What are we?


We aren’t who we want to be.
We are what society demands.
We are what our parents choose.
We don’t want to disappoint anyone.
We have a great need to be loved.

So we smother the best in us.
Gradually, the light of our dreams turn into the monsters of our nightmares.
They become things not done, possibilities not lived.

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CheckList : Things to do before you turn 25

Khawaja Ali Arshad

  1. Buy Dinner for Your Parents.
    Buy parents dinner
    Your parents may have been funding your life for years, so now you can experience the joy of repaying their kindness, love, and responsibility, and of developing an adult relationship with them. Taking them out for dinner, and picking up the bill, is one of the ways of doing this.
  2. Travel to another Continent
    Travel to another continent
    Travelling, with the exposure to different climes, cultures, and peoples, broadens the mind, helps develop life skills, and makes for more open attitudes and tolerance. However open-minded you are, there’s nothing like experiencing a different way of life firsthand. It also furnishes you with some great dinner party stories!
  3. Try an Adrenaline Sport.
    Try an adrenaline sport
    You could try sky diving, white water rafting or bungee jumping. Pushing your comfort zone and trying something like this may terrify you, but you’ll feel immensely proud of overcoming your fear.
  4. Spend the Whole Weekend Partying.
    Party all weekend

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Once a Girl

“Here is the praying ground, everything complete, everything an answer. Digging your calloused hands into the dirt, you tell me this is how it should be. ‘This is how it should be all the time.’ Things are prayed for, then rain, then life. Generations of women; mothers, protectors, lovers, painters, loners, fighters. All have grown here, just like the flowers tended to. It’s been a green-field full of life, a safe place, a haven. From birth to death, it’s been a home.

Once a girl of nine stumbled in onto wooden floors, scrapped knees before this. Two women ran to her, noting small cuts, noting she smelled of smoke, ‘from running,’ one woman assumed to the other. When the girl put wet cloth to wounds and filled herself with a meal, she told them the fire’s name. The dark-haired woman stuck her fork into the beef, eyed the sweat beading from the drinking glass, and remembered all her own father burned down. ‘You’re safe now, here,’ she said. ‘You’ll always be safe here.’

Twenty years old, to the brim with promise, head full of destiny, loses faith at the sight of blood draining down her leg, loses god with a hand around her throat, with betrayal thrusting in and out of her despite her pleas, despite the clawing. Found by the outskirts of the praying ground. A broken bird walks for miles before passing out. Blood hers and not hers under her fingernails. Pain all hers between her legs, constraining the chest, the heart. An old woman finds her and brings her to the gardens. Eyes flutter open, lip trembles, first words ‘I loved him.’ The old woman takes her hands and puts them to the ground. ‘Love yourself even more. You need yourself,’ then digs her hands into the ground, the beginning of prayer. Her hands tremble above the earth, face buried in Queen Anne’s Lace. ‘I’ve never really believed.’ The old woman smiles, hands in the earth. ‘You just have to believe in yourself. Believe you’ll grow from this. Believe that blood can turn to water.’ Twenty years old, hands find destiny and promise buried, pulls it out. She’s twenty years old and she finds her worth. ‘I want to stay.’ The old woman smiles, hands in the earth.

A miracle of a girl from a tiny village in the middle east, abandoned as a child found rescue at eight, now nineteen, has breakfast with the woman who for the longest time she’s called her mother and with the girls she’s called her sisters, drinking milk, making teeth out of orange slices, laughing, throwing raisins. The girl puts bread between teeth, and with her mind always wondering, she asks what exactly the praying ground is. Mother, looking out at all the girls saved over the years, tears a pomegranate apart. ‘It’s love. It’s finding love in everything, in anything you can. It’s recovery. It’s finding religion. Not religion in the sense of some sort of god, but it’s finding something to believe in when you think there’s nothing left. It’s not a destination but a lifelong journey, and along that journey you find others like you. You make a home, a support system. It’s about running from a fire, then when you feel like you’re stronger, running back into it, putting it out and rebuilding the ruins the way you see fit. It’s digging your hands into the earth and feeling the hope, the strength of everyone before you who’s ever done the same. It’s a sense of unity. It’s unity scattered like stardust.’

Once a girl of nine, now a girl of thirty, smiles more, has discovered a passion for teaching. She teaches about stumbling and about getting up again. She teaches about running headfirst into the fire. She’s wiser now, braver, louder. By nature a quiet voice but by nurture it resounds. Every now and again she’ll look up into the distance, see the smoke still rising from the forest. She’ll smile to herself, look down at her feet covered in dirt, the feet that ran her back.

Seventy years old, a life lived, promises fulfilled. Three children, all beautiful, all taught to be gentle and true with loved ones. She taught them all that she was taught, mostly about forgiveness, ‘not for them, but for yourself.’ Years after washing her hands and years after blood drying, she visits her abuser. She takes her name back. She fills her books with Queen Anne’s Lace now. She feels her wings mended. Looks back on life now, closes her eyes, in the end can say ‘I loved myself.’ Seventy years old, destiny, a story told, in the end can say ‘I loved myself.’

Here is the Praying Ground,”Elijah Noble El, from The Age of Recovery

Be with a Boy Who Travels

Khawaja Ali Arshad

Be with a Boy Who TravelsDate a boy who travels. Date a boy who treasures experience over toys, a hand-woven bracelet over a Rolex. Date the boy who scoffs when he hears the words, “vacation,” “all-inclusive” or “resort.” Date a boy who travels because he’s not blinded by a single goal but enlivened by many.

You might find him in a bus stop or an airport store browsing the travel guides — although he “only uses them for reference.”

You’ll know it’s him because when you peek at his computer screen his background will be a scenic splendor of rolling hills, mountains or prayer flags. His Facebook friend count will be over-the-roof and his wall will be plastered with the broken English ‘miss-you’ of friends he met along the way. When he travels he makes lifelong friends in an hour. And although contact with these friends is sporadic and may be far-between his bonds are unmessable and…

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A Cure For Insomnia

Dark Matter

New Poem.

You find unexpected wakefulness
before dawn. You say to yourself

there must be some reason
to be awake, some insomniacs-only lesson

to be learned. You are correct.
Here it is:

there’s no point to being this awake.
No prophecy to be delivered. No importance

to be found in soured stomach
and aching neck. To assume so much value

for your problem, to assume you were meant
to go through this because it was necessary

to activate some gift or hidden power,
does not make you anything more

than typical. Everyone’s sure
they are paying dues on some 

postponed glory with every tribulation they face.
Truth be told,

when we are awake without reason this early
it’s probably safe to assume

that we are struggling with lying in the dark
strictly because we are lying

about there being a purpose 
to such struggles. We’re just not

that important. We aren’t 

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