Tuesday, May 23, 2006

What's next, separating the strong workers and the weak?


Check THIS out: Shaykhspeara: Nazi-stan


Someone tell me this isn't true. Say it ain't so.
On the one hand, I don't agree with the US-and-EuroWestern-Friends' constant nagging of Iran and Ahmadinejad on the whole nuclear thing. Why? Well, the US hasn't set the best example. So, we can hold a gun over everyone else, but woe betide he who grabs a gun in his own defense. IF it's a gun, and not some farming implement. Okay, enough analogy.

But I can't believe the world isn't screaming in outrage over the whole badges-according-to-religion deal. I mean, Nazi is exactly what comes to mind when I hear that. Way back in 8th grade, I participated in a project where I was similarly identified in class as part of my role in the play "The Diary of Anne Frank" and that stuff STICKS with me like glue.

Whenever we identify people in groups like that we begin to lose our humanity. Insha'Allah that law will go no further because someone will wake up. My God, how could that have passed?


Where y'all go?


What, did I turn off my comments?

Where'd y'all go?

Guess I'd better get off the selfish tip and look around.


Monday, May 22, 2006



Friday was a rough, rough day for me.

I was worried all day at work b/c too many people had been fired. That's when I prayed the prayer below. I needed to just live for today.

So, yeah, I'm finally getting over my jealousy issues (not something I want to discuss in the blogosphere, just know that I was struggling with nafs last week) and I go home.
In the course of an hour (really!)

* I found out one of my best friends has got married
* Another close,unmarried friend calls to say she's scared she's pregnant
* Yet another friend explains that this is the day her cousin suicided and her roomies are giving her grief over her finances
* And at the end of all this, my aunt calls me up to tell me that my agency left a message that my company wants to end my contract with them.

Left. A. Flippin'. Message.

With. My. AUNT.


I reallyyyyy strugged to be good at that point. And I've succeeded with much effort and prayer.

Yeah, that was all Friday. Of all days. You know, someone once mentioned to me that she doesn't allow anyone to criticise those she knows have truly decided to walk the right Path and give their lives to God, because, in her words, "Once you decide to give it all up to Him, all hell breaks loose in your life! It's like Satan is mad to lose you and wants you back sooo bad."

I completely understood that on Friday. I spent an hour reading surah Inshirah over and over and over and over.

I'm okay. I'm still running against the advise of many, because it's theone thing I've got that doesn't cost anything, is helping me, and that has the potential to help others out there. It's steady, a constant reminder of life.



Friday, May 19, 2006

Oracion por hoy/ Prayer for today


amado senyor
ensenyame vivir en el dia de hoy.
resfuerzame las intenciones de negar el egoismo
y de caminar con todos la via hacia la vida buena.

cuando no se yo de donde viene el proximo paso
apoyame en el via siempre mas dificil.
anclame en la realidad de tu amor
se' mi guia durante mis presentes
el farol deslumbrando la manyana y  la noche
contentamiento y alegria de cada respiracion.

solo pido por hoy, senyor, paz
confianza en tu presencia
vivirla bien tu voluntad.
rezo y decido ahora confiar en ti
para vivir plenamente
hasta manyana.

Translation:  (btw, I used ny in the above instead of the n with a tilde cuz it ain't workin' just now, not sure why)

my beloved Lord,
show me how to live just today
strengthen my intentions to deny my selfishness
and to walk, with all, the path toward a better life.

when i don't know from whence the next step comes
support me on the ever harder road
anchor me in the reality of Your love
be my guide in every moment,
the star illuminating day and evening
the contentment and joy of my every breath.

only for today, i ask for peace,
confidence in Your Presence
to live well in Your will.
i pray and decide now to trust in You
to live fully
until tomorrow.


Thursday, May 18, 2006

late day in cubeville


Remember me saying I didn't know if I'd have a job in 2 weeks?

Let's see.

In the past two weeks, on my team at this place, four people have either been moved to a different team, had near-fatal car accidents, or have been given the pink slip.  That's just my team.

From those who work the same shift as I do (10A to 7P)  that aren't in the night shift team: All but me.  

I'm the only person left on this side of the building right now.   It's not the best feeling, but I'm trying to feel my best about it.

Some of us are walking around bummed.  The thing about people being fired around here is that you find out by whispers.  I don't think I've once seen a person given the chance to walk around and say goodbye or even shoot off an email to tell the people they work with they're outta there.  They just poof.   So.   Yes, I've got some good QA scores, but please believe I"m watching my back like a hawk, cuz I don't wanna go poof too.

On the homefront, I went home yesterday to find my bed soaked and a huge water stain crawling  across the ceiling toward the combination light/ceiling fan.   Luckily only a corner of the bed was soaked, but I'm pretty sure my aunt will be fighting mold in that mattress for years to come.  Also, some of my clothes on the bed were soaked with dishwasher water (that's where the water was coming from), so I had fun fun fun staying up until 1 am washing clothes so that I'd have an outfit for today.   Yeah.

What else?  Training is going well.  I'm currently running Mondays, Wednesdays, and insha'Allah Thursday nights.  We'll see.  I've been invited to an event by my buds tonight, so if I run, it'll be late.  And then it's into the office early tomorrow.  Gotta keep that job.

peace y'all


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Let me be (ambiguously) clear.


Let me be clear.  I love you!

You're awesome!  My confidant, my a.b.c.  It seems hard to remember a time without you in my life.

You know stuff.  I can call you and you help me through my issues. And I've helped you through yours.
Plus I just like you.  We share a lot: taste in music and in books.  We love to eat and to chill outside.  We love people and have so much compassion to share with the world.

Yet I'm uncomfortable around you sometimes.  Because we're so close, I don't like that- I don't like the reasons behind the ill-at-ease feeling I have around you.  Sometimes.   You drink.  You dress revealingly.  You drive around for the heck of it.  You have sex with random people.  You question the proof of the existence of the One.  

And you respect my boundaries.  

I respect you and though I advise you against doing things I feel are wrong, I don't judge you if you do them.

I'm beginning to understand what's meant when I hear, "There's right and then there's right." .  You're a bigole fat yummy tempation to the type of life I used to live.  To pleasure and ...worldliness.   I know I live in this world.  You're just a reminder that happens to be magnetic, pulling me where my head doesn't want to be but my self enjoyed fully.

To separate myself from you is to rip the fabric of my life apart.  I just don't want to do it.  God knows.   What that would do to me- I'd be a different person entirely.  I'm not saying the joy would leave my life.  But the taste of it wouldn't be as rich.  The experiences I have to guide me to what's right by comparison wouldn't be as strong.  

But I love you.  

I just wanted to let you know that this is on my mind.


Monday, May 15, 2006

caint git mad


if there's something i want

within my reach

and i don't reach for it

and someone else does

and they get it

then i can't get mad

won't get mad

shouldn't be mad

because i had my chance

didn't take it

because they deserve

to be happy.

 to have it

 my work now

is to ignore my


and get on with the losing

and next time get to having

while i'm at it lose the feeling

that i'm


Thursday, May 11, 2006

Mikah's house


Okay, so Mikah is having a dinner party.  She invited me, and I had such a good time last week, illnesses and all, that I want to go.

I'll be staying the night.  Let me get to calling my relatives up and down the eastern seaboard now.

but sarcasm aside,  it'll be interesting.  Mikah was being kinda cagey about who'll be there. (Though, to be fair, daytime minutes are low 'round these parts, so she couldn't get into it.)  She already said Bilal's ex-girlfriend will be there.  Here's the thing about her:  I like her and like to know she's doing well.  But she badly and knowingly hurt my feelings once without acknowledging that fact, and ever since I've been okie-doke wishing her well from a distance.  It'll be interesting to be in the same room with her again.

My day has been stressful.   I'm still not all that confident about my job since my QA scores- yes, the same ones that were glowing a week ago- are now pretty bad.  Okay, not that bad, but bad for my being this close to my 90-day point.  Pray without  ceasing.


breathe in. breathe out. trust always.


I'm feeling sorta frantic right now.  Internally frantic.  Outwardly, I'm cool as a cuke.  For once.  Thank God.
See, I'm not sure if I'll have a job in 2 weeks, and that's weighing a little heavily on me right now, since I have my bills to pay like the next chica.
Someone - think it was Khandi- warned me about temp-to-perm jobs.   I wasn't about to freak out over someone else's warning, but I've been watching to see what's been going on. And actually, this place has had a high turnover.  Since I've been here, I know of ... four people who've left.  No, five.  One left in handcuffs  (yeah), two left of their own accord for better positions, and  the other two were fired for mysterious reasons.  
The human resources person doesn't walk around with a smile, generally, so that isn't inspiring confidence.  

Y'all know  I be praying salat in my cubicle as close to on-time as I can get and still work here.  And I definitely be saying Surah An Nas.


This morning, as I walked out the door, it started raining.  Pouring hard.  

And I said, "Oh, Allah, I'm trusting in You, for once.  I NEED to get to work on time.  So please don't let me stress over the bus.  Please let me make it."
Funny the little get-through-the-day duas we make.

Of course, I get to the stop in time....
....to see the back of the bus disappearing around the corner.
The next one doesn't come for an hour.  It's either walk and get soaked, or stay at the bus shelter and arrive to work half an hour late. Hmm.

So I'm walking, getting soaked, and this white car stops to let me cross the street.  And I look back at her.  I ask, through the window, if she's headed to the main road. She offers me a ride.  Her name is Vicky, and she's an older lady, blond, with bright blue eyes.  Ohio State fan, by the eyeglass case on the floor by the front passenger seat..  So I tell her I was raised in Cincinnati after I thank her profusely for picking up some tall black woman she doesn't even know.  "Not many people I know even look at strangers anymore, much less pick them up."

"Oh, that's all right," she says, "You gotta just trust.  Have faith ."

I asked her to just let me off on the main road, about a mile from where we are, and she says, "Well, where are you going?"

"Huntington Metro."
"Oh, well, I'm not going that way.  I'm really sorry.  I can take you as far as the parkway."
"That's okay.  I'll only be 10 minutes late if I catch the bus from there." By this point I'm resigned to whatever happens.  At least I'm not still getting soaked.
Then she brightened. " But I am headed toward Old Town.   Will King Street Metro work for you?"

SubhanAllah, I work across the street from King Street Metro.  I got to work early.
God Bless Vicky from Columbus, Ohio.


I'm starting to get the message here.  Breathe in.  Breathe out.  Trust always.  And keep truckin'.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

...so mothers, be good to your daughters,too ...


(apologies if my post from yesterday is up twice.  Gotta fix it.  I'm having issues with checking my posts-by-email from work).

I happened to hear John Mayer's song 'Daughters' yesterday while I was waiting to meet my friends last night.  It was the appropriate context for  my morning.  Everyone expects women to be good daughters, where our sons can be kind of spoiled, less relied-upon, less expected to care for the elders.  I like the reminder that "girls become lovers, who then become mothers, so mothers be good to your daughters, too..."

This morning, as I was walking out the door to the bus stop, my mother called.  And she was upset, so that even tho I knew I was gonna be late, I talked to her as I walked up the street instead of focusing on hustling my behind to the stop.  My mother generally isn't distressed like that when she calls me.  If anything, she's calming me down from whatever high dudgeon I've entered at the time.

Turns out my mother had spoken to her mother, who'd upset her daughter with her report that she (my grandmother)  called my aunt's house on Sunday evening and "no one knew where you were".    The perception was that I was being irresponsible and inconsiderate by not letting my aunt know my whereabouts on  Sunday.  This on top of the fact that my younger brother has pretty much failed his way out of his university, and my grandmother decided to rant, plus gave Mama some bad news at the same time, which upset my mother pretty nicely, which is the state she was in when she called.


This isn't the first time something like this has happened.  Being that I lived on my own as a grown woman in PR, then returned to live here with my aunt, there were bound to be some issues around readjusting myself to living beneath someone else's roof.   And there were.  Many, many issues.   But I've been working on being more communicative.   Especially since Imette died, I've realized how important it is to just know that your peoples are okay.  To the point where, when I realized that my friend Mikah (not her real name) was so sick that I'd want to stay with her,  I actually did call my aunt and even left a clear message on her phone letting her know where I was, with whom I was, and how to reach me.  

All in vain, since my aunt (who loves to rage at me about not checking phone messages)  never checked her phone messages, and so was truthfully, as far as she knew, able to tell her mother that I quite irresponsibly just vanished into thin air again.

Arright, but so that's actually not what I was thinking about when I first talked to Mama.   I just let her talk that upset out.  And let her know quite calmly that I'd call my grandmother on my lunch break today to explain the unfortunate misunderstanding.    And we said our goodbyes and hung up.

Then I started to thinking, and I got annoyed.  Not angry, not upset, just annoyed.

Why is it that at least 3 women close to me didn't know where I was but it occurred to NOT ONE of them to actually call me and find out?
I mean, why do I pay Sprint on time every month?  

There was a point in PR when I didn't have a phone and my mother drove me nuts about that.  I pay $500 to replace a stolen phone so people can refuse to call me on it.  Ahhhhhhhh!!!!!!  I know what that is, and I told my mother so when I called back.  It's the whole, "wait for the little one to call you, not the other way around."  Mama herself admitted that it's an... old-school thought pattern, that the young should call the old and not  vice-versa.  Where calling/sharing/kowtowing = 'respect'.   I can see where that is valid and I'm not against respect and hierarchy.  Far from it.  I enjoy the honor of respecting my elders, even if I value being able to hold them in high regard more. But that tradition shouldn't negate your own common sense.  If you care about someone and you want to know where they are and they haven't called you, wouldn't you call them, if you really cared about them???  Is your status more important than someone's well-being?  Really.

And more reflectively- When is it that mothers begin to rely on their daughters so?

Make duas. Say prayers.  Meditate- however you communicate with God, please do so for our family.  Apparently my grandmother has a growth in a place where it shouldn't be.  That's really why I think my mother was so upset this morning.    She said, "you know, she just turned 70.  She's reached her threescore and ten.  According to some scriptures, that's all the time man has on this earth.  So your grandmother's in a different place when it comes to you and your brother.  She's thinking about how she's leaving those who love her and how they'll be when she's gone".  She's scheduled for biopsy and possible surgery on Friday insha'Allah we'll learn everything good.    So I'm praying for my grandmother, who needs her daughters, and granddaughters, to be okay.  And I'm praying for strength for my mother.  She needs her mama.   Even if she does stress her out.  The way I need my mama, even if she does stress me out.  At one point my dependence on her was a central fact of her life (  Shabana knows what I'm talking about) , and she's a big part of my world.  Who wouldn't understand being sad at the thought of losing that?


That was during the 2nd phone call.  I was all teary-eyed during the 1st call thinking about both my fam not being able to reach me and the fact that I stayed with Mikah because she doesn't have anyone.  Her mother just died, she lost her job b/c of her mom's death combined with her illness, and her friends aren't sticking by her.    Thinking of that 'alone and down' feeling, plus hearing  my mother was really upset, and I shed a few tears myself.  I admitted as much to Mama, who told me she'd been sitting in the car teary when I called the 2nd time, and she asked why.  Me: "I'm pretty empathetic.  So I cry easily. *shrug* "   My mother said, "Yeah, you're like me."

If anything, my grandmother and I go through it because we're so much alike.  I get mad when my mama is upset.  But mothers rely on their daughters, too, after a certain point, and I'm beginning to feel that here.  I don't know if it's because I'm reaching pivotal points in everyone's lives, or just that I'm far enough out of my childhood that I can see that load and share it where I couldn't before.   Maybe just that we're reaching crucial ages and stages over here in my family.  My father's mother is 75, and he's 50.  I'm going to be twennyfive this year.  

Mama made a point that I hope will stick with me as I deal with others, especially people's parents.  She said, "I still want everyone to think I have pretty babies.  You know, how everyone stops and coos at the stroller and tells you your babies are pretty?  Every mother is like that.   Well, maybe not every mother, but I am.  I want everyone to think the best of my children."

That, I understood, a bit.  I've the feeling I'll get it much more when I have children.

Of course we have the knowledge that paradise lies at the feet of our mothers.  I think I identified with that instantly because my mother's done so much for me personally.  It's a lot harder for us to realize that the daughters before us today are the mothers of tomorrow.  Today I got that.

All I know is this... I'm good to my mother as a matter of course.   Today I think I know bone-deep why I'll be good to my daughters as well.


Monday, May 08, 2006

Thinking Trans Situations



The things my faith will lead me through.

I've mentioned that I've been pretty busy.  Very busy.  So busy, in fact, that I haven't been able to blog in a good long while.  Happy May, everybody.
Some new things:   I saw the National Aids Marathon Training Program ad in the Express, and it jumped out at me.  It was like, SubhanAllah  (to God be the glory), I need to do this.

And just like that, I did.

I'm now training to run the Rock'n'Roll 1/2 Marathon in September on Labor Day.   I'll be running/walking as a fundraiser to raise funds for the Whitman-Walker Clinic.  
I don't know if any of you non-DC peoples know about it, but that particular clinic is crucial; they provide affordable care in the DC Metro area, most notably the biggest provider of affordable AIDS care in the  city.  I've been hearing  about the Whitman-Walker Clinic since I first got to DC for undergrad.

This is a physical way to give to others who are in need, who are ill, and to show my faith by actions.   AIDS, my friends, is a serious serious and scary fatal illness.  There is no cure.  And I've found since I began both my studies in Public Health and my life's journey as a Muslim that our ummah is ignorant, sometimes willfully, of what's at stake.  So I'm doing this to raise awareness, and to use my body in an act of worship.   So insha'Allah, I'm running.  And walking.   Training hard, so that I'll finish.

Can you see me, this big, tall muhajabah, crossing that finish line?  Insha'Allah, insha'Allah.

I'll also be finishing in Imette's memory.  I can't think of a better tribute.  She didn't have AIDS, but she was a compassionate -and fit!- person.  (This weekend someone reminded me of the time she came flying down a zip line in the Shenandoah mountains in the lotus position. My goodness, that child lived a life! I had completely forgotten about that.)  I'm still trying to get in touch with her mom and her sister, just to let them know, out of respect, that I'm doing this.

I've started a blog over at MarisaMarathon@wordpress.com, in order to log my experiences  specific to my training for this marathon, to keep my goal in front of me on the tired days, and to use as a fundraising base.  (**AHEM.  If you know anything at all about blog publishing and formatting and adding links and making blogs look nice, esp. for WordPress, I'm ASKING YOUR HELP!  Wordpress makes me panic, but I've lost too many entries at blogspot to want to risk it.)   I'm starting my letter-writing campain this week, so if you've ever known me and you're reading this, get ready.   I'm asking for donations from everywhere.   See, my small goal is $2500;  and I must raise a minimum of $2,100 for the clinic by 5 July in order to enter the Marathon.  If I don't, all the funds raised for the clinic stay with them, but I won't be able to run.  By then, I'll have been training for two months.   Ain't no way Ima train for 2 months out of 5 and then quit.  No.

So, do stop by from time to time and see how that's going.

The other thing- and the title of this entry- has to do with my weekend.

I went to see a friend who is ill.  That, b/c I'd been worried about her, but also because someone  (ahem, UmmZaid) reminded me that our friends who are ill have rights over us as Muslims.   So.  Again, that  "Subhanallah, lemme go see her" came about when another situation was canceled at the last minute.  Yay!

I enjoyed my time w/my friend, and I did stay overnight at her house, which was just as well b/c she is very ill.  She was able to de-stress by letting me know everything that's been going on in her life;  and during one very scary situation, she became pretty sick while I was there.  I'm glad I was there to help her and let her know she was not alone.   She introduced me to the man I know she's going to marry; and I  gave my seal of approval.

Thing is, my friend lives with a transgendered individual. And I'm deliberately not going to say s/he here. I'm just not. I just want to point out that English now has need of a non-gendered pronoun to refer to people, which thought came to mind after this weekend.    

I made a faux pas with said individual, because I kept using the wrong pronouns.   In my head, it was hard to wrap my mind around the person, b/c the gender displayed vs. their vocal qualities confused- confuses- me.  I was fine when looking, but at one point I was just listening to speech, and so I slipped up.    

HOW EMBARRASSING.   And the person stopped, corrected me, and moved on.  I felt so bad for disrespecting that person by ignoring something they've gone to many (many) lengths to display and identify with.   It'd be like someone repeatedly acting as if I were a Christian, in a way.     I did pull the person aside and apologise later on.  

But that's a really unusual thing.  I've known some transvestites in my lifetime, and a good deal of people who are gay, but transgendered?  That's where I really had to pull on my "people are people and children of Allah" hat and concentrate hard on that.  That, I think, is why I was so embarrassed to disrespect this person.    And also, I really really wanted to know what Islam says about someone like that.  Outta curiosity, not necessarily b/c I'm gonna be all dogmatic about it.   Are they treated as eunichs?  Ahhhhhh I don't even want to think what some "conservative" people would think.  Goodness.

So, yeah, that's what I've been dealing with over the past coupla days.

At work:  I got a gold star for my Quality Assurance reviews!  Yayyyyy!!!!  Funny how gold stars still work 20 years after kindergarten, man.  I'm sised about that thing.  Masha'Allah.

Now, back to work before my supervisor has a hissy fit.