This, too, shall pass

One day Solomon decided to humble Benaiah ben Yehoyada, his most trusted minister. He said to him, “Benaiah, there is a certain ring that I want you to bring to me. I wish to wear it for the Sukkot festival, which gives you six months to find it.”

“If it exists anywhere on earth, your majesty,” replied Benaiah, “I will find it and bring it to you, but what makes the ring so special?”

“It has special powers,” answered the king. “If a happy man looks at it, he becomes sad, and if a sad man looks at it, he becomes happy.” Solomon knew that no such ring existed in the world, but he wished to give his minister some added humility.

Spring passed and then summer, and still Benaiah had no idea where he could find the ring. On the day before Sukkot, he decided to take a walk in one of the poorest quarters of Jerusalem. He passed by a merchant who had begun to set out the day’s wares on a shabby carpet. “Have you by any chance heard of a special ring that makes the happy wearer forget his joy and the broken-hearted wearer forget his sorrows?” asked Benaiah.
He watched the elderly man take a plain gold ring from his carpet and engrave something on it. When Benaiah read the words on the ring, his face broke out in a wide smile.
That night the entire city welcomed in the holiday of Sukkot with great festivity. “Well, my friend,” said King Solomon, “have you found what I sent you after?” All the ministers laughed and Solomon himself smiled.
To everyone’s surprise, Benaiah held up a small gold ring and declared, “Here it is, your majesty!” As soon as Solomon read the inscription, the smile vanished from his face. The jeweler had written three Hebrew letters on the gold band: Gimel, Zayin, Yud, which begin the words “Gam zeh ya’avor – This too shall pass.”
At that moment Solomon realized that all his wisdom and fabulous wealth and tremendous power were but fleeting things, for one day he would be nothing but dust.
(Via: http://ohr.edu/ask_db/ask_main.php/335/Q1/ )

It is not funny that you say you are “so OCD”

It is not funny that you say you are “so OCD” when you rush to adjust the tilted table cloth and your friends laugh about it. It is not funny because you don’t know what it’s like for a slight tilt to remind me of how ugly my crooked smile is. And nothing can change this truth.

It is not funny that you say you are “so OCD” when you rinse your cup twice, because when I do that, it’s far deeper than just the cup’s condition; I do that to be less harsh in judgment with myself because mistakes find a way to disturb my peace.

When you over-organize your room and think you might be OCD, it’s nothing like my reality; when I try to tidy up the maximum amount of things in my house to contrast the mess of emotions I feel inside. And I’d do that again and again until something inside feels right. I keep polishing my mirrors to silence the breaking of the glass inside. And what frustrates me the most is that it works sometimes for a while, right before the other rising of the screams inside.

It is not a joke because you don’t know what it’s like to pray countless times a day with the thought that God doesn’t love me because I feel that I am a bad person, and nothing can fix that. It is not funny when you joke about you having a sharp eye for the flaws of everything and your friends say that you might be OCD, and they laugh.

You don’t know what it’s like to see the needy eyes of my baby boy yet, and I’d avoid touching him because I can’t shake the thought of how filthy he might be. You don’t know what it’s like to keep such a secret, to try to contain my urges so that my husband wouldn’t think I’m crazy. It is not a joke.

It hurts to see that everything around me reminds me of how ugly I feel, how imperfect I am.

© 2015 ALIA SULTAN

*inspired from a very intimate conversation I had with a friend who told me to write about things from her perspective.

Untamed

It was 4:30 in the morning, and things like that always happen in 4:30 in the morning. It was one of the many nights that she felt like an alien in her body because somewhere beneath her skin, the only home she knew was him. At nights, she would get tired of the mask she’s wearing and just allow herself to be as vulnerable as she is, and she would cry. How is it, then, that his absence can be this painful, this heart-breaking? She’d wonder how her heart can bear all this pain.

Before her shoulders curl and her back curves on her bed craving the warmth of a baby in a mother’s womb, something in that space in her room dropped the word “no” in such a firm, wordless manner. It’s as if that presence was an old man with the most warming, welcoming eyes that would contain her broken pieces with just a glance that says “I understand your pain.” And it’s as if this man told her that she shouldn’t cry, and that there is a fine line between being expressive and being a victim; while the first is human and the second is a crime. So that presence of “no” echoed all the way to her ribs as her heart pumped it to her blood.

Her pillow soaked in tears, something contained all that she is and helped her go back to sleep.

It was 8 in the morning, she woke up, got ready for her day and tied up a ponytail. She wore red lipstick, because days like these only begin with a red lipstick, and she looked at herself in the mirror and smiled; she liked what she saw, because she knew things would never be the same again.

The rain on her pillow dried, and the clouds swallowed themselves and disappeared. Somewhere in her heart the sun was shining again and she couldn’t explain how fast the seasons can change inside a human body.

She looked at herself one last time before she leaves her room, and realized that this presence, this still awareness has always been there and it has always protected her, she just forgets to listen sometimes.

She placed her hand on her heart and said: “Here is home, no one can take this away from me”

© 2015 ALIA SULTAN

The Grand Presence

“What is it that is so hard for her to understand?” I thought to myself as I was standing right behind her while she was crying in front of her reflection in a long, antique, wooden mirror. She was on her knees, weeping, the way a baby does. It’s like she decided to go back in time and ask for safety in an uncomplicated manner. It’s as if she was four years old and she wanted to feel that grand, unconditional, unexplainable, fulfilling presence that would hold her, kiss her right eyebrow and fill her broken pieces with pure gold. She’d gasp for air occasionally, because deep down her heart she knows those tears are heavy for her chest, so heavy that her lungs beg for air.

I stroked her hair the way a person does to another before wording “it’s okay, I’m here” only I was silent and words did not come out of my mouth.

Why was she so blind? Does she not feel the power that’s orchestrating her life so artistically, pushing her around saying “this is important” or “pay attention to this, this is what matters”? If only she could take a deep breath and see how beautiful she is when no one is looking. She’d see how her light scare off the shadows. Maybe if she saw that, she’d stop crying. But maybe that’s the point of it all, maybe she should figure it all out herself.

I wanted to tell her everything she couldn’t see. But I couldn’t, because I wasn’t in the reflection, it was just her and the mirror. And maybe she was me somehow, maybe that’s the point of it all; maybe I should figure it all out by myself.

© 2015 ALIA SULTAN

Destino

“Destino” Spanish for Destiny, is a short film released in 2003 by The Walt disney Company.

Its production began in 1945 and was only completed after 58 years. The project is a collaboration between Walk Disney and Salvador Dali, and features music writer by Armando Dominguez. It was storyboarded by Disney’s studio artist John Hench and Salvador Dali.

The project, then, ceased due to Disney’s financial crisis during the time of World War II.

After that, in In 1999, Walt Disney’s nephew Roy E. Disney, while working on Fantasia 2000, unearthed the dormant project and decided to bring it back to life. Disney Studios France, the company’s small Parisian production department, was brought on board to complete the project. The short was produced by Baker Bloodworth and directed by French animator Dominique Monféry in his first directorial role. A team of approximately 25 animators deciphered Dalí and Hench’s cryptic storyboards (with a little help from the journals of Dalí’s wife Gala Dalí and guidance from Hench himself), and finished Destino’s production. The end result is mostly traditional animation, including Hench’s original footage, but it also contains some computer animation.

Destiny tells the love story of Chronos and his love for a mortal woman named Dahlia…

Via: Allison Benedikt, Chicago Tribune