Salaam y’all. Apologies for the late letter, it should have went out yesterday but I was caught up and unable to find the time to write (with a clear head at least). Also, is it just me, but does today feel like a Sunday a** Monday anyway?? Anyway, for that reason you all will be receiving two letters this week! Insha’Allah. I hope you are well and healthy and prioritizing yourselves and those you care about. Lets get into this week’s letter —
A few days ago, I visited La Jolla Cove with a few friends of mine, H, his younger brother (who I’ll call Z), and another friend named L. It was close to sunset, we were strolling down the walkway near the lounging area of seabirds and lions which, if you live in or have visited San Diego, you know where I am talking about. As we walked, we caught each other up and various aspects of our lives; L had just gotten a new job, H was planning a move to a new city, and Z was telling me about his new interests as he’s only 17 and still experimenting with hobbies and educational/career paths. It was an average get-together, and by average I mean intellectually and inspirationally invigorating as it always is when you’re friends are creative geniuses and overall beautiful people, but one thing that happened really stuck with me from this conversation that inclined me to write about it this week.
It was L’s first time meeting Z, and noting that he and H were brothers thought it interesting to ask them both to share one thing they hate about one another. A fun and hopefully harmless exercise of sibling relationship exploration from an outsider’s perspective. Now, of course, if you have siblings, by no doubt could you list off at least 25 things specifically about how they talk with their mouth full or are always in the kitchen, but, as is the case with these two, they also care deeply about one another, and decided to stick to just one thing they don’t like. This wasn’t what I found memorable, however, rather what came next.
After they shared their critiques of one another, L laughed about how he likes to always ask that question to siblings, but mentioned how the rarity in sibling relationships is seeing siblings who share things they like about one another. And I thought, that’s very true, so I decided to pose that question instead.
“What is one thing you guys like about one another,” I asked.
And just then, they both lit up a bit, and felt not only that saying something nice was easy to say, but that they were happy to as well, and that was an admirable sight. H talked about how caring and big of a heart Z had, and Z talked about how inspired he was by his big brother and looked up to him in so many aspects of his own life, as L and I kind of just watched it happen in appreciation of the touching exchange. When they finished complimenting each other, I don’t know how it happened exactly, but we all decided to exchange compliments towards one another. I talked about how I loved L for his open mind, empathy, intelligence, and for his accommodation as someone who was so different from me in the cultural sense, but not so much morally, L talked about me and H, and H talked about me, and vice versa versa. It was this heartwarming and lasting exchange between 4 men expressing their regard and respect for one another in the most explicit manner, and I felt blessed to have experienced such a thing.
I felt special afterwards, replenished, re-inspired, as kind words from those whom you look up to tend to bring about those feelings, but I also realized the importance of sharing good words and energy with those whom you love. Its easy to remind people of their faults, as faults present themselves as disruptions, and disruptions require attention, however, when one is treated nicely or how they prefer to be treated, it quickly can become expected, taken for granted, forgotten as an act of necessity and standard rather than a blessing. That exchange taught me that these things can really solidify and uplift that bond between siblings, lovers, family, and friends, and help reduce any bad thoughts one may have towards another and maybe even replace it with good ones. A kind statement can really be all it takes to soften someones heart towards you, and eventually guides them to return the favor.
We stayed there for a bit longer. Cracked jokes, said smart things and some dumb, then went home. But that conversation is now solidified not only in my memory but now in writing, and I intend to implement everything I’ve learned to the fullest, insha’Allah, and I hope you all will too.
Films I’ve Watched Recently
By Jessica Bashir
I have a lot to say about this film. This was part of the reason I wasn’t able to send out yesterday’s letter because I had gone to LA for a screening of it. As many of you know, I am Ethiopian, from the Oromo cultural group of Ethiopia specifically. The language my family speaks is Oromo, we call ourselves Oromo, we have a flag separate from the Ethiopian flag as well. But for a long time our people back home have been subjugated and marginalized, oppressed, and their voices suppressed. Being that I haven’t been back home, all I have ever known is the Oromo community here in the west, my family, and the stories they have told me of what goes on in Ethiopia. What life used to be like versus what it is like now, and true freedom, like it is for African Americans in America, has been a goal generation after generation have struggled for. I say all this to say, this was the first film I have ever seen in a theatre in my native Oromo language. It felt like I was transported back home despite never really experiencing it. All the tales, the accents, the concerns and conversations of the characters, I was intimately familiar with, and it was a magical, surreal sight. The film is about a variety of things, it is transitory, moving in and between multiple characters and their relationship with their homeland, their culture, and their dreams. It places great focus on dreams, and for that reason feels like a dream in the way it is made. I feel many things at the moment, it is kind of life my whole world has been altered anew through this film, and I don’t know what to do exactly. But that is a sign of great art, and I can only be happy at that. I recommend this film to anyone and everyone because I have nothing bad to say about it. This is about my land and my people, I can only be proud.
Find the film screening schedule here: https://fayadayifilm.com/screening-schedule
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
By Michel Gondry
This wasn’t the first time I watched this. The first time was on a plane 40,000 feet in the air and because of that my mind was a bit fogged during my viewing. I don’t know if it’s just me but whenever I am on a plane I can’t focus, can’t read, can barely hold a conversation, or watch a movie at that, my body just kind of loses all function. Anyway, I decided to rewatch this after seeing Be Kind Rewind the week before as Michel Gondry had directed that as well. I’m very fond of his films and thought it only right to give this a sincere watch as the memory of my first viewing on that plane towards who knows where was ironically stripped from my conscience. Honestly it’s kind of weird now that I think about it how I cannot remember this film, nor remember where I was going when I watched it, but that is beside the point. There’s not much to say about this besides the fact that it is a miraculous film. So real, and true to what many feel in regards to relationships. It’s beautiful, and fun, and painful, and strong in every aspect. This is one I will return to often, insha’Allah. Also Jay Electronica has a song where he literally raps over the score to this for 15 minutes straight… and its just as powerful.
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Cavalcades - a formal procession of people walking, on horseback, or riding in vehicles.
Rowanberry - Rowanberries are small orange-red fruits of the mountain ash tree, a.k.a. rowan tree. They are edible, but very tart in flavour. ... Several sweet rowanberry cultivars have been produced by crossing European mountain ash with apple, pear, hawthorn or chokeberry.
That's all from me for this one. Thank you for reading. And please drop a like, comment, or even send a personal reply to these emails if you feel inclined to. I'll be here.