Wednesday, March 7, 2012

[uncensored]: Breaking the Fourth Wall

As salaam alaikum,

So, I started up this blog, and it's predecessor, (the xanga version), with the intention of living Islam in every aspect of my life, including my blog. If I intend to submit my entire self to God, I figured, and if I wanted to be able to do nearly everything in my life in the name of God, then what I blog about should be no exception. I wanted a place where I was comfortable reviewing what I was learning as a Muslimah (the original, xanga version) and just reflecting on my life through my Muslim lens (this blog).

Sometimes, I have these entries called [uncensored]. I never really explained them, but I will now. I usually label entries as [uncensored] when I feel it's important to express myself in a raw way without employing my usual purity, my Muslimah censor. That includes using curse words on occasion if my spirit so moves me. That includes talking about things I wouldn't usually talk about, or revealing details about my life that I usual don't. I hadn't done one in a while because I didn't feel so inclined. I was happy about life and possibilities seemed to abound.

How fickle that feeling is.

So, in this entry, I need to vent. I'm breaking the fourth wall. What does this mean? You can wikipedia it, but I learned about it in the context of television shows. Will Smith on Fresh Prince broke the fourth wall a few times, notably when the actress for Aunt Vivian changed or when baby Nicky grew up form an infant to a preschool age child in one season. Perhaps one of the most famous instances in television history of breaking the fourth wall (and also in the literal sense) was when Bill Cosby and Phylicia Rashad danced off the set of The Cosby Show on the last episode, revealing to the television audience for the first time what the set looked like.

I still get emotional when I see that! That show brought so many happy memories for me, though surprisingly, has little (consciously) to do with me wanting to practice obstetrics.

So that's breaking the fourth wall. So now I'm going to break the fourth wall, if just for one entry. Because there are just some things that happen in my life as a Muslimah that I either censor or omit, and I just have to be real for a little bit.

Before I decided to become a better Muslim, I was known as the sweetheart. The good girl, don't ever change type of deal. I still am, I guess, but it's brought me mostly pain and isolation.

Being a good Muslimah in the way I see most fit has brought me mostly pain and isolation. I pray to God for solace, and maybe it is that I'm getting it, and things would have been much worse if not.


Like my story in the anthology, most of the time, I feel like I'm an unfortunate, hybrid bird doing his mating dance alone in a field, and any mates that would have otherwise been interested are passing me by. The one thing I struggle with in my faith is believing, and actually believing, that someone, one day, will love me for who I am, for all of who I am. I struggle believing that. I so struggle believing that. I always have.

I have faith in God when it comes to my career, residency, all of these things. I have faith in God when it comes to the future of my family, my parents and my brother. My faith is weak when it comes to my future, wanting to have a family of my own, my own children. And it causes me a lot of despair, because I know how much I want it and I feel like God may not want it for me, and I don't understand why, but I feel trapped. I feel like I'm trapped in a world where I may really want something and God, in His infinite wisdom, doesn't want it, and I'll not know why until I return to him.

And it's so painful, and I'm so lonely.

I've hoped and prayed for so many things. I've hoped and prayed for my husband to fall out of the sky. I've searched for my husband in some of the men I've known. I've been rejected in a way that was really painful for me. I've been passed over. I've been ignored. All the while I've been lonely, hoping for the companion that I could share my Islam with, hoping for a companion that I could share my life with.

And I guess I'm only 27. This is a wait that really has no bounds. This is a wait that has no limit. And that's maddening to me. Absolutely maddening. It's one of those things I wonder why and I despair because the only answer I have is that God "knows what [I] know not."

I have to repeat to myself, over and over, "Consider the bright morning hours, and the night as it grows still and dark. Thy Sustainer has not foresaken thee, nor does he scorn thee. For, indeed, the life to comee will be better for thee than this earlier part [of thy life]! And, indeed, in time will thy Susatainer grant thee [what thy heart desires], and thou shalt bee well-pleased." (93:1-5)

The truth is, I'm despairing because I finally just cut B out of my life. I just had an elaborate dream about all of the possible women his new girlfriend could be. The reality is, I was talking to a Muslim man, Y, who I thought was interested in getting to know me for possible marriage. He called me last night, and I didn't pick up, because he informed me that he's talking to another woman and his ex is back and wants to learn about Islam. I talked to his ex about Islam. What else is there for us to say to each other?

The truth is, I struggle in a world where Muslim men will perhaps disapprove of me for the way that I practice, the way I comfortably do not don the hijab and would not do so for a future husband, the way that I do not really believe in the obligatory-recommended-discouraged-forbidden scheme of things when it comes to my religion and depend on saying salat "because I want to because God knows what's best for me." I struggle in a world where my pool is small. I struggle in a world where I am open to non-Muslim men, but where they are basically looking for free sex and are disappointed when they find they won't find it in me.

There's no place that I can look to find a future husband. I'm afraid that no one will accept me as I am. I am a 27-year-old Muslimah. I've never had sex but, God have mercy, I have known some intimacy with men. I was in a short relationship with a non-Muslim man who randomly was no longer attracted to me, and I suffered from that rejection. My Islam is simple and organic, more spirituality than law. I don't like living strictly by dos and don'ts and I live in a way that makes sense for my well-being, with the spiritual wisdom of revelation. I have no doubt that people who don't call themselves Muslim who believe in God and are good people and do good deeds overall will have a place with my Sustainer in the Hereafter along with me, insha'Allah, so that one says it's obligatory for me to do X, Y and Z as a Muslimah doesn't make sense to me if I know believers of other faiths who do not do this will also have their place with my Sustainer. It is obligatory, or what? It is a sin if I don't do it? Obligatory or hellfire? Is it that they don't know better, but I do? It could be. But the God I grew up with, the God that my mother taught me about...isn't like that.

Allahu a'alam.

We all try to do our best, anyway. I've tried to do my best as I've come into Islam and formed my own opinions of things. I've tried to do my best to understand why God wants me to be single right now and why I stumbled in a past relationship instead of finding a man who fit in my life. I don't understand. I struggle to understand. I struggle.

It was something I needed to live, that relationship. Something I needed to get out of my system. I had a pent up notion of sexuality and a pent up sexuality that I thought I needed to validate that I needed to get out of my system before I could begin healthy abstinence, meaningful abstinence and a healthy relationship with someone else.

I know that.

I wondered why, when I looked at him, I had this feeling, "You're going to end up with him." I was surprised, because he wasn't my type, and distressed, because I didn't get a sense of timeline. I just knew we were going to be in a relationship, but I didn't know how long it would last. I just heard it like a voice, like I've heard other things that will perhaps materialize, surprisingly, in my life. You're going to end up with him, the voice said, and I recorded it in my old journal back in April 2010, and I tried to ignore it, deny it.

And there it was. It happened. Now what?

So I'm breaking the fourth wall. I struggle with my beliefs. I'm an invisible Muslimah because I don't wear the scarf and there's not a lot of other ways that you could recognize that I'm Muslim, besides the times I may disappear for salat, but I usually pray when no one is around. Besides the content of my character and the goodness of my heart, masha'Allah. Besides my sense of justice and charity. But you can't see those things on the outside. So maybe I'm still invisible.

I struggle with trying to find what I feel is the purest sense of my religion and the purest way for me to live in this society. I believe in ways people will disagree with because of my trepidation with the law. I struggle to believe that God wants for me what I want, even though it's half of my religion, simply because it's not come yet and I have no signs of it. And I've touched men before.

This is me, breaking my fourth wall. This is me, no longer just reflecting on the more halal parts of my life. This is me being rough around the edges as I always was, and always will be. This is me taking a break to be human.

This is me imploring God for guidance, as always, and hoping that, every day a little bit, and cumulatively to the end of my life, that He is pleased with me.

This is me.


  1. You know, we all struggle with those same issues, albeit to varying degrees, you're just bold enough to say it plainly.

    funnily enough I was having a conversation with someone about something tangentially related to your post, about how different religious/sects view masturbation, and how people whose religion/sects forbids it still engage in it.... how some rationalize it as a lesser sin than that of premarital/extra-marital sex... I guess it's one of several different kinds of internal struggles that people maybe going through I suppose.

    Human beings are complicated, That's all there is to it. God help us all.

  2. hmmm I was going to add that the thing is, we all have different weaknesses... and I think that people who don't struggle with the same things have a hard time relating to people who do...

    1. Ah, the masturbation issue...this may be a case of "evil becoming fair-seeming," but I never understood the big deal with it. Is it considered zina? Textual evidence?

      ...I would search it, but alas, Big Google is watching me...

      But yeah, I realize that a lot of us struggle to find our religious happy medium...I think we are so afraid of airing our sins we don't engage in health discourse to discuss how to help each other, or give ourselves a feeling of normalcy or brother/sisterhood. I keep things appropriate here most of the time, but so many times, underneath, there's some other thing I'm dealing with that doesn't have a clean-cut halal representation. It's nice to not censor sometimes.