Author: tam

Taking life one hot chocolate at a time and when disaster strikes, one fake smile at a time. That is how I roll, no rainbows or butterflies here... only food, quirk, randomness and pictures.

Coffee?

If we were having coffee right now…I’d tell you that my drink of choice is actually tea.

That if disaster had a child, her name would be me.

That the book I’m trying to publish got its seventh rejection today.

And “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” is just bullshit that people say.

If we were having coffee right now, I’d send you a thousand silent pleas to please make me laugh.

Coz although life could be ten times worse, it currently feels like a punishment and a half.

I’d also tell you that I woke up in sweats last night, having had the most awful dream.

My heart was pounding and my eyes were weeping, but I’m probably making it sound worse than it seems.

If we were having coffee right now I’d also tell you positive things, lest all this misery make you want to leave.

Because that’s what the dream was actually about; someone I love abandoning me, not caring for the loss I’d grieve.

So anyway. On to more positive things. Apparently my taxes are paying for Trump’s security as he visits my end of the land.

I’m not down with that, but if said taxes paid for that giant Trump balloon, then well, It’s only polite that I could lend a hand.

If we were having coffee right now, I’d tell you; “I think I’m ready to take photos again and that!”

I took a good one that got me pumped the other day, even if it was only of my sister’s cat.

Then I’d look at you and smile wondering if I was boring you to death.

If you were now getting irritated with the very sound my breath.

You’re still listening though right? Your coffee’s not too cold?

Because I can run and get you a refill, there’s still plenty of stories to be told.

But enough bout me and all, interesting though I am. Anyhow…

What would you tell me if we were having coffee right now?

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5 comments you probably shouldn’t make about Autism

1. Don’t worry, I’m sure there is a cure – I’ve spent years trying not to worry and have finally semi succeeded to do so, but now you’re evoking those emotions in me again by a well intended comment that has backfired spectacularly. Research shows there are no cures so far and I spent years training myself to accept that. Don’t give me false hope by acting like you are some kind of agent of a secret Aspergers society I didn’t know existed.

2. Why isn’t -your autistic relative- in a “special” school? Wouldn’t it be better for them to be with their own kind? – No, some autistic people do fine in mainstream establishments. Fret not, they don’t contaminate the pool of “normality” at the school. Your children are safe from ours. Autism is not contagious.

3. So are they really good at maths? No, Einstein, it doesn’t always work that way. Some of them have exceptional talents some of them don’t. Not unlike you and I believe it or not.

4. They don’t even come across as autistic, honestly if you hadn’t told me I would never have guessed – If you tell me this to reassure me- stop. This is not a compliment, contrary to what you think, my heart doesn’t jump for joy upon hearing these words. Not only are you being ignorant, you are indirectly implying that being “overly” autistic is somehow a negative thing.

5. Advice – Please stop. Questions, annoying though they sometimes are (see points 2 & 3), will always be better recieved than advice. Unless you have something practical to share because you are a) a professional in this field or b) have hands on experience with autism, don’t tell us jack. Too many cooks- seriously. Autism is an already crowded kitchen, there is just no room for your “advice” which when you come to think of it, is actually nothing more than your unwarranted opinion.

This rant was sponsored by 15 years of patience when faced with ignorance.

Questions, annoying as they may be, will always be better recieved than free commentary and advice. So please- ask me don’t tell me.

Disclaimer: all opinions expressed are my own and are (please!) not to be generalised onto the rest of the “carer of someone with autism” population for the greater good of mankind. Terms and conditions apply, batteries sold seperately. Thank you.

Mid year resolution update

To increase accountability and what not.

So around six months ago I posted my new year’s resolutions (think I have deleted post since then as is the case with 90% of my content). I thought I would check if I kept them all because what else is there to do on a Sunday.

1. Finish a lip balm – I appreciate why you may think this is an odd one ya’ll but I buy lip balm, use it for a week then let it expire. However, I am happy to say I have, by some miracle, achieved this one.

2. Stop giving people the time of day. This essentially means if someone is being a prick. Tell them. Don’t sugar coat it to spare their feelings. Here’s a practice run: “you’re a prick, stop being one.” Oh, that felt beautiful – why am I hilarious when I am angry please? I mean. This one is a work in progress. I am not good at telling them. But silent treatment is gold dust. Use it.

3. Somehow improve my immune system – Alhamdulilah! No colds for quite some time. Tonsillitis in October but that’s it.

4. Finish cups of tea – stares at non finished cuppa next to her.

5. Remember less people’s birthdays because you are too give happy – actually I skipped a couple of people’s bdays this year, thank you Ramadan…

6. Be better with money, *remembers bank balance, closes eyes in horror* – ok so maybe I need an accountant because this one isn’t even a work in progress it’s just bad. Though rumour has it they are bad with numbers so….

7. Don’t impress or take shit from anyone. Least of all employers – actually my boss was making some jokes at my expense the other day infront of a crowd, because pick on the little guy haha. They did it again the next day. On the 3rd day I actually said, “wow that joke really has no expiration date does it?” I mean I shat myself after I said it but man. Felt good.

8. Really get into minimalism – success, success, success. Alhamdulilah. Major room for improvement though. I have discovered I can live without a toaster, blender, microwave, hair dryer, straightner and so much more. It’s liberating.

9. Get into the recycling hype – yeah I’m on it. Forget sometimes though ugh.

10. Not to get attached to humans. Only things. And cats – Yeah no, flop. Flop, flop, flop.

So this year’s not bad then. Well done me, eh?

Attachment

Bowlby’s theory of attachment* suggests that we come into the world pre-programmed to form attachment with others because attachment is crucial for our survival in life. When said attachment breaks, this leads to seperation anxiety.

If you have ever loved anyone to the point of distraction and lost them you will fully know what I mean by seperation anxiety without having had to study it like I did, I got an A btw (mashallah me). We’ve all had to face it at one point or another. I was the mayor of seperation anxiety town for a while. Actually, I feel like I am heading there again.

I have no idea why we are like this. To exist, you need oxygen, water and sustenance, sure. But to grow and to feel nurtured you need more. You need that shoulder to lean on and ultimately, cynical though I am about such matters, even I have the balls to admit that God didn’t equip us with the necessary skills to be alone and fully functioning emotionally. Something’s always missing. We were made to crave companionship. I don’t mean love either. Because that fades. The older I get the more I honeslty feel that love has an expiry date. Companionship, I like to think, lasts a lot longer.

A few years ago, my colleague’s dog died and if memory serves she was so distraught that she took a day off. As a staff team, everyone decided to send her a card which they asked me to sign. I had no idea what to write. I saw that people had written sorry for your loss and I remember thinking at the time, “oh my Lord, it’s a dog, my grandfather died last year, that was a loss. This is blown out of proportion.”

Yeah, pretty heartless I know. But being Arab and Asian, the culture sometimes tended to teach you that animals are dirty and don’t smell of roses. That you should keep away from them etc etc. Or it did when I was growing up. Maybe times have changed. So I never was fond of them growing up. And honestly that hasn’t changed much today.

But, I have since then acquired a cat. It wasn’t planned at all but it happened. We took Shadow (that’s her name) from her home when she was like 7 weeks old. That’s a week earlier than you should take them from their mother, I think. She was distraught. I guess she was going through seperation anxiety.

The guilt alone was enough motivation for getting over my fear of touching her and making her feel better. I let her sleep on me for hours everyday and I guess she found the warmth comforting enough to finally settle. I in turn, became ridiculously attached to her. I hate the cat lady stereotype and the “my pet is my baby” stereotype even more.

The way I see it, you have taken responsibility for another soul who relies on you for care, comfort and sustenance and you have to see that through. And I finally get why my colleague was so attached to her dog and fully respect her feelings of grief for losing him now that I have Shadow.

Attachment is a female dog. It really is. The person or thing you get attached to doesn’t always reciprocate the noble feels you vomit all over them and there isn’t a single thing you can do about it. Other than I suppose look in the mirror, have words with yourself, give up the habit, bleed the withdrawal symptoms out and move on.

I have no doubt that if I died, this cat would eat me to survive. But I still love the cow. Meh. Meanwhile. She is not very well. My mother and neighbour insist she is dying which is annoying. Inshallah not. She has an infection but she has stopped eating and drinking. Send happy thoughts my way please.

Peace.

*you clearly have access to the internet, find your own reference.

Charity

Charitable folk are one of a kind. I gravitate towards them, their company, their entire being like a moth to a flame. My mum says its like they brainwash me sometimes, I become that influnced by them.

But. They get a lot of stick don’t they? Mostly for flooding your inbox but also because they’re always asking for your money which makes them that nagging human you always cross the road to avoid.

The way I see it, everyone has to do their own thing. Charity reps have to ask because if they didn’t, no one else would bother and you have the choice whether to give or not. Right?

Wrong. If only it were that simple.

When they don’t get what they want, some charity reps. can get personal in that they will see someone’s fancy car (forgive me I can’t give a brand name, I am car illiterate) and think well, they can afford that so why can’t they give to the poor? Which makes me think… first of all anything that anyone has was given to them by the almighty so…. don’t eye up people’s possessions and use them as means to prove a point. Honestly, don’t be that guy. No one likes that guy. And second of all, wallah, we have 0 means of knowing who gives to what cause and when so it is crucial we shut our mouths. A reminder to myself first of course.

The person you are judging could be the most giving person in the world but they give in secret, which some would argue should be the only way to give, so no one knows whether they are charitable or not. I feel like we shouldn’t point fingers and land ourselves in sticky situations that could potentially embarass us.

Allow me to explain.

I knew someone who once got a major telling off from an elder person in the family for spending all their money on clothes instead of donating to the poor. And I knew (but was forbiden to reveal) that this person was in fact majorly involved in the charity scene but liked no one to know. I’d never cringed so much in my life…

That was charitable folk prejudice. As for our prejudice, one would argue we have the right to hold on to our money, work hard for it as we do. If we don’t want to give, no one can make us but, that doesn’t give us the right to attack charity reps.

Charity reps where I live, corner you everywhere; events, the streets, the phone, and even at home. My uncle once screamed blue murder at one rep. for calling on the house phone which I thought wasn’t nice. My neighbours aren’t very neighbourly towards them either, from yelling to slamming doors to pretending not to speak English (I myself am guilty of that one!) they’ve done it all. I feel like nagging though these house visits are, we should try to be civil even if we are not in a giving space. Ultimately these are people trying to actually change the world.

When they’ve knocked on my door in the past, I had nothing to give them most of the time, because they don’t want one off payments, they like monthly commitments… but instead of berating them I try and treat them like humans and not as nuisances. I told one straight away before he started his, “I am sure you love old people like we do at Age UK…” monologue, I said “Look bruh, old people are bomb, but I am hella skint right now so I got nada. I know you’ve been walking all day though so here’s a bottle of water.”

He was so psyched with the water, he thanked me in abudance and went and told the other rep, knocking on the doors on the other side of road, “dude I got water!!” I think his dejected friend went, “nice, I got a piss off from number 16.” Bless…

Another time I told the dude that as much as I cared about saving dolphins, I had nothing to give. He asked me to use the bathroom as he had been walking 5 hours and still had 90 houses to knock on so, and I don’t advocate this, I let him in. Which of course earned me a sarcastic “shabash tam, what if he was a rapist?!” from my ever so proud mother…

The final prejudice we spread like confetti is aimed at people who publicize their charitable acts via social media. Yeah charity is best done in secret. But raising awarness is also a thing. I have defended this one far too many times to say much more.

Moral of the story; charity doesn’t have to be monetary, yeah it’s probably the most beneficial type but kindness is also charity, so lets be kind peeps. Or as my mother always says, “smile tam, SMILE, IT’S CHARITY to smile, you can throw money you don’t have at all these charitable causes as much as you want but if you don’t smile* it won’t count!”

My mother the legend ladies and gents.

Peace out.

*I only smile on special occassions.

Lovers and Martyrs

I spend the majority of my time during Ramadan listening to Islamic lectures in the hope of learning something new but also to gain some reassurances and to feel generally uplifted during this challenging month.

Given the preachy nature of said lectures, I imagine its hard for anyone to think of them as uplifting. But I tend to pick and choose the ones I want to listen to. I am unlikely, for example, to listen to one about the various battles that took place during the Prophet’s (ﷺ) time because I am not at a place in life where I can fully appreciate their importance yet.

I tend to instead focus on the social, emotional, mental health and psychological lectures. Given my academic background in such issues, I find I can relate to them a lot more. They hold my focus.

I was listening to one about love in Islam the other day; it revolved around how the Prophet (ﷺ) treated his wives but also about humans and this emotion overall.

The sheikh in this lecture stated (based on a hadeeth) that the Prophet (ﷺ) once said something along the lines of; whoever loves someone who – for whatever reasons and circumstances, is unattainable to them for the purposes of matrimony- and they honour that love by not approaching it in an unlawful manner and then dies with that love burried in their heart is considered a martyr.

Dying a martyr, according to my basic knowledge, is pretty high ranking and a solid way to go. So I was astounded to learn that dying in this almost basic way, could essentially make you one. Statistically, I am sure that every other person loves someone they have no way of ending up with in marriage. May God help all who are in this unenviable situation.

Of course, this reward is based on practicality. If you do die considered a martyr it is likely because you didn’t commit zina in its various forms because of this love. Ergo no sin equals to reward, no? Simple maths.

But… the hopeless girl in me has romantacised the whole thing and painted it in all the shades of pink there are. She allowed it to accelerate her heartbeat and make her glow inside. She let the emotion cascade down her face in the form of bitter tears.

And I let her, because I owe it to her. I don’t let her watch StarPlus anymore. So she needs to get her fix somewhere.

Update: If you want a reference, please research for one. I am in no way shape or form asking you to believe anything I write. I am but a mere human. And ya’ll are probably grown ups who have two brain cells to tie together.

Pain and hope

I picked up a dead cat from the road the other day and drove it to the pet hospital to be cremated. Why? One might wonder. Because the alternative would have been leaving it to get pancaked on the road which did not sit well with me.

While I was driving I cried my heart out, I cried so much that my chest started to hurt. I wasn’t just upset about the dead cat. I had other stuff on my mind and the cat just happened to be the icing on the cake I suppose.

A thought occured to me at that moment…

The word pain in Arabic is made up of three letters alif, laam, meem and collectively they spell the word alam.

Also made up of the same letters in a different order is the Arabic word for hope; alif, meem, laam spelling amal.

I feel like this is the universe’s subtle way of telling us that there is hope in everything painful but that hope can also lead to pain; that of disappointment, for instance.

I found the hope in my painful night by making myself some tea and crashing into a ball on my sofa and grieving for a cat that wasn’t even mine. Because really, are there any issues in the world that a decent cup of tea cannot dilute the enormity of?