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“There comes a time in your life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh.
Forget the bad, and focus on the good. Love the people who treat you right, and pray for the ones who don’t.
Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is a part of life, getting back up is living.” Jose N. Harris
The end of the year usually makes me reflective, pensive and often melancholic. Endings are usually sad, but the end of this year, coming at a time when the whole country is going through one of its worst phases, politically, socially and economically, adds a weighty element to the side of melancholia. Yet, despite all that, I cannot suppress a strong feeling of joy and hope.
2013 has been quite a year for me, so many new things, so many good things, so many new, good people, a long awaited for and never recognized fulfillment finally materializing into concrete form. A year of strong joys and deep disappointments, a year of awakened talent and heartbreak. A year of life.
The state in which Egypt found itself during that year is reflected in microcosm in my life. The year started with Egypt firmly under the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood and Morsi, yet for the first time in recent history, a Christmas tree was set up and lit in the middle of Tahrir square, the symbol of freedom. The juxtaposition is typical of Egypt. The same thing is happening in my life. I have a large number of friends and was happy in a whirling round of social events, but something was missing which gave me periodic bouts of restlessness and a strange feeling of futility. Though being actively helpful in the revolutionary effort did assuage that feeling somewhat, but deep down it still remained, resulting in many a sleepless night. The worst part was not knowing what was missing, and attributing it to a variety of different reasons.
Tension was building up and by spring it was palpable, with a great deal of depression engulfing the country as a whole. My microcosmic state reflected that as well, and I attributed it to the general depression felt by the whole country. That fateful summer of 2013 drastically changed, not only Egypt, but my life as well. While a grassroots peaceful movement of dissent was swelling into a tidal wave that would sweep away the MB out of power and pitch Egypt into one of its bloodiest eras with the retaliation of the MB in attempting to regain control, a similar upheaval was taking place within me. There was something brewing in my mind and in my heart that finally materialized when a friend asked for help.
An ex colleague called to ask me help her reply to an e-mail she received from a cousin who had lived most of his life in the States, reproaching her about her posts on Facebook attacking the MB. She was so upset by his message, she could not answer him coherently, so asked me to please draft a reply which she could send to him. The moment I started writing the, the floodgates opened. It felt like the opening of a dam. I just could not stop. I literally could not stop. I wrote continuously for four hours. The result was: Reflections : a brief picture of Egypt over the past 30+ years. I sent it to her, but never heard from her about it again. A couple of weeks later I revisited it and thought it might be of interest to some to read this brief overview of the background and the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, so I posted it on my timeline on Facebook. The response was surprisingly flattering. I was excited and scared. A successful article does not mean that I could write some more. I had felt very strongly about what I was writing, so maybe I won’t find another subject to feel just as strongly about that would enable me write again. I shouldn’t have worried. It was as though there was a tightly vacuum packed container of ideas and subjects that, on touching them, sprang fully grown and ready to be born on paper.
I started writing about different things, different subjects and discovered in me a wealth of experiences whose humor had eluded me at the time, but which took a life of their own when I recalled them and transferred them to paper. My writing style changed from serious political, to humorous personal. To my surprise, the latter style found a much greater audience and, for a country whose political history was being written every minute, the interest in my personal articles, as opposed to my political articles,was rather odd. This still baffles me, for sometimes the current situation was so immediate and had such a strong effect on me that I had to write about it. So I started writing in two parallel lines. At that time, the second miracle of that summer occurred. My medium was Facebook, and I started receiving a great many friendship requests, which were very flattering. One of the most significant was by someone who had formed a Group I was interested in and which I had visited a few times. This was a political Group and when he asked me to join it I readily agreed. It was one of those seemingly small moves that, in retrospect, have enormous consequences. At that time my writing was going at breakneck speed. I would write maybe two or three articles per day, but even then, knew that I could not post them all on the same day, so rationed my postings to one per day. Meanwhile I was getting more and more interested in the political developments and a large number of my articles were attempts at chronicling the recent history of Egypt’s development after the 25 January 2011 revolution. This caught the attention of two people at the same time. The administrator of the political Group I started writing in, and a neighbor who was very interested in my political articles, which he flatteringly told me were exactly what was needed to explain the true situation in Egypt to people abroad. So simultaneously, one friend set me up a Page on Facebook, and another a blog on the net. I was somewhat overwhelmed. I am slightly technologically challenged, so administering a Facebook page, and managing a blog gave me a few sleepless nights. But after taking my courage in my hands and actually plunging in with my writing, I thought the technical aspect of managing those two pages would be another challenge that would take me out of my comfort zone and help me stretch my boundaries. And it did, and I managed them. Both. But the credit goes to those two friends who pushed me into it.
2013 has been a very good year for me, it has challenged me, had brought out a dormant ability that is giving me a great deal of satisfaction and fulfillment. I am truly grateful to each and every person who, by just a little ‘Like’ to my posted articles, had encouraged me to continue. The comments were even more encouraging. And now a monster has been created. I don’t think I could stop even if I wanted to. But I don’t want to. The release felt when I can actually convey in words feelings and thoughts and get them through to others, is addictive. Today is the last day of 2013, and for once, I am sorry to see this year end as it has brought me so much.
With the advent of a new year, new resolutions are made, but I think I will stop that. I have been making resolutions for so many years, none of which have materialized, so this year no resolutions. I shall leave it open to bring what it will, I shall keep an open mind and an open heart to embrace whatever comes. I shall try to continue the trend begun this year of pushing myself out of my comfort zone, of trying new things, of opening up to new experiences. I am already blessed with the love of a growing circle of friends, am lucky in meeting new people every day who challenge me mentally, who aid my spiritual growth and who light up my life with beauty and humor. I am blessed indeed. May God continue to surround me with His protecting love, and shower me with His gifts, bless and protect my beautiful Egypt. Amen.