This morning it finally hit me. As the electric toothbrush was buzzing inside my mouth, I looked my tired face in the mirror. It wasn’t really morning. It was past noon. My debilitating anxiety and depression has confined me to years of not being able to function properly because any attempt at tying myself down to a deadline incapacitates me with severe anxiety. It could be something as inconsequential as sleeping at a certain time and waking up at a certain time, or it could be vital things like doing a 9-5 job or going to university. After causing myself more harm for years by trying fight this handicap, I finally got the hang of it some 4 years ago. I accepted that I had a handicap, albeit invisible, and that I had to find a way to manage it. Acceptance, after years of denial.

So I’ve been making small strides, over the past couple of years, that saw me getting significantly better.
Once I faced my ugly truth, my inner beauty came out; I started writing, in earnest, I became brave, bold, adventurous, and stopped at nothing in trying to make the world a bit better by tackling uncomfortable subject matters in my writing.

But even so, there was so much that I wanted to do but couldn’t. Mental illness isn’t something you can get around by good ol’ willpower and positive thinking anymore than you can get around physical illness with good ol’ dieting and exercise. Just this past month, I went to Denmark over a short  weekend and when I returned home, I paid for that by spending the next 3-4 weeks bedridden with a complete mental shutdown and anxiety so severe that it was difficult to even move my body. That’s why I had been writing so much – I had to find a way to channel my energy, or else, if left intact, it could quickly turn into suicidal urges. It’s the horrible truth that very few of us – those riddled with these illnesses – speak of because people usually add insult to an already deep wound.

I’ve been taking tiny steps in trying to explore what it is that I *can* do, whilst trying to stabilize my mood by doing more of what makes me happy in the moment – even if it’s Coke drinking and staying up all night binge-watching shows lol. And I’ve been trying to understand the mechanism of the particular fear that blocked my attempts at going out in the world and do things like study, travel (more than I have), run my own business, etc. Which leads me back to the aha-moment in front of the mirror earlier:

I wanted complete freedom. That was the gnawing feeling of frustration that I’ve been chipping away at for years. I wanted complete inner freedom to go wherever my creative energy took me. That’s all I wanted. And to do that, I had to find a way to manage the scary feelings, the ones that punished my weekend getaways with flooding my system with insane amount of fight-or-flight responses. Because that’s what I was afraid of, that was what was holding me back.

And I remembered that had achieved something similar before – my daring vulnerability. I used to be afraid of what people would say, because I needed their approval so bad. The flipside of that meant that I would avoid anything that would piss them off. Once I let go of that, I had nothing left to fear. Yes, it was still unpleasant to get backlash and disapproval, because I’m a sensitive person and I don’t like confrontations. But it didn’t deter me anymore. I was free in that regard. I had full freedom of expression.

Every action can’t be undertaken unless the associated fear is faced and accepted – subconsciously or consciously;

You can’t swim if you fear drowning
You can’t love if you fear being hurt
You can’t seek if you fear not finding
You can’t ask if you fear rejection
You can’t be yourself if you fear disapproval
You can’t be resilient if you fear failure
You can’t be creative if you fear the unknown.

I spit out into the sink, and rinsed my mouth. My head felt cleaner, my heart felt lighter at this discovery. Hope is a currency I live on, and I recycle difficulties and road blocks to make it through another day. As I rinsed my toothbrush under the running tap water, I looked back at my reflection and though I was still tired, my lips curved in a faint smile. On any other person, it’d be undetectable. But on this face, it made all the difference in the world.

The Art of Life

People say: “Mulki, your writing is so deep and beautiful. You’re so talented.”

Nah b, I aint talented. I’m damaged, scarred, burnt. See how I can make these words grow fingers and caress your mind, how they can stir up emotions in you that you didn’t even know existed, how these words you’ve known for years take on a new form, seep through to forgotten memories you’d rather not revisit?

Tragedies carved out deep tracks in my soul, that’s how. A sculpture is marvelled at but you don’t notice the countless hours it took to break, disfigure, chip away at the original block of stone with a sharp chisel.

Nah darling, I’m not talented. I mean, I’m talented, just not in that way. I’m talented in messing up. In keeping people out. In seeming ice cold and indifferent. In figuring people out way before they even notice me, to gain leverage. I don’t watch movies. Because I can guess the ending by the title. It’s like I have an x-ray vision, and I’m dying from the radiation.

The ink with which I write is drawn from a well that runs way deep within me. It’s my soul’s blood.

Be careful with what you wish for.

I asked Allaah for patience. He gave me hardships.
I asked Him for love. I got people who hurt and betrayed me.
I asked Him for wisdom. I got pain on my platter.
I asked Him to make me a writer. I went through hell, and at the end of it I was told
” Now that you’ve stood for something, now that you’ve stood up to live, you may sit down to write.”

And you see, when I write, I don’t think first and write second. I don’t write at will. I’m merely a medium through which my emotions manifest themselves when they wish to do so. So I sit at my laptop, close my eyes to see, to hear the words in my mind that want out. Then I leak ,I bleed, I emit the words onto the keyboard. It’s like I’m playing a melody on a piano, one I learnt by heart in my childhood and now play without paying mind to the sheet. My fingers know what I don’t ; as they dance and pause and waltz across the keyboard, I don’t have a direct connection to what’s being communicated until the buzzing in my chest ,the knocking,the trouncing ceases.

It’s no child’s play.

But oddly, now that the scars have faded, the wound healed, I would not want to live in any other way. I’d rather live on the precipice of life, my life being one long cliffhanger that leaves deep gashes to the palms of my hands in my frantic efforts to hang on to life. I’d rather live in pain to court passion, as opposed to having a convenient, linear life.

You can’t leave a mark on this world without incurring scars of your own.



As a 6 year old, I was the most serious and austere child. I had the look of someone who’s waged war and buried loved ones.

Now, as a 26 year old, I’m so naive and child-like. I act like I have all the time in the world and that every story has a happy ending.


Philosophy of a crush


If I would – dare I say- love someone, and I keep it a secret for fear of being seen in an unfavourable light, does that make my love any less real? Is love only real if it’s reciprocated? Does a seed cease to remain a seed if it’s not planted and brought to fruition? And by burying my truth, my love within me, am I telling myself that my feelings can’t matter unless there’s an appreciative witness? If my love is rejected for whatever reason, did proclaiming my love hurt me, or is the pain due to unmet expectations?


Emotional orphan

I was emotionally orphaned.

My mum told me that I was a very fussy baby who’d cry nonstop. So she made sure I was fed and clean – physically cared for – and just leave me be when I cry ‘for no apparent reason’. I believe we are all born with fully formed souls and personalities and we spend life learning to accept ourselves. I think that first year when my body was cared for but my mind ignored, something within me broke. Shattered to smithereens. Because when I turned one, I changed drastically. I became reticent and quiet. Still. If I were told to sit down, I’d sit there for hours until told to get up. That’s not normal for a one year old is it? I don’t think so.

My dad was much more compassionate than mum. He was a doting father who wouldn’t let me cry. He observed my every move to try to decipher my language. He even kept a shorthand notebook for my baby babble and he’d be my translator of sorts. They really tried, my parents. I was a very sensitive and old soul and they had to improvise because I wasn’t like normal infants. I was even scared of the dark! I was merely a couple of months and I’d freak if the lights were turned off. 😀

I was 1 year and 8 months when my twin brothers were born. It threw everyone off course, because they were unplanned. Not only that, but mum almost died giving birth via c-section. She spent the first 6 months or so in and out of hospital. My dad had to work. We lived in a small southern town of Sweden where we didn’t have any relatives to help out. It was hard. I think the sudden change of dynamics where I was pushed off the only child seat and relegated to the background in the face of the clamour and mum’s illness, affected me very deeply.

One day I blurted out something that couldn’t have belonged to my mind and be spoken by my tongue. I wasn’t even 2 years yet, when I addressed my parents and a family friend who were in our midst;
‘ hooyo mid, aabe mid, aniga baabah’. Which is Somali for ‘ mum one, dad one, me nothing ‘, pointing out that my parents’ hands were occupied with both my infant twin brothers and I was left alone.
Heart wrenching and mind-boggling as it was, the family friend was utterly devastated and scooped me up immediately, sobbing at my words that I was too young for.

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