We have come a long way, a very long way indeed. From living into caves to fancy big ass houses and from watching the birds fly to flying in the air ourselves and from looking at the sun and moon to looking into cosmic bodies millions of light years away. And these are great achievement indeed. We seem to have made our lives much easier for ourselves. The sound of that sounds pretty good doesn’t it! The question, however, that I post towards you is: Have we lost something on the way? Maybe something that we may have to go back decades or even centuries to get a hold of again?
Let me answer that for you. Yes, we have lost not one but many things. Some of them are surprisingly what essentially makes a human a human in the first place. Dignity, which is basically a state of being worthy of great honor and respect. We, lost it. There are humans dying of gunshots and tank fires and hunger and poverty and natural catastrophes and the rest of the humans live in peace, like kings and queens. Are they worthy of honor and respect? No.
There was a notion of integrity somewhere in the air a long while ago. There still is but perhaps the meaning has changed and has become quite relevant to each individual or rather groups of individuals. Humans talk about morality and strong principles based on honesty. Just have a look at the world around you, someone seems to have wiped away all the morals and replaced it with something else instead, prejudice. Humans are proud of things they don’t even possess. How naive is that! Principles based on prejudice can only make things worse not better.
Humans have lost another gem on the way up, selflessness. Its almost impossible to find a selfless human being ready to serve a purpose without expecting something back in return. But it is quite common to find human beings leading their own kind astray in the hopes of staying ahead of them in life. Humans have become selfish, a despicable quality that was mocked at at some point but the human race is full of it now. Selflessness and goodwill, we lost it.
I can probably go on and on but the point of the matter is that being human is a state of mind. We’ve lost that too. It should not be a surprise that the human race is not worthy of being called just the human race anymore, the term “the damned human race” seems to serve the purpose more aptly. Ironically, all the damnation has been brought about by themselves. There must still be some real humans left though, maybe that is why the world hasn’t ended yet.
I am a part of the damned human race but I don’t want to be. I want to live like a real authentic human being, the way all of us have been created. It just amazes me how the most evolved creatures to walk the planet can lose their originality over things that are temporary, to say the least. We need to change, evolve and sustain that evolution. The big change back towards being real humans is quite possible. As it is said that instead of fixing a corrupt system you come up with a better and evolved system so that the old one becomes obsolete on its own, something of that nature needs to happen. We, all of us, need to come up with a new system based upon the values we’ve lost, at individual levels as well as societal ones. This needs to happen as soon as possible and if doesn’t, civil wars are not far from raging out globally and whatever is left of the peace in the world will be gone, for good.
When I made my way through the gates of Alhamra Arts Council, Lahore on Sunday (yesterday) I had absolutely no idea I would walk out a changed individual. I had heard of Tanzila Khan earlier, I knew enough to know she was a woman working towards a better future not only for herself but for all humanity, but little did I know the magic she possessed inside her. I was greeted warmly by Zoya Ishaq who was hosting the event and also happens to be the founder of ‘SHE’ – An organisation that works towards celebrating and promoting womanhood in Pakistan.
Tanzila Khan – a motivational speaker, an author, a mentor and an inspiration to many has been empowering individuals since 5 years but it seems so effortless that one could presume, she’s been doing this her whole life. She has her own production company by the name ‘Creative Alley’ and she also happens to be exceptional at public speaking and marketing. Tanzila Khan with the collaboration of ‘SHE’ held an interactive session for women by the name ‘Lemonade with Tanzila’ at Alhamra Art Gallery, Lahore. The event consisted of seven segments based on problem solving, activism, confidence building, communication, career, relationships, and personal grooming.
Amongst the laughter, the light banter, the never ending packets of ‘Oye Hoye’ provided by United Snacks, the oh so sweet and gooey brownies provided by one of Tanzila’s friends and the most beautiful ornamental baskets provided by NN creations, was an aura of rebirth and rejuvenation. It was as if each and every one of us who was a part of that gathering was there to fulfil a purpose, it put so much into perspective. The short while spent with Tanzila wasn’t just about celebrating the joys of womanhood, it was about self-reflection as a human being.
Life is all about creating a balance. As a woman residing in the Pakistani society, it is so important to know how to perfectly balance responsibilities. A woman carries the weight of the future on her shoulders, she has to recognise her strengths and weaknesses and condition herself in a manner that emancipates everything around her – Lemonade with Tanzila aimed to do exactly that and succeeded to a great extent.
When I walked out of that place, I felt much lighter than before, I realised that my life’s grievances were insignificant compared to those of the women sitting before Tanzila, discussing their lifelong struggles and hard earned achievements. I spent the four years of my undergrad at Beaconhouse National University (BNU) fussing over the minutest details of my coursework. I worked so hard I forgot to stop and smell the roses, and while my parents were and are extremely proud of me for achieving what I have, I still can’t make up for the lost time.
I just can’t make up for all the golden moments I missed spending with my parents, the times when I could’ve skipped typing away on my laptop for that ‘very important submission’ and just gone out for ice cream with my family. I don’t regret any of the hard work I put into my work. I was respected for my diligence and still am, but a small part of me feels like that perhaps I went too far, my ambitions got the best of me.
It’s not like I didn’t try to strike that balance, I really did, but I made too many sacrifices for no particular reason. I spent a good amount of time with my friends but not enough with family, which is why I’d say that if I could change one thing, I’d give all my time to my family and little to the people who no longer even exist in my life.
Anyhow, my point here is that I let go of a big part of me yesterday. I realised that while I couldn’t change the past, I had the ability to reflect on my mistakes and make the present better. Every woman present over there left with a little string of hope, Tanzila’s “Empowerment Party” succeeded in making the most tantalising Lemonade anyone has ever tasted and something that those women would carry with them for a lifetime.
I tend to isolate myself from others. I don’t know why I do that, I just need your help or even a small advice could make my life much much better. I fall for everyone, sometimes I become paranoid, I don’t know why. I start thinking that at some point that no one likes me, people say I have ego issues but have they ever noticed why I even tend to have those ego issues? I try to work on myself i try to work on my ego but I fail I don’t know why. I am a self proclaimed introvert and I just want to be happy but I can’t be. At times I can’t be. I isolate myself from people I just don’t know what to do.
Out of all the moments we’ve shared for the last twenty-two years, there’s one that still burns at the back of my mind.
I want to talk about that moment today.
It happened six years ago, when you were dragging my lifeless body off the bed, when your fingers were digging into my flesh but my mind was too numb, and yet too pained to register it.
It happened on the morning after my first breakup.
You’d always kept me protected, always drew the line between the good and the bad. I didn’t know there were places and spaces that existed between the two and so, when he promised me forever, I believed it.
The morning after my first breakup, I woke up feeling fine. Happy, to be honest, just the way I always did because I woke up to the thought of him everyday, the same way I fell asleep. It was a constant state of euphoria.
I sat up groggily and watched the dust motes swirling around a lone ray of sunshine hitting the bed and I was still happy. But an alien feeling had begun to surface from the depths of my amnesia and before my body hit the bed, racking with tearless sobs, I remembered.
I remembered everything.
The first morning after my first breakup, I experienced heartache.
I fell back on the bed, once more in shock… losing all sense of time, of obligations, of my body. Years later, I still can’t piece together how I really felt. It was like being dragged naked on the scorching dessert sand, like being pushed underwater and feeling the water gush into my lungs, like being stabbed and shot and shredded to smithereens.
There was also a haze.
It was tangible.
It was real.
I could see it.
I don’t remember if it was really brown or why that color stands out so vividly in my memory as I write this, but I do remember the haze. It was like a thick veil that stood between us as you came to wake me up.
It was early in the morning.
It was time to face the music.
You found me lying on the bed, lifeless, paralyzed with grief and you shook me. You called out my name and heard me gasp instead. I couldn’t breathe. And you said, “Get up.” It was a command. “Get up. NOW.”
Your hands closed around my ankles as you dragged me off the bed. I almost fell to the ground because I couldn’t move a muscle but you caught be around the shoulders and as I leaned onto yours you said, “If you don’t get up now, you won’t ever be able to get up again.”
I couldn’t feel it then, drenched as my mind was with what, for a very long time, I thought would be endless grief, but in the depths of my layered subconscious, your words had struck a chord.
I didn’t want to go to my internship. I didn’t want to face life. I didn’t think I could trust myself. I didn’t know how I’d be able to make it through the day without you. I was at the precipice; waiting for the dam to burst, yet gliding through the corridors of an infinite wait to feel something. I aged that day, and so did my heart.
But what has never aged, are your words.
That firm whisper in my ear.
The one moment that still burns at the back of my mind.
Out of all the moments we’ve shared for the last twenty-two years, this is the one that will always come back to haunt me, to heal me.
Thank you Mother, for transforming your daughter into a phoenix, for teaching her to rise from the ashes, to heal, and to fly.
Thank you, for teaching me that the world never comes to a standstill even if we feel that way, that life goes on.
There’s something about being a die hard romantic and perhaps reading too many books glorifying rose tinted love. I’ve never truly considered myself a romantic (I refrain from labelling) but some part of me believes in the idea of love. Love is the most subjective thing in the world. I say this because it’s a four letter word that is extremely versatile in context.
I love animals, I love reading paperbacks and I would rather prefer them over their technological counterparts, I love adventure, I love a good surprise, I love it when my best friend calls me instead of texting me, it makes me feel as if she made the extra effort to hear my voice. Texts seem devoid of emotion – too disconnected for my taste. I prefer my close ones to be in close proximity; the sort that allows me to truly feel their presence or come as close to it as possible.
Love and hate both go hand in hand. Where there is one, the other is bound to follow suit. You can’t expect someone to not feel resentment towards you if you’re the one who triggered them. My friends and family tend to believe that I have a bright future in storytelling, that perhaps I could write a life altering (read: earth shattering) book some day. How could they presume that I could accomplish such a feat?. I’ll tell you why – they think I have the knack for it as I believe in fairytales and happily ever afters. *facepalm*
No. I don’t. I’m just a hopeful heart in a world full of hopelessness. My feet are on the ground but that doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to dream of floating in the clouds from time to time. I can spread all the love and happiness I want, it doesn’t cost a dime and only brings smiles on people’s faces or reminds them of their own fond memories. If my words resonate with you, I’m doing something right. My work is done.
Another thing I’ve recently noticed is how quick people are to judge the subject you choose to write on. They think you’re some heartbroken, wretched train wreck waiting to be fixed, so in the meanwhile you choose to write about love, loss and betrayal. When will people learn not to jump to conclusions? It’s not always like that. Writing is a way of connecting, it’s meditation and art combined.
It’s pure, it’s raw and it’s passionate and wild. It has to run it’s course, so let it. You have to let your heart do the writing, you have to project your observations and experiences in your expression. If my words strike a chord with you, it means that you too are human, you’re not alone and you too can relate to it on some deeper level. You don’t have to be lovelorn to write about life and love, it stems from compassion and empathy.
It’s been so long since I’ve written something, actually, it’s been a while since I felt that spark, that sudden urge to pen down my thoughts. These past couple of months weren’t easy on me, mentally or physically. Everyone has things going on in their life, things that only their inner selves can truly understand and well like every other human being on the face of the earth, I too have had to walk down that road; let’s just say it isn’t as smooth and well constructed as the new bridges and “signal free corridors” our Prime Minister has been busy putting his undying love and devotion into.
Hello? what happened to the energy crisis, the dire need for a better education system and better healthcare?! *sighs*
Okay, enough on the sheer incompetency of our sitting government and more on what this post is supposed to be about. I had a conversation with a close friend yesterday and she got me thinking – why do we keep dwelling in the past? Why don’t we love ourselves enough to forgive us for our mistakes? We make innumerable mistakes in our lifetimes, we have major falling outs with our kith and kin, we face betrayals, heartbreaks, we’re constantly waging wars and amidst all this, we trap ourselves in a cage of self pity and doubt.
We stop looking at ourselves in the mirror and reminding us of the people we really are, and the individuals we ought to be. We become obstacles in the path of our own evolution, we start fearing transition and we stand still in the fear of the uphill battle that awaits us.
We keep looking back and holding on to the past, we’re in denial of our shortcomings, we fail to accept ourselves for the people we were in the past and the people we are at present, we keep wanting to go back to a better place, we keep wanting to somehow erase our past experiences and look at life from another perspective, but the bitter truth is that we don’t have the power to change what’s already happened.
The only thing that is in our power is to accept it, make peace with it and move forward. Moving forward is the only way to go, it’s the only way you can gain your sanity back, and it’s the only way you’ll finally be able to make space for better things in your life. Let bygones be bygones, free yourself, give yourself room to grow…just forgive yourself, It’s about time you did.
Thoughts on life, love and everything in between.. transcribed by a self proclaimed bleeding writer.