6 months ago I made my way to Morocco. Two months later, I made my way back. I went to try something new. Something new. Someone new. I found both. I found that I can be a new someone and I can accept this new something. I needed that trip to Morocco. I needed the affirmation that I found in my own soul.I needed to remember that in spite of the me that I have become, the me that was, still well, is… and she is. 🙂
At this point 6 months ago seems like such a long time. The last year seems like a movie that happened to someone else. I am so glad that it feels that way. The hurt, the frustration, and the burden were too much and I am so happy that they are gone. I have healed. I accept. I know that what is is and what was was and what will be will be.
I must post later on some magical nights I had while in Morocco (before and after the arrival of my husband) this summer and how I managed to heal. But for now, let me get to the reason that I made my way onto my blog tonight.
I have a close, well hell, I’m going to call her a friend, that seems to me to be my second self. She’s also a beautiful soul and she needs a little reminder of how beautiful life can be. Well today I had a few shining moments of absolute brilliance that I want to dedicate to her.
I took my darling little girls to the park today. Packed a hot picnic lunch and went to see the animals in the little mini-zoo there. After lunch, playing, exploring, swinging, etc, my girls asked me to play a second round of hide and go seek. I agreed and while I was counting (and cheating) I experienced a moment in time that I hope is forever saved in my memory. My two little girls ran off to hide and the elder ran behind a shelter where she was easily hidden. The younger ran to a picnic table where she was very obviously exposed and then noticing how bad of a choice she had made ran to the same shelter where her sister was. She didn’t want to hide in the same place though and so as I made my way from 15 – 20 (laughing the whole time) she ran around a hexagon shaped shelter trying out every option she could think of. At first, she was too close, then too far, then she realized she wasn’t hiding at all but was standing in front of a wall where I would have easily seen her. You could see the panic on her face as she heard me reaching 18, 19, 20… and finally her sister reached out and saved her by pulling her behind where she was hiding the whole time. I crept silently up behind them to scare them and get them before they could run to base, and of course was delighted by their discovery of me just as I rounded a corner and their shrieks of fear and glee as they ran off from me.
By the end of the game, I had fully enjoyed myself and was pleased with how easily I could give them happiness. If you had found me spending time with my children 1 year ago today, you would not have found me playing hide and seek with them. I would have been trying to buy them off with sweets, treats, toys, fun, and other children to play with so that I could spend time talking about nonsense and my problems with other women. I was not being a good mother. I was being a good babysitter. Yet I was extremely defensive with my husband who constantly asked that his children be taken outside. Played with. Educated. Provided with opportunity for laughter and exercise. Given nourishment of the body and soul. I was doing all that. Didn’t he see? and yet, I wasn’t. Not even close to as much as I could have. It took me getting back in touch with myself to finally, finally be better.
So now, a year later and 30 lbs lighter (I wasnt just holding onto a lot of emotional baggage but also a lot of emotional overeating), I am working on my 30th year of life. And while my journey may not be complete, while I am still a work in progress, I have completed the journey and reached the end of one of the hardest years of my life. I can look back and I know that the me that was last year, is no longer. The me that is today is someone new and she is both the old me and the new me and I hope and pray that she will continue to be the best me.
By the way, this is what I said last year about my mothering…
” Here are some certainties that I hope are never lost to time and fear and the trials of this life.
1. I want more than anything to be a good mother. I want my children to have a childhood that fills them with happiness and not longing. I want them to feel that they are secure and loved and confident to be whatever their little beautiful hearts dream to be. I don’t know how to give this to them. But, I know I need to try harder.”
Allah gives us opportunities. We just need to take them. Alhumdulillah!
It’s been a long journey everyone! But, I am soon to be on my way to Morocco. I will be trying to start a life that I always wanted for myself and for my children. It’s true, I am being selfish in this journey. I am selfishly saying “enough’. I want for me what I wanted a long time ago and that is to be out of the daily grind that is life in America. Now, I’m not saying that I’m lazy or that I refuse to work because that is not true. But I am saying that the “joie de vivre” that I have always looked for is not so easy to find with the work ethic that is encouraged in America.
I am also acting upon my feeling that I will not be satisfied with the education that I received for my children. I want them to own the world, to have access to success wherever they go, as well as the know how and perspective that make life so much easier and so much more beautiful. We are going to go out and experience life. Breathe deeply. Be amazed. Be beautiful. Take care of ourselves. I am going to teach them to be strong and self-sufficient. I am going to teach them that it is ok to love and it is ok to speak and it is ok not to be liked by everyone.
Sorry, because I am getting sentimental… and that’s better than just “emotional” which is what I have been for a while. I am ready to start and I am ready to take it all on with a smile and a laugh and maybe a little charm. Wherever I am going I know that this is the path to the me that I am destined to be… and I’m ready to be on my way!
Did I ever tell you about the me that got lost? Yep, you read that right. At several points in the last 10 years, I have lost myself repeatedly. The first time was when I fell madly in love with my husband. That little fall caused me to lose myself for at least 2 years. I reemerged after college and found myself at my new job. Somehow being with adults and discussing politics and marriage and immigration and the world helped me to find the person that I went to college to become but who got lost in a relationship. Sadly, she got lost again soon after I gave birth to my first child and she went away for a long time. There was only the shadow of my self to stay and take care of my daughter, the shadow of myself who clung to anything that promised security, the shadow of myself who remembered how to have fun. That shadow ate away at the spot where I used to be and almost got rid of me all together. I used to peek out from behind the cover but I would have to go back into hiding to return only when I remembered I was still there. But, I’m coming back full force now. I remember that I used to dance around on the high school stage like a fool who didn’t care how stupid she looked but reveled in the fun and exhilaration of it all. I remember the me that did swing dancing at 16 and would stay out until 4 am dancing at 18. I remember the me who went to New Orleans fearlessly wandering the city in search of fun. I remember the me who got married just because she could and didn’t need verification from anyone that what I did was right because I knew it felt good. I remember the me who didn’t just get the looks from women like “she is seriously crazy, why is she acting like that” but instead got the looks like “she’s so much fun and full of life”. Yeah, I remember that me! She’s still here and while you’ve been trying to get rid of her or make her start acting “normal” or make me forget her, I’ve found her again. She’s the me who makes people laugh without having to try hard and who runs at the next adventure head on. She loves life and she loves fun and she will always be here.
Wow! These words are impressive. Great advice and something to truly live by. I need to remember these from now on and forever. I’m so glad that I can really embrace them through what I have learned in the last year of my life. Alhumdulillah!
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“Things get better, then they seem the same. One day I am certain that change is a must, others I am certain that life is pretty good in the status quo.”
I wrote these words a few months ago and they do in fact still hold true. I haven’t updated my blog in so long because I knew that I would just be saying the same things and belaboring them for pretty much no reason. So, I decided to refrain out of fear that I would sound self-absorbed and petty. Well, things have pretty much stayed the same in life and so the only thing to do was to accept that this was not a decision that I could make by myself. I couldn’t just sit around waiting for a sign or the absolute 100% certainty that I should pick up, pack and move to Morocco. So, my husband and I had a few logical discussions and we decided that if I get a job in Morocco it would make everything easier on everyone. So, I decided to take action and set the ball rolling to see if where my heart told me I should be is actually where God wants me to be.
As I wait to hear back from my first choice I am also going to feel out some more options in other places. Marrakech yes, of course, but also Casablanca. A city that drives me crazy and provokes me but also excites and entices me. I am going to do my best to see if this is meant to be. At this point, I completely recognize that absolutely none of this is in my control, although I still struggle with that everyday. This to me is what it means to be Muslim. Forget about all the rules and just accept that you are not in control and the Creator is. I do not know if anyone can really deny the force and depth of struggle that this really takes. We are not in control of the final decision and all we can do is control ourselves and our actions and seek forgiveness and guidance. To me, this is the Glory of God! Subhan’Allah!
I am a person who makes lists… they help me focus and I feel like I can really be constructive and productive as I check the items off my list. So, now, I have made two separate lists. One is titled: For Morocco, Insh’Allah; the second: If not, Allah knows Best. Here’s what to do next…
To me this shows that I have come to peace with the next phase in my life. I know where to go from here and what needs to be done and both destinations have great potential. God willing!
Until next time… Salaam!
For the last six months, my life has been filled with uncertainty. I am constantly in a state of changing emotion. One day I am certain of the next step in my life. Certain that if I do not change the status quo, that I will certainly wake up an unhappy old women, regretting the life that past me by because I did not take the chances that I wanted to take. Other days, I am certain that I will throw everything I worked toward away all for the chance to have a change. On those days, I am certain that while I want that change now, once I have it, I will be desperate to go back to the life I now live and currently abhor. I can not find certainty in this period of time, and it is something that I crave deeply.
My life has certainly been in a state of upheaval in the last few months. I have likewise swayed in my dieting as I have in my emotions. Some days I feel certain that I will escape the unhealthy habits that I was raised with and others I feel that I am their slave and will forever be tied to them. I am in a struggle to understand and define myself right now.
I am frustrated and saddened that at almost 29 years old, I do not think I know myself. I have struggled to define myself by so many things in my past and never really been able to put my finger on one. I have been and am an art, theater, poetry loving Francophile who is always in search of spiritual connection with God. I have been and am a person who is obsessed with culture and linguistics and history. I have defined myself as the mother of two little girls, the hijabi wife of a Moroccan man, the American convert to Islam of two Jesus freak hippies. I am all of those things. But they are not enough to define me. Because how is it that things really define a person? Am I defined by others? I have cried about this many times in my life. Recently, I have let go of things that I once thought I was certain of. Why? Because I decided that they couldn’t and wouldn’t define me, if I wasn’t happy with them. So, all I can do is hold onto the things that I am certain of. Here are some certainties that I hope are never lost to time and fear and the trials of this life.
1. I want more than anything to be a good mother. I want my children to have a childhood that fills them with happiness and not longing. I want them to feel that they are secure and loved and confident to be whatever their little beautiful hearts dream to be. I don’t know how to give this to them. But, I know I need to try harder.
2. I am certain that there is no purer love and peace, than what I have found through Allah. Never have I felt as secure or trusting or certain than when I turn to Him. He is the beginning and the end of all of us, and I hope that I never mess up so badly, that I can’t remember this.
3. I am certain that I am where I am because that is where I need to be. The man in my life is in it for a reason. I have two daughters for a reason. I dreamed of both of them when I was pregnant with the first and thought she was a boy. I have no more or less than what has been planned for me.
4. I am certain that I need improvement. So much, that I am not sure where to start and I get disoriented just trying to think about it.
5. I am certain that I dream so much that sometimes I can’t imagine being really good at anything, but just mediocre at everything. I dream of being a singer, a dancer, a tree planter, a world changer, a leader, a scholar…. too many things to count. I am certain that if I really were any of these, then I would dream of more and more.
For right now, I am keeping these certainties close to my heart and trying to remember that if things dont go as planned, then these are the things that I need to hold on to in order to know what to plan next. I pray that all goes well, and that in this life where we are not in control, that the One who is puts order and peace in me. Amen.
Here is a poem that I wrote a few years back. It made me remember…
Follower …find something.
He said I was a follower.
A follower – what’s that?
Someone who needs someone else
to show them
What is happiness?
What is life?
A follower who finds
Happiness in others
Life by how others see you in it.
A position, a place
a place on the grid
the other half of something real
the knowledge of being
something is happiness
but the truth is
I only found real happiness
by following him
and knowing that my place was
next to him, his other half.