Every day, there’s a new story, new broken hearts, new beginnings, failed endings. Every day, there’s more stupidity, more recklessness, more idiocy and more problems.
So I thought I’d write this out for all the girls who’ll stumble across it.
You are not an object. You are not worthless. You are not to be disregarded. You are not to be sought after only because of your looks or your appearances or your degrees. You are not to be ignored. If someone tells you you’re pretty, do not turn red. If someone tells you you look nice, do not turn red. If someone “asks around” about you, tell them to shove it up their false idea of any intent that was there. If someone tells you you’re too fat, backhand that boy like he’s never seen China. If someone tells you you’re too skinny, keep running, keep doing you. You are strong. You don’t have to fit into a mold.
You have a body that will take you places. That is all it has to do.
You are more than what you appear. You are more than a face. You are more than hips, or jeans, or tight shirts and eyeliner. You are more than a prospect, you are a human being with a mind and heart more vast than all the oceans. You are a person with the ability to change and continue to change the lives around you. Do not settle for anything, for anyone, and do not lower yourself to any standard. Do not allow yourself to be disrespected. Fight back, talk back, write back, jump back up the second you’re down. You owe others nothing. Do not forget this.
Don’t let anyone “steal your heart” when all that is taken is your dignity, your self-respect, time that you will not get back. Do not let anyone tell you who you are or how to act or where to stand or sit. You live under your mother and your father and the only One you will ever put your head down to is God.
I’ve decided to stay away from the news in all it’s glorious forms for the next few days. It’s all really dampening my mood. I guess what I really need to do is work on not letting it affect me so personally - but until then… evasion.
Everything is making me sad or angry. And my best friend is getting married Saturday. So I don’t want to be sad and angry.
“I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life. I’ve learned that making a “living” is not the same thing as making a “life.” I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back. I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one. I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn. I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”—Maya Angelou
(I realize I’ve had these rants multiple times now, but I’ve ranted in person to too many people and there’s no one at 2 am to listen to me except tumblr so…)
Why is no one outraged? I don’t understand.
ISIS has committed genocide, wartime sexual violence, and the murder of women and children UNDER the banner of “La ilaha ill’Allah” (There is no God but God) and held high with it the sigil of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Why is no one outraged. How dare they carry such a banner. How dare they desecrate the Shahadah (Creed) and vilify the Iman (Faith).
The people of Gaza like all others in this world are not living to die. They live for new beginnings, new births, new chapters. They have lives and families and jobs. They have dreams and fears and aspirations and futures and pasts. They are human. And they want to live in dignity as every human deserves.
Amid the storm of missiles and shrapnel and the smell of death and decay, there is new life bringing with it new hope in Gaza. 4,500 new little lives have come into the world since Israel’s assault on Gaza began 34 days ago. Alongside the numbers of al shuhada’ who have left this world are the numbers of new lives coming into it, opening their eyes and taking in their first breaths in the midst of the sounds of bombs raining down. They are new life born out of the pains of the old. They are life’s alibi in the face of death.
Doctors and nurses in Gaza hospitals wait on pins and needles, monitoring premature babies piled up on top of one another in insufficient numbers of incubators that at any moment, without warning, can stop functioning. When the power goes, so too may life. But that doesn’t deter exhausted medics from vigorously pumping oxygen into their little lungs until the power comes back. With each pump, they read a prayer and hold onto the faith and hope that these little lives will grow up to be the light of Gaza’s future.
Future freedom fighters of Palestine. Future poets and writers who will tell the world the resplendent stories that perpetuate steadfast hope and resistance. Future teachers who will teach the world about life and the incomprehensible art of forgetting. Future lawyers who will defend the defenseless. Future engineers and architects who will build Gaza back stronger than before. Future parents who will celebrate new life and milestones. Future doctors and nurses themselves who will heal and save lives.
Hospitals are filled with the cries of fear, anguish and death, but they’re also been filled with cries of new life and hope. New little lives born into a Palestinian legacy of faith, resilience and steadfastness (sumud). A legacy of unwavering determination and unshakable conviction to keep fighting no matter what. New little lives born to live and dream and hope. Born to live, not to die.
So I’m lame and stupid and can’t do anything without my support system, so yes. I broke and called, spoke with, met up with everyone I trust with my life. I contacted my friends who I felt knew me and knew my situation best - and I asked them for advice. And above all, I asked my family the hard questions - and I began asking myself the hard questions.
At the end of the day, I feel like I’ve been chasing the idea of moving out for so long I forgot why it was even important to me. And now that it can become a reality, it is something within my grasp - I’m hesitant to reach out and take it.
I hope to live long enough to know I am in a world where children are awaken by birds, and not bombs, not missiles, not to the last screams of their mothers; to know I am in a world where children are haunted by stories of the past, not by the small graves of their friends, not by the thought that each moment is the end, not by the silence of the rest of us.
On this day, August 6th, 69 years ago, at exactly 8:15 am they dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. On this day humanity reached both the height of horror and the depths of disgrace—perhaps the only thing that could make this worse would be to forget. Remember today what it means to cheer on war and revel in instruments of destruction, and remember what it means when you are apathetic under the false guise of “neutrality”.
90,000 human beings instantaneously incinerated. Some 150,000 killed overall. This is not counting the second atrocity that took place in Nagasaki. Countless others wounded or sick as a result of the blast and radiation.
These are figures that one cannot possibly comprehend in totality but these people must be remembered because they were people, and it cannot be a superficial remembering of some far off tragedy that occurred in the past, it must remind the world to do today what it failed to do back then.
Long live the people and long live resilience in the face of unspeakable horrors.
Inspired by the movie of the same name and a conversation that preceded it. This post is a huge mess. I just wanted to type so I’m giving you fair warning.
Tonight, I have felt and am currently experiencing something I have not experienced in a long time. I want to speak to someone about it - but no matter how many faces I think to talk to, no matter how many I cycle through, I can’t decide on who.
And already I know that any one of them would understand. Would soothe me. Would give me whatever support I need. But tonight and for the next few days - it is absolutely crucial that I take these steps alone. I have to make these decisions. I have to create my own path. I have to breath my own air.
I’m tired of unmerited compliments. Tired of being told I have it all together, of being told I’m a hard-worker, a good daughter, a “strong” woman. I don’t know which I hate more: how much I don’t deserve them or how many tears I’m pushing back after realizing that you’re just like everyone else… everyone else I am too afraid to disappoint with the reality of how broken I really am.
So I just put in more coins to animate the facade, swallowing the indigestible truth that no one will know me for who I really am or what mistakes I’ve really made… and by that, no one will ever be able to help me. I guess the trick has always been to sedate others with a degree of knowledge comfortable enough to thrive without inquiry.
For years I have wanted to give my parents the world — because that’s what they deserve — but it has only been over the past few months that I have mourned over the possibility of not giving them it. My conscience screamed at me for running out of time, for not freeing them of my expenses and subsequently reimbursing them, for not seizing opportunities to write about my parents, for not spreading their benevolence and wisdom through my example. I have beat myself up, I’ve cried that nothing is fair, and I have been blinded by a lens clouded with pessimism. But last night, while on the phone with my dad, I had a change of mind as he began to reminisce on his youth in NajafAbad.
"Wow dad, no electricity.. no refridgerators.. How did you even live?!"
"Yup. It was even worse when I lived in Abadan and Kuwait. Kuwait was terrible! We didn’t even have a bathroom, we had to just go find a place to go. And the most devastating was Iran during the war. That was one of the worst conditions I have ever seen Iran in."
"How must it have felt moving to America then? Going from a peasant family in NajafAbad and life on the streets to this giant home in one of the nicest places to live.."
"Yup babayee. That’s what makes me so thankful. Every morning I wake up and your mother has already made eggs on a stove I remember how hard it was for me to find food. Now I have a refrigerator that can last me a lifetime and back then, I didn’t even know refrigerators existed! Everything I have here is more than I need or even thought I could ever own."
And it was then I realized my parents don’t want me to give them a bigger house, a nicer car, a decorated kitchen… they don’t even care for these things to begin with. To do so would only be to violently eclipse the humility they’ve carried to their destination. Sure, I could go on and on about how much more my parents deserve, and how unfair it is that they have worked to the bone with such little as recompense, but that not only means I’d be measuring their worth in materials but also means I measure worth in materials. Because to them, this is what hard-work brought them to. This is the world they couldn’t even dream of. This standard of living, with all of the luxuries and privileges we take for granted, already outshines everything they have ever imagined, and the only thing left to complete their dreams is my gratitude, in the form of happiness and hard-work.
They say the devil is in the details, but it is the details that keep me spirited… the details in your speech, exposing a zeal for the arts that the means of survival have robbed you of. Those ten crowded minutes mesmerized by passion, carried by breaths of vitality and eyes of captivation as fervor frees you from the mental arrest that is routine. The detail of flare in your hazel eyes once they meet the unexpected, but tangible truth to the tenderness of humanity, and bathe in the slivers of hope that companionship brings. The dark depths of solitude can only be appreciated once its opposite is, even if only for a couple minutes — this is where we revitalize, where have the affirmation before the marathon. It is the details of your warmth, exuding only when I dare notice them in the stillness of my sorrows… when I dare blink twice to see the light behind the darkness and let it save me as I remember what keeps me vibrant, what keeps me determined in the midst of such heavy sacrifice. The details in the details, where the overwhelming heartache that comes with economic, social, and political realities and its lingering melancholia is drizzled with remembrance, with consciousness… of the man who opened the door for you, of the sweet lady who wished you a good morning, of the child you saw help a lady on the train, of the friend who randomly bought you cupcakes, of the professor who said she has, and continues to, keep your family in her thoughts, and the classmate whose intelligence you always admired until you learned of the adversities she is battling while preserving her buoyancy… and proceeded to admire her even more.
They say the devil is in the details, but it is only the details that remind me of You.
My parents haven’t taught me specifics. They have never given me elaborate history/political lessons, nor lessons on piety or conduct. They have never told me how to act, what to do, who to associate with, who to be. They never extended opinions deluded as facts nor did they indoctrinate preferences. They have only taught me how to think. And with that, they have taught me everything.
In fact a mature person does not fall in love, he rises in love. The word ’fall’ is not right. Only immature people fall; they stumble and fall down in love. Somehow they were managing and standing. They cannot manage and they cannot stand – they find a woman and they are gone, they find a man and they are gone. They were always ready to fall on the ground and to creep. They don’t have the backbone, the spine; they don’t have that integrity to stand alone.
A mature person has the integrity to be alone. And when a mature person gives love, he gives without any strings attached to it: he simply gives. And when a mature person gives love, he feels grateful that you have accepted his love, not vice versa. He does not expect you to be thankful for it – no, not at all, he does not even need your thanks. He thanks you for accepting his love. And when two mature persons are in love, one of the greatest paradoxes of life happens, one of the most beautiful phenomena: they are together and yet tremendously alone; they are together so much so that they are almost one. But their oneness does not destroy their individuality, in fact, it enhances it: they become more individual.
Two mature persons in love help each other to become more free. There is no politics involved, no diplomacy, no effort to dominate. How can you dominate the person you love? Just think over it. Domination is a sort of hatred, anger, enmity. How can you think of dominating a person you love? You would love to see the person totally free, independent; you will give him more individuality. That’s why I call it the greatest paradox: they are together so much so that they are almost one, but still in that oneness they are individuals. Their individualities are not effaced – they have become more enhanced. The other has enriched them as far as their freedom is concerned.
Immature people falling in love destroy each other’s freedom, create a bondage, make a prison. Mature persons in love help each other to be free; they help each other to destroy all sorts of bondages. And when love flows with freedom there is beauty. When love flows with dependence there is ugliness.