When I first started posting in my blog, I decided to make it a weekly one where I post every Thursday. I usually write them before that, whenever I'm 'inspired'. Not this week. This week was cluttered with 'inspirations', which made it harder for me to pick one illustration and plot its details down. So here goes what my mind and heart chose to be voiced out.
A week from now, I was wandering at one of the malls with my siblings, when people started looking at me, staring at me,eyeing me from head to toe...They tried to hide it but their eyes kept following me. I was confused. Was it that I was wearing minimal make up? I can't look this bad without make up! Is it the way I walk? But I Know I walk just fine, with the right body posture... I started pondering about every single detail in my physical appearance. Thoughts started rushing in and out for a couple of minutes until it hit me, they can't see my arms! See, I was wearing a 'Bahraini Abaya' that day. For those who don't know, a 'Bahraini Abaya' is the traditional dress for women in the Gulf with a specific cut where you have to tuck your arms in to tie an inner belt. So for the 3-4 minuted I had my arms inside my Abaya, I faced the most confusing - troubling - puzzled faces I have ever seen in my entire life! I mean, I know we all can be judgmental every now and then, maybe more often than we would like to admit, but this was the first time I felt judged for something, if true, had nothing to do with.
I started thinking, do I stare like this every time someone who looks slightly different passes by? Do they notice the "I'm trying not to stare at you" looks? For these couple of minutes I loathed the judgmental Mariam in me. Although I always try not to judge or label others, I couldn't help but think of all the times I actually do. I couldn't deny all the times I glanced at someone for milliseconds just because they looked different. They see it. They feel it. All the "I'm trying not to stare at you" looks don't count anymore.
It took me a while to sit and write down this experience because until this minute, I'm still trying to get my head around it. Am I judgmental? Am I not the philanthropic person I think I am? No that's not true! Because when I try 'not to stare' at someone and I eventually do I don't do it because I want them to feel bad. I always do it with a smile. A supportive smile I hope.
There's a lot to think and write about when it comes to our perceptions of other people, but for now I know that I should always, always, keep this 3 minute experience in my head before I step out for you never know what you might face one day.
I write and publish this note in hope that I'll one day get to the point where my actions truly mirror what goes around in my mind and heart...