First blog

Christine Alhalabi - Senegal


November 1, 2019

Deconstructing the popular belief "I don’t need anyone to be content with my life"
After procrastinating for over a month to write my first blog, I feel today is the day.
I’ve been delaying it cause I was constantly worried about being objective and not distorting the narrative of Senegal, but I finally realised that unless I talk about Attaya or food, there’s no way I can be objective. As soon as I involve my emotions, it becomes my story, coloured by my bias and past experience, just remember that.

Writing is like giving birth, there’s a right time to it. Today is my time, cause I am too stuck in missing.
I am missing my soulmates, in ways I can’t describe and I am sad cause I am too entangled with people.
I am in the middle of a knot and this knot keeps on getting more entangled, with every conversation I have; with every act of kindness I receive, with every joke I laugh at.

Being alone is tough, but being with people is too.
Why does society tell us we have to be happy just by ourselves? This is so not true. Now the word "Ubuntu", the name of the boys floor in my building in my boarding school makes sense.
"I am who I am because of who we all are"

Why am I realizing this today? Why do I believe this sentence that I never even let sink in me. Hearing it all the time like a redundant code of conduct or some sort of manual existent just to exist.

Today I realise all the connections through looking at grilled corn. Yes, grilled corn.
I realize all the connections that have been made and have been severed, consciously or subconsciously, intentionally or merely by the strength of fate, I don’t know.

This corn that my host sister is preparing, brought me back to when I was 7 years old, eating corn prepared by my uncle, who sold it as a summer job. This image of corn is 13 years old in my memories, found in a time where the thought of separating didn’t even faintly flatter in the space of anyone’s imagination.
Now I am almost 20, away from my huge family, that I haven’t seen in 4 years. Separation is real, but the world keeps reminding me of its intersections.

I am extending my family, and I am becoming more foreign day by day. My home is in my head, and it’s a mental space, that contains stories and human connections.

Today I find myself in my new family, feeling its incomplete energy because two of its members left to go to school 10 hours away because they’re just mischievous boys, getting distracted here. I am missing, again.

Reasons differ, but voids keep on forming and knots keep on reapearing in different shapes.

All my vulnerabilities are coming to the surface of my being here like an "invisible tattoo" quoting Haruki Murakami.
 But they’re here to remind me of the things we share unknowingly, our similarities, and how important it is to truly meet people, soul to soul, huging, cause this will be a memory one day.

I don’t know about you, but I am not content by myself. I want to need people, I want to surrender, I want to feel, I want to love, I want to fully experience, because being is much richer that way.

I am who I am because of who we all are.

Christine Alhalabi