It has been a real long while that I woke up in the morning dragged myself to work, listened to my piano amazing recitals, and thought: what a blessed life I have.
For the last year, I was dragged into a depression that was really dark, but yet, I didn’t have any option but to survive. Being a mother is too much of that non-stop triggering feeling have: pull back, you are not alone.
I actually don’t really know what happened to make me wake up this morning with this attitude. And it is not actually easy to point directly to what threw me into depression. In both cases two major things triggered the path, one was disappointment and the other was hope. Last year, when my supervisor accused me of plagiarism for a paper that I worked so hard on, I felt disappointment, injustice, shame and all the conspiracy ideas that may have flown to my head, but it was worse, despair. There was this feeling that pulled me so hard into an edge where I felt that whatever I do I am always swallowed into the hole of hurricane. It coincided with marking ten years of my divorce, and somewhere it dwelled on me. I couldn’t but reflect, and couldn’t but ask myself, what happened? Where am I standing? What did I achieve and what did I lose. I was expecting a lot of rewards on my decade entry of surviving what seemed impossible for a whole ten years. But suddenly it all felt gloomy, and somehow everything wasn’t working; my studies, where I was thinking that I am putting my fingers towards a point of something I really want fell all in front of me like shattering glass. My work went into the worse place ever, the change of presidency and administration, my not really best diplomatic approach gaining the reputation of being trouble didn’t serve in a time the university was changing it’s president who really didn’t like me at all. My ex who seemed to have recharged his energy in evilness and cruelty declared new wars and more financial problems resulted and more stress on the children. Emotionally, I was already suffering from a break up of quite a long relationship that I didn’t actually break up from and I didn’t actually decide to stay. Some feeling of being used or dumped were surrounding my gloomy air. It was not an exaggeration to say, that every single thing I touched in those months turned into rejection or negativeness. It felt so suppressive, I reached to a level were I couldn’t handle anything any more. I was receiving a rejection into anything I applied for. As if there was this force that was insisting to challenge me and to make sure I break down to many pieces.
Amid all this some positive things remained and increased actually, my son was practically back to me after his father intentions in dumping him as he got closer to eighteen and was convinced that the boy cannot have a chance in further education as a result of his dyslexia and learning difficulties. The other thing was blogging.
My son remains a very sensitive issue within me. It is true that I managed his going to his father a few years back with what I called great wisdom from my side. For the very first time in my life I used wisdom over emotions. I just focused on one thing: keeping him safe. My emotions towards him were suppressed for years, believing very deep inside me, that he will back. All the love I poured in him for years with every single breath cannot go away. It was so challenging, and at the same time it was a blink of good and evil winning. He was back with more of a challenge, working on all the destruction the father did, and the real challenge of what can happen in his future and education. All what I had was having him back. Financial challenges were rising. Having four children with one in a university abroad and other three with a lifestyle of elites in this city was something really far from my reach as a woman with an average salary. My secret provider was the bank. And still is. It is true that I am a person who lives on loans. But honestly, the best friend one can have is the bank. Regardless to all the benefit he receives. at least the bank is the only “person” whom when you approach him doesn’t ask you why , or give you hard time ,and tell you let me think , and of course nothing comes out except the sentence: why isn’t the father paying . He should.
The other part was writing. Writing kept me alive in many ways. Blogging on the other level made me feel that I existed. There is this line of support that blogging offers through the network that is created by anonymous people who genuinely feel you and reach out of you, without knowing you or wanting anything from you. There was this touch of humanity that people in this sense gave me in many ways indirectly and directly.
Between these two things, my children were fine. It was one of the most important times as a mother, feeling the support and love of my children. These kids kind of crowned me on a throne that was so special and unique … it only fitted me and it only filled me with unbelievable amount of power and love.
Amid the destruction that was taking place, I felt like walking out along a world war aftermath. I was collecting every single left opportunity and grasping to it and making a cloud of chance in it to start rearranging my falling skies.
In order to survive the humiliation of a plagiarized stigma, I started writing another paper, with a different topic somehow, and with great support with my other supervisor, whose genuine feelings of support to my work and to me was making al to of difference to me, with his very little words and conservative approach. I started working with still too many emotions of rage, but yet something new was developing. If you know this feeling when you work on a paper and you are taken by all the technicalities and frameworks in order to meet the requirements, and in the middle of that you have passing moment that tells you: if I was to write it again I would have done this or that? As much as I was proud of my previous paper, that truly had some problems with plagiarized sentences that I didn’t know about, but I yet, it was a good piece of work by all those who views it. And I am talking academic viewers. And somehow, everyone thought that the accusation was too harsh and something strange took place. As I am putting this behind me, I will never forgive my supervisor for what he did. But he did teach me a lesson in perfectionism. Sometimes you maybe a person who is not deemed for mistakes. And apparently I am one of those. Somewhere, the opportunity that came out in rewriting was a gift to me. First, I wrote the new thesis with a totally new spirit, it was I writing. And that me was so scared to appear in the first one. I felt more of ready and mature. I knew exactly what I wanted to write about, and my skills in writing and research has definitely developed.
At the same time, the support I received in the other paper, by viewers after fixing the mistakes (the crimes) he mentioned, which was of course easy because he was too precise, was overwhelming by friends who worked in academia from many places around the world, and somehow the fact that the work was supervised by two people, one decided it was plagiarized and the other had a contrasting opinion, didn’t question the reliably of both, but somehow in the world of academia, it shed the light on the styles ,and limitations when it comes to something as tough as plagiarism.
Anyway. Whatever it was, it managed to really drag me to the worse depression I encountered in my life. And I really didn’t believe I would survive.
Despair is worse than anything … you can wear a smile, go to a party, get dressed, hang out … but when you are in that cycle nothing really get you out … I was imagining myself deciding to kill myself after a great dinner or a pleasant hangout. Which I didn’t in that time … I became isolated and closed to myself, I started questioning the whole concept of friendship. You can count tens of friends, and in such times you realize that you are all alone…
My blessing was invaluable… with four loving children and two adorable dogs.
As the complexed person in me cannot change, I decided to write the thesis for the other MA I was enrolled in for years, and was taking on very slow motion avoiding an obsessive coordinator and teacher who really made me stop and lose any interest in acquiring anything related to that program. But at some point I stopped and thought: who is he to make you throw away two real years of work. That nagging side in me was digging and it was actually not easy to face it. To go back to a program where I have to deal with the person that sits on my nerves and yet challenge him that this is my right.
If you already think I must be troubled, which I am. Please consider why such people really stand on the side when I make decisions of coming back.
Living in a society where being a woman is an indication of weakness. You can image what being a divorced woman means. And when an Arab man decides that he wants you, because he is the macho, the superior existing hero of all times, or to you poor divorced woman, mid aged with many children, you should just fall down to your knees and pray day and night to thank heaven and earth that, that man, that great man decided that he wanted you …
There is something definitely wrong in precisely Arab men in their attitude. Of course understand completely. And of course men are practically the same. But the patriarchal set up of an Arab man is absolutely “ unique”. The poor men actually suffer, thinking of their great offers in “coming down” to a woman with such circumstances as disturbing and unacceptable as being divorced and not only that, with one, tow, three, four children. And not exactly with an astounding beauty.
Starting to write another thesis in a completely different topic of interest, but at the same time with very little information and knowledge was too challenging.
In the middle of all this. Along a period of almost a year, I was writing two theses, with two real challenging topics (still waiting for the mercy of supervisors to review).
I have to admit that reading, and in many ways, acquiring knowledge about some issues that I took for granted forever, has been kind of a whole journey of maturity if this is a word I may use in this sense.
Along the depression, it couldn’t get worse than finding a mouse in the house… and my phobia with mice is not an exaggeration …but it needed my system to encounter a mouse to have all my wires reconnecting again. The screams that I only remember in the last screams of giving birth where encountered with seeing a mouse. It wasn’t seeing actually, because I cannot see him. Spotting him was enough. I have to say there was a glance of an eye contact, and the monster must have been wired with my screams because I remembered him jumping along the waves of my voice.
More tests came along, my son finished school with not a clue what to do. No money, no grades, no place that can really understand or help.
I think if I ever concentrated my prayers on something, it was on him going to the university and studying what he loves. I swear, if miracles existed, it became true with that wish.
I should of course have intensified my prayers more into asking for expenses cover with that. When he was accepted to a good university with exactly what he wished for, I was crashed with the problem of financial issues, where I naively again, didn’t really think that is father will turn his back from. After all this is a family achievement. But that man never seized to amaze me in how much of a stupid bastard he apparently will remain…
One crisis after the other. With one ray of light opened in the middle of the darkness to another, attempting to grasp it all and make a star inside that sky of mine. He made. The kids made it at school, with all the activities they want without the restrictions and needs of a man who doesn’t realize that the love of a child is millions of times worth more than what any money can provide. A daughter who is successfully getting close to her graduation from university. With two drafts of theses that I am so proud of still awaiting the mercy of supervisors to approve, and a non stop attempts of trying to find a job that can pay for my loans and more. And on top of all. The brightness of an upcoming horizon of something I am really not sure of … something that is coming out of writing. With each new follower, or viewer, or comment, I feel fulfilled with hope, that yes, I am here, and people are there to read and connect. In this year, of the gloomiest despair, my articles were published in many media and news outlets in Palestine and around the world. I was thrilled with the Huffington post asking for my articles. A major magazine in Egypt, and my childish excitement is indescribable when I click to my article on a major Arab news paper and my photo appears next to he most famous Arab columnist for the last twenty years.
And to make my media excitement overwhelming … seeing that an article of mine receives 17k shares in two days (it would have needed two decades normally)
I felt dancing on the clouds and embracing the stars I have been creating for the whole year in my imagination.
With each word I receive that carries: Nadia we are reading you. Please go on. I feel that life has more to offer than what we normally see.
I have been laying my head on the pillow for the last few months, thinking of all the great things I have been blessed with, being healthy and my kids. Seeing them growing and making it through the path of life well and on their own. Being showered with their love. Being blessed with knowing real great people that have marked a lot in the welfare of this country and the world, who have been supportive with things as great a word and a hug.
I feel great with each time I try. Each time I attempt to move forward even inside a path that is only a dream. I no longer wait for a man who will give me the love that will fill me. The job that will provide me. The appreciation that I feel I deserve.
, I don’t need any of all those things anymore … I feel like I have it all. I still want to feel the love, and have the opportunity… but somewhere now I believe it will come on its own. When time comes…
I feel like saying. To all…
I am really grateful. And I am just filled with gratitude to all. God is out there in many ways… not just watching or taking naps. Happiness comes within small daily gifts that fill our lives .we just need to breath them in.
this should be my Thanksgiving prayers and review)