cor ad cor loquitur

where heart speaks to heart

#NotMyPresident: Donald Trump’s Terrifying America — November 10, 2016

#NotMyPresident: Donald Trump’s Terrifying America

Side note: sorry for not blogging much lately. I’m not abandoning this blog, but just cutting back from how often I want to blog. In terms of quality, I think it’s better to write when I particularly feel passionate about an event or topic. Maintaining a blog schedule does not result in quality writing, and I’m honestly not proud of any of those blog posts I’ve written. Okay, so now let’s talk about the elephant in the room (or rather the title).

By now we are all familiar with the results of the election and the man who is now our President-Elect. We are all familiar with the protests conducted all across the country as a result of the election results. We are all (hopefully) familiar with the hate crimes that started as a result of the election.

As a Muslim-American woman (and obviously a POC), I am terrified, but I’m not terrified because of Donald Trump. Rather, I’m terrified because the racist, white supremacist rhetoric that has unfolded as a result of his candidacy and now election. Let’s be clear, I’m only 22 years old (so I’m young, but I’m not naive by any means). I never wanted to admit it, but the second he was selected as the Republican nominee for president, I knew that racism had not gone away. The Civil Rights Movement of the 60s would be resurrected, except this time, it wouldn’t include just Blacks, it would include Muslims, Latinx, LGBTQ, and women. White supremacy never died, it was just buried under ground waiting for someone to unearth this.

My father, a Muslim Pakistani-American, had experienced racism long before Trump was elected. Do you know what it was fueled by? Trump’s campaign. He was given a Bible by one of his coworkers who told him to consider conversion to Christianity because Islam does not preach peace. Islam is a backwards religion, according to his coworker. His coworkers subtly hinted at white supremacy by ganging up against him and trying to get him to quit. They made his life a living hell, to the point where he experienced his first episode of depression.

But this was all long before Trump’s election, now that he is elected, I fear for my father. Not just because of the financial aspects that result from losing a job, but because this is the America he worked so hard to come to. This is the America that caused him to leave his entire family in Pakistan and come to in order to provide better prospects for his children. So while it is easy to joke about booking a one way flight to the motherland or Canada, it leaves you wondering– what was the point of my parents’ sacrifice?

We leave our countries to come to America, the land of freedom and liberty. A land where we are free to practice our religion and free to maintain our traditions. I can wear what I want and not be taunted by every one around me. This freedom was not present in Pakistan. But now, it seems that the country my parents wanted to come to has let them down. Freedom is simply a catchphrase for America, but is that what the general population truly stands for?

Since when did America become a largely become an evangelical entity? The answer is, it’s always been. Trump’s election has just unearthed this ideaology, and like many other minorities, I am terrified. Does this mean it will now be okay to burn POC’s houses, steal their cars, physically assault them on the streets, and hurl racist insults at them? I want to say no, but the truth is I’m not sure. A day after the election, hate crimes have surged. Hate crimes against women, against Muslims, against Blacks, against Hispanics. If this is what will continue for the next four years, then this is not the great America my parents sacrificed their happiness for.

People have said the election will not affect anyone, but they are privileged. If you are not genuinely terrified about what will happen to your family, what will happen to you, then you are privileged. Privilege is such a nice place to be right now. Just because we’re in 2016, it does not mean the world is perfect. It’s still racist, sexist, and homophobic– and that is a scary place to be.

I’ve written a lot, and if I continue, I think the message I want to get a strong won’t be as impactful. I do want to say that maybe Trump won’t be as bad as a president. Maybe he just utilized racist and misogynistic rhetoric to get votes. What I do know is that we have unearthed something terrifying, and we need to be strong and support each other. If Trump stands for everything he mentioned on his campaign, then I’m sorry, but he’s #NotMyPresident.

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The Value of Education — January 24, 2016

The Value of Education

(This won’t be one of my normal blog posts, but nonetheless it’ll be interesting.)

My parents college education is worth nothing. My parents have both graduated college with a Bachelor’s (B.S.) degree in Chemistry and Physical Therapy (father and mother, respectively). The only problem is they obtained their education in Pakistan, so in this advanced first world country their college education means nothing.

They have worked just as hard as anyone else who has received a Bachelor’s degree. They worked extra hard to legally enter the U.S. in hopes of obtaining further education. However, since their education was not valued as highly as an American obtained Bachelor’s, they financially could never afford to further their education and obtain a higher level degree.

That doesn’t mean they’re not as qualified for the positions they apply for. They left their white collar positions in Pakistan to come to the land of freedom to pursue the American dream. Yet when they arrived, they were forced to work lower level positions. (**NOTE: Nothing wrong with these positions. Trust me, no job is too little and under circumstances you just have to take up whatever job you can get to survive.)

Here’s the thing, my father was a supervisor in the Pakistani branch of a well-known pharmaceutical company. My mother owned her own clinic and worked as a PT in a hospital. However, after coming to America, they never worked in these fields ever again.

To pay the bills, my father took to becoming a security guard at the airport during the night while selling phone cards during the day. My mother worked in a warehouse. We had to rent out a room, bathroom, and kitchen because we couldn’t even afford an apartment.

Things got better, though. My dad received a job offer at a chemical company in New Jersey. We packed up and moved. But even then, my mom started working at a dry cleaners. When my brother was born, she gave up her career to take care of us.

Eighteen years later (present day), she’s looking for a job. Any job, if she’s lucky even a job in her field, but her education is nothing. Her sacrifice to properly raise her children haunts her daily. She applies to multiple positions daily. These positions range from cashier to physical therapy aide. Yet every single time, they reject her. She never gives up hope, but I have because while this country is great, it ruined my parents life.

My father’s job helps pay our bills, bring food to the table, and let’s us enjoy life once in a while. He was the supervisor at a pharmaceutical company, but now when he applies to those jobs, they reject him. He has the qualifications, he meets the requirements, but still he’s rejected.

Our family income places us in no man’s land (since the middle class is disappearing). Our total income is slightly more than the poverty line, but significantly less than upper class. With this, we survive and manage to pay out of pocket whatever remaining tuition I have for college.

My parents have worked hard. They are educated and would continue to work hard. But the ones who judge based on resume never see that. My parents college education is worth nothing. But my parents sacrifice means everything to me. When I graduate with my PharmD, I know that they realize it was all worth it.

 

Letter to my future self — January 14, 2016

Letter to my future self

Dear future Komal,

I am not sure how old you actually are because I didn’t intend it to be a set time into the future. The fact that this is a blog post also points to the fact that I don’t intend to have a certain aged Komal read it. Anyway, rambling aside (you’ll notice I do a lot of that, do you still ramble?), I hope you are doing well.

Today is January 14, 2016. You woke up this morning to find out that Alan Rickman, a wonderful actor, had just passed away after battling cancer. He was in many movies you’ve watched, but most notably, he was Professor Snape in Harry Potter. Your opinion on Professor Snape is constantly changing. Sometimes you love the character, other times not so much. Speaking of deaths, as of this day, your great grandmother, Dada, Dadi, Rafat Chachi, and Ayesha have passed away. Ayesha was only 20 years old, and her death is the most recent one in your family.

I want to avoid talking about family problems in this letter. Just know that they exist and sometimes your anger stems from them. You are constantly debating between asking for forgiveness from Allah (SWT) or just breaking all ties with certain people.

As of today, you’ve had your heartbroken once in a romantic way and it still affects you deeply. You still hope that you and this boy will get together, but you have entrusted this into the hands of Allah (SWT). You feel lonely and want to have a significant other, but are also afraid of everything that will ensue.

You’re convinced you suffer from depression, so I hope that now you don’t let it affect you much and have gotten treatment. And with that, enough about the present.

I hope that you are happy now. I hope that you have started to travel the world. What was the first country you decided to visit? Did you have a good time? How often do you vacation?

I also hope you’ve settled down and have a family if this is 30 year old Komal reading. As a 21 year old, you wanted at least one child by the age of 30. I hope your husband treats you with love and respect. (Is he a doctor? 21 year old Komal always wanted to marry a doctor) I hope he can deal with your anger, impatience, and provide emotional support in trying times. Does he surprise you with romantic gestures? Does your relationship still have the same warmth and love it had when it first began? Most importantly, have you finally learned to cook and decided to overcome germophobia and start cleaning the bathroom?

How is your house? Is it the luxurious 5 bedroom house you planned on having? What about the decor? I certainly hope it’s contemporary. Your kitchen must look amazing. Does this have your dream shoe closet or did you outgrow that dream once you realized that it was impractical?

What about your career? Did you decide to do a two year residency after all or did you just accept the job offer at CHOP because you were tired of learning and studying? Most importantly, do you feel happy that you chose this career path? Despite all the struggles in pharmacy school, I’m sure you made it through. I’m about to start my second semester of fourth year, which leaves only 5 more semesters in this journey. I’m sure you made it through even if you had one too many mental and emotional breakdowns.

Are you still friends with I, J, H, S, Z, and any of your other college friends? I hope you know whose names those letters refer to. How are they doing? Were they bridesmaids at your wedding? Speaking of, how was your wedding? Right now, you’re worried about how that’ll work out because your family is in Pakistan, but you want to marry someone in America. How’d that work out?

What’s Eabad up to these days? If you’re 30 years old, then I hope he’s started working and making a living. Do you plan on getting him married soon or do you want him to fully establish himself?

Do you both support your parents? Are they doing well? You love your parents. I’m sure you still do. You fight with them on occasion, but they’re your best friends. In shaa Allah, they are still there with you. At 21, the thought of losing them remains unbearable. Everything you are today is because of them and their sacrifices. Never forget that.

That’s all the time I have for today. I have to pray namaz, which I hope you have started praying five times daily.

With love,

A 21 year old Komal

The one that matters — October 8, 2015

The one that matters

Here’s some free-writing based on real moments. Hope you enjoy. Also, hi, it’s been a while. I’ve been so busy with school. 2 more years of pharmacy school to go!

I wish you would smile more and appreciate the fact you were blessed with a wonderful life by the One and Only. When I see you smile at events like graduation, I feel happy because that’s a genuine smile. But I know you are severely depressed. But life is a gift from God. I wish you’d prefer staying alive than dying. What hurts the most is when you talk about wanting to die. Life is temporary, that I know, but life is also a gift.

I wish you would appreciate everything about life. The fact that you do have a wonderful family with a wonderful husband and wonderful kids. That’s all that should matter. You should love the fact that you live away from the horrors that plague your home country. Yes, I know your family lives there. But do they actually care about you? Tell me one time they actually cared about you. When you’re with your other family, you have no say in important decisions. That’s probably why you feel the way you do.

I know life is hard for you. That’s why I always pray that you are happy. If living here does not make you happy, then you can go away. I know you prefer the other country. If you think they truly care for you and you will genuinely be happy, then you can go. I have accepted that fact that living away from you is fine if that is the key to your happiness. Sorry, we don’t like the other country, but if you like it, be happy and feel free to move there. I just want you to be happy because you have truly had the hardest life.

I am sorry for everything. You’ve had the hardest life. I don’t want you to wish that life ended for you. I want you to appreciate everything about your life, but focus more on the good. I want to see you happy during every occasion. I want those tears to be tears of happiness and not tears of sorrow. I am so sorry for everything you’ve been through in life, even the things I haven’t done. Someone needs to tell you how important you are, and to me, you are the most important person I know. You are my bestest friend. I love you so much, and I want everything in life to go perfectly for you..

Yours truly.

I know this is sad, but this was a way for me to vent my feelings. A lot of personal things have been happening in life, and while I won’t share too much, this vague post hopefully explains some things. It certainly did feel like a burden has been lifted from my shoulders. Till next time, stay happy always.