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.