What I have learnt, Episode Seventeen: Model Faces and Periwinkle Colour Schemes, which are of UPmost Importance.
Today I learned that I think the shape of my nose has altered a little: as a result of wearing screen glasses, maybe? Or, as a result of wearing a mask? I don’t know. I don’t know if I’m being paranoid, here. But also: if I am this (low-key high-key) obsessive about a possible little facial change, then… how on Earth am I going to react to my first wrinkles and grey hairs and stuff?!
And how, how, how, do women cope with how their bodies are known to change, post-labour? There’s just so much to it. This may sound bad, but I find it… disgusting. The miracle of life is wonderful and all, but… wow, women sacrifice so much for the continuation of humanity! Swollen ankles; darkened skins on their tummies; stretch marks; ruptures; pain pain pain. Babies do be cute, and this is a truth universally acknowledged. But… that shiz do look extraordinarily terrifying, also.
I am twenty years old. Almost (en español,) sin duda, without a doubt, I am going to start hearing, a) of friends’ Nikkahs, and, b) of… friends’ pregnancies, soon (if Allah wills). I’m super excited to be an aunt. Do not want to hear about anything related to the whole biological side of it, though. Blech-y.
Walking – cycling – into work today, I saw Samaiya from far away. And we both raised our hands to say hello, before walking in together. Kind of a nice moment: Samaiya called it… “recognition“. Edgy. [Samaiya is the sort of person to wear checker shirts and Air Maxes into work. She also has a part-time job, outside of teaching Geography, at… Screw-Fix! Once, during Ramadan, we went to the fancy new-ish Baklava place near O.F. mosque together, and she bought me this delicious Nutella cake, which I later broke my fast with. Food really does seem to be the way to my heart, doesn’t it?]
Today, I planned my media-representation lessons in my frees: first, in the staff room, and then, in the lab, where I had been covering for my form class. And I based the lesson around the exploration of concepts like scapegoating; generalisation; the deliberate usage of certain types of language. I love it when English and Sociology mix: the separations between these fields really are, actually, quite artificial. And the study of humanity is inextricable from the study of language. Still can’t believe that we get to be alive, and that we get to speak, and that there are different languages. I still can’t believe I get to occupy the roles I do; eat; rest; hear beautiful things; walk around this world, as a human being, created by the Best of designers. Subhan Allah.
Back at the staff room, I decided that, in order to properly explore methods of media reporting, I wanted for the girls to read some newspapers, and to analyse some articles, themselves. So, with twenty minutes left – actually, with fifteen, since I had been stopped at the door, in general-staff-room-conversation, while I tried to edge away – I went to Tesco. The Guardian; The Times; Evening Standard; Daily Mail [more like Daily Fail, ooooh burn]; The Irish Post, even. There was nothing, in any of them, it seemed, about Palestine anymore. These things: they enter the news, and in such particularly-worded ways. And then they are made to leave: what we are asked to focus on is thusly controlled.
Language choices are of utmost importance. [Insert, here, that ‘New Girl’ scene that Ranga Mama brings up, sometimes. When Jess tells Nick that it’s “utmost”, not “upmost”, and Nick stubbornly refuses to accept it. “What’s an ut?”]
Same thing: different perspectives, dependent on the eyes, and minds, and hearts, looking upon them. Deciding on what is going to be focused on, framed in a certain way; what is going to be ignored, omitted. Language shapes realities; the realities that people have made for themselves ends up shaping their use of language, also. Glass half-full, or half-empty? Only a word’s difference, between the two: and this word is enough to define a reality.
Tomorrow, Insha Allah, we are having a little Eid event at the school. We’ve had a handful of them before, throughout the year. There’s this thing of (of course) bringing food, and of wearing clothes of a particular colour. Tomorrow’s is… anything light blue. Once, it had been, specifically, ‘periwinkle’ (before Ramadan). Wot to take tomorrow, though? There’s no time, really, to make anything today, though, ordinarily, making things for these events tends to be quite fun.
Doughnuts? Fruit? Fruit! Fruit platter [I saw a nice one on Twitter recently. Might copy]. No tengo nada tiempo [I don’t have any time], though. Unless I leave my hoos real early tomorrow. Time shall tell, Insha Allah. I want to carry the fruits in my, to quote pretty much all my colleagues when they describe anything that I have, “little” bike basket. Aesthetics and that.
Today, I learned from some of my Year Seven English girls that, apparently, if you: smile, and then raise your eyebrows, and then stop smiling, while keeping your eyebrows up… this is your ‘model face’. [Compare to Maryam’s ‘roadman’ face: you squint your eyes, bite your lip, and… make sure to get yer designer watch into the picture, some way, somehow.]
I love my Year Seven English class: they’re such characters. Today, one of them had a unibrow and a mole drawn on their face, with a board pen. They didn’t want to remove it. They wanted to “show someone,” apparently.
Ha—a, from my form, said something really nice to me yesterday, and she clarified what she meant by it, today. She complimented my teaching, and said that she sees me as a “ray of sunshine” (which Miss Nazish said to me, too, when she was still at the school, before leaving for maternity), and “inspiring”, especially in terms of my Islamic perspective on things. I told her how much she inspires me too: she is extremely clever, Masha Allah. So sharp and insightful. She said something along the lines of, you know you don‘t need to immediately respond to my compliments with compliments, right? And I said, but they’re true, Wallahi!
Today, I walked into the middle-floor Qur’an room to see some of the Qur’an/Islamic Studies teachers making personalised gift packs, together, for their leaving Year Eleven students.
“It takes all kinds of different minds.” — I love this idea: the concluding line from the postcard that that 17-year-old author had sent with her book. It does. Diversity is wonderful: Allah made us into “nations and tribes, [so] that [we] may come to know one another” [Qur’an].
Today, A—sa asked me why I carry wipes on me [I’m a veteran carrier of wipes, from long before corona. I should have a sticker on my bike in celebration of this fact] and I said, “why wouldn’t I?” And then the sleeve of my dress accidentally touched the cake she had bought, from the charity bake sale in the hall today. And I used my wipes to clean it. And then M—-m M. sneezed, and I… had antibacterial wet wipes. I’m really proud of myself — can you tell? [Compare to when Mazhar, I think it was, or some other boy from school, asked me why I carried a mini first-aid kit with me. And then guess who was later in need of said first-aid kit, on the same day? Ooh yeah].
Today I learned, again, that some of the girls are disturbingly obsessed with one Tom Holland, and with another Theo James. They’re ‘married’ to them; they attack anybody who insults them. Today I told them to just make Du’a they end up marrying someone handsomer. Solutionz.
After work, Sweetie and I walked home together, I, pulling my bike along, and she (as usual) saying “sorry Sadz” all the time, if she even bumps into me a tiny little bit, *Scottish accent* bless her. I also saw Juthie after a long time and hugged her [I asked first. These be weird times, weird times]. Jazib had been there also… but I’d seen him outside the Post Office some two weeks ago… What a happening. My life is a sit-com or something.
Today, I learned that Ranga Mama would like to hold a spoken word event at his house. [I’m a little shy at the prospect of reading a poem in front of the fam, but courage is not…!] My uncle and I both love words; astronomy [he had a telescope, once]; talking about matters of what might be termed ‘philosophy’. But something strange though interesting: it’s like we’ve both respectively just been wired to be like this. It’s like I grew up, and then realised the things I have in common with him. [When I was younger, we would simply debate all the time. On questions like “Is water wet?” and on topics like feminism. We disagreed vehemently, back then, on ‘most everything.]
Today, we had Khayr again [our weekly sisters’ circle, on Zoom]. The topic: Qadr. And, how Qadr-ic: after work, I had a nap. One of them deep ones. And I woke up, instinctively almost, at exactly the right time… Qadric-ally, today’s time had been changed from 18:30, to 19:30. I woke up at 19:33. And I am glad I did. Qadr: what a thing.
Allah (SWT) has a plan for you. And for me also. And the plan increases in Barakah, I suppose, when we learn to trust Him better. When we review our circumstances and our options, and when we make good choices in light of them.
“Be in this world like you’re a stranger to it, because this is not our Home.” And excellent is the Final Destination… granted we put the work in.
“We just do our time here, like we’re in prison. And then we’re off to Jannah, for eternity.” — Safiya Mohamud.
And roses are growing, right through the cracks, in these ‘prison’ walls. The light is being let through: look at it. It’s golden. There are beautiful people, here, to meet; to love. Things to be done; things to be seen, learnt, felt, discovered. Nutella cakes to (wait for the whole day for, and then) eat. There is Dunya; there is then, inevitably, the Ākhirah that renders every single thing worthwhile, Insha Allah.
Today I learned that Maryam can’t come with me to Ranga Mama’s tomorrow. To quote Tamanna: *blows raspberry*. But it’s okay: I miss Dawud Biyya so much that I will go by myself, Insha Allah.
In this life of mine, I have Allah, and I have my passions. I want to always lead an inspired life, Insha Allah: one in which I know to always (try to) begin things with Bismillah.
Today’s F.G.-card section of Khayr had been based on the card that reads:
“ONE OF ALLAH’S NAMES IS ‘YOUR PROTECTING FRIEND’.
NAME A TIME IN YOUR LIFE WHERE YOU HAVE FELT THAT NAME IN EXISTENCE.”
And, honestly? It’s that whole idea about how limited we are; how limited our minds are. Our notions of ‘perfection’. And then we walk through life, and things happen more-than-‘perfect’ly, and all we can really do is reflect on our lives sometimes; look back in awe and perplexed retrospective understanding, Subhan Allah. To have my Lord as my ‘protecting friend’? Biggest honour ever; I owe Him every iota of my existence, you know.
Qadr, Qadr, Qadr: I do my part; I want to race towards what is Good [and True, and Beautiful. For the Mind, the Heart, the Body and the Soul];
Gladly, then, I leave it to Al-Khabeer, Al-Lateef, Al-Razzaq, the Lord of everything.
With Salaam, Sadia, 2021.