A Little Less Square, a Little More Round

Photo Credit to Erez Attias

Lately I’ve been feeling rather soft, like some kind of pillow full of fluffy stuff. Maybe more like the fluffy stuff than the pillow itself. That softness has become the core, the foundation, the essence of who I am. Or have I become the softness?

Have you ever shifted into a consistent state of being, a state of being different from states of being you existed in for the majority of your life, but one that was absolutely and undeniably familiar? You never want to leave this place, because you know if you do you might get swallowed up whole by an unforgiving world that is more unrecognizable the more you try to understand it?

Somewhere along the way of quitting my job, moving to Arizona, realizing I no longer want to work in tech, making the decision to become a life coach and writer, leaving Arizona and moving to Albania, settling into a life very different from the one I thought I’d be living around this time, deciding to move to Africa to join my family, and releasing every single atom into the unknown of what I thought I was and just allowing myself to be swept up by the river of life, giving it permission to take me to exactly where I need to be…somewhere along the way I found the feeling that I always want to exist inside of. The core, the foundation, the essence of who I’ve always been, but that was hidden beneath layers of the person I was told or made to believe I was supposed to be.

Not too long ago I entered the 33rd year of my life. I’ve known for a while that my 33rd year would be a catalyst for what the rest of my life would be like. It’s already begun. I’ve started to carry the weight of a person who has a large library full of esoteric literature, the kind of library that has two stories worth of books with worn spines, gold lettering, and stories hidden between the lines of written words.

That’s just how I feel. Round and like I have a large library with lots of esoteric books.

It’s almost like there was a particular timeline that didn’t exist until I entered the wormhole that opened up on my 33rd birthday.

Things that don’t make sense hold no realness to that aspect of myself that doesn’t speak, but only listens and observes. The square world, the world of capitalism and cold-hearted technology that does very little for the prosperity of the many, doesn’t feel real to me anymore. The more I distance myself from the Imperialist American Empire, the less I’m gripped by that feeling of desperation to become something that is foreign to the natural world.

Is it all in my mind? Maybe. Maybe I’ve drifted into a waking dream that only makes sense to me. Maybe I’m all alone here. But I’m absolutely sure that I’m not. I’m sure that you understand me on some level, and that you, too, are wondering the same thing as me.

Anyway, now that I’m here, now that I’m in year 33 and destroyed many of the ideas of what I’ve been told countless times life is, I’ve slipped into the person that I’m supposed to be. Maybe not fully, but I’m close. Like I’m pulling the pants up of my waking self onto the self I’ve always been and will always be. Things don’t fit quite well just yet, but we’re getting there.

I feel a little like Alice, but I also feel like the Cheshire Cat, too. In this story, though, I’m not chasing the white rabbit; I’m chasing my own shadow.

– Aminah Jamil

Career Change, Website, and Medium

Hello my friends. This will be a quick and straight-to-the-point post. I recently began posting on Medium, which I am enjoying very much! The platform, the ease of use, the community, and much more has me hooked.

My most recent post is here, if you’d like to take a gander:

Embrace the Pivot: How to Rock Your Career-Change Like a Pro

I also launched my freelance writer website here: www.aminah.io

If you have any feedback, I’d love to hear it! In the meantime, I’ve got to jet to a training. We shall talk soon.

∞ Aminah

A Poem About the Insidious Nature of Writing

Photo by John Jennings on Unsplash

I’m always f$*%ing writing—
No matter where I am,
No matter what I’m doing,
I’m always f$*%ing  writing.

I’m always f$*%ing writing—
Even in my head,
Even when I’m eating,
I’m always f$*%ing writing.

I’m always f$*%ing writing—
No matter where I go,
I could be drunk af,
I’d still be f$*%ing writing.

I’m always f$*%ing writing—
I might not have a pen,
I might not have a notebook,
I’m always f$*%ing writing.

I’m always f$*%ing writing—
Especially when I’m sleepy,
And even when I’m sleeping,
I’m always f$*%ing writing.

I’m always f$*%ing writing—
I finally realized,
It came as a surprise,
I’m always f$*%ing writing.

I’m always f$*%ing writing—
Probably even till the end,
I’ll being breathing my last breath,
I’ll still be f$*%ing writing.

– Aminah Jamil

I Should Change My Middle Name to “Pivot”

Photo by Windows on Unsplash

Hello there!

It’s been a minute, but hopefully not too long.

I thought I’d come back through with some updates.

As I mentioned in one of my previous posts about a huge change of plans that forced me to re-evaluate my career, things have really, really been changing for me, as I’m sure they’ve been changing for a lot of you all with the craziness going on in the world.

I used to get really self-conscious about how much I changed my career, and especially when looking at people my age and how much they’ve accomplished thus far in life.

I’ve since come to accept that this is just part of my life. Until that thing that makes me financially, mentally, and emotionally comfortable comes along and sets up shop in my career department, I’ll be pivoting, again and again. 

Luckily, somehow, the universe continues to clear a path for me to do something I’m wonderful at, something that comes quite effortlessly to me, and something that, if I’m being 100% authentic, doesn’t feel like work, and I am actually happy doing it.

That thing is writing.

Despite the pivoting I’ve experienced throughout my career life, the one thing that’s always been consistent is writing. Every single job I’ve had to do, writing was a big part of it. So I guess I should cut myself some slack, huh? 

If you’re like me, a middle-aged millennial (meaning your birth year is around 1985-1990), and you keep finding yourself wondering what the heck you’re supposed to be doing in this life, please don’t give up. But also please give yourself a pat on the back for how hard you’ve worked thus far. And also please don’t give up on any dreams you’ve ever had in your life—try them out, if you have the chance. 

Look, if the only thing that’s stopping you from going after a dream is fear, whether it’s your own personal fear or fear from naysayers, PLEASE KEEP GOING.

Maybe You Still Don’t Know

Even after winning the young author’s contest in the 3rd grade, I still had no clue that I wanted to be a writer. It wasn’t until my adolescent years that I even started writing creatively, and not until my early twenties that I took writing seriously enough to consider just doing it on the side.

Plus, think of all those famous writers who didn’t become famous until their forties and fifties. Kids, we’ve still got time, okay? Not that we’re trying to get famous here. Let’s call it “meeting our definition of success”. 

We still have time to meet our definitions of success, no matter how many times we need to pivot; we will make it there. 

You heard it here first!

Tl;dr – be okay with the pivot, it’s okay not to know what you want even if you’re in your 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, 100s, 1000s, etc.

∞ Aminah Jamil

I Just Moved to Albania

Photo credit: yours truly – I think Dajti Mountain National Park 🤔🤔🤔

Welcome to Albania

It’s been two days since I arrived in Albania. I’m still quite a bit jet lagged and all that, but I’m mostly happy to be here. Anxiety was beginning to take over my life back in America, so much so that it was becoming harder and harder to focus on the things I wanted and needed to do.

Obviously Albania is its own country, but I get super France vibes here, though I’m guessing these are just European-not-America vibes. I just got had by a little kid selling bandaids. I thought it was maybe because I’m a foreigner, but when he came up to me, he spoke in Shqip, which is the language of Albania (thank you God for my ethnically ambiguous looks). He also got another man who was definitely Albanian, so I don’t completely feel like a loser.

Albanian bandaids 🩹

Initial INFJ Impressions

My introverted self feels fantastic here. No one is bothering me (for the most part) and if they do, I can finagle my way out of it since I don’t speak any Shqip, except for mirëdita, ju lutëm, and faleminderit (which I keep forgetting how to pronounce). Those are “hello”, “excuse me”, and “thank you”, respectively. I guess that’s what comes with a society that’s been pretty closed off from the rest of the world since very recently.

Most Albanians leave Albania; not many people actually emigrate to Albania. I read somewhere that there are more Albanians outside of Albania than actually in Albania. It makes sense though. Most Albanians make very little money here, so many believe, and rightly so, that there is more opportunity outside of the country.

While my dominant introverted intuitive self is loving this, my auxiliary feeling self is not alright. I usually get a sense of how others are feeling through body language and spoken language; however, because half of that is missing, it’s difficult to gauge my surroundings. It seems that I’ll be enhancing my intuitive abilities until I get a better grasp of the language.

Aminah Always Finds a Way

Loneliness has been my bff for the past month or so. At first it felt like I was dying; no physical contact, no deep conversations, nothing of depth besides journaling and going deeper within. It was rough, but I know I’m not alone. This social distancing mess has created walls between us human beings thicker and taller than I can personally remember there being in my 30 some years of being alive.

Eventually it grows on you. As an introverted person, it’s easier to get used to. Having been socially disadvantaged for so long means that you already know what it’s like not to be able to form those deep connections. I feel for my extraverted folks out there though. While it’s easy for me and other introverts, our extraverted brethren are probably having a difficult time in the world. I sincerely hope y’all are doing okay.

But me in a whole new world away from everything I thought I knew and thought was for me? I’ll be alright. I never seek to fit in anywhere because it just never seems to happen that way. I rather like being on the outside looking in – makes for good stories 😊

Before I go, if you’re an INFJ or planning to move abroad someday in the future, check out my INFJ Abroad YouTube channel. I’ll be updating it weekly with new content, so stay tuned and enjoy!

Welcome to INFJ Abroad

♾ Aminah Jamil

Sleepless in Phoenix

Photo credit: Aminah Jamil – the sunset from my balcony

Today is the big day: my permanent overseas move. I’m hesitant to write the exact location until I’m actually there. Perhaps a little bit of childhood jinx residue left over from past disappointments.

I’m supposed to be up in 2 hours, but I can’t sleep. The majority of yesterday was spent running errands and clearing my apartment of the last bit of the things I’d accumulated over the years. It’s kind of wild to see just how much stuff I had, and how most of it was purchased in order to cope with life.

There are 3 suitcases and 2 bookbags on the floor in the living room waiting for me to add the last few things before I zip them up and bungee cord them together to escort me to the airport. The amount of stuff in them is still way too much, even after having shaved down my entire life to fit inside of them. Hopefully once I get settled into living abroad I’ll cut down my items by half, or hopefully more than half, in order to give myself better freedom of movement between locations.

Even though I’ll be able to sleep on the plane, I really want to sleep right now. You know how it is; you finally get to sleep about 25 minutes before you’re supposed to be up and it’s the most dreadful feeling in the world, like WHY did even attempt that little bit of sleep anyway?

Because why not? 😏

Fast forward 5 hours into the future…

I’m back. I went to sleep and, lo and behold, had a semi-difficult time waking back up. The only way I was able to was because I had this weird dream where I was talking to one of my ex-coworkers in sales, and he was telling how great of a decision I made leaving the company and that he didn’t have the balls to do the same. And then I proceeded to attempt to coach him on ways he could make it happen, but then he started speaking in sales and I had no choice but to wake up.

Now I’m on the plane heading onto the first leg of my 3-leg trip. I have advice about packing, because I didn’t do it well. Let’s get on that in a future post.

Let’s talk soon my friends 👋🏽

– Aminah Burch

Tomorrow I’m Leaving

Photo credit: Aminah Jamil – The southeast mountains of Colorado.

Right now it’s 8:14am PST and I just finished meditating. It’s either overcast or there’s a haze of really bad air hovering over the south Phoenix mountains. I’m sitting here, paralyzed, because I still have quite a bit to pack and quite a few errands to run while I still have my car.

Tomorrow I’m leaving. I’m moving overseas. The reality hasn’t hit me yet, even though my apartment is mostly empty and I’ve got suitcases and things strewn about. It’s not as scary in regard to moving so much as it’s scary in regard to the impending unknown.

I’m going to a place I’ve never been before, and while I’m both prepared and unprepared, the lines between the two are heavily blurred. I’m not sure what part gives me the most butterflies: the unfamiliar culture, the unfamiliar people, or the fact that I’m never coming back to America if I can help it. Now, that part hasn’t sunk in at all and it probably won’t for a while.

It’s now 8:20am, and I should probably get up and start finishing the rest of the packing and cleaning. I suppose I’ll return at a later time to provide updates.

Till then.

– Aminah Jamil

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