Dear Diary

May 28, 2014

The Dear Diary club loses a member.


Marah in better times.

Marah in better times.

Simple things have turned into great concerns that take up all my time. I’m talking, of course, about food! I recently discovered that food is a great thing, and that eating it brings marvelous joy. In the past, I didn’t dwell much on it. When we had as much of it as we could want, it didn’t mean much. I’d come to a breakfast table full of everything I like—meat, vegetables, fruit, and dessert—and forego it all, satisfied with nothing but a glass of milk.

Now, my family actually fantasizes about food. We reminisce fondly about the well-stocked fridge we once had. We can’t eat meat anymore because of its suddenly exorbitant cost, and fruits and vegetables are not even available in my city, at any price. Little kids who don’t remember life before the war don’t even know the names of certain fruits. If you gave them a banana, they wouldn’t know how to eat it.

I constantly crave sweets. I dream about chocolates and biscuits. Sugar’s too expensive now, too, so we have to use saccharin, a bitter-tasting artificial sweetener, instead.

Most people have limited their food intake to one or two meals a day. The third meal is in our dreams: grilled chicken, fried fish, fresh fruit. Everyone is hungry and weak, and many seem to be suffering from conditions related to malnutrition: digestive problems, skin problems, etc. Kids have been fainting at school.

The health clinics are full of mothers whose bodies couldn’t produce enough milk for their hungry infants. Clinic staff have had to improvise a kind of “baby formula” out of mashed grains. I can’t believe those babies drink that stuff. Some of them have stomach aches afterward.

I wake up possessed by the idea of food. At school, I spend the day wondering what there will be to eat when I get home. It’s hard to concentrate. I study, but my brain can’t hold on to the information. My thoughts are blurry, my concentration shattered.

I still don’t know if I will be able to take my baccalaureate, or final exams, this week.* I need to take it to graduate from high school. I have always dreamed of graduating, but it’s hard to study for a test you’re not sure you’ll be able to take, especially when you’re hungry.

I read in a book once that we citizens have rights and obligations, but what rights are we talking about? I am supposed to have a right to an education, to healthcare, to food, but that’s not reality. I no longer believe what books tell me. I believe only in my reality. ♦

* We are thrilled to report that Marah is, in fact, taking her final exams as we speak!

Marah’s diary is produced in collaboration with Syria Deeply, a digital news outlet covering the Syrian crisis. It was translated from the Arabic by Mais Istanbelli.


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  • Torianna May 28th, 2014 7:16 PM


    This is the first time I’ve ever commented on Rookie, despite being a long-term reader – not only of Rookie itself – but of your diary entries. I felt compelled to leave you a message to say you will be sorely, and sadly, missed, but that I wish you the best in this new turn on your path and will continue to support your writings here on Rookie (and wherever else I may find them).

    You are a beautiful young woman, Ruby.

    Much love, and the biggest of across-the-ocean hugs.


  • muffy May 28th, 2014 7:17 PM

    Nooooooo ;( going to miss u so much Ruby!!

  • Naomi Morris May 28th, 2014 7:24 PM

    ruby, everyone will miss your diary entries, you are a wonderful being – we love you

    OMG BRITNEY WHUTTTT i am so excited for you wooooo!

  • maddie123 May 28th, 2014 7:26 PM

    Aw Ruby! I love your diary entries so much! We’re all going to miss them so much, but if you feel it’s the right decision to make (and thank god you’ll still write for Rookie) then you should definitely do it! :)

  • eva-stark May 28th, 2014 7:27 PM

    Ruby! You are an amazing person, I loved reading your entries. I hope things will change, at least get better for you. You really deserve to be happy. You’ll be missed <3

    • eva-stark May 28th, 2014 7:37 PM

      eternal sunshine of the spotless mind is one my favorite movies Caitlin!! really cute drawing :)

      Britney- I’m really happy for you girl! This is great!!!

      And Marah- My heart goes out for you. These are such hard times. I feel like whatever I say won’t make any difference but I’ll be praying for you.

  • netraasmiles May 28th, 2014 7:30 PM

    Ruby, I think we all feel like we’ve made a new friend/pal by reading your entries throughout the years, and I wish you ALL THE BEST for everything! And Brittney I ACTUALLY STARTED TO SMILE reading your entry- your vibes are emanating through my laptop screen <3 G'luck on finals Marah :))

  • krevlorneswath May 28th, 2014 7:35 PM

    Rubes- we will all miss you. Your gorgeous writing has enlightened me, made me smile, made me feel connected to something and someone I’ve never even known. I wish you the most joy in your life.
    Britney- eeeee so excited for you!!
    Marah- as always, you astonish me with your powerful words and ability to articulate your life experience. Good luck on your exams!!!

  • doikoon May 28th, 2014 7:47 PM


    I will smile and be ever so elated when I see an article of yours revealed. I hope your self esteem starts going back up the mountain when you read the comments section. HAVE HOPE. I don’t know what to say, so I will just give the floor to Iroh. (I suggest you imagine the following in his voice, assuming you’ve watch series, if not I secondarily suggest you find a sound bite) He says:

    “Prince Zuko, pride is not the opposite of shame, but it’s source. True humility is the only antidote to shame.”


    “No! Zuko! You must never give into despair. Allow yourself to slip down that road and you surrender to your lowest instincts. In the darkest times, hope is something you give yourself. That is the meaning of inner strength.”

    He also likes tea and maybe you want to drink some bitter tea to offset this comment.

    Goodbye, friend. :)

  • mscorgancobain May 28th, 2014 7:48 PM

    Aw Ruby, i will miss yr entries, but i hope this is a healthy move for you and you can get happier, we’re all rooting for you!!
    Britney, im sososo excited for you! Dating a best friend is so much fun, i hope it all goes well!
    (And Anaheed, i was wondering if you have room for more diarists? Last time i asked, you said to submit something, should it be in the form of a diary entry or not?)

  • Persefone May 28th, 2014 7:56 PM

    Ruby, I have only discovered Rookie a few months ago but even if I’m not part of you usual readers and people that support you I would still like to say that I hope this decision gives you the peace of mind that you need right now, I think it is a very brave decision and regardless of how hard it is you should feel very proud of yourself. I hope you feel better soon and I hope to read something from you soon under some other awesome category. Britney’s entry made me smile and Marah’s broke my heart, I wish I could help somehow. Three very different Diaries and all touched my heart in a different way.

  • Chloe22 May 28th, 2014 8:07 PM

    While I am of course super sad about you leaving, Ruby, at the same time I am so, so glad your making this decision for yourself, and I’m hoping this will help you greatly in your life and healing. And btw, your not a brat about life. You’ve been so strong and inspiring through all your acheivements and struggles, while I thought my day was ruined today because I dropped my computer (clue: its not broken). I can’t wait to see more of your writing on here, and I know you’ll have a fabulous future. Hang in there- I’m praying and rooting for you!

  • MsWoolf May 28th, 2014 8:27 PM

    I wish you the best of luck. I went through the same things you have gone through emotionally, and I have just recently recovered in the past several months. Your diary entries have always been relatable, honest, and raw. I’m sure that whatever you are going through can be overcome when you are ready. It’s hard and it’s something you have to force yourself to achieve, but I promise you recovery is so important and so wonderful. When the bell jar (yes, we’re going there) is eventually lifted, and when it finally crashes to the floor, you will literally cry tears of joy, appreciation, and pride. At least that’s what I did yesterday.

    Much love,

  • irismonster May 28th, 2014 8:48 PM

    Ruby, I know that I’m going to be wondering about you for the longest time. Do you have some other site or blog that you update?

    • Ruby B. May 29th, 2014 8:02 AM

      My fashion blog died over a year ago, but I have a Youtube channel: Rubybookify

  • tessj95 May 28th, 2014 9:17 PM

    no :( goodbye ruby we’ll miss you <3

  • la fee clochette May 28th, 2014 9:24 PM

    we’ll miss you here, Ruby. But, excited for future articles

  • Nomi May 28th, 2014 9:24 PM

    I’ll miss your entries, Ruby! I could most always relate to what you were saying, and I hope your feeling of self hatred passes as quickly as possible.

  • book_kitty May 28th, 2014 9:29 PM

    Marah, always grateful for the reality-check your entries provide and for humanizing what seems to exist only in statistics and news reports.

    Ruby, I will miss you but I understand your decision. I had to make a similar decision a few years ago and took the easy way out, good for you for being brave :)

    Britney, so happy for you :)

  • LittleMissE May 28th, 2014 9:38 PM

    Ruby!! I will miss you so much. I hope you continue to write for Rookie every now and then because I love your writing. Best of luck with everything <33 I am always rooting for you.

  • maryjanesandconverse May 28th, 2014 9:40 PM

    I’m so happy for Britney!
    And I’m gonna miss Ruby’s entries, she’s such a lovely writer. I hope things get better for both her and Marah.

  • shesrachel May 28th, 2014 9:42 PM

    i hope you get better really soon Ruby! i love youu <33

  • skyferrari May 28th, 2014 9:44 PM

    love ya ruby<3 i feel like ive grown up with you. see ya later

  • AnnieA May 28th, 2014 9:54 PM

    Ruby, thank you so much for contributing to the Dear Diary Section of Rookie because when I was in a bad place, reading your posts helped me feel like I wasn’t as alone as I thought I was. YOU CAN DO IT GIRL

  • internalbeautyx May 28th, 2014 10:14 PM

    RUBY :( :( :(

  • Maria Clara Santarosa May 28th, 2014 10:58 PM

    Dear Ruby,
    Thanks for all the writing you have done for Rookie and for us readers, it’s truly great.
    While reading your diary’s entries I have laughed, cried, wondered and related as many times as you can(not) imagine. You’re a great person and I hope you can get better and happy and joyful soon.
    I wish you all the best and a amazing life — as I’m sure you will have.
    Don’t worry, it will pass (and do not feel guilty or ashamed if it takes too long)
    Your entries will be missed!

  • quirkflower May 28th, 2014 11:29 PM

    Goodbye Ruby. Thank you for sharing with us and for your emotional honesty. It doesn’t matter how many entries you’ve done – the fact that you put yourself out there at all means the world. Good luck.

  • Lucy23 May 28th, 2014 11:34 PM

    Wow, Ruby.
    Your absence from the diaries is going to be a huge change. Your diaries where always one of the highlights for me. I feel like I relate to you so much because I’ve been struggling with depression as well, to the point where I’ll be taking a bath and wishing I could inhale all the water in it and just sink to the bottom. Everything you’ve ever said on this website has been such a gift because I’ve been able to follow your path through life for the time you’ve submitted writings. You are truly special. There’s a lot for you in the future, and I look forward to seeing it unfold. You have all of us with you. Best of luck.

  • Me_Magalloway May 28th, 2014 11:51 PM

    I’m getting weirdly emotional about Ruby leaving.
    I’ve become so attached to all the diarists (it’s a real world, I just checked) that I go forget we’re not BFFs in real life.
    Marah’s posts are especially touching. It really puts things into perspective for me.

  • Madeleine Angel May 28th, 2014 11:54 PM

    I understand how you feel Ruby<3

  • Clare Bear May 29th, 2014 12:07 AM

    Goodbye Ruby! I will miss reading your entries so much. They were the highlight, I thought, because they felt so real and so incredibly relatable. Although my problems are very different from yours, I identified so much with your voice. Every week that you were gone, I missed your writing. but I understand not being able to write right now. I will miss your entries so much and hope that you begin feeling better about yourself, because you are a truly great writer/person and you deserve it. Much love.
    And Britney! Congrats. I can’t even remember the last time I had that incredible feeling, but I do recall it being the best thing I have ever felt in my life and I am so glad you are being able to experience it right now!!!

  • warpedinthought May 29th, 2014 12:11 AM

    RUBY I’M GONNA MISS YOU SO MUCH YOUR ENTRIES MEANT A LOT. I hope you find harmony with yourself<3<3

  • May 29th, 2014 3:32 AM

    Ruby, I would just like to say, you are one of the most beautiful writers I have ever come across. And believe me when I say your writings are not only sincerely raw and human but insanely beautiful at the same time. Stay strong, you brave woman. <3 I would hug you but I live like 7000 miles away. Sending the biggest of virtual hugs I can muster, your way.

  • itssabine May 29th, 2014 4:17 AM

    Goodbye Ruby! I’m going to miss reading your entries. Thank you for being so honest and open with us, your entries were always felt extremely truthful and relatable to me. I hope you will find more peace with yourself soon.

    OMG Britney. Your entry gave me the biggest smile on my face. I almost felt head-over-heels in love myself for a second ;) I’m happy for you!

    And wow I was really impressed and touched by Marah’s entry. This is probably the most honest and real account of war I have ever read. It makes me think of the conflict in a very different, more complex and realistic, way. Might I also add that Marah is a lovely writer.

  • Ruby B. May 29th, 2014 8:03 AM

    Thanks for the kind words, everyone, sending so much love to you all <3

  • pinkhairandcats May 29th, 2014 8:07 AM

    I only ever really read your entries, Ruby, I suppose I just never connected with the others. I’ve never been through problems like yours but I could still relate somehow.
    All the best for the future, I know you’ll go on to do amazing things x x x

  • cactiqueen May 29th, 2014 1:35 PM

    It takes a lot to know when to say goodbye, Ruby!

    Wishing you all the best and I hope to see your work on Rookie again in the near future!

    I always loved peering into your diary. Thank you for that


  • K8 is Gr8 May 29th, 2014 1:36 PM

    When i first started reading rookie you, Ruby, had already been writing for a while. I read your diary entry and then went back and read every diary entry you had written. Whenever the Dear Diary was posted, I automatically looked for your name.
    I will miss you and your diaries very much, and I hope that your inner life becomes as amazing as you deserve.
    Thank you for sharing a piece of your part with us, and I wish you best wishes for the future.

  • rookiebunny May 29th, 2014 1:45 PM

    aw ruby
    im going to miss ur diary entries
    best of luck in ur life, u deserve the best :-) xxxx

  • Milala May 29th, 2014 3:00 PM

    Ruby, you are such an amazing writer. You truly are. Can’t wait for you to write a novel or a collection of poetry, or whatever, girl, I’ll buy it. Best of luck.

  • die_mad May 29th, 2014 3:06 PM

    i’m going to miss you so much ruby, i want you to know i’m thinking of you and sending you the best possible vibes in the world girl. <3 good luck out there


    Marah, I'm sending you good vibes during this time! You're so inspiring.

  • Elsary May 29th, 2014 3:25 PM

    RUBY: I will miss you. I have read Rookie only for less than half a year (I use to check it sometimes but I didn’t read it back then) but I have related you and thought about you. I’m sorry to hear from your leaving but great to hear that you won’t leave Rookie forever! Thank you for everything you shared with us. Much luck and hugs <3

    BRITNEY: Omg that's amazing eeeeek!!! I'm so happy for you and it's great awww *.*

    MARAH: Oh that's hard. You're so strong, going through all that and sharing it with us. I wish you all the best, and I really hope you can take your tests, and go to university, and have a great career and happy life.

  • saramarit May 29th, 2014 4:21 PM

    I always came here especially to read Ruby’s diary entries so I’m really going to miss them! Ruby is such a great writer, I look forward to reading her work in a different form.

  • sloththefifth May 29th, 2014 5:58 PM

    Ruby: Your diaries were always so honest and I’m so sad to see you go. I’l be thinking of you

    Britney: THAT JUST HAPPENED TO ME TOO!!!!!!!!!! Getting to kiss your best friend is the best thing in the world.

    Marah: Thank you. Your entries always open my mind to whats beyond my petty thoughts. You give us a window into what life is really like and its so much more painful than pages of statistics. I wish you and your family safety and love xo

  • vosnano69 May 29th, 2014 6:34 PM

    Good luck with all that you are coping with Ruby, we will miss you, but you have all our support. Be brave ♥

  • Maddy May 29th, 2014 9:28 PM

    I’ll miss ya, Ruby, but I hope this change will help you find a more stable internal life or whatever you need. I’ll definitely check in on your YouTube channel!

    And BRITNEY OH MY WORD WOW GO YOU!!! :D Share more! Tell all!

  • Yayo May 29th, 2014 10:31 PM

    Ruby I just want you to know that you will be so deeply missed, by me at the very very least. I honestly admire your strength and gorgeous writing so much, good luck with everything :)

  • VagabondZombie May 30th, 2014 3:32 AM

    Aw, Ruby. :( It saddens me that you will stop writing diaries from now on for Rookie. We will surely miss your shared thoughts and emotions through them. You’re one of the diarists that I can always relate to. Despite not reading your diaries anymore, we Rookie readers are still here for you. We love you! <3

  • bridiebird May 30th, 2014 4:28 AM

    Ruby, your diary entries were always the thing I would read on Rookie every week without fail. I will miss them, but I am glad you have done what you think is best. Know that I support you in whatever you choose to do! Good luck! x

  • madeofamethyst May 30th, 2014 6:44 AM

    Ruby, I’m definitely going to miss you. Whenever diary entries were posted I immediately read yours first. I wish you the best of luck with everything, and stay strong. I’m sending positive vibes from Jersey, and lots of hugs.

  • bonfires May 30th, 2014 12:13 PM

    Ruby – you are so cherished.

    You may feel selfish, but to me you are selfless in so many ways. You are generous for articulating your life in the ways that you have done, and will continue to do. You make us feel connected even as you feel so isolated, and you see the beauty in places that other people can’t, even if you can only see that beauty sometimes. You are immensely important to thousands of people you’ll never meet – isn’t that both freaky and also incredible? Think what you are doing! You are brilliant and this community is like nothing else. much love xx

  • 3LL3NH May 30th, 2014 2:59 PM

    Oh Ruby <3

    I loved your entries, they've always made life feel more liveable and beautiful because of the way you wrote in such a strong and understanding way.

    I'll miss you, and thank you for having been here the time that you were.

  • yumi May 30th, 2014 3:33 PM

    I’ll miss your entries Ruby, sending all my love to you.

  • vintagebarbie May 30th, 2014 9:31 PM

    Ruby, I am just going to say that your writing gave me loads of inspiration and I always looked forward to your diaries. I am sad to see you go but I wish you the best of luck doing whatever the hell you do and hope to see you on Rookie again.

  • Anielica May 30th, 2014 11:31 PM

    Marah, your entries remind me a bit of Reading Lolita in Tehran (or, at least, the part of that book that I’ve read and my English class has discussed).

  • moonshine28 May 31st, 2014 5:11 AM

    Marah, your entries have been really eye-opening and have reminded me to be grateful for even the most simple things. It feels wrong that here I have the ability to visit a supermarket and pick up anything. You have made me so much more aware of how lucky and grateful I should be. The best of luck in your exams x

  • Serena Head May 31st, 2014 10:33 AM


    Your diary entries have made such an impact on me. I loved your writing style – so poetic and simple and beautiful. It influenced my own. As did your plight. It made my own less seem less isolated, and my complex and unruly emotions seem bearable. Thank you. I wish you all the best.


  • erinxo June 1st, 2014 5:38 AM

    I’m so sad to hear Ruby is not going to be posting anymore. I wish you all the best.

    On the other hand, so happy for you Britney!

  • lagraceyxo June 1st, 2014 6:42 AM

    Marah- I’ve never read your entries before so it came as a shock when I did. It’s so different to hear this from someone our age, right now. I’m also shocked at your beauty and persistence in your writing through these hard times, keep battling you strong woman! and my love goes out across the ocean to you <3 Also, best of luck with exams!! xox

  • mokgadi June 2nd, 2014 8:57 AM

    We’ll miss you loads Ruby, hope things look up eventually and that they’re so good, you never want to look down on yourself again xx