On being hated

(Trying to get warmed up to write.) Over the last few months a work-related issue has resulted in my once again becoming the target of the haters.  I say once again because I got hated on throughout the time I regularly wrote my Chronicle blog.  The very first post, in 2006, resulted in my being hated for being Muslim, but also for being religious.  It frequently stung but it also became a routine part of blogging.  At times I had tantrums and threatened to never blog again or never post comments again, but I got over it and carried on. Things are different now that I work for CAIR. There’s not that direct a line between my paycheck and my detractors, but it’s a lot harder to say no when I’m getting paid to do things some find provocative. I’m being kind of vague because I don’t want to give the incident more attention than it deserves.  However, I recently saw on Facebook (damn that social media) that as part of the “campaign” against me (really, poor effort) someone has directed people to this website, my work email and my Twitter account. It feels weird to be specifically targeted again, even though this “campaign” has resulted in very little response. Words have power.  When they’re whiny but trying to give off a sense of power they are much weaker.  So I don’t dare my detractors to be smarter. I dare […]

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A book and a memoir

I’m two months into my last semester at Goucher! My mentor for this semester is Phillip Gerard and I think he’s going to provide the guidance I need to get this manuscript done. He’s using – and so I’ve started using – two words I’ve resisted since I first applied to Goucher. I never intended to write a BOOK and I definitely never planned to write a MEMOIR. I resisted the thought of writing a book because I wanted to just write individual long-form pieces, then I got a job, then I was writing essays, and now Phillip is calling it a book and guiding me to put the separate pieces together so they actually tell a story. And the story turns out to be about me, my experiences, my thoughts, around being Muslim, about Islam in America, and about just stuff whether it’s thematic or not. And so it is a memoir. I used to mock memoirists because it seemed self-absorbed to write about oneself and because I thought of memoirs as diaries. I guess I can laugh at myself now. Or I can get busy and finish this MEMOIR.

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A bird with a stunted wing

I’ve been at my new job full-time for a little over a month now, and my internal monologue has become more strident and provocative.  I have been confused at times, frustrated at times, often realizing that I was more accustomed to making decisions independently than I thought. When I ran my bookstore, I conceptualized, evaluated, decided and executed nearly everything myself.  Now I bristle at direction and also at the lack of it.  I am confused about what I do and what I should do.  I have my instincts and sometimes I follow them but most of the time I leave myself open to multiple instructions and opinions and I end up frozen in place, not knowing what to do next, feeling fundamentally unable to perform as I should. Then the internal voice starts criticizing me, insinuating that my ineptitude at work reflects a bigger, broader inability to function in any setting.  I think about all the things I have failed to complete or have screwed up, not just at work, not just since I moved to Houston a decade ago, but always.  I opened the door to professional failure by leaving Kessler for journalism school. I am fundamentally flawed, like a bird born without one wing, or with one stunted wing that keeps him unbalanced, spinning, doomed to never leave the ground and fly, jealous of the other birds in the air. I’ve taken a leave of absence from […]

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The re-branding

I noted in my last post that I will start a new, full-time job in January.  As things turned out, I started yesterday on a part-time basis.  I’m working as the Communications Coordinator for the Houston chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)-Texas.  On Monday morning I had orientation and yesterday morning spent three hours on my very first full-time job working in an office with real people since 2003.  I realized yesterday that this is also the first job I’ve ever had whose basis was not supporting someone else (clerically or administratively), but working on a team in support of an organizational vision. My first “real” job (as an adult, not enrolled in school) was as a secretary.  For 20 years I worked at different levels of that class of work.  I was a secretary, an administrative assistant, and ultimately an executive assistant (although never given that exact title).  I finally completed my bachelors degree in 2002, at the age of 41, and that year I was promoted to the position of associate director of one of the four inpatient facilities run by the healthcare organization I worked for.  It was “associate director” because I would be reporting to the organization director, but I would be the administrative head of that facility.  It was the place I belonged after a couple decades of supporting other people. Literally days before I was to start in that position, my supervisor […]

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The re-imagining

There are changes coming up in my life in the next two months.  In January I will be starting a real, truly live, full-time day job working in communications but not journalism.  More details as the time gets closer.  I am taking a leave for the spring semester, catching up on my thesis in order to have 150 coherent pages going into my fourth and last semester this fall.  It took me until this semester before I figured out exactly what I want to write about and how I want to write it. As I said, more details to come, but over the next few weeks I will be changing my focus, here and on social media and other places where my name is mentioned.  Stay tuned…

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