Turmoil, Torture and Endless Turbulence
Written by
Yasmin Alam
November 2017
Written by
Yasmin Alam
November 2017

It's 2.30am. What the heck am I doing, awake at such an hour? Why did I get up, make myself a coffee and turn on the computer and click on the email from SheWrites, at this zombie hour? I've returned to She Writes after a long long gap.  What woke  me up?  it was thoughts circling in my head about the conversation with my mother the evening before. She was 85 this year. I stayed with her and my father, who is 90, for close to three months, after they both had operations. My father a cataract transplant, the planned operation. What was supposed to be a two week interlude before I returned to Sofia and my editing work and my writing project, transmuted into a 3 month stay. Mainly because a few days after my father returned from the hospital,  my mother woke up  up at 2.00am, gasping for breath.  I was sleeping in the next room and her voice, distressed, panicky.  I got up and went to her.  She was sitting up gasping, saying "I can't... breathe".  I stroked her back, held her head, her hand...  Someone.  Called. The ambulance.

The paramedics who arrived  quickly, were good. She had surgery. It was successful. It took time to heal. My days became, taking care of my 90 year old dad, needing a zimmer frame , and needign someone to bring him drinks or food or administer his medications, whatever... fielding calls from  relatives about them... And then, visits to the hospital.  Obviously. I let my ticket back to Sofia, lapse. I stayed on at my parent's home. They needed me. It's the story of my life, really, from the age of eleven when they bought a business and needed me to help with interpreting, and translating and running the business day to day. In my case, that meant after school and at the weekends. Obviously. 

They are like water. Both the source of my life, and at another level, they have endangered me, their endless needs, more important than mine. Actually, I have no needs. As I refused the arranged marriage, as a single woman, who has chosen not to have children, I have need-less. They overwhelm me. Their needs have always been engulfing me, drowning me. I seek some source of stability, of refuge, of calm, in the form of other relationships. But these turn out to be a mixed blessing too - they are a source of steadiness, of support, of rest, but they are also places that have ground me down and I have leapt away, into deep waters to escape.  Is this because I got trianed early in life to be an empath? To notice everyone else's needs before I even became aware of my own? 

But what about the -isms? You, know - sexism, racism, classism. These words are such abstractions. Yet, I think they are signposts to the truth of how I am thrown helter skelter between frying pans and fires and rarely - oh so rarely, have the space I need to put down the swirling thoughts in my mind. Is this how women, how black people how the marginalsied, the exploited of every generation, are silenced? Or am I making excuses for my lack of focus, or my lack of taking myself seriously, or some other character defect I am blind to? 

I look with dismay at the track I have left at She Writes so far... I think I signed up in 2014. How many blogs, how many likes, how many followers etc ? It's just  0 0 0 0.

Shame on me!



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  • Phyllis Smith Revising

    Love it, please write more!! Very compelling. Are you writing a memoir?