Friday, April 29, 2011

Dear Diary

Not a word on the streets about the girl who went missing
The girl who dried her eyes for the sake of affection
She felt warmth tender and real
But then somehow she got real caught up

There she was frail and fragile waiting for someone to lift her up.
She turned to family who turned her away.
She turned to friends who helped pave her way.
And later became a part of a group she never thought to be.

Once that girl used to dream big but think small.
She used to climb the sky but barely walk a step too far.
That girl she lost her reason to smile.
As people had often said she was one of a kind.

They lied.
They didn't know what was bottled up inside.
They didn't know what she did dare to hide.
They didn't care to know the real her.

Suddenly she found herself.
She found a voice to speak.
A place to walk and roam freely.
Her faith flourished and her education was nourished.

She grew up.
She got married.
She had a baby.
She left all her dreams and came into reality.

Sitting in a room typing, rather than writing
"Dear Diary"...
She lifted up her fingers and typed:
"This is my story."

Sunday, April 24, 2011

To Veil or Unveil?

In light of NPR's recent piece "Lifting the Veil," in which Muslim women describe why they took of their headscarves, I've been having multiple discussions on the meaning of "hijaab" in Islam. 

The literal meaning of the word "hijaab" ( حجاب ) in Arabic is NOT headscarf. It actually means a barrier or partition. It comes from the verb which means "to form a separation between" and "to cover." 

Its interesting how the word is used in the Quran. God says: 

وَبَيْنَهُمَا حِجَابٌ ۚ وَعَلَى الْأَعْرَافِ رِجَالٌ   يَعْرِفُونَ كُلًّا بِسِيمَاهُمْ ۚ وَنَادَوْا أَصْحَابَ الْجَنَّةِ أَن سَلَامٌ عَلَيْكُمْ ۚ  لَمْ يَدْخُلُوهَا وَهُمْ يَطْمَعُونَ
And between them will be a partition, and on [its] elevations are men who will recognize all by their marks. And they call out to the companions of Paradise, "Peace be upon you." They have not [yet] entered by they long intensely. [7:46]

In this verse the "hijaab" is referring to a wall/partition/barrier that is put between the people of Heaven and the people of Hellfire. And on this partition are a group of people whose good deeds are equal to their bad deeds and so they're waiting for their judgement, not knowing which side of the barrier they'll be put on.

What is interesting here is the purpose of this barrier. It clearly and physically separates those who were righteous in this world from those who were not.

Now lets backtrack to the cultural use of the word "hijaab." These days its used to refer to the headscarf which many Muslim women wear to cover. Historically however it is a state which a Muslim man and Muslim woman both observe; a state of modesty and a state of openly identifying as a Muslim. This state is both internal and external. Internally, one's heart is attached to God and thus puts a barrier around it protected one's self from that which will deter him or her from God. Externally, it puts a barrier from oneself from those who are not Muslim. This external barrier is not to shun people, but it is to show and be proud of one's Islamic identity.

The beauty of Islam is that its not actually a religion as we define religion. It is a way of life which encompasses every facet of the believer's life rather than compartmentalizing it like many other religions.

Thus when a Muslim woman specifically chooses to observe hijaab, part of it manifests outwardly in covering her external beauties by covering her hair, breasts, and dressing modestly in a dignified manner.

I've been asked many times by people about my hijaab: "Don't you feel oppressed? Wouldn't it just feel liberated to not have to cover?"

My answer: 
My hijaab is my representation of liberation, a right God has bestowed on all women. We live in a day and age where women are oppressed by men's sexual desires. Women are the objects of sexual entertainment in media all around us. We're oppressed by this media that tells us to be free by taking off our clothes and exposing ourselves the world. My hijaab reminds me that I am of extreme worth and value, that my value is not by my external body but by my internal soul, that to have a sense of dignity is where my freedom lies. So no, I don't feel oppressed. Rather, I feel liberated. I feel free. I feel beautiful. I feel Muslim.

Sunday, April 17, 2011



I've been craving pan-fried Chinese noodles for like a week now and this craving is now taking over my LIFE.

I'm trying to study and allllll I can think about is those yummy crunchy noodles in a freaking amazing sweet n savory sauce with the just right amount of gooeyness and crunchy cooked vegetables.

I'm starting to lose it. I really am. I don't even know the last time I had those noodles. BUT lately I've been having this aversion to processed foods.
So everytime I think Chinese, I think, "Sodium packed, greasy, unhealthy, processed, MSG, AHH I'm GONNA DIEE"

I'm even eating a small bag of fritos, to calm my craving for salty chinese noodles, and ughing at every chip.

...I just gave away the chips, so yucky!

But at the same time, I want those yummy pan fried noodles.

SO there's this battle going on in my HEAD.

BLeghhhhh processed nastiness is trying to KILL ME
WAHhhh i want those noodles... WHERE CAN I FIND THEM
aghhhh they're probably going to be at those restaurants that serve it all PROCESSED and GREASY
wahhhhhh WHY does most of the food in this world have to made so bad for you
i wanna cryyyyy

Anyways, you get the picture. It's so sad. And I'm sad. Yes, you heard me! I am sad because of Chinese food. I'm feeling deprived, like is being unfair to me!

And NO, I am not preggo. But maybe I should get my hormones checked.

CC, out

Wait!! I just had an epiphananany!!! (that's just how I pronounce it in my head, yes I know that's not how you spell it) I'm going crazy because of MEDICAL SCHOOL! It must be that!!

What else could it be?! NOTHING.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Just a Hot Mess

It's been a long week. With parent teacher conferences happening everyday. To being at work for 12 hours for the past four days.To having to hunt down parents in back alleys and chase them down to the corner of a random street to get their signature for their child's report card. Because they dont show up for the appointment time that THEY chose according to THEIR schedule. And yeah the student that stole from me? Yup, did it four times within the past three weeks. Suspension does nothing for him. Lovely, isn't it???

I'm just tired. I want to sleep. And I want to sit and do nothing.

Everyone's so crabby. And in a bad mood. Or in a funk. Or just aloof. I dont know how else to describe it. Except to say that everybody and their mama is acting like a hot mess. And has been for the past week.

As the day continued to drag on and on, I asked K, my other first grade team member, if we, all 83 first graders, and four teachers, could come into her room and practice singing "Never Say Never" by Justin Bieber and rehearse for our awards ceremony that was to commence at 9 a.m. tomorrow. So we all huddled in her room at the very end of the day, sang that song a million and one times. I'm so sick of it. Anyways, we still had ten minutes to go till it was "ok" for us to start getting ready for dismissal.


So I gather all my children and trudge back ,grudgingly, to my classroom, and put on random songs for them to sing and just call it a day. I send them out to their lockers ten minutes earlier then I should have and we were ready to go. Since we were so early, I decided to put this on. It's so fun to watch them do it.

So the whole class gets into it, and I dont even realize that the entire first grade hallway is deserted and abandoned.I walk out into the hallway and wonder why the heck the lockers are not being opened and slammed as they normally are. And then I see that K's classroom blind is down, walk over to her door, pull the handle and it's locked. Bang on the door. No one answers. Seems like no one is even in there. Look over to her neighboring class, and same thing.


Then my mind finally registers EVERYTHING and I realize that the entire SCHOOL is on LOCKDOWN. Meaning no one can come in or OUT of the building. I didnt know if it was a practice drill (kinda weird for them to do it at the end of the day) and I gather all my children once again and command them to hide in the corner of our room. I lock my classroom door, and go hide in the corner with them and admonish anyone that lets out a peep. I also kick myself for never putting a blind up, and not being able to cover the window that is in my doorway. I'm stupid like that.

I text K. And then I text A. And then I text S. WTF is going on? And then they all text me back the same thing. To make a long story short, there was a madman directly outside our school with a gun, that woke up this morning and decided he wanted to go around on a shooting rampage.

Fortunately, the police were able to catch him. And we continued dismissal as normal. And no one was hurt. Thank God.

Kids were OUTSIDE playing for physical education and the gym teacher HAD NO IDEA WHAT WAS GOING ON! I like how no one told me either that we were in lockdown. I like how my kids were in the hallway AND ANYTHING COULD HAVE HAPPENED TO ANY OF US, and NO ONE WARNED US. That just burns me like CRAZY. Like SERIOUSLY? If this is what your procedures are, then get me the heck out of here.

So yeah, everything's just a hot friggin mess everywhere.

P.S. Apparently me and another parent scared the crap out of K. Every time we banged on her door and continuously tried opening it, guess who she thought it was?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


After a weekend with the family it was finally time to head our separate ways. Unfortunately, before my flight I had to get into an argument with just about everyone in my family and also my friend. I hate flying.

I always ask two of my friends to pray for me when I have a flight because I hate airplanes. I hate being up in the air for four hours. Its creepy and lonely and creepy.

But this time I didn't ask anyone. And I marched on that plane with my phone turned off, mad at the entire world. I'm so dumb. It wasn't until 45 minutes into the flight when I was stuck between two middle aged men, when I realized that I was all alone. All alone with no one but God, absolutely no one but God on my side.

No one could have been making a prayer for me. I just felt so stupid. For leaving the world, literally, with so much anger. And it could have been possibly the last time I spoke to those who I love.

I don't want to be stuck between two middle aged men and go. But you never know when it will be your time and you never know when it will be the time of those around you. And that's scary.

Hi. PS: I like being a part of this blog, CC. Sigh.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Gatorade: Trusty sidekick of My Dad

Down in the dumps, down in the dumps, down in the dumps, down in the dumps.

Well at least they're not smelly dumps.

I guess I had my first ever migraine yesterday. I didn't know it was a migraine. And now that I've been told it's a migraine I've had I think two before. I think they're starting up from my newly acquired disposition in medical school, 'down in the but thank God not smelly dumps'

But yesterday's "migraine" was bad. The pounding pain spread from the side of my head to my entire head till my upper jaw. And I could not get myself to calm down, eventually while trying hard just to fall asleep, floating in and out, I got up and ran to the bathroom.

The door was locked. Someone was in there.

I ran back to my bedroom, grabbed my garbage can, noticed all the papers I had thrown in there recently and then just threw up.
And I kept throwing up, and in the midst of it I thought, "wow I need to chew my food better, that rice was totally not broken down"

My mom came out of the bathroom and saw me throwing up, so she went and woke my dad and sent him to me.

My dad came over half asleep, saw me hung over my garbage can, and got some tissues and helped me wipe up. Then he stood there and massaged my ears while I decided if I needed to throw up more.
Eventually he coaxed me away from my garbage can, which I grew rather attached to, mostly out of fear of throwing up more and also because it seemed to be a very comfortable and safe position.

He then guided me into my bed despite my protests that my head was killing me every time it touched the bed and I really did need my garbage can.

He got me to lay down and massaged my head while I whimpered about my head. Eventually he left for a bit, and then came back with gatorade (Read: My dad's cure to everything). Then he sat down next to me and massaged my head until I started drifting back to sleep, I woke up a couple hours later with my dad fallen asleep next to me with his trusty Gatorade (Read: BLEGH I hate that I drank that stuff).

And I smiled from inside, from the deepest of insides and went back to sleep. Sometimes, nothing feels more safer than being by your dad's side.

Yes I'm a Muslim girl, and that's a Muslim dad.

And praise be to God for all that He provided us. And now you read this word: Mash'Allah.

P.S. My mommy had work tomorrow and she wasn't feeling well herself so that's why she sent my Dad.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Tuna Lettuce Wrap

I used to be really chunky back in the day. I think I'm still on the bigger size but at least the Hubster likes my curves.

Anyhow, back in the day I joined WeightWatchers and they were awesome in giving cool ideas for low fat meals and what not. Anyhow, today I was making the Hubster a bacon & egg sandwich and I decided to opt out for something much healthier and WAY easier: a tuna lettuce wrap.

It was really really easy to make. I just took some lettuce put a can of tuna mixed some Mrs. Dash and Cajun seasoning and wrapped it up into a roll. It was delicious! :) You could add mayo, cheese, relish, etc in it too... pretty much a regular wrap just with lettuce.

I like the crunchiness :)

Okay I'm done.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Rock....Paper... Scissors...JESUS!

Bam!! When my kids at school play this, Jesus totally TRUMPS all of the above. Obviously. It's funny how kids can have more faith in things than adults. Not just concerning their religiosity either. But just in general. They are more optimistic, hopeful, open-minded about things around them then adults are. We can always say it, but it's so true that kids are wiser then we give them credit for. I asked my kids how they would settle a disagreement and argument today. I also asked them to respond and provide both negative and positive ways to settle a dispute. Negative ways included fighting and insulting one another. And positive methods ranged from talking it out, walking away, hearing the opposing side, breathing, counting to ten, apologizing to one another, and asking others for advice. Terry Jones, the pastor that burned the Qu'ran recently, and has been threatening to do so since the 9th anniversary of September 11, and the people in Afghanistan that are attacking and killing innocent civilians in retaliation, could learn a thing or two from them. Shame on all of them for acting the way they are. Whether it's figuratively, or literally, haven't they all learned from Mahatma Gandhi, that an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind?

Friday, April 1, 2011

Soaking Up Tears

Last Friday was such a blessed night. Habib Umar bin Hafeedh, a descendent of the Prophet Muhammed, may the peace of God and blessings be upon him, a profound contemporary scholar, and an overwhelmingly wise man visited our city all the way from Yemen. I had been following him along these past two days over his 5-6 events planned in the area.

The Prophet Muhammed once said, "Seek nearness to the scholars who remind you God." And honestly this man just kept doing that. He would tell stories of people around the Prophet or He would remind us of a verse from the Qur'an and with his sincerity of sharing these simple yet profound teachings, he kept bringing tears to my eyes, especially Friday night.

After the event Chuckles jokingly said to CC, "Did you crryyy??" and CC responded defensively, "Uhh no!" (Sorry to call you girls out!) But really this conversation really got me reflecting. Why are we so embarrassed of crying in front of others?

Perhaps we don't like to feel vulnerable in front of others and we perceive tears to be a sign of weakness.
Perhaps we believe that crying is only for the weak; the strong ones know how to keep it together.
Or perhaps we seeing our flowing tears as an intimate experience, not wanting to share the moment with others.

Whatever the case, I too felt this same embarrassment as tears were streaming down my face during Habib's talk, thinking should I take out a tissue or will that attract too much attention to the tears? Then I finally just thought, forget it! I'm here; I'm being affected; I'm crying and its okay.

And it was this morning after the morning prayer as I was sitting and reflecting I came upon the question: Why did God create tears?

Maybe its to remind us of God and His control over all things. Because really, when you're crying you can't control it...the tears sort of just come as they please when they please.

And maybe its just to remind us of our humanity. Tears make a person real. Everyone tries hard to stay composed, to not break down in front of others, and to stay strong. But there's just something about seeing a person with tears streaming down their face that just makes them seem so much more real.

Sometimes I think you don't truly know a person unless you've seen them cry; seen them in their moment of weakness, a moment in which they're not trying to cloak their emotion. With that said, I suppose there's very few people I truly know then.