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

My interview with Saleh Bakri!

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…

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