Category Archives: Relationships

Clearing the air

“Stop. We are done with the question portion of the program. I’m happy. I’m going.” – Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City

baliQuestions. So many questions. So many questioning. So often questioned.

I was raised to believe that everything has an answer for itself, which means, naturally, that everything can be questioned — or rather, should be questioned. I grew up with a need to know everything that crossed my path, especially their reasons for it, because I needed to understand why some things were the way they were, and why I couldn’t make other things the way I thought they should have been. And no matter how unsettling the answers were, when I finally did get them, I really could feel the weight of not knowing being lifted off my shoulders.

The questions were what shaped me into what I am today. They gave me the resourcefulness I needed in order to achieve what I wanted. They were also my downfall, torturing me with the only answer that I could never abide by: no answer.

It has been five months since the day I regained everything I had come so close to losing, five months since I felt as though a dark and limitless cloud had been parted for a tiniest sliver of light to shine through. And yet, five months later, the wounds remain as fresh as ever, scabbing over every now and then, only to be picked open eventually by a recurring memory. And in the five months that I have spent trying to recover from a year of torment, I have questioned and been questioned to the within an inch of my life.

The questions started out genuinely curious, such as “So are you back together now, for real for real?” “Is everything back to normal?” “How is everyone dealing with it?” Then they turned vapid, like “Are you getting married?” “But don’t you want kids?” “Why don’t you want kids?” and the like. Then the questions delve a little deeper, along the vein of “So why are you together?” “Is it because you haven’t found The One?” “Then what will you do with your life?” and so on.

It’s an inescapable and regrettable fact that most people think in order to live a fulfilling life, I have to be like other women: get married, and have as many children as my body is willing to spit out. Nobody ever took into consideration that it doesn’t take a piece of paper stamped by a court for my life to actually mean something. And as soon as I have the balls to say, “I don’t want to get married,” or “I don’t want to have kids,” they automatically chalk it up to the simple fact that I just haven’t found the right person to do that with yet.

So, once and for all, I will set the record straight. I don’t want to get married, and I don’t want to have kids. Even if I did, I have already found the only man I will ever do that with, but our relationship was founded on his regret that he ever got married in the first place — although he has never regretted having kids — so I wouldn’t be dumb enough to put him in a position where he would regret being married again. And, most importantly, after almost three years of coming (several) full circle(s) to find each other again, we know full well that we don’t need a marriage or kids to live the kind of life we want. And we are happy.

I will never stop questioning. I will always wonder why some things took so long to happen the way I needed them to. I will always wonder what my life would be like now if, four months ago, I really did have to watch him walk away from me so that we could both be free. I will always wonder how long it would be before we could be together again, and how far he would go to bring me back. I will never stop questioning, and thanks to that, I will never stop being grateful for what we have now.

And with that, I hope to return to our regularly scheduled programming.

Lost to love

‘Girl Before a Mirror’ by Pablo Picasso

I’ve been dating ever since I was 15 years old. I can count on two hands the number of relationships I’ve been in, but only on one hand the number of serious ones. And out of all the boyfriends I’ve had, I’ve only ever really been in love with one, because he was the only one who could ever meet me on my own level, and who knew how to make his life fit seamlessly with mine.

That last statement comes off a little ironic, because in all my years of dating, now matter how I felt about the boys (and later men), I always made a point of adapting myself to them. I learned their habits, their idiosyncrasies, and their lifestyles, and found a way to make room in my life for them. On some occasions, my friends mistook my conformity for actual love, and pointed out that I was losing myself by allowing my life to revolve around my boyfriends’.

I maintained that I wasn’t doing that, and that I was just being flexible, because any woman with a brain knows that it’s much easier to adapt to a man than to try and make a man change his ways for her.

It wasn’t until a few days ago that I finally saw myself through my friends’ eyes.

I came across a post on Instagram that read: “Relationships aren’t built on how many times someone tells you that they love you. Relationships are built on all those times that they didn’t tell you, but showed it to you instead.” And at that moment I found myself thinking, If this is love, then I don’t want it.

As someone who was raised to speak her mind and never say things she didn’t mean, I don’t think I’ve ever taken back anything I’ve ever said or written about anything or anyone. Truths are hard to hear, and read, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s only because people don’t want to have to live with them. My career as a journalist only sought to reinforce my belief in writing the facts — only after having incontrovertible proof that they are true, of course — so that I never had to feel guilty or take them back.

So it was an enormous step out of my comfort zone, not to mention against my own principles, when I was asked to remove something from a recent post, but because it caused a lot of unnecessary backlash i.e. drama. And after much raging, swearing and crying, I relented, not because what I had written wasn’t true, but because I was being asked to by the first person in the world I would have given up everything for.

Immediately after I edited that post, I was filled with a sense of self-loathing and resentment so profound that I knew I would never forgive myself — or him — for what I had been made to do. I was a hypocrite for backing down on what I believed in and doing what I had always been taught never to do, all for the love of one person. I had, once again, allowed every aspect of my life to be controlled by someone I neither know nor respect, all for the love of one person. And in loving someone too much, I had lost myself.

If this is love, then I don’t want it.

A year in tandem

tandem

They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger — but only after it makes you wish it had killed you. And there is no one who can attest to this more than I.

As I wrote nearly six years ago, time is the unkindest cut of all. It sweeps by, impenitent and without a care for whether or not we are willing to go along with it. It hovers about, watching us make mistakes, but never allows us to do penance for them even if we have learned our lessons. It lets — and occasionally even helps — us make decisions and then only shows us the consequences of those decisions when it has become too late to undo them. It turns us against our principles and into people we’ve striven for most of our lives not to be. Worst of all, it will never wait for us.

Which is why today, exactly a year since I got dragged into the travesty that is Empire: Lebanon, I am reminded more than ever of how Time is also the biggest excuse for not doing what we know we should. We spew the incredibly clichéd declaration that “there is a time for everything in life”, because we are too weak and too cowardly to do the right thing, and before we know it, Time has swept by and left it all a little too late.

I am guilty of the same sin. I spent the past few months trying to figure out what to do with this joke of a life that I lead now, because a part of me was too terrified of the unknown, and too angry to accept that the most of important part of this life was under the control of someone I neither know nor respect. And now that I’ve finally decided that what I really need to get out of this life is to literally get out of it, even if it is a little later than I had originally intended, I know that Time is of no consequence, because there are some things that one can never get away from.

The past year has been, hands down, the most insane of my life. In an almost out-of-body experience, I have watched myself living day by day wondering when all this hoopla will end, how to get out from under the telescopic eye of my 48-year-old stalker, and how some people can live with themselves knowing that the people they claim to love are miserable because of their own childish, selfish choices.

But this past year has also been a blessing of sorts, because after making me wish that it had killed me, it taught me to divide and conquer my anger and grief, and channel my energy into making the most of what I have left and finding a way around such obstacles. And I know now that some things need no name or label, because there are some things that will never be understood by anyone except those who are living through them, and no name or label or person can ever change that.