Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Marriage is...complicated

Such high expectations are a normal resultant of a whirlwind romance. Love resulting in marriage seems to be a common reality - and the ultimate goal. Finally, its legal and you can be together forever (hopefully). If you are lucky the honeymoon phase can last up to a year...and then before you know it, the excitement of a new life, the coming together of a new family, different career goals, families, vacations....and when you do get the time to look back, everything has changed. 

How did you get to this part of marriage, nothing seemed to change and suddenly everything is different. The love, the thrill, the adrenaline rush, and even the person you wake up right next to is not the same...makes you wonder if you yourself has changed also. If according to the movies and friends status on Facebook, your life seems to be lacking all the glamour that is associated with happily married people (if there is such a thing).

Marriage like life is complicated. No two people journey's are the same. Its not really a competition, its not a charade or a  fairy tale. Marriage is work. It takes conscious effort to choose to stay in love with the same person everyday. It takes work to find joy in small things - the big thrills are just punctuation in the daily life and not a sustainable way to be. It takes work to raise a family and manage the finances. It takes work to grow, to bite hurtful retorts and fight fair. Its complicated -and it should be. 


Times indeed change.

I remember when I used to revel in being away from everyone, in discovering new places, in freedom from family, friends and the tiny claustrophobic place I call home. Every time I travelled, my sense of wonderment grew, I could not get enough and I hated going back to the place called home to face the familiar way of life as it has been for forever. 

Yet now, thousands of miles away from everyone, with everything I used to think I valued and all I want in my noisy, dusty, bustling claustrophobic place I call home. I miss everyone so much and so worried that I may lose touch that I find myself more plugged and more in sync now than when I was physically there. 

Loneliness surrounds me. 

The new place has lost its thrill. It is not all that I hoped it will be. It is much harder than I ever imagined it to be. To start afresh in a new place where everyone has everything figured out. All friends are formed, clicks and I am the odd one out. I realise I have changed. It took all this loneliness biting at me from all angles to realise that I am not the same person I used to be, and that is neither a good nor a bad thing. I am different. 

Challenging times ahead. 

Finding the balance between wallowing in loneliness and going out to meet new people who are not interested and feeling like you have to convince them that they should have you in their life is proving to be quite a struggle. Making new friends just for the sake of it feels like such a waste of time when you know once this specific time is over, meeting them again is going to be hard. My heart is divided in enough places across the world to do it anymore. Yet we are social creatures. But in the meantime I am going to just be focused on me. Being my own friend, talking to the voices in my head, and try to unplug from my constant conversations from home. 

Life moves on.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


Family is God's way of showing you that He's got you. Imagine at a day old, a mushy bundle of joy with no means of communicating and yet God provides you an angel that will understand you, hold you, care for you and love you. You come into this world already knowing all the important things about her, you know her voice, her scent and importantly her heartbeat - all from the inside of her. As you cringe your face and cry at the unfamiliar world, you eventually get to meet compilation of people who have something in common with you. You share the blood bond. There is the dad, grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles and many others. You the new addition to the clan and already you belong. 

Yet how do we move from that moment into abandoning our families. Not talking to our cousins. Petty family drama that we allow to define our lives. We chose to let go of those who held us when we needed someone. Why do inherit the hate or misunderstandings of others and absorb them into us? Because suddenly we have our own family that we created for ourselves, our friends. While they are amazing and seem to love us and be there when no one will. Yet we are more willing to let them get away with hurting us more than we would ever let our family. We hold our family with a higher standard of conduct yet we easily hurt them, because we know what can they do? Ostracise us? 

Being so far away, I seem to see everything clearly and differently. My mother was right, we should try and make friends out of our family, it deepens and strengthens the bond. To be in a place where you can make as many friends as you want yet have no one to call your own, is a foreign feeling. I catch myself searching for my mother's face in a strangers face. The snoring of my husband from the next door neighbour I can hear through the wall. The laughter of my child in all children I meet. The bickering of my cousins in the carefree gossipy teenagers. Sometimes I feel so lost. The loneliness gets overwhelming when you have always been surrounded by loved ones, always a short walk or drive away. I have gained a deeper appreciation and understanding. I tend to gravitate towards the people who are in the same predicament and we find ourselves giving each other love that we miss.   

How to do you let go...

As I listen to my friend tell me the lows in her relationship that she is even afraid to admit to herself, my brain runs in a million different directions on what I should say, how to comfort her, to empathise. I tell her I understand what she is telling me, but in reality I can only imagine. I have no idea what is going on or the circumstances that led her to this position in her life. 

How does one feel when you are eight months pregnant, and 2 year old toddler driving her crazy with a husband that decides that he no longer loves you and wants you to leave, after you gave up everything for him and the faith in your love? Me, like you had no idea what to say to possibly make this any easier for her or help her make sense of it. So all I do is tell her I love her so much and I am here for her, for whatever she needs. 

Typically of me I start imagining this situation and what I would do if it were me. I found it easy to tell her that if the man wanted you to leave, just go. Go back home to your loved ones who always have no choice but to take you back. But how is that possible? If you fought the whole family who didn't think he was good for you but you decided you knew him better, decided your parents, cousins and everyone were just jealous and didn't want to see you happy. How do you then face them again to tell them they were right and you were sorry? Not easy but its the only way. It reminds me of the Indian movie Yaadein, when the father tells his orphaned daughters that they can marry whomever they please, but they will afford the part in choosing the family they marry into. Why? They ask? He replies that when you get married, wife is not the only title you get, you become the daughter in law, aunt, sister in law et al. All these relationships will at one point or another affect your life. 

My question becomes, how do you get to this place? It cannot be just one thing. It has to be a million little things. The little digs. The unsaid things. The thoughts you secretly keep. The others outside showing that you can do better. It is the marriage. It is the kids. It is money. Responsibility. It's all the things you say and don't say to each other. Is it fair to say that he has changed, that the money he is making is going to his head yet you held him down when he had nothing? What is her play in this? She assures me that she is not to blame and that she has remained the same person she has always been, the woman he fell in love with. Yet I try to make her see her part in this mess something she cannot see at all. We are always blinded by what we do and unaware how our actions affect others. How do you let someone go at the time in your life when you need them the most, someone that you would give your soul to keep?

Monday, September 29, 2014

Settling In

I have arrived safely in a brand new environment and a brand new country. It really is an idyllic setting and a beautiful city Manchester is but I wonder why I am not fully moved by it. I wonder why I am not excited by this city. Maybe I had too many expectations, maybe I miss home and my people and familiarity so much. This is so unlike me in a new place. I wonder why I feel no desire or need to go to all the welcome events, to visit the tourist sites, enough to miss a free visit to the Old Trafford Stadium...what has happened to me?

I thought when I got here I will be constantly uploading instagram pics, constantly taking selfies, the surroundings - but I have been here one week and I only took one picture. its overwhelming yet I tell myself I will get used to it. I have no idea who this person is. I hadn't realised I had changed so much. Now I don't know how to move on from here. How to make friends. How encoperate myself into this next adventure. All my friends are sure that I will love it and be great here in no time...so for now I am just taking their word for it. 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Why I Write

I started this blog when I was so frustrated and had no place to air out my feelings. Talking to a friend of mine after I shared one of my pieces with him and he told me to publish it in a blog. That my blog will be my own public private place, because despite what I thought, so many people are going through the same things I was. That we are more alike than we are different. And sometimes my openness can clarify out another person's situation.

Eventually I started sharing more, and more and became an active blogger. Then I disappeared for a year. In retrospect my absence has taught me so much about myself. I used to crave this freedom of speaking my mind. I hated wallowing in my own feelings and feeling so lost that even when I tried to string along two sentences I couldn't. I had misplaced that part of me who was fearless in her honesty and thoughts.

I like to believe that I have changed. One day when I was having a conversation with the committee in my head, I asked myself, what was my passion that could help me find release. Surprisingly, the one thing I missed the most was writing. Sometimes I feel proud when a piece I write gets a lot of reading, sometimes disappointing that no one reads. But no more. I restarted this for me. As an escape. As an exploration. As a hobby that gives my heart joy.

If through pieces I write I can make you feel something, a connection, an understanding, an appreciation, I would have been happy. If by reading my frustrations makes you feel less alone in your aloness, I would be honored that my simple words can alleviate the numbness of your situation.

I can isolate myself from my situation through my writing. I write because my sanity demands it. My heart craves it. I write because I must. 

Ijumaa Kareem People

A Guilty Pleasure

I love this movie. It the first Disney movie to teach young girls that you don't need a man to save you. A departure from the usual Disney love stories, its no wonder this movie with its songs is topping charts across the world. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

It's Real

Fat Girl Woes in a Skinny World

I had no idea how I found myself in this predicament. It feels like one day as I woke up, looking at the baby lying next to me, and I was the joke that they were laughing at - the fat girl. How did this happen so suddenly? So busy being pregnant and having a healthy child I forgot that I was supposed to look like I wasn't pregnant. For two years the monstrous fat crept into me filling all the crevices and bones, oblivious in my joy to be a mother, to get a rude awakening doze of how dare you be so fat?

Do you know that saying to truly understand another person you have to walk a mile in their shoes? Finally I was in a fat woman's shoes. I had always been laughed at because I was fat at a size 8/10 but now at size 16 implicit bullying, rudeness, comments, diet tips, exercise regime advice are a norm. I used to think it was a Western Culture thing to pressurize the woman into a certain size, to condemn a woman for being fat, ah hark, calling anyone fat. The African culture has caught on too. Much faster and much worse.

In the beginning I used to laugh it off. I was young and I can shed the pounds quickly. I wanted to conform and look the size that can be considered beautiful, it was after all my obligation to the society I was told. The work in store as a new mother, breastfeeding full time when I am home, working full time, taking care of my home and nurturing my relationships, slowly getting into pre-pregnancy mania took a back step, while I focused on what I considered to be more important. My baby did not understand my dilemma; she just wanted her mamma, all the time. Hubby appreciates how grueling demanding and beautiful it was the journey that my body had undergone to create a life; that the extra pounds is a small price to pay.  Consistently telling me, "I love you just the way you are, and if the weight bothers you so much, you will find a way to lose it in your own time. In the meantime I am enjoying your real womanly curvaceous body". Of-course he is lying to protect my feelings, I tell myself and force myself to brush off the obvious admiration in his eyes.  

As I eventually rejoined the world, inside I felt like a much better person. I have been through so much. I have been tested. I have grown as a person as a woman, and I had a whole new title: mom. At work I was promoted shortly after I rejoined after my maternity leave. In my heart and head I felt grateful, appreciative of who I am and what I can endure. Of the second love of my life I nuzzle to sleep everyday. I was superwoman. 

Not quite. 

Society finally felt that they had held their tongue long enough. I was not loosing the weight. I was proud to be fat - the abomination. Well meaning friends and family started to make comments on how to lose the weight. Asking me what could be wrong, why I hadn't gone back to being Sabra. They didn't like the person I had become, how dare I? Be fat? Be happy being fat. Then the insults piled on the regular. I could brush it off and be so surprised at the comments. People came into my office to look at me because they had heard how fat I was. The most hurtful people were the women. Mothers themselves. But as the comments became more rude, more personal, attacking my intelligence, my personality, my vanity of daring to think I am beautiful, my marriage - I felt that I had kept quiet long enough. I started to retort to all my attackers. Oh boy, was that the wrong move. I seemed to make them feel the need to be more creative in their insults. Finally I yielded, I started believing what they were saying. Afterall even strangers, acquaintances made the same comments. I had never felt more unclean. More not belonging to the society. Unhappy and depressed. I hated looking at my reflection in the mirror. Yet all this was an internal struggle. I had no right to voice these concerns. My friends failed to understand why I believed the stupid people, why I am giving in, they know me as a strong women who is always standing. At times they suggest the different things I can do to make it better. I felt they did not get my plight. I wanted to be accepted regardless of how I looked. My mom didn't know what to do, and I hated seeing my pain reflected in her eyes, so I started shielding her from my feelings by burying them deeper and deeper into the black hole of my fears. 

This piece of writing was not meant to be a show of how strong I am. Rather the acceptance of how broken I am. How vulnerable I feel. How everything I have believed about myself has been questioned, debated and laughed at because I dared to be fat. I dared not to lose the baby weight ten months into giving birth. No one wants to hear how I am hurting. Sometimes I look at who I was, as pretty as I may have been considered at that size, but I am a much better person now. More sure of myself. I can stand up for myself. I have learnt to say no. I have downsized on friends who are not good for me and try to invest that into my husband. I am fat, but it has helped me realize how fickle I was. I have learnt that universal acceptance is not possible, and as I learn to believe my husband that he loves me more now than before. The tempestuous flight of my daughter into hugging my legs as I get back home. I am learning to enjoy simple pleasures. To stop keeping a score and live life at my own pace, my own way and my own terms. I am not always comfortable in my fat woman skin but it has been an invaluable lesson that I have not fully understood. I am ok. You are ok. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Dem e-cards

Celebrating Men

As usual I started trying to find a picture to convey thoughts of mine. I wanted to write a piece to celebrate men. Our men. The good men. The men who make us smile. The men who are there for us. Our fathers, boyfriends, husbands, sons, and friends. However, I could not find such a picture. Everything it seems on the internet is written from the women's perspective. 

It seems that we are all obsessed with finding the perfect man. Countless articles have been written on how to find a man, keep a man, make him happy. It seems that all men are liars, cheaters, and so much of the blame for our failing relationships is being proportioned to men. I am not saying that men are perfect but hell, lets cut them some slack. 

So on this auspicious day, I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to all the men in my life. The one who have hurt me, healed me, loved me, understood me, pushed me, believed in me, and countless others that I do not know. Because without you, our lives would not be complete. We need each other. 

Let us be kind to one another. Men and women, we are not the same. We are of different molds. But we complement one another. Re-read the above screen shot from my husband's facebook. Men are much simpler. It is much easier to make them happy. The don't triple analyse everything with their friends. They want loyalty, love, and happiness. We actually both want the same things. 

We can all love an imperfect man perfectly. Let us celebrate our imperfect men, and appreciate all that they do. Be grateful for all they are. Let us be proud when we see the men in our lives, to send a silent prayer to God and say thank you, for bringing us such blessings in our lives. 

A Toast to Women

Starting Over

I have been absent for a long time. From writing. From my  simple passion.

The contradictory part was that I had so much time on my hands. So many thoughts, so many things going on. So much to write about But I could not string two sentences together.

As I had turned my back on writing I had done the same in all other aspects of my life. Built more walls to see who would care enough to break them down.

I had been through to hell and now I am back. I am still standing.

I am not whole anymore as how I knew myself. This woman I have become I do not know who is all the time. She is new to me.

She is more reserved. More outspoken. More uncensored. More reserved. Such a walking breathing and living contradiction.

This woman is now responsible for another human being. It is a big responsibility. I feel that I am already failing but I am willing to take guidance. I try to remember that a mother is born the day the child is born, so I cut myself some slack.

On how I look, it depends on the day. Most days I love myself. Some days I hate how I have come to look. The constant criticism gets to me. I am human.

All the things I knew about love wasn't enough. I am learning so much more of the deep capacity of my heart to love. Sometimes love is simply being there. Silent. Giving and until there is nothing left to give, and then giving some more.

I want to breathe new life to this space. Write more. Share more. Explore more. Live more.

Life in Now

It is amazing how much time we waste on unimportant things. The time we spend showing off to our friends and family. The time we create an unrealistic image of our lives on social networks. The time we worry about all the things that we have no control over. Life is not about keeping score. We are so focused on everything else, preparing, creating, dieting, saving, waiting we forget that in life we don't have second chances of moments lost. There is no rehearsal. It is a live show, so lets live accordingly to whatever we believe in. Celebrate being here, now, it could me much worse. 

Re-finding my passion in writing

Three Generation Selfie

This picture, says it all. My daughters expression and me looking at the phone taking the pic and mum looking at me look at the phone. I love these women. May I raise my daughter to be a strong and phenomenal woman just how I was raised and I was honored to have such a woman in my life. I am deeply grateful to all that she does. 

Happy 3rd Anniversary

It is unreal. Our love has been through alot. We have been tested. We have been blessed. We are still standing. Alhamdulilah. May we continue to grow, to learn, to love, together. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Here's to New Things...

This year I have made a number of goals for myself that I would like to see through. I would rather not call them resolutions since I will abandon them by end of February.

I want to learn from the mistakes that I made this year, and learn from them. Make new ones in 2014.

I want to learn to balance my life, as a mother, a wife, person and working full time.

I want to go to grad school.

Be healthy, be active, eat better, losing weight should not be my ultimate goal, I want to challenge myself to love me and be comfortable with me at any size - as healthy as possible.

Be kinder to myself as I age.

Be grateful for all my blessings.

Forgive all those who have hurt me and let go.

Write more.

Inspire my child and husband.

Listen more and talk less.

I want to be good enough and aim for excellence, not strive for perfection. 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Dear Body

I've known you for almost 30 years and we've had some serious ups and downs haven't we?

I'm sorry for all the times I told you that you were ugly and that no one would want me because of you, I'm sorry for starving you those times and I'm sorry for making myself sick those other times. All in the hope of making you smaller.
I apologize for hurting you, the cutting, the burning and the pinching.
It's been a long time coming, but I should have loved you all along. You're what makes me, me. You have been amazing in the journey of growing us a baby (she is fabulous and loves me regardless)! So many people are giving me hell for not bouncing back to pre-pregnancy weight, ( and no, I am not pregnant, and yes I do exercise, no I don't eat chips all, no, I wont diet because I am breastfeeding, and yes I work full time) you've given me my big hips, my "more-than-a-handful" breasts, my thunder thighs and my tummy. All of which, at one point or another, I hated you for.

Please forgive me, it's hard growing up and everything I said and did to you was out of spite and fear.
It's ingrained in us to hate ourselves unless we look how society wants us to, I'm sure you understand.
When my hips came in, I thought it was the beginning of the end. Small, transparent scars appeared on my skin where it stretched to accommodate my new growth, but now I embrace these big hips of mine (even though they sometimes get me stuck between the seats on the bus...)
When my breasts didn't get bigger, I felt like less of a woman, I was a big girl, big girls are meant to have big boobs! Why didn't I have big boobs?!

Then I learned to accept that all bodies are different and that not all bigger girls have bigger breasts. I've also come to realise that they aren't as small as I make out. They're mine and I love them.
I'm sorry I let other people's opinion of you change how I saw you, and I'm sorry for letting those opinions get to me and upset me. I have put you through sleepless nights lately.

It's my opinion of you that counts. You're my body, and how I care for you, and what I give you for nourishment, is the business of no one, but myself.

My mother grew and nurtured me for nine long months, as you grew inside, she grew and changed outside, just so that I could be. I am loved, by my family, by my friends, by my partner, I am loved. And if I cannot love myself, if I close myself off to that love, that's just like telling those people who matter that their love for me means nothing.

That is another reason why I have grown to love my body. I surrounded myself with the love of others, and closed my ears to complaints on my size, shape, eating habits etc and only listened to what really mattered, and to who really mattered.
I want to thank you for being so strong.
I want to thank my chubby little legs for all the miles they've walked.
My wide hips because one day they are"child-bearing."
My scars for reminding me that the past is behind me.
My "more-than-a-handful" breasts because, they are more than a handful.
I want to thank my whole body for making me who I am, for never faltering and staying strong and healthy for these 27 years.
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