In the Shadows of Men: Surviving Adolescence


The family portrait was then subject to collapse and breakage. Strange colors mingled, shapes were off balance and out of place. There were no lines or columns, nothing in proper proportion. The entire image was on the verge of being unrecognizable.

How often I gave myself over to despair, almost submitting completely.

How difficult motherhood becomes when your children enter adolescence.

And how difficult adolescence is for the child himself. As if the human being goes through a second birth, a stage of life that’s not all that different from exiting the womb with a painful jolt. The only difference is that the first birth comes from inside of another, but the second is out in the open for all to see. We see the transformation happening in front of us. The difference is that the newborn becomes even larger than you, the one who gave birth to him. Instead of the scream he makes upon his first appearance in the world, he emerges as an adolescent, screaming out with behaviors that are strange compared to anything in his childhood, since you raised him with extreme caution and rules you carefully designed. He tries his best to break out of those confines. To be himself. He wants to be a man, no longer a child. He screams out for his own independence, like that scream he let out when a cut of the umbilical cord separated him from you.

The universe is filled with secrets and mysteries. We pass through it without ever realizing this. Our need for freedom as human beings is instinctive. It is the first instinct in humans. Freedom.

This appetite for freedom is in place from our first breath. We measure everything, clarify, and explain all in accordance with our moods, our heritage, or our traditions. We become what is expected of us, and we are told that we are free. We think within the boundaries of this structure from the moment we’re able to reason. Even our imaginations are restrained. The brain—aql—is locked. In Arabic, the word “brain” and “lock” share the same root. The words “mind”—fikr—and “apostasy”—kufr—share another root. To use the brain is to rationalize, and this does not interfere with belief. But to use the mind is to reason, and this makes one an infidel.

We say “rationalize,” and we don’t say “reason.”

With the brain, the boundaries are clearly defined. It is not confusing. Rationalization is like confining the brain to a locker. With reason, you sail in, you dismantle the brain, and you allow what is possible. In reason, there may be disbelief in what the brain has rationalized. And this is horrific… terrifying… frightening… threatening to the whole structure that is organized in the mind.

What has been fixed in our minds has been pounded in like a nail struck with a hammer. It becomes part of the construction of our intellect. Therefore, the mind cannot rationalize without a brain.

Rationalization is a wisdom no one escape, except by dismantling the brain, by which he becomes insane… forsaken.

He becomes divorced.

Except, a man never becomes divorced. The woman is the one who gets divorced.

You become divorced.



Leave a Reply