Never Just One (Blog Presentation)

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“Only one skill. And it’s this: “tahamul”. Endure.”

Kahleed Hosseini, A Thousand Splendid Suns.  (Page 18)


The quote above is said to young Mariam by her mother, Nana. Nana is rejecting further education for Mariam, saying she already knows all she will need to know as a women. To endure. Education was not as highly valued for women at this time, leading to the quote. 

The repetition of the word “Endure” in multiple languages is not for the character, but the reader. To establish characters are not speaking English, despite their words translated into it.


Nana’s life has been a brutal one , full of judgement that her male counterparts will never experience. This is demonstrated by the dichotomy in her relationship with Jalil. They have both committed the same sin, of having a child out of wedlock. Yet, Jalil still lives in paradise ,while Nana lives in squalor.

She realizes the only way to get by is to endure. There will be no help from outside sources. Why would her daughter live a life any different?

Woman from this time were expected to take what they are given. As shown by the guard who refuses to help Mariam and Laila while fleeing Rasheed. He gave them no sympathy, just told them to handle it themselves.  

As for the repetition of language, this is to establish place. To let Western readers know they are not in their culture anymore. People who speak the same language wouldn’t need to clarify the language the speak.


I have survived a great deal through endurance, but it was not all I had. I disagree with the single-minded nature of the quote. I have endured mental illness, harassment, self doubt. Yet, endurance wasn’t my be-all-end-all. Overcoming adversity came with acceptance, empowerment, and adaptability. Upon seeing this quote, I was struck with it’s falseness, and I felt the need to prove it wrong. I am more faceted than the stubborn Nana. Women aren’t one dimensional caricatures of a single trait.




Loops of thought: I am not what I think I am.

Each one quelled, a new one rises so very similar: But what if I am what I think I am?

Backwards and forwards for hours, weeks, years: I am not. But what if I am?

You are not a thought. Thought is a consideration, fleeting, unless you force it to stay.

You’ve let it leave, and slammed the door shut behind it.


You are not one or the other: There is a name for that, you know.

Loving men, like everyone you’ve ever known: I have something to tell you.

Loving women, like the word you hear whispered on the playgroundWill you listen?

There is freedom to allowing yourself to exist in the middle.

No longer do you operate in binary.


The man across the street: I used to be bad, but I’m trying to be real good.

Leaning on your counter:  Age is just a number baby.

On the floor: I’m only trying to dance, c’mon.

As he laughs and grabs you by the waist.

That waist can’t drink yet.


Age taught this one: I’ve been worn down.

You can’t afford to fight the inevitable anymore: What can I do to make it less painful?

You have learned too well: How can I help?

Everything in moderation, no skill in its entirety.

You know the hills you die on.

You Endure


I have lived a relatively short life, but not one devoid of experience. I created this piece in two halves. One side is more confrontational, and directed at myself or the reader. I chose to use the pronoun “you” in order to reaffirm the ideals I’ve taught myself. The tone that half adopts fits the way I had to speak to myself when I was suffering under intrusive thought, restorative and direct, which helped bring me out that period of my life.

The second half is the dialogue, or thought processes, I experienced whilst learning the skill mentioned as the header of each stanza. In first person, I detail intrusive thought, coming out, catcalls, and my desire to help. This side is the shyer, quieter side: it’s the side that influenced the change, while the other is the one that cemented it.

For each stanza, I wanted to focus on the specific event that taught me each skill. Endurance was defined by overcoming intrusive thoughts and depression. Acceptance was created by coming to terms with my fluctuating identity. Empowerment was taught by standing up to harassment, and finally, adaptability was taught by age.



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2 thoughts on “Never Just One (Blog Presentation)

  1. Dear Claire,

    I must begin by saying how delighted I am to have you join us this year. Reading your insight here, on your first post for AP(!!), made me forget the fact that you have not been with us the whole time. I must also mention what you bring to class discussions is incredibly profound; I have no doubts you belong here with us.

    Sadly, alongside the compliments blog comments bring, they also bring grows – undoubtedly the hardest thing to write, because they are always so hard to find. But alas, I had to search my hardest. The main grow I will offer is to focus on finding and fixing any GUMPS you may come across before posting. Reading aloud, while tedious, is a good way to notice these small mistakes. Do not worry, however! There are not many in your blog, just little tiny ones here and there. For example in one sentence, *it’s* was used when *its* was the correct word. It is a very small and easy mistake to make.

    Another grow I would offer is to try to use different types of sentence structure. I found that there was a lot of simple sentences used, and in result, some opportunities for semicolons were not taken. A lot of the sentences where I noticed this are very quick to fix; if you were to go over and change some of the periods into semicolons, there would be many less simple sentences. I struggled with something similar myself. I had major problems with using too many commas (just ask Liza, she’ll probably want to scream and run away). It takes practice.

    My favourite part of your blog was the emulation and your description behind it. Even during your presentation, I was in complete awe with your writing, and to get to know a little more about what inspired it made me love it even more. I cannot wait to get to experience more of your writing. I can’t believe I never have until now!! Surely I missed out 🙁

    Oh my gosh, wait, I have another favourite part! I was very pleased to read how you disagree with the quote and your reasons as to why. While Nana wasn’t completely incorrect, she was wrong in thinking that women amount to only suffering and overcoming pain, merely by enduring. It takes so much more out of a person to learn how to endure, and it brings out way more learning than Nana let on. I loved when you talked about how what you had to endure in your life taught you acceptance, empowerment and adaptability. I think it is so beautiful when humans are able to put aside their past without letting it deter their present. Obviously we cannot forget our past, nor should we, but we must not let it define us. We must let it teach us valuable lessons and enable us to move on as a stronger person.

    Thank you so much for sharing a part of yourself for us to discover and love. Your strength inspires me every day to become a person who is confident and empowered – I would like to thank you for that as well.

    Congratulations on your first blog, Claire!


    1. Thank you so much Elissa!

      Yes, I do struggle with GUMPS and sentence structure; I’ll be the first to admit that. I plan on making that the major focus to my writing this year. Other than that, I’m so glad you liked this piece! I find a lot of things in my life hard to put into words, such as my sexual orientation. It was a success to be able to carry that to an audience.

      Your feedback is so valuable; as an accomplished student and an accomplished writer, your words hold weight. I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to not only write feedback, but to give deep feedback.

      Thank you my dear,


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