Peri

As she grew up, she learned to suppress her oddities, one by one. All her anomalies were pulverised by family, school and society into a dull powder of ordinariness. Save for the baby in the mist. But she always knew she was different. A strangeness she must do her best to hide; a scar that would remain forever etched on her skin. She put so much effort into being normal that often she had no energy left to be anything else, leaving her with feelings of worthlessness. At some point unbeknownst to her, solitude had stopped being a choice and become a curse instead. An emptiness inside her chest, so profound and so permanent that she imagined it could be compared only with the absence of God. Yes, perhaps that was it. She carried the absence of God within. No wonder it felt so heavy.

  • Three Daughters of Eve (Elif Shafak)
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Peri

Carrying Sadness

Today at work, a colleague asked me, “Elfin, why do you look so sad all the time?”

I lied and said it was just my resting face and that I couldn’t do anything about it.

But I knew it was simply because I was sad.

Sometimes I wish I had a poker face so that nobody could tell I was sad. I’m trying my best but this place wears me down every single day. There’d be days when I’d go by leaving the office with tears in my eyes because everything was too much for me. The lack of love in the air. The inability to blend in. To find a person I could relate to.

Sometimes I wish I could be invisible. To go to a place where I could simply do my things in complete silence. I’m sick of carrying the weight of it all.

I hate it when people try to tell me or ask me stuff that carries the underlying meaning of, “why can’t you just be happy?”. If only I knew the reasons why.

Carrying Sadness

Shams of Tabriz

Befuddled believer! If every Ramadan one fasts in the name of God and every Eid one sacrifices a sheep or goat as an atonement for his sins, if all his life one strives to make the pilgrimage to Mecca and five times a day kneels on a prayer rug but at the same time has no room for love in his heart, what is the use of all this trouble? Faith is only a word if there is no love at its center, so flaccid and lifeless, vague and hollow – not anything you could truly feel.

  • Elif Shafak (The Forty Rules of Love)
Shams of Tabriz

Tranquility

Alone in my house after this long and exhausting night, I pondered what had transpired. As miserable as I felt, somewhere deep inside me there was a blissful tranquility. For a fleeting moment, I caught a glimpse of it and yearned to remain there forever. At that moment I knew there was a God after all, and He loved me. 

Though I was sore, sore all over, strangely enough I was not hurting anymore. 

Tranquility

Filth

‪”Real filth is the one inside. The rest simply washes off. There is only one type of dirt that cannot be cleansed with pure waters, and that is the stain of hatred and bigotry contaminating the soul. You can purify your body through abstinence and fasting, but only love will purify your heart.”

– Elif Shafak  (The Forty Rules of Love)

Filth