/kaw·reɪdʒ/

Woman off Colour. Person of Culture

I want to claw my way out of myself; I want to crawl back into myself.

What do you do when your body is both your heaven and your hell?

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Light Life, Dark Death

I’m trying to buy foundation online, but I’m being asked whether my skin is medium light or dark or medium dark and I have no idea what any of this means.

What are the tones measured against?

And I can’t stop thinking about light as a metaphor for life, dark as a metaphor for death. I can’t stop thinking about Qur’anic verses that employ the same metaphor.

“A Sinner in Mecca”

I remember feeling out of place when I entered a mosque for the first time in…was it 6 years? I remember feeling markedly different and I remember telling my friend who was with me that I couldn’t help feeling like I was polluting it. I was on the verge of tears.

I understand that mosques are intimate spaces and exclusion from mosques can feel like an expulsion form one’s community.

I understand how queerness can feel like a mark on one’s skin.

Which is why I have no patience for Parvez Sharma’s sensationalist film on performing hajj as a gay man

Black Skin White Foam

When my nephew was barely 5, he called me into the bathroom and screamed gleefully, “Look at me, I’m white!”

He had lathered his entire body with soap: from the top of his head to the tips of his toes.

This was at a time when he was becoming more conscious of constructed racial differences. He had become aware (or rather, was made aware) that his black skin marks him as different. I’d been trying my best to have that dreaded conversation with him on blackness, to explain to him that his skin is not flawed. But everything you know about the history of racial oppression, the construction of the category of the other, the devaluation of black lives flies out the door when you face a child who’s hurting.

I wanted to shelter him from the world.

My heart was breaking, but I smiled back at him. I told him that I love his chocolatey skin – despite my discomfort about metaphors that cast black skin as devourable – and helped him rinse off the soap. I chose a book with a black protagonist for his bedtime story, despite my misgivings about the politics of representation.

That night, I cried myself to sleep.

Querying “queering Islam”

“Queering Islam” was once a thrilling process for me.

I was quick to fall out of interest with writings that sought to theorise on sexualities in Islam. Much of it, I felt, dealt with Islam as a box that one could either be in or out of.; there was little acknowledgement of its malleability and porousness. I cheered on when Massad stated that it is “Islam in sexuality” that must be studied instead.

“Queering Islam”, in contrast, seemed to disrupt the normative approaches towards sexualities.

But what happens when disruption becomes the purpose rather than the method? When the relationship between queerness and Islam is imagined to be a linear one that either converges, diverges or runs parallel with the other? When the script of a transnational, transhistorical queerness is made to clash with the script of a transnational, transhistorical Islam? When we fail to pause and ask just who authored these scripts? When queering carries the weight of the history and context it was born in and therefore leads to the dismissal of actual queer Muslim experiences?

When we are left believing that is a never-ending clash?

 

robbed

my heart breaks for all those robbed of their childhoods. again and again.

robbed by those who murder them in cold blood

robbed by states that use their murder to inflict violence on others

robbed by being turned into numbers.

robbed by those who deem their lives less valuable than others.

robbed by those shocked at the anguish over their loss. “do they love their children as much as we do?”

robbed by the expectation that a long history of violence has made their families immune to grief.

robbed by the desire to consume and reuse the grief caused by their murder

robbed by being placed on display

robbed by the hypocritical outpouring of grief by those whose hands are stained with their blood.

robbed by our forgetfulness. for we are quick to forget

Sickness

It’s a very grating experience when one’s depressive thoughts are countered with cries of rage and anguish that are erupting all over the world.

To question whether it’s a life worth living when thousands are protesting daily that their lives matter.

To feel suffocated by your isolation when many have had their entire family eradicated in a ‘precision strike’.

To consider resuscitation a risk that comes with suicide, when millions lack access to basic healthcare.

To feel invisible, while the stateless and the undocumented struggle daily to assert their existence.

This is not about consoling yourself through reminders that you have it better than others. It’s about acknowledging that the sickness in your is bigger than yourself.