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For the Love of Shawls

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Growing up, I was always the kid who didn’t speak much unless I was making a statement – in which case, there wasn’t really room for discussion. I usually kept quiet for as long as possible, took in everything that was going on around me, and then said what I needed to say and that was that. There was no back and forth, and no what-ifs. But I sit here today and I think about who I was and who I’ve grown to become, and all I can think about is all the ways I exist silently in the lives of others. Still. Motionless.

Sometimes I feel like a sieve. As though I am poured into constantly and expected to only drain and release the good into the world while holding onto the bad. But why do we never ask what happens to the bad that’s left behind? Not just for me, but for you too. Why do we never sit down and ask where the people in our lives put down all their hurt and all the heavy? Why are we all carrying such heavy weights on our backs? Why have we been taught to carry this load but never to put it down? Why? Why? Why?

I have so many questions, but I know there are no answers. These are the questions that have come out of years of generational trauma and ones we can only truly answer by looking towards those before us and critically asking ourselves:

  • What have we learnt here?
  • What good characteristics can we carry forward?
  • What negative traits can we leave behind?

Come to think of it, being able to extract the good and leave that which isn’t is a cardinal rule of life we should be taught as early as possible rather than collectively suffering. But, it’s not too late. It’s never too late.

Whenever I find that the weight of the world is weighing down heavily upon my bones, I wrap one of my late nani’s shawls around me, brew a piping hot cuppa, and settle in a corner of my bedroom. I ask myself what my nana and my nani would’ve had to say about who I am today, and I ask myself if what I am doing and who I am becoming is a worthy reflection of all the love they poured into me on days I couldn’t love myself. But most importantly, wrapped in her warmth, I ask myself, if what the generations before us did was to survive in this foreign world, will they forgive me for breaking these traditions that tie us down? Will they forgive me for no longer needing to survive but to live instead?

What I’m saying is, I’m trying to grow out of this cycle of survival but often, it feels a lot like breaking and I am learning how to make peace with this.

My loves, may we all find the peace we seek, and may we all learn to live the lives we know to be wholesome and good. May we go though these unprecedented times and learn that growing sometimes feels like breaking and that’s okay. But mostly, may we love ourselves enough even on the worst of days to be able to give ourselves the time of day.

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Ayesha Khanom

Sometimes a teacher, sometimes a student, but mostly caffeinated. This blog is a terrible attempt at writing out my thoughts - think of it as the 'comments, complaints, and suggestions' section of my brain. Nevertheless, I hope that some of these words will find a place in your heart and will stay with you even when I do not. If you'd like to get in touch, send me a message on Instagram or leave a comment on one of these posts and I'll get back to you at the best possible time.

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