Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Ramadan Revisted: blast from the past

I wrote this several years ago when I was still a believer...but on the way out...so it seems looking back.

Ramadan Ramadan
Burning bright
In our breasts you do ignite
Passions flaring throughout the night
We leave our beds in the first grey light
To please You God with all our might
Striving for the path thats pure and right
To be granted heaven...the sweetest bite

From trembling lips vows anew
That fall from lips like morning dew
Pleading weakness for sins that grew
That far outweigh the good we do
Charity given by just a few
So hard to stretch a hand out too
Enough! we believe to pay our dues
With bended knee...sujuud and ruku

Our foreheads pressed..a mark that shows
We proudly strut like birds that crow
Our hijabs pulled tight...our thobes just so
AstagfirAllahs from our lips do flow
Kneading our misbahs like the bakers dough
Puffed up pride...monumental egos
As if Muslims are the only ones that know
Of what God really means...of what God only knows

Ramadan...a gift..a month He did instate
A chance to wipe clean the slate
Of sins that called and sealed our fates
To live in a world filled with hate
Your wrong Im right...with no debate
Raised fists...raised prides...two deadly mates
That oft forget God is One...God is Great
All men from one He did create

So unbending...our knees...our heads...our pride
Shown plainly to You are the sins we hide
Lifes not fair...an excuse we cried
So said those from the past as they died
With the weight of burdens...not an easy ride
As if old age is assured...time set aside
For a miss spent youth..a Path denied
Two angels watchful by our sides

This month so fake...we are so devout
A month we just cant live without
To deny ourselves whats ours by right
Nothing in the day...but plenty at night
A blessed month...a cooling breeze
That will only temporarily freeze
The hypocrisy that feeds our souls
Hypocrisy that only grows
Until God is lost among the throes
Of sanctimonious beards..of Sharia robes
The Path is blurred with fables and stories
Muslim pride lives on in age old glories
Believing we are blessed by the Prophets light
But ignoring the Prophet who gave insight
To seeking Gods Mercy...Forgiveness and Love
3 blessings in abundance sent down from above
With hot claims from the righteous but fingers in ears
We demand our rights...but fail to hear
How God in His Mercy will pardon but a few
Oh Muslims...how can you be so sure its YOU?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Got some rest...now for the back story.

This past 5 months have been an absolute nightmare, college wise. Of all the semesters I have endured (5) this one, hands down, meant to do me in. It has gone wrong from the start and keeps going wrong in so many ways my head is still spinning from the damage I have done to myself through sheer exhaustion and single mindedness. Read this and tell me I am my own worst enemy...seriously.

When I signed up for my last set of classes last semester, my advisor gave me a list of classes I needed to complete my degree, the have to takes (generals) and the ones pertaining to my field (psych classes). Chemistry was on that list and the very last class I signed up for. I had absolutely no experience with chemistry in my life so all I knew is that it had lots of formulas...like Algebra and I got through that...so, no big deal? Boy was I wrong.

Along with chem I had statistics (again, no experience with that) and my advisor cautioned that taking both of those classes together might be difficult. She suggested I space them out but I wanted to get this over with...I did NOT want to face another semester. To add to the difficulty meter, stats was an online course. I absolutely hate online courses. I need to see a teacher, see the board, see my course information in action so to speak. Online courses are notorious for slipping by while you are busy doing other things...and end up spending copious amounts of time catching up before a due date arrives (at least that's my technique if you will). I also had a drugs and behavior class online...OMFG!! was it hectic to remember to log onto those classes and see what assignments there were and due dates etc. I ended up missing the very first damn assignment for that exact reason. Forgot to log in and get started by the due date....but I had an excuse...CHEMISTRY!!!

All my other classes combined did not give me half the amount of grief that chemistry was determined to mete out. From day one I felt like I was learning chemistry in a foreign language...like Swahili or something. While I was in class 5 feet from the board and she explained it...it all seemed to make sense. Soon as I got home and opened the book to do the homework, I was completely lost. I had never been so completely frustrated and feeling like a failure (academically) in my life. Chemistry just would not get IN MY HEAD and stay there. Because I was having such a freaking hard time with chem...spending all my free time on it and ignoring my other classes (5 all together)...my grades were suffering for the first time EVER in my academic life. Again...failure failure failure!! I was ready to pull some serious hair out...mine and anyone else that claimed chemistry was easy. How many times I resisted throwing my 10 pound chem book at that person should be noted. A reward or something at least.

I was barely staying above a C- minus and that was fighting tooth and nail for every point. I had mostly C's or B's in the other classes as well. Unheard of for me. I wanted to quit so many times that I very nearly did at one point. I threw the chem book in the garbage and stormed up to the college to do just that...but in the time it took me to get up there I calmed down and thought it through. I had come so far and was nearly at the finish line...was I about to let a little thing like chem throw me off my path? I continued on....ugh!

The final straw came when she handed us a chapter exam. 11 pages full of formulas and problems that took forever to work through. Even the students that KNEW chem told me later it was a damn hard exam...for a freaking chapter test. They barely got through it before class was over...what chance did I have when I had to take my time and really think my way through each question and each formula? When class was over I was barely half way through...but I figured she would let me stay and finish it as every other teacher I had had allowed that. She didn't. She pretty much pulled it right out of my hand and said my time was up. I was doomed. I failed that test simply because I didn't have enough completed to pass it with a C even...which means my grade had dropped to a low D if not worse. I knew I could not improve it in the time I had left because I was struggling with it as it was...so I went to the office to see about dropping it (even if I had to do it over at least I might get a teacher I could relate to better...as I did with problem solving). Apparently in this respect I was lucky as dropping full time classes without penalty had only 2 days left. I had no clue about that part...just went there hoping. Yay for me though I still felt like a failure.

So my work load and stress decreased amazingly and I set about concentrating on my other classes. In short time I had all those grades back up to A's and B's...so not a complete failure...however...due to my complete focus on chemistry early on in the semester I let a very important due date pass me by...a date that has affected every thing I have done since in horrible ways.

I forgot to sign up for graduation.

When I was in the office dropping chemistry I happened to overhear someone mention it and asked when the due date was...4 days ago. I asked her if I could still sign up for it...how difficult could it be just to add my name 4 days later? They just needed to know you were graduating..and that you needed a cap and gown...that was all. She said no....period. I had to wait for the next graduation due date...which was in the Summer. I planned on moving from here as soon as school was over as I had had enough of this town and wanted to see other places...now I was stuck well into the Summer. I resigned myself to this particular fate and got on with other things....however, I was currently missing something else that I had no clue about and which would bite me in the ass even harder. I'm telling you...I spent the early part of the semester not aware of a single thing outside of the demands of chemistry and trying to get by in the other classes. I was barely getting any sleep (working the night shift and college during the day and so much time spent on chemistry) that I was not really capable of focusing on anything else...which means I missed another important date.

In order to graduate our college has an Assessment Day (I would assume all colleges have something similar)...a day when you present many example of the work you have done...do a video of something...generally just showcase what you have learned, how you have grown etc. A personal profile type thing. Apparently you have to sign up to do that...and can't graduate without having done it. I missed the sign up...which peeves me to no end because a reminder email would have been nice from the college admins as they know who is ready to graduate (more or less) and a friendly reminder wouldn't go amiss. At any rate...I missed sign up so missed the Assessment Day...and thus couldn't graduate in May as I was expecting too (did I forget to mention that even though my advisor suggested I do chemistry...I, in fact, did not need the credit to graduate as I had taken Biology already...but I will have to do chemistry at some point in the future and she was just wanting me to get it out of the way from now...thanks Jan...all that grief for nothing).

I went to the office once again to inquire about Assessment Day...she said I could do the online course that had started already and try and catch up. The online course is done over a period of weeks while the day itself is just one day of doing everything you need to do (with a list of what you will need etc. to accomplish all that). Ok so..do it online..no big deal. I went home to take a look online. Hmmm.........

There were tons of assignments to do...things we had done already throughout our college experience as well as new stuff she wanted us to do. There were group activities...which I had missed obviously...and due dates of assignments that I had missed as well. So all in all...there wasn't a whole lot I could do  to catch up...which meant I had to make due with what was left. Not a whole lot...only 2 weeks of the class left. I tried but there were way too many papers to write (with points taken off for lateness for the ones that she allowed me to do) and group activities going on of which I had no clue because I had missed out so much already. I was overwhelmed once again.

I went back to the office. She said I could sign up for the Assessment Day in the Summer...and since I had to wait for the Summer to graduate anyhow...why not? So I told her I would do that instead. Burden gone. Or so I thought. Apparently I was still expected to get a grade in this online course (I thought it was understood I wouldn't complete it due to me signing up for the Summer one...but what do I know)...which I wasn't informed of and so failed it. Due to dropping chem and failing this class...my credits needed for being considered a full time student had dropped to just one under the required amount. This meant my Pell Grant status was in danger of being revoked which meant I could be forced to pay it all back. How nice. The fan just kept blowing the shit my way this whole semester.

Currently I am waiting for the college to open again so I can once more go to the office and see how much trouble I am in this time. I don't have a lot of hope in that regard. When it rains it absolutely freaking pours. All my fault, of course...I was completely oblivious to all these dates going by without notice or reminders. I could kick myself after all the work I have done...among other things.

At any rate, I finished the semester with 3 A's and a B...I earned an A on every single paper I had to write throughout my college experience with much praise and feedback. I'm rather proud I was able to come back from those dismal grades I did have earlier on. Especially proud about that stats grade as that wasn't an easy class either for me...and online to boot. Yuck. I haven't received my over all GPA due to not having finished the assessment but I figure it's around 3.4 or 3.5...nothing to sniff at but boy what a headache it has been. I don't recommend it at all. Lack of sleep alone is probably a big factor in why I am in the situation I am in...concentration levels were low throughout the semester and I seriously had to force myself to focus on each class...each assignment and exam...at THAT time...and then pretty much forget about it until the next exam or assignment. No way to get through college. Again... I don't recommend it.

And chemistry. Need I say more. My nemesis and a HUGE factor in why this semester has gone to shit in so many ways.

Also, I had no time to write on this blog because my brain was blank on anything but chemistry...with what brain cells I had left to focus on the other classes. To say I am exhausted is a serious understatement....but it's done...except for the assessment I guess. Who knows? Not me...it seems I have no freaking clue what is going on and boy do I make myself suffer from that ignorance.

Oh yeah...and I can't actually graduate until next May '13 as that is the only time they do graduation ceremonies...so I either stick around until then (I do not intend too) or I skip my actual graduation and miss the diploma being handed to me and wearing the cap and gown etc. They will mail it to me I assume...but maybe I better check on that too. Hmmm....when it rains it pours.

Other than that...I'm doing great.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Free at last....for now.

Sorry for ignoring this blog for so long...this last semester at college has been a head game from the start. Good news, though...I just finished. I am the proud owner of an associates majoring in psych (or will be soon as they send it to me) and it was about one of the hardest things I have done so far. Lack of sleep, no social life, sore feet from working all night and not resting during the day (college)...all for a step up (a small step, but a step) into a world with a bit of a better view than the one afforded from the bottom. Don't ask me what I'm going to do next...sleep without an alarm clock is as far ahead as I can think at this moment. At any rate, I do hope to get back to using this blog more often now...stories to finish...and new ones to tell. Hope I have some readers left but even if I don't...I will still write as that is the balm for my troubled heart...and this past 5 months have seen very little writing...therefore my heart is in serious distress. Let's hope I can sort that mess out here pretty quick. Be back with a post in a day or so.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

I wish I knew how to be free....

This song has been with me for years...I guess I would consider it the soundtrack to my life. Once again I am listening to it over and over...

Monday, January 2, 2012

2011-Wrap Up (more or less)

Due to my infrequent posting this past while...decided to complete this meme to catch some people up...all 5 of you.

1. What did you do in 2011 that you have never done before?
I went rafting on a river as a college activity. It was very awesome!! I also attended a funeral for a biker that was a regular in my store. I have never been to a funeral before (just a wake/viewing..not sure what it's called) much less a biker one. It was very emotional as several friends of his read poems or said something rather informally. I might add that compared to funerals I see on tv (my only comparison) its impromptu and informal feeling made it seem more special and meaningful..at least to me.

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I consider resolutions to be like promises to yourself...and I'm not one for making promises because I'm not always able to keep them. This not only disappoints the one I made them too but I let myself down in the process as well. So...no resolutions...but I do give myself options. Options are good.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Not that I am aware of...(should check Facebook statuses more often maybe)

4. Did anyone close to you die?

5. What countries did you visit?
Only the ones I read in books...I'm home after 23 years..don't plan on going anywhere anytime soon.

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?
I specific date that will change my life...I know its somewhere up ahead...but no idea when it will manifest itself.

7. What date from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why.
Arab Spring...the totality of all those arab countries (the date as each one started more or less) coming to life and seeing their dictators fall one by one..with a few more still to go...but as each one falls I can't help but feel apprehensive that the only result will be a new one taking the place of the old. Let's hope, for their sake, real change will happen from deep within..and not just surface change that really changes nothing at all.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I spent most of my younger years (in Bahrain) practicing a level of patience unknown to most. I had to if I wanted to survive with my sanity intact...but these past few years a certain amount of jaded impatience had crept in and I seemed unable to stop the takeover. I worked very hard this year to gain some of that former patience back...though not to the extent I will take anything from anyone as before...I am no longer in a position of having to submit for the sake of peace or my children. It's been hard but I feel I'm gaining ground.

9. What was your biggest failure?
See #8 those times that I failed to practice patience are the times people got hurt. For that I failed them..and myself.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Ended up in the emergency room with a severe tooth infection...wasn't pretty or something I wish to repeat. Fell down a flight of stairs....killed my knee which still gives me grief from time to time. And of course the most painful of all...a heart that will remain injured and in constant pain until the only person that can repair it is free to do so. This could take awhile so...2012 round up addition maybe? *sigh*

11. What was the best thing you bought?
A ring for someone special.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Every person that withheld their tongue from saying something that would hurt another. It takes true effort to bite your tongue and we do not always manage that...a celebration is called for (even if nobody even knows there is a need for one except you) whenever this happens. If this was you at anytime..my hats off to you. I didn't always manage it.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Humans killing humans simply to remain in power...we all are going to die..that power you are killing for..will still be there long after you are gone...is that spilled blood worth it?

14. Where did most of your money go?
Bills. Not many extras this year.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
3 "really's? Hmmm....well I got really excited about doing so well in college..hard work and no sleep pays off even if it doesn't feel like it at the time. I got really really excited as summer arrived and I knew a certain person was coming to visit. BUT my really really REALLY excited moment will be when #6 happens. It will definitely be worth 3 "reallys".

16. What song(s) will always remind you of 2011?
Bruno Mars: It Will Rain

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: Happier or sadder?
This is a tough question because certain aspects of my life make me happier simply because it is not like it use to be...but then other parts are not going as I wish them to and so sadness is also ever present. I have my ups and downs...as long as the ups last longer than the downs...I will manage to get through them.

18. Thinner or fatter?
My bank account is definitely thinner.

19. richer or poorer?
My health is fairly even..so in that I am richer than most. My bills are also paid each month (even if that leaves nothing left over..but paid is paid) so I am richer in that respect as well. I am constantly learning new things and evolving my thoughts and beliefs to align with this new knowledge..and for that I am definitely richer than many who fail to take advantage of such an incalcuable amount of information out there and prefer to stick to what they "know". However, I do not have many friends still (haven't quite learned how to make them and keep them...lived too long without much company I suppose..I'm sad to admit I am still socially inept) so for that I am definitely poorer. Also, a few of the people I love most are far from me...until they are near me again..I am most definitely poorer in that respect.

20. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Reading things that didn't have an exam after it. Ride my bike when the weather was good. Take 2 day trips or something similar and see new things.

21. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Crying...thinking of past mistakes.

22. How did you spend Christmas?
Sleeping...with my schedule I have to grab sleep when I can.

23. How many one-night stands?
Well since this is not Facebook and such information is strictly for that social outlet..I shall plead the 5th. ;)

24. What was your favorite TV program?
I don't watch much TV but watch the occasional series on netflix now and then. I got caught up in Breaking Bad. Excellent. I also liked Army Wives.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Not sure if hate is the right word...but someone that I thought loved me...proved that anyone can hold a knife and seek to shred your heart with it. I do not hate her...I simply feel nothing. To hate her would be to think about her and flame the hate...I'm past such things. I cut her from my life...unfortunately taking that knife out has proved difficult...can't reach around to my back like I could when I was younger.

26. What was the best book you read?
Didn't have lots of time to read anything outside of college but I did find time to read a few things. A book by Christopher Hitchens really spoke to me. Religion Poisons Everything. Also, Daniel Dennet's Breaking the Spell.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Adele..though I didn't "discover" her...she's been around...just had not heard of her.

28. What did you want and get?
A kindle...but really haven't had time to enjoy it as much as I would like.

29. What was your favorite film of this year?
I saw very few new films this year...still hooked on some old ones that I watched again though.

30. What did you do on your birthday?
My friend took me to dinner with her husband and some friends. It was a special night...you don't turn 29 every year...well actually I do but whose counting.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?
The same one I have practiced most of my life (even under the abaya)..jeans and tshirt.

32. What kept you sane?
The fact that there are still people who love me...despite my failures..or maybe because of them. Not real sure.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I have/had (not sure if it's gone yet or I just haven't had time to muse about it) a serious girl crush on Ellen Degeneres. The lady obviously has her down times like all of us but she still manages to light up a room and make people smile...even when you don't really feel like it...and she does it without making others the butt of cruel "jokes". That takes a lot of class in hollywood anymore.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
Bahrain protestors. (and all arab states but this one is personal for obvious reasons) This little island that is "known" for being so goddam friendly is shown to the world to be exactly what it is and has always been...a little island ruled by a corrupt family who will stop at nothing, including murder, to keep their pitiful little self appointed titles, money, and corrupt life styles.

35. Who did you miss?
My daughter who is far from me...and my love.

36. Who was the best new person you met?
My anthropology teacher was one of the most interesting people I have ever met.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011.
Realizing that even though you love someone...you cannot have them in your life if you want to keep peace within yourself and keep the drama down. You have to cut them loose even if it seems like the harshest remedy.

That's it more or less...as stated. 2011 went by so fast...and yet so slow. Some interesting things happened, some fun stuff, a few sorrows..and a couple of surprises as well. Learned a few things about myself that made me go hmmmm...but all in all...I survived it. I consider that a blessing when so many across the globe didn't.

p.s. I will start posting more here now that college is done...I had the most hectic college/work schedule and could find no time to formulate thoughts that weren't meant for a paper of some sort. One more semester of college to go..but I think I can find time this semester to post my usual drivel. Stay tuned, folks.