Personal Writings, X: Footfalls

September 19, 2016.

Confrontation

I haven’t written in a while because I didn’t feel like it too much. I would begin to think of a topic but my mind unable to settle would move on to something else. I think I didn’t have the heart to. But the screaming man at the airport (I wrote about this on a Facebook status) last month provoked something inside of me. Why did I want to engage in a logical discussion with him? Why couldn’t I scream back?

Something really interesting happened to me a few months ago. I was hanging out with the beau and he told me about a mutual friend of ours who, in his words, “looks up” to me. I was really surprised (me?!). Was it because I was an upperclasswoman, and often we find ourselves looking up to people before us on similar trajectories as us? It felt good to hear and made me feel good about myself. But it also did something else which I have fully consciously realised only recently. I began to run after perfection. I found myself trying to hide uncomfortable, unacceptable parts of me more than ever. I became so engrossed in burying the discomfort inside of me because I couldn’t confront the idea that I wasn’t this amazing person someone thought I was. It is a strange thought process to describe. See, I knew I wasn’t perfect, I knew it before someone told me someone admired me. I wasn’t running after this perfection to impress them… It isn’t about this person exactly, see? It wasn’t even about what she liked about me! At least not for long because everything quickly became about my discomfort with myself, something I don’t quite fully know how to face.

Being away… or astray

It’s really hard being away from everyone and everything I know well in Budapest. I have made friends (A few days ago on my birthday, these sweet, sweet. wonderful human beings, told a band playing at the restaurant we were having dinner at that it was my birthday, following which the band came over to where I was and played happy birthday on the violin to me!), I finally know how to find my way home no matter which metro line I’m on, and I no longer carry more than two items (including a jacket) while walking down these European streets. Coursework has just already started and it’s not stressful yet, and the people in my batch are really friendly, but I am having a hard time adjusting to Budapest. EVERYTHING is in Hungarian, or Magyar which is the Hungarian name for Hungarian, so good luck trying to figure out what you’re getting at Ikea. The closest language relatives are the Mansi and Khanty languages which are spoken in small parts of Eurasia. I think being unable to talk a lot or communicate effectively is my biggest issue, I am not yet able to associate myself with the city. I hope I feel differently in the next few weeks.

I must be honest, I haven’t even fully unpacked yet! Both my suitcases still have clothes in them. I know this is because part of me wants the possibility to leave be as open and appear as available as possible. Where would I go, though? Qatar? Not possible anymore but that’s where I would most want to return to. Pakistan is home, but to really make something out of myself, myself (I emphasise because not everybody needs to leave home for this purpose), leaving home was a necessary decision. It was with this thought that I travelled to a strange city in a strange country to join a university I hadn’t even remotely heard about. That’s why I left Qatar too, because it had become home and comfortable- so comfortable, even as my time with Georgetown was ending. I do miss things a lot, and I find a lot of comfort when I’m with the Pakistanis I’ve met here. I wish there was somebody from Qatar too. The closest person I’ve found is someone from Yemen, a really cool guy who takes to my sarcasm extremely well for some reason, and I think part of the reason I (think!) we’ve been getting on so well is because he makes me feel a little less astray in this puzzling, provoking city.

Time

I’m running out of time. I want to be with the people I love the most, but they are currently spread out in three different countries and they have ambitions to settle in other ones. A lot of my dreams revolve around these people dying or me getting lost in a place while still always being able to see or perceive them near me, but never reaching them. The dreams come from a place which is afraid of losing them and another place which is still struggling very much to grasp the concept of mortality. I know death is a fact of life, and maybe because I have never lost somebody close to me, it feels extraordinarily foreign, thus also unfamiliar and more difficult to grasp. The impermanence of life is a theme you may have noticed present in a lot of my writings but a recent horrific nightmare- for not just what it was about but also how it was- has brought it out from my subconscious. What happens when somebody close to you dies? Do you break down, shut off, maybe become overly extroverted? Depends, right, I know. Life goes on, even you go on while in shock. You still wake up, eat, go to sleep. You still have to function because it isn’t possible to  just stop. It sounds like such a strange concept to me. Reminds me of this article I once read about someone really really realising the loss of his mother following the morning of her death when he and his dad sat down for breakfast and finished what was the last of the sandwich mix she had made just the day before. I know, I know, I’m being somber. But I’m not fragile. I think this new isolation has brought about a lot of emotional stress right now. Perhaps expect more upbeat stuff once the cold, gloomy winters step in?

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