It has been a fictional year to the say the least, so fictional that even writing about it seems hard at a time when I myself find difficulty in convincing my mind that what I went through was real, not a wild segment of my imagination, nor a chapter drafted by Pamuk, or Plath.
A year that included but was not exclusive to: being stranded, almost homeless in a city so cold, a city I once called home.
A year that included but was not exclusive to: first times, last times and repeated disappointments.
A year that included but was not exclusive to: rejections, shattered dreams and loss of meaning.
2012 was indeed a fictional year for me. I should have taken a hint at how it started, with serious negotiations with the self, and God. Endless meaningless conversations about existence, and futile attempts to lure the evil into the good side, and rest the binaries between the colors white, and black. I should have understood in January last year that this year was not going to be good. But I don't give up, I am one of those that survive against their own will, persevere against all odds, and stand up when all they want to do, is fall apart.
I should have known that night by the river Thames when I laughed so hard, that temporary happiness is no happiness at all. It bears the consequences of sad tomorrows, and constructed, often exaggerated memories of an otherwise, mundane moment.
I should have known in February when my attempts at performing an Iraqi identity, a feminine approach to Baghdad and what I believed then was its manifestations, failed. I should have known that 2012 was alarming when I was left stranded in an island, alone, with pieces of torn paper and a dry pen.
I should have known..
March comes, and with it leaves Spring, in a perfect harmony with my withered heart then. I come back to Dubai to find its skies white, its air heavy and its people sad that the good weather was gone. A weather I missed, stranded in England and its cold brutal weather.
Applications flooded, pleas for support, attempts to be recognized in any geography in the world, a passport so banal yet powerful enough to take over my dreams, make them impossible. Pieces of paper, stapled together, flavored by never-ending colonial powers, stamped by puppet governments; an Iraqi nationality that is divorced from any sense of noble nationalism, or loyalty. That was April for me, a month where a milestone was supposedly achieved, just because it happens that I was born that month.
I should have known when May came with another set of questions, that have no answer, with pain that is unfathomed, and disappointments that left my mind wondering; now what?
I should have known it was not going to be ok, or perhaps It would: lets rise again Maryam.
Summer comes and goes, with stolen moments of laughter and joy as I walk down the aisles of SOAS, celebrating my success and the friends I made along the way. I think to myself, this is a good day, not a good year, but a very good day. Hamdula..
The year begins to end, and my heart flutters at the possibility of new chapters, or perhaps a new book, let's throw this one behind. No lets keep it, it is because of these moments that I have become. Or is this what I try to tell myself? Could it be that suffering is useless?
2 months ago, I stood alone looking at a broken watch in my hand, an actual watch that belonged to another restless wrist, and laughed a little on the irony of it all. There I was, standing still while the whole of Dubai moved around me, the breeze was just getting to change to acceptable, and the burdens were about to get lighter. There were random walks on the beach during sunrise, echoing laughter on familiar balconies, and that watch, left on my palm, remind me yet harshly again that those moments of pure joy, were indeed, out of time. I now keep this watch in a museum I built, mimicking Pamuk's museum of innocence, but mine is not innocent at all.
I should have known, but even if I did, I wouldn't have changed a thing. I left this year with a faith that إِنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ يُسْرًا (So, verily, with every difficulty, there is relief). 2013 must be the year that challenges this one, a year that counters all the performances of identity that failed and the attempts of reconciliation that bears witness to my own shortcomings.
Facebook's year in retrospect displays my images smiling, graduating, laughing, and posing in front of Galata bridge in Istanbul, and SOAS in London. It does not however display the written above, because Facebook is funny this way; we select the moments we want to share with Zuckerberg, the world and the secret services, and they are often constructed notions of a life we would like ourselves to believe we lead.
At the end of this year, I am reminded of an old Iraqi song,"ماكو عتاب و لوم .. بس السلام يدوم" There is no blame after all, let the peace last..
happy 2013, I know for me - ارتاحت الروح - my soul is at peace.