A (Love) Letter to My Country

By: Upasna Barath, Sophomore, Co-President of Mosaic

*The following was submitted as a monologue for North Central’s MLK celebration, “The Power of Our Stories.”


A (Love) Letter to My Country

“Love is selfless,” my mother told me
As she braided my hair at the dining table
That morning before school
I trudged along to the bus stop, through the halls, and into class
And I practiced that selflessness
When I pledged my love and loyalty to you.

“Love is something to be proud of,” my first boyfriend told me
As we walked towards our high school football stadium
On a September night
I held his hand as we walked up the bleachers, picked a seat, and sat down
And I showed how proud I am to love you
When I stood up and sang my heart out.

“Love is a sign of hope, too,” I once read in a book
And I closed it so I could think about
All of the times I’ve loved someone or something
I walked up my staircase that led to my other books, and a lot of them were about you
And I realized that I would always trust you
And have faith in you, because I read that you were capable of change.

But I don’t know if you’ve ever loved me back
You made me feel like I wasn’t good enough for you
Because after that time you were hurt back in 2001
You turned around and hurt me back in 2002
When I was traveling with my mother you
Told the airport security to tell us to strip down
Until I was in my slip and underwear and my mother
Felt more vulnerable and exposed than ever before.

Did you love me back when
That boy in passing called me a Paki
Even though I am Indian and even though I knew better
And then he defended himself with freedom of speech
A right you let him manipulate?

Did you love me back when
Someone spread a rumor about me in high school
That claimed me as being a poor Indian child
Married to a 60-year-old man
Why do you let people hurt me like this?

Did you love me back when
I watched my Muslim friend cry out of fear for his life
After he had been vilified by everyone around him
And by his future president
You said freedom of religion was our right
How could you turn back on a promise?

I’ve realized now, that true love is an infinite feeling
And I love you infinitely, endlessly, irrevocably
Even if you’ve hurt me
Even when you let other people hurt me
Because I am selfless, I am proud of you, and I have faith in you
And I love you
Even if you don’t love me back sometimes.

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