Dear diary,

The air smelled heavy with tea, musk, and hope. 

I followed the echoes of laughter as they led me to the patio. The sun was shying away from the horizon, and the clouds responded by cracking themselves open to reveal some pink and orange streaks of light that clashed with the clouds’ blue­-white demeanor. It was almost magical, I thought. The sunsets never color the sky like this anywhere else. 

I sat down, across from strangers. I mean, they were practically family, but I had only been around them for a few weeks. They spoke in hurried sentences, and blurs of hand motions. Sometimes, I tried to reach out and grab a word or two from under their lips, so I could decipher them later. But, whenever I pulled the words out of my pockets at night, they came out withered and empty. It's almost like they're wired to the souls of these people. 

Such a shame, I would have loved to take some of their language away with me, when it was time to leave. 

They didn't notice me, of course. These humans never do, but I sat there anyways. Looking for something out of the ordinary to capture with my pen. There was the mother I had been following around. She was wrapped in her usual array of colors streamed onto a long cloth they call thobe, which complemented the bundle of stories she carried under her half smile. Her long fingers, crinkled and soft, were wrapped around a white teacup that marked the coming of the afternoon in all of the houses of this country. I don't know what the milky brown liquid in it tastes like, but to me it smells a lot like ritual. Which is comforting. I have always liked ritual, she is a loyal friend. 

Then there were the others. They were quite odd puzzle pieces, but then again, this country is full to its brim with extraordinary pictures. This house had a little girl who wore her hair in two braids. Her name was Mona, she was fresh with enthusiasm. I figure she's quite young, you know, because it shines brightest around her. But then again, you can never trust enthusiasm to tell you anything about age. These humans are unpredictable. Most of them dim down their enthusiasm as they grow older, but in my lifetime I've seen quite the number of outliers, I can tell you that! Anyways, Mona was sitting by the young man. I don't know what his name is, but they call him Jidu. I know that is code for grandfather in their language, but he had no withered skin, nor did wisdom come to visit him as often as it does all the other grandfathers I've seen. How strange. 

Across from Jidu, on the other bed that took up half the length of the patio, sat the father. He sipped his tea while he flipped through pages of the world. I think they call it a jareeda. I suppose I've told you about it before, it's that fold of pages with pictures and words on it. The humans like to read it in the morning so that they can, later, talk about the things that happen on the other sides of the sea. Many of them put a lot of faith in it and believe what it tells them with very little reluctance, but not this father. He wears skepticism under his seeing windows. I've grown to like him, he's clever, I just wish he would lift this heavy veil he places between him and myself. He would be interested to learn of my adventures abroad. I could teach him a few things about change.

There was a knock on the door, and Jidu went to open it. Hails and greetings filled the air as a few of the father's friends walked onto the patio. The mother rose and walked into the house to bring some more white teacups from the kitchen. The knocks on the doors surprise me as an odd gesture, because no one really leaves their door closed around this time of the day. Everyone is expecting a visit at any time, although they never really know it’s coming. It remains a mystery to me, but then again, many things about this country do. 

The afternoon dragged on, and I was asked to leave the father and his friends' gathering because politics was coming. Politics wasn't a bad guy you know, but our chemistry usually doesn't allow us to co­exist, at least not here. That's just how it is. So I followed Jidu around for a change. He was standing under a tree, whispering into a little box. 

“I’m alright Alhamdulillah , I just miss you. Yeah he’s here, but I don't think they'll discuss any of the formalities today. My father is reluctant, but I told him it was secure enough... but... I know, but... I’m looking for one in Qatar, or the UAE... I don't know if I want to tear you away from... It isn't easy you know... You're all the family I want, but every home needs some ornaments too.” 

He sighed, and then began to talk about his day. His laughter was broken whenever it escaped his lips. I wondered who he was speaking to, although I figured it was a girl because these phone calls always made him wear that face. It was hard to describe what it looked like, but whenever I saw a boy wear it his heart declared its existence more loudly, and his nerves intertwined into butterflies and fell into his stomach. It was interesting to watch. 

Anyways, that’s almost everything noteworthy I remember about that day. The musk wore off, the tea was sipped dry, but hope lingered on to the air. Something was coming. 





Blue is an escape, a safe place, a whirl of peaceful thoughts, a beautiful unconsciousness, a warm feeling and a hidden inner power.









It's the feeling you get when you stand in front of the ocean and feel like you belong there.


text // what is blue? by sara w.
photo // she came slithering by dania hany

12. // REEM

the guilt is a ribbon noose today, what can i do? where can i go? i don't have the energy to walk out, i want to, but i'm too tired, i just walked out so many times already, walked my heart dead. take a questionable pill and lay there, i guess.


i am falling out of my eyes into my mouth because i can only utter what i haven't seen, i can only touch the faces of the mentally unstable, of the emotionally forgotten.


you are no longer a simple human being waiting for the right time to meet another simple human being to start a simple bourgeois family smiling at the risk of pissing everyone off with your beige behaviour, NO - you are not that. you are my chosen page out of a simplistic russian novel, trained in jewels and makeshift. always.


all the reasons to take my shoes from that car and run as fast as my heart will take me through the dead asphalt (roaring engines in our faces & security guards always tip-toeing to hear about our love stories).

11. // REEM

do you ever feel like you've lost the ability to read? even the simplest of things? again. I look for him. I know how to cry really well. I said I'd learn how to die soon. but it's tricky. I never meant to hurt anyone but myself. I know I have a sharp tongue and millions of half-eaten thoughts shooting across my head. but I also know that I'm delicate (and all I want is not to be.) the first position is learning how to tell the truth again, the second sexual position is convincing your brain of your gentleness, the third is never looking your therapist in the eye because she'll know what you're thinking.


I like being alone when it feels that someone, someday, will walk into my room and engage me in ridiculous conversation and extreme images to provoke my nerves out of their slumber. I like ups and downs. I don't know how to be one thing for a long time.


how can I let go of this insane stability and give in to my well-dressed demons?


I want his entire world to close into mine. and then I want us to die. but I can't tell him these things because they don't make sense; he always needs something more practical out of my mouth.


I put a string of daisies around my head like some sort of primal being and danced for the world to see my issues roll out of my system.


I spent last night tossing and turning, thinking of things that I wanted to say to my parents, to others, all about politics in Bahrain.

I had an argument with them the same night, suffice it to say, we didn’t agree at all.

I recalled what they said; what I said; how I called different people to get their take on the subject before I tried to explain to my parents that they were unfairly accusing people of politicization and possessing political agendas.

I turned off the lights and tried going to sleep but sleep never came. My brain was running at 100 KM and the brakes were busted. All I kept thinking about were things to say to them, things to say to other people, ideas and perspectives and opinions; ones that were mine or otherwise.

That was when I realized for perhaps the dozenth time that I keep drinking poison.

This poison – the politics that we can’t shut up about – it’s taken over our lives. I know that I’m not the only one to have experienced a restless night’s sleep because of it.

We’re reminded of it every where we go but even in those rare moments where we’re free from its grip, we invite it into our homes.

My stomach churns at the thought that politics has crept so deep into my mind and subconcious that I’d obsess over the subject this way.

I let it in and I don’t know how to detox, I can’t stop and that scares me. Because it makes me think that if I’m always looking to talk about politics; think about politics; dream about politics; that I will never ever be at ease. I will never be able to rest and I will never be able to be sleep.

Politics – it’s a drug. I keep taking it every single day.

I’m an addict.


“Who taught you to hate yourself?” is perhaps the single most revolutionary sentence I have ever read, and I have read a lot in my lifetime. 

Life is hard for most, if not absolutely all, of us. As a result, I don’t think there’s nothing wrong with accepting another person’s love, essentially their offer to lighten our burden, even if only momentarily. There is no weakness in being open to healthy and sincere affection from another. Most of what we will struggle with in life will be out of our hands, and so our individual journeys will be tough. If another person wants to give you the gift of a love that is kind and thoughtful, why reject it?

I like to think of my heart as an open door, maybe even a revolving door. Throughout the years, I have loved and I’ve lost, not unlike pretty much every other person on this planet. What has me swimming upstream is that I don’t seal myself off from how I feel about people because of things that may have happened in the past. Where is the sense in punishing future loves for cruelty experienced in the past, and at the hands of another?

It’s not only rude, but also selfish.

Often times, loving another person is what inspires some of us to be the best we can be. There are people in my life I will forever love because to me, they are the earliest memories I have of myself. In them, I see them person I hope to be, the woman I try to be. To lose them would be to lose myself, and so I keep them close.

With love like that out there, it can be said that there really is absolutely nothing brave, poetic, artistic, or even tortured about rejecting healthy and understanding love. The kind of love that helps us get out of bed in the morning, helps up get through pained nights, and makes us cry during the better moments because it endured and it is still there, shared by two people who chose to care.

Who you are now, who you see in the mirror today, that’s who you are. Maybe you the yourself, but just accept that person, and realize that you are more than yet another a reflection that walks past you on every shiny surface you pass. Don’t feel shame about who you were or who you are because that’s pointless. We allow people to be mean to us on a daily basis, accepting it as fact and part of life. Why not do the same with love?

It’s not up to you to decide on behalf of someone else whether or not you are worth their affection. That is something that it simply not your war to fight, and certainly not yours to lose. Let yourself be loved, and maybe someday as a result of that, you’ll be able to repay the kindness with love all your own.


I hide in between my self-reassurances, my 4 AM pep talks; I make space between the I and can and sit cross-legged on the top floor, just above the I and will. When the nights are rough and the hideous Can’ts come out of the tucked edges of my bed sheets. I fold them neatly back in, and let out the knowledge that rests just below my eyelids that I was not created a half, that there is nothing missing, and that I am whole.

I pull the Don’t Worries over me and allow the It’s Okays to lull me to sleep.

8. // REEM

i wonder about the wooden rooms and the haunted hotels of baden-baden right now, for no reason, just a pointless thought, a travelling beau on the back of the mental asylum. i would hold his hand and never let go if he asks me to, bum bumming with him forever (3 years because after that i die).