Ahlan Wa Sahlan

Ahlan Wa Sahlan

Friday, March 14, 2008

Ya no...

Sometimes I find myself filled with an unerring sense of ennui and trepidation, a depression that has no face nor source nor logic to it and is, as such, a more fearful enemy. When I probe these feelings for the center I find nothing but fear, and maybe it is this fear that gives birth to my unease and my unease that in turn gives birth to my depression. It is fleeting and yet devastating. Momentary as the cloud of locusts that descends and departs again within a day but leaves the earth behind it scarred and barren, it comes and goes within hours or at most days. In the more recent months I find that these episodes come on the heels of problems of money. Is it money then that is the root of my unhappiness?

This one is born of anger as well, and a sense of hopelessness. Those “friends” or “family” I would have counted on in years gone by abandoned me in the days of their ease and now, when confronted with the face of poverty, return to me with hands out and fake smiles.

“Why haven’t you called us all this time? You forgot us. Nos has olvidado, no nos quieres ya.”

When it is them instead who forgot me, left me behind, and deleted my calls.

Sí, los he olvidado, y con razón. Yes, I have forgotten you, and when I send you this check I will forget you again. When you didn’t need me you never called, and now that you do I find your number three or four or five times in my phone per day; do not placate me with words of tenderness. Hijada querida, nuestra adoptive, la tremenda Molly… ya no soy.

I peel off bits of my skin, shedding like a snake, becoming someone else, someone whole and yet broken, someone different in spite of the memories that surround me like mosquitoes on a summer’s eve. I am not you any longer, I am not me, or her, or them. I speak many languages and find no home for any of them.

I speak English but I am not American. I wear hijab and pray towards Mecca but I am not Egyptian like my husband nor do I speak Arabic. I speak Spanish but carry no blood or reason or remnant in my life that explains why.

My identity shifts like an ocean’s tide.

But beneath I am me despite having no mould within which to fit myself in comfort. Instead I forge my way through this world with nothing but my heart and my God Who knows who I am and what I am and from where I come and to where I will return.

I have no frame of reference but my own.

I fit myself to no one but who I choose to be.

Ya no soy su hijada.

Hoy no soy quien fui ayer ni quien seré mañana.

Ayer, ahora, mañana y siempre, me nazco cada día en forma nueva.

I am who I am, I will be who I will be, and I will walk the paths that God places before me. But today I find myself empty but for what others wish for me to be.

And tomorrow I will have forgotten this fleeting moment of unsettled ennui.

But today, I am not what you would want me to be.


Mohamed said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mohamed said...

I think I can relate to those family who will leave you five messages a day after their monthly average was, well, zero...
The only reason I reply to such people is because someone i care for -- my mother, in that case-- would be upset if i didnt.
Are we really not who we were yesterday? I'm not sure I agree. We are unavoidably who we were, or at least we take fully responsibility for "Yesterday-Us"'s actions. And by the same token, Tomorrow-Us is shaped today, and it's up to us, right this moment, to decide what kind of person we will be.

And good luck with the shifting identities. I think we should advocate for an 'international nationality' for those who opt for it...

luckyfatima said...

Why are you not an American? Are you a Canadian? If you have the privilege of travelling on a US passport, you are definately an American.

You are not a blank slate upon which other cultural identities can be written...you keep your own identity; Minnesotan, white, female, Muslim, convert, middle-class, who and whatever in no particular order. You will always be you. That's the only person you can be. That forms the lenses through which you are viewing things. Find power in that.

Other particular cultures, they was never yours to appropriate in the first place...you just live with them, not in and of them.

Mona said...

That was beautiful.

Safiyyah said...

As Salaamu Alaikum Mi Hermana:

Recuerda lo que dice:

"Dime con quien tu andas, y te dire quien tu eres!

Es una expresion muy famosa y comun en el mundo latino.

Si andas con Musulmanos, eres Musulmana. No es importante de donde eres!

Amor y Paz
Tu Hermana (yo no quiero nada, lol)

Saha said...

I love this post. What strikes me about it is how much you recognize that identity is hollow. something that only people who have never been completely contained by an identity can recognize. But that is the most freeing thing of all in the end. The nausea abates when you realize how close to Allah it brings you.

No offense Lucky Fatima, but I think you missed the point. Molly seems to be who she is, outside of supposed markers of identity. Other people read that way, because it's a way of safely packaging everything. Being white, Minnesotan etc mean a lot in terms of how others react to her, but may mean little in terms of how she reacts to herself. Hence
'But today, I am not what you would want me to be.'

Forsoothsayer said...

dude, u can start calling yourself a "third culture kid" now like the rest of us if u want :)

Molly said...

Mohamed- Well it isn't so much family as adopted family that I was refering to. But as for yesterday today and tomorrow I agree with what you are saying, I think you're right about that, but my meaning was that each day I reinvent myself depending on the situation that I'm in. I don't know how to explain it, its like being a social chamelion. I have so many aspects of my identity that they can't all come out in one place.
Its sounding kind of odd to me, like two-faced which it isn't. If I'm with my white family I act I'm a bit more white, although no matter what color my skin is as a hijabi I'm always "brown" because of it. But if I'm with muslims another part of my identity comes forward, if I'm with latinos that part of my identity comes forward, while I never forsake any aspect of who I am at the same time. The closest I've come to being with people most similar to me are latino-muslims.
Yesterday is different from today and tomorrow will be different than today. I am born each day in a different form.
But yes, I agree with "international nationality" however in a world that loves labels, what else could we be but labeled definitively.

Molly said...

LF- I am American by your standards of being American, but as a hijabi the first question I always get is "so.. where ya from?"

But as an American or Latina or Muslim or Third culture kid or anything else. I don't fit any thing fully or comfortably.

Sometimes its liberating, sometimes its lonely.

Molly said...

Monita- thanks habibty.

Safiyyah- gracias preciosa, me hiciste sonreir. Es la neta verdad.

Sooth- what exactly is a third culture kid??

Molly said...

Saha- You hit it exactly on the head, I feel so validated to know you understood what I was saying, and understood it quite profoundly. Thank you. I'm so glad that I'm not just taking shots in the dark.

Muneeb Saeed said...

nicely written on those kinda ppl.
But passports in 2days world r fake. All u need to do 2 bcome Naturalized is to live 5 years legally. but tht doenst mean tht u change inside. [like u said]

some ppl get these passports n come to the mideast n use it to gain an upper hand bcuz they have a bloody passport. n they never return to the passports original country either