Turning Point by Sarah Al Salem

Posted on December 31, 2011 by


I’m not good with words, and I never really have been. The lazy soul inside of me would rather be the cheating kind of poet who steals other artists words and relates to them instead of trying to sum up my own emotions into sentences and paragraphs. It’s much messier trying to convey the words that jumble in the laundry machine that is my head, always mixing my whites with my colored. But sometimes, I find myself writing in this imaginary (best selling) novel about feelings that irk me late at night when I diagnose myself with fake insomnia. But I’ve never written them down nor spoken them aloud. They aren’t words that evoke a smile or a cheery thought. They are my words, stained with my detergent – the bad kind that you could buy for a dollar (on sale) at Walmart that never really gets that coffee stain out of that white t-shirt. And this is my jump from imaginary sentences and pieces to a slab of it onto paper.

The last chapter I’ve written in the novel that exists only in my brain ended with a bittersweet realization that I envy everything that I do not have – particularly, sadness that is worthy enough to be on the big screen of a sappy, Sundance-winner movie. My sadness is the pathetic kind. My troubles in life are nothing compared to the deep, emotional troubles that are gushed about in books and movies and the lives of people I will never meet. In my wallowing, I would beg for that sadness. If my sadness were that of a movie’s, I would feel no shame. My sadness would, somehow, be real and true and worth wallowing about. My sadness would not be that of a teenager’s unstable and dramatic state, but a great sadness that Snicket and Bukowski would write about so critics could analyze and ponder over for years to come. I was in love with a sadness that was not my own.

Until it struck me when I was sitting in a booth at a local restaurant, keeping my head down as you said the words you repeat to me like the repeating lines of a weather caster during a major storm. Telling me what I already knew, I begged and pleaded with my eyelashes to continue hugging the watery droplets, knowing that if they were to fall, to let go, you’d be so angry with me. I sang a song in my head; I counted the number of purple-speckled tiles covering the ceiling. In these reoccurring scenes of my life, I register nothing, and once I’ve done counting the tiles, I’ve forgotten it as quickly as the neurons in my brain can. But in that booth this one time with your slur of words, I am reminded of that movie I watched when I was in sixth grade. The very same movie that had me huffing and puffing with snots and tears. I remember crying until I felt a dull hallow in my lungs that signalled me to stop, to get a hold of myself. I remember how I felt for the daughter in the film and and her life that echoed mine, and I remember how her sadness was a beautifully aching sadness that took a piece of me with it.

It was then I realized that I was a sadness that I have envied and envisaged for most of my life. While theatrics glamorize this sadness, in reality it was as trite and useless as all my other sadnesses. This hit me like a bad headache, and I became a new kind of bitter that I had not encountered before: sadness, in any form, would never be beautiful if it were my own.

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