No, Mr. Boss

7/7/2016

Craziest week of my life.

The word “corporate” gives me a rash.

I’ve never been the kind of person to wear business attire to her high profile job 6 days a week, yet that’s the exact job that I managed to get hired for. I knew I wouldn’t be in it for the long run. I just needed a way to make some money to pay for this or that. So when Mr. Boss gave me a huge smile as he told me I was hired in his office on a Tuesday at 8pm, I thought YES! This is it, the answer to my prayers! This is how I’ll pay for school and get my degree in journalism and go into publishing like I’ve always wanted. This will allow me to do everything I’ve been wanting to do for the past 4 years!

I can finally buy my professional camera!

I can finally pay my dad back..

I can finally finish my Bachelors’…

I can finally live….

This job is all about money. I’ll never forget what Mr. Boss said after he told me I got the job. He said “Money doesn’t solve everything, but it definitely solves most of it.”

No, Mr. Boss. No.

I really thought that the thing stopping me from achieving all of my dreams was the lack of money. I never said it aloud, but I always truly thought that having more moolah would solve it all. There’s a lot that I would have done to earn that money, because I knew that with it, I would accomplish my long term goals. But I had to start somewhere. Well, this job quickly turned into a nightmare.

There was another thing that Mr. Boss said to me on the 3rd day of the job. I was in his office going over my sales for the day and he mentions money again. I make more in those 3 days than I made in 2 weeks at my previous job. So naturally, I was giddy. He says to me to picture the 10 people that I spend the most time with in my life. Figure out the average of their incomes, and that is most likely what I will make for the rest of my life. I remember just looking at him, staring, actually. It really made me think on the drive home that night. It made me think of all the most amazing, sincere, and intelligent people out there that are driving cabs or working in factories because their lives turned out that way. I thought of my life and the people in it. Sure, I could make a lot more sticking with this job, but I would miss graduations, vacations, reunions. I would get to buy stuff for my nephews and nieces but never get to see them enjoy it. My nephews from across the country would have come to visit, which doesn’t happen often, and I’d be working 10 hours each day they were here. No, Mr. Boss. I’m not going to want to be a part of a circle of rich people. In fact, I think the people in my life right now are the greatest. And I don’t think Mr. Boss will ever realize that what he said to me that day was probably the #1 thing to make me want to quit. Of course, he had this smile on his face as he said it like he thought he was really inspiring me to work even harder. But hearing that made things more clear for me than ever.

Imagine you’re at a new exciting job and you last 6 months. For the first 2 months, you’re buzzing with the excitement of a new atmosphere, glad to be there and even more glad at your glorified bank account. For the next 2 months, you begin to think to yourself, “so…is this what my life is going to be now?” 65+ hours a week. Say goodbye to my family, to my friends. This isn’t just a job, it’s a lifestyle. And by staying here I’m agreeing to live my life by their terms, not my own, and certain not Allah’s (swt). After those couple of months of doubt you begin to feel like you can’t stay at this job anymore. As a friend of mine put so eloquently, “The only thing you get from a job like that is money, but they drain every other aspect of your life.” Yes.

The different stages of your 6 month job: excitement, doubt, resentment, quitting. That entire process was what I went through, but jammed into one week. I went through an incredible high, straight to an incredible low. It all hit me at once, on my 4th day on the job. I was losing bits and pieces of myself, already. I felt my personality slipping away like beads off a broken piece of thread. So the very next Tuesday I sat in Mr. Boss’s office, at 8pm, and I quit. It isn’t worth it. Money doesn’t solve anything.

The whole experience opened my eyes and I’ve realized that’s what it was supposed to do. I’m not a business type of gal, I’m just not. I don’t fit in the world of commerce. And I don’t want to, even it if works for some people. I’ve rediscovered the value in doing the things that make you happy. The most important things to me are my religion and my family. If I have that, I don’t need much else. Things will fall into my path, as they will fall into yours. But if you don’t have your values; the things that you would put before anything else; the things you would sacrifice anything for…you really don’t have anything.

 Think, what will follow me to the grave? Money will have absolutely no value whatsoever, so what will? (___________________) < This, you hold onto.

 

 

Kick a man while he’s down.

7/8/2016

1_Year_Commemoration_of_the_Murder_of_Michael_Brown,_the_Ferguson_Rebellion,_&_the_Black_Lives_Matter_uprising._(20426285322)

Because with any level of authority you begin to think that you can decide who is worth more.

When you know that you can hurt him, and you know he can’t hurt you back.

Because you can.

Because he’ll just be a statistic.

He’ll just be another number that people forget when this dies down.

Another name to add to the list…

As long as your family is okay.

Your sons are going to school and getting to grow up.

Your 4 year old daughter can play hide and seek with her father.

So you watch the world rise in uproar, yet again.

And you contemplate your actions for .06 seconds.

But life must go on…

You figure something else will happen next week

And his death won’t matter anymore.

Because in that moment, your authority protected you.

It gave you the chance to make that decision.

To end the life of an innocent man.

A family man.

A wounded man.

A great man.

I hope you realize one day the value of the fire you contributed to.

I hope you understand the gravity of your choices.

I hope you come to learn that respect goes both ways.

I hope you understand how absolutely ridiculous it is for us to have to use the slogan #BlackLivesMatter

In 2016.

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I hope you feel sorry and I hope you feel remorseful.

Because that’s one of the only things we have left.

I’m no Robot

6/24/2016

busybodies

I find it so difficult. Doing that thing they called being an adult? Yeah, that.

I don’t quite wish I were younger. Rather, I just hate what it means to be an adult. Being an adult means giving up things that you love, for the ability to do things that you have to do. It means putting on a face and no longer being who you really are. Sure, maybe that “face” is an actual facet of your personality, but once you’re an adult it takes over completely. Now you must dress a certain way. You have to interact more with older people, make more connections. You’ll get weird looks if you sit at the table with all of the young people, even if you genuinely enjoy conversation with them more than you do with the adults.

You’re off looking for a full time job that offers you insurance and PTO and this and that. You’re polishing your resume like it’s your firstborn child and man, you just have to have your stuff together. I can be that person if I wanted, I can fake it till I make it. But I don’t want to. I want to redefine what it means to be an adult, or at least spread to others the message of those who have already done so. I don’t want to dress a certain way that isn’t my way and I don’t want to interact with only certain kinds of people. I don’t want to have a face on if it isn’t one I’m proud to look at in the mirror and I most definitely don’t want to give up the things that I love.

But when I look around me, and when I glance into the professional world, one that I’m trying to find a place in, I’m just overwhelmed by the notion that I highly doubt I’ll ever become one of those people. The briefcase holding, coffee inhaling, schedule checking professionals that live in conference rooms. Why am I trying to be a part of that world again?

Oh yeah, I need a job.

One may say that the business world I’m referring to isn’t all bad, that I’m just making it seem that way. I simply want to ensure that I retain my personality. I see so many people enter that world and become robots. They lose bits and pieces of themselves for a higher salary. Not saying it doesn’t come without benefits, but how worth it are they really? My goal is to dabble in the professions I like, but preserve the things about me that make me, me. Maybe it won’t be so hard, I don’t know.

A big part of me is excited to embark on the journey that will hopefully get me into that world, but for now I just view it from my rooftop. It doesn’t look so bad from here.

Greetings

1/31/2016

Hi, welcome to my blog. I’m a Muslim woman. It stills feels weird considering myself as an adult, as I still have times when I definitely don’t act like one, but I have a feeling I’ll always feel that way. I’m extremely imperfect, naïve at times. I’ve struggled with my faith here and there, but who hasn’t? Now I don’t care what religion you practice, or if you practice one at all. I think we can all go the same distances in trying to improve ourselves. You focus on your beliefs and I focus on mine. Something always draws us together though…we are all human. And at the basis of humanity, I just can’t help but sense that there is good in all of our cores. Even the tiniest amount. There just has to be.

I sometimes lose myself a little, as the months go by and I go through different experiences. I find myself wavering a lot. My Iman (for lack of a better translation, “faith”) goes up, down, left, and right. Constantly. I always wonder how normal that really is. Of course people will always appear one way in front of others. They will try to be the best versions of themselves, and I think that’s a very good thing.  When you hide the things that you do wrong, at least you are recognizing that they are indeed wrong, and you know of the shame that will come along with exposing them.

You are who you are in private.

I’m a firm believer in that your character is measured greatly by what people don’t see.

This idea of one’s “character” is such a complex subject to me. Sometimes it seems like your character changes daily, yet your true character rarely changes, right? So when my Iman waivers so much, I begin to think that there is something wrong with my character. That the amount that I practice my religion is directly related to the kind of person that I am. I don’t know if that’s so true though, and I’m only beginning to explore this concept. People get lost, oh boy do they get lost. But in their innermost self they still are good. They still believe, that has never left them. But they are just…human. And as much as we can say that we are imperfect and use that as a reason to justify our mistakes, as comforting as that idea is to us when we’ve done something bad, it shouldn’t be that way. It shouldn’t give you as much comfort after you commit a bad deed as much as it should before you think to. Imperfection is our safety net, but we should always aim to be up in the clouds. As high as we can get, with the hope and belief that we will be alright when we fall.

So, with all the mistakes that I reflect on most nights when I can’t sleep, I entirely doubt who I am. The more I make them, the more I think I’m not meant to be this perfect version of myself that I always thought I was supposed to be. But truthfully, we don’t need to be perfect. I’ll probably write multiple times on this topic of “character”, as it is one that just fascinates me.

To that end, I settle on the knowledge what we should all try to be better. It’s not useless, no matter how many bad things you’ve done. I personally get an Iman-boost when I watch videos and short lectures online about Islam. Little by little, I get inspired to be the Muslim I want to be, and it works. But like I said, it fluctuates. It’s a spiritual lilt.

So, as structurally flawed as you think you may be, you’re definitely good enough to improve on. Note the oxymoron. Find something that works for you, and know that you won’t always do it. But when you start to again, each and every time, it’ll help.

Hermit

1/6/2016

funny_hermit_crab_3

I can sometimes be a bit of a closed box. Maybe not sealed shut, but it definitely takes special people to get me to open up about things. I’ve been trying to figure out if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but to no avail. A question that I see pop up everywhere is “would you rather have a couple of close friends or a bunch of friends who aren’t as close?” I’m not so sure that there is a superior response, but I’ve always favored having a few closer ones. This has always seemed right to me, but the older I got the more I realized that there are quite a few negative side effects of having this type of personality.

Having fewer people that are very close to you means that there aren’t as many people out there that you can really depend on as you might like. We’re going to get dark here for a moment, but consider the possibility that you might lose one of these people. This can happen in a number of ways so let’s not go immediately to death, even though that’s immediately where I went because I am sometimes an undeniable pessimist.

What happens when you’re starving and you only have three loaves of bread left? You treasure each loaf with everything inside of you but you eventually lose one. In this situation you would most likely have lost the loaf of bread by eating it, and seeing as I don’t condone cannibalism, let’s just pretend that the metaphor doesn’t imply that and that you lose your loaf some other way. You then have two left. Two. God forbid you only start out with one. Each time you lose a loaf it takes a piece of you with it. You are never the same person. Sure, you may grow from that loss but it may hurt so much that that the change goes uncredited in your eyes, so then what’s the point of that growth if you never do anything with it?

At one point you may be down to one loaf of bread. You really put every ounce of your strength into preserving this loaf, but you never go looking for others. How can this possibly be a good thing? When this loaf disappears, what on earth are you going to do? Depending so heavily on such few people can be dangerous. Placing all of your trust and reliance upon such a minority of beings doesn’t seem to end well in theory. This is all assuming that you’re the last one to go, but if you leave them before they leave you then I guess this is something you will no longer have to worry about.

Let’s go back to a happy place. Having a larger number of people who you can refer to as “friends” seems like a good thing, doesn’t it? You have more people who have your back, more people to hang out with. More people to text and video chat. It’s certainly not a bad thing. But here’s the way I see it: you can only share your deepest emotions and undisclosed particulars with so many people. To completely uncover and expose your truest self takes a huge amount of courage, and once you do that with someone you develop such a notable bond. The more people in your circle, the harder it is to keep up with. So you may go your entire life without having a friend who really knows you at your core. At your innermost disposition. That, to me, is a huge loss.

So…I guess what I’m trying to say is this. I prefer having fewer people in my life who I’m really close with. I should probably make an effort to meet more people, but why does that not seem as important to me as maintaining the relationships with the people I already have in my heart?

At least I’ve managed to keep people close to me who aren’t as close geographically. My kind of closeness luckily doesn’t depend on physicalities. I should probably just work on the expansion of people I can trust. Being a hermit is such a great attribute for that.

Snow in April

4/8/2016

snow

As much as I don’t like working long hours at my extremely ordinary retail job, there’s one thing that I love about heading to my car at night. When I exit the huge glass doors, the world is different than it was when I went in them. The sky is a different color. The wind has calmed, or has lost its temper. Sometimes it’s so bright that I somehow feel the sun shining through the sheet of dark purple that the sky usually is at this time of the night.

It’s 10:46pm.

I’m in my car, watching people scrape snow off of their windshields. In April.

I’m sat here, teasing the snow. In the warmth of my heating engine as the energetic little flakes try to get through to me.

To some, this would be the ultimate inconvenience. But to me, you see, I’m very much in my element. Winter is my favorite season. You have no idea how much I need snow in my life. Much like Lorelai Gilmore, I feel as if snow is my own little present. I wish the sky would sprinkle a little snow in July, August, and every other month of the year.

Before you attempt yelling at me through your screen, try to see it from my eyes. With the way that global warming is taunting its unknowing supporters, I feel there are dwindling numbers of snow-filled winters left, and that scares me. It means my present is almost at an end. Every snow of February and March has the potential to be the last one of the year. That would be fine if snow began in November or December like it used to. But the first snow has shifted a couple of months into the new year now. Something that I very much dislike.

So imagine how giddy I feel, heading out of my job after a long day of repetitive and tedious folding and sorting to find my present falling from the sky. Imagine my smile as I sit in my car watching the ground get covered in solidified crystals. I’m the last one in this parking lot. The atmosphere is full of glitter. My coworkers all gone to their various homes and families. But I think…

I think I’ll go outside.

 

Dabbling

3/13/2016

tree

My motivation is extremely fleeting, as are most of my emotions. I have never stuck to anything fully and completely. Every time I feel passionate about something, it ends up being so short-lived that I end up convincing myself that I was just forcing something that never was.

This is probably why college has been such a nightmare for me.

I’ve never been the academic type. The kind of person that goes to college, graduates in 4 years, and goes on to do what they were born to do. I think I may have been born to be confused about life and everything in it. This goes beyond the fact that I’ve switched my major more times than I can count. After going to several schools, and even trying to finish my degree online, something always keeps it from happening. I’m starting to think that maybe it’s entirely mental. Who am I kidding…of course it’s mental.

I’m realizing that if you don’t do the things that will make you happy, it is your fault. You will be living your life from now until whenever your candle is no longer lit and you shouldn’t live that life in the terms and requirements of someone else. Faith aside, we need to start making our own decisions. It’s moments like these when I tend to take a break from life and chill with a large body of water, for the much needed inspiration. Lake Michigan doesn’t disappoint.

I’ve wanted to do so many different things, all the while never really figuring out what it is that I’m supposed to do. It really sucks to want to do something great with your life but never find out what that is supposed to be. Do I want to write? Sure. Do I want to dabble in photography? Yeah, I guess. Everyone has always seen me as a good teacher. Sure, I like kids. But there has never been anything that really gets me excited. There has never been anything that I can’t not do.

So what does this mean? Where do I go from here? I’m in the same place that I was in 5 years ago when I started college. All that’s changed is that I’m older now, and I don’t have much to show for it.

This was a depressing one, but hey. It happens.

The journey will continue and I’ll never stop searching. One day a post might come explaining it all. Stating that I’ve finally found it. That I’ve found the thing, the answer to all of this. That day might not come….but I prefer to think that it might.

I’ll be in touch.

The Daily Round

3/1/2016

excited

There are pros and cons to normalcy. The cons, in my humble opinion, are:

1. You know what you’re doing tomorrow, and the day after that.

2. There is no room for planned spontaneity. Yes, that’s quite an oxymoron. Spontaneity can come in any shape or form in one’s life, but if you’re the type of person that enjoys that kind of thing, it’ll probably be more evident in your life. And with a routine, there is less room for it. Sure, there will be things that occur that you probably won’t be able to forecast, but they won’t be due to your doing.

3. Your life loses color.

Fine, let’s take a look at the pros:

1. A little security never hurt anybody.

2. Your life is normal when it could have been much, much worse.

3. Less question marks.

I guess I just like things to be a little more…vibrant. But when that’s all your life is, you tend to miss things that are just black and white. I suppose there’s no need to pick favorites when we live in a world where we can enjoy a multitude of things we like. It might be selfish to want a life different than your own, but I say it’s a good motivator to work towards the life that you want.

There’s barely anything that’s “normal” anymore though, is there?

normalcy

Just People

1/27/2016

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Everyone starts out the same. You pop out of your comfy home into a strange new one. We’ve all shared the same initial curiosities. Why is it so bright out here? It’s so much colder than where I was. I want to go back inside! Then we get older.

How do people move on those two sticks coming out of their bodies? Why can’t mine support me? Wait…I think I’m figuring it out. I hate being so wobbly, but everyone’s cheering me on so maybe I’ll get it eventually. Then we get older.

Okay, so there is a lot more to this new world than I initially thought. You can make noises with your mouth. There are colors and numbers and so many people! So many thoughts…so many questions…

In our beginnings, we are just people. We grow and develop into such a gigantic array of types and versions of the same person we all started out as. We go through our stages of being curious, to being inquisitive, to learning, to applying, to forming opinions, and to so much more. But in the beginning, we are just people.

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I repeat it because it blows my mind. You know who else started out as just a person? Well, Malcolm X was just a person. The 14th Dalai Lama was just a person. Neil Armstrong was just a person. These people went on to be one of the most courageous human rights activists, to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, and to be the first person to walk on the Moon. (If you’re one of the moon landing naysayers, feel free to insert your own inspiration.)

malc x sigmalc x sigmalc x sig

This isn’t so much about choice vs. fate. This is about inspiration and potential. We can all be great, there is no argument about that. You don’t have to become a sad sack about never having accomplished anything in your life. You don’t have to give in to what everyone else wants you to be. You certainly don’t have to limit yourself.

“I’m not smart enough to do this.”

“I’m not creative enough to do this.”

“I’m not good enough to do this.”

Now let’s get this straight. You really can’t do anything you put your mind to. You can’t fly unless you’re attached to something. You can’t create anything out of sheer will. We are only human, and we are so very far from perfect. I don’t mean to give you false hope into thinking you can become the next Dalai Lama, but I do mean to give you the true hope that you can do great things with your life. Plenty of things can make you great: being a good parent, following your dreams wherever they take you, inventing a new gadget, reading a lot of good books, being a teacher, or simply being a good person. The potential has always been there. It was there ever since we began. Don’t set out to be the next Malcolm X though. Just set out to be the best you. Yeah, that sounded cheesy as I wrote it, but I can’t say it any better than that.

Maze of Wonders

1/4/2016

Ever have one of those nights when your brain runs a marathon that never ends? When you don’t know what has inspired you to contemplate the absolute mayhem that is life? When you ponder over all that you have learned since your first moments of observation? I’m currently having one of those nights. It’s as if every big moment that has ever taught me anything is being replayed in my head and each one of those lessons is hitting me all over again. What do I hope to do? Does my brain want to come to some sort of a conclusion about what life is all about? Where does this labyrinth of thought come to an end? Seriously, when can I finally get some sleep?

There are two kinds of people. Actually, there are much more than two kinds of people; however, I don’t mind using the common phrase to lead into my next thought.

There are two kinds of people. One kind will agree with me when I say that life is so very complex. It’s a maze of wonders and horrors where you can’t see the end. You don’t know how close or far it may be but all you have to do is just make your way through the maze and get to the end with your soul intact. There are infinite ups and downs and twists and turns along the way. There may be moments where you get good and bad mixed up. You may get involved with the wrong people and you may get involved in the wrong practices. Things will get sticky and messy and you’ll have forgotten about the time when things were just fine.

The other kind of people will agree with me when I say that life is so very simple. You live and love. Upon your first breath you experience this marvelous existence, go through the motions of adulthood, and grow old as it should be. You find your faith and follow through with it. You learn from your mistakes and you keep going. Life isn’t meant to be complicated, but people make it seem so. You just live. It’s simple.

I don’t know which flank I belong in but they both seem about right. It never used to make sense to me that something can be both so simple and so complicated. There are so many mysteries surrounding us and a great deal more within us. Going down this rabbit hole of reflection always leaves me in the same pleasantly nebulous state: not having reached a real conclusion but feeling unusually refreshed and definitely enlightened.

I can say, without a doubt, that life is as intricately simple as it is effortlessly elaborate.