Going through my Facebook memories made me realize that I’ve been home for exactly a year; I’ve hit that one-year mark y’all – and how different that view looks from this side.
I don’t regret my decision – I don’t think I ever will, despite my quibbles, because the grass is greener where I water it and not because it is where it is – but my goodness, I feel like turning twenty-five has been something like an adulthood wake-up call? I’m stretched thin. Growth is no longer predictably linear; my circle too has reduced significantly – with some friends, we’ve simply outgrown each other – and I find myself unable to write the way I used to.
For all my openness through written words, a lot more actually happens here in the real world through face-to-face conversations. Then there’s questions-and-answers, of which I find that life gives me increasingly complex questions with answers that won’t appear perhaps until years from now, when the lessons are at last learned. I find myself challenged in different ways too causing me to take a stand, like with my Muslim identity. In the words of Eldest Sis from early this year, “This is what I mean when I kept reminding you to know yourself. Because when your grounding is firm – those around you will know to respect that part of you. They’ll learn to accept. But in order for this to happen – you’ve got to know yourself first. You’ve got to know to stand your ground before others can do that for you.”
Now I’m trying to live by her other golden advice, first shared when I was an overly emotional teenage girl, “Your problem is that when you’re upset – you want the whole world to be upset with you.” She paused, her tone matter-of-fact; I remember the coldness of this sentence until today. “But it doesn’t work that way. The world spins just fine – without you.”
Some years ago, she said this too:
“You need to learn to build your coping mechanisms because if you don’t, the world will break you. In the real world, it doesn’t matter how good you were in the classroom; how much you know; how good of a person you think you are. They want to know what you can bring to the table. Stripped from your past academic achievements – what do you stand for?
What can you bring to the table? How does your presence contribute to the bottom line?”
I am trying – try; that’s all I ever do – to be worthy of her words.