We are more than our circumstances.

Originally published in Vocal

Slowly, as if his shaking, wrinkled hand would cause a clamor, my grandfather, Adil, pressed his index finger to his lips to indicate I stay quiet. I nodded just as carefully to show that I understood the seriousness of our situation. We were hiding in a narrow closet, the door masked by faded Syrian draperies hanging from the ceiling. I could hear the men, two of them, I think. They were looking for us. …

Her conservatorship sheds light on the fragility of women’s financial rights and autonomy

PC: Instagram @britneyspears

I was just as mesmerized as all of you. She was beautiful to look at, about to be hugely successful, and was belting out a soprano to lyrics only a high school sophomore could love. But as a teenager, I was only mildly interested in a celebrity’s personal life. …

That’s me!

On Halloween 2019, a few months before COVID-19 arrived in the United States and uprooted our lives; I made a bold and difficult decision to leave a successful career in public relations and set-off on a path to become a freelance writer. Scary, right?

Part of a two-income family, I was acutely aware of the safety net I was risking by making this choice. Voluntarily bidding farewell to a steady income and benefits, in hindsight, may not seem like the wisest choice as our economy continues to stumble through the pandemic. …

Photo by Elizaveta Kozorezova from Pexels

She cocked her eyebrow. Ballsy.

Going toe-to-toe with her was not part of the plan; after all, we started as friends. But eventually, lines were drawn, emotions escalated, and the stakes got higher. Me? I aim to see this through to the end. Giving in would cost me my self-respect. Regardless, I was the last one standing as my husband tended to his wounds in the corner, disoriented from the first assault. How could this happen? I wondered. This was supposed to be an easy win.

It’s my fault. I never know when to quit. Competition surges through me like…

A little time apart makes the heart grow fonder.

Photo by Oliver Sjöström on Unsplash

Religion’s ability to unite seemingly different people under a single banner is about the power of the collective. As tribal creatures, the groups we choose to be part of is fundamental to our identities and way of life. It’s understandable then that asking people of faith to stay away from their congregations and houses of worship has been difficult, if not down-right heartbreaking, during this global pandemic.

As Muslims, my immediate family and I have also experienced the loneliness and challenge of practicing our religion from afar. Our congregation, like those…

Reigniting your passion for professional writing | Freelancer Files #2

Photo by Alejandra Quiroz on Unsplash

I came across an article from fellow Medium writer Tom Kuegler the other day, which made me spill a bit of coffee as I skittishly checked my surroundings in fear of being exposed. On my phone was a dark truth…one, that as a professional writer, I was hesitant to admit. Tom wrote:

“some [writers] don’t really like writing.”

Kills the romance, doesn’t it?

Since I left the corporate world last October and began freelancing, I’ve described my hero’s journey as a quest to pursue my passion. And it is. …

We desire the same success as everyone else. | Freelancer Files #1

Photo by Hannah Wei on Unsplash

I am an ambivert, and, likely; you are too.

A what?

Ambiverts are people whose personalities fall somewhere in between “extrovert” and “introvert” characteristics. They “exhibit extroverted behavior to different degrees in particular situations. At other times, the same [person] will behave in an introverted fashion.”*

Fifteen years ago, I considered myself an extrovert. I was bold and my potential felt boundless thanks to factors including my age, excellent health, and having just graduated. Now, I lean towards being an introvert. My thoughts revolve around my to-do list…

You end up with a recipe for life.

Photo by Syd Wachs on Unsplash

When cooking lentil, Mom taught me to heat the onion and garlic in oil separately from the lentil itself. “Carefully sear them in a saucepan until both are golden-red,” she said. “The edges should fray, but don’t burn it.” Once done, I could drop the entire mixture into an already simmering pot, which includes turmeric, salt, green chili, black cumin seeds, and cilantro. The onion and garlic mixture added a savory punch, and the most nostalgic and comforting aroma of home to the staple dish — the textbook definition of delectable.


Photo by Timothy Eberly on Unsplash

Because sometimes you need a reminder of how awesome you are

Everyone’s confidence wanes now and again. During the last 10 years which I’ve spent in public relations, I developed a thick skin, a strong point of view and a nagging persistence to promote my clients. Despite being confident in my craft and my experiences, there are moments of insecurity and hesitation that creep up on me. These moments could be associated with specific projects, or when I can’t find the right groove with a client or team member. Sometimes the feeling lasts a short while-half a day, maybe more…

Mansura Ghaffar

SEO Content Writer + Strategist || Freelance hustler by day, fiction writer by night | www.mansuraghaffar.com

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