To the ones who broke my heart,
It’s a funny little thing, the heart you know. I’d always question people associating emotion with an organ that pumps blood. Logic I got, the emotion I did not, till that one girl in 8th grade told me I’d never make it to the stars, saved by the teacher who stood in front of me and called me a genius (thank you, Ms. Madiha). Sounds petty, no? But I guess you never forget your first.
Friends? friendships were always confusing to me you know, the diary sharing in middle school, the secret note-passing, the birthday parties, and the gifts, all rituals - not that I wasn’t a part of them or anything. In the long run, the same people who knew about my first crush were also the first people who ran at the first sight of trouble (I don’t blame you). I just wish I didn’t give you my all but hey! growing pains, amirite?
Perhaps it was dumb of me to ever wish for a good high school experience (I've heard it seldomly is), what I didn’t realize was that I’d end up losing a part of myself. I remember all those times, my vice principal self righteously dragged me to her office to remind me why my body wasn’t acceptable, why boldness didn’t suit me, why my achievements were nothing, and how she knew me better than anyone else (acting on words of those who barely knew me). Ma’am, I pity you and I feel sorry for you, that you hated yourself so much, you poisoned everyone around yourself with it too. I still get nightmares where you’re dragging me up those stairs, calling me names, your nails deep into my flesh, just to humiliate me but I’m still fighting. You couldn’t cage my ambition, sorry.
It’s funny, I promised myself I'd never let my guard down and then I fell in love with a friend who treated me right after a very long time. It was unrequited and maybe had a chaotic end? (You should know this about me, failed relationships and I go way long back).
June 5, 2021, you told me about her, the devastation that followed is a secret my walls hold dearly. The silent screaming on my pillow, the agony of not being wanted, the desperation to call out for help but nothing came out as if my lungs were filled with fluid. I had lost two people that night, a friend who I still wish well for and a stranger who wasn't meant to be mine, stars were my only companions that night, safe to say they still are.
Two days before the most important exams of my life, I blocked your number because it was nothing more than a bittersweet reminder of what could’ve been, believe me, I'm not trauma dumping here (or maybe I am?) because if I never learned what hurt felt like, I wouldn’t be writing letters to those who filled the cracks with love and acceptance.
To the ones who put the pieces back together,
Hey there Nawal, you did good (give yourself enough credit), I often forget those times when it was just me pushing and striving because giving up were two words I refused to carry in my dictionary. My father calls me headstrong and dumb, I prefer to call myself a not-giver-uper (pretty sure that’s a word in my dictionary). The notion that you’ll always need someone new to fill your void is well… not true. The nights spent on my balcony talking to the stars and learning about their every movement are a testament that loneliness did me good. I would've never found my way back to astronomy if it wasn’t for all this hurt.
To the friends who stuck around, to the girl who shared her cigarettes with me in the bathroom, saw me mess up, and start over again. Thank you and I'll keep spoiling you with brownies, I promise. Life’s better with you all in it.
To the man who taught me what love is, meeting you was the most unexpected thing that ever happened to me. You seem to love me the way I loved everybody else; you got me, refused to misunderstand me even when I wanted to drive you away. You’d tell me I’m the prettiest girl (the old school VP would disagree) and you make me wanna act like a complete fool and not feel embarrassed hours later, share alien conspiracy theories at 2 am, and cry over the small stuff, take goofy pictures and laugh. I’d pick you a thousand times over and have zero regrets.
The author is an in-house writer at Perspective.
Find her on Instagram @nawwalalala