As salaam alaikum,
Phew! Thankfully, I caught myself from almost making the same mistake I did 7 years ago. Nothing major, but something that cost me one solid year of heartache when things didn't work out as expected...
But as I found myself unwisely walking home alone after a party that was no longer fun because none of my friends were hanging out with me anymore in favor of the dudes they were dancing with...I came to this not very inspired conclusion.
Muslim men, so far, have been my downfall.
I mean, not the numerous brothers who I have been friends with...I'm talking about all of the cases where somehow, I've crossed the line with them from friendship to...what the hell is this-ship.
The big one, of course, always and forever will be MQ. I don't know what was wrong with that kid...so many inappropriate things. I'm not talking inappropriate like Satan being the third type inappropriate, I'm just talking about how the things he said should have never been said to a young potentially-swooning Muslim girl, like, not at all.
But then again, he (and I, for that matter) didn't know how Muslim I was in terms of my level of propriety, what I deemed was appropriate, my aspirations for gender relations.
I mean, it was because of him that I joined the MSA and had the courage to move forward in my development as a Muslim. The journey was all mine, though. I attribute a lot of things (too many, actually), to that then boy, but my personal journey to Islam in college is not one of them, catalyst though he may be.
There were also some negative things about my befriending/what-the-hell-is-this-ing him. I mean, granted, I went through the stage in high school when I felt I was too fat, but with him I experienced the first time that I didn't feel beautiful because I was black.
You don't understand, like, coming up in a black nationalist family, my aunt telling me to color everyone brown because brown was beautiful, the color of my skin and my mother and father's skin, realizing how happy I was that I was born black one day at my grandmother's house at age six, all of this stuff...I would have chosen the brown baby to be the best if they'd given me the doll experiment!
And here I was, having gone natural (my hair) at age 18, but now I was 19 wearing my short fro that had shrunk in the rain, going to the IASA (Indian American Student Association) show with my best friend, and there he was...and the way he looked at me, I don't know...it was like he realized I was black, really, as he saw the short kinky hair on top of my head.
And it was like I wasn't the same after that.
I previously was never one to worry about my hair's length. I let my mother fuss over that, tsk tsk tsk over that. I couldn't be bothered. I was just like, my hair is what it is. It doesn't like to be straight, I resolved, so I stopped getting chemical treatments to straighten it one day. Then all of my hair fell out. I didn't especially care.
But then, there was that look, and in one moment I wondered what I would for the next several years...was I pretty enough?
Was I small enough, was I fair enough, my eyes attractive enough, my hair long enough...for him.
For the first time in my life, I avoided the sun during the summer. I used to like my natural summer bronze that came on not from intentionally tanning, but just being out in the summer. For at least three years after that, I hid from the sun. This year has been the first year in a while that I've embraced my darker summer color, really...
Was my hair long enough? To demonstrate that my hair was longer, I started blow drying out my little afro puff. As a result, I lost a lot of hair, had to start over, and it took me a while to be comfortable with my hair in the natural conformation again.
And, like I'm going back to a time when I was 15, I'm all of a sudden worried about my weight again...
That, and from that whole experience, I learned the hard lesson that there are some ethnicities of Muslims who hate black people, though they've had little contact with them, and/or they don't want their children/family members ending up with them.
So that was him. This recent dude who I met two days ago is a brief example. He was Muslim, I was Muslim, he knew I was Muslim, and then he kisses me on the cheek? When is that ever appropriate?
I'm almost wondering if I'll end up with a Muslim man who brings me down a notch. I don't know. I feel like the really religious Muslim men don't want anything to do with me because I'm a little bit at the fringes. I feel like the ones I have more of a chance with have major Muslim character flaws (ex. social drinking) and yet, when it comes to marriage, they're more culturally Muslim than otherwise, and therefore will end up with someone of their own culture, anyway...
...which, invariably, is never my culture.
I don't know. Maybe this theory is unfounded and is the artifact of walking home bitterly with no coat in 50 degree weather. I really, actually had only one bad experience...
But I never, ever want to be near someone who makes me dislike myself that much ever again. Ever.
...in reality, I don't know what to do with my life from this point out. That's the real issue.