Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Life Update : Chapter Two ( Growing Pains)

I felt like I should have done this a long time ago, and it only dawned on me now but since my most recent post, I felt that it really helped me in certain ways and I felt like writing again, because why not right? No pressure on myself and no commitment. Since this has been such a journey, I thought I would just turn my thoughts into chapters.

The more I feel obligated to post on my blog, the more it deters me away. Whenever I am forced to do something, I always feel like the enjoyment factor is taken out of the activity. For example, whenever I plan for Ramadan or have a schedule that I MUST stick to, I always end up failing and then I feel upset with myself because I was unable to follow the schedule whereas when I just improvise and go with the flow, I tend to become more productive and that is when I am at my most comfortable and creative state! Is anyone else like that too?

ANYWAY ,

So after my most recent post , after what felt like half a decade before I decided to resurface! I was thinking about my life and where I am currently since I converted to Islam. Honestly, where I am in my life at 2017 compared to where I THOUGHT I would be now back in 2011 is definitely not what I ever imagined or expected. I thought by now I would have had a family of my own and other parts of my life would have been sorted out by now. But none of that has happened and I am back to where I was physically 7 years ago. Stuck at home with my parents lol. This situation really does bring back a lot of memories for me. As mentioned in my previous post, a lot of my childhood consisted of emotional, physical, and mental abuse. Mainly because I am an only child and my parents only knew from what their culture taught them: raise children with strict discipline, beat them with no mercy and show no affection or love. Even to this day, I will never be able to talk to them about things that bother me or things that I want to do in my life for fear of being judged or using my failures against me or just being blamed for everything I do or don't do. It is definitely a toxic environment and extremely draining mentally and emotionally. That is why I never lived at home much during my young adult life because I just couldn't deal with that feeling of being a prisoner in my own home. I am definitely feeling again like a prisoner in my own home, maybe not physically but definitely mentally and emotionally. It is a struggle each and every day to have to live accordingly without compromising my deen. So that is why during my non-Muslim days, I would just live my life the way I knew how to and I would drown my sorrows and troubles with listening to music, partying and staying out of the house until dawn. I ran away from my problems and I wanted instant relief and I would do anything to get it.

The reason why I am writing about this is that I realized why I am struggling and having a hard time dealing with these current hardships. It is because, this time, I have to face my problems and there is no running away from them nor is there a quick relief for them. Even though things are somewhat different, things are still the same from 7+ years (living with my parents who still treat me like i'm 12) I now have to deal with my problems head on and there is no quick fix for it AT all. This is what is so frustrating and this is why I am having a difficult time. Never before in my life did I have to face my problems, I always found a quick fix around them or I would just simply run away from them and forget about them until they crept up on me again and then I would just complete the same vicious cycle over and over. Though the problems will not go away until Allah wills them to, I guess this whole experience is to help me gain sabr and to help me grow emotionally- 'growing pains', if you will.

A week ago, in the halaqah I attended, we talked about how to develop emotional intelligence, how do we grow emotionally and learn how to have a healthy balance with our emotions. It made me think about myself. I realized from a young age I really had a lot of pain and suffering emotionally because nobody was really there for me when I needed them the most. I would cry to anybody who would listen but most of the time I would jot my thoughts down on paper and writing became my release. I only knew of negative emotions and I am now trying to find that balance and not let the negativity take over my mind and my heart.

From that halaqah, I concluded that this whole life lesson is to help me develop more sabr and to help me grow emotionally. Though my emaan may be weak at the moment and holding on to faith and hope at this point in my life is something that doesn't come easy, I know this is because I am going through growing pains. I guess because I ran away from everything for the whole of my life and I always found instant temporary relief for my problems, I am not used to this new concept of actually facing your reality rather than running away from it. I am starting to believe this is what Allah wants me to learn. I am convinced that this is the only way I can mature spiritually as well as emotionally. Even though it is something I hate, I try to remind myself that, "But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you, and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah Knows, while you know not" (2:216) and even though I have a hard time accepting this, I know deep down that everything I go through, good or bad, there is good in it whether I believe it or not at the time. It is not easy you know. Struggling to accept the qadr of Allah and to know that whatever you go through, it is what you need in your life at this exact moment. Whatever you are going through is where you should be right now. This is what was written for you and this is what you need to accept. Even though many of us, myself included, believe this with our tongues, it is another thing to actually believe it with our hearts. I find myself often saying " yes, I am aware, yes, I know" but then sometimes I find my actions completely opposite. And this is where I struggle. 

In 2011, I found myself going through a lot of ease. The first three years as a Muslim, I spent most of my days learning about the deen and preaching to others what I learned. I was very active online and had many of my own online community friends who would follow me trying to enjoin good. A few years later, reality hit me and the verse "Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: "We believe," and will not be tested." (29:2) fully hit me and now I am learning to fight the battle instead of running away from it. Although there are just so many times where I wish I could just hide from everything- but where would I hide anyway? 

I look back at myself then compared to now and I feel like I was so naive. Being a Muslimah back then was such a simple task. It was a simple routine of eat, sleep, pray. But now, now I am learning the true meaning of living as a Muslimah in this dunya. Tests upon tests, hardships upon hardships. In 2014, real life started to happen and since then, every day remains a struggle. I strongly believe that these tests will never end until I return to Allah, and even then, there is the trials of the grave and the questioning on The Day. 

At the halaqah, it was mentioned that the happiest Muslim woman is the one who lives her life remembering the Last Day and how she will return to her Lord. Living your life like this will fill your soul with richness. I strongly believe this and I wish some day I can get over the reality of this life and transcend to that level, but until then each day remains a struggle to remember and live up to my identity as a Muslimah. 

I am trying to accept that life isn't always measured by the material successes in your life ( marriage, children, career, etc) but it is based on your inner self and how you can be content with your internal centre even if your external circumstances are not in your favour. My external circumstances are nowhere in my favour right now (except Alhamdulillah I rather be in Toronto than USA ANY DAY! ) and my challenges in life is to learn how to be content with what I have and to be content with who I am so that whatever external challenges that come my way, I can accept them and learn how to deal with them. 
Maybe I am a slow learner and maybe everyone else has this figured out but me, but I guess it is a start right? I can finally say life, ain't easy. There have been so many times I wanted to just give up but alhamdulillah, Islam has helped me find my way no matter how lost this dunya makes me feel. It has not been easy and I know now that life will never get easier, it is only us who learn to adapt and change our outlook on life thus allowing us to become better and stronger in facing the reality of this fleeting, temporary life.

Sigh.

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Assalamualaikum, please be mindful about what you are about to write. Think about it before writing and make sure it is something positive and beneficial, otherwise it will be deleted and ignored. JazakiAllah kheyr ! Sisters ONLY! xo