Childhood, Courage, dating, grief, Joy, living abroad, Mental Health, Musings

Love Addiction-Love Avoidants Part 2

“I am feeling lonely.” He said.

“Is it hard for you to be alone?” I ask.

“Yeah.” He says.

“It’s okay to be lonely. I am alone with no family near, few true friends…but its only a moment in my otherwise noisy people filled life. I have to be alone right now to come to terms with myself. That’s one of the big emotional reasons why I have been in Morocco. I am lonely every freaking day but it’s good for me.”

“Sorry for being honest ;/” He said.

“Don’t be sorry.” I said. “I think it’s harder to be in touch with ourselves sometimes in the noise of our careers and the fast pace lifestyle of the city. We like the city because the white noise blurs out the pain of disliking our own company. To be alone is painful.”

“My new girl came back from abroad.” He said.  “I don’t know what we are doing. I don’t know what I want to do about her.”

“Can I ask you something?” I asked.

“Sure.” He said politely.

“You are talking about this girl you are dating but didn’t you just break up with your ex. You seem to have been in love with her. Why did you break up?” I asked.

“She wanted marriage and kids. So I broke up with her.” He said.

“I didn’t get a phone line for 6 years because I had to sign a contract. I have a fear of commitment.” I said. “But isn’t that normally where it goes when you love someone?”

“I don’t want to get married.” He said. “My friends say Tel Aviv really fucked me up. They are all getting married. I don’t want to be told what to do and who I can see. I want to have total freedom. My childhood friend is getting married and she’s not able to sleep at my place anymore because her fiance is jealous.” He said in an annoyed voice.

“Why aren’t you happy for her?” I asked. “It’s not like she is in prison.”

“Yes she is.Why can’t it be the same as it was?” He said defensively like a little kid that didn’t want to grow up.

“She isn’t sleeping in your bed not because she doesn’t love you but she expects her man to do the same for her out of love and respect.” I assumed this was the case.

He was silent so I tried to explain.

“It’s a bit like growing up.” I said.  “She’s happy to do it for him. Things don’t stay the same forever. Give her your blessing and encourage her to go with all her heart into her new life.”

There was more silence.

I didn’t know where he went inside himself.

He struck me as a delicate soul. A walking piece of art. A beauty.  To see him just eating hummus in front of me was such a joy. I didn’t want to trigger him or hurt him. I felt that kind of “normalcy” of marriage with a woman seemed out of reach for him and the change to adult rules and expectations so unnerving for him. Although we had little in common in every sense, I understood what it felt like to not fit into “normal” and to feel like marriage and normative institutions can’t include and won’t contain you.

I finally chimed in to break the silence. “Hey maybe marriage isn’t for you. Maybe women aren’t for you. Everyone has their own time.”

“You think I a gay?” He asked as if he had gotten it said to him so many times.

“I don’t know only you do but how long are you normally alone after a break up?” I asked.

“I don’t want to say.” He said.

“Why?” I ask.

“Because I know where you are going with this.” He said.

You can’t force someone to hear what they already know but aren’t courageous enough yet to do anything about. He knew what I was going to say.

“It’s not the women that matter, they can be a revolving door of anything, but the space needs filling. Who– is less important. You “Look” for love but seek it out only with unhealthy people to be sure it can’t work. If you bond and start to love them, you leave first.”

Healthy is probably too quiet and sweet to recognize after awhile.

So when my Israeli therapist asked what I was doing in my life.

“I am trying to be alone.” I said.

She smiled asking why.

I remembered him and remembered myself. We circle our tails in love. We want and we don’t want. We are afraid and too bold. We make no sense.

I tried to explain, “A lover that I respect shares my pursuits and loves me would be amazing but I am not going to force it. Maybe it never will be a reality for me and that’s okay too. But I am not there yet. I see people as symbols, I judge, I fight, I am chasing my tail. I just want to be as alone as I can possibly be and this isn’t easy for me.”

“You are a very smart girl.” She said it like a mother would. I smiled like a baby.

 

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Anxiety, dating, death, Essay, family, Fear, Loss, love, marriage, Memoir, Personal, Random, reflections, relationships, Shame, Stories, Thoughts, Vulnerability

As all break ups are painful this was not an exception, but pain is subjective, I thought to myself. Every break up seems to be the worst there ever was, but they all become part of a storyline and lesson plan that eventually don’t invoke pain the way they did or could before.

I notice with a smug sense of pride that I am unaffected by past resentment even if it took many years because time does in fact heal some wounds. It’s the same smugness I have when meeting up with my ex and his girlfriend. I gloat and I feel a sense of pride that I have “moved on”. I can even imagine their happy lives fulfilled without me, and it makes me feel a superiority that I am no longer attached. My facade of being untouchable crumbles as I realize that I may have gotten over him but not everyone entirely.

I feel a creeping truth in the form of a pain in my chest. I assume it’s my pride pinching me and it’s quietly taking up residence in me secretly beneath the surface.

I shut down the computer and lay in bed turning all the lights off but I don’t fall asleep. I ask myself why there remains that pinching feeling on my chest and where it usually goes to hide itself? It is a resident that I did not know occupied any space and I want to know where it normally lives so that I can evict it. It etches more into my senses as I ask more questions.

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This feeling surfaces once every few years or so when I am finally lying alone at night and it comes to fill the space in bed next to me which has kept me filling that space in bed with someone to avoid this moment.

It feels like a small wave building up as the feeling that is sitting on my chest reaches down to whisper in my ear what I now hear loudly in my head:

You don’t want me but I am here. You are afraid because you can’t control or change me but I am The End and one day after everyone and everything else around you is gone I will be here because I am the only thing that is certain. You will end one day and you can’t keep your daughter or your family or any beloved.

My jaw tightens as I lie on the flat of my back now listening to the clock tick loudly down the hallway in the silence of my sleeping city. I swallow the lump in my throat and squeeze my eyes letting gravity push my tears into the curves of my ear drums.

I never knew I was afraid of death but this now explains why so many exes have taken to call me irresponsible as I give planning the future or tomorrow the finger.

I had no idea I linked dying to the idea of love even as I have clung to love to spare me from death as if it were it’s only remedy and cure.

It’s a jumbled mess in my head but I realized last night that I seem to also see the state of marriage as death, I see loving another as the death of the ego, and the end of love as just one smelly rotting corpse where you disappear.

Love is scary because even after finding the one you want to live and die with,  “What will happen after we die?” I once asked my ex. “What will happen to you? How will I find you again?” He had no answers. You can’t keep it forever no matter if he or she is the love of your life.

I am sure fear of death is why people buy and collect more than they can ever use and why my mother hoards junk into her small room and why I have avoided sitting Shiva this week with the family I love.

Fear of the all mighty End is also probably why many people stay longer in dying relationships and seek narratives of resurrection and return.

We avoid that phrase “The End”…that marks the last shot of every good movie and everyone who has ever entered us and made us believe in eternity.

I don’t want to admit that death is a part of life and that we all will evaporate in a flash. I will disappear from my daughter as my father did from me. We will all break up from each other and this break up will be bruising even though we had all our lives together to prepare for it.

How liberating it must be to have no notion of ones morality and ones limits and death.

If I had no fear of the End, I probably would not try to control everything. There would be no anxiety because there would be no consciousness of the limitations.

My daughter is roughly the same age I was when I had to acknowledge death so I tell my girl that there is nothing sad in death (although I lie) and I tell her there is nothing to be afraid of (which is true) because life and energy can never be created or destroyed, only transformed. That is the only fact that has always comforted me because I know that for her sake she must not fear dying because if we fear death, we can’t ever really live.

One Girls Fear of Death and Love

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Blog, blogging, Childhood, children, Courage, Essay, grief, Hurt, Life, Memoir, nostalgia, Personal, Philosophy, Photo, rape, reflections, sexuality, slavery

Daily Prompt: Release Me

Freedom is a strange concept.

Most of the time if asked: “What is freedom?”

It would be answered as if an obvious notion: the ability to do and say and act as one wants and pleases exactly how and when one likes.

If this were entirely true then the freest people on earth would be Lindsay Lohan and the entire celebrity culture of the West.

I question freedom because for the poor, or for the working mother or for the young person who can’t afford to travel freely because of debt or job obligations or lack of money this definition of freedom as physical mobility leaves a lot of disenfranchised from the concept of freedom.

For those who live with the threat of violence or retribution for speaking out openly about their opinions or about their sexual orientation or political beliefs, then living in the frame of “public” would leave most of us outside of the West also outside this concept of freedom.

What is freedom then for those of us who can’t define ourselves as free by these standards?

This is a question I ask myself often as I asked myself often as a child because I was raised in an environment where physical mobility was limited, expression of opinion was impossible, and we lived for others and not for ourselves.

If I, like many others, am not able to travel, or unable to express myself on the street or on TV or in any public way, then what is freedom to me? If I as a woman can be violated as I have been violated, if I can be repressed as I have been repressed, if I, like millions of others today have lived or are living as slaves as I have lived as a slave without choice, without option, without worth except for what I can do or give…then what is freedom? If everything outside of me can be attacked or taken away…what is freedom?

My freedom was and is still silent resistance of thought in the face of violence where ever it finds me. However even more than my resistance to anyone or existence counter to anything is the definition of my freedom as my interior life beyond who I am physically and what I have. My interior is mine and in its quiet is also my freedom. My feelings in my sexuality are also my freedom despite a history of violence. My choice to love inside my soul has been my freedom. My prayers with closed eyes and clenched fists or open hands are also a part of my freedom. My mind reaching beyond itself is freedom. Keeping secrets have also been freedom for me. My eternally loud smile is my freedom as my tears falling unexpectedly while hearing others tell their secret stories is also my freedom. Emotion is freedom for me. Feeling is freedom. Living is freedom.

I am one of the lucky ones that can move where I wish these days but this does not define my freedom. Public display of life does not make me free even if I  express myself in many public ways, I know that I live in a country where many things are limited, journalist are jailed and teenagers go to prison for kissing in a photo posted on Facebook. I live in a world that is deeply limited and repressive to women (because of danger lurking behind every corner and lack of faith in us as a people) and by that default also limiting to the possibilities of man as well, but I still feel free because I redefined what freedom is to me even if tomorrow my hands can be tied and my body dominated or my movements blocked but as I learned early in childhood, no matter what is placed in front of me, I am free with my quiet infinite spirit.

Medina walking away

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/10/20/daily-prompt-free/

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Our thoughts form the world

I arrived home even though Shiyara really wanted us to stay in America. She loved New York.

I would love to live in New York again for a few months at a time but as I told Shiyara, we would still need to go home to Casablanca to at least pack our things.

We returned to our friends who just had their first baby and he is as beautiful as his mother. They confessed they would be going back to America within the year. I will be losing my best friend and it hasn’t let me sleep at all but as I watch MasterChef and drink tea I noticed some words of wisdom written on the paper attached to a string, “Our thoughts are forming the world.” This is what I said to myself an hour earlier as I tossed and turned trying to sleep thinking of my friend leaving.

We can’t control the outcome of most anything in life but we can control how we see the world and it changes everything. This is what I came back to Morocco to do. Finish all that I started and sit with the discomfort of learning what I need to learn, going through the difficulties, be patient so I can move on in due time from this stage of evolution literally and metaphorically. So for tonight I pray that all the things she and I want for our families come true and that no more rest is lost worrying over what may or might arrive because of course no matter how painful or abandoned we will feel, we can handle it.

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Long Distance Love from Tel Aviv to Casablanca

Long distance relationships are for lame ducks that can’t get love in real time. Or so I secretly thought until I met him a year ago in Marrakech at a film seminar and my judgement came to a screeching halt as long distance love happened to me.

We had a romantic week that I rationalized as a glorified one-night-stand. He left but he didn’t let me go. He used every form of technology to bring me into his world and prodded me to take him into mine. I turned a camera on myself and played make believe. With the help of technology we had breakfast together and slept with each other at night and I found some secret comfort to wake up watching him sleeping on my iphone in the middle of the night. He remembered every monthly anniversary date and took me on his daily drives to work and weekly family shabat lunches. We spoke for hours turning the world around and back.

I understand how wrong I was to think long distance was for lame ducks because it takes exceptional and committed ducks to find people outside of their backyard and then dare to love and dedicate discomfort and hardship and creativity to explore all thats possible to make love happen even if it sometimes burns holes in your pride and sometimes your heart.

He went home yesterday after the longest period of time working and living together and something surprising happened. Every time I looked over and saw him it wasn’t just that I was surprised he was really with me but it surprised me that I was falling in love with him as if for the first time. Walking towards me on my street or sitting with me wearing his reading glasses watching a movie in bed greeted me with a kick to my heart that rushed to the top and bubbled over. I have known him a long time, long enough to hurt him and be hurt by him but it felt all so new.

Everything about long distance love is backwards in the most delicious way. Discovering his mind first and his body last, his past and then his real time warts and beauty. I am falling in love with him still after a year. He is my friend now but as a lover he is still only a few weeks new for me and every time I look over and see him in ordinary actions, I am in awe of his kindness and filled with admiration at his determination.

If we have made it this far it has nothing to do with me and everything to do with his belief in us and in love. I look over and see him there and think, “G-d I love him.” I rush to grab him and it’s not enough. I make love to him and still it’s not enough. I kiss him, I hug him and it comes close but still not enough. If I spent the rest of my life it still might not be enough to learn how to tell him and show him that I love him and I wish I knew him since the start of my life and yet I am happy I met him now. I miss him. I think even my ashes will miss him to pieces.

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A pretty girl and cake

Even when you walk down the street as a woman here or in most any place, you are reminded that you are a woman constantly whether through the innocent and not so innocent catcalls, the nice looks and the bad ones, and more often times than not, the fear or the perceived fear that you are vulnerable.

Being a woman is defined many times by threat and fear and it’s a not too nice a place to live in and men don’t have to know about this if they don’t choose to dig and discover. Many times they look at you like you are blowing it out of proportion or imagining things.

You are constantly reminded since a young age to be careful and you are reminded that you can’t do everything you want because you should be afraid of this or that or the other so much so that you can’t do small things like just walk outside at night to review your thoughts.

“You’re a woman, you’re a woman; you’re a woman.” So be very afraid, of others and yourself.

The mantra plays and you stop doing what you want to  do even if that is walking late at night in the darkness with yourself. But we are used to this as women. We learn to stop ourselves from doing many things we want even getting our pleasure.

Look how women are always stopping their pleasure. They see a delicious dessert, take a bite, feel pleasure, taste the taste, and stop themselves and say “that’s it”.

Do you know how nice it feels to eat something with a pretty girl who’s doing what she wants to do with you, tasting cake and life and really eating it…

 

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Hypocrisy in the Post Office: Random Thoughts

So today I went to the post office. A friend stepped behind me and kissed my head. It was affectionate.

The man in the post office yelled at him and told him not to do that. The friend said Okay and moved away from me. I glanced up from writing an address carefully on a piece of paper to see him motion to his friend that it was disrespectful by pushing his arm out and smacking something along the lines of, “I can’t believe such disrespect goes on here”.

I continued unfazed although I smiled inside. Firstly because it reminded me of where I was and the hypocrisy of it all.

It took another 30 minutes for me to get through all the paperwork and I was the only customer almost.

The post office man helping us looked like he hated his job and perhaps the rest of his life, exhaling at every turn to listen and respond and close the boxes and take long amounts of time to stare at his screen. Surprising that the post office has one when the police don’t even have them. They click on typewriters in Arabic…and file the paper into books onto shelves. Years worth of documents no one will ever be able to find again or maybe that is the whole point. I was told its that they have to buy their own from their pay if they want one and on their 200 dollar a month salary that just wouldn’t fly with a family of 5 and an alcohol problem to feed. No, the police don’t have computers but here at the post office they have at least two.

After 30 minutes of him assuming I didn’t speak Arabic and huffing in disdain I answered his Arabic with English and said, “Yes, that is exactly what I am doing. See!”

He paused as if trying to figure out if he was speaking in my language or if I had just understood him perfectly in his. He knew a little English I could see. He froze and stared at me a moment. He stopped with his brooding. Curious.

He asked for my passport. I didn’t have a passport on me. I am not a tourist. I speak English and choose to speak to my friend in it. So I told my friend to give him his National ID card. He worried they wouldn’t accept. “This isn’t the airport. If it’s a problem we’ll fill out the forms again and throw these out and they will start another 30 minutes with us. I don’t mind. I am not going anywhere, I am sending this off now.”

He gave him his ID, the young man asked his boss, the one who told my friend to stop kissing my head. He had walked on the other side of the counter with us looking at our documents and told him yes, it’s okay take his ID.

My friend handed his ID to him. “Ah you’re Moroccan! So you should know better instead of acting like that here.” The friend tried to respond but the man looked at me and directed the next comment to me. “What he did was wrong. We don’t that here.” I couldn’t bite my tongue anymore. “You don’t do that here!” I scoffed. I then said slowly with raised eyebrows and a little smile on my face, speaking calmly so he could hear, “I have seen things here I have never seen a-n-y-w-he-r-e in the world.”He blinked, trying to understand what a tourist could possibly mean by that remark.

My friend started to speak angrily and quickly in English. My cheeks started to burn with a tinge of anger and I smiled at the man. He said in his best calm English,”We can’t do that here.”

I started, “So there is prostitution here but…” My friend interrupted again. I told him to please let me speak, he kindly obliged with a quick, “Sorry.”

“So there is prostitution all over Morocco but a man can’t kiss a woman’s head in the post office?”

He paused and thought about it as my friend excitedly started again. I asked him to please be calm and again he politely accepted. The man said, “This is a building of respect. You can’t do that here.”

“So all of that can go on and I can do whatever I want just not here in this building? Not in this post office?”

He said, “Correct.”

“Okay you’re right then, our bad, he’s right.” My friend started but I continued, “No he’s right. We’re sorry.”

The man took the first occasion to flee the scene. And before we could say goodbye he was gone.

There was a silence suddenly. A welcome one. I said, “He’s right. This is the post office. The world of prostitution and child molestation and rape and corruption can go on but as long as a man does not kiss a woman’s head in our post offices in front of a photo of the King then all is right with the world especially our country. It’s just those other countries with problems…like Israel and America. Not France the colonizer and certainly not us.”

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