Sorry for keeping you waiting

African-American, Muslim, Woman

By Taalibah Umm Jihaad

As I look into the mirror, I begin studying myself
Attempting to delve into the depths of who I truly am
These are the labels that have been placed upon me
Tell me, how do you define a being as complex and unique as me?
I begin to ponder all that I have been taught and all that I have learned
See, there’s a contradiction:
I’ve been taught that who I am is defined by how others perceive me
What I’ve learned is that I am as I perceive myself
That no single label, stereotype, or assumed role befits who I have become.
African- of a land whose soil has never been imprinted by the soles of my shoes, yet it’s my home and the home
of many of my ancestors. My broad nose, full lips, and caramel skin – remnants of a past unknown to me.
American – do I dare claim a place that has persecuted those who looked like me, talked like me?
Born, yet never fully accepted by those who own this land. Allowed to be here but not welcomed.
The land of the free or the land of those who allow us simulated freedom?
Muslim – my brothers are dying – stripped of their rights and convinced that the best way is the
American way. Not terrorists but terrorized, Longing for the freedom and opportunities that
America promises. Steadfast in the belief that goodness will prevail.
Not hidden by the veil but protected by it.
Woman – 2nd class citizen no matter the race. Bearer of children and mother of all creation.
Warrior, leader, nurturer, and counsellor.
Unbelievable, undeniable, emotionally illogical, bent rib of Adam.
Who am I?
I am the orphaned Ethopian child waiting to be sponsored
I am the homeless person you passed without so much as a glimpse
I am the sister of the Iraqi man whose home was just destroyed
I am the little girl they found assaulted and left for dead
I am the mother of an African prince, the daughter of a European Queen,
the sister of an Arabian knight, the friend of an Egyptian pharaoh.
I stand strong, confident, and determined
Do not classify me with a simple label –
African-American, Muslim, Woman
That’s only the beginning of who I am!
Although I have been labeled,
I have not yet been classified.