fight or flight.

I really need to quit blogging so much at nighttime, because I should really be using the time to catch up with course materials, which are piling by the day my goodness, or even better – just sleep.

But this space is as much an open journal as it is an archive of my personal growth. I find it significant to admit this here, and for all the internal monologue that goes on inside my head and the many challenges I face here in this new setting in being myself, owning up to my Muslim identity and more, it’s true – adversity builds character. If one rides the storm or finally owns up to a fear, one is truly better for it.

With that said, I’ve recently really realized through my learning curves that one of the most powerful – if not the most powerful – lesson when dealt with an internal crisis is when one is forced to look fear in the eyes … Only to find one’s own reflection staring right back.

It took me by surprise, because right there – I am my very own misery.

Wordlessly, the question hangs in the air: so, what’s next?

When push comes to shove and being on the fence just doesn’t cut it anymore, the moment calls for decisions to be made. There’s no running away or hiding like a coward fool anymore. Fight or flight.

So once the cue appeared, I grabbed it – consciously, deliberately and purposefully. My greatest fear, this ridiculous and nonsensical fear – I’m finally owning up to it and I feel so much better for it. I feel… to a degree, liberated. I feel like I’m finally able to be more myself, and less this so-called one-character-fits-all persona.

“I’m Muslim.”

There’s a pot luck some of the folks in the program is hosting, so today I finally plucked the courage to leave a note to everyone within sight of this message, an open declaration if you will – one I’ve never been comfortable admitting because I always think too much about the reactions – that I have… dietary restrictions. Without spelling out the obvious, I said that I practice a strict halal diet so if some folks could please bring seafood or veggie dishes to balance the meat I can’t otherwise eat, I’d really appreciate it. I ended it with a smiley.

This has bothered me for years, truthfully, and in a way I’m glad to finally be able to confirm that I was right all along – it’s all in my head. I’ve just pretty much finally said it as openly as I possibly could have, that I’m Muslim.

So many years of stress and fear, and honestly the general response is simply – okay.

I swear I live too much, too deep, inside my head.

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4 thoughts on “fight or flight.

  1. GOOD JOB GIRL!!!!!!!!! *PAT ON THE BACK* About the ‘dietary restrictions,’ don’t be scared I think people will understand..I mean..there’s also vegans that are pretty common.. Um ok it’s not quite the same but.. >_<

    1. Thank you Heisui!!! I’m kinda proud of myself too haha, it’s like my first step in trying to be more myself and relaxed with people whom I’ll be acquainted to pretty closely for the next year or two! I finally told myself I need to combat this incessant fear and insecurity o.o *pumps fist in the air*

  2. Hey that’s great, yay you! :-) And hey, dietary restrictions are so common nowadays that whether it’s for religious or other reasons, nobody bats an eyelid. Or like, they do for a day and than they’re over it. Dude, I wish I actually had a reason for not eating most of the food I don’t eat, other than saying “i’m really fussy”, lol. I became friends with a Jewish guy when I was on a tour in Europe because we happened to not eat the same food. Him for religious reasons and me because I just don’t like seafood or pork, lol. So we could always agree on places to eat :-P. You definitely have no reason to be scared of admitting anything. Plus, the more you share with others, the less you feel like you have to hide other aspects of yourself.

    1. I’m so wary if being a total, complete open book though aha. It’s weird honestly that I have a personal blog that’s open because I. Real life I’m really pretty guarded… But I’m definitely learning to open up more to my immediate crowd here. Foodie thing is still manageable (if it feels like it takes too long to explain I always just tell people I’m vegetarian aha) but wait until other aspects come into the picture… It’s like they make sense to me because I’ve been born and raised and learned to do things religion-related but I feel like often my twenty-something friends find it … Odd, to be so devoted at this age. It’s that raises-eyebrow expression that always makes me feel so uncomfortable, but I feel like this identity is so part and parcel who I am so imma just slowly reveal it if necessary from now on aha.

      PS since you’re not into seafood and pork we can totally have lunch together! Hahaha, although okay I generally like seafood :p

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