Seven unsure years

Seven years. Seven unsure years and tonight I can’t seem to fall asleep. It’s the jitter of excitement, the rattling of nerves and the fading voices of encouragement. Then the room fades to black. I am alone, where the shadows replay the last seven years and pundits provide commentary.

Somewhere along the night rhythm I switched off and found myself suddenly tumbling out of bed with the sunlight. The nerves were still knocking around in the pits of my stomach. My mind was still playing reruns of the last few years and my heart reminded me about the aches of old wounds. There is only one cure to this – a run.

Lap after lap, every time I choked I felt an energy surge to run a bit faster, to run with purpose – perhaps running was my way to ensure I don’t have to face this pain, which may dampen my day. When I got too tired to run, I started kickboxing. Maybe it was the sun, maybe it was my defences weakening but it crept in – the memories of the growth, escape from the shackles and the climb from my own grave. I had mistaken this remembrance for sadness, rather it was an appreciation to sweeten this momentary success. As I flipped my face to the sun and stretched I let it happen for the first time – I let happiness wash over, I let it sink deep into my roots and nourish me to into a golden state. This level of happiness was unreal and I was blessed with a mind which was determined to never forget the bottom that we came from.

For the first time everyone was ready on time to leave, no hiccups and general elation had spread amongst the family. Individuals of the household all with their own agenda and purpose for this memory being created.

Parents tend to know, in extensive detail, about the places where we spend most of our time. Unlike school there is no parents evening for them to appreciate the journey. For years they must have imagined what it looked like, with the tales of my university days to assist them. My parents never had the opportunity to obtain an education. So I felt honoured to invite them to the place that quenched my thirst for knowledge and made me cry and smile simultaneously.

Both of them were excited to meet the lecturers, for them University was a dream. They say we tend to push the accomplishment of our failed dreams and desires through to our children. I know I completed one of my life goals, but my parents waited a whole generation to see their dreams become accomplished. I remember Dad being excited to meet the lecturers but became star struck when he met them, unable to say anything for fear of sounding uneducated. In this society they felt alien, not quite right for the surrounding people. But they were far from it. I was only able to cross that stage with their support; from my father teaching me long division to my mother teaching me the alphabet. They gave me the building blocks, drive and sustenance to finish this degree. It was the endless duas, pep talks and manner lessons, which elevated me to become an independent woman ready to take on anything. I was honoured to have two people whose first language was not English present at my graduation; so they could experience how proud I was of them, for bringing me into the world and creating the circumstances for me to experience this spectrum of emotions and moments. Despite everything they took this rebel child and tamed her to see beyond the clouds and have hope always.

As I walked across the stage I felt it showering on me, the memories, the moments, the faces, the tears and hand holding but here I walked alone. Alone? People are only supports, they are merely the tide but you are the one who swims across the sea. Only you can muster the energy to make it to the other side. So there I was crossing the stage and I smiled and told myself for the first time, ‘I am proud to be you’. For years I crawled in my own skin wishing I didn’t exist, hating everything I was physically, mentally and intellectually. I guess I achieved another goal, I found and learnt to start loving myself. It is funny these are things most people do instinctively but I had spent the last 2 years training myself.

Both my brothers made my heart full with the joy they expressed, it made me feel important. My achievements had become their inspiration to achieve their aspirations against the beating winds. They were the ones who came into my darkness with a hand and courage to push me to continue when I wanted to quit.

Only Allah knows the divine plan behind why certain people are placed strategically into our lives. As I exited the Rose theatre, where the ceremony took place, I saw her standing outside with her confused broad smile and a colourful bunch of flowers. The emotions ran up to my face as I embraced her. In that moment, the bustle of the people slowed down as I recalled when this girl held my hand in the prayer room, looked me in the eyes and told me ‘You are stronger than this, don’t give in. You will graduate, I believe that you will.’ She was there on countless days wiping my tears, answering my 12am texts when I had given up life and the one who pulled me back to reality. She was instrumental in my recovery and was one of the three people who saved me from the unthinkable. I introduced her to my mum who cried as she hugged her and thanked her for helping me out of my personal hell in this dunya. We both looked at each other, the look alone was enough to cover what words could not and then she departed.

The sun was setting creating the golden hour, my highlight was shimmering but there was another light emanating from within me and had become infectious. My family took our last photos as the day came to an end, concluding with my father taking his once in alifetime selfie with me. I stared at this photo and didn’t see a damaged relationship between father and daughter, but just pure blinding love. Life is more than just chasing happiness, it’s finding purpose in all the little moments, it’s pooling all the events like ingredients to create a lasting memory full of gratitude and appreciation.

Drifting melancholy clouds,

Shahe

Advertisements

The beginning

Deep breath. Exhale. Lungs emptied. Soothing air enters my being.

Life is never simple, not without difficulties. Muslims believe this dunya (world) is not made trial free, if this life was of ease there will be no need for Jannah (Heaven). The challenge of this world – you are expected to walk up the mountain with your back straight, all whilst carrying emotional and physical burdens. To what exactly? What is your goal? Sometimes we deceive ourselves, demand we have reached the top. But have you? Or are the clouds obscuring your vision. For me I looked for inner peace. I never knew that is what I wanted. Inner peace – what I searched for since I was a little girl. I was in turmoil inside. The storm raged onwards but I deceived myself and placed a mirage of an oasis over my soul.

Months ago I wrote a post whilst in utter anguish and depths of sadness I never knew existed. I couldn’t post it. I guess I was waiting for this very moment. Although I won’t be completely specific about everything, as I believe somethings are too personal for me to share with the world. But I will give you a glimpse in to my somewhat dull life.

In August Hollyoak’s aired a storyline about rape and abuse. There was a particular moment in the episode where one of the characters spoke about the after effects of the abuse from when she was a child. I remember watching the episode and tears flowing freely from my eyes, like a river being gently pushed along by currents, in this case the stirring of emotions from deep within me. I cried for the emotional aspect attached to such an ordeal and it’s metamorphosis into later life. These kind of things, they steal something from you and no matter what you do you can’t get it back. It isn’t the physical stuff, it is something much more precious – innocence.

The amount of emotional pain a person endures can vary in duration, intensity and it’s transgression into daily and future life. Some may feel ‘nothing’ whilst others experience an explosion of feelings which splatter and scatter into all regions of themselves.

August is when I realised. I realised that night, when I cried for 3 hours in the dark and felt a darkness in my soul; everything was not all right. The fact I felt a physical pain run through my body, a stab in my abdomen, constriction of my airways as my sadness tried to kill me. Well my soul that is. For weeks I felt like this, well noticeably down. I am sure it started months ago but I was too distracted to realise it was festering away underneath. But I had a friend.

Before April I had a friend whom I had known for years and they were my clutch. When ever I felt down they propped me up. I would stay up into the morning talking about my problems and they would just listen patiently. Never judging, staying neutral and not giving negative fuelling advice. As with many friendships they disintegrate. The removal of the clutch slowly made me lose balance until I fell on 4th August.

I had become short tempered and filled with rage. Naturally an argument took place between myself and my parents, namely my dad. They left me home alone. A silence echoed through the house only intermittently broken by tear drops and gasps for air. I caught a glimpse of a girl in the mirror. Deranged, unkempt, swollen red eyes, broken and blue. I looked at her and said “This is not me. I am not like this. I am happy”. A smile attempted to creep up the face but failed and could not be stabilised. I reached for a needle, took it to my arm and I watched my veins pulsate. Contemplating an action I thought I had long forgotten and buried. I fought.

Have you ever tried to fight yourself? Reason with your self. Beg yourself to be happy. To forget. Convince your self to not be afraid. Afraid of what? Yourself. Depression is a dark shadow no one ever tells you about. It finds you and clings on. Devouring your energy to sustain itself. A parasite.

I made a call that day. A call that changed my life.

“Every thought is a battle. Every breath is a war, and I don’t think I’m winning anymore” – Anon

Refreshing lemongrass,

Shahe

Scar

Life is not always full of good moments.
Bad things happen.
Casting a dark cloud over memories.
They cut you.
An open wound.
Yes, it does hurt.
And you cry – externally or internally.
Over time it heals.
The wound closes.
And a scar remains.
Residing in the past,
Is to pick at the scar,
Until it bleeds.
A fraction of the pain felt from when it first opened.
Unfortunately memories are more painful
But if you accept the scar,
Leave it.
Over time it fades.
Apart of you but not so apparent.

Loss

When you are kicked to the ground you find the rarest pieces of gold, gems and diamonds. I can’t explain how weird this week has been. Whilst contemplating in my bath tub (as you do) I realised there are changes I want to make in my life for myself. I want to take this personal development stuff seriously. Everyone has unlockable potential, you just need to find the key. The journey in finding that key makes you so much stronger and ready to to pass through that door and faces your new challenges. A quote that sticks with me is ‘Real hell is when you meet the person you could’ve been’. Death can be full of regrets or admiration of your accomplishments.

On a personal note I want to thank every single individual for their kind words and offer of support during this difficult time. There are people in my life right now that I have an undeniable amount of love for. If you know me at all you know my heart is as big as my gob. I love carelessly, with no reservations. Never knew I could feel love like this, the kind you wish lasted even all the way to the arkirah.

Grieving is a trip that you always come back from. So I don’t expect anyone to know what to say to bring me comfort. But your presence is enough. Much love. Night