A Thousand Splendid Lives

Written on my 34th birthday - March 6, 2022

Last week, I read that the impact of #microaggressions is like “death by a thousand cuts,” and I’ve reached the thousandth cut… again. Yes, again. I have a heap of tasks to finish, but instead of thriving – as I should, as I normally would, as I’m meant to – I’m bleeding from a thousand cuts that no one can see, and no one wants to recognize… and if I dare speak up, I’d bear consequences that are far more damaging.

The charges against me?
I exist.
I dream.
I’m here.
I’m alive.
I breathe.
I want to to fall in love with life.

I read that microaggressions are traumatic. They impair focus and feelings of joy. They drain the life out of the target.

I read that microaggressions have caused scars in my brain… in my highly intelligent, creative brain.

My crime?
I exist.

Last week, a number of Western media outlets spurted racist venom against humans like me. I now imagine that if there were a concentration camp, I’d be locked up in it by the people who have targeted me with microaggressions.

I often assumed the source of microaggressions was petty jealousy, insecurities, or an inferiority complex. But now I was made aware that those subtle remarks often come from a dark, hostile belief that ‘the other’ does not deserve life.

I’ve been told I am the other.

The reason? It doesn’t matter. There is a group of people - or demons? - who believe that those who are, in their perception, not like them... do not deserve to live.

I've been repeatedly told that I don’t deserve life… because I’m Syrian.

To that I say: I deserve not a life, but a thousand splendid lives.

Today, I celebrate the anniversary of my first breath.