Welcome to my blog!

This blog is an honest look at what life is like for this particular American convert to Islam. We're taught in Islam to cover our sins, to not air them, for fear of lessening the severity of sinning. In this blog, I may relate past indiscretions from time to time. This isn't to make light of them, but in the interest of educating Muslims and non-Muslims alike as to the realities of life as an American convert, I present my mistakes honestly. I make no excuses for them, nor do I claim that they were okay to make. I am not perfect, and I make no pretenses as to that. If others can learn from my past, know that Islam, and religion in general, is open for people no matter what mistakes they've made, then I will gladly air my sins when needed.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

To the one I love: Back off my hijab.

I love you.  You are amazing.  You are intelligent, you are funny, you are inquisitive, you are strong, you are sassy, you are beautiful.  You are one of my favourite people, and I love telling others how much I love you.  I love, have always loved, and will always love, that you are a part of my life.

But I need you to back off my hijab.  I need you to stop asking why I wear it, because I've explained it to you several times.  I need you to not insinuate anymore that women who cover their heads because they believe that God wants them to haven't yet come into the 21st century (Catholics, Muslims, Jews, anyone).  The idea that I'm somehow stuck in the 7th century simply because I, and I alone, choose to not show anything but my face and hands to men who aren't related to me is insulting, rude, and, depending on how you're phrasing it, hurtful.

Love (because I do love you), my intelligence, strength, sense of humour, and strength don't diminish every time I put my hijab on.  My IQ doesn't diminish point by point with every layer that goes around my head.  The tightness of my hijab doesn't squeeze out my individuality, nor my sense of self, nor my self-esteem --- though sometimes it can make hearing and/or breathing a bit difficult, depending on the thickness of the material and how badly I've wrapped and pinned it.  Also, I'm just deaf sometimes.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Why I don't care about people depicting Muhammad (pbuh) in pictures.

Throughout the past few years, there have been numerous examples of people depicting the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in artwork, be it Danish cartoons, International Draw Muhammad Day, or South Park --- which, ironically, portrayed him as part of a group of superhero-esque prophets, and not negatively.

Simply put: The Muhammad that's depicted in vile cartoons, showing him with a bomb in his turban, or as a pig, etc., the Muhammad that was depicted during International Draw Muhammad Day, isn't my Muhammad.

My Prophet didn't kill for pleasure or gain; he went to war because he was attacked, his people oppressed.  My Muhammad didn't call for the killing of innocent lives; he expressly forbade it.  My Muhammad wasn't a paedophile, either.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Do you agree with this quote? Part 1.

Welcome to a new series I've decided to do.  Every week or so, I'm going to post a quote that I found online, just as an experiment, to see if people agree with what's being said.  Some slight changes have been made to the wording, but I'll post the full quotes, including the person being quoted, when I'm done with the series.

Quote #1

"This is the first demand we must raise and do: that our people be set free, that these chains be burst asunder, that America be once again captain of her soul and master of her destinies, together with all those who want to join America.

And the fulfillment of this first demand will then open up the way for all the other reforms.  And here is one thing that perhaps distinguishes us from you as far as our program is concerned, although it is very much in the spirit of things: our attitude to the Muslim problem.

For us, this is not a problem you can turn a blind eye to-one to be solved by small concessions.  For us, it is a problem of whether our nation can ever recover its health, whether the Muslim spirit can ever really be eradicated.  Don't be misled into thinking you can fight a disease without killing the carrier, without destroying the bacillus.  Don't think you can fight racial tuberculosis without taking care to rid the nation of the carrier of that racial tuberculosis.  This Muslim contamination will not subside, this poisoning of the nation will not end, until the carrier himself, the Muslim, has been banished from our midst."

Do you agree with this quote?

Ramadan, Eid, and September 11th.

Here's a bit of a history, religious, and cultural lesson for everyone who's not Muslim.

There are two basic calendars that humans go by.  One is the solar calendar, which marks the days, months, and years by the sun.  This is the one that the Gregorian calendar, the calendar that most Western countries go by, is based on.

The second major calendar is the lunar calendar.  This tracks the months and seasons by the moon.  The timing is different that the solar calendar, because the moon goes through a steady 28-day cycle, whereas the solar calendar, or at least the Gregorian version of it, divides the months of the year into 30- or 31-day months, with one 28-day month, for 365 days, except for every four years, when February has 29 days ... It's kinda a mess, actually, and the days aren't even 24 hours long; hence the leap year, and leap second.  Therefor, in an entirely lunar calendar (which is what Islam uses), the months drift by about 11-12 days each year, and rotate back about every 33 lunar years.

The most widely used lunar calendar is really a mix of the lunar and solar calendars, with months put in to bridge the gap between the lunar and solar years.

All right, now that we know all of this, let's talk about the Islamic calendar and how it's used to celebrate holidays.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Happy Ramadan!

It's the first day of Ramadan ... and I'm on prayer break.

Oi vey.

However, it appears that I'll be able to start fasting tomorrow!  Huzzah!  Thank You, God!  Missing one day is better than two days, and at least it's at the beginning of Ramadan, so I don't have to stop fasting, then start again.

Somehow I scratched under my thumbnail.  It's kinda infected.  I think it's going to rot and fall off.  Hmmm.  Maybe they'll give me a robotic thumb?  I can think of uses for it ... And at least it's my right thumb, not my left.  LEFTIES RULE!  If we can figure out which direction we're going.  O_o

But seriously, I'm mildly concerned that my thumb's going to start rotting.  I'm sure that it's just blood under my nail that I'm sing, but still.

OH GOD!  That would mean that God WANTS my thumb to rot off during my first Ramadan!  O_O

Squeezing it hurts.  Please don't ask why I squeezed my thumb.  Just ... don't.  Don't ask, and I won't have to tell you that I'm an idiot.

I'm going to write about how the crazy right-wing ultra-religious nutcases are trying to ban Muslims and Islam from the Land of Religious Equality and Tolerance, but first, a moment of silence in thanks for me not experiencing all that hatred firsthand.


Thank You, God.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

In defence of purity rings.

This was brought on by my mother's friend talking about her tall, talented, georgeous daughter who wants to stay a virgin and wears a purity ring, and gets a lot of flack for it.

Purity rings get a lot of flack.  I'm guilty of that, I think.  I can't remember, but if I am, it was probably the same flack that I hear from other people: Kids can't control their sexual urges, the rings don't mean anything, they don't stop teens from having sex, and on and on and on.

I've never worn a purity ring.  I'm uninterested in partner sex, so I don't see a reason to remind myself to not do something that I don't want to do, and have no urge to do.  However, the one ring that I wear in a gold band with inset diamonds in it that my mother gave me.  I'm concerned about blood diamonds, so those are the only diamonds that I'll wear.

My moral issues with diamonds aside, I've worn that ring for the last few years, ever since Mom gave it to me.  Recently, I noticed that one diamond was chipped, so I took it in and was told that in addition, two more were loose.  I didn't want to loose any of the diamonds, so I took the ring off.  It's been two months, maybe three, and my finger still feels naked without the ring.  I'd fiddle with it when I wore it, and it reminds me of Mom every time.  Not wearing it makes me feel itchy, and sometimes I'll be looking around, wondering what's out of place, before I'll realise that my ring's not on my finger.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Listening to GaGa, thinking about God.

Lady GaGa's song topics, for the most part, and all of her outfits, aren't halal.  I'm not condoning messing round with a stranger's disco stick, or texting whilst dancing.  Her songs are mostly vapid, vacuous, and only fit for when you really don't want to think about anything and you just want something brainless to bop around to.

But I've been listening to her a lot, and it got me thinking about God.  More to the point, it got me thinking about our relationship with rhythm and how it relates to our relationship with God.  Since the first time some ancient proto-human discovered that banging rocks together could produce a rhythm, or that hollow logs of varying sizes made different noises, or that stretching their vocal chords in a certain way made a pretty noise, music has been an integral part of humanity.  A strong, deep, steady beat is one of the most primal things you can experience these days, and can serve to jazz you up far more than a pep-talk from your coach.  In fact, when my sister was at soccer practice one day, there was some sort of drum group going on and we could only hear the drums, but she herself said that it got her more enthused about practice.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Of dream jobs and housewifery.

My dream is to be an animator for Pixar.  I've always wanted to do something digital art-oriented, be it freelance work like Marta Dahlig, or animating.  But working at Pixar has been my dream since 2009, when they fulfilled a dying child's dream of seeing "Up" before she died.

That link's going to make you cry.  A lot.

Go ahead, get some tissues.  A lot of them.  Then click on the link and read it all.

It's oaky to cry.  Take some time.  I'll wait.

So that's why I --- oh, you're still sniffling?  I'm sorry.  Let me know when you're done.


Oaky.  I know, I know, I bawled my eyes out, too.  I still start crying when I tell people the story.

Deep breath.  We'll get through this together.

Monday, July 12, 2010

I can haz followerz?

I have five whole followers, guys.  Five!  Wow!  I feel special.  Thank you all.  *hugs*

I'm off to bed, but more about my dream job and wanting to be a housewife later.

Contradictory?  I'm good at that.  :P

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Well, that was a bust.

Apparently sending someone unwanted PMs and texts after they break up with you, despite them telling you repeatedly to not contact them, following them to their karaoke bar, making friends with their friends, talking to all the guys they talk to, leaving them unwanted gifts and then refusing to take them back, texting them more, leaving them alone for a couple of weeks and then starting up again ... Yeah, apparently all that isn't stalking, and if the person you're "not stalking" tells people that you're a stalker, then they're making up heinous lies about you and deserve to lose all chance at your friendship.

Gee, and I thought that after almost two years, we could move on and get over this ordeal and maybe be friends again.  I guess I was wrong.  And it irritates me that the textbook definition of stalking apparently isn't stalking, and that I'm wrong and a bad person because I could have sworn that consistent, unwanted attempts at contact despite requesting to have none, unwanted gifts, being followed around ... I could have sworn that those actions constituted stalking.  It irritates me that I finally gained the maturity and bravery to offer some peace and friendship, only to be shot down like that.

No, it doesn't matter that he doesn't want t help with my family; he's not obligated, doesn't have to.  I was trying to make amends.  I gave it my best shot.  And unlike him, I'm not going to push the issue now that it's been made clear he wants nothing to do with me.  God bless him and soften his heart.  My part here is through.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Oppressing the "oppressed."

I read a lot of comments online (I shouldn't, I know), and the people that I should be ignoring often make comments such as this:

"Free liberated women should be just that. Wherever they are. They shouldn’t hide from being photographed with backward burqa shrouded shadows, instead they should proudly present themselves as women, free, liberated and capable." (In reference to a picture of the-First Lady Laura Bush posing with three Saudi women; one in hijab, one in niqab, and one a burka)

So ... you who make these comments think that my religious attire is oppressive, yet instead of worrying about my education or health or even, at the bare minimum, asking my opinions on my religion, you do exactly what you claim my garb incites people to do, namely treat me like a non-entity?  Instead of proving that you think higher of me than you claim the men of my religion do, you use my attire as an excuse to treat me exactly like they supposedly do.

Instead of showing me through your actions that you think of me differently, that you think I'm a worthwhile human being and deserve to be treated as such, you treat me the same.  You call me backward, a shadow, assume that I'm uneducated because my face and hands are the most ok,f my flesh that you can see, and sometimes you can't even see that.  I wonder, then, would you treat me like a super-genius queen if I were to walk around naked, since you seem to think that my worth is related to how much skin you can see?  No, you would treat me like a piece of meat that you can bang however, whenever you want, regardless of my feelings on the matter.  You would call me cheap, a slut, a tramp.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

A Family Crises.


Before I converted, I briefly dated a very intelligent, thoughtful, open-minded man who happened to be a convert to Judaism.  I forget his Jewish name, but his birth-name was Steve.  We broke up for reasons unrelated to either of our religious beliefs (I was pagan or agnostic at the time; can't remember which).

Throughout our relationship, Steve was very adamant about there being a huge difference between Israeli Jews and Zionism, and the rest of the world's Jewry.  He tried to go over and volunteer in the IDF every year,  but he was still very firm in that Zionism did not equal Judaism, and once told me that Jews aren't even supposed to set foot on the Holy Land until the Messiah comes, and that even if Moses himself (peace be upon him) were chasing him, all Steve would do would be to go into Israel and Moses wouldn't be able to follow him.  Steve was upset about the Israeli-Palestinian BS, but he still respected and understood that not every Jew and every Muslim hated each other.  He knew that it was a mainly political mess that was using religion to further its cause.  Steve was also the one who told me that the word "Messiah" is talking about a political leader, not the spiritual leader that most Christians hold it to mean.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I ... wait ... what?

My friends and I saw How to Train Your Dragon tonight; it was freaking fantastic.  Not just the story (why did everyone but the main characters have an accent?  What, can't Americans take an accented main character?), but the animation and the little details thrown in, like barnacles on the boats ... It was fabulous and I'm in love. :)

Speaking of love, we walked out and passed two guys, a thicker one in a white shirt and a skinnier white guy with no beard and no shirt on, who had a cross tattooed on his chest.  I was in my abaya, floral black hijab, and cowboy boots.  We passed each other and he says, "Assalamu alaikum" to me.  Of course I replied, "Wa alaikum as-salam," because that's only polite, but I was puzzled and thrilled at the same time.  I looked back at him a couple times, and told my friends, "That was awesome!"  Then I looked back again and he was looking at me, and smiled and waved, so I grinned and waved back.  I mean, I'm not saying that white guys can't be Muslim (dude, Ms. Whitey McWhiteypants, here), but I really doubt the guy was Muslim, and just the fact that a semi-gangsta-looking dude with a cross on his chest would know the Muslim greeting and say it, was freaking awesome.

So we piled into the car (I scratched my eyeball this morning, somehow, so John was chauffeuring and Kim was in the front seat, and I was in the back) and pulled out, and the guys had turned around and were walking the direction we were heading.  Kim offered to roll the window down and whistle at him for me, and offer me for 40 camels, but I told her not to.  He was really cute, though, and kept looking at me and smiling, and waved again.  So I smiled and waved back.

It was a great experience; I'm not complaining.  It was just way out of the blue, you know?  :D

Sunday, June 27, 2010

One amazing weekend.

Blogging in the halaqa, lol ...

It's been one amazing weekend.  I went to the Windows to Islam class, grinning ear to ear because Brother Ibrahim (from this post) was teaching it, and it's the first time since 2008 that I've seen him.  He had us all introduce ourselves, and I knew he didn't recognise me.  So it got to me, and I introduced myself and told him that he knew me, that we'd met in 2008 and I'd gone to one of his classes here at SALAM, and that I was the Jamba Juice girl.

Oh my God.  I thought he was going to wet himself.  His eyes got huuuuuuge, and he jumped back, his jaw dropped, and he kept repeating "You're the Jamba Juice girl!  You're the Jamba Juice girl!  Allahu Akbar, you're the Jamba Juice girl!"  It was hilarious, and despite being in a hit, stuffy classroom for 7 hours, Saturday was amazing.  Ibrahim's an awesome speaker and a wonderful teacher, and I'm not just saying this because he has my blog address.  :P  We learned a lot, Alhumdullilah, and the next time he's in town, I'm definitely going to his class.

Then last night a total crazy guy came in and decided we were kicking him out because he was black, not because he was loud, belligerent, and rude as all get-out.  Oh, did I mentioned soot-licking crazy?  That was fun.

And now I'm in a halaqa (essentially a Muslim Bible study), learning more about my faith and blogging here.  :D

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The most exclusive club.

Wearing hijab makes me feel like I'm in the most exclusive club in the world.  It's like a signal; a secret handshake, letting people know that I'm in the know.  Men walk into my Restaurant of Awesome and the first words out of their mouths are, "Assalamu alaikum," and it tickles me polka-dotted.

It tickles me purple when I'm referred to as "sister" on the streets, when I walk into a store and I'm greeted almost like I'm family, simply for the scarf on my head.  I feel famous, like at any moment the paparazzi are going to start snapping pictures, like I'm going to be mobbed for my autograph.

Rather than ignoring and being ignored by all the other motorists on the roads, when I drive past another hijabi, we smile and wave at each other.  I pass a hijabi or niqabi in the store and we greet each other, most often warmly, and that simple, friendly acknowledgement from a complete stranger warms me throughout the day.

Granted, being warmly greeted by strangers will always make my day.  When someone you've never met and will probably never meet again takes an interest in you, shares a grin like you're their best friend ... Even if no words are exchanged, it's one of the most wonderful feelings in the world, for me, and that makes me kind of sad at times.

It makes me sad because I firmly believe that everyone you meet should be greeted with a warm smile, that if we took two seconds out of our days to actually acknowledge others as fellow human beings, fellow human beings who may be in dire need of the heart-warming pick-me-up that a simple genuine smile can bring, then the transformations within ourselves and other people would be more drastic and life-altering than the latest cosmic shift in our collective consciousness the New Agers are screaming about (God bless you, you crazy New Agers; I do love you).

No, not every hijabi I meet or see will greet me, or smile at me.  But I'll greet them, smile at them, and even being greeted 95% of the time is still much better than my chances of a non-Muslim stranger greeting me.  I'm almost guaranteed at least a smile from my hijabi sisters; it's sunnah, after all.

So I'll keep my club, and feel like a rock star every time I step out, and hold my head high ... and someday I'll get around to making a secret hand signal to make everyone think I'm part of the Illuminati or something, because that just makes me laugh, and laughter cures everything except stupidity.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Changing perceptions.

I have a special thing to post about!

I have a regular customer, Bill.  He's been coming in for a few weeks, and he's really cool to talk to.  So, like everyone, he was curious about my hijab and why I wear it, and why I'm Muslim.  I've been explaining things to him, slowly, and he's been wonderful in realising that his misconceptions were just that, and changing his way of thinking.

I've explained to him about hijab: it's about respect for God's command for me to be modest, first and foremost, and if a woman is wearing hijab as a religious garment (some hijabi's aren't Muslim, or even religious) for any other primary reason, then she's wearing it for the wrong reason.  Wearing hijab has to be for God first, then yourself, then other people.  I've explained that I wear it because I choose to wear it, and that no man can force me to, that no matter how unIslamic my actions might be, no one can force me to not do them; it's between me and God.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The West is not the Devil, and most Muslims don't think that. So shut up.

I was born in the United States; Ogden, Utah, to be precise.  My mother was born in Utah.  Her parents were born in Utah.  My father and his family were born and raised in Humboldt County, in Northern California.  The earliest evidence of my family being in the US is that I know that my Dad's side got here during the mid-1800's; I do know that I'm related to both Confederate General and President Taylor.  My ancestry is German, French, English mutt, and maybe a bit Swiss.  I'm as Caucasian as they get.

I was raised in the small Northern Californian town of Fortuna.  Except for living in Sacramento for 7th, half of 8th, and all of 9th grade, I lived in Fortuna until I graduated high school.  Fortuna is small, and boring --- dear God, is it boring.  The nearest entertainment, if it could be called that, is in Eureka, a 20-minute car drive up Highway 101 (yes, the Eureka that's on California's state seal).  Yeah, we have a theatre in Fortuna.  It had one whole screen until about ten years ago, maybe a little earlier.  Then it got a whopping three screens.  We got our fourth traffic light no later than 2001, the year before I graduated high school.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Some things.

Being off on Saturdays is kinda cool.  Leaving my phone at Dimple Records?  Not so cool.  At all.

Nothing interesting happened this week.  I made some new friends.  We chatted about religion, and philosophy, and the fact that dolphins are evil and we should eat them.  :P  It was postulated (some say by me ... some may or may not be lying) that Hitler was also evil, and so we should also eat Hitler.  And lions are assholes.

Really, the entire animal kingdom is a horrible, horrible place.  And should be eaten.

Hey, it was funny in the wee hours of Friday morning.  Or Saturday morning.  I don't remember; my days tend to blur together.

I tried to get my friend Nick to elope with me on Saturday.  Didn't work.  We played the Old West Munchkin until 4am, instead.  :D

I saw the new Freddy Krueger movie on Friday!  It was much in the way of awesomeness.  My CD/DVD drive stopped working, also, so I got really mad and bought a Mac.  Should be here between Wednesday and next Tuesday.  Please, God, have it be Wednesday.

It's 7:30am.  Dimple opens at 10am.  Class starts at 10am.  I'm going to see a movie at 7:30pm, then work from 10pm-6am.

Sleep.  It's for the sane weak.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

An addendum to a previous post.

Apparently I was a bit too miffed at my stepmom to realise that she'd agreed with me about this post.  She says that she did, and I believe her.  Just wanted to set the record straight; I didn't mean to come off as implying that she was ignorant.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I'm back!

Not that it was obvious I was gone, but my computer cord finally died completely on me.  But, I have a new one, yay!

So ... They took me off Saturdays and switched me to Mondays; two extra hours, and I'll be alone, so way more tips.

Dude!  This crazy-ass lady came in the week before last, all hopped up on meth or something.  She was happy, for the most part, but screaming and hollering really loudly.  Kept yelling "ASSALAMU ALAIKUM!" at me, and saying the Pledge of Allegiance at me (pro-tip: "the Flag" and "under God" were never part of the original Pledge.  And it was written by a fascist - and a commie wrote "This Land is Your Land."  Trufax) and saying I needed to find Jesus.  After trying to calm her down, we finally called the cops, and she got PISSED and started screaming "ASSALAMU ALAIKUM, BITCH!" at me as some customers pushed her out of the restaurant.  I told the customers later that I had Jesus.  And Abraham.  And Noah.  And Moses.  And Muhammed.  They were like Pokemon; you had to catch 'em all!  That brought laughs.

Then she came BACK, and asked for the belt she'd left, and when I'd handed it to her, told the customers still there that she really wished they hadn't let me touch her belt.  Then she went outside and told on me to the cops who were coming in to eat.

Yeah.  Interesting.

And last Sunday, rather than working the 5-9 I was scheduled, I volunteered to stay 'til 10 for Mondo.  So, yeah, as I was leaving at midnight ... No, really.  The late-night cook apparently told one manager that he wouldn't be in 'til 12, but didn't tell the on-duty manager, and didn't get anyone to cover the two hours we wouldn't have a cook.  Kulwinder stayed 'til 10:30, but Jeff was PISSED, especially when Loc rolled up and sat in his car until midnight, despite me being Ms. Messenger between them, trying to get Loc to come in.  I don't know what happened with all that, but I'm sure I'll hear about it.

By the way, Iron Man 2 was FREAKING AWESOME.  :P

Oh, ugh, this guy I was semi-involved with before I converted came in on Sunday, too.  He would disappear for at least a month, if not more, then pop back into my life --- never answering texts, or voice-mails; just nothin'.  Then, the ONE TIME my phone was off when HE called ME, suddenly HE "felt abandoned."  Right.  Who treated whom like a one-night stand, asshole?  And YOU feel abandoned?  Right.  So rather than tell him, "You know, after the way you treated me in December, I don't think it's a good idea to give you my number again," I gave him my number.  But that's what I'll say if he ever calls or texts me.  I erased his number from my phone, anyway.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Little kids are cuuuute!

I was walking through Target today when I passed two little girls. One turned to watch me and said to her daddy, "She's really pretty!"  D'awwwww!  Her daddy said, "Yes, she is," as they walked by, and I told her that she was pretty, too.

Kids are so cute.  And to be complimented with such enthusiasm whilst in hijab!  Awesome!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Of licences and hijabs.

As mentioned in this post, I recently renewed my drivers licence and got a new picture taken, in hijab. There was a hijabi girl there taking her initial test; we waved and grinned at each other.

What I want to address in this post is the issue of hijabis and their driver licence photos.  I was at Dad's tonight (last night; whatever --- Monday night) and my licence had come in the mail.  I squee'd and showed it off.  My stepmom expressed surprised that they'd let me keep my hijab on for it.  I pointed out to my stepmom, when she noted that I could change my hair and look different, that I could go out and get a buzz-cut and look different.  I also noted that you're not required to get a new licence photo taken, and that I've seen plenty of licences that look almost nothing like the people showing them to me.  A new hair cut, extreme weight loss or gain, a new hair colour, lack or appearance of makeup ... heck, even simple ageing can make one look drastically different than one's licence photo.  Me wearing hijab isn't any different.  I'll be wearing it when I show it to people, too, and my basic facial structure is still the same.

She agreed with me, and the whole exchange got me thinking about licence photos in general, and licences as a hijabi in particular.

Going further, until they create a licence photo that changes in real-time with your appearance, a drivers licence photograph is just a point of reference, something to go off of.  A police officer isn't going to be suspicious of someone with brown hair giving them a blonde-haired licence, nor of someone with an obviously obese picture being much thinner, or vice-versa.  When I check ID's, I look for similar facial structures, things that makeup and weight can't change unless it's an extreme circumstance.

I'm comparing my old licence and my new licence right now.  Other than the hijab, the differences that I note are that my eyebrows are thicker now, I'm tilting my head up more, I'm wearing lipstick, and I'm smiling wider, which narrows my eyes just a tad.  Yes, I do look different, but there's honestly no mistaking the two licences as belonging to different people.  Also, I chewed on the upper left corner of my old licence.  Yum.

Now, there is the issue of niqabis and women wearing the traditional Afghani burka when they get their licences.  I understand freedom of religion; believe me, I do.  I fought for it when I was pagan, I fought for it when I was agnostic/atheist, and I fight for it now that I'm Muslim.  There needs, however, to be an understanding of when religious practices are harmful to the person practising them, and when they're just an irritation to some other people in society.  Take the following two images:

There is an inherent problem with covering that much of one's face in a document meant to provide visual identification of a person.  If the licence is stolen, all the thief has to do is put on a niqab or, even better, a burka, and chances are no one will be able to tell the difference --- taking into account the relative heights and weights of the two people, and skin/eye colourings in the case of the niqabi.  This is dangerous to the niqabi.  If a niqabi (and here I'm also referring to women wearing the burka, as in the picture on the bottom) is in a situation where her niqab/burka is removed, she has no way of assuring authorities that she is who she claims to be, as they don't have the visual identification meant to be provided by her licence.  Worse, in the case that the niqabi is the victim of a fire, or has been murdered and mutilated, as her ID is all the authorities have to go by, there's no way to know that she is who her ID says.  Yes, police can go to her home and look at pictures, but again, is the niqab or burka-clad woman in the licence photo the woman in the photos at the apartment or house?

Yes, I do know that family members and spouses could ID the body.  I don't mean to fear-monger, either, and you'll notice that I'm staying away from the whole "the niqab and burka are dangerous to America and its citizens" argument.  I don't think they are.  I think what's dangerous are people who are going to treat others as non-entities simply because they can't see a person's eyes/face/hair.

Regardless, my main concern with wearing niqab or the burka in licence photos is the safety of the woman.  Our religion requires a woman to guard her most alluring parts from the gazes of men.  Trust me, hair is a very alluring part of a woman --- complete strangers used to come up to me and, just as people think it's completely fine to touch a pregnant stranger, found no issue with invading my personal space to fondle my hair.  However, Islam has, from the start, relaxed the rules when following the rules will do more harm than good.  Broken leg?  Pray sitting down.  Throwing-up sick?  Pray laying down.  On the verge of starvation?  Eat all the pork you need.  Can't make Hajj to Mecca?  Donate money or pay someone else to go.  Poor?  Don't worry about zakat, or giving to charity.  Muslim Mongol soldiers a few centuries ago drinking alcohol?  Give them more, because a drunken, passed-out soldier is better than a rampaging, raping, and murdering one.  The only help available to you is of the opposite gender, and you can't move without their help?  They're permitted to help you as much as possible.

In this situation, I think that Muslim women need to realise that wearing their niqab or burka in their license photo does them more harm than good.  And unless it's an emergency, it's perfectly all right to ask to be able to show your photo to a female employee or officer.  There are few things so important as to interfere with your safety and security, and this is a matter of safety and security --- the safety and security of Islam's niqabis and burka-wearing sisters.

The first rule of Restaurant of Awesome: STOP FIGHTING.

Here's another update, then I'm going to write a bit about my new drivers license.

Thursday I noticed that I'd been put on Sundays from 5-9 pm for some reason, this week and next.  Huh.  Totally screws with my role-playing schedule, but oh, well.  I can't remember anything of note happening.

Friday, on my way to Family Night at the masjid, Gina-Bean calls me.  She says she's got food poisoning or something and wants me to cover her shift, but Ricardo said I'd called off that night.  I was like, "Lolwut, heck no, I didn't call off."  So I called Ricardo and told him so, and that I was taking Gina-Bean's shift.  Ricardo went of on me writing a note asking for the 23rd & 24th off, and I was all, "Uhm, Ricardo?  It's the 29th."  It was actually the 30th, but my point still stands.  Called Gina back, and it turns out that when I'd written a note saying, "May I please have the 23rd & 24th off, blahblahblah," earlier this month, my extremely intelligent managers, as well as Gina, had confused "May" as is "polite request" with "May" as in "The month between April and June."  Which explains why I didn't get that weekend off, but I'd forgotten I have a Saturday class, so it was good I didn't go to the retreat I wanted to go to.  It also turns out that I've honestly been doing an awesome job, not just bragging about doing an awesome job, and my extra Sunday shift is the tangible reward for that.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The most amazing thing, EVER.

I'm making a web kiosk in Flash class.  It is beyond amazing, I tell you.  I'll post it somewhere when I'm done.

Anyway, what happened last week at work?  I know you want to know.  So I'll tell you!

Tuesday I went to get my paycheck, showed up, and Jeff and Ricardo ask if I'd gotten their message.  I was like, "Lolwut?  Message?  Haha, nice one."  And then I worked from 6-10.  Now, I'm not saying I'm a shift-whore.  No, that would involve me seeking out shifts.  I prefer the term shift-pimp, as that implies that I let the shifts come to me.  I also never say no.  This metaphor's rapidly falling apart.

Wednesday I went with two friends to the dollar moves (I remember when they were a dollar, darn it!  ONE FREAKING DOLLAR!) and saw Tooth Fairy.  Dwayne Johnson, I love you.  He is hilarious, I say.  Hilarious.  ^_^

Thursday I worked.  Nothing really happened.  At least, not that I can remember.  ARGH!  I remember!  I got pulled over for my tags being expired!  And I got a TICKET!  The officer told me it wasn't a fix-it ticket, either.  Moooooore on that below.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Waitress McAwesomesauce, at your service!

We were dead for most of last night.  I was scheduled off at 4 this morning.  Then Ricardo said I was going home at 1 or 2.  Then it was 3.  Then we got slammed.  It was actually a pretty decent night; I had a four-top of ladies who told Elise that it had been the best Restaurant of Awesome experience they'd ever had, and that they were definitely coming back.  :D

That despite these allergies.  I.  Am.  Waitress McAwesomesauce.  I also got tipped $14 on a $32 tab.  Heeeeeck, yeah!  They were a good table, despite one guy's tendency to answer my questions of "How are you tonight?" and "Is everything tasting okay?" with such reasonable, on-topic replies as, "I want smothered cheese fries" and "Unstoppable" --- which is only part of the name of a particular meal we serve.  Despite that, he was the one paying, and thus tipping.

God, I'm making this sound like all I care about are tips.  I don't.  I really do enjoy my job, and I'd work at my RoA even if I didn't get tipped.  Tips are just a very, very, very pleasant bonus, and my bank account and I really appreciate them.  Quite often they keep me from overdrawing my account.

A nice police officer asked about my hijab.  First he asked what it was, then if I'd been Muslim all my life, then if I converted because of a Muslim boyfriend.  Lol, Muslim boyfriend.  That's an oxymoron if there ever was one.  Well, if you define "dating" by society's current standard.  Muslims "date," of a sort ... it's more like courtship, really.  You're never allowed to be alone together, and you're talking with each other with an eye toward possibly getting married.

Oh, God, my friend's cat was apparently taken from her mama way too early, so when she kneads, she drools.  I didn't realise this until she was drooling as I left a voice-mail for another friend, so I was all, "Oh, dear God, why?!  Why God, why?!" on the voice-mail, wailing about the cat drooling on me.  It was funny.  Then we all took a nap.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Next time I'm breaking your fucking window, assholes.

To whoever owns the blue/navy blue 4-door car with the California license plate number 6BPV407, I hate you and may you burn in Hell for having the audacity to not only run out on a $73 tab, but to not even stop your fucking car when I'm banging on your God-damned window.  Seriously?  Fuck you.  Fuck all four of you, you stupid assholes.  I.  Hate.  You.

The police have your license number and your car's description.  One of you even recognised Gina-Bean and fucking told her so.  When you come back in, because you assholes are always stupid enough to come back in, then we're calling the fucking cops and I hope you get dragged off to jail.  If I lose my job over this, I'm going to go seriously ballistic.

I.  Hate.  WALK-OUTS.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Communicate with your servers, please!

What happened last night?  I'm trying to remember.  Argh, I hate it when I want to update and then forget why I'm updating.

I worked for Gina-Bean last night, 'cause she called me yesterday morning sounding very dead.  It was fairly uneventful, except for the man who wouldn't even look at me when I was trying to take his order and check up on him, and mumbled everything.  I asked my manager to check up on him, and Jeff said he did the same thing, so the guy was just rude and it wasn't me in particular.

Oh, and the girl who refused to actually say what she wanted.  It was all "I want this," with pointing.  So I did what I always do.  I asked which one, and told her that I couldn't see what she wanted because my contacts were fuzzy.  Her friend ended up saying what exactly she wanted.  It wasn't even like she couldn't speak English (you non-English speakers get a break in that department, so long as you, you know, actually try to communicate with me).  She just wouldn't say the name of the meal she wanted.  When customers try that thing with me, I play dumb.  It may be rude of me, but there's no need for me to play Twenty Questions when you can freaking SAY you want the Smoked Chicken Quesadilla, rather than pointing at the tiny print that I have to lean over the table, and nearly across the lap of the guy you're sitting by, just to read.

Oh, also, please don't mumble, and use clear gestures.  If I'm not sure what you're saying or gesturing, I'm going to repeat myself.  If I keep repeating myself, it means that I can't understand you and you need to be more clear.  Don't give me a dirty look because you aren't communicating clearly with me.

In other news, a guy said he had a question for me and it was kind of personal, so I immediately fired back with, "Yes, I'm Muslim, yes, I was born in America.  I converted a month ago."

Yesterday was my one-month anniversary of converting, by the way.  Send Twinkies.

Anyway, then I asked, "Is that what you were wondering?"  It was.  ^_^  Another guy asked pretty much the same thing, so I said the same thing, but it turns out he remembered me from the last time I worked at the RoA (Restaurant of Awesome, if you don't recall from previous posts), and wanted to know if it was me or not.

The night was going good until my coworker Judy came in at 6, when I was supposed to be off.  Turns out Jeff put the wrong person in the cash register, so I had to stick around until the manager came in at 7, but hey, it's more money for me.  And .02 hours of overtime, lol.

So I skipped class today and slept instead.  Then I went and got my check-up at the optometrist for my contacts and then paid my storage unit.  The guy said he accepts payments of Chipotle, lol, so next time I need to pay I'll bring him some.  ^_^

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Muslim Lost & Found

So, that one 'vert I mentioned before?  Yeah, we found him.  He's apparently doing well, active in the MSA (Muslim Student Alliance) at the college across the street, coming to Jummah prayers ... so it's all good!  Yay!

A week of updates!

So, it's been a while.  Sometimes life takes over and does things I don't want it to.

Anyway!  Where was I?  What was my last post?  Wow, it's been a week?  Well, let's see what happened this past week.

Monday I hung out with my friend Muzhda; Victoria came, too, and we went to the Roseville Galleria, then back to Muzhda's for an Afghani dinner.  It was too spicy for me, but yummy.  ^_^  It's always awesome to hang around Muslims; I don't get to do it often enough, because it's generally a bit of a drive to get to the masjid, and after Jummah prayers, I tend to go back home to sleep because I work at 10pm on Friday nights.

Tuesday I got new contacts and ordered glasses, thanks be to God!  Very awesome.  Pictures to come soon!  I also had dinner with Victoria.

Thursday I went rollerskating with Victoria and her boy, and brought my baby brother.  Wow, rollerskating is SUCH great exercise!  Work was, as I recall, uneventful.  I've been really tired all this week, so I just kinda chilled.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Multi-porpoise posting.

Lol, do you see what I did, there?  :D

I was supposed to take Gina-Bean's shift tonight, 'cause her car isn't fixed/registered yet.  She texted me earlier to confirm, I said yeah, and then I go a text just now saying she was working anyway.  Turns out her phone's not taking texts right now ... But I'm taking her shift tomorrow, and, God willing, she'll have her new car soon.

In other news, our convert support group's meeting next Sunday!  Yay!  I'm also hosting a ladies' tea party next Sunday, so it'll be after the meeting.  Gotta e-mail the two brothers I met and say, "Yo, my brothas, come kick it!"  :P

Also, my Easter hijab:

I got the idea from this hijab tutorial on YouTube, by HijabTrendz.  Should have used the yellow scarf as the underscarf, rather than my not-quite-matching bandana, lo..  ^_^  Then I just experimented.  It got a little uncomfortable around the neck, but eh, it was liveable.  If you want to do what I did, layering two of them, then you need to wrap both scarves simultaneously.  Layer one on top of the other and adjust how much of the lower one you want showing, then wrap the bottom, then the top, adjust, and repeat.  ^_^  You can fiddle with the gathers around the neck, and which parts are over your shoulders, which is nice.

Anyway, your Hijabi Waitress is enjoying her night off and right now, wishes she had a husband to rub her feet for her.

It's called a "he-job" ...

... 'cause "he job" is to keep me all wrapped up and warm!

... That's my current favourite response when I'm asked what my hijab is.  :P

God loves me; I have proof!

So, there was a brother who converted (reverted ... 'verted) the day I did, and we appear to have lost him. >:P How embarrassing. Anyway, let's see ... this is Sunday, so it was Saturday morning, thus Friday night. This is how I have to remember what days things happened on, because I work overnight.

Anyway, Friday evening I got some e-mails from the convert support group my masjid has, informing me of this and generally asking if anyone has seen him/knows his number/etc., so we can check up on him. I said that if I saw him at Denny's then I'd say hi and see how he's doing.

Well, Friday night I worked until 6am for Gina-Bean. I stayed until about 6:30am, and these two guys said assalam alaykum to me, so I was all happy. Then I noticed that the white guy (the other turned out to be of Mexican descent) kinda looked like our MIA 'vert. So I asked him when he'd taken Shahada, and whilst it turns out he's NOT our missing 'vert, he and his friend are both converts of last July and 15 years, respectively, and they are SUCH nice dudes. I gave them the address of this blog. Hi, guys! *waves* ^___^

Anyway, we talked for quite a while, and they're both very interested in my masjid's convert group, and said that if they saw our missing 'vert around, they'd let him know that the masjid is worried about him. Oh, and you remember the two Muslims from a few posts down? The ones where the wife had recently converted? Yeah, my new friends know them, lol. So they'll pass on my e-mail, which I, in all my dorkiness, forgot to do when I was talking with the woman and her husband, so we can all be awesome together. They also know the brother who runs the local halal shop.

I also have about $160 in cash saved up for my eye appointment that I made for Tuesday, right after I give blood again (I am SUCH a superhero, you have NO idea --- and so modest about it, too), and I will, God willing, have enough to get not only the glasses eye exam, but also the more expensive contacts eye exam. Iiiiiiiiiii'm so happyyyyyyyyy! :D

Dude, I totally chilled at work last night. We had a crummy bar rush, so I just told Gina-Bean and Elise to tell me when they wanted me to take tables, and spent the rest of my shift rolling silverware, lol. I also paid my dad $20 out of the $35 I owe him ... but, my paycheck on Monday should be HELLA big (I'm from Humboldt; I say hella! Wanna fight?) so my phone bill, eye exams, and Dad's money should all be able to fit in it, with money to spare for my poor savings account. ^_^

I also made Fajr today; my Easter resolution is to pray all 5 prayers on time today. :D

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Random things on extra shifts.

I picked up an extra shift ... not yesterday ... Tuesday! Yeah, it was supposed to be a 6-10, but I went home around, what, 1am? Lol, that rhymed.

Anyway, other than not being used to working before 10pm when the menu switches over and therefore not remembering that kids eat free on certain days (yeah, way to be subtle there, uh-huh), I was bussing a table as one group was leaving, and I overheard a man talking about "Five Percenters." He didn't say anything to me, but I do know that the Five Percenters are some form of Islam, and I wasn't sure if I'd sparked the remark or not.

Oh, Google, you're such a stud of a search engine. Come here and give me info on the Five Percenters. (spamusegooglespam)

... Uh. Wikipedia says they're crazy people who don't like crackers like me. See the pasty skin? That seems to be a no-go for the 5%'ers. Hmmm. Maybe it didn't have anything to do with me, after all, and I just happened to be the only Muslim around whilst he was discussing crazy quasi-Muslims (hint: if your leader is calling themselves God or claiming to be divine, they're not preaching Islam). But still. It was kinda odd.

EDIT: Oaky, I actually read the entire article, and most 5%'ers don't claim to be Muslim, and most are actually quite awesome, pillar-of-the-community type people, so I take back most of my declarations of craziness. (They make more sense than Scientologists, at any rate ...)

And last night I went to work for some food after Isha and had to fight with my manager J to get a sampler. I got a banana split, first, and he said that I could have the split, then split. :P Then he said that if I stayed, he'd put me to work. And then he put me to work. :D So I ended up picking up another 1.5 hours. Yaaaaaay, my next paycheck is gonna be HUGE! And I got my gummint munneh already, so as soon as Bel-Air opens (they have Bank of America in them! I hate BoA) I can go get my $50 rent money, and then tonight I'm going roller-skating with friends from the masjid. Ooooh, hopefully with this next paycheck, I can finally get an eye exam and new glasses & contacts.

Also, my baby rat's cage has a hole in the top for a link to a different cage, and since I don't have a different cage, she climbs up out of the hole and sits on top, then climbs down onto my dresser and chills. She's so adorable. Aqua the cat is still stupid, but lovey and adorable as well.

*sings* It's my blog, and I'll blog what I want to, blooog what I want to ...

Ooooh, also, please remember that if you and your group need to use the restroom, either pay your bill first or don't all go at once, kthx. I had a group of girls do just that and I thought they'd walked out. I was ready to kill someone, and then I saw them paying. Aaaaargh!

... didn't even tip me ...

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Hijabi Hands-Free!

I was hanging out at WinCo with my friend Nick last night (shut up, at 11pm there's not much else to do, and besides, I bought food, so it was a legitimate loitering) and I had my phone tucked under my underscarf, and my top scarf was tied tightly enough to keep my phone against my head. I call it hijabi hands-free. ^_^

Anyway, this young woman asked me how I kept my phone on my head, so I told her. She laughed and said that she'd thought I was wearing a headset or something that wrapped around my head. She said it was very smart of me. I told Nick that that proved that I was a celebrity.

I'd also been running on a two and a half hour nap, preceded by about 22 hours of being awake. Holding an overnight job and going to morning classes screeeeeeeeews with your sleep schedule.

This is completely unrelated to being a waitress, but it's got the hijabi part in it and it's my blog anyway, not yours, so nyah.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Thursdays were exciting for a while.

So, on the 4th I stayed late to give my co-worker, G-Bean, a ride home. Around 5 I wandered into Walgreen's to kill time and buy a couple things. Two girls were there, looking grumpy, so I ignored them with a smile and headed to the back of the store to get my shtoof, when ...

All of a sudden I hear yelling and cursing and one of the girls yelling something about "You stole my phone, call the cops, would you hit a girl?" and so on, and then a crash of what I learned later was baskets being knocked over. I stayed in the back and looked over, and the manager was ushering out two guys and two girls. Oaky, fine, emergency dealt with ...

Until I hear, "Get the customer and get in the back" as the manager comes power-walking down the aisle. I'm ushered into the back room, where I learn that Girl A had lost her cell phone, and when her friend called it, the guy who picked up said he'd bought it just then off of Craig's List, and if they met at Walgreen's and she gave him $50, he'd give it back (legally, if you purchase stolen property, you can't charge the owners for returning it, btw). He and his friend showed up and he wouldn't give it back, and he and Girl A got into a fistfight over it. When the manager got them outside, the guy whipped out a shotgun.

Hence, I chilled with the Walgreen's employees for almost an hour as the cops were called and came over, and let their dogs sniff around the store. Thrilling.

A week later, the 11th (the day before I took Shahada!), two big groups came in. One of them was a young lady and her friends, and the young lady was exercising her right to wear as little as she pleased. In the second group, a young man exercised his right to comment on the young lady's lack of clothing, at which point she and her friends got pissy (and rightfully so - lack of clothing doesn't mean you can disrespect someone). It escalated, as these things do. I was divvying up a check for a table when I heard the shouting and looked over, and immediately rolled my eyes and stalked over, getting right in the middle of it and pushing people away from each other, yelling for them to calm down or leave, grabbing a raised chair from a guy twice, and generally being a pissed-off waitress. Don't you dare start a fight while I'm working! Note: Don't get into the middle of fights. It's dangerous. The cops arrived and exercised their right to pimp-slap people around and hauled off the young lady and her friends. I heard later that she might have been 17, as well. Out past curfew, in a fight, possibly drunk ... right.

The most memorable line from that fight:

Girl: "If my boyfriend was here, you'd be flat on the ground!"
Guy: "If your boyfriend were here, I'd punch him in the mouth!"

Threatening people with hypothetical situations just makes everyone else laugh at you. Just sayin'.

Anyway, I was bummed that the next two Thursdays were uneventful.

How to be Inquisitive Without Being Rude.

Before I begin, please note that I don't speak Arabic (soon, though, God willing), and so my pronunciation guides might be off. If they are, my Arabic-speakers brothers and sisters, please read through the comments to see if I've been corrected, first, and if I haven't, please politely let me know.

This post is directed to you, dear readers, who don't know a lot about Islam, and who are excited to ask your new Muslim acquaintance all sorts of things about Islam and being Muslim.

I know that you're thrilled. You've finally met a real, live Muslim! One who works near you, lives near you! Now you can finally tell your friends that you're *~multi-cultural~* and gain the respect of your peers!

... Maybe not. But hey, you've met a Muslim and you're a little curious, so you decide to ask a few questions. What's the harm?

Well, here are a few things to please keep in mind whilst bombarding your (God willing) patient Muslim buddy with questions:

Wearing Hijab Makes Me Foreign.

Trufax. I never knew that I wasn't born in America (Utah, to be precise) until I started wearing hijab. Oh, also, apparently all Muslims are brown and Arab, or at least Arab. Colour-coded religions ftw!

I'd like to take a brief moment to assure you, dear reader, that for the vast majority of the time, this assumption of my forgein-ness really amuses me. Also, my cat makes a great prop for my note book.

Anyway. Here's a conversation that I've had several times in the past:

Me: "Welcome to Restaurant Awesome, I'm your Waitress of Awesome!"
Customer: "Where are you from?"
Me: "Northern California."
Customer: "No, before that."
Me: *blink* How do they know I was born in a different state?! Doo-doo doo-doo (that's the Twilight Zone theme) ... "Uhm, Utah."
Customer: "No, I mean originally."

Now, at this point I have several options, depending on the politeness, level of ignorance, and willingness to learn exhibited by my darling customers:


It ain't easy being green.

... Wait.

Oh! Oaky, I've got it now. Let's try this again:

It ain't easy being a waitress. It ain't easy being Muslim in the United States. It ain't easy being a hijabi, especially when one works with the public. It also ain't easy being a white, female, American convert.

Wait, why's my life so easy, then? Oh, whatever. Welcome to my blog, The Adventures of a Hijabi Waitress. I'm your waitress with the ... I can't think of a word that rhymes with "waitress," but when I do, I'll let you know. I'm a white, female, American convert to Islam, currently working as a waitress at a well-known 24-hour diner, covered and proud of it. I'm going to chronicle my wacky adventures here, and I hope my words will make you laugh, make you think, and, God willing, increase your understanding of everything that I am.