The rush of adrenaline you get from a morning run makes you feel invincible.
That is until the world reminds you that you’re not and in an attempt to run around the pile of mud on the sidewalk, you fall knees first into a pile of mud in the grass next to the sidewalk leaving your clothes, shoes and cell phone covered in a layer of brown guck which on your hands looks like a terrible mehndi experiment gone wrong.
But if that’s not enough of a reminder, you then have to run back to your office down I-10 were every other car on the feeder can’t help but stare at you and proceed to make the walk of shame through your office gym to the locker room.
Alhumdulillah, at least I didn’t fall on the concrete, I didn’t like these workout pants much anyways and my phone is working!
So to all of you reading this, be grateful that your day probably started off much better than mine and of you know of the best way to get mud off of running shoes, holla at me.
Brave, well written, and inspirational.
“You and your friend probably both claim to be Muslims. You probably even pray at the mosque every Friday or more often. You probably tell your wives that they should not get out of the house because the world out there is filled with horrible men who will disgrace them. You probably even believe that you had a right to touching my bottom because you think a “good” woman would never be out on the streets without a man. Your sisters are “good.” They stay at home when you pressure them to. If I were a “good woman” I would do the same. These streets belong to men.
I am writing this letter to tell you that I never intended for you to get beaten and humiliated, but I am not sorry for speaking out. I am writing to tell you that I know what you are up to… . I will come out of the home every day and walk bravely down the streets of my city, not because I need to, but because I can and neither your harassment or sexual assault nor an oppressive government will ever be able to take that ability from me again.
A Woman You Harassed”
The Danger of a Single Story
“I recently spoke at an American University where I student told me that it was such a shame that Nigerian men were physical abusers like the father character in my novel. I told him that I just read a novel called American Pyscho and it was such a shame that young Americans were serial murders… .
The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.”
- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, The danger of a single story (Ted Talks)
Fake it until you become it.
We are simply an accumulation of our habits, and our habits are malleable.
It’s not easy to change your thoughts, your words, and your actions to the point where it becomes internalized and second nature to act and think in a certain manner, but it’s possible. It’ll seem strange at first. It will feel like you’re “faking it” but that’s the beauty of it.
You are whoever you decide to be. You are whoever you want to be, so don’t fake it until you make it. Fake it until you become it.
Failure is not a permanent condition. It’s a moment, an instant, a stage all of us face at one point of another. It won’t define you or your life unless you let it, so actively chose to analyze it, learn from it and carry on more optimistic and resolute than before because this time you’re knowledgeable than you were before.
Remember “failure is only the opp to begin again, only this time more wisely.”
Dear Class of 2013,
Congratulations! You are officially (or almost) done with undergrad. You’ve graduated and you’re ready to take on the next challenge. You should be psyched and excited beyond belief, but for some reason, a lot of you seniors have expressed the exact opposite sentiment. While some level of bitter-sweetness is justifiable and expected, I’m referring to something entirely different. Many of you are already reminiscing about your glory days in college while moaning and groaning about the pains of the real world before you’ve even step foot into it to experience it for yourself.
A word of advice, don’t prematurely strike out the world of opportunity out there by starting the “real world” with baseless preconceived notions. Embrace your future and get pumped! You’re finally free to chase the dream you’ve been working towards all these years. Whether it’s landing your first full time job or starting grad school, your goals are yours for the taking, and you’re doing yourself a disservice by doubting yourself and the bright future you have ahead of you.
Yes, it’s scary because you won’t have the process laid out for you step-by-step like you do in college nor will many of you be able to create a semester by semester plan to map out the next four years of your life. Your future is going to be much more obscure, and your path will be full of uncertainty. There will be times you’ll want to give up, and you’ll desperately wish you were back in the blissful bubble you thrived in during college, but that’s when you’ve got to straighten up, clear your head, refocus on your goal and move forward.
Although the scariest part for many of you (like me) is that you have no idea what your ultimate goal really is. You don’t have a clear destination in mind. You’re not dead set on a particular future and even if you secretly are, you see it as just wistful thinking because you’re not sure if you can even feasibly achieve these hopes and ambitions. If you fall into this boat, JOIN THE CLUB. I promise you that you’re not alone. It may seem like everyone else knows exactly what they want and you’re the only one who in spite of 4 years of school still has no earthly idea of what you want to be when you “grow up.” Well reality check, you are just like 90% of your peers because here’s what most people don’t fully realize. You’re first gig out of college (whether its grad school or the work force) does NOT define your future. You will most likely not land your dream job right of school, and there is no shame in working for a few years in one industry and then completely changing you career path later.
Trust me. A lot of us do it, and it is 100% feasible. You CAN and most of you WILL change your mind about what you want to be in life, so stop freaking yourself out. Graduation is not the end all be all.
Also, for those of you joining corporate America, you’ll still see your friends. You probably won’t hang out with them until 4 am on Wednesday night, but you’ll still have a social life. You’ll still have a ton of fun. Except now, you’ll be able to do so without having to worry about the organic chemistry exam you have coming up or the fact that your student loans are racking up by the semester. You’ll have your weeknights and weekends free to do whatever you want. You can go on trips, take up new hobbies, or pursue other passions you have outside of the workplace. No tests, no grades, no homework.
In all honesty, the “real world” rocks. You’re young, and the world is at your fingertips. You just have to figure out what you want to do with it. It’ll be tough but exhilarating.
Ultimately, my advice to you is to stop focusing on everything you’re leaving behind, and stop thinking about all the obstacles you have ahead of you. Instead, start anticipating all the good times that are about to come your way. Enjoy your graduation. Live it up, and always remember that life is what you make. Don’t limit yourself. Don’t doubt yourself. Don’t take yourself so seriously.
You gotta work, but play hard too.
“It is outrageous that I have to actually prove to the world how horrified I am that an 8-year-old boy was brutally murdered by a terrorist bombing. Any normal human being feels this agonizing grief with the rest of the country. I do not have to prove to you that, I, too, find it morally reprehensible. Of course I do. I have a heart. I am human.
And now, it is no longer my job to enlighten you. To quote what you so often tell ethnic communities, “It’s time for you to step up to the plate, take responsibility, and stop taking what I have earned,” my integrity, my dignity.”
Don’t feel bad.
If you truly want to change yourself and your habits, the first step is to change from within, but the second step which is equally (if not more) important is to create a supportive and inspirational environment and a social network that is conducive to your desired lifestyle.
You need people around you that will be there for you and keep you moving towards your goals even if you messed up or are confused and frustrated. You need people who understand you, who will be upfront and straight forward with you rather than coddle you, and who will make sure you stay on the right track even when you want to give up and turn back to your old ways.
You’ve got take responsibility and create this environment for yourself. Distance yourself from the people in your life that hinder you and focus on those that encourage you.
Doing this does not make you a bad person, so don’t feel bad. It’s not about the fact that you don’t want others’ bad habits dragging you down or that you think you’re better than others. It’s about the fact that the two of you are different or you’ve grown apart. Everyone has different values, priorities, and needs, so stop worrying upsetting others. You’re not doing it out of malice, contempt or anger. You’re doing it out of respect for yourself.
Everyone reaches a point where they start focusing on their future and the life they want and DESERVE for themselves. There’s nothing wrong with that.
You’re lucky. Never forget it.
You can walk and talk. You can see and here. You can read, analyze and write. Yet, you take it for granted. You waste your talents and refuse to live up to your potential.
You’ve forgotten that these basic skills along with your other talents are privileges that not everyone is blessed with. You’re lucky. Never forget it.
Dream big. Word hard. Cultivate your skills and give back. If not for yourself or for your family, then for all those kids and adults living with mental and physical disabilities that can only wish to have the advantages you’ve been blessed with.
You owe it them to be grateful, to strive to do your best and to make this world a better place for all of us.
Willpower and Conviction
If you really want something with all of your heart, don’t settle. Don’t get disillusioned by setbacks. Most of all, don’t become complacent and just accept the status quo. You’ve got to keep trying.
It’s not your abilities that are being tested. It’s your willpower and your conviction.
The question is not, “CAN you do it.” Of course, you can.
The real question is how badly do you want it and how hard are you willing to work for it.
Don’t get discouraged so easily. Goals are not achieved by the weak hearted. It takes willpower, dedication and, most importantly, self-assurance.
Muslims in the Media
There’s been quite a few articles with anti-Muslims rhetoric in the media and stories of Muslims facing discrimination and being victim of hate crimes over this past week. It’s hurtful, frustrating and, most of all, upsetting, but before we get angry, let’s remember the life of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). He remained patient and kind toward those persecuting in spite of all of the atrocities they committed against him. We are told to study his life because he exhibited an unparalleled level of kindness, patience, and wisdom.
Let’s take this time to refresh our memory on the stories and the sayings of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and strive to exemplify the characteristics he embodied in the face of any adversity that comes our way.
Let’s not tell the world but rather show the world and the community we live in that Islam is a peaceful religion by exhibiting compassion and maturity.
Let’s increase our knowledge of our deen, so when we are asked questions, we can answer knowledgably because it is our duty to be able to do so and our responsibility not to spread incorrect information in a world where there is enough confusion already.
Let’s always remember that the Quran says “Do people think they will be left alone after saying “we believe” without being put to the test? We tested those who went before them: God will certainly mark out those which are truthful” (29:1-2). Every generation before us and every generation after us has been and will be tested.
Now, it’s just our turn. It’s our time, so let’s keep calm and strengthen our iman.
A Wake Up Call
It’s been a week full of chaos, confusion, turmoil and loss all over the world. From Boston to Afghanistan and West Texas to Pakistan/Iran, we’ve seen human suffering on a grand scale headline in the news repeatedly, yet this doesn’t even begin to cover the countless other stories also exposed this week such as the 5 year old girl who was brutally raped and tortured in India or the NY times post about a prisoner’s account of the hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay.
While watching the news this week, I found myself looking inward and asking myself:
How often do I help others expecting nothing in return? How often do I pray for the well being and success of others? How often do I volunteer? How often (not necessarily how much) do I donate to charity? How often do I try to educate ourselves on the issues facing our communities?
Pain and suffering exists all over the world on a regular basis, but there is only so much we have the emotional capacity to cope with. As a result, we often cast a blind eye to everyone’s problems except our own and those that directly affect us, but this self-centered attitude of society is unsustainable.
This week has been a wake up call for me that we cannot cruise through life selfishly. In spite of the myriad amount of challenges all of us face consistently, we are immensely blessed and while there is only a limited amount we can do for the travesties that occur across the globe, there is a considerable amount we can do to better the city and the community we live in.
It’s time we look inward and take a critical look at the importance of charity in our lives. It’s time we remind ourselves that “an individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.
Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, or worn. It is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace & gratitude.