Memoir/Fiction:

Farah's Diary


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Dear Diary,

I haven’t been sleeping well lately. Every time I close my eyes I am haunted by nightmares. Nightmares that I wish I could erase away. Sometimes I dream I have returned to Pakistan for a visit because now I live in America. Just to see the place I came from, so smell those same smells, to remember the feeling of being home. These dreams seem so real. Sometimes I wish I had a giant eraser and could wipe them all away. I have to keep reminding myself they are all in my head.

-Farah

Dear Diary,

After the trauma from my accident of stepping on a land mine and losing my leg, I am struck by how much I have changed. I am not the same person as before when I lost my leg. I am forever stamped different and there’s no erasing the past. Unlike my dreams, my past cannot be erased. Once I saw a painting by Picasso in the Art Institute in Chicago. The painting was of a woman shaken apart into a hundred little pieces and then put back together, but put together all wrong-a cheekbone here, a mouth there. It was then that I thought Picasso must have been through experiences like mine. How else could he portray exactly how I saw myself in the instant after I realized my leg was gone?

--Farah


Dear Diary,

Today I met a woman named Christina. When I met her it was a turning point for me. I can tell she cares about me. I know I have somebody now. Before, my spirit was wilting because it felt like I didn’t exist. But she has changed that. Sometimes just having someone who cares can make all the difference in the world.

--Farah

Dear Diary,

Upon arriving in America my mother and I have spent our time filling out paperwork, going to government offices, waiting in lines, and answering questions. We have been receiving food stamps and lots of medical help because we don’t know how to do the little things such as who to call, what to say, how to say it, make sense of the person on the phone, or how to pay for anything. These seemingly simple tasks are very difficult. Even going to the grocery store leaves my mother and I exhausted.

--Farah

Dear Diary,

Everything in America is fast-paced. Traffic never stops moving. Every person seems to have some sort of purpose. Sometimes I feel like a rabbit trapped inside a cage when I am unable to understand the English language.

--Farah

Dear Diary,

It's hard to fit in with American students. They seem to already have their established group of friends and beyond saying "Hello" sometimes, our interactions rarely exceed more than a simple greeting. I sometimes wish I could be a part of their groups, yet they hold themselves apart and at a distance because I think that maybe we immigrant students make them feel uncomfortable because we are different. Just because someone speaks a different language and may have different colored skin, should not separate us. If I could tell American students one thing, I would say to them "You have to be inclusive because our language may not be very good and it is hard for us to be a part of social groups. I can be shy so you may have to make the first move to get to know me better".

--Farah


Dear Diary,

When I first came to America, I wanted to forgot my past like an eraser rubs out every trace of a pencil's marking. I wanted to become completely American. But as time has passed, I realize it's good to remember my own customs and traditions. It's good to hold on to my own religion and faith.It's good not to forget where I have come from and who I have been. It's all a part of who I really am. Now I don't want to erase, or forget, or destroy any part of myself. I want to love myself and keep adding to who I am. Today I feel that I am both an Afghan and American. And today is not necessarily where it ends.

--Farah

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