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.

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Something New

Sometimes it’s you.

Its you holding on to what is wrong for you.

If you have tried a million ways to get to your goal.

And each time there are a million and one road blocks.

Maybe, that thing that you want so much,

That goal,

Maybe…

…its not right for you.

Maybe all those road blocks are signs.

Saying: ‘TURN BACK!’,

‘TRY ANOTHER ROUTE!’

Or even:

‘DONT BE SO DAFT!’

Come on.

You gave it your best shot.

Now try something new.

xo

GUEST POST: Pregnancy And Islam

Is not Allah sufficient for his servant? - II

Bearing a child and becoming a mother, is highly regarded in Islam. We sometimes do not realise how much so.

Pregnancy Hadiths:

When a woman is pregnant with a child, all the angels will make Istighfar (repentance) on her behalf. Allah SWT will, for each day of her pregnancy, write for her 1000 good deeds and erase from her 1000 bad deeds.

When a pregnant woman starts to feel the pain from contractions, Allah (SWT) will write in her records as someone who is doing jihad (Spiritual or physical struggle) in His path.

When a woman becomes pregnant by her husband and he is pleased with her, she obtains the reward of a person engaging in fasting for Allah (SWT) and a person spending the night in Ibaadah (worship).

A woman from the time of pregnancy until childbirth and weaning the baby, is like the Mujahid (someone fighting in the path of Allah SWT) who is stationed on the frontiers of the Islamic land. If she dies during this period, she dies the death of a Shahid (martyr).

Two raka’at salaat performed by a pregnant woman is better than 80 raka’at salaat performed by a non-pregnant woman..

A woman who is pregnant gets the reward of fasting during the day and of doing ibaadah (worship) during the nights.

A woman who gives birth gets the reward of 70 years of salaat (prayer) and fasting. For each vein that feels pain, Allah SWT gives her the reward of one accepted hajj (Pilgrimage to Makkah).

If the woman dies within 40 days of giving birth, she will die as a shahid (matyr).

(Hadith)…….”A woman that dies in her virginity or during her pregnancy or at the time of birth or thereafter (in nifaas) will attain the rank of a martyr”

Nabi(SAW) is reported to have also said “When her labour pains commence, the inhabitants of the earth and the sky are unaware of the stores of comfort that are prepared for her. When she delivers and breast feeds her child, then she will be granted a reword for every gulp of milk, if she had to remain awake during the night for the sake of the child, she will receive the reword of emancipating seventy slaves in the path of Allah Ta’ala. O Salaamat! Do you know who these women are? They are pious, upright, with a delicate nature yet obedient to their husbands and not ungrateful to them” [Source: Madrasa In’aamiyyah]

By – Hilwa Khadija

I can feel it coming

Sometimes I feel sad for no apparent reason

I feel so... meh

I’m afraid of what’s coming.

It’s not the apocalypse. Or the End Of Days.

It’s not even an alien invasion.

Nope.

Nothing fancy or dramatic.

Just ….

*Drum Rolls*

………….The………..

………………………..Big……………………..

…………………………………………………….Depression…………………….

*Ominous Music*

I try to make light of the matter.

But really. I’m terrified.

Some say humour is used to mask extreme emotion; A coping mechanism.

I say: Ermm…Why did the chicken cross the road?

🙂

Ok, seriously.

I have spoken about my melancholic tendencies before. I come in and out of these….’blues’. Sometimes it’s not so bad. However sometimes, the blue becomes a deep, black.

The Deep Black, it’s not a very pretty place. It’s the place I’m most afraid of.

So, my breath catches.

Frozen in my throat.

My chest tightens.

Am I going to croak?

Will my blues ever stay away forever?

Will these days turn into grays?

Sigh. I gotta keep it together…

God willing, I will have smooth sailing through this stormy weather. I shall come out the other side, a little battle weary, but triumphant. Having successfully banished my demons to the recesses of my mind…once again.

🙂

See you on the other side.

xo

Self-Sabotage

How does one explain it?

Whenever I’m THIS close to something beautiful….

Whenever I’m a teeeny bit closer to achieving a goal…

I mess it up.

Deliberately.

I.

Mess.

It.

Up.

Did I mention that it’s deliberate?

I ‘unno.

I have long since reconciled myself with this aspect of my nature.

I have decided, that I am clinically unstable.

And have analyzed myself to such an stupendous level , I have awarded myself an honorary honors degree in pseudo-psychiatry.

This is what I came up with.

I choose to self-sabotage because I want to have something to blame, other than myself, for my failures.

If I fail that exam, I can blame it on not revising hard enough.

If I don’t get that job, I can blame it on not arriving for the interview on time.

If I lose my best friend, I can say that I didn’t deserve him after all, because I treated him like shit.

Its basically a testament to my deep insecurities, my feelings of low self-worth, and my fear of failure.

And I’m sure every single one of my readers have experienced this at some point in their lives. Forgive my blanket assumptions. But….I’m really just hoping I’m not alone in this.

As I type this, I have lost a job, several friends, a degree and a soul mate…because of my dratted interfering.

Sometimes your worst enemy is yourself.

Check yourself.

Before you wreck yourself.

And on that cheesy note, thank God Monday is over.

Have a Terrific Tuesday..

xo

Why Its NOT Okay For Men To Be Sissys

Okay I am all for Women’s rights. And I have been known to be very vocal about feminist issues. But sometimes, we need to fight the good fight. And accept that men also get a pretty sour deal from time to time.

Case study

Exibit A: Sodden tisses

A man comes to work. With MAN FLU. He is sneezing all over the place. Has tissues coming out of his whazooo. His eyes are red. He is putting in eye drops for what I take to be conjunctivitis every few minutes.

He generally looks like death.

But he souldiers through the day. And being the man that he is, complains every step of the way. LOL.

Next day. He is not at work. He calls in to say that the doctor has advised him to take a week off.

Say whaaaaaaaat? A week off for flu?!! Now SUAAALLLLYYYYYY (surely!)

Cue in the boss’ rant: ‘IN MY DAY, if you had the flu, you jus manned up! You showed up at work, tissues in hand, and you did what needed to be done. A whole week off??!!! What a weakling! He knows we are short-staffed. This is just ridiculous. When it comes to evaluations, who would want to re-hire someone who’s record shows time off for a FLU!!…etc etc etc…*More ranting* What an idiot…etc etc etc ….*Even more ranting* ‘ I tuned off after a while.

Anyhow, at the time I kind of agreed. Men are known to exagerrate illness symptoms for sympathy. Hence the term MAN-FLU. Because its different from normal flu. Its waaaay worse if a man gets it. Lol

I swear its not normal flu...I have bird flu!

The next day however, I turned up at work having caught the same virus, and things could not have been more different. Said boss was all over me with SYMPATHY.

BOSS: ‘ QQ you are ill. You need to take some time off. Why did you come to work at all today?’

ME: ‘Emm, because you said, emm, in your day, you know….sissys….emmm…’

BOSS: ‘No, NOOOOOO! That was …ermm, what I mean is, you look really ill. Not like you know, the other guy. Have a few days off okay. Get better. Now hurry along…’

Okay. I did not know whether to be insulted. Or touched.

In a typical antagonistic female fashion, I chose insulted.

Now I could exploit the perceived weakness of the female species. But I think that would just be unprofessional. And downright…shady!

We insist on being treated as equals. Yet when push comes to shove, we take advantage of being the ‘weaker’ sex when it suits us.

Shame on us.

I showed up at work the next day. Tissues in hand.

Boss chose to keep his trap shut.

I did see a glint of respect in his eyes. Or maybe he was checking me out. Not sure. Ah well.

🙂 xo

A Personal Story

Breasts. The appendages that hang off our chests and cause such an uproar. In art, in media, in porn, in …life. In fact, I tend to think they get much more air time than they deserve. What is the big deal after all??? Just some loose, dangly bits.

Despite that, breasts represent an unmistakable part of our identity. Without them, we would feel…well. Not quite woman enough.

I wanted to share a story that I have held close to my breast (pun intended) for a long time.

I haven’t told many people. Just a handfull.

Its not a big secret. Its just, well, I’m not exactly sure WHY I  have made such a big production of keeping shtum about it. *shrugs*

Its not shame. Its not fear. Its not…well, not anything I can put my finger on.

But it is this reticence in sharing our experiences, that allow this scourge to continue to maim and shoot down our worldwide sisterhood.

I am not being deliberately cryptic. Just trying to find the right opening to this story of mine…..Honest!

Now, where do I start? Okay, here goes….

On a cold, December night, I noticed a lump.

Okay that’s a lie.

I don’t actually remember the first time I noticed the lump; The alien hardness my left breast had taken on. I just remember noticing that my breast felt weird. I was terrified to do a proper self-examination on myself. If I lay on my tummy, I could feel the lump more distinctly against my chest wall. But I steadfastly refused to touch it. To…feel it. To map out its craggy contours against the streamlined softness of my breast.

Should I touch it? Is it…just hormones? The time of the month? Maybe I’m just imagining it…?

What the **** is it??!!!!

For weeks I battled with myself. Not uttering a word to anyone.

Yes, I work in the medical profession. That did not make me any less a coward.

After weeks and weeks of negotiations inside my head, I finally gathered the courage to confront the demon laying dormant next to my heart. Nestled warm and cushy, deep inside me.

I did a self exam.

‘Okay. Thats the lump. Umm, feels a bit weird. Hard. Knobbly. It doesn’t seem very defined. Yes, it definately feels different from the ‘lumpiness’ of the rest of the breast. Its about one inch across. About the size of a large marble. Feels strange…..Is that…NO! It can’t be. Is that…a SECOND lump? WTF?!! Okay, deep breaths. DEEEEEP BREATHS! Keep going. No use chickening out now….. Its also hard. Bigger than the first. How have I not noticed it before???? There is something attached to it…it seems…WHAT? A ****ING THIRD LUMP???’

%$#@##$*****!!!!!!!

My brain, needless to say, shut down.

I booked an appointment to see my doctor straight away.

*To be continued*

I’m having a fat day

A Big Mac sandwich taken at Velika Gorica, Cro...

Approximately 10000000000 calories

Girls, you know what I mean. Guys too.

Those days when you wake up in the morning, and you just feel… bleugh.

Disgusting. Bloated. Fat.

Your favourite trousers don’t fit. You look into the mirror and see flab. EVERYWHERE. Even you’re ears look fat.

Yes, you’re having a fat day.

We all have those days. Even Cameron Diaz, that skinny cow, has them.

What is it about today’s society that we have become a nation of fat fearers. A pork chop nation of battered buttys. We are fattist. Especially towards ourselves.

We see calories in every forkful of food. We count the grams of fat in every crisp. Every meal is a battle field.

I hate that I have joined the ranks. I’ve become a slave to my weighing scale. I have signed up and subscribed to the skinny cow mentality:

If you’re not a size zero or below-you aren’t worth the volume you’re displacing in the universe.

I didn’t get there easily. In fact, I’ve battled hard against it. I have crowed to friends that my curves enhance my looks. That I do NOT have body issues. That I haven’t dieted a day in my life.

Well. Umm, LIES.

To be fair, when I was younger and could eat absolutely anything – 6 pizzas plus a a litre bottle of coke- I couldn’t care less about my weight. I was a size 8/10 and cellulite was a word I associated with fancy  plastic packaging.

As I’ve grown older, and had to buy emmm…size 12 and then (shock, horror!!) size 14 trousers, my weighing scale has become my enemy. Sometimes my best friend (When I’ve lost 1 kilo) , but mostly my sworn enemy (When I’ve gained 3 Kilos miraculously in 1 weekend!!)

I still see a fat person eating a plate of chips and cringe. I still watch fat people on the queue at McDonalds and shake my head. To encourage a fat free nation, I vote for employing morbidly obese people to hand around fast food restaurants stuffing their faces. We can also pay them extra to fake a few heart attacks. Trust me, nothing puts you off your big Mac more than a lard face stuffing its gob.

See?

How many of you read that and nodded. Agreed with me? Decided you were starting a diet tomorrow?

It has long been acceptable to hate fat people. To pity them. To make fun of them. However, recently, its become a la mode to insult them to their faces. To blatantly point fingers and giggle.

I’m not saying fat people aren’t a bunch of lazy, burger munching, lard drinking couch potatoes. I’m just saying we deserve a little compassion.

Please go back to sniggering when we walk past, and placing ‘Kick me’ signs on our backs. (Sigh, the good old days)

Disclaimer: Compassion, should be reserved for those with medical conditions. Or those who are seriously trying to lose weight. Or those who are too poor to afford a healthy meal (Yes, in the developed world, the poor are obese. How’s that for irony?)

Anyway, my point: Lets all just chill out a little.

Skinny cows, stop the witch hunt against fatties. Fatties, get on a treadmill.

Peace.

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