Navigating the Lines Between Self-Hate, Identity Formation, & Self-Love

My work gives me the opportunity to connect with racialized youth in schools. Many recount their lived experience with racism, namely anti-Black racism and Islamophobia. I can see their struggle in trying to make sense of who they are in relation to the world around them. They are constantly negotiating their identity in context of societal expectations, biases, and stereotypes. I hear comments ranging from “I’m numb to it” to “I hated my skin” to “I had to erase my culture.” This evidently highlights the impact that racism and bigotry have on the mental well-being and psyche of our youth. It’s disheartening to hear. Your stomach drops, heavy as stone. A sickly lethargic feeling overtakes your senses. It robs you of hope, hijacking the possibility of maintaining even the slightest peace of mind. Your dreams of liberation evaporate into absolute nothingness.  

This is what reliving trauma of pain is like for those of us who experience the stranglehold of oppression. This event of recurring traumatic episodes is greater than the sum of its parts. It’s a state of being. Your past self – the scarred, the afflicted, and the tormented parts of you – forcibly find themselves back into your present self at any given moment in time, without warning or consent. It’s a painful burden that many of us have to deal with on a daily basis. I’ve come to realize however that perhaps it’s a necessary, and almost inevitable part of the process. Harmful as it might be, it reminds me of the very cause of our work as community organizers, activists, and changemakers. It personally gives me all the more reason to fight harder – to just keep on going. We are constantly folding and unfolding unto ourselves. Our rhythm is in tune with the weakened pulses of a beating heart. We are beating, slowly. We are beating, barely. We are beating, to stay alive.  

This very process is also a state of becoming. We are in desperate need of healing. The universe – in her soft and subtle ways – acknowledges us. She sees us, and presents us with the beautiful gift of healing. So, as we morph into our future self, we let go. We cleanse the broken parts of ourselves. We heal the pain of our pasts. And we transform into a lightness that reflects our higher self. This is ultimately what it’s like to navigate the lines between self-hate and self-love. I do this for the sake of our children. They are our future. Our black and brown babies deserve to live a dignified life with equal opportunities, and without ever having their very existence called into question. We deserve better.  

Luckily, some of our youth already know this. From the 12-year-old South Asian Muslim girl who “want[s] to wear Hijab so that people know who [she] truly [is] to the 16-year-old Arab boy who’s “learned that [he] is more than that…[that] [his] value is bigger than that.” My fear is that not enough of our kids know this. They grow up hating their skin, and resenting their parents. They don’t feel safe in their schools. They fear the repercussions of being who they are, and are ashamed of where they come from. They work hard to hide their culture, and erase their history. Their loss of language, tradition, and heritage are absolutely devastating. This reality is utterly tragic. We must stop this madness. We have to. Enough is enough. It begins and ends with us. Nothing for us without us. We need our kids to know that they are loved, that they are capable and worthy, and that they are simply enough. I can only hope to touch the lives of these youth in the same way they touch mine. They leave such a lasting impression on my heart and mind – every time, without fail. And I could only pray to do the same in return. With the best of intentions, here’s to the beating pulses of our heart. We pulse on.  

i am

i am the heat that emanates between the sheets of lovers
the cool touch of winter’s first breath
the burning passion of desire and heartache

i am one-part coffee – black, bitter, and smooth; 
two-parts cream and sugar
a heavenly blend of early mornings and quietude
a bottomless cup of profound conversation and connection

i embody the strength of steel
the beauty of imperfection
the brawn of a lioness
a heart of gold

i am broken in my wholeness
i am the third eye seeking 
i am the kindled spark of light in darkness
his love and mercy run through me

in the flesh
my flaws mirror my humanness
in love, boundaries are blurred
perhaps something caught between happiness and heartbreak

i am the change in seasons
the void of time and space
the here and the now

one of becoming
the voice of reason
moving from being to nothingness. 

Welcome to My Site!

Welcome to my site! Writing to me is a form of art. Art, I believe, is meant to give us a sense of purpose and allows us to find meaning in everything and anything we seek to extract meaning from. Be it from the very mundane and ordinary to the incredibly nuanced and extraordinary. In the same way, my hope is to use this online platform as a way to reach people. To share my work. And to give others the opportunity to find purpose in their own lives. My hope is to deeply connect with myself and the world around me by engaging in various issues and topics of interest. I invite you to do the same as I share my own thoughts, ideas, and insights every week. 

As a community organizer, activist, and educator, writing too is, and has always been, my saving grace. It helps in maintaining my sanity and it’s a form of expression that gives me clarity and perspective, especially during times of adversity and struggle. The foundation of my writing (as well as my personal praxis) is centered on an anti-oppressive, anti-racist framework and intersectional analysis. My writing focuses on anti-racism, anti-colonial thought, feminist praxis, social justice, and solidarity. You can expect to find writing in the forms of essays, reflections, and poetry relating to issues of equity, art, education, resistance, self-love, personal growth, emotional literacy, mindfulness, spirituality and faith. This, of course, is not an exhaustive list, and I challenge myself to explore these issues with a great deal of nuance and complexity. 

To complement my writing, I have decided to share my artwork here as well. In the form of photography and other creative mediums, I also invite you to take a look at and embrace the ways in which I come to make sense of the world around me. My art is a vessel by which I attempt to capture the world’s beauty in all its forms. The world as I understand it reflects our deepest and darkest inner struggles, conditions, and tendencies to ways of insufferable flaws and imperfections. The world too endows us with countless of opportunities to seek lessons to bring meaning, growth, continuous learning, and self-betterment into our lives. With the right mindset and attitude, anything is possible, and the world, in my eyes, reflects all these possibilities and more.

I hope that this outlines all intents and purposes of my site – for what I wish for it to be and for what it could potentially become. As we ring in the new year of 2018, this is to give entrance to my writing goals and aspirations as a budding artist, writer, and young professional in my field of work. It’s to affirm in my heart’s mind that this journey is absolutely worth it, and what I have to say and share means something to someone else out there. Ultimately, my hope is that my work resonates with you at some level. 

Of course, constructive feedback and comments are always welcome. Also, please feel free to share posts with your networks at any time. I would like to extend my gratitude to you in advance for your support. Thank you!

So, here’s to what I’m hoping will be a very successful and meaningful journey ahead. Here’s to understanding and being understood. Here’s to being comfortable with being uncomfortable. Here’s to opportunity, growth, and continuous learning. Here’s to love and expression. Here’s to vulnerability and exploration. Here’s to community and spiritual healing. Here’s to embracing fear and the unknown. Here’s to being and becoming our higher selves. And here’s to boldly and unapologetically living our Truth.

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