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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Too Much but Not Enough...

I thought it best to maybe share with you a bit about myself. Things which are necessary to know from the very beginning so that the things that follow a bit easier to understand. There is one thing in this world that keeps me sane. It is my rock, my foundation, and without it I would not be alive today. That thing is my religion. Now that does not mean that I believe everyone who claims to follow the same religion as me will go to heaven and everyone else is destined for hellfire. Nor does it mean the way I have chosen to follow is the only right way and everyone else's is the wrong way. I truly believe that while there is only one God, there are many paths that lead there. I do not believe that wearing a label of religion and claiming to be a follower of any one religion is a guarantee into heaven. I believe that each person will be judged individually based upon their deeds, intellect, and how they conducted themselves in this world as well as how they treated others. The only thing I ask of anyone is to allow me the freedom to walk my chosen path the way I allow them the freedom to walk theirs. I love discussing different religions and learning about the beliefs of others. I absolutely despise debating religion especially with someone who refuses to listen to anything I have to say and simply believes they are absolutely right and I am absolutely wrong. I don't mind if you don't agree with me. However, please accept the fact that I may not agree with you, and that is ok. I shall now get off my soapbox.

If you're still with me after that long spiel, then I should say that I am a muslim. I was not born muslim. I wouldn't say I was necessarily raised christain either. I primarily attended a Southern Baptist Church while growing up. However, I did frequent other denominations as well as attend Catholic mass. I converted when I was 17 yrs old. Since then I have learned a lot, changed much, and hopefully grown as a person.

Now that I have given you a bit of background I guess I should come to the point. What does all of that have to do with "too much but not enough"? Being an American convert to Islam, I realized early on that I was "too much" muslim to be American and "not enough" for born muslims.

 I never truly fit in anywhere. In some ways I was not accepted by either group. I am female and I wear the traditional head covering (hijab) so it isn't as if I can hide who I am. The minute non muslims see me they become tense. They start to whisper, assume I don't speak English. When I am around muslims, they also do the same. They stare and make comments assuming I don't understand them. One of the little thrills in my life is to sit in a room of my mother in law's friends while they gossip about me assuming I can't understand them. Then my MIL will walk in and say something to me or ask me a question and I will reply in perfect Urdu. The look on their faces is priceless. Then I just smile at them with this smile that says "Yes, I just understood everything you just said" while they turn red and find some excuse to leave the room.

While today, I no longer have this overwhelming desire to belong. It is this in between place, this place of not belonging that for a time devoured my entire being. It consumed me in such a way that not only did I lose my way but I lost "ME". Today when I look back over my life, I often feel as if I am looking at someone else's. The decisions I made are so not me. I can't even begin to understand WHY. I have stopped asking why because it keeps me from moving forward. I have finally come to a place where I just accept I made horrible decisions that I truly regret and wish I had never done because not only are they not me but some are decisions which are totally against my core beliefs.

My desire to "belong" somewhere anywhere consumed me to such a degree that I became blind to my surroundings. I no longer cared where I "belonged" as long as it was somewhere. I didn't care if people were abusing me or taking advantage of me at least I "belonged". Today however I feel honored to not belong anywhere. It is no longer a devastating curse but has become a joyous blessing. While I still have moments where I feel utterly alone, there are many more moments where I feel so fortunate and blessed to have been guided to the path that I am on now. It was a very long and difficult journey. A journey that I am still on, but at least now I am discovering who I am inside. The real ME. Not the fake one that I became but the one I buried deep down inside. The one that was hidden in darkness. The one that even I forgot was there. I am learning so many wonderful things about myself, and by writing this I hope to show myself that even if I don't belong anywhere it doesn't mean that I deserve to be treated badly. I am not that horrible person I tell myself that I am. By writing this I hope that it will help to remind myself during those times when I forget.


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