Against my will
I caught your presence
Time stood still
breeding a new conscience
Against my will
These eyes stopped blinking
The heart in for the thrill
The existence of a foreign sensation
Against my will
hypnotized by the sound of your voice
hexed by your smile
abandoning all reasons and choices
Do me a favour
Break your spell
so I can run for cover
instead of gazing at you
completely against my will
“I just want you to always be alright and happy.”
“I hope you’re okay.”
“I always have good wishes for you.”
Don’t they sound sweet and endearing? They make you feel loved, eh? At first, that is the common impression that we mostly get.
Then, what is wrong? Nothing. It is just that, sometimes those words have other side effects too. You may think I am being awfully, unreasonably negative, but here is the thing:
It is always good to feel loved. Really, we all long for that. However, sometimes we just do not have the heart to tell them otherwise:
No, I’m not always okay.
We do not want to make them feel sad, angry, or even disappointed.
“Why didn’t you tell me about it? Why did you have to go through all of that alone?”
“I thought you were always fine.”
“How could you have let yourself get into that kind of mess? Why didn’t you see it coming?”
Sometimes, they do not even want to know or hear the truth, like…at all. Sometimes, they are just…tired of their own problems. They’d rather drown themselves in complete denial than having to put up with your issues too.
Let’s stop taking that personally. It is not that they love you less or worse – no more. Because if you bluntly ask them, their answer will always be the same: they still do. That has not changed.
They are only human too, just like you. That is the only explanation. They can get fixated in their own problems, their personal needs.
This is why, sometimes you do not feel like you want to share them everything. Sometimes, you feel like you want to stop doing that completely. Shut them out again, no longer letting them in. You are unsure whether they really want to know or care, as long as you always give them what they want:
A sign that you are really okay, not some lip-service and painted smiles. Any vivid proofs that you still (know how to) make them feel happy. Let’s not burden them so much nor disappoint them, shall we?
Yes, the love is still there. You are sure of it. It is just time and change. Perhaps it has always been that way. No sentimentality, because you have to accept the fact that, no matter how much they (claim that they) love you, not all of them are brave and strong enough to look at the cat once it is out of your bag – or the skeletons in your closet.
“It’s okay. I just need you to be honest with me, no matter how bad it is.”
You don’t have to hit her to hurt her. There are so many ways to cause her pain and you only need to take your pick.
You can start by not keeping your vow that you will always love her, no matter what. Were those just words to you? We all have our flaws, but why not fix yours first as an example?
Why does it always have to be other people’s faults? Who died and made you God? What makes you believe that you’re always oh-so-picture-perfect? Is it because you’re a man? Is it a non-debatable privilege everyone should accept and understand?
Then you continue by picking on her looks. How she never dresses up more just for you. How sloppy she is at home, unlike The Stepford Wife material you’ve imagined – and expected – her to be. Many thanks to patriarchy, this is how you’ve been raised. Women are supposed to be your servants. Your every wish should be their command, no argument. Why is it so bloody hard for them to understand?
Oh, right. Next you’re going to say that they never use their brains. How typical. You always think too highly of your kind, claiming that women are merely creatures of emotions.
You don’t have to hit her. All you have to do is keep making her feel ugly and worthless. Just act like everything she does is wrong. It’s always her fault. She’s never good enough, no matter what.
Call her stupid or idiot, even in front of other people. Make her cry and walk away. It’s always about what you want, eh? Society and some religious interpretations (or perhaps more like mis-interpretations) will always support you. In their eyes, hearts, and minds, you can never do anything wrong.
You don’t have to hit her. The hardest punch comes from how you disregard her in front of the kids. Don’t mind them. What do they know anyway? They’re just little kids. They still don’t understand the complexities of adults. It doesn’t matter if they claim that they hate you for always making their mommy cry.
Dismiss that. They’ll get over it anyway. That’s what you always believe. They’re just kids. They don’t even know what they’re saying.
As if that’s still not bad enough, you bitch about her constantly on social media. HAVE YOU NO SHAME?!
You don’t have to hit her to hurt her. You’re doing more than enough already. It’s not just her; it’s the people around her. Too bad, not many dare take a stand for her, claiming that it’s also none of their business.
You don’t have to hit her. It doesn’t have to be physical, but you’ve already hurt her. You do that everyday, just to make you feel good. Just to make you feel powerful. Anything for your wretched ego.
Enough. This should end NOW.
You may think you always get away with everything, but bear in mind with this one:
God never sleeps.
Perhaps you secretly wish I’d talk to you
the way I used to
like I fear silently
whether you’ll really listen to me
or just give me some more scrutiny
But what should we talk about?
Once again, this heart is full of doubts
It’s been like ages since we were without
rare moments like this
another short, temporary bliss
before reality takes another swish
Must it be the same thing again,
harmless as we conceal our pain?
Not everyone makes a great pretender here
My brutal honesty is the monster you fear,
while the real beast has always been crystal-clear
In the end,
the same old song still keeps on on the same old dance,
living bodies in a room of silence…
Last year on the first day of Eid, I did something pretty drastic and rather unorthodox. While most people would usually decorate their Facebook timelines with “Eid Mubarak” greetings and all that jazz, I had posted this message status instead:
“Wanna have a peaceful Eid with me? Don’t ever start asking questions, joking, nor making nasty comments about my weight, thank you very much!”
I supposed that had worked, because nobody had bugged me with that. Probably they had read it and did not want to risk it. Although that had been my major relief, a friend then texted me that same day:
“You’re not alone in this. I’ve received similar comments about my weight from relatives during Christmas, until my response about how all my boyfriends loved my body anyway had shut them up. You know, people will always have something to say about us. As long as you’re confident and happy with the way you look, their opinions shouldn’t matter.”
True, I completely agree with her. Still, it is a lot easier said than done, though. You may keep quiet all you like, but there are people who seem to never know – nor even care – when to shut up. Whether it is about your weight, why you are still single, how many kids they think you should have once you are married, your low-salary job…
…and the list just goes on and on and on. It is as if you are never going to be good enough for any of them. Suddenly, Eid celebration with your family feels more like going into an annual battlefield, where their intrusive questions and judgmental comments are the bullets you cannot seem to dodge.
It does not matter what you say.
- “Oh, they’re only making a conversation. Don’t be so overly sensitive.”
- “Come on, just bear with them. You only see them once a year anyway.”
- “They care about you, so that’s why they wanna know more about you.”
My take on all that?
- Of all the many other existing topics on earth, why do they always have to go there? And please, enough with the superiour attitude, minimising others. Arrogance always feels most sickening when one refuses to validate the (hurt) feelings of others.
- Seriously, do they have to repeat the same old performance every freaking year?
- Sure, they do. Otherwise, they wouldn’t keep on poking into our personal business and pointing at each of our possible ‘flaw’ as if they’ve got none themselves.
Besides, what is so wrong and difficult with a plain, simple “How are you?” Let them tell their stories and please refrain from making negative comments and giving some know-it-all advice. (Believe me, people can tell the difference.) When you ask them how they are, do you really want to listen or are you eager to find their faults at things?
Fortunately, there has been a rude awakening lately. Not only articles, memes, and jokes about this matter, more and more people have begun to realise that these questions and comments are just NOT OKAY.
Eid Holiday is supposed to be filled with love, appreciation, and sense of gratitude towards each other – families and friends. How does one feel loved and accepted when meeting relatives makes you feel more like attending an appraisal interview, regarding your past “accomplishments” and “what should be your next goal(s)”?
Let it go. Let them be. Life is too short to keep on criticising each other, especially when all they want is to hang out with you without feeling like they have to keep up their appearances and all. Just pray for their well-being. That should not be so hard.
Thankfully, my Eid was full of kitchen duties (and I did it for Ma, mind you. Not because I am a woman and people think I should.) Luckily, people have stopped asking.
Hopefully, your Eid had been peaceful too. Otherwise, you can start setting a better example on how to be a more pleasant participant for another Eid holiday next year.