The Listserve – Leading up to Love

Back in May I was selected to write on The Listserve, out of a pool of more than 20,000 people. It wasn’t that I was smarter than anyone, or experienced more; it was a random lottery. Every day someone is chosen to send an e-mail to the rest of the people who are on the list. Literally, you just plug in your e-mail to the site, and you receive an e-mail each day from someone, anywhere in the world. People send WHATEVER they want – all text. The other day I received an e-mail from someone in San Francisco, CA, tomorrow I’ll probably receive an e-mail from someone from a country I’ve never even heard of. I love hearing about peoples’ ideas, adventures, favorite books, life lessons, obstacles, reflections, and all. When I got chosen, I actually missed the 48 hour deadline because I’m AWFUL at checking my e-mail. Luckily, I contacted them and after learning that I could never be put back in the drawing if I missed my turn, the lovely staff gave me a second chance. I didn’t have anything crazy to say, but I was excited at the idea of being able to share my thoughts and experiences with the world, however basic those ideas may be. If I offered some sort of understanding, or had someone relate to me, I did something right… and I did! I received a couple dozen e-mails in response by people who were somehow affected by my words:

[The Listserve] Leading up to Love

I was hoping I would win the Listserve at 25 when I have it all figured out. All the 25-year-olds are probably shaking their heads because they’re waiting for 30 when they’ll have it all figured out. Maybe we’re all clueless. But maybe that’s a good thing! Imagine a life so intricately planned out. Where’s the fun in that?

I’m 23 years young and I have no sense of direction, whether it’s on the road or in life. I really don’t care about being a legend or being remembered. I want to enjoy my life, do good, and be happy with the people I love. I live about 15 minutes away from Washington, D.C., working at a nonprofit where I couldn’t be happier. Part of the reason I think I’m so optimistic is because of my faith, Islam, and the whole whatever’s-meant-to-happen-will-happen idea. I keep this in mind when I’m feeling down and you’d be surprised how quickly it shifts my perspective.

My family is a bit crazy, but it makes for interesting conversation. My mom is a red-headed white woman who grew up in DC, and my dad is a Pakistani brown man who came to the states in the 70’s. I wear a hijab, or headscarf, and we as a family confuse and amuse people quite a bit…

Sometimes I even confuse myself. For the past year I’ve been jumping between wearing a traditionally-styled scarf and a stylish turban. Although I rock the turban, one of the main reasons I wear it is to avoid negative reactions from people who are a little less open-minded. It sucks because I don’t want to hide my religion, but I don’t want to be looked at as an outsider, either.

While I don’t want to get into the implications of displaying my faith openly wherever I go, it’s shaped who I am today. Some of it good, some of it I could do without. I’m overly-considerate. This may sound great, but I envy the people who do what they want regardless of what others might think. I’m very observant of others and I generally make decisions based off how I think others will react. I’m trying to slash stereotypes and change the face of Islam. It’s what got me interested in filmmaking as a hobby.. the Muslim perspective is almost nonexistent. Sometimes I’m excited about the opportunity to represent Islam. Sometimes it’s too big of a responsibility to try and take on.

Ok, that’s enough about me. Today I gave a ride home to my friend Michelle, who told me about how she met her husband and how deeply in love with him she still is. And the cool thing about it is that he’s deeply in love with her too! She talked about something seemingly obvious, but often ignored… A relationship should have an equal amount of input. It can’t be one-sided. So make sure you’re showering all the right people with your love.

Love is the most important thing in the world. Love the little things, like good food. Take it all in. Love yourself, love God if you can, love your family, love your partner. Make sure you’re getting and giving a healthy dose of love.

S/o to my sister/bestfriend Samirah, my crazy brother Khalid, my friends Zaid and Sue Sue, who share my Listserve love, and Lina, who hopefully succeeded in helping me avoid looking like a fool with this email.

I give to: IRUSA
I rant at: PinkGingerale (BlogSpot)
I write for: Coming of Faith





If you had something to say to 1 million people, what would you say? I highly recommend the Listserve to EVERYONE. Meet strangers from across the globe, experience cultures, open your mind to strange and exciting things, offer a hand to someone in need. Every day I get one e-mail that makes me smile wide, and I learn something. Everyone has experienced something that no one else in the world has experienced. This is what makes us unique, while bringing us all together. Join us in connecting the world 🙂

I’m not sponsored by The Listserve, I just wanted to share.

Side-Braid Turban Tutorial for Hijabis

I posted this tutorial a short while back, and I wanted to share it here on my blog. I used to wear this turban style inspired by Ascia AKF after attempting it with a plain scarf that I bought from H&M. I wanted to try something new and found a really great tutorial by Yaz the Spaz, here. It’s a lot more comfortable and is super cute. It works with both a triangle scarf and a rectangular one. There are so many different styles people are doing nowadays… or at least, it seems like nowadays because I never saw any of this before I got Instagram :P! I love that you can go all out, style it up different ways and really create a look that represents YOU. I’m not at all interested in fashion, nor am I too risky when it comes to clothing. I like to be comfortable… I love my crocs :). I usually like what’s trendy, but I’m becoming less and less influenced by my peers. Fashion is fun, I like to see it, and maybe some day I’ll be a great shopper, but for now… I’m good. I love hijab, and I’m completely comfortable wearing the turban. If you want to know why I wear the turban my answer is simply, because I want to.

Modesty

After publishing my most recent blog post, DC Mipsterz | A Very Mipsterz Xmas, I started thinking a lot about how I present myself online. I’ve had this blog since 2009, and I’ve always posted pictures of myself, my experiences, and my interests. I never saw a problem with sharing myself with the world. Also, I NEVER used to send my blog link to people unless they asked, and most of the people who follow me have always been strangers and fellow bloggers. Lately, I’ve been sharing my blog a lot more because it’s something I’ve always loved and I want to feel motivated to keep up with it. I want others to be inspired to keep online journals and stay creative with what they love.

I NEVER get my makeup done… I rarely even have the desire to dress up. It was fun, and different. I posted the photos. Then I was talking to a friend and I passed on the link to my blog. He thought it was weird that I would post those photos and it looked like I wanted attention. Whether that’s true or not (I’m still trying to figure that out myself), all of a sudden I felt really insecure. I started questioning my intentions. What does a follower count matter if people are only following you because they find you attractive? The photos from my last post hardly even look like me… I would much rather people follow me because they enjoy reading thoughtful, funny, or insightful posts. If I want to adhere to modesty as I define it, I don’t need to attract unnecessary, meaningless attention.

My personal opinions, based on self-image, not on others’ behavior (INWARD, in word):
I don’t care about the turban. I find it completely appropriate and beautiful. I don’t care about the makeup, in moderation. I dressed up for an event but on the regular, I’d rather people know my natural, organic face. I don’t want to ever feel like I need to cover my face up and change my look, a phase I’ve already been through. What I’m more concerned with is how much of this I feel I need to post all over my blog and share with the world, and my reasons for sharing photos of my made-up self. It’s fun, it’s exciting, it’s flattering when people follow you, comment on your photos, or compliment your look. It’s tempting to want to be like this all the time, and be able to have all eyes on you all the time. I’d love to continue to share photos, I just want to make sure my intentions are right, and I’m not changing myself to please others, or solely trying to gain attention. This will always be a reflective journal for me, I have no desire to change it into a style blog. That’s just not me.

I admire women who are studying to become change agents in this world. I admire women who inspire others, who are innovative, who DESIRE to help others. I ASPIRE to be a woman who others look at as an example for reasons other than her body, looks, or style.

This is not to say I’ll remove images of myself I’ve posted in the past, or that I don’t love blogs about fashion or style. This is just a reflection I’m choosing to share with you. You define modesty for yourself.

As always, this is a…

JUDGE-FREE ZONE

DC Mipsterz | A Very Mipsterz Xmas

Saturday Night –

Tamana is a makeup GURU; God bless her.
Tamana, my partner in crime & meee
took complete advantage of the penthouse restrooms, and we don’t care
Don’t let that smile fool you
clique-y
oh, you didn’t know? locker rooms are FUN.
oxford rules: selfie
I RSVP’d to two parties in one night… UGLY SWEATERS, no curfews, graduations, and high school reunions
ARE YOU TIRED OF RED YET?
Mipsterz isn’t really about anything too crazy, for those interested. Tamana and I walked into the room not knowing ANYONE. We didn’t see a single familiar face. It really didn’t matter for long… we were up and socializing and snacking on delicious sweets, and really just getting to know a bunch of really great people. Everyone was so openminded and to me, that’s what a real Mipster is. Mipster isn’t about the way you dress, or about your social status. It’s about who you are and how willing you are to let your real self shine. It’s so important to be an individual and to be comfortable in your own skin. We need to start supporting our community members and making some REAL progress in introducing Islam to those who don’t yet know about it. How can we do that if we’re too busy bashing one another within our own faith?? Seems ridiculous when I write it down… Seems completely counterproductive. Let’s focus on what’s important, and have a little fun while we’re at it. Open your mind, extend your hand, and be YOU.
xx