Dear Silent Soul

exploitation

It is late at night, and I am awake, wondering about you.

Yes, me — the one you think of as perhaps belonging to the privileged and educated class. It is true that I can dress up and act as if I belong to their world, but I apologize for the deception. One can say I originated from your world, the working class. Though, I dare not disrespect you and say I can compare our plights. I, after all, can buy myself into another class, even though I don’t really belong. You, however, have no opportunity to move up the social ladder. Though I blend into their world, that does not make me a better being at all. It is pompous for me to express this, but let me admit, you haven’t left my mind.

Who asks about you? Who gives you hope? Who tells you to keep striving in a cruel world? Who tells you there is something to look forward too? Who prays for you? Who rewards you for hard work? Who tries to understand you when you lose hope and no longer want to put on a crooked smile?

You stand among many. Maybe, at times, you feel like a statistic rather than a human being. Maybe, perhaps, nobody has ever noticed you as a soul, a soul with dreams (broken or still in-tact).

If our paths cross, even for a brief moment,  I will feel honored to know you. And if given such an honor, I desire to know about your life and dreams. I think of you as a human soul, not just another exploited body that toils under the intense heat of this earth.

It is my sincere apology if ever I acted as they did to you. You may have cleaned after me, greeted me, ……..stood for hours on patrol for me, ruined your body and stifled your innocence…. all this you did, for people who appear like me. You simply exist to give ease to people with privileged — and somehow I found myself in that privileged class, as an outsider. My public persona, however, is only a mask — I learnt only to appear like them (the privileged) as a tactic of survival. Once again, I am sorry for the deception.

And what a world we live in! Why is it you are not thanked and celebrated? Why is the most ugly and immoral people are told to us to be beautiful and wise whilst you are silenced?

Yes, ignorant people judge you in shallow ways. They makes jokes and dehumanize you and say you talk  ‘unsophisticated’ or ‘smell’ or you dress tacky. Even the seemingly nice ones discriminate in subtle ways–such as acknowledging you, but deep down considering you inferior. Such minds are elite conformists, who lack empathy. They don’t see why you couldn’t afford their fancy education, nor understand why you cannot afford to dress as a pompous elite prat. Trust me, you are not missing out from the artificial lives they live. I have seen it: there is no soul, the big ‘promise’ they exude is pure deception.

Let them have the world, the duniya. Thats all they have. Their money, so-called ‘beauty’, and prestige cannot buy true love or genuine human bonds, nor does their material existence make them more desirable to our Maker.
Yes, many people in our debauched world are obsessed over and celebrate the so-called ‘amazing’ people (you know, those rich ‘beautiful’ pompous elite who are apparently examples of lovely beings). I am not interested at all to see the lives of the privileged– how utterly mediocre and predictable they are–they all desperately want to be heard and seen. It is the silence that captivates me, it is the things that society tells us to shun that I want to know.

I embrace you (the silenced souls), I celebrate you. But forget about me and my concern, I am nobody. It is our Creator who places you higher than those upper crust villains. Who am I to tell you this? It is I, perhaps, that should learn from you. It is I that needs to be silent and listen to you. Stop me at anytime.  Who am I to explain your plight? Teach me.

Tell me yours dreams. I will listen. Believe me, I wish I could begin to understand your isolation, your exploitation, your voiceless existence and how you silently blend into a background that ignores you. Tell me the most intense or mundane thing, and let it be appreciated. I just only hope I can understand, even though there are billions of dreams/stories/thoughts that have been bottled up. Someone, somewhere, is listening.

 

**

The House Keeper

I came back to my hotel early to rest for a few hours. Upon entering my room, the housekeeping maid was in the midst of tidying my room. I sat on my bed and rested while a male maid was tidying my room. He was a small, older man with brown skin and a cheerful face. I asked him if he had restocked the water bottles in the room, as I was thirsty from just coming out of the humidity from outside. He quickly went and got me multiple bottles of water, and then asked me, “Where are you from Ma’am?”

I explained to him my mixed origins, which then I turned the question to him, knowing he was from a similar region as my Mother’s origins. We were both Muslims, also. I quickly made a mental note of his scenario without him telling me: he was a migrant worker and this underpaid job was the best he could find, tragically — he also likely left his entire family in order to find whatever work he could. My observation was almost accurate, until I asked him “Do you miss your family back home?” He then told me, ” I don’t have much family left back home.” Then upon further discovery, I learnt that he had never married at all, nor had children. And given his cultural origins, I was shocked. “Why not?” I asked, very immaturely. He then said: “I am poor. I have nothing. I am old now. Nobody wants someone like me.”  I instantly refuted this statement and said, “No, don’t say that. That is not true, there is somebody for everyone. Insha’allah, you will find someone one day.” But then he said to me, “Ma’am, you are rich, you don’t understand.” I almost wanted to explain to him that I have not always been  ‘rich’ or that I am not rich back in my home country. But then I realized my privilege at that moment — even though I am a prostitute, I bought my way out of a lower economic class. Given the reality that I was staying at a luxury hotel, I could not insult him by comparing my plight to his. He acknowledged me kindly and then went back to his work. As soon as he left, I felt tears brimming in my eyes. I could not forget his words, nor his situation. Perhaps his imaan (faith) was so strong that he accepted the lonely reality of his life? Perhaps he accepted that he was basically going to do slave labour for the rest of this life? Or did he accept it? Was the kindness and cheerful expression that he exuded masking a deep sadness? Or did he find some way to cope with this reality? These questions boggled my mind. He was such a nice person — yet he considered himself unworthy for love and marriage — why is he not ‘worth’ anything in today’s society? Why are the good souls left dejected and silenced?

My mind reassured itself when thinking of him, and the numerous others I met in a similar situation: “A man, alone, is the neighbour of God” — an Eastern Proverb

They might be maids, labourers, sex workers or sex slaves, cleaners, doormen, and many more —never forget to acknowledge those who are unappreciated in today’s world. Never lose touch with the earth, stay humble.

8 Comments

Filed under Memories

8 responses to “Dear Silent Soul

  1. MIQ

    Thank you angel ! Stay blessed always

  2. Sierra

    Thank you, your empathy and understanding are so precious. Those are more valuable to the silent souls than handing over cash. You give your thoughts and your heart.
    I have been reading you blog for a few years. You don’t know how special your words are to me and how greatly you have helped me. I would be happy to return you a favor somehow.
    You see.. we are so similar its shocking. Sometimes when I am reading your words it feels like reading my own writing! Or its like watching a movie where the character’s story parallels your own, and it gets to you right in the heart. Your blog is so strangely emotional and intimate.
    This may be a long shot, but i would love to hear from you and talk with you sometime. I have heard your stories. And you have my full compassionate understanding. My soul longs for relief; to confess my incredible story and be heard by someone who understands and will not stigmatize me. We are so much alike, its possible we can be friendly. Or at least I would be happy to know from your reply that you have received my true gratitude. Best wishes

  3. sbs bajwa

    Dear Sahar
    Your mind and thoughts show in what you write.From you I learnt that even as a Prostitute you can have a pure mind

  4. Sarah

    What a lovely piece! Sad, poignant, incisive. Thank you. A good reminder to always have unconditional regard for others.

  5. Middle aged sex worker

    You bought your way out of poverty.
    By selling sexual services.
    I am an erotic service provider too.
    I don’t have much money, nothing for the future I live month to month. I don’t have a degree beyond high school. My family is mostly passed and I am half a century old. I own no property.
    I am white.
    Am I ‘privileged’?
    I didn’t feel so privileged the NUMEROUS times I’ve been assaulted by police- twice in the form of unwarranted cavity searches (which by the way were performed by black female cops who were all too willing to don latex gloves and probe me). I didn’t feel privileged when they threw me into a drunk tank to perform this on one of the occasions allowing all the men being processed into jail full view. Why was I in their custody? I had been pulled over going only five miles over the speed limit and it was discovered I had a suspended license in that state. Not by my doing- someone had used a stolen (I thought lost) copy of my license when they were stopped speeding and never paid it. But my having another license in another state fell on deaf ears. But how did that constitute a cavity search?!
    I didn’t feel privileged when I was placed in a holding cell with MEN the first time I was arrested after walking down a NYC street with a green mohawk which got me PROFILED obviously. Much like the long haired hippies of the 60’s & 70’s. I had done nothing wrong but found myself in a jail cell.
    I love my work as an erotic service provider however- what will I do as I get older? I am 50 now. There is no social safety net for me. I am one among many older erotic service providers facing the same uncertain future.
    I think it is sad that people who have escaped poverty by selling sex and other erotic services think they’re privileged when in truth many are nowhere near stabilized and the bottom could fall out with no warning. They have no safety net. To think you are privileged because you have it better than others isn’t the definition of privileged. Truly privileged people have no concerns about what they will be doing as far as housing food and survival when they are elderly. Truly privileged people can do anything and go anywhere and aren’t living month to month.
    You are a lovely spirit and I appreciate your blog.

  6. Veronica

    Hi, I really appreciate you blog.
    can you write more about how you feel and fit your everyday life with family and friends and education ?
    How did you get into this job and how did you feel when you did, your first client encounter?
    What is it like to hide your PT job to real life?

  7. Hello darling; it would be very interesting if you could write about how to keep discreet and how to deal with the feeling of guilt because of this profession especially that just like me, you come from an islamic background. Wishing u the best and always excited to read your writings!

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