A Reflecting Arab Muslim Girl From Around the Corner

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Poetic Reminiscing

Today I met a girl who is completing her final year of her PhD program in psychology. I asked her about 'a friend of mine' who experienced a long episode of sexual relations with a man 22 years her senior...something that began when she just became a teen. I asked her whether it is true that even if at first there are feelings of hate and anger toward the abuser, these emotions can turn into love and affection over time. 'Yes of course,' she said, 'it is a diagnosable syndrome'. Its a coping mechanism, and often seen in victims of abuse in war-torn areas...for example in cases where child soldiers begin to take on the opinions of their perpetrators, seeing them as victims...this is part of what eventually pushes the child soldiers to 'willfully' stand with them. Its what we do when we see no way out...when we have lost all hope.

I wrote this on September 22nd, 2007 - just a few weeks after I decided it was time for me to leave the country...to get away from the whole relationship:

Purposeful Suffering

When I wake up
Immediate thoughts of you occupy my mind
I feel for the bangle we so carefully chose
And I think of the inscription that is now engraved in my heart
Your voice used to greet each new day with me
Now only memories of our past suffice
I am here
Even smiling
But in my heart I am lost
A sacrifice I call it
For God’s sake
But I often question this choice
The rationality behind the sorrow I feel
And the pain that I know you are living through
My outward is strong
A pillar
But the recitation of Quran
The stroke of a violin
The breeze of cold air on my face
These evoke images of you as I go through my day
Anyone who looks into my eyes knows I am not there
Alive but dead
My heart with you
And if I’m dead then you’ve already reached the eternal dwelling
My sadness is more your suffering
Be okay and perhaps I will be better
And know that when I go to sleep
I carefully put on your shirt
I know its not you
But it makes me feel closer

A few weeks later I wrote 'Suboptimal'. He wanted to continue our relationship, even if it had to be long distance. I wrote this on October 11th, 2007, when I still was strong.


Love is something to look forward to
Something that brings joy to your life
Exactly what we once shared
But these last few weeks
This love has been but pain
My heart has become heavy
My face has aged
And my eyes are hollow
I look dead when I laugh
I no longer have an appetite
Any happiness is followed with guilt.
This is my personal suffering.
I don’t need anyone’s sympathy
But this love has now twisted
It’s not something I long for
It’s something I dread
I feel trapped by what I want to do
And what for emotion’s sake
I am being asked to do
It’s pointless
It’s too late
We will never have what we shared
Miles apart
Blocked by our consequence
We will not be able to reconcile
Reality stares at me in the face whenever you speak to me
Satisfaction without movement is no longer an option
For now let us move on with our lives
Let me find suboptimal love that will at least be accepted by others
Suboptimal love that will at least let me have the kids I long for
It’s not my fault you are apart at home
It’s not my fault you have no way to release
At least you have someone who is there with you
I still need to find my suboptimal.

After this, the relationship did continue long-distance for about 6 months or so. I am not sure how long. I have forgotten.


  1. I like that you have forgotten. I have a suggestion...take it or leave it, I won't be offended. Write about something else in this blog, turn it toward a broader expression. I am not saying that you should forget what has happened or ignore it when it asserts itself with great force, but when it is a fly, swat it away.

    Tell us what's great and what's miserable and what's ordinary. You write clearly and well. I enjoy reading what you write. How do you like Canada? What do you think of the weather there? How about its politics? Its culture?

  2. thank you wrinkledman...i love your comments and i agree with you 100%
    thank you for being a breath of fresh-air.
    i will try..."when it is a fly, swat it away."
    love it.