Mariam Mazhar: An Open Letter to My Beloved Friends and Family

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The spoken word is a powerful tool we use every day of our lives, but the choice of it differs. There are words that build characters, give hope and motivate and there are others that leave nothing but hurt and destruction.

Shaikh Hamza Yusuf once said, “Don’t ever diminish the power of words. Words move hearts and hearts move limbs.” With every choice of word we take we can heal someone’s pain or leave a scar.

As you are introduced to this life you learn that words have power and you take lessons and lessons in school about how to watch your language, to choose your words and to be careful what you say to others in order not to hurt them.

Then you get a bit older and start creating various accounts that allow you to hide behind a screen and say or see whatever you want, and you find all those well decorated quotes about how the choice of words matter and as you grow older it is put into a more complex context.

But does that change anything? It probably doesn’t, you hit share on that quote yet you walk around giving comments or glares to everyone who looks or acts in a way that does not match you, we all do that.

Our feeds are full of flowery and loving quotes that encourages people to be loving and accepting.

But our conversations are full of comments and judgments about what other people should do and be, most importantly how they should look like.

I wonder how many times someone cried him/herself to sleep, how many times someone tried to change something they like about themselves or how many times someone thought a million times before wearing something they liked.

Ever since I began to realize what a body is I knew everyone around wanted me to change mine and to make sure I put this experience in context it was not “body shaming”.

It was advice, concern or any other word with a positive connotation that hid the fact that people wanted to see this change regardless of considering the once whether it is wanted from my side or not.

The intention is never problematic, yet the effect always is. There is not a day that goes by that I do not think about how the people I meet would perceive me and there is not a day that goes by that I do not look in the mirror and wonder if this is the person I should be?

And every single thought or decision is shadowed with doubt of whether it is coming from me or from a chronic feeling of a need to satisfy each person who threw a “won’t you start training/dieting” after “how are you?”

A piece of advice, think a million times before uttering a comment to someone about their decisions in life, the way they look or even the way they dress.

Think about the reason you choose to say that in the first place because it doesn’t change anything other than leaves a scar forever.

Never give yourself this space under the umbrella of a good intention, because even with that you tend to break down someone’s self confidence one comment at a time and leave them unable to even take a decision towards a positive change.

As for me and the many people who have been and still suffer from these comments. I found only one way to live with it. You stop fighting. You stop trying to prove them wrong and you stop seeking the change that fulfills their demands. You just stop, and you take a decision to know yourself, to know who you are and what you want. And whether or not it matches their claims if it satisfies you and gives you a sense of fulfillment it is what you need and what you should be doing.

A multimedia Journalism Senior at the American University in Cairo. Minoring in Creative writing, business administration and Arabic and Islamic Civilization. She had a passion for writing ever since she was twelve and she believes it is one of the purest forms of expression. Follow her Instagram account where she gives us bits and pieces of her writings @anxious.writer

3 Comments

  1. It’s the battle if every day life , our desires versus others expectations. And as asocial beings we find it very hard to ignore other demands from us.

  2. It’s the battle if every day life , our desires versus others expectations. And as asocial beings we find it very hard to ignore other demands from us.

  3. Wow mariam it is lovely i am very proud if you i wish i was able one dsy to express myself the way you do
    If i was not your mom i would have prayed every day to have you as a daughter notvto have a dsughter like you because you are one if a kind

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