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, 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.