Sunday, 6 July 2014

Birthday Letter 2014

Hi Baba,

Well, the year has passed so quickly, as you can see I haven't even posted a blog between last year's letter and this year's. At the same time it feels like a millennia away.. Time is pesky like that.

I can't believe it's been 7 years. It feels like nothing. And also an eternity. There goes time again. Being pesky.

I think the most annoying thing on this day is not having new photos to share of you. I think that gets frustrating. I keep recycling photos, and it annoys me. Hell, it hurts me.
I see my friends posting photos with their fathers, trips, or graduations, or weddings...
Speaking of weddings, I've been to a couple this year, and every time I see the bride walked down the aisle, or whatever venue with her father, I find my heart being squeezed tightly, even when I don't know them that well. It's something that I know is coming one day, and the idea that I can't have that dance or accompaniment into a new phase of my life breaks my heart..

I think fatherhood is something I tend to observe these days... I watch the fathers of friends,  I study them. See how they interact with their adult children. I try and talk to them more, and gain their friendship. Almost as if I'm searching for you in them, almost as though they represent the elite club of fathers, and if I am in their good books, and I can gain their affection and friendship, I somehow have achieved a tiny bit of what I could have with you.

It's a bittersweet thought. Then again, all of this is.

There's so much to tell you this year.. I've finally met Michel. He came out to Beirut and stayed quite a long while. It was interesting to see this part of your life. Once again, I felt like I was representing you, that I was an embodiment of you. I remember picking him up from the airport, having only ever met him via a warbled Skype video call and a number of emails, and feeling like I know him. Or maybe I did, because I was more you that night than me.

I remember on the drive home to mum (I had decided that if things were going to get emotional, it was better in phases as opposed to all in one go...) how Michel got the elephant in the room out of the way in a few words, that I can't remember accurately. But the sadness that had to come out came out very smoothly and softly, like a mouse enticed out of it's hole only to be recognised before vanishing.
He's quite the character, and the more I got to know him and hear his stories, I saw what you loved in him, and imagined how you would glance at him while sat around talking and discussing all the things you talked and discussed. I learnt a lot more about you, and what a good soul you are, and although it was lovely it also hurt because I wanted to find that out myself, and reap the reward of being your daughter myself.

I think that is the hardest thing to overcome from all this.
I think it will always be so very difficult.

Speaking of difficult, I'm a a couple of months away from finishing my MA. Yep.
I promised you I would. And I'm nearly there. I've been in London doing my MA in Communication Design at Kingston.

It was not easy to knowingly and voluntarily put myself in the position of being assessed, and in academics. I have had to overcome so much on a personal level, and what I learnt from my course this year is nothing compared to what I learnt about myself. I think that in itself was worth all this...
To re-learn the value of making mistakes, and actually making them without fear is a lesson that I will keep on learning, and will need to remind myself.
It's still scary, and I have come to realise I worry a lot, but I kept soldiering on, and will continue to do so. I feel I have to do the best I can, to make you proud, to make sure that this decision was not taken lightly, and to prove to myself that I could do this not just for me, but for you.
In my moments of weakness and self doubt I found myself missing you a lot.
Looking for assurance and tender encouragement from someone who was there in a way, but not the way I selfishly needed. And I know I have mum, and she has been so supportive of so many things, but it's different. I need both. But oh well. What more can I say...

But enough about that. Life is good on the whole.. It's getting better. The phases of my life seem to be moving at a steady pace, I can see them now, and although not everything is known, the path is less ambiguous, and there are plans to move forward. It seems I'm going to do what you tried to avoid all your life, and move to the gulf for a while. I need to start making a living that I can fall back on, and it's not going to happen in Beirut. And if this means I have to compromise and walk to the desert, I guess it'll have to do till I can do it differently..
Beirut is heartbreaking, and even you with all your love and faith in it would be pained to see what is going on today. And everywhere else around us too.
Parts of us are moving forward, while the others drag us back, and we are stuck in this unsynchronised, incongruous body that is starting to tear at the seams and bleed.

It's a ghastly thought. And I wonder what you would say... I wonder sometimes how our life would have been if we never left London.

Saying that, big cities scare me now. I feel overwhelmed by London, and annoyed at it's size. I like to keep things closer to me, to have a base that has everything within reach... London is somewhere I will always feel home in, but I wonder if it's somewhere I could make a home in anymore.

I guess I'm looking through different eyes now. A "grown up" life is not so far away. The prospect of marriage and children is not something to roll eyes at and scoff at. I now have friends with kids, and friends planning kids.  Ha, next year I'm turning 30 dad. Not bad for your little girl, huh.

Wishing you were here more and more every year. Hoping that somehow you stay close, and resonate clearer in my mind. Nothing scares me more than the thought of that distance...

We have these letters though, despite my never being able to squeeze everything I want to write in them, at least that's something.

Happy birthday ya bayyi. Love you so very very much.

Till next year.



P.S. Please help me make sure mum takes better care of herself. It doesn't help my compulsive worrying. x

Birthday Letter 2013
Birthday Letter 2012
Birthday Letter 2011
Birthday Letter 2010
Birthday Letter 2009

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