Aims of #mentalvomits: An outlet

FullSizeRender

I have to say that I’ve been loving ALL of the ‪#‎mentalvomits‬ that are coming through! Thank you so much for the support *big group hug* and I do hope that more and more people would join us. But first allow me to elaborate on what the challenge aims to do:

1. To motivate us to put forward our thoughts that would otherwise hide in our drafts and never see the light of day.

We ponder upon the complexities and challenging issues of life and on many accounts have attempted to write starting with that rhetoric. Somehow we never manage to complete or post it anywhere because we’re shy people might think we’re treading on dangerous grounds, or that we don’t have the motivation to do more research about the topic so we leave it.. whatever problem it might be, we’re not letting ourselves grow in this respect. By using #mentalvomits, it becomes easier to channel those notes without the fear of harsh criticism- judgment may be passed lightly, but the whole idea is to motivate us to look back at that piece of work and start looking at it again. Maybe even pick up the courage and complete it. And later publish (anywhere).

2. To help us embrace criticism if there’s any, and receive compliments (if we don’t know how to yet); both in healthy doses!

As mentioned above, criticism is something a lot of us shy away from. We might not have a great deal of knowledge on a certain topic to start off with, but still we might have an opinion about it. It can happen, and when we start writing, only then we will know our true stand on it. Writing is discovery. As the writer Flannery O’Connor once said, “I write to discover what I know.” So maybe, once you’ve started writing, and received feedback, it might improve or even change our views completely! And that’s the thrill of writing. It’s a journey on it’s own; a process of (self-)progress(-ion)

3. To give a home to our writing that we often see as ‘no longer relevant’.

We’ve all been inspired by an academic lecture, yes? You know, your lecturer is talking about future global politics and your brain decides to link it to a solution to certain personal problems? Certain things people say, although in completely DIFFERENT contexts often ring a different bell in our heads. And it’s completely fine, you’re not wrong anywhere Sadly, we scribble this down somewhere, and we don’t at all bother to share it because we deem it ‘no longer relevant’. We think, who would want to read this simple epiphany that I got during a political science class?! You’re wrong. There are people (like me!) who love reading from people- on everything especially on the different perspectives of different aspects in life.

4. To make us aware that having a mental conference with yourself sometimes isn’t enough.

Oftentimes we fight for a certain cause passionately in our heads only. And it stays there F.O.R.E.V.E.R. We need to realize that absolutely nothing changes when we’re simply victors in our own imagination. It needs to be made a reality. I know it feels profoundly satisfying after a lengthy debate in our heads, that reasoning had had to be done if we were to sleep at all! But let someone know. Or let the world know. No cause has ever won without ever having the argument expressed at the least, by tongue i.e. voice. So be real, and write that winding argumentative opinion somewhere, and let us all hear it. Whether people agree with you or not is something else. You need to know that your opinion that doesn’t go pass your throat doesn’t change the world one bit.

5. You don’t know where to put it because people don’t take you seriously.

There always seem to be struggle when it comes to people who want to start writing, or want to start writing a certain genre- poetry or short story for example, but never got the courage to publish because you were never “that type”. #mentalvomits may be the channel you use to kickstart writing. To those who never seemed the type to write, but always had a soft spot for it, here’s your time to shine. This is a way to avoid people speculating about your love life (for e.g.)- can’t you simply WANT to write?! Just because?! I say yes you can. And you will.

That is it for now. I hope that wasn’t too heavy. It’s pretty simple actually if you think about it and I look forward to reading more #mentalvomits. I’ll be posting mine every other day iA.

The #mentalvomits challenge

Head over to my Facebook profile (it's no longer private) and comment underneath that status or share it and write your own #mentalvomit! :)

Head over to my Facebook profile (it’s no longer private) and comment underneath that status or share it and write your own #mentalvomit! :)

I’m sure a lot of you, like me, keep a small notepad or some sort of a note-taking item (like a phone) near your bed when you sleep because as we all know, the moment our head hits the pillow, the most brilliant of ideas start swarming to your brain. (I wonder why this happens when you’re the least prepared.. in the shower for example.) And it’s just plain annoying and irksome to know that if you DON’T take it down somewhere, you’re just going to wake up, knowing you had thought of something but you’re not exactly sure what, or you might not feel the same way about it as you had when you thought it.. i.e. never remembering exactly what you had thought of in the way you were thinking about it that moment you thought about it. (Confusing, I know, but you get what I mean don’t you? Yes you do. :} )

AND you might have just thought about that ONE THING you’re sure no one has ever thought of before… in that way you had thought, at least. So you take that extra effort to reach for that temporary physical base where your ideas shall reside while your brain and eyelids catch up on a few hours of rest.

And does it ever get translated into some real brainstorming? Hardly ever, yes? You end up having PILES of notes in shorthand, not to mention extremely unintelligible scribbles and sentences that just don’t make any sense. Your next step is to dispose of that page or pages- or if you’re a hoarder like me, I stash them aside along with my other journals (think as far as 9 years back!). Sometimes you think that just because you’ve gone through that thinking process/lane of thought you’re satisfied, and the world doesn’t need to hear about it. Nonsense! What a complete waste! Of ideas. Of energy. Of many wonderful possibilities!

Anyway the reason for my what you call rant is to perhaps propose a challenge to publish at least one raw piece of entry that has left you baffled; “What was I on about when I wrote this?! It kind of makes sense… but I can’t put my finger on it.” or.. “Wait, *I* thought of that? Wow I didn’t know I *had* thought of it that way!”. So let us see those! I’m sure we’ll find many interesting ones. This might also help us get more motivated in actually getting down to reviewing our late-night thoughts and publishing them into some real work the next time we scribble something unto our sticky notes. This could be THE cure to writing blocks, ha!

This would be really interesting. It could be pieces of poetry, rhetorical questions about Life, Religion etc., personal thoughts, hilarious incidences which you intended to document somewhere, didactic rants in its original, unedited form. Fine, edit it if it looks just horrible. But don’t let it go too overboard. Let it stay in “idea” form. We can all learn something from you then

Come on, I know your “Notes” on your phones are BRIMMING with unspoken, unfinished, unheard of, raw material that are just begging to be worked on. So get on with it. I shall tag some people who I know will take up this challenge and we’ll see where this will take us! I think I’ll start with one first [it’ll be in the next status inshaAllah.]

Let’s call this the #mentalvomits challenge. (Sounds gross though. Feel free to suggest some other name.. anyone?) Look people, I might just be winging it out here and as they say in Malay, ‘shiok sendiri’. But I pictured this differently in my head; more of a mental exercise. Maybe it’s just that I’ve been really unproductive these past few days that I’ve decided to go through my ‘Notes’ on my phone and found some interesting content lol. Anyway, if you’re interested then, m’dearies. Go ahead because I genuinely WANT to read yours please. And have fun! *Yasmin does a curtsey here*.

“Why Settle for Less When We Can Have More”

* This was written for our spoken word performance at Mercy Mission’s Being ME (Muslimah Empowered) Conference 2013.

Script written by myself and Mubina Shafqat Ali.

“You had me at Salaam” she wrote

It was an innocent “Assalamu alaykum ukhteeee”

Which turned out to be not so innocent

In the lines that precede it

“May I tell you zat your posts 3an al- Islam on ze Fesbouk

is ze feri feri good. How many juzu have you memorized

ya ukhty jameelah? Ta3brneee. You can call me abu sa5ar

I can give you 100 camels for your mahr habibty-

anything fer you,

ya nour el ainee. Ya3nee.. anything fer you….”

“You had me at Salaam” she wrote

It was an innocent “Salaamu alaykum sister.”

Which turned out to be not-so-innocent

In the lines that precede it

“I am completely blown away by your beauty

and intelligence. Your akhlaq is MashaAllah-

Top notch- 110/100

If you marry me, I promise to make roti and chai for you in bed

Every morning.”

It was a Facebook chat that started

with a work-related issue

an exchange of “How are you”s

A “peace be upon you my sister in Islam” and a “peace be upon you too, my brother”,

It started with an encouraging comment on my depressing tweet

It started with a discussion on bid’ah- oh who knew to what it might lead

It then grew and stretched to an hour or two

Soon before we know it, we were chatting at night, past two

Although the conversation revolved around “Islamic scholarly matters” (or so we thought)

And we both knew if a man and a lady were alone, the 3rd person is not you who’s eavesdropping!-

 the 3rd person is the devil shaytan who’s been whispering!

Who would have thought- us two “under 25 inspiring youths”-

To whom SOME might look up to

Would be caught up in this web of “Haram” too?

Everyone knew we wouldn’t  let our guard down

Nope not even for a second.

Because no one’s seen us out together in town,

And neither of us has ever spoken to each other out in public,

Never even dared to look at each other in the eye

Because aye, it’s called.. what is it again?..?..!… yea, “lowering the gaze” innit?

Because if we were really about that Sunnah life,

We would not want to be seen even talking to each other

You wouldn’t even get in the lift if I’m already inside…. with my friends

You would rather take the stairs and

I insist on wearing the abaya and you, a thobe,

But it’s okay for me to ask for a picture of you working out?!

And to return the favour, I send a picture of myself

When I was 12 because “oh that’s fine, I didn’t get my period yet then”

But that picture just happened to be one of the best captures of my brown locks and my pierced ear? Sure..

I slipped,
For that split moment where i thought,
That split moment where i believed,
That split moment where i tell myself,
It would all just, just go away, the heartache.

But no, it doesn’t.
So, I, slipped.

Ringing through my ears, the words of my beloved mother “Don’t even get CLOSE to zinah”

But then I look to the west, and they tell me to
Listen to your heart
when he’s calling for you.
Listen to your heart
there’s nothing else you can do.
I don’t know where you’re going
and I don’t know why,
but listen to your heart
before you tell him goodbye.

Well that makes sense!

As a rebellious teen, rebelling from within, out of the earshot of my mother, “we’re just texting”

“Late at night” the devil may add

So, continued it did,
Shoving the advice from my mother under the lid,
Guilt consumed me, but I brush it off.
The notion of a life laden with hypocrisy, seeps through my very being, I ignored it.
This filthy web of a relationship I found myself trapped within, I chose to let it slip.

See, I have this ability, something I take pride within myself,
The ability to block out pain and worries.
Nothing would affect me as much as it would others,
I consider myself strong for having such gift,
NEVER have I envision it to be the cause of my downfall.

I slip,
No, no,
I’ve hit rock bottom,
I try lying to myself,
Telling myself,
That my emotions, feelings and connection towards my lord
Would all be unscathed,
But in true reality,
I see, how detrimental it can be,
How corrosive it is to my very being.
But I let it slip,
Not realizing that it was my deen that took the fall.

This longing that I, you, us, seek and scout,
In the form of a companion, a man,
When found, I won’t deny, fills up the “so called” empty cavity,
Patching each hairline crack at a time,
With glue WE thought was as strong as cement.

For that split moment, I felt whole again,
For that split moment, I felt happy again,
For that split moment, I felt invincible

I have everything that I want! Nothing can stop me!
Well Wonder Woman you can kiss my —- POETRY!

As time progresses however,
having God out of the equation,
brings about an uneasiness like no other,
Problems arise which threatened the deluded and dreamy state I’ve been in.
Nudging me and injecting me with guilt yet again.

Little did i know that a nudge will send that cavity into a downward spiral,
Shattering into millions of pieces,
Fragile, brittle and delicate.

I now realize that my hand hold was of the wrong substance,

All..this..while..

Oh what went down when he asked her out for lunch?

Did she panic and think –oh to hell my rep-This might be it

What if he says “let’s marry” – oh is this how she imagined it?

Oh well we slipped, but we’re good when we marry

And this burden we’ll no longer carry

But does the ends justify the means?

I ain’t putting you in the spot,

But neither am I letting you rot

but do you know what marriage means?

I’m not trying to rhyme like Boona,

But girl, this man isn’t trying to get to know ya

All I’m saying is that if he’s serious

he will ask your dad,

I’m just being honest, please don’t get mad!

Look- it’s ok if you messed up, I’ll show you how to clean up

When you find yourself down a path less blessed

Take charge of yourself, stick your chin up and

Move on to that path you overlooked

We were meant to make mistakes

Mistakes – they are our best teachers

As youth we may be engulfed with some pride and ignorance

And charging mad desires

But hope… is not all gone yet.

And faith… is not all torn yet.

You and I can aspire to soar for excellence

Break free from worrying about what OTHER teenagers are doing

WE need to stop settling for less when we can have more

I am a product of home, school and homeschool

I come from a background of mixed ethnicities- about which I’m cool

I have been favoured here and there because they needed to please mom

But I matured regardless, found out the truth. Puh-lease, I am not dumb

Hi, hey, salaam, how are you?

What? Wait, you’re 18?! No way, you?!

18 yes sir, I am 18.

Save your skepticism and you may close your mouth now,

18 is a number- I have 18 pencils, I have 18 friends, I just ate 18 apples,

But people react to it like I must be lying

Im not trying to brag

But I think know my own age, *whisper; more than you do ;) * thanks for asking!

Yasmin, the point of this exercise is…???

Point is..

Really, guys, really..??

18 is not “too  young”

18 is not “inexperienced”

18 is not “underage”

18 is two decades minus two

18 is half of 36,

only 4 years to 22

18 is 6,570 days of breathing,

18 is 157, 680 hours of living,

18 is 7 years of accountability for me

18 is 7 years of sinning

18 is also 10 years of telling my parents….

“I….. llooov* need to throw up” during car rides.

We need to free our minds from

Underestimating the youth

Setting the bar this high

Will only produce quality of this high

Raise the bar

And expect more from the youth

And don’t get me started on the young Sahabahs.. MashaaAllah

See, so-

You

Need

To stop
underestimating

Us

Me

Her

Them…

…Me

Instead of trying to convince me that I am not 18

…Take me in your hands and guide me

With your eyes that have seen more of the world than mine have

With your hands, I see they have on them maps of dishwashing detergent, traces of tears and sweat and small burns from the flame or excitement of cooking

With your feet that have taken you to more places than I ever have been

All the wondrous nooks and corners of the world from the stories you’ve told me,

The best places to form life-long friendships over coffee or tea,

with your pace I promise I’ll try to keep up, so Teach Me.

I am caged by Desires

I am bombarded by Expectations

Together- we are the epitome of the most pretentious teenager!

We are the driving force behind teen depression

Who cook up lies and deception

Who slit their wrist after gorgeous George ends the relationship

Who spend money that we don’t have, buying the things we don’t need,

trying to impress people we don’t even like!

As the youth, we are pretty much pretty victims of many many pretty things.

We’re pretty much blinded, but the problem is, we pretty much don’t see it,

Nor do we admit it.

How are we so comfortable with the life that we’re living?

Devoid of Allah’s blessings and Noor.

We’re deluded by thinking that just because we have Muslim names, we would enter Jannah by default.

Our names are not Jannah access-cards that we can swipe through at the gate like we do our mansions and office buildings.

Our likes for Islamic posts on Facebook don’t mean a thing if it don’t affect our actions and our Faith-book

Who are we compared to the likes of; Khadijah, Fatimah, Sumayya, Khawlah

May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon them all

They who tremble at the mention of Allah,

They who never hesitated a second for Jihad

They who never lost focus on raising leaders

They who would not even think twice to the question of hijab

And here we are so easily

Questioning whether the hijab is even mandatory!

Why are we not allowing ourselves to bloom and flourish like these past women leaders?

Are we complacent?

Or are we merely content with settling for less instead of more?

Our sins, they weigh us down,
Standing in front of Allah, heads bowed in shame, Slumped with guilt, –

Like a loser. –no seriously, we are kinda lame.

Remorse is one heavy facial mask!

Sometimes we have the cheek to ask “Will my sins ever be forgiven?”

But why do we underestimate His capacity to forgive?

His capacity to Love and His capacity to be Merciful?

He who holds the skies up and cause the birds to fly,

who makes the sun rise and set without fail , creating what we know as light and night,

and how we’re able to communicate, argue and debate, how we’re able to feel, love and hate?

Relying your happiness and self-worth on a man..

-girls, you can do much better than that!

No? Well then, look at it this way.. How can I be pleased with myself when my Lord-

The Lord of the Universe is displeased with me?

..I miss my connection towards my Rabb.

And I really really miss the sweetness of prayer

Ever felt that you could fly so high even rockets can’t stop you?

Ever felt that you could conquer the world; seize the oceans

and have battalions of… unicorns.. ??

When you feel unstoppable; like nothing can deter your new-found strength and confidence?

This is the sweetness of prayer.

When my forehead is lowered to the ground-

all my burdens and worries fall off my shoulders.

I complain, I surrender, and I submit to none but the one who created me

and

I come out of that prostration with a lighter heart

and a mind filled with clarity and certainty.

Don’t you long for Allah to be your ears with which you hear,

your eyes with which you see

your tongue with which you speak,

and your hand with which you touch and feel?

You are all our witnesses,

And Allah is A witness to that,

On this day we promise to fight our weaknesses

To prepare ourselves for the day when there is no shade

except in the shade of Allah’s throne,

where only seven groups of people will find themselves

under His Shade. Today we pose to you this question- will you see us

under the group of youth who were raised worshipping Allah or will you see us under another group of youth?

Is there anyone who can answer this for me?

Is there any soul who is brave enough to come up and guarantee me this?

If you see us that day,

Remind us of this date where we stood helplessly asking for the first time

And if you don’t see me,

Ask for me.

Thank you.