April 14th, 2009, was this blog’s 3rd birthday. I just realized that today. So, happy belated birthday to this blog, and to all of you for your continuous support and readership.
Especially you guys who’ve been around here from the start. Because of you, a wonderful community has formed around this blog over the last three years.
Yes, it’s been three freaking years. Can you believe it?
Oh, how time flies, and how minds change. Three years, whoosh, past your eyes, just like that.
I know I’ve said it before, but the feeling hasn’t changed. Indeed, every now and then when I look back at the archives of 2006, I still cringe when I read some of my old posts, and wonder to myself “was that really me, and wtf was I thinking when I wrote that?”
I can’t help but reflect on everything that happened because of starting this blog.
Yes, my literary skills have improved. Yes, I’ve been flown to cool conferences. Yes, I’ve started writing a book. Yes, I’ve made many good friends through this blog. A few of whom I’ve already had the pleasure of meeting, and many whom I have yet to meet.
Not to mention my way of thinking which has also evolved a great deal. So much in fact, that I never ever would have imagined becoming the free thinking much happier heretic I am today, but all of this has come with an unregrettable price.
You see, as the days pass by, and I look around me deeper into the eyes of family and friends, I begin to better fathom the extent of the expanded distance that has come between us within specific domains, but that hopefully won’t weaken our bonds.
I feel like I am entering a tough period in my life, one in which I’m struggling hard to ensure as best as I can that the important decisions I’ll take are truly mine, but without hurting or alienating the ones I love and care about.
Thing is, I can no longer decide the big issues based on the wishes or expectations of those around me, mainly because the belief systems that lead to such decisions are no longer as shared as they used to be.
Plus, it is my life after all.
Things are just too different now, but I fear that there are some things (like cultural restrictions) which I can’t escape, no matter how much I try. And if that’s the case, should I continue fighting? Is there hope? Or am I just too freaking over-analytical, and should instead let things go with the flow?
I don’t know.
But admittedly going with the flow does seem like the best option most of the time… until those inevitable deep contemplative pauses kick in every once in a while.
Ultimately though, I remain optimistic, because previous major questions and struggles have been resolved, like the one I dealt with regularly on a daily basis two years ago.
Here I am, a Sudanese, a Nubian Arab, a Shaige and a Muslim traveling across the United States of America. There I was contemplating and struggling within myself. It’s a struggle I wake up to face everyday. It’s the struggle of the Westernized me VS the Sudanese Muslim deeply engrained within me. It’s the fight and the search for answers. It’s about finding a place where I belong. This place is not a physical one but a mental one. It’s a mental state, which I and only I can achieve for myself.
And today I have thankfully achieved it. The “hows” and intricacies involved therein will require a whole new separate post to explain, but for now, let’s just say that framing the struggle in terms of “Westernized Vs Sudanese Muslim” in my mind was a mistaken approach, but more later on that.
My point is that this is no longer a struggle I wake up to everyday anymore.
The mental state has been achieved. It is something I am grateful for, and oh what a relief.
But where I screwed up my assessment, was in forgetting that a new mental state is not where things stop.
Oh no, far from it.
Because new mental states result in shaping new actions, and actions (unlike thoughts) are visible to all those around who can witness and see them. They more difficult to hide if one wished to hide them. And why even hide them? Why not just be?
Choice of life partner, dating, religious rituals, career, who to support politically…
Only time will tell. That is the new challenge that has risen before me.
At the end of the day, my main wish is to make decisions that are mine, while reaching a state of equilibrium where agreeing to disagree is smoothly possible, and one in which bonds of affection I share with those around me can still be preserved.
I don’t know how things will turn out, or how long it will take, but… I have faith. And on top of that, a wonderful clarity unlike any other I’ve ever had, but since the clock is still ticking, that clarity is destined to get only clearer… hopefully.
The journey continues.
And as I continue to walk the roads ahead, I thank you all for your supportive readership, your emails, and all the food for thought you’ve given me along the years. It’s been a pleasure, regardless of whether we’ve always agreed or not.
Seriously, a big heartfelt thank you to you boys and girls.
You’re awesome readers.
I love you guys!