Friday, December 17, 2010

feline to feline

Good Morning...
So, my brother brought home a cat about 3-4 weeks ago. He did so after the whole house was asleep, and we awoke to a new family member. At first we thought he was insane, but then I remembered how probably 12-13 years ago, my sister and I did the same... But that cat, Hurayra (which in arabic just means cat) left home... never to return. Well, our new cat, her name is Dora is 3 years old and a Bengal cat (i think).. I know nothing about cat breeding, but according to my brother it's some sort of pure breed thing going on... like I care about breeding? As long as it has hair and it's furry, who gives a flying toothache??

Anyway, so in the beginning, she avoided us like the plague. In fact, she was so scared, she hid out in places that took us forever to find her. Now, she's grown to recognize us as her housemates... no, not owners, but housemates... Clearly, she has a will of her own. Anyway, her name is Dora, because she's a very curious cat... So curious, in fact, that she paws at my bedroom door, just so she can explore my bedroom, which is closed all week long. Well, the reason for that is because, well, yes, you've guessed it, I'm ALLERGIC to cats. And my genius of a brother loves to torture me with cuteness. So, well in the beginning everything was okay. The cat would stay out of my way, and run scared of her new housemates. Now, though, she's a bit too affectionate. She came up to me, and is currently sitting on my arms as a type this message, rubbing her face into my face. Okay. This is scary because now, my face is itching like HECK! and two, I'm afraid that she has some sort of mite or something, because she always scratches herself, over the norm (we've had tons of cats in our past, trust me, it's more than normal). So, after a minute of cuddling with me, my eyes automatically puffed up... my nose is running. And i've sneeze quite a bit over the necessary. She has never done this before, but she licked my nose.. Yes... my nose... I mean seriously, come on now, you know that you make me sick... literally.... :X

So, what is a person to do, to say, feline to feline??? Should I take the 'GET AWAY FROM ME YOU ALLERGY INDUCING MONSTER!!!' or should I 'cuddle her with love and affection' that she is so desperately seeking out. I don't know. I just can't not love her. She started playing with my headphones, sniffing my laptop, sniffing me, sniffing my coffee, licked my cellphone, rubbed her face on my water bottle, took a nap on my bed, sat on my chair.... Soon enough she'll be eating out of my plate.... But I think she recognizes who takes care of her... since I vacuum the house, clean her litter, fill up her water bowl, fill up her food dish, show her some patient love and affection, play with her, and let her follow me around the house. Right now, she's sitting on the kitchen table grooming herself.... The kitchen table that I wiped down like 10 minutes ago.... the same kitchen table that will need a repeated scrubbing since the cat walked all over it...

(This is the closest picture I could find on google that represented Dora well... I am currently cameraless)

Come on now, what's the big deal? Cat's are clean??? No big deal... Except our cat apparently likes to sit in the sink.... I've also caught her in the toilet bowl twice.... I reported once and withheld the information the second time. But, I can't help myself... I love the weird little thing. Maybe she's the perfect addition to my overly eccentric family. How could we manage to get a normal cat, when everyone is so unique in my family already...?

Anyway, this was my random long awaited post...

If you are bored and lonely... maybe you can become a cat woman, like me... Okay well it's not really my cat, but my brother's, but still.... Share a little affection with someone, whether it's a sibling, a parent, a loved one, or a pet... Share that affection at least once a day, and you're mood will always be YAYish. :D


Friday, November 26, 2010

coming to realize

I don't know about you guys, but sometimes I feel like my posts are all 'epiphany' or 'coming to realize' posts. As though, there must be an elaborate moment of truth that emerges from the text or the experience. I dunno.

Anyway, I'm coming to realize that life is nothing without the relationships that are found within it. Life is not worth living, if not for the people life is shared with. I am not talking about spouse or a family member per se, but human interaction at large. I feel like we're on the verge of a societal decline, because people have relegated relationships to the internet. Relationships of the here and now are deteriorating at a fast pace, because people are so focused on past relationships and future networking. You need to realize that the past is the past, and the future is the future, but the here and now only comes once in a life time. People from your past are important, but if you spread yourself so thin, you'll have no meaningful relationships in your present. That's what online networking does. It spreads you thin. You tell everyone, regardless of how shallow the relationship is, about your life, and your 'deeper' friends get the same information. I don't really know how to explain it, but I feel like relationships have become destroyed. Because someone can figure out what you've been up to through networks like facebook, they never have to call you or contact you directly. We are forced to live in a virtual world, and forget that there is a greater reality.

People can spend hours on facebook, but when it comes to spending one hour with a friend they have no time. You will never get those virtual hours back. Nor will you ever be able to develop true relationships through the internet. You need physical, face-to-face contact. You need to speak, hear, smell, touch and see. If long distance relationships are difficult to maintain, well how do you expect virtual relationships to be. Why do people love TV? Because the characters are DOING SOMETHING! They are moving, seeing, feeling, smelling, tasting, LIVING! So, screw the television, screw the internet. Just take time on a daily basis and call someone, meet up with someone, do something that is unrelated to school or work. Develop some sort of human contact or interaction. The world is no place to live in, if people are not living it. The best moments of my life are those when my friends and I do something completely out of the ordinary, like walk around our apartment building for 15 minutes at 1 am, just because we can. Or playing pingpong with my dad, just because we have 10 minutes to spare. SOMETHING!

So, why am I blogging about something, when I could be doing something? Am I being hypocritical? Not really, no. Because I don't really live in a virtual reality. Everything needs some time, and I probably spend a total of an hour at most, daily, on the internet. The last time I blogged was about 2-3 weeks ago. I share my experiences with people who I may not physically see or hear, essentially come into contact with, but experiences are there to be shared. But you need to realize that every tool is just a means. I find blogging an effective way of communicating my experiences. But if I live to blog, then that's a problem. Hence, the fact that I'm not a daily blogger. :x

Anyway, so my message is this. L.I.V.E. Living entails human interaction, and not at a virtual level. Move, experience, test, smell, aspire, change, forget, remember... DO SOMETHING! Get off your computer and just talk to your dad/mom/sibling/friend/acquaintance for like 5 minutes. Just 5 minutes! Recognize that human interaction is the foundation of society, and without it, we'll fall apart.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

learnable moments.

Quote of the day:
From the 'Anarchist Against the Wall' presentation at WSU today from 12:15-1:15pm.

"Congratulations LGBT community.. you have now the ability to be masculine and kill people." (Gal Lugasi; Anarchists Against the Wall), on the DADT. This is an anti-war activist, anti-occupation activist. It had nothing to do with LGBT rights, but about warfare.

Well I guess you learn something everyday.

So, I am discovering, through my oral history class, that everything someone says can be filled with so many things to learn. Meaning, even if it sounds stupid as hell, you will experience a 'teachable moment' (or maybe a 'learnable moment'); you just need to be RECEPTIVE and OPEN to it.

This is teaching me so much about myself. I am discovering that I talk a lot less than I used to. I have become an observer. Where everything someone says must be filled with something to take from it. It doesn't matter who they are, what they represent, or whether or not you agree with them. Regardless, there is something that you will learn. It has turned into a game with me, I must discover something that I learned before the conversation (or the day!) ends!

So, as a teacher/instructor, we talk about 'teachable moments', but we forget that we need to be receptive to those moments. We have to recognize that everyone has something, some sort of impact and influence. This influence shapes you (and them) internally and externally, whether it's at a shallow level or a deep level. Recognizing this makes you unravel personal biases, and accept everyone without a standard that you may unintentionally set for them. The only standard set is the recognition that they have some sort of reciprocal influence on you, and therefore they are valuable. This value is never to be discounted, because, whether or not you discover the 'learnable moment', you recognize the person as someone who is worthy as an individual.

Dubois says that the factors that make a life worthy are the ability: to move, to know, to love, to aspire. (The Dubois Reader, Representative Men, John Brown, pg 259)

I agree with Dubois on that one. And I feel like, one mechanism towards achieving that worthy life is through recognition of other beings who are capable of doing those things. To not live in your own self-created bubble of a biased world. To move, to know, to love, and to aspire.

I guess I'll stop here...


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Chivalry is dead?


Okay, so they say 'chivalry is dead'. That men, the carriers and inheritors of this chivalry, lost it at some point in time. I am not sure if I agree, or if chivalry is limited to manhood... but anyway...

This morning, I opened the door for a couple of people behind me. After 2-3 people passed through, one man... REFUSED to let me hold the door open for him. He absolutelyrefused. I was trying to figure out what he meant by it...
So, my hypotheses are:
1) He was so chauvinistic that a woman could not open the door for him
2) He was so embarrassed that he had not opened it for me.
3) That it was wrong for his individualism to have someone (regardless of gender) do something like opening a door for him.
4) Women are not supposed to be openning doors, because of cultural norms.
5) He was ashamed of not thinking of opening it first.
6) He just felt like, because I opened it for people, someone should have reciprocated and opened it for me.
7) He was having a bad day and just woke up on the wrong side of the bed.
8) I challenged his independence
9) He wanted to remind me of my dependence
10) Muslim women should not be interacting with men (okay this one is a STRETCH!)

Okay... well those are my different theories. You can thow in a couple of your own! I just don't get why he wouldn't just let me hold the door open.

But on another note. The other day, there was this guy in a wheelchair. And he had pressed the button for the door to open, but I just felt like it was so unaccomodatingly slow, so I just held it open for him. We started talking after. He told me that he really appreciated that I held open the door, because often people just assume that 'we don't want to be seen in an inferior light, and so people don't do the courteous things, like holding open the door' It made me realize, that being courteous had nothing to do with independence or dependency. It had to do with the fact that you generally respect and love people. He kept on thanking me, and encouraged me to continue to be courteous, because now-a-day, there are few nice people left.

So, the question is.... Is chivalry dead? Is it limited to men (i.e. knights in the medieval periods)?

Much love,

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

smile effect

What have we come to???????!

I'm a smiley person, I just walk around with a grin on my face. But lately, people have been coming up to me and asking me the reasons behind the smile. Like I am committing something wrong, or not acting normal, by smiling.

Some of the statements/reactions I've gotten are:
"you look like you're harboring a secret"
"mischievous smile"
"you look like you're planning something"
"you shouldn't be so happy"
"you're always smiling, and it always confuses me"
"one day that smile is going to disappear"
"f*ck you, you're not happy"
"get over yourself"
*returns grin with a shake of the head*
*avoids eye contact*
*cocks an eyebrow up questioningly*

I don't know why smiling has become such a "wrong" in today's society. I sometimes unintentionally smile. Or I just like sharing the happiness. There are times when I need to convince myself to smile, just to keep a cool. I smile out of relief. Out of private conversations I have in my head. Through the recollection of memories. At another smiling face. To follow the advice of the prophet of Islam, in that "a smile in the face of your brother/sister is a charity". To release discontent. To mock myself. To love myself. To discover my inner thoughts. To brighten someone's day. To brighten my own day. To stay 'together'. To keep things positive. To follow my heart. To change my heart. To love myself. To destroy personal biases. To unconditionally love.

Anyway, these are just a few examples of why I may smile. So, if you see me on campus with a giant smile on my face, it isn't out of some 'sketchy' purpose. It is out of all of the above, or despite them all.

Just a quote from Shakespeare's Othello "The robbed that smiles, steals something from the thief." The 'thing' that is reclaimed through my smile, is my unconditional love for people.
<3 *GRIN* <3

Sunday, October 3, 2010

No one is perfect.

Take in a deep breath... hold it for about ten seconds... let it go... Repeat 15 times.

I am attempting to remain calm. I am attempting to keep myself together. I am attempting to stifle my 'reactionary' anger.

I was with my sister and she told me "No one is perfect, nor do you have to be" (I don't think she said it that way, but that's what I understood)... after she said that... I just wanted to curl up in a ball, somewhere, and hide.

My dad (who I love beyond reason, but in this instance I was ready to flip out on) walked in... took a look at me... and basically, told me to leave and find somewhere to calm down. To do whatever it took, for me to relax. I don't think he realized how he said it to me, because in my (twisted and somewhat irrational at that moment) head, it came off as accusatory... Like, you have no right to be frustrated and expressing that frustration right now. I know he did not mean it in that way, but that's how I perceived it. So, I told him to calm down. I projected onto him. I was on the brink of flipping out.

I need some excedrin, because I have this pounding headache, that won't go away. I don't think my parents realize how stressed out I am. I try to keep things positive. I try my hardest to refrain from complaining. I try my hardest to imagine what it may have been like for them in college/grad school or anything. I pretend to be them, and wonder how they may have acted.

I am jealous. I am jealous of my sister and my brother. Sometimes, I'm jealous of my mom and dad too. But specifically, my siblings, because they are so good at letting things go. They are so good at just embracing what is, and going with the flow. One word from my sister, and I feel like my heart is pumping, my lungs are unconstricting, and the flow of oxygen makes it to my brain. She is my reminder to "breathe".

I always wish I had more patience, but in this instance, I wish I could be patient. There's a difference between having and being. But, there's a thin line for me. A thin line between euphoric elation and extreme anger. One psychological word play... and that's it.

I scare myself.

I think, though, I need to remember...
"No one is perfect, nor do you have to be"...
Repeat it like a mantra...
Take in a deep breath...
hold it for about ten seconds...
let it go...
Repeat 15 times.
"No one is perfect, nor do I have to be"...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Grandfathers and oral history

Good Afternoon,

As a precursor to this post, I unfortunately come with bad news. My grandfather passed away today, to God we belong and to God we will return.

I am taking an oral history class, and every time I read any assignments or even think about the class, I think about my grandfather. So, I don't know, if him being on my mind for the last 2-3 weeks should have flashed signals in my head or it was just by coincidence.

Why oral history and why my grandfather? Well, he was one of the best storytellers ever, as well as the most influential man I have ever met. I think I've posted about him twice in this blog before, but to tell you about him, he was a man who went to work daily at the age of 92. He maintained his physical fitness to the best of his ability, and continued to exercise up until his 90's. Although he didn't formally study religion, he was a scholar, he knew so much on the differing opinions of different sects and so forth. He was an optimist, as well as down to earth when it came to the human condition. He love his human brethren and tried to do his best by them. This is not a bias as his granddaughter, but rather, the view almost EVERYONE who ever meets him has.

From what my grandmother told us, he died immediately after completing maghrib (sunset) prayer. He had just finished prayer and serenely passed away. Muslims always wish for that type of death, one where they are closest to God spiritually, and physically (through actions, such as prayer).

I committed a grave injustice by not recording his stories and experiences in life. He was a man who lived against the odds, driven by self-determination and faith. Nevertheless, he was never arrogant. He was a man, who upon reading a book, he would underline passages, just in case his grandchildren one day came across it from his collection of books, just so that it would trigger thought and intelligence. He encouraged us to fulfill our goals to the best of our ability, even if it seemed at odds with our parents (but to maintain that loving and respectful relationship). He argued that age is nothing but a number, you are never too young (when giving me advise), not ever too old (when talking about himself). His life was filled with incidents of trials, challenges, hopes, fears, odds, self-will, and figures who tried to force him away from his personal goals.

He lived during the French occupation, the coup de tats of syria, and onward. He'll tell you stories of World War I (even though it was just before his birth) and World War II, bringing in the perspective of the middle east. My grandfather blamed no one, but the self. Meaning, if people were true to themselves, the world would change to the better.

He studied by street lamp, due to the extreme poverty that he grew up in with a single widowed mother in the early 1920-30's. He worked full time to support his family from elementary age, as well as went to school at night to challenge his mind, when his uncles wanted him to just work for them. He was one of the top students in his class, only because of his personal will to succeed.

My grandfather, had his grandchildren truly taken the time to listen to him and document his life, lived the life of a true revolutionary. He inspired positive change, in every person who met him, both in the public and in the private life. He was a public speaker in his younger years (30-40's), and became more of a private man, in his elder (70's-80's), giving advice to his children and grandchildren. He was a humble man, who was content with whatever God had allotted him for his material life, but always wanted more out of spirituality and mental development. He was all about educating and challenging the mind (much like Dubois). He lived under colonialism as well as independence, and saw the various parallels of the worlds however intertwined.

I had a goal 2 years ago to write a book about his life and experiences. I know what he has told me, and will try to the best of my ability to recall all of those amazing details. I intend to write a book dedicated to a man who changed his society, without being a public image or face. I hope all those who were influenced by him, will be willing to share their experiences, thoughts, reactions, and beliefs about him. I know, that without a doubt, he impacted his grandchildren more than anyone else in the world. So many of us, especially those living in America, lived in a world of bias, that elders in the Middle East were backwards. But my grandfather was more modern in thought, more knowledgeable, and more charismatic than any modern theorist. We went overseas (the american/french grandchildren), and listened to his stories in SHOCK, realizing that our lives were a joke, in comparison to his. That real struggle comes from within, and manifests externally. That we inherited the experiences of a man of a legacy, that we should carry on within us, document for our future generations in the United States, and live by his amazing example. I do not advocate for the idolization of my grandfather, nor do I advocate that we blindly follow him. But I do think we need to respect and consider his main principles in life: self-education, empowerment, spirituality, activism, and social-change.

reem abou

Thursday, September 9, 2010

fathers and daughters

Good morning,

If you know me, then you know that I read Dubois... A LOT. Yes, I am addicted to his works, I haven't gotten many secondary documents, but I read as much as I can get. Often, when he is talked about, we see him as a socio-political figure, and often forget that he was a husband and a father as well.

I have been reading his correspondence and I came across a beautifully written letter to his daughter, who was studying away at school. It is amazing and inspiring, and you can see the respect he holds for his daughter as well as excitement towards her future. He has confidence in her, and encourages to adopt confidence in herself.

Now-a-day, our daughters are so confused, and have major identity and self-esteem problems because they do not have a very interactive role with their fathers. This is not their fault, but the fault of the fathers who were and are supposed to be more present in their upbringing. One reason why many girls have no true self-worth of themselves, is because their fathers don't often encourage them to find within themselves that self worth. They need a sense of acceptance from both their parents, and especially from their fathers. Because of that lack of encouragement, many girls just hop from one guy to the next to find validation, but don't realize that you need to find that validation from within yourself, and your parents should be the people helping you discover that. Fathers do play a critical role in helping develop the psyche of their daughters. If daughters don't gain true active acceptance and communication from their fathers, they will seek it out in other male figures, leaching onto the male figure and attributing their worth to that man, rather than their selves.

Anyway, the letter is from "The Correspondence of W.E.B. Dubois, Volume 1 Selections 1877-1934" Edited by Herbert Aptheker, page 207-208

New York, October 29, 1914

Dear Little Daughter:

I have waited for you to get well settled before writing. By this time I hope some of the strangeness has worn off and that my little girl is working hard and regularly.

Of course, everything is new and unusual. You miss the newness and smartness of America. Gradually, however, you are going to sense the beauty of the old world: its calm and eternity and you will grow to love it.

Above all remember, dear, that you have a great opportunity. You are in one of the world's best schools, in one of the world's greatest modern empires. Millions of boys and girls all over this world would give almost anything they possess to be where you are. You are there by no desert or merit of yours, but only by lucky chance.

Deserve it, then. Study, do your work. Be honest, frank and fearless and get some grasp of the real values of life. You will meet, of course, curious little annoyances. People will wonder at your dear brown and the sweet crinkley hair. But that simply is of no importance and will be soon forgotten. Remember that most folk laugh at anything unusual whether it is beautiful, fine or not.
You, however, must not laugh at yourself. You must know that brown is as pretty as white or prettier and crinkley hair as straight even though it is harder to comb. The main thing is the YOU beneath the clothes and skin—the ability to do, the will to conquer, the determination to understand and know this great, wonderful, curious world. Don't shrink from new experiences and custom. Take the cold bath bravely. Enter into the spirit of your big bed-room. Enjoy what is and not pine for what is not. Read some good, heavy, serious books just for discipline: Take yourself in hand and master yourself. Make yourself do unpleasant things, so as to gain the upper hand of your soul.

Above all remember: your father loves you and believes in you and expects you to be a wonderful woman.

I shall write each week and expect a weekly letter from you.

Lovingly yours,

Thursday, August 19, 2010

who controls you??

Good Morning,
Instead of doing the much needed, much procrastinated, research that I have to do today, I am on my blogspot writing this post... I AM TICKED! Really, annoyed by something that hasn't to do with me a bit, but when I saw it, it makes me furious:

Girl on facebook "<3" as status
Boy on facebook "who's the lucky man?"

WHAT THE HECK!!!! WHY IS IT THAT GUYS SEEM TO DICTATE OUR HAPPINESS!!! Really, truly, unequivocally that's a load of poop!

(okay, girls stink too sometimes, because they essentially do the same exact things)

Our happiness comes from discovering our selves, through discovering our God. Now, I'm not talking about solely the Islamic perspective or other monotheistic perspectives, but in general. People who find out who they truly are, and their place in the world are the most happy. Now, why is it AUTOMATICALLY assumed that when a girl has <3 as her status, it is referring to a guy in some way or another...

For me, it most likely is referring to a type of food, a friend, or a state of mind. And that's exactly what's wrong with us today... WHERE ARE OUR MINDS???

They are constantly tied to the 'other sex' (well, sometimes it's the same-sex, but that's beyond the point). I mean really, is it because we have no true understanding of who we are, and what our purpose in life is? I mean, I understand that sex is essentially for procreation and whatever, but why can't we see beyond it?

Now-a-day, pre-teen girls are getting pregnant, pre-teen boys are fathering children, and they have no comprehension of responsibility... Furthermore, they barely have any true role-models, because all the older people '20's-30's' are similarly pre-occupied....

We really need to change the way we think... We need to be true to ourselves... Sure, Freud and Erickson have some interesting theories about child development and sex, but we really really need to focus on ourselves and not the other.

Now, that may sound selfish.... but it's the truth.

It comes down to: Who controls you (your mind)? boys? girls? sex-drives? Because, now a day, it seems like those 3 options (boys, girls, sex-drives) are the leading issues... and that shouldn't be the case. How is society going to progress if people are so focused on carnal desires?

My question is this:

Who are you? What makes you, you? and What's your goal in life, other than like 'going to heaven and so forth'?

Me, I am a human being. I am me because I truly believe in being myself and no one else... My goal in life is to help harness the strengths of other individuals around me, help eradicate their weaknesses, and help them discover the power of their minds and influence. Finally, help them realize the 'other' perspective and the need for empathy in order to move the world forward.


Friday, August 13, 2010


Happy Ramadan o.O
It is officially the 3rd day of the month of ramadan. A month in which muslims all over the globe fast from dawn to sunset. Basically, we eat, drink, and consume nothing during that time. There are other aspects, where we try and be a bit more spiritual, we work towards becoming better individuals... essentially it's FAITH boot camp.

Enough about the dry facts, now to the emotional kicking and screaming....
The only sucky aspect about living in the united states (or any predominately not muslim country)is that we have to go on with our normal lives... Work, school, gym, sports, and so forth. I will never forget playing basketball while fasting... oh the dehydration... I live off of Gatorade and similar sports drinks all during 'non-fasting hours'.

Overseas, LITERALLY, everything is closed ALL DAY and open ALL NIGHT. Now, I don't think that's exactly a good idea, because I mean, seriously? Shopping at 3am? But it does get convenient... Literally, people just stay at home all day and do nothing. Now, I wonder, doesn't that abuse the concept of Ramadan....? Isn't ramadan about doing everything you're supposed to be doing with extra prayers and fasting on top... I feel like overseas they've deconstructed the whole concept of ramadan... It's like, who cares that the concept of the day is for the living... :x

But sunset over seas is sooo much earlier!!! I just found out that in Saudi people break their fast at 6:20pm!!! THAT'S 2 HOURS AND 20 MINUTES BEFORE US IN MICHIGAN! Given, though, that Michiganders are at the end of the time zone... :x

Although, dawn does come in earlier overseas, I'd rather take earlier dawn that later sunset... come on now... eat... sleep... wake up at a normal time like 8am... rather than... still wake up at 8am and fast an extra hour...

Anyway, I was just thinking about the fact that maybe we just need to let things go, and literally just ride the waves. Live life, do what we do, and throw the rest up to God. God's got our back.

So why stress that menial things of life. Why focus on the unimportant details. Lately, I feel like "poopers, people have no clue"... People are so preoccupied about things that really, have no true value. I feel like we need to go back to our roots and realize, that as social beings, we need to be there for one another. We need to focus on developing each other and helping each other to attain what you may call 'enlightenment' 'nirvana' 'peace' 'tranquility'... but really, what I call, 'true happiness'.

So this month, ramadan, I ask you... ask yourself the question, and be honest to yourself (and if you want to post it to me ;) ) what truly makes you happy. If you think the answer may change by tomorrow, then maybe you should write it down and watch the trend of happiness change... Is happiness something that is triggered by a constant thing or is it by temporary things.

Today: What truly makes me happy? Well, it's a tough question.. But at the moment, I'd say: seeing my friends together and supporting one another makes me really happy... that and... TWIZZLERS!


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Quran Burning. hate.

Peace all,
So, it took me about a week to get my mind wrapped around this Quran burning event thing.

If you don't know anything about it, check this out.

At first I was pissed. I mean, 1.5 billion muslims are pissed, and maybe just as many non-muslims. But then I realized, it is not anger that I feel. But something akin to regret. How have we, as a human race, got to this point of ignorance?

I do understand that there are a handful of people who instigate problems. These problems have major repercussions. The ripple effect caused by the few is like an amplifier on steroids with the current media. We're bombarded left and right, up and down, and everything in between, with what to think, what to do, who to blame and so forth.

And I think back to 9-11. Unfortunately, many people lost their lives because of the horrendous actions of a few. But what the muslim community (and those who may 'look' muslim but are not) have faced is almost as bad. We have indoctrinated muslim Americans to feel like they did cause 9/11. Like their faith was to blame. Till this day, I feel guilt for something I never condoned, never contributed to, and would never in my life support. (If you've met me, you'd know how much of a peace-loving hippie I am).

So, back to the topic at hand. Regret.
Why do I feel regret about the Gainsville, FL church burning the Qurans? It is because we have, like the 9/11 indoctrinations of guilt, indoctrinated our people with hate. We no longer encourage empathy and understanding, but hate and conflict. We blame others for our problems, and lash out like children. We think of politics, and automatically we think of warfare. What happened to nurturing wo/mankind to 'do onto others what you wish for yourself'. So, what is this Gainsville religious leader encouraging? Every other faith, except his denomination of Christianity to burn bibles? No! Of course not!!!
Why burn Qurans, when you can teach people to read? Why burn Qurans, when you can build schools and community centers? Why fuel the people with hate, rather than love? Why teach people how to disrespect others, and in turn disrespect themselves.

So, yes. I feel regret. That our country is plagued with a disease called hate. Why did we not see this coming? What medical preventive measures could we have taken in order to nurture a healthy populace rather than a disease-ridden one?

I wish we could invest in the mental health of our people. We really need to analyze ourselves, just as frequently as we would check up with our PCP.

I ask, that anyone who may have read this post to eradicate hate with empathy, love and understanding. Please learn to practice these three qualities, even at the most basic of interactions. It takes one-on-one action to change the condition of people.

Also, check this out: 'National Don't Burn a Quran, Read a Bible' Day.

Monday, August 2, 2010



There is just so much I can talk/type about, but I'm not in the mood.

I mean, I can discuss how the whole Quran Burning thing on 9/11 is such a load of BS, and that it is exactly such mentalities that perpetuate hate, discontent, misunderstanding, and conflict.

I can talk about the Michigan oil spill and how our country really needs to get it's act together, and find an alternative environmentally friendly fuel.

I can ramble on and on about how Justin Bieber, the singer, you know, who hasn't hit puberty yet, wants to write a memoir... "first step 2 forever." are you kidding me???? what kind of tacky pooper name is that? and Who really cares what he's done in his 'oh so lengthy' life? Really now, can't he just blog like everyone... but that's besides the point...

I can talk about Obama's Iraq withdrawal plan


The 2.5 million people in pakistan being affected by these insane floods

or even

Russia's State of Emergency over wildfires

But really, what I want to talk about is this feeling of Nostalgia that I've been experiencing.

Lately, I feel like nostalgic of things I've never even experienced. Like I'll think... that makes me nostalgic, but I have no idea what the thing is, nor why I feel that way. It's like some sort of memory teases my senses, but doesn't fully manifest. I am left with this fleeting emotion that tickles my mind, attempting to wring some sort of happening from my thoughts. But, alas, those experiences are absent. Those feelings are being drawn out of air. I have no idea where this nostalgia is coming from, nor to what it is being directed towards.

I hope I am still sane.

Has this every happened to you?
Something similar? Something totally different?


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

too muslim to be punk

Well hello there world,

I don't know how to begin this post, given that I haven't written in a couple of weeks, and apparently this online relationship thing isn't working out too well. Yes, blogspot, I have missed you... But we're not exactly two peas in a pod... It's more like, I have neglected you, and now I beg... please, please take me back....
Anyway, now that I've gotten that out of my system...

I was told the other day, that I am too muslim to be punk...

According to punk means a lot of things, however the definition that I am referring to is:
"a style or movement characterized by the adoption of aggressively unconventional and often bizarre or shocking clothing, hairstyles, makeup, etc., and the defiance of social norms of behavior, usually associated with punk rock musicians and fans."

and well Islam, according to means:

the religious faith of Muslims, based on the words and religious system founded by the prophet Muhammad and taught by the Koran, the basic principle of which is absolute submission to a unique and personal god, Allah.

Honestly, okay so... I defy the norm. So, how is that so wrong? I mean, doesn't me being muslim in America kinda mean I am punk, without even the clothing or the styles, or even the music associated with punk culture...
I mean,essentially, I do not follow the norms of the society I live in... *gasp***
does that mean??? what I think it means???

I don't have to be punk.... to be punk!!!!!

Anyway, so what??? I wear black... with t-shirts with witty statements... and bracelets that reach mid arm... converse/worker boots and well... I have droopy kohl on... and I listen to bands like the offspring, billy talent, sugarcult, and nirvana. :x

So, who cares? If I am a punk by nature (relative to the society i live in) then why is it such a problem that I dress by that culture. I mean, technically... If you have a standard of dress, and a culture you adopted... then, doesn't it mean, that you are idiosyncratic... or oxymoronic... because, shouldn't you be defying anything and everything with norms????


but if you listen to me... well, then you're just adhering to my standards/expectations/norms...

So, what is this post about really???

It is about thinking for yourself... dressing the way you want and the way you like to look. And creating your own standards... without anyone force-feeding them to you.

So, if you like to wear a polo and kaki's but it is nothing but your decision. Then go for it... and if you want to wear bright orange parachute pants and a lime green top.... then, if that's what makes you do a jig, then go for it as well!

The reality is... there is no anarchical society... there is no normless world... every utopia is in essence a dystopia. Every person who screams out!!! DEFY THE NORM, is just causing a ripple effect of new norms to follow. I mean, think about it... 20 years ago, no one, I mean NO ONE would ever walk around all punked up... but suddenly, it has become the style... can you believe all of the accessories that you can buy from Claires that is just sooo punk??? Remember when Hot Topic was the only place you can buy those leather bracelets with the metal studs on them??? Well guess what??? I bought 2 from syria last summer for $0.10 each!!! I mean, seriously??? I walked into a punk store in the middle of OLD DAMASCUS!!!!

So, embrace your inner eccentricity...
Be true to who you are and who you want to be, rather than who or what society wants you to be. And if you want to be, just like everyone else... then no one is going to stop you.

But if someone tells you... you're too muslim to be punk.... walk off... and flip them... THE PEACE SIGN!!! \\//



Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Marraige Preoccupation

So, my last post I talked about being sick of something...
and I've realized that I am annoyed with something else... (not to be negative).

Will the people who are soooo pre-occupied with marriage just shut up?!
Do me a favor and just hide in a hole where no one can find you...
(okay that was a joke... insert LOL here)

Anyway, I have always had the mentality (probably developed by my father) that my main occupation/preoccupation should be my self-development and social development. If I was to be anything, it should be something that I choose to be and pursue it to the best of my ability. These goals should be determined by 2 factors: 1) Will it benefit society? 2) Will it bring you closer to God.
Now, I have gone into a career (academia), in which, according to my professors, I'll be married to my research. Now, I know, without a doubt, that I can manage a social life and the life as a researcher/teacher/academic, while being happy and balanced... So, why can't people just let it go. It's like they're a dog with a bone, and just won't let it go.

Apparently, I am un-marriageable (not that I care) because i "am too friendly (and sporty)... and therefore, one of the guys"... I ♥ how honest people can be... :x
that is what triggered this post...

It just annoys me lately that people are so preoccupied with marriage. Sure, people are getting married, finding love, sharing lives and what not and that's great. But that isn't my main goal in life. If you choose your main goal to be married with kids, then so be it. But my main goal is to live a happy life within the boundaries that God ordained for me. To enjoin good and forbid evil, work towards a just/equal/fair society, and to get closer to God. Now, I'm not saying I don't want to get married. But what I am saying is: once it happens, it'll happen. Don't dictate my goals or assume that marriage is my 'end point'.

Anyway, this post is just to say that, marriage/civil unions are beautiful. Don't make it something dreadful. When it happens, it'll happen. Don't rush life. Just let it go on. When I find the right person, I will find them, and God's got my back.

That's it.


Friday, June 18, 2010

hijab. yeah. sure. whatever.

Peace and hello.

Well, this is probably something I have posted about in the past... but I guess I will be posting about it again, given that I have had this blog for a couple of years now. ;)

Hijab... (the head scarf and modest clothing a muslim women may wear).

I am not going to explain (other than that one statement) what hijab is. However, I am going to talk about it, to an extent.

Really, I understand that hijab is a public manifestation and symbol of faith that muslim women portray if they wear it. I understand it is a trigger in which people begin to question you about your faith, whether it is positively or negatively. I understand that it is something that does not subscribe to the norm of what an American woman may look like in American society. So, I understand when people ask me about it.

However, I am so sick of it... really sick of it... Why?

---and guys... i'm sorry... but you have never experienced hijab... so you can never fully (maybe partially) understand why I may feel like this, or why another hijabi might (not necessarily all though).---

Well, do you like being questioned about why you wore purple socks instead of green ones? Or why you are wearing shorts instead of pants? Or how about why you're wearing a button up instead of a t-shirt? Sure, maybe once in while, you can deal with it.... but on an almost daily basis (sometimes multiple times a day)... It really does get annoying..

I don't mind people asking me about my faith... but questioning me in a manner that pushes me on the defensive, will really push my buttons. I am sick of it. I want people to understand: HIJABI's ARE NOT AUTOMATED COMPUTER SYSTEMS WITH NO EMOTIONS. At some point, we get sick of people asking us the same questions all the time. I know that something that seems so natural, so common sense to us, may not be the same for others... but I ask:

If you want to know about why we wear hijab, ask... but if you want to argue with us, get over yourself. You will never understand it, never comprehend it, until you practice it, experience it...

Just as people question how I can run around and play sports in long sleeves all summer long, I question how they can prance around in booty shorts with all their cellulite hanging out... (okay, fine not everyone, but you know where i'm getting at).. However, I do not attack your beliefs... I do not question your independence, liberty, or choices. I will respect you, even if you're in "daisy dukes with a bikini on top" (if you're a guy... well, you chose that apparel, what can I do?).

All I can say is:

Let people make their own choices. Let them develop their own experiences. Let them live without being questioned constantly.

The Quran says: "There is no compulsion in religion" meaning, no muslim (or non-muslim) should be forced to do anything, except which they choose to do themselves. There are repercussions for your actions, sure, depending on the legal system in which you are a constituent of. Therefore, do not force anyone to live by your standards...

The point of my post is essentially, that^^
Do not force anyone to live by your standards...

I wear hijab, because I choose to.
You may wear purple socks, because you choose to.
The reasons may be different. But the right to choose is pretty much the same.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

food for thought on last weeks dilemma

Peace all,

Yes, yes, yes it's been a while. I haven't had much to say for the past couple of weeks. I mean, of course, things have been going on. Much has been on my mind, but I haven't had the words to say what I've been thinking. I guess, it's writers block or something to that extent.

But I guess, given that it's been a week or so since the incident I'll talk about it now, looking back.

So, Faisal Shahzad attempted a bombing in Times Square and now the threat of homegrown terrorism has been flashing bright lights in the media. (read about the debate in: )
Anyway, the issue was all over the news... anti-muslim rhetoric has been rampant within American mainstream media. Obama even made a statement!
I would like to pose a couple of questions for thought:

1- Why is it when the bomb was discovered in Times Square, the area was not evacuated, however a couple of days later, a package of water bottles was discovered in the vicinity, and the area was evacuated. I mean, shouldn't Time Square have been evacuated as soon as they discovered explosive materials?
The question I am posing is that why wasn't Times Square evacuated as soon as the explosive materials were found? It seems like the police force was confident of disarming the vehicle, putting the people at Times Square at risk...

2- How is it possible that Shahzad made it through tons of airport security, when his name was being thrown about everywhere... It doesn't seem to make sense that innocent people (such as myself) get questioned so much while flying, but someone who is being 'searched for' isn't even questioned. I mean, I don't mind being questioned at the airport, I have nothing to hide, but it doesn't make sense that Shahzad seemed to slip through security like water.

3- I understand why Obama made a statement about the Shahzad attempted bombing, but really, why aren't other issues being addressed so vocally. I mean, terrorism is horrible, but things that kill americans are not being addressed. Just look at the FBI database:
Look at the stats!!! in 2005, 16,692 people were murdered, 93,934 people were raped, 417,122 people were robbed and so forth! Why aren't these issues being addressed. Honestly, in the United States how many people have been killed by 'terrorism'? I believe that those who murdered, raped and robbed are the real terrorists, and yet they are neglected from the media. This is a system issue, it should be addressed thus. It was necessary for Obama to make a statement about Shahzad, but why isn't he talking about these VERY REAL ISSUES, where people are affected on a daily basis!

My first two questions, I feel can only be concluded by one thing... There is an element of fear that is being propagated. Both result in tightening the noose of control over American citizens. I believe in protecting our citizens from terrorism, however, why does it seem that both cases (evacuation in Time Square and getting passed security) were so manageable, yet left to be pushed to the last moment, as though carefully allowed to progress? I don't mean to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but really, why?

In regards to people's reactions, I will have to say that despite the surplus of anti-muslim rhetoric in the media, people have been amazing, sweet, reassuring, hopeful, supportive and inclusive... This is why I love living in America and am proud to be an American, born and raised. I feel like that the general american public has not resorted to accusing all muslims of being extremists, and this makes me feel like there is still hope in the world. That people are not blindly being brainwashed by the media. In fact, people are conscious and thirsty for information unconditionally. Our country fosters a thirst for the truth, and I pray that Americans remain thirsty for the truth and the reality of the world, both nationally and internationally. We need to look beyond what is being said and hear what is not being said.

I have so much more to say on this issue, however, my post is just getting a bit too long. I will conclude with this, the problem of terrorism must be addressed, however not at the expense of people's rights and beliefs (both by attacking one issue and neglecting hundreds of others).

Sunday, March 14, 2010

good question

So, I've come to the realization that I am scared. Which is sad, because no one ever associates me with fear, or at least I don't think people do, they might, I just might not know it. Anyhow, I am scared.

of what?!? good question.

I'm scared of many things, but I think it stems from failure. I have realized that I've gotten way too comfortable in mediocrity. Well, two things actually. I've also come to the realization that my family is made up of eccentrics. So, normalcy and mediocrity is relative. But anyway, my fear of failure has turned me into a static, ineffective, and stalled person. I'm essentially stuck in neutral. I have been so unproductive and that scares me. I was trying to understand why I have been so unproductive lately, when my whole life, I've managed to juggle millions of things simultaneously, while being very efficient and fruitful. And I realized that if I do nothing, nothing bad can happen. And in arabic they say 'nawm bijir nawm' which means, sleep drags more sleep. Basically, the more you sleep (or are inefficient) the more tired and sleepy you get.

Anyhow, I realized even more so, I fear inefficiency more than failure. So, for the last couple of months, I've felt like 'enh, I don't want to do anything' and in the last month or so, SOOO MANY OPPORTUNITIES HAVE BEEN THROWN MY WAY! and the odd thing is, they aren't opportunities that I can reject or ignore. So, like the other day I had a midterm that I barely studied for, and apparently I did really well, and so forth. So, yesterday, I realized that I can ignore and punish myself as much as I want, but God won't abandon me. Actually, He's got my back, even though my back was turned on Him.

And I have decided that screw failure and screw inefficiency, I will be as energetic, fruitful, productive, constructive, vigorous, and teeming as possible. I am going to grab opportunity by the horns, and make my way on this earth.

Many people have told me that I would be a great instigator for change and productivity in the world,that I will revolutionize the way Muslim women will be viewed, and I have always laughed at those statements. Well now, I'm going to make those statements my way of life. I will (inshaAllah/God Willing) instigate change towards the positive. I will revolutionize society. I will show the world what one Muslim woman can do.

So, for all those who don't know me my aims are:
- to be a political theory professor (my favorite subject because it's so comprehensive), so I can help people discover themselves (their thoughts and ideas) and the world around them, and show them that everything is at their fingertips.
- to teach the new coming generations that you must THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX! Standards are created by yourself, no one should be able to dictate you in any way, shape or form.
- to share my experiences through my poetry and short stories
- to influence scholarly works in my field, because it's about time muslim political thought gets introduced into the field. Or some feminist interpretations get pushed to the forefront, rather than pushed off to the side, with only a 2 second interpretation.
- to embrace what it means to be a muslim woman, and that means self and community empowerment, by developing and exercising minds.

Essentially, I am making an attempt banish fear to lowest and deepest recesses of hell. We need change. We need to defy norms. We need to be effective.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

this is for the mothers/wives

So, often we young people criticize our mothers because they are homemakers and that's it. I have come to realize, that running a home is extremely difficult and complex. In the past couple of months, I have made it my mission to help out around the house... cooking, cleaning, some shopping, and so forth. It was not announced within the family, just a personal decision, to help develop me in this area.
I never belittled or condescended women who choose or possibly had to resort to being housewives, in my life, but I always assumed it would be easy. Literally, you cook and then you have the rest of the day to watch soap opera's and host 'tea socials'.
It is amazing how much work is involved in running a household. I have been only helping out, probably about a total of 5%, and it is so time consuming. I literally stood for 3 hours straight almost daily for the past week, just to make dinner!
The point of this post is that I want to thank and commend all those house wives in the world, who make things look so easy, while they run an efficient household.

I would like to praise those house wives who are also mothers! how you do it is beyond me.

And finally, I'd like to scream from the top of my lungs, in commemoration for those who are house wives, as well as mothers, as well as workers or students. You are forever in my highest regards and respect.

that's about it.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

when you're mad/angry/ticked ect

the top ten things to do when you're angry at someone, but cannot express that anger beyond a grunt or a twitch:

(in no specific order, but i'd probably do #2 first)

1- blog it (normally i don't do this.... but yeah)
2- run anywhere between 3-6 miles (or rigorously work out for about an hour or 2), depending on the amount of pressure you're trying to burn
3- sleep!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
4- go on a book reading fest....
5- sniff sharpies.... (trust me, it works to get rid of headaches!!)
6- go walking in nice weather (like today) with someone, and let that person unload their problems on you, because it helps you put things into perspective.
7- ignore the issue, by closing the metaphorical door on them. (which i don't recommend, unless it is a real door, and you don't slam it, it's all good.
8- do something really nice for the person.... like buy them chocolate, do the dishes, clean the house, i don't know, help with their homework (i wonder if you can guess who i'm currently angry at?)
9- avoid the person all day, don't cross paths, and if you do, don't make eye contact.... it lets both parties really think about the situation
10- try to think of a list of things that you could do to calm down :s

oh okay... i got one extra... LOL because i just realized i did it!!!! stare at that aforementioned door that is closed and make faces at it!!!!!!!!!!!!



Wednesday, February 24, 2010

highlights from boston

Well, so you might know, that I was originally born and raised in Boston moved away from my hometown some 3 years ago. So, I went back for my cousin AS's wedding.
(I'll be using initials, just in case people don't like their names being thrown about on the internet).

So, my highlights were! (these are in no ranking order)

1- okay, okay, this might sound wrong... but playing with SG's snake.... and then scaring the crap out of KL & SR by waving it around their faces!
2- hanging out with MG, RAS, and AE in the MSA office :s
3- playing bball at boston bowl with SG, and getting half the amount of tickets... and just in spite of MG and RAS, I bought candy they didn't like with my tickets. :)
4- setting up the hall with AS and A(shoot I don't know his last name initial), for their wedding 4 hours later... and cracking stupid jokes, while eating tons of candy the entire time.
5- seeing AS in her BRIDAL GLORY! DAMN! SHE WAS HOT! MashaAllah!
6- meeting new people in Boston, who I couldn't believe I didn't know, because, I swear I thought I knew EVERYONE THERE!!!!
7- sleeping on MG's floor...
8- trash talking trash talkers from two feet away, just to piss them off. Sometimes people are so ridiculous
10- awkwardly meeting A's in-laws at their hotel rooms, and feel so oddly placed!!!!!
11- meeting FS's maaaaaaan! (well and AS's man too)
12- (okay, this is my #1, sorry guys!!!) SEEING FAB at FREAKING UMASS BOSTON AND SLOW MOTION RUNNING TO HER, like some movie scene, when lovers reunite!!!
13- seeing AE almost the whole weekend! when I NEVER SEE HER!!!!
14- checking out MI's hottness at AS's wedding ;)
15- telling a million and one people to go green!!! what is wrong with bostonians??? is it a michigan thing to be environmental???
16- copping 2 cups of wedding candy after all the guests left, muahahhahaha!!! (and I'm eating it right now :D )
17- meeting up with MM at the ISBCC's cafe... I MISS YOU GIRL!
18- going to SN and SK's apartment, and being loud annoying people there!
19- eating a million times a day on monday! Umass (breakfast), umass (lunch), prudential (lunch again and dinner), MG's place. & seeing HS!
20- having a <3 2 <3 with my pops during our one hour ride on his way home after AS's nikkah/katb al-kitab :)

Anyway, there is much more.... but those were the one's that make me crack up, smile, tear, and jump for joy...

Take care guys,
with much love.

Monday, February 1, 2010

flat tires and vindication


I haven't posted a blog in almost 2 weeks... and it feels like months, but anyway something interesting happened to me today...
Before I post the story, let me share this verse from the Quran:

"It may be that you hate something when it is good for you, and it may be that you love something when it is bad for you. Allah knows, and you do not know" (Surat al-Baqara, 216).

So, what happened?

I was at the post office waiting in line for almost an hour and a half just to return a package to amazon. I had accidentally ordered a duplicate book, and called the seller, and they said I could, thank God, return it with a full refund! So, I'm standing in line, getting frustrated and more frustrated, as every tick on the second hand clock tocks by. (get it tick-tock, yes, that was my attempt to be witty). Anyway, the guy behind me is talking to his girlfriend on the phone about how much she should be grateful for having him, and he's making all the kissing noises to her, and calling her 'baby' every other word, and I was twitching.
I just wanted to turn around and be like "DUDE! GET OVER YOURSELF!" but I withheld my comments.

Anyhow, I'm waiting in line, and there's only 2 people working there, and the couple in front of me is (or would you say are?) talking in rapid japanese. I know this is japanese (not some other asian language) because the words were familiar, and given that I watched too much anime growing up, I caught bits and pieces of their words. But it was frustrating me, cuz they were going on and on so fast, that I just wanted be like "STOP TALKING!!!!!!!!!!!!!".

Then, I finally make it to the register, and the girl who calls me forward, was like "put the package on the scale, and I'll be right back". So, I put it down, and wait for her.... and wait for her.... and wait some more for her... until about 5 people behind me were helped by the other worker.... It made me twitch, but I didn't want to be rude and be like, "LADY, TAKE ME NEXT". So, I continued to wait. Until some other worker, came up to the service area, and asked if she could help me....

FINALLY, I get out of the post office, and walk to my car, and see a little pink sticky note on my car... The first thought in my head was "Oh damn! someone better of not hit my car!!!!! and left a sad excuse of a note!", but I went to examine it anyway.

It was a note, notifying me, that my car had a flat tire. And it made me really HAPPY! I know, you're thinking, 'dude, you have a flat tire, in the middle of the winter, in MICHIGAN!!!', but actually I was happy. Because someone actually took the time to write that note, and stick it on my car.

I'm the type who would have never noticed the flat tire, until it caused me bodily harm, one way or another. And had I not got stuck in the post-office for like an hour, this person may not have noticed this about my car. Had I left, just 5 minutes earlier, I would be driving around with a flat.

So, it is with great pleasure, that the aforementioned verse dawned on me. Sometimes, a situation could seem sooooo sucky, but it protects you from something else. It is actually bring about benefit, even if you dislike it. I wasted an hour or so, in that post-office, thinking about the million and five other things I had to do. But, when I got to my car, that note vindicated my wait and did away with my frustration. I don't know who this person is, but I really appreciate their effort, because of their note, I went and paid 25 cents to fill my tire with air, and get home safely.

Anyway, I thought I wanted to share that.


Friday, January 15, 2010

Seriously though, what are sisters for???

Okay, before I write my post, I'd just like to leave a link on the earthquake in haiti.


Anyway, I've noticed, after moving to Michigan, that not many siblings hangout together. I mean, maybe they do at home. But out publicly, with friends, it's like sisters don't know each other. I don't understand this dynamic. But similarly, people don't understand the dynamic between me and my sister (or even my brother have, here in Michigan).

I grew up in a society or a culture, where siblings hung out together with their friends. So, my friends and my sister and her friends would hangout, some of which would bring their siblings (or cousins) along with them. So, you have a group of people hanging out, anywhere between the ages of 12 and 30.

I noticed that in the metro Detroit area, no siblings (or very few) actually know each others friends, let alone hang out with them. And I'll be honest, I have nooooo idea who my brother's friends are after moving here... They'll come over, go straight into his room (which is like 2 feet from mine) and never even tell me their names. I DON'T KNOW THERE NAMES!!! and I find this phenomenon very SCARY!

I mean, think of it from my perspective, my brother's friends were close enough to be my friends, same with my sister's friends, same with my friends to their friends and so on. We were essentially one big "happy" family. Okay, not quite, of course every group of friends has their drama, but we actually hung out.

Now, people keep remarking on how weird/interesting (great how those are interchangeable, huh?) my sister and I are. That we have an interesting sibling dynamic. I'll be honest, I love my sister. I love her as a best friend, as a sibling, as a role model, and as an artist. I am not embarrassed to hang out with her, or my (really embarrassing) brother.

Anyway, it just bugs me how people don't treat their family as worthy to have fun, outside of those 'family activities'. So, the following is a list of why siblings and friends should mix:

1- The mix of ages. This will cause a natural peer mentoring system, where youngsters will be influenced by the elders. This may have negative effects, but in my experience, it's been more positive. So, my friend's cousins who are like 12 have been really influenced by us. Similarly, it taught us (college-aged folk) to truly respect and value the younger ones.

2- The mix of genders. Honestly, not many muslims know how to interact with the 'opposite' gender because they come from a cultural norm where we should be 'separate' but 'equitable'. I feel like, when you have that mix of friends, with your siblings involved, you learn how to interact comfortably, without any stigma (or "God forbid" reputation lashing from the community).

3- Group dynamic skills. Okay, don't laugh at me, but seriously, all you 'single sibling-ed' people, will learn how to be around more people. But, most importantly, you develop a group that you feel you may belong to, that hopefully, isn't discriminatory against age, race, or gender. As well as, you learn to interact with people beyond the mere 'tit-for-tat' experience.

4- Memories. I'm sorry Michiganders who have not yet adopted this pro-sibling lifestyle, but you will have the greatest memories with your friends. Because, your relationship cannot be superficial due to so many familial connections. And due to that, you have so much fun doing absolutely nothing, except pulling out like 2 decks of cards and playing SPOONS with 15 people.

5- Family becomes fun. So, if you're stuck with those boring parents, or boring siblings, you have a model of what kind of fun you can have with your families. You also, learn how to interact better with your own family. Watching my friends interact with their families, made me understand my own familial relationships so much better. Anyway, if you wanna get away at 2 o'clock in the morning, all you need to tell your parents is "ROUBA IS COMING WITH ME" and "WE'RE GOING TO FATIMA'S HOUSE TILL FAJR, ALL HER COUSINS ARE THERE"... so, you have an easy get away, with a family member in tow.

Well, those were only 5, but this post is now getting lengthy.
So, my recommendation is... Stop hating on me and my buddy buddy family, and start hanging out with yours (publicly, with friends). So, if you're going bowling with your friends, invite your mom's (or if you're still reserved about that, your sisters) along. At first, it maybe awkward, but later on, you really look back and think, wow, I did things right.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

a new year?

so it's a new year. One filled with so much potential. So much energy. just SO MUCH.

And it scares me. That the end of our last year in the first 2000 decade, we had to witness acts of extremism.
It fills me with such regret, not because I had anything to do with it, but that our society could let something so scary slip under its radar. Granted, the plane hadn't taken off in America, that it wasn't the rigid American security system that this man went through, but that's not what I mean. How can our youth, both muslim and non-muslim, develop these extremist tendencies? Now, I know this man, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23 years old, was not born and raised in the United States, but he did go through a european education system, he did come to the unites states for some time. Why are our youth being corrupted into extremist action and dialogue?
Really, just think about it?
We are facing two REAL issues:
The first is, there are extremists out there, both in the physical world, as well as the world of the internet.
The second is, there are fake extremists being planted by the government into our communities, to incite our youth into extremism.

We really need to address these issues.
My advice is this, and given that I am a young adult with no real experience in parenting, it's up to our parents.
Our parents REALLY need to be involved in the lives of their youth. They truly need to become their influence. If the parents are not involved with their kids, then the kids are just gonna find some other outlet of attention, respect, and love. Frequently in the last decade or so, the internet, video games, movies and the entertainment industry has filled this void. Parents can't connect to their children. Please, YOUTH can no longer connect to one another! But, essentially, what I am saying is: Parents, be involved with the youth. That doesn't mean start spying on them. Or being super micro-managers. It means, truly be there for them, and understand that their time is different than yours.

Young adults, and I mean between the ages of 30-45, you really need to connect to the younger folk as well. You are now well on your way to being professionals. Your personal life may not be at stake, but our society is at large. Do take the time to connect with the younger generation. You need to bridge that gap between them and their parents. You need to be INVOLVED. Think about your tiny baby and 2 decades from now.... do you really think it'll be you raising that child alone? Or does society have a play on things.

The second issue... well it's clear, we need to be vocal about these extremist plants that the government is using. Talk to your local civil rights organization. They will no what to tell you. Call MAS Freedom, or CAIR, or the ACLU, or the NAACP. They all know what I am talking about. This is an issue that has been around, before the immigrant muslim community got here (i.e. the United States).

Finally, I'd like to say, that we voted for change in 2008. But we need to understand that change comes from each individual actively changing. The Quran says “Truly, God does not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.” (Quran 13:11). Regardless of whether you're a muslim, atheist, hindu, sik, christian, diest, jew, or any other religion/lack there of, you need to understand that the aforementioned statement is true. Change cannot come, until change is done from within. We really need to change.

So, now, we are beginning a new year and a new decade. Think about what small changes you can do within this year. And really, TRULY, think about what changes you think you can make in the next decade. What will 2020 look like?

I'll stop here, and I hope that we can combat extremism through advocating for moderation. Oh artists of the world, professionals, teachers, parents, stay-at-home moms/homemakers, secretaries, soldiers, freedom fighters, feminists, advocates, and everything between the youngest of young and the oldest of old, regardless of profession, PLEASE make CHANGE for the better your motto.

I pray for peace, forgiveness, tranquility, sincerity, and success for the human community.