Monthly Archives: May 2007

Stealing a dream

“So are you Muslim?”…This question always catches me a little off guard.  Sometimes my answer can be a little snarky depending on my mood and the person asking.  Take for example the person who looks at you and barks out “Where you from ?”, without so much as a Hello.  I’ve stopped answering that question.  Now I just say Canadian which makes them really annoyed for some reason.  They keep insisting you tell them where you are really from…they would like DNA workup maybe?  Nothing so sophisticated –They just want to be able to put you in the mental box they have created for:  “ohhh you Sudanese?” “Ahh..you’re Somali eh?”, “haha Masr/ Morocco / Ewok…I knew it!”

For some reason though, when someone asks me if I am Muslim I wonder about :

1: their ability to problem solve (if muslim women wear hijab, if all people who wear hijab are women, if i am talking to a woman, in hijab, then ergo she must be a muslim woman…?) or

2:  what they are really asking…(I really want to ask Why you are Muslim but that may seem rude or

3: they lack conversational skills and it’s rhetorical….?

Either which way my answer depends like I said, on the person.  It can vary from “No!  What makes you think that???”(sleazy Muslim guy who kept trying to chat us up)  to a simple “Yes”(see above).  Sleazy Muslim Guy was not liking me very much that day 😉  But when I answer a person respectfully it is because the person has shown me respect.  Like today. 

“Are you Muslim?”

“Yes”

“But you don’t really believe in all of that do you?  I mean you seem so easygoing and independant!”

I just looked at her.  “well…my personality and my religion…I don’t really see the fundamental tension between the two.”

“Oh..you’re a Western Muslim” (problem solved?)

The usual convo ensued: blah..blah…culture…islam…differences….me likey being muslim….blah blah blitty blah…

This conversation raised two things for me.  One was that the asker was herself a Muslim by birth who expressed no affiliation with her religion except an Allah necklace she kept fingering as she talked about her boyfriend and how they may be moving in together.  And two – I wonder exactly how I come off to people?  Do I really seem not quite Muslim… a little off centre ?  Am I doing something wrong or is that I should be doing something different?  It brings up all those insecurities foisted upon you by the aunties who always let you know that you could never be Muslim enough for them.   Or maybe I forget how rare it is in Canada to find people like myself, children of converts, born into Islam as well as  into our own Western traditions.   This feeling persists though, of having creeped into someone else’s dream and claimed it as my own.  It chips away at me and leaves me wondering where exactly is my place – and is my lifetime to short to carve a spot for myself ?

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Takeout for one

For the first time in a loooong time I am alone.  It is such a strange sensation to come home to an empty house.  After years of living with one person or another,  Saf has flown the coop and landed in South Korea…finally!  It took a lot of time, a lot of money and a lot of stress, but she is down there at last and by the sounds of it, having a good time.

The strange part for me is that I don’t know what to do with myself now.  True… it is a perfect time for me to focus on finishing my thesis, and I can walk around the flat in my skivvies without anyone yelling at me.  I can cook for one, shop for one, but then I also have to take out the trash on my own, and do all the dishes by myself.  (I hate doing dishes!)

Anyways this is a weird adustment period for me – it’ll take some getting used to.  I have a couple of paintings to work on, I have school, I have about 5 books I’m reading at once and some other stuff I want to work on so I should be able to keep busy.  Or I just may start talking to myself…

This is when I really miss my fat cat Fidelito.  digipics3-102.jpgI would love to have him here with me – he was such a cuddly cat and always there when you needed him.  He wasn’t like other cats who tend to slink off and ignore you when you call.  I think he thought he was a dog cause every time you called he came running 🙂  I’ll never forgive myself for what happend to him though and I swore I would never get another cat afterwards so changing the channel…

The Senators lost another game which puts Anaheim up 2 -0 in the series.  My allegiance only lasts as long as your winning so I’m putting away my Sen’s flag for now.

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Randomness: I went to buy a phone today as a backup for my crappy cordless that has a mind of its own – and the salesgirl tried to sell me a scented phone… seriously.  The phone was hollow in the middle of the receiver and you fill it with pot pourri that comes with the phone.  I’ve never seen anything like it.  Whoever thought up that idea needs to go back to school.  Pot pourri is gross.

Listening to: Peter Tosh, the Roots, and Feist

@*#@: Pandora is no longer available in Canada.  My life will never be the same.

And finally:  throughout my day trying to remember to do as many of the 70 prayers for forgiveness as I can.  And much zhikr of gratefulness.

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it’s 2 am and just between you and me…

I miss grandma and grandpa  (I don’t know if I’ll ever see them again)

I miss bestamor and bestafar

I miss my cat (I’m sorry kittu)

I miss her  (One day I’ll forgive you for lying and for stealing from me)

I miss her too  (One day she’ll forgive me for catching her in the act)

I miss playing soccer baseball

I miss smoking Avanti light king size

I miss being able to eat guilt free

I miss feeling the wind in my hair

I miss working with children (sometimes)

I miss not knowing you were sick

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Living in the Moment

Living your day to day life, it can sometimes be difficult to remember to be grateful for the blessings you have.  Recently I read in a magazine article that the reason why humans are never satisfied with what they have and are always wanting more is because of our ancestors survival instinct.  To be complacent was to be weak and to be weak was to die.  So to remain at the top of the evolutionary chain we developped an insatiable need to always have more and better. Hmmm… I must be the strongest and the fittest of the whole bunch 🙂

This question of being grateful for the blessings in my life crystallized for me one day when I was browsing through a second hand bookstore downtown.  I had gone there to see if I could find one of my favourite books which had somehow gone missing from my library.  I figured it was a longshot because if you’ve ever been to a second hand bookstore you know how hard it is to actually find something you are looking for (usually you come away with something you didn’t know you wanted ).  Anyways I actually ended up finding the very book I was looking and for about 5 seconds I was “woohoo!” happy…then I thought, “let me see if I can find better bound copy”, and “I actually don’t want a 3-book volume, let me see if I can find the book on its’ own”.  It was at that moment, that I realized how unable I still was to be satisfied with the blessings in my life.  Forget about those moments where I actively seek out patience, satisfaction and gratitude.  I am referring to the daily, insignificant happenings that we don’t think about and don’t remember half the time.  That day has stayed with me and has helped me to see that it is perhaps those small, unimportant moments that are the ones that train you for the big life changing ones.  If I learn to control myself in the small situations then perhaps it will come naturally to me when it’s really important. 

I once wrote that I was happy, but I remember not being able to put my finger on exactly why.  What had changed for me over the years that I was not so much no longer unhappy,  but that I actually began to recognize myself as being happy?  I finally came to the conclusion that it was because I had learned to live in the moment.  It sounds so cliched and it was definitely not something I set out to do…but there it is.  My focus is on the here and now, not the future or the past.   I think maybe the same thing applies to being grateful for the blessings you have in your life.  Being able to be truly grateful for the blessings in your life now, praising God for those blessings whether big or small keeps you in the present as well.  It is also not dependant on whether you are happy or not.  I need to remember God’s blessings and be satisfied with them, when I am happy and content but also when I am at my saddest.  It sounds easy to do, and people may read this and wonder why it took me so long to reach this point but I thought I had reached it long ago.  It was only recently that I realized how much further I had to go, how little I knew and understood about myself.  So my goal is to get to a point where whether I am happy or sad I maintain my gratefulness for the blessings I do have…and I remember to thank God and to praise God – in the small things like finding a worn out copy of a favourite book, or in the big things like being surrounded by family and friends every step of my way.

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Tulips and Sunshine

Now that the nice weather is here we are taking as much advantage as possible!  The Tulip Fest is in town and even though I’ve been living here for about 12 years I’ve never been.  There wasn’t much to see as it was just the first weekend but I think they have concerts or something happening soon.

 Tulip Fest 2007 

It’s Safiyah’s birthday today!!!  She is a whole lotta 23 🙂 Her birthday is always soured a bit for me because it reminds me that in about a month I will be turning 33 …

Looking at us you’d never think we were ten years apart…right? It’s okay you can lie to me if you have to!  We are planning a big birthday barbeque on Sunday to celebrate her birthday, Elisa’s on the 15th and Ilyas’s on the 16th (he’s going to be 2!!! – Saf and I feel so bad because we thought he was turning three and we kept making fun of him because he was so small and said teese-teese instead of cheese.)

 And we might as well throw in a celebratory hoot for Norwegian Independance Day too..I think it’s on the 17th 🙂

Here are some more pics of us last weekend  ….

                       Giant Spider at the National Gallery             View of the city from behind the art gallery

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Tonight I was reminded.

I can’t even express how it made me feel.

Written down, was a stark condemnation of my actions, and the ease with which I forget the favours bestowed on me. 

Tears of shame but also of gratitude – to be so blessed again that I am reminded and not left to wander heedlessly.

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Uninspired

I’ve missed writing – my laptop finally got fixed so maybe I’ll be inspired to log on more often now.  My brain was full of things to write about and of course when you sit down finally,  you find yourself stuck.  So I’ll wait until the thoughts tumble out at the usual inopportune time.

School is out for the summer and I have some time to get my bearings again.  I don’t have many plans …mostly enjoy one day at a time, paint a little, write a little, read as many books as I can guilt free.  I’m reading Guns, Germs and Steel right now – Since my last exam April 21 I’ve devoured three books and I have a stack waiting for me.

And I’ve been on Facebook way too much. 

Anyways it’s 4am and I’m falling asleep.

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