You know as I scroll through social media, I see a lot of people doing the #10year challenge; and I can’t help but reflect on my past decade.
During my last year of middle school, I was seeking an escape from those awkward years. I can remember counting down to my eighteenth birthday because I thought life would become so much easier for me, that’s a huge joke in hindsight. But I was constantly overwhelmed with emotions and felt like I had no real outlet to release them.
So my secret journaling began. I started to place all of my negative emotions on paper. I would write poems or short rants of whatever was one my mind. I would sit in my room, play music and write my heart out. I would share wild stories and talk about secret loves that I knew would never happen. I guess you can call it a diary, but it never seemed that way to me.
My journal became my truth, an unfiltered version of me, that wasn’t shy or in fear of judgment. I often look back and reread my journals and love seeing how my words and thoughts have truly matured with me. How over the years I’ve healed from some insecurities and began to have faith in myself. It’s bittersweet to read all of the pain I’ve felt over the past ten years, but it reminds me of my strength.
I know the day I started writing in a random notebook, that young teenage girl never would believe our thoughts and words would evolve into a blog. But here I am turning my random journal entries into blog posts.
The beginning of our story is debatable, but I’m going to start when we first began to get to know each other. I was working on campus one summer as a Resident Assistant for a group of high school students. In reality, I was just a glorified camp counselor. I was working with three other college students, who I’ve seen around campus, but never really interacted with.
But this story is about one of them in particular, and how a relationship blossomed that I never saw coming. I previously met him through engineering, but don’t remember ever having a conversation, that’s why I’m starting with the summer.
We were both Lead RAs and spent a lot of time together during the program. In the beginning, we were forced to be together, but before I knew it I looked forward to seeing his face and hearing his shady remarks. He used to drive me crazy and get on my last nerve, but for some reason, I still looked forward to hanging out with him. No matter how mean or how much I snapped at him, he still wanted to be around me. I remember so many random conversations about any and everything.
One day after dropping the HS students off to their class, we went to a computer lab to watch Lion King. I finally agreed to cornrow his hair, but keep in mind it was very short. So, after I did about three cornrows, I either lost interest or just gave up and left that man looking crazy. I don’t remember why I never finished his hair, but he’ll never let me forget that day. I admit that was wrong and mean of me, but one of these days I’ll make it up to him. Even though he’ll never admit it to me I know he loved his messed up hair deep down inside.
Our friendship always had a hint of flirtation, but that was just our personalities. Somehow our differences and strong personalities just made our friendship feel right and natural, it never required work. He always made me feel comfortable and safe to be my weird self. It was like a long lost friend, I was getting to know again. Even though at the end of the summer we didn’t talk as often and I thought we would probably never be that close, and only talk occasionally. The following semester I treasured the memories from the summer and enjoyed talking to him.
…But the summer was only the beginning of our story.
Dating as an Ex Hijabi is very interesting and sometimes frustrating, well in all honesty dating, in general, is frustrating. I started to notice a pattern or a common theme with Muslim men.
With Muslim men, I placed them in two different categories, and honestly by the end of the first conversation it was easy to categorize. The first category, are the men who believe Muslim women have a choice regarding wearing the hijab but expect when it comes to their wives. The conversation always kind of starts the same, “Why don’t you wear Hijab” or “Have you ever wore the hijab”. I give my reasoning and for the most part, they agree with me. The longer the conversation continues it somehow circles back to me covering my hair or well modesty in general. They may slip into the conversation about how they imagine their future wife in hijab, or how their mothers expect their future daughter in law to cover.Needless to say, that will never be me, especially not for some man.
The second category is the hijabi bashers. They never ask my opinion about covering, but assume that I hate the hijab and hijabis, which is one of my pet peeves. I have tremendous respect and love for hijabis, especially because I know how hard and the dedication it takes to wear the hijab, especially in a non-Muslim country. Hijabis get enough negativity from ignorant people, they don’t need it from Muslim men, who I believe shouldn’t have an opinion about a woman covering, but regardless you should keep your negative opinions to yourself.
You know what I find funny, the sub-category of hijabi bashers, that end up marrying a hijabi. I find that they want to date or play around with a non-muslim or someone they perceive not to be religious, but when their ready to settle down they find a nice hijabi.
Of course, not every Muslim man fits into those two categories, but the majority I have encountered do.
Living in the trap house I was rarely bored. There was always some sort of excitement either in or outside of the house. One of the common themes of drama in the house was theft. Al Humduillah (Thank God), no one ever stole anything from me, maybe nobody felt like walking all the way upstairs, but most likely because God was looking out for me.
One of the most memorable theft moments was when the Boxer’s laptop went missing. I was living in the house for about a month and a half at this point, and the most I’ve heard him say was about 10 words. Until that night, he was yelling and fussing almost all night. He first started with calmly asking all the housemates if we have seen his laptop, and of course, everyone said no. Actually, he never did come all the way upstairs and ask me.
Then it was about 10 min of silence before all hell broke loose. I remember hearing a whole bunch of screaming and yelling, but one argument stood out the most. The pregnant housemate was telling the Boxer to get over it and quit disturbing the peace due to the fact she was also a victim of theft. She eventually revealed the item was just toothpaste and I sincerely hope she saw how the two things weren’t equivalent.
Eventually I heard another housemate step in to defuse the situation, but honestly, the more people tried to calm him down, the madder he became. I’m assuming someone called the landlord, at some point in the midst of the screaming and banging he walks into the house.
He takes the Boxer outside, where I had a perfect view and tries to talk to him. After a lot of going back and forth, the landlord agreed to replace his laptop.
The boxer ended up with an upgrade, our landlord bought him the latest Mac Book and the Boxer never seemed to learn his lesson. He still continued to leave his door wide open, even when he wasn’t home.Meanwhile, during all the drama I was upstairs sipping and enjoying my tea.
I really don’t miss living in that house and still amazed that I ever lived there. Hearing the Boxer fuss was a nice break from the bickering couple.
I used to really love the show Malcolm in the Middle, mainly because I identified well with Malcolm, the main character. The middle knows it all child, always looking at situations like how did I get here. I never really felt like I belonged anywhere, and just kinda felt like an outsider. I always somehow stood out, even when I desperately just wanted to blend in and go with the flow.
I feel like my middle school years was definitely a time period that helped shape me into the woman I am today. I don’t have too many positive memories of my experience and don’t think that highly of most of my classmates. I started off middle school optimistic and excited to finally be around my people. The school was majority Black American, and during all of my years in an Islamic school, the students always felt the need to remind me that I am Black American.
So, to my surprise, my new classmates did not consider me to be Black American, but instead I was foreign. I realize I was the only hijabi in the school and most of them knew very little to nothing about Islam. So, with lack of knowledge comes ignorant jokes at my expense. Once again I felt like the outsider and did not belong.
Now as an adult, I no longer have the desire to want to belong, due to me realizing it is extremely overrated. A lot of the cultural and religious values I was raised to believe, I now question and forming my own values. Through my experiences, I’ve learned that we often segregate ourselves and cancel experiences based off of our differences. So, I’m trying to live my life with more of an open mind, but I am still guilty of self-segregation based off of differences.
For the majority of my life, I have been obsessed with my weight! I’ve either been too skinny or too fat, but never did I look in the mirror and was happy with what I saw. Besides my obvious insecurity about my skin, which I speak about in “Diary of a Problematic Brown Skin Girl”, I also have body image issues and am exhausted of always feeling like I’m not good enough.
I’m always seeking to have a new body, either a past size or a future desire. I can’t remember a time looking at a picture of myself and feeling satisfied. Well, I’m officially exhausted of not feeling like enough. I’m done trying new diets to obtain a different body, because at the end of the day, who am I trying to please? I say it is for me, but if I am being truly honest with myself, it’s for outside approval that will never be granted.
As much as I wish I could just erase this toxic mindset I’ve developed over the years, it’s just not easy. It’s working progress with truly loving oneself. I use daily body positive affirmations. I replace all of my critiques with compliments, while I stare at the mirror examing my body, rather than focusing on my flaws.
Hopefully this time next year, I will truly feel the confidence I fake in public. In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy all my meals and just focus on being happy.
It’s crazy how fast time flies, this time last year I was in England trying to figure out how to spend America’s Independence Day.All week talking to my friends back home, hearing how they planned on spending the fourth, made me extremely homesick and sad.
I usually don’t look at the Fourth of July as my Independence Day, because in reality, my people were still slaves, but being in the country America won their Independence from made me a little more patriotic than usual. So, I planned out how I was going to spend my day down to every meal of the day. I’m a little bit of an over-planner.
That morning I woke up and watched Independence Day, and sadly realized my preplanned day wasn’t going to happen. I was initially going to go to Buckingham Palace, and take a cute selfie with the American flag, but, unfortunately, the tube line Inormally took was closed. I also intended to go to the American Embassy for a firework show that night, but it was canceled as a response to Trump’s visit. I became frustrated and was ready to just cancel the whole day. I knew I didn’t want to stay in the house all day and forced myself to go out.
So, I decided to get cute and put on my most American outfit, which happened to be a baseball t-shirt, jean shorts, and converse. I stepped outside and decided to go to the mall to get a cheeseburger and milkshake. As I was walking to the food court, I decided to go into some shoe store, and actually can’t remember the name of it. That’s beside the point, when I walked into the store I met this nerdy guy struggling to find a pair of shoes. I remember one of the first things he said to me was, “damn, you really look American AF”, which meant my outfit was a success. I ended up hanging out with him for the rest of the day just going with the flow and had one of the most memorable Fourth of Julys. You can read all about that story in a “ British Love Story”, but today marks the anniversary of me finally realizing I don’t have to plan out my whole life for it to be amazing. Up until that moment, I felt like my life was falling apart because nothing was going as I planned, and it was too late to get back on track with my original timeline. I don’t know why that day helped me realize that, but I’m just grateful it did. I still struggle to remember to stop planning and trying to control life. Each day I remind myself to just embrace the unknown and live a joyful life.
from the mouth of the Mediterranean a silent tear travels all the way to Khartoum, and an outrage bursts into a violence the sirens said ‘rape their women and stripe their dignity rape their men and cover them with shrouds of shame’ and we here sitting on comfortable couches hear only the deafness there’s a […]
You know sometimes I miss being a hijabi, it was like being a part of sisterhood in a sisterhood. An unspoken bond, that only women in hijab will truly understand. The crazy thing is I even miss all of the silly questions I used to be asked. At the time they used to drive me insane or make me feel self-conscious, but now it just makes me laugh at all of the ignorance.
Some of my favorites questions were: Do you sleep with that thing on your head? Do you shower with it on? How do you get your hair done? Why do you get your hair done? Those never really bothered me and honestly, I was asked at least one of those questions once a week. Depending on my mood dictated how sarcastic my response would be. The funny thing was I did feel like I was covering 24/7 as a black Muslimah. I would wear my hijab out during the day and then at night going to bed, I’d wear my satin scarf. Regardless of that fact, I was still annoyed being constantly being asked those questions.
On the other hand, the questions that actually offended me were: Are you forced to cover? Did you get that scarf as an initiation into your terrorist cell? Is that a symbol to show that you’re married? Questions all along those lines. I can’t say it was necessarily the questions that bothered me, but regardless of my response some people just looked at me with pity. Like oh, this poor girl is being oppressed, and that was the furthest thing from the truth.
Looking back at it now, I realize I learned young that there’s a lot of ignorance in this world, and I can’t let that affect me.
As much as I like to reflect upon my love life and always see myself as the innocent princess, that overcame heartbreak, but that’s not completely true.
My college years have definitely been eventful and left a couple of broken-hearted casualties along the way. I remember my freshman year after I accepted the internship with the US Coast Guard, I needed to get in shape ASAP. I ended up getting this guy I always saw working out around campus to help whip me into shape.
Honestly, I was just being myself and was super surprised when I found out he liked me. Unfortunately, my motto was too just go with the flow, but that’s a terrible mentality when it comes to dating. It wasn’t until maybe two weeks in, I realized I needed to end this “relationship”because honestly, it was only one-sided.While I was still living a single lifestyle, he was falling for me deeper.
Trying not to hurt his feelings, and postpone the breakup only made things worst. So, like a coward one morning I broke up with him over text, and gave the worlds most cliche excuse “it’s not you, it’s me”. We ran to each other at a party the following weekend, and he confronted me asking what can he do to make things better. I don’t really remember the conversation, but I do remember the hurt in his eyes. That moment I knew, I’ll always be the villain in his story.
Honesty, everyone is the villain in someone’s story, we’re all humans and make mistakes. I just try to improve upon myself. If he does happen to ever read this, I am sorry, and was just immature and wasn’t used to male attention.