One fine December day, my mom dropped me off at Michael's house to play. (We were 8, OK?) Then and there, I saw my first Christmas tree. What a great and glorious thing! Ornamented, bejeweled, resplendent. I must've stood there, slack-jawed and stupid, stunned by the gifts, the gift-wrapping, the ribbons on the gifts, the number of gifts.
For contrast: On our big holiday, the day after Ramadan ends, my father would slip me a $50 like he owed me money for drugs.
That December day was the first time I wished I was Christian. But it wasn't the last time.
Of course, in the Muslim world, there are plenty of Ramadan traditions old and new. Ramadan, for example, has become prime-time television season, with many Muslim markets inundated by special monthlong series. Binge watching in lieu of binge eating.
My new online video venture "Confession
" is just such a series, 30 episodes, each one minute long — the first is here for you to watch.
"Confession" is also an American spin on a new Muslim tradition.
I was born into Islam, but I'm still confounded and even confused by it -- and that's the story I want to share. Every day, a new, one-minute episode relates my dawning disillusionment with the religion of my birth, my parents and my heritage. I share how I chased after atheism and wandered toward Catholicism, looking to find something that could be my own.
It's a story I'm sure you can relate to, because it's universal.
Coming of age means finding one thing about yourself that is fully and truly your own. It's only when you're rooted in the ground that you can really grow. It's only when you're immune to the push and pull of the world outside that you can focus on the inside. It took a long time for me to reach a place where I am comfortable sharing this journey.
But I feel I have to: No one should feel alone.