What you say is inspiration I say is YOU

You know how you’re trying to sound deep and intelligent? How you wait for inspiration to hit you to write something great and meaningful? Some valuable piece of literature that, at some point in history, thousands or even millions will benefit from? You really can do it. That shit is real. It may not be real the way the world imagines it. It may not even be real the way you imagine it. That’s because you imagine it like it happens to other people. For example, not everyone wants to be recognized in the world of art, and literature. That’s just me. Your dream might be to better yourself on a more spiritual level. Same, BTDUBS.

You might crave to be a scientist who is good with chemicals and numbers. So not Same.

There isn’t just one life goal, right? My other life goal is to also be more aware of my surroundings. I’ve been at my computer for 15 minutes trying to type and was having quite a difficult time. Everything was blurry. I was thinking, “wow age is really banging hard at my door”. Then I realized I wasn’t wearing my glasses. Maybe I should also aspire for a better memory? Remember to be aware of your surroundings. Seems accurate.

Here’s what happens when you’re trying to *find* yourself and are trying to wait for inspiration to come and punch you in the face. Usually you pretty much get ignored.

I know. I know! Seriously though, I have been trying to write something. I have a bunch of unfinished articles. They are so good. But they are not awesome. I keep putting them aside thinking something will hit me that will make them even better. What is missing? What am I doing wrong? Is it writer’s block? No, I’ve been writing, I just don’t like what I’m writing. Maybe I need to try harder, work harder…or…maybe I just need to let it come to me. Let what come to me?  How will I know, that it’s here?

I think that’s what we call inspiration, in other words laziness. Although just recently I read an article that claimed that there is no such thing as ‘laziness’. That made me feel so much better about my life and life choices. That means what we call inspiration is actually running out of options and then bull shitting our way out of it.

balance business cobblestone conceptual
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I could get poetic about what is really going on. I’m pretty sure y’all know I’m not going to. Inspiration is just us. It’s you and me being too tired. It’s me decluttering my brain to get a decent thought formulated. Inspiration is you realizing that you are already a ‘scientist’ because you always knew your stuff. It was just a matter of getting out there and showing others. That push that we give ourselves is inspiration, muse or whatever other name we want to give it.

Yes, I am saying this to you. I am saying it’s a part of you and when you decide to let it out, it comes out and gives you exactly what you want from it. Until then it kind of chills somewhere deep inside. Since I now believe there is no such thing as laziness, we are just shoving this thing down because we are afraid, tired or plain old not sure of ourselves. I have said this before; I’ll say it again. It’s easier to say…I can’t think and I’m too lazy to do anything right now then to say, “I am afraid” or “I am tired” or “I am not sure if I can succeed and I’m not sure if I can handle more failure”.

When we finally realize that sooner or later, we are going to have to get out from under our own selves because there is nothing else left to get underneath, we kind of hesitantly get up. We start calling it inspiration. Not saying at all that it’s a bad thing. I am just saying it’s all us. It’s not something that someone gives us, does to us. We just figure it out. We do it because we can.

Sounds better than saying, “I had no choice man. Being a loser just isn’t working out anymore. I have too much debt.”

I have made a lot of major changes in my life over time. I know that most of those changes happen because I was desperate. I knew that I was out of options. People ask me, “so, what made you do this?” mostly looking for some profound response. All I usually have is; because I had to.

I’m told that my blog should be about how I lost all this weight, and how I’m keeping it off. The problem is, there’s no story here. I could make one up. Truth though, is that I got super sick and I didn’t have many other options. I could make a story out of it. It would probably even sell pretty well. It wouldn’t be the reality.

Full disclosure: Now I’m careful about my health because I like being pretty, and the fact that I can wear any outfit from any store. Also, the health thing.

Here’s my conclusion; we are always our own “inspiration”. That guilt we feel when we think we are not doing enough is useless and instilled in us by our damaged brain. So, inspire yourself and get somewhere, and if you don’t feel like it today it’s all right because there’s always tomorrow.

You know why? Because we are not machines. We are people. Brain needs rest. Our brain gets happy, it gets sad. It does not function the exact same way every day. Stop feeling guilty for having a unique day, each day. Don’t apologize for your humanness, take advantage of it.

group hand fist bump
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I fully plan to. I’m going to finish this piece. Then I am going to write some other stuff that I probably have already written about. My family, that is what I’m going to do. I am going to bitch about my family in my next post.

My humanness is my inspiration.

Working Moms Or Stay at Home Moms, There is More

The debate has always revolved around working moms and stay at home moms. Who works harder? Who has more on their plate? Sometimes all of us come together and have each other’s backs, which are some of the nicest moments on the internet. There are other times we can’t stop arguing and fighting one another for a higher sympathetic spot on the mommy acceptance ladder. That’s all it is, we all want to be validated. We all want to be told that we are important.

I am no different so let me get in the ring myself with another kind of fight that many moms are fighting and no one seems to normally even think twice about; the chronically ill moms. Yes, that’s a real thing. It is a real problem. We could be working moms or we could be stay at home moms. Either way, it suuuuuucks. People think of being ”sick” as the little flu, some aches, and pains here and there. No, no, no my friend this is a different kind of beast. This comes hard, and strong and it is here to stay. This beast takes over your life, so much so that all you see is the red swollen angry eyes of this hungry monster that just wants more and more. Every time you think you have a few moments free of its grasp for your family, it pulls you right back with the most painful jolt.

Last year in Greece while the beast clings on.

Alright, should I start using English? yeah? I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis some 25 years ago. Then give or take 15 years or ago I developed sciatica. My back and left leg felt useless. Eventually couldn’t move around, was in bed for about 3 months then I decided to get surgery because I was literally out of options.

It wasn’t the worst of times, we made the best of it. My niece and I binged on Charmed and Buffy, The Vampire Slayer. All the while the other side of my bed was turned into my work station because I was running a magazine at the time.

Back on my feet now, however, the pain came back within 6 months. I am still walking around so…yay! No, but really. This wasn’t sarcasm. Really. I was bedridden for 3 months. I’m so glad that’s over, I hope it never comes to that again. For some reason, everything sounds sarcastic when I write it down or…you know…say it.

Chronic pain has just been a part of my life. I thought I had a pretty good handle on it. Then came the kids. Back to back, 11 months apart. They are my biggest accomplishment. By far the most difficult and beautiful feat I’ve accomplished in my life. I thought having them was the hardest part.

Gradually I realized I have to live with them every day. I realized I have to pick up a 20 lb toddler when my shoulder is completely stiff and my back and leg feel like someone has jammed nails in them. I’ve been up all night with the baby and I can’t take any of the pain medication because I’m nursing. That just sounds like every new mom’s story, doesn’t it? Nothing new. Nothing impressive. But this is not a regular old pain. This is not a regular shoulder spasm. This is an ugly monster that has been with me for 25 years. What does it look like? what does it look like when its been with you for so long? What does this beast say to you when one arm and one leg refuse to move and you have two children to take care of? You don’t have time to feel or to stop for it. You can only negotiate with this beast. Hey there, if I can only pick up my arm up to THIS point and bend my leg just so, I’ll be able to change his diaper. Just hold on okay? Just give me this long alright? Then I’ll go collapse on the bed. Deep breathe, hold on, aaaaand let go.

Consequently, I spent long hours cuddling with my kids. It’s still our favorite thing to do because on most days its all I can handle.

Cuddles can’t be the only thing I do as a mom though. There’s homework, activities at school, friends, bday parties and a whole mess of things. What kind of mom would I be if I didn’t partake in all of those activities? Even worse what kind of mom would I be if I partook in those activities limping or showing any other sign of weakness or of being ill. Us moms are supposed to be superhuman creatures who are beyond perfect, any sign of weakness and waver we don’t get an invite to the super secret mom’s club. Okay, that was clear cut sarcasm. I hope everyone is clear on that.

You gotta be there at everything, every time. What do you reckon it does to our bodies and our minds? Mush, they become obsolete mush. The pain, the tiredness, everything is next level. We don’t have the energy to have our own lives. We don’t even have the energy to even think about having our own life. I would give my life for my kids. In all honesty, some days of giving my life seem easier than giving my time and energy because it feels like a slow death. Every part of my body hurts. HURTS. Joints don’t move. Some have permanent damage so they cannot be bent in certain directions so that’s always fun. Cannot open jars and bottles for the life of me. Also fun. I’ve asked random strangers to do that for me. I’m pretty sure some have thought I’m trying to flirt with them by being some damsel in distress. No, just exhausted and suffering from RA and have really thirsty kids that cannot wait for us to get home. I’m sure you’re a nice guy though. Thanks!

Needing to be on my feet and sane of mind are the two most important aspects of parenthood, those become the hardest when you are chronically ill.

Some good is coming out of this though. My kids are becoming independent much faster than they would have otherwise. They know mama is not getting up to do little chores for them so they either go get their own shoes or just go out in the house slippers.

I also don’t want to sound ungrateful because I have help. I’m so thankful for it. However, I’m the mother, it comes down to me. I’m not even the type who wants to do everything all the time. I’m okay with delegating and taking help. Nevertheless, I know for a lot of things my kids need me and for some things they simply want me.

I’m okay with that. I know this whole article I’ve complained about working and doing chores and now I’m saying it’s all good. Well, they are my kids, this is my life. The message I am trying to pass on is that the next time you see me walking around with a limp or a bandaged wrist just know that nothing “happened” so to speak. This is my life and I can’t hide it to make everyone around me comfortable. I want people to be okay with it so I can be okay with who I am, the way I am. Mostly when “defected” ones like me write about our issues it’s, for the most part, not to gain sympathies. Usually, it’s to build understanding and start a dialogue with those around us.

In conclusion: I’m not ungrateful, I’m too exhausted to pretend to not be exhausted.

A Lonely Place

Like I said earlier, I don’t write much about religion because I don’t know much about it. I’m just a person who is trying to do her best with whatever I have. I’ll be honest I’ve been trying to live my life in a way that benefits me most and doesn’t harm other people either. I Only talk about religion when I see it getting insane around me. While I live my own life my own way for my own reasons I have no reason to see people get hurt or pick fights with anyone who is different from me. We all came from the same place, and we are all about to end up in the same place. You may think I’m wrong about what that place is, and I may think you are wrong about what that place is, nevertheless it is the same place. So…for the reason that we might be spending eternity together whether we want to or not, maybe trying to get along is a better option for us, what do you think?

I say this with all the sincerity in the world because it’s very lonely where I am. Someone who comes out and points fingers at people. I’m pointing a finger at my people and at others too. Fights and disagreements never start with just one side. We need both sides to nurture the flame of course.

However, my credibility as a Muslim, as someone who can be trusted in my community is questioned. Along with that most people are thinking ”told ya, these Muslims are nuts”. Again, I’m giving everyone the inside scoop so, I don’t know what the future holds for me now. The purpose is to humanize ourselves for each other. We built these walls because we have egos the size of all the heavens and earth combined. Behind these walls are just people. People who struggle every day with the same problems, and have the same struggles.

Honestly, sometimes those everyday struggles make us ugly and we turn on people who we don’t think are like us. It’s easier, isn’t it? It is behind a computer. It’s hate, but it is not on us. It’s on some else if feels safe. It doesn’t really bother my religious sense because it’s not about me or even my religion, it is about someone venting, and dude whatever works for them. What’s sad is that in general when I as a human am trying to connect with people and am getting constant rejection than it gets difficult. I’m sure you dislike many theories and ways of lives, but I’m not those things. I am a person. When I personally hurt you then you can attack me. You don’t have the right to attack me and act passive aggressive towards me for what you merely think and have heard of ”maybe even wrongly” about people and issues.

I always thought I didn’t want to write about religion because there were so many people more knowledgable than me already doing it. It turns out though, that that was never the case. Deep down inside I realized what a lonely place this is. I realized there will be very few people who will understand that I and many like me are only trying to create bridges. We don’t need others’ baggage dumped on us. We don’t deserve that. For those of you who have had a meaningful discussion, which includes disagreements, I truly appreciate your input.

My focus has not been just religion in my blogs. I talk about a million different things.

If there is any other particular topic you guys would like me to address I would be happy to oblige.

From Jesus to Muhammad, back to Jesus…again

I’m a Muslim. I believe in The Quran. I believe in The Last Prophet Muhammad(PBUH). However, I also know Jesus(PBUH) is not dead, and he is my savior. Yes, I said it. I know some people will have this divine urge to fight me. But I don’t. Neither Jesus (A) nor Muhammad (S) would do that. So, I’ll hold out as long as I can. I’m not as awesome as those two so we’ll see how it goes.

The purpose of this? It’s not at all to start a fight. The purpose is to actually discuss some things we never do. Things we’ve gotten wrong, not because I’m some scholar or a being of great knowledge. Simply because I paid attention, sometimes paying attention means accepting truths we’d rather not.

So what’s the truth here? That Muslims also believe in Jesus (A) being our savior. I know! I’m just as confused, surprised, and unsettled as you are. Not really. Always kinda knew.

However, it does become impossible to voice these opinions. Literally becomes a matter of life and death. Death to anyone who disagrees with literally ANYONE. You mess with religion, whether Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Jew, or whathaveyou, they will all come after you. No joke. So people just kind of back off and let the whole scene play out as though that is what’s ”best” for everyone. Let’s see how this goes for me. Since no one knows me, mostly this will just end in my family screaming at me for being stupid enough to put something like this out there. No one makes you fear for your life more than your mom and older siblings on the rare occasion when they’re all on the same page. I think this is something we can all agree on.

Breathe. Back to religion. Yes, I’d rather talk about religion than the collective wrath of my immediate family. We are a fun bunch.

Before patience run out I should explain what I’m going on about.

According to Islam the last Prophet (S) came and he passed on to the next life as all humans do. There is a beginning and there is an end. He gave us our Holy Book. He taught us how to apply that Book in our everyday lives. Muhammad (S) is our ultimate human guide, our home base. His teachings are what we turn to when all else fails, a great man in life and an even greater example in death.

However, there isn’t a way for my faith as a Muslim to be complete unless I am able to accept and recognize how Jesus(A) would be today as his complete self; as a Messenger for all mankind. I’ve gone and done it now. ”whose side is she on?” Muslim? Christian? Neither? Both? I say this as a Muslim. With no doubt in my mind and my heart. I say this because we need to end this crazy drama of fighting because we are confused about our own leaders. No one’s Iman is complete unless they have completely let Muhammad (PBUH) into their hearts and lives. Did we forget though, that Jesus is alive and he is going to be the one who will save us and lead us before the day of judgment? When that time comes according to Islam only the believers, people with true faith, will recognize him for who he really is and follow him? Anyone who denies him will not be a part of the Muslim Ummah, in other words, anyone who denies that Eesa (A) is actually Eesa (A)upon seeing him when he returns will not be considered a Muslim.

Yeah, we kind of forgot there for a long moment. We forgot an extremely key part of all this. While we call each other names and kill each other for having the wrong beliefs, all these Prophets (PBUT) and the one Deity, and everything else that makes up a faith; such as Books, scriptures, they are all on the same side; fighting, believing and dying for the one truth.

So how do I believe that it’s okay for anyone to run their mouth about Jesus (A) because someone insulted Muhammad (S)?

How can I think it’s okay to call someones horrible names or say that they’re impure because they have devoted their lives to Jesus(A)? We may not agree on how we are devoting our lives to any cause but we have to agree that whoever speaks any of their names and sincerely believes in the purpose of life they put forth cannot be impure physically or in any other way.

So yeah…I will give my life for Muhammad before my heart takes its next beat. His mission IS life. If Muhammad is my entire life than according to my Quran and my Islam Jesus(A) is my last savior on this earth.

Another Story

Don’t ask me if I’m ok because I always am. Don’t tell me things will get better because they always do. Don’t tell me time heals all wounds, because it never does. Don’t tell me I am stronger than my problems because, I know I am. I’m not the only one, so are you. Don’t ask me to dry my tears, because they are the only thing holding me together.

Don’t tell me what life holds for my tomorrow, because I want to stay in the dark a bit longer. Don’t ask me to come out and shine tonight, tonight is your night. Mine will be tomorrow, maybe it has long come and gone.

Tonight is all yours, until another tomorrow; another story.

Bedtime Stories

So apparently I’m not done talking about the family yet. I have been holding onto this one for a very long time. After a long bit, I had an opportunity to spend some time with my dad. Those who know me well, know that this is unusual. However, I did realize many things because of it. I got to see so much I had not in the years past. Whenever I get asked if I had a time machine would I visit the past or the future? My answer is always; the past. The future is coming. It’s right in front of me. I can shape it, I can predict it even to some extent. I’m interested in how I got here. I’m interested in ’seeing’ the stories I grew up on. I’m interested in knowing which conspiracy theories are real, and which ones are just that. There is so much in the details that we’ve missed from our past because the historians and storytellers are only human after all. I’m interested in history from my perspective. Strangely enough, historians don’t write books solely for me, go figure.

My father, and I have had a very turbulent relationship. He came around every few years and tried to be a dad. I really wasn’t ready to be a daughter. In his defense though; he had a bunch of other kids who were bending to his every will so he really didn’t understand what was going on with me. What was happening is that I don’t do things because I’m “told”. I do things because…well… they need to get done. How and when really isn’t anyone else’s business.

Nevertheless, he is where my history lies, he is where my story begins whether I like it or not. Don’t like it very much right now as that puts me in a position where I have to admit so many things I don’t really want to, egos are big around here.

So now that we’re all caught up I’m going to let you in on a secret. I’m realizing that my parents are probably my only living connection to my past.

I’ve heard all my mom’s stories. Many times over. Honestly, now they’re starting to change to her mood and the situation.

My dad and I haven’t shared much so when he mentions his life, and his parents it’s all new. So many pieces of my life, of my legacy that should have been passed down to me, are completely foreign. I don’t know anything about him. When he passes I feel his name in all its glory will pass with him because he didn’t share.

I didn’t mean to sound as brutal as I just did. Isn’t it the truth though? People die. Fade into nothingness from this world, the only thing that is left is the stories, and memories they leave behind. Those stories turn into legends and become history. That becomes our history. This can only happen if people are willing to tell their story out loud on every turn.

My dad: Close to 90 years old, not even thinking about retiring. Loves talking about work but will not discuss ’life’

When I talk about my past I’m extremely candid. Not because I like talking about myself, which I most certainly do, but I want people to know where I came from, and after I’m gone when they deal with my children, and my future generations, they know who they are. So my children know who they are.

Anyways, this time around he had some little details here and there that he mentioned. He talked about the important historical events that he was able to witness as a young man. I had no idea he had seen so much. He has lived in a time before electricity was widely provided. He’s seen how people cooked on stoves without gas, using wood and other materials. There are many traditional things exclusive to our side of the world that even living here we don’t see anymore. Those who lived through that time are slowly vanishing. I’m afraid with them those traditions and customs will vanish too.

I know, you’re probably thinking since when do you care about tradition and customs? I thought I didn’t. Talking to the elders of my family and my father made me realize that I do care. I want to stay connected. I want my children to know what they are a part of.

I’m a great believer in making new traditions and values that mesh with the time we’re living in. I’m not, however, in favor of losing who we are as a collective. Whatever we make of ourselves now comes from, and is attached to what we have been for thousands of years. All of this has a HUGE part in the construction of our reality. I believe we will be incomplete people raising incomplete generations without a strong connection to our past.

Maybe that’s what happened to me. My disconnect from my culture also me feeling alien in it most times perhaps came from the same place. My legacy wasn’t passed down. I wasn’t taught our ways and then told to decide how I wanted to modify them for my time and generation. I had no direction for any customs or a system. I followed what felt right (and I still stand by those ideas BTW) many times it was not what my people and my legacy would have demanded. As time went by that became my culture, my custom.

Here we are today with a new world trying to learn everything all over again while we teach it to our kids. While I want them to explore the world. I want them to know there is so much out there they can choose from. They are not in any way limited to the life I have lived or experiences I have had. I truly feel I was blessed because I got to experience more than what was right in front of me. I wiggled my way around and looked beyond to see what’s waiting out in the world because the world in front of me didn’t seem important enough.

The only thing that I would want my kids to do differently is to recognize that what is in front of them is not unimportant. I would want them to ground themselves in what’s right in front of them because they will not find that love and respect anywhere in the world only because we worked hard to grow it here for them. After that I want them to go out explore, find a lifestyle that works for them. It would be silly to assume that their lifestyle would be similar to ours because we are generations apart. Also, I pray we are not in the same place for too long for everyone’s sanity.

To wrap this up, home is home. We have to improve on it by adding to it. Flares of change are important, along with always remembering and keeping our own essence.

We do that by sharing our lives with our family. Sharing our history. Sharing our legends. Sharing who we are. Who we have been. We all have great histories to pass on. Great adventures that can turn into awesome bedtime stories, I personally think that’s a wonderful place to start.

Sit Next To Me

I have a very strict rule about my kids not watching “grown-up TV”. Stuff that might seem harmless to others I seem to tear apart and analyze to a point of exhaustion even for me. That’s what writer, communication major type people tend to do I guess. As a general rule, the TV is never on in our house when the kids are around. We only watch it when the kids are sleeping or gone. Even if it seems like the most harmless little show. Sometimes I think it’s just words. Then I remember myself as a kid. There were so many times “just words” stuck with me. I want to wait until they are older and those words can be explained and understood. They are 5 and 6 so it might be a while before that happens. I know I’m one of the strict ones in this particular matter. I tend to do the opposite of what my parent(s) did. Always. Of course.

A bit ago I saw a news story about this white guy who didn’t want to sit next to a black old lady on the plane. He called her all sorts of names. Names we are not allowed to use these days. He said things we refuse to acknowledge even exist as a society amongst us. Oh, but how they do so exist.

That tiny video reminded me of a tiny little incident on a bus somewhere in a tiny town far away from us, and now. And here we are today. “What do I do?” I thought. This world. I live in it. I’m raising my children in it. Pretty soon they will not be little boys. Someone will not want to sit next to them because they look like those “terrorists” they keep mentioning everywhere. I want to turn back time. Nope. Move it forward? Isn’t that what Martine Luther King thought when he gave his “I have a dream” speech? I don’t want to stay in this time either. So how do I take control? My kid inched over to watch the video as he always does. This is the moment I usually turn off my phone. It was a split second decision to let him see the world, and let learn. This is how I take on the world. This is how I take control.

-“What are they fighting about?”

-“This man doesn’t want to sit next to this lady.”

-“Why?”

-“Because she looks different.”

-“That’s doesn’t make any sense.”

-“I know, that’s why it’s on the news.”

-“So he wants to be all alone?”

-“Wouldn’t life be boring if we didn’t have people who were different in our lives? His life must be so boring. It’s fun when you get to know different kinds of people from different places, who look different and act differently. Sometimes people from the exact same place can look different too. It makes the world colorful and fun, like art.”

-“Like me and Adam? And you and Daddy?”

My kids are fully aware that their dad and I are very different skin tones, and so are they. While all over the world it’s always been a difficult conversation in our house it’s always been pretty simple. Adam is very proud of his brown skin because that means he looks like his dad, and Dawud is very proud of his lighter color because that means he looks like his mom. There’s no denying what they look like. We have found pride in who they are just as we do in others people we meet and know.

Then we talked about all the interesting and fun things we have in our lives because we have visited all these places and met amazing people; everything that we would have never found out if we had never met those people. It was a casual conversation that made a 5-year-old realize that being mean to people just because they’re different “doesn’t make any sense”. The smart thing is to learn from them; to bring the good stuff forward so we can make the world a stronger place.

I can’t still guarantee that tomorrow when he’s all grown up someone will not refuse to sit next to him because of who he is or how he looks. I can guarantee you though, that I’m working as hard as I can to turn my boys into the kind of men who will recognize you for your culture, heritage, religion, color, and whatever else is important to you and then make a conscious choice to sit next to you.