If The Story Was Switched

CNN- “BREAKING NEWS: MUSLIM TERRORIST ATTACKS 3 STUDENTS AT CHAPEL HILL”

FOX NEWS- “MUSLIM TERRORIST TAKES LIVES OF 3 UNC STUDENTS- POSSIBLE ISIS INVOLVEMENT?”

HUFFINGTON POST- “TERRORIST ATTACK KILLING 3 HAS LEFT CHAPEL HILL CIVILIANS SHAKEN”

All over twitter anti-muslim tweets would be circulating. All social media muslims expected to apologize and condemn the acts of the shooter while they are basically required to hang their heads in shame. Hashtags containing the lives of the victims and tweets expressing how the world has failed, all because of the acts of those “radical muslims”.

President Obama would hold a press conference just hours after the shooting expressing his regret and his share of mourning with the citizens of Chapel Hill. The typical American pride and fight against terrorism speech would surely be included. America will not simply be shaken by these terrorists. We will not let them win against the land of the brave we call America.

Snapchat probably created its own snapchat story for everyone in the world to see.

All over facebook and instagram quotes and pictures against terrorism and striving for american unity would be trending.

But there was no shooting of three white students from a muslim terrorist shooter, in fact it was the opposite. On Tuesday February 10, 2015, three lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina were taken. The lives of Yusor Muhammad Abu-Salha, Razan Muhammad Abu-Salha, and Deah Barakat. But their lives weren’t worth reading about on mainstream media for another 24 hours.

There was no BREAKING NEWS headlines on Fox News or CNN. There was no condemnation of the hate crime imposed upon these three lives by critics and the President. There was no justification for the fact that these three lives were targeted because of their religion. There were no implications on the fact that “American Sniper” portrayed killing innocent muslims as something worth honoring.There was simply a deranged man who took 3 lives over something as little as an issue on a “parking space”. But that wouldn’t draw attention to the media.

There was no implications of the shooter being a terrorist. There were no anti-religious atheists expressing their regret for the actions of the shooter. After all, he was white. He’s not a terrorist, he’s simply going to plea insanity, right? It’s the fact that on the account of the Charlie Hebdo attacks the shooters were labeled terrorists yet a caucasian man shooting three innocent lives is not given this title. On both events innocent lives were taken. But one incident had shaken the world as an act of terrorism, and this shooter is just simply a man. He is not called a terrorist because he did not impose terror on the lives of white civilians. He simply killed those “ragheads” of muslims whose lives don’t matter anyways, right?

According to Fox News and CNN, only muslims can be portrayed as terrorists in the mainstream media. If a muslim is shot, to some this is viewed as an honorary action, to others its not worth reading about.

But that doesn’t change the fact that all lives, regardless of race or religion, matter.

I Am Not Charlie Hebdo

Like any other writer living in the United States, freedom of speech is pretty critical to what I do. Without it, I wouldn’t be able to say what I want, when I want or convey the message that I try to convey.

Last week, there was an attack at the Charlie Hebdo headquarters in Paris killing 12 people and injuring 10. The attack was initiated by a group of radical “muslims” claiming to have avenged the Prophet for the “satirical” portrayals by Charlie Hebdo.

Just a note for those who don’t exactly know, Charlie Hebdo isn’t a person, its a satirical magazine. While this magazine claims in their defense to mock everyone and anyone, I don’t believe that to truly justify anything.

Many of us living in the United States don’t really understand what it’s like for muslims in France. Effective in 2011, a bill in France was passed a banning on the niqaab or veil covering for muslim women in public. The bill also banned full body coverings which includes the islamic garment of a burqa in public locations as well. While the bill is in defense of public safety, its also a big sign of islamophobia present in French society. It also helps represent the hardships that many muslim women are faced in France. Not only a symbol of their religion, but something that many muslim women wear as their own protection, something in America we consider to be Freedom of Religion, is not tolerated in France. We in America can’t just simply jump at the gun for Freedom of Speech, but take little heed to Freedom of Religion.

You can’t expect a group of oppressed muslims to just not say anything

Also, this attack was not the first on Charlie Hebdo. The French Council for the Muslim Faith sued Charlie Hebdo for the caricatures of the Prophet in 2006, but the case was dismissed. In 2007, again two muslim organizations tried to sue the paper but yet again the cases were dismissed. You can’t say that muslims in France weren’t angered, and that they should’ve handled it maturely because clearly they did.

As a muslim myself, I personally condemn those who believed that taking innocent lives would avenge the prophet. I believe in principal and the value of life. The prophet himself handled his own abuse with grace and selflessness, and if he can react with non-violence, us muslims should be more than obliged to follow his footsteps towards peace. What they believed as vengeance turned into even worse.

What I do not support though is #KillAllMuslims. I refuse to believe that the acts of a few subjugate the entire population. I condemn the ridicule of every single human being on the planet, regardless of their race, gender, or religion. It’s hard to believe that we look down upon horrible atrocities like the Holocaust, a genocide, yet many Islamophobes don’t mind promoting the genocide of muslims. I do not accept the fact that many are rallying in the streets of Paris to show their strength and almost praise the heroism of a man who spit on the religion of another; that is not freedom of speech.

It seems as if if a muslim doesn’t tweet #JeSuisCharlie or anything with the remorse of what happened in Paris automatically labels them as a “bad extremist” muslim. Me being a muslim, I should have to apologize on the behalf of a rare group of radicals representing absolutely nothing of my true religion. I need to take responsibility and defend myself for the acts of a few. I have to prove to the world that I’m not the label being placed on my forehead. Being angered by the fact that a magazine was making a mockery of my religion should be an issue, but rather this “freedom of speech” debate is as if everyone is believing that mocking a religion is okay.

Instead, I will praise the man who defended those who offended him. Officer Ahmed Merabet, a muslim officer, died in his efforts to save those who spit on what he stood for. I will stand for those muslims who were attacked, and the 15 mosques bombed in France after the attack which weren’t even covered by the media, because “freedom of speech” has more value than the oppression of a whole population. I stand for the true meaning of freedom of speech. The meaning of being able to convey truth and justice of the oppressed against the oppressor.

Freedom of speech should not be something to cause harm, but rather to promote good. Being able to say what you want whenever you want without a care in the world for the offense of another does not make you free, it makes you arrogant and quite frankly, an ass. Where do we see ourselves in this world if we don’t care for another, simply because we have the freedom to say whatever we want regardless of who it offends?

I am not Charlie Hebdo. I am not someone who believes that a mockery of one’s religion is something to be praised for. I will not say that someone’s freedom of speech means that they can mock the oppressed, and say whatever they want with no regards to who it hurts. Where is humanity if we have no care for eachother”

Cartoon by Joe Sacco

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What Was Lost

Me being a total cooking-show junkie, Master Chef might just be the greatest cooking show I’ve probably ever watched (Cupcake Wars is a close second, but that’s not the point). The show normally features untrained and inexperienced home cooks but last year the producers of the show came up with a new twist: Children.

Master Chef Junior features kids literally less than 13 years of age cooking dishes at the quality of a five star restaurant. If you think you can make quality food, after watching these kids make dishes most cooks with years of experience and culinary school training make, well there goes your self esteem in the kitchen.

In this cut-throat culinary competition you’ll notice something: The children are not only kind, but they manage to encourage each other.

Note- this competition has ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS and the renowned title of Master Chef as the prize. That’s literally their college tuition and startup money for a restaurant right there. There’s quite a lot at stake, and with Darwin’s survival of the fittest, seeing your buddy get sent home might not be the worst thing to happen in order to keep the odds in your favor.

But these kids despite knowing how much is at risk, still manage to encourage each other. They share extra ingredients and even offer consolation to the other contestants stressed out and crying their little eyeballs out. When a kid wins “Best Dish” for the challenge they high five the winner and talk about how well they did. There’s no jealousy or selfishness, but rather these kids know the etiquettes of being nice. Not the cordial nice that you are to the kid who sits next to you in chemistry class who you occasionally engage small talk with, it’s the innocent yet genuine kindness. The one where you actually care about someone you might just barely know and will possibly never see ever again.

Now, when you watch the adult version of MasterChef, it’s a whole different story.

When the show features adults, you don’t get the same feel as the kids. You see people going after each other. You don’t see adults encouraging each other or congratulating one another for their successes and well-doings, you see glares of jealousy, and the heat of the competition at its hottest. If someone screws up theres no, “its okay you’ll get ‘em next time.” Theres more sighs of relief and a boost of your own pride.

So enough with the backstory and to the point: How can there be such a great difference between the adults and the kids?

They’re both technically shooting for the same exact prize, yet the only difference is age groups. From here you can see the biggest difference between the two is what was lost: genuine kindness. As we grow older, we stop putting the consideration of others and we decide that this world is a jungle and we all have to fend for ourselves. We grow selfish and become more obsessed on how we can survive over those around us. We’ve lost compassion and innocence, and in replacement we’ve gained jealousy and selfishness. These kids are in the same exact competition as the adults, yet they treat each other with more respect than most adults do.

Looking from an outside perspective, its brightening to see such talented kids with extraordinary sportsmanship skills. At the same time, its disheartening to see adults snicker at the failures of their peers and delight at their own personal gain. It brings optimism for the future, yet pessimism for the present. My only hope is that unlike most adults, these children don’t lose the sportsmanship they have, but encompass it towards their future endeavors. They are the little glimpses we have towards a greater world and a better future.

The Meninist Vs. The Feminist

A new trend has blown up on twitter of the “meninist” tweets. Most of this account’s tweets argue against the double standards not only women, but men face as well. It’s become ultimately the battle of the sexes.

These two distinct words when typed into google pull out these two definitions:

Meninist: a global organization of men that believe in and support the feminist principles of women’s political, social and economic equality. The following represents the platform we believe in (but the need for equal rights for women should be self-evident in this day and age).

Feminist: a person who supports feminism

If you look very closely at each definition- *newsflash* They’re exactly the same. 

I’ll admit, at first some tweets actually did have good points:

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How do girls expect to ask guys for their height and judge them for it, and then call him a pig when he asks for your weight? It’s conceptually the same, numbers shouldn’t be used to define a guy or a girl. Girls find it disgusting when a guy labels them for their physical traits (which does include weight) yet they believe no punishment should be made when a girl does the same for a guy.

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A woman should not be praised for beating her husband if a man is shamed for beating his wife. While the common perception of domestic violence is viewed to be predominantly women, nearly 40% of severe domestic violence victims are men. Yes there are double standards for women, but they also do exist for men as well.

But when it comes to making fun of feminists, that’s taking a line too far. 

Feminism stands for equal rights not only for women, but for men as well. REAL feminism fights for equality against both gender double standards.

What this account is making fun of is girls who think they’re feminists.

Feminism doesn’t account for believing in double standards and making all guys look bad. The truth is, not all men are bad. There are guys out there who respect women while placing value on traits and characteristics about what really makes her the way she is. A feminist isn’t someone who believes all guys are pigs and that women are just some damsels and distress who are always being oppressed and undermined by men as sexual objects. A feminist is someone who believes that double standards aren’t right not just for girls but for boys as well.
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Theres a common stigma that feminists are cocky girls who are basically hypocrites. They criticize men for the exact same things they’re guilty of themselves. But in all actuality feminists are just girls (and guys) trying to bring rights to women. And yes, there are girls who claim to be feminists without actually knowing what feminism truly means.

Feminists are the ones fighting for the girls around the world who don’t get to go to school along with boys. They’re fighting for the girls whose cultures believe that their job is only in the kitchen serving their husbands and raising children. Feminists are fighting for the women who are told they can’t do something just because of their gender. Feminists are activists like Malala Yousafzai, a 14 year old girl who was shot for advocating educational rights for girls in Pakistan. That’s what feminists are fighting for. They’re not sexist pigs denoting men, they’re women fighting for the freedom that many don’t even have.

The truth is, if feminists and meninists are exactly the same by definition, there shouldn’t be a bashing of feminists in the first place. I’m not saying all meninists are bad, but rather if they’re both fighting for gender equality, there shouldn’t be attempts to undermine each other. There’s no point advocating for gender equality when each gender tries to point out the flaws of the other.

Rant #1: School Edition

In our lives we have things we like, and things we don’t like. Many of us express these things of dislike in something called a rant. Guess what- this is a rant.

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1. Test Day = Ditch Day

There have been days when you are just so unprepared for a test that instead of failing, we take another (unofficial) day of studying. We’ve all done it, but then there’s people who just consistently never show up. For them, a test day is just a ditch day.  And it’s frustrating for the rest of us who despite everything get our stuff together and still show up for the test and try to do the best that we can. Whats worse is what comes exactly after-

“So what was on the test?”

First of all, you don’t even pay attention in class, you never do your homework, you don’t even TRY and then you try to know everything on the test beforehand so you get a better grade than the kids who actually did work hard and study. There’s no point of you even asking what’s on the test because considering the fact that you don’t even put effort you’re doomed to fail anyways.

2. The Homework Leech

 “Can I copy your homework?”

Anyone can understand that being able to balance school with other activities is pretty hard and sometimes you’re not going to be able to complete all the homework that you have. But if you’re load is just too much to handle where you can’t do your own homework and have to copy someone else’s every single day here’s a tip: DROP THE CLASS. You’re clearly not learning anything cause you don’t want to do your own homework yet you expect that copying someone else’s will help you in the class. You might be fooling the teacher, but that’s not going to get you an A on that next test. Stop being so lazy, its annoying.

3. The Question Whore

If you have to ask a question on absolutely everything school related for every lab or every assignment, not just every other student in your class wants to strangle you, but probably the teacher to. USE YOUR BRAIN. Half the questions you have are so pointless it was just a waste of class time to even listen to it. Yes, you need help and it’s okay but there is a fine limit to when asking questions has gotten just way out of hand. Stop slowing down the whole class with pointless and basically useless questions when we could be so much more productive.

4. The Fail Teacher’s Pet

Your cute attempts to try and sway the teacher are chuckle-worthy, really, but you look like a stupid idiot. Pretty sure the teacher hates you just like the rest of the class. Whoops.

This is just a few people on the endless list of school annoyances. Trust me, there’s more. But for now, let’s consider this part 1.

Words About You, Don’t Define You

High school is the height of a teenager’s life when rumors and “he said she said” is one of the biggest friendship splitters and self esteem destroyers. People who don’t even know you say vicious things, which really do hurt like knives. Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never break me sometimes does end up breaking you.

But always keep in mind- words about you don’t define you.

You can’t say that someone else knows you better than yourself. Sure someone can call you a demeaning term like “slut” or “bitch” and say things about you that really aren’t true, but they aren’t you. They can’t know for sure that you are anything like what they claim you to be.

You know who you are. No one will ever truly know who you are better than yourself. You know that you aren’t what people are saying about you.

And with this being said, you have a choice. If you know that this isn’t who you are, their words mean nothing.

You can either let their words fall right off of you, or you fall right off with their words.

It’s part of the process of life to hit points where you want to believe anything anyone says. Your white flag is raised. Thoughts in your head kind of start to even believe those rumors. “What if I really am what (s)he’s saying about me?” 

But why should you listen to the words of people who want to put you down, when you know you can go up? Success and happiness is in YOUR hands, and no one else’s. People will always have nasty things to say about you, but in all reality they should be a lot more concerned with themselves than your life.

Just brush it off your shoulders, keep your head held high, and keep walking towards success. When you reach your goals and are soaring through the roof, their words of negativity won’t even be able to reach you. 

“Chivalry is dead because feminism-*idiocy killed it”

So what exactly is chivalry? If you look up its original meaning, it has been defined as the medieval knightly system with its religious, moral, and social code. These knights were the most respected, with the highest honor and pride. They basically had the ladies all swooning on them. These knightly ideals took shape for an idea which has now been considered in today’s times as the “old fashioned gentleman”. Whether it’s opening doors for your lady, paying for things like dinner to lavish gifts, all of these have been defined as chivalry.

There’s a couple ways you can look at it. In one perspective it’s a man trying to bring happiness to a woman. What he is doing is genuinely nice and its to show that she has value for him. When you value something, you want to cherish and pamper it to no end. There’s no association of pride or power, but when you love someone what you’re doing is simply trying to make them happy.

Another way to look at it is arrogance and dominance. It’s the idea that a woman is incapable of being able to do all these things for herself and so a man must take charge and do it for her. Even so it could be trying to make her dependent on you. Essentially it goes back to the idea of a knight and shining armor protecting and cherishing his damsel in distress because she in unable to do it herself.

Many of us, especially men, have become under the belief that the simple acts of kindness and duty upon a man have been destroyed because of this thing called feminism. But in all actuality,

it’s not feminism that killed chivalry, its idiocy. 

ByEOmdBIMAA5ZSVIn my opinion, feminism doesn’t state that someone doing something nice for you means you’re incapable of doing it yourself. If someone opened a door for you, you wouldn’t chuck the door right in their face because you felt the message implied that you couldn’t open it yourself. It’s an act of kindness, not an implied assertion of dominance. Feminism has advocated equality for women in social, economic, and political areas. Equality doesn’t mean that one is better than the other and definitely that one is obligated over the other. Just because a guy does something nice for you, it doesn’t necessarily mean he’s overpowering you. It’s a form of respect. If he pays for one dinner, you can pay for the next one.

In an article by Elite Daily, 9 Signs You’re An Old-Fashioned Gentleman In A Modern Worldit describes characteristics of a guy nearly any woman would be head over heels on. A guy who not only has class, but respect. Yet at the same time men like these are bashed and disrespected because “feminists” believe that he’s asserting dominance by doing the things his mother taught him.

You have to look at it by intention, nowadays you won’t find a guy who is doing all of this to assert power. Bur rather its a sense of “courting”. He does all of these nice things simply because its nice.

Being a gentleman does not make a guy a misogynist, it means he’s giving you respect.

Guys and girls have different ways of “chivalry”. You can’t get mad at a guy for paying for your dinner if you buy him a watch for his birthday. You both technically spent money of each other but in different forms.  People do nice things for each other not because they have to but because they want to.

The key is balance. That’s what true feminism is. Feminism didn’t kill chivalry. It was idiocy that committed the murder.

So Junior Year…

Looking back to summer which shockingly enough was only 2 months ago, a new blog post every 3 days was a promise I had made to not only myself, but to my real (and imaginary) readers. I figured I would be able to take some time out of my day to process and write down (or upload in my case) my thoughts to make coherent sense and flow with such elegance to hopefully enlighten anyone and everyone who stumbled upon theoutsideandinside. I believed that free time would be in such an abundance that writing everyday would simply be inevitable.

Then, junior year started.

If junior year had to be summed up to explain to anyone it would only have to be one word: hell.

Not only do you have to study for standardized tests, but think about college, handle a couple AP’s, study for your everyday tests and quizzes, and homework, not to mention balancing extracurriculars,a job, and family responsibilities, while still handling drama, stress, and somewhat managing to keep a social life. So much to do, with so little time, and pretty much no sleep.

Every week is like its own year. Start off monday fresh and rejuvenated from the weekend, but by the end of the day you’re just begging for friday to come. You need to be able to pull in those 2 days during the week where you don’t have to wake up from the sound of your alarm clock and for once you can actually watch your favorite shows. You can put that pile of homework in a distant corner and for once not have to focus on any math equations, chemistry solution, or boring novel.

I always wondered how “senioritis” had began and in a sense why it was even a real thing. I’m not even done with a quarter of junior year and I am counting down the days for when this year will be over. When you have this much stress to handle, you’re eventually going to hit that point where the white flag is raised and no fiddlesticks are given. In this case, that point is senior year. But for now, we just have to keep fighting.

To all my fellow juniors trudging on our journey through this year here’s a little advice:

1) BREATHE. And no I don’t mean the involuntary action done by our bodies in order to sustain life, but rather for once just put that glass of stress down. One F doesn’t give you a failure for the whole semester, RELAX.

2) You’re 16/17. Don’t forget that some of the memories you make at this age will be the greatest ones of your lives.

3) It will all be worth it. Even though right now this never ending trail of caffeine and homework may just drown you, one day you will look back at your life and think about how all that work you put in was worth it.

As of October 9, 2014- Only 7 months, and 24 days left until the summer before senior year.

Until then, happy stu(DYING). 

It Gets Better

In the middle of your most amazing dream, you find yourself hearing that distant beeping of your alarm. You open your eyes and look at the clock. Its 7 am. Wait. Its 7 am. You were supposed to be up at 5 am. What a great start to the morning. You decide to dress up as fast as you can and head to your car rushing to try to make it to school on time. On your way to school, you get stuck in traffic. Great. At school when things couldn’t get any more stressful you notice a hole in your new favorite shirt. Yet again, great. Oh look, a huge red zit right in the center of your face. That physics test you pulled an all nighter for? Came back with a big fat F. Rumors spreading about you? Even greater.

Can this day get any more perfect?

We all have those absolutely horrible days. Ones where the stress is just too much to handle. Those days when all you want is a big bucket of Ben and Jerry’s curled up with netflix and just bawl your eyes out with mascara running down your cheeks.. Your thoughts consist of “I hate everyone” and “I can’t wait to get out of here” while you angrily scribble on your homework. At this point in our lives, the basic question we always think of is ,”how much worse is this honestly going to get?”.

We’ve always been told that things get better, and that the world will soon eventually fall into place, but in this current moment that’s not even the slightest thought on your mind. As much as I hate clichés, I hate to admit it, but things do get better. I remember watching Bridesmaids and there was one quote that I will never forget:

“I’m telling you, hitting rock bottom is a good thing. Because there is no where to go but up”

We may feel like our life is truly coming to an end, but you can’t give up. You can’t tell yourself that all this effort won’t be worth it. There will be moments in our lives when all we want to do is scream and shout and just raise our white flags, but we can’t. Never accept defeat. Though this difficulty may seem like a big setback, it only will be if you let yourself consider it one.

When it comes to optimism and pessimism, we must make a choice.

How we view something will shape how we act upon it. If you tell yourself that your life sucks and it will only get worse from here, the truth is, it probably will. And no, it’s not because your life sucks, but rather you let yourself make your life suck. You decided that it was so bad that absolutely nothing was going to change, and so it didn’t. When you keep hope and tell yourself that things will get better and you will make it through, you’re going to be a lot happier in the process. Keeping a little faith and putting in dedication and hard work in the end will make your situation seem a lot less worse than you thought it out to be.

The point is:

Never lose hope and never ever, ever, give up. Our lives are what we make them out to be, and not based on anything else. The beauty about life is that every day is a new clean slate. A new morning and a whole new day. One bad day cannot dictate how the rest of them will turn out to be. Keeping a little optimism and faith will let in the sunshine. Just remember, storms don’t last forever.

We Used to Be Friends

We all have those used-to-be friends. Ones we used to be so close to and now, the distance is inevitable. Whether it was your kindergarten bestfriend who you no longer even make eye contact with in the halls, or your sister-from-another-mister who’s guts you wouldn’t mind shredding out. We all have those people in our lives.

There’s always different reasons as to why friendship ties fade away. It could be abrupt like ripping tape off your skin. The pain is massive and all at once. Your skin may be red at first, but eventually the pain fades away.

But it could also be like a candle. Some friendships are like a fresh lit candle. Sure it’s bright at first, but slowly the light dwindles away.

A fight that went too far, or just slowly creating distance. That’s the worse way to lose a friend. A slow, gradual, going apart from someone. When you look back there’s nothing to reconcile, nothing to fix. It’s just that awkward distance between you and them. Sure there’s the occasional glancing in the halls and the casual hello, but the closeness that feeling- it’s gone. It’s been replaced with awkwardness and a flutter of memories. That feeling isn’t there, but it’s little remnants are still present.

With a new school year coming up ahead, those faint we-used-to-be-close feelings emerge yet again. Seeing someone after 3 months is a little shocker itself. When you find out that your ex-friend is in one of your classes, it’s a confusion between happiness and do I really want to be around them?

But-

To all of my used-to-be friends: Thank you.

Thank you for all of the amazing memories. Ones where I was laughing my heart out and all my problems disappeared. Moments where I felt happy and secure and contempt with life. Thank you for giving me your shoulder to lean on, for all the tears and complains you listened through. Thank you for being my friend.

Thank you for the not-so-amazing memories. For showing to me that with every downfall I will be able to pick myself up. For helping me grow into the person I am today. For showing me the reality of this world, that not everything will go the way you’ve hoped for it to be.

To all my used-to-be friends- I’m sorry.

I’m sorry for whatever hurt I caused you. Whatever pain you went through because of me.

Friends come and go, but memories will stay forever.

So to all my used-to-be friends, your memory will be with me forever. I wish you the best of luck with your future endeavors and I hope that you won’t forget me, for as I will never forget you.

-Lubna