Sunday, January 29, 2006

Quartets- the meme

I was tagged bySister Surviving. Yay!

Four Jobs I?ve Had in My Life
1) Clerk for a travel agency
2) Starbucks barista
3) Teacher
4) Black Intern at a foofy Fortune 50 Company (no, really, one of the reasons I was chosen was b/c I'm a black woman, no joke).

Four Movies I Could Watch Over and Over, and Have

1) Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
2) Chicago (my guilty pleasure)
3) Brown Sugar (another guilty pleasure)
4) Spanglish

Four Places I Have Lived

1) Ohio
2) Spain
3) Guayama, Puerto Rico
4) Sta. Rita, San Juan, Puerto Rico

Four TV Shows I Love To Watch

1) ER
2) Dirty Jobs
3) OverHaulin'
4) CSI (the original)

Four Places I Have Been On Vacation

1) Va Beach VA (twice,fijate)
2) Tuskegee, AL
3) Mayaguez, PR
4) Shenandoah Mtns of VA

Four Websites I Visit Daily

1) UmmZ & 2) BBC&
3) Google (but you knew that!)
4) Actually I have a huge list of blogs and other time-wasting places I visit daily, so I'll just stop now.

Four Favorite Foods

1) Seafoods (salmon, crab, catfish, shrimp, whiting...the wonders!)
2) Rices with and without Beans and Meat (true child of the South...)
3) Vegetables ( squash, snowpeas, spinach, carrots, broccoli, greens, sweetcorn, cukes, sweet ripe tomatoes...mmmmm!)
4) Fresh-off-the-tree Cherries!

Four Places I Would Rather Be Right Now

1) Puerto Rico
2) Tyson's COrner Mall with $1000 for a spree
3) Palestine
4) a well-equipped INDOOR gym

Four People Whom I Tag Next

1) Sherry
2) Khandi
3) Dictator Princess
4) Shabana

On 'America's Most Endangered Species: the Virgin'

peace, y'all

So, 'bout a week ago I made a post on something that was really flippin' buggin' me. And I've been watching the response with amazement. I seriously give "big ups" to God for inspiring me on that one b/c I have had even more reasons to think since.

One of the entries from that was Svend's America's Most Endangered Species: the Virgin. Excellent post.

Svend points out the dangers to young men's egos and actions when it comes to being virgin and young in American pop culture, where *ahem Romance* is pushed at you from, seriously, toddlerhood if not birth. Amen to that.

He says:
I suspect that Americans born in an earlier era or people born abroad are unlikely to grasp how deadly the combination of good old American machismo with a hyper-sexualized, increasingly secularized society is for the self-esteem of young men who abstain from sex. When you've grown up with bed-hopping heroes like James Bond and Captain Kirk as your icons of masculinity; and when you've grown up in a cultural mileu where the concept of male virginity is so relentlessly mocked that a movie like "The Last American Virgin" --a 1982 high school comedy about the quest to finally deflower America's lone remaining male teenage virgin; stop and think about the implications for societal norms there and consider what an incredible rupture it is with the past--is comprehensible it's impossible for your inner compass not to be warped to some extent, no matter how much you may aspire to live up to traditional values.

As an older sister to a still teenaged brother in college, I absolutely agree. I saw my LilBro going through a stage where he didn't really talk about girls with anyone, b/c he didn't want to get into the virginity topic. And plenty of girls find him attractive, so he had the additional issue of having them throw themselves at him. There are three of us who were raised in the same house by our mother (our older bro has a different mother and lives in NM). Seriously? We 'joke' with our mother all the time that she'd better watch out or she'll not have ANY grandchildren, because (so far) all of us made it out of teenages as virgins. That speaks to a couple of things: one, that we all felt like freaks in resisting that influence and culture that's been around from day-the-first; and also that Mama didn't play around when it came to discussing sex and values. Even within our family, the emphasis on resisting sex until marriage is rare. My father has 8 brothers and sisters and all of them have at least 2 kids. Only 3 of them have children who weren't pregnant/getting someone pregnant before marriage. And 2 of them still have kids under 20, which means I'm still holding my breath. That's just the evidence within my own family. Family is where you look first for values, so we aren't doing too well in teaching boys OR girls the inner strength and values necessary to not mind being unique sexually on top of the other unique qualities that teens tend to want to erase from themselves in the quest of doing and being what's popular. Make sense? Okay.

Then too, I don't know about LilBro, but when it came to us girls, Mama was all about information and openness. So I think we were raised almost with a 'backhomelandia'(credit to UmmZ) perspective on such things as sexuality and marriage. My sis and I heard as early as 9 years old that if and when we had kids we'd have to take care of them. Combined with the also-early knowledge of how babies get here, and we were just scurred to be even thinkin' about that sex thing.

Yeah, so that, combined with being tossed into that culture at 18 and really not knowing how to handle it except withdraw... yeah, I feel for my bro, b/c I sense that he might just give in to that influence to save face but also out of exhaustion. High school here in the states is 6-4 years of extreme sexual pressure anyway, nevermind if you're an athlete (LilBro was) and even worse when you've got the stone wall of values and parental displeasure at home backing you. Yeah, it's a great feeling but also... if I've built this image correctly you can see how a guy could end up feeling squashed.

Feel free to discuss that as you will. It's a random, off-the-cuff observation.

Svend makes a point of saying he wants the reactions of women, and I'm happy to oblige.

He remarks:
There is no question that young women are put under enormous pressure to "put out"--and then, ironically, punished for not remaining pure (a la the Madonna/Whore complex)--and there are all sorts of other kinds of unhealthy pressures on young women vis-a-vis their appearance, but I don't think women in this society face the same internalized *psychological* pressures to be promiscuous. Women are pressured in a myriad of ways, but I would argue that they tend to be more external (e.g., social pressure) and the price paid for not giving in to this pressure is milder. In a nutshell, from a very early age men are conditioned to base their most profound sense of manhood on their sexual resume, as it were. I do not think the same can be said of women. There may be every manner of pressure and enticement to get women to be sexually active, but they are not taught to hate themselves for not being sexually active or for "conquering" men.

I submit that in American culture today, an adult female virgin is treated as a quaint oddity, but not as a clinical disorder. She might even occasionally get an iota of respect. An adult male virgin, to the contrary, is treated like a freak of nature, something that I consider incredibly harmful to young men's psychological development.

I'm not implying one is less of a problem than the other, so much as addressing what I consider to be important differences.

To which my first reaction was: Breh, are you kidding?

1) With whom do you think all those boys are losing their virginity? Girls of the same age, if not younger. The being-into-younger-men thing isn't common among college- aged women imho. It doesn't hit until the 40's. If anything it's made worse by the girls' own internal pressures specially when those *ahem* romantic feelings are involved. Pressure from the outside (movies, music, media, peers) is added to the fact that those, um, normal human hormonal surges internally make her think she's crazy for saying no. Bingo: the culture doesn't make a huge point of resisting gratification, so if the woman in question doesn't have a strong sense of self and values virginity is gone long long before adulthood AND the girl probably will not want to face the why's of that.

2) The psychological pressures are there, my friend, and I'm a witness. In the community I came up in, anyhow, by the time you're 16 you're just expected to know your way around a man's body, how do perform certain sexual actions, and don't eeeeven come like you're innocent. Just as a female may be made to feel like a freak if she doesn't have the right hair or style choices, that very same external pressure can cause her to question her values to the point of making things up and lying about her status as a virgin- or abandoning it altogether. I think the words used were 'freak of nature'. Not only can that sentiment be felt but it can make certain girls targets for those predatory teenaged boys.

3) I clearly recall Ebony Magazine putting out an article when I was in college (eg not all that long ago) where a woman said, "I am a 23-year-old virgin" and that was supposed to be a really big deal. Now, she did get that respect. And that article led to some great discussions between me and some girlfriends and peer counselees on the lines of 'I wish I had waited, etc.' But I remember hearing a lot of voices in the college community being like, wow, you're missing out.

4) Unfortunately, in these times of perceived gender equality, yeah, women are compelled to measure themselves by the number of men they've had, and not just by men- women encourage this. I think it's a negative effect of that so-called 'equality'. Instead of having our own standards of judgment adult women in a lot of places adopt those appied to men. And that includes those sexual standards as well.

Ima stop talking now. Got more to say, but I feel like what I already said is prolly a bit jumbled cuz I'm not talking it, I'm writing it.

I'll probably bring a part II on this having to do with teenagers again, since I did teach 8th graders and many things along this line that I saw with them bothered me.


Submitted to the Radical Women of Color Carnival :

Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Literal Cost of High Fructose Corn Syrup

Accidental Hedonist The Literal Cost of High Fructose Corn Syrup

peace, y'all

I was just talking about why Americans are fat to one of my individual (adult ESL) students the other day. I explained to her that High Fructose Corn Syrup is in EVERYTHING nowadays. More calories. And she asked why it's so cheap.

Accidental Hedonist has put the answer together better than I could.


I hear the 'd' word...

peace, y'all

BBC NEWS | Americas | US military 'at breaking point'...

Know what? I believe that the military just might be at a breaking point... or it may be soon.

I'm just terrified at the 'd' word. Especially if they decide to let the girls play on the field too. I never have been the strongest voice for absolute equality in any realm. Men and women are different physically if equal intellectually, on a GENERAL scale. I'm not TRYIN' to be in nobody's army, and I don't want any of my relatives there either.

How come this report hasn't come out in the US? Or did I just miss it?


Wednesday, January 25, 2006

SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Salaam

UmmZaid on Salawat on the Prophet Muhammad

peace, y'all

*Note: whenever I write/speak/think of the name of the Prophet, I automatically think (in English for those who want to know) 'peace be upon him'. I am still debating on the necessity of writing the entire arabic blessing out and therefore I dont' write anything. I invite those readers who understand the salawat to say it themselves when reading and understand that the intention of the blessing is there. Now, as I was saying...*

Since reading that excellent post got me started...

When I accepted Islam, the knowledge that informed my spiritual practice was very bare-bones. So to this day and insha'Allah until the end of my life, I find myself playing catch up and confronting the differences and dissonance this causes in my thoughts, opinions, and actions.

All that to say that salawat on the Prophet Muhammad every-single-time-I-hear-speak-say-think-his-name is hard hard hard for me.

In part because it wasn't part of the adab of the Muslims I learned my islamic 'action' from. Or, more clearly, at first it wasn't part of the example. So I had to un-learn the habit of not saying it.

But also, I struggle with the attitude behind compulsive and habitual "Muhammad slawhulayhislaam" slurred rapidfire salawat cast on the Prophet.

One, I realize now that salawat on the Prophet Muhammad is placed upon us in the Qur'an. What I don't like is that it is habitual, slurred, and becomes an afterthought in the attitude of the speaker/writer. That's the top-of-my-head explanation.

Two isn't so simple. You see, I grew up a dyed-in-the-wool, faithful, Black (yes that's relevant) Christian.
And one fo the things that pushed me away from the church and Christianity was the focus on Jesus and the lesser amount of attention paid to God as a result. The first surah I ever read (I kid you not and I still think this was God's Clear Call to me) was the one about Tawhid that is repeated in the Qur'an. Qul, huwa Allahu ahad, Allahu as-samad. lam yulid wa lam yulad, wa lam yakun'llahu kutwan ahad.

Roughly: Say, He is God, The One, The Only. He begets not nor is He begotten. Nor any other beside/like Him.

So it's distressing to feel refreshingly,finally, joyfully free to concentrate my worship on God alone only to be told to (almost) worship the Prophet too. Like it or not, the 'feeling' of the status of our beloved and revered Prophet Muhammad feels like what Christians promote for Prophet Jesus. And we know this, especially converts and those of us who do historical research- that's why Muslims end up being called Muhammedans (astaghfirullah Al Aziz...), because of that emphasis, that depth of feeling, applied so to the Prophet and not so visibly to God.

That, my readers, is frustrating. And I think the source of any resistance I still have to salawat in general. It's a matter of me overcoming my nafs, I know, and watching my own intention. It also, I have found, means that I actually do resist the depth of feeling pushed on me from outside for the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him. That outer, visible deference, praise, humility of spirit, should always always always be first and foremost to God, Al Ahad, Al Aziz, Al Rahman, AlFattah, AlAlim, Al Malik. Al Haqq, the very Truth. PERIOD. To not have that clearly conveyed in my actions and thoughts is a crime and something I don't want to do even by mistake. It would be shirk. So I think in my head I'd rather keep my blessings on the Prophet lowly and meek than feel as if I'm committing shirk (God save me and keep me from this) by my outward, great praise of an awesome, great man.

Even if you don't like that, I hope you can understand and respect that. You see, I'm actually quite envious of those who can have the above point straight in their heads and still be so inyaface wit th' salawat. I'm open and willing to learn what need to get there, and I'm already struggling with the self to accept it and act on it.

I am immensely grateful to the Prophet Muhammad, were it not for him I wouldn't have the light of faith and reason that is brightens my life of dark and hard choices. So yeah, it is maddening to me that salawat should be such a hard point. I'm afraid that he nor God would want sooo much of the (over)emphasis put upon him. I wish blessings and peace upon him for that and for the stories about him, even if I fight with hadith all the time; it doesn't have to do with him so much as with the distortion humans push toward him and his image and his example and his words since he actually walked this earth.

Ooh. Let me say that again.
My problem doesn't have to do with the Prophet Muhammad, peace upon hin, so much as the distortions around and toward him since the time he actually walked this earth.

My fave nasheed is Zain Bhika's Muhammad... and I actually go around singing the chorus: Muhammad, Peace be upon his soul. The greatest of Prophets, Islam was his only goal. Muhammad, Salallahu Alaihi wa Salaam. As a matter of fact, I think that was where I actually understood deep down the salawat word for word and the meaning behind it.

I actually applaud UmmZaid's post, especially this point: put the blessings in your mouth all the time, deliberately. Take them out of the mundane by spelling them out and concentrating on what they mean. AbsoLUTEly. So thanks for that (tip of the shayla to ya, UmmZ, once again). She's right and that's something I'll focus on now. (yup, I said it, what?!)

Meanwhile I'll still be searching for something to allay my legitimate problems with the praise for our awesome Prophet.


Shocks of the Week

1: Alito is actually getting in. (sarcasm here, people.)
I just want to say that once Alito was nominated, I never expected him to be stopped. We've got a wimpy bunch of Senators this session. Expect to ssee liberal and forward-moving thought, such as it was at the Supreme Court, fade away.

2:Girl, 7, Shot by Boy, 8m at Day Care in Montgomery. No sarcasm on this one. I saw this yesterday morning and my mouth dropped open- when they said day care I thought litle little kids (toddlers as opposed to elementary-aged kids). According to the news on right this minute, the boy threatened to rob the girl before he shot her through his bookbag. His father is now in jail. Oh, the school where I teach is in Montgomery County, by the way... this will get discussed with my (9-year-old) scholars as part of Ms. Two's anger management maintenance...

This boy, by the way, is to be charged under the juvenile system, and while I believe that action fully justified (the kid was a hellion before all this), I can't help but be saddened. How was there no effective intervention for him before now? And what kind of life will he have after being able to claim/say that his first experience with the justice system came when he was eight years old?

Oh, Father, Bless your people...

3. January is Back. After we were sooo spoiled by 65 degree weather, it's back to a nastily windy, stormy, snowy, and cold reality. Bleech.

Nada, si encuentro mas les aviso.


Saturday, January 21, 2006


peace, y'all!
Suze Orman's Financial Compatibility Quiz

Yeah, so I'm officially a YFand B'er.

But y'all knew that.

Anyhow, I took the quiz describing myself, of course.

I am equal parts spendthrift, financial catch, and financial wreck. Thank you very much.

My numbers weren't high in any category. But please believe I am watching my finances like a hawk recently.


Here's a MEME just for those of you who actually read to get to it. Love ya!

This is from Sister Surviving.

.:Have you ever played Soduku? Or what about puzzles in general?
Yeah. Like them, but gen'rally do the easy and medium puzzles in the Express.

.:If the temperature had to be the same on every day of the year, what would you want it to be?


.:What is one item you own that you really should throw away, but probably never will?

Knitting needles and yarn. But I will finish the scarf, even if it takes until July!

.:You are at Starbucks, what is your order?
A) Venti Refresh

B) tall breve or soy vanilla chai. (depends on how masochistic I'm feeling)

C) grande breve Marisa (this is a Mint Vanilla Double Shot Latte with extra Whipped cream, named so by some friends who worked with me at Starbucks.) on days when illegal and haram habits start to look entirely too tempting.

.:Which do you dislike most: pop-up ads or spam email?


.:If you had to choose, which would you give up: cable TV, or DSL/cable internet?

Cable TV is from The Enemy. At times.

.:Which way do you put the toilet paper roll on the holder? Is there a correct way?

Let's get this straight: the paper is supposed to go over the roll. However, I'm satisfied if there is actually paper ON the roll as opposed to already used, especially at the crucial moment.

.:How did you come up with your user name?

After the way we hear (or Americans say) the number that corresponded to my gregorian age when I started this blog.

Think about it: say "22". Yeah. That.

.:While driving and making a turn, do you slow down first and then put on your blinker right before you turn; OR do you put on your blinker and then slow down and make your turn?

Simultaneous blinker and slow, shift into lane, turn.

.:What would you rather have, a nanny, a housekeeper, a cook, or a chauffeur?

A housekeeper, I actually went so far as to spring for one when I was in PR and seriously depressed. My aunt has one now. To walk into a clean and orderly house is one of the best-priced remedies for having to work that I know.

.:What is your favorite Girl Scout Cookie?

Thin Mints, y'all!!

.:If you could guest blog on any other person's blog, whose would you choose?

I take the fifth. No, wait. Um, no, yeah, I take the fifth. Better leave that unknown.

.:Are you a city person, or a country person?

Ooh, that's haaard. Country if I have a car. Otherwise city with great transportation. Gotta get around.

.:If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one ability or quality, what would it be?

Ability to do anything truly w/o worrying about other peoples' reactions.

.:What celebrity are you tired of hearing about lately?

Political: Abramoff. Hollywood: Pick them all.

.:How often do you step back and reflect upon the way you are living and where you are headed?

ALL THE FLIPPIN TIME. TOO MUCH. Way Too much. ALthough it is a twenny-somethin' thang, I s'pose.

.:The perfect pizza.

Mmmm. Roasted chicken, mushrooms, pineapple, and green peppers. Low cheese. Thick crust.

.:Do you watch local news? Why?

Yes, for the weather.

.:How old were you when you start playing Neopet?

With whoseyawhat?

.:What model/make of mobile phone are you using right now?

Samsung Sprint Dagoone 'Spensive Model #2.

.:Who or what is on your computer's wallpaper?

A big beautiful opened purple tulip.

.:Go through your DVD/pre-bought video collection. Which three actors or actresses feature the most in them?

In my actual collection at home: the LOTR cast, since I have all 3. Next? Sanaa Lathan. and Taye Diggs.

.:Go through your book shelves. Which three authors have written the majority of the books?
I don't actually have shelves here, but God comes in first (two copies of the Qur'an and one of the Bible).

I'm actually a library freak, just checked out two by Suze Orman, have two by Olivia Goldsmith, one by Terry Goodkind, and one by Jack Canfield. Also reading Girl, Get your Money Straight! Can you tell my current preoccupations??

.:If you are married, describe your wedding. If not, what would your ideal wedding be like?
Your mouth to God's ears!

Hmm. Long, flowy, white dress with me in a filmy niqab (FOr some reason I see myself like Rachel at the well). 'bout 6 bridesmaids in ethnic dresses from their respective countries. Husband and my families fill the circular room. Everyone is happy and not concerned about the serious amount of dancing that will be going down later.

Yeah, it's my wedding, what!

.:What's your supermarket of choice?

Whole Foods. and when my aunt goes, Costco. You see why I'm broke?

.:Do you like having your picture taken?

Yes, I just don't like the pictures themselves.

.:Pick up the closest book and write a sentence at random from it."A. Boost your debt payments as much as possible to get your balances down." ~Suze Orman's Money Book for the Young Fabulous and Broke.

.:Are you a vegetarian?

No longer. Iron too low.

.:What's in your fridge right now?

Not my fridge, but...Um. What I can remember w/o looking? Some tuna salad I made, some dates I bought during Eid'ulFitr, some limp celery, two glass bottles of cod liver oil (not mine.) Also not mine and I can't eat it: tons of pork including ham, smoked ham, honey ham, and bratwurst, some blackeyedpease from new years with pork in it; leftovers, shredded cheese, various condiments... it's a jungle in there.

.:Have you ever been on TV or the radio?

Yes. On both.

.:What is the most expensive item you own?

Shoes for me can be quite quite expensive, yo. That and my cell phone, which is actually cheap but cost $500 total to replace after it was stolen. Allahu Alim.

.:What color are most of your clothes?

Some shade of blue. I also have a lot of pink (ick, eww) since I left PR, it was the only 'big girl' color that was common. Or something.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Presidential Women

peace, y'all
Check out the comment on Tom and Katie. In portuguese. Alls I have to say is, guau.


I'm not an airhead, as much as it may seem here. In my non-blog life, I'm still and international affairs major, and I watch what's going on. (It's only on the blog that I turn into a selfish emotional freak show.)

I just want to give a shout to Michelle Bachelet and Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, both of whom were inaugurated this week. Congratulations ladies, you deserve your wins after your respective run-off elections. There is no doubt that your countries want you... and need you... in office.

I discussed both inaugurations this week in my classes, and all my students were overjoyed. 'Bout time folk 'round the world realized that women have been taking care of their behinds for millenia... we can prolly take care of countries, too.

Now, it's up to these phenomenal women to do well. And for that I say, poor things. That's a hard road to walk, having the world scrutinizing what you do, and half of it over-ready to blame your failures on the variety of your genitalia. I wish them blessings and successes.


Touch. And Love.

peace, y'all

Warning: This entry contains whine without cheese. Incoherence and pure emotion are contained within. And girly thoughts, and nafs-y thoughts. You have been warned.

Due to recent events and non-events affecting my emotional life recently, I've done some reading and some thinking about the nature of love.

There are really two places, maybe three, where I get love: my friends, my family, and my students.

That's love as expressed in actions and in words.

And that's good. I like all 3 and I'm aware now that I'm fully dependent on the first two for balance. My family, especially my mother, provide the greatest love I have ever known. My friends, my peers, keep their eyes open and watch my back, and that's crucial, because I have some blind spots that need their watchin' just like theirs need mine. My students rarely show they love me like all that (well, the older ones- the fourth graders let me know that they appreciate my steadiness with them), though I know they do. They're more an outlet where I, with my teaching (I am not some kind of pervert people, just a born teacher), show that I care about them, their spirits, what they do and what happens to them. That's why I teach. It's love.

I keep reminding myself that I have very present love in my life. I take my fingers and pry my mental eyes open to see it, because I live in a world that pushes *ahem* heterosexual romance and regard as love, and recognizes the love that I live with in a very distant second place to that romance. Which is something pretty lacking for me. I have to recognize that love for what it is, legitimate, and pure, and OKay for me to have.

I've mentioned before that I feel the lack of touching with men pretty keenly, especially since I've begun to focus on bringing my understanding of Islam to light in my daily life. (I feel it to a much lesser extent EVERYWHERE, since the aunt and uncle and two of the three cousins I live with are mostly exactly the opposite when it comes to touch, and I live far, far away from the rest of my family.) That's the part of that, um, romantic love that I can dig (My jury is still out of public view on that recklessly lusty stuff). What my mama calls being 'up under' people. Reading newspapers with heads on shoulders, sitting and touching arms or thighs incidentally when you eat, arms wrapped around necks and waists as you walk, elbowing when you tease, hugs and besitos when you run into peeps on the street or at a party or in the library, walking up behind the seated one and rubbing the shoulders and playing in the hair, tag-you're-out on the field. I miss this.

More, I feel starved for it. Touch-starved. To the point that where now when something like that happens, I've caught myself giving a great, long, sigh **whhhhhewww**. An unwilled release of tension present for so long I forgot it was there. I practically deflated like a balloon once. (It was funny then, and now, but now I think back on it as the point where I realized that it was happening.)

Since I'm being out there, why stop with that observation?

The one thing I still resent about Islam the action(and not Islam of the spirit), the one reason I've seen that really just kills about living as a muhejebah and holding myself to being a Muslim, is the removal (without reconciliation, I now realize,) of touch and easiness with men from my life. What I knew and hoped for as romantic love is NOT in my life. I grew up as an American Black with dreams of growing up and getting kissed and gettin' married in a white sleeveless dress with the man I met and stayed with since freshman year in college and got to touch mentally and physically before I married him. Okay, as I grew the dream got revised, but I made a decision that I didn't realize would crush it so neatly and completely.

Call it nafs. I realize this isn't the most pristine thing to admit. But it's reality. Resentful is just the way I feel. I refrain, but, like I said, my reaction to events and non-events make me feel mad about it. This is not joyful acquiescence to the will of God.

That's what's bugging me, and what made me start to think about the other loves that I do have, subhanAllah.

I've also said, and I do believe, that everything is choice. So I'm mad because, wait wait wait. I'm CHOOSING to stick to a POV and way of life that has me resentful and miserable? But it's true. I could be like so many people I know who are Muslim and pray like clockwork and have boyfriends and girlfriends (note intentional pluralization), tight clothes and public TOUCH.

And in the non-events of recent times I've been inching toward that. Listening to the nafs going , "Why not? Does God really care? Can't you be Muslim and still enjoy this? This is a natural normal desire in life!" I was talking to Em about it the other day, because we were talking about our abilities to be part of two different cultures, and other peoples' struggle to accept that. I was aggravated over my current crush, and talking about being both American and Muslim, and she said, "I don't belong to any culture that contradicts or tries to restrain the other. So I don't know how you do that."

At the end of it all, I have to live with myself. Which is why I do have lines that I won't cross, not for what others will think (and unfortunately as an unmarried Muslim convert who hopes for a match from the Ummah, I prudently DO keep others' eyes and opinions in mind), but because everyday when I say 'Astaghfirullah' during Isha prayer I do account for what I've done. I resent mySELF when I've explained to some stranger that yes,within Islam there are Surahs and Hadith that explain that women shouldn't be in closed rooms with strange men, while at the same time I've spent an hour dreaming about being alone with a friend who would qualify as strange.


The only help I have for myself is to turn my head away from the possibility of that romantic love being present for me. I don't know if it's possible, but Lord knows I am trying b/c the one person on earth I want to love more than anything is my own self. I don't like this and I don't want to be resentful anymore. Nor tense and harpy-ish. Prayer works until I go out into the world. And my state of living is not such that withdrawing from the world is an option.


Anyone know how to give herself a hug as good as any man's? Let me in on the secret.


Wednesday, January 18, 2006

peace, y'all
Yes, Hillary Actually Said That.

And Ima let y'all know, she's just bringing to light what a lot of people are thinking.

I'm sure there will be those who are upset that she 'played the race card'.

Know what? I'm mad the 'race card' even still exists. How about that rotten apple? Work on fixing the fact that racism and institutional biases still exist in an undercover, underhanded, still unequal USA, and not yelling at the woman for saying what she thinks on an unfortunate situation - our national legislature is outta control.

Yup, she could've chosen better words. The words she used drew attention to the issue. She knew what she was doing, and I'm sure she decided that was the right way to go. How 'bout you?

I'm out.

Waaau! I feel good!

peace, y'alll

*singing James Brown style* Heeey! I feel good
Duh nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh NUnh!

Knew that I would, now
Duh nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh NUnh!

I feel nice.... like sugar and spice....

*end singing*

I just wanted to tell everyone who has hesitated about getting into shape... JUST DO IT!
I've been doing the Couch-to-5K program from (well, okay, modified- the first week took me 2 weeks, etc. but that is still ok according to their plan) and I FEEL GOOD Masha'Allah. Last night I went running at like 10PM when I got home from teaching my last lesson, and you know what? I still feel the energy from it. THe street was deserted, and the moon was my only companion, peeking through the clouds. I just enjoyed the relatively warm night. Of course, it's raining now, last night must've been the precursor to all this.

Has anyone else noticed that the weather has been extra warm of late? HAMDULLAH I am NOT complaining, adjusting to November cold was bad enough after PR. And the warmth has made it easier for me to make the intention and keep the committment of actually getting my backside outside and exercising. I feel sooooo good. Insha'Allah the feeling continues.

I'm also dealing with a major crush on one of my best friends (Nishat and I broke off arrangements last month. Hmm, yes. Let's just say somehow I'm not all heartbroken. Next!). Crush b/c I: 1) won't tell him, 2) don't want to push anything 3) am just plain shy about these things in general. There was a get-together the other day and he was such a great host, making sure everyone was comfortable. Let me quit 'cessin, cuz it won't happen. Nice feeling, though.

Pray for me.

I'm about to be maaaad late to work. Feel free to leave me message love, I'm missing my friends inside the computer right now.


Tuesday, January 10, 2006

You gotta read this, yo!

RiverBend Blog's Movies and Dreams

peace, y'all

Above is the link to the possibly the best post I have ever read period and certainly the best commentary on the Iraq war, politics in the region, and the effects of everything on the Iraqi people.

Wow. Masha'Allah. May God protect everyone there.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

AAAA le LUUU YAH Señor...

peace y'all

so I'm back in DC
getting back into the swing of things.

Instead of cursing which has been a problem
(I'm still fighting it) I find myself saying AAaaaLeluia

a lot.

When I was in Puerto Rico
that was the big trend
and at the time I found it really annoying
everytime i turned around a prepubescent little snot
going "aaaaleluia" everytime I assigned a 30 minute
homework assignment

but now I say it all the time
since I'm angry
and frustrated
and thirsty
and challenged all the time

in the true spirit of the word
drawwwwn oooouuut
loud enough for the angels to applaud


then I add..."Señor,"

as if to continue the aside to my very dear friend
who's always with me
and hears
and sees
and thank God knows

just why I had to say it then
and keep saying it forever

Monday, January 02, 2006

Happy 2006

Assalaamu Alaikum wa Ramatullah wa Barakatuh

HAPPY 2006.
Insha'llah we'll have a 2006 that is a blessing of experiences; we'll taste joy, success, humility, challenges, and contentment in equal measure; and God will lift us in our worst moments and keep us at all times. Amin.

I've been (relatively) incognegro, because I'm finally here at my mother's side. Haven't had time or inclination to go out much. I'm writing this now only b/c she'll be asleep for about another hour. Mama is getting better; she's walking more and complaining more, so mashallah for that. I'll be returning to the DC grind this week so I'm enjoying every moment with her that I can. Saving it up as it were since I don't know that I'll be back in ohio for some months at the least.

Decisions, Decisions

I've started my year continuing some habits that I started strongly toward the end of last year, including being open and communicating my needs, truly listening to what others are telling me, and doing a couch-to-5K training program I found on the internet. I've been very responsible when it comes to my position at the elementary school and am looking (right now!) for books and other materials to help my independent students. Insha'Allah I'll have all the business, work, and money I need this year because of this.

Two major decisions: I'm going to complete the credits necessary to earn a full teaching cert in DC metro school systems; and I'm not going to Columbia University this fall.

That last is a biggie. I've been debating it for some time because it was my dream, not something I took lightly. Admission to CU was my main purpose in the fall of 2004 and the spring of 2005, and I had a lot of people help me on the way to getting it. However, the cost of the Mailman School is too much right now. I haven't finished the scholarship applications to my satisfaction, and I'm not sure I want to.

I did a really introspective exercise, one where I worked out my personal preferences and wants and skills, and y'know, public health was lower on the list. What I like to do, and do well, and would do for free if I had the means to live, is COMMUNICATE and TRANSLATE from one language to another and/or from one culture to another to promote understanding. My interest in the health professions is pretty strong, but secondary to that first skill and interest. And when I thought about what I was finding, that made sense. I've always tried to talk Public Health as something I would do professionally, but the things I do in my everyday life anyway, that make me happy, all have to do with talking, or communication, and really the interactions between English and Spanish, America and Spain and Puerto Rico, Black and Mainstream, my Islam and Americo-Christianity, that fascinates me. I do that with ease. I'm recognized for it and have been for a while. And I finally came to grips with the difference between what I say I want to do and what I'm good and happy in doing and I'm gonna go with it.

That does mean, though, that Mailman School is going to go without one of their best students this fall (being facetious, people). I do still want to get my master's, and earn the training as a nurse-midwife. That, especially, working with women and babies and health and such, will always be a fascination for me. But right now I'm going to focus on improving my stability and being happy with my life. I can best do that as a teacher. I'm looking into degree programs in languages and translation.
I feel as if it's an about face, but one that felt so immediately right and blessed that every decision I've made on it has been easy. Alhamdulillah.

OK, gotta run- got other stuff to do online before Mama wakes up.

Show someone you know some love!