Gilbert

•March 25, 2013 • 3 Comments

Are you still out there????

“You’re Beautiful”

•August 31, 2012 • 2 Comments

Him: God you’re beautiful

Me: *smile* I know

That was NOT the answer I would have given him years ago; that was not the answer I’ve given anybody else before him. My response was not just one triggered by a defense mechanism designed to shut people up like he probably assumed then, I really knew I was beautiful before he actually told me, not just because I saw it in how he looked at me, but because it was something he had taught me about myself.

Being the first of my parents’ three daughters, my dad raised me to be more like the son he never had. Most of the values I was taught were originally “masculine” (at least from his point of view), but he tried to put them in a rather feminine mold because he knew someday I’d have to be the weaker sex if I am to marry a man in this society (a fact he never bothered explaining to me until he saw how I insisted on being treated like an equal by my ex-husband).

I walked as fast as guys did, I dressed in jeans and sneakers most of the time, I was even brought up with more guys my age than girls, I had puzzles and “boyish” toys rather than Barbie’s, I actually played with my male play mates and their mock screw drivers and mechanics kit. Very little attention was brought to me about my being a girl or whatever that entailed in our society; my hair was cut short until my dad started worrying I’d believe I’m a boy, but even then my mom would strictly braid it leaving none of it covering my face, like other girls my age had it.

My mom, well, she made my dad’s job so much easier having adopted the hippie bohemian look all her life; she never really spent time attending to her looks and she totally relied on her God given beauty and was blessed by a husband who somehow seemed to see it and appreciate it under her thick layers of carelessness. All my life I watched my late nana and her own sisters criticizing her lack of care for her appearance. Braiding my hair, I always heard her talking beneath her breath about how shallow it was to spend that much time to look beautiful and she’d justify it by making up fictional reasons about it.

Bottom line, I didn’t grow up like the typical girl people usually assume I am until I start breaking down all their assumptions. Being pretty or looking cute was not something I was taught, and it was not something of any kind of meaning or value to me to compete for.

I was just me, I cared about what I said and what I did, not how I looked. Well, I did care about matching colors and styles, I had the genes for it being the official heir of my grandmother’s genes. Before you start thinking it was all that great, it wasn’t; one of the reasons I married my ex was probably because he was the first guy who pointed out the obvious, I was a girl, a beautiful one, who is also smart and funny, but not full of herself; he made me feel special and I liked it.

But then with the divorce, all its social stigma and all the drama from which everybody warned me, I just fended off all those compliments and never took them seriously or gave them any considerable weight. Again, being brought up the way I was, helped deprive meaning from every remark on my looks, my brains, my humor, and of course my most recent endurance of hardships. I didn’t need those compliments and hearing them did not fulfill any yearnings for being recognized like that. I always smiled calmly and thanked people for complimenting my looks, said I had my late nana’s wits and endurance, and attributed my humor to my dad’s side of the family. Nothing of it was mine; I was just the holder of qualities that were passed on to me, made me feel blessed more than special… actually, it didn’t make me feel anything.  I just was, nothing was special about it, and anyone pointing out otherwise was just overdoing all those clichés men do to win women, end of story.

And then he was. He was my best friend when I needed a male friend the most. It felt like I grew up with him; he was familiar and somehow safe. He was observant, smart, and oh so subtle; moreover, he also shared my interests and fed them. He became my best friend, he noticed my repulsion from men’s silly approaches, and probably figured out he’d lose me if he starts complimenting me, and he needed my friendship probably as much as I needed his.

He just was, and I just was… and it was the best thing I ever had.

And without doing it on purpose, he told me the most beautiful things I’ve ever been told without making them sound like the boring clichés, but rather like an overdue fact. I’d be complaining about a photo that was taken of me that made my face look too cheeky, and he’d reply so casually that I had nothing to complain about having such clear skin; natural blush and pimple free face, how dare I complain!!! Every remark about my qualities was made within a context that made it feel more like a fact rather than a compliment, it just felt more credible.

I got to know myself with him, and I got to love myself with him. I got to see what other people saw that I took for granted without really appreciating it or even really acknowledging it existed or had value. I started believing I was beautiful, I started acknowledging that my brains were not something everybody had, or my intellect, or my taste, all the things that brought us together started from a strong mental bond that developed later into an even stronger emotional one.

So when he first told me how beautiful I was the way men tell the women they love, I knew it, I believed it because for years he has been teaching me all those things about myself that I never learned in my years before him.

Him: *teasing* you can try saying “thank you” instead of “I know”, don’t be too full of yourself..

Me: *smiling* but you like this answer better, and you know it…

*sigh*

 I don’t like it anymore when men tell me I’m beautiful. I mean of course it is flattering and all, but it is not as fulfilling as people expect it to be when they say it; if anything, it just reminds me of him and makes me miss him. They say it to win me over, to impress me, to give me the attention they think I long for, to even just express it… whatever the reasons, they say it too “bluntly”, it doesn’t hold that kind of special meaning to me. I liked how subtle it was with him, I liked how I read it in his almond brown eyes first, and how I’d see his lips curling as he starts saying it and then pauses to reconsider, and then lets it out in the least words possible.

I don’t like being told I’m beautiful by anyone but him, because it only had meaning with him.

 

 

 

Dead

•July 1, 2012 • 4 Comments

I keep thinking it’s the only way out to end the pain, but my rather saner self tells me there is probably more of that awaiting me in the afterlife. My bleeding heart cries in its constant aching as it sheds its blood to my system thinking it would flood it, but the idiot doesn’t seem to get that it’s only doing its job of pumping blood, only with yet extra pain for me to feel.

I’ve been down that road before; I’ve reached for the pills, emptied them on my bed, and gulped them slowly one after the other, resenting myself as I swallowed each one. And when I was done, I switched the lights and started crying myself to sleep one last time. Just about the time the drugs started kicking in, it hit me what I was actually doing; I was abandoning my kids to no one who loves them like I do, to no one who has the will and the stomach to fight for them like I would, despite all my pain and my agony. And I started crying different tears in my loneliness as I was dosing off, I was crying to God to spare me, only if my life would make a good difference in theirs. And the darkness seeped in and I started losing my grip of my consciousness little by little.

I woke up the next day, about 10 hours later than I should have. I was sick, I was sore, I was alone, I was still in endless amount of pain, but I was alive… and it hit me that I had to be, even if my life felt so worthless to me, the quality of theirs still means something; this world still holds one single meaning to me, them.

And I have been pushing through every day since, knowing that I will never do it again. I know it’s no longer a choice I can make. I wake up every day knowing that truth about myself, I have no control over my life; the one thing I did as a desperate act to find that control, I prayed for it to be reversed because my life means something to someone else whom I love way too much than to abandon them. That simple, and that complicated.

So in my worst episodes, I curl in bed and I cry as I imagine a different scenario every time hoping time would pass and I would eventually fall asleep.

I imagine never having waken up that day, and I imagine what they would have figured out my departure, and I sigh sarcastically… they would have never known why, because I am so tough and so strong and so independent, they just never saw it coming.

And I look at that broken glass every time the pain attacks me too much, and I imagine myself holding it and slitting my wrist with it, and I close my eyes as I imagine what the warm blood would feel like drowning my consciousness, and I cry harder and harder as that part that’s linked to my kids starts crying in panic.

He told me to imagine how they would break the news to my little boy, and how he would fail to grasp it and they would have to repeat it and it would traumatize him, and he didn’t get that he just made me hate myself even more; it just makes me hate this life even more.

So recently, I just go to bed every night with a different scenario that only ends with more self-loathing.

Yesterday, I talked myself into another resolution… I am dead. Yes, I already feel dead and hollow; I am just a loving shell who provides certain things for those boys, that’s all I have to be… God knows I don’t wanna write much anymore, and I don’t wanna create any art and I barely sit and enjoy any of it as much… I am dead, it’s just that my body still works, and I have to keep it working until it’s no longer a necessity, until it fails on its own.

I just wish that kind of dead came pain-free. I wish my eyes wouldn’t swell from all the tears, and I wish my skull wouldn’t hurt with all the headache, and I wish my back wouldn’t ache like that… I am dead, can I please be numb too?!

Ugly

•June 2, 2012 • 2 Comments

It hit me yesterday as I was driving home…

*THE WORLD IS UGLY*

There is so much ugliness in this world, so much that hit in the face every day that we have probably gotten numb to it and can no longer really see it or be disgusted by it, let alone try to change it…

“Ugliness is all around” my mind kept repeating that phrase in such a sad and defeated tone “the world is ugly ugly ugly”

That beauty we see from time to time around us is real, but it does not belong to the world; it is the mere projection of the beauty we still have inside us since our birth, which keeps decreasing until we eventually fade into the background of ugliness that captures our souls as we grow older.

Say all you want about optimism and positive thinking and believing that there is goodness and beauty out there, there isn’t.

I used to believe in the basic goodness in people, that it can out-win any evil that may take possession of their souls, I used to believe there is enough beauty to take over ugliness, and enough happiness that can wipe away all the sorrow there is, there isn’t.

Truth is, we will always get hurt by that ugliness, our souls will always quiver in pain at its sight, until we eventually learn to become uglier each day so that we don’t stand out in the contrast and be attacked with more pain…

That’s what I learned on the night of my thirty first birthday, I have spent a couple of years becoming ugly because I failed at making my world beautiful and failed twice as miserably to protect myself from its ugliness…

I hate my ugliness more than I hate that of the world’s because it’s staying within me hurting me every single day of my life, and the more I try to rid myself of it I keep getting hit by that of the world so I hide back again into my own ugliness; it’s like a cloak of dirt I hide into because without it I am exposed to what I cannot take.

I’m sorry for those who may read it and feel sad for me –or for themselves-, I am really sorry for drawing your attention to what you may have never wanted to see, or what you may have been denying in order to survive, but this world is ugly, and it makes us all ugly or it destroys us beyond repair.

The Dead

•April 3, 2012 • 2 Comments

 I never got to visit my late nana’s grave since she died until last year. Years ago when she died, I didn’t know where she was buried and I have heard that it was unfavorable to visit the dead and well, the whole idea was unsettling…

But missing her increased over the years and I found myself always wishing I would go sit next to her grave and just sit… I didn’t want to cry, I wanted to take flowers that I never gave her when she was alive, I wanted to recite Quran, I wanted to feel whatever presence left of her in that place…

When I finally went with my youngest uncle (the only one who actually cares enough to visit), I stood there locked outside the graveyard with him and my two cousins who have no recollection of her, we recited Quran silently and I didn’t know how to feel…

I can’t say I felt her presence, I can’t say that I felt nothing either… I just felt… confusion… I wished I could go inside beyond that door and hug the earth covering her, I wished I could cry but no tears came, I just stood there and kept whispering to her “I miss you, I really do”… I couldn’t mention how much I love her, because it would remind me how much she loved me and then I would cry, oh, but did I not want to cry?!!!

I would like to visit her again; in fact, I would have had it been safe, but given how unsafe it is to drive on those roads, I don’t, but I would visit once I can, and I would get them keys to get inside, and I would see if I could plant some greenery in that corner to keep her company when I am not there…

It’s a lot like that now, I reconnect with something that wouldn’t die, but is nonetheless buried under layers of pain, unforgiveness, foolish pride, and despair… I wish I’d hold it so close to my heart but it’s like a burning amber that would burn my heart to ashes over and over, so I just leave it in the earth hoping time would take care of it all whichever way… it’s how I pay my respects and my love to all that was and probably still is…

I know people grieve differently, I know, but it adds insult to injury when I see you doing the exact opposite.

Emotional Chaos

•March 2, 2012 • 1 Comment

I never had that before, or I did but I lost it some time ago.

Someone who’d sense my agitation across oceans even though he doesn’t have a clue what I’m going through… and then reach out to me, and when I reluctantly respond, he calls and offers all the support he can… and then follows up day in and day out, and when I reject the support ad sink in my depression as I disappear even further, he tries to reach out even harder….

And then he calls me from a local number and tells me he flew to Cairo to see what’s wrong and be there…

And then I just lost my voice as tears kept flowing from my eyes with both awe and disbelief, that there is someone in this world who is actually there for me when I was just praying for a magic wand to fix all my problems!

But instead of letting my sobs be heard to him, I just hang up, so that I can gasp and cry loudly without him hearing my aching manifesting in uncontrollable cries of pain I can no longer control!

I don’t want that done for me, I don’t want to be loved like that anymore because it hurts, the idea of someone loving me the way I once loved is now scary because I couldn’t get over the loss of a love that couldn’t make it through, and I know this love will be lost too one day and I just can’t depend….

I really love you since even before I knew what love is, you were everything I needed to grow up feeling as loved, but I am not that little girl anymore, I am full of pain and the scars to show it and I have lost so much love I am too scared you’d be gone if you really know what I have become or what if you die just like she did… I really can’t afford loss anymore.

I sound like my worst nightmare.

I will write

•February 21, 2012 • Leave a Comment

The death you urge for me to learn is not as graceful as you try to convince yourself. Grace means doing your best, fighting for what you believe, for what you hold dear to your heart, living it until your last breath, that’s when death is indeed graceful. But giving up because you “tried but it hurt too much” is weakness and cowardice, not grace.

The more you use death as an analogy, the more doubts you give me about all there is I once thought was beyond doubt. Don’t taint death and don’t disgrace the dead for you and I have lost people so dear to us whom we know would have fought to stay with us, or at least so we would like to believe.

And don’t ask me not to write; don’t silence me to justify your disgraceful silence. Don’t blame me for making it harder for you with my words, because unlike yours, my conscience is not too guilty to speak its mind. Yes, to write about loss is painful, but to write about it knowing that you have tried your best is more dignified that sinking in silence because of the shame of having given up what you should have fought for.

I will write because I want to remember, and I want you to remember until the memory deprives you of all the peace you try your best to fake; I hope my words shatter it to pieces. The reason my words scare you is that they remind you of the pain you caused, that’s what true words do, they simply tear down all the false justifications one makes when one disappoints. So I will write, for my own peace; words hurt, but they are also the cure for those who don’t have a guilty conscience.

I will write, you can choose not to read; that would be your decision.