Monday, December 18, 2006

Mabrook and Congrats, Sister!


My sister has graduated from college. Magna cum laude, masha'Allah!

I spent the past weekend getting to and then attending her graduation, eating with her, meeting her beau (and man, the moment when he met our father- PRICELESS!), meeting all the friends she'd talked about for five years. I'll never forget the moment she walked across the stage, when they called her name.

It was good to be able to see her, talk to her, tell her I'm proud of her and I love her. Any and all drama that took place is secondary to that, so that is where I'll leave it. Congratulations, Sister!

in other observations,

Can I join this group? It sounds like a great idea not only ecologically but also financially. To have a valid justification for not buying things, one that makes me feel valiant instead of depressed and sacrificial, is a good idea. Hmm.

I officially took the day off, but I have errands to do, and I really should pop into the office for a couple hours so I can meet my new 'boss' on her first day. She'll be back for a couple weeks starting in Jan.


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Straight from my background- since you asked


Ms. Koonj asked about Proverbs 15.

From bible gateway dot com:
Proverbs 15

1A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.

2The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness.

3The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.

4A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.

5A fool despiseth his father's instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent.

6In the house of the righteous is much treasure: but in the revenues of the wicked is trouble.

7The lips of the wise disperse knowledge: but the heart of the foolish doeth not so.

8The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is his delight.

9The way of the wicked is an abomination unto the LORD: but he loveth him that followeth after righteousness.

10Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way: and he that hateth reproof shall die.

11Hell and destruction are before the LORD: how much more then the hearts of the children of men?

12A scorner loveth not one that reproveth him: neither will he go unto the wise.

13A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.

14The heart of him that hath understanding seeketh knowledge: but the mouth of fools feedeth on foolishness.

15All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.

16Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble therewith.

17Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith.

18A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife.

19The way of the slothful man is as an hedge of thorns: but the way of the righteous is made plain.

20A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish man despiseth his mother.

21Folly is joy to him that is destitute of wisdom: but a man of understanding walketh uprightly.

22Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established.

23A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!

24The way of life is above to the wise, that he may depart from hell beneath.

25The LORD will destroy the house of the proud: but he will establish the border of the widow.

26The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD: but the words of the pure are pleasant words.

27He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house; but he that hateth gifts shall live.

28The heart of the righteous studieth to answer: but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things.

29The LORD is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous.

30The light of the eyes rejoiceth the heart: and a good report maketh the bones fat.

31The ear that heareth the reproof of life abideth among the wise.

32He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding.

33The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility.

It's still a great reminder and good wisdom by which to live.

Sherry: Briefly, Love ya, too! I have no phone right now, I think I explained earlier, so I'll have to call you later. But thank you for your kind words on my capability, I really really really needed to hear that just then.

Oh, btw Shabana, I can't pull up your blog. Any reason?

peace to all

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Fine! Be like that!


I am, at heart, both stubborn and sensitive, loving and judgmental, strong and fragile. I've always been this way. I have great armor. Can't get through it all that easily. And that's good sometimes, because gee, I bleed so easily when I am hurt. I'm a warrior. I'm a woman.

Right now I GUESS (because I don't know) I'm fighting myself as much as someone else.
So many times during my childhood I was told that it wasn't necessarily What I Said, but How I Said it that counted. Because I'm pretty straightforward, I don't mince words. If I have something to say, I say it. And sometimes I'm misunderstood, because the passion behind my words is seen as malice. My moms always had to bust out the Proverbs 15 on me, especially those first 3 verses.

But anyway, I'm fighting a fight where the other wields silence, a lack of communication that turns me back on myself, and makes me hurt anyway. And I find myself calming myself down from irritation ten or fifteen times a day. I just want to get all up on them and say, "FINE! BE that way!" and mean it. I mean it. I don't CARE that you can't do what I want you to. I just need you to understand that I accept you as you are. Really.

But how can I do that if you won't even talk to me?!

I hate this.


Friday, December 08, 2006

Need cheese please


For all this whine, of course.

I don't want anyone to be worried, or anything. I'm here, I'm alive, physically well (and for those who are with me, I've lost 5 more lbs! Yay! Bad news: it's because I'm not eating much, I'm stressed out. But it's 5 lbs, which for me isn't all that much...).

The time between my last post and now has been some of the most emotionally and financially hard time I have ever. Ever. been through. I think only my first week in the house in Puerto Rico tops it. I went to see my Grandma and the rest of my families in the South a couple weeks ago. My father's family made me relax. Unfortunately I saw my mother's family last and left that house for Atlanta crying unconsolably. I hate that I feel like I can't talk to a lot of people in my family. My grandmother is not doing well and that's putting it diplomatically. I'd love to be able to help, but I've been told in so many words that that is NOT what is wanted. Gee, thanks. And I don't want to get into it in any more detail. The internet can be the village square when people know you. Anyone know of a good counselor here in the "urrea"?

The weeks since have been pretty bad as well, my roomates are fighting, alternately slamming things, screaming at each other, and talking isht about the situation. I came home one night to find a note on my front door letting the world know exactly what was going on in the house. That wasn't the intention of my roomie who left the note, just as the person who cursed and slammed out the door wasn't caring about the reaction of our other roomie, but it makes for nice amounts of tension. There was a point when I felt I had no peace, anywhere.

And my job? I've been so off-balance elsewhere that it's affecting my work. I had a director pull me into her office and read me the riot act with the door open, thus ensuring that the ENTIRE office heard every. word. Then, this week, after working hard to redeem myself, and "ensuring" that I'd get to a crucial course I was to teach early by leaving my house an hour and 15 minutes early, I STILL ARRIVED 20 MINUTES LATE thereby starting on a horrible note and later finding that the instructor whose class I was covering, the one who said everything I needed was in the box? Lied, everything wasn't in the box, and of course since I hadn't checked the box thouroughly enough, it was my fault.

Alllllll Myyyyyy FAUUUUULT.

I keep asking God what I am doing wrong, here. I know up in my head somewhere life isn't supposed to be easy but daggone!

And. Last night, I went to this public event with a bunch of friends. Two of those friends began to PICK ON MY CLOTHES (those who've been around enough KNOW my clothing situation) and I totally blew up at them. I maintain they deserved to know that mess wasn't acceptable, but I blew it out of proportion because one of them was the invatuation I was talking about earlier. Hmm.

So. That's Home, Work, Family, and Friends. God is going great here. Make du'a for me in everything.

Thanks, peace, and love

Friday, November 17, 2006

Never thought I'd be "that" woman


Little ambivalent right now.

I think I mentioned earlier a coworker who sits in front of me and keeps asking me out. And that it made me shudder.

Haven't been talking about that much here. I very much took Heather's warning on that subject- blogging about your job will and can get you fired, and that would be a scary little situation for me. I mentioned it to some other girls in the office, but never anyone who had direct ...jurisdiction? over this guy. Today I make an exception that insha'Allah won't have a high cost.

Today I traveled for work and got to see my old, awesome, boss. He knew something was up, something was bothering me, and finally just asked and waited for me to give up the answers. So I told him (in a room full of people, mind you- they just weren't paying attention to our particular conversation, alhamdullIllah).

He said I was being way too nice. That he'd have said something a long time ago. Then he named some people that he hoped I'd talk to.
I said, "I just didn't think it was that bad. I mean, he wasn't... violent. And I don't want to be responsible for him losing his job over this."

Bossguy looked at me and said, "Twenny, it is. It is violent. You shouldn't have to put up with that. You're being too humane for what the situation warrants. And I won't say anything, because I understand you're asking me for advice, you don't report to me anymore. But I think you should talk to (another boss). He should be... that's totally against the policy of (the place where we work)."

I nearly cried. Didn't, by the grace of the One. I felt so. relieved. That I wasn't over-reacting. That I really should have said something a while ago. To have it off of my mind. I felt guilty for not saying something earlier and guilty for being the object of this man's attentions. I made my clothes baggier, avoided talking to this man. And I'm muhejebah. Someone (this week- who was that? Please comment) mentioned that hijab is supposed to be the great protector. And I, in my way, went right along with the perception. I'm covered, I act modestly around this man, so this can't be harrassment. Audhubillah alHaqq al Aziz.

This has been bothering me. I've been coming in to work either really late or really early because of wanting to avoid this guy- but not on purpose. I've been beating myself up and wondering what was wrong with me- I'm NEVER like this, I'm just not. I didn't realize, myself, until I told. This has been a weight on me. Thank GOD the folk at my (small) office are so responsive, so supportive.

When I was younger, in high school, there was this commercial where this guy was being blatantly smarmy, and the woman goes, "That's sexual harassment, and I don't have to take it!" We used to burst into giggles at that commercial. It seemed so unrealistic. And it was- though I did end up, um, letting the man have what for (we used to say 'cussin' out' but I didn't cuss...again subhanAllah), I didn't report him as I should have. That's my fault.

I need to think about why I let that situation go on for so long.

Part of me now has a whole new level of appreciation for women who undergo any sort of discomfort at all just because someone else is giving them inappropriate attention.

For anyone who reads this, woman OR man: It is ESSENTIAL to take action. Stand up. Speak out. Don't wait. Even about something as petty and retarded and guilt-generating as having someone repeatedly asking you out. If you deal with fallout, it's better than dealing with the effects internally. Let there be light shed on EVERY situation like this.


I know and have said before that we women are socialized to "be nice". For the most part, I believed that I had escaped that snare, that I speak my mind and say what I want, and act according to a situation. My eyes have been opened and I'm more aware of just how hard it is to get away from being the "nice girl" for my own good. It took being pushed for me to seek help, but I finally did so. I've been promised (and I believe) that I won't have to deal with this situation again. So. The man will undoubtedly be disciplined and possibly fired. It's not my fault, but I spoke up. I will never stand to hear a whistleblower or woman criticized for their voices again.

I just never thought I'd be 'that' woman.


two-fiddy... wait,.... WHAT?!



Two flippin' forty seven pounds, y'all!!


Let me explain.

First of all, this isn't going to become a blog all about weight loss. No, it is all about me. Therefore there will be occasional focus on more dunyaishness like, um, getting my cute body back and the frustrations/motivations/machinations involved therein. Okay? Okay. Consider yourself warned.

I went to the girly doc the other day since I FINALLY HAVE INSURANCE (TAKBIR!!)and lo and behold, the FIRST thing the nurse did was ask me to get on the scale.

You know the heavier bars on the scale, underneath, that start the initial weight set in 50-lb increments? Go check out the scale at your gym. Yeah, those.
WELL, for the last, oh, 5 years or so, when I get on that scale, I have had to push the bar UP to 250, and start from there.

When I started going to the gym during Ramadhan, my weight was higher than 270.
Que. VerGUENza! (how embarrassing!)

So, back to girly doc's office. I was chit chatting nervously away, and so I stepped on the scale mid sentence, "Yeah, this isn't gonna be fun, and you'll need to push tha-- subHANallah!!"
She left the bar on 200 and pushed it all the way to the end AND THE SCALE FELL DOWN!
Yes, people, I WAS OFFICALLY UNDER 250 pounds! Two forty seven, even!

Two flippin forty seven! This is a miracle! This is awesome! In such a short time- a month... I nearly cried right there.

Now, I know that someone is out there going, Omylord she weighs how much? They are the ones that don't matter.

What matters is, it's goin' DOWN, baybay! It's goin DOOOOOWWWWWNNN!

I figured if I lose 2 lbs a week, which is reasonable and healthy, esp. allowing for thanksgiving meals and cookie-age in the next couple of weeks, then... by my next birthday (27 weeks- I know, that fast!) I'll be down to what the docs say is my "Ideal" weight. I remember a doc back in PR telling me I needed to lose 90 pounds, and I was QUITE indignant. Now it seems possible,... and right,... and I'm going to do it InshaAllah. InshaAllah.

My problem hasn't ever really been not being active, so much as it has been not eating properly. My insurance offers these extra-curricular programs that help you focus on what you want to do. I need to not be eating because food is there. In addition to the steps I took in my last post, I'm also keeping a regular journal. Not tracking every bit of food that enters my mouth, but about how I eat (time, feelings, etc) and why. I think that's going to be the key here. That and a lot of prayer, Ramadan style, concentrated. Once I started focusing on Something other than myself, the weight slipped off without my knowing it. SubhanAllah.

So, after the nurse made my week and the doc depressed me (not going there, thanks) I decided to keep going. I did 60 mins of cardio yesterday at the gym, plus a nautilus program set up for me for free (I know! Now all I have to do is follow directions. I'm a directions kinda girl) and will be doing 30 more per day. I'll ride the crest of that feeling- 247?!- as far as it takes me... and man, what if I lose more? The goal for next weighing is 243. InshaAllah.

Hang onto your khimars, ladies. Here we go...


Monday, November 13, 2006

fat / back


I am fat.

I hate being fat.

I was losing the fat.

I felt good (as early as this morning, y'all).

Then, I let it slide- and a friend of mine who refuses to believe how much I hate pictures of myself and so and KEEPS TAKING THEM did her worst and EMAILED them to me.

I wanted to lose all sense of God, y'all. I reeeeeeallllly did. I wanted to not compliment her on the nice pictures she did take in favor of lambasting her with, "Do you hate me? You MUST HATE ME with a fury you reserve for your worst enemies, because look! you have sent me Photographs! of Myself! Full-Length! And FAT! YOU ARE SHOWING THAT YOU HATE ME!! YOU PASSIVE AGRESSIVE WOMAN,YOU! Do you want me to start crying and moping again? Don't you know I HATE PICTURES OF MYSELF and plus LOOK I'M GETTING FAT AGAIN? AHHHHHGGGHGHGHGHGGHGHHHHH!!!???!!!"

I have done none of that last. You should be proud.

I let Someone turn that emotion into something more positive.

I know that the only way to get the body I had when I was 18 and on the crew team is to act as if I were 18 and on the crew team again, PLUS eat the calories of a 25-year old woman (which I am) during Ramadan (which is isn't, anymore). That's the ONLY WAY the extra XX lbs I'm carrying will come off.

The hardest part of all of that is controlling what I eat. This is why Ramadan is great for me. My lack of willpower becomes something I strengthen for the sake of God. I just need to extend that into the rest of the year. I can't be eating like this anymore.

But that's not all.

My problem isn't so much (it is but not so much) that I eat too much, it's that I sit at a desk all day and my body Lurrrves the pounds I can put on then. I'm a little fat storing machine. None of the fat goes where I want it, either.



*From now on I will go to the gym at least once a day. Everyday that it's open and not an Islamic holiday. EVERY DAY, for at least half an hour. An hour is optimal, but if there's any way to fit in even 20 minutes I MUST go.
*I will say a prayer over every. single. thing that goes in my mouth. Everything. This will make sure that I "realize" that I'm eating it, and stop me if I'm eating it unnecessarily.
*I will stop eating when I'm no longer hungry, and literally put the food out of my reach. If I want leftovers for lunch, I'll fix them at the same time I fix my supper plate. No more eating because it's accessible.

I'm sick and tired of being fat and I'm not taking it anymore.




invatuations... suck.

That said, I'm in a very happy place right now. Takbeer.


Friday, November 10, 2006

Things to read, read to know, know to grow


I've been up and down lately, but I'm still here.

MashaAllah I've come through a really difficult time lately, and I feel like the sun is rising again. Thanks to everyone (Yes, You! Koonj, HijabApprentice, Single Muslimah, Barakah, Umm Ibrahim, I'm sorry anyone else if I left you out, I'll edit you in later!) for your comments. I'm working on a post to reply to some of you (MuslimApple, I replied to you in comments) in detail.

Meanwhile, it's NaBloPoMo as well as NaNoWriMo. I'm not participating in either (if y'all can't tell already, hee hee) but there are EXCELLENT posts out there in keeping with the theme: WRITE this month, even if it's not good.

Well, I'm benefiting from the reading this month :

UmmZaid (SunniSisters), after all she's been through with relocation, 'Eid, etc. found a moment to grace us with this piece on true-if-nonpracticing-belief vs. acting like a muslim. Excellent. I don't know that I agree with everything (but I'm like that) but I do know that I'd love to see her as a speaker one day. Yes, you.

Maliha at Lightness of Being absolutely shines in her piece on being tired of others' view on her own personal hijab. Go you! And I'm NOT being sarcastic. I'm muhejebah and I STILL have days where I could toss it in the mud. For ummah reasons and for nafs reasons. Speak your truth. I defend my right to wear hijab, but also your right not to be badgered about yours.

The New York Times has an article on one of my fave subjects, public health. The topic of the moment? How TOILETS are being underused as a tool for preventing sickness and thus bringing people out of death and poverty. It could be more in-depth, but this is a newspaper, not the stuff I used to read/write in college. Good stuff. Oh, and tis free this week for some promotion, so read while you can.

during Ramadan, I read in the Qur'an that we are put here to be tested. (Actual verse, anyone? I love that, I need to have it in calligraphy on my wall. I digress.) DahGurl, one of those mommy bloggers that I read because I have no life (with my twennysomethin' no kids no husband self) hit it right on the head with her accounting of how the trials of this life are "Not for Entertainment Purposes". This woman speaks the language of comfort for me; this is my mother's voice in my head, the faith that founded my search for Islam. Really, if she were 10 years older she'd be my mama's twin. ANyway, I enjoyed it.

Off to do actual work. Will talk to y'all soon, big hugs!


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

I voted


I'm young, and I voted.

And I'm officially a Virginian.

Y'all KNOW I feel some kinda gratified right now. What if it all came down to a vote that was mine!

I went through a bunch of guff in order to vote, though. Seems the state DMV hadn't changed my address (why am I not surprised?) and so the pollworker, a woman with a disagreeable expression, tried to send me to the other side of the world. At 6PM. I'd never make it. So I set about asking questions, making phone calls, and got my vote in.

The coworker who sits in front of me, the one who uses incorrect grammar and keeps acting as if his coersion will get me to date him (*shudder*) maintains that it's pointless for "us" to vote. Things are the way "they" want them to be. Have been since "we" got here so many years ago, and what's one little vote going to do? That's reality, we should all just accept it. Needless to say, he admitted to not voting.

Upsetting. Finally I just told him that we should consider the conversation over, since I was disgreed with his point of view.

And I guess it's good he didn't vote.... I feel like I won the argument before I ever opened my mouth. INsha'Allah I'll be voting every. single. year as long as I am physically able.


Sunday, November 05, 2006

To Exist is to Resist

Raising Yousuf, Unplugged: To Exist is to Resist Thanks to Umm Yousuf, whose blog is on my sidebar, for the update. I'm relying her and others like her for alets. News around here doesn't always focus on what meets MY criteria or needs our attention. Y'know?

Is anybody out there? Are you still watching this?

American eyes have turned to the war in 'Iraq, and to be honest not as many as necessary were ever interested in the Palestinian cause.

Whether or not they were being "used" by others, two women lost their lives today. Are you still watching?

I am.

I think I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I got a "letter" back from Abeer, my dear friend, the one Muslim woman I met who lived in Guayama, and who moved back to Palestine shortly before I left Puerto Rico. Funny thing: the envelope included four pictures- one each of herself and her 3 children, whom I love as if they were my sibs. But I'd written Abeer a LONG long letter in Spanish, and included my email address. There was no written communication in my letter from her- I even checked the inside of the envelope. Nothing. I haven't even had an email (though I understand that Abeer might not have computer access). The letter was sent in July; I got it in October.
I watch every day praying that I don't hear more through the television screen, that they're okay, that the people come through okay.


Friday, November 03, 2006

Back, and MashaAllah, better than ever

The 'Reminder' series by Baba 'Ali and the Ummah Films crew is back. I've seen it. BETTER THAN EVER.

As a muhejebah who struggles with it, I found moments when I cracked up... and moments when I knew I was the one being *ahem* reminded.

Enjoy! And please stop by ummahfilms.blogspot and leave comments. InshaAllah we can keep this going with our support.


Thursday, November 02, 2006

Reading myself


So today I spent WAYY TOO MUCH time looking for myself. I wanted to read someone that's like me, you know? I wanted that tingly/sizzly feeling I get when someone hits it right.on.the.head, they feel you, know what you're sayin', have written your day onto the paper.

Most days I can get pretty close. Or at least distracted. Not today.

I want to read myself, but I haven't been myself. For so long I've been restrained. Here and in real life.

Days like this, when I'm reflective and full-up with unpretty feelings, days like this I understand why sometimes even my family doesn't like me that much. I don't even like myself. I'm manipulative, lustful, self-pitying, whiny, mean (really mean), incredibly selfish. Today, as much as I WANT to focus on other people, on the beauty of the world, on anything but myself and my horribleness, it's a real task.

I've been holding this inside for so long. The last time I remember not having to fight this feeling in it's spiraling comings and goings was, oh, second grade or so. Can you imagine? Not wanting other people to come in contact with the poisonous parts of me... I've done what I shouldn't and held it in and poisoned myself. All the while hating myself for not being stronger when it bubbles to the surface, for letting it splash onto other people. This is when the slow tears leak. This is when I get scared because I hurt so damned badly and it's not a hurt I can point to, indent my skin with my index and say "Right HERE. THIS IS WHERE IT'S BAD. KISS IT ALL BETTER, NOW." It's a pain that's very privately infernally real, worse now than ever. These are the days when the talismanic prayer never leaves my mind 'cause I think I'm going down, down, down in a storm of lonliness and cold: audhu billahi min ashaitan irrajim. audu billahi min ashaitan irrajim. audhubillahiminashaitanirrajim. I am the child running to hide, clinging in the soft, strong ruchs of His garment, behind The Only One who can possibly save me. If. Possibly. It follows me even in the folds. It circles everywhere in wait.

I just get so scared to let God out of my sight. Are you kidding? That FEARPAIN has already half eaten me alive.

What am I Supposed to do with poison? It seems like examining this state of being is when it is hardest to really pray. It becomes going through the motions, feeling the iciest deepest indigo despair that I'm not loveable, that no one not even I can try, that I'm not even worthy of notice by the One above. I'm deafened, colors blur and blend and mute themselves, my awareness retreats in a last ditch effort to keep "me" for the time when I can come out and feel better days. Tap me on the shoulder, let the phone ring, and my head swings to the side, my eyes in outer space. I'm zoned from the pain and the unbeareable dimness of the Light. Sister asks, "Have you been drinking?" I would, had it a possibility of helping. That door, too, is closed.

al final, here it is, i can read myself. I hope with everything left in me to take nothing from this, from these days, from feeling poisoned and terrified and drunk, gasping for some air. Nothing but the "me" sheltered by some preserving instinct. I don't need a souvenir. The memories are stained in. For all who will look to see and none to understand.

This is the trembling fear after which no one on this earth can tell me Satan is not a reality. These are the days that make me so grateful there is a God.

Hace Falta / I miss


(explanation: Hace falta literally means "it makes a lack" in Spanish. Generally you use it like you'd use the word 'missing' in English.)

Hace falta el sol.
Autumn winds come every year and suck the sun away into chilliness. I miss the lightness of being warm.

Easier to fake happiness, when you're warm.
Easier to BE happy when I'm warm. I'm beginning to notice that winter snuffs my ember within.

Hace falta la humedad. It is ALWAYS drier here than on la isla. ALWAYS, even on the most humid of days. No presumen a decir que lleguen a tener humedad aqui. What you have here is an attempt at stickiness, at the feeling that God has kissed you and left a trace of his breath behind.

Searing, the thin cover left on my lips cracks as I sigh.

Hacen falta dias buenos.

Monday, October 30, 2006

/ pity party


Okay, so now I'm back at work. Pity party is over.

I do that, y'know, get into a snit about whatever and forget my very real blessings. I'm getting paid enough and on time, I'm independent and don't have to ask my family to provide anything for me, I not only have clothes but am in the position to make my clothes for myself, and I have enough to eat. More than that, I have a great job, and am taking a class I enjoy.

Not only are there many who would love to be where I am, but within the past 18 months there were points when I couldn't say any of the above for myself. I need to take a "Thanks, God" (ala Dictator Princess) and chill the companionship issue. Not to say it isn't important, or that it isn't something on my mind, but I can't let the negatives in that area outweigh the positives I've been blessed with EVERYwhere else. Wa subhanAllah al Aziz.


Sunday, October 29, 2006

Reprise and (non)Developments: Touch. And Love.

Assalamu Alaikum, peace...

Warning: once again, whine without cheese is served. If you're inclined to be judgmental, just go away. I'm already judging myself exceptionally well, thanks.

A little more than 10 months ago I wrote this entry, titled Touch. And Love. Go on, read it, you need to know what I said then to have the perspective on what I've got to say tonight...

Since then, alhamdulillah, there have been some major improvements in my life. I no longer live with my aunt, and I'm gainfully employed in a place I love that uses my skills. I've bought a gym membership and started taking real steps to feel good- better- about my weight and fitness. I started an Arabic class at Alma Mater in order to finally do something about strengthening my Qur'anic and social skills. I mean, tis tough to be a Muslim around here without speaking 'Arabee. It's like you don't count as a respectable human or something.

This week, though, the feelings that led to my writing the first article reached a crescendo. I'm sure I wasn't the easiest company on Friday nights. I have to thank my remaining roomie S., who put up with me and helped talk me to some conclusions that I want to explore.

(But first, that reminded me- my other roomie went to Idaho for a friend's wedding, and, incidentally, saw her father for the first time in a while. He's terminally ill , and it is very hard for her to talk about it, or see it. She has not and probably won't talk to me about it, but I wanted to ask my ummah and friends inside the computer: Please pray, make du'a for my roomie (R), her father, and her family.)

This weekend is the first full weekend after Ramadan ended. And it was like the dunya just rushed back to whap me in the face. I wrote a post on it earlier, but insha'Allah none of y'all saw it since I took it down a couple hours later when I had cooled off. Basically I was whining. Because I saw that the end of Ramadan was closing a lot of options for me.

I really enjoyed the iftars and taraweeh et cetera at Alma Mater. I saw old friends, women I hadn't seen in a while. I got sooo deep in tarawih that the tears just rushed to the surface. I really read the Qur'an and actually stayed part of the night at the nat'l masjid (I'm horrible, not sure what the formal name is- the one up on Mass Ave.) And let me not front: There were Men! Good Muslim Guys! around. Not even necessarily interacting with me 90% of the time, but they were there. That wasn't so bad, either. Y'all, I fully understood why so many people wait for Ramadhan to come every year. I got an instant COMMUNITY. It was easy to not feel unfulfilled to an uncomfortable degree.

And then I got put back into my everyday. And I felt- and still feel just with less urgency- that I'm stuck having to choose between being Muslim, being 'Everyday American Woman', or fudging an existence out of both. What set my tantrum off on Friday was that, plus finally feeling desirable to ANYone, and not having a clear choice on what to do. I flipped right on out.

*thinks for a while, head in hands*

I keep coming back to the conclusion that I'm wrong. I'm wrong, I'm not doing something right somewhere, I just don't know WHAT. Let me see if I can put the major issues in short sentences.

I want to date.

I want a good man.

I have friends willing to help me get started.

I want to be a good Muslim.

Good Muslims don't "date".

Good Muslim men don't date.

Good God-fearing non-Muslim men date and they're asking me out.

Too often dating = sex around here.

I'm confident that I'm not having sex if I don't want it.
[But who said I trust myself to not want it? (see: grown woman below)]

And, (b/c nothing's simple) I'm struggling with an 'invatuation' with a good man who isn't necessarily good for me.

I want to be good. I do.

I want to not feel so darn badly.

It would be so easy to just be not-good and face the guilt later.

My sense of integrity is in the way. That and "el Que-dir'an".

I'm judgmental by temperament and I'm turning that into a very destructive sense against myself.

*ducks rotten tomatoes and eggs being thrown*

Let me look at that a little more.

Look, I'm a grown woman. A "Black Woman in America" as we used to laugh. I want to Enjoy some Male Attention and going on all these dates that're offered is how that's done. This is the whole purpose of dating. It's also the purpose being married, by the by, and I know that, but...

Look, I'm Muslim by conversion, e.g. by choice. No matter whether I knew that this is what I was signing up for- I asked for the good so I oughtta take the not so good. And God is really good right now. If I didn't like Islam or acting in ways in accordance with Islam, this wouldn't be such a struggle.

Look, I don't do much half-assed. And certainly not something as integral to my state of mind, state of being, as my religion. Or the way I conduct myself concerning men.

I think my standards are too high. I hold myself accountable to a high expectation. I mean, someone mentioned that if it weren't such a problem, that I should just go where the Muslims are- but since the problem is that good Muslims dont' date, and I'd be dating with an eye toward serious, then dating is just wasting time, unless I want to consider a non-Muslim. My thing is that my future husband follows God in his life. However, God and Islam dictate that my husband be a Muslim. So I'm stuck there, unless I want to be majorly disobedient.

Maybe I'm seeing that with too strict an eye. There are tons of Muslim guys who date, right?

But do I want a Muslim guy who dates? The majority of the ones I know personally are sleazeballs, thankyouverymuch. The rest are already taken/spoken for/not allowed or about to date a Black convert. Hmph. Let's not even finish THAT particular conversation.

I feel sometimes like I live two lives, the inner and the outer.


Then there's the whole letting my feelings get hurt by the good guy issue. I promised myself after what-all went on with Imiaz that I would not fall for some random friend. And right now I'm struggling to keep that promise. It'd only lead to me hurting, and I'm doing enough of that without any extra help. *sigh*

At the end of the night, I'll have fasted all day and cried all evening. I want permission from somewhere to relax my standards and just be human and do whatever and not be jealous and not know God is not happy with that and it's not forthcoming. This is so. hard. And I'm mad and I'm sad and I'm lonely and I'm longing and I'm sobbing and I don't have anyone here to help me through any of it. Please make du'as for me. I know, it's a sad reminder at the end of all that but I think that's all anyone can do just now and it'd really help.


Thursday, October 26, 2006

Day to re-meet


MashaAllah what a day!

I feel like I haven't blogged about what's going on around me much lately. This is bad. I did, after all, start this blog with the intention of recording the days, since I happen to have a faulty memory sometimes of how I felt and what really went down.

Today was a good day. Today I had occasion to do a lot of thinking, not all about positive things.

I started off by waking up supa-dupa early to make sweet potato pies from scratch, for my roomie to take with her back to her mama in Idaho. Her mother visited us about 5 weeks ago, with her younger sister. They were very very nice, and I was in an unhappy place at that point, so I didn't feel that I gave them the best reception. But the other day I made pies (which were gobbled up by us all) and so had the fabulous idea of making pies just for B.'s mama. Yay.

The reason pies are such a big deal is because I made them 1) completely by hand (no blenders and beaters for me, thanks) 2) completely from scratch, 3) without a recipe (that's right, I just did it by memory- and I haven't made potato pies in like a year) 4) using a technique that I just thought might turn out better. So MashaAllah pies, because I used a stick less butter, more eggs, and made a custard-like mix on the stove before mixing in the potatoes (if you've made potato pie before, you understand this) instead of just mixing it all together. It cut my baking time in half, resulted in a much flakier and less soggy crust, with no other noticeable effects on the taste. I did toss a lot of egg whites, but whacha gonna do. (Now that I think of it, I should've saved them for angel food cake. Bah!) Not to mention it was so tasty B. ate half a pie herself, several increments of which she ate for breakfast at different times. I'm happy about that.

Not so happy about the fact that I asked my mother for her recipe several times before, during, and after Ramadan, called HER several times, emailed her, and somehow never got it. No big deal except that this is one of a number of symptoms I've been noticing lately of something that I want to write about when it's not so late and I don't have to be up so early the next day: parent burnout. When your parents are as supportive as mine (and they're 'bout average), this is something you don't think of as a possibility, but man, between me and my youngest brother I think my moms is worn out. Like I said, I've been thinking about this, and this is just a reminder to myself to write about it later. It really is a whole post in itself.

But anyway.

I then proceeded to go do an interpretation. That gave me another chance to think. I was interpreting for a speech therapist and the mother of two young boys, the oldest of whom wasn't speaking at just over 2 years old. In any language. Eeeeechhh so much legalese went down in there- I seriously spent half the session reading documents to the mother so she could sign them. She didn't have a SSN, neither did the child's father, and the mother guarded the kids' ss cards like solid gold, yo. She didn't want to list any addresses on the forms. And her second child was clearly more advanced than her first in terms of vocalization and social interactions. Meanwhile, she's in a subsistence level apartment that, while picked up, had filthy carpet, a bed in the living room, and no color at all. It wasn't that I felt pity for this woman, because there really wasn't room for that. More like, I felt the precariousness of the situation- I mean, I was there because she'd managed to obtain care for her child, and it wasn't even in a language she spoke, read, or understood- and I know that she's one of the lucky ones.
It reinforced my feeling that I need to be a Educator-Midwife (CNM, of course, just because they're treated better by institutions in this region), that it's soooo needed, especially from someone with my linguistic skills.

Spent the day at work but thinking more than working.

Annnnnd then I got to Alma Mater just in time to miss my Arabic class. Not to worry, though, my teacher and the founder of the (free, revolutionary) language program ran into me as I decided to eat and then go pray at the musallah, so we had a good conversation. I want to go into this in more detail, but it's soooo late... tomorrow, insha'Allah. Suffice it to say that when I knew I was walking onto campus late, and as I have lately, I just had this feeling that I was going to be more anonymous than I had been since my first days as freshman. Totally false feeling, even these years later I still ran into some familiar faces, including EBrowne, who was part of WordUp!, this student group that was a very cool Christian equivalent to MSA but with more scripture and less social issues (I digress...), and talked to her. That got me thinking some more. About what, I'll have to say later.

But, yeah, so, I'm still here, still thinking, and I have a lot to discuss. I'll be back. 'Eid Mubarak to those I haven't seen or talked to since, man how fast the month went! I hope you had excellent celebrations, and I'm looking forward to hearing allllll about them. And congrats to Sherry- she's posted vid of her very cute nephew, masha'Allah.


Monday, October 23, 2006

'Eid Mubarak, 'Eid Saeed, 'Eid Kareem!

assalamu alaikum wa ramatullah wa barakatuh


May the blessings of Ramadan sustain you throughout the year.
May your fasts and deeds be accepted by the Most High.

May the joy of the One be with you now and evermore, amin!


Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Sevens Meme- again


okay, time for a breaky-break. It'll be interesting to see how things have changed...:

Seven Things

Seven things I hope to do before I die: InshaAllah,
1. Memorize and understand AND recite the Qur'an. In Arabic.
2. Get married.
3. Travel to Brazil, China, London, Canada, Australia, Hawai'i and spend a good amount of time in each.
4. Cut an album that sells internationally.
5. Work on a quilt that my great-grandmother has also worked.
6. Wear dreadfully expensive, good-smelling perfume...just for salat.
7. Really, truly, aid another person in a way that positively affects their life... without them ever knowing my name.

Seven things I cannot do: (or don't want to- y'all know how I am about that 'c'-word.)
1. Get into an automobile accident ever again.
2. Comb my "hurr" (don't look at me crazy, it's 'done', just not 'comb-able'.)
3. Keep a room spotless for more than an hour. I don't know why.
4. Speak to another person without imitating their accent, if only in my head.
5. Speak a non-roman language. *sigh*.
6. Follow most TV shows for very long.
7. Ever Ever forget what God has and will do for me.

Seven things that attract me to my spouse (Ooh! A chance to describe him before we meet?):
1. His constant contact with the One.
2. Sense of humor.
3. Extraordinary consideration.
4. Smarts!
5. His cooking (hey, I can dream!)
6. Linguistic abilities that leave me humbled.
7. His care for his family.

Seven things I say often:
1. Diiiaaaaaaaa-ntre! (If you're a boricua, I know you get it. If you're not, sorry, you prolly won't.)
2. Daswasup!
3. SubHAN Allah!
4. Yes, ma'am, no ma'am, yes sir, no sir...
5. Do what, now?
6. Sure, no problem.
7. Thank you!

Seven(teen) books or authors I love:
1. God (takbir if ya hear me!)
2. Hamza Yusuf (this SURPRISED me!)
3. Nikki Giovanni
4. Anne McCaffrey
5. Jack Canfield
6. Terry Goodkind
7. Dale Carnegie
8. Diane Mott Davidson(The Goldy food mysteries)
9. Christy
10. Baby-Sitters Club (yes, I'm an 80's child, sue me)
11. the Nomusa series by Reba Paeff Mirsky deserve a comeback
12. Madeleine L?Engle
13. Zora Neale Hurston
14. Sandra Cisneros
15. Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez (not for the faint at heart)
16. Esmeralda Santiago
17. alll the old school mags- Jet, Ebony, Essence. Foundations of my childhood, y'all...

Seven movies I could watch over and over again:
1. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
2. The Sound of Music
3. Brown Sugar
4. Love &Basketball
5. Sixth Sense
6. Chicago
7. It?s a Wonderful Life

Seven people I want to join in this ?Seven Sevens? meme:
You... I'd better tag people so they'll know I mean them: Khandi, Shabana, Heather, DictatorPrincess, SingleMuslima, AbuMuhammad.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Patience. Patience. Inni s3aim...


I haven't had time to blog it, but my first couple weeks of Ramadan have been interesting and filled with learning, masha'Allah.

I was invited to an iftar up at Alma Mater by an old friend (who's still there, go you!), and I ended up going back to the sisters' place after taraweeh. Which meant that I got to taraweeh first. Excellent experience, that. Ima start looking for a small copy of the Qur'an, though, in English and Arabic, one that I can pray with easily in my hand (good idea, Shabana!). I saw one sister with one later, but hers was all Arabic. Maybe the resolution should be to learn the Arabic by next year, but that's a task that Allah would have to bless. I know people spend YEARS learning qur'anic arabic. I can already read the script, but with the exception of words that I've already picked up from that one class my junior year- mostly pronouns and basic nouns, not so many verbs- I don't understand what it's saying.

There was a halaqa one day by one of the assistant Imams from ADAMS, I want to say his name was Lainti, Lainfi... I'm horrible. But it was good, talking about the fast and how Allah trains us to patience, because human nature is to be grumpy when you're hungry and the fast also trains us to obey Allah and be patient and forebearing even when hungry, so that after the fast we are a ummah with patience and understanding. The imam also talked about how there are 3 different fasts, the body, the tongue, and the mind. All are brought into submission by obeying the command to fast, and all can then testify the providence of Allah, and can more fully trust that He provides all and is merciful.

He also pointed out that the command to say, 'inni s3aim' twice to yourself is FOR YOU, not for the person irritating you. You can't be like, "Yo, I'm fasting! I'M FASTING! If I wadn't fasting, I'd do..." to a person, because that effectively breaks your fast. He told the story of Maryam, and how she was told NOT to speak even when the people would be like,' Yo daddy was honorable and yo mama wadn't a ho, so how you gonna be having a baby without bein' married?' And she kept her fast to Allah, and he worked it out so that she didn't have to speak, but the prophet 'Eisa (upon him peace) did, thus both showing her obedience to God and also that 'Eisa was chosen by God. Subhan'Allah.

I'm sure I've heard all of those things in some way or another before, but this brother was funny, and he put it plainly. Masha'Allah because not all lectures are like that. I guess lecturing to young students will teach you to get to the point and make it memorable.

The imam's wife was with him, and she was veeeery pregnant. It was golden to see how he treats her and pampers her and relies upon her, to the point where when one older brother who came just for the halaqa asked how long he'd been in the USA, the imam said, turn to my wife, she knows more than I do, etc. It was great.


I've been practising patience with respect to living with other people. So, please make du'a that I can be reinforced in forebearance. Now that I've written this whole post I don't want to get into specifics. Just that I've been annoyed and insulted several times, and have been letting it go when my instinct has always been to give the annoyance/insult a piece of my mind. I know that it's better to let it go, but at the same time I don't think it's right to let someone feel they can treat others any kinda way. And it's nothing severe, just everyday things that point out a person's IGNORANCE. Please pray that these situations will be put in the proper perspective for me. I'm doing the same. wa Allahu Alim.

Onnnn another note- my job is going well, masha'Allah. I'm working out my personal rebellions. My mother knows about that (smile for mommy). My boss is leaving but will be around at several points because he still has some work to do for the organization. Therefore, I was given more responsibility, including being out of the office on testings and interpretations twice last week. The testings involved me going out to the western side of nowhere, and sitting (reading Qur'an, hey, I know an opportunity when I see one) for half a day while no candidates showed. The blessing from that day came from driving. I was extremely nervous about driving after not having done so for a year. The first time I got into the car *Zipcar rocks, btw* I just said, 'Allah, YOU are driving this car! Because I trust You like I don't quite trust myself'. And I got through a good 5-6 hours of driving that day with NO incidents, not even near misses, alhamdullilah. That's my testimony for the month, ya'll. Next I will bite the bullet and take a Zipcar the near-hour from my house to ADAMS. ALthough I may have to consult on directions, because Mapquest stinks. They took me an hour outta my way going to the testings. If that happened when I was tryna make taraweeh I'd miss it. Everyone I know who's been has said ADAMS is great. I like the imams I've met from there, but most importantly, I need to be in a steady group of folk my age who are Muslims. I know that I have some good friends and a husband out there to meet, so I have to do my part (as Shabana noted) and put myself in the path of His means.

Aiight. Off to not be annoyed by people. May your fasts be accepted and blessed by the Most High, ameen.


Friday, September 29, 2006

HELP I work in an office where non Muslims offer me food out of KINDNESS!


It's Ramadan! Yay! I await this month every year with sooooo much hope. That squirming anticipation. No, really. I love Ramadan.

I think it's the challenge of it. The feeling of growing closer to the One, plus the accomplishment of serving him with my fast.

It's not really the social stuff because I seem to be socially isolated every year since I left GW around Ramadan. Boo.

But this is the first year I'm fasting while working somewhere I LOVE, masha'Allah! And it's great!... Except that the people are nice here.

My boss (who'll be leaving soon, he's already packed up his things, I'm sad but I digress) has had to make me eat in the past. This is because I'll be all focused on my work or whatever and just forget to eat. Then I turn into a very polite crankypot. And he found out early on that the way to turn me back into non-spinning-head-fire-breathing-Twenny was to ORDER me out of the office to get food, order it for me, or otherwise force me to focus on nothing but food.

So, Boss has had to quit doing that. He's such a nice guy that he keeps coming into the office at 'lunchtime' and being like, "I'm going for food, d'you,... oh, wait. Never mind."

At which point I say sweetly, "Buen provecho" (enjoy your meal) and let it pass.

But Today.


Today they have Dunkin Donuts. Sitting on the desk across from me. I cannot leave. The donuts may have to go in the trash. This is the challenge for me.

For the past hour and a half (at least) I've been telling myself allllll the reasons I fast. That I'm leaving my urges for the Sake of Allah. That the smell of my breath is sweeter than musk to Allah right now. That hellfire is not worth a donut that will undermine all my efforts to slim down on top of breaking my fast. Oh, help.

Insha'llah just 2 hours and change to go.


Sunday, September 24, 2006

Thank you, Michelle Singletary



I love reading 'The Color of Money'.

This week's Sunday article is about student loan debt.

It's nice to have an outside source back up my internal feelings.
I'd love to get the degree I want. Love it love it love it.
And in fact, a bachelor's degree in this country is pretty much necessary to live any sort of comfortable lifestyle.

HOWEVER: debt. is. BAD.

I've chosen at times to believe that it's okay to have student loans. But I can say 'no' to having any more. This means that I have to be one of the top in my field in order to pull a scholarship to become a nurse-midwife (and I'm STILL telling my fans that is my goal insha'Allah), but at this point... so glad I didn't go to Columbia. I might be 50 years old when I reach that goal, but I'll do it without debt. Insha'Allah. and Amin ya Latif.


Saturday, September 23, 2006

I Broked It :(


So. I'm all ecstatic that Ramadan begins.

And I get up for suhoor really early, then I GO TO THE GYM after Fajr and before the 'lack of food' kicks in. Just as I would if it were a normal saturday, except earlier.

That accomplished, I completed my day, break fast (with soy milk and a fig instead of the dates I never did get), made daal and greens, etc, feeling great. Remembered to drink water.

SO. Then I decide that I want to listen to the 1st section of Qur'an. I happily pop my limited edition-King Faad-Arabic-English-Malay-Indonesian-got-it-from-a-friend-Qur'an CD into my roomie's computer.

Now, I've had this CD for months, and though I've been meaning to replace it, I haven't since every CD of the Qur'an that I've ever seen runs like $100. I can't see spending that when I have Qur'an I can read on paper for free; it's just that on nights (ok, every night so far but I digress) that I can't go to the night prayers or otherwise HEAR recitation, I can pop this CD into the computer, hear the arabic, read along in arabic and english on the screen, and be happy listening to Qur'an.

But tonight, the correct screen with the 'cover' of the qur'an came on screen. I heard, "Bismillah irRahman irRaheeeeeeeem" as usual.

Then *POP*.

I nearly jumped out of my skin; the night's been mad windy so at first I thought a fuse or an electrical line blew.

But NOW. The screen gave an error. I pushed the button to release the CD, my heart sinking because... the port opened to reveal a Qur'an CD in pieces.

"I broked it!" I wailed.

Now, I did remove all the pieces I could, but just piecing them together on a paper, I didn't get the whole CD. The machine is apparently digesting the rest. So now I'm upset on two fronts: I've potentially wrecked my roomie's very nice computer, and I have no Qur'an recitation.

I'll have to tell her in the morning, since she's gone out for the night. I guess I'll go read from the Qur'an Translation (as so many have so nicely pointed to me.

*sigh*. Subhan'Allah.


Ramadan Mubarak! Shana Tova! Blessings on us all!

assalamu alaikum

shalom aleichem

peace be unto you

May your fasts be accepted, may your year be blessed, may we all live with the blessings of The Most High, amin.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Dates, and recipes. DC locals, comment please!

***Dictator Princess*** gets on finishing those fasts...


*My grandmother is coming out of intensive care by Monday, insha'Allah. One of her daughters managed to be there for every day of her hospitalization masha'Allah, although not all of them at any time. She had to have a more intense surgery to correct some problems but she's done and recovering, all praise to the Most High.*

Okay, so now I'm flippin' out about not having dates.
yes, Ramadhan will start by the end of this week, insha'Allah. This area happens to be FULL OF MUSLIMS so I'm not crazy- I just don't do California Dates. (Appropriately, I said this in front of mad people on a Saturday at a PX. Must be losing my mind. However, in spite of the glares I did not relent. I like the sticky medjool dates, pref. with pits so I can make my mouth work around them. Yes. Yes. Date-y goodness.)

So if you know where to get good dates the week before Ramadhan in the DC Metro (as in, I can ask my roomies to drive about 30 miles before rebellion- no, my loan papers haven't come in yet), SPILL THE BEANS!

This year I'm all about recipes that I can cook ahead. Like DP as well, for a lot of this month I'll still have some time to go when I get off work, but I know myself. While I like my roomies, unfortunately they will not be out of my way when I need to get home and get in the kitchen and cook some food. Thus the need for crockpot and other food goodness that can be made ahead and frozen, or even just partially prepared.

Bring on the recipes!

I'm also excited the fact that I may actually be able to make it out to ADAMS for the night prayers, AND Insha'Allah I'll be able to keep going after the fast ends. So none of your sniping about being a Ramadhan Muslim, Baba 'Ali. Just worked out that way. Masha'Allah. There's supposedly an Islamic Center close to me, in Alexandria. I just keep hearing about ADAMS so I'm mad curious. Lots of folk my age go there. And you know the motive for being around folk my age.

The other thing I'm excited for is that I got a membership to a gym. Rather excited about this. But since suhoor is so early, I don't know if it's prudent to go early in the morning, or instead to break fast, eat light, go to gym, and then come back home and eat 'real food'. Experienced readers are invited to post. And none of this 'skip the gym', I'll be paying for it either way and this is a good month to be starting excellent habits. I wouldn't be going long, just half an hour, but insha'Allah I'd like to go nearly every day.

One last thing: who's taking the 3-day 'Eid? I've never done this before BUT I'm working at a great place now, and since I'll be working during the week of Christmas and 'Eidul Adha may insha'Allah fall on New year's Eve, I can swing the longer holiday. Anyone know the Islamic (ahem, religious not cultural) precedent for that? Please advise.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Duas please.


Wow, just as I wrote the below post, the next day my grandmother went back into the hospital. I got a call from my mother saying she was flying down, and that grandma is in intensive care. Scary scary. I find myself reaching for God not for myself but for my mother and her sisters and my grandfather.

please make Du'a that Allah's will be done in this. I want her to recover but I also don't want her to suffer. Does that make sense?


Thursday, September 14, 2006

Gettin' in the groove


Sorry it's been a while.

I'm still alive.

Still loving my job, and loving that I live close to it.

I saw my great-grandmother the other day. She's fine. In fact, when she left this area she was going to take care of my grandmother, her daughter in law. No worries there. Masha'Allah, my grandmother is getting much better. She was "low sick", in G'mama's opinion.

Few other things:

UmmZ: The USA'll miss you, but I'm sure you'll make the most of life and living wherever you are. Looking forward to hearing about 'Amman adventures.

Shabana: You're hitting it on the spot lately with your posts. And you could look at your 'not having an identity' this way: you came to being a mother as your own person, fuly formed after 30+ years. Many mothers don't get that. If you're worried about it, I don't see you wallowing around in the worry. You'll be back to your identity-affirming self rather soon. That's how I met you, remember?

Enjoy your baby, she's precious and even my own mother says my baby days went too fast. And we talk at least once a week no matter how many oceans separate us. One day at a time, mama.

Sherry: Congrats on your new nephew! And enough with the snarky comments by phone and commentbox, or I'll think you don't love me anymore. I still love you, I'm just busy enjoying (FINALLY) the upswing in my fortunes.

I can't promise that I'll be over here more often, but Ramadhan is coming, and I'm getting settled in for some long days of fasting, praying, reading, listening, and writing. So maybe I'll be here more. I've found that each year my anticipation of Ramadhan grows. It's like a sort of month-long retreat-in-place for me. Thanks to the Dictator Princess for her tips on anticipating the month, I've already started.

In the meantime, do check out IzzyMo, who generally has good stuff up; the DictatorPrincess, because often I find myself saying, "Yeah, what she said", and Baraka, just to name a few highlights from my sidebar.

and i'm out like shout.


Tuesday, August 29, 2006


half a bowl leaves me
much happier
and the whole bowl

distraction doesn't come
not in thoughts of war in far lands
nor brethren without bowls
or food
or roofs

consolation didn't arrive
in the unknowable future
or hard won experiences.

finishing dregs
my sincere wish
is to somehow be filled.

Monday, August 28, 2006

I'm happy.

I've moved out of my aunt's house and into a house with two young ladies around my age. I like them both; one has an exuberant, extroverted personality; the other is more quiet and observing and calmly pointed in her remarks. If there were a scale for personalities, mine would fit right in between the two. Two cats, Rainbow and Principessa, came with the house. 'Pessa is the darling siamese, and Rainbow the antisocial guy.

Insha'Allah I'll be signing for a loan to buy my aunt's old car pretty soon. I'm ok with this arrangement since I needed the car, and since my bank's minimum auto loan requirement is nearly double the value of the car, I'll be able to offset the interest (ha! Riba defeat!) with the difference, since my aunt agreed to give it back to me.

I'm still in love with my job. I arrived late; but the structure of the place is such that as long as I get the work done, no one really cares when I do it. So I'll stay until around 7 and knock out all that's on my desk. I feel so competent and needed here. I'll lock up when I leave, and walk (walk!) the 10 minutes to get to my house in a lovely, old, green, quiet little community.

My insecurities are wrecking me right now, however. I'm letting myself get in the way of my goals. I'm conflicted. And that's showing up in wavering of my practice of Islam. I don't want to go into detail right here and now, because I know I should be 'covering' my faults and not exposing myself. Plus, a lot of people who know me in 'real life' read this blog. I need to be circumspect.

SO here's the main question: how to deal with myself when I know what I want and could try to get it, but I'm scared of failing?
Or worse, being so scared of negative responses that I lock up and don't reach out to people who could help me?

Seems like that's always my question, isn't it?

But other than that (dreadfully intensely centrally important) question,
I'm happy. Thanks, God.


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

menkabrohna ke...


So. Frazzled.

Just spent wayyy too much time soothing my girlfriend Imiaz out of first being hysterical, then depression. I'm tired.

The whole situation stinks. It came about because she's nuts about one of her guy friends. It scared me because I have friends like that. But I don't think I can do it any longer. I love Imiaz but I'm not setting myself up to take the same path she did. I only really have two other things to say:

1) Men and Women shouldn't be close friends. (Note the emphasis on the word close.) I say this as one who has platonic yet close friendships with people who happen to be male, a habit I'm seeing is gonna stop. Right this second.

Close male and female friendships mess up later potential love relationships for both men and women. Speaking from experience, I want to be best friends with my husband. So I'm operating counter to that purpose if I make a lot of best friends while looking for a husband somewhere else. Knaw'mean?

I'm starting to agree with the old folks' wisdom my mama told me: if you already are getting what you want, why do you want more? If we have companionship (without sexual relationships) from the opposite sex, then why should we want to get married? Having close male friends, for a woman, gives an outlet that IMO shouldn't be there. Also, from the other side, if a man is close friends with women and knows all about them, what's there to say that he's gonna want to go after a 'special' woman and focus his attention on her? There's no essential mystery there, no difference in his mind based purely on the 'otherness' of the feminine, nothing to tempt or tantalize and keep'em wanting the special relationship of marriage with a woman that he never truly knows inside and out (because if she's smart she has him mystified 50 years later).
That's my $.02 on that.

2) Don't play with the word love. Just don't do it. SubhanAllah this practice is making me furious. This i-can't-stress-how-potent emotion-verb is WAY too overused. So here's a way to end confusion and grief from both sides of the sex divide- do not use the word love to ANYone, male or female, related or not, joking or not unless you mean it. It is not a means to an end, a tool for manipulation, is not casual in any way shape or form. Do not say you love someone unless you have thought several times and then several times more about it, unless you brought that person into the world, unless selflessness toward that person is your only reason and expression in saying it. Just don't. Period.

That'll be all.


Monday, August 07, 2006

Still truckin'


Masha'Allah. I love my job. This is a first.

I came in right in time for my boss, he was swamped with work that I'm now doing. I love it, but I'm busy, so that's where I've been. Aside from the death of my aunt a couple weeks ago, both of my maternal grandparents have been in and out of the hospital, but subhan'Allah are now recuperating well, out of the hospital, and doing for themselves- my mother's returned home as well, so that means that her mother is doing well enough for her not to be there. Praise God.

I wanted to point everyone to Ummah Films' website. Their finale came out last week. If you've enjoyed the vlogs from Br. 'Ali I posted from YouTube, then PLEASE go support them.

Positive experience: I think that all non-dry, human dawah needs more halal funding (kna'w'msayin?) , so I bought a (long sleeved, of course) t-shirt from the website. I thought the shipping was exorbitant, but then, MASHA'ALLAH, I got that shirt a mere 2 days after ordering. AND it fits, which those of you who actually read my blog from the beginning know is a rare, rare thing.

AND, plus, you know those rubber colored gummy bracelets that folk be wearing nowadays? (The popular yellow LiveSTRONG ones by Lance Armstrong are a good example.) Well, I up-ended my envelope and 3 of them fell out! A pink, a purple, and a white/black camouflage. They all say, in block letters, MUSLIM, and they GLOW IN THE DARK. SWEEEEET!

So this is by way of being my jazakhAllah Khair to the Ummah Films peeps, and my saying get over there and support them cuz they're cool!

And now off to do more of the work I absolutely love.


Friday, July 28, 2006

Wanted: Islam's Frankie Ruiz

*This post talks about popular, cultural music. If you don't like music/think music is haraam/want to hate, go away. Otherwise, read on.*


It just came over me what I'm searching for.

I'm looking for a teacher. To help me jump into true study and faith and love of God and Rasulullah (saws).

I've know this for a while, but the feeling was clarified today when a song by Frankie Ruiz came on the Sky radio (yeah, tis in the background while I work).

Frankie Ruiz, if y'all don't know, is salsero supreme. He's famous for his songs that are... ahem... realistic; they celebrate life and don't shy away from it at all. Great music to dance to, excellent instrumental arrangements, and his voice... actually, he's no Pavarotti, but the expression in it is vibrant, vivid, so happy. When I listen to Frankie Ruiz, I feel like a joyful kid, like there's hope, like I want to dance. Frankie Ruiz is the bomb.

That's not to say there aren't other greats. Maelo is another favorite. And there are some days when I can't get enough of Gilberto SantaRosa. It's just that Frankie is the one I first met who let me know that salsa music was like that, such an expression of life, worth knowing about. You know?

So, imagine how I felt when I found out that Frankie Ruiz is dead and has been for some years.

Ya, that was a big bummer. You mean, no more awesome music like this? That man who was the cause of my opening up to the beauty of salsa music isn't even in this world anymore? Say it ain't so!

But at the same time, and more and more as I go, I realize that Frankie Ruiz's influence on how I feel about salsa is still there, regardless of whether or not he'd make more music. That jumpstart is what I needed, a lens to correct and clarify a sight I didn't know was blurry. I'll never forget that.

So. I need a Frankie Ruiz for my deen, yo. Where's the Frankie for my Islam?

See, I did the research on Islam for myself, way back in the beginning. I just feel like I need an illumination for my Illuminator. The books and material that are available are so dry. All legalistic and junk. You and I both know that the Prophets, peace upon them all, were many things: righteous, realistic, faithful, human, learned, illiterate, vessels- but I don't think we can say ANY of them were as dry as their distillation in the books etc, that I've found. As a convert, sometimes I think I can't wait until Islam gets to the point where we have religious school materials, and magazines, and Nasheeds, that are ACCESSIBLE to the everyday person. Day by day, insha'Allah.

But since my self-study seems constrained, I'm constantly keeping my eyes open for Allah to show me a person, or a place, from which I can learn, and get that kickstart. I know I need it, I've asked for it, and so I know I'm getting it.

I'm just sayin'- WHEN, yo? Where? What's up with this dry deen? Water! Gimme a Frankie!

*steps off soapbox*

I'm done, y'all.

"If we Muslims all practiced the way we're supposed to...

... none of them would have a leg to stand on."

On the other hand,there would be no reason for excellent dawah like that in this vlog.



Monday, July 24, 2006

I don't want to hear it.


I'm very... unsettled. Sad. In mourning.
Today hasn't been a very good work day, thank God what work I could do was very productive.

I found out this weekend that my aunt, my father's oldest sister, died sometime last week. Her son was in a rush to bury her, so a good deal of our family (me included) wasn't able to get to the city in time. My father was there.

I'm so sad for my father. He had already lost 2 siblings, now a 3rd is gone. I wish he had been able to reach me (sprint issues. Why do I pay them every month, again?), and I really wish I were able to be there with him now, since my mother isn't there, nor my sister or my older brother, only my younger brother, who irritates him no end. I want to give him a big hug, and cry with him. I can't. Have to say here. And 'do work'. Which isn't getting done b/c of my preoccupation. Anyway.

The title of this post refers to my attitude toward the USA- this administration, and foreign policy, as well as their worries about possible domestic unrest: I Don't Want To Hear It. I better not see any spin-worked equivalent of "But WHHYYYYY do they HATE US?" in the media referring to Arabs, the Middle East, Muslims, and ESPECIALLY not Lebanese citizens, anytime in the near future. I'm not in the mood. I've been reading. Ah, the virtues of an informed citizenry. And please believe I'm not in a cheery mood at all. When it comes time to vote this and every November through 2008, I'll be remembering this bloody, horrible, nonsensical, ludicrous, joyless summer.


Friday, July 21, 2006

My Bad


The article below is FROM Voices for Creative Nonviolence, but I think I actually saw it over at UmmZ's spot before I went to VCN.


...3 Steps Back: desde Guernica hasta Líbano


Líbano, in case anyone is wondering, is the word for Lebanon in Spanish.

Read this article by R. Kysia. . I got it from Voices for Creative Nonviolence. It talks about the difference between Guernica and Lebanon, and let me tell you, the USA and Israel are suffering in the comparison.

I myself am disgusted to be represented by people who think that violence is at all justified and that their personal pleas for self-restraint and mercy wouldn't be conducive to peace (or, more likely, their own agendas). It literally is making me sick.

Why can't people have some compassion? Why can't we learn? Astaghfirullah, bush and olmert and nasrullah. Have some shame. Have some compassion for those who are crushed in your pursuit of unworthy goals. Step outside your own personal security and walk the footsteps of Joseph, Jesus, and Muhammad, peace be upon them all.

Is anything worth the death of an innocent? Un ajeno, as we say in Spanish?


Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Baba 'Ali's video: Seasonal Muslims


Subhan'Allah again!
No, seriously!
I watched all these videos in a day, and then watched them again. Excellent, masha'Allah.

Reminded me of my days at GWU Sisters' Halaqa *throwing up cupped hand sign*... with Amina and Nisra and Mahwish just saying stuff like this and cracking up.

As a matter of fact... I think this bro needs a sister to say the same stuff, from our own perspective.

In fact, don't let me volunteer- Ima REALLY say it how it is!


Tuesday, July 18, 2006



Make duas, pray, meditate, however it is that you get in touch with the One, on behalf of:

*The people of Lebanon, Gaza, and Israel,

*The people of Java (yes, another Tsunami, subhanAllah)

*The people of the Congo

*All those displaced, wounded, ill, or hungry due to war, weather, and other horrible events out of their control.

Reading the news this week has been sickening yet enlightening, driving me straight to my Lord to ask for his mercy. I'm so sad at international events right now.

Well, I'm back. Insha'Allah I'll be around for a much longer period of time. Thanks to everyone for your duas for my family. My grandmother is now out of danger, in recovery, and my mother is with her. She's walking around and eating, much better masha'Allah. Unfortunately, as she began her recovery my grandfather was told that he should undergo radiation for cancer that's recurred. SubhanAllah. My great-grandmother, his mother, is now there with my mother to take care of them both. But this is not an easy time, with both of my mother's parents fighting cancer. So please, more duas!

Yes, that's shocking. I told my mother, "Stop drinking the water! You hear?" She thought I was playing, but I?m dead serious. Anyway. Duas duas duas.

I've been saying SubhanAllah a lot lately, not just dhikr but whenever I think of what's been going on. In my absence from the blog, I turned twenny-five. The day was suck-a-liciously blah, but at the same time I said AlhamdulIllah, because I know too many who didn't make it to 25.

Also, after the infamous firing way I was let go from my last professional position, I'm happy to report that I've found what may very well turn out to be my dream job. It doesn't pay well, but it has to do with public health, interpreting, education, and administration. I can't ask for more. So, that decision was made for me,when my now-manager hired me. This job is the one I was looking for, in order to be able to turn down Columbia. So I'm not going to go to Columbia; Ima stay right here and work for a couple years before I re-apply. And when I made that decision, the peace that followed let me know that it was the right one.

I have to go, I was late this morning and am already playing catch-up. Insha'Allah I'll be talking to you all very soon.



Tuesday, June 27, 2006



No title. No time.

Quickly: I learned today that my grandmother was operated on to stop severe bleeding, severe enough that they went ahead and opened her 3 days and 200 miles south of where she's scheduled to have surgery on Sunday. Later on, she'll be transported somehow to UAB for a radical bladder-ectomy.

This is scary and I'm really reaching for faith in God's will here.

Please pray for her, and my grandfather, and my mother, and, you know, our family.

Israel and Gaza


Y'all know me as a pretty ecumenical person when it comes to reading. I'll read anything and anyone, if only to know what I should stay away from. Thus, the links on my sidebar. I am Muslim and my links include other Muslims, Christians, Jews, and even a Jehovah's Witness-turned-Agnostic. Amongst the many, lest I leave out the religion of someone over there.
I was reading RenReb and came across this:

The Muqata ???? ?? ????????: One Soldier's Life.

And you know what? Astaghfirullah wa audhubiLlah al Aziz, the first thing I thought was, " I can't sympathize with that position, y'all too busy killing children." I was thinking of UmmYousef and Democracy Now's posting of the casualties a couple weeks ago.

Astaghfirullah - May God forgive me, truly. I haven't felt so remorseful as I did when I caught myself thinking this way. Yes, I sympathize with Gaza and it's elected government AT TIMES- but someone has been robbed of his freedom, and that can't be tolerated from anyone anywhere either, or what kind of American am I? I've been able to see the Israeli opinion at times, even if I don't agree it doesn't mean that the people who hold the opinions and live on the land are not people. What kind of Muslim would I be if I didn't protest against that injustice, too; and not just those that are dear to me? Not the kind of Muslima that I said the Shahada to become.

This is what happens when I allow myself to take a side or to decide that the pain of one person is more worthy of my sympathy than another. That, if you ask me, is really at the heart of the entire conflict.

Just my $.02 while I was thinking about it.


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Get in touch with needs.


So I was over at the Renegade Rebbetzin's spot, and was reading her rant, which is actually kinda similar to Shabana's a couple weeks ago, about how people do for others based on their particular needs and wants.
the point of ??? is to do things for other people, not because you want to or you can, but because they need it, period, and for no reason other than that. ~Renegade Rebbetzin

The word in hebrew is chesed, which is like, um, giving loving kindness (and is much better explained by RenReb herself in the article.

Both of these wonderful ladies make me take a good hard look at myself. Yes, I have needs of others. But the real question is, Whose needs am I really in touch with, and am I providing to them what they need? OR what I'm willing to give?

Because, to respond to a part of what each of them has said, I know I'm guilty of providing and giving and sharing with others only what is convienient for me. (Which is why I thought at one point that Shabana was talking to me, and thought, well, this shoe is mighty comfy, huh? Maybe I shouldn't be so mad about that, but just go ahead and change.) Until they quite loudly spoke up about it, I was perfectly willing to quash my awareness of that. Now I can't. Thank you very much.
And it ocurred to me just now that I might be receiving more of what I need from others if I were attending first to what others need from me. Instead of hiding inside myself and my nafs (and that's a whole 'nother post).

Short example: I find myself growing more and more depressed what with the happenings of the past few weeks and the lack of a job and a concrete decision about my school. And I wish people would call me to hang out. Or do things. Then, I think on how many people I could be calling, and, well, maybe it's a silly argument. I don't want to trivialize how I feel or depression in general. The articles just led me in that direction.


Every day is a true struggle for me to REALIZE what I'm doing and thinking and to be honest with myself about my reactions and actions. How about you?


Ah Got me a Meme!


from Farrago.

I am? a Tall Black Muslim Woman.
I want? to help raise my community to new heights
I wish? I didn't have to worry about everyday work.
I hate? depression and other intangible mental disorders.
I miss? Culebra and the rest of la isla
I fear? that I won?t find a life partner or be able to take care of myself.
I hear I am not? the most conventional or obedient person.
I hear I am? an inspiring writer and speaker.
I dance? whenever I can.
I sing? Gospel and other praises, mixed with the blues.
I cry? at the thought of pain, physical or psychic, others' or mine.

I am not always? sad. Or happy.
I make with my hands? food, blankets, scarves, music.
I write? better than I think I do.
I confuse? dates- for two weeks in a row, I thought Monday was Tuesday.
I need? security, love, confidence, to be needed.
I should? accept reality without so much wrangling.
I start? enthusiastically
I finish? with determination and pure cussedness.
I tag: Fatima, Dictator Princess, Um Mahtab (Where you at??!), UmmZ (of course), Sherry, Shabana, IzzyMo, Baraka, and anyone who wants it.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Get thee to MarisaMarathon!


Yeah, so by now I realize there is a serious problem with my commentage. The friendly folk of blogger haven't answered my questions about it, so I am still working on it.

I'll be blogging a bit more over on my marathon page.

So click on the link to go there and leave me lots of encouragement and smileys. Smiles are charity, you know.

Feel free to leave a donation if it fits in your zakat plan (what, no zakat budget? You mean, you give freely whenever and wherever you please? Oooh, pick me, pick me!) or if you haven't given to your charity this year, or if you found a $5 bill under the couch cushion that you didn't, like, need desperately. And feel free to plug said link into your sidebar/blogroll/place where nosy people see what stuff you read.

See, my fundraising has netted a big fat $25 so far, and I only need $2075 more to be able to run in the marathon without charging $2100 to my credit card. (Let's pause to laugh at that one. HAHAHAHHAHAHHAhhahahahahah! Whew! As if I could do that!) So protect me from the evils of riba (usury) and do a good deed and leave me some encouragement!

Thank you!


Saturday, June 10, 2006

Immoral, Inethical, and ill...oh, wait...



In the interest of discussing something on which others may comment:

What do you do when faced with a situation where what you would choose to do is neither immoral nor inethical, but illegal?

But you know it's right?

Like, in Cincinnati, where I craftily made my escape from *ahem* grew up, it's illegal to feed other people's meters when you see they're about to go out/have gone out/the person is 'bout 3 cars from getting a ticket.

There's this one granny who used to go around with a bag full of quarters saving peoples' backsides, not knowing that it was illegal- and then when one parking officer with nothing better to do saw her and informed her that indeed that was unlawful, she didn't care. As I recall (too lazy to google it) she did end up in jail over that mess.

Or how about (dun dun dunnnnnnn) the topic of the moment: multiple wives? I haven't heard so much commentary from the Muslim side of things as I have the pseudo/Mormon side of things. But I was just thinking about making the choice to live in a situation like that, and making the normally-unnecessary distinction between my religious compass and the civic-legal compass.

I mean, I believe what I believe, but, um, I even tryna be a lawbreaker here.

And then, too, the law can be "a ass".
And then, too, I ain't going to jail for anything less than a true conviction (either meaning of conviction).

My mama used to say that I could do whatever I wanted as long as it wasn't immoral, illegal, or inethical. Today I found myself going back to the basics: the 'voice inside my head' ticking off the 3 criteria. And got pulled up short. Whaddaya do with something like that???

It's something I need to think about theoretically, before I ever get to the level of needing to apply that in real life.

Anyone got some experience?

Discuss amongst yourselves.


I'm afraid.


I'm faced with still more decisions.

I'm afraid.

I have no job.

I'm running out of money.

I've been given a proposition which is way too tempting, but which would solve two of my problems.

I'm praying, are you?

Because I'm really really just scared right now. No one told me that being an adult involved living scared so much, and so I'm angry too. Eh. Eccch.

That'll be all.

Monday, June 05, 2006

torn torn torn



Some while back I mentioned that my mother's mother had to undergo a biopsy. I recall at the time that I didn't have a great feeling about it. No matter. Your duas are needed- it's without doubt cancer, and it has spread.

Grandma is already recuperating from knee replacement surgery, which she'd put off for quite some time, but which was supposed to give her a lot of her mobility back. Now the doctors are talking about major surgery next week. What really frightened me is that they're not giving her chemotherapy beforehand- they think she's too weak to deal with it. I might have mentioned that my mother was in Tuskegee last week- turns out she was there b/c she found out the diagnosis. Apparently Grandma has lost tons of weight, "and not eating-right weight, but the 'my-body-is-fighting' weight", Mama said.

Pray, please pray. I think I'm more like my grandmother, so we tend to argue and keep each other at arms' length. My mother, and my sister, though are much closer to her. I'm torn up about her being sick, because I've been there (and how). I want her to feel her cantankerous and outrageous self. I've been asking for my feelings toward her to soften. Surprised the heck outta me, when my mother mentioned that she needed someone there all the time, that I said "I could do that. I wish I could go"- and I meant it. I'd be there now if it werent for the fact that I can't do it and work, too.

Pray for God's will to be done in this, and for his presence with my Grandma. Please. Add yours to ours.

Before I found all that out I was gonna tell y'all some things.......ummm....

Oh yeah.

Name change: Yes, Koonj, I have to "officially" change my last name to include my mother's maiden name, as it is shown on my PR ID. Since the great Commonwealth (common weal) of Virginia has decided that since it appears that way on the PR ID that I must have changed it and so need official proof - a court order- of a name change I never made in the first place. This is aggravating in the extreme. To add to this my parents, naturally, are against that since they say my name is as they gave it to me, and never included my mother's maiden name in any way shape or form. I agree with them in theory (I repeat, I NEVER changed my name legally- culturally in PR if you don't use yo mama's name on official stuff they think you're a bastard. No. Even bastards just use their mom's maiden name twice for their last names. See?) but I'm not tryna a)take the driver's license test, in a borrowed car, for however many times I'd have to take it THIS time (it was 4 before I passed after I left the country) b) just get a VA state ID so that if I ever want to drive again I'd STILL have to get another license, thereby just delaying option A by some undetermined time period.

Plus, I actually have no problem acknowledging the fact that my mother is my mother by adding her father's name to mine. I think their attitude is a little bit funny considering that my birth certificate doesn't list her under her married name even though she was married. Hmph. I digress. My PR license is good 'til 2009; I'm still mad that people won't just let it rest and let me deal with licensing issues in 2009. Virginia's all nuts b/c some of the people who flew the 9/11 planes used VA ID's. 9/11 has complicated my life mo' than a lil' bit.

Columbia: I've decided I'm going insha'Allah. It's too early/late to get into it now. Thanks for all your commentary. Please discuss as you wish. Dictator Princess, I'm with you on the debt... really, really-really. but at the same time, Alhamdullillah, I've got the chance to go to the #1 school in the world for what I want to do, something I worked hard for. How do I turn down a blessing? How much is a dream worth? Ima find out- insha'Allah insha'Allah insha'Allah.

I think I'll go get some sleep. I'm baby-sitting tomorrow!


Saturday, June 03, 2006

I know it's great to be agonizing over these kinds of issues...


...but still, I do wish I didn't have to agonize at all.

I've got like 4 things bothering the mess outta me just now.

My main issue is that Columbia University costs so much that I'm having to decide if the debt is worth the anguish of being in that debt. I'm talking about $600 or $700 per month loan bills after I graduate. I'm talking, get a $80,000/yr job or a sugar daddy or a way to pay it off, or else. I'm talking, take the debt or have a family type decision, here.

This is because my fear is the worst case scenario: that I take on all this debt and then can't pay it back. This is a nerve-wracking thing to me. As Mikah said to me yesterday, "You're your own worst enemy," and I already knew what she meant before she said that. I get so afraid of the possibilities of greatness or failure that I don't even try, sometimes. I really really don't want that to be what stops me from taking advantage of this opportunity.

But another part of the issue is that I can't step back. I can't see the forest for the trees, here. At this point in time I have no perspective. I want to go so bad that I'm like, "to hell with the costs, give me a loan so I can make the most of the experience and then pay it back through working in IHS". That's what I've decided to do so far, but then the whole "One-Hundred-Thousand-Dollars-For-Just-Two-Years" thought goes through my head, or I wonder what happens if I don't get into the public health corps or the IHS, and I can't sleep.

So, I ask for and listen to advice...

Nene: "Why do you want to go to Columbia?".... (listens to the answer) "Okay, then go. It's just money. If New York is THE place to get the best training in this and a good place for you to live, and you've already got into the school, then go... I have some friends up there who may be able to put you in contact wth some places that can help with financial aid a bit... " etc. etc.

Mama (this is at various points over a two-year time span): You don't have to go to Columbia. Why is it that you don't want to go to Emory? (listens to the answers) It's a very, very expensive school, daughter. We don't have any family in New York. And you don't have to do this now. I sense an urgency on your part. But no one in our family has gone to an Ivy league school, and we're all doing fine. That kind of school, at that kind of cost, isn't necessary. Not for black folks. I know you're putting value on the name. And I know the school is excellent for what you want to study. We-your father and I- we can't help you if you go. I didn't go to an Ivy League school, and I didn't get my doctorate, and I don't think that makes any difference to the people I have helped in my lifetime. But get your teaching license first- I say that's why you went to Puerto Rico. Have something you can fall back on. Wait- study something else. Do you realize what kind of loan payments you'll be making? What job prospects do you have? You don't have to go to Columbia. You don't have to go there. You don't have to go now. etc. etc.

Umesh: (lilting Indian/Briton accent, here) Since you asked me, I do not think you should go. Look at me- I got a scholarship, and now I am struggling to stay inside the country. And I'm not taking any high-paying job. I went to the school that is the poorest in [pricey Ivy League school], it doesn't pay much. So I am very frugal. [ahem skin-and-bones frugal] That is an opportunity that may come again, but the cost is not worth it. I think not. You should wait, and teach in the meantime. etc. etc.

Magali : This is your dream, man. I mean, I'm not in your position. But you're not an extravagant person, you don't have expensive taste. You know how to save. The real decision, from what you've told me, is between going with your dream and taking debt, which we know makes you crazy, or not going with your dream and living with berating yourself for the next 5 years and regretting it and not knowing what to do instead. That's the real decision. Forget everything else and make that decision. That's what I think counts.

Vee (my sister and thus party to all decisions all the time): No! Don't even tell me you're thinking about not going! There are people in our family who have money that will give it to you for your education. (listens while i explain that our mother has said that her family would tell me go to a cheaper school- tis a given that our fathers side has enough for themselves and not much more) Look. Sister. You're the first person in our family to go to an Ivy League school. even if the family doesn't help you, you've been talking about this for 3 or 4 years now. You know what? You have to go. (over my protests about the costs and the fact that I'd want even more education later) You have to go. You told me this would happen. Do you remember? You said that one day you would find a way to talk yourself out of going, and that I have to come and kick you and make you go. I'll help you. Or just take the loans. But you have to go. You can't give up on your dream.

Mikah:You know, the first thing is, that that is a LOT of money. Think of what that did to you at GW. Think what happened when you were in Puerto Rico and not making any money. You got sick. That tore your body down. The past is a great indicator for the future. Can you be studying and working at the same time and earn enough for your incidental expenses without getting sick?
The other thing is, that when we're in our early twenties, we always think that we have to act right now, jump on it so that this opportunity will not pass us by.
But there's no rush, Twenny! So you'll have to go through the application process again. That's okay. I know you want your dream and you don't want to step away from it right now. But if you got in, and they want you there, then you belong there. So you can apply again and assume you'll get in. In order for you do this, you need do do proper planning, so that it doesn't stress you. And a good deal of your problem is that you haven't planned enough. Have faith that if God wants this for you it will happen, and wait on his timing. Anything you start half-assed is just half-assed. Don't set yourself up for a cycle of failure. etc. etc.
Yeah. So advice is all over the place. I can almost break it into generational categories: BabyBoomers = don't go. GenX/GenNext: forget the money, follow your dream.

What else is bothering me?

Well, I don't have a job. And I'm about to change my name and I don't want to talk to my family about it b/c they've shown themselves to be opposed to it. Oh, and I'm about to be twennyfive with no marriage prospects in sight, and I live with my aunt.

These are all great things to be worried about, masha'Allah. Today, at least, I'm not worried about where my next meal is coming from, or that the house is going to fall in on my head. I'm not sick, thank God. I can help my friends and laugh and know that none of this is the end of the world. Still, horses for courses. This is my life, and so these are the things I worry about.

Shouts to my friends, esp. Sherry- I've got your messages, and I miss you, and I'll be calling you soon.