A few thoughts on community


I’m often humbled by God bringing people into my life who truly care when I least expect it.

Just this morning, when I logged onto Facebook (I’m just as surprised as you all are – sometimes Facebook does accomplish that whole “bringing people together” mantra), I was humbled by the extent of this care and concern.

I suppose it’s no surprise that the place I’ve most often felt a sense of community has been online… or with people I have only known for a short while, relatively speaking.

I suppose it’s the chance to present who I am today and be shed of the past that has been ascribed to me, whether justified or not.

That’s not to say that I don’t feel a sense of community from people I’ve known my entire life. I’m blessed to have these individuals, truly.

But I grew up thinking “family” was all that I ever needed.

Recently, I’ve realized that having known someone your entire life doesn’t necessarily mean that they really understand what you’re going through right now. And that’s okay. I think I’m finally learning to accept this.

But being able to connect in some ways with people that I’ve never met or have only known for a short while makes me feel a) that there’s nothing wrong with me per se and b) the vastness of God’s creation, in this case, human creation.

Breaking out of my bubble has been the most beautiful thing in my life. It’s not been easy, but the people I’ve met have given me a sense of hope and reinforced my commitment to the following Qur’anic verse:

O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise (each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things). (49:13)

A great way to start my Friday! :)

Solving a decades-old identity crisis

First of all, I want to thank all my lovely readers who left such encouraging comments on my last post. You don’t realize how much it meant (and means!) to me to read your comments. It was just the soothing balm I needed.

Alas, I got my (second) answer yesterday. Another No. So for the time being, I find myself looking forward to a blank weekday.

Perhaps not for long though. Along with this ‘no’ came another potential opportunity. One that might be better for me, but not in the comfortable and assuring way that the fearful little girl in me would prefer.

One thing I’ve gained from these rejections is an experiential knowledge of how things in the world work. I really have been Bubble Girl for most of my life. I’m getting better at verbal communication, my writing has no doubt improved, and I’m even starting to believe in my own self-worth again.

This opportunity would not be a cushy one. If I do get it, I would be forced to confront one of my greatest fears: public speaking.

But for the first time in my life, I actually want to overcome this fear. I’ve lived so much of my life not believing in myself because… I’m not a natural orator (Obama, I am indeed not – not even close). I limited what I can and cannot do simply because of this fact. I built my entire identity on this premise.

More than anything, what this opportunity would do would be to deconstruct this identity I’ve created for myself.

And how wrong I have been in the past!

When I was younger I had accepted that I would always be the Fat Girl – and that’s partly why I have trouble seeing that I haven’t been her for over 7 years.

I had thought that I would never go to my dream school – but then about a decade after that first college campus visit, I graduated from that dream school with a Master’s Degree.

And if I did manage to ever get married, it would be to a recently-arrived immigrant from Hyderabad that my parents arranged – but instead I married a man I found on the internet!

What I’m trying to say is up until now, I’ve decided who I am, who I am going to be and who I must be because of this.

But identities and even goals in life are fluid, which I never allowed myself to embrace until now.

Maybe it’s hubris that’s kept me this way. But I’m starting to find joy in being so wrong about everything. Even when God kept me waiting, when He did finally deliver, He delivered beyond my wildest imagination.

And so maybe if I hope and pray for the best – the unfathomable – I might find myself enjoying the journey of discovering I don’t know who the heck this Rafia is.