Beautiful, and so glad Sultan shared this letter:
It gives us all hope, faith in life and love, and a desire to pay it forward.
In a society that continues to dictate to us how to live our lives, what to wear, how to be a “good” wife/mother/daughter, how to be an ideal woman, it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain a sense of identity, without being swayed and confused by excessive demands. I grew up in an environment that attempted to control, regulate, and tell me how to be “me.” It was difficult in a mixed American school, where kids tried to blend, mixing a Kuwaiti culture with American ideals and identities. To be considered “cool” was not easy, and to be branded “cool” did not mean that you were to stay “cool” forever, you had to please the majority, follow a certain code of conduct (or misconduct), and of course, the social class you were born in set the stage for all the rest of the demands.
Even today, it remains difficult to remain true to who you really are. I know so many people who have lost themselves, and to try and recover yourself is the hardest thing you have to do. You may end up in a relationship where you cannot remember who you were before that person, you may end up working at a job where you change your work ethics, or you may end up trying to please the Beast. The Beast comes in all forms: parent, partner, boss, colleague, an illness, age, anything at all that threatens your sense of well-being, your inner peace. To maintain this “self” is important but we also need to know what exactly is this “self” in question.
At times, I get overwhelmed with it all. I get comments that confuse me sometimes, for example, I am told that I have perpetually sleepy/tired eyes. Sometimes it gives off a lazy impression, when it is simply a neurological imbalance. It can be frustrating to say the least. I said this a few days ago to my mother, a woman who has taught me to accept the physical body as lacking, to accept society as constantly critical, and to accept myself as an evolving being, but mainly, she taught me that there are no losses in life that should kill me- except, the loss of self. And the biggest struggle, the struggle of fighting to maintain that self, that is the cause. That is the cause- if we talk about feminism, if we talk about disability rights, identity studies, healthy relationships and boundaries, all of it- it’s the same cause. To remain you, at the end of the day.
This is a random conversation this morning, her reminding me of what it means to embrace myself, even at the age of thirty, one can never do without Mom’s unconditional love and wisdom.
Now, naturally, the curls are just a metaphor in this post, but as a child it was a pressing issue!
And that’s all for now.
“When I was leaving Paris on that fateful 10 June, I felt as though I were being wrenched away for the last time from yourself in the flesh… I’ve thought of you almost always as yourself, separated from me- but also, as the essential, undefined condition of my own life… My love, I’ll recover you, concretely- on a street corner, with your face, your smiles, your little body and your determined step.”
A very interesting read:
عجبتُ منك و منـّـي يا مُنـْيـَةَ المُتـَمَنّـِي
أدنيتـَني منك حتـّـى ظننتُ أنـّك أنـّــي
وغبتُ في الوجد حتـّى أفنيتنـَي بك عنـّــي
يا نعمتي في حياتــي و راحتي بعد دفنـــي
ما لي بغيرك أُنــسٌ من حيث خوفي وأمنـي
يا من رياض معانيـهْ قد حّويْـت كل فنـّـي
وإن تمنيْت شيْــــاً فأنت كل التمنـّـــي
For disability scholars and writers, this is my first introduction to the journal as International Editor. Other well-known figures on our editorial board include Dr Tom Shakespeare, David Bolt, and others.
Here is the link and please browse other articles as we worked so hard to encompass a variety of voices:
There was this student I taught about two years ago. I want to call her Laura, for the sake of anonymity.
Laura was very quiet in class, not someone I noticed. She missed a few classes here and there, but nothing drastic. When Laura emailed me onE day discussing a certain health issue, she was embarrassed and uncomfortable revealing her chronic illness. I responded with openness, and informed her of my own struggle. Her eyes lit up everytime she saw me after this mutual sharing of vulnerability. Laura did wonderfully in the class, even though she missed many classes.
But that’s not my point. Girls are conditioned and taught to be submissive, shy, and ashamed of themselves, their bodies, and of course, difference. I didn’t do much for Laura. I simply spoke to her and shared my vulnerability. It did wonders. I haven’t been in touch with her since she did graduate, but just recently, after a lot of pressure (haha) I started a public snapchat account. Laura added me and one of the first things she said was “I am happy you exist in this world.”
Maybe those words don’t ring a bell with most of you, but for me, at a time when I have started doubting existence and meaning, these words really made me feel so alive. What can I say? They say teachers have tons of people remembering them. We might fall short in our personal lives, with our partners, families, but at school, we make a difference.
And that’s all for now.