#AtoZChallenge Day 26: Zenith

Z is for Zenith

Z.jpg

Zenith:

The point on the celestial sphere vertically above a given position or observer.

It got to a point where I had to do a google search of “words that start with z” because I had absolutely no idea what to write about for the last day of the A to Z Challenge. Then I found this word, and I wondered…what would someone at my zenith see if they looked down?

What if this someone was following me for the past few years, looking down and watching me? Seeing where I started and how I got to where I am today.

From up there, I feel like I’m unrecognizable.

Five years ago, they would see a timid girl never straying from her comfort zone, unsure of what she wanted to do with her life and no idea how to get to said “life.”

Now, they would see an emerging adult, embracing her role as the authority in charge when put in the right situation, venturing into unfamiliar territory that prior she would deem as too scary, and making strides in developing a career. Even though five posts ago I talked about how much uncertainty there is in my life, I at least now have solid aspirations.

So much of my growth I attribute to my internship and subsequent job. Through working in a nursing home with severely disabled clients, I finally learned how to appropriately talk to strangers. I can talk to adults now and not feel like a kid. I can see someone I’ve never met and give them a genuine smile. We still have a ways to go when it comes to asserting myself, but I have definitely come a long way in my interpersonal skills. And I am quickly learning that interpersonal skills have equal or greater value to education and qualifications in the professional world.

The best part about it all is that the being at my zenith is Allah, and he isn’t just an observer. He’s been with me through it all, watched me grow, and made it happen. When things start to get uncertain, I may feel frustrated or disoriented or angry, but never alone. Because I know that He has helped me get to this point, and He will continue to stay with me and help me grow even more.

#AtoZChallenge Day 25: YouTubers

Y is for YouTubers

Y

YouTube channels seem to be turning into my generation’s new form of TV. I definitely have my likes and dislikes in the YouTube universe, but every now and then I find a gem among the mediocre. I am here today to share with you one of those gems. My favorite YouTube channel.

Dina Tokio is a Muslim fashion blogger and YouTuber. A couple of years ago, she started a YouTube channel with her husband, Sid, and together they film vlogs of their life as well as the occasional advice video. In the last year, they had their first baby, and have been documenting the process of their journey as new parents.

MashaAllah, they seem like two very good people. In a world of bad role models taking over entertainment, these two are the exceptions to the trend. If you’re interested in checking them out, I would recommend the following two videos to start.

#Goals

#AtoZChallenge Day 24: X-Men

X is for X-Men

X

X-Men has always been one of my favorite movie series, and in fact it was one of the first series I ever really got into. Back when there was only one X-Men movie, my parents let me watch it as my first ever PG-13 movie. I loved it, and since then have absolutely loved every subsequent sequel and prequel.

I don’t know if it’s because I’m older and less intensely in love with fictional series anymore, or if long series just aren’t that special anymore, but since the end of the Harry Potter era, there hasn’t been a movie release that has gotten me as excited.

With the exception of X-Men.

(and recently, the Maze Runner series ❤ )

And a month ago when I went to see Zootopia (decent, but not worth the hype in my opinion), I saw a poster for X-Men: Apocalypse and I FLIPPED OUT. I don’t even know what this one is going to be about or which time period it takes place in, but I don’t care.
Contrary to most other multi-chapter movie series, the X-Men movies keep getting better and better for me. And I can’t wait for this one.

(Sidenote: I don’t know how I missed this, but I actually haven’t seen Deadpool yet. I honestly didn’t even know it was part of the series until just now.)xmenstorm.jpg

I mentioned this in passing in another post this month, but for those wondering, my favorite character is Storm. While I really love the whole Wolverine storyline, ever since I was 8 years old watching the first X-Men movie, I wanted to be her. Loyalty, dedication to a cause, and possession of one of the coolest powers in that world. ❤

#AtoZChallenge Day 23: Wanting Too Much

W is for Wanting

W

Over the past few months, I’ve come to an odd realization:

I don’t think I know how to really want something.

I don’t know if I ever have in my post-puberty life.

Because I’ve learned that I need to be okay with not getting everything I want in this life. I need to be okay with loss and disappointment. I need to detach myself from this world and put more focus on the hereafter.

In the process of training myself to do that, I’ve also trained myself to just not want things very strongly so as to avoid disappointment and overattachment to this world.

Now I feel it has become a problem, because now it’s hard for me to pray for things. How can you sincerely ask God for something when you don’t intensely want it? There’s a fine line between trusting God to give you what you pray for and being okay with not getting it. And in trying to navigate where that line is, my duas have felt fake and insincere.

I noticed this when I was applying for graduate school. I realized last summer that as much as I grumble about continuing school, I did really want to go to grad school. And there was a specific program in a specific school that I had been wanting to get into for virtually all of undergrad.

So this past winter, when it came time to fill out the application and then go for the interview, I had to revisit that idea of really wanting to go to the school. As I visited the campus and talked to some of the current students, I realizes that I really wanted to get in to this program.

When it came time to tell the school why I wanted to go there, and then tell God the same thing in my duas afterwards, I was at such a loss of how much I should allow myself want this. It was my top school, but it was also competitive and I had already been rejected from there once before. If I was really relying on God, I would allow myself to be okay with not getting into the program.

But if I didn’t allow myself to feel that desire, how could I take the interview and my subsequent duas seriously?

So I decided to allow myself to want it. I wanted to get into this program more than anything I have wanted in years. I allowed the feeling of desire and longing to fill my heart so that I could give my all in the interview and shed tears when praying to God to allow the interviewers to see the potential in me.

Alhamdulillah, by the grace of God, I got in. I am finally enrolled in my dream program at my dream school. Alhamdulillah. Alhamdulillah. Alhamdulillah.

But I still have my “wanting” problem. What if I hadn’t gotten in? Would it have been worth the disappointment to have wanted it so badly? Or was my wanting it and praying for it a way of relying on God that I hadn’t tried before, and He rewarded me for it?

I still don’t have the answers to these questions. I only have gratitude.

#AtoZChallenge Day 22: Vicarious Living

V is for Vicarious Living

V

While I sit here and sip my green matcha tea, allow me to live vicariously through this blog and indulge in my dreams a little.

If I got everything I wanted, I would have a special tea station in my kitchen. A table or shelf or corner of the room specific for hot beverage goodness. On the left of the table would be a beautiful decorated hot water boiler and whatever innovative coffee maker that’s around at the time.

On the right, all of the options. Coffee. Different flavors. A rotating holder of all different kinds of K-cups, if those are still around. Caffeinated options for the morning. Decaf for the evenings.

And of course hot chocolate. Because you’re never too old to enjoy a cup of hot chocolate and whipped cream.

You could open a drawer underneath and behold all of the tea options. Green Tea. Black Tea. Mint Tea. White Tea. Chamomile. All of the flavored variants. Caffeinated, Decaf, and Herbal.

Then there would be a portion of the table for sweeteners. Sugar, white and brown. Honey. Agave syrup if that’s still a thing. Splenda for my diabetic fam.

Look up, and there is a cabinet full of all different kinds of mugs. On one shelf, the pretty designs. Floral patters. Pastel colors. Curvy shapes. On another shelf, the sentimental ones. The Harry Potter mug. The Super Junior mug. The mug with some brand name on it that we got for free at a fundraising dinner.

When people come over, and they need some warmth and love, I’ll direct them to my tea station. And they can choose their drink of choice and vessel of choice and make their own custom beverage. And we’ll sit back with our steaming mugs and enjoy each others’ company.


As long as one is okay with the dream not coming true, I see no harm in indulging every now and then. This is the vicarious living post, so leave me a comment with your dream. If you got everything you ever wanted, tell me one part of that picture. Take a moment. Live vicariously.

#AtoZChallenge Day 21: Uncertainty

U is for Uncertainty

U

One of the things that makes me most uncomfortable is uncertainty. And at this stage of my life, practically everything about my future is uncertain.

Education Level. Job. Method of Transportation. Relationship Status. Income. Appearance.

I honestly cannot picture what any of it will look like.

A year ago, a teacher asked me to imagine myself five years from now. I couldn’t do it for the life of me. Then he asked me to imagine myself ten years from now, and that one was surprisingly much easier. Because ten years from now, I hope that all of the uncertainty will be sorted out and I’ll have the life I imagine “real adult me” having.

The next five years I feel will be a perpetual “sorting out” phase where I’ll have no idea which way is up except that image of my 30-something year old self.

Sipping tea. Taking care of the kids. Writing my next novel. InshaAllah.

Until then, who the hell knows.

#AtoZChallenge Day 20: Trigger Warnings

T is for Trigger Warnings

T

Lately, I’ve been seeing “trigger warnings” for virtually everything.

Trigger Warning: mentions of abuse

#triggerwarning: character death

tw // food

That last one was a legitimate tweet I saw.

I understand warning readers about disturbing images. Rape, self-harm, and anything else explicit should have some kind of warning, even if it’s at least “mature content.”

But sometimes it just gets to be excessive. When we have to warn people about “mentions of” anything, we are assuming that the audience is so fragile that seeing a single word will trigger a panic episode. Monitoring for that should not be the responsibility of the person posting. If someone is in that fragile of a state, they need more help than a friendly internet person typing “tw.”

I find this especially frustration when it comes to posting fictional writing online. Giving a story a maturity rating is legitimate and necessary, but I have a problem as a writer when the trigger warnings end up turning into spoilers. I have a story I’m in the process of writing that involves a character death, but I don’t want to give that away right after the title. For the sake of the story, some things need to remain a mystery or at least be given the opportunity to slowly develop while taking the reader along for the ride. How am I supposed to do that when common courtesy is starting to involve spoiling all of the secrets up front?

I understand that some people have real illnesses that make reading and watching difficult and triggering, but this is the internet. You never know what you’re going to come across. Rather than creating trigger warning after trigger warning and sheltering an increasingly overprotected generation, we should be shifting the focus on symptom management. You have ___ issue? Let’s give you the resources to help you self-soothe when you are inevitably faced with your triggers.

Sidenote: I have been seeing a disturbing amount of my online peers claim to suffer from anxiety. I really hope these are symptoms that are being professionally dealt with and not simply self-diagnosed and self-medicated. That helps no one.