the walking talking manatee

If you have not seen me at a party in the last 6 months it is because I have not felt up to it. I have not been up to pretending that I am happy or hold my tongue if someone says something snooty to me. True, I have gone back to school and I am busy at home but these are not the only reasons I have been staying away. I have been off of my game and hurt.
The last time I went to a party was about three months ago, and in all honesty, I should not have gone. I should know better that if I don’t want people to be rude to me I should not attend. There is always someone that is going to do or say something. If you ask me why I went I would say “je voudrais changer l’aire” or “I needed to change my surroundings,” so I went.
Sometimes women say things to one another that seem harmless. However, often times the person that is on the receiving end is hurt. One month after a great tragedy in my family I went to one of these infamous parties that are so great for ones self-esteem. (Sometimes I think I love to punish myself as I know what is to unfold yet I always go.) So there I am at this party and as I walk by a woman she innocently makes the statement, “Are you pregnant!?” No, no I am not pregnant. She could tell I was hurt by the way I left the room, holding my mouth closed with an impenetrable vice. I am not sure how someone could not know that saying such things might be offensive? Unfortunately, similar incidences happened to me two more times in Ramadan, including one time where a woman started telling me about various diets she is on. Abû Hurayrah relates that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should speak a good word or remain silent. And whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should show hospitality to his neighbor. And whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should show hospitality to his guest.” [ Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim]
Yes, I gained weight, an absurd amount of weight in a very short time. There are many reasons for someone to gain weight like that; it is not only from pregnancy. Perhaps if she sat with me and talked to me rather than making such a statement as I was walking by she would have learned that I was, and am, in trauma. She would know that my family had just been picked up by a huge tidal wave and smashed into a million pieces and in effort to keep everything together I turned to the only comfort there was, food. She would have found out that one month prior my husband’s cousin was shot in the face four times and twice in the chest in front of her children’s elementary school; by her husband. We were her only family in North America and we had to go and pack up her whole life and take care of their two beautiful innocent angels. There is so much in my heart and no one to talk to. What else would you have me do? I am very angry, I am angry with him and I am angry with myself. I am angry that I am not in Tunisia now taking care of those babies. I am angry that I don’t have a job to send them money, but I am mostly angry because I am completely helpless and I don’t know what to do. I love those kids and I want them close to me.
Now I could continue my one person pity party until the end of my days, but I realize that nothing useful would come of it. So here I am, six months later to tell men that they have no right to bully their wife. If your wife is not cooperating with what you want it is because she is a free thinking human being. This is not something for you to beat down and destroy. Marriage is about compromise and trying your best. It is not about dominating to make yourself feel strong at the expense of another. No two people are alike, nor will they agree 100%. This does not give anyone, a man or woman, any right to throw their weight around and intimidate others. Everyone always talks about “Sunnah this and Sunnah that.” How about the Sunnah where the Prophet (sws) never beat his wives or children? Do we even give a second thought to the hadith that says “The strong is not the one who overcomes the people by his strength, but the strong is the one who controls himself while in anger.” You want to master something, master that.
I know I will be chastised for this one but domestic violence has been a taboo subject for too long and it is time to let it out and let the healing begin. Did you know that it is only in the last 15-20 years that the topic of sexual molestation by Catholic priests and coaches from various sports groups was spoken about in Canada? Through people coming forward and by talking about this issue the problem is being rectified and the parties involved are able to deal with the consequences of what happened and move forward with their life.
The story of Chahnaz Kebaier is not an isolated case and it is time to speak up and speak out against domestic abuse so that our children are not pulled into the same cycle of violence. No one deserves to be hurt or degraded. This is not the purpose for marriage. In the Quran, God Almighty describes a marriage as a loving relationship that includes tranquillity and mercy. A relationship that is filled with love, tranquillity and mercy has no room for pain and domination. We need to protect those who find themselves in these vile situations. It is up to us as a community to create safe places for women to go if they feel threatened. Domestic violence has no place in the home, just as it has no place in our deen. Please, let’s take care of one another; and remember that we need to speak to one another in a way that will elevate us.
Please sisters, if you see me at a party and I have gained 20 pounds know that I don’t want your diet tips. I just want a hug.

18 responses to “the walking talking manatee

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