Between a Veil and a Dark Place Online!
Hello, world. Marwa here. This is my first blog post.
Over a week ago I very carefully wrote up the pages of this blog. They explain who I am and what this blog wants to do, what the title of this blog is all about, and what the images of this blog are all about (complete with more cool photos). I also answer a whole lot of questions about this project and myself.
I wrote these pages as the groundwork, the infrastructure of my project. So that I could go back to them and remember why I chose to do this.
So I could remember that this is a space for story as much as it is a space for argumentation, because the philosopher in me has grown nuanced enough to understand that being right or wrong (about Islam’s relation to the suffering of people in the Arab world and Muslim-majority countries, about anything else applied-ethics-political for that matter) is only important insofar as it helps or hurts people.
I wrote these pages so I could remember that it’s okay to step back to take a human moment.
So I could remember what this project means on the personal and interpersonal level, so that, for example, I could remember that the hijab is not a floating concept independent of the women who wear it and value it in divergent ways. So that others can understand my choices as well and know that they are not haphazard. So that everything would be in place before I wrote my first post and launched this creation into the world.
Then I got addicted to brain crack and the first post did not happen. Because I had so many ideas and was full of trepidation at tackling them in their rich and enormous scope, because my fish are really dead, and have been for a long time, because part of the reason my fish are so dead is that I have lived a crazy life of suppression and control and abuse in the Middle East, and that, no lies about it, my own pain and that of women who are my friends and family are the driving forces behind the subject matter of this blog.
I feel responsible as a newly free woman of requisite skill, knowledge, and intellect to speak, surely, but I also want validation, want to perhaps selfishly (if not merely so) turn my own pain and anger into something valuable, so it will not have been in vain. But I am also still picking up pieces of myself and trying to make them whole, and I am overwhelmed.
So my first post did not happen.
But I also realized that if I got my posts out there into the world they would lead to more posts, and very quickly I would be in the midst of a flurry of responsibility and care and wonder and investment and I would have put my hands into some wonderfully (if dangerously) potent pool of thought that would be pull me in and carry me forward.
I needed to just write that first post.
See, this is about windows, for me.
I don’t know if other people who lack motivation and feel scarcity of or blocked emotions have similar processes, but often I am able to push myself into a headspace where a precious window opens up and I am capable of taking steps and making changes that will later put on a near permanence. What was nearly impossible before that window opened up becomes easy. If I miss the window and it closes, I am back to near-impossibility, because as a depressed person difficulty of action is my default state.
Windows open more often than I feel like I have a right to expect, but I very seldom stumble through them.
I was able to successfully stumble through windows when I was writing my MA thesis, when I lost 70 pounds in one year, when I taught logic and ethics throughout my thesis and comprehensive exam year. I’ve let a lot of windows close with regards to my novel, personal relationships, and becoming a happier and more fulfilled person.
And I am in such a window now, with this blog. I don’t want it to close.
So here is my first post.