Traveling the world is more than

Seeing the Eiffel tower.

It’s more than

Swiss Alps and Belgian chocolate.

British accents and Irish landscapes.

Resort beaches and Expensive hotels.

It is most memorable as

Dirt roads between shanty houses.

Faces that havent seen the likes of you, nor you them.

Stuttering and stumbling over a language you never learned in school.

Tasting fruit you didn’t know existed or grew at all.

Sometimes it’s about unlearning what you’ve been taught.

When faced with those who seem to have nothing,

It’s understanding your privilege and being grateful.

It’s understanding your position as a guest or visitor.

It’s teaching less and being a student,

Leaving something of yourself behind where ever you go,

A kind word or a smile.

Respect and humility.

Sometimes it’s not about traveling the world

But about letting the world travel you.

Letting each new friend shape you.

Each new language leaves a new word so true you can’t translate it to English.

Each new food leaves a taste nothing can replace.

The memories will feel like another life.

The You in them will feel like a different Self.

And you like the Traveling Self

Much more than the Stationary Self.

You find that She has more patience for humans.

You feel that She still has hope for them.

Nesha Usmani

06/26/2018

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Time, Memory, and Words

Oh, the way we forget.

The lives we leave behind each day live on,

A word said, a word taken.

The voice gone, the sound of consonants and vowels are strung upon the wind.

And yet the word remains.

How much did we say, and how much was heard

And so much has been wasted, taken by the wind

Time, memory, and words.
Nesha Usmani

4/28/2017 – general updates, ponderations

It’s April 28, 2017. I know I don’t need to iterate that, since it’s probably everywhere on the screen, but it’s glaring at me. I have only published twice in the last year, and less than 10 in the last two.

I miss blogging. I miss writing. I miss having more time to myself. But a lot has changed in such a short amount of time.

One minute, I’m grabbing a coffee on my way to class, thinking about graduation and getting excited for my wedding. The next, I’m grabbing a coffee so I can handle the day alone with my 7 month old little girl; my husband at his job in D.C.

I think about frames of mind quite a bit, how your daily experience shapes who you are and how you perceive everything around you.

I┬ásee the busybody grad student and think, “I wish I could go back there, so many dreams! So many possibilities.”

Now two years later I see her at the grocery store, baby in one arm and a shopping basket in the other. I see that she’s there during work hours and unbeknownst to everyone around, she actually does have a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree. But maybe that’s not obvious with her mismatched hijab, trousers, over-sized blouse and casual Nikes. Oh, and bouncing, relentless baby.

But I don’t give myself enough credit. I’m taking care of three, sometimes four or five other people. I cook, I clean. I tolerate. I’m not just a holder of proofs of education. I carried a baby for 9 months, often painfully and in sickness. I had that baby cut out of me unexpectedly one night, but she was still perfect. All 5 pounds, 8 oz of her. She is still perfect, even though her mother might not be.

I went through post-partum depression. A battle I still fight peripherally with anti-depressants and a variety of obsessions (oh, there have been plenty…lipstick, crochet, and iced coffee).

I take pains not to let my daughter look at screens so much, but hilariously, I’m always surrounded by them myself. Imagine telling your child to be quiet and look away, while you desperately seek escapism through your Instagram feed. Try telling your mother and father in law not to let the baby watch Television, while you plan to catch up on a Netflix show later on. Go on, laugh at me trying to cling to my habits and motherhood at once, I’ve done it. Then I’ve shrugged helplessly and continued on.

It’s a mad juggle, honestly. You can cook a perfect meal, do the dishes, some cleaning, and do laundry later. Or you can do laundry now, make a somewhat decent supper, do the dishes, and save the rest for later. You can sleep when the baby sleeps, or you can use that time to do something for yourself. You can go to bed early and be energized for whatever life has for you the next day, InshAllah, or you can watch a movie with your husband. But you can’t really compromise on being a mother.

That’s 24/7, 365 glorious, exhausting, completely incredible days of the year, InshAllah.

 

 

 

Mother

Your middle of the night feedings and diaper changes;bleary-eyed concern washes into relief and elation when I look down at you in your cot, and though you fervently toss your head, hunting for your milky prey, you notice me and smile. A brief and spectacular smile. And in that soft moment, in the time it takes for your little mouth to open and stretch into a Cupid’s bow, ready to fire, my insecurities and flaws are rendered meaningless. In this moment, I’m just your mother. The word is a mountain, growing higher and higher when I think of the greatness of your grandmothers, and yet I climb.

“social anxiety”

shall I tell you the way it feels,

the swampy bog of worry and panicked thought?

to stand knee deep in it is both a comfort and dread

here, in the center, no one can touch me, see me, criticize me

it is me and this repugnant slime,

a manifestation of the worst of me.

and so it sucks me down until I realize

I cannot breathe and there is no one

and the dread is overwhelming.

It is ungratefulness, they say,

that which makes up this clamorous quagmire,

this insidious morass which demands so much of me,

and becomes envious if I dare try and leave.

If I try to climb out of its maw to rest upon its

viscid shore,

it redoubles its effort, it bubbles and spits

it reminds me no one can befriend me, how could they?

and regurgitates my flaws, my wrongdoing,

my sins, upon its abhorrent banks.

And I desist in my resistance,

and slip slowly again into the gurgling mire.

Comforted that none will see me sink.

 

 

Nesha Usmani

4/19/2016

 

 

 

Time; God’s Great Thing.

A memory-maker

A dream spinner,

a way to heal, to transform.

Where, in the long stretches,

do moments turn into memory?

August Popsicles dripping down a summer dress

Warm Septembers,

Rusty, breezy Octobers,

Chilly Novembers giving way to winter,

and those nights I used to write and write.

Countless seasons have passed me by,

I am left clinging to childhood, to a carefree

sense of wild freedom,

of so much time to do so much,

and now, too many distractions,

and too little time.

 

Nesha Usmani