On Missed Opportunities

Google came to my university today – I knew they were coming, I signed up for their seminar on publishing, and I was totally planning to go – and yet, as usual, something unavoidable came up which led me to staying up late (for the 3rd night in a row) which caused me to sleep in and thus miss the entire seminar. Literally, all of it.

But it gets worse. During registration, they asked attendees if they had blogs, and I did, and so I submitted its URL like the good girl I am. And turns out they displayed a couple of their favorite blogs from among those submitted – and turns out mine was one of them.

They mispronounced my name (it’s “Hiba”, Google, not “Abiha”) and passed over the gifts us lucky few would have gotten had literally all of us not missed the session (apparently everyone who writes good blogs also sleeps in late). My friends took notes for me because they’re amazing, obviously, but still.

If you know me, you’ll know that this…is a recurring theme of my life. To be on the edge of greatness (yes yes, I know, this was not that big a deal, but tolerate me for a moment; I’m trying to make a point) and yet never quite achieve it myself. To be in the company of great people (I have a talent for befriending those who are bound to be successful, and also a talent for ditching them right before they achieve that success) and yet never be great myself.

To be content with your own mediocrity is a terribly bitter pill to swallow, but you get used to the taste after a while. Such is life, I guess.

(And no, I’m not just bitter about losing out on the free Google tees. Okay, not much bitter.)

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I am not very good at being a woman.

And it’s not just the physical aspects that I fail at (which I do) – I’m ugly and fat, and make no effort to change that via make-up or exercise or fashionable clothes (my mother can only buy me clothes and put them in my closet; she can’t make me wear the right clothes for any given event). I’m also a terrible cook; awful at making conversation; completely and utterly tactless, never knowing what to say or when to say it; loud and opinionated; have a terrible bed-side manner; irregular with chores; messy and forgetful and careless; can’t remember birthdays or favourite foods or allergies or medicines worth a damn; and – well, you get the gist.

What can I do, then? Why, loads! I’m quick at grasping concepts; wonderful at managing those under me; an okay writer and artist (in my opinion) and an above-average programmer; socially aware and active; a handy repairwoman; have a terrific professional manner; skilled at clearing up confusions; an adequate tutor; an instinctive mathematician; a quick reader; and have knowledge of numerous fields, programs, languages and cultures.

Here’s the thing though – so is every other woman I know. They can do everything that I can, and they can do it while being an amazing cook, and fun at parties, while wearing the cutest outfits and making everyone feel at home. They get good grades and learn loads all while performing household chores and making time for their families and ensuring that, you know, people don’t die because they haven’t had lunch yet or forget to take their medicine.

So no, I’m not very good at being a woman, because I’m not very good at performing the emotional labour that women do – the excess work that is the price women have to pay in order to exist in this world without censure, a tax which men seem to be exempt from.

But if I were a man, I would be exceeding expectations.

Being Enough

I was going to start this with “Am I the only one…” but, as we know, you are never the only one, because humanity has existed for so long and in such large numbers, and will continue to exist for so long and in even larger numbers, that the diversity of their experiences encompasses perhaps all our imaginations and then some.

So I know I’m not the only one, but therein lies the problem: I am not the only one, and so I am not outstanding. Everything I have done, and am doing, and will do has been done by someone already, and most likely been done better.

There are folks who defy this paradigm, but I am not one of them. I do not possess the talent, I do not possess the drive, I do not possess the potential for greatness. There are many days when I feel as if I do not even possess the ability to be good in what I do, and it is an exhausting, ever-present fear that only serves to further lower my belief in myself and in what I do.

But I try my best all the same, and I hope that it is enough.

Of Days Like Sandpaper

I came across an explanation once, that said functional depression is the kind that makes you forget the steps to a task, so your mind thinks it overwhelming. And I don’t know what kind of depression I have, or if I have it at all; if I’m not just lazy, or sleep deprived, or ungrateful, or just physically crippled.

All I know is that I can lie down in a room with every surface overflowing with old clothes and notes and used make-up bottles and stationery and technology and layers upon layers of dust and grime, and know that it is not fine yet not care anyway,

All I know is that I sleep in and can’t cook and don’t work as I am always tired and my flesh prison is always aching or not listening to me.

All I know is I skip classes or attend and don’t take notes, start projects but never finish them, makes lists and delay completing each item, again and again and again, even though I know better.

(Am I just entitled and vapid and useless? Do I not even have a reason for it?)

All I know is that I am exhausted – after I shower; after I clean; after I climb up and down the stairs once; after I wake up. Exhausted, and scared of my inability and my instability of body and mind.

To me, depression is neither as black as the void or as white and fuzzy as fog; it is simply that moment (upon moment upon moment, until it is a day in a moment) of numbness and wrongness when one puts on clothes that rub their skin strange, when one sits on their legs too long, when one writes without thinking or feeling – when words are no longer coherent descriptors, just pain sharp bright tired tired tired

Depression, to me, is not knowing what anything is, least of all your own existence.

My Own Inability Irks Me

At around 1 post every 4 months, I am a disgrace of a blogger. Perhaps it is because I have too many social media outlets for a very unsocial person, or perhaps it is just because I am incapable; regardless, I cannot expect to become a writer this way.

That’s what I tell myself most days, anyway. But then I remember that Mehreen Kasana took two years off of her blog and came back stronger than ever, and I gain hope. I possess, of course, none of her intelligence, acuity, word sense, poetry and knowledge, but still, she gives me hope.