Thursday, July 27, 2006

Writing My Own Script

A few months ago I was approached by a lovely Libyan lady who knew me in the past.. right in the middle of all the confusion. She asked me to write about myself, to share my conflict and the trouble I had growing up in conflicting worlds... and to describe the synthesis I have become.

At first, I was nervous not only to share something so personal but to actually delve into it and put words on the emotions. And for a moment, I wondered if I would be misunderstood... but that is beyond my control, so the least I could do was just try. Writing the article was quite a liberating experience and touching as well. From when I first started writing in this blog and now to the article on Tibra by extension - I have been contacted by Libyans (mostly ladies with a similar struggle) who have been reaching out to share their own stories... in hopes of finding a kindred spirit. And, I am here.

I feel blessed. How ironic to have these experiences now, when I feel I need them less than I did when I was a confused adolescent exploring on my own. The more people I meet the more I realize that many people have had the same experiences - Libyan or otherwise - and that globalization has truly affected each and every one of us in such a deep way, especially as we were growing up and trying to make sense of the world.

What a pleasure to have met you all.. and H. thank you very much for bringing out my words and allowing me to express them in such an unashamed way.

I invite you to read my story.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Feeling suffocated...

Montreal is amazing in the summer. Yesterday was Canada Day, plus there is the Jazz Festival going on right now and on top of that we have the World Cup games! Being new in Canada, I was all set to explore Canada Day yesterday with all the fireworks, parade and concerts. I mentioned to my parents that they should come but they declined - too crowded and too noisy, they said. So I made plans of my own. I went to a friend's house for dinner and after that gathered some friends and headed to the old port. The concert was beginning at 9:30pm and the fireworks at 10:30. Hmmm.. this is usually far beyond when I was usually home so I called and let my mother know. She was not happy. I told her grandparents were out, mothers, children, huge families, everyone was out there anticipating the beautiful sky displays and enjoying the music. And I was adamant to enjoy it - my first Canada Day!

Needless to say, this morning I got the cold treatment. How dare I come home so late? It is a continuous struggle with the parents who live a completely isolated life, enjoying their daily tasks mainly within the confines of our home. Whereas I am so full of life, I want to experience everything and anything and never ever have I compromised my Muslim values and overstepped my boundaries. And yet, I still get the comments that I am excessive and out too much "like a boy" because I like to integrate into this world and see what it has to offer, and my parents sit afraid and isolated at home. I wish I had sisters or brothers who were here with me and can enjoy with me while my parents' hearts are at rest, but I don't. So what am I to do? I refuse to just lock myself in my room and let life pass me by... But at the same time, I never enjoy myself when I go out beyond a certain time because my watch begins to haunt me... Looking back now, I wonder - where the fireworks really worth it? The only difference between going and staying in my room was that I had the momentary pleasure of being there amongst hundreds of thousands of Montrealers celebrating a great evening - but this morning, the feeling is pretty much the same as if I wouldn't have gone out at all.

Sitting here right now, I feel like I do not deserve this. I feel punished for being from colliding worlds and having strings pulling me in different directions. My parents' fear suffocates me. And in reality, I really am a daughter they should be proud of - never been wild, never done anything "wrong", always the responsible one in the group - but nonetheless, they complain because I want to be out experiencing the world whereas for them, good girls stay home past dark. So I guess I am not a good girl.

***I do love my parents very much and I am certainly a good girl, this was just written in a moment of frustration. :)