#00156: Who am I?

Hello. It’s time to share my ultimate secret with the world.

My name is Khalid.
I’m from Qatar.
I’m married to the most beautiful angel in the entire universe.
And I’m afraid of the world. Terrified. Petrified. So scared to the point where I created different identities depending on where I am in the world.
And now I decided to not be afraid anymore.

Let me tell you the story behind my breakdown.

Tuesday, September 11 2001.
I was 12 years old.
I was recording a radio show in Qatar. (I used to record and present radio shows in Arabic).
The sound engineer cut the sound. “The white house was blown” he said.
The first image that came to mind was that of alien ship in Independence Day blowing up the white house.
I didn’t have nay reaction but shock and confusion; “what does this mean?”

Fast forward.

Muslims became an enemy. People with similar backgrounds to mine are terrorists.
“Am I a terrorist?” I kept wondering. “Am I a bad guy?”
My dream ofΒ going to college in the US was shattered. Why? “Because they’ll strip search me in the airport in front of everyone”. I’m too fat and self-conscious about my body image to be humiliated in front of people.

My skin tone became associated with terrorism. So did my name.

I dissociated myself from people. “What if one of them, or their relatives, or friends, was a terrorist, and then I was labelled as a terrorist by association?”

From 2001 until 2006, I was fucking scared of the world. I hated my background. I hated every religion.
I was fucking terrified.

I didn’t want to go to the UK in 2006, but I did anyways.
I chose “Management and Mathematics” because I really didn’t care about college or life or anything.
I went to Sheffield.
That’s when the identity shit began.
Due to my ability to perfect the American accent (I did live there as a kid, anyways), I decided to use it to my advantage.
To be accepted by people – to not be labelled as a terrorist or a fucking Arab – I began the biggest lie of my life.
My name was K (short for Kevin) in public. (But in Banks and college and official paperwork, it was Khalid.)
In public – with general folks and drug dealers and grocery stores and …etc – my name was K (short of Kevin) and my last name was Chadwick.My mother was American (Catherine). My father was a fucking, disgusting Arab who left my mother when I was 3.

I kept his lie, even when I started my A-levels and went to college in Ireland.

But now I’m not afraid anymore. (Technically, I’m not afraid of fear anymore).
I can’t hide behind a fake mask just to satisfy the world.

I’m a good person (I’ve been told). I like to help people.
I chose Medicine to help people. That’s all.
I might’ve been born in a different country, in a different culture, lived in multiple countries throughout my 27-years on this Earth, but I promise you I’m not a bad person.

Fear crippled me.
Fear pushed me to take drugs (and I still take drugs) just to hide my fear and show the world who I really am – a genuine smile never leaves my face because I have the ability to blend in with everyone and talk about everything.
I’m a great listener, but fear forces me to live in utter anxiety.

Anyways, I hope you don’t hate me for being who I am.

Thank you for reading.

Warm Wishes,
Khalid

p.s. I don’t edit my posts. I write and post immediately.

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27 replies »

  1. I’m so pleased to meet you, Khalid. Thank you for choosing to share and allowing us a glimpse at your origins. Once again, your honesty is so intense, and I applaud you for writing from deep inside. I am so happy I am able to follow you during your journey of 10,000 posts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is I who is deeply grateful for having you as part of my journey. It was very difficult for me to be honest about myself and share it on the internet. However, to move forward in life I had to get rid of my biggest fear ever: being judged for who I really am.
      I’m used to putting fake masks everywhere I go just to blend in – perhaps it is innate to fear what different?

      Thanks again for the like and comment. It really means a lot to me. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • I believe one’s actions speak the truest to who they are – but it can be difficult to escape presumptions from others based on where you’ve come from or how you appear. The fear of being different is universal, and although I come from a very different background than you, I feel a sense of familiarity when I read your words. I believe the only judgement that one should care about, is the one that comes when they look into the mirror. But, that’s a whole different line of conversation! I guess what I am saying is, bravo, and I hope you feel proud of yourself.

        Liked by 1 person

      • “I believe the only judgement that one should care about, is the one that comes when they look into the mirror.”
        That summarized it perfectly. I’ve been looking at the wrong mirror for years.
        Sadly, I’m the one who chose the mirror. And as you said, it has been reenforced through the media all these years and it was very (still is) difficult to escape the presumptions.

        I hope I’m shattering the mirror and replacing it with a new one. It’s journey, and I’m grateful to have you with along the way. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Nobody can understand you truly because only you’ve passed through that situation. But we understand, that now you are a strong person.
    I don’t know what world thinks, but I don’t think terrorism belongs to any religion.
    And let me tell you a very personal fact: all my friends are Muslims, but they come first before the religion. That’s why I trust them, love them!
    Have a great Day, KHALID (not k anymore)
    😊😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Fab Writings for you encouragement. I’m on the path of being a strong person – and it started by shattering my by biggest fear of being judged.
      As a child, up until that point in my life, I never really have a thought about religion. I spent sometime in the US as a kid and religion was never an obstacle. In fact, people were so kind to us because we were foreigners and they were interested in learning more about where we come from and all.
      But then the world changed, and I automatically became a bad person.

      When I was in the U.K., I got used to being stopped and searched on a daily basis; at first, I felt like sh*t, but then I came to the realization that it’s for my safety as well (I changed my thought pattern).

      Ahh. I can go on and on, but maybe I should leave it for a post :p

      Thanks again for the encouragement. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It is brave of you to “come out,” at least to this public. What a tragic story, with a hopeful ending. I left the US right after 2001. It was too much to bear even for a white woman – the hatred and jingoism, the flag waving and suspicion. I havenΒ΄t lived there since, for a variety of reasons, most of which this yearΒ΄s election gives proof to. Good luck to you. It is a difficult world in which to be Arab. I hope you can find some safe places to be yourself.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Vellissima. I’m sorry to hear about your story and I hope one day you will be able to go back home (if you want to). It is indeed a difficult world to be Arab; I myself hate being one and wish I was born something else.
      I wish I could change people around me but I can’t.

      Thank you for your words and I hope you find the safe haven you live the rest of your live in. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Khalid,
    You are not my enemy. I’m sorry so many Americans are afraid of you. That’s where it comes from: fear.

    Don’t let other people define who you are. You know the truth about yourself. Stay true to that.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m so sorry that you felt that you had to hide your true identity for so long because of what the world has portrayed since 2001 about religion and terrorism. They are two completely different things. The vast majority of religions encourage peace and prosperity, unfortunately there are a small minority out there who use religion as a front or justification to commit violent acts against humanity. Thank you so much for sharing this and I hope now that you feel a bit more at peace about your identity.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your words are very kind and indeed I’m slowly beginning to accept the things I can’t change i.e. my ethnicity, my background, my past, …etc.

      I wanted the world to accept me. Now, I aim to accept myself.

      Thank you for commenting πŸ™‚

      Like

      • No worries, I think it’s important to hear directly that not everyone subscribes to the fear that is often perpetuated by society and the media and that there are people out there like myself that know the truth. That is the hard part, accepting yourself and not seeking acceptance from the world. We are all unique and all deserve to be on this planet and unfortunately there will always be people who judge others. I look forward to seeing where accepting yourself leads you. Nothing but well wishes coming your way.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Thankyou, Khalid.

    Masks and separate identities can be creative if you know who you really are and are prepared to show it when necessary.

    Look: I’m white and English. For all I know, I may have had ancestors involved in the slave trade. My appearance and the area my paternal grandfather came from suggest I may have Scandinavian, Viking genes. The Vikings raped, murdered and looted their way through Europe. They did good things too, but so did those 16th to 18th century English. So do Arabs.

    There is no easy solution to being suspected in the Western world of being a terrorist, other than being confident in who you are. It wasn’t you who killed innocent people. It isn’t you who treats women like slaves. We all have things our countries or peoples have done that people rightly condemn.

    The image of Muslims in many Western countries now is very negative. But it’s Muslim soldiers who are taking Mosul from I.S. and London has a Muslim mayor, elected mainly by non-Muslims. Those who condemn all Muslims are no more truthful than those who call all armed Christians (or non-Christians from historically Christian countries) “Crusaders”.

    Stand tall.

    Simon

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow. Thank you, Simon.
      Thank you for taking the time to comment.
      Your words are powerful. Your words are also very true and straightforward.
      I can’t blame the entire world for something I chose to do for such a long time. I’m guilty of thinking the worst of my future.
      You’re right – being confident in who I am and what I bring to this world is the only way to be.
      Thank you again, Simon. πŸ™‚

      Like

  7. Wow wow wow. I have a lot of friends from other countries, and I love them like crazy and it always just cripples me to hear things like this. People’s stories fascinate me, and it’s frustrating how normal our society makes it to skip out on asking others about themselves and just make assumptions. I can’t tell you how glad it makes me that you’ve decided to take the first step against fear and racial profiling and not be ashamed of your ethnic and cultural background. Culture is the beauty in society; embrace it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello, youthfulblossom. Really appreciate the kind words and your wonderful enthusiasm.
      I’m also glad I wrote that post – still not fully showing my face, but doing so very soon.
      I’m glad the post made you glad πŸ™‚ Thanks for the support.

      Like

  8. I’m not quite sure why you brought tears to my eyes this morning. Compassion, understanding, empathy, acceptance? Sending my love to you today. We all hide behind masks sometimes. I think it’s only human and it’s because, exactly as you stated, we fear other humans or their perceptions, judgements, or finger pointing ways. Or their hatred. Anyways, I wish you the very best in life. Fear is a liar, never listen to it. I’m a recovering alcoholic, so I understand drug use as well, and I hope and pray that you find recovery and healing in that area my friend. Peace and love today, and every day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sending all my love to you as well. Thank you for understating. Thank you for commenting. Addiction is a monster understood only by those who have been a victim of it.
      I hope you stay away from your addiction; stay strong. I’m proud you’re on the route of recovering. I genuinely hope you stay clean forever, and I will follow your path soon.
      All the love wherever you are from a simple Qatari currently struggling in Jordan.
      Thank you again and again for sharing. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

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