Bismillah ir Rahman ir Raheem.
I’ve been trying to gather my thoughts for some time now. 7 months seems about right.
It’s been one heckuva year thus far. Not always in a good way.
About a week after my last post in February, I had a baby boy.
I wish I could tell you it was the happiest day of my life, but it was more like the climax to a horror movie. That resulted in something beautiful. But something I really couldn’t relate to as mine.
That feeling lasted a very long time. I’d never been around something as tiny and vulnerable as my son. Yet here I was supposed to bathe him, feed him, dress him and love him.
Meanwhile, my family decided to abandon me to my distress and leave me to work it out on my own. My body was beyond recognition. My life was beyond recognition.
Oh and my son refused to breastfeed. So I figured that he hated me, though he’d only been alive a matter of days. I wish I could say I don’t believe that anymore. But sleep deprivation and physical exhaustion of every kind prevents me from thinking clearly.
Yes, I have post-partum depression. I’m on the drugs. But the best anti-depressant is life, I’ve found. Can’t buy that for the highest price.
If anyone shoves infertility in my face and tells me I should be ‘grateful’, please go find another blog. I can acknowledge my own feelings while honoring other women’s sadness. It’s called dichotomy and I’ve learned in the past few months that it’s the cornerstone of the human experience.
The hits kept coming, of course.
A couple of weeks ago now, my mother died. ALS took her the way it usually does, stopping her breath. My heart is broken.
In all of this, I’ve learned a few things, by God’s Grace.
I’ve learned that every moment is precious because we never know what the next moment may bring.
I’ve learned that people can be indifferent, insensitive, even cruel. But there is no point in being angry with them. It’s just a waste of energy. Staying away from them is a better tactic. And directing my energy towards the people and things I do love.
And what of screenwriting? I spent a long time wondering what the eff I’m doing still screenwriting. Is anyone going to care what a Muslim Sri Lankan woman has to say? People don’t even care what Effie Brown has to say. And Matt Damon and Ben Affleck are actually trying to give directors a leg up. But apparently not diversity.
White straight dudes FTW!
It’s an ugly world out there. ‘Satirical’ magazines mock a dead toddler. Who looks a lot like my son, incidentally.
Children have been killed by guns, intentionally and unintentionally. And yet the government does nothing to protect them, at least from the crazy ones. If we don’t think it’s our responsibility to protect and care for children, however much it hurts us, who are we going to protect?
My stories all contain women of color. Muslims. Sometimes only women. Sometimes only Muslims. Will anyone ever care to make one of my films? I’m wondering now whether I should continue to spend my life beating my head against the wall of privilege. Because I’m tired and I have a headache. For realz.
I have a son. I have a husband. I told stories because I enjoy them. But my heart is too broken for the holes to be plugged by narrative anymore. Maybe I should spend my life loving my family instead. Maybe I should try and find fulfillment somewhere else. Being a teacher like all the women in my family before me.
Maybe. Maybe it just isn’t worth it. Maybe I should leave the good fight to stronger warriors than me.
But there are many lessons I have yet to learn and I can’t, except from my mother.
Mama, how do you learn to die? How do you learn to say goodbye to things and people and dreams and lives that are forever gone? How do you wake from that and still know who you are? Mama, come back. We have so much more to talk about. I have so much more to learn.
But you’re not coming back. Are you? Lots of things are never coming back. And it would appear that once again, I have to figure things out myself.