Jul 21, 2016

How Men Kill Women Everyday

I woke up on the morning of July 18th and started going through my twitter feed, not a wise decision when you’re a depressive, who sleeps poorly and wakes up with what feels like a heavy bruised lacerated heart everyday. I came across a story about a sixteen year old Afghan girl named Zahra; when Zahra was eleven, her father remarried, Zahra was part of the dowry given to her step mother, two years later at the age of fourteen Zahra was married off against her will and made to work in the fields for the benefit of her in-laws. Zahra was burned to death by her husband and his family when she refused to work in their opium fields while pregnant, they burned her to cover up the stabs and bruises they gave her over several years of abuse. After reading Zahra’s story I didn’t know how to face the day. There are so many girls/women like Zahra everywhere in the world, in developed and non-developed cultures, religious and non-religious, educated and uneducated. If you’re a beautiful glamorous super model like Reeva Steenkamp who was murdered by her boyfriend, you’ll make headlines. If you’re a poor Muslim girl like Zahra, someone might read your story, shake their head, mutter “those barbaric Muslims” and move on.

But murder is not the only method men use to kill, abuse, hurt, diminish, demean, undermine, defeat women; every single day, every moment there is a man physically, mentally, emotionally and sexually abusing a woman somewhere and calling it something other than abuse. Men cannot feel more unless they make women feel less, they can’t have a sense of self unless they destroy a woman’s sense of worth, everything about a woman’s confidence terrifies them and makes them feel small and impotent.

A while back I made the HUGE mistake of dating my therapist, like I said "HUGE" mistake. He seemed so caring, so understanding, and I was so lonely, so vulnerable and so desperate for care, love and understanding. The first time we agreed to meet - not in our professional capacity - I was looking forward to all the meaningful conversations we would have, I imagined us taking long walks then sitting down for coffee, I looked forward to learn more about him, as he knew everything about me, but when we actually met he seemed distracted, pre-occupied, elsewhere, then, in the privacy of my home I understood why, he said “I want you” in the way one indicates sex. I was surprised as I had hoped the first time we met would be about getting to know each other, but again, lonely, desperate, emotional and vulnerable I took him to my bedroom. When he took his clothes off I was shocked, I knew of course that he was overweight, that was obvious, but what I didn’t know was that he had recently lost hundreds of pounds, everything in his body was sagging and gross; long dangly man boobs, a huge sagging gut, I was repulsed but I tried hard not to think about how unattractive he was, saying to myself: he’s caring, he’s loving, he’s understanding, he’s not like the other abusive men I’ve been with. When he failed to perform sexually, I tried some of my sexy tricks to bring that sad disgusting 2 inch pink penis hidden under all that sagging pink flesh to life but to no avail. I lay there, cold, naked, sad, heart broken and disappointed, still, I thought to myself I should try my best to make it less awkward, as he’s probably feeling ashamed, so I put on my best fake smile and lied about how nice it is to cuddle. But to my surprise he began to try to blame me for his impotence! First he said jokingly that it was my anti-depressants that dampened my sexual desire, something I had told him in the confidentiality and safety of our therapy sessions, then he said “I remember you told me once that you lost your libido when your depression got worse” another private piece of information I told him as my therapist. He kept saying things like that, looking for an excuse, ignoring completely that I had tried to make him hard. I knew what he was doing, and it was the most shameful thing any man has ever done, and I had known some pretty shitty men. It sickened me that a man I thought was kind, understanding and caring was just as abusive, cruel, insensitive, manipulative and completely self-absorbed as the men I had known in the past. I pitied and resented him, it was so pathetic that he would be so petty as to use my depression - the only reason we crossed paths - against me, and to use secrets I had told him as my therapist in order to feel better about himself, to feel like a real man when he clearly wasn’t, that the only way he could regain any self-respect and pride was by making me feel less.
For six days after our unfortunate encounter he did not contact me, I was glad and hoped I’d never hear from him again, on the seventh day he sent me a very long e-mail about what a good man he really is. During our therapy sessions I had discussed with him on various occasions how much I value real communication, how it saddened me when people texted when they could have picked up the phone and called, how people e-mail when they know they should have made more of an effort and tried to talk face to face, he strongly agreed with me, but I guess he wasn’t paying attention to that conversation as much as how my depression effected my libido! I wrote back telling him that he didn’t have what it takes to be with me. I started seeing a female therapist who is a thousand times better, more experienced, more competent and emotionally intelligent than my ex-therapist.  

Jul 17, 2016

كيف تغيّرنا الأحزان

قد لا نرى كيف تغيّرنا الأحزان،

تسرقُ منّا شيئاً صغيراً كلّ يوم، نومنا الهانيء، البريق الذي لَمعَ في أعيننا، الضحكات الصادقة الخالية من أيّ تصنّع أو نفاق، ثم الحلم الذي ناضلنا من أجلهِ، ثم القلب الذي  ضحينا للوصول إليه، ثم الصديق الذي أخلصنا لصحبته، ثم رغبتنا في الحياة..

رويداً، رويداً تمحو أحزاننا ألوان الحياة حتى تبهت الدنيا في أعيننا.. تتحوّل أرواحنا من ملمسها الحريريّ الرقيق الناعم، إلى قطن يمكن التحكًم به، إلى صوفٍ قاسِ، إلى جلد  صلبٍ عرد يتحمّل كل العواصف  بعد أن تجرّد من كل العواطف.. 

و لا ندري أين تذهب مناً كل هذه الأشياء؟

قد أفهم أن يهرب النوم من عيناي عندما تطاردهُ أقكاري القبيحة، المشوّهة ، وقد أفهم أيضاً أن تتضائل الضحكات في زمنٍ ملؤه العنف و الكُره و الموت، لكن ذلك الحب! كل ذلك الحب! أين يمكن دسّهِ أو دفنهِ أو رَميهِ، أين يُرمى جبل؟ كيف يدفن بحر كامل؟ أيمكن دَسِّ النهار؟

Jul 15, 2016

اقطعها، احرقها، مزّقها إن شئت

عندما يُقطع جذع الشجرة، نستطيع أن نرى سنينها من خلال عدد الخطوط التي تدور حول قِطرها
خطوط عُمرها، ذكرياتها، جروحها و آلامها و تشققاتها و صدى ماضيها
الشجرة لا تنسى أبداً ، الشجرة تحفظ  كل شيء في قلبها في روحها، في داخلها
قد تَتَغيّر بِتغيُّر الفصول، قد تتساقط أوراقها، قد تتبدل ألوانها، قد تتحلىّ بثوب الربيع الجديد، أو قد تميل كلما هبّت بها العواصف العاتية، لكنها لا تنسى
تحفظ  بدقةٍ و صدقٍ كل التفاصيل،  تُدوِّن مشاعرها من دون خجلٍ، خوفٍ أو إجحاف، من دون الحاجة للغةٍ أو كلمات، من دون أنينٍ ، نحيبٍ أو بكاء
تَقِفُ صامتةً، صابرة، صامدة و قوّية، راسخة، شامخة و أَبِيَّة
اقطعها إن شئت، اقتلعها من أرضها، احرقها، مزٍّقها وانثرها نشارة خشب، اصنع منها كُرسي أو كُراّس
لن تأخذ منها سكونها وسكوتها والسنين والآلام التي رَسَمَتها بحبٍ وشغفٍ وخشوع في صمت جوفها، لن تلغي كيانها.


Jul 13, 2016

Home and Belonging

As my departure from the UK quickly approaches, I think about the concept of ‘Home’ and ‘Belonging’, two concepts I’ve struggled with all my life. There are in the world today 65.3 million displaced people, forced out of their homeland by war, prosecution and conflict. Immigrants, who have left their homeland by choice have reached a staggering 232 million today.

Although no war is raging in the country where I was born, I have often felt I was forced to leave, driven away, rejected, shunned, publically and privately shamed, ridiculed. And now I am forced to leave the UK, it doesn’t sadden me anymore, I look forward to leaving this wet, grey, bleak country, with its cold, indifferent, unwelcoming people. I look forward to the future, I know there are better things out there, I’m sure of that. I try to think of what I will take with me from here, what does England represent to me? The tall black wrought iron gates, with their sharp spear-headed tips, cold and hard. When I was growing up in Scotland - in another life time – I ran my finger over those forbidding gates, closed, always closed, always tall and erect, on cold wet mornings, a female spider’s web spun between two bars would shimmer with rain drops, looking like a gorgeous diamond necklace from the right distance in the weak sunlight. What else would I take? what else would I save in the archives of my memory? The magnificent rose bushes that put on their best show every May then gradually, slowly fade for the rest of the year, those breath taking large flowers, scattering their velvet petals on the side walk, beckoning a passer to come closer, come and smell the most enchanting fragrance no fancy perfume factory can ever produce, full of mystery and desire. What else would I take? The smell of freshly baked M&S bread, the melancholy sound of street buskers, the delight of hearing a native Scot say “in a wee moment?”,  that’s all I’m taking. I often wonder why Cadbury chocolate tastes better here in England? I often wonder why Irn-Bru doesn’t taste as good anywhere other than Scotland? I don’t know? Perhaps it’s a thing of home and belonging.

Jul 12, 2016

يوم ماطر

يوم ماطر عاصف

بدّلت خلالهِ السماء زرقتها ونورها وهدوءها، إلى نحيب و بكاء وظُلمة

أطلقت غضبها، صرخت في غصون أشجارها، نَثَرتْ (جريحة) وريقات الزهور، انتزعت (باكية) القبعات والأوشحة،  قلّبَتْ صناديق القمامة (بعنف) وبعثرت (متألمة)
النفايات في الشوارع  و راحت  تأن و تأن حزينة ناحبة خارج الأبواب الموصودة

جلستُ أُراقب مجرى دموعها على نافذتي، كل قطرة تسقط على سطح الزجاج لها خاصّيتها، لها شكلها و حجمها المختلف، تسيل في مجراها الخاص، تسيل وتسقط على الأرض فتبتلعها التربة أو تتشربها النباتات، لكن بين الحين والآخر تأتي قطرة من السماء قاصدة قطره أخرى كالسهم، فتتجه إليها مباشرة بحزم و إرادة ورغبة ، وكما لو أنّ القطرة الأولى بانتظارها، فَتَتَّحد القطرتان ، تتحدان اتحاداً لا يمكن فكّهِ ولا يمكن من بعدهِ تمييز إحداهما عن الأخرى، تختلطان اختلاط الماء بالماء وتسيران وتسيلان في مجرى واحد ، وإن حصل وانفكَت إحداهما عن الأخرى و تحولتا إلى قطرتان من جديد، تسير الواحدة منها حاملة الكثير من خواص الأخرى، لا مفرّ لها من الذكرى


Jul 11, 2016

Leave the House: Surviving my Depression

I have to leave the house often,

Even if I had nowhere to go

Even if I was ill, or tired, or didn’t need anything from the shops

I leave the house anyway

I find a reason to leave the house,

Looks like I’m going to run out of coffee soon, or maybe I’ll walk to the public library to borrow a book, any reason to leave the house, if I stay in my troubled thoughts will corner me, they will call me to them and I will respond and listen.

I have to leave the house, I walk, I know my sadness follows me wherever I go, I can hear its weightless footsteps behind me, but I make sure I’m a step ahead

I take buses to nowhere and sit next to a stranger and strain my ears to hear a meaningless conversation between two old ladies sitting behind me.

I walk to town, I purposefully search for crowds, I through myself in their chatter, I try to loose my feelings in their affairs, in their expressions, in their gestures, their reasons and their words.

I look into babies’ eyes, I listen to trees rustling, I watch with hunger lovers kissing, holding hands, leaning on one another, I cry, I put on my oversized sun glasses, I hide, I’m so far away from everything, I’m on the outside, always on the outside.

I hurry back to my dungeon, my feet ache, my heart throbs, my mind palpitating with all the dark, crushing thoughts I temporarily pushed away, now they’ve had time to breed, now my ugly charged emotions have multiplied, now the ogre awaits, I turn the key, I go to my bedroom, I close the door and surrender.  

Jul 10, 2016

لا أملك سوى

لا أملك شيئاً ثميناً،
لم أملكُ يوماً قطعةَ ألماس
لم أملك يوماً سيارة فخمة أو فيلا جميلة
لم أملك يوماً فستاناً لمصمم أزياء لبناني راقي
لم أملك يوماً ساعة سويسرية أو حقيبة إيطالية الصنع
لا أملكُ سوى اليد الصغيرة التي تُمسكُ بيدي كلما هممنا بعبور الشوارع المزدحمة بالمركبات المسرعة المتهوّرة
لا أملك سوى صوتها الطفولي: "ماما، أنتِ أفضل ماما في الدنيا"، صوتها الذي لطالما أنقذني من جحيم حزني ووحدتي
لا أملكُ سوى دموعها التي تنهمر لدموعي كلما رأتني في عزَ آلامي كلما دهستني و هزمتني الحياة