I Am From…

I am from the mountains of Afghanistan
From our green farmland in the village
From Uzbeky Qabuly pilau and kabob
That I can smell from so far away.

I am from a loving and caring family
From competitive siblings
From my mother’s songs
And from the hard work of my father.

I am from my father’s “lion” daughters
From feeling I have the ability of a boy in Afghanistan
From wanting to do anything I want to
and not caring what people say.

I am from quiet moments talking with my father
From “Do what you want to do towards your dreams”
and ”Know we will always be behind you.”

I am from sharing our days, sitting around the nicked dinner table on handmade wooden chairs,
From fun in the evenings with my six sisters and mom,
From laughter rising from the backyard,
From singing, talking, dancing, advising and joking around.

I am from Friday family gatherings and reciting the Holy Qu’ran
From my illiterate father, who cannot read
From his love for Fridays, when he hears us reciting.

I am from being, living and thinking independently
From making my own decisions,
Since I was in fourth grade.

I am from morning wake-ups for the school bus
From a milky and sweet cup of coffee handed to me by my American host mom
From the chatter of girls around me as I try to sleep
In those comfortable chairs on that smooth road.

I am from my host’s father praying at the dinner table
From his teaching us manners
From “Don’t start eating until everyone is around the table”
From “Don’t argue,” and “Keep your hands off the table.”

I am from playing volleyball at school in San Antonio, Texas
To playing volleyball on the unlined playground in Afghanistan,
Barefoot, hot sun beating on my school uniform of white headscarf and black dress
With all these problems
The players would smile with satisfaction.

I am from a country that kills girls’ talents,
From a society that doesn’t want women to work outside the house
From trying to teach those people
From knowing that everyone is not and cannot be the person you want them to be.

I am from gaining so much confidence
From my teachers’ help,
From friends’ support and my family’s courage
From being proud to be a girl in this same society.

By Fatima A.


Comments

  1. You have clearly presented the raw feelings of being supressed in a ‘same society.’
    When I read, “I am from a country that kills girls’ talents,” It nearly made me burst into tears. By writing this poem and expressing your thoughts, you have proved this statement false. Your country alone can not kill your talent; your talent is too strong to be fired down. :)
    I am so inspired by you, because you are fighting violence and repression with words and talent.
    Poems like this, and people like you make the sun shine.
    You go girl. Keep writing – this is beautiful.

  2. Joanne Martin says:

    So much in your poem resonated with me – the feeling of being torn between two places: one which is your home, your source, the place of your family, where all the warm memories are rooted, but a place where you cannot be fully yourself, and reach your full poential, despite all of your father’s encouragement. And the other place, which you have embraced, and been embraced, and from which you have learned many things. Here some of the parts of you can emerge, but now you hunger for your source, your roots, your people, You feel torn in two. But your confidence grows. You are encouraged and supported by your friends, and by your courageous family. You are a pioneer. It is often a lonely journey. But you are opening the way for others to join you! Blessings to you on your way!

  3. Fatima,

    This is a wonderful poem. I applaud your work because you’re such a wonderful and honest writer, and your writing gets better with every piece.

    I am looking forward to more of your writing.

  4. Beautiful, thats all I can say for you
    I can remember when your started with a blog in a website where u used to write your thoughts and poems but AWWP is really a good opportunity for Afghan women to express their thoughts.
    Roya you are one of the PEARL so deep in the sea, your writings are the diamonds deep in mines, your thinking is Gold so precious.

    Best Regads

    Mr. Why

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