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

14 comments:

raaasa said...

Awesome thoughts to post, Fantasia. Yes, sometimes, life sucks. And when it sucks, it hurts a lot and for a long time. A difficult lesson to learn at a young age.

Ultimately, we each have to take responsibility for our own lives and life choices. Too, we alone are responsible for seeking out knowledge that we can live with.

Sooner or later, we understand that we alone make ourselves happy or unhappy. A part of the process is to step outside of our comfort zone into the great unknown, learn to trust ourselves, understand that others are no more privy to the answers of the universe than we are. When we delay the choice to depend on ourselves, it is deep fear that guides us. If we do not take the risks, we do not learn. (Love that song btw.)

Interesting, in Egypt, I always felt protected to death: protected from men, protected from opinions of neighbours, protected from the wrong class, protected from negative influences, and so on, and so on. It wasn't about me at all. As you mention, it is the people who were cautioning me and protecting me from life who had their own interests, not mine, in mind.

You were blessed with a healthy skepticism and an even healthier curiosity early in life. Fortunately, you also possessed a keen intelligence and large doses of courage and perhaps perseverance as well. This remarkable blend of circumstances has conspired to help you become the awe-inspiring adult you are today.

Lucky you, lucky us.

Fantasia said...

dearest raaasa,
your words had a great effect on me.. really, i am so touched. thanks for all this appreciation. lucky me for sure that i am blessed with the most wonderful readers in the whole blogoshphere.
i could relate to many things you said, especially the illusionary shelter of protection that we were locked in.
the few people close to me never believe me when i say that i have no regrets, or that i have truly forgiven whoever and whatever caused me to hurt in the past. it is because when i write about my past, i try as much as i can to summon the feelings i had back then. but i am grateful to all the factors which have "conspired" as you said to make me who i am today. i owe much to bad experiences, difficult childhood, hard circumstances, the fear, the agony, the pain, the inner struggle, the loss, the alienation...etc. what on earth could have acted as sufficient motivation for me at such a young age? could have never been anything less than this kinda trauma. and indeed if you follow my posts here, you will see for yourself how this background have generated the power needed to create a new person from scratch.
thanks for caring to let me know that i am not alone, and for all the meaningful thoughts you always share.

egy anatomist said...

I really dunno why I kept writing on Arabic in ur English blogs while not commenting at all in ur Arabic blog!!! Thats y I have decided 2 write in English here and start commenting in ur Arabic blog!

I dunno Ms Fantasia.. I cant be confident that it was a complete bad thing.. I talk abt the shelter of proetction and guardianship that was posed by the elders.. there elders may include others than parents.. actually all adults luv 2 practice this role.. it is a social habitude!!

I myself have suffered alot from this grand artifice.. and I cant deny that it had a great share in formating the new "me".. who I believe is much stronger, down 2 earth, 2 the point and above all self-confident than how I used 2 be.

But

I cant blame them Fantasia..

I cant blame those who r driven by passion and love.. I can disagree with them,, but not 2 a very far extent.. I believe im not doing the same with my children but I do believe also that Im doing and will continue doing some sort of protection according 2 my point of view.. I just cant tell my sweetie how bad teh world is.. how cruel the life is.. how selfish the humans r!

I prefer 2 give her a glimpse and let the days tell her the rest.. maybe life is gonna be nicer 2 her and she wont have 2 face these difficulties..

anyhow

again.. u prove an exceptional talent when writing abt feelings and their management.. abt inner self and its evolution.. I enjoy it 2 a huge extent Ms Fantasia and I urge u 2 enjoy me more plz:)

..

Regards

haneen said...

Dearest fantasia

Some times loneliness is better than being among people when you live with yourself life gives you strong personality, patient, struggle to live , make u calm to face any problem in your life in reasonable way , pain make me tough , orphans make me strong and responsible personality ,trust on my self, never fear from any one ,learn how to deal with those whom want to ruin my life , kill my happiness, prison my soul, and want to make my mind think like them , act like how they want me to do, control all my life claims that they want my benefits at all ,but in fact thy wanted to surrounded me with their fake care to invasion my minds with their thoughts and illnesses ideas , so no body in this world care of me like my self, I discover this fact after all my long life and no one want to me to be better than him like my parent and after they both passed away I feel so deeply sad , since that I never be happy any more some thing inside me broken, the light of my soul is turn of, I didn't believe in love and care yet , so I used to be serious and act like some one else elder than me, our living and working condition may put us under stress too. Overcrowding street ,traffic jams, competition for jobs, uncertainly about the future, any big change in our lives, my be stressful and some how forgettable me my pain and my sad past too. And some other things I do every day to forget when I am taking work home, when I enjoy
An evening with friends, when I have walking exercise alone. That is the time to ask my self whether my present life really suits me , or when I have a lot of people care and live with me nicer than now and then I cant answering my question , so which life I chose , finally I prefer loneliness
Best regards

Fantasia said...

dear anatomist,
i totally agree with what you said about a difficult past being a bless when it leads someone into a better present and future. of course, this is not a cause and effect kind of relationship. naturally, bad childhood is associated with psychological and moral problems in adulthood.
however, what adults claim to be a sort of protection i consider to be in fact a dangerously destructive tool. saying that you also suffered under the same pressures and that it didn't prevent you from becoming the person you are now, may lead you to think that the harm was not that big after all. that's why you aren't sure whether you can totally discard that shelter while raising your own children. but you do agree that those like you and i are a minority. our parents went on imitating the methods used by their parents, thinking that they didn't prevent them from being good and successful. why then are the numbers of successful and creative (not to mention those free of psychological disorders) individuals decreasing from one generation to the next? i think it is due to the fact that those mothods have grown too outdated. they may have worked in the past, but in modern times the ability to impose this kind of "protection" is getting weaker and weaker. so parents who consider doing that nowadays are hindering the adaptation process of their offspring to their surrounding environment.
i attempted to explain that idea in an indirect way through this post, but i hope it will become clearer as i proceed. thanks for sharing your thoughts and hope you find my advice to be helpful.

Fantasia said...

dearest haneen,
i could feel every single word you wrote in your comment. it is tough when you lose those you love and who have been always there for you. but you are an independent, stong woman, and although nothing would heal your sense of loss, you have to be grateful for what was planted inside you through time. life has many phases, each having its highs and lows. it is a person's ability to seek benefit in eveything that happens, the good and the bad, which gives his/her life a meaning.
loneliness is good when it is a person's own choice. you got to spend some time with yourself to rearrange your files, relating all the bits and pieces of life to know where you stand and where you wish to become. the pressures of modern life are very distracting and cause us to lose concentration. that's why some time alone can be the best treat to give yourself. but loneliness can not become a choice or a preference, as then it turns into isolation. you should embrace life with all its ups and downs, and never seek refuge in isolation. now that you know that the best person to take of you is yourself, then you are in good hands. keep this in mind, and don't worry if others disappoint you or if they try to convince you that they know what is good for you better than you know what is good for yourself. independence is a treasure.. when discovered, it will always make you free and strong.
all my best wishes to you and happy eid my dear.

Anuradha malik Jagdhari said...

Dear Fantasia,
I just chanced upon your blog and my hands are still shaking. This post isn't the kind I've read in a long while. Your pain, confusion, troubles and whole lot of courage comes through so beautifully. I don't know how much I can I can identify with you as born to very libral parents in India my circumstances were different. I can totally agree with you on the thought that its their own beliefs that they try to protect and what they say isn't always best for us.

Fantasia said...

Dear Anuradha,
It is my pleasure that you came accross my blog. Thanks a lot for your kind words and for sharing your personal views. You are my first reader from India, and I am really thrilled. Would love to receive your feedbacks on my blog.. especially that you have a wonderful one of your own dedicated to meditation. This cultural exchange would add a fresh perspective and enrich discussions for sure. My parents are also liberal, but their liberalism did not prevent them from being deeply immersed into Egyptian local culture and traditions. There is a kind of pattern that everybody tends to follow automatically despite their individual beliefs or way of thinking. That in itself I find to be very frustrating, as well as being the main reason behind most of the social problems we witness nowadays.
Your comment made me so happy. Looking forward to more interaction.

The Alien said...

nobody cares, it it true and discovering it was not an easy thing for me. but till now i do not want to say it. i do know it and i act in life with this fact in fron of my eyes but i still wish it is not true. maybe they care but they do not feel my pain. maybe they care but do not help. maybe they car but have nothing to do. i am waiting for someone to realy car and i feel that he/she is out there.

Fantasia said...

dear alien,
it is so hard to admit to yourself that you are all alone in this world, or that nobody is sincerely concerned with what is good for you. human nature finds the idea to be too scary, and always seeks to satisfy its need for security and care. therefore what you say is very understandable. in fact it is a very good way for dealing with this kind of harsh reality. we can not possibly accept the fact that each person is abandoned to be a lonely drifter. i believe that as human understanding and psychology evolve, as it has always done, we will be able to develop a more developed concept of giving and receiving care. just how long this shall take for this to happen, or how many generations will it take, is still unknown to anybody.
what we can do now.. i mean those of us who are already alive and who have experienced the shock of realization.. is to seeek to know about ourselves and our true needs. hopefully this would make us have more realistic expectations while dealing with others, while at the same time give us a hint about the needs of those who expect to receive our care.
somebody is out there for sure.. but his/her definition of care has to be very sophisticated to fulfill the needs of those who have a higher level of consciousness. wishing you best luck with that.

على باب الله said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
على باب الله said...

"Does anyone care"?

yes somebody cares .

--

Fantasia said...

ala bab allah,
i certainly hope you mean that you are sure somebody cares for you. wish you all the best.

UNIQUE said...

*each person is abandoned to be a lonely drifter*
this is something I disagree with you about
it may be the general form of life that we have , but it's not what we are looking for all the time . every one of us had some one who cared about him even for once.
in a certain phase when we start to take care of ourselves we become care givers not receivers
I am impressed by the way you turned your suffering into a strong personality ..
as me growing up I had a different experience I had a very understanding parents who believed in me and encouraged me to have my own thoughts and to express myself they were very proud of me and that made me feel like an older girl . at the beginning I liked that feeling but later on I started to lose confidence and to miss being young again as my responsibilities become heavier
I wish I could regain the spirit of the twelve years old teenager I had someday

I am sorry about my long comment , yours