Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don’t

 I have been a city-girl my whole life. Born, raised and lived my entire life in the city; in the same city. I was raised surrounded by high buildings, noise and pollution. I can never imagine living the country-side or in a small town or village or even in the suburbs. I am a city-girl. That being said, I no longer want to live in this particular city or any city that resembles it; not for long periods of time at least. I can’t live in capitals with intolerable traffic, all forms of pollution and hostile environments. I realize that there are world capitals that don’t fit this profile, and are actually characterized as the most beautiful cities in the world.  While that is true and while there are some cities from both categories, if we for the time being assume there just are two, that happen to be the most popular cities in the world.

Cairo fits the profile I have described above, perfectly; that is in addition to it being one of the most populous cities in the world.  Therefore I have been raised in a polluted, over-crowded, noisy, at times even over-whelming city. I have known no other home, but as of recently it doesn’t feel like home. I have become a stranger in my own city, a guest of sort. I and everyone I know live in a world outside of this country, but still within the parameters of the city. I am constantly in contact with the residents of this city, but until I return to the bubble I was brought up in, and in which my friends, family and closest acquaintances live, I feel that I don’t belong.

As I have already mentioned I was raised in a large metropolitan city and I can only live in a place that provides very much the same facilities, but doesn’t resemble this city. I realize I’m being a little cryptic, I’ll elaborate. I am rarely ever in contact with nature, excluding air obviously. This city, and many that are quite like it, is dead. I never lived near a sea, a mountain, forest or a river (that isn’t surrounded by buildings and is so polluted that it looks more like sewage).

This all brings me to the title of this entry. All what I have said explains how the environment I live in has led to my elevated stress level, but it doesn’t why it’s not easy to change this environment. Growing up I was under the impression that I would always live here, under rigid social rules and familial expectations (all of you in my situation can easily relate), and I had accepted that fact for so long. However a couple of years ago, I found this to be a choice which is suicidal more than an actual fact. Recently I realized that living in Egypt is impossible and that it needs to be temporary. This all explains the reasons why I would be damned if I don’t leave, in addition to the current political, economic and social status of the country.

Saying that I want to leave is very easy, implementing it though is excruciating. The political situation in the country, which makes leaving a necessity, impedes the process of leaving, as well as complicates life for those who would like to leave as much as those who don’t. A place where a person is born should not outline his/her entire life. Life should be based on the choices one makes; it shouldn’t be based on the choices one can’t make, or damned by other people’s choices or their perceptions.