Tag Archives: overwhelmed

Be True to Love

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Over a month has past since I’ve been here, but for me no time has passed at all in some senses. The weekend of Bashir’s nikkah was life-changing for me, in more ways than I could begin to describe. Since then, I have been faced with undeniable truths about myself, life, divine decree, and the purpose of our existence in ways I could never have imagined before. It seems as though that dua I made to be shown how to live more honestly was answered in the fullest way possible.

When I asked Bashir to give me a divorce, I believed I was doing the right thing. I was looking at the situation logically, and shoving all emotions and attachments aside. I saw black, and I saw white, and I thought that’s all I needed to see. I made my decisions out of will and determination, because I believed that making decisions with the heart would sabotage me. I figured I could let my heart get with the program in its own time, as long as I kept focus on the direction I had set for myself.

Even when I found out Bashir had moved on to someone else, I tried to pack up my wounded pride and keep moving forward. I took it as a test of my resolve and gritted myself to make it through the blizzard. But when I found out he had actually married her, I was snapped back to the resonating truth that I had never, ever stopped loving him.

Not for one second.

I realized that I did not love Bashir because of what he did or did not do. Or because he failed or succeeded. I loved him because of who I am. I remembered how pure and unconditional my love for him was when we began our marriage. Whatever he gave in return, it sufficed me, because I was fulfilled in being true to who I was- in lavishing him with attention, affection, and obedience.

Obedience. Yes. Something that had slipped through the cracks over the years of our marriage, taking the other qualities with it.

Here I had spent several months parted from him trying to “find myself”, thinking it was about my personality, my roots, my hopes and aspirations. How daunting to see that what I really needed to find was my lost character, that aspect that actually develops us to the maturity needed to enter the next life without empty hands. I had lost sight of my character, my core essence in being a loving, supportive, humble wife and Muslimah.

All of a sudden the past nearly 10 years of our marriage took an entirely different view. Until that time, I saw the years in terms of his failings, his shortcomings, his wrongs toward me. Everything was myopically focused on him-him-him, and the mistakes he made had built up into a mountain I kept between us. I am not saying he didn’t have the responsibility to make certain choices or treat me certain ways. He did. But I saw that instead of encouraging him, being patient with him, actually trying to help him by being appropriately submissive, I rather became increasingly arrogant, harsh, unyielding, controlling and rebellious to his God-given authority. My pride had been blinding me, convincing me that I was blameless and flawless and entitled. I saw how I began treating him in demeaning ways, which probably only made him more inclined to seek solace in his own maladaptive responses. I was only happy when I was in charge, and he was on his belly.

Yes, by the time we had divorced, I cared more about whether he was following my rules about not eating in the bedroom, than how he was feeling with his anxiety attacks. I became entirely ungrateful, and I only saw it when I realized how far I had gotten from just being true to the love I had for him. For so long I had been wrapped up in how he needed to change and improve, while I became a worse and worse person in my adab and taqwah. I had lost sight of the fact that my day of judgment will be for what I did, not what he did.

As all of this clarity flooded me, I knew that I had been dealing with Bashir based on how I saw him as a human, not how Allah saw him. Allah knows Bashir through and through, and Allah knows what Bashir is worth more than I do. I had to consider that perhaps I got it wrong- that idea I had that I was somehow rescuing myself from a “bad person” and that it was only I who deserved happiness and love. Perhaps the magnitude of my arrogance that had grown made me the one who deserved to be alone and drifting as though lost, while Bashir was actually the one Allah saw deserved mercy and promptly provided him a companion and all other means he needed to have a peaceful life. The ayat came to mind:

“It may happen that his Lord, if he divorce you, will give him in your stead wives better than you, submissive (to Allah), believing, pious, penitent, devout, inclined to fasting, widows and maids. “(Quran 66:5) Also, the hadith which says, “They (women) are ungrateful to their husbands and are ungrateful for the favors and the good (charitable deeds) done to them. If you have always been good (benevolent) to one of them and then she sees something in you (not of her liking), she will say, ‘I have never received any good from you.” indicates that such women will make up the majority of Hellfire.

I realized what a serious mistake I had made, and how much was truly at stake. All at once I was broken in a way I had never been broken before, and in the recognition of my folly all I wanted was the chance to repent and do it the right way- not the way that would please me or my nafs, but Allah only. I wanted a second chance.

….to be continued….

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10 Day Time Bomb

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Sometimes some of us are given a situation in life that forces us to take a hard look at ourselves, and reluctantly admit that we are not the person we thought we were or had hoped to be. I am at that place.

The past 10 days have been like the rapid-fire sequence of bombs detonating inside my mind and heart. Sure, it may have all began with what I referenced in my last post about my ex husband wanting to remarry, but it recently culminated with his nikkah yesterday. In between those two crazy-making revelations I endured a severe illness which left me completely weak in my body and mind. Ironically, the ex who was causing the great heartache with his choices was also the only person helping me while I was sick, so in the end my emotions and thought processes were left severely short circuited and unreliable.

I admit, finding out there was someone else out there who cared about him, and who he cared about, made me jealous. I would try to salve myself in various ways, but the bottom line is still the same: they are happy with one another. They are happy because they found love and are no longer alone, and I am unhappy because I am alone and don’t foresee any love life in my future. I resented them both for it, and that showed me how pathetic I really am when it all gets boiled down.

It’s been years since I’ve felt jealous of anyone, so I was really caught off guard by how strong it can be, and how compelling. Jealousy wants to tear down the happiness of others, or somehow inject itself in where it doesn’t belong to feed off of what it can’t destroy like a parasite. Jealousy isn’t even satisfied if you give it what it wants, because it has to give up what it has now just to take it….and jealousy never wants to let anything go.

I went through all those reactions about my ex; not just once but multiple times. In fact, I can still feel the burn inside my nafs from where it is still smoldering, like the underground coal fire in Pennsylvania. It feels at times completely out of control, where my emotions have raised a coup with their drive to have my ex husband back for myself…for him to belong to no one else. Yet I know that chasing that idea down would make 3 people miserable in the end, and perhaps two of them (though it’s hard to admit) deserve the chance to find a renewal of happiness with one another. I was wronged by my ex in various ways, but perhaps Allah will be merciful and keep them from wronging each other.

It is a very difficult thing to accept, to move forward from, when I believe as I do that I won’t get any such redemptive chances (in the context of another relationship). All I have is a hard look at how low I can really go when life gets that real. I can only hope that the illness I went through -as severe as it was- served as some sort of expiation to offset the ugliness I’m seeing in myself.

A Tornado Unleashed

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It’s hard to believe it’s only been about 2 weeks since the course of my future changed (at least in my awareness).  It seems like it’s been so much longer, but perhaps that’s because so many things have been going on that it gives the feeling of time stretching out.

I have been working on trying to identify and set up my own boundaries in life. I have recognized my tendency for being codependent and I plan on start going to CoDA meetings (codependents anonymous) because I can’t figure out on my own how to not be that way. It’s been such a lifelong orientation, I really don’t know any other way. But I don’t want to be this way anymore. I want to be my own person. I also plan on starting back with a counselor who can help me work on not “spinning my own reality”.  Someone probably with a strong background in CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy).  I will do this at the beginning of the year when our new benefits kick in, which will happen to allow mental health visits/counseling with no copays! Plus I will have my annual EAP visits to use then as well.

 

I have been taking the time to turn to Allah whenever things get overwhelming. So, I have been turning to Allah pretty much on the hour, every day.  Before, I would turn to myself or creation for solutions to my problems, and I want to get away from that maladaptive pattern too. So I have been doing a lot of work on myself, but I still have a lot more to go.

 

All of these details, plus still getting ready for the closing on 11/19, and some recent events with my youngest son, have been keeping me very busy. I have a great girlfriend I talk to almost daily, and she’s a wonderful support.  With all of this the “pain of being alone” is softened.  Though this is a lot of work and sacrifice, and yes I lose too much precious sleep, I can safely say this is certainly not the worst thing I’ve been through in life.

 

There are a lot of times I want to reunite with my husband. I want to go back to all the familiar comforts and dive back into the dreams we built, to keep chasing them. One thing I tell myself every time I notice I get carried away with those ideas is that to do so would be going back to living a lie, and the lie is namely that the behaviors he demonstrated in the marriage (and that I ignorantly overlooked too many times) were acceptable. They were never acceptable, I should’ve never tolerated it past the first time.  So going back to that would be sending the message to myself, to him, to our children, and to society that abuse is OK if you can justify it or find a way of living with it.  That’s just simply not true, so no matter what I might feel or want I commit myself to that truth and the response it merits.

 

One of the more difficult challenges I’ve been facing has to do with my baby, Jabiyr (gosh, how hard it is to work my mind around the fact that he will likely be the last child I birthed).  Jabiyr, who can be the sweetest, most interesting and engaging boy, has always had a temper problem.  I’ve often felt he genetically inherited that makeup from his father, because even as a baby he seemed angry. Where other babies (even my older children) would cry with needs, sadness, and plaintively, he growled. He was mad!  He never seemed satisfied with any of my attempts to soothe him and he would just roar his frustrations out until he was exhausted.

 

As he got older, he was aggressive as a toddler. Some of that is to be expected at that age, so it was hard to distinguish which things were “personality” and which were developmental, because it wasn’t extremely severe. But when he started pre-K at age 4, his aggression took a specific form. He was suspended several times for hitting other kids and responding to stressful situations with violence. Other reprimands were given for him not listening or following directions, or hiding under his desk.  In the end, he was actually expelled a week before the school year was over because these behaviors had just gotten to be too much.

 

I was hoping that perhaps these extremes were because he wasn’t used to school, and happened to be one of the youngest kids in class. I hoped it was just immaturity, and that with time and adjustment to the routine he would outgrow it.  He always had a hard time adjusting to change, and has very particular preferences about how things should go.  Yet, these trends continued into kindergarten and first grade.  I don’t think there’s been a year he hasn’t been suspended at least a couple times for aggression or defiance.  However, it did seem like the incidents were decreasing in very small amounts, as last year he didn’t really have many episodes of trying to hurt others. It was mostly just the “not listening” stuff.

 

This year he had some very patient and understanding teachers. He started off doing great, with a structured reward plan for every day he did well (10 days got him a prize, and 100 days is a big prize. So far he has had 44 good days).  I really thought this would be the year we see a big difference with him, as his reading and writing skills began to blossom rapidly as well.

 

Unfortunately, things took a turn for the worse when he came to understand what was happening with me and his father.  I expected this, naturally. I knew this would be a painful adjustment for him, even though the parting is amicable and we are both working toward supporting the little boy as best we can.  The small things that would “set him off” became even smaller, and the reactions even larger.  In the past 2 weeks, I have been called to come get him from school 3 times for essentially disrupting the classroom with a tantrum and refusing to stop.  He would throw chairs, scissors, pencils etc, and not stop when requested.

 

Even at home with me, I’ve lost a lot of leverage I used to have with him.  When I used to be able to sit with him and soothe him, or give him a consequence that would deter him, now those things don’t work. He is almost impossible to redirect, and he just doesn’t seem to care what the result might be.  It makes me very sad.

 

So, a few days ago the school called again for him to be picked up. His classroom had to be evacuated because of the havoc he was causing. Students and teachers feared for their safety, and he was suspended.  I also had begun fearing for his safety, because not only has he punched himself in the face when he gets upset but now he is so impulsive when he is in that kind of state I’m not sure what might enter his head to do to himself.

 

I took him to his afters school provider on the day of his suspension. Within an hour of being dropped off, I got a call to come get him because he was tearing things off the walls, cussing, and hitting the other kids.  I was heartbroken, and I have run out of ideas on how to manage these outbursts.  The school is at their wits’ end too, and I obviously can’t take off work several times a week to get him each time.  I had not looked at medication as an option because it is not FDA approved in children under the age of 7, and he just turned 7 this past August.  However, at this point it seems that he cannot control his emotions on his own, and I don’t know what else to do.

 

So I took him to the closest behavioral hospital for an evaluation that day.  After the assessment, they recommended an admission so they could observe these behaviors themselves and formulate a treatment plan. I’ve also met with the school administration to come up with some clear objectives while he is there. Today we will have a family session with the hospital staff, and I hope we will have some strategies going forward to help Jabiyr work out his feelings in a healthier way.

 

Taking him there was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. I have always been the one on the the other side (at my job), taking the admission clinicals for children so young. I never thought I would have to  take my own, but between my professional expertise and maternal instincts I’m flat out of answers.  I cried all the way home that night after leaving him.

 

The doctor I spoke with yesterday said that since he’s been there (a little over 24 hrs) he has been compliant, agreeable, and not at all aggressive or obstinate.  I was very surprised at this. I am not sure if he is trying to be on his best behavior so he can come home, or if he just hasn’t been “triggered” yet.  Either way, it makes me wonder if he can in fact control this behavior, but just chooses not to. If that’s the case, I wonder what could entice him to make the right choices when needed?

 

I have to admit, seeing all this play out brings a temptation of reuniting with his father. I think, “see, if you hadn’t pursued a divorce, your son would be still doing ok and not acting in the worst of ways.  If you get back with him, he will stop these behaviors”.  But then on the flipside I think of all the things he’s witnessed from his dad in his short life that maybe modeled these behaviors to him to begin with.  Ya Allah, please help my son and bring him peace of mind, heart, and body.

 

I will forge ahead, and I will continue to try to make the right choices as best I can assess. I will not give up just because it gets hard, and insha’Allah time will straighten all that seems crooked right now.

Grounded

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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.

Journey to Dust, Transformation to Ashes

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I feel like I’ve been in an emotional blender this week.  It started out as me being a spectator, just watching others do what they do. I maintained a numb distance so their actions couldn’t affect me, so I could stay focused on my own priorities in trying to sort things out.  As it was, I had been feeling confused about a number of things for some time, and I was just wanting to get to the bottom of it all without any distractions.

When my own efforts to discern the mysteries of my subjective cuing failed, clarity came from outside.  I can’t say that it was the picture I was hoping to see,  but at least knowing what type of storm has been raining down was better than wondering why I’m soaking wet.  It’s a shame,  I don’t feel that much drier even now.

I’m only human. I like tidy resolutions.  I want things to work themselves out without me having to make any difficult choices, because I fear making the wrong one and being loaded down with years of regret and the permanence of decisions that cannot be undone. I wish it was always that easy, but I guess that’s the point.  Choosing the easy option, or the only option, takes no effort. It doesn’t make us bend, break, or grow.  It is a safe course, but comes with the least benefit.  I think I can safely say so far, Allah hasn’t chosen me for that type of path through life. If that were the case, He wouldn’t see fit to give me so many opportunities to submit to Him.  In the end I know that I am glad I have been given these tests, and grateful to Him for the way He sees me through them.  Yet, I have to admit, sometimes the process gets me down…way down…into the darkest places. That’s where I happen to be right now.

I don’t come here much, but when I do it’s pretty bad.  I’ve been soaking in pain.  Coming home from work each day this week, I would spend hours sitting on the couch, encompassed by the tang in my heart.  I would talk out loud to myself (as though I were the only friend I have), trying to grasp the resolve to make whatever choices needed to be made. What makes it the most difficult is that I can’t see any outcomes that give me hope.

So, I feel like a failure. I feel like garbage and trash. I feel unloveable, unwanted, and worthless.  From the bottom of this pit, the only view I see is the one that validates these feelings. I think about my mother taking off when I was only a baby, and being only a tangential part of my life since then.  I think about how I struggled to make friends growing up, struggled to keep people near when all they could see is the level of my intensity which made them back away.  I think about how I still feel a deficit of close friends even now that my life is nearly half over.  I think about how my words, my thoughts, are just silent cries that often go unheard. I think about how much I have accepted in my marriages that I shouldn’t have accepted, just for the sake of not having to be alone.

Because after all, alone is how I’ve spent most of my life. Looking back into my formative years, and most of it is memories of being alone in my bedroom, trying to quietly occupy myself.  I remember trying, time and again, to reach out to my grandparents for attention, and only being met with exasperated disinterest. I feel shame that the deficit created made me into an attention whore on some level, as I entered young adulthood….but even then I still was cast away for being too extreme, too difficult to understand, unrelatable to most others.

Alone is how I spent the years of my first marriage, waiting night after night for a husband I loved who wouldn’t come home. A husband who had interest in pretty much anything else but me…even cleaning the house. I thought I finally found a breakthrough with my current husband, because he was the first person I couldn’t drive away.  Funny, he was thinking the same about me. I thought we would be peas in a pod forever.

At first, things seemed ideal.  I loved him to death, and I thought I was loved to death.  He had mistakes, flaws…it was to be expected. So did I.  I covered them, forgave them, overlooked them, shoved them aside. My love was so great, it would pay the price of any pain he caused me.  He owed me nothing, except a promise to stay by my side. He did stay, he’s been staying.  Yet, the staying has been akin to grasping a thorned rose with the tightest grip, like swallowing a blade over and over.  I started to weaken from the repeated cuts, and I thought it was my lack of fortitude that needed to be strengthened.

So I face this dilemma: have a companion who may potentially bleed me to death from 1000 slashes, or be alone.   I don’t think he’s doing it on purpose, or because he doesn’t care. It is happening because he is the knife, and it’s the knife’s nature to cut.  He can’t help it, no matter how much he tries to be soft and gentle, he is still only capable of what his nature will allow.  I can choose to stay close, at my own risk…but because my nature is something entirely different…there will be a price to pay.

Or, I could save myself, and heal what wounds are left.  I would be doing it alone.  I would be safe, sane, and intact…but isolated. I am not a raving beauty, that people are flocking to be near me. I am not a comfortable fit into society, that others find me palatable. I am overly analytical, socially awkward, emotionally brazen, and hopelessly anchored to literal thinking. I catch others offguard with my lumbering affection.  I repel others with my neediness.  No one is going to want to love me except those who are themselves unloveable…the guns, the knives, the arrows, the fiery ones of the world. They will accept me and take me and cherish me…but ultimately destroy me because I am nothing but paper.

Just paper, a paper full of words unheard.

Paper is not worth very much.  Paper just gets used and thrown away. That’s been my life experience as well.  Paper can only wound a sliver of a cut, but can be shredded so easily.  Paper is plain, unnoticed, nominal. Paper is fragile, flimsy, and vulnerable.

The value of paper is only as great as the words written on it, and so far the words I have have been of no value to anyone else. My life has been of no value to anyone else, except for what use I can offer them.  Tell me one person who cares to do something for a piece of paper.  At best, only the sentimental will preserve it and keep it safe…but I guess there aren’t many of those types around.

I know this is a bunch of depressing things to say.  I wanted to write it here, so that it wouldn’t stay written on my heart. I want it out, not in. I want it to be something other than my experience of myself.  Maybe, just maybe, once I can do that much,  I can find a way to beautify what’s ugly and bring meaning to what’s meaningless.  If I can’t, maybe someone else can. Maybe Allah in His mercy will.

Until then, I will probably stay crumbled into this ball, in the unnoticed corner.

Falling at Fajr

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It seems like all day, maybe even all weekend, I have been carrying around a feeling of dread.  It feels like in some realm a line was crossed, and things which may have been reversible up to that point are now fixed.  I fasted my 10 days for Rajab, concluding Saturday night. At maghrib I made salat and then made dua, pouring out my fears and desires to Allah.  I had so many things to say, and particular things to ask, and I laid it all before Him.  Since then, I have been feeling guilty, and I don’t even know why.  Do I feel bad for wanting anything at all, because it betrays a certain lack of sabr?  Do I feel guilty for wanting something that might be bad for me, even though I do the best I can to use wisdom to discern what I want and need? Do I feel guilty for asking Allah for ease, because it means I can’t handle His tests?

This morning I woke up just after 3 AM, feeling horrible.  I was dreaming about my husband’s relationship with his shaykh, which currently seems to be in a questionable standing. I guess what has been going on has been making him rethink his beliefs and spiritual course, which is understandable.  Even though he is coming to conclusions (in some ways) that I had already established, I am troubled at how far a departure this is from the person I’ve known him to be.  I already was feeling like life as I have known it was shifting in ways I couldn’t keep up with, now I have to adjust to my husband going though an intangible metamorphosis.  Maybe that was the final piece that dropped my heart into despair?

I feel like things are not going to work out….at least not in the direction I would prefer them to.  I had two pictures in my mind of the outcome for my husband’s situation: him leaving and I being left on my own to redefine my future; or him staying because we were able to get a house and move on in some semblence of normalcy (even if it meant him being on probation). Now it seems the option that is being leaned toward is him starting the probation now, without a proper home, without security that his mother will continue to finance his living arrangements if he is unable to find a means to do so on his own, without a reasonable assurance that will we be able to get a place of our own.  Of all the possibilities I’ve been sifting through since his arrest and trying to plan around, this was not one of them. I feel very upended about this, and with the fact that we were not given very good vibes about being financed for a home this past Friday I feel like my heart is stuck in a tar pit. I can’t say that my dream the other night about my job helped that in any way.

Hope lives by being able to create a picture of a future we can believe in, and anchoring ourselves to it during difficult times. I have to admit, I did have a lot of futuristic panoramas to hope in. Being the planner-girl I am, I thought I made sure that every possible outcome had an “after” I could invest in, to keep my spirits buoyant through all this.  With what’s shaping up, I find I didn’t have a scene for this one.  I know time will pass and outcomes will be revealed, and I will move through this to the next phase inevitably. However, I feel like I’m travelling that path hopelessly, because I had not put together a back-up plan for what’s actually taking place.

I’ve already prayed fajr, and I have to work later today.  Tomorrow is the pivotal day, and I expect my husband will continue to deliberate between his options until he has to actually go in and declare a position.  His choice will affect me, whatever it is.  I am not even really sure if I am ready to handle any of the choices he might make, so long had I hoped this day wouldn’t actually come. Even during my dua Saturday night I asked that all this be made to disappear.

I even feel guilty for wanting a generous rescue.  I feel guilty for being frightened when something can’t be changed.  In some ways, the way I am feeling now, the terrifying dreadfulness and ache of regret, is almost exactly the way I felt when I lost my daughter. No matter how much I wish and wish something would alter the events that have already passed through time, I am faced with the conclusion that nothing is going to change back to what it was.  Nothing is going to look the same as it did before, and the only option before me is to try to find a meaningful place in my new reality. Either that, or get stuck in my attachment to memories of the past and live a life of counter-productive fixation. That’s really not my style, though.

I know this is a rambling sort of post, but I need to do it for my own sake because I’m just not ready to lay back down and try to go to sleep with all this heaviness inside my soul.  I remember when I was a child, I had one of those books that come with a 45 speed record (actually I had several of them). The one I am thinking of in particular was Disney’s The Black Hole. I remember in the story how the captain and his crew were basically trying to deal with the inevitability that they were being sucked into this black hole, which they feared would take their lives.  They were not sure what was going to happen or if they would survive.  As they got closer and closer, it became harder and harder to believe they might be able to escape it (although they had been trying all along).  In the end, they passed through the black hole, and made it to the other side safely.  They were in a totally unfamiliar realm, and they realized it was going to be very challenging for them to move forward and continue to survive, because for all they knew they were the only living creatures in this new universe. However, they were thankful to still be alive, and hoped they could make a way forward somehow.

I feel like that now. I feel like the black hole was something I had been falling toward, but hoped I might be able to escape somehow.  Now it really feels like escape is a non-option.  I don’t know if I’m going to survive this transition (emotionally, mentally), but I have no choice but to try.  Even in my best attempts of trying, I have no idea what it will look like until it happens. It feels like trying to drive while blind, and yet hoping I get to my correct destination safely.  It seems like even if that were to happen, the route there will be perilous either way.

I’m still not ready to go to bed. I still feel sick inside. I know staying awake will only sabotage my ability to concentrate at work later today, but I don’t know what else to do. I was hoping writing about my state would draw out the infirmity, like it has so many other times.  I guess this is one of those instances where there is more emotional poison inside than I have words to expel it with. If I could cry I would, but my feelings are more along the lines of “horrified” than depressed.

Ya Allah, I praise you and may blessings surround Prophet Muhammad SAWS.  I already feel like I ask You for too much, and can’t repay all that You have already given. I feel ashamed to even ask for one more breath.  But you are giving me breaths, you are giving me hours and days and a future as You like.  Ya Allah, please give me some glimpse of the beauty in my future, so I can cling to it and survive what’s present.  Please show me a bit of what awaits me on the other side of this test, so  I can continue to be brave and patient and fighting with all my strength; so I can find enough motivation to not give up when it feels like giving up is the only option left. Amin.

I Tumble For Ya

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Once upon a time, when I was about 6 or 7 years old, this song was my all-time favorite.  It had a happy and carefree feel to it, and every time my family took me to the local pizza parlor I would play it in the jukebox over and over.  Eventually, the song stopped getting featured in the jukebox, and I had to face a rude awakening in realizing that songs only stayed popular for a limited time before they were replaced with new creative offerings.

I am trying to have a good morning, but it’s very difficult. I am a very vivid dreamer, and often the tone of my dreams will color the following day.  This morning I dreamt that a coworker of mine had been promoted to “senior life coach”.  I didn’t mind that I had not been promoted with her, but what hurt was her bragging about her accomplishment to me, and pointing out all the flaws in my work or habits that excluded me from consideration for being promoted with her.  I became emotional and started to try to put her in her place, all the while giving examples of areas where she and other coworkers have a looser work ethic than mine.  All this took place as we were sitting in the backseat of a schoolbus.  To my embarrassment, I realized that my manager was sitting on the bus as well, several seats ahead of us.  He had overheard the entire exchange and began to come back to where we were to smooth the situation over.  Initially he tried to be very understanding, and said he didn’t think it was fair to me that she was rubbing her honor in my face. He said he wanted to talk to me about what was going on and how he could help make things better for me and my work performance, but he couldn’t see me for a meeting for another week. I was dissappointed about this, and became exasperated that we couldn’t meet sooner now that all my emotions were brought to the forefront.  However, I had no choice but to accept the offer.

The scene changed and I was still with the promoted coworker, and things were still strained.  For some reason, I lost it and started having a very public emotional breakdown, and the manager was again present. Instead of being patient, he yelled at me to stop my behavior, and ended up terminating me due to my lack of self control.  When I awoke, I took the dream as a caution to be careful not to let my personal life influence my professional one, just in case.

At any rate, I’m still feeling defeated.  I am disappointed in myself that my ibadah is lackluster in the past few days, though I have been trying really hard to keep it consistent.  I am feeling hopeless about getting a house, because our NACA counselor told us yesterday not to have high hopes for approval since there were periodic instances where my bank account balance dipped into the negative (though it was brought current the following days), even though no overdraft fees were merited.  Nevermind the fact that I am paying an exorbanant amount for rent, and have never had an eviction nor late payment. I know I could afford a mortgage, because I’ve been sustaining a rental expense twice that for years.  I also feel sad that I have to be here at my place alone, though married. I feel like a single mom most of the time.  My husband’s arraignment is in 3 days…just another blip on the horizon I wish could be avoided. All in all, everything going on has me feeling like I’m not only falling, but tumbling as I go.  It’s neither happy nor carefree.

What I fear the most is that all of these circumstances will get to me, and I will have a meltdown akin to the one I dreamt about last night.  That I will unexpectedly lose it at the worst time and in an inappropriate place, and the consequences of it will only push me further down the cliff.  I don’t know what my limits are, nor do I know when I am approaching my “point of no return” emotionally.  The pressures are indiscriminate and I am just caught in a mix that has more to do with the choices of others than myself.  But I know I do have my own choices, my choices of how to respond.  Although I may not feel strong enough to respond with a different feeling about what is going on, I can choose my actions.  The one thing that’s staying me right now is the fact that if I really feel like I am being pushed too far, and being asked too much, and being advised to make unreasonable sacrifices, I can choose to say no. I can choose to say, “enough is enough”. I can decide to do what’s best for  me and my children, and be at peace that I chose the course of response and not someone else, or some circumstance thrown upon me.

I’m going to try again to make all my salat today. I am going to work a little at cleaning up this house and look all around me for encouragements from Allah.  He does send them, in all times and usually when most needed.  I know, despite how everything looks, that everything that happens is for my best, so long as I look for the opportunities to remain in submission to Him through these circumstances.  Every hardship will raise me, if I can make sure I don’t let it defeat and corrupt me.  No matter what,  I still have people whom I love, who love me too, and will support me through whatever comes.  Shukrulillah for these eases that abide by this trial. May Allah sustain those I love, may He provide for their every need and give them blessing in this life and the next.