This is the first installment of Free For All Fridays. I hope to have many more in the coming months but I can't do it without you. This is a chance to submit anything to me that you wish you could write about on your own blog but can't for whatever reason. I'll then post it 100% anonymously.
This is the committment I make to you:
- I won't ask why you prefer not to write it on your own blog, or ask you to provide any further background (unless I honestly feel it needs clarification)
- I won't censor content or change the text, it will appear as you've submitted. If for some reason I feel a strong need to make an alteration I will always ask first.
- Length of the post doesn't matter.
- It could be about any subject, and can take the form of a true story, fantasy, poem etc.
- I understand that because this is going through me first, you may feel a need to hold back on disclosing certain information. I respect that and won't take it personally.
- Those of you who know me, know how much I honour privacy. I promise I will never reveal your name. Ever.
- If you have something you'd like to submit please forward it to me at barrysquotations(at)gmail(dot)com
Today's post almost didn't happen, as the writer was afraid of being rejected by those who will read her words. But she pushed on anyway. So to you, the woman halfway across the world who through this process has become my friend, thank you for your bravery in making yourself heard. I admire your courage.
And now to it..
I am an Arabic girl, never married, just hit my 40s. There are two things I want to talk about. The first is not because what I am about to write I can not publish on my own blog, but actually because I want to open the subject for discussion in a different world, than where I live.
I was educated in a private European school, good at English, German and Arabic. Then I studied at one of the best Egyptian universities, where my studies included deeper aspects of language (linguistics), different literature episodes, language history, grammar rules and history, etc. This was the only thing I choose in my entire life, and I enjoyed it to the maximum.
I started my career by working as executive secretary in many companies, till I settled in a private reputable company as assistant to the deputy managing director. I stayed there for 11 years, then moved to Human resources department within the same company. Due to some problems and business shrinking, the management decided to close down the factory, lay off its staff and some of the department's staff as well. That was in mid-2009. I was one of them. Since then I am looking for another job within the same field.
I had a very special education, and therefore think different than 95% of Egyptian population. It’s hell I can assure you. It’s different because I was raised in a European school, having an European environment and education. It got me to have an European thinking way, rather than the Arabic one. What I kept was my Muslim ethics and way of treating people. The European thinking way gave me the opportunity to judge things based on their nature, with not much influence of people's words. While the Arabic/Islamic emotional part kept my emotions warm and passionate.
As time passes, I started doubting if I am a hopeless case, and I should give up on my right to "live" here or maybe I should try to build a life just "else where". Being different than 90% of people living around you makes you end up feeling like an outsider. Different values, different thinking way, different judging way, different feelings, different approaches. It's hell, when you feel lonely while sitting with your own family, very rare friends- I mean true, close friends. It’s hell to be single at this age in my world. It’s hell to know that everyone looks at me as "expired person" because I am not married, and none would think of even "looking" at me. I am too old. Exactly for what, I don’t know. But I started feeling rejected and to be honest- I have no hope to establish my life at home anymore. Maybe I should move to elsewhere? I don’t know.
I am thinking of leaving my home country and the whole Arabic world to live elsewhere. Europe, USA, Canada, Australia, Asia, Latin America. I don’t care. Anywhere where I can find a job and live. As explained above at this age 90% of people around me look at me as "expired person". Hopeless to start a family, find a partner and of course hopeless to have children. But as human being, don’t I have the right to choose my partner? If I haven’t met the right person till now, don’t I have the right to still hope to find him one day? As a human being should I give up on my life and start preparing myself to die?
Maybe - biologically - I can’t have children, or maybe I can. Who is here to decide? And if I can’t have children does it mean that I can not have a partner who I enjoy few years with? Can’t I have a partner to grow old with? To have some company? What is wrong with hoping anyway? What is wrong with when I meet someone I think could be a potential partner/husband but he is 5 years younger? What is wrong with approaching him and show him my feelings and check if we could have a future together? Why do I have to be cruelly rejected and reminded of my "expiry date"? Am I not a human being anymore? All I am asking for is acceptance for who I am at this age. Someone who wishes to find some happiness. This is all I am asking for. Is that too much?
I have been looking for a job since one year now. You know why I can’t get employed? Because people here think that wearing a headscarf- based on Islam's rule for women- means I am incompetent to work at a multinational company, and because hiring someone of my age is a loss. They need someone young and dynamic. Well, has anyone tested my capabilities and find me incompetent? No. I don’t even get the chance to have a pre-interview. How am I supposed to earn my living then? I am living now from my savings over the past years, when I was working. But what to happen when those savings finish?
I decided to give it a try through your blog. I need to know what "rest of the world" thinks about what I have to say. If I moved to your country - wherever that is- would I be accepted, judged or refused based on my competencies or based on my originals, religion, looks or age?
My second idea is a very simple question. Does a woman, who was raped when she was a child of few years and never had the chance to receive proper after-rape-treatment (as this branch of medicine didn't exist back then, and she too scared to tell her family about, and had to hide this incident from everyone fearing getting hurt)- does she have the right to still love, get married and have her own family? Or is she condemned to never escape this painful experience? Does a woman who is at my age still have the right to hope that one day she will find a partner to spend the rest of her life in happiness with him (who understands what she has been through and still love her for what she has developed herself to be), or is she really too old to be considered?
This is what I can not publish at my blog, because I already know the answer within the Arabic world. But do you -inhabitants of another part of the world- believe in age, barriers, etc- or a woman is still human and is entitled to "live"?