21 Jul 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.  

17 Jul 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؟

15 Jul 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.


13 Jul 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.

12 Jul 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


11 Jul 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.  

10 Jul 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 

9 Jul 2016

عن الوطن.. عن الإنتماء

لم أشعر يوماً بأنني أنتمي للبلد الذي وُلدتُ فيه، و بعد خوضي العديد من المعارك الإجتماعية و الأسرية و القانونية و العلمية و العملية. بعد التهميش، و التصغير والطمس، والتكفير والتكذيب و التحقير و التهديد بالتأديب و الحبس. بعد أن إلتفت عني كل من أحب و إلتفت إليً المتشمتين، رحلت  بحثاً عن وطن جديد

سافرت للبلاد التي وُلدت فيها ابنتي، تقدمتُ بطلبي باللجوء، بالإقامة ، بالسماح لي و لطفلتي بالعيش في ضباب و شتاء انجلترا و بعد شهور طويلة تاهت فيها أوراقي و توسلاتي و أعذاري و شهاداتي و انجازاتي و التزكيات التي لملمتها من هنا و هناك أحاولُ جاهدةً بأن أثبت أنني لستُ إرهابية لمجرد أن اسمي فاطمة، رُفضت و رُفضت ابنتي و رُفضت كلَ  توسلاتنا و رجاءاتنا باللجوء، وها أنا من جديد أبحث عن وطن، أبحث عن الإنتماء إلى شيءٍ ما، مكانٍ ما، فكرةٍ ما، حياةٍ ما، إلاهٍ ما...

لاا أريدُ شيئاً، لا أريد مالاً ولا منصباً و لا ثروة، أريد فقط أن أحيا مع طفلتي دون التعرض للسب أو القذف أو الإضطهاد لمجرد أن لي فكرٌ مختلف عن الفكر السائد، أريدُ أن أحيا من دون أن أشعر بالنقص و بالدونية لمجرد أنني اخترتُ الطلاق من ذكر غبي بائس.

ربما يكون الوطن قصة، حكاية، رواية أوهمونا بها عندما كنَا صغاراً

ربما يكون الوطن كذبة، كالحب، نظلَ نطاردهُ من دون جدوى

ربما يكون الوطن نكته ساخرة، ساذجة، نضحك كلما سمعناها أو رددناها، ضحكات تعيسة يملؤها النفاق

ربما يكون الوطن وجبة لذيذة التهمها و استهلكها الأولون منَا، و لازلنا نردد شعاراتها الباهتة الفانية

ربما يكون الوطن ابتسامة حزينة نجبر أنفسنا على رسمها على محيانا محاولين جاهداً أن نعيش

7 Jul 2016

for my "N"

It was so wonderful to be able to talk about you to my therapist today. To be able to talk about you comfortably without fear of shame or judgment. My whole being is still bathed in a warm delicate glow of having said your beautiful name out loud to someone and the bitter sweet tears that flowed along with my confession “I love him, I truly and honestly love him, do you understand?” and the reassuring nod that saved me from falling inside my fathomless loss and despair.

Being able to tell an understanding person about my love for you, despite the separation, the years and the distance has allowed a wilted flower inside me to bloom again. I never knew something so radiant, so fierce can grow in the swamps of my longing for you, in the drought of not having you.

In my sweet solitude I can love you privately and grieve for you privately, and allow my mind to go back to a time when our desire and passion for each other was so tremendous, a powerful wild creature that could not be tamed or reined, when it was so natural to make love five times a night, when our kisses could not put out the fire, how you would be inside me and still not close enough. The way I used to sniff my pillows when we couldn’t be together, the way I never used to change our soiled sheets, the way I would postpone washing lest I wash your smell off my skin. The way the smell of your sweat aroused me, the way I wrapped myself around you or playfully blocked the  door to stop you from leaving. The way I used to (and still) spend hours daydreaming about your fantastically built body, like a Greek God you were, your strength each time you swept me and carried me to bed as if I weighed nothing, your masculine arms, your gorgeous face, your intense eyes, your painfully inviting lips, and your manhood, that God I worshiped and was so faithful to, that flawless magnificent hard delicious tasting cock that I wanted again and again and again. The intimacy we shared after the sex, hours of talking and laughing, the way you played with my hair while I lay my head on your chest rising and falling with your every breath, how you could unravel me with a sweet whisper and put me back together again with a firm embrace.

I go back to that time, the hot tears come and I let them because love is as severe as death. Love is as severe as death.

6 Jul 2016

My heart did what it does best..

I had read about the growing number of racial slurs that have been taking place in different parts of England targeting immigrants in the aftermath of “Brexit”, I was afraid for Jori and had told her that she wasn’t allowed to walk or ride her bike to school and back any more, it wasn’t safe. We agreed I would drive or walk her to school and back every day until we left this country for good as soon as the school year was over. I was having a rough week, feeling emotionally low, with zero vitality, sleeping poorly and having vivid violent dreams. In most of my dreams Jori was lost or taken from me, I would wake up screaming, panting, gasping for breath, wet with perspiration, reaching out into the darkness and emptiness of my room.

In the day time, I tried my best to stay afloat, my concentration weak, my focus laboured and exhausting, my limbs felt heavy my physical movement almost painful, I’d peel myself out of bed feeling so tired as if I had been mountain climbing rather than resting! I’d try to go about my day, checking things off my list: contact shipping company to have all my paintings shipped to my new home in Dubai, contact utility companies, tell my GP I’m relocating, find best quote for the sale of my car, give unwanted items to charity, etc.

It was time to bring Jori from school, I drove to the spot where I meet her every day, outside the school gate, the children flowed out in large groups, at first I wasn’t  worried, Jori always came out later than the other children, when I showed irritation about it in the past she said it always took her time to pack her things! But now I was a bit anxious! I saw almost all her friends pass me by walking towards their parents. I felt a knot in my stomach, the groups of children coming out of the gate were now patchy and infrequent. Where is she? I turned off the ignition and started to walk towards the gate, but if I go inside the school I might miss her somehow and we’d both be looking for each other in panic, she might not notice the car, she might think I hadn’t come for her! I began to pace back and forth worried, quick short breaths, my heart pounding, my mind switched on panic mode: something happened, something happened to my child, I dropped her off near the gate this morning but I hadn’t seen her (actually) enter the school, did something happened to her in the morning? My child! Where is she? There were no more children coming out of the gate now! I can feel my brain send an order for my feet to start running towards the school gate, but my feet were made out of lead! They were so heavy, everything was in slow motion now, it’s a dream my heart yelled, one of those awful dreams we’ve been having, we’ll wake up soon! But I didn’t wake up, as I tried to run shin splints shot spasms of immense pain straight to my heart each time my feet came in contact with the ground. There were people around, but I was completely alone, my throat was so dry, I was so thirsty, the sun seemed to burn the top of my head, how did the few yards between where I was parked and the school gate expand endlessly like this? Why can’t I reach the gate? Why am I not getting any closer? I’m trying so hard! I saw Jori’s teacher peer outside the gate with that “one last look to make sure all the children and parents are gone before I lock the gate”. I tried to say something, but no words would come, she saw me and immediately recognised me, she frowned, surprised that I was there! I tried to read her face, was she surprised because Jori had already left, or because she hadn’t been to school at all today? The latter was something beyond my ability to consider, the seconds were so slow, so vast, I opened my mouth, she opened her mouth “Are you Okay?”. “Jori” I said panting, gasping “I was supposed to meet here there, over there” I pointed, failing to keep my voice normal, quivering and shaking almost allowing my tears to choke me. “She didn’t say, she left.. maybe 10 minutes ago, I thought she walks home or rides her bike home?” I didn’t have time to explain that I had forbade her from doing so since this stupid political turmoil had begun and there was no short way to explain, so I just ran back to my car, I had to drive home, to see if she’s there, or half way there. The painful distance between the school gate and my car stretching before me once more, endless and mocking. I heard the teacher yell: “you can call the school of she’s not at home”, but that wasn’t something I could even think about! I don’t know how I got home, but I did and she was there, tearful, scared “I’m so so Sorry! Mummy, I only remembered you were picking me up after I had walked half way back.. I didn’t know whether to turn back and go to school or to just come here and wait, so I continued home”. I stared at her, my eyes bulging, every bone in my body shaking uncontrollably, the pain in my limbs crippling me, my mind trying to leap from “the most devastating thing that could ever happen, my worst, most horrible, most terrifying nightmare coming true” to  “it’s okay, everything is fine” and it wasn’t an easy leap to make. My heart, my poor, sad, trembling heart, my tired heart, my weary already broken, already shattered, already bruised, already aching, already suffering so much, did what it does best; reassured me and kept me alive.  

5 Jul 2016

Looking for you

I read;

George Chaplin

Henrietta Johnson

Laura Louisa Nicks

Joseph Bradbury

Walter Jackson

The day was warm, the sun was shining, there was such peace amongst the tombstones.. the grey granites, erect unwavering and silent, the cemetery seemed a calm tranquil sanatorium, a final resting place;

Mary Jane Gould

Harry Trickett

Sara Ann Roberts

Alfred Twycross

Fredrick Clew

Clara and Ernest Hamm

A man walks his dog, a rabbit hops between the shrubs, fresh flowers, plastic flowers, tended graves, neglected graves, shiny new headstones, headstones so old the engravings erased. Spider webs spun from the upper left corner of the cross to the right..

Tom Ferman

David Harris

Hilda May

Hanna Harrison Barnes

Ablert Edward Yardley

Joseph Griffin

Sandra Baker

William and Alice Grey

All the dead have romantic melodic names! perhaps it's the passing of time, perhaps it's their bloodless decay beneath the earth, perhaps it's because we know that they are gone forever. The trees sway mournfully to and fro and a beautiful melancholy sweeps the grounds as I continue searching for your name, I brought you red roses, so many years have passed, I’m sorry I did not visit sooner, I miss you every day.  

4 Jul 2016

I don't need my hands anymore.

Every man I loved and trusted took something from me

my innocence

my self-worth

my confidence

my love

my dreams

my sense of self

my sense of belonging

my ability to trust

my money

a sense of security

my faith

my peace of mind

bits of my soul

my heart

my body

my time

my energy

They took and took.. and I being foolish, naïve and desperate to be loved, let them.

I walk through life - now - a scarecrow, hollow, stuffed with dry dead straw, barely waving trespassers whenever the wind blew with ragged tattered empty sleeves, armless.

I don’t need my hands anymore, I have nothing left to give.

1 Jul 2016


Sometimes I think about my pain, sometimes I think about your pain,

the never ending malignant ripples, widening, expanding.. forever

once a stone is tossed in the waters of your being, nothing is ever the same

I don’t know why some are happier than others, why some are stronger,

why some are luckier.. I don’t have the answers..

But I know I no longer hope for a recovery.. a retrieving  of an old self

The water is too murky, the bottom too deep, the stones too alike to ever reclaim the one that opened the largest wound and keeps echoing disaster.

There are bruises you just can’t come back from, not “you” any way, not whole anyway,

when you loved me it was like.. it was like all I have ever lost was somehow given back to me.

I don’t know where to go with myself now that you’ve replaced me, there’s nowhere to go from myself.. the thought of you loving her, touching her, the thought of her carrying your child, the child I so much wanted to have with you.. too many knives, too many bullets, too many lightning strikes for me to ever try to escape.. and I’m so tired.. so very tired.