BLOG: How Do You Define Yourself?

    September 27, 2018 — By


    [The views expressed in this blog post are the author’s own.]

    Author: Nazanin Ramzi

    “How do you define yourself?” I am asked.

    Of the human species. A woman. Born into a Jewish family in a predominantly Shiite Muslim country. Lived in Iran for twelve years. Family. Home. Safety. Prosperity. Friendships. Lightness of being.

    Then a revolution. The newspapers wrote ‘Of the masses, for the masses.’ Gone wrong. Stability gone. Trust no one. Darkness. Uncertainty. Doubt. Fear.  Wandering Jews.

    We fled, moved around, tried to find a new home.

    Uproot a tree; throw it as far and as hard as you can, where the eye cannot see.  Then look at where it lands- and no matter where it is- ask it to grow.

    Grow as it was. As tall. As bountiful. As green.

    How do you mend a broken tree?

    Immigration. Asylum. Asking. Waiting. Hoping…

    And acceptance to a new land, learning a new language and a new way of being.

    These United States have been my home. Today there is no other tangible place.

    My childhood memories will forever dance to the rhythm of Googoosh’s songs; Persian poetry and literature echo through every hallway of my being, nothing feeds my hunger like a bowl of rice with tasty Persian stews.

    But my mind’s curiosity was challenged and nourished in school and university classrooms in this land. I said my vows to my beloved here. My children were born in the City of Angels. We bought our first house here. My parents are buried a few miles north of where I live.

    I am an Iranian-American Jewish woman – with every part of my hyphenated introduction representing a deeply meaningful anchor of my existence.

    I know that I am not alone. My story is your story and yours is mine.

    So I say bless this land with my whole-heart for accepting my family and allowing us to become whole again.

    And in these times of darkness and uncertainty in the world, regardless of where your compass points to – may the same light of compassion and hope that embraced my family and gave us the opportunity to grow, continue to guide us through.



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