So brave the rise and peak
And find your way down
Stir my beauty and despair
Then love me for what I am
So brave the rise and peak
And find your way down
Stir my beauty and despair
Then love me for what I am
I thought I’d be terrified of my 25th birthday.
On my 24th I cried while having my egg muffin and coffee on my way to work. I cried so much I had to wait for my nose to go back to its color for about half an hour or so. It didn’t feel vain, and I won’t regret it
Today I’m in a hospital room, looking after a family member with a life-threatening illness. It’s my birthday, and I’m happy. Silver linings are so bright through hard times. I’m happy she laughed today, and I’m happy she ate.
I’m not undermining my old sadness and struggles; I don’t have the right to. They honed me, I think, and prepared me for realer sorrows. I learned how to get over a bad day, and how to be patient, and how to validate what I think and feel. They all became weapons somehow, arming me as I struggle through the biggest trial I’ve ever found myself in.
My 24th wasn’t easy. I saw one of my greatest fears unfolding before me. But I braved it, and I’ve been braving since. I’ve pushed myself beyond my limits, and more than once pieced together my own brokenness and others’. I’m so incredibly proud of myself for the meaning I found, for being stronger than I and everyone else could’ve ever imagined. And to be frank, I owe it to my 24th year for making me realize that I truly deserve to be happy.
“It is a privilege to grow older,” a nurse told me yesterday, although she didn’t know my birthday was so soon. And it really is, I found myself thinking. A year ago I dreaded all the things I haven’t achieved yet, and how I’m falling behind in a virtual, collective timeline I put myself and others it. But what a comforting thought it is, that all will come, everything that’s yours will come in its due time if you work for it.
So this one’s to my 25 year old self, who sometimes feels too tired to be so young, and other times too silly to be so old. Raise your head high, and find your path. It will be there, always.
I come from a country that has two seasons: a scorching hot summer, and an only slightly cooler winter. As a result, the transition of seasons has always been a magical thought to me, a fascinating thing of dreams.
I found myself away from home at the arrival of autumn, owing it to less than favorable circumstances. I’d witnessed a glimpse of it before, once, when the school year was pushed back to mid-september, and we could stay a little longer in the colorful bustle of Freiburg, in the company of the lovely hydrangea flowers around the white window borders of our big blue house.
But this time I watched it happen, the whole of it, the romanticized yellow leaves falling into piles, and their crunch when crushed underfoot. There was a sadness hindering my childish excitement for what I’d thought was a wondrous shift of everything around me, the skies and the air churning into an unpredictable combination every day. I wanted to see humans change, too. I’ve always loved the cold, the way it turned noses red and hid them behind thick, wool mufflers. I yearned for the sight of the gentle hunched and huddled movements of people in ugly big jackets, and the urgent kick in their step when warmth isn’t too far away anymore.
That is still in progress all around, but it hadn’t been making me feel a thing (except cold, especially while being sick.) In carefully coordinated ‘Fall fits,” I’ve been taking regular walks in a little park close to our apartment, to move my flu-infested body a bit, and to see all the good doggos out for their walk.
Today was windy, so I really shouldn’t have spent as much time in the park as I did. But I was particularly picky about which bench to choose, for no apparent reason at all. Eventually, I chose one hidden in a corner, where I could see the earth and the sky, and all that sits between them.
Then, it happened.
I don’t know what it was, and I can’t do it justice with my clumsy use of language. But it was a moment of stillness inside, of peace– a dream in every sense. I was no longer myself for a brief few moments, was something greater and I was nothing at all. Maybe it was similar to witnessing something when submerged; being aware of movements and the existence of sound, but not experiencing any of them. I saw the rush of winds sending blades of grass into waves, and felt the hushed whispers of dried leaves in my very being.
It made me feel alive, and there was so much joy in that, such beauty and horror at how rare it was, the stillness that is being alive and the momentary ecstasy that traced its footsteps. It was a tiny, violent thing that overcame me– a breaking of some sort, of my heart maybe, or of a curse.
It reminded me profoundly of a line that I’d once thought I understood completely, but have discovered that I don’t, not at all.
“Beauty is terror. Whatever we call beautiful, we quiver before it.” -Donna Tartt, The Secret History
There’s something about my pre-glow-up life that I miss.
My teenage years formed an extremely cringeworthy period of my life. I was that shonen anime girl that pretended to hate romance and thought she was “different than other girls.” I hope you read that in a mocking voice, because you should.
What highlighted that awkward phase for me though, was that despite all of the junk food and the fat, and the all-round appearance that only mom would like, I had a heart that could be passionate. I looked forward to things, and laughed in an honestly that I so fiercely miss. I had friends that I loved, and actually found myself crushing on people, and invested so much interest in fictional characters.
While that gradually faded away, until not long ago I still savored the little pleasures of life when they presented themselves in a cup of coffee or a new outfit, or a beautiful, crisp morning. But I might’ve spoken something into existence. “It’s okay,” I would joke, “I don’t really mind, I’m dead inside anyway.”
And suddenly my laughter became completely void of truth, and I’m barely finding the will to live through my days, and the ever-present anxiety is still nagging, there goes what’s left of your life.
There’s so much ugliness in being this nonchalant. I’ve always found the word itself similar to ‘melancholy,’ and I ironically found myself slowly drowning in them both. I’m so painfully trapped far away from so many lives I want to live, and no amount of pretentious self-help will get me out of this. I’ve no room to love anymore, not people nor things. I can’t stand people, and I hate to be talked to, and am unreasonably angry at friends who vaguely feel like they’ve abandoned me. Even the sky that inspired in me an intense warmth that burst in writing, and the sea whose stories I loved, and my eternal muse, Earth, are all burning up and down around me, and I really couldn’t be bothered at all.
So here it is, my sadness in all of its glory, bared for the world to see.
*thank you all for the kind and thoughtful comments. I’ve decided to leave this post with none, though, because it sounded like I wrote it for attention, which I didn’t.
I feel like I haven’t heard from anyone on wordpress in pretty long. Are you guys still here? I hope you’re doing well.
Me? I’ve been frustrated, haunted by an unrelenting writing/ reading slump. The rest of my life has been chaotic and overwhelming, but in times of quiet I still feel desperately stagnant. I’m too busy to pick up a new hobby, and the very little free-time I have has been going into keeping my sanity intact. It’s a period that will pass along, so until then, I’ll keep my head up.
I’ve talked about this quite a few times here, but I miss having something major to work on, a big project or a long story, that, although challenging, does not confront me with the unbearable stress of my creative bankruptcy.
But what about you, reader? Is there a craft in your life that makes it a little easier to wake up in the morning?
So my blog’s hit two thousand followers recently. Thank you so much! I have been doing none of you justice, but I genuinely appreciate your time and kindness. There’s really nothing as gratifying as knowing that someone’s enjoyed what you’ve created, so I’d still be happy if just one person cared to read this blog, but I guess I’m two-thousand times as grateful now.
Currently, I’m as writing-blocked as I always have been. My last post, Soft callings , was actually written as part of a twitter activity. I asked my followers to send me emojis and used them to write tiny stories. This was my favorite.
(I have around 10 more requests but I’m so creatively bankrupt to the point where I feel like a joke saying that I write for a hobby)
Have a great rest of the day, friendos 💓
I’ve been anxious for about as long as I remember.
I really have; and whether I owe it to my blood or to a wrecked gut-brain connection I don’t know.
At seven I was anxious about a war suddenly breaking, and at twelve about death, my own and others’. At twenty-three, I doubted that I’d ever be loved; I felt lacking and wasting away, always giving too little for the life flashing by. I felt unworthy and undeserving, and guilty about the blunt pain that had always been nagging.
These worries have been life-long companions, and they’ve aged me far beyond my years. They took away beauty when it presented itself, or my ability to see it, at least, and the joy of youth along with it. When you’re anxious, you’re just waiting for all your happiness to end.
“Weak,” people have called me, or “crybaby.” But as much as I’ve grown to hate being a crier, I know it’s a problem far beyond weakness. It’s the result of a heart worn out by worry for months and months, then shoved into a point of breaking.
In my 24 years, these fears were never realized. Hadn’t been, until last month.
It came as numbing bad news; it wasnt unexpected. I’m anxious, I’d dreaded it, but then it actually happened. I heard my pulse in my ears, and the muffled sobs of my aunt across the line. It had happened.
I’ve had my sorrows, as unworthy as I’ve felt of them, being blessed with more than I can thank for. But this one is a sharper pain, like shards of glass tearing at my insides. I cried more that I ever had, my tears streaming against my wavering will. I let them; it’d left no strength in me to fight.
It’s been a month now, and I think I’ve been learning to mend; to grow around it, to grow against it. They’d called me weak, but I’ve become the pillar, and the steadfastness of the big sister finally emerged. I’ve become one to be told the truth raw, as seemingly harsh as it could be, no longer sugar-coated, because maybe, I’m a little stronger than I’d expected.
In all honesty, I think could be a little proud of that. So bear it, heart; don’t fail me now. Don’t fail us now.
This is sorrow like I’ve never felt, but I have faith somehow, that happiness will follow, something so profound that it’ll piece it all back together. The trial has begun, so bear it, brittle heart of mine, bear it and brave the journey.
إن شاء الله.