In a couple weeks’ time, I will be ironing a navy blue pinafore and a crisp white Peter Pan collar blouse and hanging them in your closet in preparation for your first day of kindergarten. I will be cutting the price tags off of your new backpack and lunchbox, filling the latter with sensible snacks and a note reading, “So proud of you! See you soon!” I will update my Facebook stream with an ironic comment that will mask how I really feel. I will then try to sleep… but instead, I will remember.
I will remember the day you were born, the relief I felt as your took your first breath. I will remember your big brother, 3 years old, greeting you for the first time with “Let’s see the baby! Hello, baby!”
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Cartoonist and writer Connie Sun’s hilarious take on the plight of the single, Asian daughter made us chuckle (it’s funny because it’s true!). Check out more of Connie’s work, here.
I didn’t mean to misplace my spirituality. I just lost it while searching for my identity. After a tumultuous marriage and divorce, all I wanted to do was scrape the remnants of the relationship from my being.
In Pashto, a girl’s reputation is like a mirror, a chip or crack makes it look ugly. Thinking that my divorce was a mar on my honor, I wanted to not be me: the 24-year old girl married and divorced while her friends had just graduated. I wanted to be someone else, someone without a chip on her mirror.
Are you Muslim? …How Muslim are you? …No but, really…how Muslim are you?
I get asked these questions, without fail, every time I perform my autobiographical one-woman show, All Atheists Are Muslim, a “boy meets girl” story about how I moved in with my whitey-white, atheist, infidel boyfriend, Duncan, and chose to tell my parents about it.
And, no, I wasn’t disowned, forced into an arranged marriage or stoned in a ditch in my parents’ backyard.
Perhaps it is the lack of stoning and disowning that makes some people wonder how Muslim I really am?
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Last summer, after a long talk with a friend who’d been molested as a small child, I decided I’d waited too long and it was time to talk to my children about sex. I’d talked to them extensively about touch. They understood good touch that they desired, and bad touch that they didn’t desire. I’d taught them that they had a right to say “no” to any touch they didn’t want , no matter who was offering. Don’t want to hug baba or grandma? Fine, your body, your right. Don’t want to shake uncle Fulan’s hand or kiss aunt Fulana on the cheek? I will defend you, and a salaam will have to suffice.
I wanted them to know from the earliest age that they had a right to control their own bodies, and no matter the age, title or position of authority of the other person, no one has a right to touch you in ways that make you uncomfortable. Excluding diaper changes, baths and other necessities of good parenting, these rules held fast. But things were changing.
They were 9,7, and 5, and after two years of being homeschooled they were about to leave the comforting shelter of the nest to re-enter the larger bubble of Islamic school. My best friend, with years of Islamic school teaching under her belt, warned me not to be complacent. Anything I thought my children might face in public school they’d also face at Islamic school: sex, drugs, assault, petty crimes, and peer pressure, and I’d better prepare myself and my children for it.