Once Upon A Time

Once upon a time, there was a little girl who took everything seriously. She was the epitome of a good girl. She was very intelligent, and confident in her social skills. Everyone loved her. She sometimes did outrageous things, and was chided for them, but most of the time she was a well-behaved girl.

In school, she was known for her extraordinary intelligence. Her teachers loved her. She always topped in all of her classes. Her school was satisfied with her performance, her parents were happy, her friends respected her, almost revered her. Then came a time when everything changed. Her school changed, teachers changed, courses changed. Her home changed, her friends changed. Everything she knew was no more. So to cope with it, she changed as well. The epitome of a good girl changed, and the change didn’t work out for her so well. Her performance in school lowered, her parents worried about her, and she had no friends to call truly hers. She needed to feel something other than disappointment in herself. Her company lured her to new ways, ways which distracted her from life as it now was. She was no more a good girl, she did things she would have formerly been ashamed of. She had her first crush, and wrote her first love letter. Her love letter was found out by relevant authorities, instead of the intended recipient and she was in trouble. She was ridiculed by some of those who got to know of it, and some others sympathized with her.

She felt very lonely at that sensitive stage of life, and was even more disappointed in herself. She began to hate her new self and wished she could be her old self again, but she couldn’t remember who she used to be. So, knowing nothing better and being very confused, she fell into her first depression. She was still a school girl, she was too young to be depressed and to know of depression. Her performance at school and at home depleted, she constantly felt like she was falling, or being sucked into an abyss and she wished she would hit the bottom of the abyss quickly. At least then she would get some stability in her life. She used to do this all day. She became a robot. She went to school in mornings, attended lessons absent-mindedly, returned home and went to bed. She thought of herself, her shameful acts, her disappointing performance everywhere. She thought of people, their sharp tongues and judging eyes. She thought of life, and slept in disappointment.

Then one day her depression lifted just a bit, allowing her to think with slight clarity, without judging herself. She went to school that day with resolve to live again. She found a confidante, poured her heart out and asked for help. And the confidante helped her to her utmost powers. Slowly, the girl regained power over her life. She began to ease out of her robotic life. She lived again. Her performance improved, and she felt lighter, happier. Barely a year went by before tragedy struck again-this time in form of repressed memories. The girl had flashbacks of forgotten ugly events from her childhood. She had new flashbacks every few days and knew what she was now remembering was the truth. And so she fell into a new misery. She knew what caused the memories to be unleashed, she had enough knowledge of human psychology. What the flashbacks reminded her of, was too big, too ugly, for a girl so young and naive to deal with. She fell into her second depression. This time, she was reluctant to get help. The memories repulsed her. She felt disgusted by her own self. Yet she knew she was innocent. And still, she hated herself. She stopped taking care of herself, and her health along with her performance at home and school, deteriorated. One day, her old confidante summoned her and asked her what was wrong. The girl just shook her head and left. She couldn’t let anyone know. Everyone would hate her, as she hated herself. She couldn’t bear more. At least in this depression, she had friends. They didn’t know what was wrong with her but she did get short periods of relief and light laughter with them.

An event at home, and several chidings in class one day, decided her future for her. She went to her confidante and told her everything. Well, she told her almost everything. Her confidante almost cried with sympathy for the girl. She promised the girl she would always be there for her, that she need have no qualms about coming to her about anything. She assured the girl that whatever happened was in no way the girl’s fault, that she needn’t feel such repulsion to herself. She told the girl her secret was safe with her. When the girl left her confidante’s room that day, she felt like a new person. She felt as light as a feather. Once again, she began living. Her performance improved, she became a happier person. The flashbacks did not stop, and the girl did occasionally get depressed over them, retreating into herself, but she always dealt with them in a braver manner and was soon herself again.

Time flew swiftly, and school ended on a happy, memorable note. The girl had deep memories associated with her school, she was sad at leaving, but she had learned everything came to an end. That was probably the happiest and the saddest fact of life. The girl went on to college, and made new friends. New friends had new ideas of friendship and one idea went wrong. It went so horribly wrong that the girl fell into her third depression. This one was more discreet, more concealed than the others. And it went on throughout her college years. This time, she couldn’t go to her confidante. But this time she had bigger help. She had faith. A wavering faith, but one that the girl held onto for dear life. She also had her confidante’s advice, and faithful friends. She had experience, and she knew what to do. So she slowly pulled herself out, and life went on. Her depression ended, leaving her stronger than she was before.

All this while, the girl grew as a human being. She had her dreams and aims. She had ideas on how to make the world a better place. She had a passion for fixing people. She had talents which she wanted to put to good use. Her dreams were a bit far-fetched, but the girl saw possibilities that others didn’t. Her life had taught her valuable lessons. The girl knew never to give up. So she carried on, and hoped for a good ending. Her story didn’t end there, but then, not every story has to be complete to be completed.

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17 thoughts on “Once Upon A Time

  1. Maybe faith is the perfect thing to hang onto.
    Maybe there’s more than one perfect thing to hang onto.
    Love, friendship, peace, justice, empathy, equanimity …

    Maybe the question isn’t what you’re hanging onto but your capacity to hang on.
    Can anyone hold on to anything forever?

      • Oh, not much.
        Just setting aside your faith, your beliefs, your predilections, your prejudices, your aspirations, what you think you know, what you think you are, what you think you should be …
        Just let go.
        And fall.
        You never know, maybe there’s someone there to catch you.

        Of course you can never see Allah and live. Just ask Musa.
        But if you die to yourself maybe you can see something else.
        Not Allah. Not His little finger. Not even His fingerprints.
        But His perfect handiwork.
        You.
        Maybe you’ll see Moniba Mehboob once you get all of that Moniba Mehboob out of the way.

        You can’t possibly expect to understand what Allah wants of you.
        Unless … what he wants you to be … is exactly what you are.
        What else could you ever hope to understand?
        Insha’Allah.

      • I probably went off on a wild tangent there.

        To try to bring it back to the topic …

        You’ve probably heard the aphorism “If you love something, set it free. If it returns to you it is yours. If it doesn’t, it never was”. I think faith is something like love in that respect.

        If you have faith it’s not something to cling to as a refuge against the storms of life. It’s what buoys you up. It cannot be dashed away, but only strengthened and deepened by trauma and vicissitude.

        If you have faith, let it go. If you stay afloat it’s because it is truly a part of you. If you sink, you never really had any.

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