Saturday, April 9, 2011

Woman Scream!

As salaam alaikum,

The most pleasant thing that happened to me today was that I got raspberried on the cheek.

That's right, raspberried on my right cheek. It's a long story, but I was at an after party for this cultural show that my public health school puts on, and at the time I had isolated myself into a corner of the venue, sitting with my coat in my lap, trying to wipe away tears. The only one who cared is a man who I've decried for months now. He's a friend of my roommate's. They were close friends in undergrad. I know of his various sexual escapades and his disregard for women in general. My roommate thinks this is all the reaction of a woman who did him wrong, but I heard he had a poor opinion of black women, too. So I was like, whatever on him.

And then he raspberried me on the cheek, and it wasn't all better, but it was okay.

Can I tell you about my life? Can I tell you about my life? Well, here it goes.

My parents didn't raise me for this world. They raised me very spiritually, to be in tune with God, to pray, to be conscious of God every day...they taught me a strong moral base, including the no-sex-until-marriage-dance, of all of the other standards, and yet they didn't teach me religion. I get out into the real world to discover, well oh crap, non-religious people like me aren't generally so spiritual...and the spiritual among us are usually more religious, and I'm neither.

Or so I thought this was all how it went.

So I went to college and got more religious. But I found that going religious is an endless path for some, some making it such that I could never be good enough, no matter how much I tried.

So I vacillated before I decided to return to the way I was, prior to being "religious" while still taking everything I learned from that time period and continuing to strive in the way of Allah (swt). That's what I aimed to do, anyway.

And while all of this is happening, I am a woman!

Can I tell you about my womanhood? Why is so much of who I am defined by men? Like, if I took away the concept of man in my life, what I think man to mean for a woman, what of woman would be left? Wo? Woe? I don't think so.

I'm angry at my ex. I'm angry because when he left he took with him a chunk that I had cleared space for, dedicated to him, and replaced it with emptiness. I was full before I met him, and he just unceremoniously dis-occupied the space I'd reserved for him. I'm angry!

I'm angry because I was out with my public health school friends tonight, watching one of my friends and her new "friend" making eyes at each other, eventually ducking out before anyone else notices that they're gone. That had been me just a little while ago. That had been me.

And dude has no idea how much I sacrificed and changed and modified and adapted to be with him. And then he's going to say some crap like, oh, well, I only expected you to be mad for a little bit, then you'd go back to being happy. Like he had no idea what he meant to me. And he doesn't deserve to know it...

He doesn't deserve to know that he was the answer to a prayer, a dream come true, what I always wanted but never thought I could have, even though it was all temporary. It was all temporary, and yet men have no inkling about these things. All so many of them want is sex, I feel like it. They'll do anything and say anything to get there, I feel like it. And I feel like they don't give two craps about how the woman they've tricked feels about it all.

I would be angry at myself for letting such an A-hole into my life, but at the same time, I'm not really angry. I'm just confused. I'm trying to figure out how to be as a woman, as a Muslimah. The middle path is a hard one to find. Maybe I shouldn't have given up on finding a solid community of Muslims to hang out with. Maybe my hanging out with all of these non-Muslims has corrupted me. I don't know. It just seems as if I was made to love, to nurture, to support my future partner, and I don't know how best to be to achieve that.

I sat there in the corner and I cried but I felt like screaming because there were no answers. I've gone between two poles, a more conservative pole and a more liberal pole. I wanted to scream because I realize that for so long I haven't been doing this for myself. I've been doing so many things, from the way I dress to the way I talk, for men, and invisible man, if you will, that may not even exist, and yes, it's enough to make one scream.

And here I was, sitting on a couch while everyone else is enjoying the party, crying because seeing my friend and her new friend reminded me of how my ex and I used to be, and thinking about my ex made me think about how, in order for him to break up with me over my weight, he must have never really cared about me and just told me lies when he said that he was thinking about marriage, that he would follow me for residency...lies and foolery. He never cared for me and he wasted my time. He wasted my emotional energy and of others. And now his memory was wasting my time.

I wanted to scream, why is this part so hard? What is the way that I'm supposed to be, as a woman, as creation of God. What role am I supposed to serve, because no matter how liberal this society says we are, I still feel an air of subservience.

I mean, look at me, I'm a grown woman with a lot of stuff to do on my own, and I'm letting the memory of my ex run my evening...

Because he led me on, he let me get comfortable with him, let me get used to the idea of naming my children Igbo names and then he got out, and is probably somewhere coding, tolerating mood swings, and acting like this never happened.

I just wanted to scream because I would love to, day after day, wake and not lament the fact that I'm still single. I want to be completely satisfied without having that special someone to love and nurture. I would love to be completely self-sufficient, but the deal is, I'm not. I want that love, tonight talking to my roommate and a friend I feel like I need that love.

But this after party was not the place to get it.

My roommate's friend saw that I was crying and sat with me and talked to me a little bit. He put his arm around me and nestled into me. Usually, I would shy away from such advances, but I know he is full of crap, so whatever. He asked me what was wrong, that he was wondering what happened, that there were so few black women there, we couldn't self-destruct. Something like that.

I smiled, told him I'd be okay. He didn't believe me. I told him it was because of my ex. He told me not to go down that road, and then he took his phone out and he had me play a game of Angry Birds. He asked if I wanted to keep the phone, and I told him, haha, no.

He was on his way out, so he hugged me goodbye. Then he grabbed me by the waste, pulled me closer and gave me a big raspberry (a kiss with a farting sound) on my cheek. I laughed and thanked him for cheering me up. He said he didn't cheer me up. I then thanked him for being concerned.

And I got up and rejoined my friends. I didn't want to scream anymore.

In spite of the fact that I'm still struggling to figure out how I want to be a woman in this more screaming for me.


  1. Hi Chinyere, Assalamaualaikum to you....I was exactly like you before I reverted Alhamdulillah...I must say that the kind of people you mix with actually plays a very important role in determining which way to follow...I had both type of friends and Alhamdulillah I followed the right one....

  2. Oh to be single in Boston/Cambridge...

    I hope you feel better. Hang in there for this too shall pass. Sunny California may just be what you need :-).

  3. @Jubah: Walaikum as salaam! I agree with is your group of friends. I just was never able to fit in with Muslim sisters around me. I don't fit in well with the non-Muslims, either, and in medical school I find myself going between both communities, which I think is making me a little dissociative. It's community specific, I know, but when I was first becoming more practicing, I was so socially isolated and lonely. And unlike those of you who are strong and are able to find your communities, I was weak...

    @gazelle: I feel okay. I'm more distraught of having positioned myself so awkwardly between two worlds... I need to find a new way to exist.