Category Archives: recovery

I Will Not Give Up Just Because it Gets Hard


Last night I came to learn that my ex husband, from whom I’ve only been divorced for a matter of weeks, is making plans to remarry a sister he met online as soon as possible. While I certainly expected him to move on to someone else eventually, I have to admit that the quick turnaround for this stunned me. And there is a part of it that hurt me immensely.

I don’t think I was hurting because I felt like I lost him. No, I already dealt with that idea when I decided to divorce. I knew that giving something up means you have to be OK with it being out of your life for good.

The thing that hurt me was that the whole situation seemed to cheapen the marriage we did have- more specifically, who I was to him. He has a lot of high praise for his new love interest, and he describes her in such a way as to make it seem like I had been nothing more him than a half-hearted wannabe heathen. It made it seem like all the sacrifices I made for him, all the love I offered him, everything I gave no matter what the cost amounted to nothing. And that really hurt, because I know, and Allah knows, I gave 200% to that marriage. In fact, the only thing that gave me comfort in walking away from it was knowing that I could not have possibly done any more than I had. I walked away bled dry; loved out.

And it certainly doesn’t help to watch him go happily forward with someone who cares about him, while I continue to wrestle with the task Allah has set before me of coming to terms with being single for the next X amount of years, and living without that comforting companionship.

So I initially felt crushed, because a part of me believed that though things ended as they did, he would remember me as someone who was extremely loyal, caring, and devoted. Instead, it appeared that someone else can offer more of those things than I did. That stabbed my heart, and made me wonder if all the heartwrenching dedication I freely and abundantly gave him was nothing more than a waste. Thinking of the prices I paid (and made my children pay) in the process, it was unfathomable to me that everything I did for the sole purpose of having someone love me and stay by me, would only end up showing me that the love I was purchasing was not sincere at all. How then will I come to terms with myself, for not having figured that out before now?

I went back over my older blog posts this morning, trying to look at things from other angles. In one of them I wrote “I will not give up just because it gets hard”. That’s what I really need to hang on to right now. This new development, though hard and painful, is not something I’m going to let shake me from the direction I’m trying to go in. After all, all the hard, hard work and sacrifices I am making now, I am doing those for myself. They won’t come back empty, they won’t be for nothing. There’s a blossom in me, a beauty seeking to come out, and I will not let it be hindered even if no one in the world sees it but me.

Yeah, I’ve been through a lot. I’ve taken more than my share of hits, perhaps. In the end, it’s not breaking me but helping to build me…and that’s exactly what is needed right now. When it’s done, I will be me in the fullest and most spectacular of ways. Praise be to Allah.


Allah is The Answer


My middle son misses me. He called at all hours of the morning (the time difference did not help), crying and crying. I felt so helpless, being so far away, but I completely understood what it feels like for him. The best I could do was stay with him on the phone until he was able to calm down and put his mind on other things.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from today. It was important for me to find my mom’s old house, and the apprehension in what may lie ahead kept me from getting restful sleep. When it became apparent at 9 AM that there was not going to be any more opportunities for me to go back to bed before I had to check out, I went ahead and gritted my teeth and got ready for the day. I mapped out the street she lived on, then went to the nearby garage and retrieved my car. I drove from Hyde to Mission to 24th, and found a side street to park on.

Just as I remembered, Lilac St was nothing more than an alley. I wasn’t sure if I would remember her door by seeing it, but I was going to give it my best shot. I slowly walked toward the alley, uncertain if it was a good neighborhood or not. There were a lot of trendy places on Mission just around the corner, but alleys always seem kind of scary. I proceeded cautiously, and was relieved to see there weren’t many people around. Some guys were just taking a smoke break from the back door of the restaurants that lined the alley, and others were residents unloading things from their storage spaces.

The alley itself was colorfully painted with one graffiti mural after another. One one telephone pole were three faces of middle eastern looking men, and on the next were three women in hijab. Most of the alley was lined with sliding doors that led to either garages or storage areas. There were not many entry doors, and as I looked at each one I could not hone in on which might have been hers. What was clear was that this seemed to be an area where artists congregated, and that explained why she -with painting being a consuming passion of hers- would’ve chosen to live there.

I walked the entire length of the way searching for the impossible. I recalled that my brother had told me once that the building itself used to be a train station that was converted into living units, but none of the structures appeared to fit that description. When I reached the other end of the alley, I felt disappointed and lost. I turned back around, hoping that the alternate view might trigger a flash of memory to help me find what I was looking for, but that didn’t happen.

I returned to my car feeling defeated. This was something I felt I needed to do, and I couldn’t even do it. I sat in the driver’s seat and began weeping profusely. Something so simple, yet so elusive, can hurt so deeply.

“It’s only natural to want to have a mother in my life…”
Yes, it is.

“I didn’t deserve what happened…”
No, you didn’t.

“I didn’t do anything wrong!”
You couldn’t have.

The tears wouldn’t stop. The confusion burrowed deeper. The pain painted pictures before my eyes, and I hated it for being the very thing that was chaining me to the unhealthy habits I am struggling to break even now.

“Ya Allah, please show me how this loneliness, this constant loneliness that’s been a part of my life since birth, is really the best thing for me!”

I sat, trying to figure out a way forward. A way to heal and find peace from these deep scars. I kept thinking that finding my future was the answer, but the future is uncertain…..except for one thing: Islam.

Islam would be my way forward. Islam will help me find myself, and find my peace. It already has in so many ways, but the more I focus on it the more Allah will meet me where I need.

And so that’s where I wanted to go from that place, that empty alley which had no answers or comfort. I sent a message to a friend trying to find the way to the Muslims in San Francisco. While awaiting the response, I tried to find the information myself via and Google. Both were inconclusive, so I was glad to get a reply with a general direction to move toward.

As it turned out, I ended up scouring the area I was pointed to block by block. I didn’t see any cluster of shops with signs in Arabic to indicate what I was looking for, so I thought I would just make due with popping into the nearby masjid to make dhuhr and from there go on my merry way. However, there was some type of event going on in that area, so the streets were being blocked off one by one. I couldn’t find a place to park by the masjid; in fact just getting out of the area and back toward the interstate was nearly impossible due to gridlock traffic and took almost an hour.

In the end, I drove to nearby Fremont to attend a zikr which was scheduled for this evening. I originally had planned not to go, but I felt like I needed something like that right now. I got into town and mapped the venue, which was located at a park. I decided to make my dhuhr there, and kill the time by eating a late lunch at a local halal restaurant. After that, I drove to the closest masjid and made asr, then returned to the park center for the night’s activities.

I am so glad I went. Being able to only focus on Allah and my iman was just what I needed, and it changed my state completely. Masha’Allah, they even served us a free dinner. The nasheeds lifted my spirits and I felt lighter than air after it was over. As I walked back out to my car, I looked up to see the wispy clouds sifting past a brilliantly shining full moon, beautifully set in the starry, cobalt sky. Alhamdulillah!

I located an affordable room for the night in town, which is where I am staying tonight. I like Fremont; it reminds me of the San Gabriel Valley where I spent half my childhood. In shaa Allah I will begin wending my way down the coast toward Southern California tomorrow. My trip will be coming to an end soon, so I hope I can make the most of these last opportunities toward self-discovery as I continue exploring the land I love.

The Replacements


It is said that Allah does not take anything from a person except to replace it with better.  I can say, with every fiber of my being, that my present life shows this reality.  This week has made manifest a qadr I’ve hoped for, and I am humbled that Allah saw fit to bring it to fruition in my life.


On Monday we closed on the house.  Yes, it was anticipated, but there is something about actually walking away with the physical confirmation of what one has worked hard for. Imagine what Paradise will be, when such exhilaration comes in this life! I have to admit, one of the more challenging things about having the house is the deep longing in my heart to share it with my soon to be ex-husband. I can’t erase the fact that the main reason I toiled for this very thing was for his sake, and now it is being with-held from him. Allah knows best.  I have been struggling with a sentimental sadness and longing to “fix it” by taking him back into my life, but unfortunately the character he’s been showing these last few days indicate he still is not going in the direction I need my husband to go in…or the direction I’m trying to go in myself.  Fortunately, today I am feeling less emptiness about this and more focused on the purposes Allah has to help me further develop my sincerity and taqwa.


I have been thinking about all of the places I’ve lived since I moved out from my grandparent’s home; and surely this is the best place so far. I love the house, the floorplan, the windows, the feel.  I can only hope in shaa Allah that a good man may share it with me someday…whether he is a transformed version of B, or someone I’ve not yet met, or even perhaps a friend who becomes more than a friend.  Allah knows best what I need, even if it means having the rest of my life to contemplate my duties to Him. He is to be praised because He shorts me nothing. Ever.


My little one is doing well. He completed his day treatment and will be returning to school tomorrow. He also is excited about the new changes with the house and all, so I hope it can boost him to where he is not overwhelmed with the pain of what is being lost.  I will do my best to continue to help him in shaa Allah.


I have a new car as well, masha’Allah.  I went on Friday and bought my 2013 Dodge Challenger.  It is like my own little piece of California for as long as I stay here in Georgia.  I intend to take the best care of it so it in shaa Allah will last me for decades to come. I have never financed a car before, and up until now I have been adamantly against such things and would rather save a few grand and buy something older and used. However, I know that I’ve made a lot of sacrifices for others. There have not been a lot of “things” I’ve wanted in life, but that Challenger always had my eye. I wanted to do something nice for myself so that I could experience the reality that I am just as valuable as anyone else. I wanted to buy a car and never have to worry about buying one again for the rest of my life, because it will remain in shaa Allah in good condition and it is what I have truly wanted. Every time I drive it I try to make a point to be thankful to Allah for giving me the opportunity to make such a dream come true and helping me to do so, and remind myself of the value I have no matter what others think or what I’ve experienced to prove otherwise.


And masha’Allah, excess money with each check. Even with the new car and house,  I will be having more surplus from my pay than I’ve ever had before. What a queer feeling to know that I  could buy drapes, plane tickets, clothes, or any other ‘stuff’ whenever I want. It doesn’t even seem real, but the truth is I am not really interested in doing any of that. Sure I will probably buy a few curtains for the house simply because there are more windows than curtains I currently own; and a few other decorative things, but after that I would probably just give in charity, save, and pay down any debt I have.  The only point (in my view) in having nice things is to remember Allah by them.  Surely I remember many times I got something nice or pretty and just was so grateful to Allah for beautiful things to enjoy as long as He allows, always reminded that nothing comes except by His leave.


I guess for me it’s easy to see that even though all these things are very nice and enjoyable, they are just transient. Anything can be lost at any time, and I certainly know what being on that side of the fence is like. I remember a time when I was starving and pregnant with my youngest son. We had no money and were literally living off the cans of salmon given to us by a local food pantry.  All I wanted was a tomato to add to it, and I remember how frantically we tried looking for enough change to buy just one.  In those days,  I don’t even know how the bills got paid since I wasn’t working and not getting child support, and it seemed my husband couldn’t keep a job.  Masha’Allah, Allah brought me through that and so many other trials. He brought me here, and He can take me anywhere He likes. My only goal in life is to become who He meant me to be regardless of where He takes me, either good or bad, in this life.


I can’t help but feel, though, that seeing what He is giving me now…anything else I’m losing or giving up will have a better replacement as well in shaa Allah. I think the hardest thing has been the ending of my marriage, but I really do trust Allah will either satisfy me with being alone in this life, or He will bring me a suitable partner who is better than the one I am losing. It’s as He likes, and I’m merely grateful for anything He chooses.


I am going to spend the next few weeks transitioning everything from this apartment to the house in shaa Allah. In addition to that, my plan is to eat healthier and try to become a little more active so I can begin in shaa Allah to lose some weight. I am hoping that when I take my vacation after MLK day I will be in a healthier condition, and also have some habits I can continue until I am a little trimmer and eating as I should for my diabetes.

I can, and I will


I was thinking, as I was driving home the other day, that if one were to deduce my motto for life based on what I actually do in living it they might believe it is “rise to the occassion”.  I don’t sit around thinking of all the ways I want to grit through life, or all the lofty goals I hope to achieve. But, when trouble comes, I play defense passionately. Sometimes I laugh to myself because, being as un-inclined to athletics as I am, I probably would’ve been most suited to tennis because of the way I like to lob back every difficulty that tries to assault me.


My youngest son is thankfully home for the hospital. He ended up staying in the acute setting for a full week, and they discharged him down to the day program which he began yesterday.  He seems to do be doing better than he was when I had to take him in, but I am getting lots of opportunities to work on my patience as I again train him on what are the appropriate ways to speak to me or manage his own frustrations. In a couple of weeks I hope he will be ready to go back to school and finish out the semester unremarkably. In  the mean time, I am trying to give him a lot of focused attention and structure.


This upcoming week is going to be a very eventful one for me.  Monday morning we are scheduled to close on the house,  and as soon as that detail is out of the way I plan on working toward getting a new car. I had mentioned before how I planned to get a Challenger anyway, but now it is needed because the wheel shaft on my Hyundai cracked off from the chassy and the car had to be salvaged.  I am currently driving a rental, and I want to be able to return that sooner than later. I am glad that I will be off the last two days of this week to start working on my transition and fixing up the new house, and of course spending some meaningful times with the kids.


I also just completed the first third of my iddah.  It certainly has been a roller-coaster so far, but all the niggling doubts that I was having that led up to the divorce are quiet. That’s my marker to know that I made the right choice, no matter how often I long for old times. I decided to plan a trip out of town once my iddah is complete so I can refocus back on my own goals and values and start my new life with a renewed sense of meaning and purpose, insha’Allah. I have already purchased my plane tickets and requested a full week off from work. I am taking this trip alone, and I plan on trying to use it to really reflect on the things that matter most to me and what things I want to start investing my energy and creativity into.  I think this is the first vacation I’ve ever taken where I didn’t make a point of visiting people; for once I just want to get in touch with myself.


All in all, I do have a lot to look forward to. I have dreams to nurture and responsibilities keep me occupied and challenged. I was thinking yesterday of what my future might be like….if I will be spending more nights alone weeping what I’ve lost or thankful for what I’ve gained…and I realized there will be both. There will be nights I will miss the best parts of the “us” I had with B.  There will be days I will be glad that a particularly stressful situation with the kids wasn’t met with an explosion by him, too.  There will be plenty of times I will despair over the fact of never having another baby and living with the incompleteness my daughter’s departure left in me, but there will also be circumstances that will show me how much more difficult things would have been if I did have a young one to factor in.


Granted, things are not ideal. If I could create an ideal situation it would first have me living in California and not here lol.  I would have a healthy marriage and emotionally healthy kids. I would be a more balanced person myself, and I would have positive and uplifting relationships with others. I would perhaps even be free not to have to work. When I think of a scenario where all this fits in, it seems impossible to achieve in the near future…but one can never guess the sudden change of terrain that Allah might put before us.  I certainly never anticipated that I would be getting divorced after everything I went through with my husband, but here I am. I never thought I would be buying my first home alone, and getting a new car that I actually like, but it’s happening.  There is no telling what else can happen, and I truly am excited to see what each day brings to make the tapestry of my life that much more beautiful.






I can’t believe I skipped the whole month of August.  I thought I would write at least one entry….at least I intended to several times.  Suffice it to say that after my previous post I had a difficult time recovering from the emotional scramble I was in.


After I wrote that I realized what a problem I had with loneliness.  I realized that if anything, it was the one, remaining unconquered fear in my life that still had the power to rule my thoughts and feelings.  I knew this wasn’t good for me, and I knew that if I didn’t face that fear and find a way to overcome it, I would continue to be its slave for the rest of my life. Such things cannot be merely outgrown, or surely I would’ve done it by now. I also knew that the only was to truly bring it into submission was to immerse myself in the worst case scenario, so I did something that to me was very frightening: I asked Allah to push me over that cliff. I asked Him to put me in that last arena, so I could learn to triumph over this last weakness.


I really believe He answered that dua, because the events that unfolded soon after were very triggering in this aspect.  Yet, I still don’t know how much I’ve progressed.


I started to try to have as little contact as possible as I could with my husband.  This was very difficult for me, not because our interactions are always satisfying but because he was the only human I had consistent interactions with.  The absence of that showed me how shallow my support system really was, and how dysfunctional I was without one. I knew that I needed to build one, but I also knew that the only way to overcome that feeling of “disconnect” was to be able to find Allah and connect with Him.  Since I’m the kind of person who is better oriented toward what is concrete and tangible, and Allah is neither, this was nearly impossible for me.  It is much easier for me to find Allah in creation, but the hard part is always making sure I don’t give creation the adoration meant only for Allah. This is difficult for me, I admit.


So that task, in itself, has been challenging enough. Then, Allah decided to cue to my lonely past.  Funny, I thought I had worked through a lot of those things, so when my friend suggested that I try to re-establish a connection with my biological mother (when I had no idea how or where she was, in addition to the fact that my previous and several attempts to do so in the recent past had gone unanswered) I thought it was going to be very perfunctory.


Instead, the process brought up so many emotions for me.  They weren’t the pleasant kind either.  I didn’t have any hard feelings for her, but just a glaring reality that even if I did find her, she may not stay in contact. She may move into another sphere of her own life and lose touch with me again,  and I would be left wondering in my primal self why I wasn’t good enough to keep her around. That was magnified by the fact that I also gained access to my half brother and half sister, who were both adults now. They have their own lives, lives I wanted to very much be a part of, but they also could walk away someday…and inside I would be thinking (because I’m sick this way) “it’s all my fault”.


Allah says He never gives any difficulty without ease. If anything had to make me face why loneliness was so hard for me, well here it is.  Yet, out of the blue an aunt who was more myth than man randomly contacted me for the first time in my life with a mission not dissimilar to the one I was currently on- namely trying to understand her past to bring peace to her present. You see, she also was raised by her maternal grandmother, and too many other similarities in our lives and experiences came out of that.  I was able to have an enlightening and heartwarming conversation with her, and in so doing found the strength to face this insurmountable mountain ahead of me.


Speaking of mountains, that’s another thing I’d like to mention: since I’ve started this blog my experience of life has been one of falling and crashing to the ground.  Strangely, since this latest breakdown, I’ve not felt that way. I’ve felt like I am on the ground, like I’m exploring the scenery nearby. I can’t say I’m able to describe it more than that, but the peril of always feeling weightless has seemed to end. It’s a new chapter I guess.


So I’ve been working through these emotions and triggers, most times ineffectively. I need more help with it, because it’s so deeply rooted. It’s so deep, in fact, that things I would never expect to tie into it become a major focus. Here’s an example:  I have been having regular cycles since May (Praise be to Allah, that’s the longest I’ve had consistency in that area since I went off the birth control in 2010).  Essentially, I’m working! This is a good thing. However, this most recent cycle I realized that my ovulation day was almost going to mirror the cycle I conceived my daughter Nadhiyrah during, back in 2003.  I ran the numbers and it was readily apparent that if I conceived, I would be due around the time she was born (early next May).  I became attached to the idea of achieving this, because it would almost be like re-doing that pregnancy…only with more mindfulness and appreciation. Perhaps it would even be another daughter? Oh, how healing this could be!


So I tried with all my might to make this happen, and on paper all the variables were in our favor.  As I endured my two-week wait, I mused about why it was so important to me to have another daughter, beyond the fact that I had already lost my first one. The recent reunion with my family of origin had me thinking about generational patterns and lifelong wounds, I realized that the drive and need in me was so deep because it was a way for me to re-write my own past. To raise a daughter (and it has to be a daughter, since I am female) and keep her, cherish her, love her without abandon and raise her to adulthood myself was a way to undo those very things I did not get from my own mother, even my own grandmother who did raise me.


Unfortunately, I did not get pregnant this cycle. Yet, I feel that Allah was very intentional about that fact. I don’t feel it’s because He wants me to suffer, or rub my scars in my face, but rather to show me what’s going on with this loneliness thing for real.  He’s been showing me exactly where it came from and why I am this way, and He’s showing me all the ways I’ve been trying to fix it myself. He’s no enabler now, is He?


So I am trying to take these lessons as they come. I am trying to connect with Him, instead of humans. I am pressing myself for my true intentions, not the fluff I convince myself of out of vain attempts to manage my own life. It’s really hard, because I’ve been stripped raw in a lot of ways, but I can’t rebuild the same archetype that was failing me before. So, I feel frustrated and somewhat lost because my cheerful and confident imani outlook on life has been replaced by a confused yet determined handicap.


Allah is showing me the way.  During the two-week wait I also began reading a blog (that I found by googling 12 dpo) about a lady who had struggled with infertility.  The blog covers several years, and she had two miscarriages before finally conceiving her son, who happened then to be born at 26 weeks gestation.  She detailed all the familiar heartaches of infertility and struggles of raising her baby to not only survive but thrive.  I’m at the point where she is now pregnant with her second child (however these are all last years posts, so I don’t know how it all ends up).  In reading her stories I realize that I cannot find a way forward hanging on to what I never had, wish I had, or will always want.  I will only find a way forward by having gratitude for what I do have, and Allah has given me so, so much.  When I truly focus on that the way I should, I realize how embarrasing it is to even want more, or to think I need more.  I realize how poorly I manage what is already mine, and how I never deserved it.  This shows me how much Allah truly loves me, that He even gave me as much as I have, in spite of my utter incompetence to appreciate it fully.  And that love is truly a constant…and becomes more tangible the more I reflect on it.

Mega Mega Meltdown


Yesterday I was in a state that only visits me on very rare occassions. I was having a nafs attack, an emotional seizure, a loss of any trace of my fitra. For anyone who didn’t know me well, they may have well concluded that I needed severe psychiatric help or that I was totally incapable of handling life. I think it would be safe to say, the latter idea was actually true.

In most situations, I can manage crisis after crisis.  But we are all vessells with finite capacity, and I too have a limit to what I can contain. In my day job, I spend hours listening to people talk about what are sometimes severe and serious medical conditions, extreme mood disorders, and often easily solved problems that they don’t have the fortitude to handle.  For most people, dealing with that five days a week is enough stress, but we all have our own lives to manage. For the past several months, I’ve been in a limbo situation with my family, which keeps me unsettled because I don’t know if I will still have an intact family by the end of the year.  I also have just started paying back student loans (just the interest alone is about a quarter of my monthly income). I would not even be doing that, except that we are also trying to buy a house and this “helps” that process with the agency we are working with.  I would not even be doing that (buying a house), except for that at this time it seems like the only thing that can keep the worst outcome of the first stressor I mentioned from happening.

Yes, those are all MY problems. Then there are my children’s problems. My middle son has always struggled with labile emotions.  My youngest son has inherited his father’s anger problem.  My husband is constantly trying to find a job against his own obstacles, and his issues are a whole batch of nasty by themselves.  Those are all my family’s problems.

On top of that, I have been put in a position to provide shelter for the daughter of a lady I’ve known for years, and I’ve been trying to help a recently immigrated family get on their own feet. Sometimes that means they need a place to stay for a night or two.  All of that surely put me right at the brink of my limits.

….then I find out that my mother in law wants to come visit… three days; possibly to stay up to three weeks.  I’ve moved twice in the past twelve months, and not once since last June have I had the house to myself without someone outside of my immediate family being here.  I was scheduling some time off from work next weekend and was looking forward to having some quality time with my husband (a rare indulgence, indeed!) while the kids were at school those days…until I found out his mother was coming.

I think that’s where I lost it.  Not only had she invited herself (something which would not even remotely have bothered me under normal circumstances), but I was not asked if it was a good time or what my needs were. With everything piled on, I felt that I was being used, taken for granted, and that my needs were insignificant compared to the courtesies being extended to others.

Normally when I’ve come to those places, I will swallow my pride and remember I am nothing before Allah, and at the service of my Lord and his creation.  It was just too much this time….and I broke down.  I was in an angry state all day and when I came home from work to see guests still in my house, I went straight to my room and took a four hour bath.  Part of this time I was ranting and raving with my husband (who was unfortunately defending his mother’s rights to visit over my rights to peace), and part of it was trying to keep myself from being pulled further into a dark depression.

I remember how alone I felt as I curled up to the rim of the bathtub. I felt that the curve of the porcelain was the closest thing to an embrace anyone wanted to offer me. I remember how confident, peaceful, and balanced I felt just a couple days ago; naively believing that I could face anything for any length of time and never crack. At that moment, I wondered how I could feel anything better than the despair and loneliness I was being crushed under.  I believed I was never going to be able to feel strong again.

Today I may not be at my baseline of coping, but I’m not staring over the precipice of my brokeness.  I am writing this for my own benefit, so that I can be reminded when I next face this type of challenge that I don’t need to fully give in, like I did last night.  I can cry out in tears the painful waters that are pouring over my heart.