There are days when I look back on my childhood memories and laugh.
This morning was one of those days.
I was thinking about how my siblings and I used to attend Sunday School in Hampton, Virginia.
When we first moved to Virginia from Colorado, I was struck by the humidity and this onion smell that was so strong whenever it got really hot outside.
Apparently they had lots of wild weeds growing in the area that were related to green onions or something. I can’t remember the whole story.
The Sunday School there was my first experience meeting Muslims who didn’t practice like my family did. They were very assimilated into what I would consider a mainstream secular lifestyle.
Girls and guys would go out together in groups, because their parents wanted to encourage them to have group dates and not one on one dates. They listened to music, the girls and their moms didn’t wear hijab, and some of the girls wore shorts.
I’m not judging here, I’m only setting a picture for you.
When I used to go to the Sunday school classes, I felt like I completely stuck out. Here was little 9 year old Mariam with a hijab on her head, getting looks of pity from the girls and their moms.
I was even asked many times by the adults why I wore it. I honestly didn’t know. It was just something we did as Muslims I had presumed. It was at these times that I really felt bad about myself, and it didn’t help that was also the year my parents decided to home-school us.
Apparently the neighborhood school was not up to par. We went for almost a year before we were pulled out.
Now, imagine those kids at Sunday School who knew that we were home schooled. You may think that’s not a big deal. But believe me it was. There was one girl in particular who was about a year older than me. She always had to make some point about how she knew all about the latest TV shows or music.
Because we didn’t have a TV, I had no idea what she was talking about. Looking back I laugh because she must have been so annoyed that I wasn’t impressed with anything she said.
She used to go on and on about this TV show about Aliens. Once when my family was invited over to her house, she flipped on the TV set and there was the show she’d been raving about. I didn’t find it amusing, but rather disturbing. I vividly remember that the alien women would breastfeed their children from the middle of their chest because apparently they had 3 breasts. That’s pretty much all I remember.
(I happened to find a picture of the show. I didn’t use the full family photo because I find it too scary, so you can enjoy this one and let is burn into your memory like it has for me).
Back to the story though, the girl who picked on me also had an older teenage sister.
I remember going to their room and she was busy listening to a cassette tape over and over while writing the words to Madonna’s song “Vogue” so she could memorize it. And that was my introduction to a singer called Madonna.
The reason I laugh when I think back about my childhood, is because it’s quite entertaining to think about the random adventures and variety of people I’ve come across.
I used to complain or feel ashamed at the time, particularly when being picked on. But now that I’m all grown up, I think of how blessed I was to have all these life experiences.
This is just one of many stories… maybe one day I’ll share them all.
Does anyone remember a TV series about Aliens?