Photography by Remon El Markiz
Basma Abbas – Art Director
I see my mother, oh so happy that her daughter is getting married. I see my father looking relieved like never before that now I’m someone else’s burden. I see all those strangers glaring at me. I bet they aren’t happy for me, I bet they don’t even care. I bet they just think I’m falling into place, into my husband’s shadow.
“In an old shabby box my mother keeps her wedding veil, graduation cap, and pictures of both “happy” events. I would always opt to put on the graduation cap.”
I have memories of myself as a little girl, I would sneak into my mother’s room and go into her closet. In an old shabby box she keeps her wedding veil, graduation cap, and pictures of both “happy” events. I would always opt to put on the graduation cap. Looking at my mother I never wanted to be in her shoes, she is a very warm-hearted person, married to a man who is nonexistent outside the physical world. He is cold, distant and soulless. Their conversation doesn’t stretch outside the household and their children’s affairs. I’ve always pictured myself married to a man who would feed my ambition and I would inspire his, we would be a support system to each other, and we would take on the world together.
“I want to fight this and resist those crippling standards my parents want me to live by, but I can’t.”
My parents had already hindered my ambitions growing up. They thought that an education and a career are not paths for me. They encouraged shortcuts when it came to those things, shortcuts leading to matrimonial bliss. I feel ashamed for not putting a fight then and not putting a fight now. I’ve always believed in myself, I believe that I can be great at what I do. I believe that I could’ve been a woman that girls look up to and think that they want to follow my footsteps. I want to fight this and resist those crippling standards my parents want me to live by, but I can’t. For this is not in me, the courage to stand up to the people who raised me, and spent all their lives dedicating it to me.
“I’ve talked to my future husband, and I think this is where all my dreams will fall apart, slaughtered at the tips of his classic shoes and conventional mind.”
I’ve talked to my future husband, and I think this is where all my dreams will fall apart, slaughtered at the tips of his classic shoes and conventional mind. Our conversations were as shallow as a good meal and good household appliances. I can see my future with him, I’d be cold, distant and soulless. I would always live in my head and imagine the vast options and exhilarating life I could’ve had, if only I had any fight in me.
My mother told me that my husband is a good man from a good family and is able to provide. He is picture perfect, he is someone every girl would dream of, I’m one lucky girl and I will be envied, she thinks she needs to buy some more of those Fatma’s hand and evil eyes.
“I unhook from my father’s hands and my husband raises my veil; my mother’s veil. He gives me a look that makes me feel like a couple of organs being donated before they become worthless goods.”
Walking towards my future husband… I suffocate, and then my world stops. I imagine I will love him one day. He will turn out to be the love of my life. I unhook from my father’s hands and my husband raises my veil; my mother’s veil. He gives me a look that makes me feel like a couple of organs being donated before they become worthless goods. Then he plants a kiss on my forehead, chills blast through my spine, blood freezes until I can feel my veins solidifying. I know now that I will forever feel alone. I wish I was a different kind of girl, with different kind of parents.
I look at father and his reflection, soon to be my husband.
I can see myself undergoing metamorphosis to a living corpse with a socially acceptable smile, a fake glimpse of happiness and a deserted dream.
I feel abandoned, alone and worst of all trapped for the rest of my life, till death do us part.
Basma Abbas believes in all forms of art. She is especially mesmerized by fashion. She believes that how people dress reflects who they are and how they feel. It’s a form of art where she can get to create her own reality. It allows her to reach into the depths of her mind and soul, and to stretch beyond. She was reborn in Tahrir five years ago. The revolution was a turning point in her life. She wanted to stand for those who couldn’t stand for themselves. She wanted to fight for change, freedom and social justice. She is a wife and a mother of two, with passion for Yoga and meditation. She considers herself in a continuous journey to explore her spiritual path so that she can have a grounded sense of self.