Friday, 12 October 2012

The Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing But the Truth

I want to pre-empt this post with the following disclosure: This post is only minimally connected to Kuwait, so if you'd rather sleep than read, well, I don't blame you! In short, it's confessional. *Insert "Yuck" facial expression* Yeah, I know, I'm not interested either, but there are people who read this blog and deserve to know the truth about some things.

I would rather shoot myself in the foot than read confessional poetry and literature, especially  autobiographical and biographical work. I've always thought there's something self-absorbed about the genre. The irony is, of course, that I write a blog that resembles a compilation of "Dear Diary" entries (Homer Simpson "D'oh!" moment). Recently, on Facebook, I admitted that I was frustrated that the number of people in Kuwait reading this blog is increasing while the number of readers in Canada is decreasing. The information made me question why I was writing at all. As I mentioned, I blog as if I were mass emailing my family and friends abroad so that they know I'm alive and doing well (yes, a bit extreme, but not really when I still haven't unlocked my cell phone). I know that my blog is, metaphorically, like Swiss cheese: full of holes. It's incomplete, not comprehensive and even alienating. I don't ever mean it to be, and I sincerely try not to be negative (although I am).

I've been told I'm cold-hearted, closed-off, aloof and extremely abrasive. Not the nicest descriptive adjectives, but they're all accurate, and have been absolutely true, especially since last spring. I have developed thick skin from a traumatic childhood illness (I'm not stating this for any sympathetic purpose or using it as an excuse). I don't dwell on it, and I'm thankful that it happened. So many wonderful things occurred as a result and I wouldn't change a thing about that time in my life. However, these past few years have turned me into something that's not recognizable. I can't blame any thing/event/situation/person for this transformation. The only person I blame is myself. I was the one who changed. I've tried to figure out what triggered it and I think it's several things, but, again, I don't place any blame the trigger(s). I think that the triggers merely allowed me to see who I really am. Unfortunately, I've discovered that I don't like who I am. Phew. That's a burden off of my shoulders! Four and a half years of trying to figure it out, denying it and hurting others just to discover something so simple. Yet it's not simple in any way.

After my I realized how unhappy I was with myself, I plucked up the courage to end relationships, of all sorts, that were toxic in my life. Talk about extremely difficult and painful. I left behind people who I have loved more than anything and anyone else...and still do...People who I loved more than I loved myself...But I needed to let them go in order to stop myself from becoming an even worse person. I am negative and harsh enough on my own, and yes, I've had to be open and truthful with myself and others in ways that have made me appreciate the frank and honest people in my life.

I lost respect for all of the negative people in my life for one simple reason: they were so selfish that I questioned what I loved about them. I know I'm not perfect, but I never stopped working on my relationships with them and I loved them imperfections and all. They, on the other hand, never prioritized our relationship and never communicated (or listened for that matter). Dishonesty and betrayal (cheating and intentionally hurting me) were common themes in some cases. I stopped trying to hold onto people who didn't want me in their lives, and even after relationships that had lasted over 5 years, I ended things and did my absolute best to walk away without looking back. Dear God, there are difficult days-more difficult than easy. Losing my grandmother on my father's side (one of my role models) and my own excellent mother, and calling off my engagement to the best man I know, all in the span of 13 months made me realize who mattered, and who no longer did. What made cutting those people out of my life easy was their (sad) lack of response to my decision to end things. It was confirmed: these people had no respect for me, and no understanding of the value of people-even horrible people! To be so coolly rejected was a slap in the face, one that I absolutely deserved.

The day I lost my mother I knew that the world would never be the same, that I would never be the same. A large part of me died with her, and I still struggle with accepting that I can't bring her (or me) back. I feel an immense guilt that refuses to dissipate to the point that I feel haunted. I think about her everyday. Every cursed day of my life I wake up to an emptiness that I have only ever felt once before, and wouldn't wish on anyone; I honestly mean that. No one deserves to feel such heartbreak. She was my best friend and the best person I've ever met. Without her, I stopped feeling devoted to the people who didn't care about me (including extended family members), stopped feeling any inclination to continue to fight to keep them in my life. What was the point? I knew I'd never be able to feel love (familial, friendly or romantic) the same way again. Losing them wouldn't be a big deal. So, I decided to let go of those people. I had no more energy, patience, compassion or desire to continue with them in my life.

Who was this person who stopped believing in love and the invaluableness of people who made life worth living? The new (and unimproved) me. I truly feel that that's partially why it was so easy for me to pick-up, leave Canada and move to Kuwait. It had nothing to do with Habibi. I knew he'd be back in Canada, not only because he kept telling me he would be, but also because I knew he'd have difficulties with being back to the Middle East permanently.

It is ironic that out of those people who I let go of, that not one of them has ever tried to mend ties or communicate with me. What's sadly true is that my life doesn't feel any worse without them. I wish them the best and hope that they never, ever treat anyone else the way they've treated me. I'm golden: I've learned now to live simply and have finally realized that I only wish for God's forgiveness for my wrongdoings, to take care of my family and make those around me happy.

I apologize for being sappy. I don't want to talk about my feelings. In fact, I've gotten incredibly good at keeping them to myself and not letting anyone in, just ask my co-workers here who have given up on trying to learn anything about me. My feelings are nobody's business-except for anyone who can access the internet, HA! I have to say these things because there are people who mean the world to me, who have been patient, who haven't pushed me or walked away, but instead have given me the support, guidance, advice, time and space I have needed, and I want them to know that I'm trying to be a better person for them.

Am I still working through things? Of course. As my good friend Kim liked to quote (Ani DiFranco), "I am a work in progress." I thought that I had been moving ahead steadily, but when a long-time friend (who reads my blog) told me that although it seems like I'm enjoying Kuwait, that I sound sad, I was shocked. I was shocked  by his insight and it hit me like a pound of bricks: In some way, he's right. I thought that many years of separation from him might mean that he doesn't know me any longer, but I was wrong. An incredibly kind and deserving guy, we've known each other since the days of "How to Eat Like a Child" and Fun Fairs at Oxford Park.  Yes, he knows me very well, clearly...Not very good for a person who attempts to hide her emotions. *Sigh*

I'm enjoying my time here. I obviously miss my family and friends. Sad though? While the answer may seem obvious to everyone else, I feel hesitant to label what I feel sadness. After what's transpired in my life I can't deny it could be sadness. Could it simply be that the last time I was here I was enjoying myself, and tried to make the most of my time with Habibi (the only man I've ever really loved and been in love with), only to find out the truth about him and his actions, and be hurt so deeply by what he'd done, that my trust and faith have almost entirely disappeared? No comment. I don't want to answer or admit anything; I've incriminated myself enough. What I can tell you, my family and my friends (and other readers), is that I'm very sorry. I've become pensive and distracted, consumed by my own feelings. That's not who I want to be. I'm trying to be a better person to you, a better person for you. I don't know if I'll ever be as full of life as I once was, or if I'll ever fully recover. To those of you who care, I'll always try. I promise. That's the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me, God.


  1. Hey honey! I told you I was going to catch up on your blogs this weekend but I didn't know that tears would be streaming down my face as I did so. I get it! I think of your Mom everyday and miss her terribly. She was my whole life ( mom, sister and best friend). I hate hearing you talk like that about yourself. You are so strong and independent -everything your Mom was so proud of. To me you will always be that little girl with black hair and great big eyes that looked so deeply into my own filled with Love!!! That's who you are. Sure we all become a bit jaded as we live life but honey you are actually living your life and you are not afraid to go out and do things that some people can only dream of. I am extremely proud of you and never miss an opportunity to let people know how great you and your sister are. You do, after all, have the blood of one of the most amazing people I,ve ever known running through you.

  2. Auntie Mickey,
    Thank you for what you said. Is it just that I'm jaded? I hope so! I think part of me feels so rotten because of guilt. I don't feel proud of my actions in the recent past. I know I've treated people who I love poorly. There's no excuse and I have to figure out how to forgive both myself and others while simultaneously moving forward with purpose. I just need time and to acknowledge who I really am so that I can improve. XO

  3. I am catching up on your blogs. I want to thank you for being so honest in your posting. Much of what you express I have experienced in the last five years and I wonder if it is just not the way the world is turning right now. This is a time when you grow confident in your own judgments and you learn that when you house clean it hurts but a clean house leaves room for better things to come. Shaking the negative is not what you deserve it is what you need. Turning a new leaf so to speak. Be proud that you didn't settle for negative and disrespectful people in your life but recognized the poison and shook it off.

    1. leah,
      we had an amazing chat about this over coffee before i left and you're one of the main reasons i felt compelled to post about this. the idea of toxic people/relationships resonated with me because that's EXACTLY what they are. it's so difficult to recognize it at the time, but time has shown (over, and over, and over, and over again), that some people just AREN'T worth it. i simply have a tough time accepting that because i've always believed in the good part of people. stupidly optimistic, aren't i? it is a new chapter. i have to keep reminding myself that :) thank you for the amazing advice, and for helping me let go of those negative people.