I haven't lived in Saudi for nearly 12 years. I’m embarrassed to be the one writing these posts. Who am I to speak about a country I have not lived in for so long?
I have traveled back a few times. Sometimes even tried to make it permanent. The longest, though, was barely two years. Things just happened and I had to go. I would like to believe that I don't have problems with Saudi. A chunk of my sanity depends on a lot of people there, and if it weren't for them, I wouldn't have kept the citizenship, wouldn't have felt so guilty for leaving, wouldn't have...
Memories change over time and – in spite of my obsessive journaling – so have mine. I'm writing these memories not to preserve them, but because I can't avoid them anymore. These are the themes that mar the space between the words, and the themes that fuel the conversations in my world.
I do apologize for my subjectivity. Prolonged absence has stored my memories in slots of tenderness. Not only that we remember better when we’re happy but people also treat you kindlier when they know that you won’t be around for long. They can sense that whatever they say will never fail to impress you; for your eyes are sore with their absence.
If it’s any consolation, I’m writing based on first-hand experiences. Saudi is the quintessential landscape within me. My Holy Grail. It seems a waste not to write from a place so deeply woven into my voice, from the harshest curse to the softest purr.
Economics aside, every time I visited Saudi, my sensors drowned in kaleidoscopic implosions. I could mine from every one of those implosions thousands of written words, dozens of stories. (If only I weren’t so embarrassed.) Like in every society, Saudi is never as straightforward as Halal/Haram, or any less complex and enriching as a bowl of ma’soob.
People and events don’t function like mathematical equations. The variables are countless with each person, every given situation. What works for me, may not apply for my cousins. What works for Jeddawis, might fit the standards of blasphemy in Bon Temps.
Maybe each of us is laden with a unique voice. Or maybe we just haven’t heard enough stories to find the one that relates to us. I only impose that the point to stories is not to judge one another’s experiences.
You have your stories. See if you could find yourself in some of mine.