A blog post about nothing and yet everything!

It’s been a busy week. I went to Atlanta for the first time last Thursday for The American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute (didn’t have time to pretend to be Scarlett O’Hara as Savannah is a 4 hour drive, but I did pass the Margaret Mitchell house two times! Notwithstanding Mitchell, the film adaptation was a running theme of my childhood due to my older sister’s obsession in the late 90s. SHE WAS OBSESSED, I tell you), I dressed up as a cow on Halloween (just for work; I’ve never been trick-or-treating or have been involved in that process. Since I wasn’t allowed to go as a child, I never wanted to pass out candy later to those spoiled little kids that did. Also, strangers ringing the doorbell is scary), I launched the first issue of the Journal on Muslim Philanthropy and Civil Society that I’ve been working on since August, and the two-day Board meeting where I was scheduled to present (I ended up not saying much) concluded yesterday afternoon.

(BTW, I’m sorry for all the parenthetical notes in the above paragraph and I guess for this one too. I have these little tangents always running in my head and since I have no intention of making my blog post as long as a thesis, I must defer to parenthetical notes. I don’t think WordPress allows the use of footnotes, unfortunately. Thanks for reading my tangents. It means a lot. I find my tangents to be the best part of my blog)

23000323_1938337482860072_1831179930909451747_o
I have to admit: the udders hanging out like that kinda felt haraaaaam, but hey, I’m fully covered! And if that turns you on, that’s on you, buddy!

And yet, here I am blogging on a Saturday morning, wearing my cow costume/night-suit because a) I can’t sleep after the rooster cockle-doodle-doos (i.e. the alarm for fajr) and b) I need a break from work-type things.

Oh but hey, the countdown to my 31st birthday has officially begun today. Each year, I start counting down 3 months before. Some might say that I’m too old for this, but I say, “Birthdays are fun!” I love when I actually have a valid reason to eat cake (I get it, the food police need to die, but I eat way too much cake for my own good). Also, everyone’s usually much nicer to me, wishing me that I have an amazing day and telling me to eat lots of cake. So, it’s just great!

Honestly, people who think they’re “too old” for birthdays are just being pretentious and illogical. You’re not too old. You’re perfectly the right age as long as you are ALIVE. Birthdays don’t stop after 21! If you’re gonna use that argument, find a better word or phrase! {end angry rant against imaginary people}

Also, I don’t fear getting old. I look forward to it. Of course, I’m at the age where the body is not quite at the point where it really begins the inevitable process of deterioration (I can, however, start to blame my metabolism – and I will). I may feel differently when I’m 40 or 50. But I honestly hope that I can accept whatever changes come with age. I just look at old people and I’m in awe. Not only are y’all way cuter than the rest of us, you’re also so wise and funny and you finally have earned the right to say whatever the heck you want (well, maybe not everything) and we love it. I love it, anyway.

Where was I?

I don’t know. I’ve been up for a while and have yet to eat. BREAKFAST TIME. Catch y’all later.

“Weight loss” will never fully be a thing of my past

Various times during the day, I hate my body.

Not because it doesn’t do what it’s meant to. But because my stomach is not quite as thin as it ought to be, my thighs clap together when I walk, my underarms jiggle when I don’t want them to. My skin is not acne-free or even-toned. My hair is too thin; it’s lacks bounce or that nice symmetrical flip…

It’s easy to look at the meticulously planned images of the women I see everyday and assume that I too must look like this.

But I don’t… and never will.

I’d really like to lose those 10-15 pounds I’ve gained since getting married. But I am not willing to go on a diet like I did in the past to be the weight that I once was. I’m not quite comfortable with accepting the way I currently look, but I also don’t want to significantly change the way I live my life either. Is 35 minutes of cardio 4 x a week enough? Should I be doing more? Should I eat less? Why do I let weekend eating (mentally) derail me during the weekday? Should I stop eating real desserts like I did that one year?

I don’t know. I keep coming back to this same topic, year after year (only because it’s in my thoughts, day after day). I don’t think I will ever truly stop obsessing about my weight. Maybe it’s a good thing to have it on my radar, so that I don’t let myself get back to where I once was. But why can’t I just have neutral thoughts about my body? To be able to use a mirror like a normal person (if such a thing exists).

Sometimes I think I’m being ungrateful for thinking this way. Other times I think I’ve already taken a ride down that slippery slope.

No matter what I do, “Fat Rafia” seems to follow me everywhere, haunting me wherever I go. Others may not see it, but she’s never left me. And perhaps never will.

Confirming what I already kinda knew

After what seems has been an entire year of dealing with non-emergency but nonetheless irritating health issues, perioral dermatitis (Vaseline is my BFF nowadays), persistent allergies, etc. (these etcetera I do not wish to share on a public blog), I finally have some answers!

I made a FB post about this earlier this evening somewhat in jest, but I suppose it’s kind of a sad thing…

I had the infamous allergy test done today and learned: I have a lot of allergies. And they’re not just “Back to School” allergies, as I once called them either.

I am allergic to the following:

  • Cats (already knew that, but now it’s official)
  • Dogs (more on this later)
  • Dust mites
  • Many types of trees (but not pine or willow. I can still talk to Grandmother Willow about John Smith)
  • Weed pollens (did you know that “Plaintain, English” is the name of a weed pollen?)
  • Grass Pollens
  • Molds

I did not have a food allergy test done. But I will tell you that I am allergic to raspberry-flavoured desserts, elaichi in my biryani, and green fings (i.e. cooked coriander).

With the exception of dogs, I could have guessed most of these. I’m a bit surprised that I’m allergic to trees though. Does that mean I will never meet Treebeard?

The biggest takeaway is that the Hanafi-Muslim fear I have of dogs is not just a Hanafi-Muslim fear! I’m actually allergic to dogs! So now when I see dogs (living in America, they are EVERYWHERE), I can just say that I’m allergic rather than try to justify the look of terror fear on my face.

Non-Muslim dog owner: But Rocky is so friendly! Ahhh, you’re a good boy, aren’t you?

Me: Oh, I know. He really likes me. He’s already licked me on three separate occasions. But it’s not that. So, like, I have to pray 5 times a day and need to keep my ablution for the day, because I am OCD when it comes to public restrooms. And according to my school of jurisprudence – but not all Muslims are this way – just South Asians and some Arabs, but also because I am super OCD, it’s mostly that, your dog’s saliva will break my ablution and I will be out all day and won’t be able to go home to do another ablution. You understand, right?¬†

I imagine that most people who read this post will be like, “Huh?” but that is okay. I happen to think this post might actually be one of my funniest.

And like all my jokes, I’m the only one who’s laughing :) But again, that is okay. This is a blog titled Cake & Cows. You signed up for this!

What’s in a name? I don’t know, Shakespeare, you tell me!

 

cattle_beef_cow_bovine_golden_hour-1409393.jpg!d
An early morning contemplative cow

Sometimes I wonder whether Cake & Cows is too limiting of a blog name for me and my writing.

I’ve created – albeit a very minuscule one – a brand for my online “presence.” Most days, I like it. I am just as crazy and whimsical as the name would suggest. That dressing up as a cow two weeks ago was not merely for the hits (if I really cared about that, why would I dress up as a cow?). But I won’t lie and write that it wasn’t the PERFECT fodder for this blog, either :)

I have come across blogs that are super serious and deeply personal and I applaud these writers for their bravery. Perhaps I’m just too wary of being that open with potentially the rest of the world. It’s not a bad thing to be cautious, it’s actually very wise at times, but I wonder if my Desiness has anything to do with it ;) Log Kya Kahenge?

But sometimes, I do wish that I could write as openly as these writers. There’s just something about publishing (whether through a third-party or self-publishing) that makes one’s thoughts and struggles seem more valid. I am not saying they are – we all got our struggles and if you are not aware of this, then your humanity is severely deficient. It’s just that human beings want to be acknowledged. Finding a community outside of one’s physical one, which is not always so accepting, is one of the great joys of living in the digital age.

I am blessed to have people in my life that I can speak to about these personal matters, but I do not feel “complete” unless I have written. I don’t mean complete as in “whole,” more like “done,” if that makes sense. Is this the performer in me seeking self-aggrandizement? Does this idea resonate with anyone? Perhaps other writers?

I don’t know.

I guess, cows don’t always have to be silly. You know, cows are actually really intelligent, contemplative animals. Have you ever been to a dairy farm? A very deep experience!

LOL at myself.

I am not changing the name of this blog, alright? I like the alliterative feel of it way too much. Also, my love for cows has just skyrocketed in the past year or so, I don’t think I could find a replacement.

Still, sometimes Rafia is not just a silly little cow. Sometimes, she is a very deep and serious cow. That is all I wanted to say. And it only took me 400 words to say it! :)

Everyday should be Cow Appreciation Day!

Today is Cow Appreciation Day, folks!

I’m aware that many reading this may not be familiar with #CowAppreciationDay‚Ĩ, but as I replied to my friend earlier today, I didn’t make it up. It’s actually a thing! Finally, a day where I can put my bovine love on full display and receive comments such as, “You win at life!”

Okay, so the dude did not say “at life”… but he didn’t need to. I knew what he was talkin’ aboot.

To be honest, I don’t frequent Chik-Fil-A and I’m not saying that to be politically correct, either; they don’t have any seafood or vegetarian options, so all I’ve ever eaten before today are their waffle fries (mmmm, waffles). But because of their frankly brilliant marketing – and I don’t say this lightly – I’m a fan. If you haven’t seen their commercials, you need to get out from that rock just for a few minutes and watch those videos. This one is my personal fave – cows listening to Tchaikovsky! Perfecto!

So, when I learned that today was…IS Cow Appreciation Day and that I could get a free entree (waffle fries and chocolate shakes included, yes!) if I wore some kind of cow paraphernalia, I decided I was gonna go all out.

I made a big mistake NOT purchasing that cow onesie from Wal-Mart when I had the chance two years ago, but luckily the cow t-shirt Mr. Rafia got for my birthday this year would be my ticket to waffle gold! Also, I’d bring Mufia along with me. My little calf has not had a day out since we moved into the new place.

Still, this was the one day (outside of Halloween) where I could dress up like a cow in this country in public! How could I not do more? I had to do something big! I have a blog called Cake & Cows! I mean, come on!

Also, Abbie over at Abbie’s Adventure Diaries reassured me that this entire enterprise would make a great blog post. Thank you for your encouragement, Abbie! <3

But being the cheeeep Desi I am, I didn’t want to spend any (more) money though. So I decided to use my little grey cells, which I learned from being my sister’s shadow, and be creative. UNLEASH TAPE GIRL!

I daresay it myself – I think I might be a genius! All of this was done today. No prior planning.

I got to eat waffle fries, drink a chocolate milkshake, and dress like a cow in public! What a moovelous day, indeed.