Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Unfinished list


okay, I had to do this. It isn't a meme but more like acting on an inspiration.

First, go read A Winnebago and World Peace at Heather's spot. Then read this, a beautiful continuation of what she said and what she'd do.


I've had that desire to tell things to people.

This is my unfinished list:

I don't have children, but I can almost see being a parent when I look at you. You're wonderful and you make me outrageously proud all the time. All the time.

I still think about you, and I alternately curse you and pray for your wellbeing.

You're a selfish, childish, manipulative bitch, and you deserve the way he first acted when you told him.

How on earth do you just give away your children? Are you mad? The part of themselves that is you can't ever be replaced by anyone else. You might not deserve them, but they deserve even a little of you.

The best christmas ever was having you open hastily picked presents as if they were gold. I'm angry we didn't share more and I love you through the absences.

YES, I CAN and WILL finish a half marathon, asshole, and when I do, I'm letting someone else tell you about it. You won't ever hear it from me.

I adore you: your character, your art, your caring, your friendliness, your loyalty, the fact that you're never angry with me no matter how hard I work to piss you off. Thank you.

Humility is something I know I lack, and you're my shining inspiration in reaching for it. You're a muslim in christian skin, perhaps the best one i know.

First place goes to... you! You're a class act. The best, hard to top, and you don't even realize!

You're the best listener I know. Dont let money stop you from being the best your community will ever have. You can do it- and though I'm not so great, you've got an ear on me somewhere, always.

I care. I do. I just don't call/email/see you because drama then makes it harder to care for you. But I love you for your quirks. Real love, my friend.

The fact that the finding was so easy just proves that people belong to everyone. You're wrong and you know it.

That ass-whoopin you're going to wear is a good time waiting for me to happen, dearie.

You are worth all the hard work, all the effort, all the screaming and the self-discipline, the crazy looks and the misunderstandings it takes to get there. Worth. Every. Bit. Worthy: that's you.

Warrior! Where've you been?!

Push- they need it! Yes, like that! Again! Don't back down.

SO glad that friendship ended the way it did. Of course your inferiority and jealousy come before your friends. That's why you have none.

You're the one person I'd still do anything for after all this time. You proved it, so give me that chance.

Your ass isn't flat. It had nothing to do with you. I'm sorry.

I see God through you, do you know that? When I was lost and thinking about atheism, you were just yourself, a shining light to the Way. You're talented, gorgeous- always making me think that I'm not too old, after all.

You are the best thing that will ever happen to me, but your fear is poisonous, I beg you, don't pass that to me.

Shut me up, then!

Why not? You can never say that. Why the hell not? Just tell me, it can't hurt more than your NOT talking does.

I cannot stand your haircut. Please, for the love of God, don't cut it like that again, your head is round and doesn't need angles!

Your new wife is sweet and funny mashaAllah, and I wish you the best.

Honey, I never ever ever wanted him. Not even for a second. Don't flatter yourself, or him.

to be continued. Boy does that feel good!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Gotta space?


So, I went and looked over the past 5 or 6 entries here, and they're pretty negative, with the exception of my sister's graduation. I did notice that vaguely before I just kinda took a break. I needed to. I didn't start this blog with the purpose of negativity- although God knows it's turned into a source of barakah and support I didn't anticipate either.

One last entry of negative, downers. I promise. From the end of this entry, I'm going to be able to show the positive outlook I've been able to finally grasp, bit by bit, MashaAllah.

In order of importance, then:

I'm looking for a place to live, as close to Alexandria, VA as possible. Please, leave me a comment if you know of a place that is under $700/mo. I don't mind sharing a house, that's the situation I'm in now.

How this happened:
A while back I said here that my situation at home was not peaceful, that my two roomies were fighting. One of them eventually moved out (M). M was generally the nice one. The one who remained (R)is also nice when she's not being immature or not nice. Nuff Said.
My lease was supposed to be up at the beginning of February. Last week, before she left for her sister's graduation, R mentioned that she wanted to just have two roomies in the house. I was pretty straight about the fact that I couldn't afford it. And she asked when my lease was up.
Fast forward to today, when she walked into my room and mentioned that she didn't want to renew my lease. I asked why, she said, "I need peace in my home. And I think we'd be better friends if we lived apart." I didn't feel like exercising my credibility-meter (I'll leave it up to Someone Else on whether or not to believe that, since I haven't fought with anyone here), so I just said, "You know, that leaves me three days to find a place to stay." She offered me until the middle of the month to move, I said I wanted until the end of the month, which I thought quite fair. Deal struck. I'm outta here no later than 28 February. This is where I turn to those of you who read this blog and know/live in the DC metro area.

I'm now looking for a place to stay, and I'd really say SubhanAllah if I found it in the next 10 days. Living here now that that conversation took place... I'm making dua right now for patience and love for my fellow human beings at all times. I don't want anything from here to take with me, emotionally. Funny that I was just thinking that I needed to be looking into places to stay right before R walked into my room. I have no bed, just dresser, mirror, bookcase, so I'm looking into getting a second job in order to be able to move. Please also let me know if you know of a place that could use a worker after 6pm- I'm tall, I don't mind physical stuff.

The other thing is that Joy M., a friend that I went to high school with, just died. Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji'un.
She was only 28. So within the space of a year two friends I went to school with have died, suddenly and unexpectedly.
It's reminders of death. And that caught me hard. It made me turn more toward God. I had been reading Purification of the Heart by Sheik Hamza Yusuf, and it kept talking about remembering death, how close it is, how fast the akhira is coming.

This particular friend was one of my "double friends". When I was in middle school and high school, my routine involved school, home, church, and community activities. MashaAllah I never had a chance to get into real trouble. My parents really made it their focus to keep us involved and grounded and working for others. I actually miss that which is another post. Point is, if I knew people, it was from one of those things, and they rarely mixed. Joy, her sister Jessica, my sister, and I all went to the same high school as well as church, and we ended up doing community events together as well. We all sang in the choir together. I'm so sad for her sister, they were so close, and now Jessica only has her mother left- her dad died at the beginning of her sr. year of high school, and her other siblings are waaaay older ( like minimum 15 years older) than she is. I made dua. But it's still sad.

Also: Things are getting stressful at my job. I'm working to improve my performance, because I want to give it my all. Please make dua for me in that, too.

I keep remembering the dua Shabana taught that one time: " I know this is from You. And it is to test me. And it is to try me. And I will be patient on it. And I will be patient on it as long as You want me to be patient on it." Over and over and over again we'll be tried. Right now I just hope I'm doing well on His tests. Ya Latif! Ya Aziz! I still firmly absolutely believe, even when it's hard.

Okay. One last negative is done. InshaAllah things will be better.


Saturday, January 13, 2007

She's even on MY ISLAND now


Happy New Year to you all.

Haven't felt like writing, much. And I will probably continue my hiatus after this. But I'm just so mad right now.

For some reason, today I decided to check on the news in PR. The only newspaper that's widely read there and is on the internet is El Nuevo Día. I didn't like El Nuevo Día when I was ON the island, but now- well, you have to keep up on things somehow.

So, first- on the front page, the news that there have been 47 murders on the island in 2007.

Wait. 47 people dead? IN THIRTEEN DAYS?! Que diablos está pasando en mi isla querida?! (what the heck is going down on my beloved island?!)

A many of those dead died in balaceras, what we think of as drive-by shootings, but has the connotation of "rain of bullets". Yeah. There are pictures on the site but I don't recommend looking. Sad. They always show the suspects. These particular shootings happened on the Expreso De Diego, the parkway that I rode on all of the time, in broad daylight. I looked at the suspects, who always put their heads down to hide from the shame of a camera. I prayed none of them were my students. And yes, unfortunately, I know that a couple of my students have the potential to be in front of that camera. It makes me furious. It makes me incredibly sad.

But then?!


Guess who's featured this week as part of the Vidas Unicas ("Unique Lives") series of articles?! None other than Ayaan Hirsan Ali.

I thought I was furious before.

When I lived in Puerto Rico, I experienced the gamut of reactions to Islam and my choice to live as a single, professional muhejebah. Many of those who became my closest friends understood because they were very religious and observant Christians, some Catholic others Protestant. They got my devotion to God, how much I needed it, and the love I showed by keeping hijab in that hot, humid climate I so enjoyed. Others didn't care.

But there were more. Stereotypes were wild there- there was a telenovela out of Brasíl that ran as I arrived on the island, that showed women who had been circumsized in hijab gossipping, fighting in jealousy over various men, locked in houses with no way to leave without express permission... you know the images I'm talking about. So I was always fighting that. I remember so clearly the time I was carrying my friend Tajani's daughter Danya through Plaza Las Amèricas, the biggest, nicest mall in the Caribbean, and was stopped by a huge crowd of people, staring at my hijab, insisting that I was kidnapping her. The crazy remarks from parents and well-meaning acquaintances. One guy straight asking me if I was circumsized, how did I like freedom after being oppressed for so long. Craziness.

And now she's spreading it, they're enabling her, in a Spanish-language article delaring my beautiful Islam a cage, to trap and kill women. My island doesn't need that. Where are the articles and the people promoting the beauty of Islam? Because I'll tell you, I remember calling the masjid and getting a person with such a disdainful attitude that I never called back. This after I was on my feet, was actually trying to find help for a sister who ended up giving up 3 of her 5 children to the state because she couldn't feed them and her husband wasn't around. Yes, everyone is human. I know that. But as a Black woman, I know that when you're part of a very small minority, what you do and how you treat everyone is scrutinized and homogenized and taken as representative of a whole. And unfortunately, that homogenized image in Puerto Rico is of Muslim men as gruff and uncaring and Arab, and women as covered, hot and sweating, with no opportunities, caged by men and a too-demanding, terrorising religion. We're not helping our own case. And then, here comes that woman, giving interviews that make it worse and flitting back to Lord knows where she lives. I don't hate anyone, but how close I could get...

Puerto Rico already has so few Muslims, yo, and even fewer who cover (of my friends on the island, only Tajani rigorously observed hijab; the rest don't regard it as necessary, and yes, one admitted to me that without hijab, because of her coloring, her family blends into the society without a hitch). Obviously the editor who allowed that article to be written has a viewpoint that sees Islam just this way, and the opinions of Ms. Ali as completely valid. I just think it's crazy that no one EVER wrote an article on the Muslims of Puerto Rico while I was there that didn't have a political spin, that didn't portray the woman as lesser.

God bless'em all. Much as I want to return, I guess it's good I'm not in Puerto Rico any more.