Struggling to Express Myself, Dealing With Insecurities, and Finding Comfort

By: Malak Atwa

My very first journal entry – ever – was “dear future me & my new notebook, I want you to read this in the future to know how you were like in the past + it can help you with some of your future problems” it’s corny but that’s what it is.

Honestly, I can’t pinpoint exactly when in my life I started to write. I always wrote. I had stacks on stacks on stacks of journals. Every day I would write in them. What I wrote would range from how I was feeling that day to fictional stories, my opinions and more. I was a bit of a troublemaker – or that’s what my parents tell me. I was always inside my own head as I recall, though. I was too imaginative – if there even is such a thing as too imaginative. I had friends, a few at least, but, for some odd reason, I was always the odd one out, I always felt that way. I don’t why, maybe I’m not fit for relationships or friendships, maybe this just isn’t my crowd and I don’t know it yet, but, I was rarely ever involved in much – to this day.

I never felt like I belonged – I’m the middle child and maybe that has intensified this feeling in someway; always feeling like I’m not a priority in someone’s life. Like I’m just there, useless to all those around me, neither needed or wanted. I always felt – and still do – like I need to fight for the attention, I need to fight to make my voice heard or clear, to be acknowledged and to make my place known. Writing has always been and will always be my outlet. It’s a way for me to release all of these built up emotions that are inside of me. It’s a way to put all of that out into the world, while maintaining all those inner thoughts and feeling safe and secret.

Not everyone you meet is trustworthy of your secrets and of what goes on through your head, not to mention that some people just don’t get it – I know, it’s very cliche of me to use the “they just don’t understand” card. I’ve always had a very tough time expressing my emotions, if I’m sad I cry, but I don’t talk, if I’m angry I also cry, but I still don’t talk. I don’t talk because my chest feels tight and my throat is constricted and my lips fail to move, the words lodged somewhere in my throat. Maybe it’s because my words are all over the place, or maybe it’s because, I have none, really – or worse, they get interpreted in all the wrong ways.

When you read my articles you’d probably think that I’m very good at communicating with people or expressing how I feel, but in reality, I’m the exact opposite. I’m the worst when it comes to confrontation and communication. I’d say it’s one of my worst qualities. Someone once asked me: “who is Malak?” I thought I held the answer but I really didn’t, because I don’t know. And that’s okay. My older sister, she has the looks, she has the brains, she has everything. So does my younger sister. But I don’t. I don’t know who I am. Yet, when I write, I discover new things, new parts of myself, for instance, I didn’t know that I could draw, but I can – very very terribly, but I can. I like drawing, it relaxes me.

Writing, however, will always be something else, it is the only thing that makes me feel alive. Something about the sound of my pen moving swiftly on paper just sends me to paradise. It eases me in a way I simply can’t describe. It comforts me. It reassures me that I’ll survive whatever it is I’m dealing with. Even if I have to write it and relive it. I know, in my very bones, that it’ll be okay.

My mom once said to me “ya Malak ya habla bet3ayaty leh? People are temporary”.

There isn’t a single person in your life that will be there for you or even with you forever. Eventually, they leave or they die.

But, ink? That’s forever.

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