At first, I felt the urge to describe you to my blog readers. Not sure if I wanted to give them some insights on my current depression, to gain some empathy, or just to document as usual my thoughts and wishes at the moment. All I know is, I believe in documenting life so much, that I would risk baring it all here just to get the chance to read it later and compare my different perspectives through my own personal growth.
But then I decided to speak to you, woman to her own mind and feelings, in an attempt to define you, and know why you are here.
Most of the time I regard you an unwelcome guest. I mean, you show up in the middle of nowhere, you get super intense on matters I think won’t hurt me that much, and you stay much longer than I want you to. Most of the time I’m fighting you much more than I fight everything else. Do you understand how unbearable it gets when you’re fighting your own mind and body? I’m sure you do realize that though it’s the mind that sends the signals to my body to feel you, but it’s also the body that keeps reminding me of my own vulnerability and sometimes powerlessness to stand up and face the world.
You don’t just hurt me. You dominate my whole body. In our battles sometimes you win and you get to control me. You dictate my responses and you suck the joy out of the things I love. Not only that, but you get even to paralyze me. Much often recently, I feel my soul inside struggling to scream and you choking her in order not to. Sometimes I feel that expressing you would threaten your existence. So I understand your survival instinct and how it functions here.
To my pain, I realize how cliche I sound talking to you right now. And that no matter how I try to describe you, words seem to fail me this time. Just know that I get it. Fighting your existence all the time won’t make you go away. Denying your existence would breed much worse results. I’m starting to accept your demands in a way. You demand to be recognized, to be respected and to be accepted. I guess I want to tell you that I recognize that you’re here. I am trying to respect you and to stop trying to kick you out of my body. I’m trying to learn to live with you knowing that sometimes your very existence is what gets me going. Sometimes you hurting me is what I need to do something. Sometimes you remind me of who I am, what I am passionate about, and what I want to do in life. I did not learn to accept you yet, but I’m trying. If I can make one sincere request, is that you try and give me a break from time to time, would ya? You know I still love life, and I still belong here. I am not ready to stop fighting you and give it up yet. So may be we can reach a truce? Or rather better, may be one day we can coexist. Think about it.
The nagging urge of swirling thoughts in one’s minds.. thoughts that demand to be blogged.
How I missed this! Since I started this new blog and stopped writing on “Salma Asks“, I recall chasing this feeling for the past two years… the feeling of having to stop everything to JUST WRITE WHAT’S GOING ON.
Just a couple of hours ago I wrote this status on my facebook:
So it’s not some news that we live in a chauvinistic patriarchal piece of shit society that celebrates/encourages elitism, sexism & racism everyday. It’s not news that I will be judged even for this status though it’s true.
I was just subjected to sexual harassment though I’ve been doing my best and spending a lot of my money on private transports to avoid it. I don’t want to complain or whine much. I know that there are much stronger women than me who go through much bigger fights in their lives to survive. I’m only angry… because I believe in myself and in my strength. I’m raised to get my own shit done and not to depend on anybody, and the fact that I’m perceived weak and an easy target only because I’m a woman keeps frustrating me.
Despite this negativity surrounding us everywhere, I’ll try to write a blog post and count the things I’m blessed to have.. may be this would help turn down the level of anger I’m at currently.
So here we go.. I’ll try to list 10 things I’m grateful for.
I am grateful for the ability to seek advice when needed, and to try trusting my heart always.
I am grateful for finding many paths to seek knowledge and know more about myself and the huge world we live in.
I am grateful for trying to see beauty in every small thing in life… a good song on my long commute on the Ring Road can make me see the ugly buildings less ugly, and the green land greener..
I am grateful for the life-lessons I’m being constantly given. I’m grateful for standing up after falling every time.
I’m grateful for my mum’s existence. We might be different in every aspect, but I can’t live without her unlimited love.
I am grateful for having the ability to fight for hope, for love and for the lost dreams.
I’m grateful for being healthy, for being able to survive the current cruel economic situation.
I’m grateful for these people in my life, who help fix me when I get broken.
I’m grateful for music; for always a good song can help one pass any tough day or celebrate any good one.
I’m grateful for my stubbornness… to help me be the leader of my own destiny.
I have been trying to write this blogpost for a while now. But there is an inner conflict going here between me and myself.
My present-self keeps doubting her words and her thoughts. She doesn’t want to share them because she thinks that it doesn’t matter anymore… or that her words might get her in trouble. My present-self has been avoiding trouble for around three years now in hopes of living a normal-like life. But my revolutionary-younger-self is trying to push me up. She’s telling me that my thoughts are still worth of being documented and shared like in the old times. And that one day my future-self might need to read them when in doubt or when she needs to remember who she is.
Anyways, I don’t want to confuse you anymore. My younger-self obviously won that argument. Here I am trying to put out there what I am currently thinking. It’s not going to be as elequoent as I’d like to believe some of previous writings were… but it doesn’t matter at this point. I just want to succeed in finishing that blog post.
Today marks a somewhat holy memory to many of us out there. The day when we thought we win. Six years ago, I thought this was the happiest day of my life.. or of our collective lives as Egyptians. We had just got back home from the square, and in less than an hour he stepped down. We screamed and yelled in euphoria. We went down to the streets, and celebrated. We chanted “People and the army are one hand.”
I woke up the next morning, and I went straight to the square. Without planning ahead I went to help in cleaning the effect of 18 days of protesting and the sit-ins. We cleaned like the square was our home or even more. I even picked up the cigarette stubs! A friend took a picture of me there looking exhausted yet happy and proud. I thought this was the beginning of our time to be in charge of our destiny. Six years later, I realize that I couldn’t be more wrong… or could I?
Honestly, I thought this day would still be painful to me just like I know it is for many of us. But the truth is, I am blessed with a weird selective memory that keeps forgetting A LOT of things without me having any choice in it. And I do believe it is for the best. After all, truth be told, these past six years have been transformational in a lot of ways some of which were not very pleasant. They had excruciating pain. So, the ability not to remember a lot of what happened and what I witnessed may be is a big factor in why I am still alive and breathing, and how I managed to survive till now. You think I’m being a drama queen? You have every right, but those who lived and shared these memories with me probably know I’m not.
May be the time has come to finally admit it: I do not regret taking part of this “revolution/movement/uprising/riots/anarchy”, but I am fully aware now that I might have revolted for the wrong reasons. At one point I used to think that the head of the regime was the sole devil and the reason for all the people’s misery. My mind kept switching between other vile politicians to blame. But in the end, they were not. The people keeps choosing to let this happen. And when I protested out there risking my life several times, my main trigger is that I wanted fair and justice to the people and myself. May be I shouldn’t have gone all that for the people. At least this is what I’m thinking of now. I’m not sure if it’s a phase, or I’m still channeling anger over people letting others die and ignoring it. Nevertheless, I think I would/should have done it for myself.
My only consolation, is that the rebellion lives within me. Hadn’t I gone through this incredible life-changing experience quite early in my life, I wouldn’t have gone closer to knowing who I truly am, and what my core values are. I wouldn’t have known that there is so much potential in me than I realize. And so like I once told a friendly British guy, I shifted my focus to my small daily personal revolution. I fight trying to protect my own identity, and keeps reminding myself that no one can suck the joy I find in little things out of my heart.
A couple of days ago I went to the book fair to attend Ahmed Khair’s signing session for his book “Min Al Shibak“. I didn’t know what the story is going to be about, and had I known, I honestly doubt that I would have read it. They were short stories that details real testimonies from the “deportation truck”. The irony here was I bought around 11 other novels from the book fair that falls under the same genre “comedy/hilarious/light” books. Yes, I have been avoiding all things that would trigger my empathy. I selfishly made a choice to keep on with my life and forget those who lost theirs. And with reading few pages, I felt instantly that these testimonies are real. Are we the only ones who are going to read these stories, get affected by them knowing that there is so little we can do? May be for those behind bars, that’s so much hope and more.
A lot of the time I ask myself whether any of my actions in the past were a reason for how someone lost his life or was put away in prison. The thought even frightens me. The guilt is there, deep inside my mind, and I doubt I’ll ever get rid of it… how come you got away alive while others didn’t.
I don’t know how to end this blog post, except by saying, that no matter what happens next, we still have our memories. My head will still remain high, for I never wanted any harm for anybody. I demanded justice and fairness for the people. I still have hope it will come true, and I might live to witness that day. My dreams still live. I hope to have a conversation with my revolutionary-younger-self one day and tell her, that I hadn’t given up on us.
I’ve decided to share a personal thought today. I know I have been mad.. for quite some time now. I’ve been mad at how life is unfair to good people. I have been mad at how our dreams got completely shattered in front of us. I have been mad at plans not working out no matter how you try.
I have been mad for quite some time, that I forgot that there are really countless things to be grateful for in this life. Yes, you have to always remember that there is still so much to do, that you still want to work hard in order to make an impact in this miserable world. But despite all this, you have to stop and reflect from time to time. You have to remember that working hard pays off sometimes. You have to reflect on where you stand now, and be proud of yourself.
Don’t lose being modest; don’t let the materialistic world change you into a person that you won’t like. But love and appreciate yourself for who you are. For all the flaws and virtues. For all the ups & downs. For all the stubbornness and the irrational desire for independence, and for all the transitional phases and the changes. Love yourself for who you were before and who you are at the moment, and who you want to be tomorrow.
In short, today I realized that I have been harsh on myself more than anybody else for a while, so I decided to give myself a break, and it was okay. It was fine. 🙂