Journaling as a mainstay

(A letter style entry about Covid 19- heads up so you can choose whethere you’re in the headspace to read this now or wish to return later)

Hello lovely,

How are you? Thanks for coming back and reading another one of these. I’m happy to have you here with me. I want today’s blogpost to read like a letter. I hope you enjoy the change in format.

The not so new news is Coronavirus. Global pandemic, lockdown, and quarantine are some of the keywords of the current times. A huge element of being instructed to stay indoors is challenging for me. Obviously as someone who has been sectioned (almost a decade ago now) it is not surprising that this feels very close to the skin. Autonomy is something of a theme that keeps on cropping up this year.

I don’t this is limited to me and my experiences though. I believe that it’s an entirely human feeling, to instinctively recoil at a command that seeks to keep you confined. Isn’t prison seens as a crime and punishment system? It’s punishing because your freedom of movement is voided. (We’ll talk another day about how prison also seems to void human rights, and the whole rehabilitation issue. I have huge feelings around institutionising humans.)

I find myself deeply concerned about the long term implications of our current conditions.

Today the Govt spokepeoples were talking about secondary deaths due to Cv19 they talked about comorbidity. They talked about “BAME” ( slowly coming to really dislike that term) covid rates. I waited with baited breath for them to talk about class, race, poverty how these things intersect with people’s likelihood to contract the illness, how they correlate with how likely they are offered treatment/testing or not believed and sent off …. of course this was not mentioned. Of course not.

Though “the pandemic” has all but painted bold the social inequalities that are built into the very fabric of many of our societies, by many it still goes unseen, unspoken about, and out of awareness.

There’s been such loss and grief.

Numerous people, souls who laughed, thought, felt, loved, were lights, complicated, joyous, passionate, have departed this life.

My Lord grant solace to all those grieving, and soothe them in their experience of loss, of breaking, and hurting.

It’s now more than ever that we realise the value of community perhaps. It feels like another thing that’s been painted bold. This spiritual human interconnectedness. This is a light, and I have hopes that this reconnection to our sense of collective purpose strengthens throughout and beyond this time.

There’s been a whole host of different experiences I guess, and it’s just, I think societies are bound to change in many unimaginable ways on the other side of this. Im hoping to be a part of the effort to make sure this is a “for the better” outcome than a “for the worse” type of thing. Tie your camel, and leave the rest to Him.

So having put things into context of course there’s a lot of feelings and emotions coming up, some mine, some the feelings of others that i feel so easily atuned to (hello, extraverted feeling). My current experience is that it’s taking even more energy than usual to maintain boundaries in that respect.

Hence I’m grateful to have journalling, as a great resource to sift through feelings, identify mine, sort them out from other people’s emotions, and then even looking into projections.

One of my new journaling experiences recently has been getting really relaxed in my body before hand, sort of floating along my mind’s currents and then feeling deeply into any emotion/memory that comes up. After that i breathe deeply, then stretch, and then turn to my journal.

There’s so much stuff coming up. Isn’t that always the case, that the more work you do, the more work there seems to be that needs doing. Such is the joy and sorrow of life.

Anyway that’s it, I just wanted to check in. And express things on here. This is history in the living, and I want to remember it exactly as it was lived for me, not however it might be reworked to fit objectives and poli-socio-economic narratives in the time after.

All the best,

take care,

Fine words Weave

A Yoruba Proverb

In a conversation with my mother recently she mentioned a Yoruba proverb.

Eni ti eyan ma ku han, eyan okin fi ara pamo fun

Why hide yourself from the ones you’ll be exposed to when dead

Consider this, when we die there are certain people to whom responsibility will fall. Those who ought to wash our (respective) bodies and prepare them for burial, those it falls on to take care of the rites, and organise things. In essence they are those who must take charge of our bodies, the ones to whom the obligations and, in effect our bodies now belong.

What can be inferred from the proverb is that these people have a stake in our lives, and a responsibilty towards us after we are departed. We can not hide ourselves from them in death, so logically it does not make much sense to hide ourselves from them in life.

If we feel the need to hide our problems and or struggles from our nearest and dearest, shouldn’t we also consider that at a certain point these will become their struggles too?

We are planted in the soil of our particular situations for a reason. (I firmly believe that this reason is growth, and developing a firm rooted understanding of our ultimate purpose in existence; to worship the Creator). With our ultimate reliance being placed on the Creator we can develop an understanding that support can come in from varying places and indeed people.

Reflecting, it dawns on me that I’ve made a lot of errors of late, and the one person that understands the most about how I feel concerning those mistakes, is the person I have made those errors against. What I’ve learned from this experience is that those around us can, if allowed, shed light on issues from different perspectives and help us to clarify our understanding of things, and in that way enable us to come up with a game plan for how we wish to move forward.

There is great benefit to be found in seeking assistance, and also from assisting others. As it is said, Islam is Naseeha, that is, the good advice. We can benefit from consulting with people. We still have the right to disagree, of course and that right is ours no one can take it away from us, but the blessing of having those around us who are invested and actually want good for us is that we get to make use of the resources they offer.

At times these people might be friends they may be family, the key is that they are trustworthy and want good for us, not only on a superficial level, and because of that are willing to point out to us, or indeed help us point out to ourselves where we’re going wrong or falling short of the persons we are/aspire to be.

In brief; Life is difficult at times. There is no harm in sharing part of that difficulty with those who will be there for your body after you have left it.

Stay Listening

Peaceful Parenting 💙🦋

My 23 month old is crying; his face is all crumpled up, and tears are streaming down his face. He’s got quite the pair of lungs on him, so the sobs that wrack his chest are pretty loud. I don’t immediately rush to shush him, or tell him not to cry, or even tell him that there isn’t a need to cry over small things. Instead I reach for the tools and skills I’ve been developing and learning from my peaceful parenting course. The ones that empower me to parent from a peaceful place inside. To not let the tides of my own emotions overwhelm the ship of my parenting. To listen to him crying, to be there with him in that moment.

The huge swell of panic that used to immediately overwhelm me, the need to just make him stop crying, at near any cost, that, alhamdulillah has gone. Sure it has not suddenly become the highlight of my day when my toddler starts crying and screaming, but slowly slowly I’m building confidence, finding pockets of peace and breathing room, to think and make decisions as opposed to just react. I’m learning to listen to his upset, and not have it rock me and my emotions. I’m able to put my trust in my Lord that my child’s behaviour right now does not mean in future he will be whatever it is I fear. Crying over sweets doesn’t mean he will become spoilt. Pinching somebody else doesn’t mean he will become a bully. It just means his behaviour is off track. It just means he is learning.

He needs my love, connection and listening most, when he is off track. It is exhausting work, any type of parenting is.

But, I’m able to recognise his cries now, for what they are. A way of letting me know that he feels disconnected, that he needs to reconnect with me. He as young as he is, is still subject to his emotions just as we all are. He also faces the challenges and tests that come with living life, and the best way I can foster intelligence both emotional and other kinds, and encourage him to learn ways to deal with these challenges, is to offer connection during these times, to stay listening, and to maintain the limits.

Traditionally speaking, I will be, and have been told, that his behaviour is something I should control, that it is disrespectful or rude for him to be upset by things (perhaps a certain household rule, or something I have told him he is not allowed to have), that I ought to punish him so that he learns to respect me. What I’m coming to realise, is that punishing him for expressing his need for connection serves only to push us further away from each other. The truth is, it is impossible to control anyone else. In fact at times even controlling ourselves can be a struggle. Rather it is Allah that is in control of all of the affairs of the heavens and earth.

One of the gems I picked up during the course which really shook me up, and made me contemplate, was this. My child as he is, is not yet accountable to Allah for his actions, at least not until he reaches the age of maturity. I however am. If his spilling a cup of water on the floor sends me into a rage, or initiates a huge over reaction on my part, then where does this show of injustice lie on the scale of parenting as an act of ibadah. Quite far from ihsan (the best) I would say. And very far removed from the person I want to be.

I have been giving a lot of thought to the woman I am, and the woman I want to be. My personal standards and the esteem I hold my soul in leave me unwilling to be reactive in my parenting approach. I want to be better, and do better. It’s a journey, and not an easy one mind you, but I’m ready and willing to put in the work bi’ithni’llah.

Black Girls Are Beautiful

Black girls are beautiful, from the lightest tones to the deepest hues, with the deepest of dark, or most translucent light colour eyes, the beat of our hearts and the strength of our laughter.
Black girls are beautiful, from the quietest most meek seeming, to the loudest most in your face, the colour of our skin is simply a beautiful marker, of the number of days the sun shines down on us, and shined down on our mothers, and their mothers before us. 
Black girls are warmth, tenderness, and laughter, and heat, and passion. Fierce, and taking none of your nonsense, loving so deeply, and strongly, to protect that love we might just shatter you, yet there is a vulnerability, not all of you get to witness. 
That vulnerability coming partly from the innate nature of a human, compounded by how the outside tries to confine us, put down, brow beat, rough shodden, at times left unprotected. 
Black girls are strength through and through, busting out of boxes meant to define, but we are sublime. If you ever see the flash of our teeth, smiling or grimacing they shine, know that our spirit will never decline. 
Black girls are beautiful, watch us soar, everyday coming to love ourselves more and more.
This poem first appeared as a comment to this post and was written by yours truly. 

I need to get married, fast!

I really need to get married.

I mean I’m still young, I definitely find men attractive, and can unfortunately feel myself slipping into sin. I really need to get married really soon.

To the extent that any Muslim will do really, its gotten to the point where I’m walking around with a wedding ring on my finger, and telling any boy who approaches me, No ring?… NO WAY!!!! (check out my campaign 🙂 )

But in all seriousness, God please send me a good hubby please?

I mean I’m actually quite neurotic, I’ve actually convinced myself that I’m dying. I mean fair enough I’ve not been able to keep anything down for over 24 hours, but dying really? Like I’ve actually just started asking random people to pray I go to jannah (paradise) and that all my sins will dissappear with the end of this ilness.

So yeah, I think if I had a good husband, he’d convince me I wasn’t dying, I’d believe him, because he would probably have come to my house to convince me rather than trying to convince me over the phone, and then he could give me a bath, a nice hot bath.

Do I sound crazy? I feel it. All today I’ve been drinking orange juice, and have managed to eat a tiny tiny tiny corner of a dry loaf of bread, pretty dehydrated from yesterday, forced myself onto the train, so that if I do collapse then at least I’ll be around humans who might (if they can be bothered) call the ambulance if I fell down in there midst.

Smh.

Its pathetic but my Creator understands my needs, so hopefully he’ll send some really awesome, hot, funny Muslim guy along 🙂

Pray for me  people 🙂

‘”Don’t you like talking?” vs “Don’t you like keeping quiet?”‘

cropped-hadithe-steadfastness.jpgI think it’s important that we have regular conversations with ourself.

I look at it this way, my body, and my soul, and my mind. They are three different reflections, of me as I’m standing in front of a three-way mirror. Other people might walk by and pass and comment, but ultimately I’m the one standing in front of the mirror.

They, “the people”, society! say that we are often are own worsts critics, and this is true. But we can also be our own trumpet blowers too. It is important for me, and for you, to strike the right balance between this, the right balance that suits your own innate nature.

For me there’s a mental check list that my mind keeps hold of.

“What would please my Lord, my Rabb?” my mind asks.

“Doing this” my soul replies, hastily wanting to answer before my body does.

“Doing ‘that’!” my body butts in, not wanting to have it’s opinion trampled.

Ever patient, having been given reason by My Lord, my mind asks again, “What would please My Lord, the Creator (Al Khaaliq) ?”

“We could do ‘this’?” My body wants to compromise.

So does my soul, “We could do ‘that’ though”.

Again my mind asks, “What would please My Lord, Creator of all that is in existence?”

I reach a compromise.

My soul says, “I want to do ‘other’.”

My body says, “I want to do ‘other’.”

My mid says, “Okay, let’s do ‘other’.”

It can work out like this fast, or it can work out like this slowly, either way, as long as it works out like this I am happy, because “Other” is actually my name. As in I am another person. A different person from everyone else. Yes everyone is different, and that makes for some sameness. But in all honestly, if I sit down and take some time, that true me, that inner me, created by my Rabb, is the me that will come out.

So i guess in a way… I’m advocating patience.

:).

That’s it from me, take care.

Azeezat A.B.A.

Pst! (whispers) I wrote an article, following in my uncles footsteps… but don’t tell him 😉 It’s a “not so secret”, secret.

Prominent Nigerians, by @ebutecastle

Some prominent Nigerian personalities in the public eye are ‘users and abusers’. I do understand the need and importance for privacy ! What do I mean?

Politicians, pop stars, artist and others canvas for your; votes, love and money (to buy or watch movies or records); in order to raise and maintain their status/ career.

Though when certain incidents happen; such as health scares, accidents and minor personal issues- those same personalities, prefer to leave the public to mercy of rumour-mongers and unconfirmed news stories.

Why not issue statements, update websites or use social network site to inform people what’s going on?

Recently; rumours about Terry G’s involvement in a car accident are rife; It took a few days before the accident which eventually took the life of the late Dagrin to be confirmed. To date the circumstances sorrounding the death of Stella Obasanjo or Maryan Babadiga is still unclear despite several rumours and unconfirmed stories.

In as much everyone is entitled to a private life, at the same time, a line needs to be drawn.

There are lesson to be learnt from most things in life.