I feel like I’ve been searching in me for something to write. I’ve tapped into what’s inside, trying to scribble it out into a poem or the like, just for the sake of writing something. Needless to say, I failed (several times over).

Then I considered that hey, that could be a good thing. There’s no grief for me to romanticize into pretty words and allusions to nature. But then I looked again, reflecting deeper, looking for anything.

I was empty.

It’s a haunting thing, to look back and notice that you’ve been caught up in a soul-deadening routine of willing your day to end and willing your week to end and forgetting that that’s your life running by. When your insides are carved out and hollow, there’s much room for you to sink into some depth of anxiety, one that forces you to look and see what a horrible person you’ve become, you and all that dwells inside you, you, and your dark, twisted envy.

I don’t know whether I’m able to snap out of this, or whether I’d grown accustomed to being constricted. It has been a while since I genuinely laughed, and far too long since I just had fun. It’s selfish, considering that I could be living my best life right now, with more blessings than I can count. But I’m longing for laughter and freedom and a new breath in my lungs. I long, and I can’t forgive myself for that.

There’s a lot I can’t seem to forgive myself for, wanting being the main thing. I never allow myself to want anything so much, because I can’t bear the thought of not getting it after that. This void inside me I carved out myself, digging out faults in every single thing that excites me, or that I long for, or that I aspire to be. I fear rejection dreadfully, and loss, so much that I want always to maintain things as they are, that I purposefully convince myself that I can’t do it, or that I don’t really want it. There are external restrictions, too, but I avoid defying them because I don’t really want it, or because I can’t really do it. It’s hard to fight for something you’re indifferent about.

There’s such a complexity in being human. Throughout this post, I’ve called my inside an empty void, but it also is a mess of thoughts and worries and gratitude and joy and brokenness. Being left with my thoughts is frightening, like a heavy, awkward meeting with a half-stranger. So I savor the emptiness when it comes, and I can’t tell if I love myself or if I hate her, but I want that emptiness to stop being an amplifier of my thoughts. I want it to transform into a stillness, into a symbol of peace within. I want it to give me room to ignite, to burn up and down with what I love should I find it.

I want peace and forgiveness, and a burning will to see all that life could offer.


19 thoughts on “Still

  1. There is no shame in wanting and I completely understand that fear of wanting, or at least, that’s what I call it! Once you name the things that you want there is a possibility that you won’t be able to have those things for whatever reason. That seems to be my fear, never being able to get what I want. One thing that comforts me… the worst thing that could happen is that I don’t get what I want, but something else replaces that want and sometimes it’s better (not worse, I promise). In any case, great post and I hope in naming your wants you get your heart’s desire.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This small piece was beautiful. The line about being left alone with your thoughts and it being like an awkward meeting with a stranger? Stunning. Also, this piece is incredibly relatable. Sometimes, it’s when we have no idea what we want or need, that we find it. I hope you do.

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  3. Maryam,
    I would write you privately if I could. This is a very private matter, and I think it very brave of you to publish it for all your readers.
    What I have to say may not be much of a comfort. It might not even be what you want to hear, but this is what is in my heart as I read your struggles:
    When my father died, and for several years afterward, I took solace in writing. I invented worlds and characters and stories where I could control the outcome. Even if it was a poor ending, or if everyone was unhappy, it was my own doing. I was the one that made it happen. Not so with the world around me. I was 13 when my father passed away, at the mercy of the adults and authorities of my childhood. I was 17 when I finally processed my grief. It had been 4 years since I had cried properly, 4 years since I had put on the mask of cheerfulness.
    I am now 27. It’s been 14 years since I lost my papa, and sometimes it still pains me. They say time heals all wounds, but some scars stay with you, as interminable as Moby Dick and every bit as painful to endure. (I hate that book, by the way. #1 worst classic of all time.)
    I want you to know that there is forgiveness. There is light and love and caring society, there are familiar smiles on new faces and messages you have yet to read in eyes that hold sincere affection for you. The hands extended to you now may have their own scars, but they are extended freely. You need only take hold of them.
    In the spirit of forgiveness and friendship,

    Liked by 4 people

  4. How I wish I could wander the world. What I haven’t lost, I’ve left behind. It just seems to be how I work. I don’t think I will ever be free of it. There might be someone out there for me. I don’t know if I’ll ever find her. I’m certain you’re not like me. You are too young to give up without a fight! The world is a beautiful place. Even I see that! I touch it, breathe the air, bathe in the light. I think you have written. Switch up genres. Meet with people. You know? What can it hurt, now?

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I am so deeply touched by such an honest writing. Such beautiful humanness. I have both tears in my eyes and joy in my heart to experience such a treasure of being human. I’ve no advice. Only compliments and to express the honor of experiencing your depth so honestly expressed. So beautiful. You have no loss for words.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve been trying to think of what to comment for this–the first thing that comes to mind is, I wish I could help!

    (Form and style and what you’ve done–write beautifully–are all good. But…I feel like this post really wants to be listened to…)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. letting out emptiness without collapsing the “balloon” is admirable. you’ve shown one end of your pendulum swing. amazing how the pendulum can seem to “stick” forever. the fact you know what is missing, but not how to get there is a sign that you know what you are not doing, what you are holding back. I read your piece as preparing a vessel to fulfill, but being unwilling to let it become full of whatever falls into your life. the walls of your vessel sound like resolute strength. now you can go outward knowing you have room for joy.


  8. Life passes so quickly. Maybe it’s because there’s always someone in the world willing their time away. We’ve all got to stop and appreciate the moments that aren’t so bad, because that might be as good as it gets. And then, before we know it, our time will be up.
    I hope you find what you’re looking for.


  9. I am going to copy and paste this in my notes and come back to it over and over, that’s how good it is, how intensely human, open, and honest. I remember once in graduate school our class was asked to do an exercise where we drew a grid and in one corner we had to draw something that made us happy. I couldn’t think of a single thing to draw. It shocked me. So I can relate.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thank you for writing this. It’s so honest. I have always believed we can only truly create from the materials within ourselves; anything else is just mimicry, no matter how sophisticated the attempt. But looking within can be frightening. It is difficult sometimes to catch a moment of peace or clarity, and snatch from the maelstrom something workable, something redeemable.

    Liked by 1 person

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