Tag Archives: #life

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.

The first date

The white-hot chocolate seems bland. It’s mixed with cups of sugar but my tongue can’t seem to hold onto the taste.

The cup is warm, and I wrap my fingers around it to take away the coldness of winter.

Part of me is wishing I didn’t come, but that other part of me, the curious one is glad I did.

He’s sitting across from me and I feel anxious, like my heart is about to deflate in my chest. He’s nice and calm but nervous. He sits in an angle and he drinks his hot chocolate within seconds, while it takes me forever to finish mine. When I’m half way done, I start peeling the paper wrapped around the cup to divert my attention from the thoughts erupting in my brain like a volcano to the paper dissolving in my hands.

I keep my eyes down while he keeps on tapping his foot.

“Give me three good reasons why I should marry you?” I ask him, not because I wanna know but because I wanna see his reaction. He’s taken back like an interviewee does when an unexpected question is asked.

“Just one.” He says. “I’ll keep you happy.”

The answer brings a smile to my face but I hide it. He doesn’t need to know how I feel. I want him to back out. I want him to say things won’t work out between us because I can’t seem to say it. Because I feel like I’m developing feelings for him, and I hate that. I can’t be distracted. I have so much to do. So much to conquer. How can I let a guy side track me like that. How can I get into a relationship when I’m so focused on getting myself out there.

“I’m not ready yet,” I say to him sneaking a look into his eyes. He blinks but smiles and that smile melts my heart. Butterflies in my stomach twirl like a tornado. In his eyes I see confusion mixed with doubt. I wonder what he saw in my eyes. Probably an egotistical girl who has no idea what she wants from life. Or maybe a stupid indecisive girl.

“That’s ok.” He says, and I see a glint in his eyes that I can’t make out. He’s not mad or angry. He’s as calm as an ocean on a bright sunny day. And for some reason that gets me mad. How can he be so calm when I’m over here fighting a war I can’t win in my head. What was I expecting him to say? Maybe some romantic Bollywood dialogue? Saying how he can’t live without me. Maybe a curse? Maybe manipulation? Something besides that calm smile.

It’s weird how some people come into our life and change our entire direction. He changed my whole journey. And he didn’t even know.

I don’t know what it was about him that pulled me closer to him. Maybe in his presence I felt calm and human. I felt safe and for an anxious person that’s heaven..

“I should leave.” I rise to my feet, and pull out my charger from the wall next to the table. I say this because it’s getting late and if I stay longer I’ll change my mind.

“Yeah. I can drop you off.” He offers as soon as we leave the star bucks. The cold air slams into my face like a wall made of bricks.

I smile and shake my head, “Taking the trains would be easier.” I lie. I dread taking the trains at night. Some don’t work and the ones that do work change their tracks or they stop mid-way. Creepy people, drunkards, and drug addicts, sometimes take over the subways at night- especially on the weekends. But going with him doesn’t seem right either.

His car is parked on the opposite side and I’m surprised he didn’t get a ticket. He said he couldn’t find parking and he didn’t want me to wait so he just parked it. I don’t believe him, but I smile to assure him that I understand his struggle.

I feel guilty. I made him drive for two hours, just so I could say no to him. But he doesn’t seem bothered and that makes me feel a little better.

“Bye.” I wave at him. He smiles and waves back. My heart sinks in my chest as soon as I go underground toward the R train.

I’m so confused that I take the wrong train to Brooklyn instead of Queens. It’s only when I pass DeKalb Avenue that I realize I’m on the wrong train.

I curse myself out and regret coming here to meet him.
I’m frustrated with school and my manuscript and work that I feel trapped. Like I’m suffocating. What does my future hold for me? Where am I headed? This is not what I had in mind when I left high school. It was to graduate college in four years. Get into med school. Start working. Buy a house and a car. Easy peasy lemon squeasy. Except the fact that I didn’t want to study medicine and it took me forever to graduate because I was side tracked.

Tears slowly start cascading down my cheek. I sit down on the bench as soon as I get out of the train and try to figure out why I’m hurt. Why is my chest aching like it’s physically wounded. Like I’m having a heart attack. Am I making the right choice? Is this what I want?

Two trains pass by and I blankly watch them. It’s the third train I sit on or maybe the fourth. Everything was a blur that I wasn’t sure what I was doing.

This was a choice I had made and now I had to live with the consequences.

I went home with red cheeks and an attitude my mom and siblings couldn’t understand. I cried myself to sleep that day.

My New Years Resolution

I don’t usually make a list about the things I should do or the things I want to change about myself for the new year. It doesn’t make sense why I need an entire year to change. Why wait? Why not just do it now. The new year won’t change until I do. But maybe it’s easier to keep track with a new beginning and a numbered list. Might as well give it a try.

So here it goes….

1) STOP seeking people’s approval. Just stop it. You did not fight a million sperms, push through a hole, survive, just to hear people tell you what you should and shouldn’t do. You weren’t born to please people, then why put in the effort. Learn to live for yourself.

2) Self- love does not mean being selfish. It’s okay to take time for yourself. It’s okay to think for yourself. It’s okay to speak up for yourself. It’s okay to be you.

3) Stop sugar coating things. Say things the way they are. You aren’t responsible for people and their actions. You’re responsible for yourself. Be honest and truthful.

4) Stop being scared of living. Why do you keep letting fear control you. Darling you’re brave and that’s all that matters. It takes guts to survive and be kind in a cruel world.

5) Be more open. Say what’s on your mind. Spit it out. No point of keeping all this poison inside of you. It’ll only build up and cause more damage.

6) You’re beautiful inside out. Be natural. Be you. There’s a reason why no one has your finger prints. You were born unique, then why choose to be someone else.

7) Your choices are yours to make. Stop being manipulated by others. You know what’s good for you, then why let someone else have the say. Darling believe in yourself as much as the sun believes in its shine.

8) It’s okay to make a mistake. You learn from falling, my love. If you’re too scared to trip how will you see the beauty of life. Making a mistake means you’re on the right path. Don’t steer away from your journey just because you didn’t win a trophy.  Who knows maybe the sky is waiting to kneel down for you.

9) You don’t have to be perfect. Remember you can’t be perfect and human at the same time. And it’s okay to be human. It’s okay to not know how to do certain things. It doesn’t make you any lesser of a person.

10) Stop comparing yourself to other people. Love, you have your own chapters to write. Your own book to fill than why are you so focused on someone else’s story. Pay attention to your own road, to your own journey. You will never see the hidden gems in your path way if your gaze is focused on someone else’s.

11) Oh lose weight, eat healthy,  and get toned.

Someone else’s dream

It took the earth 24 rounds around the sun for me to realize that I need to stop seeking people’s approval. That I need to start thinking and living for myself. That it’s okay if I make a mistake. It’s okay if I’m not perfect in every single thing that I do in life. That it’s ok for me to be human and act like one.

I’ve been too afraid to be wrong that I’ve missed so many opportunities life had to offer. I regret every second, every minute that I let fear control me like a puppet on strings. I regret it so bad that those same moments replay in my mind as nightmares when I’m asleep. But there’s comfort in knowing that I’m here. That I made it in one piece, or maybe in a thousand. But I’m still here. Breathing. Living. Existing. That I still have a chance to change things that are yet to happen in the future. The first step to solving a problem is to accept you have one. And mine is fear. It’s like instead of blood, fear pumps through my veins and clogs into my heart.

Life has so much to offer, but we don’t take those offers because we’re afraid that there might be a catch. That maybe if we take life’s offer life might take something from us in return. But why does that have to be a bad thing? Why is giving seen as something bad compared to receiving.

In order for you to gain something in life you have to first give. You must learn how to let go and how to surrender. I learned that when I was studying biophysical chemistry in college. I was holding onto a dream that wasn’t mine. A dream that everyone else had seen for me. A dream that I couldn’t see.

It was during a lecture on quantum mechanics that I realized I was stressing for all the wrong reasons. These tiny particle spinning around in circles, chasing each other did not put in the effort for me to be miserable. If electrons did as they pleased then why couldn’t I? The position of electrons depended on probability… wasn’t my life the same.

In that class I didn’t learn formulas or theories or hypothesis or names of scientists, I learned that suffering was inevitable. No matter what career pathway I choose in life I was bound to trip, bound to fall, bound to get hurt. But I also learned that I could choose my own suffering. I could choose how to fall and how to rise. How to tend to my own wounds.

Med school, being a doctor- as prestigious as it sounds wasn’t meant for me. Yes the title of Dr. is beautiful but the pathway that leads to it isn’t. That’s not the type of suffering I can deal with. I would most likely go crazy. Even if I do make it through med school, I know I’ll be miserable as a physician.

The probability of me being a successful writer is 1 out of a million and the odd that I would be that successful is low. But its something I can live with. I may not be making a shit tons of money and I may not have a Dr. label in front of my name. I might have to do part time jobs like I’m doing right now. I’ll have to face constant rejections. Maybe even cry rivers. But its something I can live with. Will I regret it? I don’t know? I’ll update y’all in a another ten years to let y’all know.

The sky will kneel for you

I know you’re not traveling
on the road you wanted to take
and I know you’re very scared
but I need you to be brave.

Maybe this new journey has to tell you
what you’re fighting for
maybe it has to show you
that you’re worth so much more.

Don’t ever feel guilty
of how things were supposed to be
you have so much to learn
so embrace this new journey.

I know it’s not easy
because your victory is high
but why are you complaining
when you were born to be the sky?

The sky will kneel for you
Poetry book, “Curing My Venom