Posted in Empowerment, Religion

2016!!!

Bear in mind that if all the people combined together to grant you some benefit, they would not be able to do it unless Allah has determined it for you. And that if all of them combined together to do you harm, they would not be able to do it unless Allah has determined it for you. The pens have been set aside and writing of the Book of Fate have become dry.” [Tirmidhi]

If anyone told me that I’d get married in 2016, I would have literally said “LIES”. Having just called off an engagement that year, getting married in that same year just wasn’t a thought that I entertained.

2016 was a rollercoaster of a year for me. It started off great. I had just moved to a new place which I was really happy with. I was planning  ‘my dream wedding’ which was to be held that December. I was picking flowers, bridesmaids, colours, styles. The biggest worry I had was finding a venue big enough for all my 300+ guests.

rollercoaster

Fast forward to a couple of months later, I painfully realised that the wedding I had spent all that time planning was not one that I wanted. So, I called it off. With that, came several different emotions. The most prominent being pain. I felt pain like I had never felt before. With pain, came loneliness. No matter how much everyone tried, no one completely understood how I was feeling.

Then, came Ramadhan. The month included in-depth discussions with the only being who I felt understood how I was feeling. Every day I had a list. A list of things that I wanted to discuss. He (God) became my best friend. I wasn’t so upset anymore. I started to actually laugh. Not pretend to laugh. I made peace with the whole situation. It was now in the past.

I was back to my old self. I prayed to God and asked him to give me whatever He thought was best for me. I entertained the idea of getting married at some point. There was no rush. Maybe 2017. Maybe 2018. But definitely not 2016. That’d be ridiculous!

A couple of months later, I was planning my dream wedding with a man that I was 100% sure about. No second thoughts. No circus. No bridesmaids (sorry girls). Just our family, close friends and God. I was the happiest I had ever been. And all the pain that came with 2016 almost became irrelevant. I got married in December 2016, to the man that was meant for me.

But if anyone had told me I’d be married in 2016, I’d have said ‘Lies’.

So, what did I learn? I learnt…

  • We plan but He plans best.
  • What it really means to have faith.
  • What’s yours won’t pass you by.
  • There is light at the end of the tunnel.
  • Always listen to yourself.
  • When one door closes, another one opens.

I made plans to get married in December. Then, I was like ‘nah, this doesn’t feel right’, so  I cancelled it. I took a leap of faith, knowing there would be consequences, but not knowing what was ahead of me. Then, God was like ‘here you go, this one is yours’. So, I was like ‘alright then’.

Thanking God for 2016, I walked into 2017 a married woman.

Till next time

-A

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 Relationships

What went wrong?

Hi everyone,

Recently, I was out for dinner with a few friends. During the dinner, we came on to the subject of relationships. Everyone spoke about their different relationships, both past, and present. We spoke about the issues that may arise and how one might possibly deal with them. One way or another, the discussion eventually lead to my broken engagement.

DUN DUN DUN!!!

Nah, it wasn’t actually that big a deal. The discussion, I mean. Not the engagement. The engagement was a massive deal, as you would expect. Anyways, during the conversation, one of the girls wisely asked me what I would do differently the next time someone decides to put a ring on it.

So, today I am going to answer her question. After one broken engagement, what would I do differently next time? This is a question that I have asked myself several times. I feel that every situation has a lesson in it and this one isn’t any different. You cannot expect to get different results using the same method. In order for it not to happen again, there are two things I plan to do differently.

heartsickness-lover-s-grief-lovesickness-coupe-50592

The first thing that popped into my head is to recognise and be certain of how I feel about the person before allowing everyone else to tell me how to feel. In Islam, we don’t do the usual dating. We don’t date for years and then get engaged. When a guy approaches you and your family, it is with the intent of marrying you. This means that everyone that is important to you is aware of this new guy in your life and wants to give you their opinion, as you would expect. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I mean, they care about you and are only looking out for you. However, I found that I was making decisions based on what people were saying. When someone asked me how I felt, I’d say “Oh he is nice and so and so (who I hold in high regard, and I know wants nothing but the best for me) thinks he is perfect, so he must be…” Yes, it’s great that so and so liked him, but how did I feel about him? It sounds silly and if it didn’t happen, I’d probably wonder how one starts planning a wedding without realising how they feel. But it did happen. I found myself making decisions based on how everyone else felt. I remember I kept thinking to myself “Everyone thinks he is amazing, so there must be something I’m missing”. If everyone thinks he is amazing, I must be wrong to think otherwise. It was not until I stopped and contemplated on how I genuinely felt, that I decided to no longer continue with the wedding plans. What everyone saw in him mattered, but how I felt mattered more.

Second thing is to listen to myself. I was constantly making Du’a (Prayer), praying to God for guidance. If I’m completely honest, God was answering my prayers. He was guiding me, I just didn’t listen. I mean, I listened in the end but things might not have turned out so bad if I had paid more attention. While I was engaged, things didn’t feel right, I was constantly cranky. Like, constantly. To a stage where he (the guy) mentioned it, and pointed out that I wasn’t like that in the beginning. I had no patience and everything annoyed me. He just couldn’t do anything right. And this was the person I wanted to marry!! Firstly, I put it down to poor communication. He was as Nigerian as they come, having only lived in Europe for a couple of years, and I having lived here most of my life, so It was to be expected right? Secondly, was the idea that “the love will come” at some stage. He was everything I wanted on paper, so why on earth would he not be perfect for me? Because he just wasn’t.  Love doesn’t just come from nowhere. It grows from something and that something was not there. I kept waiting for it to come. But it never did. As time went on, I began to dislike him even more. Things that I wouldn’t usually care about made me angry. It got to a stage where I had to check myself. I literally had to ask myself why I was being so unpleasant. It was in checking myself that I realised I wasn’t happy. I was lashing out because I wasn’t happy. If I wasn’t happy going into it, I most likely won’t be happy in it.

So, there’s my brief story. It took a while for me to realize and accept that things just weren’t right. But I’m so glad that I listened to myself in the end.

Till next time

-A

Posted in Relationships

SOMETIMES WE FORGET..

Sometimes we lose sight of the important things in life. When something goes wrong, we forget all the positive things we have going for us and dwell on the negative. Only when we are reminded, do we learn to appreciate all that we have going for us.

Life is so short. This is a saying that we hear a lot of the time. But it doesn’t really hit you until you are forced into a situation in which you learn the value that is, life. One only has to watch the news or go on any social media to be reminded of the hell some people are living everyday. We hear of the heartbreaking stories, see horrible photographs, and we feel sorry for them. We might like it, share it, pray for the people involved, have a conversation about it, talk about how sad it is and how lucky we are that we are not in their position. BUT do we really think about it? And for how long?

Recently, I experienced what it felt like to lose a loved one. Up until the moment the incident happened, things were quite shaky between us. I mean, for at least four weeks before the incident, we had gone from being best of friends to almost enemies. We both felt that the other person didn’t care. Conversations were painful between the both of us. There was so much anger and hurt. I felt I had lost a friend and confidant.

To lose someone isn’t necessarily losing someone to death. We lose people in different ways. A person does not have to pass away for you to feel their loss. My friend didn’t pass away and I cannot thank God enough for that. He gave me a second chance to fix things and slapped some sense into me. With everything, going on with my friend, I forgot what was truly important. We had a fight. Yes, it was a big fight and I was hurting really badly. But how important was this fight in the grand scheme of things?

I remember that throughout the incident, all I prayed for was good health. Nothing else mattered. It did not matter that until she fell ill, we didn’t say a word to each other. Until she fell ill, awkwardness filled the air in the room that we both resided in. Until she fell ill, I wanted to be away from her. Until she fell ill… I just wanted her to be fine and I would have done anything to get her back to the person that she was.

I’m still hurting, maybe a little more than before. I’m not over the fact that I almost lost someone so close to me. But on the scale of important things, my feelings are not nearly as important as the relationship I had with my friend. We’re probably still going to argue over the whole situation and that is completely alright. As long as we both realise what is really important; that life is extremely short. I got a second chance, this time. I am extremely grateful for it. Next time, I might not. Next time, you might not.

Remember what is important.

Till next time

-A

Posted in Empowerment

You look fit.. why bother?

and i said to my body. softly. ‘i want to be your friend.’ it took a long breath. and replied ‘i have been waiting my whole life for this.’

– Nayyirah Waheed

So, the other day, as a friend and I walked to the gym, she asked me why I bothered going to the gym. Perplexed, I asked her what she meant and she replied “ well, you’re already fit and you have a great body, so why do you still go to the gym?” First of all, I was like “aww girl, thanks!” But then I had to answer her question.

Before I go into the reasons why I exercise consistently, I would just like to point out that being small doesn’t necessarily mean that a person is healthy or fit. People exercise for different reasons. Some people do it to lose weight, some people do it to get back at their ex who dumped them for that girl who squats. This post talks specifically about why I do it.

After thinking about it, I would say that the main reason I continue to exercise is because of the feeling I get after a good session. I’m not joking when I say that I walk out of that gym feeling like I can handle anything. But obviously, I wouldn’t know that feeling unless I exercised in the first place. So, how did I get to the gym in the first place?

Firstly, I LOVE my body.

I would like to take a slight pause here and just emphasise how important this statement is. Loving yourself means realising that you’re important enough and that your body is also a priority. Once you come to this realisation, everything else becomes a little easier. I am always looking for ways to improve it and make it the best it can be. It sounds vain, but I am that girl who checks herself out in the mirror while she’s getting dressed. I literally get dressed in front of the mirror. I would like to point out that this has not always been the case and saying that I love my body does not mean I do not have any insecurities. It just means that I have accepted those insecurities. Exercising helps me improve my body, moulding it into the best it can be. It gives me control over my body. It makes me feel in charge.

My first and second reasons are linked. Exercise is one of those things that simultaneously enriches your body and mind. From reading my posts, you should know that I am big on anything that improves your mind and the way one thinks of themselves. Exercising helps to improve my appearance, which then improves my confidence. Although, you don’t see immediate results in your body, the effort you put into it makes you feel better. I generally go to the gym after work. I start work quite early, so hitting the gym before work doesn’t suit. Going to the gym after a hard day’s work doesn’t exactly scream fun. However, knowing that I have just killed a 2 hour session after working all day, makes me feel like I can handle anything. I’m usually dying after it, but at least I’ll die smiling. However, I have to say that nothing improves my confidence better than seeing that tiny little change in my body. Or when somebody else sees it. Sometimes, you’re the last one to see it.

Thirdly, I exercise because I want to be healthy. It is no secret that being healthy keeps you alive longer. I genuinely feel stronger and happier. Knowing that I am constantly doing something to improve my health and body makes me happier. For me, It’s a lifestyle choice. I think before I put anything in my body. I do not diet. However, I do pay attention to how I treat my body because it is quite important to me.

I hope this answers your question 🙂

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