You Asked for It!

October 29, 2007

list  Life is funny sometimes.  I was over at CreoleinDC’s blog reading this post:  http://creoleindc.typepad.com/rantings_of_a_creole_prin/2006/08/romanticated.html in which Monica talks about how she met her husband.  She made up “wish list” of traits etc., and she got exactly what she wanted in her dh.  The only thing she didn’t get was the one trait she had assumed:  that future hubby be a black man.

My story is somewhat similar.  I, too, had a list of things I wanted in a husband.  Certain height range, skill set, personality.  Had to be American.  I was “race open”, however I pretty much assumed that the man I would marry would most probably be black.  I mean, just look at the numbers.  If I’m not mistaken, most american muslims are black.  Significant numbers are of south asian, and arab descent.  But white muslims are very much in the minority.  So him being white did not even cross my mind as a possibility.

Like Monica, I met my dh online.  He responded to my ad, and we corresponded for a few weeks.  I was immediately drawn to his personality, and we quickly established a comfortable rapport.  When he sent his picture I was surprised.  “Oh,” I thought. “He’s white!”  In fact, as I write this, I realize that I had never met a white male muslim before.  One or two white female converts, sure, but never a guy.

I didn’t care and I knew that the most important people in my family wouldn’t either.  (In other words, yes there was a family member or two with issues.  But like I said…)  I couldn’t have DREAMED of a better husband.  Seriously.  He is 50-11 kinds of wonderful and I am spoiled rotten. (masha’allah)

I don’t know what the point of this post is other than to say that sometimes you get everything you need and more–just not exactly in the way you expected.  So search your soul, make your list.  Check it twice.  Three times, even.  Be sure that only the important stuff is on it.    Because you just might get what you asked for.

Edited to add:  I just wanted to add that I knew my dh for over a year before the wedding date, so no one thinks I married him after a few weeks. 🙂

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Eid is the time when muslim women step out at their most Fabulous.  This ‘eid just past was no exception.  The mass of femininity streaming into the prayerhall is a swirl of sparkle and color: a candy-apple colored shalwar khameez with a stack of gold bangles glinting in the early morning sun:   An orange/green printed tunic with a long  straight skirt and a matching headress in West African style.  A green satin princess-seamed dress with bell sleeves. And of course, some

tanwhite230.giftouches of black here and there–or mostly black, depending on the community.  (Some will wear a dazzling outfit that will be seen only by their husbands, and later by other women at a “sisters only” party.  The rest of the world will see only the usual black jilbab/abaya.)

This ‘eid was no exception.  Most sisters put on their best.  I saw the most beautiful long white dress with cut out detailing along the edges of the hem, sleeves, and neckline, topped by a long white shawl.  My daughter was looking nice, masha’allah, in a white crepe dress I made for her with a gold crepe-backed satin sash.  I didn’t even realize until I woke up that morning that I hadn’t planned what I was going to wear.  I threw on a black tux with a deep red satin shirt, and a black geogette khimar (folded for opacity, of course) and ran out the door.

The atmosphere was festive and everyone was in a good mood.  I did see one woman that stuck out in the most odd way.  She wore a polo shirt, jeans, a scarf hanging around her neck, and a frown.  She came in with what I presume to be her family.  She did not look happy to be there, as if she came begrudgingly.  If it was all like that then she really ought to have stayed home.  But then, you never know.  Maybe she had the baddest outfit ever and one of the kids spilled india ink on it or something.

I plan to get started sewing for next ‘Eid next week or so.  If I get started that early and use my time well, I may be able to make something fabulous for myself.  A lady-tux is allright, but it isn’t really festive enough.

Tell Me Something Good

October 23, 2007

something goodI skipped on over to Margari’s blog today and read her post on privacy, being muslim, and blogging.  Her post was triggered, in turn, by a recent entry on Tariq Nelson’s blog.  It seems some muslims are concerned about what they see as the overexposure of our problems to non-muslims.  (Sound familiar?  Smells like “dirty laundry”, but I digress.)  A few people said “Hey, where is the good news about muslims?”

Sometimes we can be too focused on venting and analyzing problems.  We forget to talk about all the good stuff.  I have some positive things going on in my life.  “Wrote a song ’bout it.  Like to hear it?  Here it go:”

I am one happy woman

Because my deen is Islam

Ahhhh-hu-uh-uh!

(For those of you who didn’t catch the reference, that was an imitation of the blues singer on “In Living Color”)

I love being muslim. Love it, love it, LOVE IT! 

I love that it makes sense.

I love the emphasis in the Qur’an on learning, studying, reasoning things out for yourself.  Holding fast to this has enabled me to reject things that don’t make sense.  If you can’t prove it to me, your viewpoint is dismissed with exactly zero guilt on my part.

I love the hope of forgiveness, no matter how many times I may screw up.

I love the guidance that is clear.

I love our style of congregational prayer. Shoulder to shoulder, bowing before Allah.

I love the feeling I get at the close of Ramdhan.

I love my muslim friends, who can be counted on with advice taken from the Qur’an or the accounts of the life of the last prophet, (sallalahualaihiwasalam) when I come to them with problems.

I love the fajr prayer, starting the day off right in the stillness before sunrise.

I love islam.

stopBlog surfing, I came across a post where a desi woman discussed colorism issues in that community.  She spoke of two little girls, sisters.  One is significantly fairer than the other.  The fair one is showered with bangles and other gifts.  The dark one gets… exactly… nothing. Zip.

I remember blogger and romance author Roslyn Holcomb expressing several times that she would not allow people who blatantly express their color issues into her children’s lives.  Not even if they were family.  I have to agree.  If my children’s emotional development is my responsibility, how could I allow them to be damaged like that?  By accepting gifts for one child while allowing the other to be given nothing, that is what those parents are doing.  Even if they tell their children all day everyday that all skintones are beautiful, no one is better because they are fair, blah blah blah, actions speak louder than words.

And their actions are saying:  “Your sister is lighter and therefore more worthy of affection, caring treatment and gifts than you are.”

We have an obligation not to feed our kids that kind of poison.  Such a message is poison from anyone, but is all the more lethal when received from friends and family.  They are closer to our children, and our children naturally crave their affection and approval.  Like Ms. Holcomb, I wouldn’t knowingly allow people to spread their poison to my children.  Those grandparents would shape up, and fast, or they could take their bangles and their trinkets and get out of our lives.

I SWEAR!

October 18, 2007

jadzia and worf

What vows did you take when you got married?  If you aren’t married, have you thought of what you would say?

I must admit I made up my vows on the spot.  It’s all kind of a blur and it wasn’t taped, so I don’t have a transcript.  I do remember saying that I loved him and pledging that his family was now my family.  I think I’ve held pretty well to that.

My favorite wedding ever is the one between Jadzia Dax and Worf on Star Trek’s Deep Space Nine.  What I loved about it, besides Jadzia’s awesome dress and the fact that she and Worf make a great couple, are the vows.  Not drawn out or flowery, yet filled with so much meaning:

“Worf, son of Mogh, does your Heart beat only for this woman?”

“Yes.”

“And will you swear to join with her and stand with her against all who would oppose you?”

“I swear.”

“Jadzia, daughter of Kayla, does your Heart beat only for this man?”

“Yes.”

“And do you swear to join with him and stand with him against all who would oppose you?”

“I swear.”

“Then let all present here today know that this man, and this woman, are married.”

Not mushy at all. Just “This is my one and only.  Mess with him and you mess with me. Got it?”  I told my husband I wanted to renew our vows in Vegas, in Klingon fashion.  They  have facilities for that, ya know. 

He, uh, said no. Party pooper.  😦  Guess I have to cancel plans to make myself a replica of Jadzia’s dress!

Women, What Would You Do?

October 11, 2007

infidelityYeah, I’m gonna talk about polygyny again.  Today it’s about what would YOU do if your husband went behind your back and married someone else. This article has some tips and ideas which may help some:  http://bigfaith.wordpress.com/category/coping-with-polygyny/ in sum, remain calm and hold fast to your faith. 

I was discussing the topic with my husband, saying that some people thought this sort of behavior was not necessarily grounds for divorce.  He disagreed, as did I. 

Here is my reasoning:  marriage is a big decision.  The decision to enter into a polygynous arrangement is even more so, because there is an existing marriage and possibly children at stake.  IMHO, for your husband to make such a huge decision about something that affects you so profoundly, without discussing it with you at all, is indefensible. (Assuming you are not in a coma, mentally retarded, etc.)  Like I said to my dh, if he can do that, what else does he feel entitled to make decisions about without consulting the wife? “By the way honey, our daughter is going to boarding school in Bulgaria, I put her on the plane this morning”?  “We’re moving across the country next week.  Rent a truck and pack up the house”?

There is supposed to be some level of trust, security in a marriage.  I don’t see how you can have either with a man who will marry again behind your back.

clinton and stacey

I sometimes watch makeover shows.  Especially lately as I am getting to the point where I am going to need a fair amount of new clothing.  With major shopping pending, I am paying more attention to clothes.  I am paying more attention to the fundamentals:  fit, proportion, patterns.  I imagine myself as the first covered muslima on TLC’s What Not to Wear.

First comes the beginning, in which the “fashion victim” is shown going about her daily routine in her unflattering clothes.   There’s me, in a somewhat tattered black jilbab and ivory scarf.  Cue the voiceover:  “Meet foreverloyal, busy stay at home mom with X children.  This  devoted mom actually loves fashion and makeover shows, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at her.”  

Cut to my mom in my closet:  “This is what my daughter has:  Pullover black jilbab with vertical trim, another pullover black jilbab with vertical trim.  Here’s one that buttons down the front, sort of a nice coat design.  Tie front black jilbab with brown trim, another tie-front black jilbab with brown trim…oh wait, here’s a fancy crepe black jilbab with black embroidery and black crystals.  Too much BLACK!  Let me show you my daughter’s other clothes:  pink polo, white jeans, blue jeans, white satin shirt, ivory skirt suit.  She has other colors but you almost never see them!  Clinton and Stacey, get rid of all the black clothes and make her bring in some COLOR!”

  Next comes my interview by someone posing as a market researcher.  I can just picture it:  me outside the Target with the little kids.  “My style?  I don’t really have a style.  My mom bought this–it’s called a jilbab– from Saudi Arabia, and I pretty much just throw it over anything and walk out the door. Easy.  These white sneakers go with anything, and they’re really comfortable, great for running after my children… I pretty much always wear this ivory scarf, it goes with anything… of course I almost always wear this jilbab or the other black one my mom got me…Do I every wear anything else?  Well sometimes I wear jeans and an ivory tunic… I wear them with some nice sandals so I do make an effort now and again… I’m just too busy with the kids to put in too much effort.”

Then come the hosts viewing the footage.  “She looks like she had a fight with a bolt of black crepe–and the black crepe won.” “Those sneakers are a crime.” “When are moms going to realize that they deserve to put a little effort into themselves.”

I get pounced on when I think I’m at the masjid for a potluck, and whisked off to New York.  Then the problems begin.

“You’re clothes completely hide your shape.” 

“Uhhh… That’s kind of the point, Stacey.”

“Look, it looks like you have no waist.  If you would just wear something that nips in here…”

“Don’t touch me, Clinton.  I don’t like people touching me.”

Then of course there would be the appointment with Nick Arrojo.  “So what have you been doing with your hair?” 

“Shampoo, conditioner, coconut oil as a leave-in.  I use a deep protein treatment sometimes, and I love VO5 hot oil.”

“Can I see your hair so we can talk about a new style?”

“Nope.”

Makeup appointment with Carmody:

“We’re going to use this great foundation and apply it with a sponge.  It’s a great formula, you put it on once in the morning and it stays all day.”

“Not after wudu it won’t.”

 Those poor people would not be able to handle me.  Although I am tempted to write in sometimes and see if they are up for the challenge.  It would really test their creativity if they could give a muslima a fashionable makeover and still keep to the code.  It could definitely be done.  The question is, would it be too frustrating for them to be unable to use tools such as “nipping in to draw the eye to the narrowest part of the torso”  and “using a deep V-neck to frame your face better” and not being able to touch their subjects to make their points?

Just might be.  So I’ll just have to do the makeover myself.  I’ll keep you posted. (insha’allah)

blacknessI was in a good mood the other day, and started doing an imitation of CreoleinDC’s “I’m Jazzy” http://creoleindc.typepad.com/rantings_of_a_creole_prin/2007/09/creoleindc-tv-b.html  My daughter says “Where’s that from?”

Me:  “Oh, just something I saw someone doing once.  I thought it was funny and I felt like singing it.”

Her:  “What color was she?” 

Me:  (At this point one mental eyebrow goes up)”Brown.  Why?”

Her:  “That seems like something a brown person would do.”

Apparently my girl is at the stage where she is trying to understand concepts like race, culture, and nationality.  Until very recently she has always described people by actual color, if at all.  It appears this is about to change.  Just yesterday she asked me if it was bad to describe someone as “white.”  (I explained to her long ago that people are often referred to as “black” and “white”.  She always thought that was inaccurate and therefore, ridiculous)

 I wasn’t sure how to feel about the “something a brown person would do” statement.  I concluded that it was nothing to get upset about, after all there’s nothing wrong with being jazzy.  But I’ve got my eye on this whole situation.  It’s amazing to witness the formation of her views in this area and humbling to realize my responsibility for same.  I need to make sure that she also sees giving charity, making scientific discoveries and treating your relatives well as “something a brown person would do.”  And if they are happy and jazzy at the same time, well, so much the better.