Malay-Muslim and then... not

intro: malay-muslim and then… not.

 

Ramadhan this year was very lonely for my soul and my stomach.

 

I binge eat whenever I have sadness in me and i know, as you are looking at me, you ask, where?

I cannot stomach this sadness I feel inside.

It has been churning within me, this dysphoria to be a malay-muslim and then, not.

 

Every time i display a miniscule amount of malayness like “ye saya?”, I am Muslim.

And when I talk of my atheism, I am no longer Malay.

 

The colonial lovers colonize my 

identity and blamed it on colonization. 

Westernized, ditched her sambal belacan for salt and pepper as if faith tasted white. 

 

I still eat with my right hand.

middle: Memories of the tasted

 

i still eat with my right hand.

i still coax the gravy to flow into my rice -- body hits body, combusts into the big bang and the big bang into the universe. yea.

I like to blanket my depression with food.

i’d take that any day. both the universe and the ability to divert taste with taste.

 

after i decided to be truthful to myself -- that i dont feel for any god, and that i was still resentful towards my own self for allowing someone i dont believe in hurt me so badly,

diffusion occurred. the bitter taste feeding off my tongue was washed away, floated to an island i will never venture.

 

i didnt realize that just because i dont venture to the island, the island wouldnt float back to me.

 

questions invaded my faith,

questions invaded the lack of it.

Why did you take off the hijab?

Kawan kau semua cina eh?!

Are you Christian now?

 

My faith is the lack of faith.

Because the faith i used to cling onto for familiarity, lacked faith in me.

 

i wish i could tell you the amount of hurt that piled onto me,

I watched videos of people pelting stones during their pilgrimages.

Did you know that lontar jamrah was to stone the devil?

me kissing girls is satanic.

 

when push comes to shove,

enough was enough.

islam was not for me, the only thing left in it for me was this bitter taste

hurtful, forcing down my throat, shoving my esophagus open, making me swallow.

 

But still, i ate with my right hand.

end: raya in the closet

my closet was bursting from years of abuse.

Like my throat, its back has been punched through the years of carelessness and miscalculations of where i placed certain things.

the doors are ajar, too tired to clamp shut, just a brief opening to let it breathe, not too loud, subtle enough for someone to not acknowledge its existence.

 

some clothes limp in between the gap, showing hints of who i was but too pathetic to be out.

 

my kebaya was hanging from the rack of the closet, protected by a see-through garment bag.

as i squeezed myself beside it, i had to push the garment bag aside to make space for me.

as a result, it rested itself on my left shoulder.

 

me too, i need a break.

 

we both sit quietly in the closet.

 

it’s dark but the least likely of places for someone to find me.

the chatters of the kenduri outside tells me

I will never be safe.

 

my nails and my skin are the same,

both bitten, raw, chipped. 

 

I still eat with my right hand.

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