Almost a year ago (can I say this if I feel that in the last couple of years, time has stopped still and I only existed in my own imagination?), every other post on my feed started to be the picture of you. I had not heard your name before, or couldn't remember if I did, but I definietly knew your story.

You were the only woman between those who were arrested in a Mashrou’ Leila concert. I knew the story from having sat in numerous conversations at SOAS bar discussing whether you had done an act of bravery or colonised a space with a western symbol.

For me the story was one of hope and reclaiming. I felt for you. I knew the smile in the picture, and your tired eyes were speaking to me.

Perhaps you had also thought at points that the sharp colours of their rainbow, did not exactly give space for the naunaceness of who you are. Perhaps like me, if it was to you, you would have chosen a softer set of colours, one that isn't arranged in such defined horizontal stripes. Perhaps a swirl, of pastel colours.

colours that are don't have the strength to be so bold and sharp, they are tired and pale and soft, but that is what actually defines their beauty. To honour 'remaining soft when the world is doing its best to make you anything but warm.'

But then you decided that it was the easiest way to tell so many people you are representing them. You are claiming space for them. It was raising that flag that I also don't necessarily feel connected to, that makes the news of your suicide one that I haunts me a year on.

The flag was a signal for me to think I know the nature of the pain you were walking around with, or the frequency of that constant hum in your head that perhaps got too loud on the 14th June 2020.

I also wish that there was a nicer way of saying this, but I don't always want to be alive.

To be honest I feel relieved that I don't. As if it was otherwise and the uglyness of the world was not bothering me enough to want out, I had definietly lost so much of what I love about myself.

Imagine becoming someone who doesn't see how the “The sky is more beautiful than the earth and wants to choose the sky, not the earth"! I wouldn't fit in my friends circle anymore.
So I totally get the incitement of your choice. Of choosing the sky. I on the other hand am still fighting. I wouldn't say it has been that much of a choice, but the only option I have been forced to believe to have, through the emotional blackmail of those who love me and how I cannot do that to them.  

I have been fighting for as long as I can remember.  I have been fighting a world that won't have me as me, as well as me who is too scared to let me be me.  I have been fighting out loud and fighting even louder in my own head. Believing in (or forcing myself to think that I believe in) that becoming 'me', the unbreakable goddess that I am, is worth it.

But throughout I have also wondered "if I would find peace in the moment of my death, or will I still be fighting to assert my existence?"

then I think of you whose death was the biggest assertion of her existence (and please never again call it a fail!)

In the spirit of valuing vulnerability and understanding no thought or fantasy is shameful, I tell you that in my frequent flirts with suicidality, I always think that if I finally kill myself it should be at least for something that makes some noise and gets some people thinking? and I realise how having such an active ego is probably a sign that I don't actually want to die and talk myself into some other vanity projects.

However passing through the guilt of even thinking these thoughts considering how much I have going on for me, I allowed myself tonight to think, Has the last 12 months been worth the fight? I'm sure you see from up there that the world is still as cruel, and I would have really like to ask you if you found peace in forgiving it and leaving it behind?

It would be hard to list all the amazing things that have happened that make me grateful to have lived the last 12 months.

That I got to hug my dad, my mum, my 'siblings' and 'friends', one more time is something I can understand to be enough. That I got to see the ocean in my niece's eyes seems more than enough.

But if I could speak somewhere that god cannot hear, so he doesn't get offended with my lack of gratitude and punish me for it, I would like to tell you that I don't alway think that it has been worth it.
I could have done with not having made to realise how deep certain fears have been stored in my being and how bottomless the effects of violation on my body has been. 

I could have done without the feeling of betrayal, realising I was just made to believe I am expecting too much, when in fact I was only expecting the wrong people.

I could have done with staying more naive, thinking somethings are to stay.

But most pressing is I could do with this constant voice, who wants out, stopping. It's exhausting to be constantly secretly scanning your surrounding hoping you find the plug,  it is exhausting living in the ocean:

"For me, and I suspect for countless others like me, the threat of suicide isn't like being carried over a waterfall — it is like living in the ocean. Not as sea creatures do, native and equipped with feathery gills to dissolve oxygen for my bloodstream, but alone, with an expanse of water at all sides. Some days are unremarkable, floating under clear skies and smooth waters; other days are tumultuous storms you don’t know you’ll survive, but you’re always, always in the ocean.

And when you live in the ocean, treading to stay afloat, you eventually get the feeling that one day, inevitably, there will be nowhere for you to go but down."

You wonder if it makes sense to just choose the sky, but I don’t want it to be soon. 

I’ve become adept at treading. But will is never enough, and so I have learned to surround myself with ways to stay afloat. Like people I am going to send your letter to.

A Letter to Sarah
June 14 2021. Words by GHM