Love Is Universal

Sometimes, you run into a good thing and you want to share it with everyone.

Deonna Kelli Sayed recently attended the Southern Entrepreneurship in the Arts Conference, and kept noticing one attendee who drew during all the sessions. “Hey,” she said, “Your stuff is good. Would you like to create some original work for Love, Inshallah?”

Alex Irish, an aspiring and talented media artist, agreed to gift LoveInshallah with original art. In homage to resident Geek girl Zainab Chaudary and wonderful posts by Ali Mattu, Alex took took on LoveInshallah’s core theme — love!

Love is grand. Love is transformative. The experience belongs to everyone, regardless of body shape, gender, sexuality, ethnicity or wealth. No special or magical skills are required.  Alex nailed it:

Love is Universal

What a perfect sentiment for Friday Love.

Thank you, Alex, for sharing your talent with us. May the Force be with you!

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Alex Irish is an aspiring media artist. When he’s not illustrating and sketching cartoons, he writes for The PlayStation Game Blog and IGN.  Visit here to look at his animation and art, here to read his blog on Hollywood animation and design,  and here for his Playstation musings.


My Sci Fi Valentine

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I have a problem with Jerry Maguire. It’s got nothing to do with Tom Cruise’s toothy grin or with the fact that I can’t watch Renee Zellweger without thinking of her character in Empire Records.

I take issue with one of the most famous lines from the film:

“You complete me.”

People, can we just stop for a minute. Not only does he say it, but then apparently there was never any need for him to say it because he had Renee Zellweger at “hello.”

For many people, this is one of the most romantic lines ever uttered on film or television. But to me, the concept of two people completing one another – of two people being only half of themselves until this magical, mythical other piece comes into play – seems flawed. Love is diverse and takes many forms: straight or gay, monogamous or polyamorous, bicultural or biracial, intercultural or heck, maybe in the not-so-distant future, inter-lovotic. But one thing, I feel, holds true: the best kind of love is having one complete person come together with another complete person. Because though they may enhance each other’s lives, true completion comes from within.

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Coming Out As A Geek Is Hard To Do

I spent most of my life hiding who I really was until a conversation with Nhu-An (now my fiancée) changed everything.

We’ve crossed the one-year anniversary of my blog, Brain Knows Better, and it’s pretty incredible to think how much my life has changed over this last year. It’s been a ton of fun to explore the psychology of sci-fi, but more than anything, this blog has helped me be honest about who I am – a big geek.

I didn’t like who I was in middle school and tried everything I could to blend in.I wasn’t always this open about being a geek. For most of my life, I tried to hide it. In middle school, I knew some kids who wore Starfleet uniforms to class. When they were bullied for it, I stood by silently. Back then, I probably watched as much Star Trek: The Next Generation after school as they did, but I wanted nothing to do with them. They weren’t cool and more than anything else, I wanted to fit in.

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Love Thyself (Inshallah)

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Bookstores are my turf. They’re my territory, where I live and breathe. I’m intimately familiar with all aspects of it: from the selling of books (bookseller, two years) to the buying of books (lifetime member of Bookaholics Anonymous, which, like most things, is a figment of my overactive imagination), from the writing of books to the reading of them. I will devour any word on any page.

And yet…there is a part of this kingdom I’ve refused to go near: the fashion and beauty magazines. I ventured into this exotic and dangerous area a few years ago. I looked to my left, looked to my right, stepped gingerly in. The array of lipsticked, perfectly coiffed, exquisitely dressed women both bewildered and terrified me. I skulked for a bit until someone else started perusing the section, at which point I hightailed it back to my political journals section with unseemly haste. Back on solid ground.

Here is where the Venn Diagram of nerd girls and Muslim girls intersects: there is something inherently shameful about a woman paying attention to her own body. One of my favorite blog posts of the year perfectly captures the strangely contradictory dichotomy that both Muslim girls and nerdy girls face. We are simultaneously desexualized and hyper-sexualized by the societies we find ourselves in.

I fear I’ve double-whammied myself on this one.

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The Doctor Will See You Now

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Zainab Chaudary is Love Inshallah’s resident geek. Look for her column, “The Geekologist” every third Wednesday of the month!

First rule of Fight Club: you do not talk about Fight Club.
First rule of Browncoats: aim to misbehave.
First rule of Whovians: you never forget your first Doctor.

Every geek has a poison of choice.  Yes, you can fan out over multiple shows and let your mind wander the ‘verse of “Firefly” or the final frontiers of “Star Trek.” But there’s always that one thing you connect with above all others – a show, a character, or a comic book hero. My poison of choice? A little British show about a 900-year old alien Time Lord with two hearts, (mostly) human physiology, and the ability to regenerate himself when on the verge of death: “Doctor Who.”

In 2006, I was working at a bookstore, navigating my way back to a life I no longer recognized after three years of living abroad. Life was different and yet the same, and like the Doctor, the new layered onto the old. When a coworker introduced me to Doctor Who, I recognized something of myself in it, in the man who travels, never ceasing, never stopping, and in the people who travel with him, only to inevitably get left behind.  Like most sci fi and fantasy, it is the fantastical premise that throws universal human-ness into sharp relief and depicts the reality of being human better than any sitcom with a canned laugh track. These shows are unafraid to take risks, and prepare their fan base for anything. Even separation. Even death.

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The Geekologist: Your TARDIS Or Mine?

Editor’s note: Writer Zainab Chaudary is coming on board as a LoveinshAllah.com monthly columnist!

Look for her column, “The Geekologist” every third Wednesday of the month!

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I speak six languages.

Well, to be fair, one of them is not so much a language as it is an entire shift in being and mannerisms. I imagine I look like some sort of alarmed bird, a goose maybe, or a duck: my eyes get super-wide, I gesticulate wildly with my arms the way startled waterfowl flap their wings. I frighten small children and twitchy adults. Words like TARDISHellmouth and “frak” escape my lips like gibberish.

I refer to it as “Geek-Speak,” though I’m sure it has other names like “Nerding Out” or “Fan-Girling.” Woe upon the unsuspecting friend who gets me started on a show I love,  an underrated sci-fi concept, or space exploration. By the end of my breathless explanation, they look doubtful of my sanity and  do a quick visual scan for the nearest exits.

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