(Note: This open letter is just a stream of conscious so it’s a bit over the place and a tiny bit rushed as I have a work meeting very soon. But I’m feeling super emotional and want to express it right at this moment. Some things cannot be delayed.
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I just wanted to say from the bottom of my heart that I truly appreciate the wonderful response to my latest post.
It seems as though it went viral! I woke up to see the post has over 1,000+ views and hundreds of shares on social media. This is so mind-blowing to me! I was really scared to publically talk about what had been stirring in my mind for a long time. I wasn’t sure if people would understand what I was trying to express.
Before I posted it, I read the piece to my mom, who is my #1 supporter in the entire world. She really enjoyed it and we had a thoughtful conversation about how the dangerous concept of beauty is an evil tool used to uplift systems of consumerism and capitalism. When we were finished talking, I told her that I was going to post it. To my surprise, she immediately said not to. I was confused and taken back.
She said that my ideas would be considered too extreme for people and some might not understand where I’m coming from.
“You’re too young. I don’t want this to destroy your reputation.”
I was confused about what she meant as my piece wasn’t exactly radical. Or was it?
However, she’s my mother, after all. Her job is to be worried about me. Who else would think about me? But of course, my job is to be a rebellious 21-year-old daughter that thinks the world is her oyster, so I published it anyways without her approval. Sorry, amu!
I have gotten so many wonderful messages from strangers around the world. A 16-year-old girl recently messaged me to tell me how my piece changed her life. When I read her thoughtful message, I had to take a break from my phone. I was feeling so many things at once. Did my words really mean something?
These past few months have been extremely transformative. It seems as though people are finally taking notice and paying attention to my voice, which is something I am not used to. Perhaps as we all sit at home while a deadly virus awaits us, we are stuck in a place to reflect our behaviors and lean into discomfort—whether we like it or not.
Seeing how people are actually listening to me is both wonderful but horrifying all at the same time.
A part of me feels thrilled that I seem finally deemed worthy enough for people to listen. May I say even… powerful? But a huge and overwhelming part of me feels utterly petrified. All my life, I have been conditioned to be silent.
To be completely honest, I did not have the best upbringing growing up. My parents did the best that they could in raising me. I would not be alive today if it weren’t for them. But men and women in my life have done unspeakable things to me, scooping my insides out, leaving me as a hollow shell on a never-ending stream. Things have happened to me that my parents are still not aware of to this day. Time and time again, my voice has been stripped. But for some strange reason, I still continue to scream even if it has become strained.
I am realizing now that I have this hidden power inside of me. It feels so dangerous and that perhaps I should turn away from it. But its slowly seducing me and I feel it lurking inside my body. It is brewing and bubbling. I want to study it and slowly allow it to fill my entirety. My soul, my mind, my body.
Inspired by my favorite book of all time, Persepolis, I remember feeling empowered by 8-year-old Marjane when she had told her grandmother that she is the last prophet. I know that this was just a tale of an innocent child, but it left a deep impact on 19-year-old me. I think about all the Prophets in the Quran and remember hearing stories of how they all had been treated with such cruelty for proclaiming their truth, some resulting in even death. But they had continued to assert with such grace, never once allowing themselves to succumb to silence.
I had told my friends that day that I relate to the Prophets, to which they replied with such horror. Because how can I, a mere human with flaws and mistakes, ever compare myself to a great merciful Prophet? And worst of all, how can I say that I am a Prophet?
I firmly believe that in order to be heard, you must feel as though you are fulfilling your own prophecy. You must demand attention, you must shout until your body can no longer bear it. You must assert and resign yourself to your words. You must become obsessed with your own power, live to see it grow and grow and grow until it possesses you.
I am starting to become obsessed with the power stewing in my spirit. Maybe I am turning into a megalomaniac. But is that bad? Is it horrible for me to want to believe in myself so deeply, to demand your attention, to shout and scream, to assert and take up space? To ultimately be obsessed with my words? If me fulfilling my prophecy is making you uncomfortable, I want you to ask yourself why.
All my life, I have been afraid to speak out because people would always try to tell me that I shouldn’t.
“It’s not pretty for a girl to say such things. Stay in your lane.”
“You talk too much.”
“You’re an attention seeker.”
I always thought I was just an annoyance, pestering everyone with my thoughts and feelings. But the truth is that my power makes others uncomfortable. Who am I, a fat, Muslim Bangladeshi, unattractive, single young woman, to speak?
My power is too much for people sometimes. But that’s okay. I pity them.
I’m still figuring things out as time comes and goes, but I will make sure to enjoy this joyous journey to becoming a self-acclaimed megalomaniac.
Anyways, thank you so much for supporting me!! I really appreciate it. You have no idea how much this means to me! You have made me realize my power, and for that, I am forever indebted to you.