Day 3 – A Vessel for a Trip

She sat in the passenger waiting area, her frustrations deflating from walking behind inconsiderate individuals unaware of their surroundings, those people who’d stop right in front of her to look at their phones or to turn around or to pull scarves out of their pockets to blow their noses. Despite a pandemic having changed the travel industry, it did not, unfortunately, increase those people’s awareness.
 
The passenger area was less chaotic, though, not too many people traveling these days. She feared that she might be labeled ‘crazy’ for not having a ‘proper’ reason to be traveling. What was ‘proper’ though? Should she sit around in her hometown, in between comfort and discomfort, waiting for something to happen that never would? On top of that, should she allow some disease to prevent her from living her life? Or, in the least, figuring it out?
 
She wasn’t as young as she used to be – old enough to drink and have lived through those days, but young enough that, unless she had the misfortune of having had acquired a secret terminal illness, she wouldn’t be dying any time soon. She was tired of life making all of her decisions for her, no matter what in the world was going on.

So she sat, and waited, and watched the people. The people with their faces covered, the people who ushered children, the people who talked on cell phones a little too loudly, the people that hugged one another, the people that social distanced. She was, for the first time in a long time, comforted. And comfortable with her decision to fly over halfway across the world to a country she’d never visited before, to teach English to children.

In a way, she felt she had to go. To end the monotony of her life, she had to go. 

The airline attendants began their preparations for boarding. She could tell they’d done this many times, for instead of it being a mechanical display, they were almost fluid, water-like in the way that they opened the terminal door, announced any last-minute standbys, and began pushing those in wheelchairs up to their designated waiting spots. This was their thing. She felt solidarity with them as she went to go find out if teaching was her thing.

She got up and walked over to the window where she could see the giant bird she’d soon be embarking. This is it, she thought, I’m about to leave this country for a year. And, almost ceremoniously, she placed her hand on the cool glass in a silent goodbye. 

Getting Over Career Fear

Technology will always have a place in my heart. Always. But I recently realized that the only reason I started working in tech to begin with is because it is safe. Well, not necessarily safe as in you could never get fired, but safe as in it pays well if you’re willing to put in both the time and the work, and you can (usually) find a job in some area of technology within a few months with close to zero experience, having built up your experience through learning within those few months.
 
I love creating. Anything. And when I was building my first blog on WordPress some 10-odd years ago, I found that I had a lot of fun with it. Though I wasn’t serious about it until 2017, I’d continued to dabble in web development, building things for freelance clients here and there, not fully understanding the world of code, but knowing my way around it enough to be okay at it.

Now that I’ve had experience in the corporate tech world, I never want to go back. There is no bone in my body that wishes to return to that overly competitive, non-diverse place, but it’s the only thing I have actual working experience in.

So what now?

I’m not alone in being a late-blooming career-changer. There are many people, like me, who gave up their dreams for financial stability just to find themselves wanting their dreams back. Maybe they had a near-death experience and know that, if they don’t live their dream, they’re not really living. Maybe they found their current career to be so oppressive that they’d rather starve than to continue working in it. Or maybe, like me, the universe threatened to kill them if they didn’t write the damn novel. Maybe they’re somewhere in the middle. Maybe they’re none of these.

At the end of the day it’s up to us. No one else can make the decision for us. Many people choose to stay in their current careers and push through by working on their dreams during non-working hours. Ain’t no shame in that. I wish I had that ability when I was working for my previous employer, but we came out with new products and features every year, over 100 of them, so my non-working hours were spent learning those new products and features.
 
It was fun while it lasted, but something called out to me that needed to be set free, and here we are.

Some might say that my point of view is an entitled one. I’d have to say that I disagree. My point of view comes from experience of both good and bad, both with their relevant lessons. I won’t be standing on a cliff screaming that I only deserve the best, better than what people who’ve worked hard for that same thing deserve. In fact, deciding to go back to writing requires that I start at the bottom, unless I’m believed in enough to be given an opportunity to start higher. It’s the idea that in order to be and do something great, we have to suffer doing something that we absolutely hate, something that makes us miserable just to make a living in the meantime that I really despise. Or getting into a field because of how lucrative it is, not because we find purpose and value in the work.

Do I think I’ll ever become so desperate that I’ll try for a tech job again? I’d have to say nah, I don’t think so. I’ve reached a point in my life where I can’t put up with BS anymore, BS being doing something because of fear. All of my decisions are now based on love – love of myself, love of my dreams, love of my freedom, and love for the world. The world deserves us at our best, does it not?
 
∞ Aminah Jamil

365 Days of Writing Prompts

Look at that sky full of change

The biggest woe of my life has been being finicky af. I’ve never been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD, but I could swear I have one of the two. It’s in the fact that my attention is diverted with some time, not immediately, like most sufferers, that I would say I don’t have either diagnosis. I should start calling my affliction Renaissance Deficit Disorder – a disorder where the sufferer is plagued with too many interests and too little time, so they switch from one interest to another when one gets too time consuming, they get bored, or whatever the reason.
 
The other side of the RDD coin is the fact that we can change our realities if we so choose. Whether you believe that or not is up to you and your desire to try it out for yourself. I’ve been afflicted with RDD my entire life, but I never once thought to try and remove it from my reality, or at least make it so that it’s something that works for me, and not against me. At least, not until today.

I’ve been reading this book called The Law and The Promise by Neville Goddard who talks about using imagination and intention to shape the future you want to experience. The book has inspired me to change the narrative around my experience of RDD.

With that, a scientific experiment: from today until 365 days from now, I will be writing short stories and poems with 365 days worth of writing prompts.

RDD begone, daily writing habit, welcome.

The success of this endeavor will mark the success of the use of imagination and intention to create the reality in which we wish to live.

All successful authors and writers say that, if we also want to become successful writers, we should write everyday, even if it’s only for 30 minutes a day anyway, so what a neat way to bring that reality to life?

You can find the short stories and poems in the Writings section of this blog. If you’ll join me in this endeavor, please let me know in the comments. I’d love to come read your writing! Together we CAN fight RDD.

∞ 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