When Holistic Wayfarer (blog – A Holistic Journey) asked me to write this testimony about race in the context of what I see in the mirror, I was overjoyed and honored. And honestly a bit frazzled too because I had no idea what to write. Race is such a sensitive issue and we all have our stories. So what should I focus on? I decided to go beyond my physical traits and write about something that bothers me all the time. I wrote about being judgmental. And how true acceptance for me will come not just by celebrating everything that I am, but by accepting others too. That is how I will find true comfort in my own skin.
I hate being judged. Who doesn’t? But we still do it, all the time. Where I come from, Pakistan, many of us live in constant fear of what people say or think of us with someone always breathing down your neck. It’s difficult to break away. And the sad part is, I was no different. I labeled people based on how they looked, talked, walked, on their work, race, and beliefs. But now my heart can’t take the burden anymore. I want out of the vicious cycle. Standing in front of this mirror, I rejoice at my diversity as a woman, Muslim, Ghilzai-Punjabi-Pathan, Pakistani, Canadian. I celebrate my many faces. And I keep on against the urge to judge because I’ve been on the other side. The reflection in my mirror is no longer blurry. I can finally see.
So what do you see in the mirror?
Race. The colour of my skin, the flare of my nostrils, the texture of my hair, the S of my backside. I am none of these; I am all of these. Race. My mother is caramel, my father pure chocolate, and I am hazelnut. They taught me that education and excellence would open any door. I believed it; still believe it. Race. Raised in Nigeria, I live in The Netherlands. I temper the directness of the Dutch with the verbosity I think Nigerians inherited from the British. Race. When I look in the mirror, I see a girl, a woman, a lover, a wife, a mother, a friend, a sister, a mentor, a coach, a writer, a warrior — all I have been, all I now am, all I will one day be. When I look in the mirror, I see me. What if my father were Australian and my…
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