Some Things Never Change
"I have done it again.Eleven years ago, in my sophomore year at AUB, I wrote an article for the Campus newspaper called "Confessions of a Gay Student". I wrote it anonymously, and it generated a lot of mail to the editor, some favorable, some not, most of which I kept news-clippings of that are now online at Helem's website. I was seventeen back then, and it was the time before the internet. I met many of my best friends through that article, as I was daring/foolish enough to provide the editors with my p.o.box number. It was a time where many people made friends through graffiti on bathroom stalls; sure most of that graffiti wasn't exactly for friendships, but there weren't that many options then...
One year in every ten
I manage it---"
"Peel off the napkinIt was a while back, and lot has changed since (I will curb myself from adding the cynical "Or has it?"). Now we have the internet: first chat, and now blogs... Many of us still half-hide behind flowery user-names and handles, some as thin as our skins. But things have changed. I can tell by the overwhelming positive barrage of comments to Ahmad's homophobic post more than a week ago. And I smile. Yes, things are changing. The Syrians were still at every corner then, the Israelis were still in the South (and some would argue not much has changed in both regards, but I beg to differ). I wasn't out to anyone in my family back then; now my mother and brother and sister and two cousins and an uncle and two aunts know (aside from those who must have figured it out for themselves by now). And did I mention I was seventeen? Gosh, sometimes that seems to be most unbelievable of all! I used to wear pant size 32 still, and I used to think I was fat. Now what wouldn't I give to be able to fit in a size 34 again! (Though I still think I'm fat, but now I have a bit more to back my claim.)
O my enemy.
Do I terrify?---"
"I do it so it feels like hell.Back then Barra was still Out, and it was published in the UK still. Madonna was in her "Secret" phase, and I was falling in love for the first time. Yes, those were the days... The TV still had its "daring reportages" on the "taboos" that were, back then as now, as skewed as Ziad Njeim's lop-sided smile. And who could resist that smile? I still receive hate mail whenever I speak out, except now it's hate comments on my blog, like the person who left me the following comment anonymously on my latest poem: "That is the most disgusting piece of poetry. I don't know even how this qualifies to be presented!".* And like before, they write anonymously... That makes two of us hiding behind our fingers; did I mention I am not that thin?
I do it so it feels real.
I guess you could say I've a call."
"For the eyeing of my scars, there is a chargeA lot has changed: Teta was still alive then; she died before I could tell her. She didn't get the chance to meet my partner of seven years; but I'm sure she can see him from where she is. (Did I mention he's not that thin either?) We're getting engaged soon, and he wants to adopt. Kids, that is, but for now I am fine with a dog. I'm sorry, but is this too private? I forget; sometimes I walk naked in my dreams.
For the hearing of my heart---
It really goes."
"I am your opus,
I am your valuable,
The pure gold baby
That melts to a shriek.
I turn and burn.
Do not think I underestimate your great concern."
Sylvia Plath, excerpts from "Lady Lazarus"
*I deleted it since, and changed my settings to deny anonymity; now I have the power.