Archive | July, 2012

Miss Independent – Shattered

29 Jul

So I had been feeling pretty good about myself lately. The whole feeling of being independent. You know, what girl doesn’t thrive from it? Singing “all the women who are independent.. throw your hands up at me” =) Not just the making money part, doing everything myself the things I never had to before.

Cook my own food, buy my own groceries, carry all the heavy heavy shopping home by myself, clean my place myself, walking everywhere myself, enjoy the beauty of nature myself, do laundry myself, and everything that comes up myself. Kinda felt on top of the world being able to do that.

Well, until I was telling my friend how I multi-tasked today – put laundry in and went grocery shopping, and came back to put it in the dryer in time to be ready to cook Iftar – and she says: ” I see much potential in the wife department.

Ouch. That’s what I have become?! o.O Wake up in the morning to go to get ready and go to work, come back to look at cooking directions to not mess up whatever I am trying to make, and on days off to go shopping during the day and do laundry and clean and prepare a meal if no take-out?

Yeah, you know you’re in the wife department when you start to stop caring about the way you look when you leave home for anything other than work. Ouch.

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It Was…

29 Jul

It was the only woman you ever loved
That got burnt by the sun too often when she was young
And the cancer spread and it ran into her body and her blood
And there’s nothing you can do about it now

Blood.

Seeking Forgiveness This Holy Month of Ramadan?

27 Jul

It is already a few days into Ramadan. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) has said, “Ramadan burns the sins and shortcomings, as fire burns wood!”  It is not just about refraining from food, water, pleasures, anger and violence, it is also a month of seeking forgiveness for past wrongdoings.

Since the night of nim-Sha’aban, repentance and focusing on not repeating my wrongs is all that has been on my mind. Reading Surah An-Nisaa today with its translation, I came across several verses on repentance that struck out to me. So I went on to read more about what Quran has to say about whose repentance is accepted and whose is not. Thought I would share some of what I came across.

Peace.

Allah accepts only the repentance of those who do evil in ignorance and foolishness and repent soon afterwards; it is they to whom Allah will forgive and Allah is ever All-Knower, All-Wise. And of no effect is the repentance of those who continue to do evil deeds until death faces one of them and he says: “Now I repent;” nor of those who die while they are disbelievers. For them We have prepared a painful torment. An-Nisaa: 17-18

Verily, those who believe, then disbelieve, then believe (again), and (again) disbelieve, and go on increasing in disbelief; Allah will not forgive them, nor guide them on the (Right) Way. An-Nisaa: 137

Those who take disbelievers for Auliya’ (protectors or helpers or friends) instead of believers, do they seek honour, power, and glory with them? Verily, then to Allah belongs all honour, power, and glory. And it has already been revealed to you in the Book that when you hear the Verses of Allah being denied and mocked at, then sit not with them, until they engage in a talk other than that; (but if you stayed with them) certainly in that case you would be like them. Surely, Allah will collect the hypocrites and disbelievers all together in Hell. An-Nisaa: 139-140

O you who believe! Take not for Auliya’ (protectors or helpers or friends) disbelievers instead of believers. Do you wish to offer a manifest proof against yourselves? Verily, the hypocrites will be in the lowest depths of the Fire, no helper will you find for them. Except those who repent (from hypocrisy), do righteous good deed, hold fast to Allah, and purify their religion for Allah (by worshipping none but Allah, and do good for Allah’s sake only, not to show off, then they will be with the believers. And Allah will grant to the believers a great reward. An-Nisaa: 144-146

Except for those who repent after that and correct themselves. For indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. Indeed, those who reject the message after their belief and then increase in disbelief – never will their [claimed] repentance be accepted, and they are the ones astray. Al-Imran: 89-9o

But whoever repents after his wrong-doing and reforms, indeed, Allah will turn to him in forgiveness. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. Al-Maiidah: 39

But as for those in whose hearts is a disease (of doubt, disbelief, or hypocrisy), it will add suspicion and doubt to their suspicion, disbelief and doubt, and they will die while they are disbelievers. See they not that they are tried once or twice every year (with different kinds of calamities, disease, famine etc)? yet, they turn not in repentance, nor do they learn a lesson (from it). Al-Tawba: 125-126

Alone, Probably. Lonely, Definitely Not

26 Jul

I have had quite a few people ask me these past couple of days if I feel odd being alone. I don’t. I love it. They give me a weird look like I must definitely be a little out of my mind, or someone who needs help. I am finally getting three straight days off of work, and I was like I will stay in and catch up on sleep and probably bring up chores – to which I get a face again. 

So I don’t know what’s the big deal. I enjoy people’s company when I am around them, but all day in a crowd… yeah now, that is suffocating. My mind is too busy to have that much time away from it lost in the midst of conversations.

I could be mostly considered an extrovert, but I am a highly private person. While I am all ears when people vent out and open up, there isn’t much they know about me. I vent out only the stuff that least matters to me. After all, trusting people and the intentions they have for me, I am better off keeping that distance before peer pressure takes over.

Walking on the streets alone – love. Riding the train alone – love. Shopping alone – love. Eating alone – love. Coming home alone – love. Being able to unwind alone – love. I enjoy my own company way more than that of most people I know.

And even though I say I am alone, I don’t feel lonely. I don’t feel sad being away from the friends who truly know me, I don’t feel emptiness not having a special someone, I am free from feeling obligated to be considerate towards others expectations of my daily routine – bedtime when I want, wake up when I want, stay in the shower as long as I please, leave my purse in the living room if I want to, dishes left to soak all night so they are easier to wash in the morning…. it’s my little heaven.

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Everything’s Gonna Be Fine, Fine, Fine

25 Jul

Starters -> no, I am not a Morissette fan.

But last night, I just happened to lay back and reflect where I am standing in life right now, and this song randomly starts playing in my head and I couldn’t help but smile.

I am broke like anything. I’m continuously being teased about my height – most of it is friendly teasing – I hope so at least. I am young, and I am way underpaid for what my mind and determination are worth.

But I am still always smiling, absorbing happiness from little things around me, genuinely helping my customers for no extra cost, and feeling on top of the world when they thank me with all their heart for being so patient and understanding towards them.

I realize I have mastered the art of patience. Minus when I am not being understood – I boil up really fast there trying to get my point across. But I am a lot calmer now about it than I was before.

There was a time when I couldn’t deal with elders without rolling my eyes. Now, I am more than willing to help and actually enjoy showing them how to operate their new phones and teaching them little tricks as well. They come back, they remember me, and they look for me to help them with what they want. I guess I couldn’t ask for more – being appreciated makes up for barely making enough to survive.

I am not settling yet, though. I did go seek out better opportunities. I met with another employer who I impressed in an instant, and got offered a much better pay and post in stage 1 of a three-stage interview process. But the only obstacle was the fact I don’t have a car. And it was enough to not being able to accept the opportunity. Bummer.

So, I do thank God for giving me the strength and patience to be happy in life despite where I stand in life. I have a plan, I am pursuing it, and if it is the right thing for me, I know it will happen. I am a chameleon, I’ll blend into whatever path I am being made to walk down on.

In the meantime, there’s no better way to describe me and my life than this song =)

Practicing Patience

21 Jul

Work has taken up all my life. I barely have time for anything else. The most time I give to myself is sleep, and trying to look fresh and good for work. All things good and bad and fun and remorseful happen at work. But I seriously appreciate it that way. After all the hours of the day I spend in the company of people – some who make sense and some you wonder why they exist in your life – it’s a blessing coming home to an empty apartment that is just the way I left it. It’s my time away from the hustle and bustle to either just fall into bed and pass out, or to sit back and reflect.

This weekend has been eventful. I went to midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises and I think that was one of the best decisions I made lately. I was completely blown away. But getting home at 4 in the morning and having to be awake within the next 4 hours was not so awesome.

Starved and tired, I couldn’t fast that day. But I practiced it, testing how long I can go without food and water and my patience with the people I encountered. Most of whom caught me by surprise.

Like, this little girl when I went with my coworkers to get lunch at Domino’s. She was going all psycho outside the store with her mother trying to calm her down, and she just runs and makes her way into the restaurant, comes and falls on my knees, then well, HITS ME!!!

My reaction? Frozen in ultimate shock, until my coworkers prompted we better wait outside the store. After being quiet for the longest time, the only thing I found myself utter was “that girl is soooo possessed!!!” Well, she was being a little brat. When her mother finally brought her out and tried to make her apologize to me, all she does is make an “aaachoooo” sound, without the sneeze. The devil.

Yeah, I change my mind from hating kids to starting to find them okay to back to finding them a nuisance. I know I would have smacked my kid if it behaved in such an embarrassing way. Manners sometimes must be taught the harsh way so they learn to carry themselves properly out in the world.

As if that experience wasn’t enough with kids, we return to our store to find a little boy puking all over the floor, and the mother kind of just standing there, letting him throw up and just apologizing with a nervous smile. Yes, it took a lot of practicing patience and leaving the chaotic situation to stay calm during that.

It was probably the only time I said no to my manager to cleaning the store: “not my baby, not my mess to clean.”

Then more incidents with a new coworker with her trying to steal my sales [because I am too nice to ever just tell somebody to back off] and then even insulting me trying to be funny. I just laughed it off, but none of the guys we work with found it funny and actually all stood up in my defense, like “we got your back don’t worry.” I guess that will teach her to watch what she says to me, about me next time. It was just super sweet of them to do that for me.

And then came practicing patience with customers. Especially today, while I was fasting. Customer service can be a tough thing sometimes, where you have to be nice and all smiley when you clearly just want to break some jaws. Like the old men who come in and somehow manage to convey every dirty thought they are having about you, and you just laugh it away like “awww what a cute old man” when clearly they are not trying to be cute. And those that try to flirt instead of letting me complete my transaction with them. And those who force you to give them your number or they will not leave the store, so you end up giving them the store phone number, all the while their deluded mind doesn’t realize.

Literally. A lot of patience.

And then getting a phone call from the aunt I was living with and then one day got up and ran away from. Although it was a voicemail. I still haven’t called. I don’t know how to call back, talk past the awkwardness of the way we left things. I definitely do not want to talk about things – like I have mentioned before, confrontations and recovering after falling apart by going over the past is not my forte.

But I guess I will give a callback tomorrow, see how and where things flow. I definitely hope there is no drama – another thing that makes me super uncomfortable. I am an unreacting, emotionless person towards majority of the people in my life – except the chosen few special people. And I can’t fake anything, especially sympathy. But I guess that is the thing with blood relations… you can never end those. They are always going to come crawling back in your life even when you don’t want anything to do with them.

Or maybe I will learn to blend into what we are now? Forgive and forget? Start new? Time heals everything, right? Is it going to be worth it? Will it benefit anyone? Am I thinking, planning too much?

I don’t know. Guess I just have to be patient again and let time unfold what will become of us. Considering it’s Ramadan, holding grudges and being angry is another thing not acceptable. So I just have to look at reopening the lines of communication with her as a step towards the better person I had made up my mind to be. Let’s see where that shall take me…

Confrontations And Guilt – A Cinderella Story

17 Jul

Worry does not mean fear, but readiness for the confrontation.

– Basher Al-Assad

If there is anything I hate of the many things I hate from time to time, it’s confrontation. It’s one thing that makes me highly uncomfortable when I am trying my best to let things slide and get normal on their own. An incident at work with a colleague today made me realize that more than ever.

It wasn’t something I had done, it was something that was done to me and everyone said I need to stick up for myself, say something where I have to. The issue was handled in my favor by the managers, but when I was called in into the meeting to testify in front of my coworker, I couldn’t help but feel horrible for being responsible for getting him in trouble.

I mean, I am pathetically nice and go with the flow and let people take advantage of me without really feeling like I am being taken advantage of. But it was just one of those days where I was a little annoyed it happened, but I knew it wasn’t something I would carry a grudge about forever.

But, as usual, as with every confrontation I had despite of avoiding it, I ended up feeling guilty. I don’t know why one of the easiest things for me to feel is guilt, even when I remotely don’t deserve to feel that way. Except well, in this case, I was like, that’s a friend – competition nevertheless but still a friend – and even worse, it was his birthday today!! And I got him in trouble. Hence, a lot of guilt.

Things did turn out normal – he came up to me and gave me a hug after, showing acceptance of where he had went wrong. But I couldn’t stop feeling guilty. What’s even more annoying with this whole scenario is that when he had done what he did to another colleague, I lectured the poor thing to take a stand and that he deserves whatever trouble he will get in as a consequence of being so unfair.

Down – Right – Frigging – Pathetic. When I can’t even see as what happened to me as unfair. Maybe it comes with the zero percent confidence in myself. Or how I was brought up to put others before me. Or taught to just be patient with karma to play the justice card when someone does me wrong. Or the criticism throughout my life that just taught me I deserve the worst of both worlds.

Sadly enough, I can compare myself to Cinderella when it comes to my issue with confrontations – letting people walk all over her, treat her like trash, yet she stays happy and doesn’t complain, but somewhere finds the courage to go after what she wants, falling silent and disappearing again, until she is found and chosen. Of course, this is reality, so no insightful Fairy Godmother or a lovelorn Prince Charming are going to find their way in my life. I don’t leave traces behind for someone to follow.

Okay, well, so my managers did play Fairy Godmother today, but that is not going to happen a lot in other areas of my life. I don’t know when I will find it in me to pursue standing up for myself without actually discouraging myself. I should never have been raised as a woman, who is born to make one sacrifice after the other in the name of nothing at times. Can’t really be my own best friend this way and that’s the blues of my life.

Caffrey Fever

16 Jul

I believe I speak for every woman when I say Neal Caffrey should be a real life person than just a TV show character. Looks to die for, style that kills, poise so perfect, personality to be respected, smarts to be admired, and loyalty to be appreciated… even though a con artist and a fugitive, he is better than any hero. Especially now with the beard…. siiiiighhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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I do mean Neal Caffrey, not really Matt Bomer as in himself.

Just the aftermath of White Collar’s return with a new season. Deal with it.

Women: Culture, Religion, Interpretations

12 Jul

Last night, I came across some talk shows discussing women in Islam and their rights. Okay, less came across – more like dug for information. I had questions, and I needed clarification.

Basically, it came down to culture versus religion. Culture thinks highly negative of independent women – it makes society call an independent woman, unmarried, working, living alone, or pursuing higher than normally accepted high school or Bachelors degrees as a woman of possibly low character. It makes these women appear as if they are on the wrong path and making a big mistake. They have negative things to say about parents who send their daughters abroad for school where they are going to live in dorms and not with extended family.

What religion says, on the other hand, basically requires both men and women, that if it is possible and affordable, to travel across oceans if necessary for educational purposes. Both are encouraged to seek knowledge. However, working and living alone for women and men differed, according to many scholars’ interpretation of The Holy Book.

According to religion, women are meant to be taken care of. They are meant to be protected from every harm and it is basically the duty of their fathers, brothers, and husbands to protect and provide for them at all costs. Women are not required or expected to work or provide for herself and her family, and no one can make her do it if she doesn’t want to. It is her father’s job to do that for her until she is married, after which her husband is fully responsible for her care. However, there is no rule that is stopping her from working and contributing if she wants to and is capable of.

For these reasons, the interpretations of all the Islamic scholars I came across have said it’s best for single women to not live alone, for their safety. Basically, reasons suggested being the message it would give to society, how it would induce suggestions in the minds of the men around her as being an easy target. The scholars advised a woman to live with her parents, or siblings, or extended family, or even a group of women, but never a man if he isn’t a mehrm (male relative by blood that she cannot marry). And, if there is really no other option, only then is she allowed to live alone.

Scholar interpretation? Not quite what religion says. Personally, the scholars’ advice sounded very much like “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order to not get raped“. Needless to say, that did anger me a little there, where a woman is still being held partially, if not completely, responsible for anything that happens to her. I don’t want to go over painstaking debate again.

The reason for my research was seeking answers, to know where I am being right and where I am being wrong. I wanted more than anything to live alone, or with girls my age. I despised the idea of living with extended family, especially those I had only heard of growing up. I was highly uncomfortable in building any kind of connection with them.

So, I moved out. I now live on my own. My roommate moved out a couple of days ago and I am in the process of getting a new one. According to the scholars, I will be extremely wrong. I don’t have any male around to watch out for me. It’s not like I ever let any man other than my father take care of me. The only other man I would allow to fight and die for me would be the man I am going to be married to. Other than that, I believe myself to be solely responsible for my safety, perfectly capable of crossing all boundaries to protect myself.

They would also say that in today’s world, with the temptations that drive every single person, I have basically given the green light to evil. The opposite is true though. I’ve found myself to have put my blind trust in God to protect me. I could be going back to old habits, picking up new bad habits, not caring about the consequences cuz nobody will know – but if anything at all, I find myself turning my back and running away from it all.

I prayed to be free of those temptations, and in the whole process, I realized if I was going to let myself be responsible for my living and protection, I was also going to accept being responsible for my choices. I have been a horrible person, but I knew that when I asked for a clear direction, when I made a pact with myself that I was going to do my best to be as good as I can to balance out how bad I have been, I found myself constantly seeking answers. I found myself surfacing my past to test just how deeply I feel guilty and how truly I regret and am willing to repent.

To me, living alone has actually in a very odd way made me think and reason with religion. Whatever I thought I would be doing with my independence, I barely am tempted towards it. I could, but I don’t. I am not scared of the world eating me up – if I don’t, it’s because of a silent pact I made with myself around New Year’s to become a person with moral virtues and character.

I think most of it has to do with being raised with religion. As a child, I would constantly be talking to God, constantly imagining if He is smiling down on me or getting ready to give me a taste of His wrath. When I used to be upset, I would hide and cry in my bed and talk about how I felt to Him. I never had that need to justify the reasons for my emotions to any person. And somewhere in the midst of growing up, I had lost that girl.

And now, since the beginning of the year, and especially since I moved into my new place, I am finding myself build up piece by piece into the little girl I used to be. I still picture how God is looking at me, watching my every move; but unlike her, I have sometimes continued with wrong even with a heavily guilty conscience.

I knew for a long time I would become that little not-so-pious-but-still-God-fearing girl – we cannot run from who we really are. There is no escape from the person you were destined to be.

So basically, I don’t know how much of the scholars’ presentations I am willing to accept as the right thing. I don’t know where I am going wrong or right. In my head, the person I am turning into will somehow neutralize everything the person I have been.

I already know I am becoming somebody a lot of people would stop thinking of as somebody fun, they would not want to know me anymore… but being perfectly comfortable by myself too, I know there is no place for you in the life of someone you cannot accept for who they are, the way they are. I need to be selfish this one time and I would like to see this selfishness as something that is finally going to be the right thing to do.

Every Time I Try To Be Strong…

9 Jul

… something happens and I come undone.

I have been frustrated. I don’t even know how much fun I will be when my friends come down. I am so shut down, I don’t know if I will be able to talk about what has been going on. I have all kinds of walls up, I don’t know if I will be able to let them down to show what I have been feeling. I am sick of being put on the hot seat, questioned, tested, analyzed, judged, and then having a picture of my future painted right in front of me.

And now they have made me angry. I haaate being angry. It’s probably the only feeling that makes me act on impulse in some dire need to prove something to someone, where I say and do things without thinking, which further makes me angry at myself for letting myself feel anger in the first place. I am sometimes scared of my own anger.

Of course, at every turn, there is going to be someone who has something negative to say about any and every step I decide to take. Everyone has some opinion and somehow just know what the perfect thing for me to do is. I should stop putting my faith where it should be, and instead go along with whatever suggestion whatever immoral source has for me.

Where my usual reaction is to just roll my eyes and keep doing what I am doing, when stuff finally gets to me, it crashes into me. I have a mini outburst as I start to realize I had been wrong when I refused to believe “20% of people don’t care about your problems and 80% are glad you have them”.

It kind of sucks when you just don’t want to trust anyone because of a few blows from places where you shouldn’t have put your trust in but did anyways. And then you go ahead calling yourself stupid before anyone else can do it for you, and let your life become a joke for your “friends” to laugh along at.

Because I refused to ask for help when I was in a fix a few days ago, and when they showed me how my life appears  to them, I snapped back at them that I can take care of me by myself – and I was in return reminded without any hesitation of how that decision is a wrong decision too.

And, that is where I started to shut down from the outside world, again. Since I can’t differentiate much between who really cares and who really doesn’t anymore. I shall let them talk, I shall let them look at me how they want to, I shall let them decide what they want to about who I am and let them paint all possible futures for me too. I don’t think they deserve any effort from my side to prove why I do what I do, and why I don’t do what they think I should do.

A smooth sea never made a skillful sailor, and while some have said the sea is no place for someone like me, well… I still know some people who will tell me to go all the way, as far as I can. So well, all storms welcome.

For now, I pursue change with saying goodbye to my roommate today, later dying my hair again, and then awaiting the arrival of a new roommate. Whenever that shall be.