Posts tagged thepursuitofhappiness.
If you’re interested in reading this section and haven’t been following me from before, it’ll make more sense if you read it in this order:
The End; but Not Really.
So this post concludes The Pursuit of Happiness series. Through this section, I wanted to write down and reflect on everything that I have been through that has led me to be who I am today. I wanted to explain my core beliefs, values and expressions to really who ever bothered to check my blog.
It was a journey through my struggles as a young adult, struggling with my physical appearance, acceptance, insecurities, religion, culture, tradition, crushes, romances and family.
To be honest, I did it for myself. I have lived in silence for so long I no longer want to be quite. I want to tell people my story, and want people to understand who I am and what I’ve been through. Writing it down here helped me organize my thoughts. It helped me relay these thoughts to people in my day-to-day life. And not only that, but formulating and typing out these posts forced me to think about my actions even more.
I am alive and I want my voice to announce it (or even my words as is the case here). I want to dance and sing, and dance and sing some more. Never again will I get these moments back, never again will I be who I was in that moment. I want to remember and preserve that.
God and I.
*Trigger warning: this post will get extremely spiritual, please don’t mind. It’s just my way of expression. Please feel free to believe in whatever form of expression you believe in and/or insert the name of the deity that you refer to as God. I truly believe they are all one and the same. For those who are not religious at all, please understand the importance of such beliefs in the lives of others as diversity in belief (even the lack of one) makes the world go round. Thank you.*
(Listen and Read)
*Click CC for subtitles!*
میڈا عِشق وی تُوں
Meda Ishq Vi Toon
You are my love
میڈا یار وی تُوں
Meda Yaar Vi Toon
You are my friend
میڈا دین وی تُوں اِیمان وی تُوں
Meda Deen Vi Toon, Iman Vi Toon
You are my belief and also my faith
میڈا جِسم وی تُوں ، میڈی رُوح وی تُوں
Meda Jism Vi Toon, Medi Rooh Vi Toon
You are my body, You are my soul
میڈا قَلب وی تُوں
Meda Qalb Vi Toon
You are my heart
Al-Ghazalli, in his work, ‘The Alchemy of Happiness’, proclaimed that the first and foremost thing to do when you wish to be happy is to understand yourself.
The challenges I faced throughout my freshman year, as I have shown in previous posts, have made me realize and understand so much about myself. I not just understood my actions, wants, desires or virtues; I also understood my physical appearance, my personality and my manner.
The second thing Al-Ghazalli mentions, is the reason why one tries to understand oneself. The Prophet (PBUH) used to say “He who knows himself, knows God.” Thus, the understanding of God is next on your way to attaining happiness.
This is obvious. For one who believes in a God, God is the only constant. All my life, no matter what I have done, seen, or been through, I believe God has been with me. Even in the darkest of nights and loneliest of days, He was with me. I can never be alone. He is my greatest friend.
Terrorism and Religion.
Before I get into detail, I want to clarify something.
My acceptance and belief of Islam does not in any way demean any other religion. I do not put Islam in a pedestal. I believe, as I mentioned before, existence is a story being told by God and so all the different religions also play their roles in this existence. Each gives the world flavor, a new take, a new color, and thus each is essential to the sustenance of the world. An old Sufi proverb proclaims: “There are as many paths to God, as there are souls on earth” and I truly believe this. Each soul on the planet has a separate way to express itself. Some chose certain religions to express their beliefs; some chose the lack of religion to express themselves. Despite all our differences though, we have to live in harmony with one another and learn to understand and appreciate our differences.
Anyways, moving on.
Islam is a vast religion, covering North Africa, the Middle East, East Europe, Central Asia, South Asia, East Asia and South East Asia. With each new culture that Islam has adopted, so too has each culture regionally/locally added something to Islam. Whether that is views on dancing, singing, treatment of women, dress, cuisine, mysticism, etc.
The Purpose of Peace
For some, peace ends at happiness. But others like myself, seek greater meaning, greater purpose.
I have never been satisfied with small answers. I have always asked the toughest of questions, spiritually and otherwise. For some people, they can believe in something because they are told to or they can believe in something because they see it around them all the time.
I am entirely different. I cannot believe in something until it fills my very soul; its essence resonates with my own and adds on to my character. It has to resound through my very being before I can take it up as part of me.
I have, to be honest, struggled with religion. As a child, I have been acutely aware of very many social issues, taboos, current events and world affairs - very little escaped my eyes. It doesn’t take very long to notice that many of the world’s problems have their origins in religion. Religious thought has motivated so much violence through human history that it’s hard to try and believe it without lying to yourself.
I needed someone to answer that unsettling correlation.
If I was going to believe, I needed every doubt dispelled.
Happy Ever After.
For Christmas every year, my family heads down to Indianapolis to spend the holidays with my relatives there. It’s always such a relaxing and beautiful escape, but this year it meant so much more.
I was getting away from the mess that was the first half of my freshman year, and I was determined to return a different person. I didn’t want to repeat the same mistakes again. On top of that, this wasn’t just a trip to visit my family. No, the whole gang was going to head down further south to Florida, where we would have a blast at Disney World and it’s associated theme parks.
As I was forgetting everything that I was and redefining myself during this overwhelming and breathtaking journey across the states, I found a simple philosophy: chose to be happy. That’s it. People say you can’t just get up and be something. Hell, is that wrong.
Lost and Found.
(Listen and Read)
*Click CC for English subs*
گّ بدلاں نہ لائی
agg badlaan nah laai
The clouds have lit a fire
دیندی پھراں میں دہائی
daindi phiraan main duhaai
I go around calling for mercy
مینوں مار گَئی اے
mainoon maar gayi ae
What has killed me is
تیری بے پروائی
Frosh week was a blur of laughter, games, hot summer nights and extremely rowdy mornings. And just like that, the academic year started and with it unfortunately, it brought the return of the old me.
It’s quite ironic, actually. I had changed everything about me but me, and yet I assumed things would be different. Yes, I had a new group of friends, yes, I had a new environment, a new school, new places, etc, etc. But I was still the old me. The same insecure person I have always been.
My biggest problem is that I shield myself from my insecurities with people. I dive into other people, engage in conversation in hopes of forgetting about whatever I was feeling.
That was me running away from my problems, not facing them.
(Listen and Read)
*Click CC for English subs*
خالی آنکھیں، خالی یہ مکان
khaali aankhen khaali yih makaan
Empty eyes, this empty space
آؤ بھلا دیں وہ پیار
aao bhula den woh pyaar
Come, let’s forget that love
آؤ مٹا دیں وہ نشان
aao mita den woh nishaan
Come, let’s erase that mark
I don’t mean to make it seem that my entire life was terrible or depressing. No, I don’t mean that at all. I have always been incredibly thankful for all that I have been through and experienced. Truly, my life has been filled with happiness and laughter, even if there was always underlying sadness and confusion (isn’t that everyone’s story? Haha).
Humans are funny things; we can ignore our biggest problems and continue to smile. I think that’s one of our biggest strengths, and that’s exactly what I did. I let myself remain stagnant assuming I couldn’t change myself because for that I needed a change in environment. I was happy, but not as happy as I could be be.
I stayed in that dormant state, being fully aware of my faults yet not acting to make them better. That was, until mid-way through grade 12.
(Listen and Read)
“But if you only have love for your own race,
Then you only leave space to discriminate.
And to discriminate only generates hate,
And when you hate then you’re bound to get irate, yeah.
Madness is what you demonstrate,
And that’s exactly how anger works and operates,
Man, you gotta have love just to set it straight.
Take control of your mind and meditate,
Let your soul gravitate to the love, y’all.”
We throw around hateful words as if they don’t hurt anyone at all. We kill people because they are different; we prosecute them, torture, starve and destroy them. We’ve lost love in our hearts. Love for humanity, love for each other.
We are so blinded by our hate; we don’t even notice what we kill is not much different than ourselves. Underneath all that which we value so much, physical appearances and stereotypes, is a human just like us. A great set of bones and muscle put together in the form of a miraculous life.
What Makes a Man?
(Listen and Read)
“They say learning to love yourself,
Is the first step,
That you take when you want to be real.
Flying on planes to exotic locations,
Won’t teach you,
How you really feel.
Face up to the fact,
That you are who you are,
And nothing can change that belief.”
There are certain rules, for some reason, that are taught to children when they are young.
Things like: “Blue is a boy’s colour and pink a girl’s” or “boys play with toy cars, run around in the dirt, have sword fights, play sports and wrestle” whereas “girls play with Barbie’s, have tea parties, like to be clean, dress nice, and talk.” I don’t know who made up these rules, or how they came to be widely accepted but they are.
Now, I’m not going deny that a “majority” of male children prefer to play sports, play-fights, cars and action figures over tea parties, Barbie’s, dressing, and talking.
But I am going say that occasionally you get children who do not conform. Girls who like cars or like to fight, and boys who aren’t aggressive and prefer talk to fists.
More Than the Sum of My Parts.
(Listen and Read)
“You can travel the world
But you can’t run away
From the person you are in your heart.
You can be who you want to be,
Make us believe in you,
Keep all your light in the dark.”
If you knew me, you would know I don’t look like what I “should” look like - and trust me, barely a day used goes by when I wasn’t reminded of that fact. Unfortunately, society doesn’t like individuals who act and look different. I’ll get to the “acting” on another post, but in this one we shall discuss outward appearance.
To me, race/outward appearance meant very little growing up. My parents taught me that it is what is on the inside that counts. When I laid eyes on someone, it wasn’t gender/race/skin completion or any outward appearance that I saw, but the person himself/herself, in their entirety.
This is difficult to imagine if you don’t think like this, and it’s hard to in a world where uniformity is clearly favoured.
We Called it Love…
I’m at a payphone trying to call home
All of my change I spent on you
Where have the times gone, baby it’s all wrong
Where are the plans we made for two?
Yeah, I, I know it’s hard to remember,
The people we used to be…
It’s even harder to picture,
That you’re not here next to me.
You say it’s too late to make it,
But is it too late to try?
And in our time that you wasted
All of our bridges burned down
There’s so much pain still left over from the last time I fell in love. I can’t even bare it. I don’t know why, normally I just get over people, but with you it was different. I’ve never before fallen for someone so completely, never before have I included someone in my dreams for the future.
I opened my old cellphone and went through our texts. I didn’t even make it that far in before my heart began to crumble again. I miss you so much, but life always had other plans.
Two people who fall in love, aren’t necessarily meant to be…
“I’ve been running on, running on empty.
For way to many miles now….
I’ve been flying on broken wings,
And now I’m falling faster to the ground…
And it’s a bitter end to a story so sweet,
Like a long lost friend that’s never found a way back to me…
And I can’t deny these memories got me all locked up inside,
And you hold the key…”
For such a long time, I was unhappy.
I don’t mean to sound ungrateful. I thank God for everything I have every day because honestly, I do have it good compared to other people on this planet. But for whatever reason, I always felt there was something missing. I think all of us have this thirst in us for happiness: the want to always keep smiling and to never feel pain. I think it’s natural.
But what’s not natural is remaining in this state. Once you reach it, you have to find an answer. You have to locate your north star and follow the light home. And it’s not easy at all.