Day 6 of My Gratitude Journal

As I’ve been writing these posts on things that I’m grateful for, I’ve been thinking a lot about what to share and leave out. Some of the things that I mention seem insignificant (Greek yogurt? Really?!), but they’re not because every small gift has a much larger effect because they’re the things that we overlook and take for granted. So, I’ll share both major and minor things and let you decide what you, yourself are grateful for. Some days, I feel like I have more minor things to be grateful for, whereas, on other days, I find that I’m thinking of major life-changing aspects of my life. So, here’s today’s list:

  • I was able to run a number of miles that I used to run yesterday! I’ve been running for a year and a half now, and when I got better at running (around 4-5 months after I started running), I used to run a few miles and for an at least an hour a day. Yesterday’s run reminded me of those days because I felt faster, stronger and refreshed.

 

  • Friday was a great day at school because I felt so very positive about my first week of teaching at this new school! I also came up with an interesting activity for students after reading this article by Haben Girma, a disabilities rights activist, on how those with disabilities have spurred innovation and thought about connecting this article to my reading class’s text, Wonder (I know, you’ve heard a lot about it a lot now!). I feel like it’s important that my students, who are impacted by society’s views of disabilities, think about how those with disabilities have shaped our world for the better and how those with disabilities were and are able to accomplish a lot. So, the activity that I have planned will get them to think about Girma’s argument, the book, and themselves. 
  • One of my students told me this week that reading, which is the class that I teach, was his favorite class. I was so happy to hear that since I knew that it was hard to get him to participate in class discussions or to get him to work with other students.

 

  • I had the opportunity to make these traditional cookies called Buskud Saleed with my mom! I feel like it’s important that I have time alone with family to catch up on things and just be around each other. I love cooking so it was fun to smell the aroma of fried cookies (although I don’t eat them since they’re so unhealthy) and see their light brown color.

 

  • The following quotes from Don’t Be Sad by Aidh Al Qarni on positivity and wellbeing. They’re some of the reasons why I’ve made it a challenge for myself to look for things I’m grateful for every day.

“happiness in acquired by assuming it. It is acquired by constantly smiling, by hunting for the reasons that make one happy, even by forcing it onto one’s self, however awkward that may seem”(86).

“Your life is the product of your thoughts. The thoughts that you invest in will have an indelible effect upon your life, regardless of whether they are happy thoughts or miserable thoughts”(121).

“Higher goals are not achieved through dreaming or fantasizing; they can only be reached through dedication and commitment” (128).

 

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Cookies after they’ve been cut into rectangular shapes

 

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Frying

 

 

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Ready to eat!

Please leave a comment below if you’d like me to continue writing about some of the things that I’m grateful for.  I have other things that I’ll soon be posting about. Please also feel free to leave a comment about something you’d like to know about me or would like to see me write about. You can also share my posts 🙂

 

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Day 5 of My Gratitude Journal

Since starting my new job as an English and Writing Specialist at a middle and high school, there’s a lot that I’ve been thinking about but I’ll focus on some key things that I’m grateful for, inshaAllah. So…here’s a list of things that I’m grateful for this week:

  1. I’m getting a lot of experience working with students with disabilities. I’m grateful for this because I’ve realized that I need to slow down, do comprehension checks, and simplify but not dumb down the content. They finish most of the work that I give them much faster than I expect and they’ve done well on the post-test that I gave them yesterday. As for reading Wonder, my students have told me that they like the book so far :-). I”m so glad! We’ve had some interesting discussion so far.
  2. I’ve been thinking about teaching abroad, but I’m unsure if this is right for me at this point in my life. I’m still grateful for the opportunities and help that have presented themselves though.
  3. I feel like I’m getting closer to finding the answer to certain questions in my life such as my choice of career. The upside to trying out different jobs is getting to, hopefully, that much closer to finding the job that suits me and is something that I’d like to dedicate my life to.
  4. I’m grateful for peanut butter sandwiches, Greek yoghurt, chai, incense (bukhoor), and beautiful hijabs.
  5. I love the place where I live despite its flaws.

Day 4 of My Gratitude Journal

This week has been a little rough, but here’s my list of things that I’m grateful for:

  • I recently met someone who is a long-distance runner and found that inspiring. I really enjoy running, so I’m thinking of running with training in mind again. I run 4-5x a week but I haven’t really been running with training in mind. I’d like to increase the number of miles that I run. I’d eventually like to run a marathon! 
  • I went for a walk in the morning and got to see this beautiful sunrise that reminded me of the eclipse we had a few weeks ago! (I loved watching the eclipse with my students). Here’s a picture from my walk:

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  • The weather has been pretty good! It’s rained once (I love rain!) but most days it’s been sunny and nice outside. It hasn’t been as warm as it usually is. But of course, it’s September and I’m totally ready for the fall!
  • I started a new position at a new school this week. Starting this coming week, I’ll also be teaching Wonder by R.J. Palacio. I’m very excited to be teaching this book since it has so many layers that I can discuss with the students that I’ll be working with. It’s also definitely an important book to be reading in our Directed Studies class (it’s a course that helps students with Individual Education Program (IEP)). The school that I’m currently working prefers to use the term Directed Studies because that’s what we do in our course, offer direct support to students who need it. Friday was my first day so I can’t say much about the school so far, but I do love that students are in charge of their learning and that they have access to so many resources such as online classes in other campuses (even university courses) and that the class sizes are smaller in the Directed Studies courses. It’s also interesting that students from all grades take different classes together such as English. I’ll have more to say about my experience as time goes by.
  • I realize that I really love watching teacher YouTubers and teacher Instagrams! Okay, I know that you’re probably getting tired of hearing about teaching, but I’m honestly impressed by the amount of teachers on YouTube! My favorite people to watch so far are toocoolformiddleschool and Real Rap with the Reynolds. I also like following the Hipster Teacher on Instagram. I love that they offer relevant and interesting teaching advice and tips. I also like that they share some of the same interests (teaching and social justice and teaching with relevance in mind).

Anyway, I know that this post focused a lot on teaching, but that’s what’s on my mind right now and that’s what I’m grateful for.

Day 3 of My Gratitude Journal

Today’s list:

  • I locked myself out of my car a couple of days ago and had some people at a store open it for me, alhamdulilah.
  • Had a great day yesterday. Was able to knock down my thinking errors.
  • Worked out today despite feeling like I didn’t want to.
  • Have an interview tomorrow, inshaAllah.
  • Not feeling as a bad about having left my job because I realize that there’s no use repeating the past in my mind again and again. I still can pursue my goals.
  • Was sent an interesting talk about positivity and pessimism by a friend. It had some interesting points that I took away from.
  • Realized that I enjoy working and do best when I’m very busy.
  • Realized that I love everything that has to do with education and learning. That I belong in education.
  • Made a commitment to myself to making use of my time no matter what.
  • My hair feels like it’s getting longer 🙂
  • Love the book Don’t Be Sad by Sh. Aidh al Qarni. Benefitted the most from these points on the best way to deal with sadness and depression: 1) take care of other people 2) keep yourself busy and don’t think of stress as a bad thing 3) let go of your yesterdays and tomorrows and live in the moment (mindfulness).
  • Made heartfelt dua this morning
  • Got to fast on the day of Arafah
  • Had a good Eid
  • This Ayah: “Indeed, those you [polytheists] call upon besides Allah are servants like you” [7:194]. Although this Ayah talks about calling on someone besides Allah in terms of worship, I think that the word “ta’du”, call upon, is important here because sometimes when things get difficult, we rely too much on people. We call on them for help instead of taking our complaints and fears to Allah (SWT). So, remembering this Ayah helps me remember that everyone I want to turn to is just like me, a servant of God.
  • That it’s not a very warm summer, alhamdulilah!
  • That I’m a freelance writer so I’m gaining some experience.
  • That I enjoy reading and writing.
  • That I have a lot to share.

Day 2 of My Gratitude Journal

Here are some things that I have grateful for today:

  1. Good health
  2. Opportunities; job offers, alhamdulilah
  3. Good weather
  4. My sisters and brothers
  5. The Quran
  6. Being a Muslimah
  7. The people that I’ve met
  8. A home to live in
  9. Food to eat
  10. Clothes
  11. Avocadoes
  12. My parents (I know a repeat!)
  13. Starting some of my spiritual routines again.
  14. Overcoming some of my fears
  15. Having people I can count on and talk to
  16. Working out frequently
  17. Adkhar’s calming effect on my heart
  18. Knowing that things will always workout in the end and that I’m not barred from things.

Day 1 of My Gratitude Journal

Because of my anxiety issues, I’ve been having a rough time the last couple of months. So, I want to take time every day to write down what I’m grateful for. Allah (SWT) says: “And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]” [the Holy Quran 14:7].

So, what am I grateful for?

  • That I am safe and secure.
  • For a family that always wants the best for me and has supported me through everything.
  • For being able to serve my parents in their old age
  • For the help that I’m receiving from different people.
  • That I’ve already found a job.
  • That I’m aware of certain things so that I can do something about it.
  • For the chance to live a life every day that’s full of possibilities.
  • For the education that I’ve received
  • For a new computer 🙂
  • For the beginning of the khatm of the Quran.
  • For the mistakes that I’ve learned from
  • That nothing lasts forever
  • That I’ve learned to use my GPS 🙂

 

Mental Health Stigma and Marriage in Muslim Communities

Where ever you turn, you’ll hear people talking about the abundance of single people in the Muslim community (and other communities as well). Despite the fact that there are ‘tons’ of people who are single and searching for a spouse, it’s still super difficult to find a spouse.

Ultimately, only God knows why people are single, but I know that the moment that I mention that I was diagnosed with Schizophrenia and PTSD, I’m no longer as ‘desirable’ as I’d once been. All of a sudden, I find the brother interpreting my actions (“did you react that way because of your mental health disorders?”) or not wanting to pursue the conversation without really giving me any reason why. I just found out about my mental health a month ago, but there have been times where I’ve wished that I would have found out about my condition after marriage so that I wouldn’t have to deal with so many rejections. But then I realize that it’s from Allah’s Mercy that I was diagnosed before having serious issues, alhamdulillah.

I just feel down though that despite all the things I have going on for me, I’m still being rejected for something that’s beyond my control and which I’m honest about. There’s no shame because God chose this for me. As my therapist says, “You’re not your diagnoses and you shouldn’t define yourself by them.” So, what does that mean? It means that brothers are missing out on a strong, hardworking and beautiful sister! And that’s fine because Allah takes away something in order to replace it with something better.

What makes me share my issue so openly? I remember reading Yasmin Yonus tweeting about her experiences with bipolar disorder (and other topics) and thinking, “I can’t believe that she just shared that.” Like Yasmin, I’m Somali and I know what it’s like to talk about these types of issues so openly in a culture where there’s silence regarding mental health. I mean, things are getting better and people talk about mental health more now, but I still feel like there’s dead silence the moment that someone mentions their mental health. A response that reminds me that “that’s too much to share.” And I’m sick of it.

Everyone needs to understand that there are people in our lives who we never know have mental health issues and are doing perfectly fine. And yeah, it’s your loss if you can’t go beyond the diagnoses.

If you have a mental health disorder, what are some things you think about when it comes to finding a significant other? What has your experience been like? Please leave a comment below!