I was on a conference call one evening last week when my call waiting beeped at me. It took me a few seconds to recognize the number since I only see that area code a couple times a year. It was my dad. I let it go to voicemail.
I waited until the next day to check the message. His voice came amicably through the receiver and he chided me jokingly about turning 40 a few weeks earlier. My dad doesn’t celebrate birthdays, so I thought it was odd that he was calling me about it until I realized the real reason for his call: an annual religious celebration that is part of his church is coming up soon. He wanted to remind me about that.
I left my dad’s church for good in my early twenties, after a long struggle between the teachings I grew up with and my own personal beliefs that had gradually evolved from age, experience and study. My father’s church instructs that members should not associate with people who leave the faith, and that includes family. When I left, I did so with the knowledge that my dad would no longer be an active part of my life.
Having been through the process of losing the religion of my youth and choosing a new path (Islam), I firmly believe that there is no more fundamental or sacred right that each human being has than to explore their spirituality on their own terms. And yet, as I have experienced, it is often the people closest to us that want to control that sacred right and who feel justified in punishing us if our seeking leads us in a direction different from their own.
36 Flavors of Self Loathing
1. In 2nd grade a boy called me fat, there hasn’t been a day since then, when I loved my body
2. At 18 I found myself locked in a restaurant freezer with a boss who was trying to use his
hands to convince me that sex with him was part of the job.
3. There were nights after you left, when I filled my bed with everything that you touched,
hoping to fill it with something familiar.
4. The moon warned me not to come see you that night, it hung low trying to touch me. When I
left you, it asked me how could I hate myself so much.
5. When you didn’t call I had to delete every memory of you I had, but you still
lingered in the cracks of my walls.
6. Someone once told me that my body was a war zone. The day that I finally
understood what that meant, I was bleeding from my forearms trying to recreate the crucifixion.
7. West Indian women are known for having children but being too strong to have men.
I’ve never understood the fear some people have of women who expect as opposed to women who hope.
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Two months ago, sitting in a Turkish restaurant packed to capacity on a Saturday night, one of my oldest friends told me he had found someone.
We’ve known each other longer than either of us can remember, and were partners in crime long before we ever fully realized it. In recent years, as we’ve both been searching for that elusive part of our future, the partner-in-crime thing had been thrown into even starker contrast: we’d meet for dinner or coffee and grouse about the people we’d been meeting, the “almosts” and the “snowball’s chance in hell”, and about the Jane Austen-level lamentations of our parents, who seemed to have all but given up on us while insistently wringing their hands.
Conversation moved forward: from mutual celebration of his good fortune, to my latest backfire (a wonderful man who had lasted two months), to a spirited discussion about partnerships vs. solitude as a life choice.
This slam poetry video is making the rounds and is too moving not to share.
There is nothing like a Muslim girl and a Jewish girl collectively breaking it down, powerfully explaining that the two identities have more in common than most realize.
We also take this opportunity to send our Jewish friends warm Passover greetings, and we are holding a good thought for the slain in Kansas City. May Allah (swt) fill our hearts with peace so that we go out into the world and be a source of light. Ameen.
We originally spotted this at Upworthy. Go give them a visit!
There is so much buzz in the Muslim community right now between #hashtag activism and the emergence of several vibrant online communities.
We want to introduce you to some digital conversations that which we feel are taking the narrative of Islamic identity and Muslim experience to a new level (even to offline potential).
MuslimARC.org is the Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative that highlights issues of race (and its construction) within the Muslim community by focusing on education, outreach, and advocacy. In February, MuslimARC sponsored Twitter discussions on
The Wednesday, April 2nd Twitter campaign celebrated MENA identities (Middle East North African) and May will focus on Asian heritage. Although MuslimARC seeks to go beyond social media organizing, their efforts embrace postcolonial online activism in exciting ways.