When I traveled back home from Cairo, I was confused. I spent a week pondering about what I’d felt, so I decided to download any bible app on my phone. I tried to read from Genesis but I wasn’t able to understand then, especially having not known that there were various translations that could have been much clearer. Though I was drawn to read, I was scared that what I’m doing could be something that would make me end up in hell. Why would I go to hell for feeling sane or peaceful?
I was never taught much except little snippets I heard in religion class in school (Such as hate the Jews, bible being corrupted etc…) not many teachers expressively claimed hatred, but from a religious perspective they indirectly claimed it.
I didn’t understand what I felt, so a week later I decided to come clean and ask my mom. While talking with her I tried my best not to be direct, out of fear and knowing that she wouldn’t direct me to anything else. I managed to get the words out, having said what I felt in the past trip. Unfortunately, her answer was demotivating, though it sounded genuine. She told me that she would get me books about it—now to think of it, it’s quite odd that I wouldn’t get the actual resources instead of books about the doctrines themselves—and that she would try helping me. My indirect and thankfully dropped point that she failed to recognize, was the feeling I had drawn to Christianity. Just this was something I couldn’t clearly tell her. She talked more about religion afterward, but I was too burdened to listen; I just waited and hoped for the conversation to end soon. Finally after the talk I had with her had ended; I went back to my room. I can’t explain how sorrowful that conversation had made me; it felt like I lost my access to that peace and my walls were being built again. The hopelessness that had entered my heart made me cry that night, but throughout the week I kept reading more of Genesis till I gave up from confusion. What was I supposed to do? I didn’t know where to begin, what to read, not to mention I didn’t know Arabic so my mom made me feel less qualified to search on my own due to my knowledge. I don’t blame her for it; she wanted to ensure that I was rightly led, though the message was received quite differently.
Something that remained in my mind was her claim about God’s presence that I’d felt. She claimed that it was so because I was in one of God’s homes, but why hadn’t I felt likewise in the mosque?
I concluded that she didn’t experience what I had, which added more heartbreak and thoughts of misunderstanding again.
Shortly a while after, I’d return to my secluded self again—though it seemed for the next 3 years I had spiritual attacks I knew nothing about.
Many burdens I’d kept to myself, having traveled a lot and always being told not to trust anyone. Every two years, three maximum I would move to a different city, state or country. I never remained in a place where I’d finally felt like I had friends, who I could share my life with or talk with. It was hard every move to begin socializing again, knowing I would eventually leave again. I carried a lot of baggage’s, and hoped that anyone would be able to carry if even one of them. Sometimes I would share too many things about my past with people who wouldn’t want to know, or weren’t right to tell, and the trust would backfire; it was relieving to know that someone knew or possibly care about what I had to offer.
In order to be able to talk more with people, I had to be conformed to their ways. When high school began, I felt like an ant among elephants.
Some of the things that older generations and parents fail to realize is how corrupt their children become in a generation of a culture that is based on drugs, sex and gossip. In order to relate with someone, you’d either have to be in common with those three things above. Friendships being made out of agreement about hating someone, being peer pressured into starting drugs in order to hang out with a certain group or the desperation of many young adults to be involved in sexual relations because it’s the image that society upholds. There were many who weren’t involved with any of the above yet deep down desired to, or judged those who have. Plus the common saying among my generation is that it’s okay to try, just experiment, et cetera… But experiments like these came with harmful conditions. If one were to stop, then you would be out casted.
This was what was offered to me, and I was deluded by the thought that any of this could bring me enjoyment or satisfaction. Issues like food addictions and disorders would be ways to fill the emptiness. Technology stuffed me with TV shows and ideas of what the world could be like, but not what it actually was, because the reality of it—or the reality I viewed—was far from the truth. Not to claim that it was bad to have entertainment, but in a sense, being hidden in my room all day and each day watching show after show, reading any book I could find which included all societies elements above and food was the only way I could maintain some sanity knowing that I wasn’t able to talk with anyone or accepted by anyone.
A few years after I’d moved to Cairo, and decided to bring those false dreams to action. I put up a different persona to be accepted by people who could care less. Time after time I would get in trouble for lying to my parents, bringing drugs to school, being involved in certain ways with guys—on school campus and out. But it didn’t matter to me; I hid my acts behind the reason of feminism and freedom. I thought other girls around me were too uptight and unaccepting of the many things they could do. Aside from slut shaming motivating me to have my own values and beliefs, I was bored every week. In order to be happy for a few hours, I’d have to degrade myself constantly. This was the norm.
After a year of so called freedom from my isolation, I came to an incident that forced me to remain at home, and cut ties with many. After having already been viewed as a young prostitute, my friendships were less genuine than I thought they would become. The last night I hung out, was with someone who I considered as a friend. I drank too much and too many drugs were involved, so I reached a point of black out. In my state of unconsciousness, he attempted to try and take advantage of me, but I was too paralyzed to understand what happened. To perfectly describe what happened, it was like a dream when you are running and getting nowhere—stuck in place, accepting your fate.
This was what the world offered me, and I gladly accept it at the cost of my sanity and soul.
The aftermath of this, was fights, being kicked out from my school because certain schools couldn’t handle the gossip, and my parents having nothing to do with a failure child. My mother reached an extent where she told me that this was it, no more education for me, out of pain we had a physical fight that neither of us could handle. I have no idea how in a few months later it changed but in the mean time I was forced to pray in the Islamic way.
It didn’t take away my thoughts of suicide, or depression, till I felt for the second time a calling. I browsed some prayers on pinterest, thinking maybe if I pray in both ways to please my parents and be content that it would help. In both ways I gave up.
A couple of weeks after, I joined my third school of the same year, with my original state: isolation. I was afraid to speak, afraid to ruin anything again, afraid to find peace. But behind the scenes, God eased the transition. I made a couple of acquaintances and worked a bit harder for the grades I missed and got back to remaining in my room all day watching TV shows and reading any fictional story I can come across. Reality was too tough to comprehend.
Every once in a while I’d be tempted to slip back into my old habits, but still having not been able to go out, I was viewed as a girl who couldn’t possibly do anything that I’d done.
It was relieving to be hidden, but sad to be judged. I don’t feel about it that way now, because it was God’s hand hiding me from a broken world. I just wasn’t able to accept it.
A year had passed and I forgot about most of what happened, though every while I’d have shaming flashbacks. I seemed to have gotten resilient from many situations. But I was tired of not understanding myself or what I wanted, or being understood. I grew back more into my old self, with anger in every situation that could be against me.
A few months earlier from now, I tried my best to feel happy through studying too much and planning the next 7 years while still being in high school. It was all I had to keep my mind off everything.
But my anger got the best of me, and I wasn’t able to change myself. I tried in attempts to lose the weight I’d gained by eating, add more makeup to get rid of the appearance I couldn’t stand, anything I could superficially change was tough but possible. Though I wasn’t able to change the years of heartbreak and inner darkness I had. Time and time again I would find myself reaching out to a solution that I felt condemned if I dared to approach, but I lost all hope.
So I decided to start small, pinteresting some bible verses maybe? That couldn’t possibly hurt anyone…
To be continued.