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Musings of a mum: A burkini in Bournemouth

28th Aug 2020
Musings of a mum: A burkini in Bournemouth

Covid-19 has us staycationing! What a turnaround that is. All my bears and I love travelling, the thrill of the flight, the excitement of seeing a new place for the first time. However, like so much of our lives, those types of adventures have been shelved for the time being.

We spent a good part of the week going to Wales and ended our week by the seaside on the outskirts of Bournemouth, where I chose to wear a burkini.

Initially, I stuck out like a sore thumb but the feeling wore off as the day progressed. Me wanting to swim with my daughters trumped the awkwardness. That initial discomfort unsettled me. If I am choosing to live my life by values, why am I wary of it in public? Is a principle only of value when others around me share it?

I paid a visit to a lady who has been a saving grace in my family’s story. She and her late husband have always been there for us; when we had a messy divorce within the family when the home that we were renting became too expensive for us, they opened up their home for us.

This was done without any qualms from either of the two families. This support was expected and given whenever it was needed. All these years later we have a rich meaningful relationship and her unwavering support in our times of need have left a mark. That unconditional giving up of ‘space’ is unfathomable today.

Quite often when we think of hosting an individual or a whole family there is always this overwhelming feeling of claustrophobia. Have our houses and as a result, our minds obsessed with the idea of self, unable to think of supporting another individual or another family? Will our future selves be blessed with the same richness that we find in assisting our loved ones through moments of weakness?

In a mosque setting (pre-Covid-19 of course) we would quite often take a plate of food to share at a communal iftar during Ramadan. Back when we were growing up, it was rude to even fathom taking your own food before you offered it to others. However, that has changed today. If I were to take a bowl of salad (which I love) I would ensure that my plate had some of it before I passed it down.

What does that action tell my child? Make sure you serve yourself before you serve others? Is that the value that will dictate and determine our actions?

Serving our self-interest is not a bad thing. But we have to understand that serving others is serving yourself. It is allowing yourself to experience the depth and the wealth of understanding another’s vulnerability.
Perhaps that is a value that we can choose to pursue.

Aasiya I Versi

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