Monday, May 26, 2008

just. don't. stop.

assalamu alaikum,

if you're going through hell
keep going

And a very happy Memorial Day to you United States Americans out there.

i'm a jumble of emotions and actions and intentions just now. i woke up before fajr (way before fajr) thinking of my grandmother, the one who died not that long ago, and i haven't actually been the most cheerful chipper cheerleader lately anyway.

It's a struggle. Everything is a struggle. More so now than most times, but. That's how it goes, idn't it?

It astonishes me that i am still processing grandma's death. because a year ago, she wasn't dead. And because before she was dead i didn't really need her. no, that's not right. More like i didn't really talk to her. Because we fought a lot before she died. A lot a lot. Too much. To the point where i could not see any other way to feel about her but a strong negative. i felt pushed into hating her and i couldn't stand that every time i approached her i was rebuffed or criticised. Every. Time.

It was the sheerest choking surprise when i looked at my mother's face and saw she wasn't lying or trying to deceive me when my mother said, "My mother loves you, honey." Love was the last emotion i'd use to describe what went on between my mother's mother and me. And i was hurt and mad and ashamed that i felt this way about someone and couldn't stop myself. It was my duty to love her and i did not see a way to do so. Forgive, maybe, but i still don't know where love would come from in that relationship. And i'm angry at myself for that, too. For not loving and for asking myself to love where i was so deeply hurt. i feel caught. even as i make dua'a to Allah to expand her grave and make it light, and i do that almost every time i pray. i don't know why.

Today i caught myself praying that my children never feel the way about my mother that i feel about my grandmother, that my grandchildren never feel that way about me.

ha. children. grandchildren. inshaAllah.

Shoot, now there's the question of the day- where does love come from at all? Must be from above. i don't want to be philosophical or anything, just that question seems really applicable to my life lately. i was able to stop taking certain meds, and that's great. but stopping means my mood swings to extremes as a side effect, until my body is back to 'normal'. (Don't use drugs, drugs are baaad). i start wondering if i really should feel how i feel. And what is love, anyway?

i went to the u of conservopolis msa picnic today. Got lost and got there really late. Frustrating, really, how i know so many places here, have been all over the city, and yet cannot drive myself to any of them because i didn't learn to drive and so didn't drive myself anywhere until after i left conservopolis. i know landmarks and not street names. The picnic today was at one of those places; we held my Sr. class cut day at the park there. Nine years ago this week, as a matter of fact.

good grief, i've been out of high school for nine years. that's a whole 'nother pot of anguish right there. Or, it could be, but i'm not going there.

as happy as i was to be out-of-doors on probably one of the last pretty days before that huge band of tornado-and-thunderstorm weather hits (and i'm still praying for those killed in the last couple of days), man, i've got to get me some girlfriends or something. And that takes time. And a certain softening of my personality that comes, like, twice a year maybe. Otherwise my directness and forthrightness and brashness doesn't lend itself to being close with the women in this particular group. *sigh*.

i know it's how it's supposed to be, and some of my fave women were there, but some of the Catty Crew were also there. I have to forgive their youth a LOT, and i have some forgetting to do over the MYNA camp this winter. And i hope they can forgive whatever they must be seeing in me. i can be a hard person to deal with.
And it was one of those things where the sisters 'mingled with' and 'ignored' the brothers. We all shared the same space but there wasn't a lot of talking, which, again, i mean, alhamdulillah, it's something i still struggle with all the time. My assistant, A., was there, and i was glad to see her but i think we shouldn't maybe see each other so much. Seema was there. A couple other sisters i love talking to were there. Marya was there. So was Farhan. In fact, i think that whole family was there. i like his sister, but didn't get to talk to either of them as much as i'd like.

i spend so much time looking out, or looking back, or looking forward, but the reason i'm going through so much is because i want to be happy with the now. And that's a hard balance to find. As goal oriented as i am, as many things as i want for myself, i know i get too focused with what should be, too wrapped in the target to feel the bow. i forget that in order to fly i have to let go, too.

And i have to forgive myself. Everybody has bad days. i've been listening and taking in what others say, and it's been causing me hell. i can't allow my good days to be determined by anyone else's gauge. Maybe my desk and my bedroom are all awry, the details of xyz event aren't written, i forgot to say salaams to someone, i'm not meek and certainly not married. i haven't been to the gym that i'm paying for in a month, my brows are bushy, and my mood has changed from this second to that.

But hey, my shoes are on the right feet, my clothes and body are clean, there's gas in my car and food to eat (ho, boy, is there food to eat...), i show up to work. once in a while i even halfway smile. i'm still going somewhere- one foot in front of the other. i'm still going through hell. That's okay. i just can't stop.


Saturday, May 24, 2008

dua's para dudas

Assalamu Alaikum,

i find myself facing doubts, las dudas, otra vez.

i'm not smart enough, not skilled enough, not learned enough.

not patient enough, not forbearing enough.

llego a condenarme de nuevo. no soy la suficiente aceptable.

me? nowhere near pale enough or pretty enough, not short enough or thin enough.

not smooth enough, not plucked enough. not attractive- enough.

ni suficiente humilde, ni discreta, ni domestica

not motivated enough, not hardworking enough, not impartial enough, not logical- enough.

not organized enough or forward-looking enough; not brave nor innovative enough.

not careful enough. not consistent enough.

And the mirror I see shows the truth.
puede ser que las dudas son la realidad?
I need my reality and all i can do is hit the floor, on my face, wondering if I'm acceptable yet again. This isn't pretty.

pray, please.

Belong... y, dudas.

assalamu alaikum,

"Don't take it personal. No matter what people say to you, don't take it personal. I't's not about you. It's about them." -Yahaira Liriano

I used to could hate me some Yahaira. I mean really couldn't stand her. She personified everything about GIRLS in general I don't like.

But that doesn't mean she isn't right.

It has been a day. My 'kids' (I am childless, thank you very much) had their 'graduation' program today. Meaning a little more than half of the morning class was promoted. To kindergarten. And the parents were so complimentary (Alhamdulillah, everything went well and no one tripped and fell off the stage). And my room mothers made sure the food went without a hitch.

You know what my problem really is? Exclusion.

I like to be included in things that catch my interest. It's fun to be a part of a group that promotes my favorite team, for instance. I'm no different from anyone else in that, I hope.

And so it surprises me that I still get heartily, heavily, truthfully and genuinely angry when I am excluded from things. I get furiously upset when I see other groups of people deliberately excluding others. This is the aspect of cliques and such that I was thinking about when I deliberately wrote the title, "I. hate. GIRLS.".

It makes me sad that I even got so angry that I wrote that. I love girls. I see myself in them. I am one. Alhamdulillah. As much as I miss my lifeline circle of guys I do adore being a girl in so many little ways. And men can be clique-ish, too. Lord knows I have seen it.

But this has been characterized as such a feminine trait, and I see it so MUCH in the little (tiny!) girls I work with, that I'm just beyond the anger to wondering. What is this really about?


Why do girls learn to be so darn clique-ish at such an early age? It's annoying. It's infuriating. And it becomes ingrained.

I wish I could exclude myself from that statement. But I've done it to others. In reaction, or hurt, or, may Allah forgive me if it's true, perhaps out of sheer ability to do so, to push the other away.


People get really really angry, sometimes, if you project what you're thinking or your motivations or your skills onto them. It's not the best habit to have.

I wish I could see evidence of people thinking of the opposite, though.
If I don't project some of my very human feelings, motives, and abilities on the people I meet, then I become pretty inconsiderate, incurious, condescending. That's a sociopath in the making, when you take it to the extreme level.


JW has not said shahadah. I don't know what to do for him. He clings to his dunyawi ways, wants to go to Vegas for his milestone birthday coming up, wants to earn a living on some definitely haraam means. The hope in my heart was so sweet and I'm just sad. Would you exchange akhira for the ability to play poker for cash? Belief can't be forced.


I was born Black and Female in the United States. Try as I may, I think my culturalization will follow me forever. When I stop and think about it, it's the little insinuations made over my lifetime, the whispers from shaitan and my background in the back of my mind- and then I'm mad about it.

Farhan is Palestinian and fair. Farhan is tall. Farhan is "hot" (my assistant's words, not mine. I was hoping he wasn't as handsome as I thought, but I'm getting to that.) This is pretty inconsequential as far as I'm concerned. That's how he is, right?

The whispers start in my mind. Why is he checking me out? Why me? Is he one of
those?, the ones who chase black girls for no good reason? Does he see my spirit, how much I rejoice in Islam, that I love kids, that I'm a bookworm, that I'm actually a little bit shy? Why me?

Then they continue. Nothing remarkable over here. He should be looking at Wilma, or Sima, they're Palestinian and beautiful. Otherwise, why would everyone tell me they're looking for an African American (never Black) brother for me?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A Question!

assalamu alaikum,
(Sorry- I'm posting in Blogger Draft, which won't allow an ! in my post label. Hmph. I'll be writing in about that.)
Thanks to Wanda for playing along.

You asked:

To start off with, do you like teaching little kids? To be frank, they scare the heck out of me and they always are crying and stuff. They give me the willies! :) Do you want to do something else?

I answered that a bit here, in an interview meme from the Dictator Princess.
But to say a little bit more and not quit my blog- I like teaching little ones. Not only because it's easier- if I don't write out complete detailed lesson plans it's not the end of the world- or because of what they give, which is lots of love and learning opportunities. I worried a lot at first because children between 3 and 5 years old are learning so much so rapidly that they absorb a lot of teacher's mannerisms. I don't want them taking anything bad from me! On the flip side of that, you can teach them just about anything at that age; learning is still easy. Like, how not to hit and how to use words to resolve arguments. Or how not to cry. Or how not to poke you incessantly in the rear when they want something, but to instead raise their hands and wait patiently for acknowledgement. (Can you tell what we've been working on in class?)

But because of the worry I watch myself; and I've seen how resilient they can really be. Alhamdulillah, I really have become a more open and generous person because of having taught such young children. That, to me, is the big deal.

Now as for the second part of this- do I want to do something else?

Yes. I've always said that I wanted to be a nurse midwife (okay, or possibly an OB/Neonatologist, but who wants to go through all that med school?)with my own tripartite clinic: one part medical, one part nutrition and health education, one part legal aid. InshaAllah I still will do that, but maybe I'll be a bit older than I projected when I do so. Thirty is around the corner. And my co- president of my senior class just contacted me to start planning on our 10 year reunion. HOW FAST was that?!

Thank you for asking!!


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

InshaAllah, part II

assalamu alaikum,

Okay... so I had said, Ah, well. Marya wouldn't make it to halaqa. It's always a good time learning sooo much mashaAllah.

Still, y'all know I was not trying to miss halaqa on Sunday! I wanted to see if Farhan would make it a record-breaking 3 in a row.

And there I was, laid up with a fever. Feeling TERRIBLE.

So I made dua'a, something akin to, "Please send me down the path You choose, for Your sake.If I need to go, show me how. If I don't, make that the better way to me, amin."

My doctor and my sister had already fussed at me that I didn't need to be out of bed, and I didn't really want to go. I was feeling that bad.
But I didn't want to miss anything good, either. I finally had the new book we're reading at halaqa... and I was starting to be crush-a-licious, all right. Maybe this was a way of telling me to sit my butt down somewhere and chill out. It has happened before.

My fever came down a bit. And then I got up, went into my brother JW's room, and woke him up. "Come with me," I said, "In case I need you to drive because I don't feel good. It's just a movie with lunch at Bro. Leader's house, not the hardcore halaqa like usual." I'd've never been tempted to ask him before, but because he knew I'd been ill...

But JW has been stuck in ahem atheist opinion for some time now. He doesn't like "dealing with religious people", as he puts it; "God is a control mechanism." I've been trying to get him to talk to Bro. Leader or Nerd for a while and he always resists. I thought maybe he'd just enjoy the movie and being around young people. And maybe I really would let him drive the Pimp Car (tm) if I felt really really sick.

This time he got up, took a shower, and came with.

So, yay! I was feeling a bit better, and going to an easy halaqa, and JW was with me.

When we got there, the halaqa was watching an Ahmed Deedat movie, and he's slaying the guest speaker over "Cruci-FICTION" (I actually recommend finding that DVD if you can. It was great. Watching the Christian pastor skate around direct points presented to him every time he spoke. We laughed several times during what could've been a serious, heavy debate). We sat down, and I looked around...Marya hadn't made it. But lo and behold, sitting with the other brothers, Farhan was there.

I don't mean to blow this out of proportion, y'all. Everyone was focused on the movie and what we were supposed to be studying. It's not that I was exchanging burning glances with Farhan across the room. No. It was on the halal. I mean, my little brother and his little brothers were there, with about 7 other people. Including Bro. Leader, who is very very strict about interactions. Nah, it's just that this is very exciting for me. And he Kept Looking At Me. *grin*

At least now I know I wasn't imagining this, because when we got in the car for the first time, JW told me that he knew Farhan was the guy who kept looking at me (I told him to watch on that and see if I was trippin'). And he is like a hawk when it comes to his big sisters. Hmph.

Yes, I did say when we got into the car for the first time. Way to pay attention, you!

Okay, so Farhan and company left early because there was a basketball tournament at the masjid in Conservopolis they didn't want to miss. One of the sisters, the one who said, "You guys look JUST alike, that's amazing" pulled me aside and asked, "Is he (JW) muslim?" And I whispered back, "Not yet! I just want him to get used to the ideas here." Something inspired hope for the day.

JW and I left after the movie was finished. And as we leave, we're chatting, and JW begins with, "I still don't see how you can prove God is real." Ack! And just after we left the halaqa! I tried, I really did, to point out the signs of nature, and the reasons why I believed personally, but then I said, "Wait. I'm not equipped to really really answer your questions, because I don't know enough. But I bet Brother Leader can."

JW proceeded to protest. He doesn't really like to ask 'religious people' these questions. And Brother Leader probably didn't want to deal with him. I countered with the fact that he seemed perfectly fine with letting JW into his house without knowing him. Then I pulled out my phone. "I'm calling him," I said.

So we turned around, after Bro. Leader invited us back to his place to talk things out. I stuck around to hear the beginning of the discussion, about why the universe has to have God in order to hold it together. And the complexity of a single strand of DNA, much less any organized being. And how could any of the things we know come to be without a creator. They were off. Good grief, I'm glad I called Bro. Leader, because he's one of the few that could even keep up with JW's mind.

And then I grabbed (an excellent cup of) tea, and then sacked out on the really comfy couch in the formal-ish living room of their house while the kids played badminton in front of me. I was burning up again, so I took some meds, even as I was so excited. Maybe this would be the day my brother took shahada. I drifted off and one of Bro. Leader's awesome daughters covered me with a blanket and they tip-toed out of the room.

This is real life, and there's no ecstatically happy ending. JW didn't make shahada by the time I awakened... but I'm really praying on it. Maybe he will. I know that he and Bro. Leader talked that second time for a good three hours. JW has a lot to think about.

I know I ended up thinking about several things on the way home in the car, saying, "InshaAllah... inshaAllah..." Only if He Wills it. Regardless, I know I'm okay only with that.

Twenny Two

Sunday, May 18, 2008

InshaAllah... part I

assalamu alaikum,

Hmm, not so productive a weekend for me. I woke on Saturday with ganas to get some MAJOR cleaning, weeding, and organizing done. Last week I planted some flowers- dahlias, petunias, impatiens, coleus, all red, and some stevia to go with the na'na' on the porch for tea- for my Mama while she was in South Carolina with my great-grandmother. I also started some loads of laundry that were sitting, folded and waiting to be put away. I also intended to rest a bit, since my preschoolers are going on a trip to the world-renowned Conservopolis Zoo at 8:30 AM Monday. (Man, don't those PM preschool parents just luurve me!)

Yeah so I was going to do all that and just started feeling terrible. Achy. And ended up flat in the bed for most of Saturday with a 102 fever. That's with medicine. I was a sick Twenny.

This wouldn't've been such a big deal except for: a) all that stuff I really really wanted to do above; b)the zoo trip coming c) halqa on Sunday.

I know I'm rambling! Yes, there is a story about someone learning more about Islam! Part of the story is getting you to the good parts. This is why I was bummed about missing halaqa:

See, I know I told y'all about the Native Deen concert in Conservopolis, but I left out some juicy things until I was sure they were worth mentioning.

While at this conference and concert, I was sitting next to the wife of my halaqa leader, May, on the aisle. Across the aisle from us were a girl who was familiar to me from some girls' parties at 'Eid last year. I'd met her a couple of times, she was nice, but her name escaped me for one reason or another. (She's Marya, by the way.) There was a man sitting on her immediate right. I've seen him at halqa like twice, total, at this point.

He keeps looking over at us.

At this particular point I know this brother is either peepin' me, or May. And everyone and their mama knows May is married to my halaqa leader. And she hasn't been any more outstanding than usual today. Maybe he's just debating whether to say hello. Maybe he's looking at me. Maybe. Or maybe someone behind us. Or maybe I'm trippin'. I figured I was trippin'. And, that if I saw ol' bro at halaqa the next day, maybe then I could start thinking he was looking my way.

And then I told myself not to be so conceited and went about enjoying the concert.

Next day, however, I get to halaqa at the masjid late (it was Mother's Day, so I'd been planting in the rain) and look who's the only person there waiting with our leader...yup, mystery brother. That was a surprise since he hadn't been at halqa in some time. I don't think I'd seen him there twice in a row before.
He's definitely LOOKING AT ME. This was disconcerting. He was sitting beside Bro. Leader and I kept catching him looking away as I looked up. Huh? Do I got toothpaste on my face or something?

Whatever, right?


So the next day there was an aqiqah for another notable family in the community and once again we're all there. I got to sit at the table with Marya and asked, "Who was that guy with you yesterday, your husband or uncle or brother?" She laughs when I say 'husband' and goes, "Nah, that's my big brother Farhan. Neither of us is married." Crucial info there.

Skip forward through a really tough week to Friday night gathering. Yay- Marya's there! If nothing else, I figure I've got a new friend, because we have a lot in common. We're both really tall. She's studying to be a nurse, and has a big family. We both speak Spanish, and she's spent some time in Germany as well. And we both love kids. This sister is just interesting, mashaAllah. It's so nice to find someone with similar interests who is close to my age here. We talked the whole night about everything from school to clothes to kids to careers, and I enjoyed her company.

But imagine what starts going though my brain when, after she says salaams and sits down with a plate of food, the first thing she says is, "So what's going on on the marriage front for you?" And when I say nothing much, she asks, "And what exactly are you looking for in a brother? Like, to marry?"

Word? It's like that? Now that's interesting.

So I invited Marya herself to the halaqa today, figuring I'd never seen her there, she'd enjoy it... etc. And she begs off by saying she has two exams on Monday- but she might decide to study really hard on Saturday, in order to make it on Sunday.

and then I end up sick with a fever! Of all the things to happen.

InshaAllah, khair, right? What Allah has decreed will happen, right?

I'm so happy about what did happen...y'all wouldn't believe it if I told you.

Or will you?


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I hate girls.

assalamu alaikum,

So, Native Deen had a concert here in Conservopolis. I've had several chances to see them in concert, and while the concerts are enjoyable, they don't like knock me out blow me over, or anything like that. More, things for introspections (like the slow songs 'Life Worth' and 'Zabaluni') or the MuslimPower-type songs ( M-U-S-L-I-M and Niyya). Don't quote me on the titles of those songs. I'm slightly ashamed to admit I"m something of a fair-weather fan, especially since I have no more CD player and an IPod is way out of my reach. They're good, clean fun. At the last MYNA camp I got to meet Br. Joshua. Dude is intense. I loved the music they made at the raps workshop though, so inshaAllah I'll be doing that this summer.

This particular concert was part of a MAS regional conference. I declare, my life is a regular social calendar these days. I don't go one weekend without doing something these days. You know you've arrived when you walk into a room and your name rings out of the hush. Alhamdulillah my students find something in me to love. I feel better, too Alhamdulillah. I guess I may really have to relocate in the next decade or so to an island. Someplace winter never goes.
Anyway. The music is so infectious that kids were dancing in the aisles. Quite a few of my little students were having a good time. Wiggling their little bodies. Grabbing hands with their friends and twirling in circles.

Then I saw four girls grab hands. Two of them let go. Pushed the last girl out and kept dancing and twirling. Wouldn't let her back in when she tried to grip into the circle.

They're all of four years old.

I hate girls, I really do sometimes.


Sunday, May 11, 2008


assalamu alaikum,

Okay, so if you read my last post you might be wondering what I've been doing with all this time I have on my hands. Besides being a magnet for 3 to 5 year old muslims. Or being a naughty counselor and egging people into dangerous things:

(What you don't hear on the video is me saying to Nerd (my crush) and company, "You should do it! George of the Jungle. No, Tarzan! Go do Tarzan!" and then sitting and watching events unfold. I'm an oldest kid like that. You can totally hear me saying 'Wow', though.)

Yeah. I've been reading. Y'all should check this out:

I love PostSecret. And the Mother's Day secrets are tugging at me. They'll only be there until next Sunday, so this link goes quick...

Brother Umar Lee is bringing it as usual with a post on one sister's experience in Metro PD custody. (Metro referring to Washington, DC for those who never lived or went to college there). There's a local citizen's meeting on May 14th, so if you live in the urrea you may want to check his post for more info.

The debate is still going at UmmZaid's spot over the Philly Germantown masjid's decision not to hold janaza for a brother who killed a police officer after having robbed a bank.
Also, I've been fascinated by her search for decent, plain jilbabs. But that's just me.

A very belated Mabrook! goes to Nzingha on her newest son, Umar. You can read up on what's happened since he came here.

I can't believe I'm not hearing more about what's happening in Lebanon. But the 60th anniversary of a certain oppressive occupation is everywhere you look, astaghfirullah.

Like many, the hullaballoo over whether or not aid was getting into Myanmar was making me sick. Looks like things are going now, according to the BBC. And of course I was watching to see how folk did in North Carolina and Indiana. Can I dare to start rooting for a candidate yet?

Yup. Been occupied.


Where y'all at?

Assalamu Alaikum,

Okay, I'm getting bored with this whole blogging to the empty audience thing.
A while ago I was debating quitting my blog entirely. While I don't want to do that, I do need to change this up and make it interesting.

SO: Ask me a question. Any question. I'll answer them on the blog. I want to know what you want to know! This'll help spice things up and give me something to write about that isn't a complete ramble.

The other evening I was at a banquet with an Ambassador as speaker, and it was like a big awakening for me. And I realized that since I left college I've not had a lot of juicy conversation or deep things to think about. I need that. So, I'm opening the conversation. Get comfy and give me a good one. Or make me laugh. Up to you.

Here is the one caveat: I reserve the right to answer with 'No Comment' or a flip answer if a question is vulgar or otherwise not appropriate for my page, got me? That's not a cop-out, either, I'll get personal, even, up to a point. The point being haraam topics and/or my father would kill me. A girl has to live... now and hereafter.

Go ahead! GET me started....