Photo credit: Zeenat via verd de gris

When I was labelled Muslim woman

When I was labelled Muslim woman

I became defined

By the generation I was born in and the struggles we carried

From ‘I’, I became ‘we’ in an instant.

When I am seen with my scarf

Covering strands on my head

Sometimes covering my bosom

So I may not entice someone

I define myself.

I accept all I have been taught

And all I must do to keep the evil eye of the man at bay

Then how is it, that ‘we’ are tortured, raped, suffocated.

So I look over to my ‘sisters’

They choose to define themselves

And not be the image of this modest woman.

Their strands are beautiful

Their clothes adorn

So why too do they hurt.

I look at the women in front

Doing as they please

No commitment to traditions

Powerful, strong, courageous women

So why do they hurt too?

Am I defining women too?

Putting them into boxes

Them, us, us, them

What I did is what was done to me

Behind my image lays me

Creative and free

Submissive to No One

Not tradition, man, religion

My faith is me

My emotionally intense world

Where I live, where I dream

When you define me, you will never find me

‘I’ will not be found

‘We’ will be found

With our collective suffering and joy

‘I’ will keep my story within

‘We’ will not be contaminated by ‘I’

I don’t deny difference

When difference defines me

I cry.