J, my American half Moroccan photography friend who is wise beyond his years, asked me an innocent question: What did you want to be when you were little? When you grew up what did you want to be?
Like…what did you want to be when you were 5 years old or 8?
Like a profession?
I thought for a moment and couldn’t think of anything I wanted to be when I was a kid. I felt bad that I didn’t have a desire to have a profession.
He said: Think back. Way back.
So I thought: When I grow up… ?
I never thought about being a doctor or a lawyer or a police oficier or a nurse or a teacher. I hardly knew what these people did and had never seen my mother or father as one or met anyone that was any of these things unless it was a doctor who I was seeing for an examination.
My wish and what I thought about being was simply being free and growing up and being happy and being great.
That was what I wanted to be.
I wanted my freedom.
I wanted to be free.
J and I walked in the rain through the streets of Casablanca until we were soaking wet.
I don’t get to walk at night like I did in the States. I would go out, get soaked, listening to music in the dark. It was probably much more dangerous to walk at night there but people left you alone so you could at least forget yourself. To do this kind of stupid stuff in a macho world over here you need someone male near so that they can’t pull their car over to harass you and remind you of how you appear to them. The joy out of a stroll is to be left alone. You want to be free for a few moments to lose and find yourself again.
It’s an odd concept that you need someone to be free with. Normally freedom means for most being on your own. But sometimes in order to be free you need to feel safe. Safe to express ones self or get wet at night. If you like that sort of thing. 🙂
Saturday rain washed over me. I let my haïr get soaked and felt the universe wash me clean. Taking the heaviness of the week away from me. Watching the cars pass, jumping in puddles, I was more excited than a kid as I walked towards the Rabbi’s house on Blvd Anfa.
K called to go out dancing. J is sleeping over. M is coming to join us. And a man I just met from France wants to skip out on a wedding and go out. We find ourselves packed in my living room turning the world over. I sit with my compatriots smoking late into the night. I talk about blowing off a date and J wants to hear everything from what I think, why I chose X and not Y, what’s going on inside my head.
J treats me like a wonder box. And I love it. J asks me : Why do chicks always fall for the bad boy?
I don’t think girls do fall for the bad boy after a certain point.
He’s only 19 so I thought maybe it’s perhaps because when we are young girls there are a lot of things we can’t do. We aren’t supposed to go out by ourselves, we can’t get angry or violent, we can’t beat up the bully, we can’t open our legs. But a bad boy can. We can’t do certain things but we can live vicariously through the bad boy.
When you get older or wiser we start doing who and what we want, we start being brave, and we start getting angry about certain things that we should get angry about, even if we can’t fix everything. Then one doesn’t need bad boys anymore. And if you still crave the bad boy, maybe it’s because you can identify with him beyond the bad boy persona and see a brother or a soul mate.
In the morning, I wake to J’s music. He sits with me, him working on his beats, myself typing these words in to my computer. We share the sunlight breaking through the clouds that is making the bed warm. He’s a kid with an old soul whose music is perfect for this kind of reflective Sunday where the week starts again and everything is possible.
The week has ended and it’s one of those weeks that you can comfortably close knowing you felt it all, sat with it, did not run away or intellectualize it. Just felt it.
Ed wrote me another note finishing with : “Wedged somewhere in between the lines of your message, (I know because this thought came to me after reading your note), that every second is a new beginning. Literally. New cells in our body are growing, old ones are dying off. Each and every moment, each and every day, it’s always a beginning. a lot will happen tomorrow, and the day after that, and the life after this, and the life after that, and so on and so on until we are at home.”
I sit, typing away at my computer on to a file. I Stop. I try to stop myself from acting impulsively. I usually live in the moment but I am trying to do that much less so. Impulsiveness hasn’t served me well.
I know this will last for only so much longer. I will have to be honest with myself and get it out. This silence is an exercise in patience and restraint but I know I can’t keep quiet. I will open my mouth and end it.
Speaking will take this heaviness away. And after a good cry, things will be better. A weight lifted. And lightness of heart and a clear conscious is worth everything.
Photos by Amanda Rogers of my house in Fes
my friend Rajaa told me that the last time she let herself fall blindly in love was when she was still a young woman. She was in love with a boy, it was her first big love. She was ready to live or die for him. He called her one day on the phone and told her that he was getting married, to someone else. She couldn’t leave her bed for days. She just lay lifeless on her mattress unable to lift herself.
When she told me that I felt such a loss for her. it was the loss of innocence. if you look at how much love and life she has in her you would never know she’s been hurt. she has become wiser and stronger and gives me the best advice anyone has ever given me about love. She has always been right and somehow she is with me so strongly today. i feel her standing in my room and i can at least comfortably say that i took her advice and am the wiser for it. my heart is still intact and i am not laying lifeless on the floor.
It’s funny how things turn full circle and cut you out of some stories and into others even though you thought you were navigating these options. i am living in a time when my heart is dancing…coming in and out of doors and peeking into windows. we are sure that we won’t fall in love even if it has been our tendency to fall in love all over the place. these days are for living honestly and with freedom. this perhaps makes me more vulnerable to gossip, judgement, silly men, but mostly it makes me vulnerable to loving someone even if i have known them for only a few moments.
i thought that because i have made a promise to myself to do it alone that i have made myself hard but time and distance make things clearer and i am discovering that i will never be hard and probably don’t really ever wish to be.
i dreamed. he entered my system subconsciously and i saw him maybe as someone i could love. there are so many things i admire in him. so many things i didn’t know could exist in someone. he has my respect. still.
Rajaa told me, take your time. see the truth as it unfolds. you need time to see the other’s dark sides as we all have them. if even the bad is okay then you’re half way there.
the mind of a dreamer is hard to stop when it starts dreaming. it’s a speeding train that is unstoppable without crashing itself. it’s hard for me to stop believing in you once i do. it’s hard for me to try and wrap my mind around the vision i have of a boy who loves me and gives me undivided sweet attention and respect. and encompass that with the one that tells me he is getting married, to someone else. my heart sank.
he was worried about my reaction but who am i to interfere with your life. we owe each other nothing. so i congratulated him. i had told a friend the week before that we wouldn’t likely ever get that far, but even if i said this and even if i said i will never marry…sure i cared for him. of course i loved him.
i thought i had to protect him from me and my inability to honor any dreams of marriage or family. but it was me that needed protecting. the ideas i had of him, most of them are changing. not to bad. just to different. i knew we were different but i didn’t realize we really are very different. i am honest because i love you. he is dishonest to protect you when he loves you. i have no one to answer to and i am here because i want to be. i didn’t like the rules of being a wife and i didn’t free myself up to follow the rules of being mistress. rules are rules. lies are lies. no matter how nice the person.
when the dreams stop you put to rest a few of the good visions and replace them with others that are more realistic and its painful.
i want to believe that people are mostly good. i want to be a good friend. maybe he should have told me from the beginning but he didn’t. i can’t change that. do i feel wronged. no.
are we different. yes.
would we have ever been good together. perhaps.
will i recover. for sure. does it hurt still? yes.
maybe two things have happened at once. my faith in love in renewed as is my faith in people just as it is broken and broken again. i went to sleep crying and woke up smiling. this is life. we hurt each other by just existing.
it isn’t a Hollywood movie, we don’t always end up with the hero. we end up with life in our hands. but i woke up. smiling. with life in my hands. life is perfectly designed. and this is not where i get off.