Sad Posts

I hate it when my poetry goes all dark.

I’m not sad.

Not really.

I have yellow daffodils.

And a miniature pink hippo.

Also, lots of strawberries.

😉

Life is good Alhamdulillah

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An Arab Perspective On Natural Hair

Cover of "Good Hair"

Good Hair- watch it!

I have natural hair.

An afro.

A big ass. Sexy. Afro.

I am an Arab girl. With an afro.

An Afro-Arab.

🙂

This is my coming out.

Because in the Arab world, as with every other ‘white obsessed’ culture, whiteness and sleek, straight hair is celebrated.

My grandmother has black silky hair to her butt.

My brothers have ‘good hair’

Silky soft, beautiful locks.

I, the only girl in the family, decided to go and grow a fro.

While everyone else chemically alters their hair, and pretends their hair is nice and swishy.

I decide. To flaunt my fro in front of everyone.

My mother, needless to say, was horrified.

Lol.

My brothers, do not know how to deal with it.

They have spent years being told, that sleek and sexy is the definition and bench mark for ‘Beauty’

These last couple of weeks, I spent at home with my three brothers.

They had no idea how to react to my fro.

Lol.

My oldest and youngest brother just ignored my hair.

To be fair to them, they had never seen my hair in its natural state.

Neither had I, since I was 11!!

So being the polite, well raised boys they are. They ignored it.

Ignored the tumbling mass of curls peeking from under my cap, like they couldnt see em.

They did not say: ‘ Hey QQ, your hair is different what did you do to it?’

Nope.

Nada.

Not one comment.

My other middle brother, however, bless his misguided soul….

Told me to go to the salon.

Lord help him!

You can understand what kind of crazy I unleashed on him.

I had been waiting. Waiting. Waiting. On someone to comment.

And here comes this unwitting brother.

Telling me to go to the salon?

AND THEN. AND THEN. Has the audacity to start giggling with my mum about how HE is the one in the family who has GOOD HAIR.

GOOD HAIR????

I saw red.

I unbraided my hair (it was in twists)

Fluffed out my fro into a MASSIVE thing.

And came at it, all hissing and spitting.

I put my ‘Shaniqua’ on.

‘GOOD HAIR? GOOD HAIR?’ I SAID.

`God gave us all different hair. My hair is like this. How God saw fit in his wisdom to make it. You want to say God was wrong to create me this way? Do you?? You think my hair isn’t nice? I need to go to the salon to fry it into some kind of limp chemically altered poor excuse for hair? Do you now? Well TOUGH!! This is MY hair. Its on MY head. Deal with it!’

Yes. I was all up in his face like a black girl on an American drama.

Hehe.

He looked like he regretted opening his mouth (good)

And I think he realised what he had said was bang out of order.

And I like to think I schooled him.

I will not let anyone tell me otherwise.

I have worked to accept myself with this hair, in a world where whiteness, and sleek, straight hair is lauded.

I have worked to conquer that low self esteem that drives every woman to the salon every month to get a relaxer.

I shall not let anyone mess with that.

Least of all my family.

My mother gave up trying to convert me back into the world of the creamy crack (what we ‘naturals’ call relaxers)

Well, not entirely.

But…kind of. 🙂

I LOVE LOVE LOVE my natural hair.

I love that it can be curly. Or straight. Or an afro. Or a sexy up do.

I love that I can do my own hair.

I spend hours twisting it, braiding it, having rollers in it, deep conditioning, henna-ing, trying different products.

I love that I am not reliant on some stupid salon to make me feel good about myself.

That I do not worry about my ‘kitchen’ showing.

I don’t worry about my ‘real’ hair coming through and making me look horrible after a few months.

I really, really, really, don’t worry about people making me feel like I am not beautiful because my hair isn’t bone straight.

Or that I do not fit into their expectations of what a real ‘Arab’ should look like.

I have an Afro.

Its my hair.

Not yours.

Deal with it.

Marriage Scares the Pants Off Me

The Stepford Wives

Image by Wendelboe via Flickr

I don’t know if I want to get married.

Yes, yes, I know, Blasphemy!

Lol. Before you all get out the lynching squad. Read this post on diasporadical.wordpress.com The lady raises some insteresting points, not all of which I agree with.

Anyway, let me explain myself.

I always go into a decision/venture in life having weighed pros and cons. So I plan to do the same with marriage. Advantages and disadvantages.

Why don’t we start with the disadvantages of getting married? Let us delve right into the thick of things. The things that scare the pants off me:

1. Lifelong servitude

Yes, you heard me. I will have another human being (with other little human beings on the way) to cook for, to clean for, to look after. Sweaty socks to pick up, dirty underwear to laundry, a toilet seat perpetually up. Sigh.

2. Demands on my time and emotions.

After a day when I am bone weary, and tired to the tips of my soul, I have to come home and put on a happy face, smile, and play the role of dutiful wife. Listen to his concerns, make him feel cared for, happy and understood. Husband=Bonsai tree. Needs tender loving care, attention and time. As a single gal, I balk at the thought of having to give up all of my spare time to another individual (s)! Spare time which until now, has been utilized in spa days, days at the salon, having long baths, filing my nails, exfoliatiating..and other such rewarding endeavours. LOL. Yes, I’m a wee bit selfish me reckons. BUT, I’m also just human. And who says I won’t get a self sufficient husband? A CACTUS? Who needs to be watered just a few times a year! And maybe one who also doesn’t mind my spa days? Who might infact collude with me in creating the ultimate Spa day – His and Hers massages? Heeeheee. A girl can dream.

3. My Lord and Master?

Having to listen to someone elses opinion on how I cut my hair, what clothes I wear, what time I eat/sleep, which friends to have, what to say and what NOT to say? HOW to say what to say?!!! Geee! Because apparently, once you are someones wife, you are an extension of that person. And what you do, reflects on them. So by default they get a say on how you act,eat,sleep….etc, you get my drift.

Sigh.

This I find the hardest.

You see, as a muslim, I am obligated to listen to my husband. BUT what if said husband has ridiculous demands? What if he is trying to erode my self worth? Trying to change me into his version of a stepford wife? His mother even?!!!

I don’t want to be one of those dull eyed women I see staring out of a window of an unmarked house as I walk past. Their husbands have eroded every last drop of individuality, creativity, spark, and sexiness from them. All thats left is a shell of the person she once was, she is now just a baby spurting, butt cleaning machine!

We have all seen it. ALL OF US. And we all look away politely, and smile.

And do not be fooled into thinking those women were weak. Hell NAWWWW. Nor did they get to that stage without a fight. They did not walk meekly to mousy housewife’s door without causing a ruckus. They tried to fight, tooth and claw, and tried to hold on to the essence of who they are with all their might. But some of them, just lost. Because it was an unfair fight. One that was fixed even before the game started.

Dirty tactics:

a) Family = Guilt.

*What will your mother/friends/sister in law/extended family sayyyyy if you just walk out? If you fight? Your mother will just tell you to have subra (patientce) Your father will tell you to suck it up. Your cousins will insist you HAVE a good man. So many girls wish they were so lucky, what with good men so hard to find!*

b) Fincancial emancipation = None. 

*Said husband will have covinced you not to go back to work. Or not to study. With honey sweet promises of looking after you forever. He will then proceed to hold the purse strings so tight, allowing you a very short leash with which to move about. He will further continue to pummel your self-esteem, so that you start to believe that you COULDN’T work anyways, who would hire you? You could not have continued your studies-you aren’t that clever. If that fails, he will sabotage. Sabotage any attempts at going to work/making a living/studying. Try to get you pregnant, use guilt, use his mother as an ally. Anything.*

c) Allies=None

*He will make you get rid of your friends. One by one. Especially the supportive ones. The ones who encourage you to do better, to feel great, to look great. The ones who knew you when you were happy, and creative, and funny. The ones who keep asking you what you are doing chained to this loser who is draining away your happiness. He will say they are a ‘bad influence’ And one by one, they will fall away like autumn leaves. So that eventually, you will have no one you can turn to that isn’t on HIS side*

d) Mental subjugation=Gaslighting

Imagine. This actually happens. And I know a husband who actually used this on his wife. I could not be MORE appaled. He is a cunning bastard. And I know he probably read about it and decided to see if it works. For months, he continually psychologically damaged his wife. By making her think she was crazy. He would tell her something. And later when she mentioned it, he would tell her she was imagining it. With a very concerned look. He would say he was worried about her. He did it over and over, until she actually started to think she was going crazy. When she talked to me about it and I saw the fear in her eyes, I WAS SO MAD! That he could damage his wife so nonchalantly, just tore my heart up. And yes, she is STILL married to that idiot! Sigh.

Read up on it people. Click on the link. Its real. And highly disturbing.

Anyways, my point was…emm…what was it? Yes, having to answer to my ‘Lord and Master’, just does not seem appealing to me. I know you may think I’m having a Western perspective on this issue, wanting my husband to be my PARTNER. But, its not entirely Western. As a Muslim husband, you are meant to discuss things with your wife. Not order her about like a slave. Your wife is allowed to have financial freedom (bibi Khadijah R.A) She is allowed to pursue knowledge and even a career (bibi Aisha R.A)

May Allah give us all husbands who follow in the footsteps of RasulullAllah (S.A.W)

4. Career Sabotage

Children+career=not a good move. Always. You have to take time off work. I have heard of people working upto their due dates, and then going back to work a day or two after. It’s not unheard of. BUT mothers who do go back to work early/immediately after giving birth tend to be plagued with guilt.Most of them anyways. The rest are robots.

I would prefer to be a stay-at-home mum once I have children. That’s why I think having children is the equivalent of taking my career out back and stabbing it in the jugular. Inshallah when I do have children, I would hope my career is at a place where I can put things on hold for a few years . But you see, sperm sometimes manages to evade even the most effective birth control. Especially Spartan Sperm. You know one nasty bugger will swim past your coil saying ‘Laterzzzz Mother****er!!’, while another one will orchestrate a planned attack on your diaphram; Maybe enough of them pushing in one direction can loosen the diaphrams grip on your cervix, and hey presto!, the promised land. LOL. The pill? Ofcourse there will be the sperm who is on steroids or E, or Speed, basically so chemically messed up already, the pill trying to stop it is like pissing in the wind. He swims right by, while flexing his abnormally large, veined biceps 🙂

What was my point? Oh yeah, Unplanned pregnancy. It happens. Career goes down the drain.

5. Second wives/Chips Funga

Why, oh why put myself up for eventual disappointment? Cheating from a boyfriend, maybe I can survive. But the father of my children? The man I gave up my smokin bod’ for in lieu of stretch marks and a fat arse? The man whose children I nursed until I got cracked nipples and mastitis?? Hell Nawwwww. You bring another wife or a side dish on the scene and I am out! I am not wasting another 20 years hoping you will change. Hoping that the next tasty morsel you sample will be your last. Until you bring me a disease, or death (God forbid!) Seriously. Men cheat. Very few don’t. And if yours IS staying faithful, be proud, be happy, but be vigilant. No having hot friends over for sexy sleepovers, no allowing girl mates, or work do’s that don’t include you. That brings me to my next point…

6. Working so hard to keep him

Why is it that I have to work hard to keep a man? What happened to all the energy the man invested in chasing me, and making me accept that ring on my finger? Now, he can sit on his arse, fart all day, scratch his balls, while I run around juggling 100 things in the air? Its like a mans work is done after he gets married. The womans work now starts for the rest of her life. I have to make sure I keep myself beautiful, interesting AND thin (even after birthing his 6 children!!). He on the other hand, can get a pot belly, and as long as he brings food on the table, his work is done. Eh? What happened to the romance? The gifts? The kind words and the sweet nothings? Now that you have me you think kazi kwisha? ALA??!!!

7. Losing ME

I have a problem. I disappear into the people that I love. I watched a movie about this once- ‘Runaway Bride’ And I thought: OMG that is SOOO exactly ME!!! When I care for someone, I just slowly morph into that person. I like what he likes, I think like he thinks. I wear that other person so compeletly, like a new set of clothes. And then eventually, I can’t tell where he began, and where I end. I can’t tell who I am, who I used to be even! And neither can he. So eventually, we both realize that the person he fell in love with in the first place has disappeared.

I do this with my friends too.

Nowadays, I’m so terrified of being absorbed into other people, that I keep to myself a lot. I choose my friends VERY, VERY carefully. If I’m going to turn into my friends, I must pick friends that I wouldn’t MIND turning into.

Now with marriage then? 40/50 years later? Will I look like a fat , balding man scratching my ass??!! LOL!

7. Children

I am SO scared of having children. I feel like I’m not sure of who I am yet. And yet I’m supposed to impart knowledge, and life skills to other individuals?? Bring them up to be sane, emotionally sound, caring and religious? Geeez!! I’m not sure I’M all those things! I am terminally afraid of bringing children into this world just so that I can **** them up.

8. That’s All folks

You know the drill, this one is for you. Add your own fears. Tell me what you think…

Now, after all that doom and gloom, Lets have a look at the advantages of getting married.

1. Lifelong partnership

Waking up with someone day in day out. Knowing that this person is here for you FOREVER. Having that stability. Knowing that someone LOVES you enough to spend the rest of their life with you. That they will take you for everything that you are. Good mood, crabby mood, happy, sad, rich or poor. Fat and pregnant, or slim and carefree. They will love you and stick by you through it all.

2. Sex on demand (if you are religious like me, marriage kind of equals sex. Because without that divine go ahead, these knees are staying closed :))

3. Children (again, only if you are religious)

I want babies! (Despite what I said before! LOL. And despite my post on UGLY BABIES! hehe)

4. Social Acceptance

In certain cultures (like MINE), you are incomplete without a man on your arm. He doesn’t have to be arm candy, he doesn’t even have to be financially stable. Once the clock starts ticking, and your sell by date starts approaching fast, your mothers and aunties will desperately send you off with the highest (or any) bidder.

4. ummm, I’m slowly running out of advantages.

I’m sure there are more, and I really would sit here and scracth my head and come up with a few more. But I have to get to work in the next 20 minutes.

So all the readers out there, this is your homework. Please, please, please, for the sake of marriages everywhere, come up with a few more reasons to get married. The advantages MUST outweigh the disadvantages, lest I be forced to live my life out as an old bitter spinster.

Its all in your hands…hehe!

Kisses!

Diligent joy

Eat, Pray, Love

A must read!

I love love love the book ‘Pray, Eat , Love’ by Elizabeth Gilbert. FYI the movie was crap. Don’t watch it. Read the book if you haven’t; Its life changing.

Anyhow, I got the idea of Diligent joy from this book. Its an amazing concept that I just can’t get enough of. See, people universally think that happiness is a stroke of luck. Something that may descend upon them magically. But that’s not how it works. Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You must strive for it, fight for it, insist upon it, even travel to a different country searching for it. Whatever it takes. You  must actively cultivate happiness, and once you have it, become diligent in maintaining it.

Its easy to be an inert passenger in the journey of your life. You hate your work-‘Ah well’. You’re not happy in your marriage-‘Oh, it was not meant to be’. You feel unfulfilled in life- ‘Allah Karim’.

In a way, its a cultural disease. Lol. I heard a comedian once joke that Muslims are the only people on earth who could get hit by a bus and  on the same day, get struck by lightening, lose all their money, and then get mauled by a runaway bear. And at the end of it all-send up a prayer of thanks – Alhamdulillah.

This is a beautiful thing. And it is a sign of a strong and devout Muslim.

However, this should not translate into accepting suffering needlessly. Accepting unhappiness as though it is a normal state of affairs.

And so, if we find ourselves in a state of unfulfillment, instead of accepting it as our lot from God, Allah would love to hear us pray. Pray AND actively extract ourselves from those sticky, gummy, unhappy emotions with all our effort. God helps those who help themselves.

Diligent joy.

Actively seeking, hoping, praying and working towards contentment.

This may seem like a selfish act. Should I really spend that much time praying and working towards my own happiness? What about the many child soldiers, beggars, orphans. Should I not pray for them? Shouldn’t I be grateful- I may be unhappy, but I am still blessed compared to many other suffering souls.

Granted, that is a fairly good argument. But, the search for contentment is not just a self-preserving and self-benefiting act, but also a great gift to the world. Yes, you heard me. You being happy, makes the world happy.

Think of all the times you have been upset, or moody, or unhappy. How many times did you pass that bad vibe forward? How many times did you react grumpily to your co-worker, snap at your husband, honk at the idiot in the next car? Imagine all that negative energy out there in the world spouting from your black mood. Getting passed on from one person to the next person.

An unhappy, unhealthy cell, makes for an unhappy, unhealthy body. In the same way, an unhappy individual is an obstacle to the happiness of so many other individuals in the world!

I know I sound hippy-esque and new-age modern crazy. But its such a beautiful concept. It just makes sense.

Now go forth, and be happy.

🙂

xx

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