Closure

Closure is such an intricate thing. After 6+ years,  I think I finally achieved it today. As I sat with a good friend I just recently met, I relieved moments I had kept hidden for so long. And the tears began to flow, causing me to choke back on my words. But I continued to speak. And as I spoke, it felt like those enclosed pieces finally found their way out. I didn’t even know how powerful those pieces were until I talked about them.

6 years is a long time. I was an immature 22-year-old back when it all began. And it took 6 years to mold me into who I am today. Today, I feel like a butterfly, ready to come out of the cocoon and flutter my wings. It is such a bittersweet feeling, letting go of memories so intensely beautiful and vivid. But it has been a long time coming and I am excited to see where life will take me.

Today, I am ready to utter the words that would’ve destroyed me before. Today, I’m finally okay with letting go. Today, I can finally say…

…good-bye Rube. Loving you was so easy, baby. And letting go has been so hard. But I’m ready. I’m finally ready to let you go…

The Downside to Working

It’s no secret that I thoroughly enjoy working and learning how to financially stand on my own two feet, for lack of a better cliche’. It could have to do with my feminist streak but I do believe that women are more than just moms and wives–there’s so much more to them than just that. And so I try to take on a dual-role, being the breadwinner and the bread-maker.

For any mom that wants to work (without having to), think about the benefits of it. Does it outweigh the cost of leaving your kids at home? Will it make you a better person? Will it make you a more well-rounded person? And mostly, can you let go of the guilt of not being home with your children all the time? For me, work is therapy. It heals me and helps me work on characteristics, such as patience, that are hard to maintain. But there are downsides to it, as there is with almost anything.

1) By the time  I get home, I’m too tired to focus on her 100%. Alhamdulillah, I live with my parents for now and she has a lot of love around her, but as her mom, I should be doing more. I should be the one potty-training, feeding, showering and reading bedtime stories. But with school and work, time is of the essence and I have yet to learn how to manage my time. 

2) Some mornings, Safiyah asks me to stay home. “Momma”, she cries. “You don’t have to work. Stay home.”  You can’t really find an answer to this one, except “I’m sorry baby. I love you.”

3) I always dreamed of being the mom who bakes, cooks and sweeps, simultaneously. Letting go of that dream to fulfill other dreams was pretty difficult.

4) There are times when she’s sick or suffering from asthma that I have to leave her. It hurts me to my core.

5) And the hardest part is that she is okay without me. It is such a blessing that Safiyah is able to stay with anyone and be absolutely okay. A lot of moms wish that they could catch a break and I, for one, can. But it still hurts.

But in spite of all the things I just listed, the fact that Safiyah runs to the door when I come home with a smile as big as her heart soothes my soul. The fact that she calls me her best friend and tells me she loves me every day soothes my soul. And the fact that she snuggles up next to me every night and tells me to sing her “huss little baby” makes me giggle. I may miss out on a lot but there are some experiences that only a mom gets to experience. Alhamdulillah. 

My dream for you

Dear Safiyah,
How I have dreams for you.
Dreams I envisioned for you
since before Allah(SWT) blessed me with a
home in my belly.

My dreams for you are not money nor fame,
but rather, finding happiness in the little things
and the strength to endure 
because life is not free from pain.

My dream for you
Is to smile and accept the way 
things turn out to be.
To raise your hands
and thank God for everything you’ve received.

My dream for you is to be content with every thing
that has happened so far in your young life,
things that are out of our control,
that neither I nor you can steer into our direction.

Sometimes I wonder, in awe,
at how much Allah (SWT) has planned for you
Because you clearly are special 
to everyone you meet.
And you are clearly special 
to the One who gave you to me.

You are my strength,
The reason for my being.
If it wasn’t for you being in my life,
I don’t know where I’d be.

How I wish you had a father’s hand to hold
and arms to run to
when he knocks on the door 
after a long day at work.
But my wishing can change nothing
Until He (SWT) decides its time,
to give you everything that 
you could possibly want.

And so, Safiyah,
as I pray for me, I pray for you.
For the two of us to have something
that’s much harder than it seems.
My dream for you, baby girl,
is patience.

A beautiful piece

Okay, y’all. Grab some tissues. What I’m about to post is so beautiful and poetic in nature that I wish I could take credit for it. But it is NOT my writing.

“Fear not Oh Children and People of Gaza; for inshallah your path to Jannah has already been paved. You were chosen by Allah for enduring years of hardship, struggle, and tyranny yet simultaneously never losing hope in Allah’s victory.

I am sorry this Ummah was disunified during your years of pain. Our hearts are with you and slowly but surely, your unrelenting patience and hope is uniting this Ummah.  You are reminiscent of the people described in Surah Burooj; and in turn, you are better than what I will ever become. But I hope I am lucky enough to meet you in Jannah.

May the air around you feel like the breeze of Jannah, may the heat there be shielded with Allah’s clouds of mercy, and may you walk proudly in this life and akhirah knowing you were an example to this Ummah.”

Simply profound.

And if anyone knows how to get this out to Gaza…please let me know.

Awkwardness

I attract awkward questions like a moth to a flame. Seriously. It’s like I’m wearing an invisible marquee that says “Ask me awkward questions.” Let me explain.

Since I have a child, it’s natural for people strangers to assume that I’m married. I get that. 

I even understand when they ask: Woah, you’re married? 

And I answer with the truth: Um,no. (I uncomfortably look away).

And then: Woah, you’re divorced?

Again, I answer with the truth: Um, no. (And so I smile, because I know what’s coming next.)

Awkwardness: Ok…you’re not married. You’re not divorced. So…

And I tell them the truth. And immediately begin to prepare for that look. You know, the “gosh-I-feel-so-bad-for-asking” look. 

And so I proceed to comfort them about my situation. And all of a sudden, the awkwardness goes away. 

I don’t mind the questions. I promise. I feel awkward because I know that they end up feeling uncomfortable. And I hate making people feel uncomfortable.

But then, there are times where the comments just do not stop:

Ooh, your man left you? What a shame.

You need yourself a good man.

How could he leave you?

These are my favorite questions. Really. They make me laugh. Remember how I said I don’t like making people feel uncomfortable? It doesn’t apply to the situations I just mentioned. To these, I reply:

He died.

Silence.Apologies..

It’s okay. I’m used to it.

All humor aside, I really don’t mind the questions. I’m very open about it. People usually assume divorce when they see me with a child but no ring on my finger. And unfortunately, divorce has such a negative connotation. Widowhood doesn’t. I’d rather tell them the truth instead of letting them assume something negative. 

 

Embracing the Career-Life

I used to tell my mom: You shouldn’t have to work. You should be able to stay at home and just be a Mom.

Those who know me, as the person I am now, will probably roll their eyes. Go ahead. I’m doing it as I write.

And my mom used to reply: You don’t get it. I have to.

Well, I thought. There’s no way I’m ever going to have to work. My husband will take care of me. It’s his job.

Fast-forward a few years.

Suddenly, I find myself telling people : You don’t get it. I have to work.

And for a while, that’s what I thought. And it was such a hard concept. Leaving Safi at home or with a babysitter made me cringe. How could I do that to her? She’s already lost a dad. And now, she barely sees her mom.

It took me almost a year to get over that misconception and embrace the fact that I am given the chance to make a living for my daughter and myself. I am given the chance to learn how to take care of me, without relying on a husband.

And now, I realize that it is my job to take care of myself.

It’s not just that I have to work. I also choose to work. I am in love with what I do. At my job, I get to be somebody that none of my friends and family reallyknows about. At work, I get to be another side of me.

And that, my friends, is how I have learned to embrace the career life. Someone once told me that if in 10 years, there’s a slight chance that I may regret not doing something now, then I better do it. Embrace the now.

Sabiha Afreen—Why I write

My good friend and blogging aficionado, Saira, asked me a while back if I would want to participate in a “writer’s chain letter” and explore my writing processes. Of course, because it’s Saira and because this blog has become a hobby, I agreed to participate, in spite of potentially breaking the chain with my belatedness. But before I do that, I must give credit to where it’s due

What am I working on?

Right now, this blog is all that I’m working on. And by working, I mean, slacking off with. I do dream about writing a book (genre unknown) but for right now, that remains a dream. I want this blog to really start taking off before I take on another project. Between school, my daughter, single-parenthood and my beloved job, I tell myself I have no time for anything else. But school will be over in less than a year (inshAllah!) and I’ll have more time to concentrate on writing.

I’ve always been a writer. I used to write pages of poetry and fiction when I was much younger but those are probably wasting away in landfill somewhere. But aside from very few people, no one knew I was a writer, until this post emerged and suddenly, it seemed like the world knew my secret.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I can’t figure out what my genre is. A little bit of Islamic. A little bit of self-help. And a lot of rambling. But really, it’s my thought processes that this blog highlights. I don’t like to stick to a single category and soon, I hope to make this blog a smorgasbord of topics but that’s still a work in progress.

But how does my work differ from others? It differs because it’s my voice. It differs because it’s my thoughts. It differs because it’s my words. No two writers have the same persona, no matter how similar they may be.

How does your writing process work? 

I used to write in the moment. Most of my posts have been written on the spur of the moment, usually late into the night. I usually write when my emotions are at the peak and words just happen to flow. I have the WordPress app on my phone and whenever a post comes into mind, I just open it and type away.I have a cute little journal that I jot down ideas in from time to time but those ideas usually never make it to the virtual atmosphere.

As of lately, my posts have been semi-spurred and semi-planned. But I think as I start organizing my thoughts and the blog more, there will be more planned posts. Like I said, I really want this blog to take off and in order for it to take off, I have to work harder.


Fellow bloggers

Zeba is a mom of 3 wonderful children, with one who has Autism. She is 50% white and 50% Pakistani (and 100% Muslim) and currently resides in Dubai, with her three children and husband-friend, Waleed. Zeba is a blogger, a writer, a graphic designer and all things supermom. She writes for Muslim Matters and has her own blog. You can follow her on Twitter @zebasez


Malik Shabazz is a blogger from Toronto, who considers himself a hardcore nerd, because he loves video games. He would willingly trade in his future wife for a video game, if the opportunity arose. Writing and helping people has always been a passion of his and he merges the two together on his blog and Facebook page. He considers himself to be joker and full of sarcasm.