Today was my first reading. Ayesha Mattu, the co-editor of Love Insh’Allah flew in from California. Ayesha is a breath of sunshine whenever our paths align and we are lucky enough to meet, so I was so thankful that Abby, a great local mom who works at Emory helped coordinate the event and made it all possible. She did a great job. We had a lovely turn out with lots of great questions, support, and my was it cool to sign books! It was also so nice to see friends I see every day and friends I haven’t seen in ages, all of whom are very busy but came out anyways [and my son’s proud shouts of momma only helped make the evening that much more special]
But this book has not been without personal consequences for me and the lack of support from my Muslim community, startling, as I’ve had to endure silence and the not so infrequent hostile whispers. While this hurt, as people filled up the seats, asked questions, and my friends hugged me and my son ran up jumping into pictures because well, how do you take photos without him in it? I realized for the umpteenth time how blessed I was. The pain left a hollow crater, but in that moment I felt it fill up with love and gratitude for the beauty around me.
And yet, I want to figure out how to process what happened, or rather what didn’t from those I thought were friends? Who heard the gossip and said nothing? Who have yet to say a word about the book, the reading, or anything close to it? Who’ve been in my home? Whose babies I held? Whose hands I held during difficult moments? What do I make of the silence? How does one proceed from here to protect ones heart? Is it simply the universe telling me its time to cull my friendships? Or am I making too much of this? This is not about those who supported me and let me know they couldn’t make it because I understand life is busy, this is about those who couldn’t even bother to say a word. Ever. It’s the silence that unsettles. I try to treat people as I would like to be treated– and while my son might prevent me from attending an event such as this, I would never simply lay forth a canvas of silence. I’ve written about my desire for, and my lack of community; this was never quite so starkly laid out for me as tonight. I’m thankful for my friends who are there for me, I’m thankful Waleed will have their love in his life but I had always envisioned him growing up in a large supportive faith-based community, and tonight I’m beginning to think this might be an area in which I ultimately fail him.
I don’t normally lay it all out there like this, but I was hoping to get advice if anyone has ever experienced this, or in my shoes what they would do. Any advice appreciated.