Thursday, April 17, 2014

Why I love yellow paint on a Muscat Villa

I work at home and on weekends. I probably will do so this weekend, so I don't feel bad that I haven't done anything but shop today (and yeah, I worked this morning) in the afternoon, and looked at pinterest.

These photos are of a little hotel/cafe where I used to live that I chanced upon online, where I'd always come with my father to have breakfast or coffee. Good memories for the most. Even the bad things that happened as I walked out onto the street, away from the cafe, slightly ahead of my father, have an undertone of something good to them, when I look at the world through rose-coloured glasses.

Maybe this building is why I have an afifnity for yellow villas?

That one bad memory, was that my father was just starting to stop hiding behind his menu when he was out with me. My headscarf, regardless of whatever else I might wear with it, long sleeved t-shirt and tight jeans or abaya and face veil (aka niqab, not burqa, {no one wears burkas in Europe or Canada except as a joke}) drew unpleasant attention at times, and he felt embarassed to be seen with me.

You see, I was not born a Muslim, nor was I raised to like religions of any kind, although I was taught to study them in order to understand their flaws. Ironic, I suppose.

But Swans drew a  pretty hip and young crowd for breakfast, and we had none of that. More like people were impressed that our city was becoming so multi-cultural, when let's face it, it had been for the last two hundred years that you were either British, French, or Chinese in the place.

Breakfast was delcious. Dad was peeking out from behind the menu more often. My little sis was dressed kind of punk and totally didn't look like they were Muslim, just me so people were just kindly curious.

As we left though, a man who had been stalking me with a camera, and who'd made racial slurs against Arabs to me on numerous occasions, stepped in then, and grabbed me. He knew where my house was, and took photos but never more than that, and before this incident, I'd never been afraid of him.

My father saw that and was a little shaken. My little sister insisted we make a case with the police over the matter when I didn't really think they would take me serriously.

I was also stalked by some "special top secret" section of some police who claimed they worked for Canada (the Candian set, called inset, were interviewing my girlfriends---but INSET, said no, and wanted to know who they worked for). BTW, I don't think our countries anti-terrorism task force actually knows alot about terrorists and Islamic beliefs that lead to terrorism per say, or they'd never have bothered with a bunch of girls who like to pray, shop, and eat, but whatever.... WHAT A WASTE OF TAXPAYERS DOLLARS their salaries are for, yeah.

At first my father was like, "well you deserve it because you choose to dress in a way that makes people upset"...

But slowly, he began to change from that point onwards. I think it was the moment in time he realized my choices were not a "want for attention" or a love of "standing out and being different" but an actual part of who I was, and what I believed. I was always taught by him to guard the oppressed, and speak my mind, and fight for what is right, if it is a battle worth fighting, and maybe he saw that part of himself in me that day, in the headscarf and abaya?

No one wants to be threatened with harm, to have people wish against them the right not to go to school, or to work, simply because of a piece of fabric. For always these people told me, it was the Islamic faith that stopped women from marrying who they wanted, or working outside the the home, ect... but really, it was the people who made doing those things unpleasent, or actually illegal, that inhibited me, nothing else. Ignorance, from Islamaphobes, and from Muslims themselves, are the only things that oppress Muslim women.

I couldn't understand why they wanted to make a peice of fabric illegal. My sister can wear a tank top and motorcycle boots, and a skirt on the shortish side, and I an abaya and headscarf, even a veil, and we were happy together and friends. My friends never changed because of what I wore, but from what I chose to refrain from, which was neither choice, nor social responsibility, love, or happiness.

No one likes being thought of as "less" or "brainwashed" or "inferior" and have other human beings think they have the right to tell them how to live their lives.

So my father is all good with me now, and I think he changed a little from that day forward. From a yellow building with turquoise ironwork and hanging baskets of flowers and a stack of pancakes, to a man who likes to press Neo-nazi literature on the street.

So when I think of that landmark, I think of hope, and possible happiness. Maybe that is why I love a yellow paint on a Muscat villa so much?

I have long ago now, moved from the yellow villa pictured on my sidebar. I live in a better area, in a less impressive building, as I seek the new. But I saw an old house the other day, crumbling, fading, uncared for, almost suppressed under the evening sky.

In my mind, I saw in its shape, the chance to rebuild, to rennovate, to fix. To make one thing a little more beautiful. I don't have much skill in building people up the same, but a canvas, a blank little notebook, a room, a building... these are things I can make a little better than I found them.

{Random thoughts before the weekend, happy weekend ya'll}.


Blaber Blogger said...

Amazing article.. and pictures.. Where exactly is this?

Rachel said...

Beautiful words, beautiful pictures. I have a high respect for women of your faith facing the prejudice that's so common in Western society against you, even if I am Christian. Wishing you well and hoping you keep up the wonderful blog. <3