Life, Yaar

2021 Mid-Year Recap: Am I Ready for 1L of a Year?

In a couple of weeks, I will be beginning my first year of law school at my state’s flagship university. Blessed is an understatement. Alhamdullilah. It seems like I have been working towards this day since I was fifteen and reposting about women’s rights on Tumblr, lol! (I have, though). I am SUPER excited to learn,, network with future employers, and to be the Desi Elle Woods, however, I am also anxious. I feel the imposter syndrome creeping up on me. It is paralyzing at times. Sometimes I wonder if I even look the part as a petite, chubby brown girl at a PWI in a historically elite field. There is definitely room for growth and diversity at my school, although, the rest of the professional schools at the university are relatively more diverse. At my school, I may be one of the handful of South Asians or women of color even. Intimidating.

I am choosing to view this as an opportunity to stand out and offer a perspective that otherwise may never be brought into the classroom in the hopes that my classmates could become more knowledgeable about the communities they could someday serve. That does not mean that being one of a few is easy. No, no. Being that person means pushing against microaggressions, dealing with ignorant (however well-meaning) comments, teaching people about the various identities that I represent, and often being the easiest target in the room should I engage in discourse. While not one of those things is new to me, I have spent the last few years building a community of fierce South Asian and Muslim gals, therefore, I’m not as accustomed to it as I once was. Anywho, you can take the girl out of the small town, you can’t take the small town out of her, amiright?

Aside from that, I have been focused on settling in to my new apartment. I am trying not to spend too much money on furnishing it (it’s so hard!) because… I AM GETTING MARRIED (and consequently moving in together)!

Say whaaaaat?

Yes, you heard right! I am saying KABUL HAI!!! three times with enthusiasm y’all! I personally did not think it would happen at this point in my life but when the person is right, all supposed timelines are thrown away. The only timeline that is in effect is the one that God had written. I am so very blessed and looking forward to the life M and I will create together, but I am SO not going to be deeply invested in the planning process. That I will leave up to the parents and M. I’ll just nod my head and look pretty. If you didn’t already know, I don’t like weddings, and I especially don’t like the idea of wasting money on what is, essentially, a party. However, I do like the idea of feeling like a princess so I am willing to compromise with what my parents want to do, which is invite anyone they have ever made eye contact with. Fortunately, both M and I are in agreement about sticking with a budget so we can save more money to go towards our post-wedding vacay + home. First step…set a date!

Sometimes I feel like I am living a fairy tale. This can’t possibly be my life. I am terrified of how things are seamlessly falling into place. I know I should enjoy it while it lasts. In life, peace and happiness are seldom perpetual. It’s the anxiety in me that is telling me to brace for the downfall. I guess that is another reason I am nervous about starting school.

But I will keep counting the blessings, enjoy this exciting time before first day of classes, and remind myself that I have made it this far and so I must have it in me to see it through.

Until next time.

favorite cup ever gifted by the fiancé

-hk

Life

2020 Recap: Lessons Learned, Challenges Faced, and Ultimate Victories

2020. It’s been a ride, let me tell you! It has been a year of embracing silence, loneliness, and the mundanity of life. Without the distraction of socializing, I was forced to spend more time with myself, and that was a blessing in disguise. I caught up on reading. I applied to law schools early in the admissions cycle. I explored my interests through reading lots of books. I cooked. I cleaned. For once, I felt more in control. However, it is a privilege to be able to appreciate such moments. The world experienced a shock due to the pandemic. People died. People lost jobs. People were upset, angry, confused, misinformed, manipulated, and ultimately, people suffered. 2020 taught me to be grateful for the little things because it is the little things we take for granted that we miss the most when they are lost or taken from us.

To recap a bitter year with a couple of sweet victories: I started the year with great optimism. I naively believed that applying late to law schools would render me the results I wanted. Spoilers: it did not. I got into a few schools but with minimal scholarships as I had missed most scholarship deadlines. I was waitlisted for my top choices and later learned from the Admissions Committee through one-to-one meetings that by the time I had applied, they had admitted most of their first-year class already. I never got off the waitlist for my top choice schools. Regardless, I knew that it was not the right time to enroll due to the uncertainty that Covid-19 brought about. Then, my uncle passed away. I was worried about my parents losing their jobs or getting reduced hours, which did happen, and I prepared myself to financially support them as much as possible.

During this time, I moved back home with my parents and I continued to work remotely. A relationship that I was in for most of 2019 ended. It felt like I had been planning for the breakup six months into that relationship but prolonged it to avoid dealing with the emotional aftermath during a stressful time in my life. The relationship provided a sense of comic relief and consistency during an otherwise unstable point in my journey. Still, when it ended, it did crush me if only for how the breakup happened.

I decided that instead of blaming the other person, it would be more productive to look at the choices I made leading up to that relationship and during it. To oversimplify the issues, it came down to compatibility and intentions. We had different expectations, outlooks, goals, and preferences. In many ways, I do regret having stayed as long as I did, but if I hadn’t gone through that relationship, I may have never become the person I needed to be to meet the right person. In short, I am grateful for the lesson learned.

Not long after the breakup, I downloaded Coffee Meets Bagel on a whim. It appealed to a young professional demographic and included a filter for Muslims, which I realized is important to me. I noticed only one profile of a guy with a sweet, warm smile named M, and decided to message him, As they say, the rest is history! M and I have been dating since May 2020 and our families recently met. He is kind, compassionate, smart, interesting, understanding, and patient. He quickly became my best friend, which is the dynamic I have always wanted with my partner. I trust him and throughout the last six months, I have learned what a healthy relationship should be and how far a healthy relationship will take you in your own personal development. I thank God for this blessing in my life.

As these events were occurring, my family was going through a very difficult time. During Ramadan, my uncle fell terribly ill in Pakistan, where he was visiting his family, and eventually he was taken to the ICU. From there, things went downhill and despite a brief moment of hope, we eventually lost him. It was a hard month but I am grateful for the sense of unity that our prayers brought. I wish that we all had more time with him as his loss is felt every day, but God knows best. He got to see his sisters and be buried next to his parents, so I rest knowing that some things are meant to be as they happen.

Eventually, my mom started working again mid-summer and my dad continued to work his regular schedule. I was able to move to Raleigh to be closer to my job, which unbeknownst at the time to me, decided to remain remote until Spring 2021. However, living in Raleigh was exactly what I needed in terms of my emotional spirit. I reapplied to law schools and I have been accepted to my top choice! I am beyond excited to start school and begin this next phase of my life!

In conclusion, 2020 was a difficult year but it was the year of exposure. It exposed the lack of self-care in my life pre-pandemic. It exposed the deep divisions in our country, and it exposed the dangers of social media and technology. It exposed that we are not safe from radicalization, including those of us who innocently participate in the echo chambers that is our Facebook feeds.

On the bright side, we are having tough conversations that I hope we will continue to have. I hope that we will practice empathy as so many of us are struggling right now. We never know what someone is going through or what their outwardly expressions could be covering.

On the negative side, we are now aware that progress is an uphill battle. I am afraid that if we do not make changes to how we use technology and media, and if we do not do the hard work of outreach in economically depressed communities, including those that are rural, then we may be doing ourselves a disservice. We cannot keep pretending that our country is concentrated in our cities, that our pop culture is representative of the average American. If history has taught us anything, it is that ignoring an entire group of people who are basically neglected and left behind as the rest of the country experiences prosperity is a recipe for disaster. These are the thoughts I will be exploring in the new year.

But thinking of such, the biggest lesson I have learned this year is the importance of empathy and patience. I have learned that it is a privilege to have a higher education, therefore, I must use it for educating others, including those I do not agree with. I have to meet people where they are otherwise I will not see the change I want to see in this world. I cannot expect others to do that work because it is difficult, emotional work to engage in discourse – but I wouldn’t be doing people any favors by looking down those I do not agree with.

Now, without further ado, here’s to continuing my tradition of lessons learned and goals:

Lessons Learned in 2020:

  1. Practice empathy, especially when it is hard to. Anger and hostility leads to no progress.
  2. Materialistic possessions do not matter. Home, family/friends, and a steady source of income does.
  3. We can make a difference in our community, even if it is just by helping one person. Help people whenever possible. You lose nothing by engaging in acts of kindness.
  4. Be brave enough to walk away from your comfort zone, whether that is a relationship, a job, or a decided path. Things change. Adapt. And when something isn’t right for you, have the courage to find what is.
  5. Be firm in your convictions and selfish with your inner-peace. People will try to bend you. You are the one who decides what your boundaries are. You do not need to invite chaos into your life. It is okay to choose to let go.

Goals for 2021:

  1. Make use of your Passion Planner to stay organized.
  2. Be minimalist with your time, money/spending, and material possessions.
  3. Spend your time efficiently and as much as possible with family.
  4. Lose 25 pounds by 25th birthday.
  5. Continue to enrich my life by learning about new things, travelling to new places, and being open-minded to new experiences.
Life

May 27th 2020

inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajioon ❤️

My uncle, Syed Munawar Ali, was and will forever be remembered for his warmth, his optimism in the face of adversity, his Dad jokes, his love for his wife and children, his commitment to family, his kind friendship… he was our greatest support. How does one find the strength to move on from his loss?

When I first got the news, 6:51AM, I knew that there could only be two reasons for my parents to call me at that time. Coincidentally, I had woken up around the same time his soul left this earth, some time after Fajr EST. As soon as they said to go to my aunt’s house, I knew the worst outcome had come true. If I have ever known heartbreak, it doesn’t even compare to what I felt in that moment. All I could say back was, “why?”

Our body goes into survival mode when we get bad news. Though tears came, I had to make it through the 1.5 hour drive from Greenville. I had to make it through looking into my aunt’s eyes and see the pain that’s been in them, and this time, not see the hope that had remained. Still, even with swollen eyes and a broken heart, my Rana Thai is the most strongest woman I know, and it must be because she had the companionship of a great man for over 25 years. Allah swt blessed her with two amazing, loving kids. May Allah swt give them all sabr.

Thai Abbu, I thought of you. I thought of the time I thought to myself to check in. The world was going up in flames and it somehow came to my mind I should ask how you’re doing in Pakistan. In my heart, I didn’t want to even think anything could happen. I regret spending so much time wishing to say more. To get to know you more. I knew you were getting older but in my mind, there was always going to be a tomorrow. I wish I could tell the people I love how much I love them before it’s too late. I hope you knew how much you meant to all of us. You are one of the greatest men I know. No, scratch that, THE greatest.

Still, Allah swt called you back. To Him we belong & to Him we shall return. We are just lucky Allah gave us the month of Ramadan to pray for your peaceful passing & place in Jannah, iA.

Today, as the memories flash through my mind, 20 years worth of memories, I realize that’s all they’ll ever be. Memories.

I thought of the times when we lived with you, and you listened to me sing “Chaiyaa Chaiyaa” over and over as I ran around the house and annoyed Fahad bhai. You were the only one who entertained my silly antics.

I thought of when we’d stay up all night waiting for you to come home from work, and you always remembered to bring Umrah & I our favorite snacks. You always kept the fridge stocked with tomato juice just for me because you knew how much I loved it.

I thought of the time you gave me my first car and then complimented my driving. I thought of all the little ways in you were like a second father to me.

I thought of when you had your surgery, and you couldn’t walk for a while, and it hurt me to see you in pain, yet you never complained. You never spoke negatively about anything or anyone.

I thought of when you’d ask who’s making the chai (me), or how you’d joke around about me doing chores (because I never do). You told me the importance of playing an active role in the household. You charged me to prioritize family. Your little nudges made me a better person. Anytime I got annoyed about my parents needing help with something, I thought of you telling me that I need to be there for them.

I thought of every single Dad joke you ever made, hoping to hear each of them one more time in your voice. I think it’s safe to say anyone who knew you would give the world just to hear your laugh one more time.

I thought of the sound of you getting up from the bed and walking across the house at 1AM. I grew up listening to the sound of your footsteps, coming home from a long day at work. Now I sit in the home you built, and I see pieces of you everywhere. My heart can’t take it.

I thought of the times I’d look at you and think so highly of you because of how everyone spoke of you. You and Rana Thai had a love story every generation in our family knows by heart. They say Allah swt makes us in pairs, and when I see the way Thai’s eyes sparkle and face glows when speaking of you, I know that’s true.

There’s so many memories that we got to create with you to think about. I keep thinking and thinking because that’s the only way I will ever get to feel your presence again. May I never forget these memories, and may I never grow resentful at the world for taking you so soon. It was better for you to be rid of the pain that kept you here. May your soul finally be in peace. May my family and I reunite in Jannah, iA. I love you, I will always remember you. ❤️

College Life, Life

What Carolina United Meant to Me


I couldn’t remember a time I was truly happy in my own skin. 

Every time I looked in the mirror, all of my confidence was shot down. I will never be that girl. Oh, you know the one. The girl everyone talks about. When she comes on the movie screen as the enamored guys describe her, music begins playing, birds begin chirping. I will never be society’s idea of tall, skinny, and beautiful. And I suppose it was that sentiment along with everyone in my entire life only ever pointing out my weight and darker skin that led me to have an eating disorder when I was ten years old. The thing about eating disorders is nobody notices. Instead, they see your slimmed-down figure and compliment you on the weight loss without thinking twice about how unhealthy it must be to lose fifty pounds in two months. They did not even ask what I ate (nothing) or what I did (obsessive exercising). And how many tears I shed feeling guilty if I ever got too hungry and cave (too many). And I carried that insecurity, and still do sometimes, ever since.

I finally felt loved and accepted – insecurities and all – for the first time, at Carolina United.

Going into Carolina United, I assumed I’d develop the skills needed to be a better leader on campus. I mean, after all, it was a leadership program. And I did! But I also had the experience of a lifetime. My awakening. The first time in my life I felt like my soul had settled into my body and found a home. Someone was listening to me, feeling with me, telling me that finally, I was not alone. There is no way to explain how beautiful that felt when I went as a participant during one of my lowest points in life. It was like my prayers were answered when I met the people at Carolina United because for the first time, I found a family of people with whom I can be honest with about what is in my heart and not be afraid that I was being “weak” or “too sensitive.” Too often society tells us to be strong NO MATTER WHAT. And that required hiding the insecurities, faking the confidence, and telling myself I was okay when I wanted to cry. But it is okay to cry! It is okay to feel! It is okay to not feel perfect every minute of every day! That makes us HUMAN. And when we talk about our struggles, we are able to overcome them. How beautiful is it to have found a place where instead of sacrificing my vulnerability, I could truly gain the skills to face my demons by admitting they existed in the first place?

This is why I came back the summer of 2016 as a counselor. I wanted to give back to this program what it gave to me. Strength. Hope. Power. The ability to love myself. Friends who quickly became family. I was able to give my participants the inspiration to allow themselves to be honest and open by doing the same with myself. By breaking the walls we put up every day, we were able to grow as people in just a matter of a few days! My strengths were my readiness to dive into vulnerability, approachability, and empathy. I will always fight the good fight. I will always be there to give someone a hand. I am a firm believer in choosing love and living a life of social justice.

A lot of controversial topics come up during our times at CU and whether I agreed or not, I know I will be on the side that maximizes happiness and equality. My weaknesses were not always being aware of what is happening in other communities as a lack of exposure. I believe my first time as a participant at CU really opened up my eyes to the struggles my peers face especially in communities I do not identify with. However, I overcame this weakness by listening for the sake of understanding and empathizing. We may not always know what it is like to be in someone’s shoes but we can listen to them and make sure they never have to feel unwelcome, hurt, and alone again. 

Carolina United allowed me to become a person I am so proud of. Before college, I feel like I was so ignorant about the problems faced by different communities as a lack of exposure to those problems myself. Carolina United has taught me how to be a better ally and leader simply through the act of listening. I cannot stress enough how important this was during camp. Listening allows people to feel heard and validated. All those times in my past where I felt like people did not realize the personal hell my eating disorder put me through made me want to just be heard. And that is what I wanted to give to participants. When we are able to verbalize our struggles, share them, once those words are out there in the open, we can attack the pain and overcome it. Together, my participants and I became stronger.

Without programs like Carolina United, we would not be able to make our campus safe for those who wish to just be themselves and not live in fear as a result of it. I want people to feel that it is okay to be vulnerable. It is okay to not have it together all the time. It is okay to feel like you have to cry. It is okay to be human.

That is how we will create leaders who will fight for what is right. That is always a fight worth fighting. CU makes leaders of empathy. These are the people I trust. And I would love to be a part of making that happen again!

Life

A Note On Life

Something powerful someone once said to me: if we live our lives constantly waiting for the next big thing, we will forget that life is happening despite our planning.

Actually, life isn’t about one day waking up and everything magically falls into place. I wanted to believe that so badly. And then life happens and knocks that out of you. It reminds you just how short and temporary it is. And the things we spend so much time worried about amount to nothing.

So I guess the thing is, I wanted so badly to think that life was about avoiding pain. It really is all about learning to live with it.

Life

2019: Stop and Smell the Roses

2019 was a year that taught the value of patience and trusting the process. I started the year by moving two and half hours away from my hometown to Greenville, North Carolina. It was a complete culture shock to be in Eastern North Carolina where I had no roots nor friends. I moved in with girls I had never met before, and the only thing we had in common at that point was that we were all Muslim. Growing up with everything nearby was a stark contrast to being in Eastern N.C, where some of the people I talked to were accustomed to driving several counties over on the regular because access to certain things was limited. Initially, I dismissed the small town life that Greenville represented. It was everything that I hated about growing up in Burlington, N.C. I was a Karachi city gal with big ambitions feeling suffocated by the slow pace of the South. Because I never planned on being at my job past that summer, I also did not make an effort to truly get to know the town nor my roommates, and I focused entirely on my grad school applications. As a result, my first couple months in Greenville were lonely, boring, and routine. Work, study, sleep.

As the year progressed, I began to enjoy my job and saw the need to stay another year, while also giving myself time to study and apply only when I felt mentally prepared for grad school. I realized that I needed to get over the idea of not establishing roots in Greenville and give the place a chance. My roommates and I also grew closer as I began to let my guard down. Turns out, we had a lot in common, such as the shows we enjoyed watching, how we felt about life, and the gym we went to. They also introduced me to their friends and my circle expanded to include some of the greatest people I’ve met and now enjoy regular chai-times with. Without a doubt, these girls made this experience worthwhile and I would not have made it through the year without them.

Around March, I began talking to a person I had dated during the summer of 2018. Eventually, we began dating again. We went on a D.C trip together in April, and that is where I felt my feelings solidify. The trip started off rocky because I literally felt like I was fighting within myself to open up, let my guard down, and actually express my feelings. I’d feel myself building more and more walls each time he’d say something I didn’t like, or if we found a point of disagreement, of which there were and still are MANY. However, I was partially to blame for those moments. I’d look for reasons for why it wouldn’t work out between us, or I’d navigate every interaction between us with an overly serious tone, as if we just HAD to figure out whether we were meant to be together or not. It was when we went to an Italian restaurant in Georgetown towards the end of our trip when I felt so happy, it felt like my heart was exploding, and I realized I’d take that feeling over certainty any day. We were laughing and having a good time, and I decided to give it a real chance and stop constantly over-analyzing the relationship. I’m glad I did that because this relationship made me confront my own toxic behaviors in romantic relationships. I am learning to just enjoy the journey that a relationship is, and not anticipate the destination.

In 2019, I gained a lot of weight, and having experienced an ED, it set my mental health back several steps. Although I felt more at peace as the year progressed, my body as it was getting older and its metabolism slowing, made me a stranger within it. Every comment on my body felt like a brand seared onto my skin, especially the compliments from loved ones. Even family members or my own SO would make comments without realizing their impact, and they just couldn’t understand that this was something difficult for me to process. Of course I know the easy solution is to watch my diet and work out, but when your body has been your enemy your entire life, it is like climbing a mountain just getting myself to take those first steps. Comments on weight never get easier, but I don’t let them affect me to the point of starvation and mental torture the way I did before. I know that weight loss and just getting to the point of feeling confident again is a goal going into 2020, and I just need to keep this process to myself.

Overall, 2019 was not easy but with each setback, I learned how resilient I can be when I need to be. And such is life.

Edit: I did not end up finishing this post in time to publish it in January 2020. You can see updates in my 2020 Recap. 2019 was transformative for me. I confronted insecurities and ultimately learned the value of patience. I wanted to rush to an ending where I would feel gratified. That happy ending did not come. I had to trust the process. Stop and smell the roses.

 

Recipes

Recipe: Coconut Shrimp Curry

Hey everyone! Here’s another #DoseofLassi. Coconut Shrimp is one of my favorite curries. It is the perfect curry for a rainy day, or for comfort, or even for a party. Amaze all of your friends at the potluck with this warm, aromatic seafood dish. For all those who are doing KETO, this is such an easy recipe to meal prep and eat with cauliflower rice. Can’t wait for you all to try it! Disclaimer: I’m no keto expert, tomatoes aren’t keto(?), but if you’re really going to cut out tomatoes because of a diet, then I’m drawing the line. TOMATOES WON’T MAKE YOU GAIN WEIGHT, I promise! Lols, enjoy!

Coconut Shrimp Curry

Serves 3-4

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of large shrimp (deveined, peeled, cleaned)
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of garlic paste
  • 1 tablespoons of ginger paste
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped (1 can of chopped tomatoes)
  • *optional: 1-2 teaspoons of tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons of red chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • 1 small green chili, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric (haldi)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garam masala
  • 4-6 tablespoons of coconut powder
  • 4-5 tablespoons coconut milk or heavy whipping cream (coconut milk adds deeper coconut flavor)
  • Ghee or Coconut Oil
  • Salt to taste
    *You can adjust spice level, but for the full experience, do include them.
  1. In a large, non-stick pot, heat ghee/oil on high heat, and add onions after it is heated. Cook the onions until onions become translucent, right before they begin to brown. Then add ginger, garlic – simmer for another 30 seconds. Then, add spices (chili powder, cayenne, turmeric, garam masala chilis, salt). Simmer for up to 1 minute in medium to high heat, making sure that it does not dry out.
  2. Add the chopped tomatoes and 2 cups of water. Add tomato paste. Cook on medium heat for 6 to 8 minutes, or until tomatoes become one with the rest of the ingredients and resembles a sauce. Resulting mixture should be fragrant and the tomatoes should be melted into the gravy.
  3. After the sauce has reduced water content, add coconut milk or heavy whipping cream, coconut powder, and shrimp. Cook on medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes with the pot covered. If you need to add more cream, do so. The consistency should be creamy, and the curry should coat the shrimp.
  4. Stir in cilantro and let the curry simmer on low heat for 5 minutes before serving.

This curry is best with plain, white rice (I prefer Basmati), however, for Keto, you can use Cauliflower Rice. Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice would pair well with Coconut Shrimp.

I cannot wait for you all to try this recipe! It is one of my favorites. Let me know how it turned out in the comments! 🙂

Life

From 23 Year Old to 22 Year Old Me

Inspired by a birthday post to tell myself all the things I wish I could tell myself a year ago:

    Say no and stand by it firmly.
    Take time for yourself and learn to enjoy the quiet. It’s scary and lonely but as you’re tuning out the rest of the world, you find your own inner voice. Listen to her.
    You still hate driving. Luckily, you will have a new car after a four-car rear-end collision that you survived Alh.
    Loving anyone requires effort, time, and a whole lot of selflessness. Find someone who is worth the hassle of “compromise.”
    Life has a weird way of making sure you confront your demons aka placing you in the same area as the guy you can’t get over, but luckily being in close proximity makes you get over him REAL QUICK.
    You should probably seek therapy and stop delaying it.
    That feeling of emptiness is so easy to let leak into every aspect of your life. Force yourself to meet with your friends and remind yourself that you’re loved and cared for.
    Family truly is everything and it will save you in your most darkest moments. Get to know the elders in your life because the clock is ticking.
    You will inevitably find someone and get married, most likely. You won’t ever get another chance at youth again so enjoy every mistake, every relationship, every moment… enjoy the ups and downs and unpredictability of being young.
    Speak your mind every chance you get. Don’t let people walk all over you. They will.
    Do not stress over what you cannot control and do what you can.
Life, Recipes

Recipe: Keto Burger

Ingredients:

1 pound ground beef (you can also use turkey or chicken for reduced calorie/fat content)

1 tsp of red chili powder

1/2 tsp of garlic paste

1/2 tsp of cumin

1/2 tsp of salt

1/2 tsp of pepper

1. Mix everything together

2. Form into a patty.

3. Grill. Simple! 🙂

Life

22 (Republished)

Days of constant rain that awoke the depths of my despair,

they couldn’t break me.

Although I felt broken every minute of every day,

The monsoon couldn’t shake me.

I was accompanied by an earthquake with every step I’d take

To be young is to live and make mistakes.

Yet, every mistake felt so permanent.

Happiness felt so fleeting.

Anxiety became my temperament.

I figured there had to be a light within me

like the sun hiding behind the moon

dying to shine through,

but the darkness that overcame me

kept it from pushing through.

To be twenty-two.