Best Day of the Year

Just like every year, 2015 has been a crazy rollercoaster with ups and downs, and twists and turns.

If one were to ask me what my favorite day of the year was, I’d have to say August 1, 2015. This day, ironically, was filled with rollercoasters, some that were AMAZING and some that were headache inducing. My favorite day of the year was the day I went to Kings Dominion with my best friend, Hannah.

The trip was OH MY GOD awesome. I don’t think I said “oh my god” more times in my life than on this day. We went with a youth group from Virginia, not knowing anyone but ourselves.

Now, the day didn’t start out so great. We sat in 3 hours of traffic (bad idea to travel Saturday morning in the middle of beach season) and once we arrived, we waited in line for an hour for a ride that broke down as we waited. Cranky and irritated from the traffic and the line, we decided to have lunch to regroup. We ate with some people we met on the bus and they turned out to be great people. We ended up spending most of the day with them.

Perhaps because we ventured deeper into the park, or for whatever reason, the lines started going smoothly.

Probably because of my lack of experience at theme parks, I thought the rides were freaking amazing. Rollercoasters are hard to explain the thrill of it. Like it’s something you have to experience to understand. Screaming at the top of my lungs with Hannah, being care-free, and relaxed was a much needed break. I was so happy, it makes me happy now just thinking about it.

To top it all off, the ice-cream and strawberry topped funnel cakes were the best way to conclude the day. THEY TASTED SO GOOD OH MY GOD. I literally could not handle how good they were and Hannah has photo evidence of me freaking out with every bite. The crunchiness of the funnel cake, plus the sweet, cold ice-cream was the best feeling after the exhaustion of the day started to settle in. I recommend ice-cream topped funnel cakes 10/10.

But, you see, it didn’t stop there. Back on the bus, Hannah and I had the best conversations. She put her legs on my lap and I leaned back in my chair. We put headphones in and the playlist on Pandora was incredible. It fit the mood perfectly, as we drove into the sunset, going home.

Happy New Year!!

-mariam

Is it bad that I’m more excited for the Sherlock Special coming out tomorrow and not New Years?

Thank You GSW!

I can’t watch the news anymore. I’ve stopped watching the GOP debates. It’s just too stressful and my anxiety goes through the roof.

Instead, randomly, I’ve taken on watching Golden State Warriors basketball highlights (I totally bandwagoned them after they won the Finals). Part because I love sports and part because they’re a good team, I find that watching them play is such a great destresser, for me at least. I think it’s important to be a fan of at least one good team just to have someone to mentally rely on. I’ve been a Redskins fan since I was 5 and I’m incredibly loyal, but being a skins fan is so unpredictable. Each week is a different roller coaster of emotions.

So being a Warriors fan is just great because I can rely on them day in and day out without emotional trauma (they’re 26-1 so far!). But more so than being reliable, watching the highlights is pretty. I never thought basketball would be aesthetically pleasing for me, but something about the teamwork, the ball movement, and the shooting helps relieve whatever anxiety or stress I’m dealing with.

It takes a lot to keep my morale up. “It’s okay,” I say, trying to convince myself, “It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay.It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay,” I repeat in my head over and over and over and over. Ridding myself from anxious thoughts is not as easy as pushing a play button to a video. Nothing is that simple. However, it’s a positive step in changing my mindset.

Find some sort of reliable stress/anxiety outlet; whether it be watching, reading, or arting something, or whatever it may be; develop a way to escape.

With all that being said, also remember that escaping reality isn’t the goal. The goal is to rid yourself from an anxious/stressful mindset in order to be more productive. So don’t go about running away from life because it’s making you stressed: deal with the stress so you can tackle life.

-mariam

Special thanks to Steve Kerr and his Warriors. Y’all make a difference in my life, I appreciate it.

Smile

Last Friday, Professor Joe Thompson gave me incredible advice.

He’s my U.S. History professor. I was in his office going over a few quizzes before the final this Wednesday.

Thompson is a funny guy, he likes to crack jokes, and all around is a great person. I love, love his class because he teaches in a way that makes you feel like you’re learning about life and people, not events and dates.

Now of course, with all the political drama surrounding the election, Thompson always has a thing or two to say about the Republican front-runners. As an American-Muslim, Donald Trump’s poll percentages scare the bejeezus out of me. I honestly don’t understand how people, not only like this guy, but want him to run this country?! It really boggles my mind.

After I was finished going over the quizzes and stood up to leave, Thompson remarked that I was a great student and very bright. I responded saying: “It’s funny you always say that, but I mean, I have to be. Who’s gonna wanna hire this?” I asked, gesturing to my headscarf (hijab) tied around my head.

Thompson’s response surprised me. He sat me down again, looked me in the eye, and told me I was beautiful. He told me to have faith, to have hope, and not to worry. He told me to wear my hijab with pride and not to listen to the loud ones with the microphones who want to tear me down. He told me he’d hire me in a heartbeat.

The best part is I believed him. I decided I won’t settle, I won’t back down, I will have faith, and I will be optimistic. My success will combat Donald Trump and the likes of him.

For some reason I needed this push. I wasn’t necessarily down about the racist rhetoric towards Muslims happening in the media, but by the end of the week, it all just crashed and my brain couldn’t take it.

Two hours later, I was home checking my email, and I sat stunned. Thompson sent me an email with the subject “Smile” and he reiterated his advice to me: “Your future is so much brighter than those who denigrate your faith. My advice to you is hold your head high, express your faith with pride, and live well. And smile -JT”

I read the email over and over and over shocked really that someone cares. I realized that Thompson’s advice wasn’t profoundly amazing: I had heard Muslim speakers say more or less the same thing, but the fact that Thompson isn’t Muslim and still cares made a difference with me. You could say his advice trumped them all (see what I did there 😉).

Hang in there everyone.

-mariam

Verily, with every hardship comes ease! [Quran 94:6]