Dreams Really Do Come True

love you celine

Tuesday night a dream came true.  I fought back fear and was seated in the O2 arena, listening to what some have deemed the eighth wonder of the world: Celine Dion.  I say fought back my fear due to the recent terror attacks in London. I was debating with myself whether it was selfish of me to go. What if something did happen?  Having children has definitely made me more fearful. More fearful of everything.

I was very uneasy of leaving my children anyway, my youngest is not even 4 months and my eldest is old enough to know that I won’t be home for bedtime cuddles and kisses. Getting to the O2, the security was much more stringent than I remember and despite my earlier protestations my husband and I enjoyed a wonderful meal together prior to entering the actual arena. To be honest, I felt uneasy throughout the night and when we found our seats I couldn’t help but look for the nearest fire exit and wonder how many people could make it out of the arena safely.

It was not long until Celine’s supporting act entered the stage. I had not heard of Veronic DiCaire before but I hope this night was not the last time. She was beyond amazing and although I knew Celine was coming on stage as soon as Veronic completed her set, I was left wanting more. She reminded me a lot of Celine in her looks, the way she spoke (as a French/Canadian she had the exact same accent) and she definitely warmed the arena with her voice and her charm. Commenting on the recent terror attacks, she remarked on the British resilience with such feeling, I was left in tears. She remarked on the need to celebrate music and that was exactly what we did. Terrorism is more than how many people are killed (as heart-breaking as each death is) but how much fear they bring to our lives. They want us to stop living as we do and I am so glad that I refused to let them win.

Excitement was building when the time came for Celine to come on stage.  What seemed to be from out of nowhere she was there.  Although the concert tickets were sold out Celine Dion is able to make you feel she is performing to you only.  She converses with the crowd throughout the show with humour and compassion and you feel she is talking directly to you. It all seemed so natural and unrehearsed. There was no grand display on stage, or grand costume changes. It felt more about being there for one another rather than putting on a show with grand lighting effects.  My husband fortunately brought good seats, however towards the end of the show, Celine broke with protocol and walked off stage, through the crowd and sang the last song from a podium less than 15 feet away from where our seats were. Having an aisle seat meant that Celine walked straight past me. Most people had their phones up to their faces and taking pictures but I wanted to remember that moment.  The moment she looked at me and smiled. The moment I felt that she and I were the only two people in that arena.

She may be thirteen years older than me but I feel I can relate to her on so many levels, as a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister. We have both suffered the loss of a loved one through Cancer and know that grief is like the disease itself. You will forever be recovering rather than free from it. As she dedicated the song to the victims of the Manchester and London terror attacks, you could feel and hear the compassion she felt for everyone. 

celine-o2-2017

Celine Dion, despite her ‘diva’ status has no pretence in front of others, there was a moment when she was overcome with emotion during the concert. She is not shy at showing her feelings or at laughing and joking, even at herself. I feel I have walked away from the concert with a new friend. For me she is so relatable on so many levels as a person rather than a product that just happens to sing beautiful music. It was the memories of her singing at the O2 that helped me through soothing a feverish 4 month old to sleep in 33 degree heat while her older sister was crying for me to cuddle her. 

So many people say it is risky meeting your idols and that often our expectations do not meet the reality. Watching Celine at the O2 was reminiscent of seeing my daughter walking behind Elsa in the parade at Disneyland. Elsa spotted her and several times blew her kisses, made a heart and even sent her some magic. The look on my daughter’s face was unforgettable. Now I know how she felt. Reality did not meet expectations, it exceeded them. Not only that but I am determined to keep those feelings safely tucked away for times when I need to draw on them. Like last night.

It just goes to show that you never know the effect you have on people. In a similar fashion, you never know what is going on behind closed doors, behind the smiles that people portray.  That is why we must always be gentler with people, kinder and less inclined to judge them. I had always known that and have tried to put that in practice in my relations with other people, however it was watching Celine that bought it home for me. There is a reason that Celine Dion is as successful as she is, having a good voice is not enough. You need to be likeable. Relatable. Human. That is exactly what she is.

Celine

Opening image: my own

Second image: www.metro.co.uk

Closing image: blastingnews.com

The Two Faces of Reality

There has been a lot written on the events of London 2012: the amazing opening ceremony, the excitement of the events, the race to Gold. What has not been written yet and which I can not help but feel envious of is the tourists on holiday, far away from their reality. My husband and I braved the London crowds on Friday (although they were not as dense as I feared) and dined out prior to walking along the South Bank. All the tourists had smiles on their faces, excitedly pointing their cameras towards London landmarks, far away from any sense of reality in their homeland.

I on the other hand had come from work, still carrying my utter disappointment and memories of the tears shed during the day. I rarely stand up against such people, not because of fear but because I believe myself too good for that. I would not want to reduce myself to their level, I want to be the one to keep the peace in a highly volatile environment. Unfortunately, not only does it often fail to work, it leaves an effect on me that lasts for days. The problem is even though I know it will be easier on me, I never change. I don’t think I want to. I am assertive and can fight my corner when the time is right. I just know I’m never going to change opinions, they will think what they want about me either way. I’d rather maintain an air of calm and not create an extra storm.

Most things I do now often leads me to questioning my actions. Wondering whether I would encourage my own children to act in the same way. To be honest. I genuinely don’t know. I would want them to stand their ground but also not to lose their integrity. I would tell them that sometimes it takes a stronger person to stand down in a fight (perceived or not) than it does for someone to raise their fists or their voice.

Last weekend however, I received lovely, unexpected texts and e-mails which made me realise that my reality was not all that bad and which literally propelled me to stronger, more positive ground. My reality may not always be perfect – but then again whose is? I only have to go through the emotional turmoil for a few months longer until I embark on my maternity leave after which I may or may not return to work. In four months time, my whole world will change. I have a wonderful, exciting future ahead of me. It is just sometimes the darker shade of reality over shadows the good side and it takes longer to see the sun between the clouds.

We are naturally programmed to always see the grass as greener on the other side and we are so busy doing so that we fail to see what we have on offer on our own side and most importantly we fail to enjoy it. So, I have made a promise to myself that each time I think negatively or concentrate on the ‘darker’ side of my reality, I will dwell longer on the ‘lighter’ and more positive side. As a friend commented to me over the weekend, I will not look back on my life and be grateful that I let myself suffer or be unhappy unnecessarily. At the risk of using a cliché, my life is really good, if only I let it be.

 

Pictures from Unknown and Realneo

The Language of Love

I remember in my younger years how I would actually study MTV. I would sit and watch the channel from morning until night. I would know each song and artist by the first chord. Music was my world back then. It still is but very rarely do I experience the hair on the back of my neck rising at a particular song. I do not begrudge the music of today but correct me if I’m wrong, it always seems to be about showing the most flesh in the videos and singing about love, unrequited love, broken love, new love. There is nothing wrong with that, we all go through such feelings at sometime in our lives but surely there is more to our life, more to our story than that? Maybe I am showing my age but I have increasingly become much more restless with music. Very rarely do I turn on the music channel these days and when I do, I’m always remarking “Who??” when the latest pop band plays. I sound like a broken record each time.

I have recently become fascinated by the various names the channels are called now. No longer is it as simple as MTV – I can’t even remember the name of the channel we were watching it seems to be that random. So when Mr. Husband tuned in yesterday morning, I was preparing to tune out. Until this song came on:


Now I understand what the saying: ‘if music be the language of love play on’ really means. Love does not only mean love between people but also love of yourself. We all suffer from self-doubt at some point in our lives.   Thanks to Katy Perry, I now feel like I am wearing a coat of armour. Whenever I catch even traces of self-doubt, I will remember to show people what I am truly worth.

We were all given gifts that are unique to us. We should be proud to let our colours shine, even if they do not match our counterparts. Free yourself from the  harsh reality of self-doubt, of consciousness and be proud of who you are. Ignite your firework and watch your beautiful colours shine.

The Importance Of A Plan

My ‘alphabet games’ this past week were more like a video game that has been on pause for seven days. I had a small discovery earlier in the week when reading a book  and discovering a new viewpoint of my ‘fictional account (based on autobiographical facts) of my Middle Eastern travels’. So that is a start, right? My children’s book idea is progressing and I’ve made an additional (more ongoing) plan for progressing a little further. I am thinking of writing it in the form of a book as opposed to a list of page numbers and text. So, I may not have anything concrete to hand in after class, but I feel I am giving myself an extension onthe project.

So this week I am setting myself the goal of completing:

1- the character profile of my villain;

2- to write a passage from the perspective of my villain;

3- to begin the write up of the first (or even second) draft of my children’s book.

It continues to be a constant battle to find 5 minutes to write but I’m looking forward to the week ahead. Looking forward to the daily commute, the fives minutes here and there during the working day, the evenings at home planning the next stage of my writing schedule. That is my plan.  Right now from a Sunday evening perspective, that is the best thing I can do and from where I am sitting, the plan doesn’t look all  that bad.

In fact despite the trepidation of the unknown, I’m in fact feeling a little excited…

My Bucket List

One of the most memorable films I have seen is The Bucket List mostly because it made me laugh and cry in equal measure. I know that most bucket lists are compiled by those not of my generation and although I am not planning on ‘kicking the bucket’ any time soon, I am aware of ageing; of wasting my life away on continually staying in my comfort zone. I wasn’t always like that. I travelled to Iran on my own, something I have always wanted to do but which was way, way out of my comfort zone. Although, my trip did not turn out the way I thought it would, I met my husband who is the joy of my life. I don’t want to find that I have simply remained stagnant because in my experience, I know that good things are waiting for me if I remain brave and keep moving.

In light of this, I have used the past few days to think of a few things I want to do before I ‘kick the bucket’. This of course is not an exhaustive list but for now, in no particular order my hopes are to:

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1- Have children;

2- Find a job that provides job satisfaction and ultimately leaves me smiling at the end of the day;

3- Become fluent in Farsi;

4- Write a  book (not necessarily be published – although that would be nice (!);

5- Set up my own proofreading business, or at least earn money from the discipline;

6- Learn to take some ‘me’ time and learn that it is okay to do so;

7- Travel particularly to places such as Las Vegas and Africa;

8 – Recreate and maintain family relationships across counties, countries and continents.

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I may not have a top 100 list or even a top 10 list but I’ve begun the  first steps to creating my very own bucket list in the hope that in years, months even days to come I can cross items off, add items on; remember what matters in life and having fewer regrets. I may fall along my way, I may come across hurdles but my little bucket list will remind me that there is still hope and a reason to pick myself up , jump over those hurdles and continue running.

What would you include in your bucket list?

 

The Woman I’ve Learnt To Love

‘Between love and death there is obsession’

I defy anyone who says that Dorothy Koomson writes chick lit novels. Don’t get me wrong there is nothing wrong with the genre, I’m quite a fan myself. However, you can not compare Bridget Jones’ Diary to The Woman He Loved Before. There has only been one another book that I have been so glued to and so attached to that I’ve even read it while walking in the street in between my commute to work and home. I finished Dorothy Koomson’s latest masterpiece this evening and as with all her books the disappointment of finishing it too quickly has yet to leave me. The Woman He Loved Before is an outstanding piece and although I am not planning on writing a review, I have to say it was completely hypnotising from the first page. The story of the three main characters really touched me and I truly learnt something about myself and my relationship with those closest to me.

Mostly though (as I believe was Dorothy’s intention) I learnt to love myself and that although I may not be the perfect size 10, I am perfect for me. At the end of the book, Dorothy asks us to see the good in ourselves and to not shy away from what is in front of us when we look in the mirror. I had tears in my eyes as I read those words. It was only last night that I was looking at pictures of myself wishing I was thinner; my hair straighter; my height shorter. Now when I look at those same pictures, I see a wife, a daughter, a sister and an auntie and a good one too; a loving one. That is what I’m most proud of and what makes me beautiful. What makes me perfect.

I strongly urge you to not only read this book but to also examine yourself and discover the good, the beautiful and the perfect in you.

It’s the best tonic in the world.

Shame and Remorse

‘… You must be one who runs a race, stumbles and falls, rises and presses on to the goal. What avails it if he stays to examine the spot where he fell, to weep over the delay, over the shortsightedness that prevented his avoiding the obstacles?

So with you, and I lay it on you as a command – no looking back. Give yourself, and all you have ever met, a fresh start from today. Remember no more their sins and failures or your own.

When I sent My Disciples out, two by two, no scrip, no two coats, no money; it was an injunction to be carried out literally, but figuratively, too. On Life’s journey throw away all that is not important. Cast aside all the hindrances, the past imperfections of others, the failure-sense.’

God Calling, A J Russell, Page 129

Although the above quote was taken from a ‘daily devotional’ book I dip into everyday, most of the entries are lessons that can transcend any religion and faith. I will continue to add devotionals that strike a particular chord with me and I hope with you too.



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