it’s safety on,
because your words,
are like ammo,
to my emotional gun.
it’s safety on,
because your words,
are like ammo,
to my emotional gun.
enter into my world softly and ignite a curious flame?
trace the cracks on my shell and fill them with shimmering gold?
play with the child, reassure the teen and elevate the woman?
breathe in me your fire, quiet my winds and still my waters?
listen to my silence, read my tears and write gentle caresses on my skin?
offer your body freely, share your mind boldly and fuse your soul wholly?
flow with me, glow with me, grow with me?
swim against the current with me?
No. I didn’t think so.
For 11 months now, I have been commuting between two major cities in Egypt; Cairo and Alexandria on a fairly regular weekly basis. The distance between them is about 220km. It does not sound like a lot and in fact the Cairo/Alex desert road has been recently renovated to meet “international standards”, and yet many street lamps are not even lit ensuring to keep hazardous standards above average. Such is the joy of driving in Egypt.
Every weekend I go to Alexandria to help my mother out in her restaurant. Then I return to Cairo 4 days later to work in the office for the NGO work and thus that has been my life for 11 months. What prompted me to take this decision still astounds me to this second and such a decision did not wait to come without its share of consequences yet I am slowly discovering the reasons, the explanation, the purpose or whatever it is I’m supposed to discover through therapy and sobriety.
To try and step away from the seemingly perpetual company negativity and pessimism that have been good friends of mine for a couple of years now, I will list 10 good points and 10 bad points of this experience which actually has a genuinely challenging one. In a nutshell, it has been taxing on me mentally and emotionally and needless to say physically. And this is the kind of “travel” that hopeful Facebook posts talk about that has helped me discovered the joys of life or the beauty of who I am and could be. Commuting in Egypt is no joy ride. Endless traffic is endured, potholes and bad roads are passed over, pedestrian zombies and roadkill are dodged and a harsh test of reality and patience is passed upon you by force.
Anyway, here is my list of pros and cons of living and commuting between two major cities on a weekly basis.
A river of expression has been flowing within me but that flow keeps coming to a splashing halt against this invisible dam. I have no idea what sort of dam it is or why it is there. But it is there. Majestic, thick, menacing and shall not let my thoughts, feelings or creative purge flow at all.
I am stuck in this state. Over the past couple of weeks I have been delaying, procrastinating, writing a post because I kept yo-yoing between what topic I wanted to write about. I had one topic lingering that I chose to title “forgiving the parent(s)” and others that kept bouncing off the peeled plaster of the walls in my head. They are still bouncing, mad, like angry birds.
Could it all have started with the parents? The agony of growing up? The blaming game when the going gets tough?
So this is a post of my inability to purge in hopes that it still succeeds in purging something.
My mind is restless. My body is screaming for a change. For a state of what it once was. Self-effacing, self-loathing. Sometimes I can feel pretty good actually that I have come a long way. Faced shitty people, shitty environment, shitty substances, shitty realisations. And sometimes I wonder what went right. What went wrong again. What went where why? Back and forth, forth and back. The mental cobwebs go as quickly as they come, like the spider themselves, always in a hurry, always still. The left side of my body is out of balance. From my left eye to my left foot. All the points and joints hurt. But still, I am, amazingly, astronishngly, surviving unscathed. Just yet, for now. Sipping on tea with milk. Extra milk. With that sourly sweet aftertaste at the back of my throat.
The Mediterranean Sea
September 19, 2016
Dear Mr. Jellyfish,
This is just a quick update on my recovery from your generous stings 8days ago on what should have been the first day of a cheery relaxed vacation with friends after 9 months of hard work and barely any breaks.
Unfortunately, it has not been the most pleasant of recoveries especially when, well, because, you see, physically, you left my left arm nearly useless with a swollen wrist and immovable fingers for at least two days. Only shadows of your marks were visible then because my skin was too taut to even show the veins on the top of my hand. Freaky stuff. My wrist looked like a relatively heavy baseball bat just swung its way nonchalantly by a drunk in a soliloquy. I cried, figuratively and literally, for the strongest painkiller just to curb the indescribable pain I had to bear for the first 6 hours from our sticky situation, but there were no pills. Maybe that is what being flayed feels like, or more like being flayed while a sinister bad-breathed Egyptian government employee sweetly runs the top of a flame from a knock-off Bic lighter just high enough under my skin so as not to turn it into a crisp.
I really did not mean to swim your way, Mr. Jellyfish. I had not been a few minutes in the water and was just about to swallow the horizon and lose myself into it to find the peace I been, and still, looking for, while ignoring the waves of negativity, but alas, it was short lived and fate brought us to our watery embrace. My good intentions, if I could so boldly claim so, did not prepare me for what was coming next, and one tentacle at a time, you have changed my life forever.
People have seen my arm aghast assuming I got burnt, by acid perhaps, or some horryifing man-made chemical mix which could be just as obscene. So I find it amazing that all you needed to do was probably poop your poison on me and not even wipe.
Anyway, there was enough human drama happening in the background that I envy your obvious oblivion to the details. I wished you were there though, tentacles crossed on the sofa, greased up with after sun, smoking a cigarette perhaps, and stinging the hell out of our irreversible human drama without reproach. So cool that you could swim away with shit like that. Respect.
Pain is such a lonely experience. To be human, in this day and age with its bullshit drugs and technological addiction, is even lonelier.
I wish you a happy long life, Mr. Jellyfish, and I hope we never meet again.
Do you miss me? Did you hear me scream the other day? Did you notice the tears streaming down my face as my vision, like my life, begins to gutter out? I know my issues are petty that is why I screamed your name in vain, I cried your name in pain, hoping you would relieve me, rekindle me and fight my demons with me. But I doubt you heard me. Why would you? You see, I am surrounded by doubt. There are so many people, “your people”, hating on you right now. You have become the epitome of doubt until it has become so contagious we have forgotten how to treat it. You have become the being to look away from because people have mastered the blind eye and the wicked heart to solely focus on parasitic greed and transient earthly pleasures . Generations upon generations have so much to say against you, and so many to kill for you. Can you see the hatred in the world; the corruption, the rape, the hypocrisies, the blood, so much blood; the perfect habitat for anger and fear and death where we are currently thriving? Through you, we have administered the perfect Molotov cocktail for the soul.
I believed in you once, not the way you wanted me to though, but in my individual way. I may still believe in you but having led myself astray I almost stopped believing in myself. I went down paths that have damaged my very core, blew my soul into ash. I learnt your ways once, I learnt to pray to you myself, I read your words and I walked in life feeling your presence above me somehow, protecting me, shielding me, faintly lighting my way. In the many things I did, good and bad, I felt you at the back of my mind, watching me, judging me and I wonder now if you are laughing or penciling down my sins one by one like the blinking cursor on my screen.
I wonder, I wonder how am I supposed to find you again. I really thought I had you once but there is just so much ugliness in us, so much vanity, lies and disappointment. I believed in you, the memories, the thoughts, the training I had on how to perceive you in my waking, worshiping life. I tried to believe in other things, other philosophies, to detach, to love myself but somehow I always found myself pulling back to you and hating myself even more. I find myself staying attached to you when what I prayed for the most is to be detached, from everything, everyone; for your mercy to flicker me out like a candle gently and allow me to be the smoke that fades out into nothingness once and for all. Forgotten, unknown. I lost you when I was coming down, was too distracted to find you when I was high and I still miss You.
So I am posting on a Tuesday instead of a Monday but that is because I finally made it to the beach with friends yesterday and the sun, wind, sea and sand were just right.
I have this book that is called The One-Line-A-Day, A Five Year Memory Book. On August 30th, 2015 I wrote: “I have made a decision. I will quit soon and start work with my mother. Leave this wretched city behind”.
A year later, I am working with my mother, I haven’t entirely quit and I haven’t left this wretched city behind either. I am amazed at myself and at others at how fickle our decisions can be. We make a decision with all the confidence in the world, looking hopefully into a non-existent future with glittering stars thinking that we will surely conquer that decision, squeeze it till we drip the last drop of success out of it.
No such thing. Every decision I made, so far, didn’t stick out. Every decision I watched someone I know make, did not stick out. We babble and dream and convince ourselves it would work, but it does not. Why? Discipline. Mostly. We lack discipline, not money, energy or time. Discipline. That one most-pivotal-moment-sort-of-lesson I learnt the hard way working with my mother. Not the most joyful of partnership but one where many hard hard lessons have been laid carefully before me so I can I get to pick and choose which attitude to work with, if I even could.
When I look at the lines upon lines that I have written over the few recent years I feel like I am reading the lines of several different people, each in their unique situation, embodied in one being; dumbfounded, depressed, eager yet willing. Taking a peek into the past on a daily basis is actually a terrifying exercise. So much self-judgment, nostalgia and resentment can arise out of that exercise. Another discipline lost, the discipline to look at the bright side.
Self-love, the love of another, quite always that constant struggle.
Like a mountain’s heart,
Revealed by dust through
the tears of time,
Like death, like life,
Like the might
of That Night,
Balanced on the toss of a dime.
Not too many years ago, some eyes rolled one day because I had an opinion about relationships.
My opinion was that we all want something from each other.
I never quite understood why I got heat back then and for the longest time I felt shaken over such an obvious concept we perform consciously and subconsciously. I began to scrutinize matters of the innately selfish human condition, how I dealt with people and how others dealt with each other. I surprised and contradicted myself many times, got confused, lost face but hell, I came out knowing I was right.
Not too many years later, and after a cascade of heavy experiences, I still believe in that opinion, and if anything I reaffirm it more now since ultimately we do want something from each other whether anyone cares to admit it or not. I am not afraid to declare that, yes, I want something from you. For example, I want you to read this post, provide an opinion, a critique, think, hate it, like it, ignore it, whatever. You will still provide a reaction that I may want and may not, that you may share or may not share depending on what you want. But I want something useful still. Something that can inspire me, amend me, help me grow, shake and stir my emotions for a moment to reassemble me, or you.
Just because I “want” something doesn’t mean that I want it because I am a an emotional hoarder who is keeping track of everything that everyone has given to me so I could feel special for a while until I want more. No. I could want the good company of a good friend. I could want you to pass the salt. I could want to share something meaningful and beautiful in any given occasion over any random reason for no particular intention. I could want to be alone. I could want to make a move. I could want you to make a move instead. I could want to be evil, do something bad and hurtful. I could want to be understood or appear enigmatic. I could want want itself.
What are relationships loosely based on if not on a certain specific and non-specific set of exchangeable actions and reactions? Who, out there, who, can really not expect something in return? Or at least half-expect something they want returned in some form or another? We attempt to be humble and say we will not expect anything, a brave and noble attitude, but some time during the day and night we expect and want, if not need, secretly; attention, appreciation, money, gratitude, sex, praise, love, ass-licking, a smile, forgiveness, a kiss, a slap on the face, a ding on the phone; because ultimately we want to be acknowledged, we want to stand out, we want to have an opinion. We want to exist in someone else’s world. We want our wants to be addressed and what better way but the wonderful world of social media; the glossy happy helper that asks me every day “what’s on my mind”? Then we end up writing a status, because guess what, we want it to be out there. We make a post knowingly and willfully. It’s a choice we all make. And we make a choice when we want it and when we know it is going to benefit us somehow like a comment, a like or even silence.
No one is completely selfless. No one is completely all-giving. No one expects nothing. No one.
Many moments have passed and been taken for granted. Many moments have been silenced and taken over by loudness. Many moments mean something and nothing. Many a moment gets stuck and released. A moment is fickle. A moment lasts forever. Stop treading on my moment.
We are all smiles & aches
When we relish in what once was
Because it is easier
To linger in a moment
That is as long as a little death
And wait for a response
That is as empty as the air
While my insecurities
Within my chambered lips
Are invited to dance
By ribboned beats
And are sucked into a vacuum of
Like tangled fingers nestled in dreaded hair
And reopened wounds remold with a layer
Of what once was
When we dim down a song on repeat
That has lost its words
Amidst poisoned glasses that crash
On the dance floor
As hot breaths that grow cold
And sighs are stifled
In the backseat of a car
We begin to float away over the dull waves
Of a melodic sea
Desperate to hold onto that moment
With a loose grip
That is surely fading away.
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