Tag Archives: 2012

New Year’s note for friends and family– old, new, and lost

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I can’t really explain 2012– it was confusing, both amazing and horrible at different times and in really intense ways. But I can say that this year absolutely solidified for me who is and who isn’t true to me, true to others, true to themselves. And rather than discovering, I clarified for myself just who I am and what I’m here to do.

I finally came to terms with the demons that have taken me under for the past four years, with the things that haunted me for far longer.  I realized that pursuing a career in medicine was a waste of my time and that my delusions of grandeur and being someone that I’ve had since childhood are perhaps not simply delusions. I realized that I have a talent for a reason, and that I want to live every day of my life being in love with it.

As usual, however, this year I lost some friends. There have been those that had already drifted who fell off the radar completely and some who went from ‘friend’ to following suit. Quite honestly, it bothered me not on my own behalf but on theirs. The irony here, the sad part, you see, is that many did so because they believe me to be judgmental and/or untrustworthy… when the truth is that the people they spend time with now are the ones with a history of spreading gossip, and my mouth has been shut to the point where they themselves aren’t even aware how much I know of all their dirty little secrets. (Of course, perhaps they now have an inkling as I’ve recently dropped a few hints to some of their in-the-loop friends.) I earned the Lois Lane title for no reason other than my knack for always finding out without much effort. Yet people think I’m an unaware gossip, ostracizing me or– in some cases– using me even though I know and don’t judge a thing. The people you care about so often don’t seem to realize how genuine you are… And how disingenuous are the ones they’re surrounded by. It seems that being fake is what gets people to think that you’re a true friend, and that’s one of the harshest realities I’ve realized this past year.

2012 made me realize that public opinion, popular demand, the majority mindset is often mistaken, misled and that working to change it rather than conform is worth doing. For once, I actually tried the whole being overly nice and holding back from saying what’s on my mind thing, but I was miserable. It made me realize being brutally honest is how I work best, popular opinion be damned.

Freshman year of college had me feeling so alone and like an outsider, something I haven’t felt for years. I’ve begun my sophomore year with an effort to make new friends, and through classes and a certain new organization I joined as a board member this semester, I’ve found people willing to talk about more than gossip, drugs, alcohol, partying, trashy and ridiculous shows, the opposite sex, and other mindless, mind-numbing topics. I’ve met guys who have no problem with a girl holding her own in an argument or hitting them with a sharp verbal jibe. I’ve met girls who don’t need my constant gushing upon every reunion or to compete with me for approval, popularity, boys. Have I made any extremely close friends, relationships that will definitely last a lifetime? Not yet, but I’m hoping all of these are headed in a direction where they will become so. I really do.

Do not mistake this post for an “ahh, here’s the end to The Great Story of 2012”; those are written far too often. Every year is just a date. They all run together, flowing in a linear fashion and in many ways, the story’s just beginning. Every new year I have a feeling as to what the next 12 months will bring, and 2013 is going to be a big one for me. I say this out of prior knowledge and anticipation of certain things, and just gut instinct about all the rest. We always think that our future is so far off and then one day, all of a sudden, you’re right at its door.

2012 was insane. I got into the biggest fights of my life with my mother. I had new kinds of conversations with my father. One of my best friends was off at sea or busy at military school, and it made me terribly lonely and forgotten until he finally visited with a buddy who confirmed my fears were for naught. I got back in touch with an old best friend who’s steadily coming back into my life, although it honestly feels as if she never left. I spent the year working through issues from the past with my closest friend of these three, getting further than I ever thought we would, and our friendship is stronger for it. I’ve come to accept the fact that there are some family issues that will never be resolved, that some people will never realize that there is another side to one story or a different perspective to another. I’ve realized just who my crew was in high school from the way we’ve kept in touch and missed each other in our odd, subtle ways. And I never stopped reading Harry Potter.

My resolutions are never new for the year. They are what I’ve already been working and improving on: writing more blogs posts, articles, poems, and fiction; getting back to my normal weight;  getting my shit together with MakeWaves; getting more politically and socially active; bringing the grades up; improving on all my relationships; making SJP bigger on campus than anyone could have thought; and reading a hell of a lot more. I will calmly but surely show those who do not see how much they’ve been mistaken that I’ll always have their back and that I’ve never faltered from being true to them… that I care more than they know. I will prove that my journalistic ambitions are far from small and ordinary.

I’m pulling myself out of a four year rut for good. And I’m going to make waves and take everything and everyone by storm… just the way I like it.

Just watch me.

Ab imo pectore,

Syjil

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Obama comes out (no pun intended)

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I’ve always heard people going on and on about finding themselves in college, discovering who they really are and their purpose in life, and exploring their options, and always thought it was complete and utter bull.

Then came freshman year, and that’s exactly what I found happening to me.

I know it’s been only two semesters, but I have a knack of figuring things out quick, and my freshman year saw me figuring out myself further not only academically and career-wise, but also realizing things about my past and who I am and why. It’s been an interesting why and it scares/excites me to see what’s going to happen in the next three years. Stay tuned; I have a strong feeling we’ll be seeing some life-changing events.

But since I’m no celebrity (yet), my life is not of much interest, so let’s move on. Today became one of the biggest news days of the year, and most probably history, with President Obama coming out (no pun intended) with his support for same-sex marriage.

Like President Obama, I guess you could say I’ve been evolving on the issue too.  I’ve had friends who are gay, lesbian, or bisexual, and I’ve always hated when they’ve been met with ridicule or cruelty.  It’s never once turned me away from them or made me think of them any differently… Unless, of course, they did something that I wouldn’t like to see coming from a heterosexual friend either.

But at the same time, I am a practicing Muslim.  To me, no matter how anyone spins it, homosexuality is forbidden in Islam… But as my uncle reminded me the other day, it is the act that is forbidden, not the preference itself. In Islam, we are taught to learn to discipline ourselves and obey God no matter what.  In my own interpretation, homosexuality seems to be a challenge for people and is something for them to figure out, between themselves and God if they believe in Him.

But that brings us back to the fact that the United States of America was founded as a secular nation.  As a practicing Muslim, I cannot condone homosexuality and say that gay marriage is okay.  But (as my uncle again pointed out) as a Muslim in the U.S., I am bound by the laws of my country and its Constitution.  The Constitution clearly states that all people are to be given equal rights and that religion shall not play a factor in our country’s governance.

One thing I have to say, however, is that I feel that on both sides of the argument, there has been quite a bit of disrespect.  My moral and religious upbringing has also taught me tolerance.  Not only am I disgusted at those who call homosexuals names and treat them as subhuman or criminals, but I also cannot help but be disappointed at the lack of respect many people in our society have come to have for religion.  Yes, it is wrong for someone to persecute another just because of their sexual orientation, but if they are not doing so, I think it is equally wrong for someone to disparage someone else for the simple belief that something is wrong due to their religion.  While I see the similarities this has to interracial marriage and rights for women, blacks and immigrants, I still also see the difference.  Many religions, including the most prevalent ones in our society, teach us that homosexuality is a sin.  The fact is undeniable, and far too many times, I see people simplifying the issue.  Just because someone believes in a set of religious teachings, it does not mean they are a bigot.  And just because someone doesn’t, it does not mean they are immoral.

In the end, same-sex marriage is an inevitability for the United States.  But I don’t see why this has to be such a disaster for those who are religious.  As a friend of mine pointed out to me a few weeks back, same-sex marriage has been legal for years in Europe, because state marriage and religious marriage are kept completely separate.  Much of the battle in the U.S. is because here, the priest, rabbi, imam or whomever has to sign the legal document when they marry a couple.  While Americans need to respect the rights of all citizens, the government needs to respect the rights of religious institutions.  If a religious leader or institution does not wish to perform same-sex marriages, they should not be forced to do so.  While we are protected from becoming a religious nation, our religions are also protected from becoming secular institutions.

Ab imo pectore,

Syjil

Side note: Yesterday, author Maurice Sendak passed away at age 83.  I still haven’t seen the movie for Where the Wild Things Are but I bought my little brother the book around the time it came out, and I absolutely love it as well as the novelization of the screenplay by Dave Eggers.  You can find his 2-part interview with Stephen Colbert earlier this year on the Colbert Report here and here.  Worth watching.

“Oh, please don’t go– we’ll eat you up– we love you so!” –Where the Wild Things Are
R.I.P.

–S.