Palestinian youth tell the human stories behind the numbers in the news

Palestinian youth tell the human stories behind the numbers in the news

The second ugly truth

JeJe Al Abyad | 15-06-2017

View from JeJe's office window
My office window view

Summer; June 12, 12:02 p.m.; regular day  

The weather is hot; in fact, it is 10 degrees higher than normal. I am in my office, sitting in a big, cozy chair, with my small frame wilting in boredom.

I can hear the voices of birds singing. But birds no longer make me feel anything. They’re just part of the morning scene and a friendly reminder that only birds can fly and sing in public. (And no, I am not depressed. It’s just reality in Gaza.)

I have just finished reading a few articles about success, motivation and getting the job you crave. I normally eagerly read these types of essays. There are so many tips and advice to follow. Here is one quote: “Even if you get what you want more than anything in the world, you will have to give something up. If you want to live an exceptional and extraordinary life, you have to give up many of the things that are part of a normal one,” by Srinivas Rao.

Actually, I am usually pretty motivated on my own. Dopamine courses through my body. I even reach the point of rehearsing my acceptance speech, in preparation for winning an Oscar or being interviewed on the TV show “Ellen.” But not now. This time, I stop myself.

Staring at the wall, I fixate on the small sheet of paper tacked to the bulletin board, waiting to be filled in with something like a to-do list. Silence.

I know only losers consume their time by thinking about what they can’t control. I begin to resent the blank paper opposite me and I feel an urge to vent my creepy mood. So, I whisper: “You’re just a white, boring piece of paper. There are so many better things to be: dogs, cats, trees, birds, lions, tigers, seas, oceans, humans.” It’s a mix of “I can’t stop laughing; what a silly life,” “Wtf” and “What does it all mean?” feeling. I get it when I read things like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

As a 23-year-old, I want a job in which I can sense some value and meaning. I want to be a writer, I sigh to myself. But then I think, “How can writing give me a purpose when life itself doesn’t have one?” It is difficult for me to stick to one idea or belief or even to stand by someone’s side when there seems to be no point. Psychologists say, “You have symptoms of depression.” My mom says, “You need a better job” and my friends say, “You need to fall in love”—while I say, “I need one more cigarette.”

Words are simply statues that reflect nothing but an illusion created by a good sculptor/writer. I know it deep down. But I still fantasize about being a writer and making a difference.

Despite knowing the incalculable value of family and love, I still hope and plan passionately to leave my country and live away from them.

Despite the romance of the space between lovers, the very same space can feel like a prison.

Despite being a nihilist, I still have a need to connect to someone or something.

Despite not believing in marriage, I still say: “I love you” and look through names for our future children together.

Then I ask myself, “Should I quit my job and start writing? What am I going to write about? Should I write about the Palestinian woman who got shot in Jerusalem for no reason?” But these types of killers are everywhere; they are so common they have become boring. Guess what? Maybe I should write about the second ugly truth: The day we die or get killed will just be a regular day.

Author’s note: To learn the first ugly truth, you have to watch “The Ugly Truth” movie.


Posted: June 14, 2017

Mentor: Amani Sawari

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