My Name is Nasim

  • Chapter 1

  • Nasim

    The story starts like this:

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  • They tell you what you are.

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  • You believe them.

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  • Nasim

    And you hide yourself away from what was once yours.

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  • I am eight years old when I am first called a terrorist.

  • Eight years old when I feel the power of words puncture my chest like needles.

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  • Nasim

    Eight years old when my feet fall from the clouds and sink like lead.

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  • It feels like jumping off a swing at the wrong moment and landing on prickly mulch.

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  • I am still figuring out how to tie my shoe laces and I’m still learning my times-tables when I first learn that my culture is dangerous.

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  • Nasim

    I think back to the weathered hands of my grandmother cradling my face and the warmth of my aunt’s voice tucking me in with old Persian lullabies.

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  • I wonder how my warm peace could ever be dressed up like a senseless war.

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  • She says my skin is too dark.

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  • Nasim

    We stand on the metal stairs of our school’s playground.

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  • The playground's bright reds and yellows attract the fancy of wide-eyed children.

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  • And she says it again.

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  • Nasim

    Across from us a boy plays “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” on a toy piano.

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  • Clink, clink, clink.

  • She says the hair that covers my arms reminds her of an animal— a gorilla.

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  • Nasim

    My shame ignites with the ferocity of a wild beast.

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