You

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I can remember fingers dug into skin
Hands gripping hips
Lips intertwining
Tears bleeding forth/gushing forth like menstrual blood

You loved me.
You loved the parts I couldn’t love
You loved the person I was learning to love

I can remember intense conversations at 3 am
Morning breakfast with the sun’s gaze reaching over us
Silent prayers before our meals
Watching trains pass on tracks against bridges
Seeing light reflect upon the river

You loved me
You loved the parts I couldn’t love
You loved the parts I was learning to love

I can remember the times in which you caught my tears
I can remember when you hugged me so tight you melted the broken pieces together
I can remember when you fed me when I lacked money to feed myself
I can remember the long ride to places when I wanted to give up, but you pushed me to keep going

You loved me
You loved me for me
You loved me for who I was, what I am and who I became

You loved me
You loved me
But more importantly, you taught me to never give up on myself.

We Change Like Seasons

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    It’s that time again! The weather becomes colder. The leaves start to change. People bundle up in jackets. The kids sip on hot drinks. Mornings reek of pumpkin muffins and buttermilk pancakes. Yes, it’s that time. It’s autumn. Like seasons, we are constantly changing and undergoing the uncertainties of life.
      Most of us will agree that life a year, two years, ten years or twenty years ago was different from today. We are not the same person we were months or years ago. We all undergo various transformations. We all find ourselves passing through spaces and meeting new people. In being people of constant change, I do believe that we will never be the same person we were before meeting new people or experiencing different things.
         I believe that experiences and the meeting of new people can forever change you for life. Our minds will transform as we explore the world and ourselves. I do not know if its ever possible to be a certain way all of your life. Maybe it is, but I know that within the last few years of my life I have grown. I have extended my heart in ways that are extraordinary and unbelievable. I will never forget the first time that I went swimming. I will never forget the first time I had Mexican sweetbread. I will never forget the first time I held a man close to my body to the extent that I could feel breath on my neck causing my heart to race. I will never forget the first time I realized I could be equal to men. There are just things I can never forget because it has made me who I am.
        Who we are and what we are can only be determined by us. I am the culmination of my experiences, the people I’ve met, the people I’ve loved, and the spaces I’ve entered. I am relatively happy about this. I’m not proud of every choice or mistake that I’ve made, but I am content. I want to live my truth. I have come to the point in my life in which it is more important to live in a way that is truthful than in a way that is a lie. I want to live consciously. I do not want to live in regrets. I do not want to deny myself what feels right to me, but it’s a lot harder than that. I will admit that, but I will be never give up on living out my truth. My truth may not be your truth. That’s okay. We all have to figure out what is best for us.
        One thing that is true about seasons is that they will always remind us about the nature of life. Life is constantly changing and challenging us. It causes us to dive into circumstances at the most unexpected times. It causes us to find ourselves in relationships that will always leave a soft spot in our hearts. It causes us to smile in the hard times because we know that we can get through them. Life isn’t stagnant. It doesn’t stand still. It forever moves and pushes us into unimaginable directions.
       

Making Today Count

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    I have come to realize that life will happen no matter what. The time will pass. Events will occur. So, what does this mean to all of us? How do we fit in this reality of life? It’s simple. We advocate for the life we wish to live.
      Yes, I guess this sounds a bit too simple, but does everything have to be hard? We have the power to decide how we live each and everyday. I can complain each day about how I hate my job, but my complaints mean absolutely nothing if I’m not making moves to change my condition. I can wallow in my own sorrows about wanting to go back to school, but it’s not going to happen if I don’t make it a reality.
        We create our own reality. Or someone else can make it for us. I’ve always loved the saying, “If you don’t follow your dreams than you’ll help someone else with their’s”. We can make and break ourselves. We can either pull ourselves up by the bootstraps and get in the ring or simply let things occur. I must admit that I am guilty as charged. I am my own enemy. If there isn’t an enemy internally than you don’t have to worry about enemies outside of yourself. Just like everyone else, I have passions and dreams. I have things that I want to do and experience. So, it’s up to me to make it happen. It takes courage and determination.
       Interestingly enough, I believe that it sometimes takes being alone with yourself to figure things out. Also, it does sometimes help to listen to trusted friends. I will not say all the time, but sometimes. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve been given is to figure out myself and what I want. We can’t rely on others to make us happy. We can’t depend on others to give us the answers to life. We have to sometimes figure things out on our own. The most rewarding feeling for me is when I am able to get through something on my own. It is this self-sufficiency that causes me strive more in life. You have to know how to navigate life on your own and on your own terms. The problem comes when we depend too much on others because it means we are unable to do without them. Malcolm X once said that the oppressed had to create their own businesses, media outlets and livelihood, so they wouldn’t have to depend on their oppressor (s). How true is this? If you’re able to think for yourself then you don’t have to wait for someone to think for you. If you have your own crops then you don’t have to worry about how you’re going to eat. If you have everything that you need then you don’t have to worry about dependency to an extent. However, I do believe that all of us are dependent upon one another as a global community. Nevertheless, we usually try to figure things out on our own on a daily basis.
     So, what exactly am I saying out of this rant? I am simply saying that we do hold alot of power internally. Sometimes it does take us to just realize that we are powerful. Yes, it’s sometimes frightening to imagine that we can be a powerhouse in and of ourselves, but it’s plausible. Why isn’t it? Who said that you can’t be and do what you want? You are the captain of your own ship. So, start navigating it in a way that you feel fits. Conquer those dreams of yours and don’t turn back. You have work to do. You have things to accomplish. So, make today count. Make today the start of a new beginning.

Choosing to not be Apologetic

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     It can be a lot easier to simply yield to whatever life gives you. It can be a lot easier to pretend that you don’t feel the excruciating pain. It can be a lot simpler to forego the void that you feel internally, but it’s not that simple. It will never be that simple. The pain within will always remind you that you are human. You are not a robot. You will feel that pain. You will always find yourself being reminded that being human is hardwork.
           So, what do you do? Where do you begin? You will and can never free yourself from the emotional roller-coaster that you’re on without admitting that it’s there. I’ve tried it. I’ve tried finding hobbies and ways to mask the hurt, but it doesn’t go away. It sticks to you. It becomes a part of you. The human response is fight or flight. In most cases, I am running away from myself. I disconnect from me. So, I roam the Earth fleeing from myself. Do you know that feeling of fleeing from yourself? It’s a feeling of never being able to be at peace with yourself, so you’re always running. You’re always running to a place that doesn’t exist. You’re trying to search for a place of peace when the first place you should look at is within. Peace starts from within. The answer to everything starts from within.
       The answer to freeing ourselves from the pain is to not be apologetic. I will never enjoy the pain that resides inside of me, but I will never feel regretful for feeling it. To feel is to be human. I want to always feel. I want to know that I am here. I am alive. I want to know that my emotions are warranted. I do not feel ashamed in saying that I feel. However, I will not be silenced because of the things I feel. I had chosen for a long time to practice silence, but I cant do it anymore. To be silent is to kill myself.
        
        

A Letter to Daddy

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Dear Daddy,

You’ve hurt me. You’ve killed me. You’ve drained me, but I love you.

You’ve told me of my flaws and mistakes. You’ve shown me your disapproval, but I love you.

You’ve rendered me unsanitary. You’ve classified me as whore. You’ve scolded me for my choice, but I love you.

You’ve drug me through the hearts of men to find you, but you weren’t there. You’ve castrated me, so I may never find pleasure from men. You’ve confiscated my heart, so a man may never have it, but I love you.

You’ve made me cry in the world without me wanting to run back into your arms. You’ve made me hate to love what is male, but I always try to piece together love for you.

You’ve made me see you as other than just father.

You are human.
You pain too.
You have flaws too.
You cry too.
You’ve made mistakes too.
You’ve been where I am too.

But father, my loving father, you have drained me. You have hurt me. You have killed me. You have killed me.

So, I find father in other places. I try finding love in others, but I cant.

The thought of you will forever riddle in my mind.

You are a virus and you’ve taken all control.

I live and sleep thinking of you. You are present even when you’re absent. I hear your voice even when I’m miles away.

Daddy, I love you.

I love you even when there’s too much pain to admit it, but I love you.

I am not your little girl anymore.  I am woman. I am adult. I am with flaws. I am with mistakes. I will never be perfect. I will never be your reflection.

I am me.
I am me.

Love,
Your daughter

Making Sense of Things

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   In the current moment I am sitting in the bathroom at 12:38 A.M. I have no other reason in doing this besides simply wanting to bleed my heart out to the world. I do not know the names of the people that will come across this piece of writing, but I can only hope that this writing, my innermost thoughts will cause someone to derive some kind of benefit from it in one way or another.
        In the course of the last few months, I have traveled from one space to another. Most of these spaces, if not all, aren’t meant for me. I sleep in various places in which I can’t claim home. However, it is within these spaces that I have realized the importance of appreciating experiences in whatever form in which they may come. It is in these experiences that I have challenged myself into facing my own shortcomings, recognizing my own weaknesses and developing my own sense of independence.
           I do not know of a place in this world in which I can truly claim my own. So, I will classify myself as a nomad. I am a traveler. I am constantly moving. I am never settled in one spot. I have learned the craft of picking up and going. I tend to travel light and with just my necessities. I do not own anything besides a few items: clothes, shoes, a bike, cellphone and small things that can be packed away in my backpack. I mostly commute by bike or bus from one place to the next. I do not seek sympathy from anyone because this is a journey that I am going on and must learn from.
          Unfortunately, I have lost many people and found myself compromising values that I had once held dear to me. Maybe I am simply going through that stage of life in which I am trying to figure out what I truly need and want. Or it could simply be about me just experiencing life for what it is. I’m not sure about all of this, but I am a bit scared. Nonetheless, I feel grateful for being able to experience the things I have experienced. I wouldn’t say that experience is always the best teacher, but it is quite helpful. I’ve made plenty of mistakes along the way, so I am learning.
       In going through this nomadic period of my life, I feel as if I am alone. In many ways, I am alone. I create my own darkness and I am able to create my own light. It is usually ourselves that prevent us from continuing forward. It is definitely easier said than done, and I know this for a fact. Sometimes it can feel as if you’re going around in circles because nothing is changing. I must admit that I feel like this on most days. I live a nomadic lifestyle that is very routine – like. I wake up from wherever that may be, jump on my bike or a bus and go to work. After work, I jump on my bike or bus and head to some place to rest my head for the evening. This is my life.
       Along the way, I have met some amazing people and have done some incredible and less – than incredible things. So, I am running across some interesting things in life. Nonetheless,  I believe I live in this manner because I do not have a place I can call my own. I will not ignore the fact that this issue could be classified as a first – world problem. So, I completely accept that. Unfortunately, many of us live like this.
     Many of us live in these less – than acceptable conditions because we feel stuck and unable to take that next step. Indecisiveness can be the worst thing in world, especially when it comes down to our own welfare. We all come from different places and circumstances, so we understand what faces us on a daily- basis. Fortunately, it can sometimes take that one voice of reason and hope to push us into taking that next vital step.
       In being nomadic, I try to rely on myself in keeping a level-head while dealing with the daily adventures of life. In being the decision-maker of your own life, it is extremely important to know what is best for you. Only you can truly know what is best for you. Sure, we can take advice from people, but we have to be able to decide what we want for ourselves at the end of the day. This is not easy. It requires some real honesty with ourselves. I’ve made terrible mistakes, but after making those mistakes I have learned what to do and what not to do. However, this is easier said than done.
       So, in seeking to live a life that is appropriate for me I have to trust in myself and my choices. It’s really hard when you have doubts and that negative voice inside of you trying to prevent you from being all that you can be. There’s been days I have wanted to just hide under the covers away from the world, but I knew the this wouldn’t solve any problem. So, you have to get up and go.
     Many mornings, I just hop on my bike or a bus and just go. It would be easier to get in a car, but I am learning to seek contentment in the things that I already have. It’s hard not having a place that I can call my home, but it has caused me to work even harder to make it an actual space for myself. I travel a lot from different places, but I manage to take away one thing from living the way that I do.
      I have learned to never stop striving for what I want. You have to keep going. You cant stop. You must do what you need to do in order to get where you want to be

To the Teenage – girl at McDonalds

I saw it….
The way those deep and dark engravings sat scattered across your wrist the way your brown hair sat across your shoulders
I wondered what made you want to cut
What made you want to bleed out the pain
Rip apart skin
I don’t know you
But I had a friend just like you
Her smile would stop you in your tracks, cause your tongue to slip and slide in trying to say hi and make you forget your own darkness
She was  bit of heaven upon this chaotic Earth that penetrated the hardest of hearts
She was a firecracker
Always on fire and sure to shine bright like the moon at night
But she was hurting like sharp blade piercing skin
Cracking it open to bleed out the pain from within
We sat there
The Fall of 2005
Her wrists facing upward towards me upon her thighs with eyes as big as the heart she held deep inside
Her eyes had sung the song of hurt as she told me
As she told me that the way her birth was simply an accident
An event not planned to take place
According to her mother
She was the result of too many drinks and a night of partying
And so she would cry
Bent across skin
With a blade
Ready to penetrate
Every mark was an engraving of the hells she’s been through
Every moment she sat dying another death with another blade rethinking the mistake she was
And so
She would carve
Etching into skin the mistake she had been
Over and over again
But she smiled a lot
A lot like you
She would smile
Giggle behind the bloody pain
And cradle herself within her own space
So I wonder who did it
Who made you feel the need to slice a part of you away
To dive beneath skin and tissue
To die multiple deaths in seclusion

What happened?
Who did it?

Because I know that cracked skin and blade is only half of the pain
The other half is realizing you’re worth more than the pain

But I love you even though I don’t know you and we have never met
Just know that I saw you
And I saw the marks you left
Maybe if you saw the person that did this to you
You will show them
You will give them the wrist you frequently imprint with your pain and let them know that they’ve killed you too times to count and that you’re worth more than cracked skin.
You’re whole.
You’re worth being whole

Silence During Their Absence

Last night reeked of absence
The dark tube took its usual place in the space it’s been provided
But it didn’t speak of the usuals, “I Love Lucy,” “Wheel of Fortune,” “Family Feud,” or the other greats
It simply sat there idle like a bird on a log
Strange how things are when absence appears unexpectantly
The typical chatter didn’t fill the air nor sneak beneath my bedroom door last night
But only silence
A silence I celebrated and mourned all at the same time
A silent whimper crawled up and out of me like the tears that couldn’t hold back
It was different you could say
There wasn’t a festival of voices pursuing trivial conversation nor was there late-night meal cooking from the kitchen
Just silence
The way silence settled last night was unsettling
It didn’t participate in hugs, kisses, jokes, trivial conversations or laughter
It just hung there like an overcast on a rainy day

And in this reckoning,  I found myself beckoning for their return
Before silence would try to make its presence permanent in the midst of their absence

Living Life to the Fullest

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    I stood there with iPad in hand, researching effortlessly for things to do this weekend until my manager gave me ideas. He offered a few ideas that I would rather not indulge in, but they were worth the offer. He suggested that I watch trains, learn how to fly a plane, go to a museum or to simply live life. I paused. Over the course of these last months, I’ve been living life. I’ve felt alive. Yes, it’s been a little hard due to external issues, but in all of the struggling I allowed myself to live.
      However, I sometimes like to just become lazy. Yes, I said lazy. Nonetheless, laziness isn’t necessarily living life. So, my manager continued to tell me that he doesn’t want to grow old and find himself regretting the fact that he didn’t do the things he wanted to do. That sort-of scared me. At this point in my life, I believe I have settled in one aspect. I have told myself that if I’m able to sustain myself then all is well. However, is that it? No, it isnt.
         In being the person that I am, I met a monk today. He was a rather interesting fellow. He came to my job to get his phone worked on. So, he quickly caught my gaze and greeted me with “as salamu alaikom”. After receiving a smile from me, he proceeded to tell mde about Muslims he had interacted with previously from other places. He was rather jolly and told me of his affairs for the day with a rather large smile and quirky personality. In directing him towards a place to sit, he started rocking back and forth to the music in the background. In my own ignorance, I asked him if he listened to music and he replied in the affirmative. He simply stated that “music is celebration and I dance too” while demonstrating his moves on the couch he was sitting on. The whole time he smiled and felt at home. I giggled and found myself smiling as well in this brief interaction. Somehow this short interaction allowed me to see how we are all human – beings at the end of the day. There are only few things that separates us in this world. Other than that, we are just humans experiencing life in our own ways.
        So, I continue to think about my upcoming weekend and haven’t really found anything to do. However, it’s okay. The cards will fall as they may. Life isn’t always about planning every last detail out. What will happen will happen. Live life. Living life is simple. Life happens and when it happens…we just have to be ready.