Came as Me, Left as We - 21 stories to escape with

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came as me left as we 21 stories to escape with Manual

Lillian Rozanski. Damien Wilkins. The Whitby Dream. Rowan Laurel Flynn. Zigzag: Flashbacks of a Painter. Gym Halama. Fifty Shades of Red are Beautiful Colours. Ruth Remington. Patience Agbabi. Sharon Livingstone. Aspects of Life. Valerie FitzGerald. Tales of a Grey Nomad.

Chris Mayfield. The Gypsy Elephant. Lisa Dowse. Foreign Encounters. Writers Abroad. Lynn Ricci. Writing a Novel Anthology, James Bradley. The Effect of Frost on Southern Vines. Sande Bunting. Something Different: Stories in Rhyme. Or a deep love of long blocks of free, open leisure time that your hornier, greedier teenage self kicked downstairs in favor of a raging ambition. The other part of our Yearning Octopus audit will address the hierarchy of your yearnings.

The octopus contains anything that could make you want or not want to pursue a certain career, and the reverse side of each yearning is its accompanying fear of the opposite. The reverse side of your yearning to be admired is a fear of embarrassment. The other half of your craving of self-esteem is a fear of feeling shame. What looks like a determined drive for success, for example, might actually be someone running away from a negative self-image or trying to escape feelings like envy or under-appreciation.

The person doing the ranking is you —the little center of consciousness reading this post who can observe your octopus and look at it objectively. This involves another kind of compromise. To get all of this in order, we want a good system. You can play around with what works for you—I like the idea of a shelf:. This divides things into five categories. The absolutely highest priority inner drives get to go in the extra special non-negotiable bowl. The bowl is small because it should be used very sparingly—if at all. Like maybe only one thing gets it.

Or maybe two or three. Too many things in the NN bowl cancels out its power, making that the same as having nothing in the bowl at all. Shelf placement is as much about de-prioritizing as it is about prioritizing. This is inevitable. The middle shelf is good for those not-so-noble qualities in you that you decide to accept. They deserve some of your attention. Most of the rest will end up on the bottom shelf. Likewise, the fewer yearnings you put on the top shelf, the more likely those on the top shelf will be to thrive. Your time and energy are severely limited, so this is a zero-sum compromise.

The amateur mistake is to be too liberal with the NN bowl and top shelf and too sparing with the large bottom shelf. But like the rest of your hierarchy decisions, your criteria for what qualifies as trash should be derived from your own deep thought, not from what others tell you is and is not trash. Yearnings and fears are impatient and bad at seeing the big picture.

Many of the people who have done wonders to make the world better got there on a path that started with selfish motives like wealth or personal fulfillment—motives their moral tentacle probably hated at first. The Want Box deals with what you find desirable. The Reality Box is the same deal. The goal of self-reflection is to bring both of these boxes as close to accuracy as possible. For our Want Box audit, we looked under the hood of the Want Box and found its settings—your yearnings and fears. When we open the hood of your Reality Box, we see a group of beliefs.

For a career option to qualify for your Reality Box, your potential in that career area has to measure up to the objective difficulty of achieving success in that area. There are traditional careers—stuff like medicine or law or teaching or a corporate ladder, etc. Then there are less traditional careers—the arts, entrepreneurship, non-profit work, politics, etc. These are perfectly reasonable assumptions—if you live in A general conception, a common opinion, an oft-cited statistic 7 —none of which have actually been verified by you, but all of which are treated as gospel by society.

These problems then extend to how we view our own potential. These are only a few examples of the slew of delusions and misconceptions we tend to have about how great careers happen. I have no idea, mostly. And I think most people have no idea. Things are just changing too quickly. If you can figure out how to get a reasonably accurate picture of the real career landscape out there, you have a massive edge over everyone else, most of whom will be using conventional wisdom as their instruction booklet. Pretty stressful, but also incredibly exciting. A career path is like a game board.

This is promising news. If you simply understand what the game board really looks like and play by modern rules, you have a huge advantage. And this brings us to you and your particular strengths. With enough time, could you get good enough at this game to potentially reach whatever your definition of success is in that career? The distance starts with where you are now—point A—and ends with you reaching your definition of success, which we can draw with a star. The length of the distance depends on where point A is how far along you are at the current moment and where the star is how lofty your definition of success is.

But the game boards in less traditional careers often involve many more factors. Acting ability is only one piece of that puzzle—you also need a knack for getting yourself in front of people with power, a shrewdness for personal branding, an insane amount of optimism, a ridiculous amount of hustle and persistence, etc. If you get good enough at that whole game—every component of it—your chances of becoming an A-list movie star are actually pretty high. So how do you figure out your chances of getting to any particular star?


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What makes someone slower or faster at improving at a career game? Your level of chefness. Careers are complex games that almost everyone starts off bad at—then the chefs improve rapidly through a continual loop…. Your work ethic. This one is obvious. Someone who works on their career 60 hours a week, 50 weeks a year, is going to move down the path almost four times faster than someone who works 20 hours a week, 40 weeks a year. Someone who chooses a balanced lifestyle will move slower than a single-minded workaholic.

Someone who frequently breaks from work to daydream or pick up their phone is going to get less done in each work hour than someone who practices deep focus.

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Your natural abilities. Talent does matter. Smarter, more talented people will improve at a game at a faster rate than less naturally gifted people. But intelligence and talent are only two types of natural ability that come into play here. Depending on the type of career, social skills can be critically important as well. In many careers, likable or subtly manipulative people have a big advantage over less likable people—and those who enjoy socializing will put in more people hours over time, and build deeper relationships, than antisocial types. Persistence is simpler than pace. A car going 30 mph that quits driving after 15 minutes gets a lot less far than a car that drives 10 mph for two hours.

And this is why persistence is so important. A few years is just not enough time to traverse the typically long distances it takes to get to the raddest success stars, no matter how impressive your pace. Your Real Strengths and W eaknesses. When we list our strengths, we tend to list our areas of existing skill more than anything else. Instead, strengths should be all about pace and persistence qualities. Originality or lack thereof should be a critical component of the discussion, making qualities like agility and humility trademark chef traits notable strengths, and qualities like stubbornness 8 or intellectual laziness classic cook traits important weaknesses.

The subtleties of work ethic, like a knack for deep focus or a propensity to procrastinate, should also be a major part of the discussion, as should natural abilities beyond talent, like savvy and likability. Qualities related to persistence, like resilience and determination and patience, should be thought of as promising strengths, while a social tentacle clamoring to appear successful as quickly as possible should be viewed as a bright red flag.

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This lesson applies to specific skills—but most general pace and persistence qualities can also be worked on and improved if you focus on them. This would be an impossibly big list, only ruling out paths that are clearly far too long for you to traverse at your maximum possible pace on the path like me chasing a career as an Olympic figure skater. To complete our Reality Box audit with that caveat, we need to evaluate:. For those paths, evaluate your starting point, based on your current skills, resources, and connections relevant to that field. Think about end points and where on each line your star should be placed.

Make an initial estimate for what your pace of improvement might be on these various game boards, based on your current pace-related strengths and how much you think you can improve at each of them in other words, how much your speed might be able to accelerate. You take your game board and make it a line, you plot starting points and success stars that together generate the various distances in front of you, and for each, you multiply your pace by your level of persistence. A from-first-principles Reality Box audit may bring some overly optimistic people down to Earth, but I suspect that for most, an audit will leave them feeling like they have a lot more options than they realized, empowering them to set their sights on a bolder direction.

A good Reality Box reflection warrants yet another Want Box reflection. Reframing a bunch of career paths in your mind will affect your level of yearning for some of them. One career may seem less appealing after reminding yourself that it will entail thousands of hours of networking or multiple decades of pre-success struggle.

Another may seem less daunting after changing your mind about how much luck is actually involved. This brings us to the end of our long, two-part deep dive. After a fairly exhausting box-auditing process, we can return to our Venn 10 diagram. Assuming some things have changed, you have a new Option Pool to look at—a new list of options on the table that seem both desirable to your high-priority rankings and possible to achieve. If there had been a clear arrow on your map before your audit, check out your new Option Pool.

Remember, going from a false arrow to a question mark is always major progress in life. And actually, a new question mark implies having made the key cliff jump on two roller coasters: getting to know yourself and getting to know the world. Major step in the right direction. Cross out the arrow and join the question mark crowd. Now the question mark crowd has a tough choice. You gotta pick one of the arrows in the Option Pool. Careers used to be kind of like a year tunnel. You picked your tunnel, and once you were in, that was that. You worked in that profession for 40 years or so before the tunnel spit you out on the other side into your retirement.

The truth is, careers have probably never really functioned like year-tunnels, they just seemed that way.

A Tragedy on 10th Avenue

At best, traditional careers of the past played out kind of like tunnels. But crusty old conventional wisdom has a lot of us still viewing things that way, which makes the already hard job of making big career path choices much harder. It enhances the delusion that what we do for work is a synonym for who we are, making a question mark on your map seem like an existential disaster. When you think of your career as a tunnel, the stakes to make the right choice seem so high that it explodes the feeling of tyranny of choice.

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For perfectionist types especially, this can be utterly paralyzing. When you think of your career as a tunnel, you lose the courage to make a career switch, even when your soul is begging for it. It makes switching careers feel incredibly risky and embarrassing, and it suggests that someone who does so is a failure. I am without even a head scarf or a coat. In this country, a naked face is almost the same as fully bared breasts.

I am lost and dizzy with fear. My husband is informed of my escape, and he finds me and brings me home. I want to go home. Abdul-Kareem is fed up with my unhappiness.


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I attempt a second escape to the American embassy. Without a US passport, I no longer have any rights as an American. I try twice more to escape — one with a return to the American embassy and another with the help of a friendly German expat. But before I can set any plans in action, I fall deathly ill.

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My temperature climbs to degrees, but I receive no sympathy from my family. After days of struggling — and falling into a coma—a local doctor is called. This is my lowest point. I fear that if I die here I will be buried in a Muslim cemetery, forever forgotten. I continue to fight for my survival and beg to see an American doctor. My family agrees, but only if I am closely guarded. The doctor, however, manages to get me alone for a brief moment and tells me that I must return to the States for treatment.

Then he orders a nurse to give me fluids. The next thing I remember is someone tugging at my IV line. I call out and am rescued by a sister-in-law, who sits with me through the night. He dismisses it. But he now realizes that if I survive this disease, I will leave him. So he contrives a way to make me stay. That night, a he climbs into my bed when I am feverish and sick and forces himself on me. He is trying to impregnate me because if I am carrying his child, I will not be allowed to leave. I have to get out and it has to be now.

I have only one card left to play: the royal card. I must appeal to my father-in-law, who alone has the power to return to me to my home. I send word through a servant that I would like to see him. You have been granted a six-month visa for reasons of health. He must have decided that he did not want a sick — or dead — American daughter-in-law who was trying to flee on his hands.

Perhaps he never wanted a Jewish American daughter-in-law at all. I feel saved; I feel graced. My husband grows incensed and begins to hit me and call me names. But I stand my ground. Even when I board the first plane out, he still believes that as a dutiful wife I will one day return to him. When the plane takes off, I am filled with more fierce joy than my body can contain. And when I finally land on American soil, I literally kiss the ground.

I suffer a painful miscarriage shortly after my return. My body made that decision for me. I rush past any anguish, return to college, find a job and apply to graduate school. Two years after returning, I get my marriage to Abdul-Kareem annulled. Because I hear some westerners preach the tortured cultural relativism that excuses the mistreatment of women in the name of Islam.

Because I see the burqa on the streets of Paris and New York and feel that Afghanistan has followed me back to America. I call myself a feminist — but not just any feminist. My kind of feminism was forged in the fires of Afghanistan. There I received an education — an expensive, almost deadly one — but a valuable one, too. I understand firsthand how deep-seated the hatred of women is in that culture.

The name of her husband and his family have been changed. Read Next. Inside America's secret swinging subculture.

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