Seeking Solace

(To whoever reads this text: It was written a month after the blast of August 4th in

Beirut)



I’m eavesdropping on a conversation held by ten year olds by the pool. It is 9:50pm, and they are pointing fingers at each other, expressing guilt, disdain and blame to account for what no longer makes sense to them. They’ve just discovered that they lost their good friend Salah in the blast, and grief was no longer a foreign concept to them. How do you tell a ten-year-old that someone’s death happened for an inexplicable joke of a reason?


I would love to go back to a simpler time; a time where my life wasn’t haunted by the thought of a window blasting open near my face. I want to go back to the naive person I became, thinking that all that was in the world was good, benevolent and in my favour. I still ponder, curiously, as to how a bomb was in my favour. How does one deal with a traumatic event?


Personally, I never welcomed the thought of trauma, or its legitimisation. I’d seen it as an excuse by feeble, hormonal figures, who used the traumatic narrative to fuel popularity and empathy. I refused to label myself as a weakling who is unable to actively curb her emotions. This proves perilous, because by taking such a stance, I’d be assuming humans are robots with on/off emotional buttons used at one’s leisure, stubbornly disregarding the complexity that comes with the human psyche. Can we be wholly in control of our emotions though? Are they a product of conditioning which can be saved by faculty of reason? To what extent can we blame hormones rather than actual emotional distress?


It is now 9:56pm, the kids are gone and I am left with my overwhelming thoughts and a stream of tears. I have been torn. So bloody torn. I no longer know how to act around people, how to feel and express myself, how to appreciate fauna and flora like I used to. Everything feels so insignificant. I feel so insignificant.Six months prior to the blast, I was confined in a house on my own, and embarked on a solipsistic journey to embrace myself after a series of failed relationships. Appealing to all my senses, and nurturing a bond that had been absent for 21 years, I came to know the purest form of love which came from within. When the blast hit and left me in a beige chair that soon turned crimson, I slowly dissociated from the person I grew so fond of. Going back to the house a week later in search of this curated identity, I could not find her. She’s somewhere under the rubble, I’d thought. I tried to reach out to her through her through her favourite delicacies, but she wouldn’t respond. I tried to reach. out to her through her favourite artworks and funk music, but to no avail. I cannot find her; she must have left me too.


Sitting on this deck chair, I’ve discovered the total opposite of my initial assumptions, with trauma manifesting emotionally, both on a personal and interpersonal level, but even more so physically. I suppose I should hold trauma accountable for my irregular menses, for my thinning hair at 21, for my inability to sleep peacefully on my own, and total cardiac chaos at the exposure of the slightest ruckus. It is 10:07, and I now realise that trauma must be acknowledged as an inherent part of my life, and I warmly welcome any insights one might have in regards to its management.



 

Graduate of the Honors English Literature program at the Lebanese American University, Jana El Hindi is interested in both reading and leisurely writing reflective and critical pieces. In practice, Jana has also veered towards project management. She served as a stage manager to multiple student and professional LAU productions, and contributed to film sets as a producer. In the midst of the pandemic and upon her graduation, Jana taught English as a second language through Englease.com. She now works as part of Mariana Wehbe Public Relations as an account manager to multinational companies and architecture studios, fueling her quest to expand her horizons and breed an interdisciplinary course of life