We are crooked souls trying to stay up straight

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Outside the post office, originally uploaded by yaznotjaz.

The man sitting at the table next to mine in the coffeeshop this morning left his fancy-looking sunglasses on the table as he was leaving. I glanced over and noticed them just as the shop door was closing behind his retreating figure—and just as casually glanced away, making no move to scoop them up and run after him with an “Excuse me! You forgot these!”

Luckily, he re-entered the coffeeshop just two seconds later, his glance falling unerringly on the table at which he’d been sitting. “Oh, you left your sunglasses!” I said, feigning surprise, and he smiled back at me sheepishly. But when he left again, my polite smile transitioned into the frown my father hates so much because it creates deep grooves between my eyebrows. “Your face is going to get stuck that way,” he always warns me.

These days, I fear what I’m really going to get stuck in is the emotional rut of stress and anxiety that’s plagued me for the past few weeks. My sleep is short and continuously interrupted, and I have cultivated a newfound reliance on the hated coffee to get me through the days, the caffeine making me feel only more anxious and jittery. My to-do list keeps lengthening, with no end in sight; for every item I manage to cross off, I seem to add five more. But what worries me most is mornings like these, when rather than rushing to help a stranger in something so simple, something that would require little effort on my part, I instead selfishly look away.

This is not who I am, nor whom I wish to become.

11 thoughts on “We are crooked souls trying to stay up straight

  1. I can understand where you’re coming from, but think of it this way: at least you were not one of 18 humans who walked by a little girl after she was run over by a truck. And the fact that you’re aware of what you could have done bodes well for your soul.

  2. lil baji,
    It makes me so happy to see your name here, and to know you read my blog! Thank you for the lovely comment and support. It was so wonderful to see you and your family just the other day. Miss you already! Lovelovelove.

    F.emme,
    Whoa, is that a true story!? That’s horrific and heartbreaking. And yes, I like to think I’m self-aware and reflective enough to realize my shortcomings and try to work on them, so I’m grateful for that much, at least. Thank you for commenting and providing perspective!

  3. Dear Yasminay,

    First, switch to yerba mate— caffeine without the crash/yucky feeling of coffee.

    Second, have you been going to the meditation stuff?

    If you can’t deal w/ the stress head on, find a happy healthy coping mechanism, like running in the sunshine on the beach.

    Member sunshine? that thing you love?! SWEEP IT GIRLFRIEND! :)

  4. Call me and we can talk. It might help you de-stress. I also like Hijabman’s reminder above about meditation. This seems to have worked well for you in the past. Or attending dhikr sessions – I know you like those. Want to go to Ta’leef with me on Sunday?

  5. HMan,
    what is yerba mate? is it tea!? because if so, i shall hate it! also, no, i haven’t gone to meditation in soo long =/ i need to restart it, and actively make time for it again.

    F.emme,
    i watched that video, and it was horrific and stomach-clenching. i cannot BELIEVE people could drive over a child, walk past, drive over again… good lord. it really makes me wonder what we’ve come to.

    Bean,
    meditation and dhikr would both be amazing! dude, can we start doing some Ta’Leef dates together!? i would love that!

  6. I second not to watch that video, cause i couldnt stand watching the video myself after reading the news on Yahoo. As for u, i would say that the best part is to care to do the self-analysis every now and then and try fixing what we can fix. World would be a better place if we do so :) Always admire u writing great stuff, keep blogging :)

  7. Yes, plese keep blogging. I may never know you personally, but there is something about you and your writing that I hold very dear in my heart. and I loved loved it when you said in another post that you were glad that your hands are still the same hands you prayed with when you were a kid in Pakistan. How could you capture the exact same feeling I have when I look at my hands and think of my childhood…This is just amazing. Just remember, if you ever think of visiting Istanbul, you have a soul-sister here.

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