Desperate Purple

I finished the day with yearning,

Wished the day stretched further,

The violent orange glow and

desperate purples of the sky screaming, reaching

for another breath as the night yawned awake

and smoored the fires of day.

I remember, my head against the pillow,

my hands reaching to clasp some far-off dream.

So content in sleep, so self-absorbed in wakefulness

So conscious somewhere in between.

I remember myself so vividly.

As vivid as the excuses I made for problems I should not have had,

As vivid as the pure emotion that drove my decisions from day to dark.

I loved my beauty, whatever of it I owned, I loved my mind, for it was vast and filled with


I loved the small blooms of wisdom that grew there, that I would pick and share with others.

And so I am unclear, uncertain as to why

this dark, thick fog has descended.

Settled neatly between my confidence and optimism,

Smothering with its full weight upon what defines me.

What I could have been.

Nesha Usmani

April 23, 2015


Tiny Changes

Tonight, while cooking dinner at the end of a very long day, I went to my Pandora app on my phone and tapped one of my custom radio stations.

But, while chopping vegetables, I realized that I wasn’t feeling all that great about Bruce Springsteen as I used to.

In fact, on the way to the animal shelter a few days ago, another artist I used to like was, at that moment, causing me a great deal of ache in my head  (see what I did there?) the sound was echoing weirdly and it just fhjghrjkh gw hoijdsijfhdbjh.

Tonight, what I actually wanted to listen to was a series on Muhammad (Peace be upon him), whilst dicing up the celery and stripping the chicken of the fat.

Now, before you go all crazy and tell me, “now, Nesha, things like that are not meant to be used as background noise…tsk tsk tsk”

I know. It wasn’t! I was listening, I promise.

I also listened to it on the way home from the animal shelter today, and I became very emotional whilst listening to the revelations about Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him)  that are actually mentioned in the Bible! Citing the sources and Bibles as well!


The amount of information I don’t know, the knowledge I didn’t try to pursue until know has become overwhelming to me. How could I not know about the similarities between Musa (AS) and Muhammad (SAW)? How could I not have ever slaked my curiosity about the Prophet’s (PBUH) wives (RA)?? Why did I never contemplate the reason for all of the Prophets (peace and blessings be upon them) being shepherds of sheep, and not of, say, horses? Why sheep? Why goats? Why them? The significance of the word “IQRA”, what it meant to Rasulullah (SAW), and what it means for us, and why it’s different from his. The mathematical proof of Rasulullah’s (SAW) revelations…and his beautiful mind and love for his Ummah.

His acceptance of gifts over charity (concerning himself , Peace be upon him).

The building and rebuilding (5 times!) of the Ka’bah.

Muhammad (SAW)’s ancestry. His parents! SubhanAllah.

The information I’ve learned and digested so far…just…wow. SubhanAllah. I don’t know that I’ve ever appreciated my religion and ALL of the Prophets (PBUthem) as much as I do now. The history is just so intense and incredible.

haha, I definitely don’t remember Sunday school being as interesting and awe-inspiring. It brings me to my knees in wonder and amazement, and praise to Allah (SWT).  Allahu Akbar.

It also makes me realize how much more there is to learn. May Allah make it easy, fulfilling and beneficial, Ameen!

The next few months are going to be umm….crazy.

In a day, or two, my sister’s coming home FINALLY. InshAllah.

Next weekend something awesome is going to happen, inshAllah.  Or at least I hope. InshAllah.

After that I’m apartment hunting in Chicago inshAllah ….because I’m going to grad school there, inshAllah!!!

And then in mid-June, I’m off to Scotland to visit family and absorb the accent and come back skinny and Scottish. Or atleast skinny, inshAllah.

InshAllah, at the endish of August I’ll be moving to Chicago.

And then will proceed to lose all sanity and social life to classes like “Biostatistics” and “epidemiology.”


In between all these titanic sized events I’m going to continue, inshAllah, to learn more about Islam and also try to improve myself. Also try to figure out why my body is conspiring against me.

Either it does not realize that exercise and diet = weight loss, or it’s just completely insubordinate. Doctor’s appointment on Tuesday, inshAllah, we’ll see what’s going on there.

On a side note, if I have any lady readers out there (yes, you, o’pretty one), I have a gift for you.

2 tbsp greek yogurt

2 tsp turmeric

1 tsp lemon juice

combine in a bowl. Smoosh on your face.


***please keep in mind that turmeric is a rather hyper shade of yellow. It will leave a yellow tinge. To remove this, put boiling water into a large bowl, and cover the bowl with a large towel. Duck your head beneath the towel and let the steam rise against your face in 10-15 second intervals, gently using the towel to exfoliate in an upwards-rubbing-motion in between intervals. repeat until water is cooled or you’ve had enough, OR, just wash your face with a gentle cleanser and use a make-up removing wipe to clear up the rest.***

you’re welcome 🙂


A Rant on the Make-Up Aisle

I don’t like this culture.

Hate is a strong word.

But, you know what?

I hate it.

I hate this culture,

And the way I feel ugly,

all the time, when I walk past

the shiny, white, reflecting, colorful

make-up section in front of the main mall.

Why is it there anyway?

Right before I leave the quiet, department store atmosphere

and cross-over into the wide, spacious, bustling mall…

Why does it have to be there?

All of those perfect, pretty, female attendants

with their flawless skin and rouge and perfect eye make-up.

I look at them from the corner of my eye,

hating the way I feel almost ashamed

to go up and inquire about blushes and liners

and lipsticks and mascara and whatnot.

I hate the way I feel inadequate and kind of guilty

at having avoided this quicksand of femininity.

Looking at the magnified mirrors…

I see an exaggerated reflection of my features.

Too many blemishes to count.

Scars built up over the years.

I even see the beginnings of some wrinkles.

My nose looks strange.

My lips, chin, cheeks…

I can’t even look.

My eyebrows. Lord.

But then I wonder what those women look like

under all of that foundation, all of that color.

(It’s called make-up because it’s made up)

I imagine this one woman.

She’s Asian. Gorgeous.

She’s picked a beautiful melon-colored blush

it fades beautifully at the edges.

Her lips are red and plump

and her eyes are dark and smoky.

She looks like she’s done this billions of times

before finding the right look, and just maybe

she’s going to do it a billion more times.

I compare my own face.

No blush, no foundation, no lipstick,

Heck, I even forgot my Chapstick.

But I did remember to put some eyeliner on

and I sort of let my hijab handle the rest (even though it doesn’t).

I wonder what this woman thought

what started her routine

why she feels the need to look that pretty,

why I feel like a completely different species

when I see her.

I wonder what she looks like when she washes it off,

I wonder if under all of that stuff she’s actually

really tired, really imperfect,

and not so dewy.

I wonder what her husband is like

if he prefers her looking like a Singaporean airline hostess,

or if he loves it when she dresses down and makes gooey mac-and-cheese,

Her hair tied up like she doesn’t care one way or another,

her face free of made-up make-up,

And when she puts her arms around him to give him a hug,

Maybe her shirt rides up and reveals something

that surprises us all: a belly.

Not flat, not muscular, but,

you know, a belly.

Her husband wraps his arms around her so tightly and lowers

his nose to her hair, and inhales like his wife is his breath of life.

She smiles so brightly that the crow’s feet at the corner of her eyes

appear, and the happiness is so evident in her face

that you don’t even want to look

and you don’t even remember the mall-version of her.

And it’s so beautiful, it makes me want to shut down that

make-up aisle forever.

Don’t worry, ladies! I’ll say, don’t worry.

When you see that love overcomes

all of this stuff…this made-up make-up,

I’ll re-open this place,

And you can buy lipstick with the right intentions.

Nesha Usmani

A Glimpse of Beauty

On my way back from the library, I decided to stop by a local grocery store. Before turning into the parking lot in front of the store, I braked for some people walking towards their cars.

Among them was a couple with a little blonde toddler in the seat of the grocery cart. The man pushing the cart was wearing a T-shirt and what looked like your run-of-the-mill blue hospital scrub bottoms. The woman, her blonde hair tied up in a pony tail, was pregnant. From the looks of it, I’d say about 7 months (just a guess).

I felt like a creeper because I couldn’t stop staring at them. The man was pushing the cart  away from him and letting go; sending it coasting along in front of them, to the sheer delight of the child in the cart.  The man had a big smile on his face as he pushed the child but was also responsibly taking precaution by walking swiftly to catch up with the cart.

Behind him, his pregnant wife glanced up, a content smile crossing her features as she watched her husband and child have a moment of fun together.

The whole scene lasted less than 10 seconds, but it had such an effect on me. Tears sprung to my eyes and I felt sadness, envy, awe, and happiness all at once.

Maybe it was just over-active hormones. Maybe it was also the knowledge that I came so close to having what they have, not just once, but twice. InshAllah I’ll have it, one day.

I think my friends think I’m weird, to want so badly to have a husband and children.They think I’m too young, that I haven’t “lived” my life, yet. I just think that’s silly. But the truth, sometimes, can only be found in the present. And the truth is, it’s just not meant to be, right now. Like so many things recently, just not meant to be.

Alhamdulillah for what I have. I’m still young, I’ve gotten to see the world. Everyone I love is still alive, alhamdulillah. InshAllah, I’ll go to Chicago in the fall to start my MPH program. I have so much, alhamdulillah.

But, astaughfirullah, there’s that empty feeling. An emptiness, loneliness, sadness that just won’t go away. I can only blame my nafs and shaitan. Authubillahi min-ash-shaytaan-ir-rajeem.

I just keep telling myself that whatever God wills, will happen whenever He wills it.

Ya Allah, give me patience.