Spotlight: Yasmine Khan, sweeping the sunshine and Love InshAllah contributor!Posted: January 11, 2012
Yasmine Khan is a graduate student whose professional interests lie in advancing multiculturalism, diversity training, and fund development. She’s also a photographer and long term blogger at SweepTheSunshine.com.
An excerpt from Yasmine’s story, “It Will Be Beautiful”:
“Slowly, we connected over Facebook comments, emails every few days, and intermittent text messaging. Many of our conversations were about books, sharing recommendations and discussing novels we had both read. One night in late January, as we wound down a Gmail Chat conversation, he said, “I have a book of Allama Iqbal’s poems in English. I can send it to you, if you want it. Let me know, and I’ll drop it in the mail.”
I paused for a few minutes—sharing one’s address is still such an intimate thing, even in this digital day and age—but then sent him my mailing address, along with a note, only half joking, “I’m trusting that you’re not some scary stalker.”
The book arrived a few days later. I had to acknowledge receipt of the gift, so I gulped, picked up the telephone, and called Yasser for the first time. I reached him as he was picking up his daughter and her friends from school. While he and I spoke, I could hear little-girl voices chattering in the background, and the sound made me smile, even as it rattled me. What the hell am I getting myself into? Still, our conversation flowed lightly and easily. I laughed often and did not feel at all awkward. When I hung up and squinted at my phone, I was shocked to find the call had lasted an entire hour.”
To read the rest of Yasmine’s story, order Love InshAllah today!
Why were you drawn to this project?
For most of my life, my search for love was something I rarely discussed, even with my closest friends. When I was invited to submit a piece for this anthology, a part of me balked at sharing something so personal. Today, however, the personal is also, by default, political. And so I couldn’t resist the opportunity to contribute a story celebrating love and romance from an American Muslim perspective.
One of the most rewarding things that came out of writing my story and then later sharing the details of my relationship on Facebook was that I received notes from other women who are in similar relationships. I felt less alone, I finally felt there were other women who understood the path down which I had been embarking, and I felt encouraged by the warmth and support that shone through those notes. And that, more than anything, underscored the point of this project, for me: the universality of love, and the community that we create and cultivate when we share our stories.
What was the most challenging part of sharing your story?
Although I have a relatively active online presence via platforms like Facebook, blogging, and Flickr, I tend to be very private about most of the actual details of my life. It was thus challenging, and even a bit disconcerting, to write so openly and in-depth about the nuances of my love story when, in real life, so few were privy to those details at the time.
If there’s one thing you hope that readers will take away from your story, what is it?
More than anything else, I believe ours is a story about trust — especially during the times when we had no idea how this story would continue unfolding. And so, I hope that my and Yasser’s story will inspire readers to trust in love and in God. Trust in God by praying for positive outcomes, and by doing everything within your own power to bring about positive outcomes. For those who fear how your parents, friends, or community will react to your stories or secrets, I hope that your confidence in the importance of sharing your story will bring calmness and articulateness to your telling of it. Trust that God, and love, can open people’s hearts (and your own heart) in the most unexpected ways.
Anything else you want to share?
I’d like to add that while one of the biggest factors in my story was geography, I would encourage others to remain open to all possibilities, even if love arrives via long-distance. In our case, we are children of a digital age, and we made full use of the technology at our disposal: Gmail, Gchat, Skype, phonecalls, textmessaging. We held on to everything there is in a relationship that is not entirely tangible – and there was quite a lot, actually, because we wanted there to be, and so we worked hard to cultivate the innumerable forms this relationship took.