The past and the present

I have heard this many times, “don’t think about the past”,  “Live in the now”. And like many such things I have heard, I know they will make sense to me only when they will make sense to me.

We are all unique in our abilities and it takes a certain insightful moment, a certain number of days for us to “get over” anything. Grieving loss is very important, but there can never be a number on it, a duration, a perfect method, we all have the right to go about it however we want to. And the most important thing in such times is having the right kind of people around you, who let you dwell in the sadness and in the right moment pull you out a little further.

I chose (unconsciously/consciously) to stick to the past, revisit it, think about it, ponder over it, and have made the conscious decision to stop, because I realised I am losing too much of my present because of the past I didn’t even enjoy. It’s not worth it. Not at all.

Another significant realization has been that we on a regular basis don’t tend to be grateful for simple things. This happens even more when we’re sad, I have decided to be grateful for the pleasant weather in the morning, even if it lasts only few hours, for the auto guy who is happy to use the meter, the student who sees that I  have run out of water and offers to fill  my flask, grateful for warm water for a long shower in the night while the daughter cooperates and sleeps, grateful for good writers who write good books so that I can unwind even if I manage to only read 2 pages…..Truly, when these small things become a great cause of pain for us a lot, then why not appreciate them when they’re going right?

I can’t afford to mess up the relationships in my present, for the wrong people I happened to be exposed to. Our experiences shape us, the negative ones make us the strongest, but we decide what from our life will define us. And I do not wish to be defined by my past relationships. I want to enjoy and reciprocate to the ones in my present. It’s not right to be worrying about what took so much courage to end! 🙂

Everyday, is a day for us to learn about ourselves and be better as human beings. Exploring ourselves is liberating. Feel free, it’s awesome. There’s no one and nothing stopping you but your mind. Ask it what it wants, figure it out and find your freedom!

Unconditional Positive regard :)

Relationships aren’t meant to be stressful. I am talking about all the relationships we form during the course of our lives. Friends, family, lovers, spouses etc. They are meant to provide something beautiful, they are meant to liberate us.

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Your friends shouldn’t make you feel restricted, your husband/wife shouldn’t make you feel bound, your family shouldn’t make you feel contrived. In my little experience in life, I have started to value the relationships that are consciously formed, we can’t change the people who are part of our lives because they’re linked to us by biological bonds. This makes it crucial for us to create an environment around us that makes us feel free, stable, connected and liberated at every step. For this first we need to know who we are, and what we are looking for in these friends, partners, lovers, etc.

upr31344115437730Some people are not capable of giving this freedom. Avoid them, they’re toxic, they will take everything you have and leave you wondering why you even bothered. These people are in majority, I am warning you. I learned the hard way, well, at some level I consider myself stupid beyond explanation of naivete. I really was taken for a ride, but learned my lesson, learned more about myself, and while trust issues may be part of my life for some more time, I have realised that it is not wrong to stand up for yourself, and demand the respect which was supposed to be given by default. When you let go of such people, they will reveal even more of their colours. But they will never see you the way you are, they’re blind to goodness, unfortunately. And if you’re lucky and strong you will get yourself out of the environment such people create.

I am glad I have a support system that makes me feel thankful to Allah every moment. Friends who know when to do what, how to make me laugh, when to provide support, how to be blunt and honest, most importantly they are 100% welcome me for who I am. It is important to have this bunch of people, and important to reciprocate these relationships with the same respect and sanctity. Apart from my lovely friends I also have a lovely partner who is supportive and liberates me, accepts me, has unconditional positive regard for me. The freedom that comes with adding someone to your life is something to be experienced, words can not describe them. I am content. And with the sanity, and faith I believe we all can be honest, and accept people, and demand acceptance, pity those who can’t get out of their bubble and enjoy life and relationships to their best. We only have one life on this earth, we ought to make the most of it.

Let’s make a conscious effort to not judge, have unconditional positive regard for people around us, so that we can enjoy every relationship to the fullest and feel liberated. It’s challenging, but definitely not impossible, and worth your while. Trust me on that 🙂

What do you want?

This may seem the most regular question on the planet. But really take a second and ask yourself; “What do you want?”

It’s a rather difficult question to answer, I constantly find myself among a tonne of things, juggling more than I can, constantly taking up more responsibilities and pushing myself, and there are days that just force me to take a pause, and just dig deep into my mind and heart and figure what it is that I am chasing.

We all believe we know exactly what we want, and good on you if you’ve got it all figured out. I did too, and here’s a thing about plans and knowing what you want, THAT CAN CHANGE!

Yes, you read right, we are constantly evolving as human beings and sometimes we just don’t realise that our goals have changed in the process of getting there, it’s a rather annoying place to be I must say. But I believe it’s better to constantly keep reanalysing and being in the pursuit of that which will make you happy as opposed to continuing just because you started.

No matter what we do, if it’s intentional we will put in effort, so if you change your mind it’s fine. Could be anything, from what you’re going to cook today, to what you want to order when you get to the ice-cream parlour, to your career, anything!

Satisfaction will come when you reach the goal and are happy, and not regretting that you should’ve taken the other route/changed paths when you still had the chance, enthusiasm and opportunity.

There’s no doubt, it’s an irritating feeling to be confused, leads to frustration and self-doubt. It’s also natural. We only live one life, and we only get so many chances/opportunities. It’s about knowing what you want, having the courage to follow-through and persevere, because in the end of the day, the decision will effect you the most, and if you’re happy everyone else around you will have to accept it too!

House arrest

I’ve been busy, that’s an old story at this point. I’ve been busy with life that gets me out of the house every single day! It’s not the same thing though, some days it’s class, some days it’s school, some days it’s chores, etc etc. You get the drift.

But since last Saturday I have been having severe lower back pain, which has made me unable to do the many things that I do outside the house. Top it up with ‘absolute bed-rest’ by the orthopedist  (Who BTW I recommend for all your bone needs, he’s v good; ‘thorough’ if you may) and you’re game for boredom. So really what have I been doing? I don’t know how time has passed and another Saturday came. I will go back to work on Tues. But I’ve realised a few things in these days of rest.

1.I deserve a break! it actually felt good to tell everyone I won’t be available, be it school, class or madrasa. I just told everyone to just “manage”. I don’t know if it’s me in my little head; that I believe the worlds weight is on my shoulders and shit won’t happen if I don’t move. But everything happened. Everything happens, Life goes on. This is a relief especially considering that I plan to move out of Hyderabad.

2. Amazon.in aint that bad! I was going to blog about the pathetic service of Amazon, but that I’ve decided to put that aside, because I received my book, super early and it has been my savior. Sh*tty mum is a must read! (review coming soon, I’m almost done), give it to your friends, buy it for new moms, gift it to your wives/sisters! Everyone deserves to have a copy of their own. This book cracked me up like Gordon Ramsays autobio did. Only this is hilarious from beginning till the end. This also made me realise that I should just buy myself more books and take time out to laze around and read. It aint no crime!

shitty mum3. I am not the stay at home typa person anymore! This is probably the biggest realisation, I can’t stay at home, I am craving a walk, stood in the balcony for good 20 mins just to “see” the world. I was never this way, this is the new me I guess. Just like keeping busy, no matter how much it tires you, you’ll still like to be busy. I have discovered that I no longer can be home. Soooo looking forward to meeting the 450 kids at school and the holy little ones at the madrasa.

4. There’s an uncomfy phase to divorce, I can and maybe should just write a book on this. I don’t know how the divorce experience is for people in other cities or countries, but it’s pretty awkward here, especially if you’re surrounded by people who know your in-laws but aren’t related to your in-laws. It’s just weird. My hospital file still says ‘Mrs’ and ’19yrs’ for age, but when the concerned person changed the raggedy old file and moved papers into a new one, she copied the same details. I didn’t know that this happened BTW, I submitted my file, and waited in the seating area with my ‘sh*tty mum’ book, floating on a cloud of humor, and when the Dr. saw my file he said “still 19?” I responded “no” , and well, he changed the age, I wanted to add “not Mrs also”, I don’t know what stopped me though. Sometimes I feel I say shit like it doesn’t mean anything, and don’t want to be taken for a fool, but hey! it’s a fact init!. I am comfortable with my Ms, Mrs, Mx, or whatever, but how come we think about other peoples reaction? How come we are taken aback by their judgement? At this point I feel we should just accept that we will be judged by anyone walking and just do what we do best. Muhahaha (Evil laugh). I changed the ‘Mrs’ to ‘Ms’ BTW. Need to set the record straight on that one. Maybe I should learn new ways of handling the situation without looking childish about it (That shall be difficult considering my personality). Sometimes I just feel like screaming, announcing it to the world “I am divorced” just to take the “suspense” off my life. Nip it in the bud, let everyone know, wear a t-shirt maybe that reads ‘happily divorced’. (If you have ideas leave them in the comments below)

I also have a theory like Maslows hierarchy of needs, about relationships. Let’s call it ‘Syedas hierarchy of relationships’. Now;  Imagine a pyramid and at top of the peak is being ‘happily married’, just below that is ‘happily divorced’, mind you, not courtship, or dating, or engagement or any of that. NONE of that. That’s my thing. It’s a two level pyramid I guess then. Everything else is meaningless, and only that is the truth, according to me, you can differ. Many psychology theories are questionable including Maslows.

5. Men in Hyderabad need to learn self-grooming. This is just general advice, outgrown beard, shabby hair, ill fitting clothes, you know what I’m talking about. You don’t realise how ill-groomed they are till you see someone who is well-groomed (which is as rare as a shooting star). Here’s a fact, we don’t see ourselves, we can’t unless there’s a mirror, so we should have the manners to consider how other people visually perceive us when we step out of the house. Hyderabadi men need a lesson or two in this. I can blog a two part series on the topic. If you find well-groomed men you’ll find them in doctors, go to LVPrasad, you can make out who means business there, people who know their eyes. Ditto with me Ortho Dr.  apart from being good at what they’re supposed to, you don’t mind bad news about your health when it’s coming from a person who took out 5 minutes to trim his beard! I’m sure there’s some psychology theory in there too! Don’t get me wrong, there are some proper appalling doctors out there too!

So that rounds it up, I shall resume laying around as today is the last day. Will finish off the book and write a review soon. I have so many blog posts pending that I am not going to bother building a guilt pool for myself 🙂

Take a minute, you're fabulous

Have you ever been in a situation where you’ve received the same advice from the same friend you gave the same advice to, few days earlier? I guess we all have!

No matter where in the world you are, as women we are struggling, there are some common gender bias struggles, some uncommon issues unique to only us, add the mind mess that we create for ourselves and you have the recipe of unsatisfied women!

Well, it’s natural for us to be caught up on agendas, and goals, it’s great to set goals in life, have a bucket list or something to keep you focussed, at the same time we have to also appreciate the efforts we have put in and most importantly celebrate in whatever little way the achievements we have accomplished. The simple pat on the back can go a long way, just your favourite ice-cream, cooking the dish that YOU like for a change, wearing the lipstick that has been crying for use for months, just anything to reward yourself, because you know you’ve worked hard!

This was the realisation my friend tried to grill into my head the other day, that I just jump onto making a new list of to-dos and goals without appreciating the ones I have ticked off, lord knows it took time and energy and effort ad dedication to achieve those in the first place. We tend to skip this very crucial step and then end up feeling like we’re in a constant rut of trying to fulfill aims without satisfaction.

We put pressure on ourselves, we raise the bar higher and higher each time, and while that’s fantastic, especially if you’re a goal driven woman, it is also important just tell the world to appreciate you. Shift the spot light on to yourself and bask in the glory of your hard-work, resilience and patience. In all this craziness, I appreciate that I have friends who can understand what I am going through, and can relate to my thought processes.

It is extremely difficult as women to find that empathic, unconditional support, we often put too much expectation on our family when our friends can support us just as much. The mum will grow old, and there will be generation gap, find your own circle of strength and keep flying.

And whenever you find yourself in an endless to-do list, remind yourself to take a minute, You are fabulous!

I just need quiet

Days of low motivation. Very subjective these things even for me. I may have 10 things to do, but they’re all more or less the same. Actually they are the same. I’ve been studying, running the Sunday school, working at a school, being a mommy, freelance writing/blogging for years now. The type of work hasn’t changed, but motivational levels fluctuate.

I have always tried to figure out what comes in the middle of my motivated zeal, because there are days when the plan is to wait till the daughter falls asleep so I can pursue all my studying and writing. And when she does, for some very embarrassing reason I don’t do anything. I end up wasting time on Youtube, or watching a movie, or just whiling away time on the internet.

But tonight I realized, that it’s because I function in quiet. Uninterrupted concentrated time. And hence I have decided to find myself more quiet time, and scenarios where I can work without being interrupted. Because studying requires concentration and while I have learned for the most part to be able to perform with auditory interference, I still need that solid 2 hours time to accomplish what needs to be accomplished.

As mommies we are forced to multi-task, and I have become really good at writing and listening, and typing and listening. I can engage in both activities with ease now. And sometimes I am amazed at how I am able to do that. The coffee helps in that, but when you have a toddler and an exam together, you will learn to manage.

So at-least the mystery is solved, studying can take place only in a peaceful quiet environment, doesn’t matter how exhausted I get I still have the enthusiasm to continue and finish off whatever assignment I have started., it’s because even my mind values peace and quiet. Will hit the library for this, at least on my Thursdays.

Do you have any studying tips mommies?

Do not expect…But why?

There’s an advice that goes around and a lot of people like it. Some things sound great on face value, they may be like the ultimate solutions to all your existing and non existent problems, but in this particular advice I beg to differ, BIG TIME.

I have been told this, I have heard other people say it to others, and It made sense to me too for a very little while. Do not expect!, then you won’t be disappointed. Well, here’s what I say, do not have unrealistic expectations, but for SURE keep expectations from people. It is important for us to do that so that we understand that we are supposed to not live a selfish life.

I keep expectations from myself, my colleagues, my friends, family everyone. Because we as human beings are required to live in harmony with each other. If we keep no expectations, we give full power to people to do whatever they want, we don’t bind them by love or acceptance. I have little to no expectations from strangers, but people that are significant to me are not strangers, and shouldn’t have to live like they can not care about me or what I feel I deserve from them.

It’s wrong to let people live without expectations on them, it’s wrong for us too, only when we keep expectations do we strive at any relationship. You just have to have the clarity between realistic and unrealistic expectations, because in the end it’s about pushing ourselves and others to become better people, the best versions of ourselves. And what’s better? When you expect, and that person breaks your trust and expectations, you know they’re not right for you, and that they don’t deserve your dedication. As opposed to the people with whom you are choosing to be a pushover, because you didn’t direct them or inform them of your expectations.

“Do not expect, you won’t be disappointed”, is like saying “don’t write the exam, you won’t fail!”

So here’s to anyone who tells you don’t expect! let’s be practical, it’s not an advice, it’s a recipe for doormat disaster.

Uncertainty

If there’s one thing that scares the human soul it’s uncertainty. Regardless of how much knowledge we have of the inevitable, no matter how many plans we make and how much we try to work on them, there’s always that doubt. There’s always going to be that uncertainty of how things will go, where our lives are headed etc.

Today was a good day, went out with the siblings, chilled, played bowling, Batool enjoyed it too. There are a couple of things running in my mind at the time, I am loving this break from life I am getting in Dubai. And as much as I am ready to face the challenges of a single mother, there’s always that doubt, that need to want to know the future, to know that all is going to be fine. At these times I remind myself to strengthen my faith in God.

Well, I was scrolling on my Facebook page, for some inspiration and came across this image

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I couldn’t help but share it, looked for the whole chapter and read the translation. And wow! am I relieved! There’s nothing like an open conversation with your Creator. And this just lifted up my spirits. It is always good to know that your God has not and never will forsake you. As human beings we are constantly reminded of our dependency on others, and it can take a toll on the strongest of us.  And as a mother I feel the need to always be strong for Batool, and constantly give out positive energy, be the best role model of faith, determination, hard-work and clarity.

Life isn’t easy, but it’s good to know that there’s someone always watching you, and that verily the future will have better in store so long as the intentions are clean.

Would you kill the queen to crush the hive?

I work at a school. And one of the best experiences being around young human beings is, you kinda don’t grow up. You are constantly reminded of your adolescence, your childhood, your teenage issues. You are almost forced to be in that phase of your life, reminiscing constantly, some conversations get you nostalgic about your own uniform clad school days.

CAM01338And as a counselor for me it’s all about solving problems, providing clarity, support, unconditional love, a safe environment for children to just let go and express themselves. I think it’s crucial for children to know that there is always going to be someone there for them, through thick and thin. And this someone isn’t always going to be an adult, a good friend can go a long way. When I was in school, there were times of loss of clarity, a feeling of struggle to own your life, take control, choose your own path etc. And this particular song used to describe that feeling. That realisation of not just the struggle, and important of taking control, but the significance support plays in the whole drill.

I listened to music in those days not for the actual music, but lyrics. And this song has powerful lyrics. My personal favourite lines from the song are not in every version of the song.

‘Would you kill the queen to crush the hive?

And would you choose water over wine, hold the wheel and drive?’

The song is written beautifully, and the chorus signifies the importance of being there for your friend (or family, or lover), no matter what decision they make:

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Have there been any songs that have had a special relevance to your life growing up?

My white and clarity

It’s really odd when you’re thinking about something and suddenly you read about the same. There’s an overwhelming feeling that takes over you. I have experienced two such situations or phenomena recently. One of which I experienced just today. But we shall go in the order of occurrence for respect.

1. I have always been the loud one, when it came to enjoying, having fun, motivating someone, but never when it came to problems that were my own. I like to solve them on my own, I like to be patient, and be supportive via space and silence. I pick up on energy very quickly, I know by just walking past a person how they’re feeling. This sense gets heightened when I know the person. This is an area of my potential, and I believe that people like me bring comfort, there’s a reason why I am able to be a good counselor and comforter for students and friends alike. I will be the quiet, patient ear. And I have been treated unjustly. And well in the midst of all the sad drama I came across this quote of Ernest Hemingway, and it was the pure expression of what I was going through. And somehow it made me feel good that a man (especially) is capable of understanding an experience women face on a regular basis, especially in family life.

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2. My maternal grandfather was a spiritually blessed man, people used to come to him for all sort of ailments and he used to recite prayers for them and comfort them. I never asked him any future telling questions, I didn’t want the ‘grandparentness’ to go away from him, because no matter what he would be my nana first. Anyway, once he has asked me a question, he asked what it is that I want to see the most in life. And I responded spontaneously as it was something I had thought of previously and I knew the exact answer. I said, I want to see a lot of ice, all white around me, me in the center of white purity. I related that to ice, as I have never experienced snow. And his response was, well it was more of a nod and appreciating bafflement. He didn’t say anything, but he looked impressed. I didn’t ask ‘why?’ because that would break the ‘grandparetness’ code I had set up in my head. Today I was going through the 600 odd pics from last evenings madrasa event, and I saw this one pic and went, ‘wow! this is exactly the white purity and surrounded by whiteness I was talking about, and there’s no ice!’. And a feeling of complete beauty took over me, I smiled into the picture and tears came to my eyes. I found my white.

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I hope in life we are able to find the courage to not just try to find the truth but fight for it. So many of us live under the pressure of a conformist society, just trying to get through the day that; we forget that there’s a higher purpose to achieve. I have found my white, and I have faith in those who believe in moving forward, and aren’t afraid to stand for the truth. Stand up for what’s wrong, and most importantly refuse to be silent sufferers,because we know for a fact that; not all will realise that our patience, our silence and our strength is actually meant for the change, and not acceptance of dwelling in the problems.

Happy strength mommies!