Incredible.

23thorns

I was very young when my father discovered Jesus. He was walking around his garden, as was his wont, when he heard Jesus next door. He popped his head over the wall to ask the neighbour who he was listening to, and from that day forth, Jesus became part of our lives.

We knew his every word before we had seen out our first decade. If you asked me now, I could repeat every one to you without even pausing to think about it. It set us in good stead, because most of our peers only discovered Jesus in late high-school, or university, or the army. But one of those weird quirks of history ensured that generation after generation of young white South Africans were all destined to find Jesus eventually.

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Wasting Life

Here’s how you know Warm Bodies is going to be good just by watching the trailer, even though it has Zombies and is therefore weird: it features music by Broken Bells. It’s a no brainer (pun intended), Warm Bodies has to be good.

I don’t know what I’m doing anymore. I just sit here all day long, every day, and do nothing. I watch TV, I go on the internet, and I just sit. I’ve come to an impasse that I do not know how to pass. Because, just because. There’s nothing in the world I want to do that is worth doing. That is a Very Big Problem. I’ve been through it again and again and again and again and again, and there’s nothing there. Not a single thing that is worth my time. So, instead, with the wonderful logic that my life is full of, I sit here and do nothing. Because what better way to spend your time than to waste it. It’s better than wasting it actually doing something. I might as well waste it by not doing anything. What? 

I don’t know how to move on from here. I don’t enjoy reading anymore. I mean, actually, I don’t know if I enjoy reading anymore or not because I have absolutely no desire to read. What on Earth am I supposed to do with that? I can’t remember ever in my entire life not having the desire to read. I’m sure I had the desire to read even when I didn’t know how to read, I just couldn’t follow through with that desire. 

I have no desire to read, I have no desire to do anything. Except sit here on the couch in the exact same place every single day from the moment I get up till the moment I have to to go sleep and watch TV or go on the internet to…do nothing. 

My life is so pointless I don’t even know how to fix it. I want to move toward a larger goal but I can’t…because there’s nothing to move toward. It’s like every thing in the world reaches back to that point. 

I don’t even have the desire to explain myself more fully so that you might actually understand what I’m saying. I just don’t know what to do. 

I love using my head, but there’s nothing to be gained from that so why do it? I would love to go to school, but what’s the point? What am I accomplishing by reading some book on political theory and then writing a paper on it? I would love to read that book and write that paper, but what have I accomplished by doing that? Have I saved a life? Have I made an actual difference in anything, for anyone? I don’t even like work. I hate work. Unless it involves reading a book on political theory and writing a paper on it. Actual work, the kind that’s called a job that you get paid for doing, I don’t like it. I don’t want to do it. Unless it involves reading a book on political theory and writing a paper on it. But that’s useless. It’s a waste of time. What am I going to do with that paper once I finish it? Absolutely nothing. 

Even if I were to humor whoever is responding to this and say that it could get published, so what? What does it matter if it gets published? Who’s going to read it? Either someone who agrees with it, nods along the entire time they’re reading it, then puts it off to the side, or someone who disagrees with it, writes a rebuttal, and then gets that published. Big frikkin whoop. What is that accomplishing??? I could go back and forth with Jean Locke 5,000 times and it wouldn’t accomplish a darn thing. 

So there’s nothing in the world worth doing. I would like to get a PhD, but that’s a big waste of my life. None of the jobs in the world in my field are worth doing. What am I supposed to do with that? 

Image

Wordless Emotions

“We Will Become Silhouettes” by the Postal Service:

I’ve got a cupboard with cans of food,
Filtered water, and pictures of you.
And I’m not coming out until this is all over.

And I’m looking through the glass,
Where the light bends at the cracks.
And I’m screaming at the top of my lungs,
Pretending the echoes belong to someone I used to know.

I don’t have a someone I would think this about. But the intensity of the emotions in the song stayed with me, and I was able to sort of put into words what I’ve been wanting to write about for a long time. The beginning is slightly plagiarized, but it becomes my own after a couple of lines. If I knew how to create music, I would set this to music and the result would be much more powerful. As it is, I read the beginning to the beat of “We Will Become Silhouettes” anyway.

 

I’ve got beats running through my mind,
Wordless emotions swirling around.
I’ve listened and I’ve heard,
I’ve yelled and I’ve absorbed,
And when nothing seems to end,
When it piles on and on and on,
I let it build it up and build up and build up,
Compressed to absolute zero where words cannot exist.

You forced me to lose myself,
To arrive where words cannot exist.
Meaning is pre-eruption.
Post condension, post compression.

Voices lost and never heard.
In the family rooms and tv rooms, abandoned and left to roam.
Pushed away by fear and stress,
Kicked away by depression.

When they come floating back, the time’s come and gone.
When they never return, it doesn’t matter anyway.

(This is why I blast music in the car.)

Music as Genre-less

I am so defined by my music now. I say ‘my music’ because it very much is so. I can listen to a song I’ve never heard before and it will instantaneously become mine, or it won’t. I can listen to a beat I’ve never heard before and it will create a new ‘memory’ in my mind of how much I have always liked the beat. 

Maybe that’s just the nature of the art. If am defined by a particular genre, then, by definition, all music in that genre will have some element that links them all together, that makes them unique in some way. 

Maybe. So here I am at nearly 3 o’clock in the morning, listening to Give Up by The Postal Service. And I listen to “We Will Become Silhouettes” performed by The Shins and marvel at how they took this song that is the singer from Death Cab at such a basic level and turned it into…The Shins. You listen to the song and you know that it’s them, no question about it. Then you listen to “Such Great Heights” performed by Iron and Wine and you wonder how songs, the exact same songs, can change so much just by who’s singing them. The lyrics are the same, the melody is the same, the beats are the same. So how can Iron and Wine turn a Postal Service song into an Iron and Wine song by changing nothing?

It’s incredible. So maybe there really aren’t any genres. Maybe all genres are one and each song is defined by each singer, not by its lyrics, nor by its melody, nor by its beat. Could Bono take a jazz song and turn it into something that is U2 at its core? Could Chris Martin take a folk piece and turn it into something that is Coldplay at its most fundamental level?

At the end of the day, are we just listening to the deepest most visceral emotions of each singer and not a song from a specific genre since there are no genres? That must be why music becomes a part of me or repels me so immediately. The songs are so base in their emotions that my emotions either completely connect with them or are completely turned off by them. Kind of like they are with people, movies, ideas, books, and thoughts; like they should be if life is to be worth living. 

So, can James Mercer not become Death Cab for Cutie if he had to? 

Staying In The Game

                                 

 

“I try to make a move just to stay in the game,” Tom Chaplin of Keane sings. “I try to stay awake and remember my name.”

I feel as if I’m struggling just to keep my head above the water. It’s a swimming race and I’m so far behind I barely count as part of the race. And that’s with all my effort. I’d be on the shore far behind if I wasn’t struggling and kicking and constantly punching the water to try and stay afloat and move a minuscule amount forward. And then, at the end of the day or week or month I’m exhausted and tired out and I think, well, at least I’ve moved forward, but then I look down and I realize that not only have I not moved forward, all my struggling has actually pushed me back a foot. 

And I don’t know if I have the energy to keep going. Sometimes the discouragement from going backwards when you’re giving it your all can keep you from ever getting anywhere. Sometimes. 

“Just stay in the ring for three rounds,” the main character on Little Mosque on the Prairie tells the Imam, “just keep evading your opponent, stay in the ring, and we’ll call it a win.” We’ll call it a win if I can just keep going. That’s all I have to do; keep at it, keep fighting, and stay in the game. The mental fight against the discouragement is the fight at this point. That is the game. If I can win against that, then I’ll have won, insha’Allah. 

Maybe what counts at this point is not the public race but my own race against myself. Maybe I should stop for a bit; stay in place and just stay afloat. Not letting myself drown, even if I’m not moving forward, is a win in itself I should think. Maybe allowing myself the time and not piling on the mental anguish of not moving forward will help me relax enough that I will be able to move forward again. Maybe. Insha’Allah. 

I feel a little sick

I had my heart set on something. An adventure, an experience, and now it looks like it’s not going to happen. I felt my heart break when I found out. I knew it meant a lot to me, I’ve been giddy since the idea began germinating in my mind. I also knew that it was a very fragile plan that could fall down and collapse any minute, but my heart was so set on it that I couldn’t even bear to think of it collapsing. So I allowed it to germinate. I allowed it to take root and flourish, absolutely flourish; flower and thrive. And now my heart’s breaking. It’s cracking and collapsing in on itself. 

And as I walked in the door just now I remembered that there was no one here. That it was just me, and I was overwhelmed by how much I’ve been running around, trying to accomplish this and finish that. And I was overwhelmed by how I have to go to work tomorrow, and how I don’t want to go to work tomorrow, and how I really, really just need some time to myself. To let my heart break. To let it go its way as it needs to. 

Prejudice Within the Desi Community (shocker!)

My latest 2-part tweet says the following:

I can think of 10s of American Muslim girls who have married ‘fobs’, but can’t think of even a single American Muslim man who has. 1/2

This frustrates me for reasons that are too long and complicated to get into on twitter. 2/2 (Also, I in no way say ‘fob’ derogatorily)

When my aunt tells me to at least consider a guy from India because of reasons x, y, and z, and that I can’t say no without even meeting him because it’s “not wise”, my mind immediately goes to her kids, all three of whom are married. Two sons and one daughter, and the only one who ‘considered’ a guy straight from India was the daughter. 

Why is there this pervasive mentality in the desi community that American girls, born and raised here, can and will consider fobs? I don’t think it’s a mentality actually; I think it’s more than that. It’s so ingrained within them that it’s not a thought process, it’s just something that is. I honestly can’t think of a single man, born and raised here, who has married someone straight from India. It’s not considered when the rishta process is taking place because it just isn’t. The men will not, can not, marry someone straight from India. 

The girls, on the other hand, can and should if a “suitable” (who the hell decides that??) person comes along.

The demographics are all out of whack in American for Muslims. There are a significant number of eligible, good, decent female Muslims of marriageable age, but there is a dearth of eligible, good, decent male Muslims of marriageable age. That certainly contributes, I’m sure, but if that was it then I would be okay with it. 

It’s also this belief, that is, again, so ingrained with the desi community that it’s almost not something you can blame them for; they don’t even realize that it’s a rational thought process, subtle thought it may be, that leads them to it. This belief that girls are…not at the same standard as the guys.

Bear with me while I try and explain what I mean. Why is it that guys are never asked to consider a fob when it comes time for them to marry? (I don’t want to make this too long, but I do want to emphasize again that I say fob strictly to explain and it’s not meant to be derogatory in the slightest). The reason, in my eyes, is because of the prejudice that so haunts the desi community. There are levels, and to be American is one of the highest levels. This is why someone from India who manages to marry a desi girl considers himself lucky – he’s managed to marry ‘up’. The guys, however, are too high up on this ladder to ever be able to marry someone straight from India or Pakistan. Oh no. This precious, American, boy cannot marry someone that far below him. 

It doesn’t matter for the girls, mind you, because the girls are always below the guys on the ladder. Always, always, always. Yes, the girl is American, but it’s not that big a gap for her between her rung and the rung of someone straight from India. 

I know this all sounds a bit radical and crazy. Obviously, this is what I believe at the moment, but keep in mind that it’s coming from a frustration at this trend I’ve seen over and over and it may not be accurate at all.