Last September I went to new Mexico…I have to say there was no place in that state that disappointed me. This picture was taken at Las Cruses. The state’s slogan “land of enchantment” is true to its words. For a while I really forgot all the struggles I was facing.
You have to be there to know what a great place this is!
It’s been a while since I last posted something. I’ve just kind of grown tired of talking about the same situation again and again. The point is nothing new really happened. I took two classes through the university extension and received B+. This gave me the last chance to go back to school again. I will go back to school full-time from the spring semester 2013. I have also made some changes in my pursuit of getting into medical school. When I go back to school I decided to pursue a compute science degree. The reason behind doing this is the fact that I probably don’t have any chance of getting into medical school after two dismissal. I don’t expect any miracle when I go back to school either. So I just have to do something with which I can live a moderately good life even without pursuing PhD in a science major. In any case I am still not giving up on med school. I will see how this spring semester goes. If I see I have improved and I can actually handle getting mostly A’s in my classes I will finish the biology degree requirement in addition to computer science. Now I just have to wait and see how I do in my spring semester. Hope it all turns out good given the fact that I have been through horrible, horrible situation for last one year. My parents still don’t know about my dismissal and I am still taking on part-time jobs. So it’s been a really really rough ride. I just hope all of this hardship is worth something. I will work harder to do it differently this time.
I don’t know if it’s just my super bad luck or my choice of wrong employers that’s giving me this horrible work experience for almost a year now. I have held four jobs in last one year. It all started with the cashier’s position at Wal-Mart pharmacy. When I went for the interview I already had the Pharmacy technician certificate from PTCB. However; I didn’t know that one had to be registered with Texas State Board of Pharmacy to be able to work in Wal-Mart pharmacy in Texas. So they have asked me to start as cashier and register with TSBP to get the license. I was told that as soon as I get the license they will hire me as technician. As a matter of fact, the pharmacist I started to work with would always ask me how long it would take for me to get the license. It took me a little longer than usual time to get the license. By that time the store manager changed because the previous pharmacist was pregnant and she went on maternal leave. So after I received the license I asked the new pharmacist if she would hire me as technician now. Her answer was “oh no I don’t want anymore new technician right now. You can try other Wal-Mart.” I don’t know I was a bit upset. Anyway it was time for me to relocate to start college again. I called the Wal-Mart in the new place but no one was hiring. So I left the job with a bitter feeling. Then I started another job as office assistant. This job I don’t have much to complain since I don’t believe I worked my best. First of all it’s because I thought I would be working in an office instead I would be constantly pulled to work in the serving line of the buffet. I didn’t like that prospect of the job. Another problem was that I wasn’t given the promised hours. As soon as I was done with the assigned works I would be asked to finish the shift. This eventually led me to lots of financial problems. So I started to become bitter with this job too. So there would be times when I knew there wasn’t much to do at work I would call in sick and study instead. However; eventually they started to complain about my sick calls. We had a meeting and after that I tried to be regular at work. But this time I got sick for real. I called in sick and also gave them doctor’s note. Even after that they gave me a written notification saying that I am missing work too much. This kind of made me upset because on our previous meeting the supervisor told me that she would completely understand if it was something serious and obviously she didn’t. So I left the job by the end of the semester. I went home for the winter and found out that I am dismissed for the second time from school. As I talked about it before I decided to come back and try other options to go back to school again. So when I came back I started to look for a full-time job. Eventually I got one as mail room clerk. First month, it was great job experience. But starting second month they would ask me to do lot more than just what was in my job description. Now if it was only something in the mail room I wouldn’t mind. But they started to pulling me everywhere in the company. Whenever or whoever in the company needed assistance they would call me up. So I kind of became like a floater in the company. It was a lot of work and the pay wasn’t good. So I started to not like this job either. At that time CVS pharmacy called me for an interview. Since I have been trying o work in a pharmacy for a long time and also didn’t like the mail room job; I went ahead for the interview. Before the hiring I told them that I won’t be able to take the job if they can’t give me full-time hours. Interestingly they were okay with it. The guy who hired me told me “yah we can give you full-time hours.” Oh I should say that it was a floater position and I didn’t mind. I just wanted to work in a pharmacy. I needed the experience and I was okay to do a little extra work. The pay wasn’t good but I was okay with that too. I just needed the experience. However; it’s my second month and they already started to give me fewer hours every week. This past week I haven’t worked at all. Right now I am angry because I have to pay my bills and if it continues to be like this I am damned. So I started looking for another job. I talked to few other pharmacies. And hopefully I will be leaving this job too in about fifteen days. Now I really don’t’ know I am just taking everything too seriously or my employers are just fucked up people who doesn’t keep their words. But I have to say I am not happy. And this one other reason I really want to go back to school and get a degree. I hate living on this little over minimum wage jobs.
Today I am back to the old depressed mood. I was starting to believe that everything’s becoming normal and this is when everyone had to remind me nothing’s changed. It was day before yesterday; I was talking to one of my childhood friend. Since we grew up in the same town he knows my family very well. When I say family I mean everyone; my uncles, aunts, grandparents, and everyone else. At one point of our conversation we started talking about religion and I told him I no longer believe in just one particular God. He was surprised and his immediate reaction was, “does your uncle know?” I should mention that my uncle is a very active imam in our community. And our family has the reputation of being very active in religious matter. So from that point, no one seems to expect such behavior from me. In any case, our conversation ended with the agreement that we will not discuss this issue as he was very shocked to see such change in me. I probably wouldn’t think about this again if another of my childhood friend hadn’t asked me the same question again. When I gave a pretty similar reply to him too, he was also shocked. As if he had never imagined such change in me and he came to the conclusion that I have gone mad. I know by now you are wondering why I am talking to all these childhood friends altogether. Well, after almost 7 years I just suddenly came in contact with every one of these friends whom I once considered best people in my life. So yeah that is why I was talking to them so much. The joy of being able to contact with them was overwhelming. However, I forgot how people from past can bring back the memories you don’t want to remember anymore. So one after another, and eventually everyone was reminding me what kind of family I have come from and what it means in life. I almost started to forget all about it since I haven’t seen anyone for last 7 years. Yet, decisions in my life are bound to what kind of impact it might have on them. I have this nephew who is same age as me and we are very much in contact with each other compared to everyone else in the family. So after all these disappointing conversation with my friends, I called my nephew. I called him to ask what he thinks would happen if my families learn that I don’t believe in God anymore. He assured me at least one person will have a heart attack and requested me to do no such thing. He warned me it will bring a great shame to my family.So at the end, I have canceled my weekend plan to go home.I haven’t been home ever since I took off my hijab and this decision to go home was because I thought my parents were fine with my decision by now. I had this assumption that my family in Bangladesh has become more tolerant than my parents in USA. In reality, I was probably just hoping that it was the case. I tricked myself to believe that my parents are OK with my behavior. When they call me every day and ask me to go home, I wanted to believe they will be alright with everything. It’s my presence which is more important in their life, at least that’s what I thought. Now I am back to this same old feeling. I don’t think my parents will be OK if they hear I don’t believe in god anymore and I won’t be OK if they don’t accept my lifestyle. So at the end I am back to my old boring life of work and living alone. I am already starting to feel lonely and I really wonder how long before my sister’s words become the truth. May be living an honest life won’t make me as happy as I have imagined it would.
It’s been few weeks that I haven’t posted anything. Well, I tried but every time I sit down to write something nothing happens. My mind goes blank. I am really having the feeling that I am a serious kind of stupid person. Anyhow I have decided to practice one of the lesson I got from my intro to psych class. The professor would make us sit down for 20 minutes once every week and ask us to write anything that’s in our mind. It doesn’t have to make sense. All we had to do is just to try to put down whatever was in our mind at that moment. When he asked us to do it, it seemed a pretty easy job to do. However, soon I realized that when it comes to writings my thoughts are really not well expressed.
“So, why did you take off the hijab?” is the common question I encounter nowadays. Everyone wants to know what’s the reason behind it when I defended the idea of hijab so fiercely for so many years. I find myself lost in thoughts when someone who knows me for a long time asks me this question. I don’t know how to explain to them that all these years it was an act. I don’t think they would believe me and even if they do believe me what kind of person they would think I am? So I avoid this answer. I try to put together my thoughts and ideas for a good answer but I always find myself lost in many ideas when explaining the reason why I took it off. I remember the first time I told my friend and when she asked me why? I told her that I feel guilty when the people in my community assume that I am good virtuous girl just by knowing that I wear hijab. It bothers me when many hijabis are talking about this nonhijabi who they seem to agree that she’s a good girl. Only problem with her is that she doesn’t put a piece of clothe on her head and this degrades all and every good deed of that nonhijabi. I couldn’t accept the fact that they think I am one of them and that’s why they can have this kind of nonsense conversation in front of me. I didn’t want to be part of such groups. So I took off the hijab. So that next time they don’t include me in their conversation where they feel no shame to degrade many hard-working and strong women and girls. So this is the explanation I gave to my friends. When my sister asked me why? I told her I didn’t believe in god. I didn’t believe in the idea of hijab. So I took it off. Then she asked me why couldn’t you wait till our parents are dead? Then we wouldn’t be in this hell right now. I told her I took it off so that I don’t have to count every single day of my life waiting for my parents’ death. Now if they survive the shock I can wish for them to live forever. Cause my freedom is no longer caged in their will. In return she answered me this is what you call freedom? You will see within months you will lose that peace you say you have now. I don’t know if I really will lose it but I told her let’s see. Then my mother called me and asked why couldn’t you wait till you get married? I wanted to tell her this is exactly why I took it off now. So that no man can think I need them to live the life I want to live. I will have a proper life before I get married. And I also hope that I will not get any more of the proposals from those guys who thinks what I wear is a deciding factor whether he wants to marry me or not. And some of you might think well that’s never a deciding factor. But trust me I have seen Many guys who made decisions based on the fact whether a girl wear hijab or not. In any case I didn’t say all that to my mom. I just told her this is not me. I can’t wear hijab and don’t try to pursue me to do so. At work my colleague asked me why did you take it off? I just simply told her it wasn’t my thing. I had change in my faith. But then she went on to tell me how she saw on TV and movies and read on internet about Muslim parent’s torture to their girls who denies to wear hijab. Then started to think that’s not what I wanted people to think about this religion or the people who follows it. I just wanted a simple out from my misery. but now that I see, it’s not a simple out. Everyone starts to assume that I am tortured and oppressed because I took it off. May be even under threat. Yes I have to accept that I have lost few friends and my parents are unhappy for the time being. But I am in no way under any threat, a bit lonely may be. But everyone pays this price who wants to break away from the crowd.
I have tried to write something after my last post but there wasn’t really anything to write about. For about a month it was becoming increasingly unbearable to not have any job. On February 26th I cleared out the last penny from my bank account to pay the rent. When I came back to my apt I just sat on my bed and wanted to cry and break down. The days ahead of me seemed a nightmare. I just wanted to break down. I wanted to give up. Wanted to pick up the phone and call my dad, tell him that I failed. I wanted to tell him that I need to come back home. I wanted to accept the teasing remark of my boyfriend makes often time to cheer me up “you are not a guy, stop trying to be a guy. Go home, be a good girl, study in the university near your home.” I sat there for twenty to forty minutes then got up and took a shower. Cooked some rice and boiled a potato for dinner. In the middle of cooking I also cleaned my apartment. While trying to be busy with different tasks, I have told myself “don’t..Not yet…you’ve paid your rent, you have enough food to go on for another week or so. Don’t give up until everything is over. It’s not yet time to give up.” After saying that to myself for about an hour or so, I felt like I have got back my strength, the stubbornness to not give up yet. Once I was done with all the cooking and cleaning, I have put myself back on the laptop and started applying for job and modifying my resume. Trying to figure out why there’s no call for any interview. It was around 5pm I was looking though Craigslist for any immediate opening when I got a call. It was a staffing agency, not the ones I have already contacted with. The guy asked if I could come to his office by 6.30 to fill out some paper works. That time I didn’t have a car but luckily his office was few blocks away from my apt. so I took the bus. It took time but I went there. I lied to him, Told him my friend took my car to campus. I did so with the hope of not being rejected again, knowing that I got rejected before because I don’t have proper transportation. I felt horrible but I was not ready to slip this opportunity away. It didn’t matter how much he would offer me for the job, I just needed a job. I just needed something that would keep me going. He offered me the job and asked if I can start from Tuesday. I said yes. Only to realize later on that it will take me 5 hours to commute to the job location though a public transportation. At that time that was the only type of transportation I had available. It was a full time job, decent pay. On Tuesday morning I woke up at 4.30 and got on to my first bus by 5am. From then on it took me 2.5hours to go to work and 2.5 hours to come back from work every day. So for the first two weeks I have spent 5 hours a day on transportation to keep the job. However; by the end of second week I was already exhausted. I missed my class for 2 weeks and I was falling really behind. The only reason I am doing all these so that I can get back to school again. Now if I am going to fail again then there is no need for all these struggles. So at last I had to ask dad to give me one of his car. There was a reason why I didn’t want dad’s help in this particular situation. It’s because even before I got the job I was thinking about one decision that I have been keeping aside for years after years. It’s the headscarf on my head. I stopped believing in god since my 11th grade. However, I didn’t have the courage to take of the hijab (headscarf).All these years I was scared of the consequences. No; my parents are not angry parents who would kick me out of the house or lock me down. It’s the thought of how I would hurt my mom who had gone through so much all her life just to give me a better life scared me most. However; as days and years were passing and as I was growing up this headscarf started to symbolize more than just a piece of clothe on my head. Every time a stranger would ask me why I wear it and when I had to defend the idea of hijab, something that I don’t believe in anymore; it became a symbol of lie, double life, and hypocrisy. This was a horrible feeling. Nobody seems to understand this. Everyone asks me why have u suddenly decided to take it off. I don’t know if it’s only me who feels that way. That it’s wrong to represent or advertise people something you don’t believe in. So on my first day of work I didn’t wear my hijab. I felt naked and uncomfortable. There was this strong urge to pick up the scarf and put it back on. But I managed not to do so. I couldn’t’ tell my parents about this situation for about two weeks. When finally I did tell them they were upset. My mom cried out loud as if someone passed away. It broke my heart. What was even worse the fact that dad called me and put the phone on speaker to hear mom crying. I don’t know if this gave him some sort of peace but I didn’t hang up. I listened to her. I listened to her loud scream and felt nothing. I was cold as ice. Numb as if someone had put anesthetic in me. Now my dad probably accepted this whole thing or maybe it’s an act. He calls me everyday talks to me like old days. I talk to him too just like before. It’s as if nth happened. I just don’t go home anymore. I am scared to face what’s waiting at home. May be I will feel more of that cold feeling in my heart when I go home. So, I avoid the conversation of coming home. However I have accepted his generous offer of using his car until I manage to buy my own. I have become a little comfortable with life again. I started going to class again. I don’t know if unconsciously that’s what I wanted all along, to rid myself off everything so that I have nothing but to go forward. Whatever it is I eager to see what’s next. As for good news, I am starting at CVS pharmacy as pharmacy Tech from Monday. You might wonder how it’s good news. It is good news indeed. Finally the money I paid to get the pharmacy tech license won’t be wasted.
There’s not much going on in my life and this is probably why not many posts. Well, I have started school again with the University Extension, One classroom course and one online. The classroom English literature course seems relatively flexible and easier than the online sociology course. The online course just has way too many assignments. Hopefully I won’t fall behind. Speaking of truth, I am actually behind right now as I am still juggling between the idea of buying the books for this course and borrowing the old versions from library… As always I am short on money 😦 God knows when this misery will end!! Sometimes this financial problem strongly motivates me to get out of my plan and pursue something else…So far there were only two lectures for the classroom course and I actually liked it. Besides my classes there’s not much happening except my search for a job. Today I spent the whole day in preparation for one interview. You might wonder why whole day? Well, the thing is I don’t have a car. So I had to figure out the bus route for which I spent pretty much an hour and it was a complete failure. Then I called for a taxi, while I am on the taxi I realized that the place is just walking distance from my place. I don’t why in the world Google map was showing me such a complicated route. uggh…And the stupid driver ( I believe, knowingly) took the wrong route just to get extra money…I was so angry I can’t explain. When I am counting every penny to figure how I can buy a book, I had to pay so much money for my stupidity…Even after all these if I had the job I would be happy…In the interview process they asked me to take a test on excel…Ironic is that I took the exact test the day before yesterday and got 100% and today I got 70%!!!anyhow, I didn’t get the job:( I spent almost 3 hours doing paper works in the interview and finally nothing!! So my days are pretty full of these stories nowadays…waking up in the morning freshen up and then sit down to apply for more jobs. In between I eat sometimes and sometimes I forget…I get this same old sensation of not breathing, not being alive…and when it’s time I go to class and I like to listen to the professor…He gives me a break from my miserable life…Needless to say, even when I feel relieved to be in the lecture room, I feel guilty. I wonder why I didn’t work a bit harder before, may be then I wouldn’t be in this situation. Through all these struggles I am coming to a realization that, the second and third options are never easier. Life is much easier if you just work hard from the start.
So I am dismissed for the second time. this is probably the time when I should pack my stuffs and Head toward home. However, I am realizing that my brain started to work like a bad gambler ever since I received the dismissal notification…the more I am losing the more I want to play. That’s what my situation now. On my dismissal notification they have mentioned that I can try taking 6 hours of class through the university extension and try to get B on both. If I can manage that then I will be able apply for readmission for next fall semester. I never planned to leave this university not because I am a huge fan of this place but because I want to prove that I can handle the stress of being lost in a huge school along with all the other problems I am facing in my life. Apparently so far I am very unsuccessful. I wouldn’t say that the thought of giving up didn’t cross my mind but as i said just earlier. I have become a gambler with my life and future.With a second dismissal on my plate I should really transfer to a different school near home but I actually decided to come back and take the 6 hours through university extension. May be because I just don’t want to leave any “if” after I leave this place. I want to know I have exhausted every possible ways before I gave up. Oh! another thing, I am still dreaming of medical school. This whole situation sounds like a joke to me right now. I have also learned I can’t take Chemistry II and Genetics in the University because I have already taken them twice and failed to pass. That’s what makes me sound like an insane person.The fact that I am still hoping to somehow get into a medical school after such a disastrous failure. I am starting to believe that I am becoming a bit insane, just not sure if it’s bad or good. I guess time will tell. So my plan is to take English literature and Sociology through University extension. If I finally manage myself to become more active and get at least B in those two classes then I will take Chemistry and Genetics over the summer at a community college. After all these I am hoping the University will let me come back for next fall. Even though I am telling them now that I will do a sociology major, If I manage to do all the things I just said then I’ll stick with Biology. Why am I trying to do Biology so much? Well, it’s because I never disliked the science courses.I Just happened to have a bad study habit along with a bad timing in my life. So I do want to prove I can do a Science Major. Since my GPA is so low I figured I have to do double major in order to bring my GPA to a level where I can at least apply to medical school. Sociology was always under my consideration for a minor. So I might end up doing a minor or may be a major on this subject. So the plans are written out and it’s time to start working I guess…I wish you all a happy new year(it’s late) and lots of happiness.