Mar 24, 2017

Fatima




“I named her Fatima, because I love that name”

He said, with an unusual half smile, a bit embarrassed, wishing he hadn’t added the second part of that statement. Extending his hand towards me, to show me a photo of his one year old daughter on his phone.

I looked at the badly taken picture, big dark baby eyes, full wet lips, sitting next to her slightly older brother.

“My son isn’t so attractive, he takes after his mother” he lets out an unhappy, mocking laugh, again embarrassed, wishing he knew when to shut up.

“She’s beautiful, they both are” handing him back his phone.

I was still with him, he never stopped carrying me, despite the nasty breakup, despite the many years, his marriage, his firstborn. He couldn’t choose me, but he couldn’t leave me either. I was too stubborn, I wouldn’t yield, I didn’t satisfy his male inflated ego, I wouldn’t play the role of the meek, docile female.

To conquer me, to fully own me, he had to create me again. I thought about how he planted me inside his wife’s womb, his poor clueless wife, carrying me, all those tiresome months, the weight of me, the morning sickness. I grew inside her, leeching off her energy, and blood. I expanded as an idea in his mind, he couldn’t wait to hold me again, small, helpless and utterly reliant on him. He knew how he would shape me, once I was handed back to him. This time not defiant or rebellious, but a supple ball of dough, a clean slate, manageable and obedient.

She must be nine years old now. He calls her name every day, tells her to fetch his newspaper, or pass him the salt while they all sat for dinner, drives her to school, asks with a false cheerfulness “So, how was school today?” as she murmurs a bored “fine”. Too big to be carried up to her bed, after she had fallen asleep on the sofa, watching TV in the living room.

She’s not an idea anymore, not a seed, not an expectation, not rewritable CD. Not his, not belonging to him, merely a piece of flesh that had come forth from him, but not his, not the vessel in which he pours all his preconceptions and his female ideals.

And soon, very soon, she will look him straight in the eye and say No. It will break his heart, and he will understand.    






Mar 18, 2017

You wish



You wish a meal would satisfy you

You wish sleep would satisfy you

You wish work would satisfy you

You wish idleness would satisfy you

You wish pursuing a dream would satisfy you

You wish laughter would satisfy you

You wish enlightenment would satisfy you

You wish stillness would satisfy you

You wish movement would satisfy you

You wish gratitude would satisfy you

You wish being present would satisfy you

You wish indulgence would satisfy you

You wish the quiet would satisfy you

You wish traveling would satisfy you

You wish maturity would satisfy you

You wish youth would satisfy you

You wish a hobby would satisfy you

You wish a sport would satisfy you

You wish religion would satisfy you

You wish atheism would satisfy you

You wish crying would satisfy you

You wish a meltdown would satisfy you

You the future would satisfy you

You wish your memories would satisfy you

You wish money would satisfy you

You wish contentment would satisfy you

You wish success would satisfy you

You wish health would satisfy you

You wish compassion would satisfy you

You wish celibacy would satisfy you

You wish sex would satisfy you

You wish abstinence would satisfy you

You wish purity would satisfy you

You wish a cause would satisfy you

You following a crowd would satisfy you

You wish standing alone would satisfy you

You wish a passion would satisfy you

You wish having children would satisfy you

You wish a having a pet would satisfy you

You wish forgetting would satisfy you

You wish winning would satisfy you

You wish art would satisfy you

You wish science would satisfy you

You wish solitude would satisfy you

You wish reality would satisfy you

You wish fiction would satisfy you

You wish writing would satisfy you

You wish walking would satisfy you

You wish honesty would stratify you

You wish social status would satisfy you

You wish simplicity would satisfy you

You wish hunger would satisfy you

You wish creativity would satisfy you

You wish mediocracy would satisfy you

You wish an illusion would satisfy you

You wish intelligence would satisfy you

You wish the mundane would satisfy you

You wish empathy would satisfy you

You wish apathy would satisfy you

You wish eagerness would satisfy you

You wish indifference would satisfy you

You wish loyalty would satisfy you

You wish resilience would satisfy you

You wish flexibility would satisfy you

You wish gentleness would satisfy you

You wish brutality would satisfy you

You wish charity would satisfy you

You wish selfishness would satisfy you

You wish the truth would satisfy you

You wish a lie would satisfy you

You wish justice would satisfy you

You wish fascism would satisfy you

You wish nature would satisfy you

You wish industrialism would satisfy you

You wish hope would satisfy you

You wish acceptance would satisfy you

You wish a prayer would satisfy you

You wish war would satisfy you

You wish love would satisfy you

You wish leaving would satisfy you

You wish staying would satisfy you

You wish God would satisfy you

You wish the mirror would satisfy you.








Mar 17, 2017

Words that keep me afloat when I’m drowning


The following words/sayings/proverbs have been of great help to me through the difficult time I've been enduring:



1. When my life feels like chaos, nothing is going right, and nothing is making sense:

"No snowflake ever falls in the wrong place"   Zen proverb

"All is well. Everything is working out for my highest good. Out of this situation only good will come. I am safe"  Louise Hay

"When you’re going through something hard and wonder where God is, remember the teacher is always quiet during a test"



2. When I feel like an underserving, worthless failure:

"If your compassion does not include yourself its incomplete"  Buddha
"In taking care of myself, I take care of the world"



3. When I’m running, seeking, searching, desperate and panting, applying for job and getting rejected, trying to sell my paintings and getting rejected, trying to publish my writing and getting rejected:

"Don’t be upset when people reject you. Nice things are rejected all the time by people who can’t afford them"
"There’s nowhere to go, and nothing to be, there’s only right here, right now"
"All the elements for your happiness are already here. There is no need to run, strive, search, or struggle. Just be"   Thich Nhat Hanh




4. When I’m ashamed of my fragility and brokenness:

"There’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in" Leonard Cohen
"The mind shows you darkness so you can transform it into light" Buddha
"Once you express your sorrow from the bottom of your heart, it will be washed away. Look at a flower, it can never hide its scent or its color"  Rumi
"Pretending you don’t have feelings of anger, sadness, or loneliness, can literally destroy you mentally"



5. When I’m searching for a new faith, or a group to go to, or a religion to belong to, or an idea to stand for:

"Your own mind, your own heart is the temple. Your philosophy is simple, kindness" Dalai Lama
"What you seek is seeking you" Rumi
"Everything in the universe is within you, ask all from yourself " Rumi



6. When people criticize me, judge me, shame me, and insinuate that I’m not normal. When I’m doubting myself and what I’m capable of:

"Those who judge will never understand, and those who understand will never judge"  Wilson Kanadi
"Normal is an illusion. What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly"  Morticia Adams
"Close your eyes and imagine the best version of you possible. That’s who you really are, Let go of any part of you that doesn’t believe it"  C. Assaad
"Remember, despite how open, peaceful and loving you attempt to be, people can only meet you, as deeply as they’ve met themselves"  Matt Kahn






Mar 13, 2017

How social media deepens our sense of deprivation



I don’t have the emotional or the physical energy to write about how social media is negatively affecting our lives, it’s already been said. I don’t want to reiterate how people have been using their social media pages to post exaggerated versions of their lives, successes, achievements, friendships, families and romances, that argument is just as old and exhausted. It’s nauseating how as people we’ve become incapable of living without an audience. I tried social media twice and gave it up both time, deciding it really was a lot of crap, a waste of time, and has absolutely nothing to do with human connection, but had everything to do with obsessing over other people’s lives, unhealthy arguments about politics and religion, destructive criticism, passing judgements, and stalking people. 

But even when you’re not on social media, you can still be haunted by it. As I went on the internet to check my e-mail. My Yahoo home page gave me the daily newsfeed, the top, most popular story was Mark Zuckerberg’s “touching” post on facebook, announcing his wife’s pregnancy. They were so happy, so blessed, especially when they thought they couldn’t have another child, especially when they found out it’s a girl. And how much they’ve always wanted a girl, and how Mark was so lucky to have grown up with three sisters, who taught him how to be strong and successful, how loving and caring his sisters were towards him, how supportive they all were of each other. How his wife grew up with two sisters and how they were each other’s rock, always there for each other, all the inside jokes that only loving caring siblings can have. Mark and his wife looked so happy, so in love, so strong, so lucky, so like people who had everything.
I wish I didn’t read about Mark, I wish I didn’t have to know how lucky Mark and his wife are, how amazing their sisters were, how loyal, loving, and supportive families can be. How deprived I am, how far away my reality was, how little I had. I don’t envy Mark, but I could have gone without having my deprivation deepened, pronounced, underlined, and put into perspective. I don’t know how much I can turn away from the abundance others have. How guilty I feel when I can’t feel happy for other people’s boundless blessings. How much I scold and shame myself for reading such things; “you could have not looked, you could have ignored, you could have not clicked”. How much can one close one’s eyes, pretend, look away in order to survive, in order to get through the day intact. And then more shame and guilt; how much deprivation does someone like me trigger in a less fortunate life; someone with a disability, someone terminally ill, someone homeless, someone living in a warzone.





Mar 11, 2017

Dear Roy


Dear Roy,


I hope you’re well,



I don't really know why I'm writing to you. You often cross my mind, perhaps it's because I miss my little house on Dugdale Road, and the fact that it was a home for me and Jori. And you were my neighbour, and that means something, especially in the situation I am in now.

Things have gone from bad to worse for me. After my deportation from the UK, I went to Dubai with a hope of finding a job and settling there, but unfortunately things didn't go as planned. I struggled, each time I applied for a position I was rejected. I later found out that there were security reasons; I had (in the past) voiced some controversial political views when I was living in Kuwait. I’m not sure whether employers kept digging it up from the internet, or whether the existence of a mutual security agreement between the Gulf Countries had placed my name on some sort of ban. No one would give me any clear explanation. 

When I was at a dead end in Dubai, I decided the only way, was to go back to Kuwait and beg for my old job back (I was a law lecturer at Kuwait university). I came back to Kuwait and started the process of trying to get my job back, they've been promising me my old position since last December, but without avail. Now, I am in Kuwait applying for every job I can find, but getting nowhere. I have a PhD in law from Warwick, one of UK's best universities and I'm rejected everywhere I go. I feel heart broken, trapped, worthless.

My relationship with my family has always been strained. I do my best to find common ground with them, to understand them. I want to belong to them, to feel loved and accepted. Things work out for a short period of time, then they break again. They shame me constantly, telling me that I have mental health issues and that I need to see a professional, that I'm negatively affecting Jori, they hurt me, patronize me, alienate me and drive me away. Just this morning my father told me that if I don't see a psychologist he will make sure I'm taken there by force, he threatened me with the police. It pained me, it totally destroyed me. I never denied my depression, I have my bad and good days, but I've been the best mother I can be for Jori. Forcing me to get psychological help is painful, especially when I'm going through so much already. 

I've been trying to sell my house on Dugdale Road because I can't afford to pay the mortgage anymore. But there are complications there too (my ex-husband's name is on the contract and he's not communicating with me or the solicitors). The house has been on the market for months.

I don't know why all this is happening to me. I was always ambitious, hardworking and enthusiastic. I have talents, I have potential and yet I seem to have such bad luck wherever I go, despite what I do.

I'm so sorry I'm sending you this very long sad e-mail, but I'm very lonely and lost. I know you don't have any solution for my problems.



Love

Fatima






Mar 3, 2017

This Broken




Driving from one place to another. Distributing my CV. Hoping things will get better, hoping this nightmare ends, hoping my life gets back on some kind of track. “Things cannot get worse than this” I thought to myself. "This is the worst I’ve ever been, things can only start getting better from here", then suddenly, a deafening CRASH!

It took me a couple of seconds to realize what happened, my car pushed forward with a blow, my body pressed violently to my seat as the seatbelt tightens responding to the shock, my heavy, as if disconnected head, thrown forward with a jolt, the horrid sound of metal colliding, rear lights smashed, glass cracking, and the blaring horns by the inconvenienced traffic.
I lift my head to my rear mirror to see the driver who hit me. A man, he climbs down from his massive black SUV. I lift both my shaking hands to cover my horrified trembling mouth, the tears come, I’m shaking, scared, desperately in shock. This can’t be happing to me, not now, not when I need to drive in search for a job, to support myself, to support my daughter. Please, let this be another of my nightmares, please don't let this be true, let it be unreal, let me wake up now, perhaps it’s only a bad dream.
I watch him examine the damage at the back of my car, I can see how bad it is by the little shake of his head, his sad, disappointed features. He looks at me through my mirror and approaches my side of the car, I order my left hand to come down from my mouth and bring the window down, to hear what he has to say. I already hate him, I already wish he was dead, I already wish I had the strength to move, to peal myself off my seat, climb out my car, and punch him so hard it would ruin his face forever.
As soon as the window starts descending, I hear shattered glass being run over by the hurried traffic, torn off metal, and shattered plastic crunching under indifferent tires. I can’t stop the tears, I’m crying uncontrollably now. “Are you okay? Please don’t cry. I’m sorry. I will fix it. I will fix the damage. I will take your car to the garage right now. You won’t even need the insurance. I’ll do everything for you. I’ll pay for everything. Please try to calm down. It’s fixable. Everything can be made right again”.
His words cause me to break down, I have never in my life felt so far, so far from okay, so far from being fixed, so far from being made right again, I have never in my life felt this lonely, this damaged, this broken.