Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I blame it on the kids in Humble, Texas

Me: "I think. I think. I think I want an apple"

Mom: "OH! Say bismillah maybe there's one left!"

Me: "Ummm....that's the randomest reason but okayyy...Bismillah. Oh sigh. This house is sad"

Mom: "This house isn't sad. Why are you talking like that? Be grateful"

Me: "No I mean the scavengers...aka my brothers won't even leave healthy food alone for anyone...Anyways, there's no apples"

Mom: "Oh I have one in my purse. One of the other teachers has an apple tree and gave me one"

Me: "Randomm...."

Mom: "You know what they say, be as humble as an apple tree, right?"

Me: "I've never heard of that"

Mom: "Cuz apple trees give so, so, so much fruit. It's amazing"

Me: "There is no saying about humbleness and apples"

Mom: "That's why in life, you should always learn to be humble"

Me: "You're doing that thing again where you're ignoring me. There's no such saying"

Mom: "Yeah it's amazing when you look at an apple tree that's bearing fruit. That saying comes to your mind. And it was such a famous saying..But is that how it goes? I can't remember how it goes exactly"

Me: "I'm just going to go back upstairs"

Mom: " Look up the saying for me and tell me how it goes exactly"

Me (five minutes later): "I looked it up. It doesn't show anything. Google showed something about some kids named Apple Tree kids who lived in Humble, Texas. But I doubt that's what you're talking about"

Mom: (doesn't hear me at all) " CC!! I thought you wanted the apple? Why aren't you eating it? You never eat anything healthy for you! And the one time you even bring it up you don't even eat it! You don't ever listen! And then you complain about your brothers! This house isn't sad. You're sad!!! "

Me: ...............

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Learn to Learn

My sister and I were having a conversation one day about school. She had told one of her teachers that she wanted to go into education so she could become a high school or middle school teacher. Her chemistry teacher told her that she shouldn't go into education because the job market is not good for teachers.

Sure, sounds like reasonable enough advice right? But what is this chemistry teacher's premise? It is that we get an education in order to solidify a job.

What about getting an education to be an educated person??

I had some friends over and we were talking about how college really just made us become learners for the sake of getting good grades and completing our credits. I barely ever studied in undergrad. I just did the minimum required in order for me to get my A and forget about the class after the semester was done. But now that I'm in grad school I have subjects that are specialized in what I actually care about learning and understanding. Like this one linguistics course I'm taking, for instance. The professor wrote a bunch of articles and books that I read before coming to the course so I was really exciting to study under her. The way she runs things is that we read each week, discuss material, and write a few papers. There are no exams. Honestly I love this way of learning but I'm engaged, keeping up with all the readings, and actually understanding and applying what we're discussing in my work. I'm not worrying about what I need to remember to do well on an exam.

So that is it. I am going to go back to school...but this time around just to be a well-educated and well-read individual. No registrations, no fees, no deadlines, and no exams. Just pure learning for the sake of learning. I started with www.khanacademy.org which is an AWESOME tool for everyone. Right now I'm watching the videos on Organic Chemistry.

I used to be pre-med before I switched over to the social sciences. Don't get me wrong, I love the social sciences and I definitely love my job and what I'm pursuing right now. But I remember that I used to looovee my math and science courses and I really miss them! So far the first few videos of Orgo have been challenging but interesting and engaging.

What have you always wanted to learn?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Everyone has their own problems

When something bad happens in your life, it can either break you, define you or strengthen you. I'm not sure where that paraphrased quote is from, but it's amazing the truth it sums in one sentence.

Now I'm not claiming to be struggling with a life changing experience. And it's true, everyone has their own problems. And everyone deals with them.

I read somewhere once if everyone were to put their problems in the middle of the room together, in front of everyone else, they would happily take back their own problems. Maybe it's because our own problems are the ones we are comfortable with or maybe it's because as the Islamic saying goes, God only gives that which you can handle. Or maybe it's a little of both.

Now I've had my fair share of struggles. Minor ones, and maybe from other peoples' perspectives more minor ones. But growing up with constant, multiple stressors bearing down on you is not fun. I went through most of my life feeling as though there was a very heavy bag of bricks on my back and I just couldn't get rid of it. And much of the time, it felt as though there were several bags. But I was pretty good, and I used to make myself forget about those bags of bricks when I needed to.

If you know me, and you're going through your own trials, you may question the reality or severity of my stressors or if you know me you may know about some of those bags of bricks. I've never felt the need to discuss or openly divulge about everything in my heart and mind, but I have come close. I never felt the need, because for me it was stress, no matter how suffocating, that belonged to me alone and I was never one to ever feel defeated or beaten down enough to confess everything. Even in times when my emotions would catch me off guard, and I would be caught in feelings of sadness or weariness, I believed that the only one that can make me feel better is me. And so I would pick myself up and move on, in my own topsy turvy way.

Along came professional school. And stupid, petty stressors seem to be consuming my life. Whatever I face in school, these petty frustrations, are truly idiotic in comparison with what I had to deal with emotionally growing up. Yet here I am, in my second year, recognizing that feeling of defeat, loss and frustration that have become too familiar to me. And I'm seeing the effects of these feelings in my life.

I see myself pushing many of my friends out. Looking for places and ways to heal in my own solitude. Wanting to be isolated but at the same time not wanting to lose those around me. I try harder to hold on to some of them but it's weird.

If it wasn't for my cat and where I was before school began, I think I would be losing myself to the negativeness in my life a lot faster.
I thank God for my cat.

My friend told me something over the phone a few days ago, "Allah is helping you, you just can't see it"
And it took me a few minutes after that phone call for that sentence to strike me. And I've repeated it to myself several times since. And I believe it, I really do.

As I take a look around right now at everyone around me, I reflect on how everyone really has their own problems to deal with, and we each struggle in our own way.

CC, out

EDIT: This post has been edited. I'm sorry this post is so dampy. And if you've been checking back over and over again, I'm sorry about the repetitive changes.
And yes, you do have permission to use that incredibly, creative word.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Your Life Before Your Death

There was a death in the community the day before yesterday. The funeral was yesterday. I did not know or meet the woman or her family but I went to the funeral. I went because there is a reward in attending a funeral and I also want people to pray for me when I die. Is that selfish? I'm glad I went because there weren't many people there and I figured we all can use every prayer we get, especially when we die. There's nothing more than can be done except pray for the deceased and hope that their stay in the grave is a comfortable one. 

I don't know her or her life story or her family, but I became pretty emotional. Death isn't easy to deal with. I've attended only a handful of funerals in my life and half of them were 3 of my grandparents'. The fourth I was too young to understand what was going on.

Anyways, everyone is going to die. We just don't know when. And I realized that I should make the most of my day, my hour, my minute, my second. I shouldn't squander my time on things and thoughts that don't matter. Living life to the fullest doesn't mean doing crazy things. I know people have a bucket list of things they want to do in their life, things they must do before they die. Some of those things include sky diving or something daring. That's fine, I have my own list of things I would love to see and do, but we should also try to include more meaningful things. Things that will leave an imprint on people's lives after we die. We should do things that make a difference, because honestly, after we're dead who is going to remember that we jumped out of a plane as a big milestone in our lives?

The prophet Muhammad Peace and blessing be upon him said, "Take advantage of five matters before five other matters: your youth, before you become old; and your health, before you fall sick; and your richness, before you become poor; and your free time before you become busy; and your life, before your death." This is so true. When I'm sick, I regret that I didn't get my work done when I could have. When I'm busy, I mentally kick myself for procrastinating, etc.

If you believe in the Hereafter then invest this time into it, because once we are gone, the only thing that will help you are your good deeds and the only thing that will harm you are your bad deeds. Nothing else, except a few things which can benefit: Muhammad Peace Be Upon Him said, "When a human being dies, all of his deeds are terminated except for three types: an ongoing Charity, a knowledge (of Islam) from which others benefit, and a righteous child who makes supplication for him." (Muslim and others).

So, if you put a water fountain somewhere and people drink from it, you will get the reward for supplying them with water. That's just an example of the first. 

If I can't do something great now, I know I need to work towards being able to do great things in the future. I just hope I can get there before I die and I hope I get an A for effort if I don't make it. 

I planned on writing something happier and less serious, but funerals make me sad. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Half Married

I was married to a man who lives about 3 minutes from my parent's house. While I was thrilled to live nearby, I knew sometimes I'd want my distance.

Living close-by means getting to see my family at least once a week without any hassle. We attend the same mosque, generally know the same people, and all our family who live in Michigan live within a 5-10 minute drive.

That also means I cannot stay overnight as often, make shorter visits since I can "go over at anytime I want" theoretically. It's hard to plan things with just my husband and I. We'll get phone calls to go over and visit the parents.

The 3-minute distance is just enough distance to always need a ride (since I don't have my own car), have surprise visits, have to pick up phone calls at odd times to comfort tensions in the house, and get stuck in the middle of my old life as the "mediator."

Sometimes I feel half married. I still play an active role in my former home. I wonder what it'd be like to get away from both sides and start focusing more on myself and my future family.

I think I'll end up lonely (lol).

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11 We Remember

The authors of Symphonic Discord reflect on 9/11. Our hearts go out to the 2,819 people who lost their lives. God bless.

Edit @ 3:17 p.m. 9/12/11

Youthful Wisdom:

Ten years ago this day I was sitting in third hour US Literature class. The morning went by unusually slower than most. I remember talking to some friends around me about some topic that was probably mundane. My teacher then called me aside and took me outside the class.

"Youthful Wisdom something happened today. Someone knocked down the Twin Towers. I want you to know that people might blame you or say things to you tomorrow. And even if you take your scarf off that you need to remain strong. Okay?"

What??? The Twin Towers? What do you mean someone knocked them down? Blame me?? But I was sitting right here in your class. Take off my scarf??? But I just started wearing two months ago and I love it! What the heck is going on??

I thanked my teacher for her advice and went back into the classroom. I can't explain the feeling inside of me except for it was extreme confusion. All my classmates stared at me silently as I walked back to my desk.

That afternoon we were left out early. No TVs were played at our middle school during school hours that morning. I walked home to find everyone in my family hovered around the kitchen table in fear and confusion watching the news. It was just like my teacher had said; someone knocked down the Twin Towers.

The days that followed things happened exactly like my teacher said they would. My own friends and classmates started looking at me different; I was the only identifiable Muslim girl at the school because of my scarf.

"Hey Youthful Wisdom why do YOUR people hate us so much?"

"Go back to your country bitch!"

"Hahaha I just pulled your scarf off! Whatchya gonna do huh??"

MY people? MY people are YOU but apparently I'm not one of you. And I don't have any country to go back to!! And if you pull off my scarf I'll take you to the principle!

Ten years later these memories come back to me. Memories of a time where my fellow Americans were attacked and where my Muslim American identity was attacked. It's a sad day in my mind representing injustice, misunderstandings, and hatred. But since then I've have positive experiences, including feedback from this blog, that make me truly believe that mutual understanding is possible. That people have the ability to look beyond the lies the media is feeding them and seek out truth for themselves.

May God guide us all and bring us to the Truth, wherever it may be. And may we all become vehicles of positive change and spiritual growth in our communities. Ameen.

Controlled Chaos:

With the 10th anniversary of September 11 upon us, that day has been circulating in my mind more so than it has in the past years. When I think back to that time I remember being confused and a little lost. I don't think a part of me had emotionally or completely understood what happened. And to be honest, I was also uncomfortable with the topic because of the first reaction I had gotten from a classmate.

That day and for many days to come, a student kept loudly declaring across the classroom that I should get my "uncle" to stop bombing our country. Even that statement registered slowly, it wasn't until the next morning that I understood that she was degrading me in front of the whole class and the teacher never did anything. I felt as though I was being indirectly blamed. Every time the topic came up I just wanted to disappear. It wasn't until months later that I felt my first annoyance at my teacher and especially at that student. I was a slow high-school student. And my emotions were even slower.

It wasn't until the following 9/11 anniversary, while I was looking at a full-page picture of the Twin Towers burning in my local newspaper, that I felt my first genuine, deep shock. In that picture, I realized I could see what looked like people, in midair... I thought of how it would feel to be in the same situation. It was a horrible cold feeling. That day I cried. I cried for everyone that had died and who had lost someone. I cried while I imagined what it must have felt like for all those who got caught up in that event. And I cried not knowing what I was supposed to do and frustrated at my own incompetence for the past year. It took me an entire year to register and emotionally understand September 11.

Before I completely understood what had happened, I 'borrowed' reactions of people around me. If someone joked, I joked. If someone got quiet, I got quiet.

For the past few days I've been contemplating ways to show my solidarity for the victims of that day. And besides praying I've come up short. I've considered lighting candles on my driveway and then wondered if the neighbors would take it the wrong way. I wondered about blogging about it but then feared peoples' responses during a time when emotions ran so high. In the end, I chose to blog truthfully. My thoughts go out to everyone affected by that day directly and indirectly both here and abroad. I truly hope the world becomes a better place for us all to live in. Ameen.

Softly Spoken:

I was in eighth grade when 9/11 happened. It didn't hit me that these events would lead to a revolt against American Muslims. I had always thought of myself as American as I was Muslim. I grew up as one of the only visible Muslims in school - but was very much respected - and now live in Detroit which has a good chunk of people who dress and worship like me.

In the 10 years after 9/11, the negative light on Islam and Muslims has grown brighter. It is also politically incorrect to stand by Muslims. The American Muslim community is starting to stand up and speak, some leaving behind traditional jobs and getting more involved in government, social services and journalism, to show a different perspective of practicing faith and living up to America's golden opportunities.

As American Muslims, we too mourn lost loved ones. We too cherish those who work to protect our safety. We condemn those who attacked the World Trade Center and The Pentagon in the so-called name of Islam. We chide those who make it difficult for American Muslims to retain their rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We condemn those who stand divided. We stand united with all Americans, as Muslims, to live to the fullest in peace and equality. Amen.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Midweek pick-me-up (I always spell this differently)

Last week we celebrated Eid ul-Fitr, the Muslim holiday that follows the month of Ramadan. Because I've had a hectic week followed by a viral infection I hadn't uploaded these photos yet.

My Eid outfit

Bangles and perfume


Henna for my sister-in-law, done by me. It isn't as neat as it usually would be, as I had been putting it on other people for a few hours earlier that night. This was done at around two in the morning. 

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Patience like Ayub

Two days ago I felt a "choking sensation," went to the hospital to get it checked out, and now am in the waiting process to see an ear nose and throat doctor (ENT) specialist after Labor Day weekend.

God tests us to see if we can withstand the difficulties He imposes on us, and if we become stronger in faith.
"And surely we try you with something of fear and hunger, and loss of wealth and crops, but give glad-tidings to the steadfast, who when a misfortune befalls them, say lo! we are Allah's (possession of Allah) and to Him shall we surely return. · Such are they on whom are blessings from their Lord, and mercy. Such are the rightly-guided."  (2:155-157)
Ayub, (Job) the Prophet best known for his patience, was one of the 25 named prophets in the Quran.

He began with an abundance of health, wealth and children. Satan was convinced Ayub was only grateful to God due to his many blessings. Satan pleaded to God to test Ayub by taking these things away:

He lost his wealth.
The roof of his home fell and killed his family.
He lost his health; gnats chewed up his skin.
People left his side.
His wife who cared for him, left.

But he chose to be patient. He realized all his former possessions were gifts from God. He said, God had a right to take what He had granted.

At the very end when gnats were about to chew up Ayub's tongue, he prayed to keep the ability to remember God by worshiping with his tongue.

"Truly adversity has afflicted me and You are Most Merciful of all who show mercy." (21:83)

God then instructed him to bathe in a spring after striking a particular area of the ground with his foot. His illness was removed and his youth, family, and wealth were returned to him.

May  God give us the strength to bear the burdens that He entrusts us with.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Blobby Bobby

I logged on to blogger today to find everything changed. I like new things so I guess I'm not complaining. I just find it odd to be writing up a post in an unfamiliar setting. Ah well.

Anyways, I'm visiting my family for a few days. Every time I'm home I go into ultimate lazy mode. I am a complete blob and don't want to move or do anything. I just lie there like a wounded tiger. {I am a tiger according to the Chinese horoscope.}

I sleep in my brother and Sister-in-laws room since they don't live here; and my sister took my room after I got married and moved out. When I came I dropped all my junk right at the entrance of my brother's room and left it there. It hasn't moved since. And nothing can make me move it. Not even the number of complaints from my family members saying they've almost died tripping over my stuff.

I become a lethargic sloth at home. Not that I'm all busy at home with my husband. All I do there is sit at my desk and study all day. But man, am I neat. I'm Danny Tanner {the dad from Full House}. I study at a desk in my room and I can't study if my surroundings are messy. I can't focus at all. My mind will be on the messy bed, or the clothes lying around, or my makeup all over the dresser. I don't even wear makeup on a daily basis but it manages to take over my dresser every now and then.

Anyways, I am home and I am lazy. It feels good to be home. But why must I turn into a blob? I feel like a fatty cake. Anyways, this might be the most useless post I've ever written. But right now I feel pretty useless. Maybe I'll go clean something. yay.