hi.

So over the past few months, I’ve found that I’m controlling my thoughts more to prevent anxious meltdowns; however, instead, my productive thinking has decreased. I don’t talk out problems in my head anymore because I automatically and instinctively just tell myself to stop before the anxiety rushes in. While I have been less anxious, I think the pitfall of this is that I’m not as creative as I usually am. I’m not brainstorming or problem-solving effectively. I’m not being productive, and the internet is rotting my brain at a faster pace than it usually does.

So this begs the question: should I just let my thoughts roam free in order to let the creative juices flow? Is it, perhaps, good to live with an anxious brain sometimes? I don’t know man because anxiety is like a rumble of stampeding elephants in the pit of your belly that never goes away no matter how much chocolate you eat; so I’m not sure I want to unleash the beast quite yet, but maybe, I should take it out  for a walk sometimes? I don’t know.

-mariam

Also, as I’m writing this the dubs are playing the grizzlies for their 71st win of the season and they need 73 wins to beat the ’95-96 Bulls record and there’s a minute left in the game and they’re tied so eek.

Update: Warriors won 100-99 !

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#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. 🙂

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]

Serenity

Imagine that you’re back in like the 6th grade and your teacher, Ms. Scoodledoodle (first thing that came to mind), has asked everyone to close their eyes and picture some random crap blah blah blah. Now, do you remember that feeling when you open your eyes again after what seemed like hours? The fluorescent lights pierce your eyes, you start squinting, and complaining. You are convinced you are going blind. Of course, some of you may have fallen asleep while Ms. Scoodledoodle was asking some cheesy question your future (stay in school kids!). But regardless, you had to wake up at some point…

That weird feeling of awakening and weakness was what I felt after a 2 mile trek through the forest and then walking out into the clear, bright daylight. It was the beach at NorthBay Adventure Camp. The sky was so white, while the bay breeze tickled my skin. I actually had to pause, do the whole blind squinty thing, and audibly gasp. You know that scene at the end of the first Captain America when Steve woke up from his 70 year slumber and ran into Times Square, and looked around all shocked, disoriented, and overwhelmed? Yeah that was me. I am Captain America.

All the other campers kept walking and talking, while I was just stood there, gaping. The only difference between this and the Ms. Scoodledoodle example is that this felt good. The water was clear, pristine beauty. I couldn’t hear the people around me anymore, I was at peace.

-mariam

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