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

Writing Again, but Seriously This Time

Back in the day, when I used to write, I was scared of all kinds of things. I was scared that people would judge me, so I would write as PC and normal as possible. I was scared that I would fail, so I wouldn’t venture into the kinds of writing that I might fail at. I was afraid that people would see the true me and not accept me or my writing, so I wrote in-authentically, leaving my true voice behind for years.
 
When we really get down to it, I’m quite eccentric and a bit loony. People keep me around for the crazy things I say, but, less often, people push me away for the crazy things I say. I’ve recently come to realize that, regardless, those things are better said on the pages of the things that I write, even if I do leave some anecdotes in my mouth for the people in my life to savor; the babies to my mama bird, receive these juicy worms!

One might assume by the title of this post that when I say “seriously” I mean to write in a somber or grave manner. No, not the case at all. There’s nothing somber or grave here, even when writing about death. When I say “seriously” I mean “sincerely.” I mean “authentically.” When people read my work they will know it was written by an eccentric lady, take it or leave it. It’s the name of this business now.

When I think about having been worried about being accepted, I try not to beat myself up about it. It would have been nice to never have had to worry about that, but it is, indeed, a scar upon the wall of my life experiences – something that I can’t get rid of. Maybe, even a little bit, I’m a better person for it.

To be honest, I’d completely forgotten about the blog analytics that automatically comes with WordPress, so when I started getting notifications that people liked my posts, I was both confused and amused.

I had no intention of my writing getting onto the phone and computer screens of anyone unless they found me by accident or I told them I blog and they wanted to check it out. If you have been reading these posts and liking and/or commenting on them, thank you. I definitely do appreciate it. Even with knowing that these analytics are in place, I still have no intention of writing anything other than what I feel like writing, unlike before, where I’d write to be liked.
 
It’s quite refreshing, though, actually. To be perfectly who I am without a care and to allow that to be reflected back to me on the pages. I’m big into inspiration, and so I hope that anyone who’s able to read the words that I not-so-delicately affix to the pages of whatever I write is able to find some inspiration there, to find it easier to be themselves in a world where conforming to standards is almost like second nature.
 
I’ll leave you with this quote from one of my ex-colleagues:

“If you’re scared, go to church.”

(I still have no idea what it means, but thought it might be fitting here.)

∞ Aminah Jamil

3000 Words a Day

Leaves of a tree with dew for no reason.

As I walked into the bathroom, after doing a crazy dance in the mirror and laughing the kind of maniacal laugh I’ve had no control over these days, I made the decision to write 3000 words a day. It doesn’t matter what they’re for, who they’re for, or what they’re about, but 3000 words must be written before the settling in of my bones atop my Japanese futon (something I highly recommend everyone try sleeping on at least once in their life).

A little secret about me: I’ve been writing for almost 3 decades. It didn’t come as naturally to me as it did some of my peers who’d won things like the Young Author’s contest in school, but I had to replace the lives I created with my Barbie’s with something, less I die of boredom. That’s where writing came in. It’s been a love/hate relationship that we’ve shared over these twenty-plus-some-odd years, and sometimes my heart hurts to think of all of the time I could’ve spent writing when, instead, I found myself participating in some form of self-loathing activity.

I do have to remind myself that, although I wasn’t writing fiction, I was writing something, whether that something was a blog post, a work article, an unsent letter to an ex-lover, and so on. I was still writing. Some of it I’ve saved in the illustrious Evernote, which has saved years of my writing without me having to do anything else but write in it. That brings me some semblance of peace.

Back to fiction, the love I always seem to leave, that never leaves me. Ever since the 3rd grade I’ve wanted to be a fiction author, to create interesting worlds that others could get lost in like many of my favorite authors had created for me. Every time I’d sit down and get halfway through a novel, I’d read it and there would be more holes in it than a cheese grater. It wasn’t until I was around 22 or 23 that I found out that most writers need to follow some kind of story structure in order to create a cohesive story. Aha! After all those years, I thought authors just pulled ideas out of their heads and splattered them onto the pages without having to actually have a foundation. I seriously thought all of the most famous literary writers were that talented. 

It wasn’t until then that I finally understood. But by then, my life had changed; I had many commitments and priorities, and I could no longer spend the countless hours I used to spend sitting behind my laptop, typing away at plots, character arcs, and chapters.

It’s been almost a decade, and I’m back where I left off, but this time with much more gumption and a lot less commitment going on. It’s only right that I force myself to write at least 3000 words to make up for lost time. At least, that’s what I’ll tell myself so that I can feel better about it.

Ha, just kidding. I’m beyond excited to hone my craft and write my heart out, as much as I can, pulling in inspiration from the most mundane of things. I’m also really excited to be able to share this with you, and hopefully the excitement rubs off on you so that you, too, may be encouraged to grow your craft into what you know it can be. 

∞ Aminah Jamil