بسم الله الرحمنِ الرحيمِ

Peace to you, traveler. The name is Heba (/ˈhɪbɑ/). It means “a gift from God.”

You might say I’m god-given; you might call the particular way I do things “like Heba.” Or, as an adverb, “Heba-ly.”

“God-given-ly.” Now you know.

012. progress

I quit 2016 at the lowest point of my life. To overshare: my sleep schedule for the first seven months of the new year was wildly out of control, a floating bedtime from anywhere between 10pm – 6am; I survived almost exclusively on packages of microwave noodles; I gained weight, despite exercising more and eating less, probably because of my reliance on frappuccinos as a quick pick-me-up; I could not be in a room with children, including the lights of my life—the infamous niecephews—for longer than 30 minutes without having to remove myself to a dark, quiet space. It took me months to crawl back up to basic human capacity, to wrestle with the gremlin in my brain that yes I am worthy, no, I am not a piece of junk, God, no, I haven’t failed.

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011. raison d’écrire

The fall I contracted carpal tunnel I used to cry myself to sleep, thinking that at 21 I was kissing the cadence of my handwriting goodbye. Most people with whom I speak about my writing are familiar with this vanity: that I love the look of my handwriting as much as your enticement with oven-fresh cookies, and that to me, flipping to a random page of a notebook and finding my script in fine graphite is one of the warmest comforts.

How I began is this.

Read the rest at KROS magazine →


featured image by Gabrielle

010. the crossroads: aladdin, rushdie, and me

Aladdin was my Disney Prince. I had a crush on him for as long as I can remember; as a kid I watched the library’s copy of Aladdin and the King of Thieves enough not only to internalize every scene and song, but to run the VHS tape beyond repair. He was my Prince because he was kind enough to offer his bread, because I had a penchant for rogues (or perhaps for this he and Peter Pan are together to blame?), and because he was painted familiar: Tanner skin, black hair, shalwar, and Robin Williams’s suggestion that we “brush up [our] Sunday salaam for Prince Ali” while he rode on “Abu.”

(Incidentally, my father’s favorite way to annoy me was to pronounce my boy’s name “Al ad-Din,” to which I’d immediately stomp my foot and correct, “No, it’s Aladdin.” Embarrassing in retrospect.)

Read the rest at KROS magazine →

009. He knows, and you know not.

The house is on fire, like it has been for ten years or fifteen or thirty-five, when a legitimate parking dispute in a residential neighborhood turned into Republican racism. No, they said, you can’t gather here, although you can pray in the basement if you must. For your community, we suggest the next town over.

Then they lit matches and handed them to worshipers like a present. Divide them–divide them however you can, geographically or by the geography from two generations ago, it doesn’t matter. Once you light the fire they’ll fight amongst themselves.

When is the moon and where is Ramadan and what is Eid?

“I want a community,” I said at my interview last summer. “That’s why the pay doesn’t matter. All I want, all I’ve ever wanted, is a group space that clicks and where I feel like I’m doing something useful for us. Where I’m an asset. Where I belong.”

When did I stop making that du’a?

Oh Dream, when did I quit you?

Was it in college, or once I graduated, or that first direct deposit?

“I came here to fulfill myself and I am torn at the seams.”

Where did I lose you?

“Maybe it is still here, your dream. You have no way of knowing. You have to fight.”

It always feels like I was better yesterday, that every moment I march toward death with a blacker, harder heart.

Smile, it’s Sunnah. “Maybe I don’t.”

I know I am yet worthy.

Please, come back.

[all in the msa] #2: the other side

january 2017

“Why are we having a meeting on New Year’s Day literally what is wrong with us?”

Officially, Rayyan is the lookout. She is, after all, the one with an Apple watch—and Sobia’s own phone is dying.

“That’s what coffee is for,” Nora says, and with all her authority as their vice president: “It’ll be quick, Sobi.”

“We’re never quick.” Especially when their meeting is scheduled around Adult World lunch time, especially because they are currently in an extremely long line at Dunkin’ Donuts, but Rayyan is determined to obtain her coffee and Nora is determined to obtain her doughnut. Sobia says, “Do you think maybe we should get them something, too? As a peace offering? Would that be weird?”

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