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Poetry

Healing Begins with Forgiveness

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By Fatima DePoet – 3rd Place Winner of the 2019 NY MSA Showdown Competition

Editor’s Note: Muslim Youth Musings had the honor and opportunity to collaborate with NY MSA Showdown for their 2019 Competition, assist in judging the Creative Writing and Spoken Word contests, and publish selected winning entries in the categories of Creative Writing, Spoken Word, Photography, and Short Film. We congratulate all of the competitors and winners on producing high-quality work that is now being shared with Muslims across the world.


It all begins and ends with that muscle in you that acts as a sponge.
It soaks in the good, and the bad as long as you give it permission.
The strength is always there, you have to believe it’s there.
Especially during times you really can’t see it, but you really need it.

Over time a bridge of collagen tissues will pull the edges of a wound tightly together resulting in a scar.
Over time you consciously or subconsciously teach yourself how to hate these scars.
So you pick yourself up and then apart because you can’t stand who you are.
Who you are becoming, so you tell yourself you are nothing.
Nothing more than the embodiment of repeated mistakes.

Because the inability to forgive yourself is all that it takes,
For the world to feel like its crashing down on you.
Because self-doubt and self-sabotage is a lot easier to do,
Than putting in the hard work to be better.
Sometimes we don’t put in the work to feel better.
Because we don’t think we deserve healing.
Because we can’t move past the grieving.
And it’s easier to point out every single flaw .
Than to fall in love with them all.
Tracing the scars on a map made out deeply rooted regrets.
Don’t even get me started on the past you won’t let rest or forget.
Like childhood trauma, and the fear of being unloved, and the fear of not being enough.
It’s easier to believe that within darkness there is safety in isolation.
But there is nothing safe about self-hate and a bruised soul.
You feel like a burden sometimes, don’t you?

Because self-inflicted wounds are much worse,
Than passing the weapon to your enemy.
You already know where to stab, where to punch, when to watch you bleed. You.
Because it’s true that 80% of our thoughts are negative, and more than 90% of them are repetitive,
80% of our thoughts are negative and more than 90% of them repetitive,
And more than 90% of them, irrelevant.

It’s true that no other human can teach you how to really love you.
How to nurture self-worth.
Experience self-righteousness and proper self-growth.
But all you see is agony,
Despite having friends and family.
Because sometimes emotional pain really has a way of burying you alive.
Emotional pain has a way of killing you on the inside.
The manifestation of the war happening inside your brain,
Let’s not forget about the spiritual pain.

We have a habit of picking at our wounds like a bully.
Her curiosity hides beneath her fingernails like dirt,
As she digs out negative affirmations.
He is told not to cry, because men don’t cry.
So he mentally claws at his eyelids on the inside
And calls it ‘dignity’, then calls it ‘strong’
I have a habit of picking on my scars too, so they never heal.
He punished himself, by denying his emotions.
She starves, deprives herself of food, of comfort.
When I make mistakes I go to at war with myself,
Like I’ll never recover .

They cry themselves to sleep, and die a little each night.
I scrap, pinch and peel at my scars.
Until my skin throbs and begs me to stop .
I keep this up, we keep this up when we are feeling down.
This act of surgery I, me, I mean we confuse with jihad or discipline.
I keep this up until my veins start oozing out apologies I never offered myself.
Dried blood and the smell of regret are proof that pure things,
Aren’t always tidy, neat, and beautiful.
Our hearts are more than capable of falling in love with ourselves.
Too often and too much.
We don’t know how to let the small things matter less,
Because they feel so big when we are alone.
We don’t like being alone, yet we came to this earth alone, and we leave alone.
But forget that Allah is always with us, so we are never really alone.

Say, “O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful.” 39:53

Faith has a way of pulling it all together.
Like the way, collagen tissues pull at a wound,
To build a bridge, so you can see past the pain,
And move with the growth.
Allah (God) can push strength back into your chest, into my chest.
Because faith has of bringing out the truth,
By making everything that happens in your life.
The best absolute thing that could ever happen to you.

“Pain is always there. But suffering is a choice.”

Forgiveness is a sound, in which we all already carry in our voices.
Positive self-affirmation every day, in every way.
Perfection doesn’t exist in us, but Our creator is Perfect
We need to have that understanding on lock,
And the key…
The Key to self- love is and will always be Allah (God).
The recipe for healing you can seek it through Islam.
The Ingredient to forgiving your own soul can be found in Salah (Prayer).
The roots of courage can be read in through the Quran.
The success stories are the ones of the companions, should ease you worry.
The hope and inspiration is the beloved Prophet Mohammed (PBUH)
The guidelines to recovery,
The roads that will take you there will be a heart drenched with Iman (Faith).

Because,
It all begins and ends with that muscle in you that acts as a sponge.
It soaks in the good, and the bad as long as you give it permission.
The strength is always there, you have to believe it’s there.
Especially in times you really can’t see it, but you really need it.


About the Author

Ndeye Fatou Coundoul, who goes by the name Fatima DePoet is a senior at Lehman college. She is currently majoring in creative writing and aspires to be a high school English teacher. She’s active in the poetry community in greater New York City, and has read her poems at Graduate center, Hunter college, City College, and NYU, as well as at the Nuyorican Poets Café and the Lincoln Center.

Her work displays wisdom and true passion as she highlights emotion as a focal point. Her poems reflect on the intersection of family, self-love, reference to the African culture, identity all while invoking religion and spirituality healing. Some of her poetry got published in 2017, as well as a short memoir she wrote for John Jay’s magazine. Fatima DePoet embodies the strength in vulnerability as she performs with an open heart hoping to inspire other to take pride in their sensitivity.

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