Archive for August, 2015

DC – Day 5

Posted: August 27, 2015 in Uncategorized

It’s baffling how excited I really get when someone asks me what I’m studying. Not because I want to talk about Accounting, not because I want to brag about how I’m studying Law at the same time, but because I only want a chance to talk about how much I love writing, through my very tiny minor that consists of just five courses. Today, I was talking to some Japanese and Korean friends about my passion for writing, and about all the writing courses I’ve taken, and I literally wouldn’t stop talking, and they were all ears. I felt so strong about that. Yet it was still sad.

It’s sad because I haven’t actually written a proper piece since I don’t know when. Because so much has been going on in my life, both within and outside myself, and I still don’t feel the urge to abandon the world and just sit down to write. Because I postpone writing every day even though it’s the one thing I know I need more than ever. I thought I was only anxious about moving to the U.S., but here I am, sitting here all alone every single night and not being able to let anything out either.

I stopped knowing what to say. As a matter of fact, I stopped knowing how to feel. I was recently told I remind someone of Riley in “InsideOut” when she was on the bus leaving town, and didn’t know exactly how she should feel because of all the mess that was taking place inside. Sometimes I feel my Joy is actually trying to constantly take over, forcing me to see the positive side of every single thing taking place, and I think it’s getting a little unhealthy. I started strongly embracing my awkwardness, forgetting every embarrassing situation right after it’s over, after I’ve previously spent years obsessing over certain awkward moments for entire days. My mind is doing this thing where it just blocks out everything that might not make me feel okay.

I’m very disgusted about the fact that I’m living in a country with toilets that have no bidets for instance, yet I’ve succeeded in convincing myself that I’ve grown quite used to using my portable one. I have not. It’s still disgusting, very. But there’s just nothing I can do about it so my mind is pretending like everything’s fine because really, what else can it possibly do?

I’m also very different. I look different, I dress differently, I have different values, and everything about me is just different. But my mind’s always focusing on those who treat me normally (or so it seems to it), and proving to me that there’s nothing different about me at all. Hell yeah, these are international students; they’re prepared to come to a country where they know they’ll be seeing very unfamiliar things to them, and they know they need to fit in anyway so they’d never abandon a potential friend who’d help them not be a loner. It’s just not okay to walk around fully covered, when everyone is literally wearing nothing. But my Joy tends to block this out and show me the beauty of being accepted in a foreign place, without really concentrating on the confused looks I get on my way back to my room, or how it’s never understandable to see a girl walking around all covered in black because she just got thirsty in the middle of the night and needs to fill her water bottle from outside yet can’t get out in her PJs like everyone else. I know I’m different, but my Joy also tends to attract people who’d just smile at me and start a conversation right away, even if we were just in the elevator for 5 seconds. And that never helps me feel bad.

I’m actually very proud of how I am, and how anyone can recognize I’m a Muslim through just a glimpse from the corner of their eyes. In fact, a Japanese girl came up to me today to ask what kind of food I’m not allowed to eat, and how I survive 30 days of Ramadan, and we chitchatted about it for a little while. It’s part of my identity, and of who I am as a person and I’d seriously never think about letting go of any of it. But it’s still okay to recognize that I’m different sometimes. Pretending like everyone is all lovey-dovey will not really get me anywhere, because at the end of the day, we’re just humans. And no matter how much we try, we’ll always unconsciously judge one another, whether we want it or not.

Socializing here also drains me, literally. I have daily orientations from 9 am to 4 pm and they’re all filled with ice breakers, group activities, forced interactions, small talks, and every other thing that can possibly drain an introvert’s energy. I sneak out during breaks and get back to my room for some alone time, and I try to convince myself that this is the perfect combination, where I get to experience both worlds. But it’s just not. It actually is awesome how I can lock my room here and know for a fact that no one is ever coming in without my permission, not like my room back home, but my roommate will shortly be here anyway and ruin it all for me pretty soon. I guess my Joy is trying so hard to make me forget everything about this unwanted body. But she’ll be here in two days anyway and I should start trying to adapt while I have the chance, not completely pretend it’s perfectly okay.

I hate to imagine how independent I’m going to have to be in a couple of days; doing my own laundry, cleaning my room, using public transportation to commute, etc. This is a phase I don’t want to start, but will shortly be forced into when I stop finding anything to wear, or when insects start making their way into my room. My mind just completely stopped thinking about this, even though it was one of the main things that has been keeping me anxious all through my summer.

I know I miss way too many people and too many things back at home, but I never fully admit it to myself. I do like to be on my own, but I always need people in my life and that’s something I rarely confront myself with. I don’t know how I’m going to survive my semester without seeing familiar faces all over campus and bumping into friends everywhere. But it truly never crosses my mind. I keep myself busy with the new company and I try to imagine us being close friends, when I know deep inside that almost all of them are temporary ones.

However, I don’t want to go back to my country either. I found out yesterday that the chances for me to graduate here are really almost zero, after I had high hopes in staying here for a while, and it was very sad. Yet I didn’t get sad. I didn’t cry. I didn’t complain. For the first instant, I kept on eating everything I found my way. And then I got myself busy with other “Glow” stuff and pretended like nothing has happened anyway. I don’t know if I’d be able to return back to Egypt after what I’m experiencing here, especially after feeling like I’m finally being treated as a human being, but I’m sure God still has the perfect plan for me.

I just want to at least be able to feel sad so that I’d try to convince myself that this is better for me. But I don’t feel anything. And I don’t give myself enough chances to try and comfort her. My glass is always half full, if not already complete. My friend who’s traveling all the way from Egypt with me is always smiling and active, but when we’re alone, she talks about how lonely she feels, and she unconsciously tears up while talking about her family and friends. But I don’t. I don’t let myself think about home, and when I talk to my Egyptian friends, I only send them all my happy pictures and talk about all my happy adventures, because I really am happy about being here, but happiness is not the only thing I should always feel.

I think the very first step towards getting myself back was to confront her with all that. Maybe my Joy would start reconsidering things now. Maybe she’d start giving my other emotions their space. I miss feeling other things. I miss being able to feel. I miss being able to write about how I feel.


A Moment of Pride

Posted: August 18, 2015 in Uncategorized

A few weeks ago, while updating my iPhone’s software, I lost all my notes that I had written over the past 7 months and never backed up. (After already having lost all of them twice before, and previously losing memories of around 4 years or more!)
Today, after unintentionally squeezing my iPhone’s screen, I found out I had accidentally deleted my Viber application, which had almost all my memories with my sisters for the past 7 months, and therefore lost all our conversations too.

Surprisingly, after both incidents, I didn’t feel a thing. Ha! I, the person who still strongly holds on to her diaries from the time she was 13, the person who never gets enough of saving conversations and rereading them from time to time, the person who gets attached to every tiny piece of memory that reminds her of her old self, the person who hates losing any constant in her life, did not feel a thing.

Now that’s one very rare moment of pride. I feel like I need to celebrate the unexpected emergence of this new self — this new product of life’s terrible and constantly forced dispossessions. Way to go, self!

May you never feel the urge to regretfully look back at any future loss, and may this apathy continue to spread out and reach every other part that still feels bad over the loss of humans and not just things. Amen.


Posted: August 18, 2015 in Uncategorized

August 12, 2015.

On a night like last night, five years ago, I experienced waiting for my IGCSE grades for the very first time. Looking through my social networks back then, I realized that the people in my life were literally divided into two; either fellow students worried about the same thing, or non-IGCSE people who were doing nothing but praying for us and making sure every few seconds if the grades are out or not. My Facebook wall was crammed with IG stuff, pre and post the text message, and it seemed like my entire life was literally revolving around this and only this.

Thinking about it now, and about how terrifying the whole experience seemed to be, I realize I’ve been through much worse, that if I were to choose now between waiting for my IG grades and anything else I’ve passed through, I’d most probably go for grades night. Yet I would have never chosen that five years ago, because for my 16 year old self, that was the only nightmare I knew existed.

I wonder how trivial my current nightmares might seem to 26 year old me. I wonder if I’d ever get over my current issues the same way I got over most of what had been troubling me back then. Because five years ago, I thought I never would.