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Nabila Mahmood
December 22, 2021

You’ve always been separated from the rest

The way you think, act, work and dress

An outsider, even when you’re on the inside

In your family, with your friends

Its just life

It started when you were a baby

You were isolated

It’s just a pattern that stays with me

Then you start school and college

People look at you differently

The accent, your hobbies and interests

But I said, I’m not that different, see?

Trying to justify your life and fight for yourself

Only because you’re like nobody else

You loved books, reading, writing and drawing

You were mocked because of your intelligence

Mocked for almost anything else

There really was no one remotely as unique as you

But you stood out so much

That other people felt they should bully and pick at you

You had to defend every action you made at home

Going out? At this time? With friends? Alone?

You made that house your sanctuary

You started working, earning

And analysed your life and environment

There was learning

I don’t even want this

This idealised life that’s been built before my eyes

Studying just to say I’ve studied and marriage to unknown guys

Religion and culture is everything  

Dead traditions and backwards minds dictate my beginning to end

I broke this chain

Everyone reacted with disdain

You moved to a different city

You didn’t want to be the good, quiet eldest child

You were barely Muslim, or traditional

If you come to the West, of course you’ll be influenced by the rest

But Dad says there’s something not right with me

“You want to be independent and liberal”

“This route won’t end well for you”

You can go and live life now

Or stay here and I will tell you what to do

No, I won’t conform

I won’t act happy to please people

I won’t study something I don’t like

I won’t marry someone because you want me to

I certainly will not be a backseat passenger in my life

I am happy being as me as I can be

This is not the norm

A lot of people do conform

To the standards of society, friends, family

Not me.

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