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.