𝙻𝚒𝚏𝚎 𝚘𝚗 𝙺𝚎𝚙𝚕𝚎𝚛-𝟷𝟶𝚌 (𝙿𝚛𝚘𝚋𝚊𝚋𝚕𝚢) – 𝙷𝚊𝚗𝚗𝚊𝚑 𝙶𝚘𝚘𝚍𝚖𝚊𝚗
𝙼𝚢 𝚁𝚞𝚋𝚢 𝙳𝚒𝚊𝚖𝚘𝚗𝚍 – 𝙰𝚒𝚜𝚑𝚊 𝙴𝚕 𝙷𝚊𝚖𝚜𝚑𝚊𝚛𝚢
If I had two souls I’d give you one and save the other and cherish it, so that I could gift it to you later on. I knew your worth and took a breath of it deep into my heart. But you never did. You always doubted and underestimated yourself. I felt the pain through my soul and wanted to take it away. “Am i not good enough?” you asked, not knowing how much you fulfill my world. You just weren’t the right one for him. He may have liked you. But I loved you like no guy would. You are my best friend and my sister and my problem solver and secret box. I look at you all the time and wonder what goes through that head of yours. “She took my guy, bought the car I wanted, and has her life together.”
I couldn’t answer, I was shocked that you compared your worthy soul with someone who could never reach to your pure heart. Like you said, was he really the right one? No, again and again and another no.
If I had two souls I’d give them to you in a heartbeat. I’d take away all your insecurities and replace them with unlimited love and hearts. Look through my eyes and know your worth through my worth.
𝙵𝚒𝚗𝚍 𝚢𝚘𝚞𝚛 𝚔𝚎𝚢 – 𝙰𝚗𝚘𝚗𝚢𝚖𝚘𝚞𝚜
When someone does something different than the rest
It is weird
It is strange
When one explores the realm
Outside of the unspoken comfort zone
That surrounds us all
It is as if
We are animals locked in cages
And when one steals the key and escapes
The other animals say
I always knew she didnt belong
Why dont they ask for the key
And follow them out
And bask in the freedom of no barriers?
The other animal’s fear and taunting
Has no power.
Instead, their minds are focused
On a flawed mentality
Of creating a paradise
From high walls and binding chains.
How is this possible?
Be the one who steals the key
Be the one who breaks the chains
Be the one who opens the door
And unlocks potential
If it’s weird
𝚒 𝚌𝚊𝚗 𝚋𝚎 𝚜𝚘𝚛𝚛𝚢: 𝚊 𝚕𝚎𝚝𝚝𝚎𝚛 𝚝𝚘 𝚢𝚘𝚞 𝚊𝚗𝚍 𝚖𝚎 – 𝚂𝚑𝚛𝚞𝚜𝚝𝚒 𝙶𝚘𝚜𝚠𝚊𝚖𝚒
am i enough? she asks me on the bus ride back home.
the sun disappears and she lets her mind wander, it reappears and she wonders now if it can hear her misguided thoughts loudly, or quietly, or at all.
why do i wish that i could just melt into the floor? she hesitates.
like paint, i’m imagining blue paint just dripping and then i’m gone, besides the stain that’ll be left on the chair i guess. i resist the urge to call her absolutely insane.
why do i want to disappear?
when you are a young woman full of strange regrets, you feel like a waste of time.
you aren’t enough to turn your life around, are you?
why can’t you just sleep at night!
i’m tearing myself apart just trying to remember where it all went wrong
the sun shrugs and says sorry to me but i cannot hear the sun all the way down here,
i just hear me.
oh yes, i tell me. when you are crying raindrops and wishing for something new, remember these are the days you dreamed of.
and here, i tell me, here is your last chance to let go before you become you.
i am so sorry.
i’m sorry i was mean to you in 7th grade, i said one thing that i’ll never be able to forget. i never thought about if you would remember it forever. i hope you don’t.
i’m sorry i never really knew you but i still remember you badly. maybe i am right, i don’t know you.
i’m sorry we could never be friends again. you hurt my sister too much for me to ever wonder if you could change. somedays i wonder though. maybe i could’ve been better too. i can’t tell you this now though.
i’m sorry i called you a dumb bitch, i just wanted what was best for you, i didn’t need to say it like that. if i could take it back, i would. i would say something else though i don’t want that to change things between us now.
i’m sorry that you gave me a jar full of apologies and notes and that in August i ripped them all up and threw them around my bed with my best friend. i don’t really forgive you but i’m learning to let go. it is hard to not always want the best for you, if i can be honest.
i’m sorry i’ve always needed rules on how to be alive. i grew up terrified to step out of line, what if i’m not good enough? there is no excuse, i’m trying to live for me.
i’m sorry i said i loved you, i lied.
i’m sorry i think about killing myself. sometimes it just comes in a dream, sometimes i spend all day thinking about it and talking myself out of it, i hide the bottle of advil in a drawer and hope i forget. i am selfish.
i’m sorry i never told you i liked you. maybe one day we’ll meet again but i’ll be different then. that’s all.
i’m sorry you’ll never live up to my idea of you. and i’ll never live up to your idea of me.
i’m sorry i don’t really remember what you sound like. i barely remember if we ever talked about anything real at all. but you used to make me happy, sometimes i remember that you were my best friend and now you are a stranger.
i’m sorry if i’m saying sorry too much, it’s hard to know what parts were my fault.
i’m sorry if you’re ashamed of me, i’m also scared i will become nothing.
i’m sorry that i’ve lost my voice, i’m trying to get her back but my opinions have always been too loud and now i’m confused, i’m alone, and i promise i’m working on getting her back, i spend hours lying awake sometimes just imagining how good it would feel to scream, or even say, something with passion.
i’m sorry you can’t know me again, i’m not so bad
i’m sorry i never said any of this out loud, now i’m not sure if you deserve me
it is hard to forgive yourself, i tell me
please, give me a chance, i deserve me
maybe that is the most terrifying thing
to want to live without you giving me permission
i do, i look up at the sky expressionless
i wish i could hear the sun, just in case it had any advice, but there’s time
i imagine myself smiling and she is quite beautiful
the day ends and then it begins
give me a chance
𝙰 𝙲𝚘𝚖𝚖𝚎𝚗𝚝𝚊𝚛𝚢 𝚘𝚗 𝙿𝚕𝚊𝚢𝚋𝚘𝚢 – 𝙴𝚕𝚒𝚣𝚊 𝚆𝚑𝚒𝚙𝚙𝚕𝚎
𝚂𝚎𝚕𝚎𝚌𝚝𝚎𝚍 𝚆𝚘𝚛𝚔 – 𝚃𝚊𝚖𝚊𝚛𝚊 𝙺𝚢𝚕𝚎
i. It’s Time to Care
We try to ignore climate change
Because we are more concerned with money exchange.
We tell women it was their fault
When they were suffering through an assault.
We let some walk free
While others live their lives as a detainee.
We act like there’s nothing wrong
Because to us everyone still seems strong.
But they are too scared to show they still fear
Because not one person listens to hear.
The world is in need of progress
But we care more about the famous press.
Hollywood is more important
Than the working class department.
We are all too stuck to our screens
That we barely focus on the problems that need to be seen.
We all are kept quiet
Because those in power are scared for us to riot.
Some of us need a therapist now to cope,
But nevertheless we’ll always have hope.
Controlling, persecuting, suppressing
Racism, sexism, religious freedom, intersectional feminism
Advocating, encouraging, initiating
𝙳𝚎𝚊𝚛 _, (𝚕𝚎𝚝𝚝𝚎𝚛𝚜 𝙸 𝚠𝚒𝚕𝚕 𝚗𝚎𝚟𝚎𝚛 𝚜𝚎𝚗𝚍 𝚙𝚊𝚛𝚝 𝟹) – 𝙰𝚗𝚘𝚗𝚢𝚖𝚘𝚞𝚜
Thank you for being one of my best friends for so long. I’m sorry for the fact that we aren’t friends at all like we used to be, even though I’m not the one who should take all the blame for that.
I don’t know where to start with you. I’ve never had a relationship with anyone like the one I had with you. Maybe that’s a good thing. You were my best friend like in all the books and the movies. You were the first person I told when I had my first kiss, the first person I was[…] with, the ONLY person I told about the encounter on March 31st, 2017[…] and the list goes on. Hell, we basically had our own secret code, and not just in the sense that we always knew what the other was talking about.
I don’t know where it started to go wrong. I don’t know whether it was when you started making poor choices, or when your choices began affecting mine, or somewhere in between.
I hated the fact that you and my boyfriend at the time hated each other. Each of you drove a wedge between me and the other.
I know that deep down you are a good person, you have good intentions. I’m sorry that I kind of pushed you away. I gave up on our friendship, but nobody can deny that I had good reason to do so. And I don’t miss you.
𝙼𝚎𝚎𝚝 𝙳𝚎𝚋𝚛𝚊! – 𝙼𝚎𝚛𝚗𝚊 𝙰𝚑𝚖𝚎𝚍
𝙰𝚗 𝙸𝚗𝚝𝚎𝚛𝚙𝚛𝚎𝚝𝚊𝚝𝚒𝚘𝚗 𝚘𝚏 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝙷𝚒𝚓𝚊𝚋 – 𝙰𝚖𝚗𝚊 𝙰𝚑𝚖𝚎𝚍
Consciousness-Raising the Position of Muslim Women Who Wear the Hijab
In an increasing sexualized society, Muslim women that wear the Hijab appear as women under religious oppression. However, Muslim women with the privilege of freedom of choice, wear the head covering in an attempt to empower themselves through rejecting objectification of their bodies. As an American born Muslim, my experience with wearing the Hijab shapes my character. Being the only Hijabi in my high school, I serve as a visible ambassador speaking passionately to anyone looking for answers about my faith. Nonetheless, in a diverse environment like Rutgers, I fully embrace my identity to further educate not only other people but myself as well with this new set of experiences. However, through misinterpretation and equating culture with religion, the social construct of Islamic attire leading to oppression is a narrative that is frequently seen in both Western and Eastern societies. Through the Quran and teaching of Islam, one can bring about consciousness raising on how the hijab is more than just a headscarf, refuting the claim that it is only a means to protect women from the exploitation of men, and how the idea of empowering women through hijab has been blurred by colonizers claiming the head covering oppressive.
Hijab is more than just a dress code; it is a lifestyle. The hijab serves as a guide for all practicing Muslims to follow. Before addressing the definition of hijab, the idea of “there shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion”(Quran 2:256) must be addressed because although hijab is an obligatory practice in Islam, enforcing this lifestyle upon someone is against the religion’s preachings as well. Whether women choose to wear or not wear the hijab on an individual basis, the intention should be to wear the Hijab for none other than God, not for anyone else or cultural standards. Hijab serves as a reminder of one’s actions and encompasses one’s overall character in speech and behavior. An individual’s outer appearance does not determine one’s faith; instead, it is their actions and lifestyle that they choose to seek out which determines their relationship with Allah (God). In the Quran, Allah says:
Tell the believing men to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts. That is purer for them. Indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what they do (Quran 24:30).
And tell the believing women to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts and not expose their adornment except that which [necessarily] appears thereof and to wrap [a portion of] their headcovers over their chests and not expose their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers, their brothers’ sons, their sisters’ sons, their women, that which their right hands possess, or those male attendants having no physical desire or children who are not yet aware of the private aspects of women (Quran 24:31).
According to these scriptures, the hijab is not merely a headscarf but a way of implementing Islamic beliefs through thought and behavior: a modest lifestyle and control of one’s ego and desires. The term Hijab comes from the Arabic language where words are composed of trilateral roots. In Hijab the three root letters are ha, jeem and ba. Put together it creates the term hajaba that translates “to conceal or hide from view.” The word Hijab means modesty not only in appearance but actions as well which is inherent to both practicing Muslim men and women. It aims to reject sexual objectification and promote a focus on intellectuality and the individual human being. A person of Islamic faith must look at their actions first and foremost and how to improve their character internally in order to implement the hijab on the outer appearance as well. For example, the practicing Muslim must strive to perfect their speech in avoiding behavior such as backbiting. Looking at such behavior makes one confront their ego and pride in order to implement a real sense of humility and modesty. The Islamic faith implements modesty in both appearance and one’s overall character.
Secondly, as the conversations on sexual assault allegations in today’s Western society begin to change their approach on victim blaming, since the founding of Islam, the faith does not blame a woman’s appearance for a man’s actions. Instead, men are accountable for their behavior and what they choose to do. In order to indeed implement a religion that preaches modesty and living a life in moderation, the entire community must put forth their energy into these concepts as something that is holistic. Whether or not a Muslim woman chooses to wear modest apparel, as defined by Islam, men must “reduce [some] of their vision” and avoid licentious behavior. This verse challenges rape culture because it forces men to first and foremost look at themselves. Islam promotes equity; it gives certain rules and regulations for the binary sexes based on their needs and ability to live a proper life. Women have a high status in Islam in which Quranic verses protects women against men that may try to exploit them. Men are given regulations to prevent them from asserting their patriarchal power.
In addition to the Quran’s regulations for men, following the Sunnah or the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) is an essential part of being a practicing Muslim as well. Narrated by Abdullah bin Abbas, one of the companions of the Prophet Muhammad named Fadl bin Abbas, rode behind the Prophet when a beautiful woman approached them seeking religious guidance. Fadl bin Abbas, mesmerized by her beauty, began to stare at her. Rather than placing the burden on the woman and her appearance, the Prophet “held out his hand backward, catching Al Fadl’s chin, and turned his face to the other side in order that he should not gaze at her”. The importance of this example is that it sets a precedent on the idea of victim blaming. The Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) understands men’s accountability for their actions. Today’s sexual allegations in the West are now starting to improve in the precedent they once set for these cases. It is eurocentrism that undermines a woman’s status in Islam, citing cultural standards and norms as examples of oppression. Islam attempts to raise a woman’s status in society: as a daughter, she opens a door to Jannah (Paradise) for her father. As a wife, she completes half of her husband’s deen (faith) and as a mother, Jannah (Paradise) lies under her feet for her children that respect her. Religion does not blame women for a man’s actions, instead it is societal and cultural norms that shape such a perception.
As a final point, Hijab serves as a form of empowerment in a patriarchal society that continues to sexualize women. It is a means to desexualize women through attempting to drive the focus on her intellect and individuality as a person. Instead of focusing on their bodies, Muslim women strive to show what they are capable of and the Hijab allows them to feel like they are independent and powerful enough to speak their mind rather than subject themselves to a bias based on how they look. It is a symbol of empowerment and feminism where a woman not only grants herself self-respect but also demands it from others. Nonetheless, women that decide to dress differently compared to the Islamic standard are entitled to their opinion and idea of empowerment as well. What one chooses to wear should be an individual choice, yet society influences what the ideal image of women should look. In Leila Ahmed’s “Women and Gender in Islam,” she writes about how at the time of the 19th century when colonists, such as the British, began exploring Muslim majority countries, they sought out for a justification of their colonization, leading them to label these drastically different cultures as regressive. Today, Westerners that claim to be feminists but do not embrace intersectionality and diversity within the movement disacknowledge the various meanings of equality for a person based on experience. One’s experiences develop through culture and socialization, impacting their understanding of gender and feminism. It is not the religion’s preachings that are oppressive; rather it is the misinterpretation people develop of Islam and the Quran that creates oppression.
Although oppression takes place in Muslim countries, Western society does not acknowledge the beauty standard that it creates for women as well. In Fatema Mernissi “Size 6: The Western Women’s Harem”, Mernissi defends the Hijab stating that “the veil is less oppressive than the size six” in which the patriarchal mass media and fashion industry in the West influences women into conforming to the societal norm that women must be childlike and thin in order to be considered beautiful.
Framing youth as beauty and condemning maturity is the weapon used against women in the West just as limiting access to public space is the weapon used in the East. The objective remains identical in both cultures: to make women feel unwelcome, inadequate, and ugly (Mernissi).
The West ultimately views the headscarf as oppressive because of its beauty standard that it creates for its society. The oppression of women exists everywhere in many different forms, but there is the same idea that it stems from cultural and societal norms. Systematic oppression comes from a society and its institutions, not an entire faith group. Moreover, the Quran condemns any form of oppression in many of its verses understanding that “The cause is only against the ones who wrong the people and tyrannize upon the earth without right. Those will have a painful punishment”(Quran 42:42). The Islamic faith makes it evident that the one that oppresses will face the consequences for such actions.
In conclusion, Hijab is modesty in appearance and behavior, that is inherent to both Muslim men and women, aiming to empower the women who choose to wear the headscarf. For Muslim women that are forced to wear the head covering in the East, they do not have the same freedom of choice based on the cultural standards and patriarchal mass media that oppresses them. Nonetheless, oppression of women exists in both Western and Eastern societies and in order to combat such oppression, one must understand the complex narratives of women across the world in order to strengthen a more diverse movement in seeking equity.
𝚊 𝚕𝚘𝚟𝚎 𝚕𝚎𝚝𝚝𝚎𝚛 – 𝙰𝚖𝚎𝚎𝚗𝚊 𝚀𝚘𝚋𝚛𝚝𝚊𝚢
I know that you ate that Reese’s cup even though you promised to be vegan.
And I know you watched a whole season of Gossip Girl in a day,
And I know that you get anxious when you drink,
But you do it anyway.
I know that you put all this pressure on yourself
To the point where you can’t stop itching your skin,
And I know that your anxiety makes you unable to breathe sometimes
Like you’re suffocating
And you can’t explain how or why because you really are happy
Just conscious and feeling too much all the time all the time all the time.
I know you used to cry when your younger sister did,
She was just a baby, and you were five, but you’d join her
Because you couldn’t help it and you just wanted her to be happy again.
I know that when you were in second grade,
You used to give your teacher such a hard time,
But you’re sorry now and you were just unchallenged and you think
About it always.
I know you used to text a lot of boys,
And you think about all of the secrets you’ve shared with them
And how you’d give anything to
Just have them all back.
But most of all,
I know you’re living life as an unceasing battle
Between the construction and deconstruction
Of future and past selves.
The unrelenting pangs of nostalgia are unbearable
And sometimes you wake up and have to
Remind yourself of what town you’re in.
And maybe all of the wrongs that you think you’ve committed
Aren’t all that bad.
And maybe you should stop being concerned with
If you are a good person or a bad one
And instead focus on being kind,
And becoming the truest extent of all your selves –
Both future and past.