Yahia Lababidi on Yahia Lababidi’s “Self-Interrogation”
I woke up around 4:30 am to take my meds—I’ve been battling a nasty flu for a few days—and decided to check my email.
Head stuffy, eyes bleary I scrolled through my account in the dark, illumined only by the light of my phone.
I saw that I heard back from The Epitome Writing Foundation. I’d submitted a grant proposal, less than a week ago, for a few thousand dollars.
Incredibly, the email read:
Congratulations! I am pleased to inform you that Yahia Lababidi has been awarded $75,000 as a grant from The Epitome Writing Foundation for the quest to further his writing pursuit.
Still half asleep, I could not fully absorb this waking dream. Then, a connection dawned on me and my stupor deepened.
I’d received text messages the other day notifying me that $75,000 was credited to my account with Chattered Financials Bank!
Could this be true? After all these years—decades, at this point—of suffering for my art, with little financial reward—I was finally being granted a great gift from the heavens?
I went back to the Epitome website to learn more about my generous benefactor, McDougal Cohen, “a distinguished private investor and writer.”
In the too-good-to-be-true congratulations email announcing my $75,000 award, I was told to expect in the mail a certificate and notice of grant award.
In filling out my grant application, I’d shared with the Epitome Foundation (among other things) my mailing address and a copy of my driver’s license, per their request.
Before sharing any further personal information, and too excited to go back to sleep, I thought I’d do some further investigation.
There was precious little information online (not a good sign) and my heart sank when I came across this:
You say you were the victim of identity theft?
Tell me, were you not secure in your identity?
How did this last scam artist entice you?
Did they scan your mind and soul, first?
Shuffling through your desires and longings,
did they find fame, fortune and salvation on your list?
Well, if you insist it was not at all your fault
might you see how you were an accomplice?
Are you guilty of wearing your heart on your sleeve
do your dreams often slip through your mouth-sieve?
How can you protect yourself from hackers, you ask?
There’s only one secure password: Attention.
To recognize the bald truth masquerading as fraud,
say: others are not to blame, only we deceive… ourselves.
Deliver a deadly blow to your ego, now, say:
I’m a sham, pretending to be what I’m not, yet
“Hurry ruins saints as well as artists” said Thomas Merton
they are in such haste that they cannot take time to be true.
Trust more slowly, and mistrust in your right to receive
more than what you have worked hard for or deserve
There are no shortcuts to transcendence—
no quick fixes or easy money.
Give up that false grant, walk away from the fake guru
and your ruinous love affair with the impossible
Go back to your good-enough life, in contrition
and curiosity; seek how to unmask it.
Yahia Lababidi is the author of 7 books, most recently, 2 critically-acclaimed books of aphorisms: SIGNPOSTS TO ELSEWHERE (Hay House, 2019) and WHERE EPICS FAIL (Unbound, 2018). To find out more: amzn.to/2L2jTEc