10 Things I Want Non-Muslims to Know About Being Muslim

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My senior year of high school I went to the ACT-SO art competition in Miami, Florida. I went as a regional winner for visual arts along with 10-15 other students from my high school and nearby schools and a few parent chaperones. We loaded a coach bus headed for the airport and before we took off, one of the parent chaperones suggested we bow our heads in prayer. I quietly bowed my head, praying it would be a generic prayer. “Lord Jesus Christ, our holy savior, we pray in your name, we pray that we arrive safely…..” Uncomfortable I lifted my head, dismissing myself from the prayer. As a Muslim, I don’t believe that Jesus (peace be upon him) is God or the son of God, and thus such a prayer opener made me highly uncomfortable. Later in the trip, a parent chaperone asked me what church I attended. When I told her I was Muslim, she asked offended, how it was possible that I didn’t “believe the lord Jesus Christ had died for my sins”, she then told 18 year old me, that I would “go to hell” if I didn’t come to accept this. At 18 I was soft spoken with a reverence for all adults. I didn’t know how to respond to such a statement so I didn’t respond at all. Continue reading

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Don’t Get Surf & Turfed this Valentine’s Day: 5 Ways to Protect Your Wallet

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When I was 23, young, broke and stupid I learned this term. It’s when you generously take someone out to dinner on a budget and they unexpectedly order the two most expensive things on the menu, the steak and the lobster.

At 23, I was dating this guy whose pattern was to always split meals with me whenever we went out. He was a fairly skinny guy but he said to manage his cholesterol he wanted to split meals. He also didn’t drink or ever order desserts or appetizers. Needless to say, whenever we went out for a meal the bill was consistently low.

On Valentine’s Day I decided I wanted to mix things up and take him out. Stupidly, I chose to take him to the John Hancock building 95th floor Signature Room. I had never been, but I’d heard it was amazing. Did I mention I was 23 and broke? I looked up the menu beforehand but of course fancy restaurants often don’t list prices on the online menu. I figured we’d probably order one $35 -50$ entre and share it like we normally shared meals. There’d be no appetizer, drinks, desserts etc. because he never wanted those things anyway.

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Valentine’s Day & Tuesday Night Dishes

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Hello lovelies,

If you’ve noticed that I’ve been MIA for the past two weeks, it’s because I’ve been battling the flu.  Being sick these past few weeks has really got me thinking a lot about the upcoming Holiday of Love, otherwise known as Valentine’s Day.  Are you excited for Valentine’s Day, totally indifferent or “feeling some type of way”?

For as long as I can remember Valentine’s Day has made me feel some type of way.  In junior high we purchased $1 mailgrams and sent them to one another.  I recall partnering up with girlfriends and making sure everyone in the crew was accounted for so that no one would feel the embarrassment of not receiving one.  If by chance a secret admirer did send you one, the excitement of this was quickly overshadowed by the awkward aftermath of having to interact with said admirer.

In high school some of the girls with boyfriends got big bouquets of flowers or gaudy balloons to carry around throughout the seven period day.  Not getting one made me feel some type of way but carrying around these bulky objects also felt like a silly impractical display of show and tell.

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Mediocrity is the Antagonist of Love

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It was in that moment, standing outside the storefront window of the Argo Tea, contemplating the three small chips in the acrylic painting that I realized, I could never marry him.  “That one’s chipping, do you see it?” I asked.  “Yeah I know, it was like that when I hung it.  No big deal, no one will notice.”  He said.  “But —” , I silenced myself.  What was the point anyway?   In high school, acrylics had been my medium of choice.  I bought it in jars instead of tubes so I could leave the caps off and let it dry up like paste.  Tube acrylic was the consistency of snot, thin, runny and uninteresting.  But all dried up and paste-like it could be manipulated into textures. I could layer and mix colors right on the canvas.  Portraits of brown people were my favorite.  I never mixed complexions on a palette beforehand, nor would I attempt to purchase skin tone paints.  I loved to layer white, red, yellow, brown, blue.  Everyone’s blood runs blue.  Even behind the darkest of skin tones you can see hints of blue pulsing veins.  I loved color.

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10 Ways to Balance Couple Time & Personal Time

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How do you find the balance of spending quality couple time with having enough personal time to be productive and centered? 

Here are 10 tips.

1. Make a working date: Ask your significant other to come over and bring work or a book to read.  Make it clear that you will be working on stuff while they are there.  If you live together then make it a date to go to a local coffee shop for a few hours.  The key is to be clear that it is a working date and that you have specific tasks to complete.  It’s fun to be in the presence of your significant other and it lightens the mood as you push through your required work.  It’s also a good idea to discuss goals with one another.  What things have you each been procrastinating that you want to accomplish?  Perhaps working dates can be a time when you both spend time making progress on these goals.

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Disposable Love: The First Cut is the Deepest

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Music: http://www.bensound.com

Sheryl Crow’s song, The First Cut Is the Deepest is one of my favorite songs despite the fact that it takes me to this solemn reflective place.  It makes me think about disposable love.  It makes me think about actually being disposable.  Have you ever felt that way?… Disposable?   It’s a shitty space to be in emotionally, but perhaps we all need to feel it at least once to learn.  That’s why I love the song so much, because it reminds me, it humbles me.
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The Pink Towel

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“Are you ready Tiff?”

Tiffany stood and lifted the pink towel from underneath her.  She shook it vigorously to free it of all the sand.

“Girl, this is not a beach towel.” Qiana said.  “I don’t know why you bring your good towels to the beach.  Who you tryna impress anyway with yo’ Bed Bath and Beyond expensive towels?” Qiana laughed.

“Actually it is from bed bath and beyond.” Tiffany said laughing. “Girl you wouldn’t believe the story behind this towel. Do you remember Ethan?”, Tiffany asked.
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