I Am Grey in a Black and White World
I remember the first time I was invited to a slumber party. My thoughts plunged into delusion about how it would be to have one of those pillow fights you see in the movies and the playground gossip we’d talk about while staying up far past bedtime, but the morning of what should’ve been a milestone to an elementary school girl was chewed up and spit out like poison when I was told I could no longer come because my skin had too much melanin and that it would repulse her parents. My heavy heart throbbed as tears seared my arctic cheeks.
It was then that I realized, I am brown in a black and white world.
The deep of winter is toe-numbing, but nothing was as bone chilling as being told to get out of the house that held my first footsteps and the height markings that had become hidden behind chipped paint. My spirited soul was begging to break free from the chains that I had put on myself due to the shame that I had fallen in love with another man. After years of the consuming terror that caged me inside and forced myself to internally hate who I was, I decided it was time to accept my truth and pray that the ones closest to me understood. It was when the man who had been my endless inspiration and the woman who comforted the night terrors away confessed they could no longer love me that I realized that love doesn’t always make the world go ‘round.
It was then I realized, I am gay in a black and white world.
There is nothing more warming than gathering with your family in praise of Allah. There is nothing more frightening than being threatened to death because of your faith. I was only twelve years old when my privacy was ripped away from me while I was sitting in my desk at school soaking in all the education I could because I was grateful to be where so many like me are still fighting to be. My hijab was torn away by a boy who was taught to hate by his family and the generations before him. The torment and trauma was enough to send me away frantically crying and trying to cover myself that I questioned what I believed. Still, through the hurt and the fear, I forgave, but
it was then that I realized, I pray in a black and white world.
It’s so easy to question who you are and why you are here. “What did I do to deserve this?” is something I often find myself asking when I’m down on my knees and screaming to the floor. “Why can’t I be normal?” but what is normal? What is a world that doesn’t see color or differences. Instead of being blind, why can’t we embrace the 20/20 that we’ve been blessed with. Why can’t we all appreciate the differences that lie behind the façade so many of us have held to our faces in awe of blending in. And if no one else is going to love us, then we need to love ourselves, because
it’s now that I realize that without love, we would drown in a black and white world.