Updated: Aug 24
By Sheikha Alhashmi
I try not to, but I hear noises. A fusion of glass shattering, nail screeching, and kettle whistling sounds are perforating my eardrums. I see 13 flares of red painting the canvas under my eyelids at the speed of a traveling neutrino. Although I do remember my science teacher calling this phenomenon “phosphene”, it rather feels like it’s my own blood boiling over to fill every cavity of my body and stain my vision with bursts of chaotic spillages. Out of the millions of questions orbiting my exhausted mind, my dry throat manages to let out the cliche questions: “Who am I? Where am I?”
After what seemed like ages, hazy flashbacks invade my memory frenetically. My name is Sheikha, and I'm in a dark place; so dark it blinds my consciousness, swamps my emptiness, and hits me with the reality: nothing is actually happening. I suck in the deepest breath my lungs can embrace and flutter my eyes wide open. I roam them over until they fall on a standing mirror. I try to observe my reflection so hard I almost reach out my hand to touch it. I’m trapped in the confines of my room, lying on the cold, bare floor with my phone in one hand and a notebook in another. I didn’t realize how tightly I’m grasping them until I felt the sticky sweat in my palms. I thought those were the things that would help me get through this, or at least distract me from some of it, but apparently, I was wrong. Nothing in the world can help someone break free from their own self.
My alarm didn’t go off today, but my body is trained to rouse naturally. I storm out of bed and tilt the curtains to make eye contact with the golden rays of sunshine as I inhale the breeze and let it run over my face gently. The pores on the arid plain of my skin expand and an influx of shivers run down my spine. Then I remember: I survived last night. I survived my unscrupulous thoughts which always hold me captive when I’m at my worst. I survived the diabolical voices of my head which always thrash me when I'm at my worst. I survived the most destructive form of my subliminal self which always dominates every ounce of me when I’m at my worst. I should be breathing out a sigh of relief right now, but the fact that the worst version of myself is submerged but unchained is despairing. I could be doing well then get possessed by my worst self the next minute and have absolutely no control over it.
"I survived last night."
If I could describe the uncontrollable overwhelming feeling of being imprisoned in my head, I'd analogize it to the existent oppression in today’s society in which superficiality and grandiosity are the crown holders. A society in which people are programmed to ask about how you are and what you feel just to quench their curiosity. A society in which I’m the oppressed individual, my worst self is the ruthless crown holder, and everyone else is the selfish quidnunc. Hence whenever the idea of survival strikes me, I steer clear of it and fall into a bottomless hole.
When depression, anxiety, trauma, or any other influx of heavy emotions hits, it drowns. I tried to surpass the waves but the higher I peaked, the lower I sank. What I’ve ultimately learned is that in order to survive the waves, you have to use the negative concepts engraved in your mind as oars and row along. Instead of pressuring yourself into overcoming your demons, allow them to synchronize with the harmonies of life. You see, the whole idea of survival not only imprints within you the true value of resilience and the likelihood of a better tomorrow, but it also parallelizes your soul with the essence of espousing darkness and sharing it with the right people.
If kites never come back, we fly new ones. The logic behind this is all about adapting a mentality that no matter how dense situations get, you’ll always be there for yourself, because here I am, writing this as a proud survivor of the worst, embracing my experiences and passing them on to you. I’m not scared of the noises I hear and the images I see anymore. I’m not scared of confronting my buzzing mind anymore. I know that if it could get so dark, it could also bring light... and I could also survive.