Wednesday, October 14, 2009

And So On...

Is post is an add on from my last post. You know where I was questioning whether or not I was representing my Nation or even if there was a need for me too.

This morning I was riding the bus with a bus friend. As bus friend is a person that you only see on the bus. And since you tend to ride the bus with the same people, over time you get friendly with them. I have been riding MARTA for 4 years now, on and off. I like riding because it’s good for the environment and saves on gas and aggravation. But I digress…

This particular bus friend is a female, and we ride all the way to my train stop together. We got to talking. She was telling me about something that went on in her church and asked me how I saw it. Okay. In my head I’m like, “Yeah. I must not be repping the Nation well at all that this chick who she and I been cool for a few years doesn’t realize that I am not a Christian.” I politely told her that I didn’t, couldn’t have an opinion because I don’t attend church. She looked at me like I just slapped her mother. I was fully expecting a tirade on how I need to repent from my wicked ways. But she said, “Oh you’re Muslim, right?” I can see getting confused for a Muslim. I don’t wear pants and I cover my head, though not the way Hijabis cover their heads. But no cigar. Although this morning, my hair was half exposed. I am wearing a beret and half of my locs are hanging from behind. I felt French. I told bus friend that I am an Earth in the 5% Nation of Gods and Earths. I received a blank stare for the effort.

I’m a bit spoiled. I am originally from NJ and in NJ folk know who and what the Gods and Earths are. Here in Metro Atlanta, not so much. I expect that from most people. And this conversation sparked another conversation that lasted until I got off the train. I explained what and how we teach. It’s is really hard to explain to the 85% that in calling the Black man “God” does not attribute to him the powers of their mystery god or that I have become some second class citizen by calling myself ‘Earth’ and not goddess. But I labored on, speaking to bus friend like a child, simply because that’s what she needed.

I am not sure what she got from the conversation. Time will only tell. But what I got was illuminating. And maybe that’s why it happened. She said that by just looking at me she would have never thought that I was anything different. That was kind of funny! She said I looked like everyone else. I was initially put off, but she explained it to me like this. She said that yes I cover my body, and she did notice that I cover my head, but I don’t do it in a way to make people uncomfortable or like I am an isolationist. Okay. I can live with that. She pointed out that even in what I am wearing today (A black skirt, a pink twin set and some boots) doesn’t look out of the ordinary; even with the beret!

This got me thinking. Am I supposed to look different? I know the only person who can answer that question is me. I’m good with how I look. I stopped wearing pants even before I was righteous. And I covered my head on and off for years. It’s the lack of weave and make up that was the most jarring, but folks (outside the Justice) haven’t had too much to say about it. So Do I feel like I’m representing the Nation? Yes I Do! I suppose I’m done with this issue. Until the next time.



Precise said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Precise said...

This is more of an addon for those who don't know me, more than anything else. Not everyone has it as a mission to be a "poster child." I do it with a purpose. To bring exposure to a nation that needs exposure while still chronologically in it's infancy (45 years).

Also, my choice to bring exposure to the nation is not indicative of my "bout-it-ness" nor should it be for anyone. We've built on the Sunday church-goer attitude some people who claim this nation have, so how they appear is not necessarily how they be. The real litmus is the entirety of one's words and actions (WISDOM), and how you handled your business with the bus woman is an excellent way to show and prove that we are the Gods and Earths.

My methodology for attracting attention to Allah's Nation works for me and I advocate it to anyone, yet it's not the only way or even the best way for everyone to make the knowledge born. That's where self style comes into play. So to the readers, do you. Just make sure you're not hiding your affiliation to Allah's Nation under a bushel. However you go about your business, let it shine.

Precise Infinite Peace Allah

P.S. Now you got one shirt thanks to the Region 4 Conference. :D

Chi-Chi, The Original Wombman said...

As a Rastawoman, I struggled with this a lot especially when I had to be in professional settings. I wanted folks to know I was Ras because I wanted the livity to gain exposure. There are so many misconceptions and just plain ignorance. But, on the other hand, I didn't want to completely stand out--I wanted to move in society without attracting too many stares. But I also wanted other RastafarI people to know we were of one accord. It was a difficult balance to find. I'd see other Rasta people boldly representing the livity and I'd hail them and sometimes get the side eye like I wasn't legit because I wasn't covered in Haile Selassie pins and Red, gold and green buttons and my headwrap wasn't a mile high on top of my head. Add to that the fact that I had such trouble with weak locks breaking off . . . people, I felt, made assumptions like I wasn't true or I was really new to the trod or just generally lacked realness. Other folks made assumptions that I was "into some cult" or something. It took a while to get to a place of peace and I found that I didn't mind a well placed button on my bag and other things that identified me. What became more important was what was in my heart, my actions and life and that, like you, when asked, I could represent my livity to the fullest extent--to teach those who didn't know about it at all or to clear up false notions. I grew accustomed to the weird looks (don't all Rastas smoke weed all day?) and the judgment but often times, folks were honestly curious and would say, "Oh, so that's why you wear a long skirt even in the snow and why you wear a headwrap even in the summer!" Some people are comfortable being poster children for their livity and I'm grateful for those folks--they bring much needed exposure. Others are content to represent in quiet ways. And as long as the intention is true, and you're not trying to hide anything, I think it's all good.