• Sabina Giado

“Your back can give out” and 3 other things I’d like to tell my younger self.

I wish I could take you out to coffee. Maybe tempt you to try the taro latter. A potato in coffee? Yeah. It’s pretty delicious. And purple - your favourite colour!

I’ll clasp my chai latte in my hand. Frothy. Flecked with spices. Radiating heat all the way up to my elbow.

You’re hunched over your drink, stirring and mumbling. Telling me how frightened you are to do this filmmaking thing. It’s twisting your stomach in knots. Your parents are going to hate you. Even more, if that’s even possible. Your friends will think you’re nuts. Even more nuts, if that’s even possible. You might lose everything. Your savings, your sanity, your family, your friends, worst of all, your dignity and your faith.

It’s great that you’ve identified your priorities. It’s a great first step.

You look at me. You snort-laugh. What could I say to make you see what I see? I take your hand.

A fertile garden brimming with possibilities.

What? Dude. You take your hand away. Now I’m getting inappropriate.

Bear with me, child, bear with me. I’ve got at least 10 years on you so I can call you ‘child’. You roll your eyes.

I recently started gardening. It’s hard work. Lots of bending over. Raking over soil. Pulling up weeds. Planting seeds. And then waiting. Sometimes you see something push through the soil and it’s miraculous. And sometimes you don’t.

There are a few things you and I both do which lend themselves to exhaustion. Let me break them down for you.

1. We take information from too many sources.

Here’s what we should do. Find one person we resonate with - just one! Read one article - just one! Make a list of action items from that article - and then get to them. Rinse and repeat till we reach our goal.

Your shoulders relax a little bit. And you take a sip of that taro latte.

2. We try to do all the things, even the things we hate to do.

I threw my back out trying to pull up weeds. Now I leave that to my husband. God didn’t give him those biceps for nothing. You don’t know how to edit. Looking at a computer for hours would give you a headache. Then ask someone else to do it. We’re a social species. You show enough love, people will flock to you.

3. We beat ourselves up for our failures.

Look, retreating for a bit is fine. But lashing ourselves is not.

Emotions are data points, not directives. Why are we feeling disappointed? Or mad? Or scared? We can learn a lot about ourselves by being curious about our emotions, instead of fearful.

But only ask yourself when you’re ready to hear the answer. Sometimes staying in maintenance mode is fine too. My plants are all alive. While my child settles into school, I’m happy to just have ‘alive’ plants instead of a verdant orchard.

You’ve hitched your feet up and are sitting cross-legged in the booth. But my work here still isn’t done. From peace comes action.

4. We try to do everything in one day.

We don’t need to do heaps. Do a little bit every day. Send one email. Make one phone call. Google one thing.

Feed my plants seaweed tea. Water them. The main thing is to approach my garden with love every day. Not with pain, anxiety and fury.

That taro latte is almost finished now. We finish our drinks in companionable silence.🔥


Sabina Giado @sabina.giado makes messy, beautiful, funny films about messy beautiful, funny Muslim women. They fall in love, they fall out of love, they are courageous, defiant, exhausted – most of all, they are unapologetically Muslim.

Ethnically Sri Lankan, but born and raised in Dubai, Sabina was part of the first all-female comedy troupe in the Middle East, the Funny Girls, and the region’s first improv troupe, Improv Revolution. Her films and social media can be found at www.sabinagiado.com

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