Every time I get inspired to write, it’s by something this country has done. It frustrates me that Lebanon seems to be the only topic that moves me.
Sometimes, it feels like my relationship to this country seeps into all the other aspects of my life, and manages to creep into all my thoughts and reflections.
There are moments when I feel as though my relationship to my country has become an emotional relationship on its own, complete with the questions, the fears, and the highs and lows of a strong love.
What’s it like when you give your heart to Lebanon, while you watch as they tug at your strings, as they pull you up and push you down?
The relationship is certainly volatile. It sometimes feels temporary and short-lived in spite of its history. It shouldn’t be, but it’s oddly comfortable. It’s a warm, affectionate, relationship—drunk with love.
Until it’s not.
It’s a contradiction. An exciting, yet familiar relationship.
Until you’re angry, and Lebanon is abrasive. You’re frustrated with their ways. Why can’t L commit, all the way?
L has baggage. Loads of emotional and psychological baggage that won’t heal. Every time you feel you’ve gotten somewhere, you’re right back where you started.
It’s your light bulb relationship. On. Off. L is the one you break up with once, twice, three times. The one you say you’ll never go back to. The one with the irreconcilable differences.
L is argumentative. L pokes and prods and nudges you until you feel you are driven to the edge. L listens to their friends more than they do to you and that makes you feel ignored, taken for granted. L is passionate on some nights, and dull and distant on others.
You take road trips, and have wild nights where you stay up, and the air is crisp and light and the city twinkles.
You look back at your partner and your heart skips with glee. Happiness. I can do this, you say. I can do this forever.
But the next morning, the hangover of love hits you hard on the head. Chaos. Frustration. Something’s already wrong and the day has barely even begun.
You’re already arguing, fighting. You’re already on another wavelength and L just can’t meet you.
You’re not sure of the future, but you really want to stay. When people ask you why you’re still in it, you’re not really sure you have an answer. All you know is that when it’s good, it’s so damn great.
It scares you. Where is this going? What kind of future do we have? Why do I keep coming back?
L is religious – for all the wrong reasons. L sometimes can’t see past itself, beyond their own past, their own future.
You know, L is a little limited. And, in turn, they limit you.
You’ve been with others. Paris, London, Montreal. You’ve seen the world, fooled around. Why does L bring you back when most of the time it’s driving you so crazy?
They say no matter how much you want it you can’t change your partner. L won’t change. And you have tried so hard. You took them to conferences and museums and protests…even to other cities. You talked about their history, and told them to heal, to look into the future. You had moments when you felt – when you knew – your future together looked bright. After all the pain, you felt that this could really be it.
But disappointment always set in, and after all your years together you still find yourself running around in circles, writing up pros and cons lists of why you should stay or why you should leave.
I don’t know what to do with you anymore, L, but you’ve changed me forever. You’ve gotten under my skin, inside my mind, and all the way into my heart.
Why haven’t I walked away? I’m starting to worry.
Maybe it’s not you, maybe it’s me.