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March 6, 2023

1 - pocket-sized poem

One deafening cry as dawn broke the night sky,
she began to sail through life in early July

One couple of dark brown eyes,
like a pool of liquid chocolate: iced
streaming clear water without disguise

One delicate heart loaded with wonder,
like rose petals in midsummer,
blooming with thunder

One beam of ivory skin in sight,
flashing the feeling of fearless with all her might,
what a pure delight

One pair of lips soaring laughter beyond compare,
like a stormy symphony in the air

One little solo warrior in the making,
brutally breathtaking.

To my sweet one-year-old self:
Today I made a little present for you and about you: one pocket-sized poem.
Your first birthday might not have been celebrated the way it should've been. 
but that shouldn't stop you from believing that you are loved.
Loving you is like placing one chubby cherry on top of a black forest cake;
Loving you is easy.

Happy birthday, onederful me.

March 1, 2023

0 - soundless tsunami

My parents’ firstborn just turned 6 months old when my mom found out that she was pregnant again.

Well, I bet any woman would be stunned to learn that she'd be carrying one baby inside and another baby outside at the same time. 

I bet my mom must be so frightened while calculating the risk of having two closely spaced kids.

I bet my mom was not mentally nor physically nor financially ready to commit herself to an unintended pregnancy.

I bet my mom was in a flood of tears because of that.

Because of me.

Because of my presence in her belly.

My mom said she had done so many things just to perform a quote-unquote legal abortion.

“There was this old wives’ tale saying that if I eat a large number of pineapples, it can end up to a miscarriage.

And so, I did.

I couldn’t remember how many pineapples I chewed on a daily basis. 

I also tried a dangerous exercise that involved rapid movement, like climbing the stairs as fast as I could.

But still, nothing happened.

Once I went back to the hospital, the doctor said the baby was so strong.

You were just as tiny as a pea but you were too strong to be defeated, Ena.”

The first time I heard that story from my mom...

it feels like there is a sudden soundless tsunami shattering every atom of my being. 

I wish it was all a lie.

I wish she was just teasing me.

I wish she could just keep it to herself for the rest of her life because gosh I DID NOT want to hear any of that.

I wish I was deaf.

I wish I was dead.

My mom and dad said they decided to keep me after all as they thought,

“Our firstborn is a girl. Fingers crossed we will have a boy this second time.”

My mom gave birth to me at dawn on Tuesday, July 6, 1993.

And while my parents were favoring a son, I was born a girl.

As I am sitting down to write this,

I can't help but feel a deep, deep, deep crater of emptiness welling up inside me.

Why on earth have I been so unwanted?

How could everything about me have been so wrong?

How could my existence have been nothing but a burden to my own parents?

I’ve been carrying this emotional baggage since I was six-year-old.

Right after my parents told me that story, my world began to shrink.

Without rest, I always tried to keep the pain locked away, buried deep inside where no one could see.

But the truth was always there.

A hurtful history I could never erase. 

A soundless tsunami that leaves lasting imprints on my life journey.

Growing up, I’ve been struggling with feelings of inadequacy and worthlessness.

I wondered if my parents could ever truly love me who was so unwanted from the start.

I wondered if my parents could treat me and my big sis equally.

I wondered if I was worth the try.

Through the pain that still lingers, I am determined to heal it, one of which is by writing this up. 

For I know that if I merely let this story rot in my head, it might dim my inner light which should’ve shone from within.

I refused to let the darkness consume me.

Because I know that I am more than the sum of my past.

I am more than the pain that I carry on my shoulders.

Tell you what.

That doctor was right.

I am strong.

The seed of strength has been sprouting in me...

since I was zero…

since I was just an embryo.

Having said that, I knew that there was one thing my mom hadn’t told me yet.

There was one thing my mom failed to see.

All this time, my mom kept telling me that I could survive in her womb only because I was so strong.

Little did she realize that I got all that power from her.

It was she who nourished me with many chunks of fondness and courage through the umbilical cord.

There was a ghost of a chance I could be one strong baby in a mother’s weak body.

There was no way it could happen just like that. 

It had always been my mom who made me strong.

It had always been her who was so strong.

As I’m looking back at my life, I began to understand the sacrifices my mom made,

the fear she faced, 

the tears she both shed and held back all because of me.

I realized that I was not just an accidental pregnancy.

I realized that my existence in this world mattered.

I decided to see myself as a miracle.

A miracle that my mom fought for, even when I was undesired.

To my dearest Mama... 

I want you to know that despite everything that happened in our past, I love you.

I love you for your willingness to do whatever it took to bring me into this world,

for giving me a chance to live inside you,

for trying your best to feed me while recovering between pregnancies,

and for telling me constantly that I am different because I am strong. 

If one day Allah blesses me with the opportunity to become a mother, 

I can only hope that I, at least, can be half as amazing as you are, Mama.

My dearest Mama...

I too want you to know that I forgive you.

I forgive you for the unintentional pain you didn’t mean to cause throughout my childhood. 

As a grown-up woman, I'm now grateful that you told me that story from an early age.

Your willingness to open up with me about your vulnerability while carrying me inside has allowed me to see how challenging and lonely motherhood can be. 

Your feelings are forever valid, Ma.

I shouldn't have thought that I had the right to reject how you feel about me. 

And so now I choose to embrace our story and accept my fate.

Thank you for being honest with me, Mama.

"In a world of lies, you are the truth."