold up the resolutions for a matter of nano seconds, so you might as well have not made the damned resolution in the first place, and saved yourself a charred asshole.

While it might be fun to reinvent yourself come January, remember not to pour too many resources into a project with such a high failure rate. I mean, let’s face it, if you had kept all your resolutions, you would be God by the time you were 28. This year, the only thing I’m resolving is to stay as fabulously imperfect as I am. The only thing that will change is the date. I’m going to greet 2017 with the same love handles, renegade grey hairs and copious cursing that have colored my glorious days. There’s a good chance you will too so throw in the towel now and join me in my quest for un-resolving to change.

 

Get the nuggets out of my box

TV commercials; we all hate them, we are all forced to watch them sometimes. If you’re not quick enough to record a movie, you are stuck sitting through long minutes of asinine drivel about disgusting products you would never buy. At least, I’m referring to advertising here in the region. Yesterday I was unfortunate enough to have to watch a movie streamed live, and hence the clash with tortuous ads, 95% of which were trying to sell me fast food garbage.

The only time I’ll walk into a fast food mess is when I’m considerably inebriated, everything is spinning, and I feel the vomit churning in my tummy, wondering which exit route to take. That is the only time I will shove fast “food” down my throat, and clearly because by that point your body needs the insane amount of grease to reestablish your center of gravity.

It was really quite sad: out of 4 commercials, only one was nonfood related; it was about cleaning products and the script/acting/production were so bad I wanted to crawl into a corner and chew my own toes off one by one. The rest might as well have been advertisements for how to block your arteries quickly, or a vacation to the afterlife to meet your maker because surely regular consumption of this garbage would have you in a body bag in no time.

This was unbelievably frustrating. Why are there no ads for healthy food? Aren’t salads sexy enough? I would much rather watch a cabbage unfurl slowly than processed cheese ooze out of some deep fried crust of saw dust and rat droppings! And it’s not like we don’t have the products to advertise; the Abu Dhabi Farmer’s Market has really taken off and they have been producing great local produce. Ripe Markets in the UAE are bringing excellent organic products, and there are many places that boast healthy menus. So why don’t these entities have a voice in the ad slots?

It’s 2015. The cat is out of the bag; fast food is unbelievably bad for you and obesity levels are rising alarmingly in the Middle East. How are these chains still thriving? Even in the US, the source of this fat mess, the tide has started to take a turn (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/mcdonalds-to-close-more-stores-than-it-opens-in-us-for-first-time-in-40-years-10333642.html). Why are we allowing a rejected trend from its point of origin to proliferate in our backyard? And it’s replacing a healthy and balanced cuisine! It should be a criminal offence to replace Tabbouleh and grilled meat for a big mac and fries.

I would really like to meet the person who is in charge of regulating ads in our region. I would like to strap him in a chair for a week, and each time a fast food ad came on, I would force him to eat that product in its entirety. It’s not fair that only the poisonous shit gets ample representation on the idiot box. In the interest of democracy, I’m not advocating the complete ban of fast crap (although that would be pure bliss). Rather, I would like to see some hot salads, blushing fruits and slutty greens parade on the screen as well. I believe it’s high time for equal representation; bring out those polygamous broccolis!

Of Nice and Men

I’m a firm believer in the power of Nice. Life could be much better for most of us if we were just a little nicer to each other. This is much easier said than done, however assuming we are rational animals capable of evolving, it is within reach to brighten up our world just a tad.

When I was younger, I remember our teachers and parents telling us we should play nice and be polite. Fast forward a few decades and suddenly everyone in the corporate world is baring their fangs, throwing daggers at any exposed backs, and behaving like packs of mindless, rabid dogs. What the fuck happened? Where did the tipping point occur? When did it become ok to evolve into bloodthirsty, smartly dressed corporate whores?

Sadly, it’s not just the workplace. Driving to work, we have all faced that one idiot in the morning that either won’t get out of the way, or is driving so close you can examine his teeth. Then it continues; there’s the angry security guard who thinks “if I act tough, people will forget I don’t have a gun or any real authority”. Or the hundreds of passer-bys, that scowl and growl.

All these angry specimens around me made me wonder at where this aggression originated from. And while some people are just bad apples, I have narrowed down a few causes that can make most of us lean to our darker side.

Lack of sleep: yes, it’s not just burping and pooing babies that get cranky when you interrupt their Zs. Many adults need their 6-8 a night and tempers flare easily when they haven’t dreamt enough of your demise in lala land. Better to be lynched in REM than real life.

Hunger: ah, the starter of wars and the catalyst to our own fantastic (?) evolution. Like lack of sleep, hunger makes you angry and mean. Unfortunately, many people choose daily to ignore science and skip breakfast. By noon time, tempers are hot and chances for a squabble are significant. If you notice someone in your home or workplace that seems to be short-fused for no real good reason, try throwing a cookie in their vicinity and see if that helps the situation. This trick has worked wonders for me. Sometimes said idiot will refuse to eat because they are on some irrational diet. If they refuse the cookie but are visibly hungry, keep some greens at hand for them to graze on.

Sexual frustration: I strongly believe that most cases of anger and cruelty are linked to a sheer lack of sex. When you have that physical closeness with someone, the intimacy nourishes your inner good side. Actually, that may be bull. I think it’s the incessant pounding and head bangs on the board that beat you back into a pleasant submissive state. And whether male or female, if you notice someone slouching around with an aura of hate around them, you should look into hiring a few hefty Nigerians to fuck the nice back into them.

Apart from these basic reasons, some people just think that being mean gets you further in life. This belief, apart from being archaic and stupid, has no real basis or foundation. I think it’s time we shed these old notions and make a clean break, with more tolerance and free smiles. I’m not advocating the other extreme though. I don’t think you should flit around life, skipping and singing, and thanking everyone who spits in your coffee. But it wouldn’t kill you to let that car pass, smile at the security guard, or let those Nigerians finish what they are doing to you.