A man that I helped shape
He puts the needle in
The veins where he poured his love and envy
Swelling with forced euphoria
His defiance killing a person that I was robbed from knowing
God stands watch
The silent sentinel
Winding along the path of time
We can no longer tell what formed the hatred
So he puts the needle in and we can’t tell if it was even hatred to begin
Everything twisted upon itself mirroring humanity’s history
Our collective diseased tree
So he puts the needle in
A Slow death
A person, a stranger that I never knew
The routine in our house was usually that after my father would come back from dawn prayer the mosque, he would be sitting in the kitchen reading the Quran. We would wake up and be asked to turn on a recitation tape or CD and then make wadooh, ritual washing of the body, before praying morning prayer. Only after we do these things are we allowed to sit down and eat breakfast. If my mother was not up, then he would wake her, but on rare occasions he would make and serve us breakfast. Any deviation from that routine usually resulted in a long lecture about our duty to our creator. How we don’t forget to eat or go to the bathroom, but forget about the one that created us. My mother would be cranky in the morning when he would push her to do her prayers and make breakfast a lot. She could not start a day right without a cup of coffee. Light and sweet with milk and never cream. She would have several cups during the course of the day too. It was a bit of an addiction for her.
During summer break before University started, my eye sight became really bad. I used to have perfect 20/20 vision, but I noticed it deteriorating during my late high school years. My father blamed it on me watching too much TV and being on the computer too much. So, I hated myself for a while for having to wear glasses just to see the board at school. That summer we also visited Egypt for the first time since we had lived there. Cousin A, Uncle M’s only son, was enrolled in the pharmacy program and his youngest sister was enrolled in the music program due to her grades being low. Cousin A always had an interest in me since the days that we were very young and used to dance on the roof top together. We were left sometimes to “get to know” each other and he basically showed off his collection of pirated Egyptian music on his computer. We would all watch censored American movies together and I brought over a Sailor Moon tape for us all to watch. Cousin AT, his younger sister, who I used to have a short sexual tryst with when we were younger, had gained almost as much weight as I had at one point. I did not understand her decline in self-esteem, but it finally dawned on me later on what happened. My mother told me many years later that she was circumcised at the age of thirteen because she was found flirting with boys from the balcony. Her father, Uncle M, had also tried to push my father to circumcise me when I was born, but my mother advised him against it. Her reasoning was that some studies showed that being circumcised usually made a girl more promiscuous instead of curbing the desire like initially thought. Their older sister, Cousin AM, was married and it looked like it was against her will sometimes. Her husband would be over and he would put on an air of being playful and try to get me to joke with him, but I would tell him off every chance I got. Most of the people in the household would take it as humor, but we both knew that I did not like him. At all. From what I saw of how he treated his wife and from what I have heard, I gathered that he was an abusive husband. Nobody did anything about it. Cousin AM was a math teacher like our grandmother was, but he ended up making her stay home and quit her job.
We also had visits from our two male cousins that lived with Uncle S’s divorced wife. He sent her money on a semi-normal basis, but the family all claimed that she was mentally ill. They also claimed that she abused them. Uncle M would sit the children down and whisper to them the stories of how their mother would not feed them and would force them to do grueling household chores. He would force them to recount them and reenact them with demonstrations. The children would look vacant and troubled and when he did that, which was an almost impossible combination to see displayed in a person at the same time. Aunt’s S’s family rarely came over anymore because of the hate and rumors that Uncle M’s family were still perpetuating since the last time that we lived there.
Uncle M’s family was well off at that time because they were reaping the benefits of the rented properties that my father owned. They were stealing some of the profits for themselves and not telling my father about it and were not found out until my mother did the math. Not only that, but my mother had to leave some family heirlooms behind and my Uncle had thrown them away without consulting with any of my parents about it. Despite all that, their collective hatred seemed to grow and spread to everyone and everything. We only stayed a week and decided to spend the rest of our vacation at our apartment in Alexandria which was where my baby brother took his first steps.
When I went out, despite being a bigger girl, I noticed a lot of the leers and suggestive behavior that I was willfully oblivious to when I was younger. Whether that was because it wasn’t as common as it was during the time that I visited or I become more experienced and aware with age, I can’t say. That wasn’t the only thing that changed over the years. Gone was the live animals being sold on the streets, you only found those at night in the big cities like Alexandria, Tanta, or Cairo. That, or in the smaller farm villages at any time of the day. Uncle M’s family, before we left to Alexandria, bought a bunch processed meat and other supplies from a small grocery store. No more killing the animals yourself. I instantly remembered the time that my father had tried to get me to kill a duck and, when I would not, he made me hold its wings so that he could do it. Or the times when I would be fascinated watching my mother kill chickens and the bemused feeling that I would get when she would try to kill a rabbit by herself and fail. There was also a lamb that was killed on our balcony in Cairo and it was flooded with blood by the time the affair was over.
Egypt had changed and it was continuing to change while I was not there to experience any of it. Just the aftermath whenever we were able to visit. Soon my first year at Rutgers University would begin whether I was ready or not.
Well, seems like lately I really got stuff on my plate. Gonna be seeing Sleep and Winter on the 22nd in NY. A little nervous about going to my first real gig alone in the city no less, but I’ll conquer that feeling.
I’ll be going to gigs a lot more in the next few months.
In the meantime, I ripped some bass lessons from youtube and I’ll be perfecting my playing as best I can.
I’ve been having the urge to express myself creatively somehow. Feel like I have something within that needs to be expressed or tapped into that goes outside the realm of poetry/writing. Maybe art or something vocal? I’ll figure it out.
Also…..family re-instated. I am more at peace.
True shit with other people has been bugging me lately, but..
There only three people that I consider to be family in the truest sense. One is Aleia, second is Heem and third is someone that’s dealing with some heavy shit at the moment. So regardless of whatever I say about staying distant from people, those three are never included in that. I realize I’ve made two posts so far alluding to this, but it’s fucking with me bad. The writing flood gates are open. This is messing with me more than the first time my mother turned on me. I’m over-analyzing everything trying to see how I fucked up.
Last time we talked, the anger/annoyance/hurt was so palpable that I didn’t think even mentioning Heem would have alleviated any of it. At first I wondered if it was something I said or if my bad mood for the past few days rubbed off on them and exasperated whatever shit they were going through. In the end, I wasn’t considering a previous conversation about private space issues and asked why they were being distant. Like I said in a previous post, especially true for people I consider to be that close, my desire/instinct to help and comfort in a way overrides most pre-cautionary rules that have been set. I fail at expressing this accurately, but I don’t want the person to feel like they have to deal with shit alone all the time. I don’t have those boundaries and I don’t want to close up to the person so I express it, but at the same time I don’t want to feel like I’m unloading all my shit on them and they’re left to deal with all their shit..alone. Been there and it can be a lonely feeling sometimes.
Perhaps wording could have been better in my message that started this mess. I don’t know. I realize to some extent that these feelings for someone that I have not met are pretty illogical. I mean, I place them on the same pedestal as A[redacted], someone I’ve known for a very long time and I love her in the truest sense of the word. I would die for the woman; we’ve been through quite a bit together. I’ve come to realize that I love those two people like I haven’t anyone else. It’s the type of feeling where you don’t particularly care what type of relationship they want from you, you’re just happy to know them and know they appreciate you for existing.
I just…needed to express that. Don’t feel any better for it since it won’t undo the past, but at least the words aren’t ringing through my brain and perhaps I can finally sleep.
Just when you think that your life was fucked up, you always meet someone that has had it much worse and are far more productive than you will ever be. Stronger, smarter, more honest, more compassionate, more empathetic, funnier, and more hardworking. While you sit wallowing in your own sweat and starting at the screen of your choice like a zombie, they are out there in the world taking it head on. Stomping challenge after challenge in the face with the vivacity and courage of an 11 year old who just got dared to assault their teacher’s seat with board erasers before class started (true story, it was hilarious because the entire class ended up being in on it). Some clarifications are in order. When I say “you” I mean me and when I say “someone” I mean my dearest friend in Texas. Actually, “someone” could mean just about anyone that actually has the courage to walk out their front door and confront the world.
What have I done, I wonder. What lives have I touched or affected for the better. I used to dream of using my words as sharpened blades to cut down the lies that assault people everyday. I dreamed of revealing every intimate detail of myself in mixed media abstract creations that would make the shallow scratch their heads in confusion. I wanted to create things that would touch people’s hearts. Move them. Reach deep down and help me discover the definition of the ever elusive “human element” in an internal journey that would rival The Odyssey and the Egyptian Book of The Dead combined. I rebelled against my family for this dream. I ran away from home several times for it, but what have I done since then to attain it? Instead I got stuck in a shitty relationship and ended up having a child that I did not initially want. I hate that despite leaving my family’s clutches, I have inevitably fulfilled their highest hopes for me. To be house-ridden with a child and fucking miserable.
I hate that I am somehow a distorted and warped mirror image of my mother. Leaving my dreams and passion behind to do what’s “right.” That I actually stood up for someone that caused me physical and emotional pain in the best “interest” of my child. Becoming her is one of the things that I fear the most in life, aside from being eaten alive. It gives me nightmares.
What would make this all worth-while is if someone actually read the shit that I wrote and said “wow, this truly MOVED me” or “wow, this made me THINK.” Something that goes beyond being impressed by word usage or interesting imagery. Just once, on any of my shit, I would’ve liked constructive criticism to show me that someone actually cares if I got better or not. That was one thing that my family never did because they simple didn’t care if I improved. I just want to know if anything, and I mean anything, has truly moved anyone to such a significant degree to prompt some sort of response. Anything. Just anything to make me feel like I’m not shouting into the wind naked while taking pictures that I will only see plastered on my wall like band posters.
Maybe there is one integral point that I am missing. Maybe my work is too self-absorbed. Maybe I simply don’t have the skill to move people like I want. Maybe I don’t have enough “soul.”
But you know what. Fuck all that. I’m going to keep trying until the day I die, kid or no kid, to be able to shake someone to their core. I am also going to step out of this fucking house and start walking again while rocking out to shit on my iPod.
The journey starts tomorrow.
Part 3. This one has pictures from schools and a good deal from schools in Egypt.
Sometimes the word “you” in English seems so intimate and familiar that using it makes me feel as if I’m on equal footing with the person I am talking to; even if socially and intellectually I am not. Sometimes I have the delusion that we have gotten to know each other better or that it signifies a more intimate verbal threat.
Family’s latest bullshit aside from their circular and fault logic is that homosexuals are more prone to violence and pedophelia.
Part two with pictures of Upper Egypt from Nile Life. Last picture is the hallway leading to my studio.
I have been writing numerous music reviews as of late. One of the reasons for that is because I have been recruited to write for two blogs full-time and a metal webzine part-time. DM[redacted] is one of the blogs where I am already contributing to. A button on my main page’s sidebar has been added to reflect that. The other blog is PR[redacted] which is ran by EL[redacted] from blip. For that particular project, I am waiting for him to get back to me on guidelines and other technical stuff before I actually post. The webzine gig, MM[redacted], is mainly just Middle Eastern and African metal band reviews whenever the guy who runs it feels in the mood for it.
One a more personal front, I have decided to undertake a autobiography project after some thought and a request by R[redacted] from Florida for me to be in her documentary. She is currently collecting life-stories of people that have dropped out of different religions and cults one way or another. I was perplexed on where to actually start and how to actually write it. Finally decided to record it using my Rock Band microphone and the Windows 7 recording program. Since I can’t really embed audio files in my post, I made a video out of part one of my recorded autobiography. The images before the space photos are old scans from artwork that I did in my early to late teen years. Two of them are more recent but it’s not important which ones really. The last picture is my son because I miss him.
Some “technical” notes: my narrative is atrocious and the audio volume varies depending on how worried I am about people being able to hear me breathe at that particular time. Also, the mob’s family name that I forgot is Gambino.
MUBARAK FINALLY STEPPED DOWN!!! TAHYA MASR!!!
Also, the meeting with my dad was fucking awesome. He seemed to be genuinely happy to see me. I learned about my great great grandfather, Hassan El-Iskafy who was a revolutionary that fought against the Turks. His struggles and contributions were recorded in a history book written by a famous historian from Cairo. The book is titled “The History of Egypt” and the author’s name is Gamal [something]. Thing is about my family name is that it was originally El-Iskafy before a judge changed it to E[redacted] because there was another family in Monufya with the same last name as us. Basically, it was done to avoid confusion. My father had told me when I was about six years old to not tell anyone about that and I never understood why until now. Our family is originally from Old Cairo.
My father also told me about the creator of the “What Khaled Said” Facebook page and how the man was pissed off about the government and how he began to set things in motion. He told me the man’s name and occupation but I forgot it. I will have to ask him again tomorrow when we meet again.
Tax money came in so I bought a whole bunch of shit for the house and some stuff for my enjoyment like a new TV, screen, computer, printer, docking bay, dishes, some games, and music.
All that’s missing is something to keep our papers organized, a coffee pot, a percolator, pasta pot, and a gate to close off the kitchen from Heem.
EDIT: I remember the man’s name and occupation. It’s Wae’l Ghounaeim and he worked as a representative of Google in Egypt.
Past few weeks I have been feeling a familiar tug at my mind. The kind of tug that sturs up emotions from the blue spectrum of my brain. To put it plainly, I miss my best friend, my mother. The melancholoy tugs at me along with my worry over my son not remembering me again. Then, like a moron, I checked my brother’s facebook because I was wondering how he was doing. A lot has changed. He looks a lot different and reading comments, I realize how much I don’t know about my siblings anymore. With that reminder came great sadness.
As a result, I’ve been eating a lot for the past month and not really exercising. Don’t go out at all. I don’t care much anymore.