Messed Up Standards & Mixed Emotions

I’ve begun to notice a trend among guys although it’s been happening all along, to countless other women. I’ll be having a decent conversation and then it’ll be turned into something more flirtatious. Now, don’t get me wrong: I don’t mind that, but there are boundaries and the minute I start to “back away”, it becomes an issue.

I find I have to remind these boys that they, too, have sisters or female cousins; that they, too, might one day have daughters and I ask, “Is this how you would want a guy to treat your sister, cousin or daughter?”

I got various responses, ranging from how he can’t imagine having a sister – I told the one boy to imagine it – and how he’d never have daughters; to another boy telling me that his cousin wouldn’t be a smart-ass like me. What does that mean? How am I a smart-ass for making a valid point?

Why are the standards so skewed that if we dress or act a certain way, it automatically gives boys “rights” over how they can or cannot talk with us? Do we not deserve even a moderate amount of respect? Do some boys think that we have no dignity? They definitely try to make us feel that way, as though we are nothing… especially if we’re not putting out.

Even with the act of sex itself, it’s very hush-hush and taboo to speak about it, but it’s everywhere. My parents never gave me the birds and the bees talk; I learnt about it in school, I heard about it from friends, I saw it alluded to all over my TV or in films and books but none of those things really teach you how messed up the standards are. You’re abnormal if you don’t like it and easy if you talk about how much you like it so it’s taboo to talk about it, but you should do it with at least one person or else you’re a prude.

If you’re a guy you can talk about it and get hi-fives and congratulatory pats on the back but if you’re a girl you can’t be casual about it, you can’t actively enjoy it or even embrace your sexuality with anything over the level of enthusiasm deemed “appropriate” by the unwritten rules of society without being labelled as easy.

I found myself struggling to come to terms with my own sensuality. In a battle of needs and desire vs. respectability and responsibility, I found myself torn between two halves of my own being, saint and sinner, and it’s something we all have, to varying degrees within ourselves.

We should realize that no one else matters but ourselves, so letting someone else’s opinion demean or demoralize you is a waste of your emotions and time. There’s nothing more important, than being proud of who YOU are. If you like it, do it. If you don’t, then don’t. Don’t let yourself be pressured into something just because you’re trying to fit in, rather stand out and be proud of that than be ashamed of something you can’t undo.

Enough

Sometimes I feel like everyone, male or female goes through these stages in life where they feel like they aren’t enough. Heck, I’m there right now. The media at large doesn’t exactly help, especially when it comes to self image.

We see all these picture perfect women; absolutely gorgeous, “flawless” skin, the “right” size, the “right” look and in the meantime.. The majority of that image is photo-shopped to look perfect.

We see all these drop dead gorgeous men, built like Adonis; that supposedly are every girls dream man and to an extent it’s true.
We get force fed a public image that we then want; just so that once we get it, we can project it to the world. Like a “HEY LOOK AT ME, I MADE IT” kind of thing

I can’t date/befriend him because he’s not built enough, he’s not tall enough, he’s not smart enough, he’s not rich enough…
I can’t date/befriend her because she’s not thin enough, she’s not pretty enough, she’s not smart enough , she’s not rich enough…

Your friends and family will sometimes judge your choices like it’s going to be the death of you and yet they have no right to judge.*
Personally? I often feel like I’m not pretty enough, like I’m not smart enough, like I’m not skinny or athletic or whatever enough. I feel like less of a woman. Less of a person because of it, and I know I’m not the only one who feels like this.
Rationally I know, rationally we all know, that we are enough, we’re smart enough, witty, talented, pretty and whatever else enough.

However, these feelings of inadequacy that you deal with on a daily bases, they tend to tear you apart inside; making you doubt yourself and sometimes you literally just need to, as harsh as it may sound, step away from the self pity. You need to realize that to someone out there, you are enough. Heck you’re more than enough, you’re absolutely perfect.

The majority of the world will always find imperfections within others and acknowledge only what is wrong with you but the minority in your world will see those imperfections as part of you and focus instead on the perfection that is you, even though you are flawed.

I believe that the most beautiful things in this world, are all slightly flawed in some way or another, and that makes them absolutely perfect.

* I’m not condoning substance abuse of any sort – this strictly refers to dating or being friends with someone considered “not enough”

Jack

Is there a point, where the pain becomes too much?

Is this when you reach for that first bottle of jack hoping he’ll be a good friend and you won’t remember anything.
Hoping he’ll numb you to the sensation of having your soul stripped off, lash by lash by each emotional whipping you receive.

Is this the point where you stop taking it like a cowering dog and do your own thing, numbing yourself inside and out to avoid the bitter disappointment, all with the help of good ol’Jack?

Does Jack help you forget the first time you kissed? The 14th of January

Does Jack help you forget the intensity that flared between you? The 3rd of March

Does Jack remind you of all the good times, the laughs, the stolen kisses on starry nights or does Jack bring back memories of being taken for granted and all the tears, sleepless nights and feelings of inadequacy.

Does Jack remind you that you’re not enough?

You’re not skinny enough

You’re not pretty enough

You’re not religious enough

You’re too loud and abrasive

You’re too friendly with guys

You don’t deserve it

You never did

All you deserved was the torment you received when you were younger, a continuous cycle of hell.

You deserved it then.

You asked for it then.

You deserve this now too

Does Jack finally, slowly, take everything away, until all you see is darkness or does jack slowly numb your senses to the point where you only come awake upon impact? Perhaps not even then, because perhaps Jack did his job right this time and you’ve gotten your wish.

Your life and others destroyed, because you had to numb yourself from the constant screams of agony at each lashing.

How do you save yourself from drowning in a bottle? Even though you know the answer won’t be there, do you still try to find it there?

How do you numb yourself?

How do you find yourself again?

How do you live a lie again?

Lost

Thunderous echos within
Fading; A staccato rhythm to it’s beat.

A little girl; lost within the ashen chambers,
of a palace once rose red and filled with hope.

Lost

Forgiven but never forgotten,
her past transgressions torment her

Lost within the woman she is yet to become,
she curls up in a corner;
clutching a ratty blanket of memories to her form.

A mediocre form of protection.

Anything to keep warm,
Anything to keep safe,
from the bitter coldness that now torments her every waking moment,
from the demons that now plague her soul.

The bitter coldness, that causes the adolescent that she is still is;
to teeter..
on the edge of madness,
to spread her arms open in jubilation..
to welcome the darkness within

So cold.
So very cold.

Lost within the child she has now become,
the woman clings to her sanity
and her childlike innocence..

Her belief in the promise of tomorrow;
A beacon that lights her way, pulling her away from the edge.

Still,
She stumbles and falls; succumbing to the little broken girl inside of her.
Tears falling; bright red against the stark whiteness of her surroundings.

A rose red; the same colour that her now ashen palace of dreams, once was.

Hope

Okay so it’s been awhile and Merry Christmas for yesterday, I hope you had a fabulous one :)
Amidst all the presents and pigging out on food,
My main thought was that I was unknowingly given a gift more precious than almost anything else by a group of high school students –
On the other side of the world.

I don’t know them, and they don’t know me and well I teared up a little but shit like this gives me hope that one day everyone will be accepted, regardless of race, religion or sexual preference

These High school kids acted with more maturity than many university students I’ve met over the past two years.

I don’t care if you love another man or another woman, that’s your business. I don’t care what colour you are, your heart beats just as mine does.
I don’t care who you worship, your relationship with your god is no concern of mine.

Nobody lives forever, why live to try and make someone else miserable because of their race, religion or sexual preference.

Please give the article a read here

Seasonal Greetings All :)

Islam Awareness Week 2013

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Last week week, the 30th September – 4th October, was Islam awareness week on campus whereby students not of the Islamic faith could learn more about the Islamic faith from Muslim students on campus and various speakers throughout the week. Allowing students to experience various facets of the islamic faith including listening to passages of the Qur’an (The holy book), letting students write on a board their perceptions of Islam, answering other students questions with regards to faith , experiencing islamic art and cultural aspects such as a mass prayer which was open to anyone and using mehndi (henna) as a artistic reference to the artistic side of the religion.

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It was a wonderful idea by the MSA (Muslim students association) of UCT and being a little more than conflicted I wasn’t particularly certain of my own feelings towards the event.

I admit, i was highly skeptical and somewhat wary of the entire event at first. Similar to the reaction of a wild animal experiencing kindness for the first time. I didn’t trust it, I didn’t want to learn more but i found myself drawn to a topic which seemed strange and somewhat elusive to me. It fascinated me, this topic which was integral to my fathers life, taboo to my mothers and mocked and defamed by many media outlets because of preconceived ideals and common misconceptions fed to the masses by media and reporters who spend their lives rushing to meet deadlines with what is often considered to be sensationalistic hard hitting news. So instead of taking the time to do a little proper research and present the public with facts. The public is fed bite sized portions of propaganda which makes that pill much easier to swallow and believe.

I decided to take a step back from my preconceived ideals with regards to the religion to try and understand it from the viewpoint of a non-believer attempting to understand it ; without letting any of my own history and current interaction taint my perception.

Certain aspects of this awareness week I liked:
– The clothing collection for the underprivileged.
– The talks by various outsiders on the five pillars of Islam, the role of women in islam and the misconceptions of islam.
– The tours of the prayer room and the Jumu’ah prayer which was open to everyone.

Unfortunately, I was only able to attend the talk on the misconceptions of Islam and the Jumu’ah prayer but I believe that it was set out wonderfully allowing people of other customs and religions to experience facets of Islam in ways that show what the religion is truly about. I recall the man who had given us the talk with regards to the misconceptions of Islam telling us that the Arabic root of the word Islam is derived from “slm” which encompasses not only humility and unity but peace as well. Others may not agree with me but I find that, that is my interpretation and I find that it does indeed seem that way. The speaker also mentioned the difference between religious and cultural beliefs, regardless of what people believe the two are not always interlinked therefore the cultural customs practiced in Saudi are not practiced in Somalia for example, even though people of both countries practice the Islamic faith. The cultural belief is different. The Jumu’ah prayer was enlightening as well, speaking about the duties of the child to his or her parents.

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The main aspect I disliked about the event are the signs that some of the Muslim students held signs saying “Meet a Muslim” Or “meet another muslim” To me it seemed offensive and belittling to the believers, as if they were a strange anomaly with whom the rest of society is finally coming into contact with.

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The other was somewhat funnier .. But only somewhat

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However I believe that overall Islamic awareness week has actually created an awareness not only about the religion and the various misconceptions which surround it but about the people who practice it and the manner in which they came together to make this event a success. There were no pushy “you must convert” types it was just a beautiful experience.I found myself blessed with a desire to learn more, not because i am meant to (due to my fathers religious beliefs ) but because *I* wanted to. It had nothing to do with either of my parents but rather about what I wanted to learn.

One person remarked that my soul is searching for something more; an inner calm and peace which it has not yet found and I replied that I agreed but my soul strives to learn and I see nothing wrong with learning until I settle and discover what I truly want from life.

Ignorance is bliss is how the saying goes but I believe that to go through life ignorant, is similar to going through life blind and unprepared for the many facets of life that fate may toss my way. Doing that is a sure way to live my life unfulfilled.

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My life, my religious choices.

For some reason people place so much faith in their .. well respective faiths.
I don’t have an issue with this, I think it’s perfectly acceptable. I find it to be a “cool bro, you do you” kind of thing yet the only thing that seriously gets to me is during religious occasions (Christmas) or customs that are observed (Ramadan) and it seems like people suddenly find religion all of a sudden and that gives them the right to preach about your supposed misdeeds regardless of the fact just last month that specific judging asshole was drinking himself into oblivion.

Hypocritical much?

I’ve mentioned it before and it seems like I’ll need to mention it again..

I am .. To put it mildly

Religiously screwed.

I have an overprotective muslim indian father who only wants me to date a muslim/indian boy and a coloured mother ( German /Filipino mix) who prefers white/christian males.

And honestly? I think I’m okay with being “religiously screwed” for now. I’m learning more about myself in the process and the respective religions.

However I loathe that when it comes to religious occasions (Christmas) or customs that are meant to be observed (Ramadan) the biggest sinners become the ones who decide you MUST follow tradition.

I mean I go to church sometimes and it isn’t always full … Until Christmas Day when people decide they need to get their “blessings” and decide to turn it into a fashion show in the process.

Uhm.. No the good Lord does not care that you’re wearing the the latest fashion, cover your ass up you’re in church. Also? Do you REALLY believe despite all your previous transgressions that Jesus wants you to like and share a status/photo about him … Or “you will go to hell”.

And then I saw, what could only be described as the epitome of human stupidity (with reference to religious context).
Regardless of the religious clashes between the two groups ( and let’s be honest, there are plenty of clashes between Christians and Muslims) .. There was a Facebook photo up with the caption “Like if you believe in Jesus or Comment if you believe in Islam” .. And no my dears, that’s not the worst.. The rest of the caption went as follows “Let’s see who gets the most likes/comments”

How stupid can you be to decide to which one is better based on comments or likes, and people had actually liked an commented, when chances are you barely know anything but the basics of the opposite religion. I mean people dedicate their ENTIRE LIVES to researching their own religion how do you suppose you of all your what? 21 years? Know enough about BOTH religions to adequately judge or make commentary.

So to end that social media tangent I felt the need to vent…
Keep your religion away from social media. No one but you cares or join a like minded group but don’t tell others they will go to hell for not believing, don’t say one religion is better than the other when you barely understand your own religion well enough.

Back to the hypocrites ..

Currently it is the month of Ramadan and since my name is Arabic sounding enough and I apparently look the part, I’m often asked if I fast.
Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. Granted I’ve made more effort this year than in any other (but that’s for altruistic reasons if I must be honest – I’ve decided that since my father makes an effort with regards to my mothers religions beliefs/celebrations, I should make more effort for his)

What gets to me is the judgement I see in some people’s eyes if I or others don’t fast yet these same people (who are judging myself and others) are usually to be found drinking in town or Claremont on Thursday nights etc.

Personally, if I’m NOT going to be remotely religious EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR. Why on earth should I do it for just one month , just to make myself feel better for MY transgressions (of my own making) so I may place myself on my pretty little religiously moral pedestal and judge those who do not conform or observe the religious customs during this holy month.

My understanding of the Islamic culture is limited, and I won’t deny it, but surely I’m not incorrect to say that technically Muslims are not allowed to consume alcohol?
So I don’t see why someone who usually consumes vast amounts of alcohol deems fit to call me out on whether or not I fast and if not, when will I begin to do so.

Point In case:

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Whether I fast or not, it has absolutely nothing to do with anyone but me and well in this case, Allah. When I die none of you will be up there with me. I will probably die alone and I’ll meet my maker (whomever he/she may be) ALONE. The fact that you seem to have this misguided subconscious belief that when you kick the bucket you’ll at least be able to say “Well .. I told Mish she must fast and so-and-so that his behaviour is wrong etc”. It honestly wont stop your god from judging YOU. Since your god is the only one who should be passing judgement**. Mankind has somehow given themselves a god complex, and in doing so man believes that he/she has the right to judge others regardless of his/her own less than exemplar behaviour.

I’m happy that you have a religion and you’re welcome to share it with me as I’m not opposed to leaning more, but don’t try and judge me because I don’t comply with your standards because chances are mine are still much higher.

To each his own and the like but when you meet your maker, Kudos to you for the GOOD DEEDS you have done for others NOT the judgements you have passed on others.

Live and let live should be a simple concept but most don’t understand it, I try and avoid religious debates/conversations/arguments etc because I’m living with a duality that isn’t the easiest thing to manage based on the preconceived notions others have of me that is solely due to my appearance and how I dress.

I AM ME AND YOU ARE YOU and I’m happy for both of us.
You’re not an indecent person and neither am I but if I decide to observe religious occasions or customs it is a personal thing between me and my god and should have nothing to do with anybody else. To reiterate that point ME AND MY GOD; not you,me and god. It’s a one on one thing between the two of us; not you me, him and the rest of the world. The fact that I’ve tried or am trying should be enough to appease and satisfy him, It has no impact on your life, so try and keep it that way.

**Yes the irony of this post and that statement does not escape my notice but the truth must out and I must vent before I end up strangling someone