Sunday, December 15, 2013
Saturday, October 26, 2013
Saturday, October 5, 2013
Monday, August 26, 2013
Let me explain: in the past months my relationship has completely broken apart, I lost my job for the 2nd times in a year and my employment insurance was withheld far beyond the 3 weeks it should have taken. While under all of these stresses, I asked God for a good, permanent, full-time job that would allow me the security I needed to build a good life for myself and my mother.
Recently, I was offered a job that I didn't apply for. I was given a full-time, permanent position... only an hour away from my mother. If I had a job, I would probably refuse the position. If I had a boyfriend, I would probably refuse the position. If I had the assurance that I would find a position before my employment insurance ran out, I would refuse the position. But all of these things have been put in place so that I am in no position to refuse the job. I believe God has lined up this yellow brick road and I am not arrogant enough not to follow it.
In fact, the only reason I am not risking staying in Ottawa even with uncertain financial risks, single and jobless is because I believe that this is God handing me an opportunity greater than what I could possibly perceive it to be. The advantages such as money or closeness to family mean absolutely *nothing* to me. What means something to me is the fact that the stars aligned perfectly. I believe in following God's signs. It's what lead me to Islam, it's what got me through the tough nights, it's what gets me through every single day.
God has a plan.
I am extremely angry with God right now. I am angry at His plans. I am angry that His plans including losing the person I loved and perhaps losing even more friends once I move. I am angry that his plans include moving to a city that I already know to be homophobic, islamophobic and racist. I am angry that I am angry at His plan, because I never want to be angry at God. But I am. Regardless of my anger, I am trying to be the bigger person and trust. I trust that no matter how angry His plan makes me, He has planned to my best interest.
I am following the path God has lined up for me. I am following His yellow brick road even though I don't expect the Emerald City by any stretch of the imagination. I am following the yellow brick road kicking and screaming rather singing pretty songs, but I am following the yellow brick road wherever it leads me.
God has a plan.
Monday, August 19, 2013
Monday, July 29, 2013
Some people were quick to blame her attitude, stating that she must be giving signs, opening herself up to it; others told her that hijab did in fact bring more attention on her than would not wearing it. I hate these attitudes: this victim-blaming crap that makes women responsible for every bit of sexual attention she gets.
No, her attitude is NOT the problem, neither is her scarf. The problem is that the types of guys who notice her and other hijabis don't know how to live! In fact, a majority of those who notice hijabis are MUSLIM MEN! That's what drives me insane!
Let us not forget that modesty was first demanded of men before it was demanded of women and that similar obligations of dress are "required" of men (for those believe hijab is a requirement): men should wear shirts to their elbows, pants below their knees and their heads should be covered. That's right, your sexist bs that I'm "not wearing hijab properly" because you can see my neck doesn't stand next to the fact that I can see your elbows!!!
Dear Muslim men,
Stop gawking at us. Stop making comments at how we do or do not wear proper hijab. Your "MashaAllah"s are gross and univited. It is NOT our responsibility to look unsexy it is YOUR responsibility to LOOK AWAY!.
And sisters, please stop denying the systemic patriarchy taught to our men. They are already given the better prayer spaces, the better food, the better rights, the upper hand in both employments and search for a mate, more leeway when acting outside the fold of Islam -- please, we don't need you to make excuses for them on top of it.
There are some wonderful brothers out there, and yes, it's unfair that they are judged on the same standard as the low-lives who call themselves Muslim brothers but in fact are just olive-skinned skirt chasers. There is NOTHING WRONG in brothers having to prove that they are decent men. Wouldn't the entire world be a better place if we held everyone to a higher standard?!
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Sunday, May 12, 2013
Ma grand-mère avait l'habitude de faire pousser des tomates dans des pots sur son balcon. Ses tomates, elle nous les apportaient lors de visites. J'aime énormément ma grand-mêre et ferais n'importe quoi pour la rendre heureuse. Alors quand elle me suggérait de manger deux tranches de tomate à chaque repas, je le faisais, à contre coeur, mais je les mangeais. À une certaine époque, je me souviens ne pas vouloir la visite de ma grand-mère aux heures des repas car il s'agirait sans doute d'un autre repas à saveur de tomate. Ma mère s'est aussi ajouté au réjouissance, me rappelant à chaque repas que ma grand-mère demandait que je mange deux tranches de tomates par repas.
Tant bien que mal, au fil des années, plusieurs centaines de repas plus tard, mon goût pour les tomates s'est développé. Je ne déteste plus les tomates, je n'en mange plus à chaque repas, mais je ne les détestes plus.
À un repas familiale il y a quelques années, ma grand-mère, ma mère et moi nous sommes retrouver autour d'une merveilleuse tablée. Bien sûr, des tomates mûres y furent servis. Lorsque mon assiette fût vidée de celles-ci, je demandai une deuxième ration de tomates juteuses. Ma grand-mère répondit aussitôt: "Ah oui, manges-en des tomates! Je hais les tomates!"
I've never been a picky eater as a child. Like most, I tried to avoid bread crust for a time and I'm still not a fan of macaroni and cheese -- I know, I'm a strange child. My favourite food growing up were fruits and vegetables, garden fresh if possible... except for tomatoes. I hate tomatoes. Or should I say, I hated tomatoes?
My grand-mother had the habit of growing potted tomatoes on her balcony. She would bring her tomatoes to us every visit. I love my grand-mother very dearly and I would do anything to please her. Thus, when she would advise that I should eat two slices of tomatoes per meal, I would reluctantly do so. I even remember, at one point, hoping my grand-mother would avoid visiting us at meal hours because I knew she would bring some of her ripe tomatoes along. My mother joined in by reminding me, when my grand-mother was not around, that I was to eat two slices of tomatoes per meal as per her directions.
Through the years, I eventually grew out of hating tomatoes. I don't eat them with every meal but I don't dislike them.
At a family dinner, a couple of years ago, my grand-mother, my mother and myself found ourselves before a beautiful spread. Of course, amongst this spread were beautiful, juicy, ripe tomatoes. When I cleared my plate, I asked my grand-mother for seconds on the fresh vegetables, including tomatoes. My grand-mother quickly said: "oh yes, please, eat as many tomatoes as you would like. I hate those things!"
Monday, May 6, 2013
Would you accept that your mother, sister or wife be harassed, touched our catcalled in your presence? Of course not! Then why is it implied that we should take it as a compliment when the comments are turned towards us?
Luckily, the Qu'ran and multiple hadiths speak of modesty, of lowering one's gaze and keeping from commenting on each other's allure. Unfortunately, cultural subjugaison and maintenance of the male status quo puts once again the burden of modesty on women and far too often, the men disregard the similar verses that apply to them.
I've been donning hijab as a form of modesty and I've simply had it with pseudo-Alpha males who in a show of machismo to their dimwit buddies decide that yellow, hollering or cat calling will win them any form of favour or amusement on my part. If you are a Muslim man reading this, be warned: the next man to howl or holler at me, will get a very vulgar piece of my mind!
Keep your hands, eyes and thoughts to yourself! Astagfurillah!
Monday, April 22, 2013
Prophet Mohammed (peace and blessings upon him) very famously said that charity could be done in a number of manners, including bearing a smile to a stranger. Smiles have mysterious effects on people.
Even from the lips of a stranger, a smile can change a day. As I call it, a smile is the curve that makes the world go round.
Because smiles are contagious! And I'm not just talking about the social construct that smiles must be returned but also about the fact that happiness spreads from one person to the next like wildfire.
In this world where too many tears are shed, a smile brings hope of better days, of a better world. A world that spreads love instead of hate, compassion instead of fear, charity instead of spite.
Does this sound oddly idealistic? Yet it is the power of a smile I encountered on my way to work from a stranger, a much older woman with eyes full of kindness and a slight smile that carried a deep love of others.
As Muslims, we are told of this charity, and too many times we forget to do so. We keep our smiles the way keep our money in the face of those in needs. But why? A smile does not cost a thing, it doesn't remove from the one who gives and adds to the one who receives. It cannot be taken away and it can multiply upon sharing. A smile is the simplest of charity. Do not be too selfish to forget your Creator and give, in His name, the simplest of charities.
A smile can brighten up a day, aleviate pains and turn a week around, so I ask you: have *YOU* donated today?
Friday, March 22, 2013
Ever since I've begin wearing a head scarf, I've been receiving the looks of friends and strangers alike: looks of admiration, looks of curiosity, looks of reprisals. Those looks are, in most situation, reinforcement of the purpose of my hijab. I feel protected and empowered, but, more importantly, I feel closer to God than ever.
The comments I receive also range from extremely positive to negative. Some, however, are meant as neutral and they can cause me the most pause. One of those comments came through a conversation about my scarf: "what about our right to feel safe?" The reality is that my headscarf is not a weapon or a threat, it does not propagate hate speech or discrimination of any kind. What it does threaten is the ability for others to see and judge my body.
In North American societies in this age of information, people seem to assume they have a right to all information including information about my body and hair: it's shape, look, feel...
How is that a right? If anything, it should be my right to allow that information to go out! As a woman, I have seen men appropriate "rights" to my body: At bars, when they consider my dancing in public an invitation to touch, on the street when they consider my wearing heels to be an invitation to cat-call, on the internet, where having a picture of myself is an invitation for men I do not know to befriend me or at the very least comment on my appearance. If I refute their rights by pushing them away, telling them to back of refuting their "rights" in any way, I receive comments and get name called. Names that are reseved for women when they refuse to provide "information" which men expect to be their "right".
Everytime I put on my veil, I am reminded that information about my body is my right to disclose or to cover. For now, I choose to cover, but if one day, I chose to disclose my body, it would by no means change ownership to that right.
I respect that you may not feel safe when you see a Muslim in a hijab, but if you do perhaps it would be better to look at your own islamophobia rather than at my right to cover my hair and body because the only "right" you have is over your own actions and emotions!
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
She was my age when she married a hard-working man from a neighbouring town. Even then she was head strong and told him that regardless of tradition, she had no intention of changing her political inclination for her husbands'. They may not have agreed, but her husband soon found out there was no point arguing with her on that matter, she was a strong woman! They had four beautiful children together, one of which was a girl, I called her my sister, who had a severe physical and mental disability. Mom #2 spent all of her time at home from that moment on and took care of my sister.
It was shortly after that that my mother (the 1st one) got employed by Mom#2 to help out with my sister. I was not even a thought at the time, my parents were not married, their 3 boys were still in school. My mom would help keep an eye on my sister as well as help out with cleaning and cooking. There was a lot to be done. Mom #2 and my own mom grew close.
When my parents got married, it is partly thanks to Mom #2 that they were able to rent out the neighbouring house. This home is where I would grow up. That is where my mom would spend her 9 months of pregnancy, with Dad #2 always worrying that my mom would take cold as she was barely able to close her coat. Their home would be my dad's first stop returning from the hospital after my birth. He was supposed to stop home to get clothes and shower, but first, he stopped by mom and dad #2's home to announce that my mother had given birth to a beautiful baby girl. Mom#2 has described to me many times the look on my dad's face when explaining to them my face, my feet, my hands... My dad was a proud dad!
When my parents divorced 6 months later, it was mom #2 who comforted my mother and told her to be kind to my dad. She told my mother to accept his homosexuality for my sake. Because, as she said, God made him this way!
Mom #2 played such an important role in my life, and I could never in any one article ever do her justice. She fed me when I was hungry, she hid me when I was playing hide and seek from my mother (my mom didn't always know we were playing), she gave me to drink, she held me, hugged me, listened to me and watched countless hours of "pestacles" (spectacles in kid-speak) in her living room. She made me bread, her bread, the only bread in the world which can magically heal hearts and raise spirits. Her home always smelled of fresh homemade bread. Even after my mother and I changed home, we spent every Sunday, after church, with mom & dad#2 and their family. Their children became my uncles (it doesn't have to make sense when you're a child) and their grandchildren became my cousins.
My sister passed away when I was 12. I remember my mother picking me up from school with their middle boy. We spent an hour on my sister's dead bed, praying. I couldn't cry. I didn't seem to know how to cry. I remember returning to school and burrying myself in books. The first book I read was about unicorns, my sister had a unicorn windchime in her room; from then on I started literally a unicorn obsession. My first tattoo at 17, was a unicorn. My obsession with unicorn diminished after that: I had my unicorn with me at all times. I did not have to worry.
Mom & dad #2 went on living. Mom #2 became heavily involved with her grandchildren and me. I would go have lunch with my friends at their home during my school lunch breaks. Everyone was always welcome in their home, and everyone was served bread and water and other comfort foods if they had some.
When I graduated high school in 2006, few people came to see me: my paternal grand-mother and paternal uncle, my mother's younger sister... and mom#2 and her daughter-in-law and her grandchildren. Mom #2 even insisted on paying for the fabric of my prom dress.
Few weeks ago, I was told Mom #2 was terminally ill. I didn't think for a moment, and went to see her, 14 hours away in my hometown. I had a chance to talk with her and say my goodbyes. She even ask me to forgive her for having been mad at me initially after I moved away. There was nothing to forgive, I never resented her for it. Today was her funeral, and as a tribute to her, I wanted to find all of the pictures from the numerous memories I have of her and post them onto this page. To my surprise, I could only find one picture of her, and I was not on it. This woman has defined me as a woman, as the friend, wife and mother I want to become. She has inspired me and helped me grow. few pictures of her remain but to me, she will always be picture perfect in my memories.
From God we become and to Him is our return.
Saturday, January 26, 2013
I've always believed that white Canadians were not racist: we were, in my mind, well-intentionned dumbasses who tried to be as welcoming as possible but did so awkwardly and stupidly. I figured this was sometimes due to our own biases but mostly due to our inheritant lack of understanding of being "an other". After less than a year in a hijab, I've now understood one thing very clearly: not only are white Canadians racist, but we are also conveniently lying to ourselves about it. I say 'we' because I am cannot legitimately excuse myself of my own priviledge just because I wear a veil or even because I identify with the Queer community. I am white, Canadian-born. My priviledge is with me, regardless of what I do, and what 'else' I am.
'We' are racist. For centuries we have conquered, corrupted and cheated to be the best. And by our own standards, we are! The saddest part is that now that we've claimed the top spots for wealth and health we turned to minorities so we could become 'the best at including others'. The problem is that for us to include others, they have to REMAIN others. If 'they' become a majority, then 'we' are not the best: they are!
So while minority groups struggle to become equals we continue to ensure that they maintain minority status while we show them meaningless attempts at inclusion. As minorities become a greater part of Canada, white Canadians are slowly growing more conservative. We can claim to not see colour all we want, so long as we are unwilling to accept that our racism CANNOT and SHOULD NOT be excused by our ignorance we are allowing racism to continue. Take a stance against racism and teach your child or force local schools to teach about other races, other cultures, other traditions and other beliefs! And stop thinking 'others' need saving; 'they' can save themselves if we let them!
Monday, January 7, 2013
|Jumping on a trampoline|
My family's love for one another is both dysfunctional and unconditional. Those you love the most can also hurt you the most and you can hurt most those that you love. That is a sad reality of life. However, at this tender moment, I would like to focus on the love that I showed to and was shown by my paternal grand-mother. This strong woman with a tender heart and life-consuming problems.
|Playing with my cousins and myself|
|Grand-parents visiting me after|
my tonsels were removed
|Picture taken at my confirmation|
May she rest in peace.
Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Witnessing my father holding his mother's hand at the hospital as she suffered multiple organ failure, I couldn't help but think of the love family members have for one another. Love, even with family, it's messy, it's hard, it's up and it's down. There is no way to avoid it, with great love comes great emotions of every kind. Regardless of the words we speak or the actions we do in anger and in hate, that love is unconditional. It may be awkward, it may be silent, it may be difficult and painful, but it is love.
This unadulterated love I see my father and his siblings giving their mother is love that comes from hardship and hurt. I also see that love in my grandmother's eyes. Love that comes from painful memories and heartfelt regrets.
"From God we become and to God is our return"
My father's relationship with his mother and my grandmother's relationship with her children was not one of sunshine and fuzzies, but it is one of love. As I sit by my grandmother's side while she sleeps, I pray and hope that the family can find healing in these last moments of love.