Missed us? Let’s catch up!

Illustration by Samya Arif for The Lily

Catch up on “Love, InshAllah” & “Salaam, Love” writers & editors Ayesha & Nura’s latest:

Patheos/AltMuslim On Ramadan, Forgiveness, & the Shape of the Woman Beneath: Ayesha wrote a piece on this site about being disowned by her mother after the publication of her first book, here. In this follow up piece, she explores her six-year path to inner peace.

Washington Post/The Lily This Ramadan, I’m focusing on fostering tender masculinity in my son  In the #MeToo era, we need to talk about how we’re raising the men of tomorrow

M Magazine Constellations of Love Surround You Your love life isn’t limited to your romantic partner

The Establishment Jane Austen And The Persistent Failure Of The White Imagination

M Magazine What Did You Say When Your Children Woke Up On November 9

Good Girls Marry Doctors anthology essay Without Shame

36 Flavours of Self Loathing

Eds. Note: Key is taking July off to get married, mA! We pray for deep blessings, contentment & joy in her union, and are re-posting her very first column with us from April 2014.

Key Ballah

Key Ballah

36 Flavours of Self Loathing

1. In 2nd grade a boy called me fat, there hasn’t been a day since then, when I loved my body
2. At 18 I found myself locked in a restaurant freezer with a boss who was trying to use his
hands to convince me that sex with him was part of the job.
3. There were nights after you left, when I filled my bed with everything that you touched,
hoping to fill it with something familiar.
4. The moon warned me not to come see you that night, it hung low trying to touch me. When I
left you, it asked me how could I hate myself so much.
5. When you didn’t call I had to delete every memory of you I had, but you still
lingered in the cracks of my walls.
6. Someone once told me that my body was a war zone. The day that I finally
understood what that meant, I was bleeding from my forearms trying to recreate the crucifixion.
7. West Indian women are known for having children but being too strong to have men.
I’ve never understood the fear some people have of women who expect as opposed to women who hope.
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Loss. Love. Forgiveness. Love. In that order.

Hayah in Cape Town, 2009

July 3, 2009 – the day that I finally got the divorce papers in my hand. Walking away from the lawyer’s office, tears streaming down my face, heart overjoyed, arms wrapped for dear life around the precious file, I knew I was finally free.

The three years prior to that day had been difficult. I had consented to an arranged marriage, despite alarms going off like sirens inside my head, in spite of a very strong instinct telling me to run in the other direction. It’s strange, but I almost knew that divorce was inevitable even before the marriage ceremony occurred.

Yet despite the hours of debate between my hardcore feminist self working in the women’s rights field and my Islamic values and family ties, this good Muslim girl convinced herself that marriage was the right thing to do at that time. At 22, never even having had a boyfriend, I became a married woman. My notions of love up to that point were the stuff of dreams – a million infatuations with musicians, actors and the like, always believing that “the one” was out there for me.
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