Sunday, January 31, 2010

"The person who defines your understanding of love is not inherently different than anyone else, and they're often just the person you happen to meet the first time you really, really want to love someone. But that person still wins. They win, and you lose. Because for the rest of your life, they will control how you feel about everyone else."

Chuck Klosterman

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Morning Routine

Kauthar stumbled out of bed after snoozing her alarm 4 times. That irritating vibration of her cell phone alarm accompanied by a merry little jingle was the bane of existence for the rest of her family. She chose it specifically so that it would annoy her awake. But after almost 2 years of it's annoying little hum, she slept through it far too easily.

Dragging her late feet to the bathroom, she contemplated wearing the same outfit she wore yesterday - would anyone really notice? Deciding against it behind her bleary eyes, she began brushing her teeth with the same worn toothbrush she has had for the past year, since she last saw her dentist. This must not be very good for my teeth she thought as she spit in a very manly manner into the sink.

Yes, that hijab. Blue, shimmery, and not easily wrinkled. Yes, it would match perfectly with her outfit of black abaya and black boots. Though truth be told, she only grabbed it because every other hijab was bunched up awkwardly and she didn't have that kind of time to iron one. Plus, this one was from Egypt so she felt some kind of exotic flush spread through her cheeks every time she explained the hijab's roots in response to a "this is so pretty" compliment. People would pick it up and rub it between their forefingers and thumbs, as though some kind of blessing would be transferred to them through touching such a spiritual cloth. If only they knew she'd been wearing it because of bunched-up-hijab issues. But she would keep that little tidbit of information to herself.

She foraged through her ever-growing pile of single socks to no avail. No matching ones - she could almost sympathize with those lone socks; never to be worn again. Relegated to an obscure pile of useless things. Caught in the middle of existence; people felt too guilty to throw them out "just in case" but they sat there and gathered dust. Kauthar's eyes blurred for a moment thinking about their plight before she defiantly grabbed one pretty striped sock, and one plain grey one and slipped her feet into them. Someone has to care for the rejects.

After readying herself she bolted from her family's apartment, metropass in pocket and travel-mugged-tea burning the tip of her tongue. (Naturally Kauthar maintained that burning your tongue is the best part of the tea experience.) Whilst running for her bus, she wondered when she got so old. Travel mug, sensibly warm clothing, a blackberry sitting comfortably in her pocket, glasses perched on her nose while politely uttering phrases of thanks to the patient bus driver. All things that would not have been in her list of accomplishments 2 years ago.

Taking a seat at the back of the bus, Kauthar stared romantically out the window at the horizon speckled with phone-wires and ugly buildings. She wondered if she would ever live anywhere really beautiful. Between the towering structures scraping the sky, she caught a glimpse of sunrise. It disappeared behind some cookie-cutter houses adorned with quaint gardens and lawn chairs. Her eyes desperately strained to get another view of that budding yellow sun - perhaps it would lend her heart some of its beauty. But after the houses there was a Kitchen Stuff Plus, car dealership, and Dairy Queen. So her heart remained unfulfilled until they pulled into the subway station. Oh well, maybe I'll grab sunset.

Her abaya was awkwardly long and it swished violently with her long strides, outpacing other riders' speeds and silent clothing. Then there she was, a window seat again on the subway. Listening to Muhammad Jibreel's rendition of the believers in the background of subway chatter and swerving. That's when she caught a woman, maybe 45 years old with hints of graying brown hair and wrinkled eyes. The woman stared at Kauthar like no other. Her eyes seemed to want to bore into Kauthar's very soul.

Kauthar decided to name her "Marilyn" because she could imagine this woman overdosing on drugs. Little did Marilyn know that Kauthar had her fair share of stares throughout her life, and she knew just how to retaliate. Marilyn and Kauthar locked eyes for a few moments - neither dared to look away. You don't know what you've gotten yourself into my sweet Marilyn Kauthar thought as she pictured psychologically rubbed her hands in evil glee. Now Kauthar was very talented at keeping an intimidatingly straight face - and so she did just that.

Marilyn suddenly looked away nonchalantly, as though she had not experienced one of the most awkward moments of her life. Kauthar was disappointed.

She nearly missed her stop as she schemed and planned other ways to make this woman pay for her rude stare. The subway car stalled and she jumped straight up and skipped out the doors just in time to feel them snap shut on the end of her abaya. Oh great. She yanked it out and thankfully it was not torn - but it left a perverted sort of dirty grey mark, which she later found to be unwashable.

Her walk to the hospital was a sordid one. Sky scrapers as far as her spectacled eyes could see, puddles to drag her already-stained abaya through, and a biting cold that left her cheeks bright pink. Muhammad Jibreel's voice had moved onto the chapter of repentance.

Monday, January 25, 2010

a list of 6 things that have no meaning or sequence.

1. That little plastic thing on my glasses fell off. You know how there are 2 plastic things that make it easy to perch your spectacles on your nose? One of those. And now my glasses are lopsided and slipping off. It is very irritating.

2. I had a dream that 2 of my teeth fell out. One of them fell out because another was growing underneath, the other one fell out because it just felt like it I guess. It was so real, I could practically feel the empty gum with my tongue. But then I looked in the mirror and my smile was nicer than before, strangely. Anyone care to interpret?

3. I officially think Sarah Jessica Parker is the worst actress in life. It wasn't official before, but now it is.

4. I wanted to write a story for my blog about a girl named kauthar. I was going to write it in class. But then I had to pay attention...pesky class. Honestly.

5. I think I should take up boxing. It would be good for me to get my violent tendencies out in neutral environments.

6. I was thinking recently how cute my babies would be if they were half Egyptian and half Somali. And then I realized I need to make that one of my marriage criteria: "must be able to contribute positively to gene pool."

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

On the Merits of Public Tears

I have a thing for crying in public - specifically on public transportation. There is something oddly freeing about crying in front of people you don't know. You're able to release that tension in your heart in the presence of people who may judge you at the moment, but will forget you as soon as they leave the subway.

I personally try my best to avoid crying in front of people that I know - whether it be family or friends. I don't want to seem weak, I want to be the strong one that always has it together. But crying in private behind your locked door or in a public washroom stall (don't judge me) releases some of that tension that resides in the heart. But it isn't the same as sharing your tears with someone else, even if it's a homeless old lady whose dog smells of urine.

Sometimes it's interesting to compare how I view myself vs. how others view me. I've heard a lot of people tell me I'm a very intimidating person for various reasons including: I'm straight-forward, I'm dictatorial, I don't smile enough, I joke around with a straight face, I'm tall, and I hold people accountable to what they say.

But I don't feel like any of that. I'm just a girl who likes to cry on the subway.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Beating a Dead Horse

I like to beat dead horses; it gives me some kind of satisfaction to know that I did everything I could to arrive at any of my conclusions or decisions. This is naturally a very stupid thing to do, and gives rise to many uncomfortable situations.

But the real problem is when you think the horse is dead and you're right about to kick it...and then it suddenly gets up and gives you a swift kick in the face.

That's why you shouldn't beat dead horses. Because damn, it hurts.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Today's best google search term leading to my blog: "Halal Asmaa"

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Love the cause, and the effect will come

I recently attended a workshop on visioning and goal-setting that was really important for me. The person who led it talked about how our society functions in such a way that we focus on the "effect" or results of everything. This attitude dictates our every day attitudes. For example, people want to be thin and attractive so they focus only on that, and they want to see results immediately - hence the popularity of crash diets, pills, even surgeries. The problem is, they are in love with the effects/results, but they hate the cause of the results (in this example, exercising).

But if you fall in love with the cause, the effect will naturally come, without struggle. I found that to be a really interesting way to look at life. We're always concerned with results that we neglect the rich experiences of process, journey, and discovery. That is what we need to fall in love with.

My personal struggle since I've started my masters is my health. Sure, I want to be healthy, but I don't delegate a time for me to work out or make a concerted effort to eat healthy. I've been thinking about my health for a while now - I mean, alhamdulillah I'm not very overweight or eating junk food 24/7 or anything like that. But since I've decided I don't have time to devote to my health, I've been feeling lethargic and I'm starting to worry more now about things like osteoporosis. I guess because I'm getting older I can't get away with the habits I had as a younger adult or teenager.

So, I've decided to fall in love with the cause of my good health: working out. I always thought I hated it, but I'm starting to realize I actually enjoy the rush I feel after working out - the pure unadulterated energy that comes from exerting your body. Even the muscle pain I have the next day is kind of enjoyable because it just reminds me that I'm putting an effort into this.

And so, for the first time in my life, I have decided to join a gym inshaAllah. I'm kind of scared that I'll hate it, but I know that the only way to achieve my effect is to fall in love with the cause. So right now, I love it.

So find that thing in your life you're struggling to achieve, and instead of focusing on what you want, try focusing on how you need to get there - and make that journey something you love and look forward to.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Ask me anything, anonymous

So most of you comment on my blog anonymously. I don't even know why one would want to leave an anonymous comment floating around on the internet. Some of the potential reasons I thought of are as follows:

1. You have a fascination with me being confused.

2. You don't want to seem like a creep who's stalking me, and you accomplish that goal by never revealing your identity.

3. You have burning questions you need me to answer but want to pretend it's someone else asking, not you.

Instead of me discouraging you from doing the above, now you can freely do all three!

Ask me anything anonymously here, and I shall oblige.

I feel that this may help you get things off of your chest in an expedited manner.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

On the Superiority of Free Food

Driven by a general school-induced state of poverty, free food (when I'm not at home) has always had a special glistening appeal. Free food and I, however, have an interesting relationship. Sometimes it's great, sometimes not so much.

In undergrad, I somehow found myself at multitudes of events that served free food (I will credit my over zealous involvement in student life). And not just your run-of-the-mill stale pizza - sometimes I would luck out and happen upon high class unversity luncheons and such with strange and yummy delicacies. I developed a reputation for being a free food magnet. Whenever I would hang out with a friend, that friend would inevitably receive free food as well. Needless to say, this made me popular.

It also gave me a twisted sort of satisfaction that I was finally getting something free from a university that was akin to a parasite burrowing through my bank account.

Recently, however, this trend has seen some rough times. For example, I hear of an event at my faculty that is serving food and all the little piggish molecules in my brain start jumping up and down with glee. But when I arrive, I find that there's only pepperoni pizza at this event. My poor brain molecules are on such a high by this time that the disappointment and resentment of all things oinky is grand indeed.

Why, you ask, am I so thoroughly obsessed? Well you see, just as some humans go deer hunting for sport, and some go hunting for crazy discounts on shoes, bags, electronics, etc., I also embark on such a journey of thrill. Except my thrill is to hunt for free food.

As twisted as it sounds, there's something so shiny and appealing about taking a bite into something that someone else paid for. I mean, a slice of pizza or cake you didn't pay for tastes oh so much sweeter than one you've had to fork over a couple of bucks for.

In conclusion, I shall continue to refine my skills in this valuable arena. Any suggestions for personal improvement are welcome.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

School Sucks

I woke up Monday morning to make it to my 9am class, but my stomach was killing me & I ended up staying home and vomiting instead.

If you ask me, it was a great Monday considering I didn't have to start school. Three months people, three more months and I'll be done with school forever inshaAllah.

(2am rant. why are you reading this, creeps?)

Saturday, January 02, 2010

evil much

I thought of a really evil prank (it only works for people with glasses). Basically, you know those special cloths that people use to clean their glasses? Well if you really hated someone, you could get a hold of their cloth and drench it in any kind of oil. When they wipe their glasses, the lenses will be all streaked and they'll be really frustrated and have to work really hard to get that stuff off. Heh heh. least it would make ME laugh.

Friday, January 01, 2010

"I haven't posted on my blog since last year!" and other corny Asmaa jokes

Awful and corny new year jokes are not going to get old until February (just a warning).

I was recently thinking about bread. Yeah, bread. When we were little, my brother opened a pack of pita bread and took 2 bites out of one. He then carefully closed the bag so that it would look like it hadn't been tampered with.

My parents saw the bite marks on the bread in a presumably new bag and quickly threw the entire bag out, fearful that it was chewed on by mice at the store or something.

I remembered that and it made me laugh, because only years later did my brother actually admit to taking those bites! Haha.