When In A Crisis…

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Back in the days when I was a flight attendant, in one of my flights (Beirut – Bahrain), about 1 hour 30 minutes into the flight, and while doing the usual tour of the cabin, I noticed an old man -sitting next to his sleeping son. He was looking at my direction with a blank face. I smiled but he didn’t smile back. I smiled again and again… he didn’t smile back! In normal days I would have just rushed back to the galley, mumbling about how rude it is not to smile back at people who smile at you! But not that day. Something made me approach the old man and ask him if he needed anything. And guess what?!… yes he didn’t answer me… Again! he just kept looking at the same direction without even blinking. A gentle nudge was all he needed to fall back in his seat and make me realize that something was wrong! He was still breathing but not responsive. I remember this very very well; I was probably 22years old then. I remember how  with my one free hand, woke  his son sleeping next to him, (the other hand was holding him tight), and asked him to run to the nearest available crew member and ask them to come. I remember taking a deep breath and screening my brain to look for the right drill that I should follow. I remember clearing his airway, checking his breathing, and  pulse. Everything was fine. But still the man wasn’t responding! My colleague, who was called by the old man’s son, made an announcement asking if there was any doctor onboard …. Of course there was none!

At that instant the old man’s breathing became very weak, as did his pulse, and in the blink of a eye, I was with another one of my colleagues performing a CPR to the body now laying on the floor, against the bulkhead! The captain was informed and we were about to divert and land in Kuwait… the only thing is… my colleague and I had to perform that CPR for the next 30 minutes or so, until we land safely into Kuwait International Airport, and the old man goes into the care of a doctor who would either save him or pronounce him… yes that’s right, pronounce him DEAD! Can you imagine what that means? A human being’s life was in our hands! Can you imagine the pressure? The panic? The shaky hands? the sweat dripping from our heads? Our exceedingly fast heartbeats that we were almost certain could be heard from distance? Yet and in the middle of all that, I knew what I had to do and I was doing it!

 

We were supposed to take turns with another pair of fellow crew members, and just seconds before I moved my hands to make space for the person replacing me, the almost cold body underneath my hands jumped… his eyes were open and the breathing was back! Just like in a movie! and before I knew it, the man sat upright a little confused but absolutely aware of what had happened to him! He was crying, holding our hands and hugging us! We saved his life! Can you believe it! Yes, he was awake, breathing, and alive! Before we even landed in Kuwait (Which we did anyways, so that he can receive the medical care he needed!).

 

This was the first time in my whole life, I deal with a real crisis! A matter of life or death! The first time in my life, my actions had a huge impact on someone else’s life! A weight on my shoulder that I never ever thought I would be able to carry, it never even occurred to me that something like that might cross my path.

 

When we face a crisis, some of us freeze, some other people panic, and very few might respond calmly and efficiently. The only thing is that you don’t really know to which group you will belong until you actually face the crisis! and even then you still can’t be sure how you will react to the next one, because each crisis is different, and each one provokes a different reaction.

 

It is very scary, knowing that sometime, somewhere, you will face a situation where you might just freeze. You might not know what to do or how to react! You might have no help, no guidance, no advices! The consequences might be fatal! Someone might never forgive you for what you did, or what you didn’t do actually! You might lose someone very dear to you. Someone might die, someone might get fired, someone might lose all their life savings… etc!! And all that is based on how you will react…. Scary isn’t it? So how do we prepare ourselves? How to be certain that when that dreaded time comes, we will  be ready? This really scares me…. How can I make sure that in every critical situation, I’ll be able to do what I did years ago, and save someone’s life, preform the drill correctly? Will I even remember the drill? Yes, I believe in God and I believe that everything is written somewhere up there, but I still worry! Sometimes I practice … Yes, I do! In my mind I play multiple scenarios, I give myself a chance to explore all the options ……..  What I will do, what I might do, and what I shouldn’t do! You see, it is like a software that I programmed in my brain, every time with a different scenario, so that when something actually does happen, I can be familiar with it! I’ll remember how I dealt with it, how I solved the situation, what worked and what didn’t.

 

Have you ever faced a crisis? and how did you deal with it? Do you ever think of training yourself so you can be almost sure you’ll do the right thing? Maybe we all should? What do you think?

 

Ouiam

Because You Are Awesome..!

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Somebody told me today that I inspire them…..and the first thought that came to my mind was: “No freaking way! I can’t be inspiring, I am just an ordinary person, leading an ordinary life”. I had to repeat those words few times to realise that something was very wrong with that reasoning of mine! The words didn’t resonate well with the symphony of my brain. A red flag popped up, a loud beep disturbed the serenity of my mind! Why am I underestimating myself? Why can’t I just say: “Oh Thank you!” and tell myself: “Yes I am!!”. It seems like we judge ourselves so harshly, that we can’t even accept compliments anymore! It is not about being humble and modest, it is almost like we don’t want to believe that we are good, great, fantastic, wonderful human beings! We have a very hard time accepting that we are good-great- at what we do! Here, I wouldn’t take the blame alone, I’ll have to say that this must be related to the pressure we receive from our environment , with the illusion of perfectionism that invaded our lives and homes. Everybody wants to be perfect, because the community we live in has made us believe that in order to survive, we need to be perfect. We want to be perfect because everybody else is perfect (or at least trying to show us that they are!). We want to be perfect because this is the norm, because we have to, we must be perfect! Perfect mothers, perfect wives, perfect daughters, perfect friends…etc. We are killing ourselves trying so hard to be the best at everything, and it never seems to satisfy us, the more we do the more we need to do! Please don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with being perfect, but there is nothing wrong with being just OK too! We should be able to look at ourselves in the mirror and smile,  give ourselves a pat in the shoulder or a high five, and say: “Well Done!”. We should be able to smile and say Thank you, when someone gives us a compliment! We should be able to give compliments to other people too, and tell the wonderful people in our lives that they inspire us, without feeling threatened or insecure, just like the beautiful person I talked to this morning did!

 

Actually this whole day was a lesson, an eye opener for me! Just few hours before I got that incredibly sweet compliment, I met a very sweet lady, who looked me in the eye and said: “I think I am not a good mother!”. My hear sank and I felt tears rushing down! No MOTHER EVER should say these words! NEVER! Every mother is doing a great job, no matter what the society say! You nurtured that little angel 9 months inside of you, you bared childbirth and your body did the most magnificent thing ever! You breastfed that little miracle, you woke up every two hours for a year or two or three…! That is more than enough for you to be “mother of the year” every single year! that is by definition, the greatest thing in the world! You are a good mother, you are a great mother and no one should ever make you feel anything but that!

 

So please everyone reading this post, please do me a favor, when someone gives you a compliment, smile, node, say Thank you, and accept it… believe it! Because you deserve it! To the mothers reading this, please DO NOT let anyone shame you, or make you feel guilty in any possible way! You are awesome and you should know it! Who cares if someone out there doesn’t agree? Who cares really? Remember… smile, nod and say Thank you! Because you deserve it!

 

Ouiam

Less Judging..More Supporting Please!

 

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The other day, during one of the many “Mommy & me” meet ups we organise, and while in the middle of a very interesting conversation, the mother doing the talking stopped abruptly, her face went blank, as she frowned, and asked me a question that starts like this: “Why is Adam still………. ?”  I usually don’t discuss Adam’s routine, and almost never fall for the judgmental questions every mother seems to receive.  I believe that every family does what works best for them, and should never pay attention to the comments or criticism coming their way, however other people don’t seem to agree with that. The community we live in has these strict rules and regulations, that if you don’t follow, you will be shunned, rejected, and you will be subject to a great deal of judgment. Especially when it comes to motherhood. And what is even more surprising, is that most of the judgment comes from WOMEN, other mothers, just like you and me!! This covers so many areas, from the way you choose to raise your kids, to the way you choose to dress them, feed them, educate them….and the list is long!  Anyways, and back to my story, before replying, I still found myself in a state of uncertainty, and even though the person asking didn’t mean any harm, she still managed to make the ghosts of doubt and guilt creep into my head. It was only a matter of few seconds before I got hold of myself and responded calmly, explaining that we have a certain way of doing things that works perfectly for us, and we don’t intend to change anything for now, making sure the conversation ended right there.

You see, I always considered myself as a strong passionate human being, whose actions are based on deep thinking. I always trust my guts and I am always happy with the outcome of my choices and decisions. I wear the badge of motherhood so proudly and when it comes to Adam’s life, I do nothing randomly, everything I do comes as a result of a great research and a great deal of deep thinking and reasoning! However, this person still managed to make me doubt myself, even if it was just for a few seconds. How about the millions of other women who go through this cycle of judgment, criticizing, and scrutiny, every single day from their families, friends, and environment? This was the very first time I realize that sometimes you can’t just shut your ears and pretend that you haven’t heard that stupid remark, or just change the subject with a smile on your face; sometimes their words are not whispers that get lost in the air around you, they are loud and truly disturbing, that you just can’t ignore them.

We are still very far away from cheering to what’s different and applauding what’s unique. Some people still believe that there is one set of rules that should be applied on all of us, that we all should think, act, and live the same. How can we change that? How can we convince everyone that a mother, a woman or any human being for that matter, already leads a very stressful life, so why add to their misery? I believe the only true power we have, as mothers, is to raise our kids to be different. Raise them to appreciate diversity and respect it. Raise them to become passionate, understanding and kind human beings. It is a great responsibility but the outcome is fascinating. If every mother plants the seeds of compassion, sympathy, and empathy in her kids, the world will be a better place. But for now, somebody needs to come up with some great invention, like a small device that you place on your wrist and would beep every time you say something disturbing, mean, or just an inappropriate remark that would make the other person uncomfortable! I sooo would buy this device! In fact, I would by thousands of them and distribute them for free to every single person I know!

Ouiam

Put That Phone Down…Or Not!

 

 

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Have you ever thought how life would be without phones, laptops, internet, Facebook, Instagram…? Probably much more peaceful? I think.

Few days ago, I had an appointment at the German embassy. When you enter the premises, they take away your phone- You keep it in a locker and take the key. Then you go to a small room to wait for your turn, along with few other people. That day we were about 12 people. The process was extremely slow, and each person called was taking about 30 to 40 minutes to finish. There was a TV showing a 3min40sec video, about one of Germany’s historical castles, that would repeat itself the whole time we were there.  So do you get the picture? About 12 people in one room, at 10 in the morning, all focusing on that video as if at the end of the session we would be tested in it. With no phones, and of course no internet, no Facebook, no Instagram, no emails, nothing! We stayed this way a little over an hour. I don’t have to tell you how boring that was. I counted how many light bulbs there was, how many windows, how many posters, how many chairs, how many doors, how many people, how many trees I could see from the window, and soon I was out of things to count! I started scanning the people around me, trying to figure out their nationalities, hoping that this would take some time, to my deepest disappointment they were all Bahrainis except for two Indian guys, and it didn’t even take me five minute to decipher that. Everyone else was bored too, you could see it in their faces and eyes!

Suddenly the unexpected happened, and I have no idea how it started! There we were all having a conversation, all of us together. Saying jokes and laughing out loud! Suddenly it felt like I knew each one of them for a very long time! The old man was telling us old stories about Bahrain, this beautiful country with its beautiful culture. He seemed like a great father, loving and caring! The old woman, who looked like she was a model in her younger years, was telling us about her travel plans, and how she broke her left leg falling down the stairs. She was very sweet and funny, but I remember making a note to myself, to embrace my age as I grow old, and to never want to look twenty when I am sixty!! There was the young man who was telling us about all the new offers at the company where he works, he looked Lebanese to me but he was speaking the Bahraini Arabic, so I assumed that his mother was Lebanese (don’t ask me why!). Then there was the young girl who stood up and went to the coffee machine and got everyone drinks! Everyone loved the gesture and enjoyed their coffees and teas! This lasted for another hour! Then finally my name was called and I felt my heart sinking, I wanted to hear more stories, and get to know these people just a little bit more! But I wouldn’t want to miss my turn and the luxury of getting back to my phone, my car and the civilisation of the world that existed beyond that German embassy! So I roused my sinking heart, nerved my sluggish legs and rushed to that small cubical where I was called.

Leaving was a bit emotional; you see even though we didn’t even know each other’s names, we built an extraordinary bond! We laughed, we talked, we were just people, human beings… nobody knew who the other one was, how rich or poor they were, how smart, successful, or important they were! They cheered for me- because I finished and I was now allowed to leave this room and go back to the outside world- we said our goodbyes and I left reluctantly! It was a wonderful experience! Once we were stripped of all these 21st century’s great distractions, we found the real deal! We got to the core of humanity! We managed to be friends, to talk and enjoy each other’s company even though we didn’t know each other! Do you think if they allowed us to take our phones inside, any of this would have happened?  Of course not! Not in a million years! These phones are sucking the life out of us! They are stealing the last threads of humanity left in us!

The first thing I did as I reached my car, nonetheless, was checking my phone!! How ironic is that! There I was, just coming out of an amazing experience where I saw first hand the disadvantages of a dominant technology, and the first thing I do to acknowledge the whole thing was checking my phone! Yes, I am addicted to my phone! This small gadget wakes me up, reminds me of birthdays, meetings and important things to do, it gets me in touch with my loved ones at any given time, it guides me to any new destination, it enables me to always be informed and knowledgeable of everything around me, it helps me capture the moment,….Hell I even blogged from this phone when my laptop stopped working (for 6 months!!). So you see why I am addicted! How can I not be! I would be miserable without my phone……No wait a second, I stayed in that room in that German embassy for two hours and I had so much fun with people I have never seen before, so I wasn’t so miserable after all! But still the first thing I did after leaving that room was checking my phone right? Oh it feels like running in a closed circle!

How about you? How do you feel about phones? Do you think they are the reason humans lost their humanity and became some kind of operating machines? Would you go through your day without glancing at your phone every 5 minutes? Please share…

Ouiam