This post comes with a trigger warning ⚠️ it‘s about domestic abuse, and harmful societal messaging. Please only read it if you feel you are in the right mental framing to do so, and that it won’t detrimentally affect you.Continue reading “Unlearning; Undeserving Love”
One of my amazing and brilliant friends had the bold and visionary idea to start a money mastermind group. It was an inspired idea to get our respective finances and money mindsets in order and we’re a couple weeks in and going strong.
Something that someone said on one of our group calls really impacted me, you know those moments where you hear something and you have to stop because the words resonate so much that it feels like they’ve physically taken hold of you and changed your perspective? So in that moment you’re silently re-examining everything you’ve ever experienced with this new possibility in mind. It was a big moment.
On the topic of something that scared us/dragged us far out of our comfort zone, I mentioned that spoken word definitely feels a whole word of scary to me, I wasn’t the only one who felt that way, on a tangent it’s interesting to me how many of my friends are “private poets” let’s call it (expressing the feelings through poetry in a very personal and not for public consumption kind of way).
The thing that blew me away? To paraphrase: “poetry is a means of you expressing how you feel, there’s no need for you to be comparing your poetry to anyone else’s, the thing that you really have to ask yourself is whether you believe your feelings matter.”
Just wow. Even writing this out again from memory i’m still taken aback by it, their is so much truth in this statement, and when I ask myself, I know that on some level along the way I did learn or take on board the messaging that my feelings weren’t important.
I felt the words in my chest. Naturally I had to write about it. I’ve got some idea of where some of this messaging came from, certain life experiences etc. Saying that I also think that’s a large part of the messaging of our society, at least historically, I think things are starting to change, (though the pendulum effect might be taking place and it seems to be overcompensating and swinging really far in the direction of “my feelings matter more than anyone else’s”) .
Even still it’s such an important thing to consider whether on some level you hold a limiting belief to that effect, then having identified that, what will you do about that?
Find Words Weave
I was looking back at some old blog posts on a different host site, and I stumbled across a long forgotten post from Novemeber 2010. In it I wrote
…So that’s what’s been going on with me. Well that and a stint in hospital, which I think had completely broken me.
I’ve not been able to write anything, which in turn has led me to be upset… but I just don’t feel things the way I used to. It’s weird and horrible, and I hope no one has to feel the way I feel.
My sense of humour has totally changed. Things I found funny before are now not nearly as funny. I have officially become an unenthusiastic person. It bites and I don’t know how to change it, or how to feel things anymore.
I’m not asking why. I accept that this is something that has had to happen, because it did actually happen, I just wanna know what to do about it.
Reading this seven years later and being confronted with that former version of myself is hard. My heart swells and remembers the faint echo of its old wounds whilst reading this post.
It was written shortly after I was sectioned under the mental health act and hospitalised. I am someone who is pretty open about this having been part of my life experience, though I feel where I come from, both from a cultural and religious standpoint, there is still at times a stigma attached to mental health problems, and being open about difficulties people face in that regard. I stand by my resolve to be open about my experience though, because it is through sharing, open discussion, and sincere reflection, that I believe we all learn, develop, and reach new levels of compassion and understanding.
What is very weird though, is that I’d forgotten that my writing slump coincided with my being sectioned. Prior to being sectioned, I would spend countless nights losing sleep because I was pouring out a new story idea, or working on a new poem, or just scribbling my feelings out in a journal. After being sectioned I just couldn’t do it. I tried, I tried to force myself to keep writing, I even attempted NaNoWriMo from my room on the triage ward, but it just didn’t pan out.
For perhaps the majority of my life words and writing have been places of refuge for me; from spending summers folding a4 sheets of paper in half, stapling them in the middle and designing books, writing endless stories fuelled by a youthful imagination, to journalling during my time in boarding school, even those angst filled poems that littered my teenage years. However, in the midst of one of my most difficult life experiences, that tool and solace was lost to me.
It was not that I couldn’t access writing, it’s just there was something off about it, even now it’s so hard to express this in a way that makes sense. It was almost as though in the same way that my self confidence had withered away during my time in hospital, the creativity I normally overflowed with when it came time to put my fingers to the keyboard or even pen to paper had shrivelled up too. I can still remember the desperate struggle to write, how huge of a mental block there seemed to be, how it was almost as though I’d lost not only the capacity to express myself, but also the will to do so. I believe this is very much a parallel to how things stood for me at that time mentally too. It took a lot of work to get back on an even keel, Alhamdulillah! I do feel that this experience, as much as it knocked me down, was useful in that it was a way to start rebuilding myself with a stronger foundation.
Eventually, painstakingly slowly my love of writing did return. I started of with a journal, a hot pink faux leather bound lined notebook; no dates or days, just blank lined pages a year after I left hospital. I didn’t write every day, in fact weeks would go by and I wouldn’t pick up my pen at all. When I did write, I would write a sentence here, a paragraph there, and there were a lot of days where I couldn’t find the motivation to get out of bed, talk less of the mental effort it took to pick up a pen and organise my thoughts enough to write what I was feeling.
I kept writing though. A new year started and I was still using that same hot pink diary… occasionally. Gradually I was recovering, and so was my writing. Things were not exactly the same, just as I had been altered by my experiences, I believe my writing was too. At times writing can still be a challenge, but I am so grateful that it wasn’t lost to me forever.
To anyone who’s found that mental health issues have negatively impacted their writing I wanted to just put this out there, don’t lose hope. It can come back, it may not be the same, but the challenging things that we go through in life don’t have to forever be dark ink blots on the pages of our life stories, we have the capacity to grow from and learn from our experiences. To transform the inkblots into fantastic illustrations of growth and starting points for change.
Lots of love
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.
I have cried a lot lately. There are a multitude of reasons for this, I guess the summary reason though, is that this testing ground, we call life, is hard. It has it's delights, but it really has its share of despair and disappointments too! Subhanallah.
To detail my feelings they range from feeling like I fail daily at being a good muslimah, and my inadequacies as a mother, all the way to my shortcomings as a spouse. It doesn't help that pregnancy hormones magnify things to the 'nth' degree and kick your emotions up by a few thousand notches on the intensity scale. I feel disappointed in myself when I'm not reaching my targets, or even just the basic standards of what I expect of myself.
But I had a reminder in the form of LaYinka Sanni's instastory takeover on the sisters in business instagram page. It was much needed, and testament once again to the fact that Allah is the best of planners. I heard what I needed to hear, and upon reflection I've been able to apply the lesson to the current challenges I am facing.
"What was the reminder" the blank white space on my screen curiously asks?
I smile peacefully and carry on typing: "the reminder was this."
That I need to put Allah subhana wa ta'ala forefront at whatever I'm doing, seek Him, and seek His barakaat (blessings) and elevate things so that they are truly pleasing to him!
This reminder makes the utmost sense to me, I definitely believe that success lies this way. So much of what's been going on lately has managed to bring me down and put me in a low place. The great thing about being at the bottom though, is that you are free to taste humility, and also it puts you in the perfect position to rise Gracefully, knowing that there is no power or might except with your Rabb (Lord).
I've even been inspired with another poem/spoken word piece ! Alhamdulillah 😊
Barak'allahu feekum to LaYinka and Hanifa 💖
Putting Allah first in whatever I do means that even when I fail I succeed. I'm able to recognise His decree, and humble myself before what has been written for me. It doesn't mean I stop trying, in fact for me it means I've got to try harder, knowing that I'm working towards a divine purpose bi'ithni'llah.
Putting Allah first means that I recognise that when I'm failing, I am also learning from these pitfalls, and that these lessons are all part of the process. That the insights I pick up when I fall, when I am left to recognise my utter powerlessness before The Creator and His plan for me, should stick with me as I pick myself up and try again.
And that if I reflect I can find even in my most dejecting of failings, places where I have improved, and grown, and progressed.
I love bedtime. Not my bedtime, but my little one’s bed time.
It’s the time when the toys on the floor get cleaned up, and with them the possibility of stubbing your toe one more time on a wooden block.
It usually happens after hubby gets home. It’s the time my working day ends … Well sort of, as a mother does your working day ever really end? Your ears are always alert to the cry that lets you know that duty calls once more. (Phrasing it like that, makes mums sound like superheroes).
For me the best bits about bedtime are bath time, and night time nursing.
I love the playful giggles of bath time, and the peacefulness of bedtime nursing.
The lights are off and the baby smells of coconut oil, warm and snuggled in closely, peacefully nursing (unlike day time feeds 😆) and then soon enough he’s drifting off to sleep, perhaps clutching my arm or t-shirt.
These days the the slow and quiet snugly baby moments are few and far between. At just shy of 11 months old, our baby is a non-stop, always moving, emphatically babbling, pretty tiring, tiny person. He’s got so much personality, and makes me laugh in wonder and amazement, and at other times cry in frustration or exasperation.
There is so much that is difficult about motherhood, so much that is exhausting, and so much that is emotionally wearing, at the same time there is so much that is rewarding, so much that is empowering and uplifting, and so much about being a mother that fills my heart.
All praise and thanks is due to God
Peace, mercy, and blessings people.
How are you all doing this fine Saturday morning? Well, I hope.
It seems to me that most of the times that I actually feel like blogging, is when I have a secret that I don’t want to let out of the bag but am really tempted to. Pah!
I guess it’s sort of like how I always had inspiration to write whenever I had a pressing deadline or essay due.
Oh well, if I get back into a regular blogging pattern, I’m sure I’ll feel like blogging even when I don’t have huge amassing pressing secrets.
Also here, in no relation to this post whatsoever, but simply because I find it pretty, is a picture I took on a stroll a couple of evenings ago.
That’s all for now folks.
سلامواليكم – peace upon you.
I have so much blogging to catch up on, and studying, and general errands.
Anyway alhamdulilah (all) praise is due to Allah- my uncle got married on Saturday.
Watch this space for the nikkah & walimah post, the lush review I promised you, and some other bits and bobs.
Catch you later.
Salamu walaykum, (Allah’s peace be upon you)
It feels like ages since I’ve posted anything here, and I’m pretty sure I was sitting down to write a post last week, but I can’t find it in my drafts, and I don’t seem to have posted it, so perhaps that was a dream?
Any who, how are you?
How are you doing? What’s new in your life?
Alhamdulillah (All praise is due to Allah) I’ve been really busy, and blessed lately. You probably know by now, that I prefer it when I’m busy, and my mind is being engaged, and I’ve got to make use of my reminder app, my phone’s calendar, the calendar in my living room, and my organiser to get everything done.
If you didn’t know…. Now you do! I’m always at my most efficient, when I’m busy, and I’m aware that every moment counts.