I like using the word self in the third person in reference to myself because I like to think what I write has some sort of universal appeal. I could be wrong.
Or simply pretentious.
Regardless, I often find myself in head spaces where I feel as if I have to decide if I stay true to who I am rather than trying to be someone whom “the world” (and by “the world” I actually mean my ego — the world really doesn’t care all that much about me) thinks I should be.
It comes out in discussions over hijab.
It comes out in interfaith settings.
But my motivations for doing the above-mentioned things, and others unnamed, are not for reasons typically cited. At least, that’s what I tell myself. We are all special and unique snowflakes, but I’m the UNIQUA of snowflakes, okay? (BTW, I did not make up that word – she’s a character from a show my baby nephew used to watch when he was actually a baby).
It’s difficult being a Muslim in the 21st century. Living in America in a post-9/11 era comes with its own particularities. I sometimes feel that we are drawn into conversations and gatherings out of pure tokenism. Hey, we have a Muslim represented, we’re cool! I have been a beneficiary of this at times, I won’t lie. But only when the people really care about my faith commitments and are willing to accept respectful dissent. If I’m just another nameless, voiceless brown photo-op to you, then count me out… because I literally don’t use social media anymore, so I ain’t getting anything out of it either.
Sometimes I feel guilty for having the interests that I do and not the ones that I think I “should” have. Like yeah, I’d much rather attend a “boring, stuffy” lecture about 19th/20th century colonialism than attend a protest surrounding the news du jour. I feel like I have to make up some excuse, when in reality, I’d much rather go for a run or read my book.
But at the end of the day, if you’re living for others, you’re not going to be the best version of yourself. We need the diversity, yes. But diversity comes with challenges, because it’s a double-edged sword. It’s not always going to be the diversity you want. That’s something a lot of people I think don’t realize. The word diverse means something different to everyone. So when you say you’re about the ever elusive diversity, you have to be willing to back it up.
Oh, BTW, I had a sudden burst of inspiration the other day. I now have a section called “Moo-sings of the Moo-ment.” It’s my cheesy way of turning social media on its head. I realized that even though I criticize social media, it’s certainly affected the way I communicate. Sometimes you just “need” to burst random, self-aggrandizing, and irrelevant thoughts out into the ether, ya know? Might as well utilize this blog for something, right?
Let’s see how long it lasts.
P.S. I wrote this post earlier this week. Normally I discard drafts I don’t publish immediately, being a real time blogger and all, but I have these thoughts frequently enough that I figured, “What the hay?”
I am ready for this weekend.