Monday, August 18, 2008

Race You

Assalamu Alaikum,

So, didn't sleep much last night. This would make up for the fact that I pretty much slept around the prayer times all day yesterday. That's a neat knack to have if it weren't for the fact that I probably should've been up doing things yesterday. I'm not sick, alhamdulillah, but I think a couple things have me a little bit down. One, is a particular man who is exploring the idea of marrying me. The other is the concept of race and how far we've not come on it in this ummah. Sigh.

The man? Was around before that last post of mine. I'm getting a strong 'no' feeling after istikhara and a pretty uneasy and forgettable conversation with him. I don't want to go into it too much here. Just want to note for my own memory that I have this uneasy feeling about him. I'm fighting myself because I don't want to be biased against him without having really met him, when there are a couple of things I could be biased against. I guess I want to give him a fighting chance when something else slightly irrational but true-to-me is saying 'nuh-unh'.

The race thing is, I guess, the flip side of that particular coin. I've been here in Conservopolis a year. And while I've got some friends, they aren't the close-close kind of friends. A very few confidants who are trustworthy. And I trust them because they will make un-politically correct remarks around me. They've let me put my foot in my mouth, too. Certain people, make me think I want to hold them at arms' length, but that isn't the way to maintain friendships, is it? Still. That crew of women who are around my age I find particularly frustrating. One moment they're calling me sweetheart and the next I'm ignoring the fact that there are several gatherings I wasn't invited to being mentioned in my face. Sigh. If I were included I'd have something else to be mad about so I'm gonna stick to the ones who are true: the 30 something moms. For some reason, maybe because they have neither time nor intention to BS me, I'm easier around them.

Then we have the whole dark skin thing. I find it hilarious and at the same time frustrating to be summarily dismissed on first impression because of my skin color and cultural background. Equally funny and maddening to have myself subjected to every stereotype about African Americans simply because I am one. From my teacher at the beginning of the summer to some rude teens at a party the other day, I've seen it and had to have some patience on it.

The patience is always rewarded when the children of the community, my students, no matter what color they are, run and tackle my knees as soon as they see me. Some of these children have begun parroting the 'you're darker, not pretty' belief at me, but their love belies the indoctrination. To have to interrupt my conversation with an adult to direct my attention three feet lower to a (non-African American, paper-bag test passing) child gleefully screeching, "Miss Two! Miss Two!" and watching the adult's expression 'lighten' is better than any fight I could fight.

I wish I could convey that through the internet.

I have to go to work, or I'd finish this. There's another telling thing: I do NOT want to go back to work under one of the admins at my school (no point in singling one of them out). And I don't want to go back, period. This'll change, I'm sure, when I"m in the middle of selecting shiny new posters, laminating borders and arabic cards, making nametags and cubby pictures for my students. Teaching at this level is a very fun line of work; but it is a line of work. InshaAllah I'll be one of those who either finds work that isn't like working, things I think about late at night and can't wait to get to in the morning, or I'll be finally able to make my home that work, and I'll only have to account to my Lord for my days. That? Would be awesome.


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