Monday, September 15, 2008

Ramadan 15: Move

I'm sitting here at 1:00 in the morning wearing my hejab. It's actually what non-Muslims think we ladies do when we get home. Yep, just hangin' out at home in the hejab.


Not true.

We make ourselves up like beauty queens.

Shhhhh! Don't tell!

OK, so why am I wearing hejab? You ready for this?

AbuBoo came over to break the fast with us. He was tired beyond tired. He's working three low-paying jobs to try to pay for his immigration lawyer and his bankruptcy lawyer. He fell asleep before iftar, then woke to eat. He played around with his son until bedtime. Mr. Boo then demanded like a psycho that his daddy read a book to him in bed, so his wish was granted. I did a HORRIBLE job picking out books and selected a potty training book, which AbuBoo (Arab Guy) can't pronounce. I kept hearing, "botty," coming out from the bedroom. Then Mr. Boo started coming out of the bedroom. I corralled him and had to recite Quran for him to settle. Guess who else conked out? Yep! I've got some other woman's husband in my bedroom.

Kept thinking that he'd wake up. He hasn't.

I've been getting work done for my move.

I'm moving on.

You know a great book? A House for Hermit Crab. He outgrows his shell and has to find a new one. He spend the entire year decorating it only to realize that he now needs another larger shell all over again. Having moved once, he is more excited than scared this time.

We never blame animals for needing to change. A caterpillar has to become a butterfly. No one thinks it's selfish. A snake must shed its skin and we think its wonderful. Subahanallah!

When we humans need to make a change we refuse to budge. We are the most reluctant submitters on the planet.

"Yes, yes, yes, OK, Lord. I will eventually, of course, but right now isn't a good time for me. Can we reschedule my evolution for later?"

But, change we must. I've been changing here. I didn't want to. I felt like I'd been through enough, and I was right. I had been through the wringer. So many people had left me high and dry. You know that left me feeling bereft of spirit last Friday morning. By magrib time, I had to admit that I didn't like myself very much. I was in my own way.

You heard right: I was in my own way. Sure, we can blame all the people who surround us or who don't support us. The truth is that usually it's our own fault for trying to be something we're not.

I wasn't meant to go to Saudi. Free spirit me?!

I wasn't meant to work in a school in Minnesota that can't appreciate my creativity and originality.

I, for sure, wasn't meant to live with my mom.

And, as the newest guy pointed out today, I wasn't meant to jump into another marriage. Both he and I need time to heal individually and possibly explore mutually who we could be as a couple. I had been waiting to hear what his thoughts were after umrah --and there they were! It hurt a little, as all of us overgrown girls still believe in the fairy tale ending that so far hasn't happened for anyone I know.

I knew in that moment, after we hung up, that I had to move forward and transform into a new stage of Yosra. But what?

Honestly, one thing that's kept me sane these last eight years is remembering that some things make me happier than others. When I am feeling lost but I keep having a positive feeling about something I allow myself to go for it. Over the last months, there has been one thought that has kept coming up for me---NOOOO! It's not Akshay Kumar! It was where to go and what to do. I felt it. I felt it before I thought it.

My wise friend told me to pray istakkarah on it before talking to my mother. ALHUMDULILLAH I'm so glad I took her advice. When I broached the subject with my mom it turned ugly. There has been a seismic shift in this house and it ain't pretty at all.

"Did you talk with your new guy?"

"I did, mom, but we both agreed not to rush into marriage."

"That's too bad. Well, I was thinking that I could pay for you and Mr. Boo to fly back down to Florida. You really aren't welcome in my house any more. Mr. Boo is, but I can't handle you and I know you are a package deal," she summed up some of the cruelest words she's ever said to me.

"Umm...but that's right back to Mr. Florida."

"You could stay with your friends."

"No. I don't want to do that. I figured out what I want to do," and then I told her.

"Where are you going to get that kind of money?"

"Could you give me some?"

"You obviously don't understand the value of money. Maybe you should ask your father for some, since he's got enough to go on trips."

I know she was doing her best to be mean. But, subhanallah, Allah worked through her and I heard the good idea within her upset. For the first time since college, I called my father to ask for money. He is sending me $500, alhumdulillah.

I have the support of AbuBoo and at least a couple of my friends. Hardly anyone knows yet. But I know. I feel so positively about what I'm doing.

All of a sudden I have the energy to pack up and move on. And it was me who was in my own way. I had gotten caught up in waiting for someone else to change my life for me. Maybe I've always done that. This time, I am making a decision for change which doesn't involve a marriage or a man. Alhumdulillah.

May all of us find ways this Ramadan to move out of our comfort zones and into the land of the living and the changing. We are in the cycle of life, yet a lot of us seem to be riding exercise bikes, which get us nowhere. Let us move beyond this moment and find our larger shells, shed our old skins, and spread our new wings to become who we know we really are.

Now. You tell me. What do you think I'm getting ready to do?

Besides go to sleep wearing hejab.


Stylomom said...

I discovered your blog when searching about the benefits of the 15th day of Ramadan. This is very insightful and I am taking the liberty to link my blog to yours, at least when someone reads the verses of Quran in your blog, everyone will be rewarded, inshallah. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

egyptchick7 said...

"And, as the newest guy pointed out today, I wasn't meant to jump into another marriage. Both he and I need time to heal individually and possibly explore mutually who we could be as a couple. I had been waiting to hear what his thoughts were after umrah --and there they were! It hurt a little, as all of us overgrown girls still believe in the fairy tale ending that so far hasn't happened for anyone I know."

We, and that includes I I I I I, have been pointing this out FOREVER!!! So Im glad he put the brakes on this train bc YOU and he haven't PERSONALLY developed. So good, Alhumdulilah. I don't know why you don;t like taking our advice when it is so obviously right ( even when you say we don't know you) and wait until ppl at home tell you the same exact things.

Your mom is a really horrible person to you. Why can't she bear the sight of you? IS there more you aren't telling?

Lemme see, you said you wanted to go to Egypt eh? And live with whom? AbuBoo's family? I think not. about go to NYC!? Holla Back :) NYC is FULL of possibilities and a wide support system of muslimahs.

Anyway, watever it is you do, as long as not get married again, I am happy for you :)

Shabana said...

Alhamdulillah, I'm glad for you that you are taking some initiative in moving on with your life. I really think it will be best for you. Whenever you relate how mean your mom is to you, I just feel so bad. Whatever the reason is, it's just awful that she can't see what a wonderful person you are, masha Allah.

I would recommend the East coast/mid-Atlantic region to you (MD, VA, DC). The Muslim community on this side is really vibrant, active and there are lots of Islamic schools in the area that are always looking to hire.

Best of luck and duas to you in wherever you decide to go, insha Allah.

Imanubillah said...

As Salaamu Alaikum:

Its my first time posting here but I am a long time reader. Every since you had your other blog. I promised myself I wouldn't let too much more time go by before I greeted you.

I am glad you were able to take a hold your life in a way that is more pleasing to you. It is important to do what we can do. We aren't going to do something just because someone else wants us to. We have to come to it in our own time. MashaAllah, through all the trials you have faced, you have been able to do this and I pray Allah makes it easy for you and gives you what is best allahumma ameen!

Yosra said...

Asalamalaykom Stylomom,

Nice to see you here, First Time Commentator :) I tried to locate you on the web, since your name didn't link to anything.

Is this you?

Thanks for linking to me. I WISH EVERYONE WOULD! HINT! HINT!

Eventually, I figure out where that link actually is in cyberspace.

You say that I'll get good rewards for the Quran reading that I encourage. The bummer is that I might also incur the bad deeds from what I put out here. Inshahallah, may the good outweigh the bad.

Asalamalayom EgyptChick,

OK, OK, OK, I think that I actually WAS ready for marriage with Mr. Florida. I was but he wasn't. NOW, I'm not ready. I do want to go out with someone over a period of time and get to know him slowly. I don't want another cross-country romance that ends with two strangers living together.

I do listen to all of you. Otherwise, I wouldn't even have a comment section. BUT free-will means that I only take the advise which I agree with. I'm not a very good puppet, and I'd be boring if I was anyway.

My mom. Sigh...she is who she is. I don't want to write too much about her. I'm only writing enough here so that you get what's happening.

Is she horrible? She did take us in and feed us. She does play with Mr. Boo at least some amount every day. She lets me use the car. She doesn't ask for any money.

She did neglect me as a child to the point where I would have been removed from the home had authorities known. She is older and so am I but her role in my life is strikingly simmilar.

You guessed Egypt as a first thought. AND YOU WERE RIGHT! Yes, my friend, I am making plans to fly to Egypt a.s.a.p. insahallah. We will stay with the OTHER grandma. I think, God willing, it should go better---that's why I'm getting one-way tickets (all I can afford).

Asalamalaykom Shabana,

Thank you for seconding what EgyptChick has said. Thank you for feeling empathy for me.

The thing about people being mean to us is that they must feel so badly inside themselves that it bubbles up. How can anyone wish them worse than what they already feel? I don't wish her any bad. She gave birth to me. God bless her. I just don't think it's healthy at all for me to live with her. She would say the same.

I do feel the East Coast. I did send resumes out to a few schools. However I am under a real time crunch. Time is actually up over here in Momville. Maybe when I come back to the States in a year or two I'll resettle somewhere else.

Asalamalaykom Imanubillah,

No way! You never EVER commented?! And you've been reading me since Honorary Arab? Wow! I could never keep that quiet on someone else's blog---especially with all the foolishness I've written about.

Oh well, you are right! So, thanks for writing that it was time to take hold. It is! But it actually wasn't last year. I needed to go through what I did. It wasn't all bad.

There sure have been a lot of trials, eh? I'm not just imagining this, right? I mean, does everybody deal with this much?!

Well, alhumdulillah, there is a chance for an easy time for all of us, inshahallah. Maybe Egypt will be what I need--Ya RAB!

Thanks for commenting. See? It wasn't that bad! Keep doing it until it becomes a habit :)

Asalamalaykom to She Who Will Not Be Named,

Thanks for the info on the local job. I really need to get out of Dodge. This town is sucking some lifeblood from me in a buzzing insect kind of way. Let's just get me to Egypt and away from all this.

I do appreciate you thinking of me. It isn't due to ego that I wouldn't take a low paying job. I simply can't afford to put Mr.Boo anywhere to make that work out. He was with a non-English speaker all last year and I can't put him with another simmilar caregiver. My mother will not watch him.

Besides, we literally are being asked to leave by the end of Ramadan. I don't have a car. I don't have enough money to get an apartment. I am sincerely fleeing the city to save us. Gosh, that sounds really dramatic when I re-read it, but it's the truth. If I stay here, I'll end up with nothing beyond nothing. I have to get out soon as my dad's check gets here and clears inshahallah.

Again, thanks for your caring and reaching out. You are very, very sweet to wish better for me in such a real way.

May Allah reward you for your intentions.

L_Oman said...

I'm feeling all squirmy inside about you going over to Egypt and living with AbuBoo's mom. I dunno, Yosra. I just really, really don't know.

I don't think you can run away from your problems, whatever they may be. They just seem to follow you wherever you go.

Can I be frank? Ok. I will. AbuBoo's ex is there, honey. She could start playing 'the game' that women from over here do so well, mooch up to her mil and plan up a scheme and want you to leave, but may want to keep boo-bear there. I may be overly dramatic about this and I'm sure you'll tell me something like, 'well my mil despises her, she would never do such a thing,' but hon it's gonna be supa tough when you are all alone in a country not your own with people not related to you. Do you get me? Do you feel my worry on this one?!?

Oh, Yosra, Yosra, Yosra. You need an intervention and I just think Egypt is just gonna be a band-aid. You may look scratched at the surface, but my dear you've got wounds that need much more than a band-aid to heal.

My prayers are with you. Really, they are.

Yosra said...

Asalamalaykom L_Oman,

Not a fan of the plan, eh?

Well, I don't have too many more ideas. I need to go to Egypt, for me. It was the last place where I was so happy and I want to revisit it. I want to find family again. I want to meet with his first/current wife and have my son play with her children. I want a break! I want to make hijra to a Muslim country BUT one that isn't so harsh (like Saudi). I have a free place to stay with a woman I love and respect and the support of AbuBoo.

I can't create stories out of the air. I know you are trying to warn me, but I am in REAL danger here. If I stay here, I will end up with nothing and I mean NOT A THING! My life will turn drastically bad in the U.S. if it continues the way it's going. Really, Egypt is a much better alternative.

Asalamalaykom Egypt Chick,

You are such an astute reader of my blogs, that you remembered where AbuBoo is from. Well! I just don't think I want to publish that. I didn't say it, did I?

OK, so since YOU said it, I copied your comments and then deleted the city name. So, it looks like this:

Now you are gonna be in ________ where ALL THE MEN will be flirting with you up and down in the street, hijab or not ( sigh, I wish I could go back, havent been back in 8 yrs!). Promise you won't marry from there, ok? Bc it will strictly be for a green card. Enjoy the food, Egyptian grandmothers are the best, especially in ___________.

When you eat the onion filled duck, please think of miss it :(

Thanks, girlie! You can come visit---for real!

Love you!

Living said...

I knew it was goign to be Egypt. Alhumduillah I am happy fo ru. I think it is a good choice in places but maybe not with the Ex xo wife things but inshaallah you will cross that bridge when you get to it.
If you are going to Cairo I may be able to hook you up with a few wonderful sisters I know there. I know one woman in Alex that is sweet also. I have my very best Ramadan in Egypt. I think you will enjoy it. It is NOT a place for me but many people love it there.

Anonymous said...

Asalam Alikum,
In a recent post you mentioned that you didnt trust your x in-laws. Just wondering what changed your mind about going to see them now? It is going to be a struggle wherever you go right now until you start to deal with yourself. I dont think running to another country with people you dont really trust is a good idea. I agree with L_Omans opinion. Take her advice and think twice about it. It all could be a scheme, and I am sure you dont know those people all that well to stay with them for periods of time. BE CAREFUL INSHALLAH!!
take care

rahma said...

Do you know anyone in Egypt aside from ex in laws (sorry I'm not too good with remembering background)? A fellow minnesotan friend of mine moved there a few months ago. Maybe should could give you some hints or tips

Safa said...

Assalaamu alaikum, Yosra....

Do you have a custody arrangement with AbuBoo? Know this......that as a foreign mother, you have no rights with your child. He is his fathers son. And should something happen with you and AbuBoo....heck...if one of the BILs or perhaps the FIL decides that baby boo is not going to leave can easily be arranged that he won't be flying out of Egypt.

What's your fallback plan in Egypt? Do you even have a plan? How will you get money if you want to leave? Do you have a VISA card? How about getting one before you go to Egypt, so that worse case scenario, you have a way to get out.

You need to sit down and get all your ducks in a row before you rush off. Join all the yahoo groups that you can and read what's going on....MM2MM and WOMEG are two of them. Start looking for a job....get contact numbers, etc etc. Moving to Egypt isn't something that you just up and rush in to. What about the other two children?

It's horrible what your mother said to's worse than sucks.

I wish you the best, and if you need help with a plan, contact me.

lufarah said...

" a muslim country that isn't so harsh..." erm...Egypt? Jordan is not so harsh. Syria is not so harsh. Morocco,Tunisia, UAE,Oman, Bahrain and Qatar, not harsh at all! But Egypt? Egypt is harsh, miss Yosra. Especially if you are counting on the kindness of your baby's father's family. my advice.

Get a teaching job with a good contract in a GCC country that is not my advice.

Yosra said...

Asalamlaykom Living,

Oh, sure NOW you say you knew it was Egypt ;)

I think it's a good plan and NOPE not for everyone. I think it's a good plan for ME.

His first/current wife is miles and miles away from the city where I'll be. She has not been up to the city since she grabbed her kids from that apartment and hauled them out without the grandparents being able to kiss them goodbye. That was six years ago.

There will be many bridges to cross---hopefully some over the Nile :) For the other, harder bridges, I will just take the steps that are necessary when they are necessary. I think you understand this aspect of continuing when a lot of what you wished for has fallen away and you have to make the best of what is possible.

Asalamalaykom Anon 8:45,

You are right that I didn't feel good about my out-laws but that meant my former BIL and SIL. They are not getting along with AbuBoo. I don't want to get into the AbuBoo Haters Club. They were offering a place to stay and great times out, touring, etc. That wasn't what this will be, inshahallah.

This is Big Mama's three-bedroom apartment, not their home. This is the only woman who has loved AbuBoo more than me. I've been to this place, stayed with these people. There are no non-maharam men to be concerned about. There are no ulterior motives, inshahallah, other than connecting people together who can mutually benefit each other. She needs company and I need a place to stay and everybody needs family.

It's kind of funny that readers don't think I've dealt at all with who I am and what's been going on with me. I do. But, I can't examine my belly button lint from the confines of a homeless shelter. I need a place. I need support. I will, inshahallah, get those basic needs met in Egypt.

"Be careful," is for every place in the world and I do my best to heed, "khod belak".

And remember: I hate unoriginality. Please, for you and all the Anonymice, pretty please choose a name. Thanks! :)

Asalamalaykom Rahma,

Thanks for the link, I'll take a look.

Who else do I know in Egypt? Safa! Ooops, ok, she left Egypt. So, did Prophet Musa, pbuh. Is EgianQueen back yet? Um...there was the family of the man I almost married last year...ok, I know almost no one.

Asalamalaykom Safa!

I was just talking about you in the comments. Can you go back to Egypt? Hey! I know your ex! Does that count? I don't want to know him, though, because all I know of him is through you.

I do think it's IRONIC that you had to escape Egypt and I have to escape the U.S. for Egypt.

My custoday arrangement is that I have full physical custody of Mr. Boo. We share legal custody. AbuBoo is happy with us living with his mom.

My FIL is deceased, God bles him. The BILs love me. What's more, AbuBoo has a kind of love for me, as the mother of his son. He does respect me in this regard. He knows that Mr. Boo is a cool kid because of me, not in spite of me.

I think that your situation is sooo different from mine. We didn't do our split in Egypt.
We did it here in the U.S. and we have worked out our differences over this time. We can socialize together with our son. We still respect each other for lots of reasons. And there is love between us as parents, and from me to the man who brought me to Islam.

I don't think of, "fallback plans," in life because I go in with my whole heart. I did this with Mr. Florida. It all worked. Even coming back to my mom's has worked. I can only live with my whole heart. I can't be going forward with one plan while calculating out another if it doesn't work.

I do know that my TEFL certificate is invaluable in Egypt. My years of experience in the classroom make me extremely marketable. I'll inshahallah get a teaching gig when I want one.

I do have VISA. I do have Paypal ;) I do have a brilliant mind which can manuever me out of tight situations. I'll be fine inshahallah with the protection of Allah. Allah knows my reasons for this and I believe I have the blessings of Allah.

I don't want to join the groups on the 'net. That's just not me. You've never seen me do that so far. You won't see me now. I'll meet my own friends--probably more locals than ex-pats. And I'll be a part of the family...actually, I am now.

I agree about "ducks in a row" and I have been doing that for moving overseas for some time now. I am very ready for a move and more ready each day, alhumdulillah. Maybe it's worth remembering that I was ready to leave the U.S. a month ago before I pulled out of the job situation with Saudi.

My two older children are 14 and 11. They have been seeing a lot of me. Now they are busy with school. We love each other and always will. We talk on the phone and we message each other. We can do this still. In some ways, we need distance from each other. Their father is doing alright in raising them. I can't fault him and may God reward him. Inshahallah, we will see each other at another time in our lives. The Quran is full of stories where parents and children are separated from each other and yet reunite. I see that for us, inshahallah. It's better than if I stay here struggling and floundering.

I don't feel that I'm meant to be here---not in MN and not in the U.S. I do feel that I'm meant to be overseas for the next two years. I've felt that for six months now. I've tried to make it work in the U.S. and in MN, but it is not my path. I trust my gut for what I must do.

My mom...ya...what she said did suck. As I said in the comments section for Ramadan 16, we did hash out some tough ideas this morning. She did agree to go out with us this afternoon. First time since we've been here. She had been saying that she didn't want to go out in public with me. We had a good time. She bought Mr. Boo the Toy Story videos. She is not a monster. None of us are. She is simply a person who carries around a lot of issues related to her role as my mother. May Allah make it easy on her. May Allah forgive me for whatever I did during my time here which hurt or upset her.

Contact you? Um, ya :) I think that can be arranged,Silly!

Asalamlaykom Lufarah,

I hear your advice and you are free to give it. I will not, however, take it. Doesn't mean I discount your intelligence or caring. It just means that I know what I need for me. Maybe sometimes I don't know and I'm searching. This time---I know.

It feels right. It feels centered. It feels like ME. I'm happy with my decision. Alhumdulillah.

egyptchick7 said...

Now that everyone said there piece, Ill add yet another thing. Egypt and especially the city you are going to is all well and good for about TWO MONTHS. Aka the city gets boring quickly and the family starts pulling you down with their constant bickering... ( All Egyptian familes bicker about senseless things).

Look, there are teaching positions. As my aunt said " teaching a child the basics of a computer" could rack in some serious cash. BUt be mindful, there is a food shortage there and ppl aren't making a lot of money there anymore.

However, I am jealous of you that you will be closer to my half-bro and sis than I have been in 8 years. AND you will be eating falafel from the only place that makes it any good.