Category: Determination


There is nothing but hope for the future. After Harvey, Irma, Jose, and Maria drowning all of the South and Puerto Rico, half of North America being on fire and a devastating earthquake in Mexico, I have nothing but prayers for those effected and sympathy for anyone who survived but lost their loved ones and the lives they worked so hard to build. The terrorism rampant everywhere does nothing to help us move forward. It only serves to unite against a common enemy – senseless violence.

In connection to the natural disasters, I must commend the communities who rose up and helped one another in an unprecedented manner. Being in Houston amidst Harvey and then watching how people from all over came here just to help us out made me believe in humanity once more. People of every creed, race, color and gender, regardless of their differences, stood together and literally formed human chains in support of each other. The Cajun Navy was AMAZING as were all of our first responders. I thank you deeply for coming and helping the people of my community so selflessly and bravely. Most of all, thank you for saving lives (both human and animal) and giving us all Hope for the future.

This selfless spirit has been spreading worldwide. Houston and all those that came to lend us help have shown the world that we all Can and Do get along just fine. It is simply a few hundred voices in billions who would love to spread discord – they just manage to be heard more loudly at times because of the disaster that often accompanies their agendas. Though these disasters are devastating and continue to horrify with the extent of damage experienced, the results have been astoundingly positive everywhere. I am simply moved to tears at what people can accomplish when they see each other as simply human. The sympathy, empathy and simple humanity exhibited has been breathtaking.

I know that amongst all these monstrously unhappy worldwide events and unrest, my small battles aren’t even minutely important. At the same time, I believe each of us fights a million small battles each day. Many are fighting for survival itself in deplorable conditions. Many are even now awaiting rescue and trying to put their lives together. Many are left to survive without their loved ones at their sides.

My personal drama, in comparison, cannot even begin to compare. I am extremely Blessed to be untouched by this series of natural disasters thus far. I must expound on this for my own personal satisfaction and to relieve myself of emotions that have been making my heart heavy thus far. There are people I have loved but can no longer see myself walking with in life. I am glad they were here with me when it was the right time for them to be. I am also really happy they have exited my life, willingly or not, and taken their toxic influences with them. I couldn’t quite put it into words until now but I think these words below will suffice:

 

When you tell me you love me
You don’t really mean it
Your words are as empty
As cracks in old, worn stone

When you tell me you love me
You expect me to believe it
Though you never let anyone in
Far enough to call your own

When you tell me you love me
You’re trying to convince me
That a repetition of lies will
Somehow make them come true

When you tell me you love me
You just go through the motions
Forcing me to take false kindness
To you, ugly truth is overblown

When you tell me you love me
You leave me aching with a longing,
A wishing that someone
Really would want to call me their own

When you tell me you love me
But poison others towards me
While insisting on your innocence
You are a lying child, overgrown

When you tell me you love me
But you are only here to judge me
I tell you that love is an emotion
You have never felt or known

You tell me you love me
But you only love being loved
To  love, you must be selfless
But you haven’t a single selfless bone

You tell me you love me
But your words ring hollow
Leaving you unable to comprehend
Why your whims I do not follow

You tell me you love me
But my heart knows better
Than to trust a two-faced viper
With even a second more

When you tell me you love me
But are deaf to my feelings
I would rather you leave me
I am much better off alone

 
I have learned the hard way that there are many people out there that do not truly value sincerity and loyalty. They value nothing but, ultimately, themselves and their own petty self interests. They are also blind to the needs of others and feel resentful when forced to face their shortcomings. They refuse to see things in any light but their own. They are in denial about so many things, it is as though they have created some kind of utopia in their mind that no one else can access. Most frighteningly, they slow become the very people they profess to hate.

Such is the nature of life – it brings us lessons in the shape of people who are kind, who are dedicated, who betray, who lie, who are staunch supporters, who are two-faced frenemies, who become family, who stab you in the back, who break your heart, who mend that broken heart. Such is the passage of time – the highs and the lows are inevitable. Change is inevitable but it does not always have to be a crushing change, rather it can be the metamorphosis of the caterpillar to a butterfly. Pain is inevitable but it does not have to be pain without purpose. Growing pains are a thing to be celebrated and welcomed with open arms.  People coming through the journey of your life only to leave is also inevitable. The ones you need will be in your life at the time that is right for them.

There is not one Right way to do things – there are as many ways as there are people in this world (so approximately 7.6 billion views, give or take a few million). This doesn’t mean that I am saint enough or mature enough to simply accept them all with no debate. I would probably debate my stances rather hotly. What this Does mean is that I can respect you while disagreeing with you. What I cannot respect is someone who is duplicitous and will not respect my intelligence enough to be straightforward and true with me in return.

There are many things that can break a person into tiny little pieces that will never be put back together quite the same – human beings are much more fragile and complex that Humpty Dumpty unfortunately. We all experience loss of faith and hope at some point in our lives. In the face of untold evil both within and without, this loss seems quite inevitable. It is what you do after that initial break that truly defines who you are. The moments when you begin to question the fabric of the universe itself and if there was a maker and who that creator is, and the answers you arrive at after that, define you more than anything else. How you acquit yourself in the face of adversity and sometimes physical opposition defines who you are.

Amidst all the deaths, the chaos, the unrest, the bloodshed, the sheer arrogance of some to believe they are better than others for whatever XYZ reason, the complacency of most of the world population to do little more than nothing in the face of all of this (of whom I must admit I sadly belong), all the stars that are being born and dying, the waves of humanity arriving in and departing from this life, the joy of accomplishment and living, the shattering disappointment of failure and crushing weight of loneliness, there is One thing we cannot stand to lose – HOPE.

The past is done, unchangeable. The present is already here, we can only barely react to it. The future, however, is both our friend and capricious enemy. The only way to bring it to heel is to plan, to fail, and to learn. We must live in the moment while still hoping for a better tomorrow. We must make a way for this better tomorrow to happen. Sometimes that better tomorrow, that better us, requires a hard decision and a difficult parting of ways. Sometimes it is simply an opportunity to grow and become more, to find someone or something better suited to you.

Look at the glass and see it half full – all the world’s events and your own personal dramas will change into different scenarios before your eyes. Our perspectives hold the keys to our tomorrows. We have weathered many tragedies as a collective of humanity. I believe we will prevail again. Together, we must move forward while walking our own paths to our common end. Meandering or direct, easy or difficult, we must all support one another in moving forward. After all, there is nothing left but hope for the future.

Until next time, ciao!

 

I have had a whirlwind of a last couple of months. Interviews, a new job, getting sued for medical bills I never denied payment for, and a car crash that left my car like so:

The hassle with the insurance companies and finding a new car and needing to pay a difference on the totaled vehicle and paying a citation that followed this horrific and traumatic event in my life was almost enough to make me wish I hadn’t survived. However, the day it happened, I started writing a poem (sort of) and later realized I was just getting frustrated with a system designed to make you give up and decide that life is no longer worth it. If my near death experience taught me anything, it is that there is very little in life that really matters. Everything else is just meaningless fluff.

I am so very grateful to my true friends – the ones who were there for me and stepped up to the plate to help out both me and my family. Being down to one vehicle with a very long commute to work in two opposite directions is zero fun. Thank you guys for being awesome. Thank you for helping me long enough for me to remember how not to be miserable again and to simply be grateful for all my blessings.

Without further ado, here is what I really came to say today:

If you asked me yesterday what I’d be doing today, I would not have said anything along the lines or what actually did happen. This is not how I planned for my Valentine’s day to go. 

Today, I almost died.
Today, I almost killed others with no intent.
Today, I realized in a moment of clarity, while spinning uncontrollably under an 18 wheeler that almost crushed me and being shot back across a miralculously empty for a few seconds high-speed four-lane highway to safety in the median, that I didn’t have any regrets while leaving this world.
Today, by all logic and probability, I should be dead.
Today, I feel so empowered to be alive, to be here still, to be a living voice in the drone of many voices.
Today, I am grateful to be able to write these words, to drink a hot chocolate, to enjoy my family and their love, to learn who my true friends are, and take joy from the antics of my cats.
Today, I am pleasantly surprised to know I have found people, who after a week of knowing me, would drive into danger to save me. And that a person I met once cared enough to send me a few words of comfort in my time of need.
Today, I know I’ve changed into someone I can hardly recognize and so much of the anguish I held inside has disappeared with the wreckage of my cursed car.
Today, my spirit is still restless and all is not well with my soul but I know I am not afraid of death or what comes after. Returning to God’s embrace does not bring this sinful soul a trace of terror, only a yearning to be in His presence.
Today, I know what Really matters to me in the chaos and corruption and suffering and negativity that has been ruling my social feed and fueling my passion for justice and equality.
Today, my heart confirmed that Love really is the cliched answer to so many hatreds but it is not a solution easily achieved. I still cannot bring myself to forgive those that have truly wronged my soul.
Today, I know I was saved by the will of God and in His Mercy He saved me; maybe someday I will be worthy of His miracle.
Today, I know that all things taken into account, GOOD still exists in the world, people can be wonderful, and God still cares.
Today, I am reborn.

I normally do not write political pieces out of fear that some Homeland security agent will decide I’m a threat to the country and make me disappear somewhere no one will ever find me again. In light of the current climate, however, I feel compelled to write about my experience of being an American Muslim female of Pakistani descent in a society that has branded everyone like me as a terrorist.

As an American, I am sad to say I am living through the kind of historic times I never thought I would have to live through. I have always been so proud of my country – the one that polices and guides the whole world, the one that has become the face of democracy, equality and freedom. I have always been so very secure in the knowledge that no matter what the rest of the world was like, I could always rely on my country to be the light in the dark, the world’s knight in shining armor, the army that stands between good and evil.

My pride and faith in this country have been shattered. My belief that America stood for ALL Americans is gone. My belief that the government is here to protect, serve and create order is gone. My hope that the children of tomorrow would grow up as free as possible of racial and religious prejudice has totally evaporated. This is definitely due to the fact that so many acts of terrorism have happened all around the world and have been performed by Islamic terrorists. But it is also because Western countries supplied that hate and the weapons to those terrorists in the first place.

Has anyone ever noticed how there is always more money for building weapons and walls and starting wars but never enough funding for medical care and educating the masses so that they actually understand the world better and can rise up against crooked politicians?

I have been on a roll with trying new things in the past few months. I have also touched base with the things I once loved to do and hadn’t done since my teens or childhood. But now, I am thinking of doing things that aren’t always shiny rainbows and happy unicorns. I am considering joining peaceful protests on the streets – the kind of thing I have never done. I am thinking about writing to my local representatives, senators, governor – all because I am enraged and terrified by the actions of the worst president the United States has ever known. I don’t care if you don’t share my opinion. This is going to continue to be my opinion as long as this man remains president of a country that wholeheartedly finds him absolutely repulsive in every way possible.

I am so very tired of people telling me it is going to be okay. I am tired of people telling me I don’t need to be afraid. I am tired of ‘alternative facts’ and men deciding what women can do with their bodies. I am tired of being profiled and degraded for my religion and the color of my skin. I am tired of being vilified by people who have never even known someone like me. I am tired of people who have never left their small town and seen anything beyond a few hundred miles of our country trying to control the millions of very different lives everyone across the world leads on the basis of their limited experience and willful ignorance.

I am tired of being treated  like a third class citizen because I wasn’t born with the ‘right’ skin color and the ‘right’ religion.

I am especially tired of being told to go back where I came from. How about all of you go back to Europe or Russia, too?

I am tired of domestic terrorism not being labelled as such – unless of course a Muslim person was involved.

A brand new mosque and a brand new, unopened Islamic center were burned down near me recently. To the ground. They took hundreds of thousand of dollars to build and years to make. But they were callously destroyed. Imagine if that happened to a church or synagogue – the world would be in an uproar about it. But mosques? No one cares. It’s not terrorism or a hate crime at all.

The western media doesn’t care about the ethnic cleansing of Burmese Muslims. Or the masses being wiped out in Arabic countries. Or the hundred of instances of terrorism committed against people in Muslim countries like Pakistan and Turkey by those same terrorists. No one in the Western world lifts a single finger against any of it. Nor do they acknowledge that their wars and greed for oil have incited much of these repercussions they now face or that Most of the people killed by terrorist attacks have been Muslims.

Do people think that Muslims just woke up one day and decided to be terrorists? Does no one ever wonder WHY they decided to kill themselves to incite terror and fear in others? Some of them are probably brainwashed and believe they are doing it in the way of God – they aren’t. Islam forbids this kind of evil. Most of them do these things either for the safety of their loved ones or out of hate for the people that never accepted them, always turned them away, looked down on them and treated them as lesser being because they were ‘savages’ – even though the western nations were the ones that invaded and made colonies everywhere. subjecting people to their whims and culminating in a massive slave trade as well as laying down the foundations for terrorist organizations, the effects of which we all continue to suffer from today.

Did slavery exist before all this? Most certainly. But was it so widely accepted and was it done on such a major scale? I don’t believe so. People still think they are so much better than others based on their skin tone. Why this is so, I don’t understand. We are all flesh and blood. We are all human beings who experience the same emotions and needs. Why anyone thinks they are superior to anyone else because of their skin tone is beyond me. Why anyone thinks their religion is superior to anyone else’s is beyond me too.

I still remember the Crusades and the Holocaust. Did the rest of the world forget?

Conquest and subjection of the losing populace are a repetition in human history that will never end. However, we no longer live in an age where you can make mountains of skulls and burn grand libraries to the ground and not have people rise up against you.

To those who think your race is what makes you superior, to those that think your faith is better than everyone else’s, to those that think your way of life is better than the rest of the world’s – NEWS FLASH: IT IS NOT. YOU ARE NO BETTER THAN ANYONE ELSE. YOU ARE JUST AS SIGNIFICANT AND INSIGNICANT AS A BLADE OF GRASS IN A GIANT MEADOW.

To those that want to turn America in to the present day Nazi Germany, good luck. You will not win this war.

Forgive me for the rant, but I felt I would explode if I didn’t put my thoughts into words. In conclusion, the poem I wrote below explains my feelings most clearly:

American born
American raised
Proud not to be
Anti-any-race

Muslims banned
Mosques hazed
On what constitution
Is this based?

America – land of the free
Home of the brave
Why has fear
Become your face?

Good old days of
War, injustice, inequality
Will never return
For the crazed

This is democracy
This is freedom of speech
This is my country
Where my loyalty is based

I will not be silenced
I will not be controlled
I will rise above
The hatred in your soul

 

 

 

 

 

A strong woman, they say
Forged in the fires of pain
Feeling the salt and blood of rivers
Flowing down the cracks in her skin
Through the warmth that keeps
Her living, slowly becoming her veins

A strong woman, they call her
As she picks herself up again and again
You, and you, and you, and you –
You who were supposed to be
Her brother, her lover, her protector, friend
Turned into the very vultures that
Attacked her even as she writhed in pain

A strong woman, they labeled me
This tired, brittle bag of bones
With each day, it becomes harder
Each trial making me more alone
I did all I imagined possible
But it was never enough to ensure
That I would never have to be strong enough
To weather all, steady as stone

A strong woman, I’m told
Is one like me, racing through
Typhoons, tidal waves, earthquakes
Even the deep dark of a black hole
As if nothing is of consequence
Like no matter how many meteorites strike me
I will simply go on, perfectly whole

A strong woman, I may have become
But with every step, every fall
My soul shattered into jagged glass
My feet slippery from bleeding with
Cuts made each time I broke
And break I did, losing another piece of me
Every time I had to forge myself anew

This strong, independent woman
Was wrung through every pain the world
Could imagine, first taking her innocence
Then her dignity, clipping her wings
To cage her when she would have flown
Slowly corrupting even her smile
Until all that remained was a shell

This strong woman became a hollow husk
A puppet on a string manipulated
By you, her protectors in name
But in truth, you were her jailers
The ones forever claiming you knew
What she could and could not do

This woman, before she was strong
Was in apathetic darkness years long
Eventually, she realized she would die
If she remained caged, unable to fly
So she broke free of her shackles
Finally roaring with rage
Daring the world to challenge
Her right to live, never again enslaved

This strong woman, she made
So many choices, both right and wrong
But she learned her own mind
She learned to stand strong
Believing she could shape her own life
Whether or not she ever came to belong

This strong woman slowly changed
From a girl into a woman older than her age
Along the way, she lost many people
She broke her heart, she failed her dreams
Some people abandoned her, some used her
But with every scar, she learned to go on

This strong woman, she survived
The rush of agony each time
Life taught, terrorized, traumatized
Each time, the dark rose to take over
She learned a new depth of light inside
Growing stronger with every passing night

This strong woman, who knew love once
Came to know betrayal
Came to know abandonment
Learned she could always fail
With every instance she chose perseverance
Her desire to Live grew stronger, she prevailed

A strong woman can never be weak
Even as you choke the life blood from her
No tear will fall from her eyes
No sign of pain will show through her mask
She will only scream silently, praying for help
She never gets an answer that
She didn’t have to create for herself

A strong woman should never be lonely
That is the mantra she repeats to herself
Every time she sees someone happy, whole
She wonders who her happiness stole
She became so strong that the weak majority
Became afraid and intimidated
Now she walks alone because
No one of equal strength walks nearby

A strong woman they call me
As if it was so easy to become me
As if I didn’t have to struggle down
Every path I chose for myself
As if every scar didn’t tell another
Festering, heartbreaking story
As if, somehow, this title I have earned
Were just a casual note in a Symphony

This strong woman, every time she starts anew
Digging out a new path, carving a new trail
Becomes a little stronger with each drop of pain
Becomes harder with every scorching flame
The pressure of hardship and expectations
Slowly turning her into a diamond untamed

In the land of Dreams, it seems that you have once again become the source of all my glee. Everything I remember about you that was good rolled together in one scene, like when you and I once seemed to fit together so well. In the dreams, we make each other laugh and feel joy in once another, even though time has moved forward and you have not. Even in these dreams, you never chase me or reach out to me first. In fact, you just smile and laigh happily because I complain to you that you don’t but somehow, I still don’t let you go and we are happy…somehow. When I wake up, I feel fluffy like I’m on a cloud and everything is good in life. And then, I remember you as you really are. I remember you the way you were at the end and I feel as though I betray myself every time I dream of you. I feel as though the only way I’m at peace is if I’m at peace with you but that will never happen again, not in the waking dream that I call life. Will you never let me feel peace again?

You were only a dream, one that lasted until it burst in the bubble we had created around us, carefully not allowing reality to intrude upon us. Had you stayed true and never burst that bubble with the heartless cruelty only you know how to inflict upon my soul, I would have stayed true to that dream, to my love of you. Yet you couldn’t even manage that. You couldn’t stay by me. Or rather you wouldn’t. I wasn’t good enough or you weren’t. It was the perfect catch 22 between two incredibly different and highly imperfect people. There was no end but The End.

Why doesn’t my dream self remember the soul shattering pain you caused when you betrayed everything she stood for and had fought so hard for? Why doesn’t she recall how callously you abandoned me once you had no more use for me? Or how your family and you never once turned back to even speak to me after that? Why doesn’t she remember the anguish you caused her, her family, and her friends? How does she forget how easily you threw away a relationship that could overcome anything, anything but the betrayal of your heart, or how it makes her wonder if you were ever true at all?

Come to me in my dreams no more. Abandon me in that land, too, as you once did before. Even my dreams warned me against you, but like the fool that I was, I paid no heed. I have paid for that willful ignorance in full.

I wish no more to remember you or anything of you. I wish no more to find you once again, to have you beg and apologize and do anything to get me back. I wish no more to walk with you in life, I could never trust the fear of your own failures that seems to guide your every action. I wish, most of all, to make you disappear from the parts of me that feel happy at the thought of you. I hate that the you in my dreams makes me so utterly overjoyed and at peace. That the only time I wake feeling so peaceful is after a happy dream of you. I hate you. You hurt me more than I knew was possible.

Reality sometimes seems cruel, but not so in this instance. Reality is a necessary reminder that dreams only last so long. Eventually, they disappear into nothingness if they are not treasured and nurtured with care by everyone involved. Even a small crack in the bubble can lead to the deterioration of all hopes and dreams in the bubble. All that is left behind is devastation and, for the survivors, the inevitability of the passage of time. All the strong have left to them is the absolute determination to go on and never give up.

I am not the strongest or bravest or smartest. But I am, and always have been, a survivor. Being a survivor has left me with no other choice but to grow, to become braver, smarter, stronger, more. I am not who I was just a few months ago and I will never be her again. I am glad I am who I am in this moment. I will not succumb to the empty bliss of ignorance. The past is full of lessons both learned and not. The future is full of experiences I cannot even imagine today. The present is my only concern because this is where I build everything I am going to be and verify all that I am today. That is enough.