The “me too” campaign is going strong as more women – and men! – share stories and testimonials of what they’ve experienced or witnessed others live through, and although I am overjoyed that light is finally being shed on a crucial matter, I am saddened by many people’s reactions. For instance, every #metoo posted equals three “yeah so what? There are more urgent matters like war”.

Yes there are terrible things happening all over the world, does that mean we should neglect the abused in favour of things we mostly cannot handle ourselves? This is a matter we can fix, or help diminish by removing the taboo label off this behavioral herpes that sweeps our nations still. It is a worldwide issue, something that has been shut up in diaries, whispered and hushed for too long, something nobody should have to endure in silence or be silenced for having endured.

Abuse and assault of all kinds are what bring disease to our societies, mental disease, heart disease, invisible illnesses that plague so many secretly because this world is too blind to see and too ashamed to acknowledge that this is real and dire to address. We cannot sprinkle glitter on the matter and say “oh it’s a Hollywood thing”; it’s in your city too, in your street, at your kids’ school and your wife’s workplace, in your friend’s home and at the supermarket. It’s what keeps your neighbour from sleeping soundly or what makes your mother lock her door twice.

I have lived through too many things to allow people to disregard this issue, to trivialise my or anyone’s life altering encounters. I have been groped in taxis, spoken to graphically by strangers, talked to inappropriately at wotk, followed on my birthday as I left the metro alone at night and ran for my life only to have a pseudo friend ask me if at least my almost aggressor was cute. How could being cute make up for whatever could’ve happened if my feet had failed me? How could being cute make up for what could’ve broken inside me if two strangers hadn’t interfered and ran with me for a while? He wasn’t cute. He was scary and tall and made me dread walking at night, an activity I had always loved, and that whether alone or accompanied. He was a criminal and he stole my sense of security.

I wasn’t dressed in a revealing way. I didn’t mislead him with my words. I didn’t instigate him in any other way than by being there at that moment, when he decided I would make an excellent prey. There are no valid reasons, no possible excuses for such acts. There are urgent matters all around us, but right now we should open our eyes and ears and fight for more justice, push our faltering societies to act and alter our defective upbringing so that future generations don’t live through this fear we have borne for too long because speaking up would lead nowhere or would bring shame upon us. It’s not our fault. We didn’t ask for it and we don’t deserve it.

It is easy to forget that we are the actors not only of our own lives but others’ too; we are not mere extras in the picture, we’re supporting actors engaged for the betterment of each other’s days. You can help change things, and #MeToo.


The perks of my quirks

We all have these little habits, pet peeves, random fears, phobias and superstitious inclinations, some are outspoken about them, others less so, but nonetheless we are all guilty of some unexplained quirkiness, and it could be the most interesting part of us, whether we’d like to admit it or hide from it.

When I was a kid, I had this odd fear of bunnies, mostly the white ones. You know those tiny furry lovable creatures which rarely harm anything…yeah those. I used to stare at them in awe because I truly found them beautiful, but if you tried pushing one closer to me, I’d run away. Later on in life, I traced my fear back to a strange incident in my childhood, something one could almost qualify as a “made in china” phobia. Around the age of 4 or 5 I had been given a toy rabbit, white, red eyes and barely any fur. It was pretty on the outside but touch it and you’d realize it was a thin plastic carcass with barely enough plush to hide it. I can almost remember the touch of it, the bony structure of its body that would send shivers up my spine at the mere sensation of it. For years, the idea of a rabbit coincided with that skeletal toy, and just seeing one would project me into a distressing daze where I’d be caressing a carcass. Needless to say I still have visions of that horrible toy every time I see a bunny, but my brain now understands how far reality and Chinese products are from each other.

Another random fear my childhood brought me was from sunflowers. Of all the flowers in the prairy, that is the one I saw most growing up, spending 2 to 3 months each year in the French countryside. We’d walk near whole fields of it, and one thing always struck me as oddly disturbing; in the morning they’d be facing the sun as if part of some yogi salutation ritual, and at sundown they’d be turning their yellow heads away, all crumpled up and sad looking, faces towards the ground. They almost looked human, feeling, as if they understood the death of day was imminent and they were already mourning it. It might sound poetic said by my 26 year old adult self, but child me used to be terrified by the mere idea of human flowers, living stalks parading their emotions on their stage of soil.

I don’t know if I’d have preferred not thinking so oddly about what surrounded me as a kid, mystifying my surroundings almost built who I’ve become and most importantly who I was as a blossoming plant myself; the way I perceived the world was and will always be so inherent to my personality that, deprived of it, I might have been more serene, but also so much duller.

Too little too long

We travel through life with our shortcomings in our pockets. It may not show, it may not be flagrant, but the little things that once made us feel so small, so unimportant or tragically deficient, remain tucked in warmly just under the skin, hibernating with one eye open, waiting for the stage light to hit.

“Not enough”. Two simple words that hit the spot, restart the itch we thought was gone and forgotten. Two simple words that once made everything not so simple, then tainted each moment since, just as they did the first time they scratched the delicate surface of our fragile build. Whether you were bullied, forgotten or let’s face it, just invisible, the scars of youth never totally heal; every victory is lightly bittersweet, every accomplishment incomplete, every smile overshadowed with years’ worth of tears. We carry our miserable pasts with us everywhere we go, spread them on every bite we take out of life, psychology proved it, and deep down we know it to be true: nothing we’ll ever do will truly conquer the fears or feelings of ineptitude our 5 or 10 year old self learnt to share meals with, no revenge on the past will ever fill our present incomplete states. We were innocent and they took something precious away from us, unhinged us and never safely bolted us back.

In the end, no matter how old or how strong life renders us years after our egos and self-esteem were cruelly scorched, there will always be a familiar little voice repeating: why now and not then? And what if it’s all fake, unreal, a mistake? Wounds of yesterday, scars of today, we may have won the battle…but many were buried along the way, and their ghosts still pace, restless, forever unanswered.

Stereotypical tendencies

I was at a party 2 days ago, and expectedly ran into some friends. During a brief conversation, my recent haircut was brought up, and how different it made me look now that my long mane had been chopped off and forsaken. Then the phrase that no one had yet uttered was spoken: does your new do signify that you’re a lesbian now? I always dread Lebanese logic, but this was…hilarious.

From what I’ve gathered, your choice of hairstyle, garments, friends etc…determine your sexual tendencies just as they do musical influences. I have short hair and wear black, therefore I’m a lesbian Satan worshiper. My clothing choices have made many question my affiliations for years, being asked if I loved death metal or was a distant relative of the Adams family – not that I mind having sported the nickname Wednesday since high school. People judge, it’s no news, but the way they judge is simply ridiculous, basing their so-called knowledge on retarded TV shows and celebrity propaganda. I currently have short hair but I’m not Ellen, I wear black and studs but I’m not Ozzy, I love food but I’m not Yogi bear. I make choices because I’m free not because some insane fashions dictate my behaviour, I dress and do things in a way I feel comfortable in, just like I take on a different persona every once in a while. Life isn’t meant to be boring or routine-like, and one must live their truth instead of hiding behind stereotypes too scared to act on impulse or whim. I woke up one morning and felt like trying something new, that’s the only reason behind my haircut, the only reason I or anyone else needs; no sexual or religious meaning, no symbolism or rebellion, just a need for change.

There is a need to define everything and understand things on a deeper level than those existing, but sometimes one must leave Freud and Simone de Beauvoir on the bookshelf and let live. On another note, today I dyed half my hair pink – can’t wait for all the misconceptions that’ll result in!

The mask of my dreams

We all have a friend who likes to dress up, closets filled with props and various accessories, ready for any impromptu event. I am that person, and I am not ashamed of my extreme fondness of the subtle artistry such a hobby requires. People often refer to costume parties as children’s play, games reserved for the young and infantile part of society, whileas the real grown-ups have naturally outgrown the urge to participate in such displays of naiveté.

However, such a statement is far from true. When a child thinks of dressing up, the first emotion stirred is one of amusement and joy, but this simple game is a more psychologically driven activity than one would think. Children are like little boxes of dreams, filled with visions of possibilities and brightly-lit futures; a pirate costume is real to a five year old boy who wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between velvet and polyester, a princess’s crown is always as light as plastic for a girl repeatedly described as the heiress of her father’s heart. At 10, one still has hopes of becoming a werewolf or saving the world in a caped red and blue spandex uniform, and nobody would dare tamper with the extreme softness of a child’s core, bustling with ideas of what could be. At 16, a girl understands a tramp isn’t part of the social elite, but she wants to know what it’s like to be a desired woman, escape the walls of her underage cage and be seen as a fully-developped young lady, even if she doesn’t fit into the Chelsea Clinton image her parents envisioned her in. A costume is the youth’s way of starting life, accelerating time accordingly to what they imagine their futures to look like, however distorted an adult would claim them to be.

As for adults, things don’t differ so radically as we’re lead to believe. I for one love to dress up, and I know plenty a grown-up who’d courageously say the same, for courage is effectively needed in a society like ours where any deviant is classified as mentally disturbed. We dress up for fun, one can’t deny, but I like to think our psyches aren’t as shallow as the eyeball-filled Halloween party punch bowl. We slip into princess gowns, wear feathery wings and put on vampire fangs in an attempt to experience what we were so unfortunately refused, be it recognition, fortune, peace or control. Costumes are the ever-lasting means humans have conceived to exorcise the unfulfilled desires and fantasies still swimming in our minds, parched and dizzyingly demanding to be replenished.

Life has a way of unapologetically denying us many a thing, and if sometimes we can naively put on a wig and be someone else for a night, then why the hell not? Although I would probably keep my kids away from a grown man disguised as Elmo.