Emotional health is just as important as physical health
by Nicole Darabi on Monday, January 30th, 2017

Mind, body, and soul are connected.

I want to tell you a story about my mother in law, Maryam. Imagine a brunette woman with beautiful crystal blue eyes worn from years of raising children and doing what needs to be done. Her hair has faded to gray around her temples and her hugs are sincere. You will often find her creating the most magnificent meals in her kitchen, which is the center of her universe.  She loves her family fiercely and let’s just tell it like it is: if were up to her, we’d be over at her house every night of the week for a full blown feast, because cooking more food than is truly necessary is the only way she does it! Her words are thick with the most comforting accent I’ve EVER heard. I could listen to her say my name over and over again. Nee-koleare you hungry sweeeetieeee? Nee-kole do you want some tea? Be still my heart. How lucky I am to have the kindest, most loyal woman as my mother in law?   She goes out of her way to help anyone in need. And I mean anyone! If you know her personally, you know she shines bright with her generous spirit.

This wonderful beam of light is from Iran. She has been living in the United States for 25 years (legally) and came here in search of a better life for her young family. She has many family members still living in Iran and she eagerly makes the 22 hour annual flight to reconnect, take in the sights and smells of the country from which her roots came.  In return she hosts those same family members a few times per year when they make the long journey here to reunite again in a different space with different things to see and yet more family to reconnect with.  Although traveling back and forth for visits on both continents is a large commitment, it’s a wonderful and important way for my husband’s family to reunite and celebrate their beautiful culture.

Now imagine these things stripped away.

“Privilege is when you think something is not a problem because it’s not a problem for you.” This statement rings more true now than ever. Appalling discrimination is happening right now. We are a nation built by immigrants. It’s what makes our country the wonderful melting pot it is. If we trace our heritage back, we are ALL immigrants, unless you are full blood native American. My grandparents, my in-laws, and my husband are all immigrants who moved here in search of greater opportunity, education, and freedom.

When I heard the news this morning of the immigration ban of LEGAL Iranians, my heart sank. My phone started buzzing with messages from my husband’s distraught cousin.  Our computer was running on full blast trying to sort out the exact details of what the heck was going on.  Quite frankly, this horrific situation has stoked fear in my family that had slowly started to fade over the last 8 years. We are better than this, America!

PLEASE put yourself in Maryam’s shoes. How would you feel if a government in a free country told you that you could not see your family members for an undefined amount of time? In my eyes it is completely Un-American. No one, NO ONE, should have to live with the fear that if you leave your country, you might not be allowed back in.

I urge you to help us take action in anyway you can.  There are so many “Maryam’s” out there with families who have suddenly been cut off from one another. There are three things we can immediately do:

1. Call or donate to the ACLU
2. Contact local representatives

In Oregon:
Rep. Earl Blumenauer

Sen. Ron Wyden

Sen. Jeff Merkley

3. Give your Iranian or a Muslim friends/family a big hug and let them know you’re with them! ❤

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2 thoughts on “Emotional health is just as important as physical health

  1. Lotte Schmitz on

    Thank you so much for this post, Nicole. How very well written, and your blog goes immediately to the heart of the problem, the human aspect. I would have never dreamed that it could come to that. Even someone as unenlightened and simple as “the one who shall never be named” would not do that. Well, that’s what I thought. I was part of the Women’s March two Saturdays ago, and by the sound of things, I’ll keep marching. We have to be more vigilant than ever. The connectedness of the Obama years is over.

    • Nicole Darabi on

      Yep, we need to keep marching! There are many people out there that think this immigration ban is not a big deal because it doesn’t affect them personally. To me that is exactly what’s wrong with our country right now. We are ALL in this together and need to put ourselves in other peoples shoes. Thank you. thank you, thank you for standing with my family during this tumultuous time.

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