I always felt either too much or nothing at all. Growing up I didn’t know how to have a good balance between things which were okay to be emotional about and things I should should let go. I always kept a diary to record everything. When I was 8 years old, my father snatched my diary while I was writing and he wasn’t too happy about what I wrote and he literally opened his mouth to express his shock and displeasure but I told him “It’s true isn’t it?” I always liked keeping a journal with me.
I had a diary since I could write. Therefore my father would always say “Why don’t you study English language in College?” I don’t like linguistics but I love creative writing. Although I felt when I follow so many rules of a language, it limits my flow of writing. I can’t write with my heart when in my mind, I know “This is incorrect.” I remember something that really touched me is what an author once said “Don’t focus on the grammatical rules because that is what the editor is for.”
Books were my escape. I used to read books in the shower pan because my Dad would be angry about me reading rather than sleeping on time. I would literally sit there and read. I remember when I was 12: my teacher snatched the book I was reading because I wasn’t concentrating in my Mathematics class.
The most embarrassing situation was when I was 9 years old and I had this pink Fulla notepad. I wrote there about a guy who I used to play with at the time and I tore the page 2; I crumbled it and threw it out of the kitchen window. The most unfortunate thing, it remained on the window stool. My father was like “What is that? Let me read that.” And I literally wanted to die of humiliation that day. I don’t exactly remember what I wrote but I remember to this day how it made me feel. I can still feel it. Hence, I would be open with my kids that they really wouldn’t be embarrassed to tell me anything. That day I came to realise writing about boys is a bad thing. I was stupid but that kid was rude and abusive. So I guess, I wasn’t that bad after all. I don’t think anything embarrassing that happened after that could beat that incident.
I think 2011 was when I moved to my first digital diary because I could just delete words with a tap. Then I kept a diary for 2012. 2013 is when I lost interest in writing. I started shutting down from everyone and I liked remaining out of everyone’s eyesight. I stopped reading. It was the most devastating year of my life. I hated myself and I was suffering from low self-esteem. I thought I was a plain loser. I would walk with my heads down because I was so ashamed of myself. The world devoured me that year. There were many reasons for it but I don’t have the courage to talk about them. I never liked giving an explanation of anything associated with me.
Looking back, I think the 15 year old managed it well without any wisdom or advice. In 2014 I had my ‘aha moment’, I changed completely and I gave 2015 the best of me. Nothing till now can top that year. I didn’t have any friends that year except the ones online. I was really happy with them and till to this day we keep in touch. The funny thing was when my parents thought I was making them up and they didn’t exist. Guess what? In 2016, I met one of them in real life because I moved closer to her. Sadly in 2017, she moved out of the country. This is Qadr, we accept it wholeheartedly. She was my first friend whose husband I saw in person and later, their child.
In 2017, my one piece of writing got me the third position in a talent competition in my college. I wish one day I can share with you and you would read without any pride or prejudice.
Fast forward 1 year and we are in 2018. I now know how not to let my feelings devour me. I am a stronger woman (although I believe 2012 me was the strongest). I am willing to learn: willing to try new things. I run away from arguments (although I participate in debates).
I would love to know how you have changed as a person over the years. Was there an aha moment in your life? How did you control your emotions as a child?