A Thousand Things

I want to tell you a thousand things…

All of which you’ll come to know

In a distant land

When two fingers meet close at hand, the Prophet (pbuh) warned us–

Magnetic time

If I earn your presence, I’ll be most thankful

To see you propped on heaven’s chairs

To see you laughing with no care

To see you smile because it’s always been there

You just don’t know how much I care

I want to tell you a thousand things

As cheesy as they come, every day

A day when you’re mad

A day when you’re sad

A day when you forget about me because of chance

A day when you have no choice

I want to tell you a thousand things

The time I thought you most kind

Your most vulnerable state

The time you rose like a tower

The time you made me feel small

It was my fault

Every night is a time for stories

For exposure and lustere

For secrets we’d hide the next day

As you walk, I pray

I hope you’re happy

Sunken strength

I gave you a lock and key,

Not knowing what you meant to me

As you walk, I pray

I hope you’re at peace

Hold on to your dreams in those hands

Those hands that can hold thousands, yet I wish only one of me.

Thousands of little things.

-Sarah

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Ramadan 2018

Salam guys! *youtube voice

Wow… I don’t really know where to begin honestly. I know I am not alone in these struggles. Last year’s Ramadan hit me like a train. I wasn’t ready at all. I gained my Iman “high”- trying so hard to pray more sincerely, convincing myself to believe, and then have it come crashing down afterwards. Literally the day before Eid. A day where I thought my worship made a difference. I left doubt to the sky and blamed myself.

This crash weakened every fiber of my being. I couldn’t believe I built this facade of personal strength yet when it came to what I wanted most, I crumbled. People usually make jokes about how they remember their bad memories in pain staking detail. I remember mine. They’re messed up. But they’re gone now. I’m here and I’m alive. Those days are gone.

This Ramadan I was worried this would happen again. So I was realistic with myself and went with the flow. It was my first time fasting with a full time job- teaching. I won’t make light of that struggle because it was crazy without coffee and sleep. A personal Jihad, if you will. I found myself constantly giving my all over and over until I burned out and became elusive. Not present. Not caring. Only worried about myself and my state of- heart.

I made a deal with myself that I needed to cleanse my heart of all of the negativity that has impacted me these last couple of years. I made a promise that I was going to forgive and love- and Alhamdulilah I think I’m there thanks to the love of all the people around me and my Lord who knows me inside and out.

Let me tell you what worked for me:

1) setting realistic goals

2) taking it easy

3) taking longer in prayer.

4) the Quran. It fills up any sense of emptiness.

5) sleep. Napping. I never used to do this before

6) doing what you can with what you have

7) asking الله swt at the START of your day to bless your day and give you positive outcomes and Baraka

8) being more patient

9) laughing more

10) realizing your Ramadan should be your first month of the year

11) realizing this Ramadan could be your last

This Ramadan has shown me that I truly am not alone in my struggles and in love. Realize that those around you love you and see your true smile even when things are gloomy. This Ramadan has shown me that humility will always win. This Ramadan has shown me that I can be myself with the One who knows me best. This Ramadan has opened its arms to me when I denied.

InshaAllah we all see this friend again and make their stay a better one. May Allah accept all of our good deeds and erase the bad. May He show us our light among the darkness. May He keep us check. My He keep our hearts sincere and stirring with hope and fear of His Mercy.

Sarah

The Edge

There are people who are better than me-

who have gone through worse.

ihdi, ihdi

Isolated by ammunition

the sea is not vast for them

it rains retribution

all for security in the name of Semitic persecution

have you met the olive tree? have you met the pricking rose?

the one that waits for you, watches you go

every corner

You want to stay and see a grapefruit sun

Yafa is calling

Gaza is groaning

The souls of young boys rise from the riptide

can you hear them calling in the night?

gray echos, between city streets

You don’t know what Dystopia means!

When people think of deen over this lowest pit- they think prayer over purses

Dhikr over curses

Have you thought of it the other way?

Instead of temptation, torture?

It’s a luxury to exchange an already good thing

Imagine if you only had life’s dullest prizes

“Archangel”  you think you’re better than everyone else?

Because you suffered. Because your skin gleams pearls that you stole from me.

Gaza’s heart groans and aches

The beat of the sand, it rises

the land is the only thing that breathes-

This man came with his fleet-

He smelled of past wood and had eyes of sleet.

His militias murdered.

His militias slowly seeped their poison in your streets

Haifa is screaming

You aim at me because I am different.

Because of my eyes of tea

Ihdi, ihdi

The heart beat of my people simmers…

simmers in a red rage of white lights, hospital green, and night fall that has no mercy

Ihdi, ihdi

There are people who go through worse than me-

their weep,

their gray calm.

their torn sleep

their eternal qualm

A date that lasts a month

Covering a rebel’s mouth

Sweet Embalm

Lay a sin on every country who let you go.

But ihdi, ihdi,

Palestine will rise, and she will save me.

1/8/18 What’s a sign?

What’s a sign and what isn’t:

What’s love left in liberty- but lacking thereof? What’s a forehead prayer, carpet etched?

At the same time.

I’ll send my ‘I miss yous” to the sky and hope they land on you someday.

I’ll take the words of wisdom and use them. By and by you’ll know they’ve always made sense.

Take the precious pearls no one sees. A struggling silence, chained, pressed black, into the night and forget them in your sleep. For sleep is the closest thing to forgetting.

Where is my mind on all the vital things?

I slip up, I’m sorry.

I forget to be grateful

I forget to be patient

I raise my stature so as to not be so small

I lower my hands and surrender

A great man once reminded me of travel tickets

I don’t even have those plans

Where’s the drive and love-motivation

Love-ly

You always deserve to smile.

Habibti

You see how great I could be.

Ihdee ihdee

Like a giant I will rise.

Like an avalanche I’ll fall into my misery even though I fear death and I fear losing you and my love ones. You’re that too.

I guess that is my test. Crumble to be humble.

Love-ly

You always deserve to smile.

Habibti

You always saw how great I could be.

I’ll prove it to you, pillow petals, over sized heater, a constant reference in blush.

-sarah

Messy Places: Some reminders on the heart

Salam everyone!

I know it’s been a really long time since I’ve been on. But I’ve had this urge to throw all this up and have you guys ponder with me.

Lately I’ve been struggling with the areas of curing the heart. I’m not sick alhamdulilah but some recent reminders have come to surface that I think are super helpful for a struggler.

We are all struggers. Unless you’re the Golden bunch with a sound heart- you’re lucky. This isn’t for you.

I want to start by saying I’m so thankful for what I have. I’m not always thankful, and I know I could never thank God enough for all that He has given me. It’s safe to say the last two years of my life have been a rollercoaster. It came to the point where one blessing- a huge one- (won’t tell y’all yet;) has pretty much saved my life. My heart’s will to continue. God literally gave me something that many people envy- wish they had. I got it for free. It’s the source of the feeling of mercy and love. To this day I feel like I’m unworthy of that blessing. But that’s wrong to think because it was mine all a long. It goes to show what’s meant for you will always come to you. It may not be in the way you want, but there’s even happiness in difficult things.

Some reminders:

1) Your heart is a swing. Sometimes you’ll fall off and scrap your knees. Get back on. Slow down. Make sure your support system is strong and keep going. I pray your heart stops swinging and that you land safely.

2) The more negative thoughts, the darker your heart gets. Do you really want to be the Evil Queen?

3) True people will see you.

4) Shine for no one but Him.

5) Many will hate you because others love you. Simple.

6) You need to apologise for yourself. You drive yourself nuts otherwise.

7) Your heart needs an outlet. The best is God. Even when you’re on your knees to Him, when you resist His love, He’s still there for you.

8) only let Him and your mama tell you “I told you so.”

9) Trust your gut.

10) Unpopular opinion- you cannot control your heart completely. But there’s ease in knowing it’s in the right metaphorical Hands.

11) wash your face of anger. literally.

I only say what I say because it’s what I have come to know and wish someone else told me.

Stay true to yourself and stay humble.

With humbled love and messy heart,

-sarah

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.

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.