Wednesday, January 9, 2013

This is not the water I wanted to walk on.

Couple of years ago I would wear one layer of clothing in this weather and stand in the balcony like an idiot. Now, I'm sandwiched between two blankets and listening to the sound coming in through my broken shutters, of cars driving through rain water.

Someone just said driving in the rain at night makes her think of Julie. I got really mad at myself for a second there that this person wasn't me. It is a decent storm, of course still less intense than the storm, but I actually didn't make a connection this time.

I didn't remember to sing Lifehouse's storm to myself during the only time it makes sense in, like the way I always did when it was especially rainy and Julie was sick. I didn't go through the details of the storm that erupted on the day of the accident, which I still remember too well.

First, I wanted to reply to that someone by saying that she got in the accident shortly before the storm, and that it was in the afternoon not late at night. And then I realized the person I was telling this to was me, justifying why I, her actual best friend, did not have the same thought of her as when an almost-stranger to her did. I let her be, after all who am I to tell anyone what should or shouldn't remind them of Julie? I didn't do the same with myself though.

All I think of now is how angry I still am. I see people writing on her wall that "Christmas celebration must be more fun in heaven" and I just want to call up every last one of them and tell them they're fucking idiots. I'm not even sure what makes me angrier, the fact that she's dead or the fact that some of her closest friends speak with such glaring certainty of how she must be feeling and where she is now.
If I had the same idea about death and heaven would I have felt any better than I do? Would I have been any less angry? Am I ever going to know the answer to this or am I just going to retain my anger as I cannot communicate it with anything that could make it subside?

This line never stopped hanging behind my every thought of this kind. 'Not a lot of people know what it feels like to be angry in your bones." Is that even it? Is that me angry in my bones? Because sometimes I really feel that I'm not even angry enough. I'm still taken by surprise at how I'm functioning normally and even finding the will to do things I've always put off. The only explanation that does not make me feel disgusted at myself and/or irrevocably desensitized is that the experience of loss, case-specific as it is, could very well not be a linear process, rather all opposites sentiments and tracks of thought running parallel at all times.

I am nowhere near figuring any of this out, even though I sometimes get the feeling that maybe my perception of the concept of acceptance was misguided and that I shouldn't resist any faint suggestion that I'm feeling better out of my fear that this directly means I would start to forget her.

But no, it's moments like these where the true thought rings louder. I'm still right where I am. I only managed to somehow contain the anger by not getting randomly pissed at everyone I know, the way I did in the first few weeks after her death, the only outlet my anger had, for it was certainly not going to be through explainable actions or articulated thoughts.

I'm afraid that the only link between me and you Julie now is this anger. That I'm holding on to it as if I'm holding on to you, since it seems the anger is the only part of the process that sustained such entrenched tenure, and in that way I know if it's always there you'll always be there too. I'm afraid that the anger will overlap with the memory of our good days and that I'll forget the very same things I'm scared shitless of ever forgetting, the ones I hold on to the anger for the sake of. I'm afraid the anger will get so caught up with me that I'll just end up with empty bitterness which is not how I want to keep you in my memory.

That's it. I have no idea what to do and no idea how to stop thinking that I don't.

I keep thinking it was the world's fault that we misunderstood death, and this is why it completely paralyzes our reasoning when it strikes. I keep thinking that living to be a hundred and dying comfortably on your bed next to your children and their own children was never what was 'supposed' to happen to everyone, and the fact that this is what we grew up to believe is a major part of why we get angry with God and start seeing life as pointless.

If that's true, then the world might have fucked us up beyond repair.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Love Is.

'And yesterday I saw you kissing tiny flowers, 
But all that lives is born to die. 
And so I say to you that nothing really matters, 
And all you do is stand and cry.' 

I miss you so much Julie. I stopped trying to figure out a way to realize the extent of it.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

How to realize your best friend is really dead

Sit in your room and get into your now-regular thought process of how you just can't deal with people anymore.

Watch a prolonged television show episode that so happens to be about someone thinking the same thing who got better through therapy

Finish the episode and wonder if you can't do this by yourself anymore, and that you need help. Try to shrug off the thought that you don't really want help because you don't really want to get better, as you see it would  be pointless anyway.

Remember this song you've come across earlier in the day at work and thought you should give it a good listen when you get home.

This is the song.

Remember that you couldn't look up the lyrics because lyrics websites were prohibited by your work server. Look up the lyrics.

These are the lyrics.

Decide you're going to keep downloading as many albums by this band as you can before you shut down your computer. Stare at the band's name, let it, for some reason, remind you that it's been a while since you checked IWroteThisForYou. Check IWroteThisForYou. Get confused on whether you actually want the possible new post to speak to you or not. If it would finally get you to see things differently, to see them for what they are, that is.

Find that this is the new post.

Notice that the song is still on repeat. Keep staring at the photo on the post and at the text. Read the title of the post once again and surprise yourself with a thought 

The sun has left the earth...

Cry before you know it. Look through the tears at the date on your computer. It says October 16th. It's been a little over two and a half months, and this is the first time you feel it.

Surprise yourself with another thought as you stare at the word sun. Your mind just responded to this stare by bringing up an old picture of her in which she was wearing a top with giant sunflower on it.

It also pointed out that the first time you went through her pictures after she died, you paused at this particular photo and you remembered she looked especially pretty in it.

You're making sounds now as you cry. And somehow, also your hands are now covering your face.

For two whole minutes, she was really gone.

Stop crying abruptly. Realize this was practically the first time you cry since her death. That time you cried the day she died was more of an overdue reaction to the emotional build-up of her accident two and a half years go, not her death.

Somehow find yourself back to wherever you were before those two minutes.

Realize this is the closest you could get to reality in a long time to come.

Now try to get that picture with the sunflower top off of your mind, and fail. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

'So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am happy and sad and I'm still trying to figure out how that could be'

Your dream job would still give you chronic neck pains and stress-induced indigestion. It would still make you feel inept at more times than what you might have made a margin for. It would sometimes not be able to get in the way of reasons not to get out of bed on a weekday.

The person you've always wanted to grow up to be is a person who has no time to look in the mirror before heading to work, and has to make do with the car's mirror during traffic stops.

It's a person that is still afraid of their own dream while they're living it. And it's not a case of be careful what you wish for.

It's a case of complicating things until there are no sides of it left to complicate, cause that's the way that leads to the only version of a simplified conclusion you can accept. And by the time you reach the conclusion, you'll have a backpack full of other things you never knew you needed until you got.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I Watched

I was a 5 minute walk away from heavyset military APCs ploughing into a thousands-strong demonstration.

I was just done with an uneventful day at my newsdesk job when not an hour later a barely 15 year old boy got killed, brutally, cold-bloodedly, killed.

The camels, the camels who broke into Tahrir Square on the infamous afternoon, passed along my neighborhood mainstreet on their way.

Someone who went to the same school as I did, only a year older, was also killed in the same place the barely 15 boy was.

I completely lost the ability to take breaths, being the claustrophobic I am, within less than 5 seconds of the first stampede I found myself in after police shot a new round of tear gas into an alleyway street.

I come home to my mother crying on more weekdays than not. She says she can never stand it when she sees  any pictures of our martyrs on television and hearing their families speak.

And all she can do is sit and cry at a television screen because she doesn't allow herself to go to protests, because 'what if I get killed and you're left with no one to support you?' And only because of that.

I watched my 7 year old brother going back and forth around the house repeating to my mother 'I told you, I told you he was lying. Why is he late until now? he must have lied to us and went down to Mohamed Mahmoud. What else would take him so long? What if they beat him there?'

I have trouble sleeping because the minute I turn off the lights mental images of too many young men jump through my head, and I punish myself for my mere inability to grasp the extent of their mothers heartache. I punish myself by not sleeping. Why do I get to sleep and their mothers don't? Why am I in a warm bed while hundreds of people mostly my age have lost their lives way too soon?

I haven't even lost a loved one in the revolution and I'm having a degree of PTSD symptoms already.

And I won't fake smiles. If I can't get myself to smile at all of this then I won't. I know too much by now how much it costs to deny how I feel and focus my energy on feigning what I 'should' feel.

I feel. I feel now. And it's more than I can take. But I'd rather feel too much than to smile and fill the air with empty it's-gonna-be-okays.

And not that it isn't, but that's just not how I'm planning to get there.

The truth has pain in it. It has bitter sacrifice, loss. It has blood and tears and poignant moments of powerlessness. And I'd rather look all of it in the face and tell it like it is.

Faith does not contradict with the truth, and cynicism does not erode faith.

May you rest in peace Anas. May you rest in peace.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

It Always Comes Down to Those. Always.

I never come here knowing what it is I want to write about. I sometimes come here thinking that if I open the page, find the empty box, that inexplicable feeling will turn into something because chances are it's an untold story.
But it never really is. Today, while working on my first sample for a break-through journalism internship, I realized something that scared me. I don't go around saying things scare me, so I run a thousand checks before I can really validate a thought or a fact as a scary one. I realized that the more I write, the more I get the feeling that I wasn't really cut out for writing. I go through the document I don't think there are any modifications, and I hate the version I'm staring at. That didn't look good after I decided to actually become a journalist, or at least take a shot at it.
The reason why it scares me is that I don't see myself anywhere else. Now that could seem like a familiar pre-graduation thought, and it could very well be. But the thing is, I don't know if I actually want to see myself somewhere else. Ever since childhood I've had random people going all psychic on me turning into one hell of a journalist one day. And that's not even part of why I feel the way I do about this. It's not part of why I seem to hold on to it so...inexplicably.

Since I already opened the subject, I came across this post just now. Now that one didn't even need validation. And it's not that I'm specifically scared of being alone, it's that I'm scared of driving myself there on purpose knowing it's not right but it's all I can do. I'm scared of not knowing any better than to be alone. It's down to the simplest situation. Yesterday I was at the Tahrir Monologues theatrical performance and I made eye contact with Khaled Abu-Elnaga and didn't manage to smile at him. Correction, couldn't manage to smile at him. It's not about smiling at an actor, it's the fact that I couldn't carry out the simple act of not having a useless straight face on. It was a friendly atmosphere with everyone basically shaking hands with everyone, and there I was, sitting on the counter leaning against the wall, with my eyes locked on my Blackberry and my hands holding on so tight against it because I know it's the only thing that wouldn't make me beat myself up for not smiling at.
I don't smile at friendly strangers. I don''t initiate conversations. I always forget when the last time I talked to my best friends was. I choose to sit home and just sleep all day more days than I should, and not out of being depressed but out of not feeling like people for the day.

And the tricky part is that I never, ever got to the bottom of this. I have no idea why I act the way I do around people. I seem to be very much at peace with the fact that the vast majority of people I meet think I'm one snotty, condescending bitch on the first impression basis. It doesn't change except when/if they actually decide to talk to me and find that I'm actually capable of smiling. I don't know why I, most of the time, avoid having people to ride with in my car. I don't know why I automatically turn down any invitations from a friend to hang out if there's going to be people I don't know where we'll be going. I don't know why I can't remember the last time I had a deep conversation with anyone. The only answer I have so far is that I just don't know any better than to do what I always do around people, and I actually mean people because it does sometimes involve actual friends.

Last week I was parked at the airport waiting to pick up my father who was coming back from Italy. The flight was delayed for over an hour, which I waited in the airport parking lot with a strange pattern of beating in my heart. Last time I was at the airport I was coming back from a short trip to New York that made me realize I was right when I've always felt that there is nothing, and I mean nothing, I want to spend my life doing more than traveling. So I can safely say that the only place, the only thing I feel the strongest connection to, is an airport. The consequences of this statement could extend far beyond what I am willing or able to accept.

I'm just going to click Publish Post before I press Ctrl + A and delete.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Fugitives Say That The Streets Aren't For Dreaming Now *

Gut feelings work.

The unthinkable still happens.

The perception of friendship does change.

Tom Waits is too human for his own good. Mumford and Sons know what they're doing, and if they actually don't it's all the better.

Connections get you places, and I'm still referring to legitimate ones.

Most-if not even all-the things you're waiting on to hit you, won't. Things will start to just...happen, and we might not notice that, while we're still waiting on them to let us know they are. It could go on for years, explains mid-life crisis doesn't it?

Reading is essential.

Traveling is, too.

Money Vs doing what you love is possibly the hardest early-adulthood conundrum. Especially if,  given the circumstances, you need both equally to survive.

Becoming a workaholic is not as far from me as I thought. Not at all. And I don't know yet how good or bad this piece of information could turn out to be.

By comparison, weight loss should by no means be on top of the list of why healthy eating is great.

Sloth would pretty much be the end of me if it ever could, and it came close more times than it should have.

But seriously, Tom Waits can't be so human.

* Tom Waits (of course) - Waltzing Matilda.

Friday, February 4, 2011

In The Shuffling Madness..

It's 7:04 am, Cairo local time. I haven't slept since yesterday and I'm having a strange craving for coffee that we're out of anyway.

I keep remembering the existence of some aspects related to life before January 25th, 2011, and they sound like things I have been estranged from for years. It started yesterday, when I remembered the existence of music, and just now, with coffee.

As to anything starting January 25th, I have so much to say that it's crippling. And that's not really a bad thing for now because now, is the time to watch, just watch. Since any answers would still be incomplete, any questions are distracting.

The world will watch today, and it will keep watching. The world will watch Egypt come back from the dead, having to cross back through hell to get there, and however it does that, will be a story worth telling.

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