Friday, January 21, 2011

I Could Have...

I could have been born anywhere, as anyone. I didn't have to be me.

I could be living in an African village, playing in trash-strewn dirt streets, knowing little of the world outside of my immediate surroundings. I could have been born in Syria and never stepped foot in America, and I wouldn't have been part of a family known as mughtareebeen* every time I was introduced to someone new. I could have been non-independent, following what others told me to do blindly because that's just the way things are supposed to be. I would have saved myself the pain & anger of all those fights with my parents to let me have my own life, let me do things my way. I could have been meek and quiet and obedient, and for a while I was.

I could have been someone who didn't stand up for her ideals, who didn't believe people shouldn't be judged by their skin color, their religion, how much they weigh or who they love. I could have been prejudiced, racist, a bigot, a bitch. Instead I continued to dance "like Blacks" in our kitchen as he questioned me disapprovingly, marching to the beat of my own drum at 9; had best friends of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, I can't even count how many ethnicities, by the time I was in junior high, not giving a damn what the neighbors thought; explored true love at 16 because I didn't believe God cared that we didn't worship in the same place; found my second sister in my 20's because I know those connections transcend race. I have traveled and learned and seen and been and lived. I have been blessed and I know it.

I could have been an underachiever, spending my days sitting on the couch doing nothing, not earning an income, not aiming for anything, not having a career, not achieving a thing. I could have never moved to the greatest city in the world and never accomplished the things that I have. I could have been still living at home, mooching off those around me, living one boring day to the next, wondering if life was ever going to get exciting. Instead I created my own excitement and have loved every adventure I've been on, and appreciated even the gut-wrenching ones I hated, albeit later.

I could have been narrow-minded, non-nurturing, never-forgiving and not loving of myself. I could have never bothered to take the time and the pains to work on myself, analyze myself, make myself a better person. I could have not been introspective and not given a shit that I wasn't. I could have been certifiably crazy, mentally ill, a drug addict, an alcoholic, a verbally abusive asshole or just a plain old miserable prick. I could have been granted no gifts or skills at all, and wandered around feeling like I could never be anything. I could have been a waitress, a truck driver, a lawyer; a housewife, a Queen; living in a shack by the beach, or walking the halls of my mansion everyday just for fun, to remind myself how big of a house I had the pleasure to live in. I could have been scrooge or I could have had enough to feed every starving child in the world.

I could have been a man. I could have been someone else's sister, someone else's daughter, someone else's son. I could have been loving, caring and kind or I could have been selfish, miserable and mean. I could have won the lottery or lived on a farm in the middle of nowhere, been the youngest of 12 in a crowded but loving family, or the illegitimate offspring of a lovers' tryst. I could have been born HIV+ or succumbed to an illness at a young age or live to be 90 on my deathbed, surrounded by everyone I love. I could have been born on the streets, never to know a home or the warmth of a homecooked meal made by someone who loved me. I could have lived a tragedy or a triumph, or anything in between.

My life could have been completely different than what it has been. Just think about it; you, too, could have been born into a different family, another destiny. You could be someone else entirely with different views, different experiences, different ideals. I am thankful for the journey I have had; even the bad parts have made me who I am, and I love who that person is.

*People who emigrate to the West in Arabic