lonely (alive)

On the first day of this year I broke up with my boyfriend and vowed to stay broken for the entire year.

Breathe in.

It’s almost October.

Breathe out.

It’s almost forever.

***

Why aspire to brokenness? Well because it is my own brokenness. Nobody decided it would be mine and nobody would own that part of me, or any part of me.

I would be mine and mine alone.

Something I have come to realise in the last year is that it’s very hard to exist in a world as an independent feminist and co-exist with someone. It takes a very particular, very confident, very smart kind of human to complement a powerful woman.

Most people are not that. This year has actually been quite easy for me in a lot of ways.

Retrospectively it’s very easy to look through my crowd of friends and see who was too much woman for whom. I’ve seen some of the most beautiful, strong, confident, daring, free women reduced to stripped back ghosts of their former selves, because to do so would mean keeping some douche happy enough to stay with her.

I really fucking hate that. We need to reframe the way we think about our private relationships. What is the power dynamic here? Do I have any power here, any control? Or have I reduced myself to a caricature just to stay in the game?

It’s easy to forget what you are. I mean really forget yourself. My identity – the person I feel I am today – was carved out of a kind of sadness, a kind of darkness. I had to persevere through a rough patch that lasted years. I had to be strong. I had no other choice.

But it follows you around, the fact that you had to trade something to become whole again, to be a fully formed human. You gave in to that urge, that calling. Here, take this fragment of my soul for peace of mind. Here, take this self-esteem and confidence so I could get through emotionally abusive and controlling relationships.

And so it is that I am here today. Still fragile like a porcelain doll, but as strong as though I had been put back together with steel. And no less determined to see it through to the end. I can’t afford to trade more of my soul for the highly inflated price of contentment. I want more, I want to grab it in my hands and hold it for a while.

I want to trade it all back.

In favour of wholeness.

***

“i love myself.’

the
quietest.
simplest.
most
powerful.
revolution.
ever.”
Nayyirah Waheed

“no’
might make them angry
but
it will make
you
free.”
Nayyirah Waheed

“I want to live so densely. lush. and slow in the next few years, that a year becomes ten years, and my past becomes only a page in the book of my life.”
Nayyirah Waheed

“go.
enjoy.
leave.
it was all about you, anyway.”
Nayyirah Waheed, salt.

“Just because someone desires you, it does not mean they value you.

Read it over.

Again

And let those words resonate in your mind.”
Nayyirah Waheed

“the truth is
you were born for you.
you were wanted by you.
you came for you.
you are here for you.
your existence is yours.
yes.”
Nayyirah Waheed, Nejma

“in our own ways we all break. it is okay to hold your heart outside of your body for days. months. years. at a time. – heal”
Nayyirah Waheed, salt.

“i am mine.
before i am ever anyone else’s.”
Nayyirah Waheed, Nejma

heal

This poet is my everything. I’ve been inhaling her words for the last week.

“Someone can be madly in love with you and still not be ready. They can love you in a way you have never been loved and still not join you on the bridge. And whatever their reasons you must leave. Because you never ever have to inspire anyone to meet you on the bridge. You never ever have to convince someone to do the work to be ready. There is more extraordinary love, more love that you have never seen, out here in this wide and wild universe. And there is the love that will be ready.”
Nayyirah Waheed

look at how they mock you

Civilisation as we know it will one day cease to exist.
Our entire climate will collapse.
Our grandchildren will not know the world we have known.
We are on the brink of complete annihilation.
There is some kind of deathly virus plague roaming the world’s poorest nation.
The most powerful nation on earth has announced another war in a region that has experienced catastrophic loss of life numbering in the millions, at our hand, and millions of refugees that we deny at our borders and dehumanise, with millions of deaths to follow in this the holocaust of our generation.
But you as a person are told to be afraid of some men in ninja suits who call themselves ISIS and who are funded by Saudi Arabia, the US’s greatest ally in the region.
Look at how they mock you.

‘…sit by an apple tree’

“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.”

 

— Faye Travers (The Painted Drum, Louise Erdrich)

Dreams, truths and the in-between: Saleh Bakri

tiny:

My interview with Saleh Bakri!

Originally posted on :

Sheree Joseph went behind the scenes at the Arab Film Festival Australia to meet the screen-stopping Palestinian actor who  captured the revolutionary spirits – and hearts – of every opening night attendee in Sydney.

saleh bakri

‘Where are you, Saleh?’

Festival Directors Fadia and Mouna call out to the audience where Saleh Bakri is embedded, one of the main actors from the opening night film When I Saw You.

‘Here!’ he calls out, jumping up and jostling down towards the stage microphone. He appears to be a man of few words and greets the crowd briefly before opting to dedicate his brief time to the people of Gaza, asking everyone to stand for a minute of silence in memory of the victims of the massacre taking place in Gaza, until recently.

I bowed my head and thought instantly of a poem from the great and inimitable Mahmoud Darwish..

‘What is beautiful…

View original 2,525 more words

Visits to the brain doctor

My mum keeps ringing me frantically after reading these, so I’m going to stipulate that sometimes they are part fiction with bits of truth. This is one of those times. Stop calling me ma, I’m fine.

***

‘Is this lift working?’ I ask the cafe guy.

‘Yes’

‘Are you sure?’

‘You’ve been waiting 10 seconds’

‘It could be broken. How do you know it’s not broken?’

‘It’s definitely working’

‘I don’t know about that, the light isn’t coming on’ 

The lift arrives. 

‘Yeah the light was broken’

‘Knew it’

 ‘Do you even lift, bro?’

‘What?’

‘I was talking to the lift’

Talking to inanimate objects, off to a flying start.

***

Inside the lift. It moves slowly and stops. The women behind me giggle and laugh,

‘Oh no we’re stuck! Haha! Oh dear, imagine if we were stuck and we just fell straight through the building to the floor!’


WHAT THE HELL? 
Are you fucking kidding me, who planted these women here, this must be a joke, I was being metaphorical about the lift but now I’m really worried about it.

I don’t like being stuck in tight spaces with humans. 

Breathe.

 The lift opens. A little girl bounds in, holding a balloon.

She’s in my way. 

I have no time for balloons.

 I have to fix my brain.

***

‘What? No reclining chair? What if I was just here for the reclining chair?

 ‘Tell me about yourself

‘Where to begin?’

She smiles and nods. Tough question. 

‘I’m a girl’

She nods. That obvious hey? 

‘I’m 26’ 

‘OK I can get all of this from the form you filled out’ 

I word vomit all over her carpet floor; all the things I haven’t said in 8 years come spilling out. I throw all the broken pieces of me onto the floor and nod to them, as though she’ll know how to put them back together. There you go, you won’t find that on the form.

 What is she writing? Is she writing that I came here 27 years too late?

Why didn’t she take me seriously when I told her my depression used to sit in my hand?

This is bullshit.

I didn’t mean to say ‘yes’ so emphatically to the question, ‘do I drink’

Lie about marijuana, she doesn’t need to know everything.

I take it back.

I take it all back.

My brain is fine.

Don’t ask me about that. Why did I tell her that? I hope she won’t ask me about that other thing.

I worry about each question.

 

‘Tell me about your family’

‘Have you got 5 million hours?’

 

I point to the broken parts of me on the floor.

‘Look at what I used to be’

 

‘Tell me about that recurring pain in your heart?’

‘Who told you about that?’

‘It’s all over your face’.

‘I can’t kill it’

‘You’re not supposed to kill it – you need your heart’

‘I didn’t even think of that! What if I killed the wrong part?’

‘How long does it last when it happens?’

‘Oh an hour before bed, but it usually fades into sleep, if I can sleep’

‘That’s another thing’

‘That’s another thing’

I don’t sleep.

And another thing. 

I say that a lot. 

There are so many things.

 

‘That’s all we have time for’

 

Take all my money. I’m not fixed yet.

What do you mean I have to come back regularly?

 

I bend down and collect myself, gathering and piling the pieces on top of one another in a heap; that time, this time, those times.

‘I don’t think you understand how broken I am’, I whisper.

‘Cheque, savings or credit?’

Is this the Greatest Love Quote of All Time?

Louie

Dr. Bigelow: So you took a chance on being happy, even though you knew that later on you would be sad.

Louie: Yeah.

B: And now… you’re sad.

L: Yeah.

B: So… what’s the problem?

L: I’m too sad…. Look, I liked the feeling of being in love with her. I liked it. But now she’s gone and I miss her and it sucks. And I didn’t think it was going to be this bad, and I feel like, why even be happy if it’s just going to lead to this, you know? It wasn’t worth it.

B: You know, misery is wasted on the miserable.

L: What?

B: You know, I’m not entirely sure what your name is, but you are a classic idiot. You think spending time with her, kissing her, having fun with her, you think that’s what it was all about? That was love?

L: Yeah.

B: THIS is love. Missing her, because she’s gone. Wanting to die…. You’re so lucky. You’re like a walking poem. Would you rather be some kind of a fantasy? Some kind of a Disney ride? Is that what you want? Don’t you see? This is the good part. This is what you’ve been digging for all this time. Now you finally have it in your hand, this sweet nugget of love, sweet, sad love, and you want to throw it away. You’ve got it all wrong.

L: I thought this was the bad part.

B: No! The bad part is when you forget her, when you don’t care about her, when you don’t care about anything. The bad part is coming, so enjoy the heartbreak while you can, for God’s sakes. Pick up the dog poop, would you please? Lucky sonofabitch. I haven’t had my heart broken since Marilyn walked out on me, since I was 35 years old. What I would give to have that feeling again…. You know, I’m not really sure what your name is, but you may be the single most boring person I have ever met. No offense. Give me my dog. Come here. You…. Don’t fall down.

meet cute nightmare

I get approached in the street quite often when walking alone, usually with my headphones in. Sometimes during the day, sometimes at night, always the attention is unwanted and I get flustered and try my best to get away, sometimes I can do this easily, sometimes I can’t. The worst of these stories was an elderly man with a disfigured face, who followed me to the train station and onto the train, tried to give me his number and mentioned that he knew where I lived. right after insinuating about how he had ‘taken care of’ his ex-wife and the man she cheated on him with.

The fear of leaving the house followed me for an entire year until I eventually moved away.

In Barcelona, it took me three days before I could leave the house, after a man physically attacked me in the street.

So forgive me if I am sensitive to my personal space when walking alone.

A few months ago while crossing the bridge, a guy appeared right in front of me, startling me, as they always do, and said; ‘I’m sorry I was just walking past you and I thought, I need to tell this girl that I really like her look – you’re so exotic – where are you from? Are you Spanish?’

I said no, I’m not and tried to keep walking but he kept following me. Eventually I got rid of him but I remembered him for his distinct accent which sounded South African but he had said was actually English.

Today, lo and behold, the exact same guy approached me and said the exact same thing.

‘hello I was walking past and I just wanted to tell you that I love your look – are you South American?’

‘I’ve seen you before. You’ve done this to me before.’

‘No that’s not right, it must have been someone else’

‘No, it was you. That accent’

‘It’s English but I get offended when people say it sounds Irish’

‘YOU SAID THAT LAST TIME TOO’

I ran away, perplexed. Am I being punked? What are the odds of that happening twice?

So many times, so many times I am walking and my space is invaded by these strangers, hoping something they say will penetrate through the barriers.

‘You look like you’re enjoying that song, what are you listening to?’

‘I just wanted to tell you how beautiful you are, I don’t want anything else!’

‘Okay thanks’

‘But do you want to go out with me sometime?’

‘Hey you should be smiling with that pretty face!’

Let me save you the effort.

No.

No.

No.

No.

No.

This is not a meet cute scene. I would like to not be standing here talking to you in the rain. This is my space. You have not earned the right to invade this space when I am unguarded and vulnerable.

GAZA DRINKING GAME

WARNING: MAYBE DON’T PLAY THIS GAME LITERALLY OK*

DRINK EVERY TIME THEY SAY ‘WE DO NOT TARGET CIVILIANS’

DRINK EVERY TIME THE IDF KILLS AN INNOCENT CHILD (BUT DON’T DIE OF ALCOHOL POISONING ON DAY 2).

DRINK EVERY TIME SOMEONE SAYS ‘BUT THE ROCKETS’

DRINK EVERY TIME MARK REGEV SAYS ‘KHAMAS’ IT’S LIKE THE HISSING OF A SNAKE

DRINK EVERY TIME THE US, UK & AUSTRALIAN POLITICIANS SAY ‘ISRAEL HAS THE RIGHT TO DEFEND ITSELF’

DRINK WHEN NO ONE SAYS PALESTINIANS HAVE THE RIGHT TO DEFEND THEMSELVES (OK CAN’T MEASURE THIS ONE PUT THE DRINK DOWN)

DRINK EVERY TIME THE MEDIA IS SILENT ON THIS OR BURIES IT ON PAGE 33

DRINK EVERY TIME A CRITIC OF THE ISRAELI GOVERNMENT GETS LABELLED ANTI-SEMITIC EVEN THOUGH NO ONE HAS SAID A SINGLE FUCKING THING ABOUT JEWISH PEOPLE AND GO LOOK UP WHAT ‘SEMITE’ MEANS, DIPSHITS, WE LOVE THE JEWISH PEOPLE, SOME OF THEM ARE THE BIGGEST, MOST DEDICATED SUPPORTERS OF THE PALESTINIAN CAUSE.

DRINK WHEN SOMEONE WHO YOU THOUGHT WAS COOL READS THREE ARTICLES, DECLARES THEMSELVES AN EXPERT AND COMES OUT WITH THIS WISE CRACK THAT WASN’T WORTH THE 10-SECOND CHAT IT CAME FROM – ‘BUT HAMAS IS NO BETTER!’

DRINK BECAUSE THEY THEN TRY TO SEND YOU AN ARTICLE ABOUT ‘HUMAN SHIELDS’ WTF AT LEAST FIND SOME ORIGINAL PROPAGANDA THIS FOOTAGE IS FROM SYRIA DO YOU THINK ALL BROWN PEOPLE ARE THE SAME, PROBABLY!

DRINK WHEN THEY USE CEASEFIRES AS AN EXCUSE TO KEEP BOMBING THAT’S NOT THE POINT OF A CEASEFIRE

DRINK WHEN YOU CAN’T WORK OUT WHERE MAINSTREAM MEDIA OUTLETS ARE GETTING THEIR FACTS FROM ARE THEY MAKING THEM UP IT’S POSSIBLE

OH SHIT, THEY’RE PROBABLY FOLLOWING THE IDF’S TWITTER ACCOUNT, WELL THAT’S FUCKING STUPID, LOOK AT THESE SIMPLETON INFOGRAPHICS, DID A FIVE-YEAR-OLD MAKE THEM, GROSS, HOW STUPID DO YOU THINK THE WORLD IS, OKAY THEY ARE PRETTY STUPID, FAIR CALL

DRINK WHEN HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH LOL NAH THEY’RE USELESS

DRINK WHEN SOMEONE MENTIONS EGYPT LOL FUCK OFF

DRINK WHEN YOU DON’T HEAR FROM LEBANON, JORDAN AND WHAT I LIKE TO CALL ‘THE OIL COUNTRIES’ – HEY GUYS, LOOK WHERE YOU ARE ON THE MAP YEAH YOU’RE NEXT.

JUST ASK IRAQ, SYRIA, AFGHANISTAN – THEY’RE FUCKED BEYOND BELIEF SEE THE PATTERN YET?

TURKEY YOU’RE ALRIGHT, BUT STOP FUNDING THEIR MILITARY

DID SAUDI ARABIA JUST DONATE MONEY FOR HUMANITARIAN REASONS OR IS THIS SOME KIND OF WARPED REALITY SHOW PRANK, WHERE’S SAUDI ARABIAN ASHTON KUTCHER, I’LL NEVER BELIEVE IT

DRINK EVERY TIME ISRAEL BOMBS AN AMBULANCE, HOSPITAL, HOME, JOURNALIST, ANIMAL, EVERYTHING – ARE YOU DEAD YET, BECAUSE THEY ARE.

*DRINK*

DRINK BECAUSE GIDEON LEVY HAS BEEN WRITING ABOUT THESE INJUSTICES FOR LIKE THREE DECADES, HE MUST BE TIRED, POOR GIDEON, HE CAN’T GO ANYWHERE WITHOUT DEATH THREATS, KEEP GOING GIDEON WE LOVE YOU

DRINK BECAUSE YOU JUST REMEMBERED HOW FUCKED UP THE WEST BANK STILL IS, NOT TO MENTION ISRAELI ARABS, OH YEAH AND NON-WHITE JEWS IN THIS COUNTRY, WHAT IS THIS COUNTRY IS ANYONE OKAY, MAYBE THOSE GUYS ON THE TEL AVIV BEACH, THEY LOOK LIKE THEY’RE HAVING FUN

DRINK BECAUSE APARTHEID AND GIANT SEGREGATING WALLS ARE STILL A FUCKING THING

DRINK BECAUSE YOU JUST REMEMBERED THAT EVEN THE SO CALLED ‘TERRORISTS’ EXPRESS MORE CONCERN FOR THE LOSS OF INNOCENT PALESTINIANS AND IRAQIS, JESUS CHRIST.

WE’RE ALL FUCKED WHY DIDN’T WE LISTEN TO NELSON MANDELA WHEN HE SAID:

‘“We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians”

WORLD, THIS IS YOUR HANGOVER.

Silence for Gaza by Mahmoud Darwish

thank you kathleenjoy for originally alerting me to this poem. 

 

Gaza is far from its relatives and close to its enemies, because whenever Gaza explodes, it becomes an island and it never stops exploding. It scratched the enemy’s face, broke his dreams and stopped his satisfaction with time.

Because in Gaza time is something different.

Because in Gaza time is not a neutral element.

It does not compel people to cool contemplation, but rather to explosion and a collision with reality.

Time there does not take children from childhood to old age, but rather makes them men in their first confrontation with the enemy.

Time in Gaza is not relaxation, but storming the burning noon. Because in Gaza values are different, different, different.

The only value for the occupied is the extent of his resistance to occupation. That is the only competition there. Gaza has been addicted to knowing this cruel, noble value. It did not learn it from books, hasty school seminars, loud propaganda megaphones, or songs. It learned it through experience alone and through work that is not done for advertisement and image.

Gaza has no throat. Its pores are the ones that speak in sweat, blood, and fires. Hence the enemy hates it to death and fears it to criminality, and tries to sink it into the sea, the desert, or blood. And hence its relatives and friends love it with a coyness that amounts to jealousy and fear at times, because Gaza is the brutal lesson and the shining example for enemies and friends alike.

Gaza is not the most beautiful city.

Its shore is not bluer than the shores of Arab cities.

Its oranges are not the most beautiful in the Mediterranean basin.

Gaza is not the richest city.

It is not the most elegant or the biggest, but it equals the history of an entire homeland, because it is more ugly, impoverished, miserable, and vicious in the eyes of enemies. Because it is the most capable, among us, of disturbing the enemy’s mood and his comfort. Because it is his nightmare. Because it is mined oranges, children without a childhood, old men without old age and women without desires. Because of all this it is the most beautiful, the purest and richest among us and the one most worthy of love.

We do injustice to Gaza when we look for its poems, so let us not disfigure Gaza’s beauty. What is most beautiful in it is that it is devoid of poetry at a time when we tried to triumph over the enemy with poems, so we believed ourselves and were overjoyed to see the enemy letting us sing. We let him triumph, then when we dried our lips of poems we saw that the enemy had finished building cities, forts and streets. We do injustice to Gaza when we turn it into a myth, because we will hate it when we discover that it is no more than a small poor city that resists.

We do injustice when we wonder: What made it into a myth? If we had dignity, we would break all our mirrors and cry or curse it if we refuse to revolt against ourselves. We do injustice to Gaza if we glorify it, because being enchanted by it will take us to the edge of waiting and Gaza doesn’t come to us. Gaza does not liberate us. Gaza has no horses, airplanes, magic wands, or offices in capital cities. Gaza liberates itself from our attributes and liberates our language from its Gazas at the same time. When we meet it – in a dream – perhaps it won’t recognize us, because Gaza was born out of fire, while we were born out of waiting and crying over abandoned homes.

It is true that Gaza has its special circumstances and its own revolutionary traditions. But its secret is not a mystery: Its resistance is popular and firmly joined together and knows what it wants (it wants to expel the enemy out of its clothes). The relationship of resistance to the people is that of skin to bones and not a teacher to students. Resistance in Gaza did not turn into a profession or an institution.

It did not accept anyone’s tutelage and did not leave its fate hinging on anyone’s signature or stamp.

It does not care that much if we know its name, picture, or eloquence. It did not believe that it was material for media. It did not prepare for cameras and did not put smiling paste on its face.

Neither does it want that, nor we.

Hence, Gaza is bad business for merchants and hence it is an incomparable moral treasure for Arabs.

What is beautiful about Gaza is that our voices do not reach it. Nothing distracts it; nothing takes its fist away from the enemy’s face. Not the forms of the Palestinian state we will establish whether on the eastern side of the moon, or the western side of Mars when it is explored. Gaza is devoted to rejection… hunger and rejection, thirst and rejection, displacement and rejection, torture and rejection, siege and rejection, death and rejection.

Enemies might triumph over Gaza (the storming sea might triumph over an island… they might chop down all its trees).

They might break its bones.

They might implant tanks on the insides of its children and women. They might throw it into the sea, sand, or blood.

But it will not repeat lies and say “Yes” to invaders.

It will continue to explode.

It is neither death, nor suicide. It is Gaza’s way of declaring that it deserves to live.It will continue to explode.

It is neither death, nor suicide. It is Gaza’s way of declaring that it deserves to live.

[Translated by Sinan Antoon From Hayrat al-`A’id (The Returnee’s Perplexity), Riyad al-Rayyis, 2007]

(Original Source: mondoweiss.net)