Today was not my favourite day of the week. I had my 3-years-overdue dental checkup, and it turned out that my top two wisdom teeth had come through rotten so they needed to have some sealant on them. Not going to lie, it was absolutely horrendous. From the needle going into my mouth to the foul stench of the anaesthetic, it was disgusting from start to finish. Suffice it to say that I did not enjoy it. Luckily the whole appointment only took half an hour, and I was fine afterwards. It just wasn't the most pleasant experience I've ever had.
Now, last night I decided to convert to Islam. I know I said I wouldn't, but people change and I am no exception. However, I will not turn to strict Islam - I will combine my Western lifestyle with my Islamic faith. I will observe the rules on halal meat and no alcohol, but I will not change the way I dress. I dress modestly anyway, so I doubt it will be an issue for me, but if it's sunny and warm then I will wear a short-sleeved top and skirt. I am a British Muslim, and am British first and foremost. Islam is my religion, but it is not my way of life and nor do I want it to be. I have free will, and will exercise that right to wear what I want, when I want, and not be called names or abused for it.
The other thing that I refuse to change is my marriage plans. I am engaged to my fiancé and I will be marrying him in August, regardless of what my faith dictates. I will also not be asking Jonathan to convert to Islam. His faith is his choice and nobody else's - if he wants to remain an agnostic, that is fine, and if he wants to change faith that is also fine. I am not his mother and I do not have the right to convert him. Multi-faith couples have worked before and can work in this case too, and I will not be dictated to over my marriage. After all, the Quran says that a woman may choose her husband - and he is my choice of husband.
I know that my way of following Islam is not traditional, nor will everyone like it, but frankly I don't care if people like it or not. My religion is my choice, and I will follow it as I see fit. I did not grow up a Muslim, and I am not going to start living as if I've been Muslim all my life. I will also not raise my children as Muslims - I will raise them to think for themselves, and when they are old enough they can decide which religion - if any - they wish to follow.
Now for the good news! I was contacted today and asked to appear on BBC Radio Norfolk's "Drive Time" programme which airs at 4 pm. I will be pre-recorded, so I won't be live, but Iwillbe live on the Nihal show on the BBC's Asian Network with two other women - one a Muslim in London, the other someone in the USA. It should be a fun show, and I am on at 12:30 so if you can, tune in! I am also being interviewed for an ebook called Hijab Style And Fashion (www.hijabstyleandfashion.com) so look out for that in the near future!
So that was my day - from the nightmare that is the dentist to some more good news! I am also learning some more Arabic words and phrases, so hopefully I can start to use them more often.