United States

Author of "Miss conceptions" (2017)
Kathak dancer

Message from Writer

Words from you are the best ones.

Our Hearts Beat for This

March 12, 2019

    I refuse to look into the faces of children who dream, knowing their path will be paved with innumerable obstacles. I refuse to look a young artist in the eye, knowing that she will be declined most of what she asks for. I refuse to be a mother to my children, a mother who cannot change the world to let her child’s wings unfurl.
 “Creativity takes courage.”
            -Henri Matisse
    It does indeed, for to make ourselves heard, we turn to the medium of expression that we know best. We suffer heartaches with a paintbrush in hand. We scribble through sleepless nights, our hand overcome with pain. We bite our lips through excruciating blisters, still forcing our bleeding feet into pointe shoes. We keep pushing through, day after day, hoping that someday, all our efforts will not be in vain.

    At a young age, most of us learn that around every corner, there is a stereotype waiting to hinder us. A prejudice with a large banner in hand, which reads “You can’t”. We are made to sit in a classroom, being taught to change the world, all the while living in a world which is not willing to change for our sake. ‘Cause we can change the world, but the world cannot change our individuality.

    Just like every other child growing up in this world, I have, over the years, aspired for a variety of careers. But all of them have had something to do with the arts. I still consider myself to be completely honest to only one person today- my diary. Documenting my fears, my dreams, my sorrows, my joys, all in inked words,  has taught me one thing- that this is how I want the rest of my life to be. Every time I step onstage, in front of the dimmed audience, underneath the stage lights, in a costume, I feel something. Even with all the makeup, all the anxiety of the moment, that is when I recognize myself the most, when feel the closest to myself. It is not after I finish dancing, when the audience cheers and claps, that I feel happy. It is while I am moving up there, one with the music, that I realize the same thing over and over again- that this is why I do it. I do it for myself.

    To my teachers, I want to say that I may have the brains to be a mathematician, or a scientist, but I know that I have the heart of an artist. To my family, I want them to see that I don’t need a big house, a luxurious car, and a hefty salary, because I know that I will be happier in poverty if I can look at myself and feel proud for not giving up on what I love. To myself, I want to one day look into my own eyes in the mirror, and see the sparkle that I hope does not die, just because the world saw it to be different. I want the flame within my heart to keep burning, and not die just because the world extinguished the fire.

    I can say with confidence that it is not one, nor two, nor three, but multiple passions that I have seen oppressed over the years. There is an artist around each of us, but we don’t see most of them because they are too afraid to let it show. Society has made being creative something to be ashamed of, and has made it into a stone that weighs artists down instead of uplifting them. How I see myself respond is to think that every single one of us cares to a certain extent of what people think of us. You care, I care, and everyone around us cares. It is completely natural, but it is that habit of caring which stops us from being happy. I admit that I care more than I should, but I hope that I learn to break free in time, and so do others, before it’s too late to bring ourselves back from a materialistic happiness.
   It is with true motives of understanding that I look to each one of you in this world to make it a better place. The phrase “Make the world a better place” is rather generalized at this point, when so many issues compete against each other. But since I am not standing before you, saying this, I have to write it for you to read in simple, straightforward language, that we are not different, we are not stupid, and we are not lazy. We breathe the same air as you do, we have the same heart as you do, and henceforth, we deserve the same opportunities as you do in life.


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  • Aaliyah

    Thank you so much. It was really encouraging to see you believe in the issue as much as I do!

    over 1 year ago
  • Saadia

    Yes!! I feel you! I always struggled with this too because I want to be an actress or director (maybe screenwriter?), or maybe all three. But I constantly hide this fact because I have good grades, am good at both math and science, and feel that I must "use my brain more" in my career than I would if I were to follow my dream of acting. It is hard and I still haven't told anyone my dream. Well written and I really like this op-ed.

    over 1 year ago