Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Are you a ball or a balloon ?

Last year, I enrolled in a creative writing class. I had several motives for approaching the class. I wanted to learn how to write fiction. I also hoped to meet new friends. During the class we developed inspirational lists, a rendition of topics from which we find inspirations for our stories. One of the lists was titled "Obsessions". Each student wrote down the topics they just couldn't stop thinking of. The instructor told us that Obsessions are good. As writers, we should fuel our obsessions as they generate the most passionate pieces.

My list of Obsessions contained many items, one of which was Loneliness. Having moved to the US two years ago, leaving behind my family and friends back home in Egypt, I have been struggling with the challenge of coping with the expansive alone time I have on my hands. This theme isn't quite new. For seven years, I have been preoccupied with mental reflections on being single, otherwise known as spinsterhood. This topic has often intertwined and interacted with Loneliness. I wasn't brave nor confident enough to blatantly incorporate these sentiments into my writing. I masked them behind characters in my stories and vague poems. I also started working on another project titled 'Notions Of Love', where I watch and review popular romance movies while analyzing how Hollywood distorted our perception of romance. I came to the realization that my true obsession is relationships. I'm intrigued to learn how relationships work, what shapes and controls interactions among people. My focus is on romantic relationships, namely how and why we fall in love. I can only infer that my interest in the subject matter steams from my lack of knowledge. I have never been in a romantic relationship and therefore they remain a mystery to me. I don't know how they work nor how people in a relationship act. I don't have any first hand knowledge. My hypothesis are based on the examination of other couples. Having stripped my obsession of any emotions -  moving from Loneliness to Romance to Human Relations, I can observe more clearly without the influence of pink or grey colored glasses. I suppose my interest also steams from a pure desire to learn and expunge my ignorance. I also harbor a deeper desire to decipher the puzzle of why some people remain coupleless.

Some of the questions that came to mind upon reflecting on human relations were - Why do we want to be in a relationship? Why do we tether our happiness and self worth to other people? Are we really designed to live in groups and to have a mate? Is it a genetic disposition or a result of cultural paradigms?  When we find that one person with whom we connect, do we become a ball or a balloon? Balls interact with humans, bounce off of them and gain momentum. They do roll away on occasions. Sometimes they find their way back and sometimes they are lost for ever. Balloons, on the other hand, must be tied down, otherwise they'll fly away from humans. Balloons spend their entire life trying to escape, until they finally give in and deflate. So are you a ball or a balloon? Maybe that explains why some of us remain single, forever. We are the tenacious balloons who can't be tied down. We enjoy roaming the world, flying high, and discovering ourselves along the journey.

So, when any of you fellow singletons get the 'Why Me?" blues (you know what I'm talking about), take a vibrant red balloon to the nearest park and let it loose. Sit back and watch it soar, gleefully prancing alone.

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