Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Save the internet! Save blogs--like this one!

This week Congress is debating whether to grant themselves the power to turn off parts of the Internet. Fun sites you YouTube. Informative sites like Wikipedia. Political sites like MoveOn.org.

If enacted, new laws would force Internet Service Providers to block websites that any corporation suspects violates a copyright or suspects doesn't monitor it's users' content close enough for copyrighted materials. That means that any website, foreign or based in the U.S., could be wiped out on suspicion and made unavailable to everyone in the world.

This week there will be a historic filibuster of the Internet Censorship Act where the names of every person that signs a petition against Internet censorship will be read. I added my name. Please add yours too.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Gwinnett Daily Post article on me

I made it to the front page of the Gwinnett Daily Post. Woohoo!

Click here to read the article.

Edit #1: Oh, cool! I also made it to the Muslim Heroes site. Click here for that.
Edit #2: I'm also on the CAIR Oklahoma Facebook page.
Edit #3: Big thank you to everyone I know and don't know who reshared this article. I appreciate all the support very much.


[I wrote this post over a month ago when I went home for Thanksgiving break. I didn't post it because I thought it was kind of dumb. It's ironic how the post starts off.]

I’ve mentioned before how I sometimes start posts but don’t finish them. I was looking at some of the file names of these unfinished posts and I noticed how one of them was about my bedroom. I had started that post when I was supposed to be studying for an exam. Sick and tired of being cooped up in my apartment and staring at medical texts, all I could think about at the time was being at home in my old bedroom.

I received a text message from my mom a few weeks ago asking me if she could throw away some of the CDs and DVDs that were in my room. I hated when my parents or sisters take something or throw away things from my room.

When I refer to “my room” I mean my room. Not the room I sleep in now on the main floor whenever I go home. That used to be the guest room and the only new things added in there that I use are a desk and a pull-up bar.

My room is directly above the room that I use now. It used to be my sanctuary. Big stereo, big bed, posters all over the walls, green tie-dye sheets, big desk with a leather executive chair, little trinkets and memorabilia collected over the years scattered on my dresser and all over my room, books, magazines, DVD's, and CD's in a corner—those are the things that made it mine.

I was watching an episode of Dexter the other day and the main character was having trouble coming to terms with the idea that he may have to give up his apartment. His apartment was his private place of bliss where he could keep everyone at a distance and just be alone with his thoughts and secrets. “Everybody needs privacy, some more than others. That's why god created golf,” another character tells him.

That’s how I felt about my room. I loved staying up late after everyone had gone to sleep and watching movies, listening to music, reading, or just lying in bed. That’s how I recharged myself and how I collected myself when I wasn’t busy socializing or doing productive things.

Whenever I used to do “visualization” exercises suggested to me by different people, I always pictured myself walking up the stairs, going into my room, and diving under my covers on my bed. I’ve only been up to my room about three times in the past two and a half years.

When I went home a few weeks ago, I asked my mom why I was having to choose what items to keep from the boxes of CD's, DVD's, electronics, and random stuff that were under my bed.

“Your youngest sister needs a room, too,” she said, “and we already use your brother’s room as a guest room.”

That hit me hard.

I was upset when I asked my parents for my stereo so I could take it to my apartment and I thought they had thrown it away (thankfully they were able to find it a few weeks later in the attic). It’s hard to see things I had in my room being used by others or put into the attic, because of the memories and attachments I associate with things. It sucks that I often dream of going up to my room but cannot do so and that I haven’t even seen it in over a year.

It looks like the goal I’ve had of one day walking up the stairs and going to my room by myself and lying on my bed will really never happen. That’s a tough reality to accept.

I’ll never feel at home in the former guest room that I sleep in on the main floor whenever I go back home; that’s not my room. I don’t really feel at home in my apartment in Athens because most of my time is spent in my study room. I know this sounds dumb to a lot of people, but this is important to me.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Stand tall

If you read my post from this past March, "Thanks, Doc", this photo is in response to that.

Hopefully this will open up more doors for me and make things easier.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Would the boy you were be proud of the man you are now?

A friend of mine was asking me questions about my accident and how I felt about things, so I referred her to this talk I did because I couldn’t answer them all at the time. I ended up watching a little bit of it again myself.

In that talk to high school students, I said some things about my high school days and I mentioned how I was voted most likely to succeed. “Kind of ironic how that turned out,” I said. I thought it was ironic because I wasn’t successful and I was in a wheelchair—not what my classmates had expected.

In high school, I was riding high on life. I was student government vice president, I was on homecoming court, I was voted most likely to succeed (in addition to being nominated best all-around, most intelligent, and something else I can’t remember), I ran track & field and cross country, I was a peer leader, and so on and so forth. I was invincible. Or so it seemed.

I was going through a rough patch recently, but it didn’t get me down. An encouraging text message from my mom and a few kind words from a classmate made me smile and contemplate about things.

I found myself thinking this multiple times: would the boy I was be proud of the man I am now?

The boy I was would probably first ask me, “What exactly is a spinal cord injury?” He would then ask me about any other injuries I sustained, including the brain injury. I would then be expected to explain how it affects my life on a daily basis and to provide fun little examples to state my case (this boy was curious and liked stories).

If I had known I would be dealt certain cards, I would have expected myself to deal with them with class. I had never been one to run and hide. I know that with all things, some people have it better, but some people have it worse; things may come easy to some people, but more difficult to some.

If the boy I was met the man I am now, I don’t think he would care too much about my obstacles, failures, or rough patches. He would assure me that each time I fall, I should be able to pick myself back up. That is why I meet the meet people I meet; that is why I face the successes and failures that I do; that is why I’ve gotten into trouble for certain things or have been told certain things; that is why I experience pain and see others in pain. It is all to prepare me for bigger tests—tests that I should pass because I have been preparing for them my whole life.

I would want to be proud of the things I have done, the way I have treated people, the way I have acted and reacted, the way I have used my abilities, and the way I have dealt with my disabilities.

Although life hasn’t gone as planned, I think the boy I was would be proud of me. And in the end, I decided that’s what matters, and I kept calm and carried on. I know myself the best and I know what I am capable and incapable of doing, and what I should and shouldn’t be doing. I would sleep peacefully knowing that “future Hammad” stayed true to the things I thought were important and that with each task, he would be okay.

So, would the boy (or girl) you were be proud of the man (or woman) you are now?