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Photo by Brianna Santellan on Unsplash

He used to dim the lights in his room every night after he got back from work. He lit a candle and stared at it. He found it comforting to watch the flame burn slowly and peacefully. He lived by the sea, so he’d listen to the crashing waves too. In those moments, he felt content amidst his complicated emotions. It’s as if his melancholy changed shape and became more flexible, like clay. He could squeeze it now, and shape it into a heart, or a flower. Melancholy could look a little prettier.

He made himself warm lavender tea. It was a cold evening. He placed his cold hands around the warm mug. He felt warm too, as if all his contradictory feelings have melted and became one, like a huge abstract piece of art. In those moments, he didn’t feel the need to make sense of anything. …


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I AM A WOMAN by Artist Faiza Ramadan on de-orientalizingart.org

There was once a woman who lived a seemingly ordinary life. Her days were sometimes good and sometimes bad. She lived an imperfect life like humans do.

What set her apart was her art. She saw the world through different eyes that were expansive, introspective, and dreamy.

In her daily walks in the forest, the woman didn’t just see trees, she experienced them. In her eyes, trees reflected a larger network and a dynamic force that was interconnected with everything. …


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Photo by Library of Congress on Unsplash

I never could figure out where my self begins and ends. Is the self something measurable? If we can measure it, then how big it is? or how small? And as I ask these questions, I realized just how absurd it is to think of self in terms of size. I can’t figure out where my self begins, because I can’t put my finger on it. I mean sure, I have a whole identity, and that can be enough, right? Maybe. Maybe not. All I know is that identities are a construct, and with this, does it mean that my self is a construct? …


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Photo by Gabriel Gheorghe on Unsplash

To be a writer is no simple task. I began writing in 2017 after hearing about an opportunity to write for a publication called Odyssey. I haven’t written much before that date so I had no idea if I can be good at it. The only source of motivation was my high school teacher who once deeply admired my essay. This meant that I must have potential as a writer, somehow. I also equally questioned my potential since anyone can write a really good essay once in a while. The only way to find out was to actually start writing. …


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Photo by Gilles Lambert on Unsplash

At some point in the not so distant past, people arguably led simpler lives. They had access to a steady source of information, through mediums like a daily newspaper or a collection of books. They may have read newspapers in the morning, or tuned into the radio in the afternoon. In all cases, consuming information was not a central theme in the days of most people. Fast forward to today, we can argue that consuming information has become a central theme for many of us.

According to research conducted by the International Data Corporation, 80% of people check their smartphones within the first 15 minutes of waking up. If the very first thing we wake up to is information, not the natural world, or other humans, or even ourselves, but pure information, then we’re likely suffering from information overload. A number of research studies suggest that information overload has a negative impact on our health. It can cause brain fatigue, stress, decrease our capacity to focus on important tasks, and lead to indecision. …


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Photo by Samina Hussain on Unsplash

There’s immense power in these two words: I write. It’s like declaring the possession of a weapon that can strike a war if it needs to, or a story that can soothe a million hearts.

I write, is like saying, I am here and I may as well change your life, or mine.

I write, means, I am interested in what lies beneath the surface and I am determined to dive.

I write, is saying, I feel so deeply that I can pick up my pencil just to see how my feelings look in words. …


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Photo by Jenny Huang on Unsplash

He woke up at 4 AM last night to another episode of existential dread. He said: “it’s not like I dread my existence, but I dread the empty space that exists within my very being”.

He describes it as a locked dark empty room that lies at the center of his heart.

I asked: “what is so dreadful about an empty space, it has nothing in it after all”. And he replied: “but the heart is meant to be full”.

He said: “I don’t fear the dark empty space, but I dread it when it is not where it should be.” He continued: “The heart is not the place for empty dark spaces to take residence”. I asked: “Isn’t your heart yours? Can’t you ask this emptiness to leave?” He replied: “The empty space didn’t ask for my permission to reside within my heart. It just did, like an uninvited guest. It liked my heart so much it remained there. And I am too scared to ask it to leave. …


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Photo by Uriel Soberanes on Unsplash

I thought friendship was something that only happens between two human beings. I didn’t ever think I could be friends with other things, like solitude. I was afraid of befriending him at first, because I thought that meant being lonely and isolated. I thought being too comfortable alone would eventually throw me into the anti-social category. I thought I may just lose my mind from being alone too much. I was afraid, but only because I didn’t understand solitude.

I resisted this friendship for quite a while. I was at war with myself because I thought I needed to be surrounded by others most of the time. Although I try not to think that all my internal wars are society’s fault, this one kinda is. In school, I remember hearing other students making fun of a girl who was alone and had no friends, calling her weirdo. In college, I became that girl. While I did have friends, I spent considerable time alone. And sometimes I felt self-conscious about it, as I am supposed to be more outgoing and social. I actually tried to go out and meet new people at social gatherings, but almost every time, I ended up feeling very out of place. I didn’t enjoy big groups, or parties, or any crowds of any sorts. I preferred hanging out with just a select few. And that’s not because I don’t enjoy socializing, but because of my introversion. I feel more comfortable in quieter places. …


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Photo by Zsolt Bognar on Unsplash

To me, writing is healing. I get to mix words as I like. I can use words as a medium to not only communicate, but also engage in a creative flow that helps me access my feelings. And when I decide to write and let my words flow, I can bring in beautiful feelings to calm my soul. I believe there is so much beauty within us waiting to be expressed if we let it, and so today, I am writing about beautiful things.

To me, beauty is a feeling, because when I write about it, I am not thinking. I am only using thoughts to describe a feeling that’s already within me. …


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Photo by kevin laminto on Unsplash

They say writing about your experiences is healing, because it sheds light on the shadows in yourself and your life. A good story usually involves some happy and sad parts. It won’t be a good story if it was all happy and shiny, or all miserable. It’s a good story because of its contradictions and twists, and the lessons that are carefully weaved into them.

And just like that, our human stories are not linear or direct and they do not fall into one category or another. They’re complex, deep, and full of ups and downs. …

About

Yasmeen ElGerbi

I like exploring the complexity underlying our ideas, emotions, stories, norms, and lives.

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