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!!