Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Blind Faith

First of all, I want to send a huge, huge thank you out to everyone that responded to my last post. Y'all have no idea how much I appreciate all of the love. Now, that being said, I will be taking a hiatus from blogging to figure some things out.

This past weekend, while I was in VA with my family, I came to the realization that I'm a habitual Muslim. I'm just a Muslim because my family was, I don't know that much about the religion and it didn't really concern me. I was never really unhappy in my faith because I didn't really think about it. I followed all of the big stuff and some of the little stuff. Anything I didn't follow, I just figured wasn't that big of a deal and God would forgive me. I never questioned Islam or anything about it except for once when I was around 10 or 12. I was told that Muslims just need to believe, they shouldn't question God. Since I was a very agreeable child, I just went with that and never thought twice about it. As a result, after I grew up and wasn't attending Qur'an school anymore, I pretty much stopped learning about Islam. I knew what I could and couldn't do and that was that. Well, that's wrong. No religion should be a habit and you should know what you're supposed to believe. Because of that, I will be taking a break from this blog to learn more about Islam and decide where my future lies. When I come back (most likely at the end of the summer) I will let y'all know my decision and the future of this blog.

I hope y'all will understand that this is a journey I have to take for myself. It's high time I learned about the religion I'm supposed to be a part of and practice it accordingly. If I'm unwilling to do that, I need to find something else.

P.S. I'll still be reading your blogs. I can't be out of the loop.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Big Girls Don't Cry

It's the title of a new Fergie song (that I happen to LOVE) and it sums up my current life philosophy. There is actually quite a bit of drama going on in my life but there's nothing I can do except not let it get me down. As my co-worker always says, I've gotta do me. Let me just bring y'all up to speed.

My older sister is involved in an on-going custody battle for her oldest daughter. As I may or may not have mentioned, he's a fundamentalist Muslim that married my sister for a green card (didn't know any of this at the time) and after the divorce threatened numerous times to kidnap my niece and take her to Saudi Arabia. He has decided that he wants custody of her for various reasons and it's just a big mess. He actually tried to have my sister put in jail. Said she wasn't complying with the court order (untrue). Also, thanks to him, my poor niece is forced to see not one but two therapists. He feels that because she doesn't like him something must be wrong with her. As a result, she must see a therapist down here every week and in VA every other week. Her whole summer has been killed; no camp, no riding lessons, no parties, no nothing. I don't know why he would expect her to like him. He wasn't in her life for ages and since then has done nothing but alienate her. If she wanted to have the visits somewhere she liked, he would insist upon having them where he wanted; she asks for space, he comes closer; she tells him the kind of stuff she likes, he buys and does the opposite; and the only interest he ever expresses in her is how much Qur’an and Arabic she knows. Not to mention the fact that he's never been allowed to be alone with her due to his threats.
It's insanity but he's messing with the wrong family because if it's the last thing we do, he will be brought down. I personally will not rest until him and his b*&$h of a wife are tossed out of my country on their illegal alien butts. He isn't going to mess with my niece's life and get away with it. Mark my words, if it's the last thing I do, I will get revenge. I'm my father's daughter, vengeance will be mine. I'm sure that sounds very Soprano's to y'all but it's just how we roll. That being said, I am NOT going to do or have anyone else do anything criminal. I don't have it in me and he's not worth it.

Due to the aforementioned (I love that word) nonsense, we may be moving back to the VA/DC/MD area very soon. Like at the end of the summer. Nooooooooooooooo!! Y'all don't understand how much I absolutely do not want to go back. Unfortunately, M's sake, I must. We're very close and it would break her heart if her family split up on top of all of this. I'm so not looking forward to going back and if it were anyone else (except her little sister or my little brother) I totally wouldn't go. Starting over somewhere else where I wasn't always associated with some member of my family was fantastic. I could just be me. Also, I'm really not interested in seeing the same people, doing the same things, and going to the same places. Most of all, I'm not interested in the same people. A lot of whom I haven't heard from since moving but will be on me like white on rice the minute I get back. Gag me. That being said, I have been trying to look on the bright side. For instance, Metro (yay!), lots of stuff to do (although I like the stuff down here better), the city, and my family. I know the list is very small. The list of things I'm going to miss is much, much longer. Oh well, I have to soldier on.

Making me even more apprehensive about the move is the fact that I have recently discovered that the majority of my family are most likely leaving Islam. My mother, having converted from Christianity is now thinking of converting back. Her biggest problems are with Muslims and how they are and the restrictive nature of Islam. She has other issues too and she just no longer has Islam in her heart. She doesn't feel that she has a personal relationship with God. My sister's are basically feeling the same way. My older sister doesn't really pray anymore, hasn't stepped foot in a mosque in I don't know how long, and is really a Muslim in name only. And that's just because she hasn't figured out what else to be yet. My younger sister still prays and everything but she's not really feeling the religion; she's just scared to leave it. However, I feel that if it isn't in your heart, you need to move on. I mean, she has no interest in Muslims (including marrying one) or attending the mosque. She thinks Islam is too strict and she questions and takes issue with a lot of things about it. She currently says otherwise but I highly doubt she's going to stay a Muslim. Naturally, my little brother and nieces are going to become whatever their parents become. My mom is going to start exposing my brother to church and let him choose but he really doesn't practice now and has very little exposure to Muslims so it's no secret what he's going to choose. The girls are under the age of 12 so their just going to be what their mom is. It breaks my heart, it really does. Not because I think their going to hell but because it's always been us being Muslims. When the outside world didn't get being American Muslim, I could turn to my family and clearly that ship has sailed. I always thought that my kids would have it easier than I did. They would grow up with not only a mother that was raised Muslim but aunts and uncles as well. They would have Muslim cousins that they could celebrate Ramadan and Eid with instead of feeling left out over Christmas. Instead, I'm feeling like an outsider in my own family. Ramadan is in a little while and for the first time ever, I'll most likely be celebrating it alone. It's made even worse by the fact that, if we go back to VA, everyone will be inquiring as to my family's whereabouts and after the news is out, there will be whispers. Now before everyone starts thinking I'm making this all about me, I'm very concerned about how this will affect them. I really don't want the older kids to be confused. It has to be strange, being brought up one way and then switching mid-field. Also, most of the people we've always known, considered family even, are going to turn their backs on us. They'll turn on my family because they're no longer Muslim and me for keeping in touch with them. I've heard of these things happening. We are about to lose a lot of people that we considered very close; people that we considered aunts, uncles, and cousins. I know for sure that my brother is about to lose two of his oldest friends because their father (an old family friend) is never going to let them hang out with him. I know that life will go on and everyone will make new friends but it's like saying good-bye to an entire lifetime. I just hope that everyone is prepared for that but, more than anything; I hope that everyone finds what they're looking for.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Dive In

Alright, y'all....here goes nothing. I'm holding my nose and diving in..........to the online dating pool. Y'all better pray I don't drown. I'm not a strong swimmer. Yeah, okay we're done with the swimming bit for now.

My mother has been on me about perusing other matrimonial avenues. Now, I'm not big on the whole online thing. It kind of sketches me out. That being said, I do know people this has worked for. And, as my dear mother pointed out, it's not like I'm having the best of luck with other avenues. "You wouldn't want to get to old to have children." Wow. I had no idea I was so close to becoming a pathetic spinster. I think my cousins wedding set her off. Her and my aunts have been on me and my cousin (the groom's sister) like white on rice since then. They want more weddings and grandbabies. Apparently, we're getting on in years. I can't even be mad because it's kind of funny and kind of true. We aren't as young as we used to be and there are expectations.

Of course, I do want to get married, sooner rather than later so it makes sense to try something new. After all, there aren't that many opportunities to meet Muslims of the opposite sex once you're out of college. Also, I haven't tried anything new in a while and I did make a resolution to try new things. If any of y'all have recommendations for websites, let me know. InshaAllah, I'll be making my final decision over the weekend.

Alright, here I go. 1, 2, 3...............JUMP!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Coming Soon

Hey, y'all. I've been crazy busy but I'll be back soon. I promise!

Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Little Lady Agency

I don't know how many, if any of you, have read or heard of the Hester Browne book "The Little Lady Agency." It's one of my absolute favorite books. It's a British novel about this somewhat self-conscious girl that's super organized, exquisitely mannered, and good with people when she puts her mind to it. She decides to start an agency that basically provides girlfriend/mom services to me. You know the type; organizing things, sending gifts and proper correspondence, making sure they are clothed properly, improving manners, those kind of things. She's really good at it. She's firm but nice, which is exactly what you need to be.

Apparently almost everyone that knows me thinks I should become a professional organizer. My mother is constantly telling me this but I always figured it was so I could organize her closets. ;)
Anyway, since I'm OCD about etiquette, I've been to finishing school, I have a true gift for shopping and gift purchasing, I'm not only organized but really good at organizing others, and somewhat bossy; everyone thinks I would be really good at this. My older sister is like, "just let me make you some business cards and go for it." One of my cousins says that I'm a "Black, Muslim, Mary Poppins." Hmm, okay. I knew I was organized and, admittedly, a little overly concerned with manners but I had no idea everyone viewed me as this Mary Poppins/Clarisse Rinaldi (Grandmother from Princess Diaries) type of person.

While providing these services may be a good idea, I think it's best if I leave the single men alone. Although, God knows it would be a great way to meet them. Kidding! No, everyone else might be onto something. In addition to organizing parties, I could organize lives. Food for thought.

BTW, I mentioned the book because I'm currently reading the sequel and when this conversation happened; it made me think of that book.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Tag! You're It!

I've been tagged by Ruby to list my five favorite places to eat. Here goes nothing.

1. Cheesecake Factory. I absolutely love this place. They've got great food, ambiance, and they're really good with large groups. Also, they're one of the few places where I still like something on the desert menu.
2. Chipotle. Good food fast. Need I say more? Pretty much the only Mexican place I really like. I was so excited when I moved to NC and one opened a few weeks later. Really, y'all can't imagine my joy.
3. IHOP. Oh, the memories. This is my family's gathering place. We've done a lot of meeting up and catching up at IHOP. This weekend, the morning after my cousin's wedding, we all met there for breakfast. Everyone almost always gets the same thing but it doesn’t' matter. We're really not there for the food.
4. Olive Garden. Love this place, always have. I used to beg my parents to go to the Olive Garden. I like the music and I love the food. However, I will admit to some bitterness over them taking chocolate lasagna off of the menu. It was my all time favorite dessert anywhere.
5. Food Corner Kabob. OMG, they know me and my (immediate) family here. I've been eating there for as long as I can remember and every time I'm in VA I have to stop there. They have the best kabobs anywhere. You can't beat the food or the service. They give you so much food that most people (me included) have to save half for later. It's small and family owned, which is what makes it special.

Mmm, yummy. Alright, y'all. I want to hear from Haleem, Twenny-Two, Atifa, Sarah, and AKA. Thanks, y'all!

So much for my happy ending

The marine and I are dunzo. We ended it before I went away for the weekend. I'm a little sad about it but it was the right thing to do. There were quite a few things we disagreed on, he's got a bit of a temper, he rarely thinks he's wrong, and there's the whole mother thing. After our fight, we talked.......a lot. I prayed on it and I decided to end it. I mean, he doesn't think he has anything to apologize for. As far as he's concerned, he hasn't done or said anything wrong. His attitude is it was a fight and fights aren't pleasant. It just hit me; I can't spend the rest of my life with that kind of attitude. I'm actually glad we had that fight because the gloves came off. We stopped being nice and polite and that was good. The truth came out. And the truth is he thinks I'm spoiled and my family (that he hasn't even met) is pretentious. I think he can be a jerk, his mother is incredibly ill-bred, and he's a bit of a mama's boy. Obviously, this was doomed from the start. We just didn't know it.

Oh, well; you win some, you lose some. InshaAllah, I'll have better luck next time. Who knows, maybe I'll meet someone at the ICNA convention. Lord knows that's what my mother's hoping for.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Meet the Parents.......Part I (The Aftermath)

Alright y'all, he called me today. He was giving me time to "calm down." I'm sure that was for the best. Anyway, he called to apologize for her and her behavior. What follows is a transcript of our conversation.

Marine: I just wanted to apologize to you for my mom's behavior.
Me: Oh, that's fine. It's not your fault. I was just a little, I don't know, shocked I guess. I've never really been treated like that in someone's house before.
Marine: Well, she was out of line but you have to understand where she's coming from.
Me (only in my head): No I don't. She needs to get some manners.
Marine: She's always had a different type of girl in mind for me.
Me: A different type of girl?
Marine: I mean, I don't know, someone a little more modest and traditional.
Me: I see. And does she have a particular modest, traditional girl in mind.
Marine: I really don't see how that's relevant. (What?! How is that not relevant? I'll just take that as a yes.)
Me: That's not really an answer.
Marine: That's all the answer you're going to get.
Dead silence
Marine: ::heavy sigh:: Try not to take it too personally. You just represent the kind of woman she doesn't like and doesn't want for me.
Me: I beg your pardon?
Marine: See? That. You say things in this society girl tone and my mom just doesn't deal well with that. Because of how she grew up she hates society girls. With the finishing school and the sorority and they way you dress, you just represent that. She's never been part of the white glove and pearls set and she just doesn't have any use for it.
Me: I didn't throw that stuff in her face. I would never have said anything about it if she hadn't mentioned it. You told her all of that, not me.
Marine: It came up in conversation.
Me: How does that just "come up in conversation?"
Marine: She asked about you and I told her. Do you want a play by play of the conversation?
Me: You know what? The sarcasm isn't necessary. My mother didn't verbally attack you for not being a good Muslim and being a snob. Oh, I'm sorry, "high siddity."
Marine (in a tone that could freeze boiling water): Alright, you know what? It's over; I've apologized and explained her behavior. You're a big girl and you're old enough to know that not everyone has to or is going to like you. You're going to have to move past it because as far as I'm concerned, it's over and we're done discussing it.
Me (in an equally cold tone): Is that right? Well, then I guess there's nothing left to say.
Marine: Guess not.

Oh, no he did not even try to get an attitude with me. Telling me when a discussion is over. What? Who does he think he is? Oh, I am so mad right now. And what was that tone? Please, I am not scared of him. He does not want me to have to get ugly.
Y'all, I have just seen the future and it is not pretty. If we ever speak to each other again, we will have quite a bit to discuss. And don't even get me started on the other girl that's waiting in the wings. Such total crap. I'm so disgusted right now.