I Can Only Be Ri: 20 Ways to Be Free

I chose to do parts of my life out of order. You know that rebellious, immature, out of touch phase that many teenaged girls go through when they're trying to "find themselves?" Well, I actually found myself pretty early on (I have journal entries to remind me), and then decided to leave her behind and run away for a while (i have journal entries to remind me of this too 🤷🏻‍♀️). 

BUT SERIOUSLY, WHAT MAKES PEOPLE RUN AWAY FROM THE VERY PLACE THEY CALL HOME? 

baba & meme.jpeg

my dad used to ask me this question all the time during this tumultuous teenage-like phase. he said it was clear that I was looking for something in all of the wrong places. that what i was trying to find externally needed to be resolved within the (dis)comfort of my own heart. that i wasn't being me. he even asked me to let him know when he had his daughter back. 

several months later, baba and i were sitting alone together in the living room - in the same exact setting we were in during that initial conversation. i started to tell him "i'm back, baba" but i immediately decided to keep quiet. in my heart of hearts, i knew we both knew: "i've been back for a while; your daughter is here for good."

some things are more powerful left unsaid. 

A WEEK LATER, BABA LEFT OUR HOME TO FIND HIS NEW HOME IN HEAVEN. 

إِنَّا لِلّهِ وَإِنَّـا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعونَ‎

"surely, we belong to allah, and to him we shall return."


much of my peace of mind today comes from the fact that i came back home in time for baba to do the same.

On my journey back to this temporary home, I realized that, to truly be free, I can only be me (or as the cornball in me would say, "I can only be Ri"). 

AND SO, MY #ROADTORIMA BEGAN WHEN I DECIDED I WANTED TO COME BACK TO MYSELF. I CAN THINK OF NOWHERE ELSE I'D RATHER BE.


HERE IS WHAT IT MEANS FOR ME TO BE FREE:

1- Being free means that I let the tears fall whenever and wherever they need to

2- Being free means that i harness my heartstrings to be daringly delicate and valiantly vulnerable

3- Being free means that I dance to the beat of my own drum, even as i continue to find my rhythm 

4- Being free means that i wear my heart on my sleeve for them to love or leave

5- Being free means that i'm patient with my libra scales, as they constantly find new(er) balance

6- Being free means that progress will always make me prouder than perfection

7- Being free means that when i love, I'll do it with my whole heart, because my heart is finally whole

8- Being free means that my level of loyalty defies logic, that i preserve this gift for only the most deserving

9- Being free means that, for now, I am in a monogamous relationship with myself

10- Being free means that i'm my mother's strength and my father's heart; these roots will always keep me grounded

11- being free means that i emanate peace, while a revolution stirs inside of me; yes, i'm the calm before the storm

12- being free means that i have no need to hide now that i've set aside my pride

13- being free means that to truly forgive, i have learned to forget

14- being free means that i am a hopeful romantic, because this heart is many things, but hopeless is not one of them

15- being free means that i stop questioning my power or qualifying my strength, that i accept it as god's grace

16- being free means that i distinguish between the seeds and the weeds, because there's truly no "in between"

17- being free means that i'm unlearning hatred and instead becoming fluent in all of my love languages

18- being free means that i can calmly create my own clarity and closure in the midst of chaos

19- being free means that i relinquish control over all things above me 

20- being free means that it has to be me vs. me to truly achieve humility


so why do we run away from home? from the places and people who love us through our worst and carry us towards our best? truth be told, i don't even like running.

your daughter is here to stay. 

only love,

ri