I could feel the cold glare, hairs at the back of my neck could feel the chill. I turned and smiled only to be met with a straight face. Unsure what to do, I turned back to face the wall where I felt the safest, ‘what you looking at?’ she snarled at me. My heart was all too familiar with this feeling, the resentment felt towards me, the disgusting filth I was made to feel. An object in a museum, left bare for all to judge. My naked soul out in the open crying out for acceptance. Metaphor overload.
I thought back to this morning as I was getting ready, I made sure to put on some concealer to cover up the dark circles from the lack of sleep. I added some colour to my lips and left the house. I should have seen then that the odds were already against me, a brown girl living in a white man’s world. I had already lost, no matter which way I looked at it, I was destined for judgement.
I could sit and pick this apart a million times and still walk away baffled. The colour of my skin, my gender and the religion I practice. Each of these factors are out in the open for everyone to judge, my skin cut pouring blood for everyone to drink but me. Left thirsty, I wonder if there will every come a time where I will be judged for the human that I am and not the monsters who claim to kill in my name? Aged 26 and living in a Trump era where he wants nothing more but to ‘grab my pussy’, but detain ‘my kind’ from his ‘land of the pure and white’ (wasn’t his grandfather Turkish???)
Born and bred in a country constantly reminded how different I am through half-hearted smiles and fake interest asking me ‘but where are you ACTUALLY from?’ Sheffield love. ‘No sorry I meant where were you born?’ In a hospital down the road from where I have lived all my life. ‘Yes well you aren’t really English though are you, I mean your name is so foreign sounding’ ok cool shall I change that too? ‘Yeah I will call you Sarah, that’s easier to pronounce’ (real story btw).
Also I clearly don’t use a mirror ‘You’re too brown to be English love’ soz Dave I can’t do much about my tanned skin that you hop on a plane to sit next to the pool in resort in Benidorm to achieve because you’re oh so cultured.
‘So you’re a Muslim, but have non-Muslim white friends? How does that work?’ Maybe because I have friends around me who I get along with for more than a pissup Dave. I’m blessed with friends who are there for me when I’m happy and are there for me when I don’t even know I am sad. The colour of their skin is irrelevant, I love them for their souls and dodgy sense of humour. Shout out to my pale friends who accept my playful banter #cats
‘Would you ever go back to your own country?’ I was born here so I legit don’t know where I should go, but please carry on finding reasons of why I shouldn’t be here in…my…own…country.
Having been brought up with a mixture of cultures I have many moments where I don’t quite know where I fit in. Tell your Pakistani/Indian friend you prefer chips, cheese and beans over biryani and be prepared for a look of disgust. Turn up to work with a lunch box filled with curry and rice and cue the ‘ooh how lovely did your mam make you that exotic dish?’ It was actually Uncle Ben’s but ok.
Regardless of all that I feel so blessed that I have an incredible mix, on one side my culture is so colourful and the food is delicious, bar biryani because I truly just haven’t got along with it. On the other side living in a Western country has been great, so many opportunities that I may never have gotten had I been brought up in the country my grandparents were born in. Sure this country has many failures Boris and Farage I’m looking at you both, but I am British and I wouldn’t change that for the world. The select vocal few who do nothing but bring down people of my religion and colour do not define the true British citizens who are accepting of different cultures. After all, how can you live in a country that has colonised so many countries and call Britain a land for the white and pure??
I truly have no idea if we will ever diminish these views and judgements in my lifetime, but for the sake of the future generations I hope we stop and think before we speak and focus on what brings us closer as humans on earth instead of the differences in our personal beliefs and colour of skin.
This is where we take note from Barney my childhood idol and hold hands singing I love you, you love me, we’re best friends like friends should be…