I love the Xmas season and spirit, I used to be excited by presents, but leading up to this year I was just like ‘Blah, we all buy each other gifts, whats the point, who cares..’ There was nothing I could think of that I wanted, or that people could give me that would excite me because I have money, and I can just buy what I need for myself. And I stress out when I buy for others because the hugeness of my family means I have to take a lot of time to find stuff, and I want to get them something they would want, not just look at and think ‘meh’. So this year I thought, I only ever want clothes so thats what I’ll get them. Plus I know clothes, so it was an easy way out.
I was completely blown away by the gifts I recieved from people. When you get a gift, and you didn’t even want anything and it turns out to be something you love, its the best thing ever. Because it means that the person who gave it to you truly knows you. They get who you are and what you are about. I never realised how much my family actually knew who I was, but those gifts proved it. And it is so comforting to think that I’m understood.
Some of the stand out things were a set of artists and charcoal pencils, because I used to sketch quite well, but I stopped drawing because I suppose being creative got pushed down on the list of priorities when I started partying, working and studying. But not long ago I was mucking around with charcoal and it was such a pleasure to use, so someone was obviously paying attention and its nice to be encouraged.
I got a little golden argile, or shishka, or hookah, or whatever you call it. To me its an argile, and it reminds me of the nights I spent in Lebanese homes, playing cards and having fun without alcohol, because they were all Muslim. That was a big part of my life, I was always at a function or visiting someones relatives, doing the 3-kiss cheek thing and shocking people with my Arabic. But I haven’t thought of that life for a long time, its behind me.
Anime, clothes, Gilmore Girls dvds, a manicure set because I’m always painting and preening my nails, a palmistry book because I’m into all that, as you would know. It would be a nice prelude to reading someone’s Tarot if I could check out their palm first and get an idea on their life. They all lead to one another, Tarot, palmistry, runes, astrology. So once you’ve learnt one, its a lot easier to learn another, because its from the same school of thought. And you all might roll your eyes, but I like to think I have an intuitive gift for reading.
The present that made my eyes tear up was a book from my mother about Australian foreign correspondents and some of their stories and anecdotes. She’s never been a fan of me learning Arabic or hanging out with Muslims, or involving myself in politics and defending things she didn’t understand. We had a bad relationship when I was 16 till about 20 because I was so immersed in it, and she seemed unfairly biased, so I just shut her out and she resented it even more. We mended ourselves and we’re very close now, she is one of my closest friends and we think of ourselves in a Gilmore-esque way, but for her to give me this book just stunned me. It was like saying, ‘Hey I know we always had our fights, and I disapproved of your plans to go to Palestine and fight for something that has nothing to do with you, for reasons I never got, but I believe in you. I know this is what you want to do and I support it and I’m going to help you.’
I always had doubts in my mind, but when you see that people truly do believe in you, and think you can achieve your goals it gives you so much confidence. I’m used to defending and persuading people to understand what I want to do, I’ve never been supported or encouraged. So that gift meant a lot to me. All of them did. Its one thing for people to say ‘You’re okay Luli, we get you, we understand you,’ because words are malleable, they come and go, they can be empty. But when you are shown that you are valued, it means more than anything that can be said, and its concrete evidence.
This Christmas I expected to be drained and bored, and instead I was left inspired and awed. I feel like people know me, and that makes me think that I’ve fully developed myself, who I am and all of that. It gives me confidence and a feeling of happiness that is unmatched by anything I’ve ever felt, because I’m sure of myself now, and all I want to do is make other people happy too. Because I know that through whatever I can always be okay, but not everyone is given the tools or resources I have for finding their own happiness. Some people are slipping, and some have given up altogether. And some don’t have the kind of support base that I’ve been blessed with to draw inner strength or peace from.
To me Xmas is about supporting and showing family and friends your love in a blatantly honest way, because during the rest of the year it can sometimes be hidden and unknown. The second part is reaching out and doing whatever you can to help those who are not as fortunate as you are, because we are not all born with the ability to help ourselves. And there is nothing more uplifting than when someone says to you, “I’m behind you, and I’m going to help.”
It gives you hope.