Afnan Linjawi

Effat University

Let me tell you the story of one little girl in this universe

Born to the world with her feet already planted in this Earth

Her name was chosen meticulously

She had to be pure and bare with no tracing to her family

Five letters to her name, A F N A N

They were all hers to claim


What pride can a 5 year old have

In that tiny heart, between the hatred and the love

What knowledge can a 10 year old show

In the classroom, when she was told what to say and what to do

What hope can a 15 year old aspire to

When all her life she was shut off and locked in

Unable to find her place, unable to give life a chance

She picked up a pen and scrawled with a rigid pace

But soon her hand began to dance

And as if the 24 hours in the 365 days were not enough for her

To tell her story and what had she meant in that moment in 1997 when she burst with tears instead of laughter

She has resigned from talking, and found her solace between pen and paper

She fought battles with her favorite dragon and sword

She lived in caves and met dinosaurs

She walked on moon rays, talked to lost children

Greeted the many flavours of life, before she went home again


Such an empty word with lazy slurs

Such a hollow place full of hazes and blurs

Her family was the loving kind

They gave her her space and peace of mind

They told her stories of people, God, and death

They told her this is how it is on this Earth

You cannot read all there is to be read

You cannot see all there is to be seen

Take the choice with the highest worth

Only appeal to those of soundness and truth

Study your steps and never dive in

As the years pass, guilt might come piling

As every parent, they have wished her well

Donned her with the coat of their experience

And given her the glasses they spent years shining and re-shining

At 18 she steps out to the world

Seeing nothing but fog through those special lenses

She could not understand the pictures and colors on them

She could not understand the plastic perfect smile of a young girl with a lab coat and a degree of 7 years in medicine

She could not understand her hands free of scars

She could not understand the well behaved and highly primed children as they align in bars

Taking a blind step forward

The heavy coat was nailing her feet to the road

The heavy coat was wide and had holes in the pockets

The heavy coat did not protect her from sickness and cold

She took them off and on the ground they lay

As she takes the world in her own paradigm

Experiencing realistic myths of hard work, stress, and demand

Exploring interests in poetry, languages, and theatre

Reshaping the possibilities of her future

And taking it one step at a time

For all of you who have been misplaced, misguided, and hushed down

Know that the globe is your game now, so go ahead spin it round and round

Know that no amount of gold defines your worth

No amount of tears will wipe away the haze and show you the truth

I was a little girl in this universe

Born to the world with my feet already planted in this Earth

My name chosen with everything that’s sweet and kind

I was given the pen, to trace back to my family line

Five letters to my name I write, A F N A N

Every line is a scar from my fights


I draw a dot on the wall marking my starting point

I was five, but I knew my colors and my strengths

I started my first diary when I was ten

It gave me the wisdom I had, on the first day of school when I turned 11

At 15 I was unlocking the chains that held me from the world

I needed its embrace and its hold

And today I stand here, with my dearest companion

Admiring its cursive lines as it guides me through my faults and fails

Holding it firmly, as I write my own faith!