Posted in Empowerment

Black History Month!!!

Without history, there would be no future.

Hi everybody,

I miss writing these posts every week. I am soooooo busy these days, I’ve had to resolve to write every two weeks.

Anyways, let’s get to it. It’s BLACK HISTORY MONTH! Can I just say that I never really paid attention to this month until I started to work in a primary school? Terrible, I know. My knowledge of our history is shameful, it’s so bad. But I plan to fix that. Slowly, but surely. It is important to be aware of the struggles and challenges that people went through to create the world that we live in now.

To celebrate Black History, I have decided to dedicate this post to a black woman, who I have recently come to admire and look up to; Sumayyah Bint Khabbat.

I recently watched a series about Umar Ibn Khattab, a companion of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). The series touched on the history of Islam and the struggles the companions went through during the time of the Prophet. As Sumayyah was one of the companions, snippets of her life were shown, mostly focusing on her struggles after accepting Islam. My heart broke watching her go through all that pain. The series left me in awe of this amazing woman. I just could not get over the emotional  strength she displayed.

Sumayyah was a black slave, who was later granted freedom by her master. She married and had three children. She was one of the first few people to accept Islam and later became the first martyr of Islam. She converted to Islam at a time when Muslims were persecuted just for being Muslims. She and plenty of other Muslims were continuously tortured for accepting Islam. She was put through physical and emotional pain. But despite all of this, her faith did not waiver one bit. She was pressured, coaxed, bribed, threatened. She was put through the worst kind of tortures but she stood her ground and held onto her beliefs. According to Islamic law, she had every right to denounce her faith by tongue to save her life. BUT she didn’t! She held on tight to her faith and became the first martyr of Islam. She died standing up for what she believed in. This woman is goals!

She held her head high and looked the world straight in the eye. Celebrate her strength.

So, why is she one of my role models? Sumayyah didn’t just accept Islam but she believed in it and saw the truth in it. She acted on her beliefs and values. This woman, regardless of the torture she was put through, held on to what she believed in. She did not let it alter the person that she was. It’s very rare to find people like that these days. Not just in terms of religion, but every aspect of life. When things take the wrong turn, we are very quick to give up on our beliefs. We are very quick to take the easy way out. It is very easy to say that we believe in certain things ideas or qualities. But when it comes down to it, a lot of us are easily persuaded or coerced into doing things that go against those beliefs.

Sumayyah’s resilience, positive attitude, perseverance, determination, and patience are qualities that I can only pray for. To be able to have such strong faith and live it through different aspects of my life. To be able to stay true to myself when others tell me otherwise. That’s strength.

Till next time

-A

Posted in Empowerment

Sunshine Blogger Award

Hi everybody!!! Hope ye had a great week

I got nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award!!! Eek! Huge thank you to  anonymouslyafroirish for nominating me and for putting a huge smile on my face. The Sunshine Blogger Award is an award given to ‘bloggers who are positive and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere”, so it feels pretty cool to have been nominated.

AnonymouslyAfroIrish has given me a set of questions that I have to answer. These questions are generally designed to give some insight into the person that I am. So, let’s go!

  • What is your favourite quote?

I’m not sure that I have a favourite quote. However, there is a particular one that I try to live by. I have it in my Instagram bio, so it must be legit!

“Today I shall behave as if this is the day I will be remembered” – Dr. Seuss.

This quote serves as a reminder really. It’s only as I get older that I try to implement this into my life. No one knows what tomorrow holds, so I always try to be the best person that I can be. it doesn’t always happen, but I do try.

  • What is your favourite childhood memory?

These questions are hard! I don’t remember much of my childhood. I think a lot of my memories are slightly made up from pictures that I may have seen from my childhood. However, I know for a fact that this one is real. I was in boarding school in Nigeria. Anyone that went to boarding school knows that there is a hierarchic system. The younger and smaller you are, the less power you have. You were sent on errands by ‘seniors’ and had to do as they said. They would ask you to get their lunch, fill up their water bottles e.t.c. I was very shy going into boarding school. Every time I passed the senior hostels to go to my hostel, I’d get stopped by one senior or another.  On this particular day, a senior stopped me and asked me to go fill up her bottle. I’m not sure what came over me, but I literally took the bottle, kicked it in the air and ran. I still don’t know what came over me but I’ve never been the same since. I just couldn’t accept what I thought was unfair. I still can’t.

  • The hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.

Well, this one is easy. the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do is calling off my engagement! I’m sure ye can imagine why.

  • Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Hmm.. where do I see myself in 10 years? In 10 years, I hope to be happily married with children (twins, preferably). I hope to be a qualified teacher, educational psychologist and a personal trainer. I also hope to be empowering women in some shape or form.

  • How does writing your blog make you feel?

At the beginning, my blog was mainly a place for me to vent. I started it while I was in my final year in college/university. I was ridiculously stressed, with so much to do. I remember it very clearly. I was sitting on my bed, my laptop on my lap, on the phone to a friend moaning about final year. It was during that conversation that I remembered that I used to write and felt that I needed to write. Putting my thoughts on the page made me feel slightly better about whatever was happening at the time. It wasn’t much of a blog to begin with. I really only shared with a couple of friends.

  • What is your favourite television show/movie and why?

I don’t really have a favourite tv show/movie. I don’t have a lot of favourites mostly because I am a huge critic. I watch a lot of different genres. I don’t do thrillers/horror, though!

  • What is your favourite book?

Again, I don’t really have favourites. However, the first book that comes to mind is ‘If I Should Speak’ by Umm Zakiyyah. I read this book a couple of years ago and I’ve been meaning to read it again. Out of all the books that I’ve read, this book has had the most impact on my spiritual  life.

  • What are your biggest regrets?

I honestly do not have any regrets. I try to see ‘mistakes’ as a learning curve. The decisions I made in the past made the person that I am today. I am super proud of that person, so I don’t have any regrets.

  • What is your biggest achievement to date?

I found this question quite difficult to answer. I really had to think about what I’ve achieved that makes me feel accomplished. I think my biggest achievement is the person that I am today. I’m not sure it is something that I can explain. There’s still a long way to go, but I have definitely come a long way. I’ve come a long way from the girl who said she’d never wear the hijab, the girl who was too scared to take a leap… I’m still working on her, but I’m very much proud of that girl. Alhamdulillah!

I’m now going to nominate TheMuslimGirl 🙂

Till next time

-A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Empowerment

Different paths…

People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost.  

Hi everybody,

Today, I decided to talk about our different paths in life. I recently visited a friend who just had a baby. During my visit, she showed me pictures of her son. Naturally, I started to show her pictures of my babies (my goddaughter and her sister) too. Well, they’re my friend’s kids, but the same thing, right? It was a battle of cuteness “your son is gorgeous, but check out these beauties”. As I showed off my kids, I mentioned that I had a lot of babies around me and I felt like I needed to start playing catch-up. I was joking, but the comment led to my friend enquiring about the family I had just shown her.

The two kids I showed her belonged to a dear friend of mine. We went to secondary school together. My friend is now 23. She fell pregnant with her first daughter at the age of 19 and fell pregnant again at 22 with her second daughter. So, she is a mother to two beautiful girls at quite a young age. I, on the other hand, like a lot of other people in our year group either went on to college or to do something other than having babies. Most people from our year have now graduated and are either in jobs, looking for jobs or doing a postgrad.

So, why am I telling you this? I’m telling you this because I think it is important that we realise that people take different paths in life. The steps that we take carry us on certain paths. Sometimes, we take the wrong steps due to various reasons. My friend didn’t plan on getting pregnant at 19, but she did. She took a step that brought her on a different path than she wanted at the time. But she didn’t let that stop her. She went back to school, worked for what she wanted and now been offered a place in College.

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Not saying that getting pregnant at 19 is a bad decision. However, for my friend college was a goal that she wanted to achieve and getting pregnant at that time got in the way of that. She took a path that brought her on a different route, but she re-routed as soon as she could. Everybody has different goals. It could be that you wanted a career in teaching, but for some reason or another, you didn’t get the points required for it. So, you had to take a different route. Perhaps,  you needed to do an add-on course in order to acquire more points before going in to do the degree, while others had gotten in straight away. Maybe like my friend you had your children first before your studies, or you had to repeat a year. It could be repeating your leaving certificate or a year in a university .It all doesn’t matter as long as you continue to push to get to where you want to be. It doesn’t make you any less of a person. It doesn’t make anyone else better you. In fact, I find that these situations can sometimes bring out the strength in a person. Generally, this is because it’s harder to get back on track. I am very proud of my friend today. She’s the epitome of strength. She has two amazing children and is soon to have a degree.

We all have an idea of what we want our lives to be like. If you feel like you’re not on the track that you would like to be or the path you’re on is not going to get you to your desired destination, please realise that it’s never too late to do something about it. Whatever your destination is, do not give up on getting there because of a misstep or two. It’s very easy to get comfortable in whatever situation that you find yourself in. Don’t settle for mediocre. Don’t live your life regretting about things that you could have done. Like I said, it’s never too late. It will most likely be difficult. It will take a lot of commitment, strength and a lot of those other good things. But you can do it! Remember that nothing good comes easy.

For those that are blessed enough to be happy on the path that they’re on, please do not make anyone feel any less of a person because of the decisions that they made either intentionally or unintentionally. Especially when these individuals are working hard to correct those decisions. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it.

Till next time

-A

Posted in Empowerment, Relationships

Do you have a Plan B?

“she needed a hero, so that’s what she became”

Hey everybody,

During the past week, I watched two movies in which the main female characters were subjected to domestic abuse. Although there were other factors surrounding the abuse, I noticed that there was one common denominator. Finance! Both women were worried about how they would manage themselves financially if they abandoned the relationship. Before I go any further, I want to point out that this post is not about domestic abuse. This post is about independence.

The movie reminded me of a conversation I had with an acquaintance. Let’s call her Jane. Jane is married with two children. It could be three now, I’m not sure. Jane is a full-time housewife or Domestic Engineer, as I like to call it. She holds no qualifications and as far as I know has no job skills. During my conversation with Jane, she made a comment that left me pondering. We were talking about our different paths in life. I was studying for my degree and she was making babies. I’m not sure what led to the comment but she basically said that she didn’t need a degree because her husband had one. As I said earlier, this situation left me puzzled. I wasn’t aware that one could inherit a degree or that one could borrow it. If someone had told me that, I would have stayed at home too. Why bother going through all that work, when you can just borrow your husband’s?

Jane’s husband is educated; he can hopefully get a good job with his degree. So, why would she need to go get another degree? It would only be a waste of time and money, as she plans on staying at home with the kids full-time, right? WRONG!!!

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None of us knows what tomorrow holds. Jane doesn’t know what her husband is going to decide tomorrow. It is possible that she could be lucky and blessed enough to never need financial independence from her husband. But what if she’s not? What happens if her husband ups and leaves? What happens if she NEEDS to leave? No one goes into a marriage planning to exit. But it happens every day for various reasons. You do not want to be stuck in a horrible situation because of financial reasons. But apart from that, what about your independence?

I’m not saying, don’t become a Domestic Engineer. In fact, I honestly think it’s one of the most difficult and rewarding jobs out there. I’m also not saying that getting a degree is the be all and end all. What I’m saying is to be aware that things do not always go according to plan and so one should have a backup plan. And that backup plan should not be in the form of a man. If things go haywire, you want to be able to stand on your own two feet. Also, I know that sometimes life happens, and so one might not necessarily have a backup plan for various reasons. However, it’s never too late to put something in place. This post is for those that have made the decision to sit down comfortably at home without having something to fall back on. Don’t wait until things collapse. Be ready to be your own hero.

What are your thoughts?

 

Till next time

 

-A

 

Posted in Empowerment

But nobody is going to see it..

“Happiness comes from within. It is not dependent on external things or on other people. You become vulnerable and can be easily hurt when your feelings of security and happiness depend on the behavior and actions of other people. Never give your power to anyone else.”

 Brian L. Weiss

I am a girl, who likes to take care of herself. I like to feel pretty. I like to wear clothes that emphasises my figure. I like to get my nails done. I love to wear jewellery. In fact, I would cover myself in jewellery if I could. I actually go to bed with my jewellery on. I exercise frequently to keep my body in shape, in order to look good naked. I take care of my hair, most of the time (It’s a struggle). I cut my hair, because I feel it suits me short and I also plan to dye it.

I am also a hijabi, which means I cover my body as much as I possibly can in public. Thus, no one gets to see my washboard abs (I wish!). I try not to wear figure hugging outfits in public. So, no one notices that my squats are really starting to pay off. When I cover, most of my jewellery is hidden away behind my hijab, so nobody sees them. Therefore, I don’t get comments about how gorgeous my necklace or earrings are. The same thing goes for my anklet. My ankles are safely tucked away under my pants or skirt, so I do not get complimented on the beauty that is my anklet. My hair, although fabulous, cannot be viewed by the public. But yet I do it all anyway.

This begs the question “Why do you bother, nobody is going to see it?”. This is a question that I get asked a lot and every time someone asks me, I still feel a little surprised. However, my reply generally goes like this; I bother because it makes me happy. I do these things for myself. I was tired of my hair, so I got a fabulous haircut that suited me better and made me happy. I wear jewellery in places that people can see and people cannot see, because I love jewellery. It makes me feel pretty. I exercise because I want to be healthy and fit. I want to keep my body in good shape and I use exercise to achieve the look that I want. To those of you that might be thinking it, I am not married. I am not doing this for my husband. I am doing it for me. When I do get married, I hope that my husband will appreciate the trouble that I go to, to stay in shape. But that is only the icing on the cake, it is only a plus. I do what I do, because it pleases me. The fact that the public does not see the effect of any of these things does not decrease the satisfaction I get from doing them or the results I get from doing them.

I have always believed in the idea that, you should do things because you want to do them, and not for the satisfaction of others. So, I can’t help but think it absurd when people insinuate that there is no need to engage in some things because no one is going to see it. Don’t get it twisted, I appreciate positive comments just like everyone else. Positive comments can be very encouraging, but doing things merely for the sake of others can be self defeating. It is your life, and the only opinion that should matters is yours. Doing things merely for the sake of the comments you might receive from other people, is giving people the right to dictate your life. A right, which they should not have. It is your life, not theirs. Many of us look outside ourselves for happiness, and by doing this we basically give away the power to create our own happiness. We fail to realise that happiness comes from within.

Till next time

-A