Apr 5, 2011

I Say A Little Prayer For You

Whenever a child is born, there are certain traditions that the lucky family carries out so as to ensure the child physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well being as he proceeds through life. Some people have the baby suckle on honey before the first time he or she drinks the mother's milk, which is actually pretty dangerous. There is another tradition of not allowing the mother to leave the baby's side for a period of forty days no matter whatever is going on around her so as to allow the necessary bond to form between the two. A very common tradition that no matter what religion a person belongs to is of offering a special prayer just for the child. This tradition is generally performed by the entire family and anybody who wishes to imparts their blessing as well can join. I make sure I always join if I can and if I can't in cases where the new born is not in Pakistan I make sure to offer a special prayer for him or her.

Just yesterday I was blessed with a nephew. I have previously mentioned his sister and my niece in my blog during the time I was committed to Nathan. After our break-up, she was one of the few things that brought a smile to my face. While the baby was born in America, as they have immigrated - the new born's paternal grandmother is still living in Pakistan with her other son. She organized the prayer as per our tradition and I just had to take part in it.

Now I really haven't asked my cousins or my parents that exactly what do you ask in the mentioned prayers. It seems obvious what you need to ask for - the over all well being of the new born. My take on the said tradition has been slightly different since the past five years or so. Yeah, I do pray and I do wish the little one the best with all my heart. But when praying I am very specific about my prayer.

"If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself!", one of the many things my awesome mom keeps driving into my thick skull. So while everybody is saying their prayers I add this little part to mine.

"Please do not have this child face the same hardships and issues that I have faced through my life. I want her/him to grow in peace and never feel that he/she is an abomination that is to be ridiculed and hated by the society. Don't ever have him/her stand at the edge of the roof thinking to just end it for once and all. Don't ever do this to her/him. I can forgive You for everything that I have endured but I will not forgive You if this child has to endure what I have."

I know my prayer sounds cold. Probably alot of you will feel that my prayer is highly inappropriate, especially those who support my confidence for my sexuality. However I have to make it clear that getting to this place where I am now, was no easy task. There have been alot of hard decisions that I have made which people close to me would also have to endure eventually because of me. I may even get disowned if my dad ever comes to know about it. It's not something people would like to know about their child. It's hard enough for us to conquer the feelings of guilt, shame and anger in the first place, then to help our parents and other loved ones get over them. It takes more than just blood, sweat and tears!

Nobody really understands it. We are brought up in a society that not only accepts and promotes heterosexuality but also insists on coupling. Being homosexual is wrong. Being single is not acceptable. We are wrapped in several layers of mentality that tells us that we need to find a mate of the opposite gender and then under the blessings of our parents we are to enter the matrimonial bliss with the said person. Nothing wrong in that if you're straight. But for those who are not attracted to be opposite gender, there starts a whole new process in which we strip ourselves off these expectations and demands if we want to live in peace. It's like having a very painful tattoo removed that you didn't even want in the first place. It hurts as we strip it off ourselves piece by piece, but if we are to live in peace then we have to. We come out to a few close contacts - most probably family and have some people walk out on us. It hurts more than anything in the world from those who have been shunned by their own kin for not being normal. Many who are considering it fear of rejection from their families. Who would really want that?

Most people I know would say 'No!' in a second if it was up to them. However it's not our choice and as aptly put by Lady Gaga - Baby, I was born this way!

I have yet to see any signs of homosexuality in any of my nieces or nephews except for one, but I'm not entirely sure about him yet. I think he would be 8 years old right now and I met him two years ago on my summer trip to America. He clearly had alot of toys, however his favorite toy was his elder sister's doll pram which he was constantly pushing all around his neighborhood in the evening when we were all outside. Maybe I'm reading too much into this but I had a slight inclination that he just might be gay. That night when I went to sleep, he kept flashing across my mind again and again. I felt like crying my heart out and screaming at God, however I didn't. Not only because it would have woken up everybody in the house but also I really would not be able to explain to anybody the cause of my extremely strange behavior.

The next day, his father who is my cousin wanted to take some pictures but in every picture he wanted to pose with the pram. When his father grabbed the pram to pull it away from the child, he would not let go and raised a huge tantrum. The father won in the end but from the help of his wife who placated the child by explaining to him that if he wants to hold a toy he can hold his Batman action figure and only girls look good pushing doll prams. He agreed to let go of the pram but he didn't smile in any of the pictures we took. Says alot don't you think?

He still has a long way to go before he reaches his teens and probably realizes about himself. I don't even know if at that point I should help him or not. At one side, I do want to help him so that he doesn't want to go through it alone. But if my fears are indeed true and if he at any point mentions about me to his parents it would definitely create a rift between their family and mine. The said kid's grandfather and my own father are blood brother, infact his other son happens to be the grandfather of my very awesome nephew Bilal.

Why does life have to be so darn freak'in difficult? Why do I have to make some complicated choices? I wish I could turn a blind eye to all this but I can't. I just can't!


My prayers go out to all my nephews and nieces. May you all be born straight and live happy lives!


THUNDERCAT832 said...

Your prayer was right on point! It was real, it was genuine, and totally needed! If eveyone thought like you did, we would be in a better off place!!

Rakesh said...

Last year, I was staffing the Trikone (LGBT desi organization in San Francisco) booth at the Indian Independence day festival, when a young Indian couple came up and said, they think their 4 year old son is gay, and they want to be able to support him in whatever sexuality he choses, so they wanted to know if we had any programs for young gay kids. This was a first for me, and I couldn't help them directly, but I did thank them for being so open and supportive about it. Whether the kid turns out gay or not, it's sure, he will have supportive parents. :)

Sam August said...

phunk! your prayer, that was something powerful!

Aaron Khan said...

wow. u sound very fierce in dis post. every1 has 2 play d cards they r dealt.v got d gay card n v r tryin 2 do our best. u cnt take it so personally if sm1 u knw turns out 2 b gay. its not necessary dat their life wud b difficult 2. more importntly, they will hav u 2 guide them n help them. which is so much more than what v have.

Phunk Factor said...

@ Thundercat832

Better place?! Nopes. I think we'd be in a better place if ppl accept it...cuz we don't choose it...we're made this way...and so perhaps my prayers are wrong..i should be praying for acceptance!

@ Rakesh

That's indeed very good to know...but I have a feeling the father won't be as supportive..but I hope I am wrong!

@ Sam August

I kno, mate! Bt i cant help it. Im at a good place now bt i think i got here too early...bt the journey nevertheless was hard! Dont want tht fr ne1!

@ Aaron Khan

I know..i should not take it so personally...Ryan says the same thing...but I can't help it..maybe the fault lies with me that i feel too much...and maybe i just need to have faith tht everything will turn out alright...i would really love to help out tht kid..but i really don't know how to do so without causing the fore mentioned rift!

Rakesh said...

In fact, surprisingly, the father was far more supportive than the mother. He seemed to have a lot of general knowledge about homosexuality and didn't have any prejudices.

Samuel Khan said...

hmm gud post bro . . . but a particular phrase iz lingerin on with me : forgive YOU ? did u mean God by that You ? care to elabprate it pls ? despite that i aint at ease with ma sexuality yet , the war within iz still goin on , but why will God deserve being forgiven or unforgiven ? i mean HE iz God , why wud He need our apologies ? besides its not all that bad either . . . i mean imagine so many conditions we cud have been in but we aint , 3 Billion base pairs in dna means 3 billion chances for us to suffer from various abnormalities every moment . . . but thankfuly we aint . . . as much as i love ya posts n trust me this one not an exception too , but i needed to discuss this forgive You clause . . .
to each his own . peace out brO

n its good to pray u see , Allah Himself says in Quran : when we call him , He listens to us n answers our calls (ayat 186 Soorae baqraa) . . . but havin said that , u gota agree to the fact that no one can love us as much as our Allah , i respect n endorse ya feelingz for the newborn but . . . Hez the one who created the new born in question ryte : He shapes up ya faces the way He wants to in the wombs of ya mothers (ayat 6 , Aal-e-Imraan) so guess it good to pray n leave the rest on Allah . . . but that forgive clause , as much as i try , i cant get maself to absorb or like it . . . n m discussin it coz its cummin from a guy like u , had it been sum random Tom Dick or Harry i wudnt have bothered . . .

n i have a student , n m damn sure hez gay toO . . . u know how it iz n , sweet gestures of hugs n pecks , all those sweet smiles , that innocence (yep i believe str8 kidz r less-innocent in comparision) n that Hannah Montanna fiXation , n his questionz as to wether i use Pantene or Sunsilk :S (Bonacure was ma reply hahaha) , clear signz they r . . .
but there iz little i can do to ease out his struggle . . . u know coz He'z up there , n He'd not let bad thingz happen to us n if they'll happen , they'd b for sumthing better . . .

Fasih Ur Rehman said...

you can be there for your nephew, well at least you can be there for him emotionally and maybe at some point in time he would wanna come out to you rather than anybody else, and if that happens, you'd be in a much better position to understand his feelings and guide him, although no matter how well you guide a person, s/he always learns from his/her own mistakes.... ooooh, i have a date tonight :D

Hadi Hussain said...

I can understand your emphathisizing, pediatric hormones driving you mad for that child or for that matter every child. But worrying about him, screaming in the midnight, noticing him not smiling in every pic with that batman isn't enough. First let him explore himself and if he will come up one day with it then YOU must support him, emotionally. There should be someone with him to go through all his troubled time. I don't know why you were thinking of having a possible roit between the families and not about the kid, his well being.

I understand your prayer and i felt the same way but i disagree for that you were praying him not to be a queer. Why???? I know we all have gone through so much difficulties, pain and sufferings but see we all are existing more stronger and determined. We have formulated this small social support group here and it's woinderful to have it. In his case, you will be an added treat, an added support and you should keep that in mind.

Phunk Factor said...

@ Rakesh

Well...all I can say for them is 'Brava'..and while I sincerely do applause their effort and their understanding...i'm still skeptical about the amount of such parents...while yes, it would indeed be a rare sight for parents to turn away their own flesh n blood...i can only hope such won't be the case for anybody!

@ Samuel Khan

First of all..lemme apologize...this isn't the entire prayer that I say but a small passage...there are other parts as well where I thank Him for his blessing on the child!

N yes...generally gays are quite sensitive creatures and rarely do they have f*cked up personalities..but unfortunately for them...the world isn't kind to them at all...i just want to protect them from that..if I could have some form of guarantee that no harm would befall them or they will not be left behind in any walk of life cuz of their sexuality i would be extremely thankful to Allah!

N I did mention tht my prayer may seem highly inappropriate!

@ Fasih

Probably..i know if he asks me for help..i will not be able to turn him away...but still..the thought that he just may have to go thru it all is scary fr me!

@ Hadi Hussain

Pediatric hormones?!

Bachu..tu meray haath lag...tera tiya pancha aik nahi kiya to meri waist 34 inches nahi! :p

I guess I thought about the riot cuz of a certain engagement tht almost got dissolved but was kept together wen the bride's mother said tht she needs to keep it to hav the families from fighting!

N I agree that all this has made us stronger...but don't u feel at times that u, I and other who are on similar wavelength got here much quicker than most?!

Most don't ever really process and lead dual lives..i guess we are blessed in that sense!

Jason Shaw said...

I'm not sure what to say, other than not all gay people are unhappy, not all have difficult lives, not all need prayers to wish they were straight.

Life can be hard, it's how we deal with the hardships in life that make us into the people we become.

I wish you luck, good wishes, and hope that you're not always so hard on yourself, as this post implies.

Haider Ali said...

alright Phunk! you really cant be sure that your nephew is gay until he reaches adolescence and figures it out for himself. Generalising that just cause he likes his sister's toys would end him up being a homosexual is inappropriate (cause i know someone who used to play with barbie dolls when he was young and is very much straight).
let me add that my sexuality has not hindered my growth in any way...yes there have been times when someone would tease me or insult me but these experiences have made me a stronger and better person and with time IT GETS BETTER.
Besides you should optimistic that LGBT awareness is increasing and by the time your nephews/niece grow up and turn out to be homosexual, than they wouldn't have to go through things that you had to go through.

Phunk Factor said...

@ Jason Shaw

"Life can be hard, it's how we deal with the hardships in life that make us into the people we become."

True...no doubt there!

About me being hard on myself...i don't think i am!

@ Haider Ali

It was a thought...i know I can be entirely wrong but that's how my mind perceived it to be!

The last para is point on..that is one hope that I do have...with time LGBT awareness is increasing and perhaps by then..it'll be alot better for even Muslim LGBT individuals to take a stance for themselves!

Rakesh said...

To your last comment .. here's something that may interest you.

M@rvin said...

Phunks, incidentally, 'gay' also means 'happy,' something a lot of us forget.
If anything, I'd pray for good luck - it seems to matter a lot in life!
And I don't think anyone should worry about a kid that plays with the 'wrong' toys - it often doesn't mean anything.

@Rakesh - SF is something else, huh? Even the Indians are gay-friendly! :) Sometimes dads are better than moms at this, my own being a case in point.

Faisal Khan said...

A well written blog, Phunk, but u might be getting a little carried away, by judging a lil too early about his orientation. And even if it comes to that, perhaps, by d time he grows up, society mite be different.

Andrea Almanza said...

No one wishes the people they love to suffer as they have. However, yes its to early to tell just yet. As the years pass it will necome more socially tolerated, but only when its fought for. Im a mom and since Mollie was 3 I have explained that some girls like boys and some girls like girl. Some boys like girls and some boys like boys, and thats just the way it is. If I can leave you with one sentence that will not out you but will help you and all the kids you care about its this, " I love you so much, no matter what happens in your life or what you are going thru, I will still always love you and be here for you." Say this often as they are growing up. So if the need does arise, whether its sexuality or not... they will come to you for answers and advise on life.

Phunk Factor said...

@ Rakesh

I'll chck out that link! Thanks fr letting me know!

@ M@rvin

I know! I could be reading too much into this...but it sort of drives me crazy! :(

@ Faisal Khan

And we have another person who agrees with me! I should call myself 'Awesome'! ;)

I do think the society would be more different..but I want the family structure to be different...they should be accepting!

@ Andrea Almanza

Woman let me just say it now...ur an exceptional parent!

Lots of parents...at least in Pakistan..dare not talk about sexualities with their children until it's too late...kids often grow up having the wrong idea or mixed up notions!

And that sentence - Brava!

Whimsical Hatter said...

My prayers for your adorable nephew as well!

Your prayer, was in NO WAY COLD or INAPPORPRIATE! Your prayer, is the most honest and definitely, the one, a child NEEDS.Because, courage to live(not only, in terms of one's sexuality) is something, that is beyond essential, these days.So, hats off!

HUGS( he one, where I come running towards you and hug you like crazy :-)). you my friend, are one little creature, that I'm glad I ran into.

Phunk Factor said...

@ Whimsical Hatter

Okay...since wen did I become the silly high school girl and u became the tough n gruff jock who makes me twirl my hair and smile innocently?!

When!? When?! When?! And more importantly...why?!

P.S. Imma squeeze those buns of urz wen we hug! :p

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