At some point, we will look around us and, unfortunately, within us and feel very blurry about everything. It is not doubt, it is never doubt. It’s something deeper and worse. It’s the hollowness we have been so afraid of. The bogyman under the bed. The shadow that hunts us when the lights are off. The fragments whose edges are too sharp that they keep pricking our chests and the internal side of the flesh.
Life is not difficult. It’s pretty simple, which is why we are all just so miserable. We are miserable because we know how easy it is and how hard we make it seem. Every single day is a fight. It’s a fight against sadness, a fight against other humans – who love, just love making our days pretty horrible, a fight against hardships, and, worst of all, a fight against ourselves.
Usually we sit around hoping for a beam of light, something that would shake us into a world of – hope. We drag our bodies at a late hour to sit by the window, any window as long as it’s in a spot far from others. And we sit there. We look up. We look up. And hold the iron bars that are protecting us from falling. And break down in tears and break down in so much pain and break down in so much helplessness. And our hands surround the iron bars. They suffocate the iron bars. We cling so hard to the iron bars and scream silently to the only One listening. We let it all out. All what we have been hiding from the world. We just let it out. And He hears us. And after the tears. And the sobs. And the racing heartbeats. And the coughs. And the looking for napkins. After all of that. We look up. And we see how big the sky is. How small the stars are. How shiny the moon is. And we inhale so much fresh air. And our eyes, now swollen, start to close slowly, and we blink couple of times. And we end it with a begging ‘please’ and a strong ‘Amen’.
We go to sleep. In hope for a dream. A sign. And wake up feeling stupid. It’s not how it goes. It takes more than a dream. A sign. We wear our masks.
We wear masks because our faces are sometimes too distorted for the world to accept, because our wounds are too deep for the world to understand, and because our scars are too hideous for the world to look at. I walk past time. I walk past place. I lose my shadow as I try to find who I really am. I try to look around and I see – I see the light. I try to grab it. I try to call for it, “Come! Stay! Linger!” It slips off my fingers and darks away. The room, no; the world where I stand gets colder. I look for a coat; Allah sent me a – a goat. I gaze for hours trying to understand this creature that came out of nowhere. I missed a sound and I missed everything that a coat could have offered. I wandered; not lonely. I wandered with the company of a goat that was patient enough to remain without food or drink until I reached a certain stop – a full stop.
I took a deep breath. And I felt my legs breaking into pieces of nothingness. I felt the shiver of a cold rainy evening and the warmth of a sweet companion or have you forgotten the goat? I had no money. I had no food. I had no drinks. For days, milk was my only source of liquids and the rest I sold for my other food supplies. I stood there gazing at the goat I received. I wished for a coat!
But what good could a coat do to me?
Allah did hear me. I just misinterpreted what I should have asked for. It was never a \k\; it has always been a \g\ one long \g\ that ended with ‘t’ and milk. What I needed most. Not what I thought best.
Have you ever woken up in the morning feeling sad? Depressed? Wanting nothing in the world but someone to look you in the eye and say, “It’s going to be a hell of a fight today. But you can do it. Get up. You can do it”. Well, considering the technological world we live in today, the second we wake up and check our Facebook or Instagram or Twitter we are given quite the opposite: negative energy. Negative posts. Negative people. Annoying inbox messages. Annoying pages. Annoying groups. And at some point all we want to do is to go back to sleep.
There is no hope – so it seems.
What if! What if that changes? What if there is something that would create a positive aura, surrounding our bodies and minds? What if while you are in the taxi going to work and feeling so much pressure, someone contacts you and tells you that, “It’s alright. Life is stressful, but you are strong enough to win”. What if technology is used to create a better atmosphere for you? A whole world of love, care and compassion?
A brilliant 22 year old Khalid J. Abu Shammala came with a solution. An application called “I’M” is “the first step towards a family whose bond is built on mutual trust and mutual sharing of problems and solutions” said he as he explained the essential job of his application. From its name, we can learn a lot: “I’M” showing that we exist as individuals, stressing the fact that we all have our problems and most of the time we are, almost always, incapable of expressing how we feel to those who do not know how it feels. “How it feels” is essential, very important. We usually, while sitting with others, have so many things in mind we want to share and to speak about: a problem, a heartache, a headache – sometimes beautiful things. However, we never seem to know what to exactly say to elaborate on such emotions basically because the person in front of us would not truly “understand” how it feels.
Some communities hold support groups for people who suffer from certain problems; these groups help the attendants learn that they are not alone, and that life is not over. However, so many people are either too busy to go, too frustrated to meet others, or too shy to make such a move. What Khalid did in his application is that he created 24\7 open platform for people to connect and express their heartaches to people who are going through the same things, and to specialists. “They would not need to go anywhere. They would not need to feel shy. As long as their cell phones are charged, we are with them. All the I’Ms out there are with them. Through the application, the users receive texts that are hopeful and full of life, one of so many other features in this app. Most of those who commit suicide die because they were depressed – and most importantly alone. Had they someone to talk to and explain to their feelings, they would have lived better – and stronger,” Khalid elaborated passionately.
He believes that sometimes it is easier to talk to strangers – and way easier to talk to people who have gone through something similar. I have to agree with him. How many times have we just hoped to leave everything we have and everyone we know – to escape – so to find ourselves? So to explain ourselves without being judged? So to have an honest opinion without subjective reviews? Well, I have. Multiple times.
When asked about what makes his application special and different, he said, “When I was 16, I was so depressed and lonely. I thought I am the only one out there suffering. I looked around and saw everyone happy and smiling; I thought – I thought that what they showed was how they felt and that I was the ONLY sad and lonely person out there. It took me so much strength and so much internal motivation to escape that sense of darkness and move to a world of light. I believe – so strongly – that if I had someone to help me see and understand that at some point we all go through that phase of lonesome and darkness, I would have easily passed that test and easily embraced the light. I want to give the world what the world did not give me. I want parents to feel safe when their children use this application. I want them to know that although teenage life, the age from which downloaders can use the app, is difficult, we as a community will offer their children the help they need. To get up. To go to school. To fight. To win,” he said with a firmer tone, “Not only teenagers. Grownups suffer from so much stress and bills and annoying bosses and suffocating jam. We are there for them too. We are here for everyone. Keep your cell phone charged and we will never leave you alone”.
While listening to him enthusiastically expressing how he feels about his application, I could not but think of all of those who would have had a better life had his application been made before. We all need a friend. We all need one person to help us. What Khalid is offering to the world is a community of friends and supporters.
“I believe if Marilyn Monroe had I’M application, she wouldn’t have killed herself,” he smiled, “I believe that through this application I offer the world what the world lacks the most – Hope”.
You can contact Khalid J. Abu Shammala, the maker of the application, through his email: email@example.com