Every day that I wake up to the broken world, I am not unhappy.
On some days, I am full of beautiful thoughts and compassionate feelings.
On some days, I am irritated by my lack of sleep.
On most days, I am preoccupied by my morning to-do list.
But every day, I am in a war state of mind. In my mind, this war began in 2009, when my consciousness absorbed the brokenness of its surroundings completely, like a baby ingesting food properly the first time.
Burning buses and TV buzz. Rape and arson and twitter updates. Newspapers, checkpoints, gunpoints. The miscellany of our lives being swallowed, but not whole. It travels down my tongue, into my throat, is pushed down my esophagus. It would be poetic to say I can't stomach it, but I can. I do.
Now that I have integrated our ugliest ogres, digested them with my breakfast, I am no longer embarrassed by them. People talk (wail, howl, cry) about how the images that we swallow have come to define us and how this definition shames us. I feel no shame. I look on, curiously, at what is unfolding. National embarrassment has no meaning for me. Neither does national pride. Neither does national. Or nation.
Dirty flavors can be found in every bag of jellybeans. Perhaps we have far too many, but you can only be shamed by what is your own. Rationally speaking, it is impossible to be embarrassed by the actions of your milkman, unless you believe the milkman represents some aspect of yourself. By extension, he can only represent some aspect of yourself if you allow him this representation.
That is why I can not be proud of the Pakistanis who I love and admire, I can only love and admire them as human beings. I can not be ashamed of Pakistanis who murder, I can only despise them as human beings. I can not be ashamed of Pakistan, I can only love it for the value we attach to the motherland. I can not be proud of Pakistan, I can only point out the truth in what I see.
I have no nation.
I have a country.
The only question left to be answered is how far my personal imagined community stretches and how much it is affected by borders, if at all. I'll get there some day.
For now, I am striving to be good and unbreak what is damaged. I want to create a place with a less exhausting state of mind. Not because it is mine, but because it is worth it.