a story of atoms

This is where I document thoughts that race through my head and swim through my veins.

Category: fragments bits & pieces

Sometimes I feel like my tongue is a ghost and I can’t say everything I want to say.

writer quirks

Really, it’s quite amazing: the way I am able to think properly when I have a pen in my hand.

the end

God, I miss writing here. This tiny space. Every time I flipped open my laptop this semester was for writing up my seminar, analyzing SPSS’s cryptic results, or stalking graduate school pages.

Over a week ago, I had turned in my last final exam at Birzeit University.

Finally, right?

Graduation will be in about two weeks, marking the end of my little journey to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics.  Here is a tiny letter encompassing the things I’ve learned from the day I walked through BZU’ s gates:

You learn a lot in four years.

You learn about yourself. You find out  that sometimes you are going to question where you are going and other times it feels like you’re not going anywhere. Breathe. You will come out more flexible, more experienced, more aware

You will meet people with honey hearts and embarrassing laughs.  People who smile at you during your first year right before Arabic, Calculus, and Chemistry class start. People you’ll meet up at the Tamreed for passion fruit slush after gym class. These people will soon become your friends, even after you sworn that college was for “serious, adult, academic life” and that you didn’t want to make any new friends. Oh, my days.

You will walk through campus to what seems like the end of the earth to reach your faculty. You’ll miss those eight minute walks- six if your rushing to class. You’ll miss the  3amo custodian  that is always picking napkins or soda cans from the ground and the way he always responds to your “good mornings”.

You will dread first year Arabic classes and the way you felt like a foreigner wearing Arab skin. Soon, you’ll get used to speaking Arabic like you speak it at home. The words will finally find a space in mouth and feel like they belong. You’ll take Arabic 2 during your fourth year, and soon it will become one of your favorite subjects.

You will learn what it means to be Palestinian. You will see pictures of martyrs over the campus and you think of them. You think how you are easily walking among living martyrs.

Mama and Baba were right. They were always right.

You’ll eventually learn to accept your dual identity and how it makes you sometimes even special -( the good kind of special).

You’ll learn that people are not all like you, planning every second of their lives. These people can still succeed. You don’t always need a plan to know where you’re going. All that matters is that you’re doing something.

You will come to terms with yourself over things you’ve wanted to change. You will come to embrace your quirks and feel like your skin is home. This is growth.

Allah (SWT) is always listening. Reach.

You will overcome your biggest fears that have been gnawing at your skull since your teenage years.  And guess what? You’ll realize that these things you were afraid of, were just really illusions.

You accept that you write and realize it’s no longer something you should hide or be ashamed of. Writing is a part of you. Accept your most intimate parts.

There are others who teach you simply by being themselves. You admire them from afar and pray to be like them one day.

Pray to the Creator of the seven Heavens and the Earth. Pray.

There are professors who will encourage you to grow and for them, you will always be thankful.

You make mistakes and say things you shouldn’t.  You learn. My God, do you learn. It hurts. The learning. The unfolding, becoming, and unbecoming.

Your old friendships become even deeper. A bond of sisterhood.

You will actually start a blog (!) .  You will  start posting your writings. Soon, you’ll get opportunities to write and share yourself with others. This will no longer scare you.

Mama was right about everything. As always.

You learn that you’re smart. Seriously. Not the kind the SATs measure. You can figure out things, you like analyzing and connecting the dots. More importantly, you’re not afraid to be smart  anymore. You learn that you deserve to take up space. You become confident. Unapologetic.


You’re still that girl who knows where she’s going and who she wants to be. You’ve still got direction .

You become kinder.

Your heart is softer.

Your hands are open.






spaces that were not meant to be filled


Home is so far away

as his hot breath seizes my neck

in the back seat of a taxi cab

leaning, I pour myself into the woman next to me

right now, she is the closest thing to home

as the decaying man who feels like the Occupation


Will he leave? God, will he leave?”

I’m only 14

and never knew that carbon dioxide could feel

like hungry hands



*Based on a true incident narrated to the writer.

Why is beauty a competition?


this is not a diary: part 2


“you treat them like they

have a heart like yours

but not everyone can be as 

soft and tender

you give and give till

they pull everything out of you

and leave you empty”

-rupi kaur, milk and honey

I want to be strong about this. I know the answer, but I am afraid. Again.

We are all self-destructive to a certain extent. Some of us more than others, and each of us cuts in different ways.

I cut myself symbolically.

I become a wallflower and fear the sun. Not the sun, but the warmth. Not the warmth, but the weeds. I don’t want to become a weed but I don’t feel like I deserve the light. So, I fear what the other weeds might say of me. “Why is she getting nourished? She doesn’t deserve to be in the light.”

I know, intellectually, that this is wrong. Against my birth right. I know in my heart that I would never wish this upon others. Yet, others have wished this upon me, and soon I wished it upon myself.

So, here I am. Shrinking.

 “The things we fear the most, have already happened to us.”

It has already happened. This fear, but you bloomed afterwards, right? You became. You tasted the sun and were wrapped in it’s warmth. Lina, it’s ok to shine. It is ok to grow. Expand. Become. You are kind.

Shrinking yourself is an act of violence.

Shrinking yourself is an act of violence.

Shrinking yourself is a act of violence.

I will not hurt myself.

My Tongue: Two Sides of the Atlantic

About two months ago, I was telling my dear aunt how I was interning for a writing position at a local magazine. She, being a woman with a heart made of honey, genuinely  congratulated me as she poured a stream of red tea into a glass mug. My aunt’s family always drinks tea in massive mugs.

“Lina, ra7 toktobe bil Englizey, ou bel 3rabi?” ( Lina, will be you be writing in English or Arabic?” She hands me my glass.

La2, bel Englizey, khalto”( No, in  English, auntie.) I respond as I wrap my two hands around the mug. The warmth of the tea blankets my palms.

“Ah, huo el Englizey  sar loghtk el-um.” ( Ah, English is now your mother tongue, it seems.)”

I feel my tongue split into two.


Graduate school applications are a pain.

Background Section: Language Proficiency.

Select the languages you are proficient in.

Part One-A : I drag the box arrow and in the list of A-starting languages,  I spot Arabic. Click.

Bubble Number 1:Is this your native language?

Yes. Maybe.

Define native.

Speaking bubble: I select Proficient. Reading bubble:Proficient. Writing bubble: Do I choose poorly or fairly? 

Part One-B. (Optional) Select the languages you are proficient in.

Drag the arrow. Scroll through the E-beginning languages.

English. Click.

Bubble: Is this your native language?

Speaking bubble: Proficient.  Reading bubble:Proficient. Writing bubble: Proficient.


I am four years old in a medium-sized kindergarten classroom.

The girl with blonde straw hair whose name I forgot, brings the paper the teacher handed out to her lips. She kisses the middle of it, and then proudly declares: ” I know how to write my name.”

My brows furrow. I look down at my blank page.

I know how to write my name. I think to myself.

Grabbing my  old school yellow Hb-2 pencil, Lina Abdul-Samad was printed right in the center of that crisp page.

I look down at my name. It’s a hard name to write. Not the Lina part, but the obviously Arab-Muslim part.  It’s especially hard for an Arab girl who started school without a word of English in her mouth. For a girl who spoke only Arabic at home. Who didn’t watch  Enlgish T.V. Or had English speaking friends or family.

I bet it’s harder than writing Jessica Smith, or Britney Sanders, or whatever her name was.


A week or so later, I wake up from my regular after-school naps. School made me exhausted. I headed to my school bag that was slacking on the floor. I think my bag was a bali green with blue zippers. Or a pink wih pink zippers. I can’t remember now.

I fetch out a yellow paper from it. There was my name in brown Sharpie ink. Big. Printed in the center. I think my name looks nice in brown on the yellow page. Brown was my favorite color when I was four. Not pink or purple or blue. Brown. It was the color of my eyes and the color of chocolate pudding.

I make way through the beige-painted halls, and I find my  mother in the living room.I hand out the yellow paper. She reads it for a second then hugs me. I ask her what it’s for. Mama explains that it’s a certificate for learning English within a month of school.


I have a complicated relationship with language, with the two languages I know. When I moved back to Palestine, I began noticing that I didn’t know which language to think in. Having two parts of you, fragmented in a thought.


My aunt tells me that she always opens to read my writings online, but she struggles with the language.

Whenever I tell her I publish something, the first question she always asks; ” Bel Arabi?”

I want to tell her yes.