- in the name of Allah -

So, here I am again. Perhaps to chronicle the development (or devolution) that's happened since the last time I posted. I can probably best sum things up by listing the things I've noticed and felt over the past month or so.

1. Some bridges don't need to be burned before being left behind. Sometimes, they just decay and fall apart all by themselves. I've noticed that many people I once knew now longer know me, or retain any connection to me. The same is certainly true of myself and others, but its more poignant when I bring my perceived isolation to the forefront. While I have a few great friends, people worthy of being called brothers, I realize that the sisters I knew (Islamically speaking), are fewer and much farther in between now. I used to (be able to?) chat online with so many different people over such diverse backgrounds over this past decade. However, it seems that aging has had an effect on me. I can no longer categorize my relationships with women in simple terms of friendship and potentiality (a term I just thought of to denote people who may be suitable to marry). Things are just too complicated. It's kind of sad. I really enjoyed knowing them. I wonder if I should ever find any such connection(s?) ever again. Allah would know better than I.

2. Some things, no matter how much we want them, may still lie out of our grasp. This board exam is truly kicking my butt. I've taken it a few times, and probably because I cannot devote half the time I 'should' to its study, I end up having difficulty. I feel like its all in my head, that should my mindset or approach towards it change, I can overcome it. However, when or how this would happen, I have next to no idea. Self fulfilling prophecies and the like just haven't been good for me lately, as the most frequent emotion that accompanies me is self doubt: doubt of my intentions, doubt of my worth as a human being, doubt of my ability to affect change in myself much less other people. These are weekly tangents I approach with some evenhandedness. It's not usually to the point of depression, but I'm sure the point can be made without having to mention it directly. I can only really continue to pray and seek Allah in some sort of path out of this cloudy time.

3. Sometimes, you really don't have to face the most obviously difficult moments, to find yourself in a truly trying time. For instance, now. I have the basic amenities the 'third world' would clamor for. I have things people dream of, and yet the greatest obstacle, which for all of them is outside of themselves (hunger, poverty, socioeconomic turmoil, etc), for me is my very own self. From how I see life, I do not think there can be anything more resilient to being overcome than the nafs. Being a part of the human being, it never really goes away. It questions, it rebels, it doubts, it hungers, it flies, it sleeps, it loves everything but what it needs most. In sum, the greatest enemy I'll ever face, aside from Satan, who is my nafs' most potent ally, is me. I should take more lessons on overcoming the self. It could really do some good.