One Life Lesson from Working at a Call Center

Salam (peace) everyone,

My first real job was working at a University call center that sucked the funds out of tired and bitter alumni. I called their personal cell phone numbers and even landlines. One lesson, and predominately the reason why I quit, was:

Not every job is for you and putting up a false front will not last.

Sometimes the expectations we set for ourselves, or the ones that people set for us are not realistic. As much as you genuinely try, your natural abilities will shine through in other ways, sometimes by accident, and that is okay. I didn’t land the sale after 20 mins of hearing this woman’s life story, and having her cry in my ears. But I was a good listener, and kept honest to my purpose. Advice: Never say you hate your job or it’s “just” your job.

It’s not ME to beg, or ask for money. I don’t know why this was a job I chose to do. My innate abilities were not fit for this and I simply could not hold up the robotic front. It’s just my job, and the people on the other line knew that. But for me to pretend like it wasn’t- was an unrealistic and superficial expectation.

I hate asking for money and always will. I’m that child that prefers to go to school with a granola bar for lunch rather than ask my parents. Even though we are good now, it is the personal shyness and sense of self-providing that I will always have. I am lucky to be in a profession where I am the provider and one who serves. (I couldn’t be a waitress though…that requires a front and a person with Chronic Resting B**** Face cannot do that) (No tips, no money).

Life long learner, life long server.

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On Realists and Wildflowers: An Essay on the Cycle of Life and How to See It

On Realists and Wildflowers

Society is like a field of wildflowers. There are flowers that tower above the rest with thick roots, flowers that grow in bundles all looking exactly the same, and others with petals that have welted.  Even though the soil is the same, many of these flowers are not allowed the same spot under the sun. As they grow, they look forward to the budding of new life, shedding of stale leaves, and for the wind to caress away the flu of winter. While Spring will come, many believe it won’t. Given the soil of these disheartened plants, it is easy to see why they feel that way.  Such is the case of people of color in America, where despite varying experiences, we feel as if we are “in the same frying pan.” The struggle to have hope for change is stunted by varying experiences, and by a wrestling to be under the sun. With this struggle, comes a cycle of life that never seems to get better. However,  life is a geometric line that continues whether we have good experiences or not, meaning that change can happen no matter how big of a storm there is.

 

In no way do I want to suggest that this thought process comes with ease, because many will reasonably disagree. I respect those experiences and only hope that those who can come to the same conclusion do so without these negative experiences happening to them first.

 

The Arab-Muslim-American flower is one that is royal blue with orange tiles, a strong and thick root, one that seems to stay rooted no matter what. Recently, this flower is had its petals burned at the edges, but not for staying in the sun. As hard as it tries to regrow its tender leaves, they fall to the same battle. For decades the image of Arabs and Muslims in America, as well as other peoples of color, have been subjected to scrutiny and racist tropes that never seem to go away. Speaking from the perspective of an Arab American and Muslim, there are tons of images that do not represent me and my values. They have been around for so long…they are ingrained. These tropes shake our core, and remind us that life can always be made more difficult than it should. However, even though hope can sometimes be the most destructive piece, it can also be the most motivating. That one day, others in the field will see me for my roots, rather than just my petals.

 

In  A Raisin in the Sun, Beneatha argues with Asagai about how life and destiny work. Beneatha, a young and determined African American woman, is stunted by her brother’s careless choices and bad luck achieving her dreams. She asks Asagai, “Don’t you see there isn’t any real progress, Asagai, there is only one large circle that we march in, around and around, each of us with our own little picture in front of us our own little mirage that we think is the future.” Beneatha can be empathized with because it does feel that way when we are born into struggle or disadvantage. People of color  are constantly dealing with the struggles of their histories and the limitations society has put on them. There is a systemic issue that exists that will take a long time to uproot-but there is room for work. Asagai himself is a native Nigerian who is literally living all that Beneatha is afraid of manifesting in her life. He explains that he is the only man that is formally educated in his village, that he is from a village that has been pillaged, and exploited. He refutes Beneatha’s argument by saying, “It [life] isn’t a circle it is simply a long line…one that reaches into infinity. And because we cannot see the end we also cannot see how it changes. And it is very odd but those who see the changes who dream, who will not give up are called idealists . . . and those who see only the circle we call them the ‘realists.’” In seeing life as a line rather than a circle, Asagai acknowledges that we truly cannot see the future despite how life seems now, and that because of that uncertainty, there is room for change, and more importantly, hope.

 

To couple the study of this exchange between Asagai and Beneatha, my mentor and I found a quote by the poet and diplomat, Pablo Neruda. He said, “You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep Spring from coming.” We read Spring as being the symbol for hope and change, which has truth. It is important to realize that many demographics may never see this “Spring” happen, or at least they have been taught they cannot or that it does not apply to them. Each plot has been given its nutritious privileges. Each plot needs different food and care. But each plot resides under the same sun, same night sky, and can suffer-and bear-any change in weather.  Our petals represent either the lack of struggles in our lives, or present the successes and privileges. There are flowers that grow, and they have their petals taken off, or they do not get enough to feed their dreams. So even though they appear in the field, it  does not mean they look good, or that they are even noticed among the rest. This is how some social justice causes are treated in regards to who they concern. The following questions are for us as educators and as people, to think about.

 

  1. How many people suffering would it take for us to care? Does this matter in the grand scheme of the field?
  2. Are there some cases where people do have to give up or trade their dignity in order to survive? What are those cases? Is it worth it?

And lastly,

 

  1. What are things we can do as humanity to better serve and uplift each other?

 

These questions are questions that do not have a right answer. The fact that is that we are able to read texts, and become more understanding and empathic people. Asagai’s infinite line of life, where the end is unknown, provides me with great comfort knowing that I can be an agent for change no matter how difficult life gets for myself or for my students. As we continue to grow from our plots, it is important to remember that others deserve to blossom and know that they are just as deserving of success and sunshine.

 

Why I Write

Salam everyone,

So this is a question that I should have asked myself a long time ago. Usually when things come naturally to us, we don’t question why, and take it for granted. I have been fortunate enough to have been asked “why” I write because it forces me to think about my purpose for doing so. It is safe to say that a lot of writing is inherently personal and for ourselves.  I write because it is my outlet, a cathartic art that allows me to express how I feel about certain issues regarding myself, what happens to me, and world around me. I have been “writing” since I was 7 in a girly and guilty-expensive Lisa Frank diary. I wrote in my diary every day. I still have my diaries and read them every once in a while for some humor. I wasn’t funny, but it is amazing to look back at what I thought what my woes were and how I planned on solving them. As I grew older, my writing grew with me and I left the sparkly journal and got more “mature” materials. I am now in my 20s and have been using my Iphone notes as drafts for posts until I get a chance to formally construct my pieces on here. Writing to me is like magic, but also one of the biggest proofs for spirituality and affirmation for my faith. I imagine the brain being a mess of ideas and thoughts that if valuable, should be shared. I imagine these ideas flowing like blood through veins, then the words drip from our fingers and dance on paper…

This manifestation of writing, as a kinetic activity, proves the existence of something greater for me. The ability to create, out of what seems thin air, pieces that cure us, touch others, and change the world are dangerously necessary. It sometimes scares me that I can create something and it be untamed and open to so many people. There is the accountability, but also the fear of letting go of something that maybe should have stayed in your heart. Writing is a very intimate thing that is not meant for everyone. I mean this to say that I feel humbled to have this outlet that I honestly cannot see any other way for myself to heal or explore. I am no where near my ideal writer-self, but the act of writing needs to continue for me to build myself in order to become the best version of me possible to offer this world.

Can I ask You?


Can I ask You?
Can I ask you Allah, to hear me on the follow things:

See there are things I just can’t take, but all I do is take from You and here is my gripe 

I want to move like rivers 

I befriend lakes and then I drown  
Told ya so

Crying yourself to sleep is the most hollow pain. 
I can’t take you 

Pain- you ascend like boxer stars all over the place like iridescence – like an illusion I can’t reach an eventually happiness I seek 
It’s there I see it- the light at the end of the whirling tunnel
I can’t take you- pain 

Because you’re so cheap 

You’re so inexpensive 

You have an expiration 
You don’t last forever even if you want to
You’re a part of this sobering dunya 

And I won’t get lost in hopeful naivete 
Because that’s your time to crush me at me most content 
Can I make amends with you Allah,

Can I ask you for forgiveness ?

Can I ask you to help me sew back what you drew?!

Can I ask you to bless my friends? Bless them more than me?

Can I ask you to love me even while our evil embers ?
I ask you Allah to please answer the duaas of the oppressed and those who’ve experienced tholum in this life because no one notices us. 
Allah (swt) will take out every person you loved more than Him because you wouldn’t have made room otherwise.

I can’t watch you break your leg. but I can write about it. Like an “amazing conductor” of healing 

I can take you pain in the depths of the night and say alhamdulilah I got you here instead of under there 
I can say thank you for making me someone who swallows you 

Maybe that shade is mine 
Can I ask you Allah to please relive me of my shyness? Can j ask you to let me see clear blue skies ? I’m forever indebted to you. 
I’m forever indebted to your glistening hijab- an understatement 
Eyes like milk tea 

No not jaded , just Jade I want to afford don’t you? 

Can I ask you Allah to help me get over what’s gone? Why people die and then they’re gone? 

Pain you are not a cliche prick of a thorn you are invisible 

You are hollowing yet humbling at the same time 

You manage to squeeze thro my fingertips 
You manage to defer our hopes with Allah 

But I can take you
Instead I’ll ask you Allah, can I make amends with you? Can know why you gave us heroin purpose? Can I ask you Allah, to keep me humble, even if it means taking everything 
I can’t take you pain- but you’ll be there and so will the One who disposes of you once you’ve served your purpose. 

To the one that got away 

Alhamdulilah for you

I am beyond grateful of the lessons and happiness you gave me.

A love that had so many bounds, of which we had no choice to leave tied like two ships in the sea

He controls the tides,

An endless ride of life that we’re on 

Many moments, hair rushing with the wind, smiling too big it hurts 

I am thankful for you

I am thankful for the spring you added to my heart, a feeling like I was whole, like I belonged.

I found peace in you when around us was anything but

Guns in air-old gun powder suffocating noses and fogging our rocket dreams 

Shoot for the sky

Smile while you’re at it.

Let your hijab fly on this ride, don’t close your eyes 

I am thankful for Him giving me all these tiny memories

He loves me because He gave me good company 

He loves me because He’s making room for Himself in my heart when I denied 

I am thankful for you, sweet reminder of temporary happiness 

I know what I have now

You know what you never truly lose

We’ll be back one day, under shade trees 

Under a blocked sun

Stars almost poking us because we got too close

Or they just want to be among us 

Thankful for you, the one that got away, slipping from my out stretched hands 

Water fingers you’re always slipping from me

I know God loves you-

Or else He wouldn’t bless your every stride.

Your strides are much bigger than mine.

I know God loves you

Figured He loves me too since He gave me you

I’m sorry for underestimating your drive 

I’m sorry for not being invested. 

I’m not sorry for trying.

I’m sorry my eyes get weak, I can’t see past a setting sun. 

I know God loves you. 

He said I could too. 

You are the definition of calm- before the storm. 

To the one that got away, you will always deserve more 

To the one that was always in my way

I’ll gladly stand right there, always.

Flickers of light, in small ounces of distributed pain across a cosmo field,

Lost love is the worst.

To the one that got away,

I’ll be praying for you every day. 

God loves you, I swear it. No trial less than this we both bear it.

I know what I have now, see you on the other side.

Sleep well and keep your stride, far and wide, across ocean and sea.
-Sarah 

To Baba and Dinner Forks 


Ukrainian artist- Soosh

I go up the stairs, my ankle pops like yours. 

My eyebrows furrow like yours, I’m sorry I thought they were bushy

We look the most alike. 

Between your stubble and big smile, I only know a teacher that never got a classroom. 

An Imam that didn’t find his voice 

A potential goat farmer.

I’ll pay for that. 

You’re the definition of sacrifice 

The smell of aftershave and honey 

The smell of a clean sweat as you got bigger 

As you became stronger 

We run in a circle of the same arguments and debates only to realize we meant the same thing 

You constantly make things easier than they need to be

I’m sorry mama isn’t good at rocket science 

You’re a giant with a cartoon voice- a voice you only make in front of the younger babies 

SpongeBob is on!

Thank you for teaching me humility 

I’m still biting my tongue 

You said you’d cut it off 

Sanak taweel!

I’m sorry I make you mad some days

Thank you for being my gaurd

One day I’ll be able to hold you as you held me.

My ankle pops like yours

You said it’s because I pray a lot 

When you pray- a lot.

A gentle giant.

Thank you for giving me my first series of books 

You never come in my room

But did to tuck them

In.

Stop breaking our forks.

Love you ya baba. 

Forgive me and maybe I’ll enter the same gates as you

Because you know- daughters open gates.

Fathers give the path and keys.

So forgive me.

Jenin you’ll see one day- maybe on your way to Mecca 

I don’t think I’ll ever accept it if you pass

As long as it was on your way there- you joke.

I love the space between your teeth.

Love you baba,

I’ll make you iron forks 

I’ll be stronger too

I’ll look like you and pray like you and make Duaa like you.

Love you baba,

Thank you for splitting your coffee with me.

What Tugs at Your Heart Strings:Realizations

“My words are wrapped in barbwire, my actions speak for what I can’t say-when my head tells me ‘no’ my heart tells me ‘go’ so I’m on my way.”

-Lea Michelle “On My Way”

 

Salam guys,

So I’ve come to many realizations and pretty fast I might add.

Every time my Facebook daily memories appear on my feed, I can’t help but go back and read all my statuses, just to see where my mindset was at the time, and where my heart was. Crazy, but I literally can’t remember why I said what I said. It’s 2016, guess it didn’t matter all that much.

It’s crazy how we can have so many dimensions to ourselves, how our minds can either be focused on one thing, or split in different directions. I found myself experiencing both. Often times the main thing in my heart residing on the back burner of my mind. SubhanAllah, what we focus on and what we ditch. It kinda scares me because I can’t predict where I’ll be next year, where my heart will be, and where my mind is. I just want peace, I just want my happiness.I honestly don’t want to make this post real deep, because I’m working on digging myself out of hole of which seems no bottom. Here are the realizations I’m having:

  1. My definition of friendship is simple. I’m okay with this.
  2. My definition for love- growing every day. I’m struggling with this.But maybe it’s just something that needs to come. I am not certain yet.
  3. Not everyone thinks the way you do, they don’t have to. Vice versa.
  4. Not everyone has the same heart as you. As in, if you don’t have the heart to do or say certain things, that doesn’t mean someone else doesn’t. Be aware of it.
  5. Good intentions will not always matter. Not to people. But Allah (swt) they do.
  6. Good intentions can have bad consequences. Check yourself.
  7. Allah (swt) will remove every being in your life that you favored them over Him. He will take them out. You will not always know why, you’ll feel empty, but trust me, He’s having mercy on you by allowing you to filter, and renovate your heart’s space.
  8. Even when you’re right, apologize. People just want to stop hurting.
  9. Some people will either make your burdens worse, or ease them. Be the one that eases.
  10. People are more selfish than you think. I’m selfish too, sometimes you need to be.
  11. ^It might come at the cost of someone else’s feelings. Up to you to see if it’s worth it.
  12. You should go by your own standards and not expect much from others.
  13. Redefine what it means to be “close” to someone. I’m doing this every day.
  14. Telling someone everything doesn’t make you close.
  15. When something is unlike you to do, you’ll feel nasty. That’s when you know who you really are.
  16. You need a man with bigger hands. No, that’s not what I meant. A man who’s gonna catch you when you fall, encompass you in love no matter what. You’re great, so he needs to hold you well. 
  17. Know your worth, but don’t get cocky.
  18. You don’t always need to look how you feel. My motto? #trashCan not #trashCannot
  19. The more sujood you make the better, even when your hearts not in it.
  20. Make small goals. Push yourself to achieve them.
  21. YOU are a goal. You’re your own goal. You need to build, and grow and create the best you to offer to the world. And so you can leave it a better place.
  22. Know the difference between tough love, and being rude. This goes for taking it from others, and exhibiting it to others. You might hurt more than you can help.
  23. Reflect every chance you get.
  24. Your mom loves you. Talk to her and don’t shut her out.
  25. Self care. Don’t F with people who don’t exfoliate. But you gotta first.
  26. Allah (swt) continues to cover our mistakes and shortcomings. Don’t ruin that.
  27. Love for the sake of Allah(swt). Especially when you know a person is good, even though you may not be the best of friends anymore. Love for His sake because you can.
  28. Make  saying “I l-o-v-e you”easy 2016. It’s not that deep.
  29. Anytime you put your heart on the line, it will not go to waste. Even when you look like an idiot.
  30. Those who love you won’t think you’re an idiot.
  31. I owe my heart to a lot of people. I’m sorry.
  32. One person leaving your life is petty compared to the hundreds that care about you. Let’s make it numerical and unemotional.
  33. You’re petty sometimes. It’s okay.
  34. You’re alive for others, not just for yourself. You life isn’t only yours. What you do affects others, people need you, people look up to you.
  35. There’s baraka in your life even when you did’t ask for it. Appreciate it.

There’s some lol…

I’ll add as I go. But man, 2016…wyd?

Sign an unmoppable mess,

-Sarah