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What is romance, really? What is love. Does it exist, in its truest form. I have seen glimpses that make me believe, but I almost still don’t. I hold on to these colors, these flowers — deep burgundies and lilacs, orchids, oxblood and suede royal blue. I fill my space with all of this to force myself into a belief system of a happily ever after. Then one rainy afternoon, like ten thousand bricks on my lap, it hits me.

A voice says, Maryam: you were wrong. Wrong about romance — about love, about life, about everything.

Love is in you. Love is throughout you. Love transmits only through the Universe. Love is God energy. You cannot expect anything from anyone when it comes to love. Not even to be loved in return. You are in this world Maryam. And I’m sorry but don’t expect anyone to love you. Love yourself and the love will follow.

Fear set in. The vulnerability nearly stalled me from moving past this epiphany, from sharing this. How do I learn to love myself? Am I capable. My stomach is in knots.

Sometimes I feel like this before a breakthrough.

So I will let you into my soul process. I cleanse. I bathe myself, on a journey to be free of all of life’s junk.

I am nearly purified. In the final hours of this cleansing process, purposefully and intentionally losing all of myself, to find myself again. My mother sat at the edge of her bed today and told me that she once lost all of her colors. Was it my father? I know the answer already. I too, have lost my colors, all of my colors. I wiped the slate completely clean to begin again. For ten days, I haven’t one morsel of food. I am abstaining from food all because of a desperate need to reach my inner truth. And food can be a distraction. For years, I have given myself away, only to find an empty reflection in the mirror. That can hurt. I’ve missed you… my therapy. My resolution has been to write you love letters, letters about my journey to love me, now, as I am.

Here I stand, beginning again. Herein lies my ever evolving truth: I reject anything that does not serve me well, does not grow me into the human being I long to become. Only positive vibes. No tears, unless they fall as as a result of sporadic fits of joy… no hurt, no longing.

I invite freedom, love, positivity and strength to my table. I serve contentedness and equanimity. I sprinkle joy like glitter in the air, to intertwine with the laughter of my daughters and give me bliss. Am I so selfish to want bliss for myself… yes. Yes. I deserve it. Do I not have to be exceptional? Must I not walk forward, no longer blind in my truth?

I realize now that it is all for them. I know now that for them, and for my own well being, I require peace. I require serenity. So leave me to it…

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PHOTOGRAPHER: JAMES BEE

VIDEOGRAPHER: JAY MOSKOWITZ

WARDROBE STYLIST: CRYSTAL STARR

MAKEUP ARTIST : MADINAH

MODEL: MARYAM BASIR

PRODUCER/BRAND SPECIALIST: ALEXIS WILSON

CLOTHING SPONSOR: RENAISSANCE

Vest: Black and Maroon Textured :: J’ENVIE

Pants: Shiny Gold Vinyl :: Blue Les Compains

Shoes: Black Bootie :: Sam Edleman :: Red Suede :: Aldo

Scarf: BLUi

Necklaces: Aldo

Hat: Personal Item :: Maryam Basir

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