Diaries of an Arab girl : I owe my life to others

Growing up; the word I used to hate the most was “Traditions” right after it comes “society” and then the words “conservative” and “inappropriate“. If you’re a female born or living in an Arab country, you must have heard those words so many times you could write a book about it if you wanted.

Well I’m no different than you ! And as someone who considers freedom and independence as the two most sacred things in life; there could not have been anything worse than having to live by rules I don’t even understand and for no logical reason, it’s like being tied with invisible shackles, thus I can say with certainty that I know what a bird inside a cage must feel, it knows it’s supposed to be flying; yet there it is imprisoned because someone wants it to be.

“The less there is to justify a traditional custom, the harder it is to get rid of it”                                                                                                        ― Mark Twain

In my society we do not do the things we want unless they’re appropriate, meaning unless people approve of them, and by people I mean neighbors and family and others who for some reason were entitled to the role of surveying others instead of minding matters of their own lives like normal humans.

I don’t really know if it’s their fault or ours, theirs for showing too much interest in things they normally shouldn’t even bat an eye at, or ours for giving the outside world the right to interfere in our private lives that are supposed to be exactly that : private.

In my society; the common principals and beliefs are more respected than religion, we’re ironically afraid of judgement, we might lie and hide and give people the permission to dictate what we should and should not do, all the while there is something bigger, more direct and more pure, we know that God is the merciful who’s more forgiving that the closed minds of community will ever be, yet we sadly choose to ignore that fact and put the laws of religion below “traditions”.

tradition

It it extremely frustrating to witness this battle between what we want and what seems acceptable, when you do nothing that is sinful but you still suffer from judgement and distaste.

I’ve never found it the least bit appealing to think about what others might like or dislike as long as what I’m doing doesn’t concern anyone else but myself, my own vision had always consisted of the fact that life is too short for us to hand over control to anyone other than ourselves. There are only few people in this world who will ever truly love and care about us, and those people are the only ones who should matter. The rest is nothing more than strangers with whom we share the same planet.

It has been a constant fight that I’ve had to have with myself and my entourage; the world has a way of making you feel like you don’t belong when you’re simply different, you’d think you’re crazy just because no one else around you shares your opinion, and it takes a lot of courage to finally stand out and say that you don’t want to follow the crowd anymore, and you’re very likely to be faced with more rejection than you’ve ever seen before.

It’s not easy, people will consider you a rebel _and not in the good sense of the word_, and a person who’s ashamed of their culture, I wish they could only understand that culture and ethics are not the same thing, the former is supposed to reinforce our identity and give us a sense of power and belonging, the latter is a list of rules that must be respected but should not by any means become a confinement.

“Tradition is a guide and not a jailer.”                                                                        ―W. Somerset Maugham

I hope that one day the world will appreciate the gift of freedom, there are thousands of people out there who wish they could have even an hour of liberation, people who forgot what it feels like to make a decision out of pure intention. And we have the audacity to give up what others pray for and build obstacles on our own just for the purpose of it, I know that even those who dare to set the rules wouldn’t mind it if they could just be, without owing anything to anyone.

God provided us with enough directions that exist to serve and protect us, and that’s the only set of rules that we’re bound to follow, anything else is nothing but limitations to souls that were born free and should remain that way.

Amal.S

 

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