Skinny Is Not a Compliment

I don’t watch what I eat. I mean yeah, we shop at Trader Joe’s, I don’t eat a lot of processed foods, and I can throw words at you like hydrogenated fats and high fructose corn syrup. But in general, if I want that donut, I’m gonna eat it. I don’t hold back. I snack A LOT. I know where every “hidden” candy stash is in my house. I can’t say no to ice cream and I don’t always eat my vegetables. I try to exercise regularly, but I’m definitely not in the best shape. And I am skinny. I know that I’m skinny. Not because I try to be, but just because I am (metabolism or something, idk science). Now please stop telling me. Stop saying it like being told I’m skinny is the best compliment you could give me. Or like it’s something that I control. Just stop. The word “skinny” is a BODY TYPE. Not. A. Compliment. Stop associating skinny with good and fat with bad. These words are simply used to describe our bodies. They shouldn’t have any other positive/negative connotations attached to them. No no no no no just stop it because body size is completely irrelevant to beauty. Skinny doesn’t equate being healthy or pretty or even ideal. We need to promote having a healthy body over a skinny one, and that starts with stoping the glorification thinness. Of course, because our culture looks unfavorably upon being overweight (fat shaming), it’s considered wrong to make a comment about someone who is overweight. Most of us know that this is alienating, offensive, and insecurity-inducing. But what about the opposite? Making a comment about someone’s thinness, why is that considered a compliment? For whatever reason, this second kind of comment about someone’s weight has become socially acceptable, which is insensitive and not okay.

 

-mariam

I just spent the weekend dealing with comments like “it looks like you haven’t eaten” and “oh why don’t you eat more.” I’m just tired of it.

10/5/2016

The worst day. Today has been the worst.

It’s just that point in the semester where I’m exhausted, drained, and completely overwhelmed. I’m so tired. And today I crashed. My brain couldn’t handle it anymore. I had this weird foreboded and completely irrational feeling of failure. Perhaps because I’m not doing as well as hoped in two of my classes? I don’t know, I don’t think so because it was so massive and anxiety driven. I was just so tired of this goddamn election, the ridiculous amount of midterms I had, and the general state of the world. To make matters worse, I forgot my  wristband at home that I always wear to fidget with and calm me down.

You know when you’re feeling upset and your brain just thinks of more things to make you feel even worse? I started doing that too. Existential questions stormed my mind, made me overthink everything. “Is this really want you wanna do?” Is this what you SHOULD do?” “You should be doing more.” “You’re a failure.”

It was just a mess of complete irrationality.

I don’t know. This felt different from my typical breakdowns throughout the semester, which I can usually fix by getting the work done that was stressing me. But today I felt hopeless. I felt trapped. It didn’t feel like there was a solution. I was stressed for no fixable reason.

—–

When I first wrote this, I was gonna say that there’s no cherry on top. There’s no happy ending. But I’m better-ish now. I don’t feel as overwhelmed or as stressed out as before. I’m… okay. I’m okay.

In the moment though, I didn’t feel okay and I didn’t think I’d ever feel okay again. Funny how my brain convinced me of that.

-mariam

#EQUALITY4PENCILS

My life as a pencil is not poor. Well, sometimes it can be. There are always those kids who think I am some sort of chew toy, the ones who press down so hard that my tip breaks, or since I’m getting older and shorter, the ones who forget about me, and do not use me for months at a time. I am thankful though because I had a friend who was used so frequently that she died from being so small. Even though there is a plenty of hardship in my life, it is all worth it when I see a child write his or her name for the first time. My skinny heart glows when I see amazing writing pieces, art, and doodles all thanks to my owner, and my lead tips.

One thing that really makes me want to scribble angrily, though, is when kids grow up, go to college or work, and start using fancy pens. They leave behind their childhood with us, for obnoxious, stuck-up pens.  Is it fair that we as community are not considered important after high school, when pens are used for a lifetime? Is it fair that different types and colors of pens are being developed everyday and all we get is cheap drawing pencils? Does it make sense to create an erasable pen when pencils are freely available to do the job? Why is it that when grading papers, teachers always use pens? I am here to denounce this as discrimination towards pencils. By the end of this essay, you will be convinced to join me, and other pencils around the world in a internet campaign called #EQUALITY4PENCILS.

Since kindergarten, we have been an important building block for solid writing. So is it fair when an impudent child snaps a pencil in half on purpose that it is thrown away and no court ruling is held, but when he or she touches the fancy fountain pen, a lecture is given about the pen’s value and importance? These are horrid values being taught to our children each and every day.

As a respected pencil in the community, I find it offensive to see how pens are given the upper hand automatically with no justification. Pens apparently, have the god-given right to sign marriage contracts, drivers’ licenses, credit cards, and legal documents. Apparently, pencil’s rights are to write shopping lists, it seems.

Although sharpening us can be a pain for both the human and the pencil, one positive factor is that our life span is at least 2-3 years, whereas pens finish within 2-3 months with no warning. When I say we last 2-3 years, I mean used halfway down, given up on, and thrown into a draw for retirement. Also, when using a pencil, you see its life decreasing with every sharpening and you become prepared to buy a new one. Pens unfortunately, stop working abruptly and you are left scratching the paper. Afterwards, the hunt around the house to find a working pen begins.

The burial process of pens and pencils is also unequal. Pens are left around the house after death as memorials and humans stupidly grab at them when pen hunting, to see if they still work. Us pencils on the other hand, are thrown away immediately if cracked or broken.

Time after time pencils are treated as second-class writing utensils when we are obviously better than pens. I hope you will join us on our #EQUALITY4PENCILS campaign on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

-mariam

Lol this is just another thing that isn’t fair about the world, I hope you find it funny. I love this piece so much though because it’s so me. 🙂

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]

I.Can’t.Think.

I had a headache when I decided to word vomit, and so this is what happened:

Throbbing.
I.Can’t.Think.
Pound pound stop. Pound.
Ears bleeding, eyes screaming.
What is relief?
Oh the humor.
My mind can’t function because I’m temporarily blessed less than “normal.”
Then it stops.
It’s so strange you know?
One thing “missing” and bam.
I.Can’t.Think.

-mariam

Movie Review: About Time

I HAVE OFFICIALLY DECIDED THAT THE LION KING IS MY FAVORITE ANIMATED MOVIE AND ABOUT TIME IS MY FAVORITE NON-ANIMATED MOVIE EVER. THE FIRST TIME I WATCHED IT WAS APRIL 27, 2014, WHICH IS MY GRANDMAS BIRTHDAY BY THE WAY. I DRAFTED THIS POST THEN BUT I NEVER GOT AROUND TO POSTING IT. I JUST WATCHED ABOUT TIME AGAIN AND IT WAS SO INCREDIBLY FUNNY, EMOTIONAL, AMAZING, AND JUST DOWNRIGHT THE BEST MOVIE EVER. THIS POST IS IN CAPS BECAUSE I DON’T KNOW HOW ELSE TO SHOW ALL MY EMOTIONS BOUNCING AROUND. I SWEAR YOU COME OUT OF THIS MOVIE A CHANGED PERSON. THIS MOVIE CAN TEACH YOU HOW TO BE HAPPY.

Basically, a time traveler…….. that should be enough for it to be a good movie right? Haha but seriously…

So a time traveller that can only travel back in time named Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) decides to use his ability to find true love. SO SWEET. HE’S LITERALLY THE SWEETEST. So Tim goes on a date where he meets Mary (Rachel McAdams), and becomes convinced she’s the one. Through some difficulty, he had to travel back in time, and because of this Mary doesn’t know who he is anymore. He also has life struggles with his sister Kit Kat (Lydia Wilson), Mom (Lindsay Duncan), and Dad (Bill Nighy).

I feel bad because I’m not accurately describing how amazing this story is. JUST PLEASE WATCH IT PLEASE.

I love every single character in the story, which is surprising because I usually hate all the characters. The acting is perfect as well.

Because I cannot accurately describe the movie, I will give you this quote: Tim says at the end of the movie, “And in the end I think I’ve learned the final lesson from my travels in time; and I’ve even gone one step further than my father did: The truth is I now don’t travel back at all, not even for the day, I just try to live every day as if I’ve deliberately come back to this one day, to enjoy it, as if it was the full final day of my extraordinary, ordinary life.”

Tim also says, “We’re all traveling through time together, every day of our lives. All we can do is do our best to relish this remarkable ride.”

Mary says, “I’m not taking my panties off for Scotland!”

Please, please, do yourself a favor, and please watch About Time. I beg you.

 

-mariam

p.s. I’m sorry if I hyped you so much for this movie, and in the end you don’t even like it. :/

 

 

Ferguson, Gaza, and the Sad State of the U.S.

Michael Brown, age 18, was shot 6 times with his arms up and unarmed in Ferguson, Missouri on Saturday the 9th of August. Ferguson and the internet, of course, exploded in anger at this atrocity. Angry protests erupted in Ferguson and authorities responded with tear gas, rubber bullets, and deploying the national guard. It is unclear whether the protests were peaceful before government crackdown because media outlets were not permitted near demonstrations.

Up to 11 journalists have been detained or arrested by Missouri police. Missouri State Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson said,”When officers are running around, we’re not sure who’s a journalist and who’s not,” he said. “Yes, if I see somebody with a $50,000 camera on their shoulder, I’m pretty sure. But some journalists are walking around, and all you have is a cellphone because you’re from a small media outlet. Some of you may just have a camera around your neck. So yes, we may take some of you into custody. But when we do take you into custody, and we have found out you’re a journalist, we’ve taken the proper action.”

The situation has become more about how they (I’m saying “they” because lack of better word) are trying to comprise of our freedom of speech and press, then the fact an innocent 18 year old teen was shot. It has become about how many more Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown situations there will be because of our lack of freedom.

It has become about the fact that the government supplied police forces with excess military weaponry and machinery. The police is not a second or smaller military. Their purposes are completely different. The purpose of the police is to protect us. Not shoot us with rubber bullets and throw tear gas canisters at us. Not to mention shooting teenagers. For god’s sake we live in the United States of America! We don’t live in say, Gaza, Palestine who under constant occupation by Israel. Nevertheless, the Gazans tweeted protesters in Ferguson how to avoid the sting of tear gas because they experience it everyday. In Ferguson, they began free Gaza and free Palestine chants. This is unity. None of that United States crap. I love America and everything, I just don’t like what it is growing to be. I don’t want to raise my kids in a country where the government doesn’t care about its people. Or a country where the people don’t care about what the government is doing. We need maintenance on both sides. I hope and pray we can change.

-mariam