It’s 3AM and I’m sobbing in my pillow in total shock and fear from the world around me. I’ve landed on the planet Earth (apparently) about 10 years ago and was faced with the shocking truth that there is an evil side to this world, there are good people and bad people, there are kind people and cruel people, there are people who spend their nights praying and others who spend their nights sniffing and injecting drugs into their veins, there are people who just accept you as you are and others who judge every tiny action that you do and don’t do, and every word that you say or don’t say. Whatever happened to scales?! I mean BALANCE… why can’t people be normal?
When I first came to Egypt, I came at the most critical point of any girl’s life, I was 15 and I was in my last school year. All the other kids had been “school friends” for years, ever since diaper changing I guess, or maybe earlier… I was the “New Kid on the Block”, or more like the” New Wierdo on the Block”. A girl joining a new school, coming from the UAE with a whole different view of people and life, “Hmmm… we wonder what she’s like”, only people didn’t even bother to find out more about what she’s like, they just decided it’s easier to ignore her presence. I thought it was the worst time I could ever go through in my life, I cried myself to sleep every night, I begged my parents to take me back to where I came from, even when I talked to my cousins who supposedly knew me, no one understood, they actually made fun of me, I didn’t get their jokes, I just didn’t blend in. My aunt used to glue me to my seat because I have to finish what’s in my plate, I didn’t like the food, I wasn’t used to it, at home I was used to eating certain types of food and when I’m full I’m full, no pressure. I got used to the taste of my tears as they ran down into my plate at every meal. When I cried to my parents, my dad would understand, he’s half British, I was brought up with the presence of my British grandmother… they understood what was upsetting me, but for some reason everyone was gradually molding into life here but I wasn’t… or actually I thought I was…
Finally graduated from school and decided I’m starting fresh at a place where everyone would be new, where nobody knows anybody, or at least you can get away with being new because people who were old friends were very few… University! A huge place full of thousands of people who come in different shapes, mentalities, nationalities and backgrounds. The way I was brought up, I go to university to learn so I go just before my class, attend, grab a bite at the cafeteria and go home. I got to know some people as I went along (just like anyone would), and here came the even more shocking truth; people here would smoke pot in the bathrooms, would have beer in their coke cans, would make out behind the trees at the end of the campus, would go hang out at someone’s place and get wasted, would sell ecstasy pills for a party later on that night. My mind refused to get the images across; after all I was a 16 year old who has been living in a place where I know 10-12 people whom I saw every day and knew their families. I was introduced to people twice on campus, once that would go something like “This is Rami, major Business Administration, 2 years to go”, then introduced to the same person again from someone else “That’s Rami, was in jail for raping a girl while he was drugged and was in rehab for a year” or “This is Sarah, Australian mother and studying Marketing, 1 year to go” then round 2 “That’s Sarah, got pregnant twice and we took her to have an abortion the 2nd time when her boyfriend left her”. I had a pact with myself that I’m going to keep to myself and mind my own business, I’ll just stick to what I’m here for and just attend my classes and go home. Guess what people thought of me??? Yes… a NERD. What’s up with that (here we go again) WIERDO who comes to uni to ACTUALLY attend classes and go home?
That went on for almost 3 semesters till I actually met some people who are either just like me or are not but at least understand where I’m coming from and are accepting me as I am. Those friends are still friends till this day and I really cherish them deep in my heart.
During my time at university, I caught some bad habits, thinking that this would help me “fit in”, nothing major but for me being the girl I was with the innocence I had, were bad habits. To be honest, they did help me fit in… but with the wrong people!! I could say those bad habits definitely taught me a lot and moved me to a higher level of knowledge about the world around me. Soon after graduation with high honors, 3.64 GPA, I got a job and started my career life. This was serious stuff, older people, money, deadlines, driving, back-stabbing, clients, subordinates, colleagues and much more. After 7 years of work I felt myself gradually getting tougher and knowing this country inside out. I felt that my balanced mentality and being down to earth finally started paying back. I have friends that are the world to me, I have a family that loves me, I met a guy after a series of failed relationships, one of which screwed up so many things inside me, and I was totally content with my life. Here we go again, another shocking truth… whoever said that growing up was easy? Whoever said that life is easy? Whoever said that you can just “be yourself”??? The truth is; you CANNOT!!! You have to think ahead of yourself before you do or say anything, you have to dress a certain way, you have to think a certain way, you have to talk a certain way, you have to act a certain way. Why do I have to buy dessert EVERY time I visit people in their house? Why do I have to wear black while paying condolences respects? Why do I have to buy a gift for someone with the exact same value of the one I received from them? Why do people find you weird when you have your own ideas about love and dating? Why do I have to spend 3,000 L.E. on a top from Beymen so I could fit in… why can’t I buy stuff from H&M? Why is it when I think of what I really want to do and start up my own humble business does it have to be the wrong decision and is going to fail? Why do I have to make profit from day 1? Can’t I just satisfy myself THEN start making money? Why can’t I keep my hair curly? So many questions weeding through my mind and the more I think of them the more of a space invader I feel. I am now faced with the facts that “HEY, WAKE UP AND SMELL THE TOILETS”. Apparently I’m the reason for all the problems I’ve faced. Apparently I have to be fine-tuned to “fit in”, I’m POTENTIAL material for a wife/mother, I’m just a perfect part to complete a perfect picture for someone else with just some changes like about 90% change… that’s not too much is it??!! (Yes, I’m being sarcastic).
How can I accept the fact that at the age of 26 I can change my character, my mentality, and my beliefs? How can I make a family and hold the responsibility of a home and husband, how can I build characters? I feel the outrage of being someone all my life and struggling so hard to cast in the script of life and still after all this time, I’m required to take that costume off and be re-introduced to life as a new rehabilitated person!!
My dilemma will go on and as far as I see at this moment, it won’t end in the near future, unless I go back to my Planet… and apparently it’s the Planet of Nowhere!!