Friday, January 11

Who Am I?

Probably the toughest question one can ask to oneself. Many people take it for granted that they know who they are. They're like, "Of course I know who I am. Are you kidding me?" While in fact they might find themselves at a total loss in front of questions like: What is your ultimate aim in life? How would you really wanna spend your lifetime? What's your best faculty? What could you have done differently in case you went back in time? Why are you attracted to a certain type of people? What makes you unique? Why do you believe in a certain religion? Where would you rather be most? Are you satisfied with who you are?

Knowing onself is not a matter of listing personal information. It goes way beyond that. It goes way beyond your hobbies, zodiac sign, favorite food, musical taste, or type of personality. You can never be able to tell who this person wearing your flesh truly is, without thinking deeply about certain abstractions. You need to come up with your own definition to words like: identity, life, love, faith, ambition, belief, morality, beauty, truth, reason... among others. It is perfectly fine if you decide to alter a definition that you had previously reached at one point in your life. But you have to make sure to analyse the consequences of this alteration, its new relation to other definitions, and what this reveals about you as a person at the present moment.

Before I started off on my journey of self-discovery, such ideas had never occured to me. I was merely a life drifter, a lonely sailor with only a boat and oars in the middle of an endless sea. There was no compass.. no map.. no destination in mind.. no watch.. no companion.. no knowledge of the sea.. no survival skills.. no clear notion about what a boat is or what it is for.

One can look back at this phase and reflect on it in many different ways. For example, you might think that the discovery in itself was a big achievement, bearing in mind millions of other life drifters who have never paused to find out where they are standing or where they are heading. You might think it is a curse that you have thought about such issues in first place.. You are only adding misery to misery, doubling up the misery of humanity in facing its endless dilemma. You might believe it is the best thing that could ever happen to anyone, as it opens up a totally new world of possibilities. You might think that discovery is evil by default, and that knowledge has always inflicted pain on those who sought it.. Adam, Pandora, Prometheus, Icarus, Copernicus, Galileo... only to name a few.

Yet, eventually, one can not help but realize that "knowing who you are" is indeed the best possible investment of a person's limited time on Planet Earth.

A question is like a tree, it seems.. It keeps branching in all directions. Once you start thinking about a good answer, your mind automatically tends to generate other questions instead. And you suddenly discover a very interesting chain.. Tracking it down, I found myself in front of a most splendid scene:

A Question = A Tree
An Answer = Question/s
An Answer = A Tree

An Answer = A Tree
An Answer = Knowledge
A Tree = Knowledge

Knowledge is in fact a tree! And it is under the tree of knowledge that one can find the shade of truth and the comfort of faith. So into the garden of questions and answers I entered. It is there that I found out the answer to my question. It glittered as I moved closer, and I understood that in order to know who I am, I first gotta know where I came from. The tree of "Origin" was calling out for me.. and I went to find my way to it.

Tuesday, December 11

Do you see? Do you see me?

Understand the things I say
Don’t turn away from me.
Cause I spent half my life out there
You wouldn’t disagree.
D’you see me, d’you see
Do you like me, do you like me standing there?
D’you notice, d’you know
Do you see me, do you see me?
Does anyone care?

-- from the song Ode to My Family, Cranberries

Does anyone really care? Well.. probably not. We just keep convincing ourselves all the time that they do.. That at least someone out there does care. Years and years get wasted during which we hold on to this belief so firmly.. Until one day the shock of discovery slaps us on the face. But that's only the case with those who care to know, to discover, to get to the bottom of things, to rip off the external flesh and get down to the bone.. While others are merely statisfied to dwell in their own dreamland. I happened to be among those who cared to know. I ripped off the flesh, I saw the bones, I got down to the marrow. Would you consider this to be a bless or a curse? Or shall I be asking you the tougher question.. Do you know? Can you see whether those who claim to care for you really do, or not? Or are you still wondering "Does anyone care"?

You were living in another world,
tryin to get your message through.
No one heard a single word you said.
They should have seen it in your eyes,
What was going around your heart.
Ooh, she's a little runaway.
Daddy's girl learned fast
All those things he couldnt say.
-- from the song Runaway, Bon Jovi

And I walked out of childhood on tip toes. Daddy's girl learned fast all the things he couldn't say. But there was a lesson I had to learn before I finally decided to raise myself up.. I had to discover that nobody cares. I had to discover that I am all on my own. I had to lose hope in any aid coming from those who always said that they "cared". Once this happened, I was ready to hit the road and start off on my journey towards the unknown.

The moment of discovery is always painful. Remember when you discovered that your favorite cartoon character does not exist in the real world? Or when you discovered that you are probably the only one who didn't know that it is normal for people to lie? Or when you discovered that men and women have to engage in a sexual act to be able to reproduce? Let me tell you that the worst shock of all is discovering that those who shaped your world did so in a way which serves their own interests and according to their own opinions of what is good and what is right.

They always told us that everything that is good has to be right and vice versa.. Yet, they forgot to mention what they actually meant by what they consider to be good and what they believe to be right. Maybe that's why our parents never had the guts to admit that they brought us up by saying lies. They used lies to threaten us and prevent us from doing what they believe to be wrong or inappropriate. They used lies to make us obey them. They used lies to tempt us to do what they believe to be good and ethical. They used lies to prohibit our inquiries. They used lies to reduce our demands. They used lies to silence our curiosity. They used lies to make us pray and learn our religion. They used lies to convince us that we looked cuter in a less expensive outfit. They used lies to make us submissive and unadventurous. They used lies to make us dependent and afraid. They used lies to make us believe that they are the owners of truth.

I certainly needed an earthquake to shake (what I thought to be) the solid ground I was standing on. As a child, I've always felt like there were things hidden away from me. I always felt that I was in the dark, and that there was some kind of secret which I was not allowed to know. There was no clear reason for this feeling, but it was there.

Most of us didn't know what growing up means. We misunderstood results to be the reasons of growing up.. Like adding a candle in our birthday cake, or moving to the next grade at school, or buying a bigger size of clothes, and so on. But we discovered that growing up is much more physical than we thought once our bodies started showing drastic changes. Girls usually experience those earlier than boys. Yet, the appearance of those physical signs on either of them, did not ring a bell or act as enough evidence for their parents. The first of those signs for me were the change in breast shape/size and the appearance of pubic hair as early as the age of 9. Then of course came the menstrual period which I talked about in detail in this post.

The amount of anxiety was beyond imagination. On the other hand, the amount of negligence I received made me more and more troubled. How is it that they care for me while they knew all about this and never told me? How it is that they see me suffering and struggling under huge stress, but still don't care to provide enough guidance or support? Why have everything been suddenly switched to my mother, who only focused on cutting a conversation short? Why am I only invited to hear warnings and restrictions, which were not discussable and totally out of question? What's wrong with me? Why wouldn't anyone care enough to just talk?

The message was written in the air: You are on your own. You have to care for yourself from now on. But how could I possibly do that without a clue? How could I take care of myself all of a sudden while they invested so much in making me dependent on them? Where am I to go when I don't even see a single door? Where am I to go knocking? How could I find my way in the dark when I am all alone?

  • Would you rather stand where you are?
  • NO! I can't stay trapped in this limbo forever. But this darkness makes me totally blind.
  • Feel your way.. Stretch out your hands as much as you can.
  • I'm scared. Why have they turned their backs at me and blocked their ears?
  • There must be a good reason. Perhaps you will excuse them later on.
  • But they lied to me, hid things from me, and gave me false reasons. How can I know what is right and what is wrong? How can I differentiate between what's true and what's false?
  • You have got all what you need.. You've got your smart brain and your sensitive heart.
  • I am too young and I can't trust those to lead me, yet.
  • Young? Look at yourself.. Your body can tell you that it is not true.
  • Still, everybody believes me to be young. My body is not enough evidence.
  • What would you consider to be enough evidence then? Do you have to hear it from others in order to believe it? Why didn't it occur to you that they are hiding that too? What if they don't want you to know that you are not young anymore?
  • Even if that was true.. What about all the other girls of my age?
  • What about them?
  • They are all young and nobody told them otherwise.
  • Fantasia, your parents are no different than all other parents. Look outside. See the big picture. Trust only what you know and feel to be true.
  • If I am surrounded by lies, then what chances do I have in finding the truth?
  • Lies are only there to distract us from seeing the truth. Brush off anything that doesn't make sense.. anything that doesn't find its way to your heart.. anything that contradicts with what you trust and believe in.. Once you brush off all those, you will be only left with the truth.
  • How do I know that it is the truth? What if I need to brush off more from its surface?
  • Fantasia.. Truth shines and lights the way. Once you find it, you will know. Its light will instantly enter your mind and heart, and there it shall rest forever.
  • Forever?! What if I changed my mind later on?
  • Truth is not the same as convictions. Truth is the basis for any conviction. Your basis will increase by time and experience, enabling you to revise your convictions and reform them. So while convictions may change, truth remains untouched.
  • That sounds so hard.. How long will it take me to know all I wish to know?
  • It will take as long as you shall live. Let your aim be not the destination, but the journey itself. As you live, you learn. And as you learn, you understand. And as you understand, you grow. And as you grow, you live.
  • And when I die?
  • When you die, you will be satisfied. You will end the journey with no regrets.. because you have lived. Choose to live, Fantasia.. In life you will find the meaning of everything, including death.

That's when my journey started. And my inner voice has kept me company ever since.. singing happily along the road.

You live you learn
You love you learn
You cry you learn
You lose you learn
You bleed you learn
You scream you learn

You grieve you learn
You choke you learn
You laugh you learn
You choose you learn
You pray you learn
You ask you learn
You live you learn

-- from the song You Learn, Alanis Morissette

Friday, November 23

Childhood Junkie

"Childhood is what you spend the REST of your life trying to overcome."
-- from the movie Hope Floats

An adult's childhood usually keeps flashing before his/her mind's eye. As years go by, you can't help but reaching out to the child you used to be. It is inescapable.. we carry our childhoods with us to the grave. Thinking about it, I find the above quote to be the truest thing ever said about childhood. Growing up in the third world is not exactly happy. Being a female child in a conservative society sets limits to how childish you are allowed to be. Our generation joins the same pool of memories. There was not much variety then. We all watched the same TV channels (only 2 back then). We all went to Alexandria for summer vacations. We all went to governmental or old private schools. We all saw the Egyptian national team playing in the World Cup when "heaven's justice found its way to Balermo Stadium."

Parents in the third world take it for granted that kids will find their way. Back then, parents never thought it was necessary to learn about parenting. They experimented with their children. And they always prefered easy solutions to end any situation.. like screaming at a noisy child to shut up.. or threatening him/her. Most of our parents had financial problems. They cared so much about educating their children, and they always pushed us to score the highest grades.

It was the trend in the 80s to be preoccupied with financial security. This time witnessed a massive wave of immigration. And those who stayed in Egypt had to work several jobs in order to be able to face the huge rise in prices. Money was talking and everybody was all ears. We don't own the right to blame them. Things are much easier said than done. And those who are criticizing the generation to whom our parents belong have got no idea about what they were going through. It was a tough time for everybody.. adults and children. Education was deteriorating and schools were packed with unqualified teachers whose basic task was to stuff the kids' minds with whatever is written in their textbooks. As children we did not study, we memorized. We were supposed to be able to read our textbooks with our eyes closed. Such a skill was later on discovered to be useless and resulted in millions of unemployed youth who are now ending their lives by the Italian shores.

We.. a generation raised in fear. Fear of adults.. Fear of exams.. Fear of the future.. Fear of society.. Fear of God. We had no clues. We were left behind in the absence of a view to govern us. We were denied any useful experience or knowledge. We felt like a burden on our families who were toiling to satisfy our needs. We didn't want to disappoint them, even if they had disappointed us many times. And we struggled with life as best as we could. We.. a generation raised in weakness. Physical weakness (rarely encouraged to play sports with playcourts disappearing from our schools, and sports clubs being too expensive).. Cultural weakness.. Financial weakness.. Low self-esteem.. Dependency. We dwelt in the allies of narrow minds and low ceilings.

Our homes were noisy, but empty of dialogue. You can hear people shouting, kids playing, TV turned on, music of the new generation singers, with additional background noise from the streets. But silence filled the air. Parents only asked their children a few questions like "Did you do your homework? When are your exams? What happened to your new schoolbag? Are you still kicking stones with your shoes?"

As a child, I tried to talk more with my parents.. but they were either too tired or too busy. Air conditions were not so common at homes back then, and the summer heat sucked all their energy. In winter, it was so difficult to keep warm. I liked to curl up beside my mom in bed. She always fell asleep while watching TV. And I had to wrap myself in a woolen blanket while doing my homework. Dad came home at night, and I was usually awake. We drank tea and eat cheese sandwiches before I went to bed. I had to wake up very early to be able to catch the schoolbus. In winter, the morning light could hardly be seen at 6:00 am when I left home. I walked for about 5 minutes while shivering, usually followed by stray dogs, until I reached the place where I waited for the bus. I come back in the afternoon to an empty home. Our neighbor hears our door being opened.. She opens her door to check that it is me.

  • "Hi ya tante. How are you?"
  • "Hi, Fantasia. Come in and have some food with us."
  • "Thank you. I'm not hungry. How are A, M, N, and Y (her children)?"
  • "They are having dinner. Please join us."
  • "You're always generous, tante. I'll eat with mom and dad. They'll be back soon."
  • "OK, my dear. Lock the door well and always check who is there before you open."
  • "Of course. Don't worry. Have a nice dinner. Excuse me."

I changed my clothes, put my shirt and socks in the laundry basket, turned on the water heater, measured 2 cups of rice and put them in a big tray, sat at the dinning table and started searching the rice for tiny solid objects (we did not have the ready packed rice back then). Once I finish, I set it aside and start washing and cutting vegetables for the salade. After a while my mother came home and took over from there. My mother was always tired and while we had dinner she didn't utter a word. I tried having a conversation with her several times, but she always avoided opening up. I try talking about what happened at school, doing my best to make it sound funny. "Can you imagine? The girl actually told the teacher the nobody understood anything of what she said. haha.. And the teacher kept asking her what exactly didn't you understand. Then the girl said 'Everything'." If I considered something like that to be funny, my mother made sure not to laugh, and then she would warn me against being rude to my teachers: "Do you know how much we pay to keep you in this school? We could have easily sent you to a school near us for half the fees. But we want you to have the best education. This girl is so bad, keep away from her or teachers will have a negative impression about you."

I so much wanted to tell her how much I appreciate what they were doing. I so much wanted to tell her not to be so serious all the time. I was just trying to cheer her up. My attempt failed, but I didn't deserve a reminder and a warning. I wished my mom was less serious at times. I knew that she could not bring herself to see anything other than the possible negative influence that this classmate might have on me. She thus used this opportunity to play her role as a parent. But I could not help feeling hurt. I kept thinking: "Can't we communicate on a human level, away from this mother/child scenario? Can't she say anything other than giving instructions and warnings? Why does my age seem to prevent me from being treated as a person? Why must a child always be addressed as an inferior? Yes, I am young.. but I can communicate with adults. I understand how you feel and I can get you out of this mood. Why don't you give me a chance?"

  • "Fantasia!"
  • "Huh? Yes, mom."
  • "Did you hear what I said?"
  • "Yes, sure mom. I don't approve of what she did. But it was not usual to hear this in class."
  • "OK. After you finish your food, clean your plate. Will you take a nap?"
  • "No, I don't think so. I've got an oral test tomorrow, and there's so much homework to do."
  • "Alright. Don't waste your time so that you can sleep early. Don't watch too much TV."
  • "I'll only watch one show and the evening news."
  • "Evening news? Do you understand anything from the news?"
  • "Yes.. I.. think I do. I tell dad all the news when he returns home."
  • "Did dad ask you to watch the news for him?"
  • "No. I watch it anyway. I like knowing what's going on with the world. They also show interesting stuff from around the world right after the news in Nafezzah 3ala El3alam (A Window View on the World)"
  • "That's not for your age dear. You should watch Cinema Elatfal (Kids' Cinema), Mama Nagwa, Baba Maged.. Things that suit your age, Fantasia."
  • "I watch those too. And I like watching the news and 3alam elteknologya (World of Technology)."
  • "I am so worried about you, Fantasia. You don't want to live your age."
  • "There's no need to worry, mom. Tell you what?.. Why don't you watch TV with me? I always want to know more about many things I see on TV."
  • "But I don't like watching the news. Besides, I have many things to do around the house. Maybe tomorrow."

Needless to say.. Tomorrow never came. And as I was growing up I realized that I didn't know Fantasia. It suddenly hit me in the face.. Lack of real communication or experience handover made all the orders and warnings become pointless.. And whatever came between those two were lies. How were we able to forgive our parents for lying to us? All adults lie to children. All adults think that they must lie to children. All adults don't feel ashamed when they lie to children. Children?.. Who are the children? What age removes you from the childish category to place you on the other side? And once you step in, how do you stop being a child? Is it supposed to be an automatic process? Or are you supposed to do some ritual or rite of passage?

Egyptian children are considered childish until they marry off. Can you imagine a 30 year old child?! I don't know what to call this.. hilarious, sad, rediculous, pathetic, crazy.. what?.. Growing up becomes a child's own responsibility, because no one will be ready to accept a third adult at home. And if you are a girl, you can't move out before you get married. The amount of money you make is irrelevant. We're talking traditions and customs here. Are you outta your mind? Live alone? Do you want to disgrace your parents? In Egypt a girl stays at her daddy's home until she finds the groom. The only option becomes launching yourself into adulthood.. but secretly. If your parents find out about your plans, they would consider it as a rebellious attempt. They would get too scared that they might react negatively, placing more restrictions on you. So, hushhhhhhhh.. you take care of yourself.. Grow up without anybody knowing about it. And I walked out of childhood on tip toes.

Thursday, November 15

Is God a Man or a Woman?

Have you ever wondered about this? I know that our parents and teachers always discourage us from asking any questions related to God.. God as an Entity.. God as a Being.. God as a Material Presence. Yet, you can never shut up a child's imagination.

That was not the first inquiry I had about God. Like any other child, you expect me to have went through all the usual details of "What is God?", "Where is He?", "Why can't we see Him?", and so on. Never was I able to find an answer, or let me say.. a solid convincing answer.. to any of those questions. Everything I was told, after the warnings and threats of course, was so evasive.. Barely causing me to have a dangled chin and go like: "Huh?"

One might think that he/she is the only one having a problem understanding the answers that others are trying to make him reach. After all, the people uttering all this nonsense looked as if they were so sure and so serious about the "information" (if I can call it so) that they are giving. How funny it is, when you grow up to discover that those people had absolutely no idea about what they were talking about. Why didn't they just say that they didn't know? Why do they feel obliged to give answers? Why did they try making up meaningless sentences to confuse the person who is asking?

Apparently (as I've come to learn later), everything has a reason.. Doesn't have to be logical or real.. But there must be a reason somewhere.

For 3 whole years, I was forbidden to attend religion classes at school. Each teacher cleverly passed the wisdom to his colleagues, so they didn't even have to see for themselves why I deserved such a "punishment". I don't know what I did wrong then. School is all about curious students searching for answers, and experienced teachers satisfying this curiosity. I really didn't care to receive a definite answer.. All I wanted was anything that would aid me during my search. Or even a simple "I don't know," so that I can go on asking someone else.

Anyway, my questions were considered a crime.. Religion teachers thought that I intended to make fun of them and embarrass them in front of the whole class. They didn't even care to tell me those charges against me.. It was enough that I received the final sentence: No More Religion Classes for You.
On the other hand, you might find it extremely surprising that I passed all my religion exams. Of course they wanted to get rid of me.. They never dared to discuss my answers. I don't know what took place while my answers were being graded.. Probably I was the reason behind many heated debates among those great teachers.. Whatever took place inside that grading room, the result was that I passed and was never allowed to see my answer sheet.

It was clear they feared me. Maybe they thought I was demonized.. Or they simply didn't want me to awake any doubts or inquiries that have been resting in peace, buried deep down in their subconscious.. Never was I given a chance to question anything divine.

You may wonder: "what could she have done to deserve all this?" What sort of question did I ask?.. Well, normally the situation didn't reach this far as a result of a single question. My annoying habit of inquiring about reasons behind everything I heard.. along with openly objecting that some ideas were not clear enough.. in addition to seeking to verify that I understood the right meaning explained by the teacher.. all this made me unwelcomed. But sure, there was the straw that brought about all the catastrophic consequences.. It was the question you read in the title.

I don't remember what that day's class was about.. Still I can remember every single thing that happened after I raised my hand, requesting permission to ask about something.. I know what you might be thinking now.. No, I never regretted asking.

-"Yes, Fantasia."
-"Mr. M, We always refer to God using the pronoun 'He'. Why's that?"
-"That's how God ordered us to call him."
-"Does this mean that God is a man?"
-"No, no. Of course not! May God protect us from the devil! God is not a man. He created all men and women."
-"Yes, I know that. But we suppose that God is a man, cause we use 'He' to refer to him, right?"
-"No. We use 'He' because we only have 2 pronouns in Arabic. And 'he' is perefered to 'she'."
-"Why is that? I believe they are both the same, but one refers to the male and the other to the female."
-"Don't you know that in Arabic when we want to refer to a group of girls, we say 'honna' (plural female pronoun in Arabic)."
-"What if this group had 100 girls and one boy?.. In this case we say 'hom' (plural masculine pronoun). So can you now see that a single 'he' in the middle of 100 'honna' is able to change the pronoun to the masculine?"
-"OK. Now I understand.. This means that God is a man."
-"Oh.. God forgive you. I told you NO."
-"But It can not be otherwise, Mr.. God sent us his religion in Arabic. He could have changed these language rules if He was not a man."
-"God sent his message in the language that the people spoke."
-"Did all people speak Arabic at that time? I don't think so. He chose the language and He chose the people who speak it."
-"What do you want to reach Fantasia?"
-"I want to say that God is a man. Because whether in Arabic or English or French, we refer to him with the masculine pronoun."
-"That's not right. God does not have a gender. Forget about pronouns."
-"OK. Why did he favor males to females then?"
-"God doesn't favor except those who obey him."
-"No. He has favorites. It is so clear that He wanted us to know that He is a man."
-"Fantasia, let's talk about this later. Don't waste the time of the class."
(Lots of students kept begging him to answer my questions)
"No. This is not the time to talk about such things. It is 7aram to talk about God in this way."
-"Mr, it seems that you insist that God is not a man. OK.. Is God a woman?"
-"WHAT?!!.. Are you crazy?.. Beg for God's forgiveness! Beg for God's forgiveness!"
-"Why? I didn't insult God. And you were not angry when I asked if God is a man. What's wrong with asking the other way round?"
-"You do not realize the huge sin you are committing.. I am not willing to burn in hell because of a crazy girl like you."
-"What sin? I am only asking.. Why will you burn in hell if you answer me? Does God hate women that much? Why did He create them then? And if God has no gender, why will it be a sin to refer to God as 'She' for example?"
-"Enough Fantasia. Go out! Out!.. I have put up with your madness for so long. That's enough."

I left.. And as soon as I closed the door behind me, Mr. M. kept warning all the students that anyone who will ask similar questions about God will burn in hell for eternity. He kept shouting and shouting, till he was almost out of breath. He could have had a heart attack on this day. When the bell rang, he rushed out of the classroom, clearly avoiding seeing me. The next time I met him, he told me that I can never attend his classes again.. If I want to succeed in religion, I have to shut up during his class and never utter a word, or else I was not welcomed at all.

I refused to be treated in such a way.. I didn't commit a crime. God said that people must seek knowledge. He didn't mention that we should exclude Him while seeking that knowledge.. The thought of having the choice of not attending was far more better than sitting like a silent dog in the classroom. How can a student learn when his/her inquiries will be punished by eternal damnation?.. Which questions are fine to ask and which must a student avoid?.. How will someone have true belief in something that he/she is not even able to inquire about?.. Why did God create curiosity in young minds?.. I won't shut up Mr. And I don't want to succeed in your subject. I will gladly bear the cross that you tied on me.

Young Fantasia was being discriminated against by a religion teacher!.. He feared that her question will throw him in eternal hell. It never occured to him that discrimination is an actual sin. It never occured to him that refusing to perform his duty towards one of his students is a sin. It never occured to him that terrorizing his students with eternal damnation is a sin. And it never occured to him that.. after all.. God could be a woman!

Sunday, November 11

What is Fantasia's Shrine?

Welcome to Fantasia's Shrine! That's the place where I retreat every now and then to reflect upon my mental and spiritual journey. I will let you take a peek into what goes inside my mind as I attempt to unravel the world around me one thread at a time. It's taken me a long way to reach where I stand now. But God knows how long it will take me to reach where I want to land, or whether I shall ever make it to that destination during my lifetime. All I can do is try and keep trying, think and keep thinking, believe and keep believing.

My inner peace stems from the thought that I am in continuous motion. My mind is never allowed to rest, it's true. Yet, it is in the midst of this mental toiling that I feel most alive. How could I put my mind to sleep when there are so many questions buzzing inside? My enigmatic existence in this universe makes me wonder about endless things. From finding answers to generating more questions, ideas keep playing their favorite game with my head. I then find myself expanding my inquiries and diving deep into mysterious realms. Waves may left me up once and may push me deeper many times. I'm determined to search for my pearl, even if it lies at the end of the world. The quest is on.

So, I'm lighting my candles.. Meditating inside my shrine, where the most sacred prayers are being held. It is there that life gains meaning. It is there that randomness is transformed into order. It is in the privacy of my shrine that all my mental demons are let loose. They are allowed to roam about and bring me back the truth. And as I sit in this holy spot, I embrace a light that warms my heart. I suddenly discover where I belong. I learn new rituals to nourish my soul. And I grow wings that lift me high above.. above the prison walls.. above the iron gates.. above the darkness of narrow streets.. above the fear of blind herds.. and above the lies which pollute the air. It all happens here.. Inside my holy shrine.. My MIND.