Self Help Poem

A Self Help Poem

April 9th NPM.

Being a sandwich kid was not easy. Nothing came easy. There were times when I was ridiculed because of my height. Indian girls were not very tall and here I was growing up like a freak, tall and extremely thin. I became painfully shy. Siblings and mother would always criticize my looks, telling me how I was so different in looks, meaning of course that I was ugly, and while my sisters would get married into good homes, I would probably spend my life as a spinster! And this continued until I went into medical school.

For the first time people started complimenting me about my height, and my looks. And gradually the inferiority complex that I had for almost two decades, started to wash off. I told myself that I could do whatever I wanted, and be good at it. The quote that kept hovering in the periphery of my mind was “True magnanimity consists not in ever falling, but getting up every time you fall!”


Beautiful calm childhood,
turbulent teenage years
words that clawed into soul,
searing and tearing it into shame;
my heart, wanting love, loving each
and every one, got shunned
at every corner;

My spirit refused to cower,
I persevered, held my head high and ignored
the anger and the attitude and the grief;
Away from home, I was recognized by different people
with different colors, and different languages.
I learned to stand up, laugh, love, and showed
respect, to all who had hurt, and who
pretended to forget they had hurt me.

The best thing I did, was to leave home–
I helped myself–
I didn’t want to just exist–
I showed my world,
that I could live and laugh and love!

ZSA_MD April 9th. 2016

About Zakiah

I write poetry and some fiction, have a book that was published in 2012. . . Stray Thoughts/Winged Words. I have four grandchildren, ages 16 and half to almost 16 months. I love the ocean, and grew up along the Indian Ocean in South India. I am a retired physician. Don't know much else to say. Thanks for reading. That has been my profile for so many years. My daughter Saadia a great poet and story teller, has two sons; the oldest grandson is now 21 years old, doing architectural engineering at Missouri S&T in Rolla MO. His younger brother is almost 16 and taking driving lessons seriously and is in High School. The other two grandsons, children of my son Sayeed, are 9 and 5. I have recently published another book titled Gulistan, A home of Flowers. It has stories and memories of my childhood and of a distant land which I still consider as my HOME., even though I have lived here in the US for more than fifty years. Hope to see you on my blog.
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18 Responses to Self Help Poem

  1. jstnotherday says:

    ❤ Yes, sometimes it is away from home that we truly find ourselves.
    I'm so glad you found the validation you deserve.
    I've seen your photo's… young, lithe, graceful, and beautiful. 🙂
    I think it is good sometimes that we do not find ourselves too young… as you say, you grew strong and full of perseverance.
    This was quite wonderfully expressed Zakia.
    Wishing you a blessed day. 🙂

  2. slmret says:

    Oh my how I relate to this poem — the short one of the family, I grew outwards rather than upwards, and fought it all my life, while my mother hurled epithets at me — “you’re fat, you’re diabetic (I’m not, even now), you can’t wear that style of clothing,” etc. Like you, I had a lot to overcome!

    • Zakiah says:

      I wish I could hug you now Janet. We had such similar childhoods. Even my younger sister would taunt me, because she saw the older folks at home ridiculed me. To this day, she lets a barb out just to humiliate me. Every one thought that I could never do anything right. I was truly considered the black sheep of the family.
      When I first started getting compliments about my looks and figure while at college, I used to cry. I thought they were making fun of me all over again and being sarcastic. I just couldn’t respect myself. Anyway, lot of water under the bridge. 🙂
      I have been going to Xanga to see if you have posted anything, but don’t see anything new from you,. Hope you are doing well. So looking forward to June and the meeting with you. Hugs.

      • slmret says:

        Yes, it takes a lot of work to respect oneself after the comments from family are so negative! I’m doing fine, thanks, Zakiah. I’ve not posted for a while, because I haven’t been taking photos like I once did. Once the rain is finished, I hope to get out again with the camera, and visit some places a little farther away. In the meantime, it’s been doctor month (annual and semi-annual checks, dentist, and next up is the eye doctor, with possible cataract surgery to come).

  3. geminiascending says:

    This seems timely for me, as I move forward in life. I hope I can do it with the grace that you’ve shown. I never would have thought that you’ve struggled. You are so self-assured. What blessings we receive when we have the courage to fly.

    • Zakiah says:

      Such a lovely compliment and so beautiful your words are Jo. Thank you. I think when I moved away from home, and country eventually, I learnt to rely on myself, and grow into myself. Faith and self reliance got me through the decades. Indeed, ‘what blessings we receive when we have the courage to fly.’

  4. Kind of relate here–but in a different way. My parents/family never said I was ugly but those old blue glasses made me feel that way. It was after I went to college that I felt I was okay 😉

    I think you are lovely…Thanks for sharing your heart and story with us. Love and hugs.

    • Zakiah says:

      You are such a sweet lady Elizabeth. How beautiful your spirit is despite the various trials that you are going through. That’s what makes the spine stronger, me thinks. Hope all at home are well.

  5. Love your poem, SweetZ! And I can relate to it! You are beautiful now, inside and out…so, I’m sure you were beautiful all of your life! Isn’t it interesting and sad the not-necessary-things some parents say and convey to their children? 😦 Often our family does not see, or recognize, our true selves…we get that validation and affirmation and love from people who are not related to us.
    I’m so so SO glad you helped yourself, because you have been an inspiration to so so SO many people! 🙂
    My own story is too long to share here…but, I left home at age 17 and it was the beginning for me!
    HUGS!!! 🙂

    • Zakiah says:

      You are so right Carolyn. I got my recognition and validation from people around the world, while my own family thought ill of me. Thank you for the love and the loving words. You make me feel ten feet tall! ❤ 🙂

  6. pacificnorthwestgranny says:

    It is amazing how the road we walk guides us and changes us, until we end up where we choose to be. I always thought the road would take me to my destiny but I find that everything I have learned and experienced on this path from childhood on, good or bad, has brought me to be this person who I am in my elder years.
    My elder years are my most content.

    • Zakiah says:

      Such a fine analysis of your pure self Ruthie! I loved reading this. Thank you for posting such a beautiful comment.
      I have tried to go to your site, but I do not have the access. Are you writing here?

  7. My parents would call me fat even when I was size O. They said that I was too dumb to go to college. Today, I am size 4 and the only one in my immediate family who has graduated from college and grad school. I guess we find out the hard way that not everything people say about us is true. I am glad you found the strength to believe in yourself too! I think you’re amazing, Zakiyah! I can only imagine the courage it takes to leave home and go to medical school!

    • Zakiah says:

      You are so good to me, and you yourself are a role model to all your students and people who know you. Thank you for such a beautiful comment here.

  8. r_hsw says:

    we all could learn a lot from you, zakiah. we really could.

  9. Lyne's View says:

    I love and relate in many ways. I’m on the late bloomer plan, and I agree that the best thing you did was to leave home. Me too. And we all should, because that’s where we find ourselves. Shine on! (pats heart, and knows you know)

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