So, now what?

Ramadan is mostly known in the West for being the month when Muslims are expected to fast. Of course, it’s also more than that as those of us who practice it know. It’s a time for charity, forgiveness and reflection. To understand suffering and to emerge as a better person because of it. I’ve had more time for reflection than in other years and more reason to do so. Anushka went back to Jeddah as soon as her last exam was done, which is understandable considering the fast there was only 15 hours (4am-7pm) rather than 19.5 hours (2:30am-10pm). To say fasting in Scotland is a challenge would be an understatement. To anyone else living up in the North and was fasting, I feel for you!

As for myself, I went from lectures, assignments and last minute cramming on top of working nights until 3am for the first half of the year, to having nothing on my plate (literally and figuratively) as soon as exams finished. With no immediate need to go places and without much energy to do so anyway, I spent a lot of Ramadan dozing around my flat, reflecting over the past year.

Why did I feel the need to dress so modestly for everyday life, yet take on an alter ego to do the exact opposite in the night? Why couldn’t I just feel content being one of these two people full time? In short, I suppose the answer is because I’m not really either and yet both. They are two extremes of the same person and I am somewhere in the middle. Perhaps then, it is time to take a step back from both of these personas until I know where I am most comfortable being.

The truth is I feel powerful as a hijabi and as a stripper, but in rather different ways. Being able to switch between these two makes me feel in full control. Perhaps it’s better to find a new way to feel in control without either of them. I can’t be an exotic dancer for the rest of my life. In fact, it was only meant to last a short while.

 

How funny it is that I started this blog as both a hijabi and a stripper and now it may be that I become neither. In the meantime, I suppose I will go back to doing pole fitness classes more regularly. After all, it’s an innocent pastime that builds strength, skill and flexibility. Plus makes full use of my addiction to Pleaser shoes. It’ll make a difference to be paying to pole dance instead of being paid to do so!

 

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2 responses to “So, now what?

  1. ((Ok, so this post got sent to me as a new post and I didn’t check the date before writing this comment. So I’m leaving it here. I hope you’re well! What are you doing these days?))

    When I lived in Japan, I discovered something which made me feel a lot more comfortable in my own body. While in America my friends, family, and coworkers all expected me to have the same face all the time–same personality, reactions, opinions, ways of dealing with people–Japan expected the opposite. As in, the face I showed at work was my “work face” and people would be surprised if it was the same one I showed at home.

    It’s such a small thing and a strange one, but it made me feel a lot better able to handle things like stress. I could be the person who smiled through crap at work because people understood that when I went home I’d complain about it. They knew it, I knew it, and so my smiling through it wasn’t me looking like a fool, it was me being polite and having a strong sense of self-restraint.

    So to me, being an exotic dancer at your job and a modest hijabi with your family isn’t so much a contradiction as a perfectly good way of expressing yourself. Of course they’re both you! You’re the one doing both. But neither are a contradiction; rather, working at a club is a good way to let out the feelings you might not be able to express around your family and vice versa.

    But yeah, it can leave you wondering who your true self is. Both? Neither? Something in-between? Something else entirely?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I didn’t know you used to live in Japan. How interesting! What you say all makes perfect sense too. In my case I suppose my “work” face and “home” face were the opposite to yours. I could pretty much say and do as I pleased at the club while playing the well-behaved Muslim girl at home and at uni. I just hate that it makes me feel like such a hypocrite! In some ways it feels like I just can’t win. Your comment is very reassuring, thank you. Apologies for not giving you a proper reply much sooner. Perhaps I should start dancing again so that I have more material to write with. I hope all is good with you!

      Like

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