Simple and yet powerful: 

عجبي على حرفين قد سلبا وقاري
حاء حريق وباء بت في ناري
ماذا جرى لي؟؟
نحول .. غيرة.. قلق.. سهر.. عذاب 
جنون هزّ أفكــاري

That’s probably the worst thing you really can do. Don’t say words you don’t mean, don’t make promises you can’t keep, don’t promise the world if you know you can’t offer a neighborhood, don’t make grand gestures and claim you’ll be someone’s forever, when you aren’t even being true to yourself, let alone others. Words have the power to make or break someone. And time- don’t waste people’s time. Don’t waste mine, when it’s all I have. You can’t get that back. 

 

Semester Over

I have been teaching at the Arab Open University (Kuwait Branch) for about two years. I was also teaching there while I was a PhD candidate. It was more like an internship at the time, I was doing it mainly for the experience, and I learned so much during that time. I am extremely grateful to those who believed in me, especially Dr. Chekra Allani, the Head of the English Department at the time. When I was first interviewed for the job, Dr. Chekra was very supportive. She said that she had found a “star” in the field, and all I wanted was to make her proud. I was finalizing my PhD thesis at the time, teaching Shakespeare to undergraduates who struggled with Shakespeare’s inaccessibility, and attempting to do a good job, leave a mark somehow. And I think I did. I have resigned from AOU, moving elsewhere, starting a new chapter.
But before I “move on”, and I don’t believe we ever really move on, I have to write this post. Over the last few days, I let my students know that I was leaving. As always, it is difficult to say goodbye to them, to end this chapter. This week, during one of my lectures, I lost my voice. We tend to overdo it when we lecture, as the material is dense, and should be covered within a limited time. By the end of the day, I was completely exhausted, essentially dead, and left voiceless. As some of my friends and colleagues know, I struggle with a chronic disability, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), and in general, my energy levels aren’t that great. Fatigue kicks in during the summer and heat aggravates my body, affecting even my ability to speak, to lecture. So on that particular day, I was exhausted, put my head down on my desk, and shed a tear or two. I felt like giving up, like I couldn’t keep doing this to myself, that it was too difficult to maintain a full-time job teaching. At the end of the semester, I am usually more than ready to hibernate forever.
And yet, it was only a day later, where my students sent me emails, tweets, messages, cards, everything you can think of – in which they expressed their gratitude, their appreciation, and how they have enjoyed the semester. I will always be grateful for this experience, this beautiful experience of working with amazing colleagues, and students who come to class because they really want an education, a second shot, a second chance at learning. A few students in particular will always stand out in my memory, and they were the ones who beautifully expressed these sentiments:

   
              

 

This writer really says it well:

“I can’t figure out what it is about you that keeps me around, either. I put 120 percent into the relationship, while you put in a mere 40 to 50 percent, on a good day. But I still stay hanging around.

I keep holding on. I keep telling myself things will get better, that you do care about me. I tell myself that you have a hard time showing affection. I tell myself that you show you care about me in different ways, even though I’m not entirely sure what those ways are. I keep twisting things in my head because I didn’t want to accept not having you in my life.” 
And that’s the worst part. When we make excuses for people who don’t trouble themselves to excuse their own behavior to us. The minute we start making excuses is the minute you have to stop and question what is happening, and whether this is the same person you valued so much. 

May 

This is the month. This is the month we met, only so that you would start a revolution within me. Like all revolutions, it is glorified, made to look successful. But in fact, it is a massacre. The death of innocent people. The death of who I was. The death of who you were. I look at you and I can barely recall if you ever saw me as your anchor. 

And how ironic is it, that I waited for so long, waited for the yes, thinking we were longing for the same outcome. Now I know that hope dies last

Sometimes people can be doses of kindness, of innocence, of simplicity. There is a darkness that requires a nudge, a slight movement, a whisper of hope. The surprise was in the spontaneous knock on my door, the smiling eyes, the questions unasked. 

Dark chocolate has always been my favorite. White is too sweet. But the mixture I don’t mind, like everything in life, I have to alternate. The chocolates reminded me of this. It can’t always be one flavor. And I am grateful for the gentle reminder, the attempt of getting me to stand up again. Thank you, it was “purrfect.”