life

UPROOTING

I looked around my childhood bedroom one last time. It was the morning of my return flight back to Denver, back to the life I had built 1,000 miles away from this one. I walked around the room trying to sear into my memory every inch of its strange shape. The vaulted ceilings and big windows. The area that once housed my desk. My tiny closet that still held some of my past in it, waiting for donation or to be sent to the landfill. Memories flashed into my mind: pacing my room while talking to my best friend on the landline in a language that only we seemed to understand; typing away on my computer wondering if I could actually become an author when I grew up; smoothing out the comforter on my bed while listening to my mom reciting advice from her library of life experience. This was the sp...

LIFE, LOSS & RAINY TRIPS TO TARGET

About a week ago, I quietly snapped. It had been one of those days, which many of my recent days have resembled; wrong in every way at some point or another. I’m aware of it, the cloud of weighted sadness. It dissipates briefly throughout the day yet never seems to disappear. There is just so much going on in my life that my mind is struggling to keep up. The realization of this weakness makes me disappointed in myself . . . which makes the weight even heavier. This isn’t me. I know it. Unfortunately for now, that is as far as I can venture. This particular day, I’d already braved the cold weather for groceries when I later realized I still needed diapers. I’d likely forgotten them in my foggy state. Instantly angry. The tiredness from not sleeping well the night before was not helping. An...

THE DYING ART OF HELPFUL COMMUNICATION

When was the last time you got into a bit of a scuffle with a friend, lover, family member or even a stranger? When was your last miscommunication or misunderstanding? If it hasn’t been for a while, then you’re doing something right! Most of us, however, run into complications at times or even frequently.   Nowadays, we are constantly in contact with one another. While this can be a great thing, it also leaves more room for error. Enter the internet and text messaging. Not only are there words being thrown out more easily and readily, but there are so many ways to misinterpret what is being said or what the intentions are behind it. So how do we do it? How do we communicate in a more helpful and effective way without completely censoring ourselves?   I have always loved working with commun...

PROUD TO BE A MILLENNIAL

In today’s society the title “Millennial” has begun to require an apology. My generation is commonly described as entitled, lazy or coddled. I recently entered the workforce and was faced with such a derogatory stereotype. Never during my years in college spending countless hours slaving over projects, studying for exams or volunteering did I think I was lazy. Now, with any stereotype there may be some truth. There are Millennials out there who are lazy just as there are lazy Generation X-ers and Baby Boomers. Laziness isn’t confined to the stereotype and it certainly does not entitle anyone to make a generalization. It’d be the same as saying thin people are anorexic or the rich are greedy. We know these statements to be untrue because we personally know people who don’t fit the stereotyp...

REFRAMING RESOLUTIONS

A new year is upon us. And even though, yes, we get the opportunity to start every single day anew, there is something special and energizing about launching into a brand new calendar year.  Ahh: New Year’s Resolutions. Some people mock them. Some people flock to them. Some people roll their eyes at them. Some people revel in them. Some people fall off the bandwagon. Some people succeed beyond their wildest dreams. And… some people don’t even think twice about the whole darn thing. I’m simply here to let you in on my New Year’s tradition. I started it at the beginning of 2016 and it has been transformative. It’s also is rather simple.  Instead of setting a traditional goal, or a set of goals (which don’t get me wrong, I LOVE GOALS) – for the New Year, I set a broad intent...

WHY I HATE NEW YEAR’S EVE PARTIES

As a millennial, you will probably remember the New Year’s parties from TV (during the 80s and 90s), and those sounds the clocks made when they marked midnight.  Well, those clocks marked my New Year’s Eve parties, and also remained in my memory for the rest of my life! Back then, I was little and I was so scared. I was crying expecting some Grinch to come and take me away from my family. Those clocks had that sinister and horrible sound, which instead of marking the end of the year, sounded like they were marking the end of the world or humanity itself. It was horror all those years, at least that is how I perceived them at that fragile age, to the amusement of all the grown-ups around me who were so happy that the year is finally over. WEIRD! I believe that since that moment I have this ...

WATERPROOF

You weathered the storm.  The rain fell each day  unfailingly  clouds gathered, blacked your eyes  blocked the light  The thunder cracked your bones  the lightning so strong it threw your body up and you hit the ground.  you cowered under shelter  hid from the wind but   it found you again.  No forecast, no warning:  just tumbles, rumbles  the sky screamed  the earth stood still  you’re sorry, you’re sorry  you did all you could to find the sun again  to disperse the darkening clouds  lighten the rainfall  it washed away everything  but  You weathered the storm.      Author: Menna Siwan  Email: mennasiwan@googlemail.com  Author Bio: feminist, artist, poet, friend.  Link to social media or website: http://mennasiwanart.com 

DEAR TWENTIES

Dear 20s,  You turned me inside out and upside down.  Taking away everything that felt real to me.  Crashing through the illusions,   Bringing me to my knees,  Into pain so deep I thought I was on the verge of death.   But I rose, over and over and over again.  Continuing to reach for the light and taking the next step forward towards my redemption and rebirth.  Walking through the pain of generations of my family,   Saying, “ENOUGH!”  This stops with me.   May no one else ever feel the suffering that was passed down and brought upon me.  No more.  When your past was defined by lies, denial, repression, silence, manipulation, control, brainwashing, trauma and abuse it makes you swing the complete opposite direction because you know how damaging and destructive living in the shadows can be....

WHAT IS THE #METOO FOR ME?

It’s 7 a.m. on a Sunday.  The sun is almost up and shining. I am looking around for my friend, but she is not here. I know for sure I was the last one getting out of the club, they closed the door behind me. Well, can’t be that hard to find my way back to the hotel.  While looking around where to go, this cute guy comes to me:  “Do you need any help?”  I remember him from the club, he was dancing with us at one point, but I am not really interested in hooking up with anyone.  “No, it’s fine, I was looking for my friend, but I think she ditched me for some guy. I will just head back to my hotel.”  “I can accompany you if you want!” I am thinking, it’s daylight outside, people are walking around, what can happen?! “Sure, why not!?”  “Wher...

GRIEF WAVES

I’ve been thinking a lot about grief lately, and how just when I think I’m over the hump of feeling “back to normal”, something else happens – a celebrity dies, I hear a certain song, or have 10 minutes alone in the car after its parked. I start thinking about my dad and how he would have loved the movie “A River Runs Through It” or what he would say about my fluffy orange cat. I start thinking about “No Country For Old Men” and how I’ve never watched it, yet I see it in the three-dollar bin at Wal-Mart every time I go to buy vitamins. Grief has its triggers.   My father passed away three years ago on Black Friday. I was working retail worried about waking up on time when I got the call from my brother with the vague words ringing in my ears: “he’s not doing good, I think you should ...

I DIDN’T HAVE TO JUMP OUT OF A PLANE TO BE ADVENTUROUS

I used to think being adventurous was for others – the thrill seekers, the risk takers, the brave. It meant jumping out of airplanes, backpacking through the Himalayas or doing any number of other risky things that weren’t up my alley.  I shrugged it off and accepted that I wasn’t the adventurous type. But, with each passing year, I felt more restless, and I knew I needed ‘more’ from my life. I wasn’t sure what that meant, but it had to be something to make me feel more challenged, excited and alive. I needed something that allowed me to get lost in the moment and feel like a kid again.    Talking with friends, colleagues and other women led me to a discovery: I wasn’t alone. Women everywhere wanted to get out of their rut, feel the wind in their hair, and live a little. But, like me...

A BLESSING IN DISGUISE: HOW I SURVIVED BEING LAID OFF

“They’ve started early.”  I felt my heart drop into my stomach. I knew it was inevitable, but I had no idea it would happen so soon.  “I thought we were going to have two weeks to prepare,” I said, my voice shaking.  My co-worker responded with sympathy, “We’ve severed ties with all recruitment agencies, so freelancers can no longer work here.”  I nodded my head, trying to keep my cool. Then, I did the only thing I could think of in that moment – I picked up the phone and called my boyfriend.  “Hello?”  “Tom, I’m about to be laid off,” I said abruptly. I felt numb. “I’ll be home soon.”  Tom was silent for a moment, took a deep breath, and replied with resounding conviction, “Everything is going to be just fine.”  I didn’t believe him. I felt embarrassed, scared and cheated. I felt like a f...

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