In the Words of, are segments and pieces written by authors within our extended i love this place community. These young people offer their own perspective, lens and analysis of issues around societal issues, community change and their own experiences.
Ahlam is a fierce advocate for social equity and activist combatting the prevalence of islamaphobia in Portland. With a calm demeanor and tenacious spirit, Ahlam defies the perceived knowledge of someone only 15, offering a bounty of wisdom to everything she approaches.
My mind is every single piece that never knows what to think or say
My heart preserves the fuel and energy that i need to survive on a day to day basis
My limbs are each full of the hot gas that burns
Igniting a poisonous fire in my veins
The heart needs the fuel and energy in order for the mind to function.
The limbs need the heart to function in order to continue burning that hot gas.
It all somehow correlates and works together.
The same way the wind gracefully moves with the ocean
Each wave dancing with the splendid sun
Thanking him for shining
On her crisp breath
I ask myself questions I know the answers to
I wonder about things that i know the results to.
At the same time,
I am nitpicking, and finding mistakes within myself.
My pen fits perfectly in my hand the way my puzzled mind and heavy heart works together,
My soul is spilling ink but also bittersweet words on the surface.
Misunderstood and misinterpreted
But i am continuously changing over-time
Like a butterfly, I am a never ending cycle of growth
So being put into a box where i only have one or a couple identities is never going to work out
I wonder whether i should spill words where i am explaining myself
But why should i
Because majority of the times, i feel like i am explaining things that are self-explanatory
But then sometimes
I get that quick reminder
That my heart is beating
That I am human
Made up of a series of flesh
Earth tones and brown tints
Tender skin that is engulfing each breath from my lungs
Constantly grasping for fresh air
And each day
they just want
For the longest time, since i was a little girl, it was embedded in my mind that my feelings weren’t important, and of course this lead me to believe that i was worthless anytime I spoke up
Or any time i showed a hint of tears from crying out of anger
when my older brother’s voice felt like knives scraping against my skin
I wasn’t allowed to show or feel frustration
--otherwise i was called emotional and disrespectful
Or it was perhaps, maybe, just maybe my ‘time of the month’
That i was just being a woman.
And it was almost like i was a problem that needed some fixing
Constantly feeling like a burden was the norm
Just hearing the word ‘emotional’ made me wince and feel weak and for a long time
I felt like a lost girl who was dumb and broken
Aching to hear the words “everything will be okay”
I felt like i was trapped in my own mind
No one could hear me
i couldn’t speak my words and what i thought into existence anymore
i had to breathe in the foreign words that were not mine
my own thoughts didn’t feel real or matter anymore
Because all i needed to know was
how to clean the house
how to cook for my future husband
How to take care of children
And it wasn’t long until i asked --
Why i was never taught to love myself
or to be strong
or how to be a leader
Why was I taught to care for men and children
before I was taught to care for myself
And it didn’t take me long to realize that my mother,
Went through the same exact thing
And it hurts
Knowing that it is a repetitive cycle that never stops
Knowing that generation after generation it has been the same
Relatively like it runs in the blood of somali women to never stand up for themselves
To not care or think about themselves
but for others
It runs in our blood to not teach our husbands, sons, our brothers
Things that they should already know
Things like how to respect women
To care for women
How to cook
How to clean
And especially for them to know that it is okay
To be vulnerable.
That i were never accustomed to fit into those societal cultural norms that have always existed
Like a lamp
There is light in me
A fire buried deep in my mind, heart, and bones
That has always existed
I have always felt it,
but now being the young lady I am today
I carry it everywhere i go.
The fire in me is a symbol
It is a reminder
That I am living
That I exist
That I am capable
And as I say that
I will continue to breathe in my own thoughts
And not be afraid to exhale my words.
and that’s another one sorry idk why it’s so big