“If light is in your heart, you will find your way home.” – Rumi
Dear Fellow Warrior,
I trust this finds you well. I’ve been having trouble finding the words for a while now.
But I think I am getting back into the rhythm again. I am sorry for my absence in this space. And I thank you for returning here from time to time.
I know that I just needed to visit this space and write to you. Some paragraphs on this particular piece were pending in my draft box, since I returned from a visit to my childhood home in Wisconsin, this past April, for the Ramadan and Eid Holiday. But I couldn’t get myself to write. I had not been able to write nor paint substantively for a while. I guess this happens to the best of us sometimes.
I notice that at least one or two of you read me on occasion, and that’s great and okay. I guess it stings a little less when I write here and not many see it, or it doesn’t reach audiences in the way you hope. So then you invest more time in writing on your other social media platforms. Blogging may be considered old school now. I understand my site needs an update at least. Some argue it is dead, but I don’t think so. We are connected online and will be now for the long haul.
It is in a virtual space, and I consider this my virtual home. I have invited you here often. And I am sorry if I wasn’t hospital enough for you in my invitation. If this was a physical space, I would make you a cup of my magical chai. I’ll have to find my “virtual version of chai” here, because I understand that my story and my words are not enough. Maybe I thought there was something special, inspiring, and hopeful for others, in my story of survival, but I understand that may be insufficient. I need to offer you more. And I will figure it out.
I may at some point eventually change the theme and fix the technical issues, but in this space, I guess I invested more time in the writing than in glamorizing the website, and figuring out what the hell SEO means.
It had been nearly one year since I returned to my childhood home. Always a nostalgic experience.
I try to take a walk or jog around my neighborhood at least once when I visit. I now have the memories of running a few milestone laps over the years, and completing my dissertation during a Pandemic and through the crazy year 2020, so there is an additional significance there for me… The victory laps especially… where the dreams began, and where it came full circle.
And during my walk around the neighborhood in April, I reflected on the Future Dr. ETK coming back here a year from now, 2 years, 5 years, 10 years, 20 years from now… I am feeling the anxiety of the future, bringing me pain, or maybe preparing myself for it…I’ve always had the foresight for more struggle..I tell myself to live in this moment, to cherish it. To not think about the past nor the future… but it is never easy.
There is always a sense of “home” in my childhood town in Wisconsin, but also an “angst” for finding “home,” especially if I stay long.
I have inferred now that I may not belong there anymore, nor anywhere really... but I always need to come back there to be reminded of who I am and when I feel a little confused or lost… to remember where the hope and the fight began…
I was listening to that song during the walk, among the other “songs of victory” I’d listen to for inspiration and motivation, during my daily jogs or workouts for the “fight to the Phinish”… I shared a few here in this blog post: https://www.warrioretkqueen.com/songs-of-victory/ .
But the words from the song Take me Home resonated with me at that moment:
“You say space will make it better
And time will make it heal
I won’t be lost forever
And soon I wouldn’t feel
Like I’m haunted, oh, falling”
… The song is partly about having someone by your side when you’re feeling the most vulnerable.
Nearing my 40s and not sure who is really by my side, and where I can call ‘home’, but I don’t think I ever knew.
There is a light that I’m seeing at the end of a tunnel…but it is still quite far away… maybe there isn’t really an ending… maybe the light keeps burning, and you keep moving towards it, but there is no end in sight. It was always an illusion.
This light then symbolizes the acceptance that ‘home’ can never be any physical space for me… nothing external…
It will need to exist and persist internally…
Maybe I always knew this but couldn’t fully grasp it. I’m slowly seeing it now… it will take time and a lot of personal effort and work to get there, and I may never land…but I’ll still continue to work towards the light even when there is no certainty of an end in sight..iA.
Traveling is in my blood. I want to see the world. Always have. My father instilled a passion for travel in his kids very early on, when he would take us to Pakistan every few years during our childhood. Pakistan became my “second home”, but I could never feel whole there, nor in the United States, where I was born and raised.
This lack of wholeness, commonplace among first-generation Americans, or children of immigrants, is central to the crisis of identity I write about often. If we remain conscious of this, if we struggle navigating it, if we choose to remain fully authentic, there may never be a sense of “home” anywhere.
That’s where the traveling must come in… I thrived the most, and was the happiest, on my travels around the world, even though at times I still felt I was missing something. I remember when I was conducting my doctoral fieldwork and sharing my travel adventures online, I thought about how I could be a great travel blogger/vlogger.
I think that may be something to think about as I revamp my life and continue to figure out the next steps. I wrote about this a bit more in-depth here today on Medium: https://medium.com/@elsatalatkhwaja/a-re-introduction-hitting-refresh-and-starting-over-edbb78d1a833
I know if there isn’t any space for me in this world, I will create it myself. I already have.
The story isn’t over yet. Thank you for reading, and giving my voice a chance.
“You only are free when you realize you belong no place – you belong every place – no place at all. The price is high, the reward is great.” Dr. Maya Angelou
Peace, Warmth, Blessings, and Solidarity,
“She wasn’t looking for a Knight. She was Looking for a Sword.” – Atticus