Life Moves Faster Than Me

Hello my dear readers,

It is I, Aminah, back for an update because I’ve been gone for a long minute, a minute longer than I’d anticipated. My last post (I think I published it…) was about my new moves: teaching English in Korea, getting my TESOL, etc. not necessarily in that order.

Guess what?

THOSE PLANS FELL THROUGH!

I was hesitant to write about it because NO ONE likes to admit defeat or failure, and that’s exactly what this was. Granted, I’m two micro lesson video recordings and submission of my teacher’s portfolio away from getting my TESOL certificate, so not all was a failure.

Suffice it to say, I have learned a lot about myself in the process of things falling apart and me trying to piece them back together again. My resolve to never re-enter the world of tech is still strong. It’s so strong, in fact, that I get nauseous just thinking about applying to a tech role. 

Anyway!

My overall goal was to dip out of America tout de suite (or right away, for my non-French speakers) for reasons which I will not talk about on my very apolitical blog. Because they can be deemed as political, and that’s not what this blog is about. While I love South Korea, there are things going on within its borders that I’m not too keen on (political stuff mixed with public health stuff), and I think that my inability to snag a teaching job was kind of a miracle amidst all of that.

We shall see about my emigration goal in the coming weeks and whether or not something can be done to accomplish it. If I’m successful, you surely will find out.
As for writing, that was put on the back-burner until my completion of the TESOL certificate, which should be within the next couple of weeks.

As for life coaching, my resolve for getting serious about it has been stronger than ever, especially after I kind of pushed it to the side for the possibility of teaching.

As for teaching, with the world the way that it is, I don’t foresee myself in front of a class room any time soon. And even if I do end up teaching, it would have to be of the internet flavor for now and the unforeseeable future. 

I’ve thought about going back to school to get my Master’s in Psychology. I’m still on the fence about it and luckily I have some time to think on it since I wouldn’t be going until Fall 2021 or Spring 2022. 

One thing I know for sure is that I have an aversion to commitment because of the possibility of failure/plans falling through/the world going to crap/[insert other reason for fear of commitment here] and it’s something that I am working on. Seeing as to how my teaching in Korea plans failed, you’d think I was a complete mess who would never ever commit to anything again. Fortunately, I’ve a bit of resiliency for things like this so I wasn’t a complete mess; maybe just like 67% 😆 

Anywho, I’ll slowly be making my way back here, so you’ll be seeing a lot more of me. In the meantime, be well, stay healthy, and keep flowing towards your happiness like water flowing to the lowest point. 

∞ Aminah Jamil

This Life and All Its Things

Photo Credit: Aleksandar Pasaric

Greetings my frenz, I hope you all are doing well! As this post is titled, I wanted to talk about life and what’s been going on. As my post Rediscovering My Inner INFJ talked about a little bit, my life has been going through some changes lately. From quitting my corporate job to realizing that I wanted to focus more on writing to needing to figure out what I want to do for work when the time comes. Things have been somewhat hectic and hazy. 

One of the biggest issues for INFJs is the inability to commit to a decision, especially in the realm of career. It starts as early as high school when many people face this struggle, regardless of MBTI type; however, INFJs are notorious for getting caught up in that trap well after college years. Something that I’m learning about my own reasons for this is that society isn’t built with INFJs and types like us in mind. It’s built for people who can commit to a job, whether they like it or not, and are willing to do what it takes to survive. Even if the job gives them no meaning or purpose, they will do it, even if they’re mentally and/or physically exhausted. I’ve allowed the words of people close to me to seep into my mind, words that say things like, “STEM degrees and jobs are the only ones that matter,” or “if you work in anything other than STEM I have no respect for you.” 

Words like that from people you care about can really get to you, and I didn’t realize it until a couple of days ago, but I’d been affected by them to my core. As much as I loved programming and working in STEM, it was ultimately a dead end for me. The only joy I derived from it was the fact that it paid well, but mo’ money mo’ problems is real. If I wanted to go back to school at all, for example, I wouldn’t be able to do so for a few years as I wouldn’t receive financial aid, amongst other things. 

These are things I wish I’d known, but the journey of life is such that hindsight is always 20/20. 

Another reason why I feel that INFJs have a difficult time committing to decisions is because we like to be certain that things will be okay in the long run and we want to avoid failure and rejection if at all possible. If a situation seems a bit dodgy, we’ll have 10 back-up plans in place just in case our original plan fails. When we do that, we don’t have the time or energy to focus as much on the original plan, as we need to work up the skills in the other 10 plans in order to feel a semblance of comfort. The “jack of all trades, master of none” bit comes to mind heavily with this reason. When the original plan looks at all as if it will fail, we will fall back and remove ourselves from it until it looks safe again, but by then we’ve wasted a lot of time we could have spent honing our skills in the original.

For me that translates to years I could have spent saving and revising my writing samples instead of deleting them because they weren’t good enough, focusing on my strengths instead of allowing comparisons get the best of me, and so on. I know it sounds sad, but I’m actually really grateful to know this now, because I know what it looks like and how to overcome it. I can only hope for the same for my INFJ comrades.

With all of that being said, I’ve been pushing myself to make commitments and redefine who I am and want to be in the world. I wish this virus situation had nothing to do with it, but ultimately, it is somewhat of a driver for some of my decisions. While I’ve decided to get back into creative writing for the long haul, I’ve had to temporarily put it on hold. I need to put food on the table y’all! The thing that excites me though is that what I do have going on has opened me to a world of stories and ideas.

One of my commitments is to focus on the English language and become an English teacher. This means that I’ve been going super hard in order to get my TESOL certification before September. TESOL is an acronym for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, and it encompasses both Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) and Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL). The course is amazing. It’s through Arizona State University on Coursera, which I love. The kicker is that it’s really thorough and quite intense. The timeline to completion is about 48 weeks, as there are 8 modules with 6 week-long lessons a piece. Since I’m not working, I’ve been able to dedicate full time to doing two weeks a day, except for the first Capstone, where I’ve lightened my load a little bit. Suffice it to say, it has taken a lot out of me, and by the time I’m done with all of the work for each module, I don’t want to look at my computer until the next day.

My goal is to begin my journey as an English teacher in South Korea by October 2020. We will see how that pans out over the next couple of months. My hope is that I shall return and write a blog post with the great news of my acquisition of a great teaching position in the coming weeks. The next goal is to go back to school and get my Masters in English, as I would like to teach English as a foreign language overseas in either international schools or at the university level. I know, I know, I talked about not having to go back to school in order to write well; however, that was in regards to creative writing. It’s imperative that I get an MA in English in order to teach at the university level, so that is something that I just have to go out and accomplish.

The last goal, of course, is to get back into creative writing in a serious way. Luckily all of my goals, or should I say “commitments,” allow me to get knee deep into the English language, which will make me a better writer in the long run. 

I thought it’d be scary to start making these commitments, but it’s actually quite refreshing. For so long I’d been lying to myself about what I wanted in order to fit into society and make a decent living, in order to mask my eccentricities and be accepted. The reality is that I will likely always live on the edge of society, not fitting in at all, and that’s fine with me. The older I get, the more I see through the lies and the BS of the world and how much of it is unimportant. What’s important is doing something I love and figuring out how to fund it. Failure and rejection are inevitable and it’s about time I sucked it up and accepted that, too.

We’re all out here learning. I’ll be back as soon as the TESOL certification is done in a couple of weeks, if not before then.

∞ Aminah Jamil

The Dragon Outside, Part 1

The cold, morning air felt like a godsend to Naima after having almost melted in the over-heated house. Her mother was anemic and always needed the heat to be on a few degrees higher than normal. She loved her mother and would live in a one-thousand degree home if that’s what was necessary for her mother to be comfortable. Stepping out into the cold was the gift the universe gave her for being understanding, at least that’s what she told herself. It was all okay in the end. Naima was well-cared for and her mother was happy.

As she ventured off into the forest behind their cottage, Naima remember the words of her mother: “Don’t go off too far and make sure to come back before the dusk settles.” She smiled at the advice of her dear mama. One day she would realize that Naima was 19-years-old, no longer a child, and that she’d already had her fair share of brushes with danger, though she’d never tell her mother that. In the land of Basab, unless one stayed inside all day, one would have had at least one meeting with death. The land was not so friendly to those that wished not to explore and learn its defenses and offenses. It would be the unsuspecting, mindless wanderer that would succumb to the vices of the Earth with no mercy granted.

Thick patches of moss grew on the trunks of the trees throughout the forest. Naima liked to get up close and wiggle her nose in them to take in the moist, earthy smell. She enjoyed breathing on them and creating clouds of condensation even more, feeling as though she were creating a kind of communication with the tiny ecosystem, as though she was its queen and gave it her blessing to make sure the inhabitants were treated fairly and kindly. She imagined a world of tiny people there having a party, dancing in the vapors.

Despite her tiny adventures around her home, there wasn’t much for her to do those days. After the king set off for a trip to a land they didn’t even have a name for, the people were made to wait for his return until they could press on with their daily affairs. While the soldiers that did not accompany the king were busy guarding the kingdom, the rest of the people busy being wary of potential intruders. No one wanted to attend their lessons, no one wanted to work full days. Naima would have normally worked in the seamstress shop, but she was placed on leave until the king’s return.

That left Naima to roam as she pleased, anywhere within the walls of the kingdom. There was one problem, and that was the fact that at one end of the Kingdom there wasn’t a clear boundary, but instead, a thick, deep, dark forest that most would not dare to explore unless they had the proper equipment and a team. Thick walls of bushes with sharp thorns, quicksand pits, and swamps covered in leaves made to look like simple forest floor were the defenses that acted as a trap to unsuspecting explorers. Naima’s cottage was already close to that area that many in the Kingdom called the Devil’s Foyer.

When Your Life Stops but the World Keeps Going

Photo credit: Matthias Cooper

Even though I do my best to keep my Reddit experience to just the things I want/need to see, sometimes things outside of that creep in. Today there was a post about Frank Ocean losing his little brother and as soon as I saw that, my heart broke into a thousand little pieces. Frank Ocean is one of those artists I listen to when I’m in a sea of despair because, like me, he’s an INFJ and so his music really speaks to certain parts of me. Always there when I need it.

As I’m trying to do my TESOL homework, I’m extremely distracted, probably because I feel things way too deeply. It’s more likely, though, because this reminds me of my own loss, and I can’t help but understand and know the kind of pain and devastation he’s experiencing right now. 

It’s as if time stops moving. You’re stuck in this in-between space where life is still moving and life has stopped. There’s an unbearable weight on your chest and in your throat and there aren’t enough tears to cry, but somehow they still keep coming out. You’re in shock. How? How? How? How could this have happened? How?

The pain becomes so unbearable sometimes that the only thing you can do is try to scream it out. So you yell, you scream, you bellow your pain out into the world, to try and make the pain go away. But when you’re done screaming, it’s still there, so you cry some more. The unfairness of it all is extremely cruel. 

Then comes the unbearable truth that the person you love can no longer come up to you and give you a hug, you can never look into their eyes again and tell them you love them, and there appears this hole in your world, where someone very important is missing. Then comes the unbearable truth that they’re never coming back, that tomorrow will be the same as yesterday. 

And then comes the unbearable reality that you are alone in what you’re feeling, and that the whole world isn’t mourning with you, that while they may send multitudes of sympathy and condolences, they can never understand the depths of the heart break and heart ache that you’re experiencing.

My heart is with you Frank Ocean.

∞ Aminah Jamil

Day 10 – Growing Up

Photo Credit: Quang Nguyen Vinh

One day you’ll wake up and realize that there is more weight on your shoulders than they ever told you there’d be. If you’re someone like me you’ll grin and bear it for a while. You’ll walk around in the world lonelier than a man who’s six feet under, surrounded by people who love you, but don’t know how to love you. You’ll feel okay for a while, under this weight, accepting that being alive comes with a whole hell of a lot of responsibilities that you never asked for. Some nights you’ll pray that the burden was just a little bit less, just a little bit lighter, and then maybe you’d be able to walk a little taller, with a little bit more confidence. Days go by, and then weeks go by with your prayers going unanswered.

Maybe you’ll cry and throw your fists up at the sky in frustration with the unfairness of it all. You can’t help being born the way you are, no matter how hard you try to change into the person the world says you need to be, you just can’t. It’s impossible. It’ll feel better for a little while, after you get that off your chest, but the uncertainties will start creeping back in and you’ll start to feel the weight again, and you’ll realize that this isn’t the way you want to live.

Being an adult, you’ll find, is more like being a misunderstood child in a grown person’s body. A lot of us never really grew up, you see. A lot of us had to overcompensate for what we missed out on in our childhoods; playing games like children do in these big bodies, waiting for someone to see that we’re just crying out for attention, a hug, someone to pat our heads and tell us everything’s going to be alright. The thing I learned is that if we want that, we have to be that, but most of us are too caught up in our own problems or are too afraid or too ashamed, and it ends up being a shame that we can’t help each other.

I’m telling you all of this because you don’t have to wake up and realize this, you have the ability to change this world that you live in if you want to. You can be the kind ear or safe place, if you want to be. You have to be okay with looking beyond your troubles and struggles and see that everyone is troubled and struggling. I hope you do that, when you grow up. Remember what I’m telling you now and find a way to make peace with this world.