I am a sponge. I automatically absorb traits, behaviors, even ways of thinking that I like. I absorb experiences. I absorb anything I deem absorbable.
I am becoming a tree, unlike any other. My feet, shaky on the ground, elongate and sharpen, unsteadily delving into the wet soil beneath me. I feel disoriented. Trees are tough and fierce. I’ve discovered that I’m not, even though I sincerely and naïvely thought otherwise. Nonetheless, I am still transforming. My skin is turning rugged, maintaining its soft texture. I slowly lose one sense at a time. My eyes turn blurry as they fuse into the rest of my body as it’s transcending its humble form to become something else. My painful shrieks and cries become hums and whistles as the wind gently caresses my forming branches. I look down to find my trunk black. My trunk. I’m startled by the fact that I’m unquestionably becoming a tree. I don’t feel stronger, I somehow feel more fragile. This process is more exhausting then I had contemplated.
My feet are still stretching out to become one with the earth. My toenails are sharpening as they find something to hold onto, curling and crooking like hooks. The hairs on my legs stand, pointing outwards from my black stem. I’m becoming more comfortable. I no longer recognize my torso, I’m losing it to what I’ve become. My ribs have changed shape and color and now stand vertically in my insides to create the backbone of the tree. They’re still not strong enough. I’m flailing instead of standing my ground; losing strength instead of sucking it from the soil; my vitality is escaping me and I’m wasting energy attempting to reenergize myself.
I can no longer see, speak, smell, nor hear. These senses have all merged into one then amalgamated with my sense of feeling. It’s almost unbearable. I feel too much. I feel my roots still trembling beneath me, my organs shifting place and darkening, taking new positions and functions, my hands distorting and spreading out wide open with bones sticking out to make branches. I feel my hair being whetted. It’s green and stands out like that of a cactus. Swiftly and abruptly, I feel one last enormous pang. Collectively, my hairs are nailing me. I’m becoming a deformed, inverted, ruggedly soft and inexplicably smooth cactus tree. Yet somehow, I exist.
If someone accidentally shuts a door on your finger, deeming the pain unbearable, you’ll quickly open the door to release your finger and put an end to the pain. That sounds fairly reasonable and common. Your finger is your own and you can feel anything that happens to it. The door is an object with several benefits and a proper function. The act of it being shut on your finger is unpleasant and undesirable. A problem occurred and you knew what was causing it and you devised the solution for it and thus you opened the door. The pain will linger for a while but you’re certain that eventually, inevitably, it will subside. You wouldn’t just keep your finger stuck and be deluged with the pain. It’s invidious and displeasing, remember?
Then why is it that sometimes, when you’re in pain and you know what or who is causing it, you don’t attempt to free yourself and diminish the pain? You don’t enjoy it. It hurts. You know what’s causing it. Why can’t you let yourself off the hook? Why don’t you let go? Why don’t you open the door? Why are you holding on?
I had no arms. I slept to dream that I had no arms. Dream? I instantly deemed it a nightmare, an atrocious one. I had no arms. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to drive, dress, eat, drink, hold anything, shake hands with anyone, wave, type, draw, cook, make anything, work. Would I be rendered useless? Yet, the first thing that came to my mind was not any of the above. Without arms, I wouldn’t be able to be honest. I wouldn’t be able to rant, to speak the truth, to dream, or explore. I could talk, right? I’m one of the most talkative people I know. But when it comes to writing, that’s when I’m most honest. I didn’t think about any other arm function I’d miss. All I could think about was writing. I can’t speak of the truth, of how I truly feel, except in my writing. I can’t be honest with my self except through my writing. I don’t explore the real me except in what I write.
Was this a wake-up call for me to finally build up verbal and moral courage and put my over-use of speaking into good use? Into trying to speak more often of what I write and say the things that I know, if said out loud, would help me psychologically and physically? I don’t know. But I know that nothing, besides death, has scared me this much in a while. My arms shook at the thought of losing me; leaving me to my mind all by myself and my soul.
is a goblin that follows me wherever I go; watching my every move.
is a virtual version of you that perishes each night.
is a cup of tea to keep my sanity, but spills and burns instead.
is a light that I don’t seize.
is a doctor’s diagnosis and prescription.
is one of several boxes concealing, trapping, repressing.
is a lid that I desperately search for; only to never find.
If you were my pen, I would use you to scratch anything beautiful I wrote. I would use you to scratch any positive thought I scribbled. I would use you to turn any smiley face I ever drew into a sad one. I would passionately write everything horrible and obnoxious about myself. I would draw my nightmares into reality. But I’m my pen, you’re not my pen. Yet, somehow, we both manage to do all of the above anyway.
This is a piece I wrote about Egypt for What Women Want… Magazine, where I work:
If the main witness, when asked if they “swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth” replies with “no,” what happens then?
I think, sometimes. I also sometimes wonder, or try to dig deeper into topics. It’s only natural, supposedly. For now, I’m thinking that there are several things in life that most of us want to know the simple and truthful answer to. It isn’t too much to ask, really. What something is, how or why it happened; you know, just out of curiosity. Sometimes while we’re looking for those answers, we find several different possible ones for the same question. Confusion alert! Which one should we believe? Why isn’t it like simple mathematics? 2+2=4. You can’t tell me some people believe the correct answer is 7, and others think it’s 4. I’ll then get to sit and ponder, and my head will start coming up with potential conspiracies why I should believe it’s 7 (They’re subliminally trying to get me to like Christiano Ronaldo. Nice try.) and then I’m lost and confused again. If I have tolerance for others’ opinions - rare thing these days - we’ll agree to disagree. If I don’t, I’ll spend my whole life fighting with the flies of my face (quite literal translation, yes) while trying to convince others of the best answer that I see fit.
Now, guess what I’m going to relate this to. Go on. Exactly, the revolution. Hold on; just bear with me, please. I think this is Egypt’s status right now: we’re stuck in ‘LOST’. Yes, that TV series with the plane that crashed on the island and all the random events with absolutely (that’s an overstatement) no explanations of how they occurred or who on good old Earth caused them. I stopped watching that show after season 3. I couldn’t take (I apologize in advance to the fans) the unnecessary-turned-ridiculous mysteries.
There were trees that start moving suddenly, simultaneously. There was the black smoke monster with mechanical sounds! There were killings, ‘Others’, underground prisons, labs, cages, dead people’s ghosts, healings, sickness, whispers and a lot more I’m glad I can’t recall. In Egypt, we’re witnessing killings, kidnappings, tortures, frequent car thefts, clashes, clean-ups, beneficial initiatives, optimism, then pessimism, fits of angst and anxiety, physical fits caused by teargas, and a lot more, that of course I can recall.
Well, some people decided to stop watching the Egyptian version of ‘LOST’ and immigrated or stayed put but shut off media completely. I’m not judging; I can’t blame or support them. For those of us who are here, though, who are watching, who are waiting, (I’m starting to sound like Optimus Prime) we have it differently. We’re suffering from what-the-heck-is-going-on syndrome, following the news, switching back and forth between optimism and pessimism. Luckily, some things got explained in ‘LOST’ and the awaiting audience was finally given some ‘rational’ explanations and reasons. I wonder if we’ll start getting any truthful and rational explanations while we’re ‘lost’ any time soon.
A friend asked how relevant this quote is nowadays, “In an age of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act,” - George Orwell. I couldn’t agree more. Take any event, the 9th of October Maspero events or the Mohamed Mahmoud St. clashes, if you weren’t there to witness them, you are probably ‘lost’ in a distortion of the truth. We are blessed (or cursed) with a wide variety of media sources to cover events, we ‘follow’ revolutionaries on Twitter to provide us with live accounts, then we of course have the most disgusting tool of them all, rumor. Some will believe the sources they’re used to believing, and perhaps the majority, who just want to simply know what happened, will either be fed bullshit (excuse me) or settle for “There currently isn’t an answer to your question” (after all, iPhone 4S’s Siri can’t know everything), or settle for the first, second, or third thing they hear regardless of its validity.
‘Truth’ from ((http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/truth):
1. The true or actual state of a matter: He tried to find out the truth.
2. Conformity with fact or reality; verity: the truth of a statement.
3. A verified or indisputable fact, proposition, principle, or the like: mathematical truths.
Can we have that? I’ll take one truth-basket, please. Have we ever actually had that? Are we the only ones suffering from the lack of truth? You could be with or against anything, the smallest workers’ protest, the police or SCAF, or the revolution itself. As a citizen of this country, I think, you have a basic and pivotal right: to know and understand what is going on. Has it become impossible to believe anything or anyone? Have we come to a sad point where anyone is a potential liar and anything we hear is a potential lie?
“بين ناشطين عايزينا نصدق إن الجيش دخل يقتل في مظاهره سلميه من باب التسليه، وتلفزيون عايزنا نصدق إن المدنيين وحوش كاسره شريره، ماتصدقش حد”
(Roughly Translated: Between activists who want us to believe that the army just attacked the peaceful protest for fun, and media that wants us to believe that civilians are monsters, believe no one.)
You could also ask, is this actually part of the plan? For us to be confused? For the sole, intended purpose of doubting and criminalizing our own brothers or sisters? That’s when the potential conspiracy scenarios start playing in my head. What should I believe? Or should we just ignore the hunt for the actual truth and take these events as motivation to stay united and just pray for our country to be able to stand on its feet? The problem is, some people don’t know what to do because they’re unsure of what happened and how it happened. Wouldn’t it be easier to take a stance if you knew the actual truth?
“ليس كل ما يريده المرء يدركه”
(Roughly translated: Not everything one wants, he/she gets.)
What do I want from you? Not much. I’m just sharing a few thoughts with which you may or may not agree with. I’m one of those let’s-agree-to-disagree people. It’s working out for me just fine actually, thanks for asking. I hope we wake up to a better tomorrow. It’s not just going to appear though; we’ll have to work our behinds off for it. I’ve decided to go right ahead and take the risk and guarantee you that it’ll be worth it. After all, I may have stopped watching ‘LOST’ but I can’t stop watching Egypt, my country, to which I give my love and my heart (taken out of the national anthem, yes. Cheesy, yes. So much for originality).
A Pigeon. One might envy a pigeon. I don’t know a pigeon’s goals but I know it flies. I feel that it’s free. I think that it’s not confined to the walls of a room, the buildings of a street or the borders of a country. It doesn’t experience evil; it’s indifferent about good. It’s not materialistic. It’s not arrogant. It’s not classist, sexist, or racist. It’s a simple existential being with no rules, norms or clichés to restrict.
A Human. One might envy a human. A rightfully sentient being with the ability to fight for his/her rights. Not confined to the sky and the clouds. Peacefully walks about the Earth, and travel across the skies. Experiences good and evil and chooses right from wrong. Gracefully exists individualistically. Has thousands of opportunities to take, and viable trials and errors to commit. Can follow and can also lead.