Category Archives: Blog

Losing my energy

Do you ever have those moments where your heart feels distressed? Where that organ pumping blood through your body just becomes stiff and it starts to ache so bad that you feel like you’re having a heart attack. Where your stomach starts to churn for no apparent reason and you feel like you’re about to die even though you’re kind of healthy. Like you don’t jog and you don’t go to the gym type of healthy. But more of a ‘I ate a salad today healthy’.

I’m not diagnosed with any major illnesses- except those that google told me I had. Apparently the headaches I’m getting are from a terminal illness that I can’t even spell or pronounce. According to the internet I have eight months to live.

But my point is that sometimes this distress makes us lose all of our energy. And energy should be seen like money-right. And you invest money it in things that give you comfort- Well sometimes. But my energy drains from my body as fast as water from a pipe hanging vertically from a high building.

Imagine investing money in things that tear your soul away from your body. Literally. Like yanking a thin piece of cloth from a bed of roses that have thorns. It hurts. My energy is like that. I invest it in all the wrong things and the worst part is that I can’t control it. It’s unconscious. It’s like I’m unconsciously draining my bank account. And that’s what I’m doing with my body. Draining out all the positivity and filling it with negativity.

I feel like my soul is being ripped from my body. It’s like I have no control over anything. Like the domino effect: where because of one domino all the other domino’s fall. Even the smallest things that happen are out of my hands. I don’t know what to do. What’s the point of banging my head on a door that refuses to open? Do I just give up, because right now, the pain I’m in is making me numb? Like I can’t think straight. I can’t think at all. It’s like my dense brain refuses to listen to its own self. I know I’m causing destruction to myself, but I just can’t help it. When I’m not going through such a phase, I feel odd because I feel like I should be going through something. It’s like you’ve been in a war all your life, and all of a sudden you’re out of that war and now it just feels weird because you’re not used to that state. It makes you restless.

When my energy is drained I feel tired. Like I just ran a marathon. Like I fought in a war without any weapons. My legs become sore and my back aches- without doing any physical exercise. My stomach churns like I have elephants fighting in there. And my heart thrashes in my ribcage like it’s a prisoner and it wants to escape.

I don’t know where I’m getting at with all this. But the point I’m trying to make is that the internal energy we all possess is being released all day. And when we go through negative emotions more energy is consumed. Think of it like this: when you’re stressed you release cortisol (the stress hormone) and when you’re happy you release dopamine and oxytocin (the happy and motherly hormone). Releasing dopamine and oxytocin make you happy. Releasing too much cortisol can lead to anxiety and depression or even high cholesterol.

It’s not easy to stop yourself from falling in this loop of negativity. It’s like trying to carry a 50 ton building on your back in extreme weather when everything around you is on fire. You get the point. It’s hard. But your energy is very important and it should be taken care of. Breaking bad habits is complicated, but the end results are always worth it. You have a limited energy in you and you should use that limited energy wisely. Start with the little things.

The first time I gave up

The air is so humid that I can barely breathe. Sweat is pouring down my body like a river down a mountain. The electricity has been gone for the past five hours and according to our neighbors, a transformer exploded and it’ll take forever to repair it. We’ve been without electricity before but not for this long. There’s no running water in our house. The only form of water we have is in a small plastic tub in the bathroom and in our cooler in the kitchen and in an hour that’ll run out too.

Mama and all my siblings have drenched themselves in mosquito repellent. I haven’t. Mosquitos and other bugs don’t really bother me. My grandma says it’s because I have bitter blood. I honestly don’t mind.

We live in the upper portion in this house and it’s like we’re being roasted. Everyone is sitting outside on their terrace or garden or in the wrecked park in front of our house and I’m sitting inside, by the table beneath the gas lamp that’s hanging on the wall. That’s the only form of light I have, and it’s slowly dimming.

I have a math exam in a few days and I have to give in my math notebook tomorrow to the teacher so she could check it, but I haven’t done any of the questions because I had to study for my Urdu exam and  I’m not good in Urdu. Being dyslexic and learning another language don’t go together. All the letters seem the same.

In school we’re aren’t allowed to use pencils or ballpoint pens, all we can use are ink pens and it gets annoying when the pen runs out of ink.

I sit on the floor with my legs crossed. The floor is the only thing that isn’t burning like hell. It’s cold and I’m glad my but isn’t on fire.

Mamas calling me outside, saying that it’s better if I wake up before sunrise and complete my homework but we both know I won’t wake up.

If the electricity doesn’t come on we’ll probably sleep outside, on the cots, beneath the stars like we do in our Pind (village).

Give up. For a moment the thought brushes through my mind, but I fight against it. I’ve never given up, so why should I now.

Sweat is trickling down my arms and legs. I can feel my clothes cling to my body.  I fill the notebook with math equations, questions and answers. We aren’t allowed to use calculators and finding the square root of 34 on paper isn’t easy.

I’m almost done and a wave of peace subsides in my stomach, but when I look back at my notes they’re all smudged. The sweat from my arms smeared all my notes.

I blink rapidly trying to hold back my tears but they escape and fall on my register, worsening my notes. I’m mad at our school for making us use ink pens. At this point I don’t care. The temperature is above 37-degrees Celsius and if I stay in here another minute I’ll suffocate.

I curse Zardari for being a shitty president and my dad for sending us to Pakistan… but I give up and go out to the balcony like everyone else around me.

That was the first time I gave up on anything in life. The first time I said “fuck it.”

I don’t remember if I got yelled at by the teacher or if she called my mother. But I remember feeling helpless and hopeless… it’s been more than thirteen years but that memory is stuck in my brain like gum on a shoe.

Speaking Punjabi means you’re illiterate

Speaking Punjabi means you’re illiterate
so I started speaking English

Pakistanis are extremists
so I became American

Muslims are terrorists
so I converted to atheism

Brown is such an ugly color
so I lightened my skin

You throw like a girl
so I wanted to be a boy

Women are weak and emotional
so I begged for the XY chromosome

No one will marry you with that body
so I starved myself

Your clothes are weird
so I switched to jeans and t-shirts

Writing isn’t a career
so I studied a subject I hated

You smell like curry
so I drenched myself in perfumes

 You’re an outcast
so I did everything I could to fit in

 I altered my presence
I erased my essence

I did everything I could to satisfy a world that only wanted to squeeze my uniqueness out of me, but in the process of forcing to change myself I broke a pious soul. In what I was and what was expected of me. I’ve lost myself. Tell me what I am and what I’m supposed to be? These mental health issues, you complain of are the result of your own creation. I’ve been ripped from myself that now I’m joining together my pieces with someone else’s story.

I’m trying to dig back into my roots, but I can’t seem to do that. It’s like everything I once left is now leaving me. I yanked myself out of the earth so hard that now the soil I was born in does not recognize me.

I’ve become a product of someone else’s desire. An object of someone else’s wanting. Tell me what am I?

Poetry book: CURING MY VENOM

Making ends meet

We’re six people, and we live in a two apartment bedroom. My dad drives a taxi and he works twelve hours each day to make ends meet. I work part time and I’m looking for a full time job. My older brother temporarily drives an Uber and he’s saving money to pay for a certification he needs. My younger brother and sister are in college and my mom is a house wife, who has diabetes, blood pressure and depression.

But we’re all blessed. We have our moments which end in tears and days of anger and anguish but at the end things turn out fine. We yell our throats out, throw fists, disagree and fight, and hurt each other. But at the end Alhamdulillah- we make it in one piece. Sometimes broken, sometimes tattered, but still we make it. We always do.

Coming to Pakistan we’re no longer the middle class or people trying to make ends meet. We become the elite. The upper class. Mostly because we have American passports which is messed up on it’s own and it’s a another story. But also because here people are deprived of basic human rights. Little children as young as seven are forced to work in people’s houses because they need to survive. It makes me sick and there’s nothing much I can do right now.

But I can narrate stories of women who’ve sat next to my mother and cried tears of blood.

From “my ten-year-old son died because we didn’t have enough money to pay for his medical examinations” to “my seven-year-old daughter works in people’s houses because we don’t have enough money to feed her.”

Stories about diseases that could be prevented with simple medication. Physical and mental abuse and how women have to deal with them with smiles because that’s what they’re taught. It’s okay if your husband hits you. It’s not a big deal. At least he has a roof over your head and he puts food on the table.

I’m not saying Pakistan is all bad. It has its issues like America does. But the people in Pakistan are loving and hospitable. They give when they barely have enough to eat.

One thing I’ve learned is that every person, regardless of nationality, religion and skin color has a story to tell. We’re all closed books with filled chapters reeking of tales aching to be told.

A woman whose husband married his brothers wife and kicked his own wife out with her two children.

A mother whose son left her on the streets.

Two innocent men of the same family being killed because of a political feud.

A woman bought from northern Pakistan to be sold as a bride.

A ten year old boy working as a dishwasher in a resturant.

I know all these people. They walk around me with smiles as bright as the sun trying to hide pain… but it drips from their bodies like sweat.

It’s so easy to judge, to throw hate, pass nasty comments, compare and envy… but its complicated to understand and comprehend.

Not everyone has a perfect life. What may seem like a bed of roses from far could be a mat littered with thorns.

What is love

Love is when your dad comes home tired from work at 2 am, but still takes you to the ER because you’re not feeling well. It’s when he tries to sell and advertise your book while driving a cab because he believes in you.

Love is when your mom walks all the way to your high school and waits outside with an extra umbrella because its pouring outside. It’s when your mom stays awake all night with a cold cloth on your head because you have a fever.

Love is when your older brother drives you to your college so you wouldn’t miss class because you aren’t feeling well. It’s when he’s willing to give up his pay just so you could get a new laptop.

Love is when your younger brother buys you ice cream because your mad at him. It’s when he’s willing to travel two hours just to see you.

Love is when your younger sister deals with your tantrums and smiles even when you make her cry. It’s when she gives you her shoulder to cry on even when she’s going through her own stuff.

Love is when someone special travels two hours just to give you flowers and chocolates. It’s when that person is willing to spend their entire life with you.

Love isn’t about gain or loss. It’s not a business. It’s a feeling that keeps you warm even when the sun refuses to rise. It’s the light that shines through the darkest tunnel. Love is when your heart is content and satisfied with whatever life throws at you.