You dream of being more.
More Syrian, more
Saudi, more
Arab, more
Bukhari, more
feminine, more
masculine, more
brave, more
soft, more
fun, more
mature, more
confident, more
serious, more
intimidating, more
liked, more
loved, more
inspiring, more
humble, more
accomplished, more
respected, more
recognized, more
talented, more
beautiful, more
badass, more
like them, more
like someone they liked, more
like someone they could like, more-

Just more.

You dream of being more,
and therefore dream of being less.

-You are enough.

The Man of My Dreams

You pictured him so perfect.
The answer to all the prayers you’ve been sending
like demands to a service provider, quality guaranteed.

He is to come into your life and relieve you from all that you have weathered
like shelter in the middle of a rainstorm.

He would know when to listen
and know when to act.

He would never be selfish
and always know what to say and how to say it.

He would always say what he means
and mean what he says.

He would be the balm to all your burns
and the reassurance to all your worries.

He would never be the cause of your burns
nor the source of your worries.

He would know exactly how you need to be loved
and he’d make sure you got it.

He would never question his feelings towards you.

He would always be sure of how much he loves you
and how grateful he is to have you.

Yes, the man of your dreams is as close to perfect
as a human can get
but he is nowhere near as human as you.

Solitary Infatuation & the Internet

I live in a strange time. Wonderful, but also strange. People who are practically worlds away from me, people who don’t know me or my name, who’ve never heard of me or even thought to think that someone like me exists – that I exist – can touch me despite all that. And, it’s so beautiful that I get to experience the world that way. That I can take in what people worlds and lifetimes away have to offer just by a few clicks here and there, and that my life isn’t limited to merely what is around me. It’s amazing, really. I can see so much from so far away. But it can also be very frustrating because strangers mean so much to me. People who have never heard of me, matter to me.

And it kind of sucks.

You have no clue who I am – you don’t even know my name – and yet I’ve spent so much time thinking of you, watching you, listening to you, imagining things that will never happen with you. And doing all that, living my life with you (or with a figment of you) unknowingly in it, is all harmless and fun until it’s not, because it can be quite frustrating and it can leave you feeling terribly lonely sometimes. It’s like waking up to an empty room (or an empty life) after having a wonderfully sociable dream. Reality sets when you look up from your screen. You are not here with me even though you are (because, after all, you are only a couple of clicks away).

And, the thing is, this isn’t about me feeling like I am owed something by you because, you do not owe me anything for carrying feelings for you. I’m not so deluded so as to believe or think that. No. You are entirely your own person and you always will be. That was true before you were ever even introduced to me and it remains true now. So, this isn’t about that.

What is it about then, you may ask. I don’t even know how or where to begin.

It’s like, you watch these people – these celebrities or whatever – and it feels like you’re a part of their lives – and, you are, to some extent, you do matter and you make a difference to them – but really it’s more like they’re a part of yours. And you’re aware of that and despite that or because of it you can’t help yourself when thinking things such as “I wonder if we’d get along with each other” or even “I know we’d get along with each other,” or “I wish we could be friends,” or “I’d love to talk to them about so-and-so,” or “I wish I could tell them so-and-so,” or “What if I too were famous and got to meet and be a human with them,” or whatever. You get the idea. But it’s all so useless. These thoughts? They’re all just wishful thinking. That longing, though it feels so real and tangible in you, is based on what may as well be illusions. It’s based on… not “nothing”, but on something that may as well not exist. It’s useless. Because what can I do with it other than feel frustrated with how little I can do with it? It’s like being in a room full of people you admire or love (or whatever) whilst also being invisible. I can see you, I can hear you, but I just can’t get through to you. No matter what I do, what I say, how much I wish, pray or beg, I remain invisible to you. And there is no changing it. I look at the people you converse with right in front of me and think they’re so lucky to have your attention on them. And I love that for you. I love that you have that, that there are people you care for in your life. Good for you. But then I remember I’m invisible and I remember how I have to find solace in this invisibility, how I have to make peace with it because you will never see me, and that’s just how it is. And that thought can be very frustrating because you’re right. there. but you’re also not, really (because despite what we may think, clicks do not  equal connections, at least, not in the way we want them to). And somehow with all this in mind I’m to go on knowing of you though you know nothing of me – you don’t even know me – and it’s supposed to be ok. Ok.

And it’s sounds so stupid when you put words to it. It really does. You can sound so delusional and crazy. Like, “I’m so in love with the Jonas Brothers, why won’t they notice me?” or “Justin Bieber is my idol, but I may as well not exist to him,” or “One Direction are my life and they don’t even know it!” Or, or, or… etc. And people like that are made fun of.
Hahahaha, they’re so delusional. They need to grow up.
And that’s so dumb, because it can be such a real frustration, and that can bring with it a weird sort of heartache. “Weird” because it feels like it, that heartache, should be invalid, because, again, you don’t owe me anything, and we don’t even really know each other. But, by calling it that, by deeming it “invalid” it seems to take away from what it is I feel for you, and those feelings are as genuine as they can be in this one-sided affection I have towards you, a stranger I see on the internet. And I can’t bring myself to diminish those feelings, because despite their one-sidedness, despite the fact that they may as well be based on illusions or what may as well not exist, these feelings are real and I feel them. This solitary infatuation of mine exists. I care for you though I do not even know you. I care for you though you have never heard of me. It’s such an odd thing. Like, what am I even getting out of this? It’s not your time or your attention, it’s not even the hope that these feelings will be returned one day (a girl can, and does, dream, but who are we kidding). So what? What am I getting out of this? I don’t even know, and frankly, I’m starting to think it doesn’t really matter. I have feelings for you and that’s it. Case closed. Does it need to be more? Am I pathetic for not asking for more?

And, the thing is, if not handled carefully, these feelings, these oh so intense feelings, can make you delusional. I believe that. I can see how someone can be consumed by them and start to feel like they are owed something because of them. After all, being invisible for too long gets boring and can drive you crazy. But with that being said, I also think that this experience as a whole can be quite a humbling one if handled with careful consideration because, I love and appreciate you [however much] and for [whatever reason(s)] even though you will never know it. Even though you don’t see or hear me, even though my feelings towards you will remain unacknowledged, I have feelings for you and they are here to stay for however long they do and… that’s it. There’s nothing more.

And I don’t think feelings can be any more genuine than that. I really don’t.

 

On Conveying Love

You see, the problem is, I don’t know how to tell the people I love how much I love them. And yet, the love I feel for them feels so distinct within me. It’s one of the few emotions I can easily identify in the chaos that is the rest of my being. (It is hard to identify emotion, I am finding.)  And, the thing is, I do not know how to share it with them. I try to convey it by action. (I was always taught to show love by action.) But I can be quite terrible at the execution, I find. And if I were to try and say it to them, it would underwhelm me because… it isn’t enough. This has been proven many-a-time. First and foremost with my mother. My mother, God bless her, deserves… way more than I have given her. It’s a bit of a cliched statement. Something an author would write on their ‘dedication(s) page,’ perhaps.

To my mother

who deserves way more than I have ever given her.

My mother is one of the two people I love most in the world. My father, God bless him too, shares that spot with her. Definitely. But they’re different kinds of love, which is made obvious when they are put so close to each other. My father is a shield. A warm, big, and fluffy blanket on a chilly day. He is my story-teller. The voice that’s taken me to many places, and times I’ve never been to. He’s… A wake up call in, sometimes, the worst way. Because he reminds me that even “Daddy” is as human as I am. He feels all that I feel. And maybe his fear gets to him, too, sometimes. He can also be a wake up call in the best of ways. He will break down whatever situation I’m in and help me figure out my options. He reminds me that I am not alone, and that, with him, I never have to be. He reminds me of myself. So much of me reminds me of him. I take comfort in that. Because he tries. He always tries. And that’s all you can ask of the ones you love.
My mother, on the other hand, is… she feels like a part of my soul. Something–someone–I have within me always. It feels like I carry a home for her in a place inside of me that even I can’t seem to really find. I mean, I can feel it in my chest, I can feel it right now, but it feels like it’s in a part of me–my being–that isn’t really a part of my body. Like it’s a place that’s just for her. A part of me that’s only hers. I don’t know how else to describe it. I’ve been sitting here on my bed, staring at the screen, trying to figure out how else to put this, but nothing’s coming to mind.

The point is, with all that being said, I still am terrible at conveying this to my mother. I’m terrible at conveying any great emotion to anyone, really. There’s a Jane Austen quote that explains this perfectly, I think, and it goes: “If I loved you any less, I might be able to talk about it more.” And I find that it is the same for me too.

Get In Loser We’re Going Shopping

The 26th of September, 2017 is a monumental day in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is monumental because it is the day when it was announced that, for the first time following the ban on women driving, women would be issued driver’s licenses in around 9 months. Meaning that, this time next year, I could be driving a car in my own country. By myself. Which is something that I’m finding difficult to process. Not because of its impossibility. I mean, I’ve driven a car before in one of my summers abroad, and I’ve seen countless of women driving cars before, too. (I’ll never forget the first time I saw my mother drive. It was 10 years ago. I was 13 at the time. We were in Oregon, driving from city to city. Mama and her friends were taking turns driving during a road trip up the mountains. And I was scared, because I’d never experienced my mother’s driving before and was terrified it would be bad and that she’d drive us off the edge of a cliff, but then it was exciting because my mother was driving, and it was good, and safe, and normal.)  But… still, there are no words to convey to you the significance of this day (for those of you who do not understand). And the feelings, and thoughts I’m experiencing right now seem to be tangled up together like a bundle of hair, making it hard to make sense of any of it to even myself, let alone somebody else. But I’m going to attempt making sense of them–I’m going to attempt untangling that hair, so to speak–because it matters to me, and I’d like to look back at this one day and see what it is I currently have to say on the matter. Document my feelings, and thoughts towards this change.

So, let me begin by saying that as normal as it (women driving) seems, I’m actually surprised by how it isn’t? At least, to some extent. Like, when my mom, younger sister, and I (dad fell asleep before the news was announced) were talking (more like gushing) about the news, my sister (semi) jokingly said, “OMG, I want a car!” And that was such a foreign concept to me, not because women don’t own cars here, but because, soon, not only could I drive it, but I could also own it?????????? You have family’s here getting cars for their sons, and now…. it’s like, you can get some for your daughters too?????????? That is a very odd thought to me, because whenever I pictured- actually, no, I never even pictured owning a car. I mean, it was definitely something that was in my mind, because I pictured myself driving at some point in my future life (whether it was here, or abroad), but, now that it’s happening, it’s like, I can actually have a car of my own one day, and that day could be a lot more sooner than I thought it would be.

???????

And, also, the fact that it’s happening now, and not “one day”, just… I can’t seem to fully wrap my head around it. That it’s happening has sunk in, but it’s like I’ve gotten so used to thinking about it in the context of “one day” , my brain’s like “Wow, one day is now. It’s actually happening now. Finally.” It’s amazing, but also ordinary because, I mean, it’s just women driving. And I’m not saying that to belittle this step. (Besides, the size of a step never takes away from it’s significance, I believe. Every step towards a better future is relevant, and significant because it counts in making that future possible.) I’m saying that it’s bewildering to me how, despite the fact that I know that this was something that was a long time coming, I am stunned that it’s happening. And I’m not stunned because this news came out of nowhere (some people, I am told, were expecting to hear it), and neither because it is uncharacteristic of my country to do something like this (this country has been in the midst of change for some time now, so this was expected. Maybe not this soon, but it was something that was bound to happen.) I am stunned because… history is being made right now, and I can feel it. I knew that the moment I heard the news from my younger sister, everything I did after would be something I would be telling my kids about one day (should I ever have any, inshaAllah). And I could picture them being weirded out by the idea that women never drove at all at one point in this country, and how it would all be an unfamiliar concept to them, like how women not receiving a formal education is an unfamiliar concept to me. It’s stunning to feel history being made.

And, seeing people in my country, especially women, react and respond to this news just made this day even more special. It’s very heartwarming to see a lot of us united about this positive change. Men congratulating women, and women congratulating each other on this significant change happening in women’s rights in Saudi Arabia. All of us lightheartedly joking about this change’s outcomes. Girls asking each other what songs they’re first going to play in their cars once they start driving. Girls supporting each other. My sister and I weren’t really talking to each other before this news was announced (we had an argument a couple days ago), but she suddenly barged into my room with a smile and all, bearing this very good news, and the argument has taken a very far back seat (for now), because this news is far more significant than any argument we’d have.

This news makes me very happy, and it makes me more hopeful of the change headed our way. I always knew it was coming, and seeing it happen is incredible, and fulfilling. We have a lot more to work on as a country, of course–there’s always more room for progress–but I am happy with this step we’ve taken today.

Congratulations to all women in Saudi, this is just the beginning of what’s to come, inshaAllah. And may we face whatever lies ahead with conviction, and passion, and may we help forge the path for those after us by making a positive change.