1. sometimes the only thing in your way is you (move).
2. you should know this by now: people will always surprise you. you are never the only one - ever. there is someone who feels the same as you (about anything, about everything), someone who will be there when you call at 2 am. people will surprise you - let them.
3. sad truth: you will blink and the moment will be gone. so you can choose: document or be in (or both, but you’ve never been great at multitasking). either way, don’t forget to live.
4. there is always hope.
5. some days are harder than others; some weeks, some months. that’s just the way it is. but you will have family, and friends, and God, and kind strangers, and good books, and sunrises, and thunderstorms - it will be hard, but you will be okay.
6. okay is enough. it will sometimes feel like you need to be doing more than okay, better than okay. but sometimes just okay is enough (sometimes it has to be).
7. leave nice, selfless, comments on people’s social media posts; strangers and friends alike. it will make your heart warm and light, and i guarantee, no matter who they are, it will make their day.
8. simple math: if you give everything and receive nothing you will be empty. so darling, use your words wisely. some people deserve paragraphs; essays, handwritten letters, poems in which the title bears only their name. but others, the ones who take and do not give, the ones that use and use and use, they barely deserve a sentence - do not waste your ink on them.
9. your daydreams are never reality. (there will be days when they come very close)
10. change is inevitable. find a way to deal with it (dance in the dark, dance in broad daylight, cry until you have emptied your soul. scream your curses against the universe, sing about the lonely that is eating you from the inside out - SING. make mixtapes full of songs that still mean something, write letters you actually send, close your eyes and pretend), do whatever you have to do. deal with it (safely. please be kind to yourself and stay safe).
11. drink water. oh man, drink so much water.
12. don’t be so afraid to love. the mixtape you gave your friends gave you, in return, text messages that said “i cried, thank you,” requests for music recommendations, and more text messages that said the things you have been waiting years to hear. don’t be scared to love, because the people you love? they love you too.
13. not everything is meant to be poetry.
14. talk to people. don’t let regret pile up only to find out it was all a misunderstanding.
15. you have a voice, a beautiful voice. you have things to say, and you have the means to say them. fear is overrated; you have a voice - use it.
16. you are alive. you are full of LOVE; you have in you the beauty that makes up sunrises, and sunsets, and mid-day shadows, and autumn leaves, and fields of wildflowers, and blurry pictures. you are alive, dear, you are proof that empty can be full, that hopeless can be turned hopeful. all the light that a full moon exists to reflect is carried within you; you hold a world of possibilities. breathe in and let the air shock your lungs; don’t ever forget, don’t ever forget - you are alive, and you are enough.
I would like to tell a Mujahid’s story, the story of a man and his friends who were here from the very beginning.
I know people think they know what is he, the Mujahid. But they don’t.
The Mujahid is a high school student. He loves to play video games and build his own computers and laugh at things on the Internet. But the laughter doesn’t always last long enough to distract him from the absence of his older brother who was martyred two years ago fighting against the people who invaded their land. Later he holds the rifle in his hands, out of school, standing on that same mountaintop for the same cause in Allah’s (SWT) name, and through remembrance, some of the pain goes away.
The Mujahid is a farmer. He works hard to make an honest living and is a very quiet, soft-spoken man. His words are slow and deliberate, and he pauses often, leaving you wondering what worlds of thought he is sorting out in his mind to let only a few out of his mouth. Fighting was going on several years ago and he hasn’t picked up a gun since then, but with the way things look now, he wonders if he’ll have to dust it off just one more time.
The Mujahid is a businessman. Well-dressed and normal-looking, he’s polite, diplomatic, and professional in his dealing with you. Because he is so personable and mild-mannered while discussing a preference of tea over coffee, you’re surprised when it is divulged that the quickest and least complicated way to enter Gaza may or may not include a checkpoint at all.
The Mujahid is a university student. His grades are impeccable, his speech eloquent, and his demeanor will put even the most nervous person at ease. He lives a relatively normal life with friends, a nice house, and two cats that fight with each other constantly. They are funny, he says, yet at the same masking what he felt about his parents’ divorce when he was a child. He has always lived with his mother and adores her, but he has to go soon. Something else is calling, and he must leave his university degree and plans for a career with the woman who raised him, her only son, alone.
The Mujahid is a construction worker. Though he’s still relatively young, he’s a veteran of a different kind, working every day beside men who will never know what he did in the war. Recently he swore off battle for the time being in an attempt to become a family man. But before he does that, he will have to rid his home of the personal demons that still take up most of the room. He hasn’t slept normally in about three years and nightmares plague him whenever he does manage to close his eyes. He is close to Allah (SWT), he knows this in his heart. The demons, however, do not.
These are only a few of the thousands of stories, threads in the tapestry of jihad woven from the lives lived by the mujahideen. There are thousands more to tell if only you turn off your television, silence your phone, put down your newspaper… and listen to me.