Young & Beautiful: From the Diary of an Arab Millennial
“Why did you do it ? You’re so young and so beautiful. You’re smart and you have you entire life ahead of you. Why do you wanna end it all now ? You don’t even know what life is yet.“
I must have heard that interrogative monologue a few dozens of times on the hospital bed. If I did not have a sixty-centimeter tube penetrating my nose reaching to my stomach, or if I thought any of those people were worth the trouble of a conversation, I would have probably given an answer.
Why did I do it ? Because when I asked myself for reasons not to do it, I could not find one. Because being so young and so beautiful felt useless. Because I might be smart but I am not strong enough to handle the “entire life ahead of me”, even less to turn it all around. Because if I do not even know what life is and what it holds for me, I am not ready to find out. Because I am obviously unable to do anything right, even killing myself.
So many of us are young and beautiful but would end it all in a second if we could. Because being a young girl in this day and age means being easy prey to many things: being treated like a piece of meat, harassed, raped, attacked, beaten, hated. All for being young -and relatively beautiful. Because sometimes, we would rather be dead than live to be young and beautiful.
Because I have been depressed for years- an illness many in my generation suffer from- but as long as we are so young and so beautiful, it is hard to notice anything else. Because it takes us double the effort and time to carry out basic tasks, and we get half the credit. Because it feels like everyone is above us and we cannot even catch up. Because it feels like we are alone in this and we cannot even help each other. Because we cannot believe that anyone cares about us beyond our youth or beauty.
I felt like the people who called the ambulance and the doctors who pumped my stomach were doing it either by obligation or pity. Because those were the two emotions that described how I felt towards myself and it was utterly impossible for me to believe that anyone else could feel any differently about me, or any of us young, beautiful, and sad ladies.
Most of all, because popping eighty-six pills out of their container, individually, pouring them into a tiny mountain in the palm of my hand then swallowing them all felt like the easiest thing I ever had to do. Because while swallowing what the doctors seemed to think was an incredibly large amount of anti depressants, I barely needed water. I did not choke. I felt calm and at peace. It felt easier than going to work, going to class, having a conversation with my parents, maintaining a relationship or expressing myself to anyone.
Because like most of what I do, I was told it was haram, a sin. It would make me a bad person, “no one does it”, I am unusual for even thinking about it. That everyone would either pity me or poke fun at me for doing it. That God and his heaven would never accept me for my act. Because I have been told so many times not to do it, I was finally convinced it was the only way out.
That was then, and this is now. That was four years ago, and I have not tried to take my life since. I guess I am doing better, though I relate to the girl that swallowed eighty-six pills, the girl I was, the girl who was too weak to keep on breathing. What changed? I am not exactly sure. I changed; things never got better, I just got used to them. To this day, I fail to come up with a precise answer to the question so many asked me four years ago: why.