OK, I know. So what’s the title about this time?
Lately, I have been feeling restless. Like a bird, I want to fly and take off somewhere and try something new. Migration. The economy isn’t looking good, life is becoming expensive and like everyone else, I am feeling squeezed financially. But it’s not just money concerns. For the longest time, I have always wanted to do something wholesome with my life beyond being a mother. As rewarding as that role is, there is a part of me that feels the need to be out there beyond my four walls and making a difference to someone else’s life, however modest that contribution may be. That ‘something’ which I am seeking will probably never be fulfilled in the West. Though I was born in the UK and the corollary suggests that this must be home, I have never felt it to be. Being a person of colour and a Muslim, my entitlement to that claim is like trying to cling onto a slippery ladder and get to the top – an ever-elusive goal. Wider (white) society will always remind me that I need to prove myself (to them). That I am not prepared to do.
Unfortunately, the social fabric in Western society is virtually threadbare. It is coming apart at the seams. Through the gaping holes, so many of us have fallen. The internet age has successfully connected us with others across the globe and yet we have lost the skill of connecting with our immediate neighbours and communities. It is the other (technological) pandemic that nobody talks about and has yet indiscriminately contaminated so many pockets of different populations across the globe. Real human transactions are lacking in the public domain so much so that many people can go a whole day without having spoken to a single soul. How tragic is that?
I am not naïve to think that Eastern cultures have been spared from this ideological malaise. They do not provide the Utopic antidote to the West. They have been emulating Western values or habits for years and have now seemingly lost touch with their own rich cultural heritages. It is indeed a lamentable fact. Perhaps I am romanticising the past thinking life was richer socially even if not financially. Yet I was a child of the pre-internet age and can testify to a different type of childhood compared to what I see youngsters experiencing now. So, no. It isn’t a romantic figment of my imagination.
I know I can’t escape the temporal reality of life and all that it brings. I can’t run away from a situation just because things have gotten difficult. A true strength of character is to confront problems head on and fight. This is in keeping with my Muslim identity – to accept the challenges Allah places before us and consult the integrity of our spiritual beings to resolve the issue at hand. But sometimes, my rationale betrays my emotions and the result is that I feel mentally exhausted; I don’t have the will to go on. On the other hand, I know I have been in difficult situations before and have faith this one too will pass.
Like the bird that flies from a tree and finds liberation in the infinite sky, I pray too that I can spread my wings and head towards a new horizon.