18 years ago…

I moved here. My plane landed at maghrib time and I saw the sun setting and wondered what life would be like from that point onwards. I was numb for a very long time after that day. Life was dark and my folks in their fight to keep us safe in England kind of forgot to check on our mental well being every now and then; a cultural hazard in our neck of the woods. Life became a sea of practicality and I was so thirsty of emotional nourishment. I always contemplate a hundred and one things on August 20th of every year. I wanted to document some of them on here but on the advice of a friend decided to just repost this letter I wrote to my 13 year old self…

Hey Kid,

I know that misery has become your best friend. I know that moving to another country and having to start all over again sucks. I know school is hard and teenagers are basically Satan’s minions. I know you are not telling anyone about school because you know it won’t change anything. I know you get bullied, I know some idiot covered your head with his beanie hat and suffocated you in an empty corridor with no witnesses, for absolutely no reason. I know you use the payphone at school to call your mum at lunch to hear a familiar voice when you’re sad and hang up so she doesnt suspect it was you. I know you want to go back home.

I wish I could tell you that you are going to visit home again soon like they told you. But you are not. You will have to wait nine whole years before you see your family and old home again but when you do, it will be glorious and it will be MORE than worth the wait, I promise. The good news is there will be more trips back home after that and each one will be more life changing than the last.

Soon, life is about to get real good for you and I want you to make the most of it. You will meet so many people that will make you feel so many things and from whom you will learn so many lessons. I want you, during this phase to make decisions using your mind and intelligence and not your heart. Maybe you will save us both some grief. Trust me.

I wish I could tell you that things are going great now. They are not the best. But, you are alive, and though you have no career you have work and though you are (still) not social you have a circle of close friends. And though you are in a dark place in your twenties (now thirties….! Tam you are actually thirty let that sink in) you still have little bursts of happiness now and then and an abundance of blessings to be thankful for.

I wish I could tell you that things are ok back home. But there will be a war, one that will drive your family out of their homes and into hiding. One that, believe it or not, will make you somewhat grateful for escaping home all those years ago. But, you WILL feel helpless and you will want nothing more than to rush back there and see the people you love, but it’s a waiting game for now.

I’m sorry I couldn’t protect you at school and I am sorry I wasn’t kinder to you. God knows you could have done with a cuddle and a chat. I am so so sorry.

Please enjoy life more. Please take happiness WHEREVER you find it. Do not begrudge yourself little moments of joy – life is too short for that crap…

Love from a much older if not wiser,




  1. Tam you made me cry ! t is hard to people to guess from outside what a 13 year old is going through, currently reading a book ‘Lemon Tree’ which is a true story of a Palestinian boy leaving his home town and living as refugee is ones own country. Syrian Children , Palestinian Children and Yemeni kids ,all are going through the same fate right now. May Allah have mercy on them and restore peace in their lands.

  2. Tam, where are you from? I know stupid question, considering I’ve been following you since Sinan and Leila days. Honestly, bullying is a huge issues. It impacts you for all of your life and leaves a huge foot-print on you. I don’t understand bullies. I don’t understand parents of bullies. I wonder how Allah swt will hold such people accountable. Glad you pulled through all of that and I know inshAllah you’ll pull through this time into a better future.

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