Reza and I once had a discussion about my writings. It was partly to do with this blog, but had allot more to do with my activism! He struggled with the fact that I would want to write about issues which are so close to the bone as it were. Abuse, divorce, discrimination, disability, sexuality, gender and so on, are not topics that are openly discussed in most Asian societies. The issue was not just the obvious taboo for him though, he was more concerned about what others may say/think and feel if they came across the blog: family, friends, those who do not know about the ‘other life I have. That is to say, the real life I have, the one that is not about sitting pretty in hijaab with my mouth shut! I struggle allot with this issue: if I thought for a moment this blog was causing conflict, I’d shut it down, end of! Its not important enough to cause friction! But that said, every day I’m shocked by the people who read this, the web statistics and the people who contact me. Every day, I receive Emails, comments via my profile here, people asking for support, and others talking about how liberating they find some of the topics discussed here. Initially, I wanted this blog to be a shia resource, given that there aren’t many shia blogs on the web. I then wanted it to be a vehicle to bring my friends together, and for other wise unrelated strands of society to gain a better understanding of each other through it. And then: …., then I don’t know! I suppose I just let my heart free: and this blog, is the result! And while this remains a sensitive issue, there is a larger part of me that feels this platform is too important to be let go. Perhaps its nature may change, its content, name, position etc may evolve as it has evolved, but in general, I don’t think I’m ready to give up blogging just yet! It is a cathartic process, and even if I stopped updating, I’d want the content that is here, to remain here. This blog is not any thing special of its self, but it remains testament to the fact that there is more to a Muslim woman than cooking, cleaning, babies, and the black cloth she wraps around herself. Moreover, it is the voice of those who’s reality couldn’t be further from the above. That is where the activism comes in, and as for activism, that is something that can’t ever be separated from me. Whether I’m good at it or not, its what I was born to do, what I believe in, the life blood that courses through my veins, and keeps me fighting and surviving even when every thing within is crying out for me only to give up!
Perhaps the poem below describes this tentative balance far better than I could: I wrote this, while in the throws of fretting, ultimately, it really is all about priorities. You don’t necessarily need to give up one for another, but you do need to recognise what is important, what defines you, because when life is gone, when marriage is gone, when love is gone, when you are stripped bare and you stand alone, it is only your legacy, your life’s work, your ideals and your actions that will speak for you! Remember that!
To all my activists, …, this is for you!
My dear one, forgive me, for causing you this hurt,
Though I aim for the stars, its so hard to leave the dirt.
My dear one I’m sorry, for making you shed tears,
But I’ve been crying too now, for weeks, months, and years
My dear one, I’m sorry! I don’t mean to do wrong,
By writing my poems, my blog, my song.
My dear one this expression is what keeps me alive!
Lyrics are my passion, and change is my drive!
You are so beautiful, so pure and so real,
When you’ve lived in sacred innocence, you can’t know what I feel!
It’s the written word through which I expel my pain,
There is only so much that one heart can contain.
When I married you, I ached to let go,
Of the anger, the sorrow and the hidden tale of woe.
But this is my reality, forever more,
Not all of one’s baggage can be left at the door.
You can reinvent your being, and travel so far,
But beneath the plastic exterior you are what you are.
My dear one, I love you, oh keeper of my heart,
But from all of this anguish, I simply can’t part.
One doesn’t suffer trauma, just to hide away and cry,
You need to speak out, tell the truth, don’t be shy!
You want me to forget, and that too with good reason,
But silence and activism, each one has a season.
I’ve hidden too long, now its time to come out,
To overcome my enemies, to bring change, and shout.
I know that you worry, about what others may say,
But my dear one they’ll say it, judging me any way!
I’ve searched through my misery, only to find,
A reason to survive, a clear path defined.
I know you don’t get it, but what can I do?
I’m just trying to be honest, explain it to you.
Survivors are born, they are not made,
And other victims need them, to come to their aid.
Sure I can stay silent, ignore the past,
But fake smiles and pretences rarely do last.
You ask me in anger, what is the use?
Of speaking so bluntly about sexual abuse?
Though you don’t perceive it, life is dirt and grit,
Few smiles and love songs contained within it.
I want to show others, that life can go on,
Not all of the joy, and the hope has gone.
Though I strive for the future, I pay a high price,
Don’t want the same mistake to occur here twice.
Our next generations, they deserve a new start,
But how can that be when its all locked in my heart.
Allow me to speak, to release what’s inside,
By Allah I need you, your love and your pride.
My dearest I’m so sorry, for causing this strife,
But first I’m an activist, and then I’m your wife.