Every time a guy asks me to spend time with him,
no matter the context,
I worry that my legs are unshaven.
It’s the middle of February and I’m wearing long pajama pants
when you ask me to come over.
I tell you I’ll be there when I’m done putting away laundry
but really I shave my legs over the side of the bathtub
and hope that the cold air outside doesn’t make them prickly.
What a shitty feminist I am.
You answer the door shirtless, with grey sweatpants clinging to your hips
like I’m sure I will be later
and I make childish comments about you being naked
like I’m sure you will be later
and I remember that the underwear I’m wearing have a hole in the lace
and suddenly I feel like I’m failing
and falling as you shut the door behind us.
You apologize for the mess and I wait for your hands
but instead you ask me to read something you’ve written
and a wave of some new feeling rushes over me.
We read and we talk about Hemingway, Ukraine,
politics and people and Beatles lyrics.
You crack open a beer but don’t shove one down my throat
or anything else for that matter
and tell me that your grandfather is from Chihuahua, Mexico,
and suddenly I’m laughing.
I can’t contain my fits of laughter and my words turn to a singsong mess
and you put your hand on my waist just to ask me if I’m okay
but I’m more than okay. I’m exceptional.
And I deserve a night of words and pacing and questions
and deciding if Antarctica is an iceberg or a land mass
and hugging goodbye at 1am because it’s really getting late
and we’re sleepy.
I slipped on a sheet of black ice walking home
and landed not-so-gracefully on my ass in a puddle
and I suddenly can’t stop laughing again
because my legs are prickly
and this isn’t the kind of wet I’d expected to be.
Nope, not at all dear. What you may see as “restrictions” is what I see as a means to protect myself from potential harm (for example: no alcohol or drugs for obvious reasons like having full control of my mind/body, no pork because it’s like putting trash in your body, hijab for people to judge me for my character/mind and not for my body (and many more reasons for that specific one), etc). I personally feel that my religion has freed me, not “constricted” me in anyway. Islam has made it so I don’t have to live trying to fit into society’s mold of what’s expected of me (like many do here in the West), I live only to please Allah (“God” in Arabic) and no one can stop me from doing so. Not my culture, not my family/friends, and not today’s society, and I really love that. That’s true freedom. And hun, it’s known that one of Allah’s 99 names is the “Most Merciful,” there are many chances for redemption. Alhamdullilah (“Praise God” for my non-Muslim followers).
The world didn’t get worse, homie, your eyes just got wider.