Be a Big Girl

3 Jan

2012. It’s got a ring to it. It sounds a heck of a lot better than 2011. 2012 is downright musical to the ear. I trust the optimism of a melodious sounding year. In fact, I felt so darn rallied by it, that I took to the task of redesigning Collard Green Muslim. You like?

Last week I visited my cousins in the Shenandoah Valley, along with my parents and 90-year-old Georgia-grandma. What is her secret for a long life, you wonder? Corn flakes and fried chicken. She eats plenty of both. She told me stories that I already heard, but asked her to tell me again, and some stories I heard for the first time.

I never knew that her daddy died just two weeks after her wedding or that she delivered her first-born at home. I never knew that as newlyweds my grandfather mortgaged their car to be able to grow fields of watermelons in Georgia and transport all their crops to market in Florida. They grew so many watermelons that year, they saved up enough money to buy a house in Winter Garden, Florida. I had no idea that my grandmother refused to be a farmer’s wife; that she insisted on living in-town. Or that her mother, my great-grandmother, was drop dead gorgeous with jet-black hair and spent most of her life with a sack around her neck, picking cotton. Or that my grandfather had a mentally handicapped brother who he looked after, as an adult, and I didn’t know that my grandfather and all his brothers were raised by a single father.

My cousin, Andy, shared some photos with me that I will treasure always. Here is my great-grandfather Jack Goodwyne on his Georgia farm. He fathered eight children, all girls. My grandmother was the youngest.

Great Grandfather Jack Goodwyne and (unnamed) Cousin

And, here is my grandfather, John “Shorty” Mask in front of a packing house where he worked as the foreman in Winter Garden, FL.

He was sixteen years her senior. Even though they grew up just five miles from each other, on different Georgia farms, they never knew eachother. It took a citrus packing house in Florida to seal their fate.

I feel grateful to be starting the year off with a little more knowledge of the past.

As for my New Year’s Resolution, I’ve resolved to be a big girl. I’ve settled into my thirties. It’s a good time. I’m over many of the insecurities and diaper changes of my past. By now, I’ve tapped the bitter-sweet serum of my ego enough times to at least know the various subtleties on my palette. I’ve wrestled with some of my demons and lost more battles than I can count. I’ve been whipped, and wrung out, and out of breath. I’ve been too big for my britches and other times not big enough. I’ve been around the block enough times to know a friend when I see one and sniff out an enemy, both within myself and outside myself.

I often don’t know which road to choose when I’m faced with a myriad of choices; I won’t say I’m sure-footed, but I know the lay of the land better and I’m ready to be a big girl. I’m ready to sober to realities, and stop fiddling with ideas.

Death is not a perception; it’s a promise. I’m going to face it just like all of my ancestors did before me. I’m ready to be a big girl. I don’t have enough time to spill over nurturing the image of myself -making it lovely and just so. I have to nurture the true soul within me. The one that keeps on surging, paying no mind to the shackles of this bridge called life; the true me that yearns to walk through fire to return to the Creator of me. I’m ready to be a big girl. I’m ready to love myself, not merely the idea of myself. I’m ready to love other souls, not just the idea of them. I’m ready to cast off the tidy packages I used to put people in to present them to my ego so that I could play mightly with them. I’m ready to leave off making assumptions about myself, and other people, so that I can love with a salve more distilled.

Now, with my big girl self, I’ve been very busy lately. We stayed up almost to 12 midnight on New Year’s Eve. Whoo-hoo! We didn’t even have the energy to clean up before laying down to 2012.

The next day I felt like making something uppity, so I chopped up a batch of collard greens, mixed them with a handful of shallots, a lot more garlic and some accents of kale, then threw it all into my wok:

Not tired yet- I threw my collards into this bed of bow-tie pasta with a marinade of salsa verde which I whipped up:

It was deeee-licious and made me get over all the traitorous feelings from cooking my collards that way.

The collards did me good. The next day I woke up with enough energy to tackle some organizational challenges. Thanks to a facebook friend, I borrowed this idea to keep my hijabs in one tidy space:

Just looking at them in a wide array- their cacophony and brilliant colors – puts me in a cheerful mood.

That’s all for now. I look forward to writing more about my big girl life.

Much love,



19 Responses to “Be a Big Girl”

  1. matriarch216Pam January 3, 2012 at 10:05 am #

    Assalamu alaikum, I am so glad that I found you. I am running at the moment but love the pictures and will come back when I have time to really savor the stories and pictures, Insha’Allah. May Allah keep you and your dear ones safe and near Him, ameen.

    • outdoorchildhood January 3, 2012 at 11:35 am #

      Thank you for your du’a. Many loving thoughts for your kindness offering it. I hope you enjoy the blog and stay in touch.

  2. omwits January 3, 2012 at 10:20 am #

    Asalaamu Alaikum

    Nice to read your posts again. Was thinking of you..kind of weird story. Have you watched, Sick,Tired and Almost Dead? He keeps mentioning kale which I’ve never eaten and that made me think of collard greens which I have also not eaten and it made me think of you!

    • outdoorchildhood January 3, 2012 at 11:42 am #

      I never watched that? Should I? I love kale as much as collards and the two go together so well. It’s a big tough, leafy vegetable so I think it’s kind of intimidating in the produce section. It welts down almost as much as spinach in the pot and is delicious with olive oil and garlic. It takes just minutes to cook. You must try collards the old fashioned way (sans the pork fat) – and toss some vinegar in with chopped onions before taking a bit. I look forward to staying in touch with your blog! I love a ton of the books you have featured.

      • omwits January 5, 2012 at 2:36 pm #

        I think you don’t NEED to…however I think you would be impressed by his vegetable juicing diet. Hamza Yusuf even mentioned it lol…I nearly fell off my chair because I had just watched it.

  3. Humble Mom January 3, 2012 at 11:09 am #

    Love it, Collard Green Mama!
    Miss you already. Here’s to being a big girl, cheers:)

    • outdoorchildhood January 3, 2012 at 11:43 am #

      Hurry up and get up here already big girl! We want to be able to stop by and vice versa. I hope TN is treating you well in the meantime.

  4. Aniza January 3, 2012 at 11:44 am #

    As usual I always enjoy reading your blog masha’allah! You are a wonderful writer and it always makes me happy to read about your adventures! Cheers to being a big girl- being in your 30’s is fabulous as I can attest 🙂

    • outdoorchildhood January 3, 2012 at 12:26 pm #

      Enjoy your 30s! Thanks for commenting Aniza and I’m so glad you enjoy the blog. I enjoy being connected through it with women like you.

  5. hilthethrill January 4, 2012 at 2:56 pm #

    I’m in my thirties, too, and I think learning to be a big girl is a definite must. For later. 😛 I love your writing, and I think it is super-nifty the way you organized your scarves. You are right, 2012 does sound harmonious…

    • outdoorchildhood January 4, 2012 at 7:44 pm #

      Remember that show 30-something when we were kids? Back then I thought I was a big girl and they were really old people.


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