If you know me you will know that there are three words which I cannot stand when they are applied to me - "Special", "Inspirational", and "Brave". (I have blogged on here about my reasons for hating "Special" when applied to me). I have blogged on my "Work" blog about why I hate the word "Brave" when applied to me.
That leaves "Inspirational".
Well, I must admit I don't hate it as much as I do the other two words. It is more that I don't feel I deserve it at all. I know too many people who I would say are far more inspirational than I am. I have introduced some of them to you via this blog and there are others who I would love to introduce you to but I do not have their permission to share their story with you.
I was with one such person today. This lady has shared some of her story with me - and she calls me inspirational??? I am honestly amazed by her caring nature and her emotional strength which has got her to the place she is at now. One of these days I am going to ask her if I can share some of her story with you because - all I am going to say is this lady is a true survivor.
The funniest thing is she told me that she actively looks for anything I post on Facebook and is relieved to find I have posted something. The reason I said that was funny is because I do exactly the same when it comes to looking for her replies. If I see a reply from her it is one which I know is filled with caring and love.
I will give you an example of something which she surprised me by agreeing with me about.
If you have read this blog before you will know that I am not a fan of those Muslim ladies who dress head to foot in black complete with niqab - purely because I have difficulty seeing them in most lighting conditions.
Then Boris Johnson made his extremely ill-advised comments about Muslim ladies, burkas, letterboxes, and domestic abuse/terrorism. The resulting furore left me feeling angry because I already have a major problem with the "Top Trumps" game between the Religious Discrimination Act and the Equalities Act (and the preceding "Disability Discrimination Act).
Allow me to explain - I cannot see a Muslim lady dressed head to foot in black complete with niqab. I have no problems with the lady wishing to cover herself from head to toe if she so desires for whatever reason - she is free to practice her religious beliefs in whatever way she chooses (up to and including wearing a burka if she so desires). My problem is not with the clothing itself (better minds than mine can argue about whether or not it is oppresive to women to dress that way). My problem is with the fact that most Muslim ladies I have seen wandering around Leicester in the niqab are dressed head to foot in black. Let's just say that - not only does wearing all black prevent men from seeing the shape of your body - it also ensures that someone with my sight doesn't process you as a human being at all until I am almost standing on your toes.
Apparently, according to the furore caused by Mr Johnson's ill-advised article, my sight problem puts me in the classification of "Islamophobe". Hmm - if I was an Islamophobe I would not have friends who are Muslim would I???
The lady I was with today was one of three Muslims (one of whom I had not previously known is a Muslim) who actually reassured me that my sight problem didn't make me an Islamophobe - just someone with a sight problem who doesn't find it easy to see people who are dressed head to foot in black.
My friend also said that it is not important what someone wears to practice their religious beliefs - what is important is how they behave. My friend dresses what I would call modestly but doesn't wear a hijab or any other form of "Muslim" clothing. We have a mutual friend who - the first time I saw her - got complimented on her bright pink hijab. And when I say "bright pink" I mean it was a good job my glasses are reactolites (transition lenses) otherwise I might have had a headache as a result of seeing it. I prefer bright colours to darker ones.
If someone is prepared to take the time to explain the language they use (especially if it is a foreign language) and some of the more confusing aspects of their religion without making me feblike I am being judged for my ignorance, they are the truly inspiring people.
The term "Inspirational" can sometimes be in danger of losing its meaning due to overuse but there are times when it is the only word in the dictionary which can be used to describe someone. Just please don't use it to describe me as that is a waste of a powerful word.
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