July 25, 2010

I love New Yorkers

I liked my friends response (because I agree with it) and am reposting.
"I love the answers of this people! Of course i love it! How great NY! I find people outside NY more close mind about 9-11 than in NY. I really think NY people are putting Islam and 9-11 as two different things. After all Islam has nothing to do with 9-11. Like the guy said when Oklahoma happened no one blamed Christianity while it was done by a Christian"

July 24, 2010

So...I love you guys

I was browsing some of my previous posts about sisterhood and realized they are pretty negative. oops.  I am usually ranting and raving about some small group flustering my feathers when in reality I have met more nice and cordial sisters than I have the mean spirited ones.   Its not fair to all you amazing ladies who have commented on my blog or whose blogs I follow.  JazakaAllah Khayran for extending your friendship to me you gals are awesome.

July 22, 2010

Help a sister out!

Sakeenah from Hijab Style Guide started a chip in for Aalia. I think most of you already know the difficulties she is going through right now and we would like to help her out. PLEASE! PLEASE! PLEASE! Keep her in your du'as.  You never know when it is someone that you care about that may be facing a similar trial.  May Allah swt put her affairs in order, give her peace in her heart, heal her from all the trauma she has endured (still enduring), reunite her with her child and give her the highest jannah. ameen.
as salam alaikum,
as some of you may know Aalia from chasing jannah is in a VERY difficult situation right now, please take some time to read her blog so you are up to date what whats happening and why i am doing this. I feel compelled to help her its all i have thought of since i read what was happening, if it was me separated from my child i would hope that people would come to help me.
With Ramadan just around the corner this is a perfect opportunity to not only increase your reward but also help a sister in need.
I have placed a chip-in widget on the right side of the screen you can donate as little or as much as you like, ALL funds will be given to Aalia to spend towards a plane ticket and whatever else she may need (legal fees, food, accommodation....etc)

July 20, 2010

Oh Dear Lord Help ME!!

I did somethign stupid.  I wanted to help a friend of mine so I volunteered to watch her little sister for this week from 8am until 5:30-6PM. WORST DECISION EVER. OMG. AM DYING!

She is not a difficult child (she is 10) but I haven't been feeling well and yesterday I started to see sparkly black balls and then multicolor circles and I felt like I was about to hit the pavement.  When I am at home, my in laws help me with my son so I can take naps during the day.  I feel bad doing that at her house seeing as am supposed to be taking care of her little sister, so am suffering.  

I volunteered for the sake of Allah swt and because my friend really needed it.  I really should have considered my health and the fact that I will be taking care of a VERY VERY VERY active toddler ALL by myself ALL day.  Its too late now I can't back down and although I want to, that would be completely irresponsible.  My friend did not have anyone to take care of her sister once her family back out, her mom is still in Latin America cleared of all drug charges, ALHAMDULILLAH! some jerk bag tried to use her as a drug mule and sneaked a package for his "grandma" when she visited her country and she has spent the last 2 years in a South American prison.  She is now in the final stages trying to get her residency status cleared.

The little girl felt bad because she kept being passed around the family like hot potatoes and no one wanted to take responsibility. So I volunteered after an older sister said she wouldn't do it anymore and my friend had no way of finding a child sitter on Sunday (when she found out).  

BTW. I HATE THAT HOUSE! hate it! hate it! hate it!

I don't know what the heck is going on in there (I go to her house because I didn't want to bring her to my in laws).  Yesterday was my first day there and I left with the deepest depression I have experienced in recent memory.  Its quite suffocating and creepy.  I dread going.

Also my litttle dude refuses to go up the stairs to their house and I think its because there is this statue of an old man made out of wood bigger than my toddler. He refuses to walk through that hallway without being carried.  Once he is pass this area he is ok, giggly and active.

Creepy old house.  4 more days people. 4 more days and hopefully that buys her enough time to find someone else to take care of her sister.  Make du'a for me as I start the second day with only 3-4 hrs of sleep.  NOOOO!!!

July 19, 2010

Quarter Life Crisis

nah, am just playing.  Although I have said it enough times for people to start questioning if I may actually mean it subconsciously.  I just thought it would be funny but there is always someone out there willing to dissect your sayings and extract more meaning than they should *cough*hubster*cough*

Anyway on to the post. I think its the human condition to always think or believe that the grass is indeed greener on the other side.  For a while I have been feeling a little left behind as my friends moved on in their goals.  A couple got their masters, another is an "accountant" for the CIA who needs to "train" in Eastern Europe. lol, she needs to work on her cover ID. A lot of my dreams (actually career wise ALL of them) had to be abandoned because they no longer were feasible for me.  Its weird because I abandoned them immediately but JUST started mourning them now as I am beginning to hit the deadlines I had placed for myself since I was 14.

I rather not go in to details here about what I wanted to do but lets just say there is absolutely no way I can fulfill those career goals without sacrificing my humanity, morals, ethics or religion.  So I was talking to a friend of mine who kept insisting that it can be done until we arrived at the above conclusion.  I am also a completely different person than I was at 14.

NOW, I was talking to another friend of mine (since 8th grade) who got her masters at 23 and is earning very well and by all accounts is successful in her career (mashaAllah) and she wants my married life with kids.  Well, not my EXACT life but rather a husband and a few kids.  This is very interesting because of all our core friends she was the most adamant about NEVER settling down.  Life has been really hard for her these past 2 years so I understand why she would want the moral and emotional support of a spouse.

My "accountant" friend is also in the same situation, career wise she is very successful but she wants to have a married life too but its difficult for her.  I don't think this is for all women I think that because we are friends most likely we share a lot more than just our appreciation of each other's companies which is why we feel similarly about careers and family life.

So here are my friends who are successful in their careers wanting my life and here I am a happily married woman wanting their success in a career.  They both want to meet someone for the sake of marriage and get to know each other but because both are not Muslim they don't know where to begin  I do think I can be successful in a career but I have to readjust my goals and look for others I can do.  Lisa (my friend who was trying to help me with my career goals) told me that I can always start a career later in life, abandon it and start another but I wont be able to have children of my own with the same ease.  She thinks that I am on track to having a fulfilling life and I believe her.  Its easy for me to despair when it is just me, my thoughts and my shaytan.  Its great to get perspective from a wiser source otherwise you drown in a cup of water.

Anyway I am really tired so am heading to bed right now....wa salaam

ps. I turned 25 today and it wasn't as big of a deal as I thought it was. So I guess I can get started on my quarter life crisis now?

disclaimer: NOT all women want the same thing and some women DO make career and personal life work. This is MY story and feelings.

July 14, 2010

Do Women Earn Less Because They Work Less?

For a while I have been debating with others about wage equality in the USA for women.  Usually its in the context that women who are Muslim are more oppressed but not those who adhere to another religion or no religion. I debated that regardless of the labels women give each other the Bureau of Labor Statistics states that women are indeed receiving less pay than men for the same amount of work or type of work. Now at first I thought it was blatant sexism in the work place but after discussing mahrs aka dowries with other women I have changed my opinion.

I now think women get paid less than men because we are less likely to ASK for a raise and instead wait around for our bosses to promote us or give us one.  NOW, the boss wont dish out money if they don't have to so they will give the bonuses, promotions, raises to those employees who DO pester them for it mainly the men. When I was dorming I remember talking to a friend of mine and he was like "let me run my raise request by you before I present it to my boss."  I asked him if it wasn't weird or awkward and he said "NO."  I asked him what he would do if his boss wont give it to him and his reply was simple "start looking for another job." I think because we as a gender are more inclined to security we don't habitually take big risks as some of our male counterparts do.  I think this hesitation keeps us from earning more. Of course there are always exceptions.

We also tend to devalue ourselves and low ball our experiences. I don't know why that is as it can be cultural, religious, or personal problem but mainly a deep rooted inferiority complex.

Women working 41 to 44 hours per week earn 84.6% of what men working similar hours earn; women working more than 60 hours per week earn only 78.3% of what men in the same time category earn (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)
 What Difference Does Education Make?
Higher levels of education increase women’s earnings, just as they do for men. However, there is no evidence that the gender gap in wages closes at higher levels of education. If anything, the reverse is true: at the very highest levels of education, the gap is at its largest, as shown in this chart.
read this article for more info.

Could it be parenting? Could it be that we encourage and tell our boys that they are meant to be the breadwinners and therefore they should be aggressive in their careers? Why not give the same message to our girls? Heck if they are going to be in the workforce might as well earn as much as they can. There is nothing wrong with that but how many of us have heard that from our parents?

STOP IT. Regardless of the reasons sack up and start appreciating and valuing your work as you should. Even in high school I waited for my teachers to recommend me to the honor and advanced placement classes, or to nominate me for programs. In contrast my male friends would ASK for the recommendations and they moved up faster than I did.  It took me a long time to get rid of this shame.  There is nothing wrong in asking  for what you want or for what you think you deserve, the worst thing that can happen is that they say no.  I hope that when I have daughters I will NOT be passing on this lack of self esteem, lack confidence in my work and inferiority complex. InshaAllah I will raise strong believing women who will stand up for their rights no matter what country they happen to be living in. 

edit: Could it also be that a woman who earns more and quickly moves up the corporate ladder is usually accuse of achieving that on her back? *wink*wink* I don't have the answers but I would LOVE to hear what you have to say about it..

I am a woman hear me roar

July 13, 2010

Mahr is the WOMAN'S CHOICE

Before I start I want to say that I started to think about the topic of mahr because of Ellen's post @ Steadily Emerging with grace. Interestingly enough a facebook friend Mecca Donna posted these as her status

There is (and should) be a minimum dowry..but there is no cap:) #Dowry #WeAintGotToArgue

I personally believe that no Muslim woman should marry for less than 10k in 2010. Bare minimum. #ImJustSayin' #DeenMatters #WeAintGotToArgue

Brothers can't save $250.00 a week for a year to be able to give a BASIC dowry of $12k in 2010? That's excessive now? It's out of the question to make a man PREPARE for marriage financially? To complain about a 10k dowry is what's hot in the streets? Who NEVER has saved $100 dollars for a Wife and half his deen talking all slick like women HAVE to marry you for Quran verses & an I.O.U? #StaySINGLE #OutofYourLeague

I personally believe the WOMAN should decide what her mahr is or isn't and the brothers can pay it or move on to someone else whose mahr they agree with.  Some may think what the sister above is saying may be excessive but ITS HER mahr and she has the right to ask for whatever she wants. I am all for the WOMAN choosing the amount or items because its HER right unless you want to transgress HER rights and be accountable to Allah swt.

Some brothers from a certain city in the USA are ENFORCING a $500 cap on dowries.  Now these brothers from this specific city are FAMOUS for their NBA/NFL/NHL jerseys, their timbs, Jordans, modified hoopties and what game they have on the newest console.  If they can afford a $200 sneaker they can certainly put some of that money away from when they DO start looking for a wife. Which is HALF their deen.  My personal belief is that this small group of brothers also known for practicing polygamy and marrying one wife legally and having the rest on welfare want a cap on dowries because otherwise they will be unable to marry more than one wife.  This in an area with NO shortage of men btw.  If you can't afford a woman DON'T MARRY her and leave her so she can marry a man that CAN.  Sidenote, welfare is NOT free money, it comes from the taxes of the people usually the middle class and below (the rich get tax breaks, discounts and tax shelters) so if you don't need it and are able bodied than in essence you are stealing from the people. FEAR ALLAH.

We need to stop looking down at women who choose mahrs that don't appeal to us and label them as "un pious."  I also get annoyed when brothers are quick to point out the small mahrs that the female companions had and expect our imans to be up there with those great women.  BUT let me ask you brothers, are YOUR imans as high as the male companions these sahabiyat were marrying?  No?

There is a hadith that the brothers keep using about the best marriage is the cheapest marriage, where exactly are they getting that from? and  if anyone knows can you please post the arabic because the way I read it is said the best marriage is the EASIEST marriage not necessarily the CHEAPEST.  Granted these two words are not  mutually exclusive but they aren't the same thing either.  Wording is everything people. Wording is everything.  BTW is it so wrong to have the brothers save up financially in order to get married?  Like Mecca Donna said
But BELIEVE those fresh Dunks were $200, he ate $250 worth of fast food, he splurged on the new video game system, $600 iPhone but will NOT put that money away for a year..get out of here.
I am not bashing on the women who do choose a small mahr or a more spiritual one. My mahr was hajj and a simple ring but I don't believe it should be forced on others.  This mahr was great because it was MY DECISION and I WANTED IT.

Piece of advice sisters, don't choose things that he is obligated to give you like food ,clothing and shelter kinda thing.  I posted this as my status a couple of days ago and this is the response I got.

sisters, when asking for a mahr remember that this is for YOU. In case the marriage doesn't work out what you received could help you for a little bit. Don't let people talk you in to a mahr you don't want because they tell you its more "pious." Being stupid and getting stomped on isn't being pious. Be smart. You don't need to bleed the brother to death either but don't be naive. ALWAYS PRAY ISTIKHARA.

this is the response
i was very naive would have been nice to know i could of had a little something to fall back on if i ever had major problems but unfortunately i did not educate myself enough prior to marriage and had only been moslem for 6 mths before i married. Alhamdulilah for everything.
I know am beating a dead horse here but I really hope we stop belittling sisters who choose mahrs outside the norm.  It's their choice and if the brother wants to pay it he will and if he doesn't he will move on. In the end our spouses were chosen for us before birth so whats the deal?

ps. Ellen if you are reading this post it is NOT an attack on you as I think its your right to choose your mahr whatever that maybe.  This post is in defense of sisters who choose monetary or worldly things as their mahr.  I felt I NEEDED to post after going back and forth on that fb thread with brothers and sisters.  Money is NOT the root of all evil and if you believe that and you are Muslim you need to check yourself because that is of Christian origins.  Money only magnifies what is already in your heart.  There is a hadith that says

“What an amazing thing when good money lies in the hand of a good slave”

Wa Salaam,

July 12, 2010

Ramadan countdown! about 30 days or so

OMG Ramadan is right around the corner people and I can't wait! I have about 4 days to make up so I will be getting on that soon inshaAllah. Anyone else making up days? if so hit me up so we can do it together (iA)!

Also people lets start looking at the moon instead of the day before Ramadan. We already know of the debacle that happens EVERY year during the same time and it is not necessary if we keep tabs on the moon from now.  
Joke from Shaykh Yaser Birjas regarding this topic:
In the past whoever saw the hilal first would be awarded something. So one time a bedouin who heard about the generous prizes, dressed up nicely and went to testify before the governor.When he was asked about it he said, “Yes I saw the hilal there,” pointing to the sky on one direction. When he was awarded with 1000 dirhams his eyes widened and then he said, “I saw another one on this side too” (pointing in the opposite direction).

(img MuslimMatters)

Ps. Want the widget magigie above here is the code.
<iframe src="http://www.facebook.com/plugins/likebox.php?id=127301080630008&amp;width=292&amp;connections=10&amp;stream=true&amp;header=true&amp;height=587" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="border:none; overflow:hidden; width:292px; height:587px;" allowTransparency="true"></iframe>

July 11, 2010

this is for the papas all across the world

am rocking Man cave status with a screen like mine...keep your peanut butter hands off my 50inch vizio. LOL. It's the Dad Life....

lord of the grill you know how I roll!

Identity Crisis

I don't know who I am. 
"I'm ten years old, my life's half over. And I don't even know if I'm black with white stripes or white with black stripes."  -Marty the Zebra from Madagascar the movie
Religiously I know I am a Muslim but secularly I have no idea.  Now, the counterargument I have gotten so far is that "we don't need anything other than Islam" and although that may be true it comes off as false when said out loud.  For starters if the people saying that REALLY believed in it then there would be no need for them to retain their native language, food, culture, songs, poems, clothes (salwar, hula hoops and what not), idioms and anything else that identifies them as other than Muslim.  

This is not meant to be a rant, a religious commentary or an attack on anyone's beliefs and forgive me if it does, inshaAllah.  This whole thing started because I am still reading the autobiography Living to Tell the Tale by Gabriel García Márquez and I am both depressed and fascinated.  The people of his generation were REALLY into literature and had a firm grasp on their cultural, national and religious identity. (1 out of 3 isn't bad right?)

Now I came to the USA 3 days before my 8th birthday and this didn't give me enough time to soak in what it meant to be a Salvadoran.  When I came here I lost all my friends, lost contact with family members and was forced to learn a new language and culture. I even lost the food because I was the cook in the house and we ate whatever I could make from what was in the fridge.  For better or worse I became Americanized, learned the language and slang, loved hip hop and everything else that this country had to offer me (minus the drugs).  English became my dominant language and although I could speak, read and understand Spanish, writing it was a whole different story.  Something unique to America is that Central and South Americans identify as "latinos or hispanos" which is unique because normally we would just mention the country we are from.  Also most of the people I grew up with in El Salvador RARELY traveled outside so it was really hard to communicate (before the internet became widely available, WOW, I can't believe I just wrote that, am old.) unless we were at war with each other.

It may be the discrimination we face together as nearly all latinos are categorized as Mexicans that we unite as brothers and sisters.  It was the first time my mom and I had friends from all over the Latin world and beyond. My only connection to my roots was my mom blasting vallenatos (Colombia), rancheras (Mexico), bachata (D.R.), tango (Argentina et. al) and other ethnic music while we worked.  Dear lawd I can still sing you songs that date all the way back to the time before written history when everything was oral.

I never really cared for not knowing  much about where I came from or "my people" until I reached high school and shockingly due to my aptitude in picking up Spanish Literature I was recommended to the Advanced Placement classes.  My writing improved but almost a decade later I have lost most of it again. 

I was introduced for the first time to Federico García Lorca, Gabriel García Márquez, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Jorge Luis Borges among others.  It was during this time that I started to mourn (just a little) missing out on my culture.  Spanish grammar infuriated me with all its nuances but I was able to overcome my huge writing handicap. Anyway after graduating from high school I took some courses in college but they couldn't beat the insights of my AWESOME high school Spanish teacher (I still keep in touch) so I stopped taking them.

Reading Márquez's autobiography brought me to question who I am and I don't know. I don't know who the last 4 presidents of my native country are, when we won independence, what native language do our natives speak, or anything else that someone growing up there would know.  I am an American history buff and I know English literature but no idea about my own.  Does it make it my own if I identify with it?  Even American history is marked by the immigrants of that time so technically I am borrowing on the Italian, Irish, British and the rest of the migrants' experiences.  I know this can't be unique to me but others who have migrated to other countries may feel this at one point or another specially if it was done in their childhood.

To make matters slightly muddier my son is 20 months old and while reading Jenny McCarthy's book (Mother Warriors: A Nation of Parents Healing Autism Against All Odds) I realized that my son only speaks a couple of words in English and 2 or 3 in Spanish. So I freaked out. I was crying thinking that my son might have a developmental delay and I hadn't noticed it until NOW since he and I communicate as if we are one person.  Then I heard my son interact with his grandparents and realized that he speaks their language! I felt relief because that meant he didn't have a delay but rather I didn't understand that the gibberish he was saying were actual words but in another language.  This relief then turned in to sadness again because it wasn't Spanish. And if it isn't Spanish it means I will be forgotten. My son will grow up identifying with his father and his family and I  along with my family will be tossed aside and relegated to the unknown annals of  convoluted family genealogy. You know what is worst? Because I understand bits and pieces of their language whenever I needed my son to sit I used their word for it and he would do it. So technically I am accomplice.  BTW don't get me wrong, I LOVE the fact that my son can communicate in another language. It has been a dream of mine.  Its just that in my current identity crisis I am seeing more into it than I should and am more emotional about it.

I am going to finish Marquez's autobiography and I will  go back to reading Spanish books, meeting old ladies in my supermarket and asking them how to cook certain Salvadoran dishes. I know some of you may think that's crazy but that is actually how I learned to cook and how to pick fresh cantaloupe.  Old ladies are just a treasure trove of cultural information just ready to share it with who ever asks them. I think I will be speaking to my son more in Spanish now as I am determined not to be forgotten iA.  You know whats interesting? My most favorite Spanish author BY FAR is the Argentine author Jorge Luis Borges and one of the topics he covers is the Argentine idenitity that is convoluted and elusive.  Because Argentina identifies ideologically, culturally and in every other way with Europe but they are geographically located in South America.  They want to be  high class erudites but still love their gauchos and their traditions. So maybe this national identity crisis is what appealed most to me about his writings. Anyway I will dedicate a post just for Borges because I love him so much.  He died a year after I was born and subhanaAllah if Borges had been alive today, I would have married him.

I don't know how to end this post because its longer than I wanted and am still not done pouring my heart out so I will leave you with the following quote,
You ticked off the people! You bit the hand, Marty! You bit the hand! "I don't know who I am! I don't know who I am? I gotta go find myself in the WILD!"  -Alex the lion from Madagascar the movie

July 8, 2010

sorta of a rant....

nah, its a total rant.  

As you guys know I have a couple of pages dealing with niqab, hijab and sisterhood.  I LOVE interacting with the fans but lately the majority are just pissing me off.  It's like sisterhood in Islam is only extended to people who look, dress and act just like them.  It's disappointing.  I try to remind myself that this is the online world and I can't really verify if they really are Muslims and not some trolls.  I hope its just trolls but one never knows for sure.  I posted some pictures of AWESOME niqabs from around the world and out of every 5 comments only one was positive.  The usual response is 

"that's not niqab"
"those colors are haraam"
"that niqab is NOT according to the Qur'an and sunnah"

And a lot of others stuff but they never actually show "proper niqab" or even their proofs for claiming what conforms to the Qur'an and sunnah. They are NEVER happy. I posted this pic and people were upset.
The majority were like "its haraam to imitate the kuffar and its not Islamic clothing."  This argument really sends me over the edge and I wrote a rant about it on my hijab blog you can read it hereTHERE IS NO SUCH THING AS ISLAMIC CLOTHING!! There are only clothes that conform to the Islamic dress code but that's it.  Unless you can prove to me that the Prophet (saw) came up with a new wardrobe that the people had never seen before there is no such thing as "Islamic clothing".  Rather they took from what was compatible in their time and covered their bodies. And since when does a group of people have patent rights over colors or styles that have been worn for centuries?  

What else is apparently NOT niqab? The following
Bedouin women of wahayba desert.

Yemeni shepherd girl

Sudanese Niqabi

No mentioned of excuses or anything, they attacked the yellow because of the color and then moved on to the intentions of this woman wearing the niqab.  HOW THE HECK ARE YOU GONNA KNOW THAT? Wouldn't it had been easier to say, not my style but to each their own? or maybe it was her wedding day?

It's like its ONLY hijab or niqab if it looks just like theirs forgetting that Islam encompasses MANY races and cultures and they have their OWN styles.  Don't thinks its hijab, niqab or sunnah? then don't wear it but you better have darn good reason if you are going to bash someone else for wearing it.  I still can't get over the questioning of the women's intentions for wearing it.  WORRY ABOUT YOURSELF and YOUR intentions!

I have NOT experienced this offline which makes me think these internet warriors are just saying what they are saying because they can hide "anonymously" behind their computer monitors forgetting that Allah swt SEES and KNOWS all that we do.

5:8 O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm for Allah , witnesses in justice, and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what you do.

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُونُوا قَوَّامِينَ لِلَّهِ شُهَدَاءَ بِالْقِسْطِ ۖ وَلَا يَجْرِمَنَّكُمْ شَنَآنُ قَوْمٍ عَلَىٰ أَلَّا تَعْدِلُوا ۚ اعْدِلُوا هُوَ أَقْرَبُ لِلتَّقْوَىٰ ۖ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ


July 7, 2010

NO READING ALLOWED *warning child abuse*

Can you believe I wasn't allowed to read as a child?  Yup.  My mom took away radio, tv, toys ANYTHING that could bring me entertainment or joy because she could.  I still don't understand the mentality or what she thought she could achieve by doing so but she did and took great pleasure in it.  Notice how I didn't mention phone, internet or computer.  That's because we didn't have any (except the phone) and if we did am sure I wouldn't have been allowed to touch them either.  I NEVER received calls at home because if I ever gave out my number to girlfriends I would get a beating and possible end up with a broken bone or two.    Matter of fact when I was just entering the school system in the USA her advice would be "don't make any friends and don't talk to anyone."

Anyway my life was so miserable with having to work for her 8 hrs a day, taking care of my bros, laundry, cooking and so on I discovered books.  They were absolutely MAGICAL.  They gave me the opportunity to escape my world and enter a better world where children were loved and cuddled.  I became a speed reader.  I think my most memorable achievement was reading Gone with the Wind in less than 2 days, that was about 1000+ pages while still getting my 8 hrs at the factory, school and everything else.   My mom discovered I was using books to stay sane so she started throwing them out, whether they belonged to me or the library.

Without the books I became more depressed and it was during this time that I considered suicide. I may have mentioned it before in one of my posts but I used to go to sleep with a knife under my pillow.  The plan was for my bros to go to sleep I would slit my wrist (couldn't hurt more than a broken bone right?) and just bleed out.  But once I would wait for everyone to go to sleep I was fully awake and the next thing I knew it was morning and my outlook was "what now?"  There was no joy.  I used to plead with God that if he loved me he would take my soul and not return it in the morning.  When I used to wake up I felt even more depressed because that was a sign He didn't love me.  

I learned that I could read my books with the moon's light and I became a happier child.  I devoured books but there was a down side.  I started loosing my eyesight to the point I couldn't see pass a certain point and after 5 or so years of failing eye exams child protection services threatened my mom with child neglect charges.  She was ANGRY because she thought I wanted the glasses to look cool.  WHAT KID in the late 90's early 00's thought prescription glasses were cool? But anyway alhamdulillah she was scared enough of jail time for her to buy me the glasses because at the rate my eyesight was deteriorating I would be WAY PASS legally blind right now.

I stopped reading once I left my house and started college.  I had no time between my minimum wage job, school and being hospitalized every 3 months for nearly dying.  I started reading again in 2007 (4 years later) because I was suffering from severe social anxieties so I would be in my house for days without going anywhere and my husband started demanding I go out.  Since I NEED a destination as I hate wandering without a purpose he suggested I check out the library.  I did and I started learning A LOT, how to incorporate a biz, the by laws of it and all kinds of things.  Plus the library near my house was SOOOOOOOO well stocked mashaAllah that I feel you can come out of there with a full degree in whatever topic you may like. SubhanaAllah they had almost every subject out there and if they didn't they had this inter/intra library loan thing were you could request it and by the end of the week it would be waiting for you at your local branch.  Your library card worked all over the state and you could even borrow from the Yale, Uconn and Hartford seminary without a problem (with these though you had to go through your library).  Gosh I wish I still lived there.

Right before my son was born I started reading up on parenting styles and basically anything that may help me break the cycle of abuse.  After my son started being more active I stopped reading all together because I simply had NO time.  I preferred to catch on my ZZZs instead of catching up on my reading.

Since I have been taking my little guy to the library to pick out his books I checked out a couple.  So far I finished reading Girls on the Edge by Leonard Sax (loved it) and The Secret History of the American Empire by John Perkins (LOVED IT).  John Perkins is also the author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man that I was required to read in college by one of my professors that marched to Guantanamo.  It was an eye opener for me and it was when I started to view my world and my role in it differently.

I just started reading the autobiography of Gabriel García Márquez (there are supposed to be 3 books so am on book 1) one of my old time favorite Latino authors but I found it in English which is aight.  He is just absolutely awesome in whatever language his writings have been translated to.  The final book that I plan on reading is Jenny McCarthy's Mother Warriors because I like learning about experiences others have had. Just because her experiences with Autism aren't inline with the norm they still merit attention.  We don't know much about this spectrum to just categorical dismiss her experiences.  So far Alhamdulillah my son doesn't seem to be showing any signs of any developmental delays but as a parent I feel that we should read about things that are affecting children at alarming rates.  We owe it to our children.

Currently Reading...

Living to Tell the Tale

Mother Warriors: A Nation of Parents Healing Autism Against All Odds


Girls on the Edge: The Four Factors Driving the New Crisis for Girls-Sexual Identity, the Cyberbubble, Obsessions, Environmental Toxins

The Secret History of the American Empire: The Truth About Economic Hit Men, Jackals, and How to Change the World

What are you guys currently reading? or have read in the past 6 months?

July 6, 2010

Sweet Snickerdooodles!

wow.  What you looking at??

ps. i know, i know domestic violence is not funny but I kept envisioning them in a cartoon or something.


Prostitution and failing to stop at a railroad crossing are TWO different things.  This would be a reputation killer in a small town.  If this happened to me I would be mortified!

wanna meet Jesus?

o dear lawd did this had me ROLLING. I mean message received KUDDOS Stonebridge Church of God for sending such a clear message.  LOL. Enjoy

Can't Touch THIS!!

First let me get started with this video fast forward to 0:56 and you can see what am talking about....CAN'T TOUCH THIS!

This is from Where in the world is Osama Bin Laden by Morgan Spurlock.  I didn't feel like I learned a lot but I did enjoy watching the film as he made his way through Muslim lands.  I think my favorite was the place where he is talking to some Afghani nomads and they tell him that the aid is being received by those on the top and it rarely trickles down to them.  Morgan points out "but you have a UN tent" to which the Afghanis in unison laugh and say "we bought it in the black market!"  I think Morgan also asks about the tiniest member of the group (this little boy maybe 2 or 3 years old) and if they have ever forgotten him and they said "ALL THE TIME! we have to keep checking if he is still with us."  Men. Goes to show you that its in their genes. 

The one bit I found shocking/interesting was when he was in a hasidic area of Jerusalem and the Jews are really angry that Morgan is there, they start throwing rocks (here I was thinking the Palestinians had patented it or something), water balloons, calling him filth and screaming "GET OUT OF OUR LAND!"  When the IDF shows up trying to disperse the LARGE group that has formed one old man blocks him from leaving while screaming at him to leave and finally shoves Morgan.  When the IDF dude tries to stop the old man he shoves him too and for a second there I thought this old man was gonna get killed because the soldier totally shoved him against the wall.  Morgan is truly shocked and I guess as American we are not really used to people treating us like this and physically assaulting us.  "Freedom of speech" being used to hurl insults at us sure, but no touching.  The hasidic Jews in my area just keep to themselves, neither acknowledging your presence nor starting beef with you so this was definitely shocking.

Morgan doesn't even go in to Gaza partly because he was scared of going (at least that's my opinion based on his comment that it looked scary as hell).  I don't think it was the greatest of documentary since it played out more like a vacation video but I LOVED IT, for the most part. :) Then again I love watching home videos and people's vacation pics.  Anyone else seen this documentary?

ps.I tried embedding the documentary but it wasn't working. :(

July 4, 2010

Gender Politically Correctness

I am currently reading Girls on the Edge by Leonard Sax and AM LOVING IT!  I am about 1/2 way through but the insights are amazing.  So far the two that I written down

Sexuality is good, but sexualization is bad. Sexuality is about your identity as a woman or a man, about feeling sexual. That's a healthy part of being human, a healthy part of becoming an adult. But sexualization is about being an object for the pleasure of others, about being on display for others. Sexuality is about who you are. Sexualization is about how you look.

The second was this

Germaine Greer's main assertion that female modesty is a consequence and manifestation of the patriarchy has achieved the status of established fact in contemporary gender studies. The corollary that female immodesty is a sign of liberation is now widely accepted...By chastising feminine modesty as a symptom of patriarchal oppression, Greer provided support to the idea that pole dancers are liberated women. Her argument became so intrinsic to contemporary feminism that many people today don't even know where it came from.

This resonated with me deeply because I have gone on and on with women who feel that covering up with a hijab, niqab or burqa is pathologizing sexuality.  When in reality modesty is what has been pathologized.  Some of the statements are thrown around nowadays as facts but really are just one woman's perspective that has been accepted and propagated.  The author also points out something that a mother referred to as "anorexia of the soul" where by little girls aren't giving an opportunity to discover who they are and instead adopt a facet of their lives and focus on it.  What happens when that facet is taken away?  They go in to deep depression, eating disorders, self-mutilation, destructive behavior and even suicide.   Because they took that facet and made it their identity.

So I am not done with the book yet and I don't agree with EVERYTHING he says but he does bring in some interesting studies that are helping me understand WHY men and women ARE different.  I was raised in a society that to say that men and women are NOT the same is a kin to being a traitor to my gender and a sexist.  We want to be equal to men and I believe we should when it comes to human rights and the rights to self govern but we are NOT the same as men.   We can try to be but we are made differently and we have limitations that they don't have and likewise men can't do things that we can.  We are mentally and emotionally wired differently than men.  I wish I had taken better notes because he provides excellent examples and studies.  I love this book so much I think I will be purchasing it after I return it to the library.

Published in 2010

 Ps. this is giving me some insights and worries about raising girls and I don't mean just in "the west" but anywhere.  I want o raise healthy, confident girls who will inshaAllah become strong believing women, mothers, sisters, co-workers, friends etc.  I want them to be comfortable in their own skins, to have a strong sense of self and not be at the mercy of others critical opinion of them.

July 3, 2010

make du'a for my friend

Remember the friend that dumped me like a sack of rotten potatoes? Well we found out last night that she had a miscarriage and she was 5 months along.  Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajiuun.  I have  still been unable to communicate with her as her husband is blocking all of us but I wish I could be there for her.  She is going through a lot not only with her marriage but the years they spent fighting infertility to finally be able to conceive and to loose the child so far in to the pregnancy must be devastating.  She is on the other side of the USA so we can't even drive to see her or comfort her, she is far from her family and its just her and her husband.  May Allah swt give them both strength to overcome this test. ameen.

I feel guilty for not calling her earlier, now all the numbers we used to have are disconnected.  Please keep her in your du'as as she struggles through this very trying time. May Allah swt grant her patience and reward her loss with something better. ameen.

July 1, 2010

Scientia potentia est

is a Latin maxim "For also knowledge itself is power" stated originally by Ferdowsi, which in modern times is often paraphrased as "knowledge is power." -wiki
I have been thinking about this phrase a lot lately.  I think that the majority of the population of any country is primarily good, it wants to do good and when it is aware of evil it does something to stop it or at the very least slow it down. It does this regardless of what religious ideology they subscribe to and regardless of the ideologies of the oppressed.  It is then up to the oppressors to minimize the information the populace gets.  Without knowledge of the transgressions how can the masses respond?  they can't and therefore knowledge is indeed power.  

Committing mass genocide and atrocities is harder nowadays (not impossible but HARDER) with the advent of the Internet, blogs, forums, myspace, facebook, google groups, twitter, skype and so on. Now, depending on who you asked the "knowledge" that is power may be different.  To a observant Muslim that knowledge may indeed be Islamic in nature, to a Christian it will be Christian in nature, to a scientist it will be scientific reports, journals etc., to a political junkie it will be politics and current events.  I personally think its languages.  I think Islamic knowledge would benefit me in this life and in the hereafter but it basically just benefits me alone if I can't then use it to help others.  How can you help them if you cannot communicate?

Anyway, I am currently reading a couple of history books (because am a history junkie, remember the 2nd major anyone?) and I realized that I had forgotten the most important rule when reading history.  WHO ARE THE AUTHORS? and number two WHO IS THE PUBLISHER?  Based on those two you will have a clearer picture of what you should expect to read.  History is always written by the victor and therefore nearly always swayed positively on that side.  History is not what most of us think as undeniable facts but rather opinions written based on those facts to support the ideology of whoever is writing them.

I realize that most of our "news" outlets aren't really spreading news at all but rather whatever it is those in power want us to see. The BP oil spill for example, has anyone noticed that every time they talk about  the spill and its devastation the news clip that is used is of a clean up operation?  I have the clips MEMORIZED because of how many times I have seen it. If you believe the news the only victim of the oil spill is this poor pelican who is still alive but just crouched in the water letting the waves take him wherever they want.  Why is it that I have to go to youtube or through facebook videos to see the animals dying amidst the oil, the dolphins and whales with their blowhole covered in oil and the total devastation it is having on the gulf coast and on the environment. The reports are so sanitized because knowledge is power and if we were to see the  TRUE devastation, the mass retaliation against BP and its subsidiaries would be A LOT worst than they are now.

Over the last couple of months I realized that in order to get a clearer view of my world I have to read news reports both from the US and abroad.  I noticed that the news reports coming out of Latin America are way more candid than those here.  I am glad I can understand Spanish otherwise I would be screwed.  Imagine if I understood Greek? Japanese? Malay? Indonesian? I wonder what they are saying or are they just as sanitized?

I also understand that ALL news is biased which is why if you do know other languages you can at least compare what you are getting and see where they differ and why.  Because they will differ and this way you can be informed and be empowered.  

to be continued...