On a long car ride home, one of my sisters fell asleep and I took a picture of her. The look of calm on her face mesmerized me and I decided to paint it. I didn’t know where I was going with it or what I was trying to say. Then my life took some unexpected turns and I started to feel like I was drowning… in fears, sadness, possibility. Yet I was somehow still composed, refusing to be unsettled. I hope looking at this piece in the future reminds me of all that I’ve endured, and the grace within me to face anything that might come my way.
Don’t hold on, love
And don’t lament
A lover must always be a friend
Don’t hold on, darling
Can’t fight the tide of change
So swim along
Revel in the warmth of the sun
It won’t ever feel the same again
Don’t hold on
Sooner or later
All that is on it will perish
Don’t stifle what we created
Let it live on, perfectly remembered
Don’t hold on, dear friend
Don’t cling to me, or anything
You will only grow weary
Good things are never meant to last
I’m not the sundress donning,
lip gloss wearing,
loose curls toting,
easy smiling girl.
I’ve never been the head in the clouds.
I’ve never been the skipping Daisy.
I was never the carefree, full of life, character that I tried so hard to be.
Continue reading Love Song
I woke up this morning to an email notifying me that I have been chosen to receive the PMH Scholarship through Texas Exes. This scholarship will definitely ease some of the financial burden of my final year at UT. Thank you to the donors!
Joseph and I recorded an interview for StoryCorps about that protest back in the November of the 2016 elections. You can download the audio file here.
There was a point at which I realized what had happened. It was sometime after being asked leading questions to fit a neat narrative on conservative talk radio, essentially painting me as an unprincipled bridge. It was sometime before the end of Eugene Volken’s lecture about Free Speech on Campus. There was a point at which I realized the dilemma I could only see reflected in the enigma of a right wing campaign for more civil rights. At that point I asked myself: does free speech have to be the cost for social justice?
Warm was the breeze, when they, towards me, dive
-ed a flock of Painted Buntings, all at once.
I watched, with taken breath, when they arrive
-ed back into the sky, a splendid performance.
How wonderful is their right to fly,
To leave, to seek, to experience, to find.
To no one they answer, on no one rely,
Nor by walls or ceilings are they confined.
Perhaps God gave us no wings, no right to fly,
Because we would leave each other, and find
The wrong laws of humanity to defy,
And disregard those of our own kind, behind.
And so the Painted Buntings soar ahead,
And I, my life, with sober people dread.
A letter we send, we as the sons of the Sadr movement to each dirty
Malikian, Hakeemian and Jafarian…
With the help of Allah, and after monitoring and mapping for months, all
emails of those who are helping the government of the criminal Al-Maliki have been hacked
by the electronic monitoring department of the Sadr movement, the national
movement that is a true Iraqi movement which rejects the American invasion. And thank
Allah, this is one of them.
All of you, the tails of the Invasion will die burning along with your
May Allah quicken the return of “Al-Mehdi” and aid us in gaining victory over the oppressors.
Our dream is daylight
our days are work.
We possess imagination,
and imagination is our hope.
And life fills us with promises,
of a light at the end of the tunnel.
It invites us to forget,
pain we lived.
We surrender to life, but no,
as long as hope is a journey,
so we will live.
Creeps through you as you dream
You prepare, plan.. but without realizing it you also
The burden will weigh your shoulders down
Your legs won’t carry you to the end
Will you collapse?
Will your aspirations come down and crush you
As if to say…
You knew you would fail all along.
In between the borders of your thoughts, there crept
Why am I a feminist?
Dot, dot dot
An ellipses that contains all which I cannot
It burns on the way down
Like lava it overflows
Out of me, through my tongue
My fingers feverishly seek
My lips, dry and trembling
Like the coastline at high tide
Elusive, as much as I try to be
Calmness eludes me
All which you can never
Yet you try to understand
Until you can’t
Dot… dot dot
Silence fills the dots
As it overflows
And drowns it out
The picture above is the view from the highest floor of the gymnasium of Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane.
I’m finally in Morocco!
I arrived on August 23rd, and it’s been a very exciting several days. I’ve met countless other fellow international students and went shopping at the local “marché.” A couple friends and I also explored the local park, which also had some individual vendors with a variety of jewelry, decor, and home goods.
I’m anticipating many more adventures to come!
Do you see?
Into that window
Onto which still crawls remnants of last night’s storm
Racing down towards the ground
Sunlight peeks in
Landing on four sleepy eyelids
A fire crackling nearby
Warming two bodies intertwined in a blissful knot
Do you feel me?
After you’ve ceased to ache me, and began to heal me
When I had a stone hard core, you crumbled me
And filled the void
My love for you now permeates my every pore
Invades my innards
Claims every breath of my being
Do you see us?
My dry lips begging to be touched
By the tips of your fingers
To be wetted by the liqueur of your kiss
Our two lungs, breathing each other’s air
Do you hear our two hearts, beating slowly
As we look out to a world that we’ve conquered
I was mentioned in a New Yorker article titled “America’s Future is Texas.” Happy to hear that, and I agree! You can read the wonderful article here.
I’m almost certain it was the 2011 visit, when I was 14. My two sisters, mother and I went to visit my maternal grandmother and our hometown Baghdad for the second time since our settlement in America. We were at Uncle Fahad’s house, the one adjacent to my grandmother’s (they shared a wall). All the adults were in the guest room drinking the late afternoon tea with biscuits and catching up. My budding introversion compelled me to get away from the noise for a little bit, so I was watching television in the living room. For about an hour, I was staring absentmindedly at the 20 inch screen, the oddity of my two passport identity consuming my thoughts.
I was brought back by a phrase I heard coming from the TV; “I didn’t have a morsel of bread to feed my kids.”
Continue reading On Feminine Terrorism
I’ve always had a love for butterflies. It probably stems from my deep seated need for freedom – to feel that I can soar, sink, and roam without being weighed down. This photo was taken by a friend of mine and I couldn’t help but share it.
I could not be more excited! I finally got the ball rolling on my documentary. I have collected around 3 hours of footage, most of which is interviews, so far. That picture above is of my grandmother speaking about her husband. As I started reviewing the videos, I became really disappointed with the quality of my camera. I want this baby so bad. Hopefully I’ll save enough money to buy it by the end of the summer, because I will NEED it for Morocco!
I was 15 and just couldn’t ignore how beautiful that single solitary flower looked sprouting up in between the stone steps. I crouched down and snapped this picture with my phone camera that afternoon right when I got home from school. The picture ended up catapulting me into an obsession I developed with photography and I spent a year and a half with my cheap Nikon around my neck 24/7. I sadly don’t take that many “inspired” pictures anymore but that will hopefully change soon when I leave the country.
Deeds Not Words is an Austin non-profit started by Wendy Davis. Andrea, an intern there, interviewed me for a blog post in honor of World Refugee Day. You can read the article here!