On losing & finding my mind (metaphorically speaking)

I am now experiencing what it feels like to be a total stranger. I’m amongst my family -paternal and maternal, immediate and extended, yet I feel as though I know no one. It’s funny how the better I come to know my self, the more my self becomes alienated from those around me. Is it because I refuse to tag along? Is it because I no longer allow myself to go with the flow the way I used to when I was younger? Is it because I really am as different as my family makes out of me?

Just today, my aunt confronted me with how atypical I was. She wasn’t complementing me, mind you. It sounded more like bewilderment coming from her. You’re not normal, she kept saying. You’re not young, you’re not a girl. You don’t enjoy yourself. You know what spurred this round of accusations from my aunt’s side? Me expressing how much I hate stuffed animals. And no, I am not exaggerating. My cousin chimed in, slapping on how I don’t enjoy BBQ’s and sitting in coffee shops and what a waste of time I think both entail. I’m too nice. If I weren’t I would’ve voiced what I had in mind. I think they’re a complete waste of time when I have to endure them with your friends with their worthless babble and their empty chit chat, I wanted to say. They’re a complete waste of time when I have to die a thousand deaths watching how your guy friend tries to hook your girlfriend up and how she in turn plays the hard-to-get flirtatious temptress, I wanted to spit out. But I’m too nice, I’m too considerate of other people’s feelings so I say empty nothings that leave my aunt and cousin glaring their puzzlement at me. And I know they most probably will continue discussing ‘my issues’ behind my back because, well, I have issues. Apparently.

But I worry myself too. Because 25 years of being who I am has given me a pretty good idea of how I deal with things. Sure, I’ll laugh at my family’s ‘concern’ at my unusualness, I’ll even joke with them about it. When they question why I do things the way I do them, I’ll debate them. I’ll put the effort into making them understand. I’ll humor them so long as they humor me. But if they persist in trying to convert me into their ways, I know it’ll only be a matter of time before I explode. And I know I’ll sever many ties in the process. But I won’t care. Because if it’s anything that I hate, it’s the oppression that comes with the expectation of becoming another carbon copy of the typical girl. I won’t give in.

What bugs me the most about all this is how these trivial issues are getting in the way of the main reason I came to Amman. I’ve been waiting for this opportunity for a very long time now. And damn it, I don’t want to waste my time and energy on worrying whether any of my family is taking offense at my ‘individualistic’ behavior. The glaring contrast between talking to poor women about their miserable living conditions and the extreme ‘brat’iness of some of my relatives is too cruel to swallow.

Listening to some of these ladies, God it gets me thinking of all the extravagance I live in. All the wasted money, the bloated stomachs, the food that goes to the bin. The fact that we live in self-inflicted denial of this alternate reality that I was witnessing. How did this divide become so wide? How did we get so fat with apathy?

These women, I kept looking at their faces, their expressions. And sometimes, when trapped in the moment of where I was and what I was doing – when their voices dimmed and their eyes blurred and I got lost in a reverie of thought, it is then that I feel remorse of an intense kind. I think back at my family, my cousins, myself and I wonder what we did to deserve all the blessings God has given us and why we are still unable to be truly grateful and content. Then I look back at the women and find them looking back at me, an obvious stranger with my red-white sneakers, and I swear I can hear them asking themselves the same question I just asked myself.

But these women are strong. When they speak, it is because they want to change their lives. One of them lives with her husband’s family in one house. She has beautiful bluish-grey eyes of the saddest kind. I can fill sixteen pages with my own stories of my life with my husband’s family if you want, she jokes. We all laugh. It amazes me that they can laugh. Then the irony of my thought hits me because I, too, have fallen into the ‘we-them’ trap of mind. It could’ve been me sitting there with them. It could’ve been me forced into living in a house of 15 because my husband is responsible for his entire family and can’t afford a house on his own. I could’ve been one of those women but I’m not, at least now, and there’s a reason that I’m not and that I know that I’m not. I think I’m beginning to understand why.

8 Responses to “On losing & finding my mind (metaphorically speaking)”
  1. Nas says:

    damn, that was a very, very good post!

    its good to be strange, different, unique, abnormal and/or not-so-typical in thoughts, actions, beliefs and mannerisms.

    and its nice to see that there are other people out there who think like me (although i do like a good bbq every now and then)

  2. Dino$ says:

    aloosh…i love writing what you write.. the way you express yourself makes me asra7 between the lines.. you have to share these amazing writings with the world… i loved how you described everything… you are so unique… not wag3a inti lazim ta3teeni tawgee3ik bas he3 he3 he3

    alooosh i miss you so much!

    btw… dont ever change you are a jowhara and those who dont see it and are too caught up in their mansaf and argeeleh and “tazbeeet” are the ones that are missing out on you and on the true happiness in life 🙂

    DON’T ever let them get to you not even 0.0000000000000001 %

    you are way above all that and whoever has met you or even came across this blog and read something you wrote has been blessed 🙂

    if being normal means being a part of a crowd that makes me sick to my stomach than i would rather be abnormal or even insane 🙂

    ba7obek ya khasseh

  3. al. says:

    Nas, that’s definitely a compliment coming from you!

    It is good being different but ggrhr it’s so darn difficult! Especially when you have a family that seems bent on changing the way you are. It’s like, hey, I’m not asking YOU to be like me so why can’t you leave me the heck alone.

    And I do enjoy BBQs, a lot actually…just not with a bunch of airheads! Stranded in the middle of nowhere where I can’t even take a cab home if things get too painful is pure evil!

    *side note* Hey everyone out there, if you ever meet me, and I’m with my cousins…this blog does not exist. Hokay?! :p

  4. al. says:

    Dinos 🙂 I swear you only know the value of your friends once you realize that in reality, most people are not like them. This past week, I had moments when I wanted to call you to share with you crazy stories of weird people, to vent to you my frustrations, to tell you all about those women I spoke to, to express how moved and motivated I felt. I can’t believe I’m going through all this without being able to say it to those nearest to me. Now THAT is painful.

    Don’t worry dahlin’, I’m as stubborn as a rock and you know it. But sometimes, it just becomes way too much, way too heavy, you know?

    Ou ana ba7obbek ya fijleh 😉

  5. asoom says:

    finally I got around to reading this!

    You know these same people might visit the kind of societies that me and you grew up in and find that they belong into the class of weirdos. Try focusing on the people that make you feel humble, grateful and try to give too much brain energy to those that make you feel like such an outcast.

    Update please!

  6. al. says:

    Hi asoom!

    I know I shouldn’t waste my time and energy on trying to get people to understand me. But sometimes, you just can’t help getting sucked into the negativity – it’s just too overpowering. This is one big test of will and somehow I feel like I’m not doing too well. Will keep trying though!

    When I get to my own laptop I’ll definitely fill you in on updates! Keep in touch woman 😉

  7. hesselona says:

    Sry for commenting off topic but which WordPress template are you using? It looks awesome!

  8. al. says:

    Hi there – no worries! It’s called ‘Freshy by Julien De Luca’. Surf the templates page till you find it.

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