Sunday, May 1, 2011

People Who Helped Shape Me Part I

Art by Tania Donald

There are so many people who helped shape me and are continuing to do so. I owe so much of what and who I am today to many I came in contact with during my 38 years on this planet. I am positive that there are still many more individuals I have not met yet but who will have a special effect on my life.

My father is an amazing Gastroenterologist (The first Gastroenterologist in Jordan... he established the department at the University of Jordan)... other than his warm and admirable characteristics, he is a passionate man.... He taught me to love what I am doing... love my job and choose something that I would enjoy doing for the rest of my life... To be true to myself and not pick a career for the money only but for passion. My father is passionate about being a doctor but he always takes it to the next level. He is dedicated to his patients and always adds that personal touch which makes them love, adore and respect him. Instead of the usual 10-15 minutes consultations/ check ups that doctors usually spend on their patients, he spends 30 to 45 minutes and longer if necessary. His patients sometimes come to him for psychological problems... they just want to talk... He is a giving doctor and I learned that no matter what my profession was, I always needed to give back to the community... I watched him spend long days in villages helping and examining the people pro-bono. I have learned so much from my dad and I am grateful for having been born to him and my mom.

My mother is a talented house wife who volunteered for 17 years at a society that raised money for Palestinian refugee camps in Jordan, through designing and selling Palestinian embroidery cushions, scarves, hangers and the like. She offered her expertise and artistry free of charge and ploughed through the difficult times when many women did not appreciate her or her dedication. Watching her deal with such people taught me to ignore those around me who wish to put me down and disregard my work thinking that they could always do better and continue to be true to myself and do what I thought was right. She also taught me how to be compassionate with the less fortunate, sit with them to understand their pain and offer them a helping loving hand. After 17 dedicated years,  and after the last straw broke the camel's back, she decided to start her own little business and make many people happy with her designs and in awe of her brilliant work. This line of business also helped needy people as it created jobs for them. My mother is also a very forgiving lady and I have learned to forgive people and their negative actions towards me but I have yet to learn to forget ;) 

My brother taught me to hang in there, accept my situation and have faith that things will soon get better. You see my brother had faced many illnesses and once was sick for 6 months while he was still 16. He proved to me that despite what was going on to his body, his mind was still sane and he could pass his IGCSE exams while he was in bed for most of that academic semester.  He defied all odds and all teachers' advice that he repeat the academic year. My mother and my brother refused to accept that. It was definitely with my beloved mother's dedication and support, but he did it. He overcame obstacles and ploughed through them. He taught me to continue believing that if I faced a difficult situation, things will get better  and easier sooner or later.

My sis taught me to laugh and be silly... She taught me to find the funny in every situation no matter how sad it was... She once made me laugh after we left a Aza (It is a gathering of people to pay respect to the relatives of an individual who passed away).  It was a sad occasion and definitely not a time to laugh... but laughter is a medicine and she taught me to find humor in every situation I faced. Her young vibrant heart inspired me to keep mine young.

My grandparents of course... but I will dedicate Part II to them... as they helped build my personality's infrastructure along with my parents. 

My relative, Lulu,  (My first Reiki Master and my mother's first cousin) taught me to accept everyone and every situation... She taught me to break molds and shape my own life with my own two hands. She helped me fight many of my own demons and break away from binding customs that have no meaning in my life. To break free and create my own destiny. She always listened to me and I remember, while she was still in Jordan, that I used to make special trips to her house just to chat and receive wise advice.

My other relative, Sarab who has been there for me through emails, as she lives far away, but who continues to be supportive of myself and my children despite the distance. She taught me how to be humble and modest. She is a beautiful young lady with amazing talents and yet I never heard her  once boast about anything she did. I have to push her to send me copies of her fantastic work. She is also very loving and accepting of everyone around her and I have never seen her upset or angry. She taught me to see the good in people no matter what they have done.

My friends taught me acceptance and warmth. No matter how wrong I was... or how unapproachable, stubborn and hard to deal with at certain times, they accepted me and even told me  when I was wrong.  It takes courage and risking a friendship to tell someone that they are wrong, but they did it and I appreciated it from them. There are 4 special friends in my life, There are loads more of course but those  four: Maha, Nunu, Dina, and Damdoom, actually made a difference in the way I view myself and react to certain situations. They taught me so much more than they think they have and I am lucky to have friends like these.

And last but not least, Aaron, my husband who taught me to forgive people's transgressions, to trust and find the positives in everything I faced. I had a hard time trusting the closest 'new' loved ones... a hard time opening up and allowing them to see my weaknesses... Whenever anyone, even him, talked about where I came from, its history, traditions and customs, my guard went up, I shut down and I argued instead of discussed. Aaron helped me trust that people meant me no harm, trust myself and above all trust him. He also taught me to change my self-image, see myself through his eyes and to accept compliments.

I have a plethora of people whom have helped shape me and I am grateful to them all for coming into my life, crossing my path and making a difference in it.... I will continue to strive to get better with the help of the people who have touched my life.

Please enjoy one of my favorite Alanis Morissette.... Incomplete (The words are amazing!)


Judy Croome said...

A marvellous tribute to some wonderful people. You've such an intersting family!

Husband and I enjoy watching art movies; we've seen some interesting, well-balanced, thoughtful ones on the Palestinian situation: The Lemon Tree, Rana's Wedding, Paradise Now and the Israeli movie The Bubble are influential ones that immediately spring to mind. We were struck both by the complexity of the situation and by the similarity of the pre-democratic South Africa/Palestinian concerns. Explained the close bond between Yasser Arafat/PLO and Mandela/ANC.

Anyway, after that little ramble, just wanted to say the richness of our humanity lies in the grand mix of different people - a little sweet, a little sour - and textures - a little tender, a little tough - we experience in our lives. Without those differences, how could we appreciate the similarities that we find, which ultimately allow us to transcend cultural differences and connect on the level of our common humanity. Your life, with all its blessings and its challenges, sounds like a beautiful journey.
Judy, South Africa

Tabouleh said...

Dear Judy... Your words are beyond wise... I love them... and agree with you totally about how it is great that the world have differences... I believe that the world would be so boring without these diversities... We need the bad, the ugly and the beautiful .. to have a fulfilling life... I have had my share of such episodes as everybody else but I am grateful for them as they have taught me so much and made me who I am today... I am still learning as I am still experiencing...
THANK YOU for such an uplifting supportive warm comment!

Sazan said...

I am almost in tears Lana. You know what? we don't really realize or think of it but as I was reading this I remembered the important people in my life and their influence.... i think sometimes we are only as strong as the people we are surrounded by

what a wonderful entry!!! xox

Tabouleh said...

Thank you Sazan... Despite the fact that I do not know you in person, I think you are a wonderful person and your blog entries have taught me to continue believing and striving to achieve something that is difficult to do...
Thank you sunshine for your warm comment... May you always be surrounded by your loved ones.

Jan said...

Yes I agree. I spend a lot of time seeing the gaps left by my upbringing and young life. I am often so angry at what wasn't given to me that I forget to look at what has been given and the positive influences that have shaped me. You've inspired me to do this for myself though probably privately.

I loved these words of your's in particular:

My friends taught me acceptance and warmth. No matter how wrong I was... or how unapproachable, stubborn and hard to deal with at certain times, they accepted me and even told me when I was wrong. It takes courage and risking a friendship to tell someone that they are wrong, but they did it and I appreciated it from them.

To hear that you have been unapproachable and stubborn and all the rest! lol I'm new to your blog and it's good to read this from you who seem so centered! ;)

Thank you.

Jan said...

Oh yes and I love Alanis but hadn't heard this one. I will be listening again.

Tabouleh said...

oh Jan... LOVED your words... They made me smile inside and out... and now I am writing this comment listening to the above song again... love it and cannot get enough of it sometimes... her words are just so expressive and so true... I love the fact that we will forever be incomplete... it just makes life so much more interesting because I will always strive to improve myself... to learn more from my experiences and people around me or across the ocean from me... to learn from people like you and others on my blog...
oh yes... I can be stubborn... LOL... and unapproachable... :) but I am slowly learning to break free of that...
Just loved your comment... thank you for taking the time to write it and read my blog entries.