Let's Pack Up, My Friend
I had a friend that was always eager to travel, to get the hell out of the place we grew up in. She talked about the human rights that were never implemented there. About how she despised the life we lived, and the rules we made. The way people stared at her as she walked down the streets, horny kids roaming around our city, turning every day into a new sexual harassment incident for the kids, the women and the men. Whoever was available.
She hated everything. Even the sun that shows their features and their ugly souls. The rain that washes the sins off of those cruel, starved, merciless and horny kids that were once warriors. Warriors so selfless and courageous, strong enough to show compassion and love. Warriors who always stood up for what was right. And finally, warriors who let go of their home, their lands, their hearts and ultimately, their pride.
She hated how a man tries to prove his masculinity to the world by getting married and claiming ownership of a woman who carries the weight of the earth on her shoulders; a woman who fought so much and suffered for too long. A woman who marries for love and ends up realizing it was all a mistake. And for love again, she brings kids into the hopeless and desperate life of hers.
Until one day, her ‘man’ shows her how much power and pride he has. Enough to bring back the lost land. Enough to be fearless and unbreakable, and finally, enough to break her bones because she talked back at him in front of their child. That's how much pride our warriors have, and that's the kind of pride they teach. Because, in a world where it’s either kill or be killed, abuse or be abused, control or be controlled, it’s basically survival of the fittest. And your power has to be demonstrated and shown to the weaker links, in order to keep your spot as an alpha male.
My friend hated the emptiness of the world we live in. The shallowness of the people we live around. The lies we shield ourselves with. The truths we are unable to find and the misery of these housewives, these boys, these men, and these kids. But what I’ve always wondered is: are we really unhappy because we live in the darkest of all places? or is it a piece within us that's missing?
As for me, I've always loved the place I live in. Every single detail about the life I lived. But, the more I grew, the more I noticed other people and their pain. Their aching hearts and the possibility that I might end up living a life similar to their own. The life of a woman who’s constantly abused in her own home. The life of a mother of the boy that will grow up to abuse others. The life of the friend, sister, neighbor of the kid that doesn't feel safe in their own home. Those thoughts were enough to make me realize the reality of things and that spread a sense of fear and hopelessness within me.
Running was never the issue for me. It was the possibility that I might find myself running towards a place that's just like home. It'd be like getting away from an abusive relationship only to end up in the arms of an abusive society. Or, running towards someone you love for comfort, only for them to disappoint you and let you down. Leaving me feeling locked up in this world that I believe has no end.
Maybe, that's just my fear thinking. So, maybe I'll go with you, because I want us to always believe that the problem is in our world, our houses, our streets, our rain or even our sun. That's why we're unhappy. Because, to me, that just means that you believe there's a happy place somewhere. We just haven't found it yet. I admire you for that. I admire the hope of a fresh start, a new chapter that you instilled within me. The taste of a life you brought back to me. The chance of living a happy life. A fair life.
So, maybe there is a place so silent it will bring the sounds out of us. Maybe, there'll be no sun and no rain there. Maybe, running would be our last fight. And maybe, where we're going isn't perfect but maybe we just need a change.
Just the slightest bit of change is a new type of joy for me. It could be anything. It could be new people, different kinds of food, different streets or even different scents. Any type of change might lead me to change my perspective of life. Or even restores the old happy one I once believed in. I want to lose everything and start all over again. Because, sometimes you have to be lost in order to be found.
I’d like us all to think that there's somewhere better out there, that it's not our fault if we live in the darkest of all places or that the perfect world we live in is not enough, and that fear shouldn't stop us from trying something different, from changing anything. But don't ever stop, because one day, me, you, and my friend, we'll have a good, well deserved life.
Raneem Mobideen will be going into her first year of college this year if it all works out. She strives to be a better and stronger person in hopes of getting closer to God, happiness and inner peace. She also likes dolphins. A lot.