Maintenance Needed

I don’t know what it’s like to stop because, for as far back as I can remember, I have always had something on my mind that needed to get done.
Something has always been pending.
I feel like my brain has never allowed for a moment of nothingness, not truly anyways, and now I really don’t know how to function unless I have a thousand things to do. I don’t know what it’s like not to have a thousand things to do.

And I’m wondering why that is.

I’m sure there is some psychological underpinning but truth be told, I don’t want to explore what it could be (obviously I have my suspicions).
I’ve just become more aware of this need to keep busy as of late, as I’ve grown more and more tired of being busy.
I mean, I’m just always tired.
I’ve been told a bajillion times by a bajillion people that I need to cut some things down, prioritize, minimize – for the life of me I don’t know how. I always feel like I’m behind in something or missing something as it is, how can I possibly cut out more from that?

But.

But I would like to be able to sleep without my brain clicking away on this incessant checklist that just continues to grow. I feel as if I can literally feel the wheels in my brain in constant motion and nowadays it just feels… overwhelming? Frustrating? Something along those lines.

I wonder if I’ll be able to keep up with this as the years continue on.
I’m talking as if I’m 50 and beginning to slow down and I can’t decide if that’s funny, sad, or scary. A little of both I guess.

Anyways, I’m blogging to slow down the wheels some. Allow for my heart rate to drop a little while attempting to grab at some form of internal clarity (or at least a little escape from that ever pending queue).

I’ve thought often of taking a break for 2 weeks – driving down to Galveston, living in a tiny hotel room where I can sleep all day and night, write and paint my heart out, cut myself off from everyone for just a little bit to re-center myself along the sandy walkways and sea breeze, and come back a more whole, a more ready woman.
The problem is, with so much constantly accumulating in the reality of my life with nothing much to show for it at all, I don’t trust myself to come back.
I don’t trust myself to not keep walking until I lose my way and become anonymous…

How bad was that grammar.

I gotta say, I’m thankful. I love way too many people way too dearly to actually disappear like that. It’s just a tempting thought when the wheels that won’t stop turning start to squeak and rust and the maintenance man is on permanent vacation (that bum saw what he was in for and hightailed it outta there before I even realized it).

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Rants and Reflections

My blogging habits have clearly gone from consistent and epiphanic to random posts when life is too much.
I would change the title from Lessons in Fluidity to Rants and Reflections, but I was really proud of myself when I came up with Lessons in Fluidity eons ago so I’m keeping it until it’s no longer applicable – if that’s even possible.

Anyhoo, so what’s up today?
Well today is a culmination of constantly thinking ‘I need to type out my thoughts’ but then not getting an opportunity for so long that eventually circumstances have lead to the loss of functionality in every other aspect of my life – so here I am.

I. Am. IdontknowdearGodgivemedirectionbecauseIdontknowhowtoreadsigns.

I have a strange feeling of discombobulation because so much has happened in and around my life but, none of it has actually changed anything for me. My position is still as stable and stagnant as ever which, I’m not necessarily complaining about because Allhamdullillah I prefer this strange stability to absolute pandemonium and chaos but, it’s also very surreal.

In the past handful of months after Harvey:
– my dad visited the motherland
– my brother got married
– at least 8 of my peers have become committed in their relationships
– at least 8 other of my peers are in the process of expanding their families
– one of our cars was totaled
– I can’t even list the ups and downs of prepping for tests and work meetings.

It’s been a lot yall.

Yet, my constant is the same.
I’m still a student.
Still a worker.
Still got that PCOS.
Still guzzling tea and inhaling chocolate in almost any given moment.

It feels as if everything around me is crystalizing and freezing in place in a way that I can’t move in any direction yet I’m also not included in the crystalization and freezing. Though the parts of my world are progressing they’ve also frozen and though I’m not frozen and thus have to continue growing in some way, I have no direction available in which I can grow.
Everything around me is shining, and beautiful, and fragile.
I can’t touch any of it so I’m just kind of sitting in one place, admiring the miracles around me, enjoying the slight chill you get when you’ve been quiet for too long, kind of happy, kind of content, kind of confused, kind of lost.
Strangely, not scared.

I don’t expect that to make sense to anyone, it hardly makes sense to me.
But I feel better now that I’ve written it out so I suppose, mission accomplished?

-Sobia.

Stopping That Step Back

Yesterday I was trying to clean and organize whatever I could to put up in my storage unit when I came across an old journal of mine.
For my own sake I won’t go into what the journal pertained to, but I started and stopped writing in it in 2012. Five years ago.

It only has three entries. The last one I wrote reads:

“I hate that I ever started. How evil of me…. Bitter is the soul of a woman who lives in the past.”

I didn’t write in the journal again after that, until last night.
After having read my three entries and realizing how little has changed in certain parts of my life, I regret not continuing to record my thoughts in this journal.

I stopped writing because I didn’t want to live in the past but had I continued writing perhaps I wouldn’t have lived in a delusion for so long.

On a positive note I am happy to report that this journal is evidence of my changes.
Yes, I have become a better person than I was.
Yes, I have grown more compassionate and concerned.
Yes, I have taken charge of my own faculties, analyzed myself up and down, and learned to function at the highest capability with whatever is a constant on my plate.

Yes, I blunder here and there.
Yes, I have a long way to go still. I will always have a long way to go.
Yes, I will always be in a state of learning and attempted comprehension.

Will I continue to write in this journal?
I honestly don’t know. I feel like the delusion came to end when I found the journal. Reading my old entires felt like I was tumbling down the Alice’s rabbit hole with a bag of bricks tied to my back.
What I do know is that this was a much needed wakeup call (which really sucks because honestly, who likes to be woken up?? It’s one of the hardest things to do).
I can’t expect people or circumstances around me to change but I can certainly change myself to handle things better.
Make myself a priority in my own life.

One flaw I admit to retaining that I just can’t seem to get out of – falling asleep with my contacts on. My eyes hate my brain.

Here We Are Again

***I’m using this post to cope and get my head straight***

Off the top of my head I cannot think of a more anxiety-driven day than the first day of school – mostly because today is my first day of school after a really long time and I severely hate it.
Since when did our education system become the ultimate source of our mental disorders and trauma?

Better question: WHY is this the case?? And why for the love of God are we okay with it??

My cousins and I have messaging groups via FB and SnapChat and God bless them – they’re all in the same boat as me: Anxiety through the roof for one reason or the other. We’ve got a kid in every level of institute at the moment, from elementary to post-back college, and not a single one of us got a good night’s rest.
We’re really good at bouncing feelings off one another.

Anyways, in case it wasn’t obvious, this post is a coping mechanism for my anxiety.

It’s the middle of a work day. I have a bajillion things to do and plan and move forward with, and just thinking about my basic math and science classes this semester had me almost hyperventilating and crying.
So here I am, taking a deep breath, writing out my emotions, bringing all the negativity down a notch or 50 so I can go back to being a functioning member of society.

This is something I have tried to teach my cousins and a handful of students who have opened up to me – analyze yourself.
Know what makes you anxious, what traumas you have and what triggers that trauma, recognize your symptoms so that you know what your body and mind are going through – then handle it according to you. That way we minimally take our nonsense out on unsuspecting loved ones.

Take me for instance:

I know that I have anxiety about math and science classes. I know that these subjects have always been difficult for me and the mental block I get when I think of them is half the battle. The fact that I’m paying for these God-forsaken classes doesn’t act as a motivator in fact, it just adds to the burden.
I know that at any given moment I am also thinking about the disgusting amount of debt that I owe, how far I can stretch a penny with the new months unexpected expenses, and how badly I pray no one else ever ends up in this God-forsaken financial situation because AUGH!
I know that as much as I try, not a day goes by without me thinking of these three mental blurbs at least once:
– Amina is gone and I miss her and I can’t think about her but subconsciously otherwise I’ll stop functioning all together
– I most likely can’t have kids of my own. 95-ish% that remaining 5-ish% is an abstract mental torture device
– I will be the ‘Old Maid’ at all of my cousin’s weddings as the get older and move forward because I probably shouldn’t get married, ever. I’ve found various formulas that result in a successful marriage and I’ve plugged myself into said formulas in every which way; when I’m plugged in I never churn out a successful result.

Now knowing all that I know about myself and my daily internal battles, I also have learned to recognize the signs.
When I start craving chocolate and bread in particular, I need to cry it out.
If I start getting wound up and hyperventilating, I need to walk outside alone.
When there’s an avalanche of responsibility freaking me out, I need to write out a to-do list and then immediately take a nap.
What I need to NOT do is communicate with loved ones, binge on Taco Bell, and pop my knuckles.
So knowing all this, I understand that I am stressed because I am overthinking. It is just the first day.
After my meeting today I can run home, make sure I have registered for the classes I can handle, go through the lectures and take notes, take the quiz, and knock the hell out. This needs to be my Tuesdays. Wednesdays I can dive into work.

Okay.

Breathing normally again.

Allhamdullillah this coping mechanism has always been a solid one.

I have no idea if anyone still reads this thing because I stopped blogging regularly a while ago. But on the off chance that I do still have readers: if you find yourself in the same sinking boat I was just in and need a hand, contact me.
It’s okay not to drown.

On a positive note: I got my business cards yesterday and I feel like I haven’t been adulating completely wrong for once.

–Sobia

 

 

Watching Them Go

It took me a while to get to this post but I’ve been wanting to pen it since May 21, 2017 because that was when the first rounds of graduation took place – this one with my students (we’ll get to the cousins later).
I’ve experienced three years of students graduating and every year is as surreal as the previous one.

Every year, without fail, I have been overly excited to watch my kids walk across the stage and every year, without fail, I am an absolute emotional wreck at the end of it.

Most of my students I only got to teach for a semester, and yet working in a private K-12 schools allows for a unique opportunity to work with your students outside of your class. So semester after semester, year after year, I was still able to build a relationship with my one-time students – aiding and assisting them, hollering at them to get a door, having quick conversations between classes about the current political state or their college options, and assisting in club activities.

These kids made getting up in the morning worth it. If I missed a day of work I was more upset about not seeing my students that day than anything else. And now when my career has shifted, I’m not being able to cut the cord. So you can start to imagine the state of mind I was in with this graduation in particular.

I don’t know how to explain what it feels like to watch a student of yours close a major chapter in their lives and look toward starting a new one. You feel so excited and happy for them. Proud of them for making it. Scared out of your mind at what they will have to face. Protective of them for what they will have to face. Full of faith in who they are. Confident that the world is in need of them and can’t handle how amazing they are. Upset at yourself for not knowing how to express all this in one elegant swoop of words and facial expressions.

Watching your kids graduate is not just bittersweet, it’s a strange sensation of completion and incompletion. Completion is obvious, that whole chapter closing metaphor. The incompletion a little obvious and a little more tricky to explain. Excuse me for sounding like my hippie self but this is the truth as best I know to explain it – as a teacher it feels like you impart a tiny faction of your soul into your students. You pass it willingly to them as you impart whatever knowledge you can, and you pray that if nothing else, that little faction of your soul can help them find their grounding when their feet can’t find the floor.

And frick I only taught them for a semester, I can’t even imagine what teachers who have known their students from Kindergarten must go through.
I love all my students like I love my cousins, which says a lot because my cousins are my fricking life.

Speaking of which, two of those munchkins graduated this year as well.

For me, the only thing more emotionally draining than being a teacher watching your students graduate, is being a Baji watching your cousins graduate.

Those little brats who you spanked and yelled at when they started copping attitudes. Those little delinquents who found a way to make a mess wherever they went. Those little haters who never let you forget a mistake you made or let go of any opportunity to make fun of you.
Those little soldiers who have always had your back when everyone else turned against you. Those little bright eyed angels who saw your future brighter than you could even imagine. Those little loves who have given me meaning and purpose, who I couldn’t imagine my life without, who I would give anything for if it meant sparing them of even an iota of pain.
Two of those kids have blossomed and graduated, and have made me so proud that my heart is about ready to just fly out of my chest.

So to recap: 2 of my students graduated, 2 of my cousins graduated, a number of my 7th graders actually said they would miss me, and my career switch means my future schedule as a teacher is unsure.

Can you say emotional mess, because that’s what I have been.

I’M NOT READY TO LET GO. TEARS! ALL THE TEARS IN WORLD!

 

I know I know, I have a tendency to be a BIT dramatic…it can’t be helped!

Anyways, I can’t even start to list the duas I have been making for my students and my cousins.
I believe in them all, and I have so much faith that Insha’Allah, they have nowhere to go but up. I only really hope that I will be given the opportunity to witness their journeys as they progress to their individual successes Insha’Allah.

On a less emotional positive note: I was a smart cookie this year! I made a Ramadan budget and I may just do more than float above water Insha’Allah! Here’s to another I hop suhoor!

–Sobia

When did 25 become overwhelming?

Honestly, about 6 years ago when I couldn’t go back to Baylor (but that’s an old scar that only sometimes itches).

Still, there is something to be said about falling out of your expected time.
We plan, we dream, we hope to a point of self-manifestation, we become so sure that any other outcome is impossible that any other outcome truly does become impossible – we soar!

And then we hit an airplane going in the opposite direction, plummet to the earth and get hit by a couple of trees and telephone poles on the way down.

Depressing, huh?
My bad, I’m not normally a down in the dumps kind of person – it’s just today.
You wake up so grateful for a day off in eons with all these intentions to get ahead, but then you wake up tired and get nothing done instead. (Did I rhyme on purpose? Of course I did).

Part of the stuck of today is physical – my body and brain have crapped out on me. They’re tired of my constant pushing and they are not cooperating unless absolutely necessary.
Can’t say I blame them.

But the other part of it is realizing just how behind you feel. It’s not that you’re necessarily behind in the grand scheme of things – each individual’s life spins on an individual axis uniquely their own. Yet you are not where you had planned, hoped, and expected to be so you feel behind.
And when you feel that way, you also enlist in a lot of things to get ‘caught up’ to where you think you ought to be.
Ultimately: you become so overwhelmed with the things you need to do to get unstuck that you become more stuck by shutting down all together.

That’s where I’m at today.
I’m not stating so for sympathy. Rather this post is an effort to do something other than nothing. At least get my thoughts out of my head.
I’m taking the advice I give to everyone else – It’s okay to get stuck sometimes, as long as you plan to get unstuck as soon as you can handle it.

Insha’Allah I can handle it tomorrow.
Today I am willingly staying stuck for the hell of it. Thank God it’s Ramadan otherwise my best friend right now would be Taco Bell, and that would REALLY be counterproductive.

On a positive note: staying at home all day means you don’t have to worry about Ramadan breath all up in people’s faces. #thestruggleisreal

New Year’s Reboot

I have realized time and time again that I absolutely suck with the whole ‘new year new me’ shtick.
And I know exactly why too – I completely lack in discipline. I would much rather do nothing and be great at it, than do something and absolutely fail at it. But. I also realize this does not a functioning member of society make.

On the very last day of 2015 I came across this understanding and decided that I was not going to allow myself to fall into a rut again. The semester before had been full and brutal, and I was not going to put myself through hell and high water with a bare minimum of survival in every aspect.
So I sat down and actually wrote down my new year’s resolutions. I was going to tackle 2016 with a fierceness no would see coming! I was going to redefine my life, reinvigorate my soul, and become the me I want and more!

And now I find myself on February 9, 2016 in the same rut I was in, in 2015, thinking what the actual hell. How did I lose more than a month to nothing??

Well it’s obvious – it’s so easy to fall into old habits.

It’s comforting to not owe anyone anything, or worry about meeting an expectation. The trouble is that this is not happiness. This is not progress. And this is completely counter-intuitive as a Muslim.
Being a part of the amazing Ummuah, we’re supposed to constantly grow and blossom – internally and externally. We’re fixers. We are satisfied and grateful for all we have been given while realizing constantly that we can do so much more in all that we give.
Am I making sense outside of my head?

So I know all this. So now what?
First and foremost it’s reboot time.
I cannot stand where I am right now. I know I can do better.

The tricky part will be to allow myself to accept the difficulties while not turning them into excuses. It’s so easy to throw a pity party for myself. But that’s one of those shindigs where everyone stands around awkwardly, not knowing one another or caring to know one another, wondering when it’s socially acceptable to go home, change into pj’s and form butt-prints on the couch.
That is not the kind of party I want to throw.

The difficulties: Anxiety is at an all time high for some reason which, of course, means depression is at an all time high.
The acceptance: It might not get easier.
The non-excuse: I am an extrovert who needs to go out and do things and be around people. If I allow myself to focus on my symptoms, I’m going to be bed-ridden and make it all worse.

Okay. That’s step one.
And well this blog entry is step two. I miss writing, even if it does lack a solid point or form, or readers. I used to blog to get out of my head. Insha’Allah, I want to get back at it for the same reason.

February 9, 2016 – the New Year’s Reboot. This blog marks it.

On a positive note of substance: Taco Bell just came out with the Quesalupa. What more could a person ask for??

-Sobia.