i must let you know that this will be a very raw, honest and revealing piece. i warn you because there are many who find these things uncomfortable to read, maybe because they reveal the person for who they really are and not what everyone sees.
and then there are some who think that we have to always put up a facade and they call that ‘professionalism’. they work hard to draw a hard line between ‘work’ and ‘life’ and get mad at people for being human, even if that didn’t cost anybody anything.
but no, there are many more of us with sense and who have not forgotten what it truly means to be a person; complicated, changing, real, just like everyone else. your story is no less significant than mine, and we stand to learn and benefit from one another.
allow me therefore to proceed, o stranger.
i think i used to be a very energetic and happy person, always looking forward to something. but somehow that has disappeared. i must explain.
i feel empty, like a shell. i wake up when i have to, to pray, to go to school, to do something i cannot escape. otherwise i might come to, turn, and easily go back to sleep. if i am not needed anywhere then there are hardly any things i really wanna get up and just DO.
i used to like:
shopping but that has lost its appeal. i like nice clothes but hardly go out anyway, and then after some time of shopping and getting stuff i realize i’m more curious than anything. curious to see how a shirt will look, and then temporarily excited when it fits will cos TRUST ME it’s a nightmare getting clothes. kinda. when my shoulders fit, the arms are too tight. when the chest fits, the hem drops too low. pants too, it’s hard to find a balance between my waist size and the leg size of a person who has a bigger waist than me. i’m not even big! i guess clothes these days are targeted at skinny people.
i know where i can get clothes tailor made for a reasonable price and it used to excite me. i have photos of shirts i want made but… i don’t care anymore. clothes are just clothes. nothing much. instead i find myself going back to a few ‘trusty’ pieces that work well, feel good, and do exactly what they do. and i’m kinda reluctant to let them go, even when they’re nearing the end of their use.
gaming was a big thing growing up, as my steam library and cd collection attest to. but again… they’ve sorta lost their appeal. i get to escape to another world for a short while, do stuff i can’t do in real life like steal cars and drive dangerously, beat strangers up and whatnot, but then after awhile i just get sick of it and gotta put it away. somehow at the core of it all i feel the fakeness of it. that these are just pixels made to move around on a screen, giving the illusion that something is being done when in fact i’m just pushing images around. i achieve nothing. the cool tricks, stunts and puzzles i solve are just to challenge myself, to see if i have the coordination and skill to pull these things off. and then after awhile… poof. it don’t matter anymore.
television honestly i’ve given up on this a LONG time ago. filth and stupidity.
friends i used to be really happy with my crowd of friends but as time went by i grew to realize that we were very different people. when i could connect deeply with a person on one thing, i got excited, but as soon as i ventured to other ideas and things, it became obvious we operated on different wavelengths. they just didn’t GET me. i think i get them, and sometimes i find the things they care about quite petty, like all the food places they go to and talk about, the sports matches they watch and discuss. there’s nothing wrong with just things, they just… don’t matter to me. really unimportant things, silly sometimes. don’t get me wrong though i don’t think people are silly for liking these things, because each of us has our own tastes.
i have not found people whom i can open up to about everything, in the deepest darkest pits of my soul. i used to know someone like that but not anymore. maybe i don’t know them anymore, maybe i never did know them, maybe i thought i knew them, maybe that was good for then and good for now and later has not come.
and in this emptiness, this space that is devoid of happiness, there are some feelings that i still have, and stand out sometimes.
love especially for my cat, children, animals and plants. i can’t help but feel my heart swell and warmth rush through my body when i hug my cat, or play with a child, or stand looking at a plant. they’re so… clean, pure, innocent and honest. things i wish i was.
i love my family too, or at least i think i do, because i don’t quite understand what it is. i am extremely grateful for my family for everything they have done and continue to do and sincerely pray that God pardons them of all their sins and gathers them amongst His righteous servants whom He loves and are close to Him. i wish for them nothing less than paradise, nothing less than goodness in this world and the next.
but it still remains that i know them for all their flaws and weaknesses, watch how they literally destroy their health, happiness and wellbeing with their stubbornness or whatnot. i am uncomfortable with the possibility that i truly only need them because i might not be able to fend for myself, and that as a person i love routine and a fair degree of predictability and would suffer when they are gone because that would mean a break in the pattern. a pattern that has been going on all my life.
i would do anything for my family, give my life even, but i don’t know why. is it because i know they love me and know they would do the same, and so feel guiltlessly obliged? or is this love? then where is that warmth and spreading happiness. i don’t feel it much. or maybe i do, but i am numb.
yes i think i do. i like it when everyone is home, albeit minding their own business. i can sense them, and can sense their absence. i can feel when my mother walks into the room to wake my brother up, even though i’m half asleep, and i can usually tell if it isn’t her, like if it’s my grandmother or father. i do feel empty when i come home sometimes to find that most have not returned home, and so i feel guilty a lot for not being home, and choose to go home when i can, because maybe they feel the same way as i do.
and i don’t want them to feel that. why? is that love? that i don’t want them to feel sadness and loneliness?
sadness this i know all too well. i can cry very easily, maybe waaaaay too easily. but maybe sadness isn’t the right word. i guess it would be sorrow. when reading of the life of the Prophet (peace be upon him), his companions (God’s mercy be upon them) and the great people that came after them. when hearing stories of people and their lives, things they do, the love they have, it hits me hard. it’s like we are so small and fragile, so vulnerable ourselves, yet look at all these other people, unafraid and so giving. and what have they gone through as a consequence! and what have i done in comparison?
sometimes i feel so small and powerless, so un-profitable to others and so burdensome, that i sort of look forward to death. to the end of this prison sentence, surrounded by tests and the poison of desires, of fleetingness and importance put in things that don’t matter in the least. of my weakness, awareness of this temporary life yet constant in sinning and heedlessness, conflicting thoughts and actions, confusing ideas and hazy understanding. sometimes i just want this to quickly end. and then
fear because i am all to aware of the mountains of sin i have committed and continue to commit. of the insincerity of my worship and good deeds, the swelling of my breast when people praise me for things which i have not achieved of my own effort, me being a hypocrite for saying one thing but doing another. and this all pairs with fervent hope because if i have no hope in Allaah then i have lost everything. because it is He himself who introduces Himself to as as The Beneficent, The Merciful. and is He not Merciful? i still live, breathe, live in comfort, despite my atrocities. aren’t we all lucky? aren’t we always bathing in His Mercy? then why not have hope, why not beg Him to accept our lousy deeds and pardon our many wrongs. why not ask Him if it is, after all, Him who gives and takes. once you believe, it’s logical.
envy and yearning when i see people with their companions, couples walking happily together. maybe i’ve grown up. i don’t want some superficial girl looking all dolled up and laughing at all the right times, going to all the fancy places with me. no i don’t care for all that. i want to be with a real woman who has a face of flesh and skin, that doesn’t have to be perfect like in the magazines. a woman who laughs, cries, sneezes, gets confused, bosses me around sometimes, takes too long to make simple decisions, has insight unmatched, listens with an open ear yet gives honest comments, makes mistakes, gets angry, doesn’t look glam 24/7, you get the picture. a real person. cos… isn’t your spouse a super special person. NO ONE gets access to you like they do. not even your parents can see you fully undressed once you’ve grown up. your spouse doesn’t even have to ASK to touch you. how bloody powerful a connection is that.
it’s like they’re one person operating in two bodies. i’d like that. i’d like to have someone like that. and i would take care of that person to the best of my ability. see it’s strange, part of the appeal is to have to DO something for someone. it’s like i’m literally signing up for free labour or something.
i’d listen to her stories and yawn if they were boring but when she gets annoyed i’d apologize and continue listening anyway. i’d be really genuinely nice to her family and relatives because if she loves them and i love her then i must love them too. i’d make her breakfast in bed. sometimes. if the situation really calls for it. then again it’d probably consist at least of a protein shake so… that isn’t gonna impress her. but still she’ll say thank you and i’ll feel like the most important person hero in the world and then go and learn how to make something other than a protein shake. you know that stupid song that girl who sang about what her momma told her about guys liking big girls or something, she sang that other song to her dear future husband? yeah i’m not that kinda guy but i’d sure like to write a reply of sorts cos that song got me thinking.
yearning too to be amongst the great people of the past. to be granted the honour, however undeserving, to catch just, at least, a TINY glimpse of the Prophet (peace be upon him). oh how we all wish for him (peace be upon him) to see us one day, smiling, recognising us, and happy to see us. what an honour, when you look at his closest companions, and see the giants they were, and they you stand beside them and cannot compare, yet he (peace be upon him) loves you more than you love yourself.
pain but not in the sense you might think. i used to be really crazy about bodybuilding. i wanted to get big and shredded and strong and whatever. i guess i still do, though i’ve realized why. i want to stare at my reflection and feel happy. i want to be able to do stuff that people cannot do when they’re skinny and small, like carry heavy stuff, tell a person to please be patient and they’ll take your words seriously JUST cos you have big biceps… i don’t care anymore for people looking at me. whether you think i’m big or small i’ll always be small to me so i don’t really care what you think.
but the pain. that is real. in the gym, every rep, every last few reps, pushing through the hurt, feeling vulnerable under all that iron. the gym gives me an outlet to release some degree of frustration, to hammer in the reality of my humanity and frailty, my utter reliance on God for preserving my health and safety, and then to keep pushing through the pain because normal people don’t do that and i think i’m not a person anymore. maybe like a machine. i do as i have to, as i am told, no feeling, not always at least.
lust and this i hate. it sickens me that a part of my mind still gets excited over what is, in essence, a collection of tissue hanging on to a frame of bone, the collective of it destructible, temporary, subject to all sorts of illnesses and ugliness, and possibly other forms of wretchedness. it irks me like NOTHING ELSE that my eyes want to wander, want to look at people, when i KNOW it brings me ZERO benefit. utterly useless, in fact damaging. maybe i’m still human then? hah. how dare i say i’m not, that’s a cool status that only a select few are honoured with. i’m just like everybody else.
and today, amongst people again after a long time, i realized one thing: i make people laugh, maybe i make them happy, maybe they are happy to see me. but the smiles and laugh you see from me are mostly like a knee-jerk: action, reaction. often no depth or lasting feeling. but i’m happy to make them happy. if i could i’d entertain people all day, not wanting them to reciprocate, just making them feel at ease, relaxed, good. but that’s hard, see, cos people think the ‘life of the party’ is himself alive and partying, but… i might just be dead inside. and i will not have it that they discover that, feel sad for me, and then if they’re sad i’m sad.
no. i’m just empty, a shell. i’ll make you happy so you just be happy. i’m fine being empty, leave me like this. eventually i, too, like everything else, will be gone, and then it won’t matter. so while we’re still here forget that i’m real and let me exist in my own way, in this world, but hopefully not of it. beside you, but not really there. well-liked, but forgotten in a flash.
alive, but just barely?