Dear Diary: A Step into the ‘Real World’

I said Qabool and realised that this is an act of ibadah.

I said Qabool and saw the sky turning red, and the gates opening for many, and the world having the potential to come to an end because that is inevitable.

I said Qabool and felt the strength of Allah pushing down on my shoulders as I understood the weight of my responsibility in what I was agreeing to, and felt my whole being ready to fulfil it.

Life has been moving fast. Not ahead of me. But fast. Like this car journey on the first day of Ramadan. To London. For reasons too complicated to explain. Our surroundings are blurred. Cars keeping the same pace as us are normalisers. We’re afloat. It seems as though we’re not moving, but still getting to somewhere important.

Things only feel like they’re zooming when you write them down in an effort to explain what’s going on, for someone to understand how crazy things have been. That’s why it makes sense to me that people write in their pauses. When moods are low, the mind allows you to magnify a water droplet in order to compare it to your tears. People understand such sentiments. Small things, insignificant at other times, but appreciated when you slow down. We can’t handle being aware of too much you see. The mind sometimes switches off all those parts of itself that help compose essays and poems, analyse arguments, verbalise abstract thoughts, form conclusions to theorised notions, or develop philosophies for how the human consciousness can be identified so that we can show people we’re not near-dead matter simply oiled by chemical reactions.

I can’t function as such right now. Life has been moving too fast to think in detail and my body and mind is in survival mode. There’s not much space for analysis. I’m in action. Action is like fighting. That’s what you do in survival mode. You fight or you run. When I look at my legs I don’t think they’re running, so I’m doing the former. Fighting to understand the passages I’m entering while attaining what God has assigned for me. I’ve said yes to fate’s directions. I have found what I’ve been looking for, and I feel the warmth of the gift.

But there’s a lot of stress here. A lot of oncoming responsibility, a step into a new place in life, and each step carries an incredible amount of weight. You begin to realise why it’s necessary to switch off all of the you that thinks too much. If that part of me stayed on I’d be going crazy right now thinking of all the possible ways things could go incredibly wrong.

I’ve only had to deal with negative thinking for brief moments when the stress has overloaded and the practicalities have felt like a slap in the face. A couple of weeks before the big day, I was sitting in a diner with my closest friend having some ice cream to sooth my nerves and telling her that everything was getting too much to handle.

I need to get my life sorted. I can’t be a dreamer anymore. I can’t be me anymore. I need to be conventional. I need to take on responsibilities, act as others do when they’ve settled down and become someone’s life partner, someone’s daughter-in-law, someone’s sister-in-law…

‘I need to enter the real world’.

What real world?’ She asked.

‘The real world. Reality.’

‘There is no real world. This is reality.’

I understood.

We don’t just wake up one day and get pushed into the ‘real world’. Just like we don’t wake up one day and suddenly become adults. Despite the way our culture makes it seem so, the fact is that everything is a constant preparation for what’s ahead. If you look to Allah you realise how He has always prepared you to face what’s coming and shown you how to face what’s already here. As humans we’ve been given the ability to adapt to change, but adapting doesn’t take the same form for each individual. Just because I’m taking a certain step in life that most take at some point doesn’t mean I will conform to their conventions or become like them. I can already feel the realisation setting in of what is happening in my life; however I can also feel how life has been teaching me to deal with what’s taking place the way that only I know how, and that’s what I’m doing. The one requirement of me, my being, is that I stay close to Him, grow close to Him i.e. that I please Him, not displease Him.

On one of the occasions I was expressing my worries and what-if’s, and we were talking about rights, obligations and the difficulties a woman faces when leaving home, someone special told me something that stuck;

‘Whatever difficulties you face in future, whatever happens, just remember that where Islam comes in, everything else stops.’

And then he added as more than an afterthought; ‘Don’t stop dreaming.’

_____________________________________________________

This post stops here, so by all means stop reading if you have better things to do (understandably!), but thank you for taking the time to be here 🙂

A friend sent me a message after reading the above and I felt like it should be shared, not only because of the way in which she related to this post, but also because of the wider issues she thought of which I’m realising a lot of women (mostly of Asian origin) may relate to. Note: This isn’t the full message, just the parts that apply. So here it is;

“Roszeen,

I really enjoyed reading your blog post…I like in the beginning how you related the concept of agreeing to get married to a very weighty description of what I thought was judgment day.

The fear and uncertainty that you felt while at the same time realising this was ‘what you’ve been looking for’, the fear that you felt at having to change to be like everyone else ‘when they’ve settled down’ and the fear of not being a dreamer anymore and having to mould yourself to a predetermined thing, conceptualised and put forward as THE way to be in asian societies; that fear resonates with me. The fear of not being true to yourself, of being manipulated and moulded by backward traditions cultures and family. That is what frightens me the most, not celebrating the way Allah created you in terms of your personality and having to be a robot or in a cult like everyone else.

It reminds me of a quote by mark twain: ‘to wish you were someone else is to waste the person that you are’.

It’s inevitable that you’d feel the emotions described in your blog; fear, anxiety, uncertainty and stress. It’s such a huge new transition in your life that you’re getting yourself into. When you lamented at having to get out of dreaming and becoming a ‘daughter in law’, it reminded me of the conventional norms of the society we live in. Many married asian women I know seem to literally be chained to the kitchen sink and have no time for anything else. They are literally slaves to their husbands family and they have no opportunity to grow or learn.

I’m glad you came to the conclusion that just because your going through a process countless other people have gone through, it doesn’t mean you have to be like them. I’m also glad you realised and linked in Allah towards the end and how at the end of the day it is Him that only matters.”

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