When in trouble-Who do you call?

If you were sent to jail and you had to use your one phone call, who would be the person you call? The person(s) we count on in our time of need in my opinion should supersede everyone and everything else.

What was that saying, “don’t make someone a priority if they only make you an option“. I say if someone makes you a priority or would be there for you in your time of need then never make that person an option.

My mother always used to say a person that one calls a friend or even a relative should have “hiil iyo hoy”. In essence it means loyalty, support and being there for you in your time of need. You never know who your true friends are until your time of need. .

 I do believe if a person does not have this quality of what we Somali’s  call “hiil iyo hoy” then such a person has no integrity and shouldn’t be in our circle of trust. In fact sometimes even strangers, who do have integrity can fulfill this role when those most close to us simply don’t or can’t. It’s a quality that I find highly important in relationships.

Going back to the question posed in the title of this post, for me the first person I would call in a time of emergency would be my father.

Although not a major emergency I was in a sticky situation earlier today. I had written about the vandalism on my car in the post “Crazy week” and originally I thought the damage was only the glass. I picked up my car yesterday from the shop and this morning without checking anything as I had no suspicion, I drove to school.

In the middle of a busy street on campus my car mysteriously slows down. Puzzled, I step on the accelerator and the car doesn’t speed up. Then I hit the brakes, which to my relief is functioning. Realizing something is wrong and I need to get off the street I try to enter the left lane, when suddenly the wheel stiffens and refuses to turn. Then the car shuts down in the middle of the street. It all happened in seconds.

Oh the horror.

I know and I do realize it intellectually that worse things happen in life, but having my car break down in the middle of street is one of those embarrassing fears I have. On the same list as having my naked pictures released to the world. Not that I take naked pictures, but I am just saying that I find the scene very humiliating.

I desperately try to restart the car, while telling myself to remain calm. Nothing I do works. One of the most beautiful aspects of American society is when things like this happen, being stranded in the middle road for example, people will rush to your aid.

Knowing this beautiful quality of our society and not wanting to draw attention to myself, I flee my car to a nearby parking lot to make several phone calls. Don’t judge me. I hate attention.

I had a morning meeting with my advisor and professor about my final project, therefore missing the meeting was my greatest worry. Since I couldn’t connect to the internet, because I didn’t sign up for a data plan, I called my good friend to get me my advisor’s phone number. He didn’t answer so I called several other friends.

No one answered. 15 minutes till the meeting remained. Another thing I hate is being late and keep people waiting.

I called my parents. They didn’t answer either, so I called my uncle to get me antifreeze, because I thought that was the problem. He told me he was on his way. In the meantime I told myself to not panic and stop being such a loser.

I headed back to my car and put the phone against my ear like I had everything under control, which I didn’t.  I tried several times to start the car and to my great surprise the car started to move when I put it on Drive. I put the emergency lights on and in a bewildered state drove to my building, all the while praying that it doesn’t stop in the middle of a road again. The building was only five minutes away, but with downtown traffic and all the red lights it felt like forever.

The same scenero, decreasing acceleration and stiffening wheel began to happen just as I entered the road to my building. With force I turned the stiff wheel and stumbled onto a empty parking lot across the building. Three minutes remained to my meeting, but I was incredibly elated. The car couldn’t have broke down in a better place.

I ran with a big smile to the building and was in my advisor’s office right on time, only to be told the meeting was not for another 30 minutes. But hey, I was happy that I not only made it, but so did my car.

During that fiasco my father had called me right back, thus I called him. No matter the time of day or what he is doing, he always answers the phone or at least get’s back to me within minutes. My father has always been there for me, alhamdullah. May God bless our parents.

My dad instead of my uncle came with the antifreeze and oil, but both were full. He called to have the car towed and told me to finish my studies. He would take care of everything as he always does for me. As it turns out after inspection of the car there was a lot of sand in the gas tank and that was the reason my well-functioning car broke down mysteriously.

It never crossed our minds someone would put sand in the gas tank, but after the vandalism of our cars and business this shouldn’t be a surprise. Just wished we had realized it before making the insurance claim.

Thus, apart from making this long blog post, I spent the day preparing for finals rather than worrying about all the stress that comes with having my car fixed.

Alhamdullah for my beloveds.  When I find myself in sticky situations they are always there for me.  I have lived a pretty sheltered life, in which everything I needed was done for me. I wouldn’t say I am spoiled, my parents didn’t raise me to expect things without work. But I am sheltered in the sense that I don’t have to fix or do much because it was taken care of, as in the example of having my car fixed. I just call daddy and everything is solved.

I have never lived on my own and the longest I have ever been away from home is 50 days for an internship abroad.

My friends think I am very dependent and I do think they have a very valid point. I do take care of the finances and management of the home and our business. All those responsibilities are mine, however I do believe by having never lived on my own there are many life skills that I lack.

I tend to very paranoid in new situations and very uncomfortable in unfamiliar places. See my reaction above after experiencing my car break down. My natural reaction is to retreat.

The farthest I have ever ventured out on my own is a two hour drive from home, while my peers travel and drive all over the country.  Women my age are married, have kids, pay their own bills, starting out on a career and travel all over the world, while I have never even driven to Chicago next door.  

Oh lord that sounds depressing. Let’s just say I am glad I have the type of personality that counts blessings.

I describe my family as my flood gates, because without those gates I do think I would drown in the overwhelming flood that is life. At the same time I do know it is not healthy to not stand on your two feet. I have never been tested and it’s my greatest fear to be without family and support.

Yet in life we should expect and be ready for anything. We should be our own main pillar.

I am my mother’s little girl and she tends to be paranoid about all the things that can go wrong to me when I travel for example. It is the motherly nature. Regardless of how old we are, our mothers are always protecting us. My father on the other hand has noticed my sheltered existence long ago and has been preparing me or at least trying to.

The summer before starting university I started the preparation for the Fall semester. Part of that preparation included going to the university to complete paper work and receive my parking pass. The university is located downtown and I had never driven downtown by myself so naturally I did what I always do when I feel worried towards a task I feel I can’t handle.

I called on daddy.

He refused to take me. I was shocked, frustrated, disappointed, and deeply hurt. Why won’t you help me? I asked him with hurt, but he just ignored me and said he couldn’t. My mother had to go to work, otherwise I would have asked her and before I called a cousin or a friend, a thought entered my mind.

What could be so bad about driving to downtown? I’ve been there many times before and surly I can do it. I am almost 18, I told myself. Feeling a bit more empowered by those thoughts, I sat out for downtown by myself.

The one way streets and many garages were a nightmare, but after sweating profusely, being greatly confused and overwhelmed with extreme anxiety, I found my destination. I parked my car in a garage next to the building, grabbed the information I thought I needed and set out for the office. Due to my out of control nerves, I forgot a lot of things I needed so I had to go back to my car twice to get more paper work.

But guess what, when I had accomplished my task?

It wasn’t so bad. Gone were the anxiety, nervousness and feeling frightened. I even felt very satisfied with myself as if I had conquered a great feet. It was a very good feeling. I called my father right away and thanked him. I didn’t realize at the beginning his plan had been for my own benefit.

The first time for anything may feel overwhelming and frightening like it was for me during the first time I drove downtown by myself, but after having gone through it, it became part of the familiar that was no longer scary.

There are many things in life that are like the first drive to downtown for me. Situations that bring forth anxiety, nervousness, and doubt.  Whenever I want to run to my beloved parents, I remind myself to rise to the equation and solve the problem on my own first. It’s not pleasant to feel emotionally paralyzed and scared. I do hate that feeling and though I can’t my help natural reactions, it’s a conscious decision to face fear and keep myself under control. Even if I don’t get it right immediately, I must try again.

It is soothing to the heart to have someone(s), who have our back. One realizes the importance of this resource when one feels lost and hopeless and someone comes along to make it all better or easier. Such people should never be taken for granted and should be cherished. This is the very reason why I feel no rush to leave home. I know life will not always be as it is today. It is the natural process of life that beloveds will be separated, therefore I want to hold onto every moment like there is no tomorrow. There is a lot of kissing and hugging in my family.

I never understood couples that are in long distance relationships. I could never do it. I could never be far from a beloved for long, although some could argue and I may see their point that wanting to be with your loved ones constantly may not be healthy. While I do hang onto my beloveds very strongly, I do also realize I must get over my fears and become my own woman. It is my time to be the pillar not only for myself, but for my beloveds. I don’t want circumstance to teach me these skills, I wish be the engineer behind this development.

2 Responses to When in trouble-Who do you call?

  1. NinaG says:

    Living on your own does help but I haven’t been in my parent’s house for nearly a decade and there are some things that still freak me out or I don’t know how to do. Like you, I’m anxious until the task is accomplished.

    More than anything I think being emotionally mature about crises is the most important thing. I think that figuring out a solution to a problem and not freaking out to the point of paralysis is more important than doing it on my own. (I used to have serious breakdowns when things weren’t working the way they were supposed to)

    Even though I kind of rushed to get away from my parents, I’m constantly trying to re-create a support network like what they offered me.

    • Guulo says:

      Thank you for sharing Nina:). You and I are alike in many ways. I tend to think my caution about the world is unhealthy and sometimes think I must be alone in my age group, so hearing you have similar dealings is comforting. I guess trying to find your place in the world can be a daunting task. Cheers to us.

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