Thursday, July 28, 2016

Bounded by walls of a father

Dear reader, 

 Ive said in my last post that I found a fatherstructor. I'd like to talk more about that.

 While i was in the havoc and the loud noises of my peers in NIR school my family met together in Jordan. I sent them a message telling my relative to say hi to everybody and hug my grandfather very tightly for me. 

 While I was in my break the next day my relative sent me a video. I walked away from my friends and opened the video. 
 There i saw a figure in the far distance. The figure was standing near a green backyard. He was wearing an old thawb (Arab man dress) and was looking far away. 
 My relative called his name multiple times but he didn't hear her. She came closer and whispered to him: Malak is watching this. 
He smiled but sadness covered his face. He did not show his aging broken teeth. His eyes gleamed. He said something but i couldn't hear it. (I had already broken down at that time). The video ended with my relative hugging my grandfather. Then she switched the camera at them and said: Malak me and grandpa miss you very much.

 My knees crushed down and i fell. I opened my mouth to a silent sob. My whole existence was filled up with salty tears. I couldn't hold myself anymore. Somebody found me in that state and got worried and tried to silent me. But i wasn't around him anymore. I was thinking about all the possibilities that are gone now.

I only saw my grandfather five times throughout my whole life. In my memory they appear as flashbacks of my childhood. Just like a movie unraveling. Few seconds of myself running around his house at five, watching him making coffee at nine, crying, begging not to leave him at twelve and my fifteen year old self sitting next to him with my mother and grandmother on the ground while he talked about the time when he became a refugee. About the time when he first laid eyes on my grandmother when he couldn't blink his eyes until he had her.

My grandfather wasn't a person who was around me while growing up. But the few time that i saw him were enough to establish real connection with him as if the time we spent apart didn't really matter.  Every time i visited him i begged to stay. But there was always a person to take me away from him.
This time it was death.

My grandfather was diagnosed with cancer a few months earlier. At that time it didn't reach me because my mother is the only person that mattered to me. I tried to support her but now it hit me at once. The fear that backed everything I did in life.

The thawb, his soft hugs and his amazing smell will be forever lost from the universe. Lost from my weak reaching hands.

Friends asked me why don't i visit him? Why not check up on him?
I tried to explain my situation.
My parents are divorced. I couldn't visit my grandfather because my father wont give me the permission to. I am trapped in Palestine unable to reach granddad. I thought that when i turn eighteen I'll have the ability to stay with him as long as I want to and nobody will take me from him. That was the plan until a few months ago.

Then they asked the drastic question. Why wont your father let you go ?
How do i explain how much he hates me ? How much he doesn't care about my feelings? How when i told him about my grandfathers' state he laughed.
There i completely broke down unable to stop the tears. Reaching Hysteria. He laughed at my grandfathers death. The person who stood up with my father against the whole family. Even his daughter. The first death I will ever face.

The students called an instructor. He was a physiologist. A good one in my opinion. I sat with him. He nodded and said. Your grandfather ?
I had already told him about it. It was great having a person who knew.
We started talking. Going back further and further into my childhood. The silent pauses chocked me.
He nodded and asked which made it easier. Then he talked about his experiences with abused women. There I developed that feeling that I hear girls talk about. How they look up to someone. A father figure I guess. A figure I've never had.
He cursed at how the situation is. He really understood the situation with my father. How a domineering, cynical cunning man can ruin a life that I own. How law doesn't help at all. But only takes away even more of your rights and money. But truly now I understand that I don't own my life. Its owned by a man. Any man. Father, husband and maybe my child.

My grandfather now is at his home in Jordan. Happy. I told him to come to Palestine. Maybe he'll find better treatment but he wont leave his land again. Last time he did he couldn't come back. He addresses his illness in the best way possible. He doesn't let it affect him. When I miss him I look at the coin album he gave me when i was nine. Coins from all different places put in it. Some are 100 years old or more. He told me that he thinks I'll travel all around the world and complete what he started. I'm afraid I wont be able to do that. I'll always be bounded by walls of a father. Walls of a man.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Found a fatherstructor

Dear readers,

Im fine, thank you. I hope you are too.

I've spent the last week in a hostel with 50 students in a program called the NIR school of the heart.
The program brings Palestinians, Israelis and Jordanians to teach us about everything involving the heart. There were also some unspecified lectures that were more cultural. Trying to teach the students the importance of social involvement.
I was discouraged to come to the program. Wanting to stick with my family this while. But i did leave everything to join these students.

I got in thinking that I've got it. I can study. I can relate to the students. No problem. But then when observing the instructors i saw that they acted strange. They joked all the time and had something weird about them. Now i know that NIR proudly has a knack of choosing retarded people of course this includes me.

Quickly dissing battles and private parts jokes started to rise up. Something very unnerving to me. But a couple of days later i found myself getting out of my seat spitting a lame yo mama joke and saw that people were encouraging me to continue. Which in turn increased my energy and ability to act like the weird person i am. The weird thing though is that i wasn't being judged. In fact i was applauded for my obsession with butts. No wonder we called ourselves Hard Attacks.

The week went on fast starting and ending with lectures and activities. We've built strong relationships on the first 4 days and challenged how strong they are on the other 3 days.
The instructors stimulated a family like relationship between us through insulting jokes and deep meaningful hugs. As if creating a comfort zone outside of our own comfort zone.

All the instructors were devoted passionate people. Some volunteered with their knowledge. Others with time to complete a satisfying experience within the school. One that i can now look back to and smile with gratitude.

I had one instructor though that truly had an impact on me. His tight hugs and caring words reminded me of how a father should be. I couldn't but help take him as a father figure. As the figure that is keeping me intact throughout the sessions. Running to him as soon as i see him. I feel very pathetic. I dont feel brave. I just feel stupid.

On the 5th days we started to think more political. Discussing topics that no other program dares to. The difference between the Israeli and the Palestinian was pretty obvious. We said staggering comments and unexplained statements. Barely listening to each other. But still we cared about each other which made or at least for me made my relationships stronger.

I myself made references to anne frank who is an important figure for me. I tried to show the resemblance  between her and Gazans. How both couldn't and cant sleep because of the sound of rockets. I tried to describe a picture of gazans for them. A family warned by a mini rocket to take everything of significance out of the house in half a second. I asked them what they would take? Money ? Their kids ? Pictures of their childhood ? All in half a minute.

It was obvious how big the miscommunication is when it comes to facts and dates. We both had minimal knowledge about the other. What for them is the independence day for me is the Nakba (catastrophe) the death of a prime minister for them was significant while i couldn't even pronounce his name.

Personally, the program affected me in a strong way.

It first showed me that i can have an impact on people. During the political talks i must have said something that triggered people to think.
In an activity where when asked who of the students made you think the most people looked for me. Suddenly i was surrounded by bodies touching me from all sides. I was surprised at first but then appalled. I looked up and their eyes grabbed me. They gleamed as if they are proud of their choice. Smiled as if totally sure of it.
For a first i felt like my words are not meaningless letters thrown into the void. They had a meaning and they were listened to. They might even have an effect. I touched people which makes me worry. Did i have a positive impact ? Is considering my thoughts for them something hurtful ?

The confidence and the knowledge that every part of me is there for an important reason is empowering.