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Will we ever be the same again? Will we? Is there a form of therapy that can heal the emotional wounds of around “12 to 24” million people? We are traumatized, all of us who have seen Neda’s last moments (and the rest of the videos about yesterday) are traumatized. I had never experienced the collective pain among my compatriots the way I felt last night. It feels like you have lost a loved one and at the same time you feel humiliated, violated, oppressed, bullied, trashed, and heartbroken. I wish a collective therapy for millions of my people were possible. I hope I’m not offending any American for making this analogy, but I think now I understand how Americans felt when 9/11 happened.

I’m experiencing new things in my life; like getting sick and being totally on my own, making a soup for myself while my whole body aches, not having anybody to spoil me and take care of me. when i was a child, the best part about catching a cold was the attention my mom would pay to me. i loved it when i would get sick and my mom would take care of me so kindly that i wished i would stay sick a little more. (and it always came with a delicious chicken soup.) i missed her so much today. i just closed my eyes and imagined her holding me in her arms. i missed putting my head on her chest and being caressed by her.

p.s. to make it even better, i asked my roommate to put the soup in the fridge after it gets cooler. (i was too sore that i wanted to go to bed, the soup was too hot and he was hanging around in the kitchen.) i came out of my room this noon and saw the soup still lying there on the kitchen counter. it had milk in it so i threw it out. will eat a canned soup today!

It might sound silly, but I was watching a commercial on TV and when the guy kissed the girl romantically I realized how much I miss being held, caressed, and kissed sensationally. Then I thought I wouldn’t be missing the feeling if I hadn’t moved to London.

I know I always have a home back in the U.S. with all the love one can get in this world, but I have to confess I’ve had cold feet a few times recently about going back. It feels good that I have a decent job and a residency status here. I’m kinda enjoying not to live a student life anymore. But that’s about it, there’s nothing more to it for me here, while there in the States lives the man whom for the first time I felt like being able to and desiring to spend the rest of my life with.

I’m confused. I don’t know how to choose between these two worlds. I know nothing is more important than loving and being loved, but at the same time I know I’m not a risk taker and I’m afraid of not being able to find a decent job in the States.* Part of me wants to remain where I am and keep the job, and part of me wants to quit right at this moment and go back home. One comes with lonesome nights not having anybody (well better to say not having your beloved) to hold you, and one comes with the fear of not being able to work and becoming a housewife with all its damaging effects (particularly for me.)

I’m torn between the two worlds. But nonetheless, that guy in the commercial kissed that girl so romantically. Now I will be longing for such a kiss and will be down for a while :(

*I just should add that I can’t go back to Iran any more. So, ironically, that option is out and at least I’m not dealing with choosing between three countries! I’ve already kissed the dream of going back to Iran goodbye and won’t be back to my country for a long time.

I looked at the photos of my friends in Florida and I realized how much I miss Florida. I have so many bad memories from Florida that will haunt me for the rest of my life, but still, the mother nature in Florida gave me a great sense of tranquility and security. I had my own lake where I could always go to whenever I felt blue. The short walk to the lake was enough to make me calm. The sun would give me energy, and the green would just lighten my heart. The beaches were only about 2 hours drive-with-your-own-car-in-the-highway away. What would be considered an expensive summer vacation for others was a day trip for us to different beaches in the east and west of Florida.

I feel I’m being suffocated in London. The commute to the work mostly takes place underground, then I’m stuck inside the building at work for more than 11 hours and then I’m back to the underground and then to my apartment. The weather is often cold and I’m biologically very sensitive to the cold weather, so going for a walk in a park far away from my home is out of question at this time of year. I just feel like my body is drowning in a swamp.

Speaking of swamp, looking at my friend’s photos reminded me of the “swamp” and the whole “gator” stuff at UF (my university). I suddenly missed all those cheap bars in Gainesville. I missed my friends with whom I would go to the very few good restaurants that one could find there. I missed going to our latest discovery, The Common Grounds, with its hipster-style Karaoke nights on Mondays. (Yes, I sang Creep with Annie there once!) I even missed having pancakes with Annie in Perkins and our long chats there.

And speaking of the things I’ve missed about Florida reminds me of the courtyard in front my home on campus, and the peaceful life I had with Reza, the cooking and sex and laughter, and the companionship.

One of the biggest pities of my life would be the fact that I was struggling with major depression almost the entire time that I lived in Florida. I now look back at those times and realize how much more I would have enjoyed those days, had I not been struck by depression.

I’m now very worried about going back to that depression stage again. In Gainesville at least i had a lake , I will not have even a hole or a well here to dig my head into and shout when I feel the pressure to.

I’m trying hard, so hard, to connect to the people and the new environment. But it seems like it simply is not working. I am disoriented. I feel safe that finally I have a residency status, that I am considered as a person with full rights here, that I am not imprisoned to the borders of this country and I can leave and come back whenever I want to. I am also happy that the records of my unsuccessful marriage would not follow me here in England. But still, something big is missing here.

After thinking about the missing element for weeks, all I can say is that I need a community to belong to, and I’ve lost all my ties to my previous communities. In Florida the women’s studies department and my friends (even the Iranian ones) were my community. In the U.S. I had a big community of friends who were spread all over the States but still considered me part of the circle of friends and we had our own way of keeping a community. I also had my community of women’s rights activists who were mainly in Iran but I was working with them closely.

I’ve tried different ways to make or belong to a community here, but it hasn’t happened so far. That’s why my heart aches and I feel nostalgic when I remember or see good things about my life in the U.S. It all reminds me of the communities I belonged to and the sense of disorientation I have here in London.

It’s scary not to have a community, very scary. I hadn’t experienced the horrible feeling before….

I hate London. I miss Reza. I miss my friends. I miss Annie…

My friends threw a great birthday party for me yesterday. The food, the cake, and the gifts were awesome. We drank so much that had to stay the night at my friend’s home.

I’m happy that I had my birthday yesterday, instead of today. Because I woke up today and saw the news about another arrest, and suddenly turning thirty lost its meaning. This time was Maryam Hosseinkhah‘s turn:

مریم سین خواه

Maryam Hossienkhah, Journalist, member of the Women’s Cultural Center, and an active member of the One Million Signatures Campaign was arrested earlier today. A few days after the site of the Women’s Cultural Center, a leading women’s NGO, was shut down on order of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance and the Judiciary, Maryam Hosseinkhah, an editor of the site of this organization as well as one of the eiditors of the site of the One Million Signatures Campaign, Change for Equality, was summoned to the security branch of the Revolutionary Courts on Saturday 17th of November. She was interrogated for over 2 hours on Saturday and was told that she is charged with disruption of public opinion, propaganda against the state, and publication of lies through the publication of untrue news items on the site of the Women’s Cultural Center and the One Million Signatures Campaign. Maryam Hosseinkhah was also ordered to return to the Revolutionary Courts for more interrogation today, Sunday November 18, 2007 at 9:00am. After arriving at Court today, an order of arrest of issued for Ms. Hosseinkhah, and to our disbelief she was arrested and transferred to Evin Prison at 2:00pm.

My homeland might be hijacked, but I’m glad that my sense of identity is greater than ever. I’m glad that I’m part of a social movement whose members are courageous and conscientious women like Maryam.

The government of Iran is just showing its fear and weakness by these arrests. History has proved that the governments can put pressure or even stop social activism for a while, but they cannot stop it forever.

This is my last night at Boulder, Colorado. I came here on Friday to visit my aunts. One of them lives here and the other two are visiting her from Switzerland and Iran. This was a chance for me to visit these three amazing women after three years, get some energy and support, and remember how great it feels to be surrounded by family. I had lots of fun. They cooked me lots of delicious food, gave me tips on how to cook Persian food better, and made jokes about past memories. I saw the campus of University of Colorado at Boulder. It was amazing. The exterior of the buildings is made of red stones. Some of the buildings look like the mountains that are surrounding Boulder. The campus was totally different from any other campus I’ve seen in the US (see a slideshow of the campus here). The students certainly enjoy the beauty of their campus. (Perhaps I should consider this school for PhD! Imagine if I write in my application’s statement of purpose that I want to study at this school because I love the beauty of its campus!) We also went to a casino and gambled for five hours! It was my first time at a casino. I first won $50 and then lost all of it! Now I know I probably should never go to Vegas. It’s dangerous!

The only sorrow of the trip was seeing how old they have become. One of them has cancer, the other one has Parkinson, and another has a heart problem. I went to Colorado three years ago for one of my aunts’ surgery and saw all of them. Now I can see how older they have become in these three years. They are all above 70, and it’s not unusual for someone above 70 to be sick. But they are full of energy and desire to live. It’s sad to see that they are increasingly getting older and sicker.

It was a bit crazy to take a few days off in the middle of all the work I should do for school, but it was worth it. I feel much  better now, ready to “finally!” kick the semester off and start working on my thesis. I’m sure my advisers are a bit angry at my laziness and depression!

I’m at peace with myself and my environment. I went on a date that was not a date. It was so peaceful, so ordinary, so real. I feel alive. I’m a bit confused, but alive.

Whenever any of my ex boyfriends would tell me they loved me, I wouldn’t believe them and would tell them that they are lying. That rejection/denial has been usually interpreted as my lack of self-confidence or low self-esteem. But that wasn’t really the case. I know I’m lovable. But the problem is that the word “love” has certain denotations in my mind. To me, love is unconditional. There’s no buts and ifs in it. It’s like the way a mother loves her child. No matter what the child does, the mother doesn’t stop loving her. There will be moments of anger, disappointment, frustration, or even mistrust. But the state of the love for the child never cease to exist. It’s not dependent on the child’s ever-changing being. Unfortunately, that’s the only way I see love. And I know it’s almost impossible to love someone – that you haven’t given birth to – that way. That’s why its so hard for me to believe someone actually loves me after being with me for just a few months. It’s really difficult to love somebody unconditionally, unless you conceive something special in the relationship with that person. I don’t know how to put it into words. There are moments that you create something, a feeling, an environment, a memory, with a person, as if you have given birth to something new, something as special as your own child, that would make you fall in love with your partner I guess. This has happened to me three times in my whole life (two of them were not even through relationships). I have given birth to a new me through three different encounters, the me that I love so dearly, a me that was not preexisting. The existence of those new me-s was related to the existence of the men whom I had encountered with. They were part of this new-born child. That was why I loved them, and I still love them, unconditionally. My love for them is not diminished by the fact that one of them betrayed me, another one never found out (or cared) about my feelings, and the other one left me alone at the most difficult moment of my life. I still love them and will love them forever, because they had a big role in the most surreal moments of my life, the most unique moments of passion and ecstasy, in my unique experiences of being invincible and alive.

And of course I still get amazed at myself whenever I believe someone loves me, while I know how hard it is to love someone by my standards. I still make the mistake to sometimes believe when someone says he loves me. I still sometimes believe that someone loves me “unconditionally” and I count on it foolishly. I make the mistake of assuming that he loves me unconditionally and act based on that, or let’s say based on the quasi-feeling of security that the love of that person gives me. I still should remind myself that people can hardly love each other “unconditionally,” so that I won’t make mistakes, don’t count too much on them, and don’t get disappointed when they aren’t there for me when I expect them to me.

(I read what I wrote here once, and I think what I wrote hardly makes sense! It’s 5:30 am here and I’m dead tired, frustrated, and disappointed. I just wrote them to empty myself and organize my thoughts. I appreciate your understandings if you made it up to here!)

*Remember the Turkish “Love is” chewing gums that each had a note about what love is?  I always wished there would be one that read “Love is unconditional.”

Something broke last night…

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