Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas. Clean.



I am feelin’ mighty clean. Alhumdullah! Baby and I bathed in our new tub over at the apartment. You know, when you are looking for a place to live, you look at price, location and then the room sizes and condition of the walls and such. You don’t really spend time looking at the bathtub. But oh! What a pleasure it is to have a full-size tub--no scrunching your knees up in order to fit. I could stretch out in splendiferous relaxation. The water pressure too! Did I forget to tell you about that? It’s so powerful over here! Wowzers! The tub filled with really hot water in no time. And baby and I, along with our multi-colored plastic dolphin friends, finally eased into our new life.

It hasn’t been easy, but then we all knew that. This move is really taking a lot out of me. It’s the constant back-and-forth between the old place and the new. It’s packing up and then discovering a paper copy of an email I was sent while he was in Egypt the second time. Of course, it wasn’t the third time, as he completely forgot about me the third trip. Astragferallah. I was “Habibi” the second trip and “Dumb-ass” the third.

Still, after I cleaned up our bedroom, I sat down in the hallway, nursing the baby who was conceived within those walls and I cried. Hold on…I might just cry now writing about it. Bear with me. I can so vividly picture the passion and there was so much of it that we shared. I really have never experienced intimacy like that ever before. It was the best. He never stopped saying that it was the best. Even now, he would have to admit…and so would I.

But, it was so much more that took place in our private sanctum. It was waking up slowly and opening our eyes to a new day with an old love. The tenderness of those morning gazes was simply to die for. I know I experienced something that not everyone gets to and I do thank God for those times of complete, complete love. It ended badly-- right, I know. But, it was so good for so many years.

Dancing together to something on the radio and catching our reflection in the mirror and having to stop and look at how cute we were together. And him kissing my neck while watching my reaction. I loved it. I loved him. I loved us.

And when the baby came into our lives, I got my wish fulfilled. I got to sleep between my greatest loves; my husband and my son. And I got to feel that I was so very blessed for being exactly where I was. How often do you feel like that in life? Some people never do, but I felt it. I knew where I was in the world. I was in a sweet moment. I remembered only those moments as I sat on the hallway floor.

The court case in Egypt has been decided. He is now allowed to marry her two more times. Not just once, but twice more. He tells me that they are not married now because he wants for the divorce between us to be done before he marries her. That’s not for any moral reason, but rather so the U.S. government doesn’t question the timing as he tries to get her over here.
How do I feel? I feel glad that I tried once more to do what was best for the baby by asking if there was anyway we could remain married. And I’m glad I got that question out before the ruling. I’m really so very glad that I learned how impossible it had become to stay together in anyway whatsoever.

Do I wish them well? No. No, I don’t. But, I don’t also wish them ill. I don’t wish them a thing. Their highest wish was for this reuniting to take place and they got their wish no matter what the consequences to anyone else. Wishes can be powerful things. But, I want more in this life than a man--especially a man who can’t be a good man.

So, I’m going to focus on me and my roommate. He’s a great roommate. I love him a lot. And inshahallah, we are going to keep clean, as a clean life is better than what we have had.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

It's Hard to Stay Mad



"I guess I could be pretty pissed off about what happened to me. But it's hard to stay mad when there's so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I'm seeing it all at once and it's too much. My heart fills up like a balloon that's about to burst. And then I remember to relax and stop trying to hold on to it. And then it flows through me like rain. And I can't feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life. You have no idea what I'm taking about I'm sure. But don't worry. You will someday."


~The last lines of American Beauty


Originally posted as Honorary Arab

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

You're Married?!



While I was looking for our marriage certificate last night, I found a poem I'd written.

Seems long ago now, though it was only five years ago when I was asked to be a wife to the man I loved. Just minutes after I agreed, he told me he had children and then that he had a wife.

You died
once over the threshold
with me in your arms
the you I knew ceased to exist.

As the truth came out
I wanted to love you
but I hadn't ever met you;
your lies had never let me in.

I commited to a man who never was.
I made love to a falsehood.
Whispered to a snake, a charlatan, a chameleon.

As the snakeskin shed,
confusion spread:
Who am I if I married a lie?

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Dear Yahya Letter







Bismallah a Rahman a Raheem


Dear [Husband],

What else do we need to say to each other? You want to talk, and I agreed, but what is really necessary to say now?

You have left me. You left me before you even went for Egypt. You left me two years ago and sometimes I'd see you come back to your old self. We'd have some fun and share some smiles and laughs and then you'd be gone again. Of course I miss that person I married. I love that person you used to be. If I could have that person back again, I'd never want anything else.

But, you aren't really ever going to be that person again. You have done too much that has hurt me. You have lost my trust and my respect. Each time I try to find those good feelings for you, you simply break me again. I am so broken up over your choices. I have lost you, my kids, my house, my money and, if I'm not careful, I'll lose my faith.

I can’t give any more.

You have taken all I have to give. You are greedy to keep asking for more all the time. I have to stop---for my sake and for the baby's. I have to leave the marriage. I never wanted to do that. I wanted to be by your side forever. I loved you completely without question. I put my life in your hands. You mistreated me again and again. You lied again and again. You stole from me and robbed me of my sense of worth. I am worthy of so much more.

Please let your family know that I will always love them and I will do my best to keep the baby close to them. The same is true for you. Of course, I feel sad for the baby. I never would have had him if I'd known how you would become.

Let's start the divorce now, before you get back. There's no need to try anything else. No matter what you said, I wouldn't believe you anymore. I don't say that in anger, but in sadness. It is so sad to loose the one you love. But, since you don't love me anymore, I doubt you are sad.

I will help to get the items exported to Egypt and that will be my last job for [our export company's name]. Funny name: [our export company's name]. I picked it from where we met so long ago. You used to think I was beautiful. You used to love my eyes. You stopped. You stopped everything. You can't blame me. You can only blame yourself.

I never sent this letter. Some letters you never send.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

I Sold the House



Subhanallah!

Break out the cheese puffs!

I SOLD THE HOUSE

This is the day after I tell my husband we are all through. Subhanallah! The energy that was released from that action, then released the house. Subhanallah! Go ahead, tell me it's a sign. Everybody---all together now---say with me:

IT'S A SIGN

I'm doing the right thing.

And the really amazing thing is that these people already had been the lowball bidders THE DAY HE LEFT TOWN. Remember?? They didn't value the house enough and after I countered they let it drop...until today; the day after I end my marriage. NOW?! Well, now I am getting full price and we pay closing costs. That's so fair and so right. Alhumdulillah. AND the closing is set for the end of this month. Subhanallah. I move in three weeks. Inshahallah.

God is indeed great. God is indeed merciful.

Think what you have blocking your blessings and get it the heck out of the way! God is trying to give you something wonderful!

originally posted as Honorary Arab

6 Weird Things About Me




6 Weird Things About Me

There is one BIG weird thing I haven't told you:


Weird Thing #1

Growing up I had pet porcupines.

This is very strange. It's just about the strangest thing you can have for a pet. My dad was a wildlife biologist, infact if you google him, you 'll see all his studies on porcupines. Mama porcupines only have one baby at a time and they are not good at adopting little ones that aren't their own. An orphaned porcupine baby will simply die and so rather than let that happen, my dad brought Ernie home.

Ernie was the first. I don't remember him as well, since I was around four years old. He got some press coverage and appeared in the local newspaper. He grew up in a cage out back and was released into the wild once he was older. Blondie was next. I have photos with her. I was older by then so I got to be more "hands on" as it were.

You can actually pet a porcupine. You start at the head and move towards the tail, just like you would a dog's fur. My dad would put on big leather gloves to handle her and then I could pet her.Some people think that porcupines shoot their quills. They can no more do that than you could shoot your hair. Their most dangerous quills are on their back and tail. That tail is powerful and acts like a rudder when they do their low waddle. They are not graceful and they are not fast. But Subanawatallah has given it a defense against predators.

I did get 15 quills in my right knee once, when I fell. My dad methodically pulled them out. If you don't get all the pieces of the barbed, hollow, spear of a quill, then the parts can travel through your body and attack your organs. In my crazier, over-tired moments when I can't get to sleep, I wonder if the pieces really were all removed.

Their natural born enemy is the fisher, which is like a weasel. It is super speedy and very crafty. It knows that the porcupine doesn't have quills on its soft underbelly. So the fisher zooms around and around the porcupine trying to get it off balance. When that happens, the fishers torpedo its abdomen and bites into it with its sharp pointed teeth.

The modern day enemy of the porucpine is us. Because they are so slow, many are killed crossing the road. It is sad for me to think that drivers can't wait 30 seconds in their commute to avoid killing nature. The other way porcupines are suffering is through deforestation. Their habitat is in fallen trees, their safety is in climbing trees, and their food are young branches and leaves. They need the forests much more than we need another Walmart.

Blondie was funny. She loved peanut butter and bananas. I mean, my dad would cut fresh branches for her every day, and I think he fed her monkey chow. She would make these lovely little pleasure sounds when she ate; like a baby nursing.

One day, she got into my Hubba Bubba Bubblegum. Boy! Was that a mess!

She was one of the family. She used to go sailing with us. She was great on the boat. She had better sea legs than anyone, due to her low center of gravity. She'd waddle down the hill into the small town sometimes. We'd take her around. The townsfolk got use to her.She got more press coverage as my dad was the director of an ecological institute. He'd take her to work. There was one terrific photo of him at the office talking on the phone, while she sat on her haunches trying to eat a pen. The funny thing is to see my handsome dad completely unfazed by the porcupine on his desk.

The photo of me and Blondie was taken because my classmates in the city didn't believe me. I had to provide photographic proof. I brought some quills too. Isn't that something? For most of my life I haven't been believed.Blondie was released to the wild eventually. She visited once. I'm sure she's long since passed away. I never really thought of her as dead until just now. I guess I just thought of her as still in the wild, muching away. Her descendants, enshahallah, are out there. And I bet they have an unrealized craving for peanutbutter and bananas.

Weird Thing #2

I didn't drive until I was 23.

Weird Thing #3

You might have heard my voice already.

Years ago, my voice was recorded for a well-known amusement park and used for the instructions at the beginnings of the rides. "Welcome! During the duration of the ride, please keep your arms and legs..."So, chances are, some of you have heard my voice without even knowing it was old Honorary Arab herself!

Weird Thing #4

I have a dime-sized brown birth mark on my left thumb. It's the EXACT same color as my husband's skin. I explained to him that after God was done making him, there was just this little extra skin left over and I got it, since I'd be united with him later on. Subhanallah. I use to hate it and cover it up. Teachers always thought it was dirt and make me wash up again.

Weird Thing #5

I used to keep a list of all the countries and then write down the name of the foreigner from that country once I had kissed him. My goal was to kiss a man from every country.

Weird Thing #6

My husband is in Egypt trying to marry his ex-wife whom he divorced three times, but she says ...OH! You already know that one!

How about this one...

I was once addicted to the British soap opera EastEnders. I collected all the clippings, the books, the vids, the mugs, the Tshirts and then I went for the autographs. I wrote to all my favorites and got their signed glossies.

I idolized them, astragferallah. I use to attend a weekly EastEnders web chat, write for a newsletter, appear on live PBS pledge breaks, and even write for a British fan club's website. It was way out of hand until I decided to stop watching their fictional life and start concentrating on my actual life.

There! That's six! You know the rest!

originally posted as Honorary Arab

Desperately Seeking


I watched about half of "Desperately Seeking Susan" last night with Boo and a big bowl of popcorn. Though this movie is known as Madonna's screen debut, it is really an excellent film in its own right. Susan Seidelman directed. Let's hear it for women directors!

The name of the movie comes from a romantic personal ad placed for Madonna's Bohemian character. The second line of the ad is, "Keep the faith". Suburban housewife Roberta, played by Rosanna Arquette, lives vicariously when she reads these ads. She decides to show up at the published rendezvous to see just who Susan is. While spying on the couple, a bump on the head has her believing that she is Susan.

She needs to be Susan because she just can't be Roberta any longer. It hurts to be the person she's become. She has lost her individuality. Her husband is having an affair. She sits alone in the dark watching the Hitchcock movie, "Rebecca."

We see her watching Laurence Olivier speaking the line, "It's gone forever; that funny young lost look I loved. Will it ever come back? I killed it when I told you about Rebecca."

And, I hear that and have to rewind. It sounds so much like what happens to us women who are stuck in polygany. We sit in the dark with memories of a time when we were first told about the other woman. We sit there.

Last on His List


I know that my mind isn't crazy.

Maybe I was crazy for trying to hold onto a person who wasn't good for me. Maybe I thought I could help him be a better person, or we could grow together. And maybe we did! I think we did grow as people during these five years. I know I have, alhumdulillah. But, his growth is now stunted and there is nothing more I can do for him. The only thing he can do for me is subtract from my life. He's not adding anything positive anymore. Not one thing I can think of. I gave him a real chance to tell me something that could make me stay his wife. And he told me nothing worth hearing.

"The time has come," the Walrus said,"To talk of many things: Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--Of cabbages--and kings--And why the sea is boiling hot--And whether pigs have wings."

OK, I'm quoting Lewis Carroll, but I've been trapped in an upside world, so it seems appropriate. It's been a Wonderland, where a wife who helps her husband is given rudeness and an ex-wife is given perfume and a night out on the town.

Lastly, I'd like to share my deep thought of the day. Ya, I know, you thougth the Walrus thing was deep. But, I got to thinking about my leather couch, which I KNOW is a blessed gift from God, no doubt. I thought about how I had to get rid of the old white couch I hated desperately before I even knew this couch existed. Had to clear the way! Had to sit in the chairs for months and wonder if we really needed a couch. When I realized that we did, I was patient but mindful of our needs and trusted in God, that eventually I'd get what we needed. It took a lot of hard work, but we have what we need now.

I think that remembering this will help me as I get rid of so much in my life. I have to clear out the bad to make way for the good. Inshahallah.

Monday, December 4, 2006

Allah Knows Your Name

I've been writing about big things.

Today, I'm going to write about something small.It doesn't make the big things go away, but it does give some balance to life.

On Thursday, we had a house showing afterschool, so the kids and I took the baby to KMart to buy him a toy. His dad had spent $40 on his other children, so I figured that we could spend that much buying the toy that was sure to bring a smile: Elmo.

I never thought I'd love Elmo like I do. The other kids weren't really into him like this baby is. He really watches the furry muppet and gets so engaged with an Elmo lift-the-flap book. This toy was sure to be a winner because it wasn't just Elmo. It was ELMO KNOWS YOUR NAME.The CD-ROM,that comes with, installs into your computer and you actually program the doll to speak your child's name and the names of three others.

Now, my older children have names that don't usually show up in the mainstream, but they were included in the program. And my baby has a Muslim name (alhumdulillah) and his name was there too! Exciting! There are many Muslim names available for Elmo to speak! You can make him say, "Aisha loves Mohammed and so do I!" Cool,huh? There is the name Ala, which is very close to Allah, so you can make him say, "Halima loves Allah and so do I!"Take a look and listen: http://www.fisher-price.com/fp.aspx?st=8059&e=getProd&selCat=kyn_elmo&pid=34159

The amazing thing is that no matter what cool technology we create, Allah is cooler. He knows all our names; first, middle and last. Subhanallah! And he knows everything about us! He loves us. Alhumdulillah!

I watched the pbs show Religion & Ethics again this morning. It is an excellent program.I don't know why I don't have the capability to place links and pictures, but I'm going to give you the website so you can watch this amazing report about a movie executive who knows the names of 200 children in Cambodia.

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/religionandethics/week923/profile.html

I won't say more. Watch it and feel the power of God working in and around us.

Oh, and an interesting side note: is that out of the top 25 Christmas songs currently played, only one mentions Isa/Jesus (pbuh).

Here's what they say:

Secular Songs Rule Christmas Music List
A list of the most popular Christmas songs was released this week by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP). Number one was the secular "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)." Indeed, of the 25 most frequently broadcast holiday songs over the past five years every one was secular, except number eight -- "Little Drummer Boy."

Today marks the start of Advent. If you are Christian, please consider observing this time of trying to find the light in the darkness. And the light I'm talking about isn't coming from your neighbor's flashing red sleigh decoration. Allah knows the name of that light. Even we Muslims do. Do you? Keep remembering it through this time of materialism and celebrate Advent.

Originally Posted as Honorary Arab

Saturday, December 2, 2006

Grappling

Grappling Inflected Form(s): grap·pled; grap·pling /'gra-p(&-)li[ng]/transitive verb1 : to seize with or as if with a grapple2 : to come to grips with : WRESTLE3 : to bind closely

Yep. That's what I'm doing. I'm grappling; I'm trying to seize, or come to grips with; to wrestle. With what? With whom? Well, with a lot. With where my life is right now. With my role as a mom. With who my children are, and their needs. With the man I've been married to, as opposed to the man I fell in love with. With Islam. With the roles of a wife in Islam. With polygany. With this headache I've had all day.

Are you still with me?I don't even want to be with me, so I'm not really sure why you're here.

Things haven't gone well today. That's an understatement. It's perhaps better to say that this has to be my rock bottom. I just don't want to live if there's something lower than this moment. Really.

So, I sit typing away without very many answers. About the one thing that I could figure out today is that there is one person for whom I must remain on this earth and that's the baby. He actually needs me. The others can get along without me, but not him. I must continue for him.

I thought of naming this post, "Desperately Seeking Yosra," but thought the referrence would be too obscure. I'm so 80s. I love the movie "Desperately Seeking Susan," and I wanted to watch it tonight, but I must have loaned it out.

I watched "Trading Spouses" instead and laughed when the screen came up with an appeal for other families to apply. Really? Could any other woman go through this life I'm living? Would viewers be able to believe this stuff? I can hardly believe it and I'm knee-deep in it. Sigh. I'll let you go. I've got so much more I could say, but I just can't say it. That's really unlike me, but this day has done me in.

Originally posted as Honorary Arab