That one time I went to Ireland…

Memory is a beautiful thing in life, more often than not, we hold the important ones close; sometimes by choice, and others, not so much. When I look back and think to the very first one I remember, I’m back in my aunt’s home, all cozy and sipping on the sugariest cold coffee, hearing stories about my long-gone grandma. I can still envision the details, the room was lit in this green hue of a night lamp, my aunt sitting on the floor, my mom and I on the bed, listening intently as she passionately talks about stories from her childhood. From the corner of my eye, I see my mom reminiscing her past, holding my hand tightly as she thinks back to their best days.

If you ask me right this second, I’d happily trade places for that moment. It had a familiar sweetness and acceptance that made me feel like I belonged, like I was home.

And if you haven’t been keeping up with my quarter life crisis, then you could read some of my posts from before that tell you how I feel like a nomad in a city I’ve lived for 16 years.  Ironically, for a week, I found that feeling again, right in the middle of Dublin, with not a single familiar soul to soothe my anxieties, yet I felt right at home. Not the kind of home that you can just sleep at night, not the kind of home that is eternally broken; but the kind where I felt my insecurities disappear, my anxieties become passive and my heart felt something it hasn’t in a while…it felt at peace.

Whether I walked alone, late at night on the streets; or up early to relish in a moment overlooking the canal; whether I sipped on a fancy shot of whiskey or mixed some in with my morning coffee, every moment felt like my own. Every memory was mine and mine alone; no one to change how I wanted to live it, no one to tell me when to come home, no one to judge me when I went to the theatre, or when I sat by myself at restaurants enjoying the view. I’m sure to a layman that sounds despariningly lonely, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned in 2017 is to be okay with just that.

So okay I was; lost in the city’s perfect sights, charming people and its nosy-culture, by some regard I felt like the Galway girl. Living life one night at a time, singing (badly) at Grafton Street alongside an impeccable street performer, walking into history in Belfast, letting foreign friends share with me their fascinating histories and sharing some of mine; oooh, last but not least waking up to strangers in a cramped hostel room and finding yourself playing cards with them 5 hours later. Everything was unexpected; the people, the city and above all, ME.

As I write this, I’m torn between reminiscing that version of myself and accepting that it was short-lived or holding on tightly enough to save its remains. It haunts me that I would climb any mountain, cross any ocean; just to relive this memory, and there are very few, that would make me want to do that. Meanwhile, I have found comfort in writing stories of my past and remembering them in extensive detail. It’s the only way to preserve the magic when the going gets tough, or when I find myself lose touch with the reality; it’s all right here, etched forever, here and in my heart. 

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MUMBAI

Mumbai, Meri Jaan

Exhausted by a 25 hours car journey within the last 40 hours has gotten me all riled up; inspired even to talk about my city. This may be the adrenaline talking or the sheer deliriousness that I’m facing, but Mumbai is the most unforgiving city I’ve ever visited in my very short life. And yet, it challenges you every twist, every turn.

I’m inclined to believe that Mumbai, contrary to where I live has a soul, a moral righteousness and rationale that is governed by emotions and adventures. I can tell you all the big stuff, how the adventures enriched me as a person and appalled me when they didn’t seem to come easy. But how do I tell you the smaller, intimate moments and memories of family, if not with words.

As I sit in the known corners of my childhood, the twinge of sadness hits close to home; the stability here is uncanny, everything in its place for the last 20 years; the trophies of my cousins’ impeccable studiousness, or the wind-chimes that ring and remind me of a memory from age 6, the conversations that turned from how do we convince our parents to let us have ice cream to let’s have a drink, and from the sheer nostalgia of it all, I fall back together.

I’ve always considered Mumbai as my past, a book I no longer read, but one that lingers as a collectible, not a cult. This time around, I picked up the book again and wrote a few pages myself. I explored its spirit, I rendezvoused with its soul and found myself falling in love more and more. You see beyond the crazy traffic, the painstaking moments of hardship and perhaps a lower quality of life, what Mumbai has is a distinct sense of belonging amidst outcasts, a ray of sunshine in the dark and the strength to stand up for itself against all odds.

Now that I’m back in Dubai, the emptiness prevails, reminding me how much more of a home Mumbai is. With food that is reminiscent of all that was good growing up and a treasure trove of family that gives and gives and gives; a home amidst all the hustle and bustle, that should realistically give me anxiety beyond measure, is the only thing that calms me down. Ironic, isn’t it? A place that should keep me on my toes with its overwhelming population and sometimes extreme beliefs and faiths, still has a place in its heart to accommodate my needs, my ideologies and above all, me.

I guess what they say may be true; we always seek something we can’t have and the everlasting pinch of a misplaced heart and its desires, I did find some peace in Mumbai. I found reasons to live and learn, hardships I seeked out just to grow and hurt that only made me stronger. And for once, even in the shortest span of time, it was filled with moments of no regrets.

HELLO HEENA MAK

You know what is one of the scariest thoughts in life? That everything will stay the same forever.

And I’ve been troubled by these thoughts of steadiness that no longer feel like comfort, but like a poor ceiling you’ve been staring for years. So in an attempt to switch my ways and get on with new beginnings, I changed a few things around, stripped my ample arabia identity and let it all go!

I’d like to welcome you all to HelloHeenaMak.com.

I hope you welcome this change as much as I am and I hope you follow my journey there 🙂

Thank You for all your amazing support!

DIWALI MAKEUP TUTORIAL

I’ve celebrated Diwali in Dubai for over 10 years, and I’ve met very few people who understand the significance of Deepavali (Or Diwali, or popularly known as The Festival of Lights).  Continue reading DIWALI MAKEUP TUTORIAL

LIFE UPDATE

Some writers paint a pretty picture when they write, I’m not one of them. But painting a real one, yea, that sure sounds like me. The sun is setting and I assure you from the hustle and bustle of where I live, there’s no place to catch that action; so I’m sitting on the dinner table, sipping some camomile tea whilst watching the light get dimmer and dimmer. I guess it’s time to not just sip the tea but spill it.  Continue reading LIFE UPDATE

IZMIR

 

Do you believe that everything happens for a reason?

I do. I love those little mysteries, that moment when everything makes sense and life comes to a full circle. I’ll never be exhausted of the surprises that put a smile to your face and moments that result from absolute serendipity of the universe. Continue reading IZMIR

SIMPLE ICE CREAM RECIPE

I’m an ice-cream lover with a knack for cooking sans ice cream maker. So on my quest to make a simple, yet decadent ice cream at home, I started searching for recipes. All revolved around the principle of condensed milk and whipped cream, the rest is really up-to you! Ahh, finally a ray of sunshine (with a chance of ice cream, of course). Continue reading SIMPLE ICE CREAM RECIPE

“To fight when I feel like flying”

I avoid things; big moments, confrontations, and more recently, emotions. In my past, I I’ve been in both states of mind, one where I’m a hard hearted, fake a smile kind of a girl or the one where I’m a hot mess, seeking help. I spent most of my 2015 being the latter. And now, I don’t know where I stand, but it’s somewhere in between. A grey area I can’t quite comprehend navigating, because there are days I want to scream at the top of my lungs, talk about my disappointments and things that are falling apart and then there are days where I want to succumb to a dark reservoir of pain, self-loathing and nothingness…

Continue reading “To fight when I feel like flying”

What I told myself about ‘Quarter Life Crisis’

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‘What am I doing with my life?’ is a question you ask and avoid relentlessly.

If you’re 25, give or take, I’m sure your plate’s starting to feel too small for all the questions, all the choices and all the decisions that you’re about to make. Every day you’re farther away from the person you were at 17, dreaming of a certain life, a certain goal and a certain magic. What once seemed a stepping stone for becoming closer to the person you’ve always dreamt to be, is now becoming a train you’re running too late to catch. I’d argue that age is just a number, that there’s still time and this isn’t a race, but that would go against every cell in my body that’s making me feel just that. Continue reading What I told myself about ‘Quarter Life Crisis’

Not worth reading | pt 2

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You know my writer brain is doing that thing again. One where it aches to write epiphanies and thoughts that are better left unsaid and unspoken. So here I go.

As I independently stroll across a sidewalk; water and rocks on one side, pool on the other, there’s some sort of “being alone” moment that occurs. So I quickly chat away with friends and update social media just so that feeling goes away. And for a minute that connection, that like, that response makes perfect sense, it makes me laugh and smile and quickly and discreetly, it fades away.

It’s been a while since I’ve felt that, finding loneliness in a moment of independence, forgetting why I’m in a busy room full of people I barely know or right in the middle of a meeting, finding solutions for clients, but only questions for myself. Why does alone feel so lonely? And, why aren’t all these people I know and love filling that space so I don’t feel as empty anymore.

Complicated questions, no answers.

If I were honest, it makes so much sense when I put it into words, write it out. But every time someone asks If I’m okay? The perfected words “I’m fine” are the only ones that seem to escape my lips. Imagine this, you walk up to someone, someone who seems to be doing fairly okay and ask them How they’re doing? Are you really looking for the right answer or the easy answer? Are you willing to listen and understand all the reasons once isn’t fine. Does it make a difference? Will it ever? Agh, I’ll never know.

Just like I never know what to say when someone asks me any question that demands baring soul and letting in. Sarcastic humor cocooning insecurities (learned effectively from Chandler Bing) seems to be the only way I’d tell the truth. As if knowing what’s wrong is this big piece of the puzzle that demands your utter attention in knowing me. I’m not gonna lie, every time I do do that, my insides are screaming, “read between the lines.”

Until next time…