A Trip Abroad: Vancouver, BC – Part VIII.

My time in Vancouver was quickly coming to an end, but there was still one more vital stop to make; UBC. As a little girl, I knew I wanted to go and live in Canada for at least some time of my life, but I still had no clue what college degree I wanted to pursue, or what university I wanted to attend there. I decided in late 5th year, to leave behind all practical career options and to pursue Arts to follow my love for writing and the study of our social world. It was then that I also began looking at universities I wanted to do my MA degree in, following college – and it became clear beyond any doubt, that UBC was the dream.

Helen and I caught a bus downtown to UBC. One of the best things about Helen is how much she does for people she cares about. She could sense how nervous I was, and spent the whole bus ride building me up with motivation of how my time in UBC will come around faster than expected. Visiting UBC was probably the biggest reminder of how Vancouver offered so much more than the initial reason behind my travel. I was in my favourite country, and I felt like I had found my exact place in the world. I felt right at home in this city.

The funny thing is, as stoked as you would think I would be, going to visit my dream college, I wasn’t. I kept putting it off, day after day. At one point, I think Helen was concerned I was going to scrap out going all together. You see, in theory, it was so exciting. No doubt, it’s serious motivation to go and witness for yourself your dream, right there in front of you. For a second, it seemed so attainable. The reality however of me getting a place in my MA course in UBC, is quite slim – 20% of all applicants slim, to be accurate. Well, that and the insane amount for tuition and accommodation. Add to that, seeing right before my eyes what I could be missing out on, well, the thought was freaking me out. In saying this, it only took seeing UBC to tear away all that fear. Seeing people walk to their classes, and seeing the campus buildings which are breath-taking, the atmosphere – I wanted nothing more than to be a part of all that. I promised myself that if it took me all my life, I would be a part of that. Truthfully, I have no idea if I’ll ever qualify for a university as prestigious as UBC. I also have no idea how I’m going to scrape together the money to attend even if I were to be accepted. If it takes working a few years after I graduate to save up, or re-applying year after year to be offered a place – I will, one day, some day, make it to UBC.

After UBC, I didn’t think anything could top my time in Vancouver. I didn’t think I could find any more of myself in this city. I had found my dream UNI in this city, beautiful parks for my regular runs and walks, people who were always so polite, full of life and positive energy, great night life, all I could dream for and more. And, yet, I couldn’t have been more wrong. That evening, after dinner, Helen and I decided to go for an evening stroll. That’s when we stumbled onto Sunset Beach.

The thing about Sunset Beach, that made it very different to all other empty beaches I’ve been to, is that it was THE beach. It was the beach pictured in my head for so long, that I had no clue existed outside my imagination. So, imagine how it felt for me, walking on the shore of a beach, that was sculpted from my very own imagination. This was my beach, picture perfect, right before my eyes. I’m not sure I can ever find words adequate to explain what finding this beach meant to me, but what I will say is, upon seeing it for the first time, I cried uncontrollably. It’s very fair to be confused as to why seeing an empty beach would cause me to cry, especially when the photographs don’t do the real view of Sunset Beach any justice. While Helen explored the shore further down, I sat by the edge of the water, and confronted the horizon. As far back as I can remember, empty beaches have been what I consider my safe place. Sitting on an empty beach, at dusk, watching the sun go down, is the most tranquil feeling I know.

It is also the only time I ever feel like I can bear my soul, completely, unapologetically. I think of all my loved ones, of people who I have lost, people I love. Most of all, I sit by the water, and look out beyond the horizon. The horizon for me resembles the future, how it is the most uncertain thing in our life. You see, we can see ahead to a certain extent, for example, short term plans we make, the people in our lives – where the horizon meets the water. Beyond that, is the unknown. We have no idea what is awaiting us beyond the horizon. Ever since I was a little girl, I would sit at the beach and wonder to myself what was awaiting me behind my horizon. There is another reason why empty beaches are so important to me, and that became so when empty beaches became the biggest metaphor used in my poetry.

When I fell in love with my ex-boyfriend, it was the first time in my life that I felt safe. He became a safe place for me – not a book, song, or poetry, not an empty beach – an actual living thing, a person. I never had that with anyone else. Someone who just understood me, who knew me. I was able to talk to him with complete vulnerability, even just as friends, well before I fell in love with him. It seemed in a sea of people, family backgrounds, society and friends, we just understood each other and acquired the same mindset and opinions. That’s what made me fall for him, the way we could talk about anything and everything. How there was no boundaries between us, even when our circumstances should have precautioned about 101 of them. He struck me as one of those people who doesn’t talk much, doesn’t open up too much, or use words much to articulate his feelings, but give him an ear to listen to his dreams, political opinions, passions, things that angered him, music he loved, and there was no shutting him up. I loved that. As time went on, I looked forward to nothing more than our conversations and I began to resemble him as an empty beach in my life. In the form of a person, I had found my safe place, my very own empty beach. Empty beaches became only a text away.

Unfortunately, like anything – songs, movies, places, that you link to a person or a memory that is no longer a part of your life, it takes away from the beauty of that thing for you. And as beautiful as Sunset Beach was, it came with a lot of pain. For starters, I thought that I would never sit on an empty beach alone again, because I thought I had figured out my “beyond the horizon”. I imagined empty beaches would be where I would sit with the love of my life, his arms wrapped around me, while we watched the most adorable Golden Retriever play in shallow waters. I had a million and one thoughts, now linked to a place that one day used to be my own, just mine.

I first thought back to the last time I had sat on an empty beach – it was the day, him and I had talked on the phone and he told me he was moving to Canada. We hadn’t even met yet, and I remember writing in my diary that night how I wanted nothing more than for him to have been sitting with me on the beach that night. I thought about how funny it was, that after everything, I be in the same country as him, again, and yet still, I was sitting by myself on a shore wanting nothing more than for him to be sitting with me on the beach. I thought next of all the poems and lines that I used metaphors in, comparing him to empty beaches. I thought of the first poem I ever wrote about him, “A Message In A Bottle”, which described him as an empty beach. Specifically, I thought of the line in my poem “Lost To Be Found” where I said: “Your eyes are all the ocean shores I have ever sat upon, wondering what was waiting for me beyond the horizon – unaware that it would be you.”
But, it wasn’t.

And that’s the thing about the horizon, sometimes you get so caught up in how beautiful it is, you forget that the sun dips beneath the sea, and the horizon eventually fades into darkness. I wanted nothing more than to write a poem, sitting there on the sand, but I couldn’t without breaking down. I had all the emotion for the poem, just not the words. It felt like the longest term of writer’s block I had ever endured, and a part of me didn’t want it to end. Truthfully, I didn’t want the closure, didn’t want to confront the end of something I still believe in. Something I still see so much good in, despite all the bad. For the first time, in a long time, I was once more guessing at what was waiting behind the horizon for me. Was it UBC? A successful career in writing? My dream television show? Who knows? The possibilities are endless.

Helen stayed with me until my very last day in Vancouver. We kept re-visisting Sunset Beach, and on my last day sitting by the water, listening to my beloved John Mayer, I made a promise to myself that Canada wouldn’t be beyond the horizon. Canada was going to be in my short term plans. Whether I end up going to UBC, in the fall after college or not – after I graduate, I decided I’m going to leave Ireland. We planned to spend our last day in each other’s company, nothing extravagant. Just as luck would have it, Helen and I had the hostel room all to ourselves that last night. It felt like my first night all over again, and in so many ways, it felt like forever since that first night. So much had happened, and so much had changed. We were stuck between whether to watch Home Alone, or The Vow, which I had planned to watch in Canada on my initial trip plan. We decided to let Netflix decide, and when Home Alone wasn’t on Netflix, I was making fun of a cheesy romance movie for the first time in my life. Helen and I enjoyed 2 hours of obsessing over Channing Tatum, before DMCing until we eventually both fell asleep.

The next day, we had a short morning spent in the city before I was headed to the airport. We ate breakfast at Cora’s Breakfast, which was a cute, and delicious breakfast cafe, a bit of a walk away. After a coffee, we went to collect my bags from the hostel, checked out and made our way to the airport. I texted my mom, and told her where I had hid a letter for her, and that she could now read it. I wrote to her, thanking her for letting me go on the trip alone, for believing in my relationship enough to have let me booked it for it’s original purpose too, for being my rock when her belief wasn’t in place. I asked her to not regret letting me board that plane if anything were to happen to me, that this is what it’s like to really live and explore, and that I was living my life. I added a P.S that I would try my very best not to kiss or get with any cute Canadian boys, but should Justin Trudeau find his way into my arms, then all promises and chaste values were off the table for good. (She did not appreciate that part very much, and took particular interest every time a boy’s name came up in my reaccounts of my adventures in Canada).

Helen came all the way to the airport with me, just to see me off. She accompanied me through check in, and all the way up to security. I was hugging her goodbye, since she wouldn’t be able to accompany me after security checks. I let go, only to hug her again. This re-occured three more times, before Helen decided to confront the fact that I was not this obsessed with saying goodbye to her. “Meriem. Meriem, stop.” She took my shoulders and looked me straight in the eye. “He’s not coming, okay?” I held back my tears, and nodded. “Yeah, yeah, you’re right, I just.. he had my flight details, I thought maybe he’d just even come to see me go..” and the rest was mumbling. So much had changed over the course of the trip, but some things hadn’t. This was one of them. I was waiting until the very last second, holding onto hope that this trip would turn things around. And it did, it changed so much in my life, just not that.

I had a full row to myself on my flight back home. Air Canada is by far the best airline I have travelled with. My flight was relaxing and the 10 hours flew (literally) by. I thought back to how tough my journey over was, and I compared it to how this one was. I may not have overcome my feelings, but I had definitely regained a little bit of myself. I had genuine fun, laughter, and a great time in Vancouver. I met some of the sweetest people ever, who I’m still in contact with until this very day. The girls and I are already planning trips to meet up during the summer. I flew to Canada, crying over pictures and videos, lost memories from the summer just gone. I was flying back from Canada, looking at all the photos, videos and memories I had just made with amazing people. There was so much I had in mind to do when I got back home, so much that Vancouver had inspired in me. I set out goals for my education, even bigger ones for my blog, and I promised myself I would keep trying with poetry, no matter how long it might take me to get back into it. This trip taught me, that even if you share some of the best things about yourself with others, they are always still yours to keep. You don’t have to stop loving the places you always wanted to visit together, or the songs you used to sing along to, the pets you wanted to have, or the million and one other things and experiences you set out to endure together. All you have to do, is find different reasons why you love all those things, and set out to make new memories instead of the ones you had envisioned. You’ll be surprised how much you can learn to appreciate, against the magnitude of what you have lost.

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A Trip Abroad: Vancouver, BC – Part VII.

Helen and I had spent the last few days circling between visiting attractions around Vancouver, looking for jobs (in my case, finishing off college work), and trying out as many new sushi places as possible. One of the places we visited was Granville Island. To get to Granville Island, you walk across an insanely high bridge, for about 15 minutes. I have an insane fear of heights. I cannot express how terrified I was as we made our way to and back. Luckily, I had Helen, who held my hand the entire way, hushed down my fears, and even sang along with me to all my favourite ballads. (Get yourself a friend like Helen.) Although Helen and I thought Granville Island was way too touristy for our liking, they do have an incredible food market, where you can try really high quality food and drink right out of the heart of Vancouver.

Friday rolled around, and Helen and I signed up for Club Night with the hostel. We were planned to hit three different places throughout the night, the first being The Beaver right across, in the Samesun Hostel. There was a big table booked for us, and we all introduced ourselves and made friendly conversation over beers and one iced tea for moi. There was a large number (about 5 or 6) of Germans in our group, so naturally Helen, (and therefore me) were drawn towards sticking with them for the night. There was also a guy from Brazil, and Peter who was from Scotland. (I only remember Peter’s name because he was my partner in beer pong later that night). Our next stop was a 90’s club, which was overpacked to say the least. They also didn’t play the classics, so we were all very unimpressed. There was only one song, (which I can’t remember the name of) that we were all hyping to. When we left, we were all standing outside, singing the chorus at the top of our lungs, and dancing around in the middle of the street while we waited for our group leader to take out the entry tickets for our final location; The Bourbon.

We arrived to The Bourbon, which was a pretty cool venue. It had a section for arcade games, a pool table, and 2 tables, set for beer pong. They also had stripper cages which you could dance in, and a massive dance floor space. The music was also much better than what The Belmont had offered us. One of the German guys (who I feel really bad for forgetting his name, because he was super sweet) challenged Helen, Peter and I to a game of beer pong. He claimed “Germany VS Scotland” so I reminded him that I was Irish, not Scottish. I wish I had left it at me being Scottish, because he then referred to the game as “Germany VS the UK” to which I nearly had a legit fit over, explaining that Ireland was not a part of the UK. Finally, we agreed to keep it at “German speaking VS English speaking”. The issue with this particular game of beer pong, was that (a) it was my first time playing beer pong (it’s not all that big in Ireland) so I was already at a disadvantage, and (b) I don’t drink, which meant double the pressure for Peter who therefore had to drink for the both of us. Luckily, the Scottish are known to be heavy drinkers, and Peter had no problem taking the challenge on. Surprisingly, it didn’t turn out to be much of a disaster on our part. Although we lost by one cup standing, I managed to score some really epic shots, which I was jumping up and down excitedly about. Even Peter was impressed by how good I was for my first time at the game.

Helen and I dragged the guys to dance after our game. Our group was really nice, and we managed to all stick together throughout the night. At one point, this guy approached me to tell me that his friend thought I was really cute. His friend came over, and we small talked. He was a student at UBC, which made for some interesting talk, mostly me enquiring as much information as I could about studying at UBC over the loud music. The conversation fizzled out pretty quickly, and that was that. Although all the fun was being had, the real laugh started when we decided to end our night in The Bourbon, and head home.

Helen and I excused ourselves from our group and went up to the cloak room. The woman who was working the cloak room was completely drunk or high, or quite possibly both. I have never in my entire life, come across something so unprofessional and yet so hilarious at the same time. Helen and I genuinely could not believe our eyes. There was only two other guys at the clock room, trying to get their stuff for the past 15 minutes. All the woman could manage, was to say “can.. you.. just like, give.. me.. a minute” in slurred speech over and over again. She then would sit on her stool, her eyes hovering shut. Helen and I couldn’t help but absolutely piss ourselves laughter. It wasn’t as funny as we thought it to be, when it started to get pretty late and we needed to get our stuff. A line began to form for the cloak room, and so Helen and I decided it was time to take charge. I got up onto a chair, and took people’s descriptions one by one of their belongings. I then, looked to the woman, and very stressfully communicated her directions to each item, to give out to each owner. People were either complaining, laughing or cheering us on. Helen went to find a member of staff to inform, which we were trying to avoid doing because we didn’t want to cause her any trouble. As the line got bigger, and my voice strained from all the shouting, it became the inevitable solution to just inform a member of staff. We eventually got our stuff, and headed out the bar, in fits of laughter, and genuine disbelief.

Helen and I were walking back to the hostel, laughing at each other’s imitations of the woman. While we were walking, we could hear a voice call out “excuse me” from behind us. A different voice called out a second time, louder. We didn’t turn around, because there was quite a few people walking the street that night, we didn’t think it was us being called out at. We were also distracted, because we were being asked by a couple if we wanted a lift back on their way home in a taxi they had just got into. We stopped to decline, and thanked them, which gave the people calling out time to catch up to us, and for us to then realise that it was us they were calling out. It was three guys, who looked around our age. One of them came up behind me, tapped me on my left shoulder, pointed to his friend and said “Haaaaaave you met Tyrell?” I looked up to them laughing: “Is that a ‘How I Met Your Mother’ reference?” They were so impressed I got it, while I was in disbelief at how someone could not. I exclaimed how it was shocking how more people didn’t think of taking that approach on a night out.

So, Tyrell, asked for my number, and I quickly declined. “Why nooot? You said it yourself that it was a good tactic.” His friend (the one who played Barney in this scenario) interrupted to defend him: “yeah, like, you’re really good looking, he’s really good looking, you both already like the same TV show, what’s not to go for?” I didn’t think saying that I don’t just hand my number out, and that I wasn’t really looking for anything was gonna get me out of this in a quick manner. It was baltic cold, and Helen and I just wanted to get home. “I have a boyfriend” I blurted out. Tyrell was a bit of a douche, because he still persisted, claiming I should still give him a shot, despite my said (imaginary) boyfriend. I told him I wasn’t going to do that, claiming that even if I didn’t have a boyfriend or even if I took his number for when we “broke up” as Tyrell suggested, I lived half way across the world, so there was no point because I was leaving Vancouver in a mere few days. Helen and I began walking, even though we were still mid-converstaion with Tyrell and his friends. “We could do long-distance!” Tyrell shouted to me as I crossed the road. I couldn’t help but laugh hysterically at that one. Boy, did Tyrell have no idea how much I couldn’t stand those two words around that time. I turned around, looked at him from across the street and shouted at the top of my voice, lifting my hands up in the air: “C’mon Tyrell, I thought you of all people would remember – long distance is a lie teenagers tell themselves to get laid the summer before college. Quite frankly, I think I’ve had my fair share of lies for the sake of a good time this summer. Goodnight Tyrell and friends!” I turned on my heel, and waved behind my back to Tyrell and his friends. I laughed to Helen, and we spent the whole walk back in disbelief at the fact that someone was actually genius enough to think of using the pick up tactics of Barney Stinson.

Back at the hostel, Caroline had left us. We had two new room-mates, Lilly from Mexico, and Sandy from South Korea. They were both so extremely lovely, and we all clicked quickly. We would all chat about ourselves and share stories about our home-counties, comparing each one to the other. We were also lucky in that we all never minded the others switching on the lights or coming in late, so Helen and I found it a much easier task getting back into bed that night than most.

The next morning I cancelled on Helen again for breakfast. I had been getting re-occuring nightmares the last few nights, which meant I slept very little, and had no intent of waking up early for another bowl of fruit loops. After breakfast, I was surprised to find that Lilly, Helen and Sandy had a tiny intervention with me. Lilly, who is a light sleeper, said that she heard me cry more than the only 3 times I had admitted to it, and that it was definitely happening a lot more than that. Helen expressed her concerns about my nightmares, and while Helen knew exactly why I was going through that, the other two girls had no clue. I promised them I would talk things out, and not keep it bottled up or wait till they fell asleep to let my tears flow. I really did fall right into luck’s arms with the girls I met on this trip. Because in so many ways, it was these moments that were far more impacting than the beautiful scenery, or the fun nights out. I was encouraged to go on this trip to try heal, and I was so lucky to find that I was getting the same level of encouragement to do so by people I had only just met, as I was by those waiting for me to come back home.

Life Is Too Short For Words Like “Pride”.

Here’s the thing about pride… it’s over-rated. It’s an over-rated concept that has smeared itself into our society, and in my opinion does more damage than what is seen or known. The funny thing about pride is, we use it at the wrong time, or rather, with the wrong people. We tend to obsess over our pride when it comes to the people we care about, rather than the ones we don’t, simply because we reach a point where we don’t want to show them, that deep down (maybe not even all that deep), we still care. What a disheartening concept? Life doesn’t wait for anybody, and yet we tend to take that to mean that we should be quick to cut people out of our lives, rather than accept that sometimes life is too short to forget about the people we love and care for. Our time in the world together is limited as it is. Before you misunderstand what it is I’m trying to put across – I am not advocating that you hold onto toxic people in your life, nor shy away from standing up for yourself if you have been wronged. I am simply saying, that there are ways to let those you love and care about know that you do, without having to technically keep them in your life. Pride gets in the way of ever achieving that.

Growing up to Egyptian parents, I really felt the weight of that word. Pride, in Egyptian society, is God sent. It has a way of infiltrating it’s way into every single aspect of society. Your pride in Arabic is called “karama”. I have never hated a word in the Arabic language more. It plays like a broken tune in any Arabic household growing up. Seemingly, in Egyptian society, “karama” does not take form in just your relationship with others. It has a role to play in just about everything you do – the job you work, the way you dress, the way you eat or talk, the people you hang out with, the morals and beliefs you uphold, and the list goes on and on.

One of the biggest aspects, pride plays a role in, in Egypt, is relationships. (This is more a focus for a woman’s role in a relationship, of course). According to all Egyptian experts (family, friends, the bawab) your significant other should be the most person you let pride interfere with, all throughout the beginning, middle and end. So, for example you don’t show in the slightest if you’re interested in a guy, even if the guy is clearly interested in you. (Karamtek, yabenty?) You must make it a living hell for the guy to get a shoe in, and when he finally does, don’t you dare assume that your pride can now be compromised with. In fact, now, your pride has reached it’s peak. You cannot let him know how much you care, and don’t you dare let him think for a second that you are dependent on this relationship or on him. If you fight, you cannot compromise your pride for the sake of apologising. You stand your ground, (even if you’re buried in guilt) and wait for him to apologise. Even if it means waiting until he never does, and so be the end of that. And don’t even get me started on the atrocity of being in a physical relationship – are you trying to air out your pride in front of a guy as if it were dirty laundry? Ain’t no bigger crime against your pride as an Egyptian girl, than if you decide to get intimate with a guy. You might as well call CBC, and name yourself a prostitute, because chances are, your name will be the talk of the town anyway, and you can (literally) kiss your dream wedding dress away.

The thing is, we often forget that while women in Egyptian society are often reared this way, men are also reared to view women in this way. This means that unfortunately, if you are looking to settle down with the average Egyptian man, do not take on my “anti-pride” advice. If you are, however, looking for the rare exception among most, then don’t be afraid to live in the manner that suits you, and wait for the guy who will admire that rather than take advantage of it, or shame it.

I’m not trying to push the idea that we all chuck our pride out the window completely. In fact, lately, I’ve been trying to learn how to have more of it. I’m trying to reach a balance. For those of you who may be like me, I encourage you to try bring pride into your life in areas where hope no longer blossoms. Sometimes, you really care for someone, but they have left you no choice but to walk away. Your pride is completely your right to uphold if someone has ever made you feel like they do not want the love you still carry in your heart for them. If you don’t have it in your heart for someone, you are no longer obliged to care, or pretend that you do. (Although, let me let you in on a little secret – you won’t need pride, if you don’t really care for someone anymore. It will show on it’s own, if you do or don’t. We use pride as an excuse to hide from those we do love and care for, not for those we don’t).

But, if there is a flicker of hope, a spark, or a chance, that you can still maintain mutual care, love and respect in any relationship in your life, please, do not let your pride get in the way of achieving that. Don’t lose out on the people important to you, because you couldn’t find it in yourself to make the first move in trying to keep the balance between you. Chances are, they’re probably beating themselves up about wanting to reach out too. Occasionally, shining love and sincere thought on someone who is no longer a part of your life, is a way of saying that even though you may not be where you used to be with them, they still meant something to you, they still do. Too often we stray away from people, and ruin any chance of ever making it back to them, because we draw a dead end on a road that may just be passing over a pot hole.

I often reflect on all the experiences, people and things I would have missed out on in my life, had I not let my pride take a fall. I would have lost out on some of the best people in my life, the happiest memories, moments no others can ever replace or compare to. In these times of reflection, I heal the pain that often comes with the hit my pride takes. You see, just because I don’t let my pride get in the way, does not mean there aren’t times I feel very small and worthless because of it. It doesn’t mean I don’t get disappointed if I feel like someone couldn’t care less that I have pushed my pride aside for the sake of trying to fix something I still believe in and still want. And that is exactly the problem with pride, is that we use it, to say to others that we will not allow them to hurt us, or belittle of us, or take us for granted, forgetting that we might be ruining the oppurtunity in rekindling things we thought we had lost.

So, I’ve learned why balance is important, why I need to incorporate pride a little more into my life. It is one thing when your pride takes a hit from people who constantly advocate for it, the people who constantly pushed me to have more pride. It may hurt, but it is expected, because they have never shown you any different than that your lack of pride makes you a “weak” character. They are firm believers that pride is worth every ounce of damage in relations it may cause. It is pain of a whole different level, when your pride takes a hit, from people who saw it as nothing but courage, only to later make it feel like it was pathetic.

Regardless, I don’t ever regret having belittled of my pride – well, 9 times out of 10, at least. I lived out so many memories I would have never had, had I let pride get in the way, and walked away from people I still saw potential in my relationship with. I try to keep fixing things, even if it is not up to me to fix them. If you ever meant something to me, chances are I will still text you on special occasions, birthdays, achievements, and even on those nights where I feel like life is too short, and I just want to remind you that I am thankful for the time you were a part of my life – that I still hold a genuine concern, love, and place for you in my heart. I have lost a lot of people in my life, whether it was that we drifted apart or that they passed away. I have so many nights, when I reflect on the times I wish I had said more when I had the chance, that I had given more time, effort and love to them. On those nights, the people I care for (my friends, family, and people I may even no longer speak to) receive a text to simply say that I love them, and that if there is one thing I want them to know, it’s that. So many times, I wish others would do the same. I read all these stories, about people who lose someone, and wish they had told them how they truly felt towards them before it was too late. If you still have that time, don’t let your pride get in the way – tell the people you care for, that you do, whether you are still as close as ever, or whether you haven’t spoken in years.

Life is too short for words like “pride”. We have come a long way since old traditions and customs and ideologies of “reputation” and “pride”. (Egypt you hold on just a little while longer, you’ll get there, eventually). Be the bigger person. It is under-appreciated how far it can go. If you love someone, tell them. If you miss someone, text them. If you still see hope in something, hold onto it. If you believe in the good in someone, look past the bad. If you want something, don’t pretend you don’t. If the world were to end tomorrow, and you know you would regret not telling someone something, tell them tonight.

The most important thing in life, are the people who impact who we are, and the impact we leave on others. People will always remember the way you made them feel, good or bad. Make sure you make those you love, feel that love, and make sure you let those who make you feel their love, know that they do. If I were to take one thing away from this life, it is the hope that everyone I have come to love and appreciate in my lifetime, know just how much it is I do. To me, that is more good than what my pride can ever do.