So, I’m sitting at this laundromat; the only time I have to write these days. I guess, I kind of enjoy doing laundry now. Ha, sike, I want a maid. Don’t we all?
I started thinking about that Nivea music video, “Laundromat”, where she was singing and walking through a laundromat with video vixens in short-shorts and high-knee socks with sneaker – throwing laundry detergent at people. She was respectfully going off on leaving her man (R.kelly, lol!) and his dirty laundry – making the song title and video the perfect metaphor.
As silly and catchy the tune was, it was real.
How many times have we all had a spring-like-cleanings in our lives? A clearing of the people and the things that were either no longer serving us or harming us.
It happens in life – whether you initiate it, whether the other party does or somehow through a series of misfortunate events; it just happens.
If you play young and hard, be prepared to learn the hard way. I stole that line from Arbs.
As a child, I had to come to terms with ending things such as a deeply historical family relationship, and being displaced into an entirely new location.
It’s as if I was born – and right when my brain began to pick up memory; I had remembered just meeting my family, and then never seeing them again.
I surprisingly remember the summer days and nights in Iraq. The garden that was in our backyard filled with fig trees—lemon trees, an array of flowers. The city lights that’s made the water in the wells gleam.
By the way, I don’t know if my grandfather, who built that house, was a romantic like I, but fellas take notes: Don’t just buy your woman a dozen roses. Get her a garden with rose bushes so she has them every day and every season.
Because the country would get to soaring temperatures, we’d make it a family tradition to sleep outside on our roof tops.
I don’t know if it was because I was small, but I remember looking up and seeing how big the stars looked.
2 years ago, when I visited Iraq, I wasn’t able to see through the built-up smog (probably from war radiation—I don’t know, I’m not an ecologist). It just so happened that I’d never seen something so beautiful in my life – that it has been imprinted in my mind for 20 years and to go back and not see that, puts things into perspective.
It was those few memories and the sound of the war sirens, missiles, war jets, rifles shooting and mother’s crying – that will never let me forget Iraq –also what greed and ignorance can do to humanity; war.
Like I was saying, I was born, and then suddenly we had to escape – and that’s a whole other story – and then we were greeted by local news station cameras that were documenting the political refugees – a project they called Safe Haven Guam.
I remember people clapping and I remember being handed a pen.
Clearly, I was a sensitive child and my family didn’t have the heart to tell me that this wasn’t a vacation. This was our life now. When we had left Iraq, just as arriving in America, we too were recorded by the Iraqi media stepping on a bus with the other refugees. I’d placed my nose and palm on the bus’s window pane and saw my family waving good bye.
But I thought it was a vacation. And I guess, according to my mom, when I saw my first metrobus in the United States I’d urged my family that it was the bus that would take us back – it took everything out of my mother to fess up and tell me she was lying. I didn’t speak to her, as well as my teachers, for months.
So, if any of you are sick of my “don’t ever speak to me” – moments – that’s where they come from, lol. I’ll work on that.
I finally got to the point, at 8 years old, where I sat in my room alone and told myself that there was no going back and it was time to move forward, as I did. As most immigrants do – as most humans should, at least.
My first heart break – but it’s moments like that where you can look back and realize the power of your strength – even as a child.
Now, before I write in an unlinered manner, like Vonneguet (or if you’re someone who enjoy movies more than books, Quintin Tarintino), there’s always a point to my ‘over extended– off the topic – into tangent’ stories and that is:
The art of letting go; and receiving what you actually need.
I struggle with it, but with age, I feel like my peers and I are constantly being forced to practice detachment – where I find it healthy; when it’s letting go of our materialistic ways and our bad influences – Where it’s uhealtht when we find that we are more and more so beginning to lack the way we communicate with each other – technology, although created to bring people together (which it has) has also given us a reason to stay apart.
And for a second, I thought that was unhealthy, but at certain points in your life it’s needed, and it shouldn’t make you feel guilty.
Marilny Monroe said “I restore myself when I’m alone.”
Letting go, because I know there is better out there for me. Is a mantra I practice, now.
I took the loss of growing up without most of my family, a community that would have already accepted my hair, skin, nose – but that’s where I realized life’s biggest lesson, or gift—as I like to call it, was giving me empathy.
Beyond being one of the lucky few that got to survive, I’m somewhat happy to relate to those who have felt the same wave length of pain before – it forces you to practice gratitude. – which in essence helps you live the happiest life. I feel joy even in sadness because I get a chance to simply experience it.
My friends in the south side of Chicago, know what it feels like to have anxiety from hearing sirens – maybe it’s not from the same cursor – but it’s the emotion of anxiety, that we both feel from a similar trigger.
The list can go on between all of our similarities; that’s why we should humble ourselves down at times, and connect – and soon hopefully, make something happen.
It’s why I back movements like ‘black lives matter’ or whatever-so, I’m not black, nor will I ever know what that feels like, but I know how oppression feels and it can create repression and depression – is that trauma bonding? Not unless, you’re willing to be apart of a cause that finds a solution.
The point I’m trying to make is that pain can plant the seed of empathy, that is, if you let it – thus creating important human connections that support the way you want the world to be directed.
However, I’ve learned from experience that people deal with pain/trauma in four different ways.
1. Suffering, learning from it, and growing from it.
2. Suffering, letting it destroy you to the point where you find justice in inflicting those around you.
3. Suffering and inflicting the pain onto yourself (I.e: using drugs, alcohol, cutting, etc.,)
4. Not suffering, coming to terms with it and not letting it change you.
The aim is to always take route 1 – and only route 4 when it’s something that is completely out of your control (like a loss of a loved one).
And rarely, does anything in life get by without suffering. So we have to accept that.
If you can learn from your pain, it can teach you less harmful lessons later on in life.
Tony Bennet once said: “If you live life long enough – you’ll learn how to live it.”
And then Amy Winehouse passed too soon.
I aim to be 99% happy with life because it’s only realistic – that at times, there is a small percentage that I’ll always need to make me feel other emotions – without it, it’s an empty and draining life – fun at times, but only with the help of vices.
Some may argue that even in uninventable situations, you can still take route 1 – and it’s true, but it’s not fair to dictate circumstantial situations – people deal with things differently.
The aim is to be enlightened not ignorant.
Let yourself grow – and that doesn’t mean air out all of your dirty laundry – just wash it and each time you’ll see it getting fainter and fainter – and if it doesn’t it’s there for a reason, it’s that 1% to remind you to be humble with life.