Day 20- Ashes In My Veins 


Bit of a happy coincidence today. It’s 4/20, plus the poem I started in my head, synced up nicely with the prompt for today, ‘ashes in my veins’, and the 4/20 mentions. 
And another post for Messages off a cigarette. It’s been a while. 🙂
Hugs and muffins, 

Yusra ❤️pp
Keep it 

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But With Every Sin, I Still Want To Be Holy

 

I will  live again.

 

As fun as it is to quote nihilistic ideologies and punk bands, I’m afraid this post isn’t going to be a lot of fun- my apologies for that.

 

I stopped praying five years ago. Initially it was just the odd missed prayer. It’s not like I was extremely devout to begin with (Muslims are supposed to pray five times a day. I think I managed four on very good days). But I had never been detached from religion in any way, or for any very extended periods of time. Even during the drunken frenzy days post high school, the ‘party’ scene never appealed to me beyond a quick dunk in every once in a while. I drank regularly in my late teens/early twenties, smoked up every now and then- bizarrely enough, I didn’t smoke cigarettes back then- but I never strayed from religion. I never stopped praying, I never stopped fasting during Ramadhan every year. Till five years ago, I don’t think I missed a single fast during our Holy month. It wasn’t even conscious thought. It just was a part of life.

 

Then things started breaking up inside my head. The frequency with which I prayed dropped. The fasting stopped. My mother noticed, my family noticed, but they didn’t interfere. My mother htought it was just a phase, that it’d pass. But the disillusionment cemented itself. Life was unfair, God was unfair. I knew absolute shitheads around me who were living perfectly content lives while I slogged. Twisted people, cruel people, people around me who I knew were inherently bad, I saw them flourish, and my pit got steadily deeper. The unfairness of it all rankled me like nothing else had, it got under my skin. What was the point of praying? It didn’t do me any good. It’s not like I got one fucking thing I was asking so desperately for. Because mind you, I prayed, I really prayed very hard fr a lot of things. Even for things as fucking simple as a little peace in my life. And nothing ever came to me. And I just stood there, watching, as they came to everyone who I knew didn’t deserve them.

 

This steady decline coincided with two very significant changes. One, I started allowing myself to be a bad person. Two, I realised that looking for the bright side didn’t feel as good as feeling sorry for myself.  And I didn’t see the point of denying myself such a simple pleasure anymore. It’s not like my life was full of joy, so why the heck not do something that made me happy? 

Why the heck not? Why shouldn’t I feel angry about rude ass people I had to deal with? Why should I not wallow in self pity for a while? Why the hell should I always force myself to look for a silver lining in every situation? The simple truth was that optimism got too exhausting, and I got tired of carrying hope around. Hope was too heavy. 

So I let the melodrama settle. I let myself feel bad every time something bad happened, which was practically every other day. I stopped controlling my anger, I stop bothering to reign in how bitter and sarcastic I can be. I went from being a teddy bear to a teddy bear who’s full of venom, according to my sister, and she’s right. I stopped going out of my way to help people, I stopped being a nice person. I simmered and stewed and fell in love with my own darkness, and piled my bed high with misery, and slept in it every night. I stopped praying completely. 

I started binge eating again. I started cutting again. I became one of those fat girls who take up a corner of the room and don’t talk to anyone. I’d come home, pour myself a drink, write about how my life sucked, and cry myself to sleep. I forced myself to date a religious and supposedly normal guy, hoping that this way I’d be normal too, but yeah, that was another fuck up beyond all reckoning. And I was depressed. I was always, always depressed. So much so that I couldn’t even keep the facade up in front of other people. 

Life plodded on like a fly doing the backstroke through treacle. No one tells you how hard being bitter makes you. And I was always tough, but now I was stony. There’s a world of difference between the two. And at some breaking point while getting blitzed or blazed and living a thousand yard stare daze, I woke up. And I hated myself in the mirror with a newfound loathing.
It’s not like I ever liked how I looked anyway, but I hated this person I’d become. When my best friend told me that she’s pregnant, my reaction was outwardly appropriate but my first thought was, it should have been me. I should have been the one married to the man I love. I should have been the one starting a family that I’d love insanely. I was the one who deserved that happiness- it should fucking have been me. And all the reasons it would never be me came crashing down again and I just broke, I think I broke that day, but I was repelled by my inability to look beyond myself anymore. For the last few days I’ve become acutely aware of how self obsessed I’ve been. Antisocial, vindictive, angry, petty, depressed, perpetually sad and perpetually angry. 
I was heartsick. I have been heartsick for so long. I’ve been carrying around this feeling of being unclean for so long. The thing about prayer is, it cleanses you. It doesn’t matter what your religion is, I know my Christian and Hindu friends will attest to the same. There is a sense of liberation in being on your knees and crying your heart out to a God for help, for guidance, or in gratitude, there is a freedom nothing else on earth can give you. Accepting that a sin is a sin, that a blessing is a blessing, it helps calibrate that moral compass that seems to go askew so easily. Maybe I’m just weak, maybe I need to be reminded of what’s right and wrong more than other people, but I needed it. It took me years of not praying and forcing myself to look away from God to realize how much I wanted to look to Him. 
Religion gives my soul the perspective that love gives my heart. In the years where I lost God, I found love, and that happiness was incomplete. But I think I’ve found God again. Nothing I’m praying for is coming to me. Everyone around me is happy, especially the jackasses who really don’t deserve to be. My life could not possibly be crappier right now. And none of my prayers seem to be pulling through. 

But it doesn’t matter. I don’t want to feel bad for myself anymore. I’m loved by a beautiful man, and I’m blessed by the Almighty. I’m praying again, and I feel like opening my arms to the world again, even if slowly. I think that’s more than anyone can ask for. 

There Is A Hell On Earth

There is a Hell on earth, and it’s in my house. Anyone who refuses to believe in the Devil should just come over for tea and see my dad. Lucifer would be proud.

Things had been almost normal for a while. I suppose more than an effort for normalcy, it was the simple fact that he was too occupied with his new secret affair and upheavals at work to pay too much attention to us. or focus his energy on new ways to torture us. I honestly didn’t even care that his so called business trip was a clandestine rendezvous with a girl even younger than me, because it bought us a few days of much needed quiet. Even that didn’t work out, though.

As it turns out, the ‘other’ woman isn’t just a gold digger, but a cheating one too. I don’t know what kind of delusions my father harbors. He was on cloud 9 thinking that he’d landed a young girl who was madly in love with, ready to leave her life behind and move to be with him, wait on his every whim, etc. Instead he found out that she’s been regularly fucking other men, through the entirety of their affair. A cheater gets cheated on? Heavens, how could that be?
It’s not any sort of consolation to us that Dad’s crawled back home to lick his wounds, though. We’re having to bear the brunt of his msiplaced, wrath, mom most of all, and she can’t understand where this new surge of maniacal behavior stems from. To a certain point we all try to be clinical about his madness, but you can only be detached for so long. After that…. well let’s just say it gets nastier.
So you have an almost Taliban-esque religious figure who is taking out his frustration on his family because his secret girlfriend cheated on him. The irony is not lost on me, but I’m not smiling. There comes a place where you become so tired of being so bitter day in and day out that you literally just want to end it, to stop feeling like this exhausted, hateful person whose every nerve is their last nerve. And on top of that you have a figure like my father haunting your every step, nagging you about everything from why you’re drinking from that mug, taking one teaspoon of sugar instead of two, wearing a color as bright as blue, sitting a certain way, arranging cans in the shelf nonalphabetically… the madness is incessant, and I’m tired. I’m tired of the constant snide comments that I’m going to Hell because I didn’t wake up at five am, how my eating habits are pointless because I didn’t eat two bananas before going for a run in the morning, how I’m a sinner and I’m filthy because I like to shower after breakfast, instead of before… Each of this is a repetitive topic, practically every day in fact. As far as I’m concerned, I’m in Hell already.
Three years ago when I started my blog, I still had a modicum of hope and ambition left. Now, I’m pretty sure I’m going to end up being thirty and living in my parents’ house under this monster’s thumb, simply because I’m too afraid of leaving my family behind with this creature who will almost literally eat them alives, devour their happiness as he has mine. At the same time, I’m not strong enough to do something that will extricate all of us from his iron hold. I’m a girl with an IQ of 159, sitting and arranging dusty old newspapers by date because they ‘should’ be arranged before being sent for recycling. I’m in love with a man who wants to get away from everything and everyone he knows quite as badly as I do, but the only difference is that I’m included in the ‘everyone’ for him. I’m a doctor, and I just spent forty five minutes standing impassively and trying not to react to the blood oozing on the floor as my father slammed each and every piece of meat in the freezer onto the ground, screaming and bellowing at our incompetence because we forgot that there was chicken in the freezer and he bought some more.
And this is my life. Bring on eternity, I suppose.

IS This Who We Are?

IS This Who We Are?

 

 

 

 

 

Paris. Syria. Iraq. Karachi. Bangkok.

It seems there’s not a place left in the world that hasn’t suffered, that pain has truly become worldwide. That the worst of humanity walks unseen among us.That we should resign ourselves that death will come us unexpectedly not by the Hand of God, but by the hand of Man.
What is wrong with us? Is this who we are? A hundred and twenty dead in Paris. Bombers quickly reached Syria when France retaliated. Mali gets notched on the map in the interim period. At the same time, Turkey shoots down a trespassing Russian jet, with two pilots, whose bodies are shown off to the camera by insurgents, triumphant that the people carrying death to them were blown out of the sky. And I’ll bet you anything, anything, that they considered this some sort of Divine intervention for their side.

I don’t presume to know what God is planning for me, let alone for us all. I don’t think anyone can claim to know, unless they’re seriously demented. But that’s exactly what’s happening, isn’t it? ISIS, the Taliban, Al Qaeda, extremists here, insurgents there, they’re all Muslim. And according to them, this is all God’s plan. And people like me can go blue in the face explaining that this isn’t Islam, but let’s face it, we’re being drowned out by the explosions these people set off worldwide.

Islam does not lie in killing. Jihad is the most misused and misquoted word on the planet. This is not who we are. This is not us, these are not Muslims. Find me a Muslim who will not break down when he sees the bodies of the Syrian children, toddlers, instants, women crying over their ruined homes and families. Find me a Muslim who was not rendered speechless by the military school in Pakistan where each and every child was systematically executed, to teach the military a lesson. Find me a Muslim who is ready to blow up a mosque packed to full capacity for the Friday prayers, because he is Sunni, and the mosque is Shia, or vice versa. Find me a Muslim who believes any or all of these, who is ready to punish the innocent civilians walking the streets in NY or LA for what the army led strikes did, the politically motivated wars have done to Iraq, and Afghanistan. Find me a Muslim like this, and I will tell you, this is not a Muslim. That’s not even a human being.

Human arrogance does not lie in our negligence of our mortality. It lies in our assumption that we are a part of God’s grand plan to make the world kneel to us. That is exactly what these deluded mad men are doing. They strap themselves with explosives and walk into a room full of white people, and think that they have earned Heaven. That a choir of angels is waiting to pick up their fragmented bits and ascend to the pearly gates- No. If you believe in Islam, if you are as staunch and as thorough a believer as you say you are, then you know the price of taking a life. You take on every single one of the murdered’s sins, and while the dead go straight to Heaven, no matter what their sins, you will have to pay for them. Or do suicide bombers conveniently forget this bit?
What about this nonstop rhapsodizing about the glories of Jihad? We are NOT at war. The Islamic world is NOT at war with the rest of the world. Stop using that as a pitiful excuse to justify your madness. If anything, the Islamic world needs to be at war with themselves, to root out these weeds and throw them out.
The world has come full circle. Today there’s an exodus from the Middle East, instead of to the Middle East. Palestine still bleeds. Syria is bleeding. Pakistan is bleeding. America bleeds. France bleeds. Is this who we are? Are we going to be responsible, revenge and retaliation, for the extermination of our own race?
I’m not saying that blame lies with any one side. It lies equally distributed on ALL our shoulders. We have the Maharashtra government in India, which has imposed a ban on beef (punishable, on suspicion, by public lynching) in a secular country. That’s right, India is a secular country. And the ban has gone unchallenged by the powerful central government, even though it is essentially unconstitutional. And people are too afraid to openly challenge it in court. Okay, okay, I get it. Cows are sacred to Hindu people. But Hindu people need to realize that they can’t force their religious restrictions on Muslims or Christians. And Muslims and Christians need to to realize that it’s just BEEF, for god’s sake. Stop smuggling pieces of meat, stop smuggling burgers and curries across the border. Are you going to fucking die if you don’t eat beef? If it’s that much of a sensitive issue, then just fucking stop eating it! I know it’s not ‘right’, that it impinges on your ‘rights’, but can’t you at least be reasonable? And face it. If someone walked into a Muslim restaurant in USA or UK and demanded they serve pork because those are Christian countries, wouldn’t you be immediately offended? Muslims I know are just a stubborn, just as adamant in their refusal to compromise. Why should we compromise, they bristle. We don’t bow to a stone god, that’s ridiculous. Have you ever stopped to think what the stone-god-worshippers think of you? They think you have no god, that you worship the sky, that you’re a bunch of goat fuckers and child molesters who think blowing yourself up earns you eternal paradise. A guy I know once asked me why all the fuss about beef in the first place, didn’t Muslims understand how sacred cows are for Hindus? After all, didn’t we find pigs sacred and refuse to eat them? It took me the better part of the afternoon to explain that pigs and pork are considered unclean, not sacred, and even then he didn’t look entirely convinced.

 

This is our problem. We seek to retaliate, not to understand. We don’t want to acknowledge that the person sitting opposite us could worship a different God, and yet still be as good a person as we consider ourselves. Or even better. Our pigheaded opinions of our superiority, our divinity, this rabid belief that each of us worships the true God while the rest are all in the wrong. Does believing in God mean that you look down on everyone around you? I really don’t think so. As far as I think, believing is supposed to make your heart softer, not harder. We are all flesh and bone and blood. And if you think your religion tells you that your blood is worth more than someone else’s, you’re probably reading something wrong.
There is so much pain around us. There is so much anguish around us. We have painted our houses in our neighbors’ blood so that the curse passes us over. What did you accomplish, ISIS, by bombing France? What did you accomplish, Al Qaeda, with 9/11? You’ve earned the world decades of suffering, backlash attacks, retaliatory strikes. Like a stack of dominoes, world peace is collapsing. Governments rise and all, people come to power and leave, disgraced or forgotten, but everyone wrecks havoc, whether they carry a stately title or a cash award for info. A scant handful actually aim for damage control, but they’re shunted aside just as rapidly. And the monsters watch the show from their shelters, planning and plotting where to hurt next. Is this who you are? Is this who we are? I refuse to believe in this, that we could not violently refuse an association with the worst of humanity, whoever they bow to.
If you seek to hurt someone, you are wrong. If you choose to cause pain, you are wrong. Whether it’s one person or one hundred. If you aim to cause damage, cause death, you are wrong. If you believe that God wants you to, you are wrong. You are as wrong as can possibly be. You carry the burden of hurting everyone you have hurt on your soul. Whether it’s a guy who’s heart you broke, or a goddamn building you blew up, do you understand?
How will you even stand before your God?

How will you even face God?