Ode to 2018

Salam everyone –

PHEW, glad that’s over.

I can say 2018 was a good blur. I started my third year of teaching- one of which they say if you can survive- you’re good. Then I was told it’s actually after year 5.

Yay.

A couple of challenges hit me really hard this year. Some of which I was dealing with for a long time, and others just pushing buttons.

I guess I’ll say it really boils down to a few things:

1) self- care, all ways.

2) fate vs plans

3) losing yourself

Self care in all ways

The first is something that I’ve really dived into. I found the exact things that make me look my best, sure, but more importantly FEEL my best. I took my personal fitness to another level, one that I’ll admit was driven by stress, anger, and helplessness. I didn’t know where to run to- excuse the pun. Running makes me feel invincible. Like no one could catch me and tell me to stop or hold me down. It’s also a great way of releasing stress and forgetting about your worries. I’d push myself to be outside more too, and that has made a huge difference. I went to the doctor just for a check up and got my blood work done (I am THE biggest pain intolerant person you’ll ever meet) Alhamdulilah everything was okay except for a couple things. Alhamdulilah I knew the sources of my deficiencies and I’m working on taking care of them. Oh and terra-cotta make up looks amazing on me. Just saying.

In terms of my inner self- It’s been hard. I’ve never felt this amount of anxiety and pervasive sadness. It’s definitely related to my health, which Alhamdulilah I can fix now. I found myself praying robotically, not really concentrated like I used to. I felt ashamed. I still feel that way. I read the Quran often, and when I did I hated myself for crying. I just knew that if I opened it I would break down. Unfortunately this lead me to not even opening it for a long time. I felt reluctant and ashamed to be in front of Allah (swt). This mentality is proven faulty. You should NEVER get away from Allah (swt) out of shame or shyness. I learned that I just had to try and approach through my prayers and endless Duaa. Sometimes it just takes knowing Allah (swt) is with you while you sleep and wakes you up the next day. You have no choice but to move on. He gave me a chance and I have to take it but living- not surviving, living.

I learned about triggers. Who knew going to a place where bad things happened to you would make you feel like you’re suffocating? Who knew seeing old gifts and wearing specific clothes would cause you to remember all that was said and done? I now know what brings me pain and I’ve gotten rid of all of it. It took me forever but I did. No use holding on to things that won’t come back or matter. Only Allah knows how much you meant the love you had and the memories will always be in your consciousness. To me, that’s enough. It feels good to just clean out your room and bring in the new. Cleaning your heart, too. Allah is the One that should be taking up the space. Period.

Fate vs plans

I told y’all this before. I am NOT a planner. I have my goals yes but I don’t sit and plan my life. I’m lucky to have had multiple experiences that show me planning ain’t ish. I’ve met people that have such high and exact expectations for how they wanted to live this life- and none of their dreams panned out. I realized that if I just do my part and be flexible and easy going- I would build my sense of Tawakul (reliance) on Allah (swt). And I did. This was my biggest struggle a few years ago. Now I give up. Allah (swt) is gonna do what He wants and what will take care of me best. I’m done trying to resist and not submit myself to the inevitable. It sucks. It’s not easy. But it sure hurts a lot less when this dunya lets you down. I recall my Teyta (Allah have mercy on her) told my father that you should never be impressed with anyone or anything in this world. My Teyta taught my baba the Islamic concept of Zuhd or asceticism. I want to be this way. I want to always remember this dunya is dunya for a reason. The lowest the low. Not worth competing or getting jealous or not being grateful for what you have. Everyone has their own struggles. I’m too busy worrying about my own sins than to care for someone else’s business.

Losing yourself

When you lose someone, that person takes parts of you with them. You don’t realize how much, often times the memories are countless. I lost someone and without them I realized how much space in my heart and mind they took. I felt immovable. Did they really take up this much of my time? Where is my independent thought? What else did I need to put my heart in but didn’t?

I was stuck with a deep void that I didn’t know how to fill. In the process, I was jaded, distracted, and in a trance. A bad dream where I wanted it to end but knew the cost. It’s no one’s fault. Maybe it’s fault by design. But I’m thankful that I’ve found myself again. Not fully, but she’s growing and she’s getting stronger every day.

I realized that it’s okay to be tough. It’s okay to sore in tears at the same time. Allah needs to be the only thing in our hearts and minds that takes space. Only then will every empty void in our lives will be filled- better yet not have any voids at all.

I pray your 2019 is blessed and full of self love and reflection.

-Sarah

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Refuge

Refuge

You know exactly the source of my pain

It’s pin pointed in my heart

It was never there from the start

You ask of me and I refuse

I come and cry to you

Allah, you are my refuge.

I’ve been betrayed before and continue to shrink in agony.

My tears are my sins- I pray.

I feel my heart being welded- shaped like clay

I was hardened-

You soften

My head on the lowest bounds

My hands etched in earth

You are my refuge

I seek You constantly

I curse in my process

The ever ticking of my sanity

Fades away the moment you accept me

You’re a silent gift giver

A warm demander

Allah you’re the only commander

How dare they assume

They have any power?

Only You know the nights I’ve spent awake

The nights I woke up to meet you

Allah you are my refuge

Others think of me as pious- but what you know of me makes me weak.

I’ll always struggle in my speech.

My anger rumbles and my tongue trembles

Only You know exactly how much I love

How much I care

How long I’ll go on.

Allah you are my refuge.

Just Red

The image above is a real image.

When Yara Met Fadi

https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/when-yara-met-fadi-story-syrian-wedding-dress-under-gaza-rubble-126435904

—-

It was Maroon, really.

The image is similar to the Virgin Mary-

Tears streaming down still cheeks

The pain sinks in darkness

my favorite dress-

It’s an association now of misery.

Mary was strong- Mary endured.

These are sins cured

Remember the fighting? remember the words lost

Sometimes we sleep to forget

Remember when you saved me? Not once but twice. Goodnight.

No regrets.

I can’t read Mary because I’ll just cry

Holding myself together wondering if it’s still worth a try

Freedom isn’t anything but missing you

It’s a swallowing pain- a barb wire see through but can’t get through

Time doesn’t heal it only distracts

Until your memories become smaller and less respected

Less loved

Less enamored

The tears are the surface of tides as they thrash through- drowning in loss

It’s like it was a glass bowl and it shattered.

This was always the cost of hope.

I’m out of change now

The pain sinks in darkness- the tears stream-

Meanwhile hope will gleam.

I’ve got a big heart

One of which I split multiple times

Dessert for two

You’ll never see all of this

One day on heaven’s chairs, I’ll glisten to you.

It’ll all be a laugh, gentle, no pain

I’ll wait until then.

It’s dramatic, I know.

But you’re not surprised- and to me, that’s the best part.

-Sarah

I Was Going to Add More Insecurities

Tired,

Exhausted.

Well aquatinted.

Naive and fragile my moments were frequent

I thought I was stronger

I miss your normalcy

I miss your fighting stare

I get lost in stars, and all they ever did was stare back at me

For you I’d be anything-

Anything but marble towers and polished skin.

-Sarah

January 31st, 2016

To Darkness

I stare into you and you swallow me whole

I know how you do it- you warn, you silence, you wake

You drag me into a restless dream where I stress over things non existent

I wake feeling defeated

Darkness you’re not unkind, you have stars that even the saddest dreamer may use to unwind, to count

To plea

To beg for forgiveness.

I know there’s a God up there. He says He’s closer to me than my jugular vein

But in those veins runs cold animosity, a slicing pain that shivers

I shudder

You’re crazy.

You used to be kinder you know. You used to speak in thunderous power.

You were confident.

Now you let love shower for people that don’t mind

To darkness, I know you’re still there

You swallow me whole and I let you

You make me feel the shrapnel of my being

The challenges, the quakes of life that make me shudder at the thought of losing what I love the most.

It’s true I’m selfish. I want to stare into you all night knowing you could do nothing for me.

To darkness,

People are afraid of your miles

Your depth,

Your sinking violence

I am not afraid of you. But maybe that means I lose.

I’m insane.

But maybe, not as you are.

-Sarah

A Thousand Things

I want to tell you a thousand things…

All of which you’ll come to know

In a distant land

When two fingers meet close at hand, the Prophet (pbuh) warned us–

Magnetic time

If I earn your presence, I’ll be most thankful

To see you propped on heaven’s chairs

To see you laughing with no care

To see you smile because it’s always been there

You just don’t know how much I care

I want to tell you a thousand things

As cheesy as they come, every day

A day when you’re mad

A day when you’re sad

A day when you forget about me because of chance

A day when you have no choice

I want to tell you a thousand things

The time I thought you most kind

Your most vulnerable state

The time you rose like a tower

The time you made me feel small

It was my fault

Every night is a time for stories

For exposure and lustere

For secrets we’d hide the next day

As you walk, I pray

I hope you’re happy

Sunken strength

I gave you a lock and key,

Not knowing what you meant to me

As you walk, I pray

I hope you’re at peace

Hold on to your dreams in those hands

Those hands that can hold thousands, yet I wish only one of me.

Thousands of little things.

-Sarah

Ramadan 2018

Salam guys! *youtube voice

Wow… I don’t really know where to begin honestly. I know I am not alone in these struggles. Last year’s Ramadan hit me like a train. I wasn’t ready at all. I gained my Iman “high”- trying so hard to pray more sincerely, convincing myself to believe, and then have it come crashing down afterwards. Literally the day before Eid. A day where I thought my worship made a difference. I left doubt to the sky and blamed myself.

This crash weakened every fiber of my being. I couldn’t believe I built this facade of personal strength yet when it came to what I wanted most, I crumbled. People usually make jokes about how they remember their bad memories in pain staking detail. I remember mine. They’re messed up. But they’re gone now. I’m here and I’m alive. Those days are gone.

This Ramadan I was worried this would happen again. So I was realistic with myself and went with the flow. It was my first time fasting with a full time job- teaching. I won’t make light of that struggle because it was crazy without coffee and sleep. A personal Jihad, if you will. I found myself constantly giving my all over and over until I burned out and became elusive. Not present. Not caring. Only worried about myself and my state of- heart.

I made a deal with myself that I needed to cleanse my heart of all of the negativity that has impacted me these last couple of years. I made a promise that I was going to forgive and love- and Alhamdulilah I think I’m there thanks to the love of all the people around me and my Lord who knows me inside and out.

Let me tell you what worked for me:

1) setting realistic goals

2) taking it easy

3) taking longer in prayer.

4) the Quran. It fills up any sense of emptiness.

5) sleep. Napping. I never used to do this before

6) doing what you can with what you have

7) asking الله swt at the START of your day to bless your day and give you positive outcomes and Baraka

8) being more patient

9) laughing more

10) realizing your Ramadan should be your first month of the year

11) realizing this Ramadan could be your last

This Ramadan has shown me that I truly am not alone in my struggles and in love. Realize that those around you love you and see your true smile even when things are gloomy. This Ramadan has shown me that humility will always win. This Ramadan has shown me that I can be myself with the One who knows me best. This Ramadan has opened its arms to me when I denied.

InshaAllah we all see this friend again and make their stay a better one. May Allah accept all of our good deeds and erase the bad. May He show us our light among the darkness. May He keep us check. My He keep our hearts sincere and stirring with hope and fear of His Mercy.

Sarah