Tag Archives: appearances

Mistaken for a Muslim Woman

Last night I was at the airport waiting for my driver.  It was late and very cold.  I was coming from Memphis where it had been about 30 degrees warmer.  I put on every piece of clothing I had in my bag and covered my head with a scarf. While waiting, there was a Muslim-looking woman.  I say Muslim-looking because on that night I was a Muslim-looking woman too.  She smiled at me as if to say, “Hi sister.”  I smiled back but felt a little uncomfortable.  I wasn’t trying to look Muslim but I was aware that I did before I even saw her.  Should I tell her that I’m not Muslim?  It was silly.  Who cares. She smiled at me. I smiled back.  We are sisters.  I am Christian.  She is Muslim, probably, but who knows for sure.

The picture above is of me in Morocco about 6 years ago.  I can pass for many things: Puerto Rican, Dominican, Ethiopian, Muslim.  I am none of those things.  I am Christian, of African descent (most likely West African), English, Irish, German and French.  Most importantly, I am human.

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Necessity… the mother of invention

Contemporary rendering of a poster from the Un...

Contemporary rendering of a poster from the United Kingdom reading “Keep Calm and Carry On”, created during World War II. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Plato said it.  Not having something causes you to be creative.  I was much more creative with cards and fashion when I had less money.  Being frugal and being creative go hand in hand.  You find new uses for old things, using up old food in fridge while cooking (for example stir fried rice with leftover meat and veggies).  You can make cards from groovy labels you peel off a can.

I just made two signs for our newly decluttered and organized laundry area.  One says “Keep Calm and Laundry On.”  I printed it from the internet,  printed it on 8 1/2 by 11 paper, and put in a plastic sheet protector.  It’s pretty cave like down there with concrete walls, so no fancy frame needed.  It’s not fancy but it looks a lot better than it did!  

Who I look like

I just read an interesting blog post called Assemble All Those I Resemble that I thought was interesting.  In the post, the writer shows pictures of all the women she has been told she resembles. Although she doesn’t look just like any of the people you can see a resemblance to each one.  Here are the people I’ve been told I look like:

Debbie Sledge.  I was told that I could be another Sledge sister when I was in junior high.

Next was Jayne Kennedy in high school.  I used to wear my hair straightened and looked a little like her but not much.

In college, a friend said I looked liked Darryl Hannah.  I never quite understood that but I do have some Nordic blood if you can see past the blonde  hair and blue eyes.

And then there was Cree Summer.  We have the same hair and I used to dress a lot like her character on A Different World.  

Lots of people have told me I look like Lani Guinier.

My co-worker thinks I look like Carla Hall from Top Chef.

I always thought I looked like Cathy Tyson.  Or maybe I just want to look like her.  🙂

And last, there is Tracee Ellis Ross.  My son thinks we look alike. 

So, I guess I look like all of these people and none of  these people. Truly, I look like this.

Does your inside match your outside?

English: Mother Theresa with Dr. S. Brahmochary

Image via Wikipedia

At Mass yesterday, the homily was about hypocrisy.  Being one way on the outside, and another on the inside.  A friend once asked me, if you met me and didn’t know me, would you know that I’m a Christian.  I said no, but that had less to do with her, and more to do with not really having a good idea about what it means to “look” like a Christian.

Let’s start with the inside, arguably the most important part.  What does it mean to be a Christian, inside?  To me, it means that you accept that you are a sinner.  It means that you have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal saviour.  Once doing so, you keep Him with you as you go along on your earthly journey.  It means that you go to church.  That you surround yourself with other Christians.  That you read the Bible and pray.  That you follow God’s word such as the Ten Commandments and God’s other teachings.  That you try to do the right thing.  That you accept that you are not perfect.  That you try to accept and forgive others.  That you fight for what is right.  That you understand that there is evil in this world and you wait for the glory that is waiting for you in heaven.

How does that translate to the outside?  I believe that all those things in the inside should shine through to the outside somehow.  What does a Christian look like?  I think we are kind and loving people.  But we also have to be firm and stand up for our faith and for God.  We are modest.  We are dignified.  We are down to earth.  We look like we care more about the inside than the outside, which doesn’t mean we are dumpy and don’t care about our appearance, but it should mean that we are not overly concerned about the outside.  We are balanced. 

Most importantly, we are loving.  Like the song says:

“They will know we are Christians by our love, by our love.  Yes they’ll know we are Christians by our love.”

Peace and love.