As part of a collaboration between Syria Deeply and Rookie, we’re publishing the memoirs of a teenage girl living in the midst of Syria’s war. Marah, as she’s chosen to be known, lives in a city under siege. She was 15 years old when the uprising began. This is the third in her series of articles.
In my city, guys and girls have undergone a radical change. Everything has changed: their opinions, their aspirations, the way they talk, their expressions and even the way they look.
Before, we used to have great conversations. We loved music from the West as well as local music, and we would race to listen to the newest albums. We loved movies of all kinds and in all languages, especially the comedies. We were interested in fashion and design.
We were attracted to anything that was new. We lived a wonderful life. We made adolescent mistakes.
Now we have turned into old women. Our conversations are all about our daily suffering. Our conversations are now all about food, electricity, water and firewood. There is no cell phone coverage and no television. We are deprived of our teenage pastimes.
Shopping was one of my favorite activities. We used to go window shopping after school. We used to get excited about a colorful purse or shiny shoes. Now we get that excited about a rare treat, a dessert – even just fruit. Can you believe it?! We never expected this to happen!
Even the boys have changed. We used to see them around school, carrying flowers and wrapped presents, wearing their nicest clothes. Their eyes were filled with love, happiness and hope. But now, the street around the school is empty because all the guys are out fighting on the front lines. When we happen to see them, they usually have shaggy hair and dusty shoes, carrying rifles instead of roses. If you look at their faces, all you see is worry and frustration. Because of our horrible reality, they have lost their hope for the future.
We have been deprived of fully living this period of our lives. Everything has turned upside down. Everyone is depressed. Sometimes we laugh and cry at the same moment. How did this damned war do this to us?
I feel sorry for myself and for all my fellow Syrian youth. I hope that the current situation changes so that our souls and dreams might awaken. I’m afraid we will regret living this period without our rites of passage, not living youth as it is meant to be lived. Will the war impact us for the rest of our lives? How will we make up for what we’ve lost? Everything is unknown.