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You Shouldn't Have To Hide Who You Are And What You Believe (Or - It's What's On The Inside That Counts)
On Friday I spent an enjoyable couple of hours with a man who was dressed in normal clothes but wearing a black beanie-type hat on his head, a lady who was wearing the kind of clothes I would wear (nothing revealing), and a lady in a pretty dress with a blue scarf wrapped around her head and shoulders.  (Remember the colour of the scarf.  The reason why will be obvious a bit later.)

All three people had one thing in common - they are all Muslim.  They are all very kind people as well.

I am not going to tell you their names (because I don't want one of them to get into trouble) nor am I going to quote them directly (for the same reason).

As we were talking the subject got round to various aspects of Islam and other people's opinions and ignorance of it.  One of the three was a bit upset because they had apparently been informed that they should not be their normal outgoing, bubbly, self, due to their attire.  Now - even though I am not a Muslim - even I know that Muslims are allowed to have a laugh and a joke regardless of what they happen to be wearing.  Well, with one possible exception.  Muslim ladies who dress head to foot in black complete with black niqab don't exactly give the impression they have a sense of humour anyway.

As I pointed out - I could have understood my friend being told off for being their bubbly self if they were dressed all in black complete with black niqab as Muslim ladies who dress like that attempt to merge with the scenery as much as possible (if it was an invisibility cloak I am sure they would be much happier).  Let's just say that the first time I saw my scarf (hijab) wearing friend I liked them immediately because they were wearing a bright pink hijab.  Extremely easy on my eyes. A tip - if you insist on wearing a hijab the more brightly coloured the better.  Remember I said that my friend was wearing a blue scarf (hijab) on Friday???  I immediately pointed out that I could have understood the comment if they had been dressed head to foot in black complete with niqab but not when my friend was dressed as she was.  All three friends agreed.  One of them even said your beliefs are not worn on the outside.  It is what is on the inside that counts.

On Sunday morning I heard a sermon which was roughly along the same lines (at least that is how it came over to me.  This was almost repeated by two very close friends of mine but not in as many words - in fact - one of my friends repeated it in how she acted around me.  She is one of those people who I only have to be in their presence and I feel my batteries recharging (her hugs and smiles are like express recharges).

You may have seen the term "Performing Seal" either on this blog or on the Simple Solutions blog???

This is the term I use to describe when I feel like I am "on show" and I have to act a certain way (this usually means I feel like I have to be like everyone else - even when I know it is virtually impossible).

Yes - I have got a sight problem (or visual impairment).  I have been "socially trained" to hide it much as possible when I can.  And - if you want proof - I could name at least two very close friends of mine who told me they hadn't realised exactly how bad my sight is until they read my blog.

However, sometimes I just want to be able to be me.  Even if it actually involves me taking my glasses off when I am sitting down with my friends.  (Don't worry - I wouldn't dream of walking around in public without my glasses!!!  I know my limits!!!). I think I have stated before that my glasses actually place boundaries on me which don't exist if I haven't got them on.

Allow me to attempt to explain what I mean.

When I am wearing my glasses I feel like I have to act like everyone else because I am obviously different to most people I know (a large proportion of my friends either do not wear glasses at all or only wear them part time).  Whereas, if I don't wear my glasses I look like most of my friends.  The fact that I can only see clearly approximately 3 centimetres from the end of my nose - therefore rendering me both functionally useless and a danger to myself and others if I attempt to wander around in places I don't know - is beside the point.  I can read (if I hold whatever I am reading close to my face), I can successfully drink a cup of tea and much a sandwich, etc.  Just don't ask me to walk around very far.  I have tricks to help me do what I need to in the event of me either losing or breaking my glasses.  (Why do you think I wear glasses with metal frames which are either blue, silvery-grey or - as in the ones I am currently wearing - brown???  They are easy for me to pick out from most colours of background).

It is to stressful to hide who we are all the time.
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