A Stream of Thoughts on Depression and Death

It’s 4.41pm when I begin writing this post.

Just today, I applied to 17 job postings to which I meet the minimum requirements and qualifications. 17 carefully crafted applications in one day. Each submission bringing a new hope and a different vision of how my life could be. Of the various possibilities of my grown up life.

Over the past few months, I decided that I should begin taking career-searching seriously. I mean, I had been running a business for over 2 years quite successfully and profitably. However, the past two months with the critical illness of my father, I have fallen into a depression.

This is the story of my great depression.

It’s only been two months since my father fell critically ill and my family went through the hell of his near-death experience that eventually lead to an amputation of his right leg. He had lost the left leg to diabetes 18 years ago, when I was eight years old. I still remember when my dad returned home from the hospital after his first amputation. I spent a whole week without looking at him. I was afraid of what I would see (or would not see). I remember him feeling hurt, but taking it slowly with me. Not my brother, though. My brother jumped right on my dad to hug and kiss him. One day, he asked me if I wanted to see it, and I was afraid, but said yes. He showed me the stitch marks and I asked him, “is that it?” I lost my fear. Truth is, that while he had been hospitalized for 3 months, I had convinced myself that he had died and that the father who had returned home was a robot that my mom ordered so that we wouldn’t have to feel so bad about my dad. I had nightmares of my father being a robot for weeks, or months.

Over the past months, I have fallen apart emotionally, psychologically. Waking up in the middle of the night yelling in panic because I had dreamt that I was in the surgery room while surgeons patiently and painstakingly amputated my father’s legs and rewired him back together. Like an automobile. Like the inner plumbing of your kitchen sink. Our bodies. They are nightmares. And doctors, their hands.

Four years ago, I vowed never to have an alcoholic drink again. I became Muslim and this was my big step. Three weeks ago, I had an entire bottle of cheap wine and cried myself to sleep. For those who aren’t regular wine drinkers, the sensation goes like this: you take a sip and get goosebumps all over your body. The hairs stick right up. After a few sips, the cheap wine begins to taste bitter; it never tastes sweet as it should. After many sips, you begin to feel numbness on your skin, hands and things move a bit slower. It’s like anesthesia running through your veins. My husband came home to a mumbling wife. It’s truly tragic to think about what I have become over the months. A depressive maniac who cries and yells from macabre nightmares.

I have another confession. This one is worse, but please just listen. This one made me cry for a long time. Two weeks ago, I decided to spend the day with my 15 month year old daughter, so I kept her from daycare. I went to the yarn store with her because I wanted to make her something warm for the approaching cold weather. It was 90 degrees Fahrenheit outside. I left her inside the car. I did. She grew quiet while driving and since I wasn’t used to having her with me during the week, I simply forgot her and left her in the car when I went shopping. My hairs are raised just remembering what I did–to remember that my daughter could potentially suffocate because my head is no longer clear. It’s a confession that I am deeply ashamed and disturbed by. At the store, I suddenly remembered that my baby was in the car, dropped the 6 packs of holiday-colored ribbons on the ground and ran out of the store screaming with tears in my eyes. When I found her she was sweating, but she was okay. Thank God. She was okay. I cried myself to sleep that night too and had more nightmares. My head is no longer clear. I love my daughter and am usually the best mother. But, this day, I failed.

I applied to 17 jobs today, because I need healthcare. My husband’s healthcare cannot be extended to us (for reasons I can’t go into now), and I need healthcare. I end up tossing myself in cold showers every time I get a fever as to avoid the hospital. Over the past 6 months, I have applied to over 80 jobs that I qualify for and nothing. Nothing to show for a Master’s degree and plenty of unpaid student loans. No way to pay those loans back without a steady job. Lenders won’t stop calling and I tell them the same story, “I am unemployed, cannot pay anything and that I wish I could.” I really wish I could pay my bills–it leaves me satisfied and I used to enjoy watching my credit score go up a few points each time I paid off any bill.

After my father’s amputation 1 month ago, I lost interest in my consulting business and just let it fall apart slowly. I get work every now and then, but mostly, I get a bunch of hagglers. My desperation stinks and they can smell it. What I used to charge Whole Foods value, I now charge at Walmart price. I hate being the Walmart of College Consulting. It’s pathetic.

I really need to know if we are going through a something like the 1930s Great Depression. There has to be an explanation why I cannot find employment with a Master’s degree. I remind myself that I am bilingual, fairly good looking (looks count), smart, have 3 degree all with honors, solid work experience, I have so many skills…I am a good catch. Yes, there must be another explanation about things that are beyond out control.

I bomb most interview. Never get the job. Yet, I am overqualified for any minimum wage job to get by until I find a good position. Most employers think that someone with a Master’s will demand a higher salary, so they simply never call. People without college degree, I think, tend to stay at their jobs for longer periods of time because they are perceived as less ambitious. I am not ambitious. I just need to be employed. I need healthcare.

It’s 4am and I am staring at my computer, rewriting this post, yet it all sounds like the same old thing.

Watching Chuck on Netflix.

I prayed today, but I didn’t feel anything. That anesthetic effect is taking over me, but I can still feel my husband toes on my toes. I measure his love by his efforts to intertwine his legs and toes with mine while he sleeps. This is the measurement of love. Of affection. Of marriage.

Hands are numb and it’s getting hard to type.

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I Want to Speak to the Owner!

I am a business owner now. And manager. And customer service. And secretary. And filing clerk.

This is the feeling of having a brand new business that has been slowly, but surely, rising.

Didn’t someone once make a song about “mo money, mo problem?” I don’t want to make it seem like I am rolling in hundred dollar bills, or anything like that. It isn’t like that at all. But, I would say, “mo clients, mo problems.” My advertiser does a good job, so the clients are there, I guess.

I, however, am trying to find a way to divide myself between various positions, perform various tasks, without driving myself into insanity.

As owner, I am the boss lady. I guess. I am also the one responsible for taking sure my clients are happy. For the most part, they are happy enough to refer friends. My business thrives on “word of mouth.” And, customer service is crucial.

I started doing customer service since I was 16 years old at David’s Bridal. Had that gig for 6 years on and off. Was pretty good at it; enough for them to take me between college semester, or on my summer vacation while in grad school. I was pretty good at customer service. Looking back, I know that the secret to good customer service is to have someone who is not emotionally involved in the business to do it. Did I give a damn about David’s Bridal? Not really. Did I care that a customer did not like the ugly bridesmaid dress? Not really. My job was to be nice and solve the problem so that the client leaves with a smile on their face.

After 6 years, I thought I had this customer service gig down to the T. Over this past week, I realized I have lots to learn.

It all started last week when one of my clients suddenly demanded a refund. We had done half the work he paid for, had been working on his file for 4 weeks, and our invoice clearly states 80% REFUND WITHIN THE FIRST 48 HOURS OF PAYMENT. There’s a logic to my ‘no refund policy”. First, I only take about 8 clients per month (it’s impossible to take more at this time). Secondly, I begin a client’s file within the first 48 hours, so some time is spent. Lastly, Paypal charges me a processing fee for accepting money AND returning. Refunding is really a hassle; therefore, it is clearly explained at time of pay.

Back to the story. Client demands full refund. His reason was that I had only done half the work; therefore, he was entitled to a full refund (?)! Of course, I said in my head: no fucking freaking way dude I just worked on your file, edited your essays, created your personal statement, searched for graduate programs for you and had two scheduled consulting conferences. WTF?” Of course, all this was communicated professionally through e-mail. Guy goes nuts and begins to trash me on my Twitter advertising page. Guy grabs all my potential clients and calls me a THIEF! A THIEF! I let it go on for a few days until he grew tired; thought he did, and later realized that he was using a second profile to continue to spam my clients.

Today, I needed to put a stop to this. He was undeservedly accusing me of lying and stealing. STEALING! Oh my God! My potential clients were believing this, and they avoided me like the plague. I called him, so that he can answer to me. I wanted to hear the shame in his voice.

I told him calmly: “why are you doing this, if you KNOW we have given you exactly as you paid for?”

He said, “I want my money back! I want my money back!”

I asked him, “Do you think it’s fair that we work and don’t get paid?”

He said, “I changed my mind. I want my money back! If I get money back, I will stop on Twitter?”

I told him, “Should I say thank you for putting a stop to your lies on Twitter?”

He said, “I don’t care. I just want my money back.”

I FUCKING LOSE IT AT THIS POINT. TEARS, SCREAMING, AND ALL!

I said, “Listen, Rayed, YOU are the liar, the thief and what you have been doing to me will come back to you much harder!”

He said, “I am Muslim, I am honest, and I just want my money back.”

I said, “Honest person? You defamed me and my business AFTER I worked honestly for you! You call me a liar after I have tried repeatedly to cooperate with you! You take my clients away from me, when I am simply trying to make an honest living…! A Muslim does NOT act like this! I work so hard everyday to build what I have for the sake of my family. YOU HAVE A BLACK HEART!”

I actually told the guy that he has a BLACK HEART (lol). I have to laugh now, because I am done with crying.

I finished the conversation with, “I will give you your entire money back today. I am worth more than $XXX.XX.” I hung up the phone, cried and sobbed in my car outside my office for a good 10 minutes.

The guy calls me back and begins to apologize, “I am very sorry, Cristina. I was very wrong. I took down everything from Twitter. I don’t want my money back anymore.I’m very sorry.”

I said to him, “I don’t want any favors, nor money from you. You can’t repair the damages you have done with your lying. What you did to me will happen to you, and it will cost you more than your refund.”

After months of not blogging, this experience has prompted me to write. Writing is my therapy, and I feel like a broken person today. Rayed did not break me. My inability to do everything well at the same time; the impossible task of making every single client happy; the struggle to divide myself into a million pieces as I try to build the foundations of my business. Every dollar I work for, I feel its gain and its loss, because I put my soul into my work. I feel deteriorated today. I feel so tired. I just want to take a bubble bath, get into my PJs and sleep a good sleep.

Business exhausts. Trying to be fair, yet firm, has made me tired. My business is at its birth, yet, it is growing strong. Someone comes along to damage what I have built, yet I know these are the responsibilities that come with managing a business. The customer is always right, they say. How about when he is dead wrong?

I wanted to finally make Rayed see me as a human being, so I let him hear me cry to make him feel.

Finally, he felt. And tonight, I just feel for myself.

My Husband: The (Patient and Loving) Arab Villain

“Take care of her, [Muhammed*],” says a relative every time my husband and I leave her house after a weekend visit.

Muhammed: “Why doesn’t she ever tell you to take care of me? After all, I’m the poor guy who needs the extra care…” He laughs it off every time, but deep inside I know that he feels confused as to why anyone would believe otherwise; that is, that anyone would think that Muhammed would do anything else other than take care of me.

I had never thought about my relative’s weekly comments until I started to see the slight hurt on my husband’s face. I had never really thought about it much until we began to receive other similar comments from other relatives and friends: “If you hurt her, I’ll have to kill you…” or “You’re a lucky guy, Muhammed, take care of her…”

I have also received warnings from friends and strangers in casual conversation. “Make sure Muhammed doesn’t take you away to Arabia because we’ll never see you again…” or “Have you seen the movie Not Without My Daughter?” or “Did you husband make you convert?”

These questions and comments are all delivered half-jokingly/half-threatningly and followed with laughter. The truth is, however, that I know that some people who make these comments are usually waiting for my response so that they can cast away their doubt about my Villainous Husband. Others are watching, waiting and counting mistakes so they can say “I told you so,” never stopping to think that attributing someone’s flaws to their race and religion–rather than the fact that were all flawed human beings–is ignorance at the very least.

When I think about my protective, yet gentle and loving, husband, I feel hurt. I cannot understand the constant suspicion and mistrust towards another human being without cause.

The truth of the matter is that the stereotype of the volatile, controlling, sexually perverse and abusive Arab Muslim man is alive and well. 

I remember the sensitivity he felt the day he saw our unborn baby kick her chubby feet at our first ultrasound. Afterwards, he pridefully insisted that our child should bear his first and last name so that everyone would know exactly who her daddy is! I admire the quiet way he washes the dishes on the nights when I cook dinner (the rule at our house is: one cooks, the other cleans). I am thankful for the many times he has encouraged me to pray with him. I am amused when my husband walks to the left of me because he believes he is protecting me from wierdos and speeding cars. I am grateful when he pulls back my hair and rubs my shoulders when I have morning sickness. And, I won’t forget the night he made a healing balm from olive oil and Shea butter to rub on my aching back because I had been crying from the pain. I remember the worth I felt when he bragged to his family about his “smart” wife working on her Ph.D. I laugh when he suggestively picks out matching sweaters and scarves from my side of the closet when he thinks my chest is overexposed (a habit that reminds me of my own Cuban-Catholic father and brother). These flawed, yet well-intentioned, men. Villains, indeed.

My husband is my crutch.

On my last visit home, I snarked back at a relative’s comment: “You know, he beat me senseless yesterday. Look at these bruises (I pointed at my behind)! These Arab men! But, I beat him right back…” My relative rolled her eyes and silenced up. Afterwards, my husband said that I shouldn’t have made that remark and should simply ignore the comments next time.

My husband teaches me patience and back-bending respect.

I chose my husband because I know him and–flaws and all–I love him. The partner in my life, the self-proclaimed protector of our home, the proud father of our unborn child. Yes, this is the Arab Villain I have married.

The comments my husband and I have received have never been made with intentional hatred nor with an effort to inflict pain. On the contrary, they have been made from people who love us. The comments, however, reflect a larger problem in the way we (members of society) are constantly misinformed by the media about who “We” are and who “Others” are. More specifically, about who “Westerners” are and who “Middle Easterners” and Muslims are. We lack insight on this false dichotomy and forget that people are sometimes simply just people.

As frustrated as I feel sometimes, I do not hold these comments personally against anyone. Instead, I hope that my story serves as an example of how our unconscious ignorance really does affect the way we position ourselves in the world–oftentimes dehumanizing “Others” in that process. Most importantly, I hope that we could arrive at the realization that knowing someone’s race, ethnicity, religion, or cultural background does not mean we know a darn thing about who they are as people. 

*Muhammed is a pseudonym.

Changes

In a nutshell: changes to my blog; changes in my life.

Academia: I haven’t posted in a while because I have been recovering (psychologically!) from the Master’s exam that took place on May 12th. Two weeks of recovery isn’t nearly enough. Seriously.

Truth is, I’ve been busy wrapping up this quarter. I have one last paper to write for a composition studies class I am taking (on the intersection of literacy/rhetoric/composition and heavily tattooed women). The research paper is largely exploratory, but I am interested in thinking about the body–specifically women’s–as sites for composing narratives of resistance. The tattooed body seemed like an appropriate topic to explore this interest.

Today, I also taught my last class at OSU. I ended the quarter on two graphic novels that fit together very well: Incognegro and Stuck Rubber Duck. I hope I awakened a dormant interest in my students for visual narratives. Overall, I felt the class was a success.

Blog: As you have already noticed, my blog is changing. It is still under construction, but I am really working on conceptualizing my audience and adopting the appropriate rhetoric. I began this blog as a “say-all” space where I anonymously posted on anything I found worth exploring, critiquing, discussing, sharing, and so on. Part of developing as a writer, however, is being acutely aware of your audience and be willing to adapt accordingly. I think that the “say-all” space was beneficial and I will continue to foster that, but I also hope to think of fresh way to make my topics, posts and discussions bad ass.  I will  mostly focus on creative writing, narratives and other topics that fall under literature and narratives. I think that politics and religion will always be in the backdrop of all my posts, but I will intentionally not make them these themes the central focus. For those who have been following me from the beginning, you know that this blog is always under construction (and I think that is what has attracted my circle of readers). If you particularly enjoyed a specific type of post, please let me know as my writing is alway (re)shaping.

Goals: I leave home in a week. Two years have flown by and I feel a little disoriented from all the changes that are to come. I will move back to my parents’ place. I may have a particularly difficult time readjusting as I have developed my particular quirks living on my own the past two years. In my apartment, I stay up late, leave dishes in the sink, light candles all over the house, come and go as I please, and fall asleep in the living room couch over mountains of books. None of the above will happen back at home. Despite the adjustments, I will enjoy the fact that I won’t bear any serious financial responsibilities. I should also have enough privacy to work on completing a few goals I have in mind:

Writing: I have a few drafts of short fiction and hope to gather an intimate circle of fellow writers to review and offer feedback so that I could finalize and submit to magazines and writers’ journals for publication.

Work: Thankfully, I already have a job waiting for me back home. I will continue teaching at the university where I previously worked and will enjoy a higher salary. It, however, is only an adjunct position. I hope to spend some time preparing a resume and researching full-time teaching positions so that I can begin to feel more secure in my profession.

Fun: These past two years have not been a cup-o-tea. While I made very good friends at OSU, I also resigned myself in a martyr-like fashion to intellectualism. I look forward to digging my toes in the sand, dancing with my fellow Latina girlfriends, and meeting prince charming (ignore that last one). Most important, I hope to finally give myself over to please; that is, enjoy films and books without over-analyzing every rotten detail.

In Cuban culture, many people toss a bucket of water out their door on New Year’s Eve to symbolize positive change (out with the old, in with the new). But since I am not particularly superstitious, I will just end this post with two short dua’a: alhamdulillah (thank God) and insha’Allah (Godwillingly).

Bullying a Bully

So, I intellectually bullied a friend (or ex-friend, not sure anymore) today. It wasn’t my proudest moments but part of me feel that it had to be done.

An old highschool and family friend who entered the military right after highschool, messaged me today with the following:

Six Muslims Indicted in Terror Funding Plot. Federal authorities charged three members of a South Florida family, including one arrested in Los Angeles, in a conspiracy to raise money for weapons to “murder, maim and kidnap” people overseas and bolster the Pakistani Taliban. Authorities say the ringleader of the group is Hafiz Khan, a 76-year-old imam, or religious leader, of a mosque in Miami

I asked him what he wanted me to say, and he responded with “Don’t say anything. Sit back and watch them kill each and every one of us.” By “them,” he meant Muslims.

After this message, I had had enough of him. The previous week, he had responded to an article on my facebook wall in the most aggressive of ways–directly attacking me and others who agreed that violence should never be celebrated–no matter how evil the dead person may have been.

In short, he contacted me again today. Apparently, he expected me to answer for the actions of the indicted Muslims. This is when I decided to get a little nasty:

Johnathan, read books. Seriously. I am not trying to be condescending, but you have been immersed in violence from a very young age. It is critical for you to think about the way you are lashing out against me–and on what grounds?

From the comments on my page (the day after Laden’s death), you weren’t even understanding the conversation that was going on. I think the image I’ve attached serves as a reminder of some of the absurd and irrelevant comments you were making. You were responding to things that weren’t said and were attacking an ideology that you think I represent. A complete lack of reading comprehension skills, sorry to say it.

Again, I am down to discuss things with you (or anyone) with different opinions that my own. The only thing I require is respect–not impulsive responses that misconstrue or reflect assumptions about my position–or even worse, attack me personally! So “anti-American”? How dare you! Just because you own a badge and take a million of ridiculous pictures in front of your mirror with guns does not give you a right to dictate how others should think and who others are.

He responded with “books don’t show reality. My friends are dead because of this religion and their radical goal to kill infidels in the name of their Allah”.

I responded with, “John, did you know Christians who speak Arabic call God “Allah” and “Rab” also? They are Arabic words for ‘God’ and ‘Lord’. The God in Islam is the same God in Christianity. Read Quran and Bible and then we can continue.”

He responded with, “I don’t have time to read. Besides, while you were reading my friends were getting killed in Afghanistan and Iraq”

And I said, “You are right, books do not solve immediate problems, but remaining ignorant by refusing to seek information remove hope.”

I felt like an intellectual bully on many levels. I know that my friend joined the military directly after high school. He was raised in a low social-economic neighborhood and joined the military to escape a lot of road blocks. He has been immersed in violence since a very young age. On the one hand, I felt that pointing out his insecurities (in regards to literacy) was a cruel move. On the other hand, he has the potential to read and arrive at his own opinions about the world–ideas independent from military politics and those of Fox news.

In many ways, I feel sorry for him. He is right on many levels. Books do not solve immediate problems. Many people like him have been raised to be practical. To attack problems as they come–not with their minds, but with their bodies. Many individuals like him have had to fight their way through the streets, through school, through family situations. John, like many people I know, are survivors. John, like many people I know, do not have time nor the opportunity to get an education. For these reasons, I felt like an elitist bully.

On the same token, should I stay silent and let him bully me around? Should I stay silent while he spews hate with which he has been indoctrinated? Should I be afraid to shake his narrow-minded worldview by challenging him to seek information?

He sent another message that said, “You know I care for you. It is my mission to protect others. I just want to open your eyes to what is going on with that religion…” and I responded with, “You did it again, John. You vilified an entire religion that you haven’t taken the time to read,” and he responded with, “How about we don’t take about this anymore?”

I think that my going back to the reading cornered him. It wasn’t like him to drop a subject. In many ways, I think I exposed him to his own “shortcomings”. I did this knowingly–which may have be unethical. I, however, feel even more irresponsible staying silent while a friend loses himself neglectfully to the rhetoric of violence.

Mr. Anthropologist, Sir…

I said ‘no’.

I do not wish to be a sample for the research you are currently conducting on the ‘Muslim population’.

‘No.’

I do not wish to lend myself to your curiosities.

I do not wish that my gestures and responses be part of your data collection for interpretations and formulations.

Please, stop analyzing my facial expressions! And ‘no,’ I’m not angry about your questions. I am angry that you assume I am angry.

If you’d like, you can join my girlfriends and I for coffee. You’ll probably learn a bit about my current interest in graphic novels and my recent love for country music. If you show genuine interest, I’d be glad to say more about it. And, ‘no,’ you cannot take notes. Put that pen away, sir. Quickly, before Ireally do get angry.

Do not study me.

Do not interpret me.

I am not a specimen.

I do not wish to be a sample for anything. If you do learn anything, what you will learn is about me in this particular moment in time and space. I evolve. People evolve. I do not represent two billion people and ‘no’ you cannot make general claims.

Leave Muslim men out of this conversation. Do not try and convince me how they’re ‘hypocritical dirtballs’. And I don’t care to hear your anecdotal evidence to support that. These

‘stubbly-skinned,

black-haired, tawny-skinned…

[men who] sit on the floor [in white robes], leaning forward,

elbow on one raised knee and eat heartily…

They may be mustachio’d, macho, patriarchal,

sexist, egotistical, parochial–

They may, as men may,

think themselves indominable,

being easily manipulated,

–but they’re mine, my

sleek and swarthy, hairy-chested,

curly-headed lovers of the Prophet***

These men are just fine. How are you? Don’t try and turn me against anyone, Mr. Anthropologist. Or I’ll walk away.

Alright, fine. What do you want to know?

My favorite dessert is arroz con leche with extra cinnamon (But I haven’t learned to make it better than mami). Sometimes, I dance in front of the mirror to remind myself that I still got it. I tend to curse a lot and immediately regret it. Oh, and I watch silent black and white films when my roommates are not around. They think it’s dumb, but I don’t care.

What? You want to know why my scarf is purple today? Because my other scarves are in the washer! That’s why. What? No! I did not intend to match my socks. There is no relation!

Why did I just roll up my sleeves? Because it’s getting hot under this microscope light!

Can you stop tilting your head like that and relax those brows? Don’t squint at me!

I can write you faster that you can ever write me, and your head will be spinning for days.

‘No’!

I’ll be damned if I let you write that down!”

***verses were excerpted from Mohja Kahf.

I Speak for Myself: American Women on Being Muslim

You have no idea how excited I am to hear that this book was put together and will be released in May 2011.

One of the writers, May Alhassen, is an acquaintance and is also one of the performers for Hijabi Monologues.

This book is soooo important right now. A few experiences and conversations I had over the weekend really reminded me how important is it NOT to speak for other people–how important it is to let each individual speak for themselves, tell their own stories, give their own perspective on issues–no matter how tempting it is to give “answers”.

I attended a Latin Americanist conference over the weekend where I met other Latinos and Latinas who were surprised (in a good way) that I converted to Islam. Two men asked me if I converted for a husband. In a nice manner, I laughed and said “no, no”. Some conversations were longer than others and some were filled with questions I simply couldn’t answer. While I love to talk about Islam, I really tried to stay away from situations where others expected me to speak for the community. Oftentimes, I found myself repeating “I can’t speak for anyone but myself. That has been my experience…”

One Puerto Rican (an animated, friendly and genuinely interested PhD cultural anthropologist) said that he preferred to ask me questions he’s always had (regarding Muslim women) because other Muslim women seemed unapproachable.  I understood that people feel more comfortable with individuals to whom they can relate (ethnically, culturally, age-wise, etc). I had to emphasize that my answers only represented my own worldview–nothing else. I don’t know if I disappointed him, but I felt unethical answering questions for such a diverse and complicated community. A lightbulb came over my head during our last conversation and I directed him to this book. I hope that it will, insha’Allah, give him (and others) insight into the diverse experiences of female believers in the United States.

In short, get this book. Suggest it to individuals interested in a Muslim women’s perspectives. Spread the word!

Official Website:

http://www.ispeakformyself.com/

Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/notes/maria-ebrahimji/i-speak-for-myself-american-women-on-being-muslim/10150091998313325

Buy on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1935952005/ref=cm_sw_r_fa_alp_cTtynb06B13V6