“Find a beautiful piece of art. If you fall in love with Van Gogh or Matisse or John Oliver Killens, or if you fall love with the music of Coltrane, the music of Aretha Franklin, or the music of Chopin - find some beautiful art and admire it, and realize that that was created by human beings just like you, no more human, no less.”—Maya Angelou (via acrylicalchemy)
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others.”—New International Version, Matthew 6:5 (via purelymodest)
“The assumed divide between mothers who work inside and outside the home is presented as a war of priorities. But in an economy of high debt and sinking wages, nearly all mothers live on the edge. Choices made out of fear are not really choices. The illusion of choice is a way to blame mothers for an economic system rigged against them. There are no “mommy wars”, only money wars - and almost everyone is losing.”—Mothers are not ‘opting out’ - they are out of options: In the United States, mothers are increasingly finding themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place. by Sarah Kendzior for Al Jazeera English (via aljazeera)
1. Sanguine: The person with this type of personality is impulsive, pleasure-seeking, outgoing, warm, friendly, sociable and charismatic. They tend to enjoy social events, meeting new people and making new friends. They are often lively, energetic and enthusiastic. They are also creative and…
“I think once you’ve thought about how a person sleeps, how they’d feel pressed up against your back, or your head on their chest, how compatible your bodies would be in the same space of a bed — once you’ve thought about that, you’re fucked.”—All These Things You Wish You’d Say (via nonchalantjon)
“Anyone who cannot come to terms with his life while he is alive needs one hand to ward off his despair…but with his other hand he can note down what he sees among the ruins.”—Franz Kafka (via likeafieldmouse)
“Be careful what you water your dreams with. Water them with worry and fear and you will produce weeds that choke the life from your dream. Water them with optimism and solutions and you will cultivate success. Always be on the lookout for ways to turn a problem into an opportunity for success. Always be on the lookout for ways to nurture your dream.”—Lao Tzu (via balance-and-blessings)
I won’t lie - I got tears reading this. It has to be one of the most beautiful, honest and heartbreaking political essays on Pakistan by a Pakistani professor who teaches in America. I’m sharing the excerpts that pierced the most:
In those years, even among members of the South Asian and Arab diaspora, I found myself repeatedly defending Pakistan against constant attacks. [But] two instances of kindness stand out because each happened when I was feeling more ragged than usual. In the first, a Palestinian shopkeeper offered me his condolences on the disintegration of my country. “I’m so sorry, at what you must be going through,” he said, “being this far away from family, reading the news, and dealing with everyone’s stupid questions.” I had responded by saying that things had to be bad if a Palestinian felt sorry for me. “I had the same thought myself!” he had exclaimed, and we had both laughed uproariously. In the second, I had been at one of many gatherings in which Obama’s victory was being celebrated. I had thought about drone attacks and the escalation of American invasions into Pakistan. But the suffering of a small, distant country seemed almost inappropriate to bring up in the midst of celebration about America’s first black president. As I prepared to leave, an American colleague told me quietly that she was sorry that I had to keep hearing people celebrate. “I know what this means for your home,” she said, and for the first time, I allowed myself to tell someone about the dread in my stomach and the difficulty I was having sleeping. I left before she could see my tears.
Being Pakistani meant that well-meaning students would frequently tackle me in corridors and ask me what I thought about “the current situation” in Pakistan. Most of the time, this was an excuse to tell me what they thought, namely that America needed to bomb the hell out of Pakistan because the country was a den for terrorists. In some instances, the student would add, as a considerate afterthought, that he hoped my family was safe. I would respond to student comments such as these with non-committal statements about the banality of the nation-state. My retreat into vagueness would diffuse the conversation, and I would hurry away. This constant bombardment and the defensive maneuvers it called for left me with little energy for words, and no space at all to know what I thought about the Pakistan in which people around me were interested. What I did know was that there was a Pakistan somewhere that belonged to me and it was under attack; this meant that I needed to protect it because doing so was the same as protecting myself.
The semester I began teaching in San Francisco, Pakistan had become the country around which I built walls to prevent it from being attacked in conversation. From the handyman who came to my apartment to fix a bookshelf and began ranting about terrorism when he found out where I was from, to the woman at my phone company who couldn’t give me rates to Pakistan without commenting on the place, being Pakistani meant that like the country, nothing was off limits when it came to the kinds of attacks to which I was subjected. The sense of threat would begin after I would stumble out to the airport in San Francisco, bleary-eyed and homesick, and a stranger in a uniform would take me aside, search my bags, and leave my clothes in a heap somewhere. The questioning would begin, particular in its brutality. Why was I bringing back “native costumes” to America? Why did my parents move back to a place like Pakistan when they could have lived here, in America, the country where I was born? And there would be the impossibility of saying “because of you” to the man sifting through my things. At the end of the interrogation, an immigrations officer would finally stamp my American passport and say “Welcome home.”
In the first class I teach in Lahore, the air seems to shimmer from the beginning. That September, something knotted suddenly unfurls. I’m in Pakistan. The line around it is no longer needed. My armor clanks to the floor. “Let’s talk about Pakistan,” I say to my students. And we do. There are no secrets to protect, no fear of being hurt from a stranger’s inadvertent prodding of a private bruise. These are not strangers. I’ve never felt such complete trust while standing in front of a classroom, and it makes me remember my own years in college, and the openness with which I seemed to walk around, a product of being ten years younger, but also of being Pakistani before the country came under siege on so many fronts. My students draw out from me pain that I would not allow to see the light of day, and I trust them easily, and allow them to ask anything they like. This country belongs to all of us, and I’m not standing in front of a room alone, weighed down by belonging that no one else can understand.
A woman is walking in our direction, obviously agitated, pounding on car windows. She comes to Haniya’s window and raps on it. Haniya rolls her window down. The woman says her sister has been burned in an accident and she needs to get her to the hospital. Will we help her get the road open? I think of my sister Jawziya and how I would do the same for her. “Yes,” we say. Car doors open, women and men rush out into the night. The woman argues with the police. The crowd backs her up. The policemen say they are doing their job. “Is this politician’s life worth more to you than my sister’s?” she yells. They seem shamefaced. The crowd gathers momentum. A man says he is recording this because he is a journalist from GEO. The policemen open the road. This is the Pakistan I know and love, I’m thinking. These ordinary victories, nothing short of heroic.
Pain the shape of Pakistan catches in my chest. It’s only love, I tell myself. Nothing else can cut with such precision.
Questions about Pakistan are now a fact of living here, no different from damp weather or calls from salespeople. Some I deflect, and others I frame around my own terms. It always helps to ask people who know names like Salman Taseer if they can name Pakistan’s four provinces or its major political parties.
At a gathering of the same Muslims I had begun to hide from because of their Pakistan-bashing, I am asked what it was like being in Lahore. The disparaging nature of the curiosity is obvious. “It was glorious,” I reply. “Weren’t you afraid of dying in a suicide bomb?” someone says, and others laugh and agree. Snide comments about terrorism follow. “Not at all,” I say. Then I ask him, “Aren’t you afraid of dying slowly, a little bit at a time? That’s a lot worse.” He laughs nervously and changes the subject.
In San Francisco, I walk back to my apartment and realize that for the first time, words that would once have bruised are easy to dust off and walk away from. It’s as though Pakistan has sent me back with something that remains, like the place, difficult to translate but that acts slowly on my silence, thinning it when necessary, and giving me words when needed. It’s only love. Nothing can mend with such precision.
“Represent your culture. Your heritage.
Be proud of the tongue your great grandmother spoke.
Be proud of the land your parents left behind;
the home they long to go back to.
Be proud of the thousand and some stitches that go into your people’s clothing.
Be proud of the foods that took thousands of year to perfect.
Be proud of the skin color that you carry with you- it weighs more than any flag.
Be proud of your culture,
because when you go out into their world,
They won’t care about what you’ve accomplished,
what you’ve become.
They’ll tear you down and look at you with disdain,
they will speak slowly to you so you “comprehend” what rubbish they have to say but won’t give a damn that your vocabulary spans two oceans, four languages, and countless generations.
Be proud of where you came from because,
be it from a mile away,
or a conversation face to face,
they will treat you like the dirt they step on,
when you are silken rugs of Iran,
the dunes of Rajasthan,
the lakes of Pakistan,
and the sounds of Delhi.
“The past decade has been devastating for Pakistan. The country’s annual death toll from terrorist attacks rose from 164 in 2003 to 3,318 in 2009, a level exceeding the number of Americans killed on September 11. Some 35,000 Pakistanis, including 3,500 members of security forces, have died in terror and counter-terror violence. Millions more have been displaced by fighting. It is difficult to convey how profoundly the country has been wounded. In 1989, my Lahore American School classmates and I (including children from Pakistan, America, Canada, Sweden, Germany, and Korea) were able to go to the beautiful valley of Swat by bus for a week long field trip with no security arrangements whatsoever. In 2009, the battle to retake Swat from Taliban militants involved two full divisions of the Pakistani army and hundreds of casualties among Pakistani soldiers. (Similarly, until a few years ago, there had never been a suicide bombing in Lahore. Now one occurs every three or four months.) The Pakistani government puts direct and indirect economic losses from terrorism over the last ten years at $68 billion.”—Mohsin Hamid - Why They Get Pakistan Wrong (via mama-panther)
“I feel a sadness I expected and which only comes from myself. I say I’ve always been sad. That I can see the same sadness in photos of myself when I was small. That today, recognizing it as the sadness I’ve always had, I could almost call it by my own name, it’s so like me.”—Marguerite Duras, The Lover (via rabbitinthemoon)
“Sometimes we’ve forgotten how important beauty is, how important aesthetics are, and art is sacred within itself because it’s beauty coming into the world—it’s part of the Kingdom of God.”—Michael Gungor (via blakebaggott)
“Please know there are much better things in life than being lonely or liked or bitter or mean or self-conscious. We are all full of shit. Go love someone just because; I know your heart may be badly bruised, or even the victim of numerous knifings, but it will always heal, even if you don’t want it to; it keeps going. There are the most fantastic, beautiful things and people out there, I promise. It is up to you to find them.”—Chuck Palahniuk (via champagnelifestyle)
Stop hating yourself. Try going one day without saying anything bad about yourself. Try complimenting yourself. Do it again. Buy yourself dinner. Put soft things against your skin. Listen to your favorite songs. Eat ice cream. Eat ice cream naked. You have to spend the rest of your life with you. You’re all you’ve got. Be kind, start loving yourself.
“Life doesn’t always introduce you to the people you want to meet. Sometimes life puts you in touch with the people you need to meet – to help you, to hurt you, to leave you, to love you, and to gradually strengthen you into the person you were meant to become.”—(via psych-facts)