Thursday, 2 January 2014

On the New Year

In 2013 I:

- rented a bachelor suite with windows at ground level in someone else's courtyard, which filled with icy cold muddy water and detritus when it rained.  My flat: also filled with icy cold muddy water when it rained.  I was grateful that I had stacked my stuff in order of importance, because the books on the bottom could be dried out, but my laptop could not.  This was also the year the only computer I've owned finally died.

 - got a small job translating for a Dar al-Ifta.  They never paid me (so Islamic.  much fiqh.  very mufti.  not much paying of employees), but I am still proud that I had a real job translating fatwas.  I also learned that anything religious is probably not going to pay me for my work, so not to work for them unless I want to volunteer.

 - lost all hope of finishing my degree in Jordan or even getting credit for the courses I'd taken.  The laws changed, Canada's Foreign Ministry had spent four years losing (probably "losing") my diplomas instead of authenticating them, and everything had gotten impossibly expensive.  That door is closed now.

 - a kind friend got me a job in another country.  I moved countries, and got a good job with a non-creepy and so far non-exploitative boss that pays me and rented a flat that isn't moldy and doesn't flood or have roaches.  I'm saving up to buy a car and a computer now.  I haven't yet gotten furniture because I'm lazy but also because I just can't get used to the idea of furniture being a thing that I could have.

I miss Jordan so much, but life has gotten much better, and it's likely to continue getting better.

Possibly one day I can start again, from the beginning, again, and get a degree, but there are so many hurdles and I am so poorly equipped for formal education that it doesn't look terribly likely.  But still, I hope.

There is - I believe it's an ayah - that says that whatever passes you by wasn't meant for you (paraphrasing), but there is also a saying that you should trust in God and try as hard as you can.  I'm not yet sure if University (and so a better chance at a less marginal and unstable and unhealthy life; pretty much all jobs in this part of the world require a degree now) is something that was not meant for me (illness, developmental disabilities, poverty, gender; academia is not by or for people like me), or if I need to keep trying.  But it is important to me personally, and I could contribute much more to my field if I had a degree and some actual training in it and not just self-education, and I hate to give up.  So I haven't, yet, I've just suffered another setback.

I am bone-tired of ignorance and oppression of all sorts and tired of having to be 'nice' about it.  I am tired of explaining to people who aren't listening and don't consider me worth listening to why their bigotry is wrong and tired of dismantling the same old stupid fallacies over and over again.  That doesn't deserve politeness or consideration or debate.

This was supposed to be about the new year.  I don't have any resolutions, but I do have resolve.  I am already doing more of the things that matter to me - reading, writing, translating - and declining other people's sense of entitlement to my time and service, when possible.

                     لا يعنيني يا سنة جديدة ماذا ستحملين لي،
                           بل أخبرك ماذا أحمل لك أنا:
               سأكون أكثر جنونًا وعنادًا وثورة وشغفًا ممّا كنت عليه
                          سأكون أكثر تطلّبًا في العشق،
                       وأكثر رفضًا للظلم والغباء والجبن،
                        وأكثر إصرارًا على إحداث فرق
                  سأكتب أكثر وأضحك أكثر وأبكي أكثر لأنّني
                        في كلّ ما أفعل لن أكون إلّا أنا
                   كوني كما تريدين أن تكوني يا سنة جديدة
                       وأنا سأكون كما أريد أن أكون،
                                 مالكة كلماتي،
                        رافضة ما لا ينصاع له فكري،
                    متمسّكة بحريّتي في أن أقول نعم أو لا،
                              وحيدة وحيدة وحيدة
                       كالشمس والقمر ونجمة الصبح …  
                               ماري القصيفي

[Rough translation, with apologies to the poet]:

I don't care, O New Year, what you will bring me
But I'm letting you know what I bring you
I will be more mad and stubborn and revolutionary and passionate than I was
I will be more demanding in love
And more rejecting of oppression and stupidity and cowardice
And more insistent upon making a difference
I will write more and laugh more and cry more because
In everything I do I will be nothing but myself
Be whatever you want to be, O New Year
And I will be whatever I want to be
Owner of my words
Refuser of whatever my mind is not swayed by
Committed to my freedom to say yes or no
Solitary, solitary, solitary
As the sun and the moon and the morning star...

1 comment:

  1. Happy New Year. You've had quite the year. I didn't make resolutions either, I like how you put it...
    Hope there are many good things to come.