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.
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.