I have an old tradition, older than say...Bernie Sanders. This tradition is the celebration of a birthweek. Although most people find the notion of stretching the celebration of your birthday from one day to one week obnoxious, I say that there are enough things in the world to be sad about, from those sad dog adoption ads in 2001 to terrorism. I say that if someone wants to be happy for a week by celebrating their existence, let them and join them.
As my last post explains, lately I haven’t been feeling like myself. It took me a long time to realize what exactly this means and truly, I’m still figuring it out. In fact, when my birthweek neared, I felt conflicted about whether or not to uphold its celebration. In hindsight, it seemed elementary and gaudy. However, from that point on, it took about three minutes for me to realize that those two characteristics are hallmarks of my personality. My favorite ones, in fact.
Additionally, given that it was my last year of college, I wanted to do a joint graduation-birthday celebration. I decided to have a party after three years of not having one, and that just added a whole another layer into the tiramisu of confusion and reluctance I found myself in. However, as my birthweek comes to a close, I already miss all the memories I made last week so allow me to recount them!
Despite being absolutely drained from planning the Pakistani Students’ Association Basant Show a week prior, I decided to partake in Amplify, a three-night show that hosts performers to Amplify women’s voices at my university. Although I had a small side role in a poem about sexual assault, performing at Amplify was an experience I’ll remember forever. As someone who tends to usually hang out with people that look and act like me, being thrown in a cast with multiple women from different backgrounds, races, stories, and paths was eye-opening and invigorating. Through learning about these women’s struggles and strength, I was able to appreciate the colorful and gleaming mosaic of womanhood.
After Amplify, I got lunch with a childhood friend and we talked about how much we’ve changed over the years. Then, I impulsively drove to BestBuy and bought a digital camera because boy, do I miss vlogging and casual photography.
Monday, I picked up my old roommate and we got our nails done at a nearby salon. I walked into the salon fixed on getting white nails (they look so clean and classy to me!), but she smiled at me and convinced me to go with a bright orange color. Although I was reluctant at first, I agreed, and they turned out gorgeous! Afterward, we walked over to a nearby bakery and had lemon blueberry muffins and gushed about how cute the bakery was.
Soon after, I went over to my friend’s apartment and she made me tea. I complained about being hungry so she suggested a fix myself a biscuit, then I complained about the fact that she didn’t have bread. Then, we pretended to do homework and made fun of all the boys we know!
Tuesday I visited my professor during office hours to review a test, then successfully persuaded her to give me a point back. Although it did little for my final grade, I felt a small pang of accomplishment when she agreed.
Then, I got tacos and fell asleep for four hours. When I finally woke up, I made the executive decision to skip my Chemistry lab and got gelato with friends who I hadn’t caught up with in a long while. We talked, laughed, and screamed and it was the most fun I’ve had in a while.
On Wednesday, I got lunch with a friend at a place where they served ridiculously tiny portions. We made fun of how small they were, then vented about how stressed we are for the future. After lunch, we threw peace signs at each other and I drove off to do some party shopping!
The blissful weather on Thursday meant that somehow, I had to spend the day outside. And I found a way. I visited an Italian place for lunch with a friend (Mandola’s...do NOT recommend), then we went over to a park in downtown and had a picnic. Our spread consisted of snacks (fruit, chips, and guacamole, dried mango, coconut water, chocolate covered almonds and……..hot Cheetos), and it was lovely. The perfect weather made it even better...so much better that we fell asleep!
At night, we drove to take a stroll at the capital when at midnight, a group of friend erupted from behind bushes and surprised me with a cake (and unforgivable amounts of silly string)! I was really surprised, and it made me feel SO loved. I cried on the drive home and thought about how lucky I am to have them in my life, then laughed because I thought of all the savage things they would say if they saw me at that moment.
FRIDAY (My Actual Birthday)
In true Duriba Khan fashion, on Friday I woke up at 1 PM. Also in true Duriba Khan fashion, I spent forty minutes deciding what to wear. When I finally decided, my friend face timed me to ask where I was, as I was to pick her up for brunch. She casually asked to see what I was wearing, and once I showed her, her brows furrowed in confusion. “It’s cute, but it's not you” she stated. At that moment, I felt as though those words had become a metaphor for my life: and they did indeed summarize how I felt nowadays. Thirty more minutes of flinging clothes off of hangers passed, and when I finally changed and looked in the mirror...something finally felt right.
At brunch, my friends and I ordered too much food. I found a hair in my pancakes, and we passed the plate around, debating if it was truly a hair or a “blueberry fiber.” Once the verdict was in (hair), we celebrating getting it off the tab.
We took photos outside, then after a confusing forty minutes of deciding where to pick other friends up from campus, went to play laser tag. Interestingly enough, I ranked #19 (the day of my birthday).
After laser tag, I went home to discover that my sister had surprised me by driving into town for my birthday! I was truly surprised because I just missed her so much, and was upset that she was missing my birthday. When my dad got home from work, my family went to dinner and fought only twice. I had so much fun bickering and joking with them, and I remember looking around the table at each of their gleaming faces and thanking God.
That night, my sister slept in my bed and my cat came and sat on my feet. We fell asleep talking, and I said a prayer before finally sleeping.
Saturday was consumed by birthday party shopping and planning and even though everyone was about 3.5 hours late (including me), everything was set up and ready to go thanks to my amazing friends who I cannot thank God enough for.
During the party, I danced my heart out, screamed lyrics and hugged everyone around me. My friends roasted me (in rap form), I lost musical chairs and a (HALAL) jello shot competition, and most importantly, I fell in love with my life all over again.
This week reminded me that no matter where life is headed, along the road there are these small stops that fill us with joy and remind us of the importance of friendship, love, and laughter. And when we eventually get to our destinations, those will be the times we look back on and miss the most.
A lot has happened since I last posted, but I haven’t really gotten a chance to write about it. I promise it’s not because I just forgot about this rusty, dusty website thing (frankly, most of my inner thoughts and musings have shifted to my finsta). The truth is, although I love this blog and all the growth it has caused for me, sometimes I feel like most things are best kept to myself. I find this change especially odd because at some point in my life, sharing online was a huge priority for me.
For those of you who follow me on social media, you’ve probably noticed a rapid decline in the amount I post overall per day in contrast to a few months or even a year ago. I used to consistently post ramblings on Snapchat, plan fun skits with my family and friends, and so much more. I loved curating Snapchats, and I frequently go back and watch them whenever I feel nostalgic. However, when my Uncle passed about a year ago, a lot changed for me.
I found myself merely slipping into a shadow of who I used to be, and it followed me through the dreadful months of my life where I was studying for one of the biggest exams of my career. Maybe it was the raincloud of death that hovered over me in the months that followed my uncle’s death, or maybe it was the social life elimination aspect that comes with studying. Whatever it was, it drained me; I was consistently stressed and developed a negative mindset. More than anything, I wanted to just graduate college and move on with my life because to me, college just seemed like a little world that I simply outgrew.
One of the weirdest feelings in the world is not being affected by something that, at some point, was the most important things to you. At one point in my life, things, like taking photos, sharing online, and making vlogs, were huge priorities for me. However, as I get older, I notice how temporary and fleeting everything is: it’s now harder for me to have fun or be pleased. In this way, I feel like I’ve become more of a cynic.
Whatever it is, I’m slowly building from it. In the year since my uncle’s death, I’ve grown a lot and I’m proud of myself for it. Maybe I’m no longer who I used to be, and maybe...who I’m becoming is even better.