Fear in the night

New Moon, Hilal (Rumi)

Remember the story of the young guest

who came before certain King. “And how old are you,

my lad? Tell the truth now. Say it out.”

“18, well 17. 16.

Actually,  uh,15.”

“Keep going! You’ll end up

in your mother’s womb.”

Or the man who went to borrow a horse.

“Take the gray.”

“No, not that one.”

“Why?”

“It goes in reverse. It backs up.”

“Then turn its tail toward your home.”

The beast you ride is your various appetites.

Change your wantings. When you prune

weak branches, the remaining fruit

gets tastier. Lust can be redirected,

so that even when it takes you backward,

it goes toward shelter.

A strong intention can make “two oceans wide”

the size of a blanket, or “700 years”

the time it takes to walk to someone you love.

True seekers keep riding straight through,

whereas big, lazy, self-worshiping geese

unload their pack animals in a farmyard

and say, “this is far enough.”

Last week Wazina and I applied for a big award, big both in terms of money and folks who will be reviewing the application. Angela Davis is one of them! As we were creating the video submission, I could feel myself desire to kind of back away, to remain as “discreet” as possible. Basically I could feel the fear in me of potentially becoming even more visible. Most days I ignore that small voice of alarm in the back of my mind that screams at me every time I post here, every time there is a video or picture of us somewhere, every time our names are connected with this project. It’s the voice that tells me visibility is not safe.  I know, at this point, that that voice is quite illogical in the sense that we are already waaay out there. Not only that but that we made a conscious decision to step into this level of visibility. I really believe in what were doing and why were doing it– the conviction that every body is entitled to a safe, fully expressed life, and one in which faith, sexual orientation and gender identity are not at all at odds. I also believe and trust that Allah has this as part of my earthly purpose at this time, a piece of my divine alignment. From that place I can feel a peace in my heart, a calm. From that place I can breathe and be easy. Sometimes the fear does get me, and the voice won’t shut up. “Are we safe? Are we safe? Are we safe? Are we safe? Are we safe? Are we safe? Are we safe?… What happens when a friend in Nigeria googles my name? Or when someone actually goes to this website after I’ve given them my card?…”

Then I remember all of you who have loved and encouraged us so well through this project, some of you, strangers. To remember this is humbling. Actually it’s moving. Getting a bit teary just writing this now. Thank you. I don’t think you have any idea how powerful your support, your prayers, your silent wishes, your thoughts, your sharing with friends about us, and all the ways you’ve loved and encouraged us, have been for me. Left to my own devices I think I wouldn’t keep showing up in the way that Coming Out Muslim requires. I’d like to do my selectively visible thing and call it a day, but is not the life Allah has given me. That story has not been written for me. My fear would have me lament that. I know better than to believe the stories it tells me. Nonetheless, we need all the love and encouragement you can give! (I think I can speak for Waz on that:-)) Please keep it coming!

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