Sunday, June 12, 2011

Who Has Time to Think of Titles at a Time Like This

It's been a while since I've felt this tug at my heart. The kind of tug I know can only be achieved by myself, me, as a child that is. Let me back up a little, I will not dare to speak of my inner child. I will speak of the knots in my stomach that I've only experienced as a child. Blows of disappointment, and blinding light of hope.

It wasn't until I was on my knees, trying to breathe through what felt like my heart trying to beat it's own record of bouncing off the walls of my rib cage, that I realised that I have spent the last six months fighting. I have been fighting myself, fighting for survival, fighting to be heard, fighting to be understand, fighting to be trusted, fighting to still believe in change.

At some point I was on a table, in a doctor's office, watching him explain what a holter* device is, and why I have to have it on for 24 hours. 4 days later, I'm waiting to hear if I I won the elections for student union president or not. 2 months later, I was crying like a 4 year old in the university's clinic, holding 56 pages of holter results, trying to tell the doctor how unfair it is that I have to get a medical excuse for missing class, and how low it was of the dean to threaten that he wouldn't let me take my exams unless I shut myself, and everyone else up about everything wrong he ever did. 2 months later I'm standing in front of yahia el sady on he 4th floor shooting down all his attempts to make me believe that the student union that I'm supposed to lead, actually accomplished anything worth mentioning.

Three and a half years ago, My father asked me for the last time, Do you want to go to the American University in Cairo? 8 days ago, my eyes felt dry because I was staring and my laptop screen for more than 45 minutes trying to figure out why AUC would require that a student applying for the Community Psychology Diploma should have a minimum of 3.00 GPA average. 2 and a half years ago I was holding a report card of my results for the first year of college (faculty of commerce, Cairo Uni/Georgia state university joint program), I'd failed two subjects out of five and barely passed the three others.

Two years ago, I was rolled up in a fetal position, biting my forearm, trying to scream as quietly as possible, so my mother wouldn't know that I'm still not over the fact that I wasn't accepted as a secretariat In Model United Nation's UNICEF. Two weeks ago, I ignored an email from the Egyptian National child rights' observatory that was asking for my C.V because I was a possible candidate for an internship with UNICEF or the observatory itself.

A year ago, I was waiting for my sister to have her baby, so she'd be stable enough to hear about the dangers of sexual molestation and how to protect her son from them. He's 8 months old today, and I can't get myself to put the image of someone hurting him in anyway in her head, I am frozen.

I keep having dreams that I bump into the child version of myself, and I pretend I've never seen her before in my life. I always thought it would be the other way around.

I feel like a failure. Is that so bad?

*holter: An ambulatory ECG that can record the heart's activity for 24 hours or longer. Especially helpful for diagnosing transient symptoms (those that come and go without any predictability), such as rhythm problems, atrial fibrillation, and angina.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Knights that Didn't Wait for Horses

When I was a kid, I used to follow my brother around the house, looking like I had something really important to say. He would ignore me, until I finally landed facefirst on his bed, and then turned around too look at the ceiling. I'd then squint, and ask him why I kept seeing different colored shapes all around me. He'd then sigh, the kind of sigh that implies he wishes he could once and for all determine if I was adopted. And then for the next fifteen minutes, He would interrogate me about what I mean by shapes, their colors, and when exactly I get them. "You just have an over-active Imagination". Over-Active? OVER-ACTIVE? I mean, yes, I did have my own little imaginary scenarios, including 3 or more characters, soundtracks and all. But hey! When I say I see colors, I can really see colors. I never claimed that those characters were real. I wasn't the kind of kid that had imaginary friends. I never played tea party. I never believed that something that wasn't real, exists. I was born in the United States of America, and I didn't buy the whole Santa clause thing. (yes, he's not real, I mean come on if your parents catch a fat guy giving you presents in the middle of the night, they'll probably shoot his ass. And they'd have a point). The only time I thought something was real and it wasn't, was the belief that I could control light with my eyes, but I was three years old. I'd squint at a lamp and then freak out because I thought I made the light move with my eyes when I say rays flowing out of the lamp, but that's another story.

Elmohem, I definitely didn't have an over-active imagination. And today, like 15 years later, my brother walked up to me and said "Remember the colors you always said you saw?" Of course I remembered the colors. "They were real, you're seeing things inside your eye, and the colors are reflections of light". And at that moment, I was sure that my brother quit his job as a surgeon at Al Asr Al Ainy, just so he could get a different job where he stares into people's eyes for a living, just so I could finally have proof that I wasn't completely insane as a child.

So, There! I'm not Insane. When I say I see colors, I See Them. And when I say there's hope, I actually see it. When I say Someday, I'll buy a newspaper that makes me feel like the front page headlines are actually about the Country I live in, It'll happen. So call me full of shit, I am right about things sometimes.

Oh and before I forget, just for the record, if I go missing or I'm found dead in a ditch somewhere, Dr. Adel Mabrouk, The Dean of the faculty of commerce, Cairo University, is probably plotting an evil plan to get rid of me as I'm writing this. Oh and that's because I'm President of Student Union Now and I'm asking questions. And questions are evil in "their" world. I still see colors though. And I love this country.

So, yeah, I'm blogging again. Woohoo.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Bricks and Stones

I'm not really one to blog about politics, because it's the one place I actually stick both hands into my brain and try to fish out the things I'm afraid to say out loud. So, I won't exactly blog about politics, I will talk about the revolution though.

Ever since people start dying after the 25th of January, I've thought only of how their family and friends must've felt when they heard the news. I imagined what it would've been like for my mother if it was me who died when I was there on the 25th. And my mother didn't even know I was there, so someone would've just called her and said that I was killed in the protests. I died for my country. And she wouldn't really care, she would just think of how I lied to her, she wouldn't believe what anyone said and run looking for me in zamalek where I said I would be. I can Imagine that, that's what I know. I can see that, I've heard stories and I've seen families cry over the people they've lost.

however, I have not seen what the person who died was thinking when they died.

I have to admit that I can't get myself to put myself in the shoes of the martyrs, so I will stop here until I can.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The concrete.

11 Days Ago:
I've learned to recognize myself lately as a college student that lives with her mother. My mother is an emotional woman with reactions that are double what they should be, but with a heart that is triple what it thought it could be. We live in an average sized apartment in Mohandeseen. We drink tap water and make fun of those who spend money on bottled water. My mother only quit buying milk from the milk man because her doctor told her to. We eat with spoons most of the time, and we eat in front of the TV. We know all the hour long ads that are aired on Panorama Drama by heart, because we enjoy the fact that we don't believe anything they try to tell us.

That's the way I saw my life as I was waiting in MacDonald's gam3et el dowal. There were some anomalies to that pattern of thinking. On the 24th of January I was trying to get a new ID card because my original one was stolen. And that didn't mean I was standing in long lines sweating and thinking of my aching feet. I was sitting in an air conditioned room, with 4 police officers which thought I'd never stepped foot outside of my house. As I was waiting for them to get my papers ready so I can just go to the police station, give them my thumb print, and wait for my ID card to be delivered home. So there I was listening to a conversation about drugs. And all the stories I'd heard about police officers taking the drugs they'd taken from drug dealers as evidence and keeping it for themselves. And it was interesting to hear a full conversation that was built on the assumption that I couldn't substitute the word "7aga" with "mo5adarat" in my head.

And that was just one more reason to let go of everything holding me back from being part of the 25th of January movement. I didn't want to be this person. I did not want to have to shut up about that kind of thing just because I knew it was wrong in the first place to be taking red tape short cuts. I didn't want to have to have to take a police officer with me while I get my ID card, and I still don't want to do it one more time when I'm trying to get my driving license. I didn't want to teach my nephew to take the same shortcuts, and I couldn't stand the thought of having to sit quietly, listening to such a disgusting and shameless conversation. So I had to do it. And I was part of the January 25th movement.

And that's how simple it was to me, there was nothing more to it. I was a normal girl who lives with her mom, and who was fed up with how the world went round in Egypt. And until I arrived in Sudan on the 30th of January, I thought my dad's job was to ride huge cars with the Egyptian flag waving wildly at the front. His job was to live in houses that could fit 25 five member families with plenty of breathing room. His job was to go to "the embassy" every morning and everyone would smile at him like he was there to save their lives. His job was to have people suck up to him, and to us, whenever they got the chance.

It wasn't until I watched beads of sweat trickle down his face as he tried to reach some kind of compromise between what he felt and what he should be feeling, that I realized what my father's job was. My father represents the Egyptian government in other countries. And I watched him day after day, for 11 days in a row, answering phone calls and hanging up looking more worried than he did before. And everyday he'd try to convince me that he really was against the 25th of January movement. And I'd watch him sigh at the thought of how unconvincing he was. Press conferences would be held and he'd be repeating the lies that everyone was asked to repeat by the Egyptian government.


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Defying Gravity, Turkey Wings And What I Owe Abdelmenem Bashar

I just walked into the kitchen to get a knife to cut open the pomegranate mom kept for me out of the ones we're sending dad. And I screamed and hit the light switch, because something huge was in the kitchen. It was a turkey, and as soon as I realised that it's just a turkey, I screamed again. And then I realised that it's not even a live turkey (that would've been entertaining though). It was just a turkey, laying there on a tray on the kitchen counter waiting to be cooked tomorrow morning. Guess what, I screamed again.

oh, before I forget, I owe someone some words,
Abdelmenem Bashar, I've postponed this long enough. This is finally you being added to my People of 2010 (which should've been 2009) list. I guess last year I wasn't comfortable enough to really believe that you are more than just a person that "Pushes me beyond my limits" (still, I meant that in the best sense of the word possible). The thing is, I never really thought we'd ever be friends. I thought you'd be one of those people that would argue and disagree with me about everything, and that would be it. But that was when I first met you in 2008. I don't think I'll ever forget the time you sat next to me in HRC's conference and said "I'll sit here, just don't repulse me", it makes me laugh every time I remember it. And I didn't really think there's much to build a friendship on. I really thought you'd disappear after the conference. But surprisingly, two years later, you're in my will. (yes, I added you). And I really wouldn't like to imagine my life without losing at least one bet a month to you, and not paying up. And well, life would be a lot easier if you didn't make me guess everything before you actually told me ages later. But, on the other hand, you did introduce me to *SQUEEZE* (of cyanide and happiness). But seriously, beyond all the inside jokes and the "la2 la2 Ma3leshes", you are still the person who shared two of the roughest months of my life with me. And I guess in a way, having you there made them easier to get through. "Ana? Ana a3da Ganbo" haha.. Somehow we managed to turn rejection from something we both applied to, into an endless Zakeya Zakareya Marathon. So, there you go, this is more like what should've been written in that note a year ago. And I really shouldn't have asked if you'll un-tag yourself, I should've tagged you anyway and when you un-tag yourself I should  have posted it on your wall.

I jumped at midnight again this year, and it felt more real than last year, and the year before it. Last year I jumped thinking that jumping would symbolize running away from every thing I thought I couldn't handle. I remember what it was like the past four or five years every 31st of December. I'd run around all day wondering how I'd walk into the next year with all the baggage I thought I had. What was so important? Guys and crushes and marriage proposals and trivial fights with my parents and some extra weight and things that just seemed like the end of the world. But this year I just jumped, for the sake of jumping. I jumped and I wanted nothing else. And this was probably one of the hardest years of my life, but it's not the worst.
I'm just a day older. I just want to be alive next year, and I want to still see a point in jumping at midnight or defying gravity (Thank You Omar Abhar).

I guess at some point, I'll stop trying to run away from time, because I'll realise that it'll catch up anyway. But for now, I'll just Jump.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Patience and Indifference.


How many times do you hear someone saying that in your daily life? I watch people every day jump and do bend over back words just to hear that they might some day soon get the opportunity to get out of the country. And the last time I shared the same level of enthusiasm for the same thing was when I was, what.. Twelve? It was when I'd just come back from Zambia and all I could think about was getting away from this crowded place, in terms of the country and my family. I wanted to be somewhere people spoke my language, literally. I needed to be somewhere I'd know that when someone says they want half a spoon of sugar in their tea, they really do mean half a spoon. And I really needed to be somewhere people wouldn't laugh every time I showed any signs of having an opinion about something. Seriously, because the last time I didn't have an opinion about something or actually anything, it was probably around the time I discovered I have thumbs. And it's still hard, all of that is still there, nothing really changed. I changed though.

I learned what to say when someone says "yar7amkom Allah" after I sneeze. And I learned when to just nod and smile. And probably the most important thing I learned is when to ask a question and when to keep my mouth shut. With time, I learned that Egyptians really are amazing people, once you learn the dos and donts. And the funny thing is, once I finally got comfortable and found places and people I wouldn't mind spending the rest of my life around, everyone is all about running off somewhere far away.

I guess what I'm here to write today isn't particularly about Egypt. I'm here to try to wake my self up, or not. I'm not sure. The thing is, I've had several opportunities to get out of the country as soon as I graduate. One of them was a Marriage proposal. And another which happens to still be an option, is to graduate and move to Sudan with my dad, study Human Rights and work with the United Nations. And well, the permanent option that I've always had and will always have, is to move to the United States of America. And I'm calling it that because when I think about moving there, that's just how it sounds in my head. If I say America, then it would sound like a vacation. And as I'm writing this right now I realised that I'm Eighteen, and technically speaking, I could pack my bags and go where ever I want whenever I want since I'm an American citizen.

And it makes me sick. Just the thought of leaving everything behind makes me sick. I'm a person that needs a back pack full of completely pointless things every time I know I wont come home for the rest of the day just to feel safe. One time, I seriously considered taking a bar of soap with me to a trip to El Obour city, just in case I get lost in the desert and then after days I find some water and I feel like washing up. And well, more that once, I've taken my shampoo and conditioner with me to a normal visit to my aunt's just in case something happens and I need to spend the night. Oh and my calculator (because oh my god what would I do if someone asks to calculate something and I can't do it mentally =/), plastic bags, ketchup, note books, books, a stapler.. it's endless. And it's simply because I'm afraid that I'd stray away from home and I wouldn't find anything familiar.

People have left, people have left and with time they forgot that they ever cared about anything back home. And I forgot that I ever worried about missing them. And they really did matter at some point. People that changed my life to the better, people that, literally changed everything. And this looks like some miserable mourning ritual for a lost lover, but it's not. The people I'm talking about are people of all ages and genders and who have gone to different places. Some died, and others just moved. And others, I've just lost contact with them. And here's the butt-naked truth, at some point, I stopped missing them. At some point, my indifference just took over, and it didn't matter any more where they are. And they stopped giving a rat's left ass-cheek as well. And frankly, that scares me, and saddens me out of and back into my senses over and over again.

So now, the question is, am I clinging to this country just because I don't want to be the one that let go first? And if I do stick around until everything else melts away and everyone finds some where to start their lives, will I ever have a life of my own?
I've always said I'd never leave the country because then who'd be there to witness the birth of Amgad's children and Amany's children. But the truth is, when Yassin was born, I was waiting outside the operating room, no witnessing involved. And When Mohga, Amgad's wife was giving birth to Malak, I was asked to stay at home, because, well.. why go?

And the funny thing is, both Amany and Amgad would do anything to get out of this country and go anywhere else. And recently I've noticed Amany's been seriously considering moving to Sudan. So, where does that leave me? Where will I go? or is the question really how long will I stay? and if I do stay... will it be out of fear or will it be for something I believe in.

I wish I knew. But then again, I know nothing, I never did and never will.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Push.

I find myself, lost in my fear of the future, a large number of times too many a day. And It's not about what life could bring upon me. It's not about who will leave and who will stick around. It's not about whether I'll be left to die alone or not. It's almost always has more to do with how I will react to whatever may come my way.

Love. Interesting, yeah? Well, the funny thing is, people fall in love with other people, don't they? They're afraid that the person they love wouldn't love them back. They're afraid they'd wake up one day and the person they love is gone. They're afraid someone will come along and take the person they love away. They're afraid the person they love doesn't think they're good looking enough. They're afraid the person they love doesn't think they're smart enough.

hmmm... Why is it then, that my fear is always that I would love someone that loves me more than I love them, or even worse, more than I love myself? I'm always afraid that I'd wake up one day, pick up everything that could be traced back to me, and leave. I'm always afraid I'd realise that I was right all along, I AM better off alone. I'm afraid I'd end up with someone that believes in me enough to make me forget what I want to do with my life.

So, that's my say on THAT subject.  I don't think I've ever felt this uncomfortable with publishing a post.
Speaking of being uncomfortable, I was asked how I'm able to type out the most personal details of my life onto a page and just publish them out there for everyone to see. Well, here's the thing... I believe that the only way to acknowledge the existence of a human experience, is to record it somewhere at least one other human being will come across later. And who said any of this is "the most personal details of my life"?
They're personal, I can't really deny that bit. But "most"?

Oh and A friend once said.. "I read your blog, but It gets me worried about you.. You keep writing about things that you actually should be letting go of". That's what I'm doing. Hence the blog's title.

Breathe in, breathe out. Silence.