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First Time Always Hurts

Throughout my life, I’ve had several people telling me to do something with my writing. So this is my humble attempt at sharing with people my short stories, observations, rants, and photos of what goes through my head. At the end of the day, we are all specks of dust, searching for our purpose, as we navigate through the Earth. So…here we go…

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Expression of Love

 

I look up at you and chuckle

why are you hiding?

Sometimes I can’t take you seriously

but the contrast overwhelms me

Simplistic beauty in form

radiating and shining throughout

You are the warmest of realms

on the surface a mere 15 million degrees

You are the hottest relationship I’ve had

you are the STAR of the sky

Our galaxy, among the Universe

without you we are dead

Literally

Bird Box: That Was A Jinn Of A Movie

Warning: FOR THE 45 MILLION OF YOU WHO DIDN’T WATCH THIS ON NETFLIX, THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS!!!

Bird Box is turning into a cultural Juggernaut that will inspire deeply impassioned dialogues; whether on social media, or in personal conversations, about the meaning, the symbolism, and/or the future apocalyptic social commentary pertaining to mankind’s humanity. It’s the latter that I want to delve into further, but dissecting the movie from a singular Muslim’s perspective.

Now this is just MY interpretation of the movie, don’t trip out thinking I’m speaking on behalf of Muslim’s worldwide. I will be using some ayats (chapters) from the Holy Quran and Islamic history to clarify my views, just in case I lose some of you. If it gets too complicated, my apologies in advance.

So in the movie humans are facing it seems near annihilation from an unseen “monster”. This mysterious, invisible force if looked upon, makes people go insane and commit suicide. There are countless critiques surfacing on the Internet about why these incidents have occurred.
It can be a biological/chemical warfare attack, a symbolic metaphor for depression and the mentally ill, religious symbolism about the end of times, and a satirical theory about white people literally being “blind” to racism.

As Muslims, we believe in the Unseen. In our faith we believe in GOD-although Muslims don’t attribute any physical form or human association with HIM. GOD, The Creator, transcends time and space. We are a part of HIS creation, as are the Angels and Jinns- a part of that creation that work in mankind’s favor or detriment. I want to explore the “genetic constitution” of the Jinn, and how I eerily viewed this concept symbolically played out in the film.

Angels are made of LIGHT and don’t have any free will whatsoever. They simply carry out GOD’s commands. In contrast, the Jinn, like mankind, have a free will, and also like mankind, they will be held in Judgment. The Jinn are made of a smokeless fire. The base nature of the Jinn is fiery. The Jinn are also unseen. The biggest Jinn was Iblis-who eventually becomes Al-Shaitan, more commonly referred to as Satan. Satan is also unseen.

Let’s say Bird Box is a prophetic glimpse into an Apocalyptic future, then maybe what occurred in the movie was The Rapture, and Salvation hadn’t come along yet. Evil has a perspective in this world as well. Evil wants to cleanse the Earth as well. Let me explain and provide more context.

In Islam, Iblis (Satan) was a Jinn. He was among the Angels when Mankind was being created by GOD. The Jinn were created before Mankind. Iblis was arrogant and thought of himself as better than Mankind. Not to be funny but it was like, “I was here first, who dis?” GOD gave a command.

Chapter 7: Verses 11-15; “It is WE who created you and gave you shape; Then WE bade the angels bow down to Adam, and they bowed down, not so Iblis; he refused to be of those who bow down.

“God said, “What prevented you from bowing down when I commanded you?” Iblis said, “I am better than he. You did create me from fire, and him from clay.”

“God said, “Get you down from this, it is not for you to be arrogant here. Get out, for you are the meanest of creatures.”

“Iblis said, “Give me respite till the day they are raised up.”

“God said, “Be you among those who have respite.”

Like I stated before, the Jinn can exercise their free will. They can decide if they want to be obedient to their Creator or not. The Jinn can also be an influence. The “Whisper” in the film that everyone seemed to give into, that concept isn’t foreign in Islam at all.

Muslims believe in another unseen force called “Qareen”, translated meaning “constant companion”; that occasional whisper that we all hear. It can influence a person to do good or bad. So this movie will have you to believe that this unseen presence was so powerful that it made people “see” their “worst fears”, and those fears were so overwhelming, the only solution was for people to kill themselves?

So the majority of mankind is weak and easily influenced? Not too far off.

Satan is on a mission, and that is to prove to GOD that HE made a mistake in making mankind. Chapter 7: Verses 15-17, “Iblis said, “Because you have thrown me out the way, I will lie in wait for them on the Straight way. Then will I assault them from before them and behind them, from their right and their left, nor will you find, in most of them, gratitude for Your mercies.”

Towards the end of the film, Malorie, Boy, and Girl are still blind folded and searching for sanctuary in the forest and the whisper reemerges. This time pursuing them relentlessly, and suddenly the whisper changes tactics and goes after the children. Now at first my heart wanted to stop and scream out, “Really the kids now!?”, but my mouth did if for me, and Malorie belted out the same sentiment-”Don’t take my children!”

Now I found that scene powerful. An unseen force will go after your kids. Never underestimate evil. We can’t fathom the depths evil will take to undermine our good natures. Evil influences will come at us through our children, our spouses, our friends and our families. But Satan is only powerful when you submit yourself over to him, and Quran repeats this: Satan is to mankind, an avowed enemy, so treat him as such.

Another powerful scene was when Malorie had to make a decision about who would take off their blindfold so she could steer them through the rapids. The movie makes no mention of Malorie’s spirituality, it does however, offer glimpses of her cynicism and steely determination to survive. But in that moment, it would appear she is going by faith, although it was out of necessity to get to safety, she still didn’t force either child to remove their blindfold.

Jinns can take on the appearance of humans. I believe this is came in the form of Gary, and the terrorizing gang that kept harassing Tom and Malorie.

Remember, Gary “saw” the creature, and even insisted how “beautiful” it was. He even drew some pictures of it and they looked like smokeless flame from a fire to me. What else other than evil, would insist that a mother who just given birth to her child “see” for herself, before she hurls herself out of the window? What else other than evil, would assist in a woman stabbing herself in the neck with scissors, after physically forcing her eyes open? What else other than evil, would actually taunt a blindfolded man to shot him, and that same evil, perhaps recognizing it’s own “mortality”, would stab the man in the chest?

Chapter 7: Verse 27,“Indeed, Satan and his tribe watch you from a position where you can’t see them.”

Only the blind weren’t affected by this “windy whisper thing”. Why would they? Literally, if you can’t see it, why would it affect you? We see what we what to see, and we give into our hearts desires. At the same time, we DON’T see what we don’t want to SEE. But in Bird Box, for the masses of people to give in and take their own lives, seems like there was a point to be made.

Are people really becoming that disillusioned and “blind’ to what is transpiring around them? Are we really that predictable? Are we selfish? Self-destructive? Rebellious? Yes, we are human and weak in flesh, but that’s how we were created. We are also created in the best of molds. “WE have indeed created mankind in the best of molds.”-Chapter 95: Verse 4.

Even Iblis (Satan) recognized this. He was made from fire, and us from clay. Sounding clay to be more precise. Chapter 15: Verse 26-27, “WE created man from sounding clay, from mud molded into shape. And the Jinn race, WE had created before, from the fire of a scorching wind.”

 I honestly don’t know what the intentional message behind this movie was, or maybe that was the intention. To see what you wanted to see. The “monster” could be whatever you imagined. We are our own worst enemies after all. But the GOD I worship is also “Most Forgiving, Most Merciful.” We just have to have faith.

Now that I think about it, maybe Malorie was the symbol of faith. For those of us who believe, our faith will be tested. We will be tested throughout life-in our jobs, in our possessions, in our relationships. The solution is how do we respond to those tests when we are challenged?

 Malorie was blindfolded along with her children, but she trusted in something deep within herself. Maybe it was it the intestinal fortitude of motherhood, or of survival itself that propelled her forward, but she could have easily given up at multiple moments throughout the film. On the street after her sister died, before she went inside the house, on the lake, inside the abandoned building scouring for supplies, in the forest, etc. etc. Something was motivating her to keep going. “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7.

Before I conclude I hope I didn’t offend or frighten some people. Again, this is just me over analyzing perhaps, but I found myself trying to make sense of this movie. Yeah, it seems simple and trite, but perhaps that is intentional. Really, LOOK at what the movie was trying to convey, especially considering the state of global affairs we as humanity are facing on a daily basis.

One last point, the Quran is constructed in a way that the reader has to GO into the book and study. It’s a guidance manual for believers. What isn’t in a certain chapter, will be found elsewhere, but it’s there, almost like a treasure map. Go and seek the knowledge within the book. The last chapter reads:

“Say: I seek refuge with the Lord and Cherisher of Mankind, The King or Ruler of Mankind, The God or Judge of Mankind, From the mischief of the Whisperer of evil, who withdraws after his whisper, the same who whispers into the hearts of Mankind, Among Jinns and among Men.”

I’ve read the Quran countless times, and as I am writing a piece about Jinns, this chapter popped out, the last chapter, it was right there staring back at me this whole time. I just had to see it.

MY MOTHER, The COMEDIAN

My mother asked me if I remembered my birth? No, I replied to her. Who remembers their birth? So I asked her what prompted her to ask me such a ridiculous question. She told me that when I was born, after the doctor handed me to her, I just looked at her nonchalantly with my dark eyes.

So apparently even at birth I had resting  bitch face. 

We Work Hard I Swear

What the world needs now, is love, sweet love. No, I’m not getting sentimental, I’m here to bring some more of my coworkers shenanigans to provide some needed laughter. I’ll provide the context in italics, bold, and parentheses to illustrate a fuller picture. In previous posts, I initialized the names of everyone except for Jim, he’s the cause of said shenanigans so he doesn’t need protection. Also, he wouldn’t mind if his name was used, it’s the others I’m worried about. Just kidding. Maybe.


 J.B. explaining how a chocolate chip cookie missed her mouth and landed on her pants. “I’m now Doody pants girl.”


 N.G. misreading a lunch order.  “Eleven B?” (It actually read 1lb.)


I had a natural bodily function escape from me- that we know as a burp.

J.B: “Was that an expunction?” (Our new word apparently to describe a burp.)

Me: “A what?”

P.J: “An expungement?” 

Me: “No, it was a burp, excuse me.”

J.B. proceeds to tell the entire office that I expuncted or whatever the hell we’re calling burps now. She’s one of the office gossips and has a tendency to embellish when telling stories. People are looking at me for an explanation, so I clarified.

Me: “Everyone, I burped.”

J.B: “You didn’t tell the people up front.”

I proceed to the front counter to inform N.G. and Jim.

Me: “I had an erucktion.” (The office’s official, but unofficial term for a burp. Apparently, it’s a thing.)

Jim, shakes his head, reloads and points a pretend gun at me and “shoots me”. I play along, stumble, and “get shot.”


J.B. encouraged me to be sociable and to eat lunch with my coworkers. The following was an actual conversatio, not verbatim, but 99.1% accurate.

Me: “I saw a movie on Netflix last night called How it Ends.”

Jim: “I wanted to see that.”

Me: “Don’t, it was terrible.”

R.P. “Who’s in it?”

Me: “Theo James, Forest Whittaker…”

Jim: “…and his eye…”

Me clutching my chest in disbelief, I mean Forest is an Academy Award Winning Actor. Yes, he has “that eye”, and it can be distracting. Yes, he dies in 99.9% of his movies, but suddenly Harrison Ford became our next topic of discussion.

Jim: “Indiana Jones series needs to be called, Indiana Jones and the Walker of Fame.”

Me: “Is that the name of the movie?”

The lunch group laughs…I wasn’t trying to be funny.

Jim: “No, but it should be.”


Let me set the scene for this one. Jim was working the front counter and a registrant comes in. The registrant will be named “Bada”. Bada is Japanese for idiot. Again, I’m working from memory so it’s about 97.13% accurate.

Bada: “I need to register, but I don’t have money, I just have a card.”

Jim: “There’s an ATM over there in the corner.”

Bada: “I’m not a Suncoast member and it’s asking me for some kind of PIN Number.”

Now, I can just about imagine the look of contempt on Jim’s face…

Jim: “Every card issued has a PIN number. P-Personal, I-Identification, N-Number…”


J.B: “I just like chocolate ice cream.”

I mumbled under my breath that she needs to take more pleasures in life, and try more flavors, but J.B. takes it upon herself to blurt out:

J.B: “What’s that about pleasure?”

I slowly and dramatically laughed and tried to deflect the conversation elsewhere.

D.B: “Pleasure, what are you talking about?”

Me: “I said do you take no pleasures in life with ice cream?”

J.B: “No.”

I then proceed to name every ice cream flavor in existence.

J.B: “I like pistachio.”

Me: “I made ice cream last night.”

D.B: “How was it?”

Me: “I haven’t tried it yet…”

D.B: “I thought you said you made it last night?”

Me: “Yeah, but it had to freeze.” (Duh!)

Wait, Rewind That?

Hello again world. Like I stated in an earlier blog post, I work with a colorful group of characters-especially one person in particular, and amazingly his unforeseen charm affects his coworkers differently. We don’t know when we’re about to be pulled into one of his off branded conversations, or if we’re going to be debating about where to order lunch for the next few hours. 

I’m for the most part a simple casual observer. I’ll pipe up occasionally, but what I do best is chronicle, and what I overhear at times, I kid you not, I can’t make up. As I frantically search for pen and pad to jot things down, my initial reaction is, “What? Wait, rewind that?”

So ladies and gentlemen once again, enjoy. My inner voice/interruption is in italics.

First lets start out with some more, “The World According to Jim”.

“I’m picking up, what you’re putting down.” 

“Insert A.F. into any random Disney songs.”

“No cats to swing around to hit a rocking chair with…” (I think I heard that accurately and I’m a little alarmed as we are both cat owners).

“Fifth wheel…” (So we’ve bypassed the third and fourth wheel?)

“Felix Navidad.”

“The state bird is the mosquito.” (Floridian joke, aside from the sad fact that Florida is a joke. Seriously. I read headlines and pray it didn’t happen in Florida.)

“I know who I want to pimp my h**.” (I don’t know where he was going with this, but it wasn’t directed at me, so I let it go.)

“Tuhdaay..” (Jim it’s pronounced, To-Day.)

“Curiosity killed the cat, but I don’t have nine lives, so you know what, I got this.” (Uh…exactly.)

“NFC” (No F****** Clue, New Fried Chicken, North Federation Conference, I have no idea, so just go with the first).

“Bomba**” (I got nothing, I can’t help you.)

“IDFWU” (I was confused until my blackness kicked in).

“I’m billing the S.O.” (Hint: We all want to.)

“Delineated and applicable.” (Side Note: This apparently was the word of the afternoon, although it wasn’t discussed in a committee…DELINEATED.)


The following names of my coworkers have been initialized for their protection, except Jim. I, however, assume no accountability for the following thoughts, opinions, or rants of these said individuals, I am merely the delivery vessel. Seriously, do you realize how talented I am to be diligently working, and have the conscious mind to stop working, grab a notepad, and transcribe the ridiculousness of my coworkers…Like TALENTED. Humblebrag aside, enjoy.

Me: “I’m going home…”

Jim: “Bye, bih!” (Apparently, the new way to say the “B” word. His punk a** is just jealous that I leave work before he does.)

L.M.: “Double sided hair flip.” 

S.C.: “Eruktion” (SP-I know its spelled wrong. There was a debate about if this word can be used to explain a burp, or if it’s even a word at all. None of us knew because no one took any initiative to research the term. However, be careful when using it, it has a tendency to sound like…you know…)

L.M.: “Have you heard of the Grand Ole Opry?” (This was a real question.)

A.L.: “Monetary Jack Cheese” 

Jim: “Do yall serve cookies in the morning?” (He called Chik-Fil-A to ask this question. I’m not kidding.)

J.B: “It’s just my business model.”

(Discussing the logic of Chik-Fil-A selling discount cookies after 9:30…this went on for a moment.) “I prefer chocolate chip, not that cranberry crap you get.”

Jim: “No, those are from PDQ.”

J.B: “I don’t care for the cranberry, it’s too sweet. It sticks to the roof of my mouth, of course, I say this, having not tried one…” (You read that correctly. She’s never tried the oatmeal cranberry cookies from PDQ, but has already prejudged the “crap” factor of the cookie based on the non-incident of one getting stuck to the roof of her mouth.)

Until next time folks…laugh at least once a day, it’s healthy for you. Peace.



Quick P.S.A.

I know the world seems out of sorts right now, but we have to remember that in the end, all we have is each other. We need to recognize the humanity in each other, embrace each other, inhale and exhale together. We need to take care of each other. We’re all on this blue planet and we will sink or swim together (although it seems we might be swimming soon due to climate change).

We can’t succumb to the whims of these wealthy, divisionary profiteers who seek to destroy mankind because certain ethnicities, gender(s), religions, and/or other marginalized groups don’t fit their ideals.

I’m reminded of a passage from the last sermon Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings Be Upon Him) gave from the top of Mount Arafat in Mecca.

All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab, nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over a black nor a black has any superiority over a white – except by piety and good action.

A week ago in America, we marched, drove, walked, and mailed in our voices in ballot boxes all across the country against a tide of hatred and vitriol unlike I never seen. We are being used as pawns, as parts of our country are literally burning to the ground. We have to move forward together. We have to band together. We outnumber hate. We outnumber division.

I don’t care what political affiliation you claim. I don’t care what part of the country you reside in. I don’t care how big or small your car or house is. I care about your senses. Can we SEE what is happening to OUR country? Do we HEAR the lies from sources (right and left) we are supposed to TRUST? Does it pass the SNIFF test? Do we like the bitterness that some of us choose to SWALLOW? Do we have the compassion and empathy to reach out and TOUCH someone in need of uplifting?

Yes, we do. I’ve seen it in the past and I know we will have it in the future. Not just in this country, but all over the world. We outnumber evil. We outnumber hatred. We have to have LOVE ourselves first so it can penetrate outward.

Sometimes I can be a cynic, but I’m optimistic. I choose to be. I also know that the human family is capable of much more beauty than the ugliness it portrays.

The World According To Jimisms

Hello there again. In my last post, I blogged about some of the ridiculous chatter I hear in the office from my coworkers. Well, if I’m honest it was inspired by one coworker in particular-JAMES, but we call him Jim for whatever reason. I thought I’ve heard just about every colloquial expression there is, but I was mistaken, this man has some hidden gems. Apparently, there is more to learn and from a different perspective. So ladies and gents I present to you, “The World According To Jim”.

The colorful commentary is to provide more context. Enjoy.

“Insert A.F.” (Insert any word followed by A.F. One doesn’t need to be a genius to figure out what A.F. stands for).

“Bih” (Jim has a way of calling people the “B” word without actually saying it, and no it’s NOT misspelled).

“Someone’s got a burr in their pants.” (I’ve never in my life heard of this…NEVER. NEVER).

“That (insert any word) is the s***.gov.net.edu.com.” (I kid you not, he spells this out).

“You don’t say much, but when you do it’s hilarious”. (Not to be bias or anything, but he uses this when he talks to me. Yes, I can be quiet, but I’m freaking awesome and funny…apparently).

“Hey ugly.” (He uses this when he calls on his sister. You read that correctly, but don’t worry, she calls him ugly as well).

“GTFO”.

“Someone wanted to take my 80’s card.” (I really can’t provide much explanation for this one as I didn’t know him back then. I’m an 80’s kid myself. I’d take back my hideous bangs).

“Another day, another quarter.”

“Rising tides lift all ships.” (Apparently, this is a book)?

“Live and Love and then get Luvs.” (He remembered a jingle from decades ago, meanwhile, the only jingle I can recall is that annoying, “Call JG Wentworth 877 CASH NOW…and I pretty sure I have that wrong).

And the winner is…

“That’s one of those names that stick to you, like crap caked on the bottom of your shoe.” (I mean c’mon people, it doesn’t get more visual than that).

I work with a bunch of idiots (I say that lovingly), so I’ll post more of their shenanigans periodically. Take care and until next time…LAUGH DAMMIT.