Do you remember the first time a teacher asked me to sit with you in second grade? Do you remember the first time you tore the pages of my notebook? Do you remember the first time you laughed with your friends when I stuttered while reading in class? Do you remember the first time you called me with an insulting nickname? Your answer must be a big NO. Because obviously how could you remember the first time of something you did so many times. But I do remember. I remember when you tore my notebook. I remember when you spilled ink on my uniform. I remember when you laughed with your friends every time I stuttered while reading. I remember when you threw my lunch in a dustbin. I don’t remember the first time you did something like this but I do remember each and every time you made me feel miserable. You made me realize how weak I was. I remember how every night I cried before going to bed because I knew that a new day filled with embarrassment and insult was ahead. But do you remember the first time I kicked you in your stomach? The first time I slapped you in front of the whole class? The first time I told your father what a piece of crap he has brought up? The first time I dragged you to the Principal’s office? The answer should be a YES. Because it was the first time you were beaten up by a girl. First time your father cursed you in front of almost 50 people. It was the first time someone weaker than you stood up against you. I don’t want to embarrass you once again instead I want to thank you. I want to thank you for telling me how weak I was and how powerful I can be. For making me realize that bullies like you are the weakest people indeed. You turned me into a girl who knows that I don’t need to fear miserable men like you. You are the one who made me understand that I can laugh with people when they laugh at me. If not being fearful of people like you means that I’m rude and mean then yes, I am. And thank you for making me realize that I am the one who can save myself before anyone else. Thank you for making me learn to take a stand for myself. Above all thank you for turning me into a human being who is not scared of losers like you.💪🏾💪🏾
Growing up was the first thing I wanted in my childhood. And yes I did it. I grew up from a toddler to an adult. It was a ride through years, a bumpy ride with loads of memories. So, this is a letter to the people who made me a version of something I don’t like. And this letter goes to… To my brother for telling me I stutter when I’m nervous, now I cannot speak in front of a crowd. To my teacher for telling me I didn’t have the spark, I touched a socket with wet hands. To my best friend for ridiculing me, now I don’t make best friends. To my grandmother for disliking me because I’m a girl, now I think I don’t deserve love. To my mother for not appreciating my work, I’ve burnt down all my poems. To my aunt for telling me I don’t have the perfect smile, now I cover my face with my hands every time I laugh. To my step brother, now I cannot confide in any man. To my class fellows for not drinking from my cup because I don’t believe in Muhammad (S.A.W), now I don’t believe in GOD too. To my father for cheating on my mom, now I see marriage as a suffering and pain not a bond of love. To my boss for telling me I didn’t have the looks for a job, now I am a sexist devil. To my fiancé for calling me fat, now I feel strange in my own body. To the boys who killed an actor in me in my first play, now I don’t dream of anything big. To my husband who didn’t became a friend, now I feel like your slave. To my daughter for yelling at me, now I am ashamed when I look at you. To everyone who destroyed the best of me. You made me who I am today. It’s not what I wanted. This mirror doesn’t reflect me, it reflects you. A wounded soul, a scratched body, a diseased mind and a broken heart is what I am, stop creating more like me. Stop.
A scarred soul.
I am scared right now, my mom is going to visit the doctor and I am scared. Yesterday, I heard her crying over the phone, begging my Y chromosome donor to accept me and last night she has taken a decision, a decision that is surely going to change everything for me. My mother is crying, she is wailing, she is moaning and she is cursing me. I don’t know why she is cursing me. Was it my fault when she gave her body to that coward with her consent? Was it my fault when she choose a pathetic desperate loser like him? Was it my fault when she decided to cross all the limits set by her parents? Was it my fault that she didn’t know how to take care of her feelings and her body? And is it my fault that my father is a coward. Is it my fault that my father can take leisure from a girl’s body but cannot accept the consequence of his actions? Is it my fault that this society doesn’t call these two filthy but me? Is it my fault that I am an illegitimate child but not their actions? Why my mother wants to kill me? Why her friends are suggesting her to get an abortion? I was not the one who asked for it. And when I can feel that I am her part she is deciding to get rid of me, how she can be so cruel, how she can let me bear the brunt of their stupidity. They shouldn’t be planning to get rid of me instead they should be planning how to muster up the courage so they can take responsibility of their actions. Aren’t all parents made of honey and sugar? Aren’t all parents responsible? Don’t all the children have right to live? Don’t they?
My little champ, you are not the baby I used to carry around in my arms, you are not the boy who needed my help to cross the road, you are not the baby who used to sleep in his mother’s lap; anymore. Not a grown up, beard faced man you are but you are going to be one, so why not let your mother tell you a few things that man is going to do in his future and he shouldn’t be doing. I carried you for nine months and in that time your father was not there around me… maybe his time was written short and he had to leave us in this world with his memories only. My parents had died by the time I heard the news I was expecting you, so, after I was pushed into the cruel world without any support you were the only force that compelled me to live. A dad is a role model for his son, and since he is not here your mother will be your iron man. So, if I am the one who has to wear a suit of iron, I don’t wish my son to have a heart as hard as iron. You must have a heart like a walnut, it might be hard from outside but it is always fruitful from the inside. You don’t need to tell others what our problems are, because champ we are like a team and to spill our secrets isn’t gonna help us but it’s going to make us one step closer to failure. So, I want you to be like an ocean that can take the secrets but ain’t gonna spill them. I want you to understand that God wasn’t unfair to us… He is just making us stronger and less dependent on others, He doesn’t trust anyone to take our care… that’s why He Himself is taking our care. You need to learn that He is giving you a way to lead the life of His beloved prophets, Moses didn’t have a father, neither Jesus nor Mohammed. My dear life is gonna be soothing if you just hold your mother’s hand and learn to dance in the rain or walk in the sunshine. I am not gonna be offended if your teacher calls me school for your mischievous act but I am gonna be angry if she told me you misbehaved with any lady around. If you hurt a girl just remember you are hurting your mama because how can you disrespect that ethnicity to which your mama belongs. Don’t ever call a women slut because I don’t want to see my son turning into that heinous character that called her mama this, how my son is going to be different from him, when he is abusing a girl… how my training is different from what that man had that made him a foolish like he was, if you are justified in calling a girl like this… then let’s say that man must have been correct when he abused your mother. Don’t ever hit a women because real men respect their wives they don’t hit them. I lived for seven months with an Afro-American women, she helped me in taking your care, never look down a person from another race, and everyone is a beauty in his or her own self. Religion, race, caste and creed are not the things for an angel like you, your duty is to serve everyone and respect everyone… so I want you to be the milk that can blend with a tea or a coffee or a fruit and yet liked by everybody. Earn an honest living because I have never put a morsel in your mouth that I bought from wrong means, and I don’t want you to feed me like that, work hard for everything you want in your life. I want you to be like a jack hammer that makes its own way through rocky paths. My dear I wish a blessed life for you that’s why I want you to be the man your father was, not some comic character because such fictional comic men don’t exist but men like your father existed, have existed and will forever exist.
Sitting at my husband’s funeral and looking at my child, I decided to leave the land that once I called my dear homeland, Syria. It was not an easy decision but I had to take it at least for the sake my little girl. My maternal uncle was taking his family to UK, I asked him to take me with him and he agreed after I insisted him with tears rolling down my cheeks. I packed all my stuff, after paying our fare for the UK I was left with what I can call as not a meager amount but it was enough to feed my daughter and me. I clenched my daughter’s hand tightly as we came out of the London City Airport. My uncle offered me to share the apartment with his family in Lancaster. Days changed into weeks and I was trying real hard to get a job because I just couldn’t sit there and waste my life, I used to go out in the morning and came back in the evening without any joyous news of my job. Then one day the man in our neighbors told me about a vacancy in a school. I applied there and maybe God wanted me to have some tranquility in my life that’s why I got selected. I am a friendly person but… the initial weeks of my job days were not easy I felt uneasy by the gazes of my fellow workers they used to look at me like a lamb who has lost his mother and now wants to take theirs. I admitted my daughter in kindergarten but she didn’t face that sort of her reaction as I did because kids have only love in their hearts… only adults are reckless. When my daughter and I went for grocery shopping to the store in our area the cashier looked us weirdly and when I talked to my daughter in Arabic I could feel the abnormal way everyone around looked at us. Those days were hard. You people who are the residents of the hosting countries think of us as a burden believe me I too think of myself as big burden when you look me in an unusual manner. We have problems, we were only left with the option of leaving our land, I am a Muslim and I don’t think that those who killed my husband and many like him are Muslims. I wish I knew I would have to bear your cold stony eyes before I left my country. I wish I knew that I would have to hear those shout outs saying me to leave your country cause I was a filthy animal before I left my country. I wish I knew that one day I would have to wipe my daughter’s tears because of her seniors called her an ISIS’s pig before I left my country. I wish I knew I would have to hear those cheap words that called my scarf a way to cover my slutty nature from the mouth of my own students before I left my country. BUT, I also wish that I knew I would come across this lovely friend who gave me coffee on first day as a welcome treat before I got hurt by my fellows’ abnormal gazes. I wish I knew that my daughter would be able to get good education before crying at my problems. I wish I knew I would come across these lovely students who would wish me Enid before losing hope. I wish I knew earlier that there are good and bad people everywhere, I only have to remember the good ones and forgive and forget the bad ones.
(This letter is written from the perspective of an Asian girl)
Being an Asian girl I strictly believe that my parents are the ones who I trust completely to choose a perfect husband for me. But it doesn’t mean that my choice has no value before them. So, let’s meet for just one time before I take this gigantic decision of my life, I don’t want to share my precious moments blindly with a man I haven’t seen once, my society and religion has given me this right so who the hell are our relatives to tell us what we should do and what we shouldn’t. I have a past that is as clear as spring water and I expect the same from you, why do I get a piece of meat that is already bitten; when I am giving you a fresh piece of raw meat. I want to build a relationship of trust, respect and love with you, I want to fall in love with you then I want to share bed with you, I am not a mistress whom you can please with an expensive gift. I am studying law not to make round rotis for you and your family but I want to pursue my career, I want to complete my specialization in my field. I am not a lottery ticket to bring you all the expensive dowry, what my parents are going to give me is for my personal use and ease, not to fulfill your unfulfilled desires (ask your parents, not mine for that). I am not gonna live in an abusive relationship, because I know what the law is and how do I have to use it. I shall support our house if there is need but it doesn’t mean that I am going to watch you do nothing from monetary point of view. I don’t expect you to say anything to your mother when I tell you something about her; nor do I expect you to say anything to me when she says anything about me, that will help us in maintaining a calm and peaceful atmosphere in our house. I want to hold your hand when the doctors take me to the labor room, not my mother’s. I need you each and every minute during the upbringing of our children, because kids are not easy to handle. I want to spend a vacation with you not with a man who is distant several miles away from me clinging to the cell phone. I don’t want a cheater and I don’t want you to have a cheater too, so if we can balance our relationship neither of us has to blame one another. I can wait for you to return home from work late at night but I also expect you not to make fuss when I ask you to take me to my parents’ house. I want to keep the spark alive in our relationship even after 27 years of our marriage, so that I can feel butterflies in my stomach every time you touch me like the first time you embraced me and those stars in your eyes like the time you saw me when I walked down the aisle.
Yess, the Sun has risen. It’s the sign that a new day has taken birth from the lap of the black, dark, night… it’s also my birthday today, now that I am turning 26 there are some things I want to say to younger me. 26 is not an age when you can say you are a mature person but listen to me dear young maturity comes with age… people will tell you to act your age but you know they actually want you to act more sober and mature than your age. Don’t listen to them. People will always find a way to make you embarrass, they will ask you give up what you like; they asked me to give up my passion for art and instead focus on my future, they told me to look forward to becoming a person who is a master only in his professional life. But you know what I got after leaving all those things I loves, everything I had a passion for just became a memory. I couldn’t remember a single moment I could live like it was my right to live… I left art and instead tried to fill colors in my life with my business degree. But as I said life can give you several things to cheer up, it also gave me those things like parties, friends and drinks… alas! They couldn’t fill that emptiness. So, listen you don’t listen to their bogus thoughts, they don’t know what you feel inside… they try to be the palmists and tarot card readers but trust me honey they are nobody but just human beings like you and me. Don’t listen to them when they tell you not to wear those clothes because either you are gonna look over dressed or under dressed. if you want to study Arts go for it, because others don’t know what future holds for you… maybe there comes a day when your paintings are going to cover their walls because who knows where future takes you! If you want to take a road trip to a city don’t hesitate because one day there will be no one from those friends asking you to come along on their business trips. Leave the hand of that boyfriend who doesn’t love you for who you are, you are not his property; you are only yours. If you want to spend time with your dear grandmother go for it because one day you might have degrees but at that time she won’t be there because her breaths aren’t gonna wait for you! Remember that people are going to be criticizing, hypocrites, liars but crying on all that is just going to waste our own precious pearls. If you want that H&M jacket by it because tomorrow your father isn’t gonna support you for all those luxuries. You want a haircut go for it because your pretty face isn’t going to wait that much longer. You wanna go sky diving or camping with your BFF, take the chance because in future may be you both are busy in your hectic routines. if you like that charming guy on the subway, go and ask him out because some day when you are having a romantic candle light dinner with the man of your dreams you are gonna smile and thank God for that day when you first talked to him and that brought him as your life partner, here in front of you! If you want to make faces on that child you meet every day on your way home, do it before he does that. Go and make a plan on taking your revenge from that stupid, cheeky and impudent girl, you dislike. Do whatever your heart says but remember don’t cross your limits… and don’t gain too much carbs!!