Raised a dreamer.

I could not fathom how
one could not have any dreams at all
not know what to improve on;
I was raised a dreamer;
raised to know that everything I did was not enough
so I-
constantly had to prove myself

over and over

I always had to find ways to busy myself
so I
decided to become better.
How could anyone be so complacent so as to say
that they have already met their dreams
when there is much to do
so much left to do
and still
[I think of the mountain of laundry
I’ve put off for days-
and I tremble
and of the books I bought and left untouched-
and I quiver
and of the unread messages-
and I drown in anxiety
and of the positions I carry
I shudder at the responsibility.]
Perhaps I was raised a dreamer
even if for small things
that if I was asked about them
I’d be able to give you one
for the next 60 seconds
and one for the next 60 days.
Perhaps I was raised a dreamer
that I cannot fathom the state of being content
with all that I have achieved
and not be curious at all
as to what is left unachieved
that unrealized potential
that unsnatched credential
bugs me
like a bug
to be touched
to be realized
to materialize
to land itself
on my leaves
Forgive me
if I ever even in the least implied
that I have not much left to work on
that my work here is somehow almost done
when I am not even close
to being where You want me to be.
I fear stagnancy
more than pregnancy
My fears are that of complacency,
walking aimlessly
using up all this space spaciously
and brazenly declaring
that I am a living, breathing
living for free
out of the cradle.
Maybe I’m the only one without a clue
And they’ve got things figured out -who knew
I could be the one needing my own advice;
It’s me before you,
I tell you.
Forgive me my Lord
if I ever lose track
of why I started
or if my vision becomes obscure
bring me back
because nothing can cure
it like Your reminding me of Your reward.
[Perhaps I was raised a dreamer so help me understand.]
Backstory: Shazaa and I gave a “talk” today for Ihya- an ASIIUM event (Putting Yourself First is what we called it) and as usual, something in the event or during the course of delivering, struck me and I had to make a mental note of it and wait till I was in the comfort of my room and PJs before I could pour it all out.. and here it is. I did so in the best way my mind and body knew how… Born out in the status box on Facebook, and made it to the blog. These are the ones I feel the most strongly about.

This isn’t one of those eloquent poems meant to be read [silently]. This is meant to be read [aloud] with sizzling passion, with a genuine curiosity to know the answers, with a trembling voice, with a fist in the air. Try it.

Disclaimer: This isn’t directed at anyone in particular. You may recognize some elements from the questions which the floor had put forth, but I learnt more than anyone else did. It struck me to look to do an introspection on myself before I was even close to being shocked at what was being admitted. I had many small epiphanies as I spoke, more than anyone did. I did it for me. I had really just… put myself first.

Stay (If You Want To).

I’ve never asked anyone to stay.

But for you I have considered sitting on one palm

And biting one cheek

And stopping one foot from tapping the ground 

And asking, “Are you leaving already?

Or perhaps “When will you be back?

Or “Wait, don’t you have something to say to me?“-


Anything but a “please stay“. 


I was their first, their hardest to raise

And the hardest to raise a voice to,

Let alone a hand;

because my voice would be louder

And my hand would always be faster.

I was forced to fight

In battles that I was too young for-

A battle of eyelids in a battlefield of dirty laundry and crinkled uniforms at 6:30am.

A battle of muscles in a battlefield of greasy Corelles and green Sunlight bubbles at 9:30pm.

A battle of enthusiasm in a battlefield of cranky babies and smelly nappies at every journey’s pit stop and all 52 weekends in a year.. for several years.

There was no time to care about my feelings

Because no one ever wanted to ask this skinny, seemingly-all rounded 12 -year old girl if she was ok to not go out with her friends for the 10th time round,

Or how she sleeps at night with that sinus and throbbing face

There was no reason to be asking if she was hurting anywhere

And my narrow mind thought this was just how life was for everyone my age, therefore

If I did ask for anything it was not “could I get a little help here?” 


“Is there anything else I can do?”-

for that was all I knew. 

So I had fought many battles

Inhaled way too much clorox

and endured way too much teasing

And I know it’s bad to brag but there were

Many of which I thought I’d never make out of sane

But I did..

all except one;

And that’s only because it’s not a battle meant for one.

If this was the flaw you saw 

That made you think twice about staying

Then allow me to deconstruct those conclusions

Because that flaw is not simple.

My pride is the only sin

Which I hate to take full responsibility for:

I do not give in and surrender easily

When I have nothing to be sorry for.

I have never been taught that

To apologise, when the other should-

Is an act done by ‘mature’ people.

I fail to see how swallowing any

Slight dignity I have left in me

Is an act of maturity

Because all I see, 

Is ingenuinity,

and a fear of being rejected

and not being accepted

by the general majority.

I do not care if I am rejected by people

If it is on baseless grounds,

If it is on the grounds that I couldn’t admit to the things I didn’t do,

If it is on the grounds that I am brutally honest,

Then I do not care in the slightest for the hate that I get.


I’ve never asked anyone to stay.

But for you I have considered sitting on one palm

And biting one cheek

And stopping one foot from tapping the ground 

And asking, “Are you leaving already?

Or perhaps “When will you be back?

Or “Wait, don’t you have something to say to me?“-


Anything but a “please stay“. 


That one battle I had put on pause

Not a half-risen white flag,

But a half-risen expectation

That you would fight for me

Till the very end.

..that never really came

So I learnt that the battles of a scarred soldier

Can never be carried by another; not completely.

It’s a battle not meant for one or the other,

But for the willing two-

to be shared, equally.


I now realize that 

I’ve never asked anyone to stay

Not because of a thing called pride

But because I was afraid of passing on half

of these burdens I carry.

Please stay entails many details;

Please stay entails that you will have access

To behold my scars, in full view, uncut.

Please stay entails that you not only will be listening but re-living the pain that isn’t yours to begin with.

Please stay entails obtaining a list of insecurities that have been haunting me even if you’ve never asked for it.

Please stay entails having full knowledge of the pieces I bled ink to write.

Please stay entails gaining entry into my darkest of thoughts.

More than it is a pride-annihilating act on my part,

It would be an act of total injustice to you

to carry these things alongside me.

So asking you to stay is asking too much.

But if you stay and fight for us both

I cannot guarantee either that it will be easy,

and I cannot assure you that I will be the same

but I will try to ensure

that you will have the best of stays.

I will make the bed and arrange your shoes

and make us breakfast in bed.

I’ll do all that not because society tells me I should

but because I want to, sometimes you’ll help me out too-

won’t you?

and we’ll take time figuring out who we are

over nasi-lemak mornings

and hot gingery tea afternoons.

In the evening we’ll read Quran aloud,

covering every wall, every inch of the house,

with these blessed words,

knowing we’ve just made the best decision of our lives

and left it in the Hands of our Maker .


I’ve never asked anyone to stay

But for you I’ve even considered typing these words

(as I am now)

And I’d do it a thousand times over.