My First Poetry Ebook Release!

Book Cover

 

I’m releasing my first complete book of poetry on October 1st! It will be available on Amazon as an ebook, so keep an eye out, and if you feel so inclined, download a copy!

Here’s a sample from the book to entice you a bit. Enjoy 🙂

 

Longing for Daylight

 

Peace

That is all I want

The sweet release

From everything that haunts

My nightmares

And my dreams

Respite

From everything that hides

In the shadows of my mind

 

I want to be free

From those twisting corners of darkness

Those jagged screams

Reverberating off broken glass

I want to be blind

From the reflections that surround me

As I walk through the mirrored corridors

Of my thoughts

 

I step to my window

The curtains flutter

A chill snakes down my back

I shudder

 

The moon pulses above

Floating just beyond the bony grasp

Of the witch’s frail fingers

 

The breeze gives me a shove

Backwards into the room I stumble

The night has had enough

 

The wraiths hiss outside

Refusing to let me abide

Refusing to let my shivers subside

 

I collapse

Sink into the floor

Eyes wide open

I shake and twist

Wondering if I can take anymore

 

Moon beams sing through the curtains

Peeking through at my writhing form

 

The pain sharpens

The creatures of the night are strengthened

 

Their hungry growls thunder through the steely air

I struggle with all my might

 

To regain control

 

But I no longer have strength to fight

 

So I lay in agony

 

Longing for daylight

 

Life in an Abusive Home – An Honest Confession

confessions

The earliest memory I have of my childhood is my father dragging my mother by the hair into their bedroom while beating her with his shoe. We were getting ready for Friday prayer, and my father had run out of his moisturizing cream, which apparently it was my mother’s responsibility to make sure there was a supply of. This had sparked what was probably one of their many many physical confrontations, but only the first I can remember.

My entire early life, up until the past 5 or so years, is marked by memory after memory of incidents like this, because those incidents are all I can remember. It wasn’t always shoes either. Sometimes it was belts or hands. Other times it was thrown objects like plates or silverware. The topic was never anything meaningful. It was usually about money, or some duty my mother had apparently forgotten to perform. It was always followed with a week or two of them not speaking with each other, and using me to talk to each other. “Tell your father….,” or, “Tell your mother….,” like I didn’t have a clue what was happening, and really, I didn’t. Those two weeks would always be followed by the miracle of pretending like it never happened and going about life as usual. There was never any talk of forgiveness or working through problems. There was never any consideration of divorce because Pakistani culture doesn’t allow it. There was never any consideration of seeking help or calling the authorities because there was never any evidence. My mother accepted this as a part of living in a family, because that’s what Pakistani culture dictates.

My home was an abusive one. I was never the victim of physical violence, but my mother was used as punishment for my mistakes. I always lived in fear of violence because I never knew when the next argument would erupt, and if the beating would be directed at me the next time. It would be sudden and could happen at any time. I wished, time and time again, that my mother would be spared the torture, and it would fall on me instead. For me, though, it was always just cursing, threats, and drunken verbal abuse, until I was older and capable of fighting back. Sex for my mother was only voluntary in so far as it was required in order to have children. Otherwise, it was always my father’s choice. They hated each other, and they still hate each other.

My mother never wanted help. As I got older, I realized there were options. I spoke with attorneys, officers, and many other services. She refused to take any help. That’s not what you do in Pakistan, not what a woman does to her husband and family. She told me that she put up with all of it because of me, so she could raise me and make sure I turned out alright. “Just get a degree and start making money so you can leave,” she would tell me. That only served to make me think it was my fault. I resorted to physical violence myself when I realized I was stronger than him. My mother begged me to ask him for forgiveness; it was the most painful and embarrassing day of my life when I had to ask my father’s forgiveness for stopping him from abusing my mother. I couldn’t just walk out of the door; I needed his money, his health insurance, the home his money provided me, and all of those things. So I took my mom’s advice. I kept watching the horrors that would unfold in my home time after time, holding on to the idea that one day I may escape. And I did.

My father is no longer abusive, mostly because he is too old and frail to exert physical force. My mother no longer tells me to ask his forgiveness when we fight, and she knows I will never allow him to speak to me the way he used to. I am now in control, but I often still feel helpless. My mother still lives with him, and she refuses to take any help or escape I offer her. Pakistani women are supposed to live out their days with their husbands. She acts like none of it ever happened.

This confession is not intended to elicit pity, sympathy, or anger. I turned out just fine, in fact my life is pretty fantastic now, so I don’t need any of those things. What I would like is for people to understand what really happens in homes like this. These acts are silent and hidden. They occur behind closed doors and leave little trace. They are justified by generations of quiet complacency and acceptance. My children will never witness their father being violent with his mother, but it could very well be the opposite if I hadn’t turned out the way I did.

The Pakistani culture does not afford respect to women or children, which is actually quite contrary to the teachings of Islam, the religion Pakistani people use to justify the way they live their lives. You don’t have to be Pakistani to find yourself in a family like mine, but I think it definitely helps. My parents are cousins, and the marriage was a forced arranged one. My mother had five children, and I was the only one that survived; Pakistan has a very high rate of infant mortality. I lived, and for a lot of my life, I wished I hadn’t because maybe my mother would not have had an excuse to remain married.

Nobody should be complacent in this. Women need to speak out and seek help. Children should not be raised in an environment like this. Men need to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. My country’s culture perpetuates households like this one, and it destroys the hearts and minds of its people, its women and children. It needs to stop. I hope that others can read this and find strength and hope, and if they come from the same land as me, find courage to help end the cycle. It has taken me too many years to get to a place where I can write about and share these parts of my life. It’s cathartic for me, and hopefully, it’s much more to somebody else.

“Money can’t buy Happiness….but Poverty can’t buy Shit.”

moneypostimage

Many of us have grown up with lessons that portray money as evil, or at least as the root of evil. People who want a lot of money are bad and greedy. They are manipulative scum that take advantage of everyone else. This weekend, I had the privilege of meeting and listening to a number of these scumbag millionaires, and in some cases, billionaires. Remarkably, none of them were ruthless sleazy business men who took advantage of others to get where they were. Quite to the contrary, they were all people who had been taken advantage of and were seeking to add a great deal of value to the world. They created products and services to help others succeed. Granted, some products were better than others, but the products were universally value-adding objects that were designed to help people.

One of the speakers I listened to said something brilliant, and it’s the title of this post. The reality is that wanting a lot of money is not equivalent to greed. Most people want to be rich, and denying that desire is a very harmful emotional exercise. Not to mention, the people who are ready to admit that they want money are the ones who seem to end up really making that money.

So where does this perception of evil come from? One of the people I had the pleasure of meeting with explained it this way, “Money isn’t the root of all evil. The lust for money isn’t even the root of all evil. It’s the lust for unearned money that is the root of all evil.” People who want money without the will to work for it are the scum that everyone talks about. The reality is that there are many very wealthy people who have worked hard providing excellent quality services and contributing to the world. They have generated their net worth through ethical and legal means which do not seek to exploit others. On the other hand, there are many people who do quite the opposite.

The thing that both these groups have in common is that they want money, but that’s about it. This is the first group of very rich people I have seen stress the importance of striving to be a member of the group that has a love of earned money that one needs to work hard for. Money is not the antithesis of happiness, and you needn’t sacrifice your happiness to earn all the piles of money that you want, so long as you actually earn them.

I’m going to leave you with another little snippet from this weekend, and I hope it sits with you, “There are a ton of multi-millionaires in the world. People always ask, “Yeah, but are they happy?” …..Well, no shit, of course they’re happy, they’re multi-millionaires.”

Ramadan and the Miracle of the Ice Cream Sandwich

oreosandwich

For those of you who are not familiar with Ramadan, it is the holiest of months on the Muslim calendar. During this month, Muslims fast (abstain from all food and drink) from dawn to sunset every day for one lunar month. During this time, Muslims try to do more good deeds, worship with more zeal, and become better individuals in general. As part of this daily ritual, many Muslims awake a little before sunrise each day to eat, drink, and worship in preparation for the day. This early morning breakfast, for lack of a better designation, is the most difficult part of the month of Ramadan for me. I’m not hungry when I wake up that early, so it’s difficult to force myself to eat, and I usually fall back asleep afterward. I feel pretty crappy when I wake up after that, as you will know if you’ve ever eaten a meal and then taken a nap.
When I woke up two hours later, I was fully expecting to feel terrible, as I normally do. However, this morning was different. I felt fantastic. My stomach wasn’t upset, and I wasn’t as lethargic as I normally am. It was a great feeling!That was, until today. Since I’m traveling for work, my Ramadan began on the road. I awoke this morning at 4 am to feed myself and drink lots of water to get ready for a hungry and thirsty day of work and travel. I ate my breakfast, which in this case was left over pizza from the night before, and was about to go back to sleep. I suddenly remembered that I had purchased an Oreo ice cream sandwich the night before and left it in my freezer without eating it. The thought of the sandwich seemed great, so I got up, got my sandwich, and began eating. It was very delicious and refreshing, and I fell asleep immediately after eating it.

I have temporarily decided that the Oreo ice cream sandwich was the cause of this new found morning state. Like any good science experiment, though, the result needs to be repeated. I’m going to try this again several times over the next week or two and keep you posted about the miracle that is the Oreo ice cream sandwich 🙂

Staying Connected – Daily Log Days 40 – 45

I’m in Tacoma, Washington! Instead of a complicated, reflective thought, I thought I’d keep today’s comment brief and simple. If you find yourself becoming busy or traveling a lot, don’t forget to stay connected with the people you love and others in your life. Modern technology has made it possible for us to be on the road and still maintain regular contact with those close to us. Don’t neglect your relationships, or they will wither. People don’t want people in their lives if they don’t feel like that desire is reciprocated. Plus, it’s always good to get away from what you’re busy with and catch up with someone 🙂

Immersion – Daily Log Days 36 – 39

My first work trip was amazing. I had a great time, and I learned a great deal of useful information. While the town I visited was small, becoming immersed in the people and culture was an invaluable experience. That concept is the inspiration for today’s thought.

Thought of the Day

I don’t understand people who go to New York or Chicago and eat at a Domino’s. Why wouldn’t you sample the local wares at a famous town establishment? Similarly, why go overseas and stay at a Hilton? Couldn’t you do that in the United States? People often travel very poorly, remaining distant from the culture and community of wherever they decide to go. I think that’s a terrible way to go anywhere. Yes, other cultures and places can be different from what you’re used to, but that’s sort of the point. If every place in the world was the same, then there wouldn’t be much reason to travel at all. Next time you go somewhere, take the time to really immerse yourself in everything the community has to offer. You will find that experience will be much more fulfilling.

Delayed Flights – Daily Log Days 30 – 35

I sincerely apologize for my absence from the blogosphere for the past couple days. I’m currently sitting at the airport, waiting for my delayed flight. I hate flight delays; they make me want to punch babies. Nevertheless, I am all sorts of amused by the fact that this flight is almost entirely comprised of Epic folks. I love my job, and I thoroughly enjoy the company of the people I work this. That all being said, I am keeping up with my goals; updates are below. My birthday is also this Friday! Yay! As a result of this, today’s thought is one about celebration.

Thought of the Day

Celebration is a very valuable and often overlooked part of life. You should celebrate every accomplishment in your life, and not just the big ones. In fact, celebrate everything. Celebrate the good days for bringing you joy, and celebrate the bad ones for teaching you something and keeping you understand. Celebrate that you are alive and have opportunities, and celebrate that you have an awesome blog to read 😛 People get hung up on singular negative events in their lives, and they forget that they have been gifted with the wonders that the world has to offer. Me, I’m celebrating the awesomeness of getting staffed to my first customer and beginning customer work! 😀

Weekly Weight Loss: -19 lbs

By the way, pen spinning combos are hard. I have a lot of the solitary moves down, but putting them together is all sorts of challenging. Nevertheless, I’m still plugging along 🙂

When I’m Gone – Daily Log Days 28 & 29

dying rose

I was thinking today about how people would react when I died. Why? I don’t know; these thoughts just cross my mind sometimes. That is the inspiration for today’s thought.

Thought of the Day

I want my death to be the celebration of a fully lived life. I really don’t want people to be sad when I die. Rather, I want them to remember that I was a child until the very day of my death. I want the way I live my life to be a lesson in honesty, joy, and beauty. My funeral should be a party, preferably with strippers and a free open bar. Today’s thought is simply this. Remember me for how I lived 🙂

Impulse Control (or lack thereof) – Daily Logs Days 24-27

Sorry I’ve been absent for a couple days. I became super busy super quickly. Nevertheless, I have returned to the blogosphere with updates! My hair now has purple and blue highlights! Why?! Because I felt like it! It looks all sorts of sexy. That is the inspiration for today’s thought. Before that, however, I must update y’all on a few things. I saw Looper and Seven Psychopaths. Both movies were phenomenal. Finally, I had the privilege of seeing a movie that does time travel right, and a movie that brilliantly deconstructs action movies in a fashion similar to Cabin in the Woods (if you didn’t see Cabin in the Woods or thought it was bad, go fuck yourself :)). I always hate putting smile at the end of parenthetical expressions because it just looks like two parentheses after a colon. Also, I made a new friend who also thoroughly enjoys playing poker and wants to get into live games. New rounding buddies are always good. My 21st is coming up in a little under two weeks, and I’m super excited. Anywho, on to the thought of the day.

Thought of the Day

Impulse control is useless, unless you’re a killer. In that case, it would likely be a good trait to have. If not, then you need to follow your impulses more often. A person told me they were very surprised that I got my hair dyed because normally people just talk about doing things and then never follow through. As we age and become increasingly meshed into the “real world,” we often lose our capacity to dream, let alone to follow those dreams. As Adam Sandler pointed out so eloquently in Mr. Deeds, very few of us end up where we dreamt we would when we were children.

The idea that the confines of the real world do not allow room to be idealistic is a myth. In fact, I would wager that the people who are happiest with their lives are those who have a disregard, often completely so, for societal conventions. They do not stifle their impulses or desires because they understand that those desires are what most genuinely make them who they are. Here’s the truth about the real world; it is exactly what you make it. You build your reality with every decision and compromise you make. Every compromise or suppressed impulse/desire robs you of a little bit of yourself. At a certain point, life begins passing around you, and you cease to actually live it.

So, in short, fuck controlling yourself. All this constrained behavior is just nonsense. Do what it do, and you will find yourself much happier. I guarantee it.

Weight Loss Total: -14 lbs

Pity is Useless – Daily Log Days 22 & 23

I remembered today a conversation that I had with a friend in high school. I used to mentor mentally handicapped students throughout high school and college. One day, a friend of mine saw me walking out after one of my mentor sessions and told me that he thought what I was doing was great. I responded by telling her that I didn’t see what was so laudable about just hanging out with kids. I enjoyed it; it was a fun time for me. She then proceeded to tell me that she felt so bad for them, and I immediately told her that I didn’t, without thinking about it. It’s just how I felt. She asked me why not, and then I realized, I didn’t feel bad for them because they didn’t want me to. Everybody around them felt bad for them, and all their interactions were informed by their conditions. They really liked me because I treated them like I treated all my friends; I treated them like people and not just diagnoses. This memory is the inspiration for today’s thought.

Thought of the Day

People who have handicaps or who have experienced tragedies are sick of being pitied. They don’t want people feeling sorry for them and forgetting everything other than that one negative part of them or their lives. We act like we’re being good people when we feel sadness for those less fortunate. Yet, we don’t do anything to help them. We just treat them differently and pretend like we’re being noble.

Pity is a useless emotion. It accomplishes nothing. All it does is force you to treat people like they are less than people. It makes you see tragedy where there is justice. It makes you deceive yourself into thinking that you are an empathetic caring person. Instead, try treating those less fortunate like actual people. Don’t focus on their handicap; it doesn’t define who they are.

You will be remarkably surprised at how positively people will respond.