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!
I realise that what John Oliver says in this 14 minute clip is entirely U.S. based, but it is bloody hilarious and all so true. The man could easily make a career in comedy.
It really is impressive how much progress the USA has made in the last few years. Only back in 2013 there was no legal way to bring in your same sex spouse into the country and give them a green card, not even with a civil partnership. For such a “modern” country, that truly is a disgrace. Luckily this was fixed back in 2014, but still. Rather late in the game if you ask me. Even though same sex couples could not marry in the Scotland, Wales and England until about the same time, at least they were still allowed to bring in their civil partners from across the globe! Sadly, I do not see Somalia, Saudi Arabia or many other countries in that general area of the globe to follow suit. While I like that the people are keen to follow the Qur’an, religious law is not something that any government should enforce. That is something personal between someone and Allah (or whatever faith they belong to).
I painfully admit that it was not all that long ago (early high school years) that I was a bit of an a-hole when it came to accepting gays and lesbians for who they are. Back then it was something I was convinced was a choice and not a part of who someone is, but I have adjusted my attitude since. I might go more into this in a later post when I have more time to explain, in fact I probably will. Ironically, it was the fact that I’m not entirely straight myself, which was the reason why I used to believe it was simply a choice.
However, I would like to add that this was my attitude towards homosexuality and such, not the people who are gay/lesbians themselves. Much in the same way that I have nothing against prostitutes. Their behaviour is considered “sexually deviant” according to many religions and cultures, but they don’t harm anyone and it certainly does not make someone a bad person. Also, I really have no room to judge anyone for sexual deviancy now that I’m a stripper. That would be both preposterous and judgmental beyond belief.
Anyway, if you fancy a good laugh I highly recommend giving John’s clip a watch.
The host of Last Week Tonight tears into people who use their religious beliefs to refuse services to LGBTQ people.