I still remember when I was a kid, when Palestine was really on fire. But well, when was it ever not on fire? It was during those times that the news were just about Palestine; sickening images and depressing videos. There was a world outcry. The Arab artists from different countries came together and made a video clip for them. It was around the same time when the 12 year old Muhammad Al Durrah and his dad were shot dead as shown in a very depressing video clip. It was 2000 and I was just six years old. There was the world, standing up for humanity like we should while I stood and watched. I was too young to comprehend what was happening but I just didn’t like what I saw. It broke my heart…and it made me cry a lot.
My mum once came and found me hiding at the window, behind the curtains crying. Oh I had cried a lot. I had cried like I was right there at the middle of it. I had cried like the cry baby I am…To cheer me up, my mother asked my cousin to take me for a walk. She took me to the bridge side to watch the ocean and bought me some crisps on the way. At that time, it was easy enough to forget what I had just seen and live up the sea moment. I was going to do something about it, that was my plan. I was going to grow up and make a difference. I was somehow going to make all the noise stop and bring the world to silence. I was hoping i’d be the female version of superman. But then I grew up, and reality hit me hard. There was almost nothing I was ever going to do. Not to the war torn countries, not to the fighting friends not even to my own helplessness. Back and again, i’d lock myself in the washroom and cry because two people were fighting, because someone became angry, because someone didn’t eat and my mother would be there again and again with the same words, ‘This is life…These things happen.’ So I started writing and for as long as I remember, I wrote like a possessed woman. I never had short paragraphs or small words to say. It was always going to be long and very long endless paragraphs of pain and sorrow; too much pain too much sorrow. By the time I got to high school, I knew. I knew I wasn’t going to change. I knew I couldn’t stop to feel.
I hated myself for feeling way too much because it made me seem like damaged goods, a worn out material, a shattered mirror. Simply because there is no in between for me and for us. There is nothing like moderation. It was always going to be extreme love or extreme hate. Extreme kindness or extreme evil. But it also made me appreciate a lot of things beyond. It became my super power, just like writing did. I tried to fit in only to realize it was never going to happen. It was never going to be easy for people to understand. They see you laughing like a maniac for one moment and you’d be crying like a widow the next. How you’d laugh so hard at the most stupid of things and cry so much for something so petty. No, they would never get you. And so it would always end up with, ‘she is so moody’. I curled up back into my cocoon because that is the only place you wouldn’t be misunderstood or misinterpreted. That is the only way to survive.
When war broke in Yemen and my sisters were trapped inside, I slid away. I slid away from them and from everyone. My mother would lecture me for not keeping in touch, for not being there for my sisters when they needed me. But then how do you respond when someone talks of the bombs they are hearing right as you speak? What do you tell them when you get 3 a.m. texts of them asking for prayers? I ran. I always ran away from the reality because helplessness is way too much to handle. I ran away every time I came face to face with my emotions. I ran because facing my fears would mean dealing with my inability to do absolutely ANYTHING. I ran when people attacked me, when I was being stepped on, I changed routes to not meet the beggars, I shut away when people fought. I withdrew, stayed back, retrieved myself from my soul, escaped…and thus, I became an escapist. For the longest time I asked God, ‘why was I born? What am I doing on this earth?’ Simply because being lost and helpless is just too much.
But then I found out that being overly-sensitive would make sense sometimes. When you meet people like yourself and there comes that sigh of relief, ‘I am not the only one.’ You meet understanding people who won’t call you moody because they just know how extremely you feel. You meet people who will empower you to turn that sensitivity into something enormous and courageous and brave. Yes…you meet the right people.
Every time I meet fellow cry-babies who are screaming inside because ‘no one understands me’, I remember that I am blessed with the ability to write. That it doesn’t really matter how weak people perceive you, or how they judge what you write, or how they think of you. What only matters is that you are doing what you have to, to survive.
So here I am. Feelings for sale. Anyone? Feelings, anyone??