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Background: this is a massive compilation of self-reflection questions i started collecting as a teenager… the ongoing goal of this project is to record as much as i can about my inner life and revisit the answers every few years to see how i’ve changed & grown.

Use 10 words to describe yourself.

Passionate, lively, warm, playful, soft-hearted, intellectually curious, free-spirited, compassionate, introspective, complex

Name 10 things you can’t live without.

Faith, hope, purpose, love, worship, self-expression, solitude, imagination, the written word, the pursuit of knowledge

Name 10 things in this world you feel are overrated:

Status, fame, certainty, ideological differences, geographic borders, physical appearances, material wealth, formal education, ethnic/national identity, normality

Describe 10 physical traits.

Slender hourglass, light olive skin, heart-shaped face, almond-shaped eyes, high cheekbones, small waist, slight dimples, full lips, soft voice, dark hair

Name 10 personal strengths.

Open-hearted, optimistic, creative, intuitive, open-minded, nurturing, level-headed, resilient, balanced, loyal

Name 10 personal flaws.

Scatterbrained, idealistic, flighty, shy, stubborn, clumsy, impractical, self-absorbed, terrible at time management, perpetually oblivious to social expectations & norms

What 10 emotions do you feel the most often?

Curiosity, fascination, wonder, awe, tranquility, gratitude, yearning, perplexity, saudade, excitement

Name 10 careers you dream of having.

Writer, philosopher, artist, explorer, community organizer, wildlife rehabilitator, policy analyst, museum curator, warrior princess, shepherd

Name 10 favorite books.

The Psalms of Islam, The Count of Monte Cristo, Tao te Ching, The Gift: Poems by Hafiz, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Letters to a Young Poet, What Dreams May Come, Climates of the Mind, Suhrawardi and the School of Illumination, Eternal Manifestations: 80 Stories from the Life of Allamah Tabatabai

Name 10 things that make you smile.

Being smiled at, beautiful weather, friendly animals, good stories, fulfilling conversations, when the sky looks mesmerizing, feeling at ease, spending time with loved ones, fond memories, kindness

Name 10 things that make you weep.

The depth and scope of human suffering, witnessing someone’s pain firsthand, the vulnerability/mortality of people i love, human cruelty, world-weariness, heartfelt prayers, soul-stirring masterpieces, hard-to-watch documentaries, painful memories, loss

Name your 10 most important priorities.

Learning, questioning, self-actualization, deepening my understanding of everything, taking care of my loved ones, helping where & who i can, intellectual exploration, creative self-expression, stoking my inner fire, attaining nearness to God

Describe your ideal love in 10 words.

Passionate, playful, deep, uplifting, tender, empowering, spiritually fulfilling, mutually transformative, honest, profound

Name 10 qualities you seek in a significant other.

Spiritually awake, trustworthy, deep thinker, passionate, open-minded, compassionate, masculine, good-humored, humble, emotionally intelligent

Name 10 things you look for in a relationship.

Spiritual resonance, compatible values, emotional openness, passion, understanding, trust, mutual respect, physical chemistry, good communication, balance

Some say love is a river (according to the old song). What do you say love is?

A bridge that leads two people toward God

Describe in 3-5 words what your idea of love consists of?

Vulnerability, patience, ecstasy, balance, growth

What’s the most important part of a relationship, in your opinion?

A mutual willingness to see beyond oneself

Define love in 10 words or less.

A shared pathway to spiritual completion

Define death in 10 words or less.

The next great journey

If someone were to look deeply into your eyes, what would they see/feel?

Serenity, passion, curiosity, warmth, grief, joie de vivre, daydreams, wonder

If there was a recipe to your soul, what would it be comprised of?

Honey, roses, silk, mercury, fire, ice

Describe your soul as a place.

A small lighthouse on the edge of a vast ocean, casting soft light across dark waves

When do you feel most alive?

Late at night or just before the sun rises

Where can the meaning of life be found?

Somewhere in the orbit of one’s deepest passions

What is something you live for?

Those rare, beautiful moments when everything feels just right and i feel a deep, overarching sense of clarity and peace toward everything

What is the epitome of beauty in your eyes?

The rising sun, the night sky & the splendor of the stars, my mom, mountains, autumn, trees, flowers, the ocean, a heartfelt smile

What makes you want to be someone’s friend?

Their innate warmth & kindness; the feeling that we might understand each other

How does the world look through your eyes?

Daunting & full of injustices that keep me up at night, but also endlessly full of beauty and possibility

When you look around at your fellow human beings, what do you see?

Unfathomably wounded souls, all in need of more kindness than we’re conditioned to show

Is it natural for human beings to fear and distrust each other?

No… i think it’s a symptom of us collectively forgetting how we’re supposed to be and becoming dominated by the selfish impulses of our egos, creating divisions that become harder and harder to heal

Why do we feel the need to escape?

We sometimes view suffering as a permanent state of being, rather than a changeable state of mind

What is the ultimate way to connect with another person?

A deep, fulfilling conversation where nothing is off the table and you can spend hours talking about the intricacies of life & the universe, interspersed with playful banter… or the profound, wordless exchange of eyes meeting

What makes other people interesting to you?

More than anything, a sense of being genuine; free of pretension or imitation or the burden of needing to be liked… i love when people are unapologetically themselves, no matter how strange or imperfect

How can you tell when you truly love someone?

When being around them makes my soul feel at ease, and looking into their eyes evokes the feeling of coming home

What makes you feel loved?

When someone directly, unambiguously tells me what i mean to them, makes me feel deeply understood, & showers me with affectionate words

What is happiness?

Feeling like the present moment is exactly where you’d like to be; the understanding that right now is good enough exactly as it is

What makes you happy?

Pretty much anything can, if i let it :)

What is beauty?

Objectively speaking, what isn’t?

What is pain?

A necessary component of growth

What is a smile?

A preview of a person’s inner world

What is a friend?

A platonic soulmate

How do you try to live your life?

With an open mind & heart

Name one of your key life philosophies.

Arrogance is the root of all evil, humility is the peak of all good

What does it mean to be human?

To have the capacity to harbor both the deepest of loves and the darkest of hates

What are some qualities that make you different from other people?

My idealism, softness, complexity, & passion

Would you say you are more dominant or submissive?

Soft & submissive by nature, but very bold & feisty when i’m passionate about something

Would say you are more extroverted or introverted?

Naturally introverted, but outgoing & bubbly when i’m happy

What’s your sense of humor like?

Playful, quirky, mischievous, cerebral, goofy, dry

How do you behave in general?

Warm, easygoing, lively, calm, playful, loving, sassy, affectionate, inquisitive, aloof, quiet/reserved if i’m feeling shy

How do you behave when infatuated with someone?

Either really shy & quiet, or calm & friendly on the outside and nervous/jittery on the inside (but i also act like this in general, so it’s truly a mystery lol)

What is key in keeping a romantic relationship alive? Why?

To be able to satisfy your partner’s core needs without neglecting your own; to make them feel like the most important, cherished part of your world without making your world revolve solely around them… this is key because the most healthy, mutually fulfilling love arises when each person is intrinsically fulfilled

What could someone do to steal your heart?

Make his feelings and intentions crystal clear, engage me in deep, soulful conversation, show me his soft side, & stimulate my mind and heart

How would your ideal lover see you?

Like a goddess, best friend, and his most insatiable craving, all in one :P

What turns you on?

Directness, passion, tenderness, depth, intellect, emotional connection, good communication, soft-heartedness, effort, authenticity, courage

What turns you off?

Arrogance, emotional coldness, cruelty, superficiality, inconsistency, fickleness, disloyalty, close-mindedness, hard-heartedness

How do you envision your ideal relationship?

Full of honesty, vulnerability, depth, understanding, tranquility, passion, and laughter… i want to bring him closer to God & make him happier than he ever thought possible :) (i can hear the cynics groaning from here lol)

What can you talk about for hours?

Pretty much anything, if i’m with the right people

If someone ripped open your heart, what would they find?

Compassion, patience, courage, joy, warmth, tranquility, grief, ecstasy, hope

What are qualities you have that most people would never guess?

A wild side that only comes out around my closest friends, a dark sense of humor, & a love of macabre/offbeat things

You are taking a walk in the pouring rain. How are you feeling?

Cold, peaceful, cleansed, refreshed

What are your favorite outdoor activities?

Stargazing, long walks, watching the sun rise, hiking, kayaking, nature photography, mountain climbing, tennis, street hockey, basketball, archery, horseback riding, visiting lakes/beaches/forests, gardening, dancing in the rain

Where is home to you?

Anywhere i feel close to God & my loved ones… if i had to pick just one place: Masjid e Kufa

What is your dream home?

A little woodland cottage in a forest with mountains and friendly creatures nearby, like something out of a Thomas Kinkade painting… in the real world: anywhere i can live peacefully with the people i love

What’s the best vacation you’ve ever taken? Did it change you?

A trip to Lake Saif ul Muluk in Kaghan Valley, Pakistan when i was 11… it was the most beautiful place i’d ever seen: an ethereal valley surrounded by snow-capped mountains and glaciers, with this perfect crystal lake in the middle. For that little breath of time, i believed fervently in the magic of unseen worlds.

Is there a city that reminds you of the landscape of your mind?

Kaghan Valley… remote, unventured, tranquil, different

What would constitute a “perfect” evening for you?

It’s pretty cliche: a walk along a quiet, sandy beach, beneath a full moon and a sky full of brightly burning stars, hand-in-hand with one person in the universe who truly understands me… Or curled up in front of a warm fireplace in a remote cabin with a life-changing book… Or a night of solitary, fulfilling worship in a holy city, preferably Kufa

Where do you find refuge?

Nature, family, friendship, laughter, solitude, worship, learning, good books, poetry, film, art, blissful sensory experiences, cooking, travel, adventure, museums, libraries, bookstores; anywhere i can reconnect with & express my inner self

Sitting alone in a big field, looking at stars, what do you think/feel?

An overwhelming sense of ecstasy… i think it’s incredible that despite all the ways human beings try to dominate, conquer, and commodify the world we live in, no one has ever been able to do that to the sky; a starry night is a luxury anyone can enjoy & no manmade beauty will ever come close.

What do you think when you are staring into the ocean?

So much beauty lies out there, way beyond the troubles of the here and now, it would never make sense to lose sight of God’s greatness or lose hope in His mercy. If the Creator of something as majestic as the ocean willed me to exist, how could i ever doubt His love for me or the value of the life He gave me?

What do you think people are most ignorant towards?

Our own inner selves

What’s something unusual you always keep with you?

Used to be my Tao te Ching… from ages 15-20, i kept a pocket-sized translation in my purse; i’d pull it out & read it anytime i had a few spare minutes

What are some of your favorite hobbies?

Learning, writing, reading, painting, cooking, traveling, hiking, stargazing, spending time with loved ones, watching movies, researching anything i find interesting & falling down endless rabbit holes of information

How would you classify yourself religiously?

Devout Shi’a Muslim with a deeply Taoist bent

Do you believe that there is a right religion?:

In my eyes, the right religion is Shi'a Islam, but i believe all souls are possessed by the same innate yearning for Truth, and the validity of how we individually choose to navigate that yearning can be judged by God alone… I whole-heartedly believe that someone not on my religious path could reach closer to enlightenment & be deserving of a better afterlife than me, but this doesn’t make me doubt or question my own path.

Where do you look when you pray?

Inward, in a sense

What fascinates you?

Pretty much everything… human nature & behavior, neuroscience, physics, mysticism, spirituality, religion, philosophy, psychology, science, history, nature, astronomy, global affairs, paranormal phenomena, animals, linguistics, art, mythology, the complexities of the human mind and body, abstract questions that don’t have simple answers

How would you define intelligence?

The degree to which a person allows their natural curiosity, open-mindedness, and inquisitiveness to run free… it’s not about how many books you’ve read or your level of formal education, it’s about your fundamental openness to knowledge in all its forms

What do you do to relieve stress/unwind?:

Think, write, read, explore things that interest me, take a hot shower or bubble bath, drink tea, cook, draw, read duas, work out, visit my favorite bookstore, embark on long aimless drives, spend time with my mom, take care of my animal family

What’s a quirky behavior of yours that others probably find strange?

On days when i’m extremely sleep-deprived or socially anxious, i sometimes have a hard time formulating coherent thoughts and forget words… i also become 65% clumsier and laugh at the absolute dumbest things :[

Are you more masculine or feminine?

Maybe about 75% feminine, 25% masculine? Most of my outward qualities are as stereotypically feminine as it gets, but i’m also often deeply drawn to traditionally masculine pursuits and modes of thinking

Is there anything that bothers you about your gender?

Society encourages women to constantly be at war with themselves; we’re conditioned to be terrified of aging, lack of beauty, lack of desirability, lack of love, lack of fertility, etc. So the world is often cruel to women who seem happy with themselves despite these pressures, because their peace is sometimes misinterpreted as arrogance or wickedness

What’s your biggest insecurity?

I’ve always been plagued by the fear that i’m too strange/different to be understood; i often feel like there’s a deep gulf between my soul and the rest of the world, and my awareness of that distance makes me feel deeply alone sometimes

What’s your biggest source of confidence?

Probably the same as my biggest insecurity… On my good days, i like that i’m not afraid to be different :)

What’s something about you people should know?

That my door is always open for anyone who needs healing, reassurance, encouragement, or help

How easily do you generally embrace other people?

I genuinely tend to like & get along with almost everyone on a basic level, but i’m extremely selective about my closest friends (not out of arrogance, i just have very limited social energy)

If someone wanted to understand you, what book could they read that would help?

‘Letters to a Young Poet’ by Rainer Maria Rilke

What is your favorite way to express yourself and why?

Writing… words have this finite, comprehensible magic that helps us make sense of infinity

What is the one thing that you love to do so much that you would make sacrifices to be able to do it?

Learn… I think i’d go to any length to understand everything better; my curiosity is my greatest driving force in life

What is your favorite myth?

Orpheus & Eurydice; it’s as breath-takingly beautiful as it is sad… i love the way it captures the depth of human longing & our inability to turn away from the ones we love

What is your favorite quote?:

“On ne voit bien qu’avec le couer; l’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux”… “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eyes.”

-Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince

Are you a hard person to get to know?

Yes and no… i’m reserved by nature, but direct questions are my kryptonite

If something is slightly impure, would you consider it corrupt?

Definitely not; anything real is at least a little bit impure

Do you believe that everything happens for a reason?

Maybe; more that a reason can be retroactively construed for everything

Is time more like a highway or a meadow to you?

Definitely a meadow… it’s not linear and doesn’t truly lead in a singular direction

If Love was a potion, what ingredients would it comprise?

Sugar & almonds; “per l’amaro e il dolce” (this is a “five people you meet in heaven” reference!)

What’s your ideal fairytale & why?

Ever After: Danielle saves herself and has passions, dreams, & ideals completely unrelated to falling in love… Henry truly loves her for who she is, admires her ideals, becomes a better man because of her, and treats her with the deepest adoration *swoon*

If you could choose any superpower, which would you take?


What form would your patronus take?

Probably a deer, lioness, or unicorn

What is your favorite fragrance and what does it make you feel/think of?

jasmine flowers = love // china rain incense = a garden in paradise // hazelnut = a warm fire in winter // lavender = fairy dust

How do you usually smell?

Vanilla floral perfume or shampoo

What is your favorite sound?

The soft rush of raindrops on my window during a storm

Describe your voice.

Soft, feminine, high, & embarrassingly childlike when i get excited :|

Describe your sense of style.

Feminine, eclectic, dreamy, slightly edgy

Are your relationships mostly passion or conversation?

On my part, passion

You can have one of the following two things: trust/love?

Love, it should inherently contain trust

Do you smile often?

At least 70% of the time i’m around people, i smile a lot :)

What do you seek in other people?

Some sense of familiarity & common ground

Are we the result of our own projection?

As far as the outside world can see, yes… but the projection remains a shell that can never compare to or mask the reality

Do you live in a real or imaginary world?

I guess a mixture; my feet are firmly on the ground, but my head is always a little bit in the clouds

What is your biggest strength?

My optimism/resilience… if given sufficient time to heal & reflect, i can bounce back from pretty much anything

How do you handle conflict?

I try to stay as calm & level-headed as possible… if i can’t resolve something peacefully, i’d rather step away and revisit it when i can come from a place of understanding

Do you perceive reality differently from others? How?

I guess… i try to see into the core of things, but i also often miss what’s right in front of me

Write poetic comparisons for the following things:

Your body: a soft feather

Your skin: milk and honey

Your eyes: tree bark

Your lips: rose petals

Your smile: hesitation

Your hair: silk ribbons

Your voice: a shy lark

Your heart: a dancing flame

Your soul: a whisper in the night

Describe your life at the moment with a few lines of poetry.

"the woods are lovely, dark, and deep, but i have promises to keep. and miles to go before i sleep, and miles to go before i sleep." -robert frost

What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received?

In my high school yearbook, a guy once wrote: “you are, fairly accurately, the rising sun.”

What color represents your soul, and why?

Blue… it reminds me of the ocean, which is sort of soul-like; a perpetual ebbing of feeling and thought

If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be and why?

A willow; it’s symbolic of healing and dreams

If you were a shoe, what kind would you be and why?

A glass slipper… it’s the ultimate symbol of fairytale idealism, but is terribly impractical and has no place in the real world :[

Are you a glass half full or glass half empty kind of person?

Half full… i’m definitely not immune to sadness or grief, but in the grand scheme of things- in the context of everything that could possibly go wrong but isn’t, in light of all the blessings i’ve been given that God could’ve deprived me of- i think of optimism as its own sacred form of worship

What are your favorite animals?

Cats, deer, horses, tigers, lions, sheep, goats, otters, elephants, blue jays, robins, raccoons, butterflies, rabbits, penguins, sloths

What animal do you resemble most?

A deer or cat… reserved, watchful, flighty, gentle, playful, calm

If told you had less than 24 hours to live, would you be afraid?

[Severus Snape voice] obviously :P

What book character can you relate to best?

Elizabeth Bennet from ‘Pride & Prejudice’

What character from a movie is most like you?

Danielle de Barbarac from ‘Ever After’, this is literally me:

What character from a TV show is most like you?

Rory from season 1 of Gilmore Girls, our mannerisms are eerily similar:

What personality trait has gotten you into the most trouble?

My ‘free-spiritedness’ on the whole, and different aspects of it: at my worst, i can be a little too fiery, impulsive, brash, and outspoken :|

What do you think other people judge you to be like? Are these judgments accurate, or do they trouble you?

Naive, simple-minded, angelic… they’re fairly inaccurate, but i don’t mind letting people believe them :P

When do you feel most beautiful?

When i’m deeply in alignment with my spiritual needs & goals; when i’m dressed to the nines in a beautiful dress or shalwar kameez; when i step out of a hot shower/bath and my skin has a rosy glow

What star sign are you and what is your sign like?

I’m on the cusp of Cancer (sensitive, loving, sensual, moody) and Leo (warm, passionate, stubborn, prideful)… A lot of that might be true, but i don’t believe in astrology so *shrug* :[

Do other people see you the way you see yourself?

I think people sometimes over-idealize me or view me as a sinless angel, which is terrifying… I’m vulnerable, human, & far from perfect; i feel a deep sense of relief around people who seem to understand & accept that

At this moment, are you in a relationship with anyone? Why or why not?

No… i guess i haven't met my soul's true match yet? I'd rather wait for what feels right than settle for what doesn't

Do you believe in love at first sight?

No, but i find it significant when my soul feels drawn to a total stranger; it makes me wonder if we might’ve crossed paths in ‘alam-e dhar

What does it mean to you to allow another person to fully love you? Have you ever let someone do this?

I think it means to give yourself to someone completely, without hesitation, doubt, or fear… I’ve never let anyone in that deeply bc i’d rather save that depth of connection for the person i marry

Do you have unrealistic romantic standards?

Not in the conventional sense; i couldn’t care less about wealth, material possessions, social status, etc. I’d choose a poor man with an attractive soul over a wealthy man with no sense of self any day… but attractive souls are much harder to find

Would you rather live alone with tons of money or live with your soul mate in a shack?

I’d take the soulmate; i’m incorrigibly idealistic :P

How many people have fallen for you?

No idea/it doesn’t matter

Are you very sensitive to what other people are feeling and how they will react to certain things?

Extremely, but i can be embarrassingly oblivious at times

Are you usually honest in telling people how you feel about them?

Only if they initiate #shygirlproblems

Do you believe love itself is enough to make a relationship work?

When true and rightly placed, it should theoretically encompass everything else that matters. But love shouldn’t be treated as a passive, unchanging state; it’s an active realization that requires conscious effort and sustenance.

Could you marry outside your race?

I wouldn’t be opposed to it if he’s open-minded, mature, & our values are compatible; i think spiritual/religious compatibility matters far more

Have you ever held someone and appreciated how delicate and fragile all life is and felt that they were even more precious and beautiful because one day they would die?

All the time… this is part of what makes every form of human love so sacred and irreplaceable

What are your views on unorthodox couplings (polyamory, polygamy, open relationships, etc)?

As long as all parties involved are consenting & happy, i have no issue

How does being around children make you feel?

Generally happier and more myself, like i can finally breathe easy :)

What is the most important thing to teach a child?

That coloring the sky green and the grass blue is not a vice, both literally & metaphorically

What kind of parent do you hope to be?

One who seeks to understand first and discipline later; a place of sanctuary, trust, and tenderness

What are your favorite baby names?

Idris, Khalil, Ali, Sajjad, Kadhim, Leena, Hayaa, Isra, Layla, Haniya, Baneen

Is love sometimes misunderstood for care?

I think they go hand in hand… maybe love is just a really intense extension on care, and care is a vital component of love

Tell me a random or interesting fact about you.:

I’m a former spelling bee, geography bee, debate, writing, & impromptu speaking champ… but my complete lack of mathematical sense keeps me humble :|

Do you frequently find yourself -just to be polite- saying things you don’t mean? For example, when you say good-bye to someone who does not interest you, do you act as though you enjoyed their company?

I come across like i do this all the time, but i actually, genuinely do mean it… my heart is easily moved & i’m always secretly in awe of how wonderful people are :)

Using only adjectives that might surprise others, how would you describe yourself?

Ignorant, selfish, weak, foolish, self-indulgent, emotionally clueless, reckless, irreverent, rebellious, unorthodox, wild

What are some words that do NOT describe you?

Punctual, loud, belligerent, heartless, cruel, close-minded, predictable, cold-hearted, conventional, unemotional, rigid, materialistic, judgmental, disloyal, insincere

How do you think that you (or anyone, for that matter) could pray without ceasing?

In the words of Henri Nouwen… to turn one’s self-centered monologue into a god-centered dialogue; to make every thought and every action pure enough to be in a perpetual state of God-consciousness

If you could ask God one question what would it be?

“am i doing okay?” / “are You happy with me?” / “can You forgive me for all the ways i’m always falling short & neglecting You?”

What are you looking for in life?

Truth, peace, completion, understanding, knowledge, tranquility, love

What are some words you really need to hear right now?

“i understand you” / “you can talk to me about anything” / “i love you exactly as you are”

What is more difficult for you; looking into some one’s eyes when you are telling someone how you feel, or looking into some one’s eyes when they are telling you how they feel?

Probably the first, nothing makes me feel more vulnerable

Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved at all?

Probably true love… the lessons gained might make the heartbreak worth enduring

Who or what do you feel the deepest responsibility towards?

God, my loved ones, innocent people & creatures who can’t defend or support themselves

What’s something you wish you could change about yourself?

My tendency to overthink… i occasionally forget that the earth isn’t going to spin off its axis if i make a few mistakes *rolls eyes at my own brain*

When lots of things go wrong at once, how do you react? What goes on in your mind?

I’m generally pretty calm, unless there are lizards/scary animals involved, in which case i tend to scream and flee in terror

What are some things about you that might annoy people?

I’m softspoken, opinionated, blunt, unresponsive, easily distracted, stubborn, unconventional, perfectionistic, scatterbrained, forgetful, impulsive, highly prone to being late, and occasionally a bit too feisty/argumentative when it comes to things i believe in

Who do you turn to when you are down?

God, my best friends, my mom, or my brothers

What is your favorite…

season: autumn

time of day: sunrise

weather: foggy and slightly cold

animal: cats & deer

color: blue

number: 6

planet: neptune

flower: jasmine

fruit: sweet plums, strawberries, & pomegranates

food: lasagna, biryani, pad kee mow, mongolian beef, pizza, tacos, french fries, koobideh

type of food: pakistani, italian, thai, persian, tex-mex

beverage: cold water

dessert: molten chocolate cake

holiday: laylatul qadr, 15th shaban, eid e ghadeer, or arafah (& halloween lol)

sport: hockey

type of humor: pure goofiness or playful, witty sarcasm

type of poetry: spiritual or transcendental

poet: hafez

literary genre: spirituality/religion, philosophy, psychology, nonfiction, fantasy, science, adventure, historical romance, self-help, poetry, sci-fi

film genre: psychological thriller

romance movie: pride & prejudice, ever after, before sunrise, he’s just not that into you, coming to america, memoirs of a geisha

action/thriller: the matrix, the dark knight, the prestige, triangle, mad max: fury road, memento, minority report, v for vendetta, american history x

comedy: rush hour

adventure/fantasy: harry potter & thbp, the lion, the witch, and the wardrobe, gulliver’s travels

family: paddington, hocus pocus, mulan, zootopia, bedtime stories, how to train your dragon, matilda, horton hears a who, halloweentown, beauty & the beast

actor/actress: audrey hepburn, keira knightley, anya taylor-joy, christian bale, edward norton, gary oldman, cillian murphy

tv show: the x-files, the good place, so weird, once upon a time, supernatural

What makes you unique, as an individual?

My memories, life experiences, & the way they’ve collectively shaped me

Do you have any interesting scars?

A faint one on my right eyebrow from falling in the snow, a distinct one on my forehead from getting over a dozen stitches, & a small one on my left thigh from having a shower door shatter on me

What is the most difficult emotion to deal with for you?

Happiness… it’s exquisite but in a double-edged sword sort of way, i always wish i could hold onto it longer

What is the one thing you want people to remember you by?

The love, laughter, & beautiful memories we shared… ideally, i’d want my funeral to feel like a celebration :)

What is one thing about you people would be surprised to learn?

I was born in South Dakota

What’s your cultural background?


What role does culture play in your life?

It’s really important & beloved to me… I absolutely love Pakistani culture, traditions, food, language, & clothing, and i wouldn’t change my identity for the world. In the grand scheme of things, though, i believe cultural differences are largely illusory; the human soul is inherently boundless

What are you missing in your life?

Adventure, romance, intellectual stimulation

If you were given a canvas and watercolors, what would you paint?:

A vibrant meadow slightly illuminated by sunshine, with sun-kissed wildflowers and a deer hiding between the trees

What is expected of you that you feel is unnatural or not right?

Actively partaking in capitalism and pretending like it’s not an abhorrent system that incentivizes global inequality, oppression, exploitation, crimes against humanity, & the accelerated decimation of our planet

What is the number one problem you have with yourself?

I see the world and everything in it in too many shades of gray, making me strange, inconsistent, indecisive, and somewhat of an island

What is one of your biggest fears, how did this come to be?

My loved ones getting hurt or dying… I’ve experienced a lot of loss & i’m perpetually struck by how brief and fragile human life is.

Who is your favorite poet of those alive right now?

All my favorite poets are dead :/

Who is your favorite visual artist of those alive right now?

Mahmoud Farshchian, Hassan Ruholamin, Walfrido Garcia, Josephine Wall, Iman Maleki, Nabi Ali, Suchitra Bhosle

Are you very precise about what words you use to describe your feelings and thoughts?

Definitely… I tend to use a lot of “big words” because i subconsciously feel compelled to find the most precise way to express myself; it feels like the surest way to be at least a little bit understood

When you pass on, what do you hope to leave behind?

A world that’s at least a little bit more peaceful than the one i came into

What is your biggest life issue right now?

Time, and my pervasive fear that there’s never enough of it

Who can you not live without?

My mom, my brothers, my closest friends

What’s the best tangible gift you’ve ever given?

A painting of flowers for my mom

Where in the world would you love to travel?

Absolutely everywhere, i love exploring new cultures & places

Write about yourself as if you are describing a character in a novel. What does he/she look like? What is he/she doing? Compose a meaningful story.

A young woman wanders through a meadow, occasionally stopping to marvel at the flowers and trees she passes. Her dark hair flows in silken waves down her narrow back, mostly obscured by a velvet cloak drawn around her body. Her eyes fill with sunlight and a smile of delight plays on her face, as if she’s captivated by an invisible mystery and her only wish in life is to explore it. A slight undercurrent of sadness permeates her gaze; it comes from the grief of knowing that everything and everyone she has ever loved will perish. Yet mingled within that sadness is a river of immutable joy stemming from her excitement at life’s infinite, unasked-for joys.

Describe, in detail, your *ultimate* perfect bedroom.

Decorated in calm colors, sunlit windows flanked by sheer curtains, scented candles, fresh flowers, a large cozy bed, a glass perfume tray full of stunning fragrances, ample shelves full of good books, a warm fireplace, a writing table, a balcony with a telescope for stargazing, a reading nook, & a cat castle

What do you hate that everyone else seems to like?

Ginger, yuck :|

What do you like that others seem to hate?

School & the structure it entails

What would you really like to do but you don’t because you are afraid of getting caught?

Experiment with various psychedelic drugs and document the psychological effects… for science. (just kidding, DEA.)

Do you think you have ever made others feel unwanted without realizing you were doing it?

Unfortunately, i’m sometimes bad at making people feel wanted… it’s probably my biggest weakness/regret

Are you a talker or a listener?

A bit more of a listener, but both

If you’re being extremely quiet what does it mean?

That i’m deeply at peace, lost in thought, or that i don’t yet feel safe enough to be totally unfiltered

What’s a guilty habit you have?

I tend to be horrible at responding to things- emails, phone calls, texts, etc. I’m always running away from people, even if i absolutely love them.

What bad habit do you have that affects other people as much as it affects you?

I think my bad habits (procrastinating, brooding, bottling things up, etc) are pretty much self-contained, but my avoidance probably hurts others a great deal and that thought drives me crazy :/

What’s something you simply can’t do in general?

Understand what other people want/expect from me, unless they make it explicitly clear

What keeps you chained down?

Worldly commitments, a fear of being hurt, pointless anxieties, the chronic compulsion to hide

How do you see yourself through your own eyes?

I’m a bit of an unruly mess sometimes, but my good intentions are my saving grace

What are you holding onto that belongs to yesterday, and what do you believe it has to do with today?

Past suffering… It’s made me who i am today, so i’m fundamentally grateful for it and what it continues to teach me

What has been your greatest struggle?

The fight within my own soul, against my nafs and all that fun stuff

If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven’t you told them yet?

I think i’d regret never telling my mom how much i admire, appreciate, respect, and love her… i guess i haven’t because i don’t have the words or the courage to even begin expressing such a heavy emotion, so i just do as many loving things as i can for her and hope she knows

What small act of kindness were you shown that you will never forget?

Once, when i was going through a rough time as a teen, a woman i respected praised an article i’d written and said some really kind things to me, including “i wish i had a daughter like you.” My life turned around just hearing that; it was like getting rain after a year’s drought.

What things do you have trouble discussing with others?

My personal problems, innermost feelings, sadnesses, etc… most often, i’d rather tell God and keep things lighthearted with everyone else

If someone gave you an island - What would you name it? Would you live there? What would you do with it?

Idk about the name, but i’d make it a peaceful, harmonious sanctuary for orphans, refugees, & displaced people

What are three things you HAVE NOT done that might surprise people?

I’ve never learned to swim, broken a bone, or said yes to anyone romantically

Can you describe your life with a six word sentence?

“And every day brings me Closer”

apr 27 2022 ∞
may 1 2024 +