Friday, September 30, 2005

Dead in Escape from Africa

Peace y'all
This Yahoo Article saddened me when I logged on this morning.

"But what saddens me more is the final quote from the El Pais newspaper:
Spain's leading daily El Pais said in an editorial Friday that long-term solutions must be sought to address the economic disparities between Europeans and Africans, which are propelling waves of immigrants in often deadly attempts to cross the continental borders at the two enclaves.

"There is an immediate problem which has claimed eight mortal victims in a month and which demands urgent solutions," it said.

"But there is a more serious problem which can only be resolved over the long term which is the economic inequality between the African and European continents which turns the two Spanish cities in northern Africa into siphons for immigration,"the paper added." (emphasis mine.)

If you have even ONE country that acknowledges that the fault lies in the difference in life between Europe and Africa, and if you have ANYONE who knows that the way to fix that is to create equality (or at least much better standing) in the economy and in the civil institutions of the countries these people are coming from, WHAT ON EARTH IS STOPPING US? People are KILLING THEMSELVES BECAUSE THEY WANT TO LIVE BETTER! That says that the lives they already have are detestable. And that's scary, because a man with nothing to lose is everyone's worst enemy. He'll give or take anything to get half a chance at what he wants.

Astaghfirullah. It really drives me nuts. I'd say that I'm ashamed to be an American, except that way far back, it was the fault of America that even I am here. This makes it my responsibility as a citizen descended from some horrific American policy to make sure that my country and others change their ways.

Wow. I'm really upset. really upset. I need to go take a minute.

pray for us all

Submitted to the Radical Women of Color Carnival :

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Lookin' Forward

peace y'all

I just made one of those hard decisions I was talking about the other day, and then I slept on it, and I still feel good about it, so I'm going to do it.

Yay! No advice nor wish-washyness involved.

In related advances, I now have two jobs. Unfortunately both are part-time, but whatever. I just need enough to kick rent to my aunt every once in a while. I'm going to be so broke when I reach NYC it won't matter anyway. School dorms. Old sweaters. Weight loss (little food). That's ok. The goal is in sight...

I'm glad, now, that I applied to BELL program. It's a much better fit than the Kaplan program- even though they reach the same type of population, they're still very different.
Kaplan teaches at urban catholic schools, and they teach a lot of kids, at the same time. It's more professional and less focused on the effects of culture on the kids.
BELL teaches in urban public schools, but the program is focused for minority and underprivileged urban kids. The teachers are a mixed group (I do mean mixed- black, white, latino, asian, poor, rich, students and professionals) and take into account the effects of environment on the scholars. Which is another thing- they focus a lot on attitude, and working with students with your own attitude.

I just like BELL better. Insha'Allah, I can work out my transportation issues so that I'll get an Outstanding evaluation at the end of the year... then maybe I'll work with the program in NYC, where it has grown.

You right, I'm always looking for the chance, for the future.


Sunday, September 25, 2005

Can't Complain

And because I can't complain I won't call the department of education in pr or in dc a porqueria.

No hay porque hacerlo.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Ramadan for Single Muslims

Well, someone out there is thinking about me. And everyone like me.

I found this site while blurfing (blog surfing) today. Ramdan for Single Muslims from Sound Vision does have some good suggestions.

AlhamdulIllah, I went to jum'ah yesterday, and it was good. I saw a lot of people I hadn't seen in 2 years. I also asked around about local masajid that are easier to get to than GWU's makeshift spot, but... little luck. I'll just have to be adventurous. Insha'Allah I'll find a place to go to before Ramadan that isn't too far away. I'd like that. I need to be 'adopted' by a Muslim community. It felt sooo good just to go and pray shoulder to shoulder there. I came out uplifted, alhamdulilah.

The Seven-Day Shukr project is going well... it is helping me with my humility project as well. Right now, I can't stop thinking about the people on the Gulf Coast. So I ask for special blessings, patience, endurance for them, and that they are cared for until they can do so themselves.

I'm feeling funny. Think I'll go for a walk.


Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Female Imam Survey Results are Up

Was just messing around and googled my name; thus I came upon the Azizah Female Imam Survey Results. I was pleasantly surprised, masha'Allah, to see that what I wrote was actually coherent. And though I disagree with a lot of what was said, I enjoyed reading other coherent opinions (for, against, both, and didn't have a clue included).

Check it out.


Seven days

Seven Day Shukr Challenge

For those who don't know, shukr means 'thanks' or 'thankfulness' in Arabic. (This based on the little Arabic I learned from Doktr Taj in 101 back in college- and the fact that 'thank you' is "Shukran!")

SO. Since I whined and complained earlier about getting advice that didn't help me... and since I knew I was lucky to be getting it... I am in the challenge. UmmAli over at aheavytruth dot blogspot, started it, so alhamdulillah for that initiative.

Yes, I am not going to complain about ANYTHING in my life for seven whole days. In my head or verbally.

In my own little version of this... I'm going to focus on humility in my thankfulness. Meaning I'm just going to play the role of a witness to the greatness of God that has touched my life, and not act like I'm in the starring role of receiving blessings, something that comes a little too naturally for me lately.

Care to join us in the challenge?


ps Aleksa, thanks for the tips...

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

In honor of working today

AlHamdulIllah~ I worked a full day today!

The job isn't full time but it pays well. I got a temp to perm position teaching English to adults. I LOVE the class I'm working with- only 2 students, but with such awesome dispositions. They like working and want to learn. What a joy!

I just found out that I won't be working tomorrow, but the ladies had asked me to bring them some riddles. In honor of their request, I'll post one heck of a tongue twister that I found on an English forum here:

The pheasant-plucker

I'm not a pheasant plucker, I'm a pheasant plucker's child;

I sit here plucking pheasants, though it drives the pheasants wild:

I pluck and chuck the feathers from the pheasants in a pile;

the pheasants, plucked, are chucked out in true pheasant-pluckers' style.

Oh a pukka pheasant plucker is a pleasing thing to see;

a pleasant peasant pheasant plucker I am proud to be.

The pheasants, plucked and chucked, are tucked up in a tidy heap;

the pheasants' feathers, plucked and chucked, are sucked up four feet deep;

the plucking job ain't easy, it's an awful plucking task -

still, I get a plucking bonus, what more could any plucker ask?

A pukka pheasant plucker is a plucky peasant chap

a pleasant peasant pheasant plucker fills a needed gap

To find a pleasant peasant who plucks pheasants on the side

just advertise for peasant pheasant pluckers far and wide

Pukks plucky peasant pheasant-plucking people we;

plucking pheasants present in out pleasant company

pheasants plucked professionally by our pleasant peasant crew;

our pukka plucky pheasant-plucking folk will pluck for you

Oh a pukka pheasant plucker is a pleasing thing to see;

a pleasant peasant pheasant plucker I am proud to be.

Have fun with that.

Sha'ban is waning... Ramadan is almost here. For those few of you who read me and are Muslim... how do you get ready?
I have, really no firm customs except to read Qur'an and find out where the masajid in the area are, since I've spent every Ramadan for the past three years in a different place. This year, though, I want to do a bit more... Any ideas?


Sunday, September 18, 2005

Making decisions.

Today, by email, I turned down a position in Boston.

A nice one, though temporary- I'd be paid $750 per week for a little more than 2 weeks of work. Guiding kids and going to conferences. With the potential to stay on if I dazzle.

I had already been interviewed.

The recruiters had already called my references.

They were suitably impressed, and called Friday to offer me the job, pending my passing a background check (no problem).

I accepted. I was uneasy but had no concrete reason not to accept.

Then I had... 'discussions' with my mother and aunt, during which I put the situation out there. I felt like I needed help with making the decision. Because the job is 1)temporary and 2) In Boston, I had some issues. Do I take the well-paying but temporary position, and then keep on in part-time jobs afterward? Or take the two part-time positions I already have lined up and forego the opportunity, until I can find a part time job, and be squeezed to pay my bills? I don't have the money to go to Boston, too- or I do, but BARELY. I'm tired of having to ask for money. The thing is, once I get up there, I'm good. It's a marginality thing.

Then, too, was the part of the discussions about my taking the test requred to be a public school teacher which is paid with benefits, and then grind myself into being a teacher for another year. I think I said before that my great-aunt is paying for the test. Which costs way to flippin' much- I'm BROKE. I don't HAVE money to get transcripts from various schools sent, AND pay for testing and still pay my BILLS plus the actual not-insignificant TRANSPORTATION it costs just to go here and there on interviews both in and out of the public school system.
Anyway, since my great-aunt, aunt, and mother- hell, everyone- wants me to take the test, AND because I do have teaching experience, I figure, what the hey. Just do it, and pray and pray I actually get a job and then don't have to wait for-flippin-ever to be paid a mediocre to poor salary. I'm doing this for the benefits anyway. The emphasis I'm hearing is on health insurance- I don't have any of that right now, so if I get hit by a truck tomorrow I'll be in real deep.

All that isn't what's bugging me so much as that I feel really squeezed by decisions right now. I don't care to ask others for their opinion, but I do have trouble making decisions. It's hard to hear what they say and their opinions on how hard I'm working to get a job (I'm not being aggressive enough on the public school front, for instance- they have NO IDEA how crazy the system is after No Child Left Behind has begun to persecute teachers) when that doesn't HELP ME. I am NOT lazy. I AM broke. There's a difference, something a lot of people apparently don't get. My lack of resources is severely limiting my choices and the time I have to make them. I'm seeing so many parallel situations to my life on a national level right now. Tis ridiculous.

*sigh*. I'm mad at myself for even bringing it up and giving folk the opportunity to come at me like that. I'm just upset. Two days later. And hoping that I made the right decision. Since I've decided that I can't be asking anyone else what to do or how to do it anymore. I've been lucky enough to be able to do so thus far, but it's becoming a big PITA. I'm just not going to ask. If the consequences are rough, then too bad. At least I made the decision myself. It's much easier to live with negative consequences of a decision I made on my own as an adult than to hear negative opinions and options from others because I felt I couldn't make a decision on my own. Ha. There. I feel better now.

ma Salaama

Friday, September 16, 2005

Oreo Issues

My aunt, at one time, had four whole packs of Oreo cookies in her house.

Four. Whole. Packs. of Oreos.

I love Oreos, but hadn't had them in quantity in a while since in PR they go stale like as soon as you open the bag. Eat three, and then the rest go all soft and mushy in an hour. I kid you not. They were so expensive on top of that that I never bought them again after the second pack that was ruined. (I know. Slow learning there.)

So now, I'm at my aunt's house. The woman has specifically forbidden me to ask her before I eat anything, the rule that I was brought up with in part to keep anything in the house- like whole packs of delishiousss chocolate cream coooookieeees- from disappearing under the weight of ginormous sweet teeth.

I'm sure you can see where this is going.

That's ok. Ramadan is coming. Ramadan is coming. I can surpress my nafs! I can do it!

Validation part II

I started this post in reply to Umm Zaid's comments in the Validation post below. ~TwennyTwo

Too often it's a guilt game, as well as an either/or game here in this country, and that's bothersome in and of itself. Now, most people who come out with the "Don't see your race" comment are either responding defensively when accused of racism or trying to justify a move made in some part based on race. When I'm not straight reacting to the comment in the moment, I can admit that a very few people mean, as you put it, "I can get past the fact that you are not part of the dominant racial paradigm". Most were not raised in a diverse environment, actually. Hmm. And the rest were raised in Europe (Scandinavia and the UK, in case someone was wondering).

But in examining my own reaction, I know that its as you said, erasing or ignoring something that's a very big part of me. So I sense dishonesty in that comment. My otherness shapes so much of perception about me that it is just ridiculous to claim its ignored when the very opposite is true... on a subconscious level. It's more truthful to say you see it and accept it as it is. Which all of my friends, Black and otherwise, have done, or I couldn't call them friends at all.

The craziness of race- ok, COLOR- and acknowledging, or not, the way everyone in this country acts upon it, comes from the US heritage, because in this country your race DOES mean something. For a long long time it meant your station in life, the possibilities, who you associated with, when and how and where you were educated... color told EVERYTHING about the outward status in your life.
I will belie my southern roots by saying it still does, in fact- that's why all the brouhaha over the racial disparities in the areas hit by Hurricane Katrina. Even when we don't want to acknowledge it, color is in the back of our minds, and we act on it, and notice it, and any American who denies this is, imho, lying.

But it's okay to want more. To fight and see color as JUST color- can you imagine what a life that would be? As a Black woman, I know I would be a different person. That's a sad, poignant part of reality that we should all fight to change so our daughters can BE that person.


Submitted to the Radical Women of Color Carnival :

Submitted to the Radical Women of Color Carnival :

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Validation- I want you to want me

Debra J. Dickerson has an article on Salon- June 30th, titled "I want you to want me" that has me thinking she's speaking from my (would-be-way-unfortunate) future as well as the present. I normally don't copy other folks' words into my blog. But just in case "this link" doesn't work... here's a coupla things that struck me.

For reference, she starts with her take on the movie "Wedding Crashers", which came out this past summer.

" ...The crashers seduced their way through every culture and every ethnicity but mine. Why don't Owen and Vince want to seduce me, too?

...Please don't misunderstand. I hate those Negroes who would bean count for black faces in Antarctica so they can get airtime whining about "the lack of diversity" blah blah. Start a school! Take in some foster kids! Run for office!...

...I'm talking about something that grieves black women, that breaks our hearts so much I have never had a conversation with another black woman about it....Our hearts are broken because we are unloved. More than that: Black women are unlovable, or so the world tells us every day. Most often, it's a sucker punch.

...I was usually the only woman and only black around. I'd say nothing as my office mates, the men I partied with and who backed me to the hilt professionally, would grouse about the lack of women. I was smarter and better-looking than they were....When I finally married at 40, it was to the first man who'd asked me out in five years. I had been holding out for a brother but, realizing that was even less likely to happen, finally let that go.

...I'm 46 now and far less full of bullshit. I'm not angry. I'm hurt. It's not that I want white men to want me. I want all men to want me. I want to be seen as desirable, if I actually am. As available, if I actually am. As fuckable, though you should be so lucky. But, because I'm black, I'm somehow seen as a gender crasher, an imposter fronting as a real woman. Liable to get the sexual bum's rush at any moment. No wonder so many of us are bitches. It protects us from rejection if we make it impossible to get anywhere near us in the first place.

A basically sweet, silly movie has me, late in life, reconsidering my impatience with nitnoy black separatism -- black dorms, Miss Black America pageants, "The Wiz." I still believe that true separatism is not a viable option for a group comprising only 13 percent of the population, but perhaps a psychological one may well be required to maintain our mental health. "

She isn't lying.

Dickerson put her finger on something I've observed for a while since beginning my life in Black womanhood. As a Black woman in the USA, my sexuality is either hypersensualized, or ignored. Either/or. And, when searching for a way around the hurt that entails, my options were, either cut back my options to black men, (even though black men, IMHO, do NOT feel that kind of pressure, by the way) and forget about those who are 'other', or act in ways that would subtly negate the effect of my race and ethnicity on men's perception of me as a woman. Thereby denying myself one crucial part of my way of being in order to (maybe) satisfy another.

This just isn't a satisfactory way to live. And why I said so many times as a teenager that I was moving OUT of the US when I got grown. Until Dickerson articulated it the way she did it didn't occur to me that not only is this phenomenon REAL but it AFFECTS me and the way I think, and so often, the way I act. Just as my actions can't be separated from the context- the
reason why I perform them, the way I move in the world can't be separated from context either- which is the state of my being in the world.

I don't think I ever will accept anyone saying that 'they don't see my race' if they were raised in the United States, because I know that's baloney. By virtue of the fact that I was born in this country, Black and female, My entire life is a kaleidoscope of reasons why that is not and cannot be so.

Now that I know the issue, though, I see its scope. How on EARTH can I help my country move toward a place where my daughters can breathe free, without ever feeling a need to be included, based on their automatic exclusion? Dr. King gave his famous speech wishing his children could do the same, and yet, almost fifty years later, the key parts of the dream haven't even been addressed!

I felt philosophical. Holla if ya hear me.


Submitted to the Radical Women of Color Carnival :

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Think about it! *Fixed link

Was it race, or class?

Check out the link above. (In case it still doesn't work, the article is at
I was surfing, hit UmmZaid's post, and as usual clicked on the article about being poor. Which then hit me hard. But it was the post at the link above that had me thinking the most.

I need a second to digest. I've been poor (ah, yes, many many things from the list are memories, y'know) and I will always be Black, you see, and so emotions are tied to the two in a way that keeps me from being coherent. But I'll be back.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Too Short for 'What If?'

Dan's Blog

Yeah, Dan the Man, you get a feature on the blog. Feel special.

And this quote is absolutely beautiful, so I stole it. Thank you.

" Life is too short to waste on __If only I . . .__statements. The only way you can figure out who you really are is through the adventures of life and the people you meet. If you silence your passions, you could miss out on a great discovery. There are no mistakes in these decisions. Your life is what you make of it and from these experiences you learn who you really are."” —Claudia, a 20-something post-grad from St. Lawrence College

Those who know me really well know I'm toying with making a really hard decision. Indecisiveness and nerves are causing the 'verborrhea' here and in the blog below. Just so you know.

Now that I've admitted this to more what if! I must do or not do but not shillyshally about!

peace and love and love and love and peace and calm and yeah, you get the gist.

I don't want to be a grownup sometimes. This is immature, I know. But still.

Mama told me that the twenties aren't easy. I'm starting to think... is ANY age easy? At least I'm still alive. Praise God.

All this comes about b/c I'm at a turning point again. My great aunt said she'd pay for my Praxis, a PITA* test that I have to take to be certified as a teacher in DC. I know that DC has teacher vacancies, because it's the only district that sent me a nice fat letter telling me the fitty-bazillion inane and pointless little steps I have to (voluntarily) go through in order to be a teacher. I want to do this why? What's that? Money and self support and benefits to kids? Oh, ok. I guess that's worth all this PITA*. Oh, yeah, and my family wants me to be able to support myself, which is why I'm letting them push me in this direction s'darn hard.

My mother also said that I'm really...intense nowadays. This is true. She said it b/c I was crying when I talked on the phone to her. I'm noticing this more and more- I don't yell anymore. (This is an improvement. Trust.) I don't scream, I don't whine, I don't throw things. But I cry more than any grownup should. IMO. Which goes back to that first statement.
When I pointed that I'm getting better in the anger/frustration management department,she replied with:

"You know what'll fix that?"
Twenny: "What? Sleep?"
Mama: " Sex."
Twenny: "Pssht. Yeah, right. (pause, thinking on my non-prospects) Not having any of that. Thanks, Mommy."
Mama: "It would. It did it for me. Why you think I was married at 23? You get some sex and you won't be nearly as intense."

Daamn. Now my own MOTHER is rubbing my chastity and um, lack of sexual activity in my face. This is a sad, strange day, y'all. I feel pathetic for real.

I had two job interviews today, and in the interest of getting a job... I took the extreme step of removing my hijab. Of course both employers were suitably enthused about my prospects. They loved me, y'all. That was one for uncertainty- to get such a reaction... but I know it couldn't have just been the hijab. One even went so far as to tell me that I'll start Friday- or as soon as his boss can talk to me. Great.
Then I got on the subway and of course, saw a sister wearing a beautiful blue amira hijab and my heart went "MIIIIINNNNNEEEE!" I felt SO uncomfortable being in the professional world uncovered for the first time in 3 years. Man. I saw a couple of sisters on the street (cause for excitement itself: we ain't in portareeco no more, toto!) and said "Assalamu Alaikum", and they replied quite nicely after giving me the, "Are you for real?" look. I needed hijab! Instant recognition! Instant salaams!

Know what? I don't like not wearing hijab. If I get a job I'm putting it back on, so then if they want to fire me it'll be plain discrimination. How they like 'dem apples. It's on my portareecan ID anyways. I know I'll be fighting with my entire family once I break down and apply for a mainland license (haven't decided which state yet. I have so many options: OH, where the parents live, VA, where my aunt lives, DC, where I want to get an apt, or MD, where I might work. Joy.) over the hijab. I don't know WHY people have to get in a tizzy over headgear. It's. Just. Hair.

Phew. Mashallah I feel better after that. I guess I had a lot to get out there.

Blogging's a little slow this week. I think back-to-school plus Hurricane Katrina has everyone occupied. Not me. Make duas, y'all. Job-and-happiness-and-deen duas. It's the month before Ramadan, as Umm Zaid pointed out, and I want to be ready since I'm sooo unstable right now, so I think I'll fast tomorrow, and every Monday and Thursday until Ramadan. And get all 5 prayers done while fasting, insha'Allah. Didja hear that! I just made intention! Now I'll hold myself to it.

Ok. I'm procrastinating. THere's not much to do, so I think I'll pray and then go to bed at the unprecedented hour of 10 pm. There's an unemployed woman for ya.


*PITA= Pain In The Arse

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Volunteering for Red Cross?

Hey, y'all... peace.

Decisions, decisions. I'm having to deal with a lot of those. Right now, since my life is kinda up in the air, I'm 'liberated', as a friend pointed out last night, in that I have no responsibilities to anyone but myself (and that includes bills under MY financial stuff. Ahem. I digress as usual), no kids, husband, parents are self-sufficient, etc.

In the wake of what's happened in the Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama areas, I'd really love to be able to go down as a volunteer, maybe a medical tech or EMT. Yes, my EMT license has expired, but I still have the skills- anyone who came through Wanda's class at GW will have skills for YEARS. If, as a volunteer, I'd get food and shelter and a way back to family after the urgency of matters is gone- heck, I'd love to do it.

Of course, my family is discouraging me. Nothing new. My mother pointed out that the conditions would be primitive, like when I first lived in PR. I pointed out in response that half my issue in PR in guayama was the fact that I didn't have anything to DO for half of my day- I felt stuck. One of the things I've figured out is that I have to feel valued, and essential, in whatver I do- and my work hast to be giving to others. If I can do that and still support myself, then I'm happy.

Mama also asked me to think back to when I was last happy with my work, etc, because she said I haven't sounded truly happy in a while... d'you know, the first LONG period of time I thought of was the year 2002? No joke. I need to sit and count my blessings a minute. And quit grouching. Or put myself in a spot like where I was in '02. My job was at the MSSC, giving out money- fulfilling the 'giving back' and 'essential' qualifications, and I was also pretty well paid. I didn't have to worry about housing or food or health insurance or transportation, and I could go enjoy myself if I wanted. I was also happy because that year I had the most amazing teachers. And spiritually, I was learning so much and discovering faith with eyes wide open in amazement. So my soul was at peace.

Now, maybe, that has something to do with being on a college campus, since it was the combination of those things that I found ideal. Quizas. Pero- what I really miss is my interaction in the community, seeing all the people who live around me and serving them. So I want to go volunteer- if not Katrina-area relief, maybe somewhere else. I know there are obstacles to that, but. Too bad. I'll keep y'all posted and see if I have to eat those words.

On other notes...
Last night I met up with an old friend, and we went (in a hot, bad-ass blue bmw)to..... the Krispy Kreme store! You know, the kind where they show the pastry from proofing to frying to icing. I love those places. (I had yummy hot fresh original glazed.) We just talked about stuff for 'round two hours. I really had a good time, and got home all refreshed and relaxed (and maybe hot and bothered, but I shall be virtuous and repress the nafs). My friend is doing well, at a great job but considering changing; we hadn't seen each other since graduation, so it was so good to just see each other and hug... and then talk for hours. I'm glad I'm back in the area, and I'm making a point from now on to see my friends, especially this one, more often. It was a relief, y'know?

I'm off jobhunting. Love and peace y'all.


Saturday, September 03, 2005


"Indifference is a weapon of mass destruction" ~Democratic rep from Maryland

I saw that in the Washington Post and had to share.

Life's been a bit busy, will blog again later.