To Breathe – an open letter to my someday daughter

The days, weeks and months become hypersonic, and before I can pull air into my lungs, the sun sets again.

And again

The most beautiful, precious thing anyone can own is good character. good manners. Good temperament. People wont remember what you wore or what car you were driving or even where they met you. They remember how you make them feel.

Cultivate a habit of kindness

Be a birthplace of joy.

There will be boys. Selfish ones and sweet ones and they will look exactly the same. There will be dangerous ones. I pray you never encounter any dangerous ones. These… boys. The one thing they’ll all have in common is that they will try to assert some unfounded authority over you.

(Sometimes within the first 30 seconds of meeting them, believe it or not)

There will be friends. And sometimes, friends walk in your life, fulfill their purpose, and leave. Take the lessons, and the memories, and tuck them neatly next to your nightstand. Let them guide your new relationships.

There will be assholes. A multitude of them. In every shape and form. They are bitter and crude. Don’t be an asshole. Don’t become bitter. Don’t become crude.

Avoid them like I will teach you to avoid traffic.

Keep people safe from your tongue.

To inhale all the toxicity around you and be able to breathe it out again, takes so much. It takes so much work; my asthmatic lungs struggle to hold it all. But don’t exhale until you’ve forgiven the people that have hurt you, until you’ve acknowledged your own misgivings and stopped belittling your own achievements. Allow your small victories to sink into the diaphanous tissue of your consistently beating heart. They are the roots of all the kind words you have to give, of all the love you have to give, they are the roots to all the success you are capable of, the amount of people whose lives you are capable of touching. THIS is how you achieve self-love and stop looking for it everywhere else. You reach within yourself; you fill yourself with clean, raw content, from all manner of places. Look for it in the smile of someone you love. Find it in

that first sip of coffee.

the sound of waves crashing or rain falling.

a documentary about sharks.

Find it in your chest.

Traverse the arts, the country, the food. Speak to new people or learn a language.

Grab life by the shoulders and ask questions.

The point is to fill yourself so that you have enough to give. More than that, so that you have substance. Meaningful interactions. It creates bonds and love and allows room for growth. So much growth. Be an active participant in society, in your family. And be kind. To your friends, family, to yourself.

and don’t yield, or retreat when things don’t go your way.

A line from Sarah Kay’s poem “Point B” comes to mind, “This life will hit you, hard, in the face. Wait for you to get back up so it can kick you in the stomach, but getting the wind knocked out of you is the only way to remind your lungs how much they like the taste of air”

I’ll be there to remind you of all this 100 times.

hello friends, I know it’s been a while since I last posted.  I do want to start a new series about being a wife and student, so we’ll see how that goes. 

you can watch the spoken word poem mentioned in the blog post here:

Point B – Sarah Kay

Advertisements

Un-sandpapered Edges

September 2017

The problem I have now:

I want to keep things truthful, raw.

Also, I want to keep my private life, as private as a person who loves sharing can.

I’m learning trying flying falling and all that. 
The truth, sans the gory married people details:

Everyone tells you before you get married that marriage isn’t easy. But they don’t tell you WHY it isn’t easy. No one tells you what kind of challenges you’ll face.

They don’t tell you that your spouse isn’t going to do every single thing you want them to do every single day for the rest of your li- what’s that? They’re not supposed to do that? That’s not a thing? That’s obvious? Oh. Sorry. Never mind. Scratch that people, apparently your spouse is supposed to challenge you sometimes and it’s boring if they don’t. Got it.

They don’t tell you that you’ll want to spend time apart and how neither of you will know how much time is the right amount of time to spend apart.

They don’t tell you that they make you insufferably angry or sad and how deeply you can feel your love for them through those things.

They don’t tell you that your body is no longer just YOUR body. They don’t tell you that your spouse is your resting place. That your spouse is the place you’re safe from the storm that is the world.


“They are the coolness of your eyes”

We never scream at each other, or swear at each other, and that is my favourite thing about us: the respect. And whenever my voice raises too many octaves and my face heats up and I throw a tantrum…

I tell him it’s shaytaan (satan) and that shaytaan doesn’t want us to be married and in love and happy. And my husband gives me the smallest smile and takes my hand, I feel forgiveness in his touch.

They don’t tell you that your love language has everything to do with the way you love and the way you don’t love. They don’t tell you that if you aren’t loved in the right way you don’t feel loved at all.

Thank god we’re both physically affectionate people. Maybe the most annoying thing about me – that annoys me, not anyone else – is even when I’m angry upset distraught, I still want to be held. I never say no to his strong arms.

Every argument ends with an “I’m sorry”

I don’t even have any pride to swallow.

I just want to be okay as soon as possible

To fix the mistake immediately

Doesn’t matter whose mistake it is

We’re inseparable [insha’Allah]


I turned 21


My husband took my hands and told me I’m the best thing that’s ever happened to him.

Ps. I took all these pictures and all the pictures of me were taken by my new photographer: Rafeeqah Hamdulay

love you kid.

Another day to be a writer


I will write about kindness.

I will write about love

I will write about death

I will write about the sun

And the moon

I might write about every individual star

I will write about pain

I will drag knives over your lungs just hard enough to scrape them.

I will take the air from you

I will take your tear- streaked cheeks and tell you

Absolute truths

The ones that have been kept from you

I will write about failure

And what it means to try again. Selfishly.

I will write about the things you forgot

Things that brought you joy

Do you remember joy?

The real kind

I will write about cold fingers

Yours and his

I will write about silk and satin and

how your skin

wasn’t placed on your body

to please anyone on this earth.

I will write about regret

How bitter it tastes at the back of your throat

I will write about the lies you told

The excuses you made

The promises you broke without blinking

I will write about nature

And how we’re are being lied to:

nature is unnatural

I will write about lips

The kinds of kisses you should be receiving

I will write about anger

Steel wool on the ends of your lashes

Scratchy eyes

Red vision

Burning skin

I will write about calamity

And how we know nothing of it at all.

I will write about consistency

I will write about persistency

I will write about specificity

I will make you uncomfortable

Sweaty

Guilty

I will write about tranquility

And how to achieve it

I will write about being enough being happy being secure

being unapologetic in those things

 

 

 

 

 

Making Memories and Actually Remembering them.


Thoughts align themselves along nerve endings. I can feel them underneath the surface of my skin. They bubble up beneath my eyes, fingers, my feet. They carry me and my words – even the ones I don’t say. They stream through my pores into every hair on my body. 


13:00pm, 12 November 2016 

(thank god for the Whatsapp search function, it’s so satisfying to give real time stamps instead of estimations)

I am a wreck. Jittery. Snappy. Shake-y.

There is a bundle of knots in my tummy that’s been there for two Wednesday’s in a row.

A few days after our second meeting, I made Istikhaara ( a specific salaah {prayer}that one makes when making important decisions). Not because I wasn’t sure, and not because it’s compulsory. (Because it’s not) I did it because I wanted my Creator’s input- so to speak. The act of asking Allah before you make a decision places baraka (blessings) in that decision.  I had one teacher, who taught me to ask Allah to help me make all my decisions. He said to say, “Oh الله, choose for me” whether you’re choosing between potential spouses or ice cream flavours. It’s something I want to make a habit eventually, Insha’Allah.

The next morning I woke with a feeling of clarity. Everyone asks me how I knew he was “the one” and I never what to say except, “It felt right” I could not see my whole future with him in minds eye. I could not imagine what our children might look like. I did not visualise our lives together like I did in high school when I had a crush on someone. What I did see was a journey filled with surprises, I didn’t know much about him, still. But I felt like I knew enough. Enough to build a life together, a life that lead to Jannah, Insha’Allah.


Now I was in one of Amazon.com’s many call centres, struggling to wing my eyeliner in the bathroom since there wouldn’t be enough time when I got home. Razeen and his father were coming over at 3, with a Moulana (A  religious scholar in Islam) to facilitate our engagement.

I got home that day to find my mother rearranging furniture and faffing over cushion placement.

It was more formal than I expected, the whole thing.

“The Hassim family would like to ask the guardian of Fatima-Zahra, for her hand in marriage”

and my father looked at me and said, “Looks like the kids want to get married”

A question was directed me next, “Would you like to marry Razeen?”

and me. Being me, I said, “Is it not obvious?”

the formality crumbled and the mood in the room shifted when I cleared my throat and said, “Yes”


We were officially engaged and Razeen gifted me a ring that he wasn’t allowed to put on my finger himself. My fiance had a smile glued to his face. I felt my cheeks mirror that expression until my wedding day when I obviously had a heart attack. {but more on that in the next post}

I love the look on people’s faces when I let on that he didn’t touch me or even see my hair until after we were wed.


A few people have asked me why I’m writing this whole series, and I think a lot of you think that I’m merely diarising my experiences, but it’s much more than that. 

I’m writing this, documenting and sharing this, to share the beauty of the sunnah with all of you. In hopes that we begin to value the teachings of the prophet SAW more than the things we’re force fed through every single media platform. 


2 May 2017 

At first being a student at UCT as well as a wife wasn’t that taxing. The reading wasn’t drowning  me until I was a month in and just

skim read through everything before tuts. I do everything I need to do and not an iota more – although I am planning on putting a lot more effort in

from tomorrow.


someone at campus asked me if campus seems unimportant because I’m married. And it’s not that it seems unimportant, it just seems

less important.

My priorities are different from those that I’m studying with, which is not a bad thing. It just makes me more focused I think. Like I’m just there to get my degree and go. There are no other distractions (aside from my series) at campus for me. I’m not there to build a sorority or find a boyfriend. I’m not there to skip lectures to for lunch.

A girl I went to high school with (and is a UCT student now) asked me if it’s a good idea to get married while she’s studying.

I told her,

“you get two kinds of students: one who is distracted by the thought of a relationship and can’t focus on their studies, because there’s a human need/ desire/ want that isn’t being fulfilled, and it lessens the importance you place on your work.  and the other student is so distracted by their relationship that they can’t give enough attention to their studies.”

 

I usually get sick on long drives. I usually don’t last 40 minutes before nausea settles in my system like an old, unwelcome friend. Naturally when it was suggested that we take a SIX AND A HALF HOUR drive to Plettenberg Bay and then a FIVE HOUR drive to Hermanus??? I was BEYOND skeptical.

six hours in a moving vehicle?

me?

But it was glorious.
There are so many stars alive on an endless stretch on black roads.

Xo effzed 

 

 

 

Foreign Furniture & Old Slippers

Things that I am most grateful for:

  1. the obvious things that everyone puts on these lists, specifically my health.
  2. my in-laws. 

When people tell you that you’re not just marrying the person, you’re marrying the whole family, they’re not kidding. You’re acquiring a WHOLE set of people and they’re suddenly your family.

24 days. I knew him for 24 days before we got engaged. If you want to get technical – that is, count the hours I spent in his physical presence before we got married – I knew him for 9 hours before he was My Husband.
There’s this universal truth: you only get to know someone when you

  1. live,
  2. travel,
  3.  and do business them.


Our home is a beautiful vista, bedaubed with rose gold colored ornaments. I marvel at all the tiny details put into making this place my new home. My eyes feast on everything I’ve been liking on Pinterest. 


Here, I try to convince myself that this couch is mine, that this cupboard full of crockery is mine. I’ve never owned crockery before. And Tupperwares? Should I be returning these to my mother? And what do I with all these pots? 

The furniture feels alien. Foreign. Even after I had lived here for a few days, it felt more like a weekend trip away. My clothing fit strangely. My belongings have acquired a different scent. I smell like my husband and this house. Every square inch speaks to me with soft, coaxing murmurs. But it can’t be rushed: the Feeling-At-Home process. 

My husband begins to feel like the only familiar thing. I’ve known him longer than I’ve known the curtains and scatter cushions.

I walk around barefoot, my toes learning the pattern on the tiles, and the creak of my wooden floors. 

I feel comfortable, yet uncomfortable. I soon realized that the discomfort was just me being homesick. Missing people, although an emotion, affects you physically. (Like most powerful abstract nouns, it could bring you to your knees. Funny how it’s the intangible things that have the tightest grip) we learn to enjoy companionable silences, and stay up all night talking. We swim at 2am and have snacks in the dark. 

It feels like home. 

This post depicts my first week living away from home. 

xo Effzed  

 

 

Broken Fingers & Quiet Dinners

Between 4pm and 5pm I develop a case of clinical anticipation. I glance at the clock every 3 and a half minutes, I fidget and fiddle with anything in my reach. I get positively antsy. He only leaves work past 5. Suddenly the wait is stretched out and crawling.
I

I’m too dramatic to admit that the wait was not as long as I expected. I’m too full of hyperbole and pedanticism to say that it was only 25 minutes.

My favourite part of every week day is the Mini Reunion between myself and my husband: I’m running across our little cottage but obviously in my head I’m running across a field of sunflowers. (the edges of my brain drip different flavoured cheeses; I know) I’ve been married for just over a month? I suppose it’s perfectly natural that I get excited (understatement) when he gets home.

Today his left pinkie is broken (no, it wasn’t my fault) his smile is bright, and as always, his arms are wide open.

22:40pm

Later, we’re folded into chairs under a marble table, our plates emptying slowly, the eating process delayed due to whispered conversations. One paragraph at a time, I can feel every nerve ending in my body sewing itself to his. This is how we become closer, with words that cause shiny eyes and fast beating hearts. This is  how we fall deeper in love.

cropped-tulip-fields-flowers-wallpaper-768x480-1.jpg

I’ll be continuing a series of posts like these, trailing back to my engagement and how I came to meet him, there will be other themes involved, It’s mostly about how much my life has changed and how much I’ve learnt in the past few weeks. 

xo Effzed

Anticipation 

Earlier that day: 

“See,” she said to him, ” there are words,” he nodded, “and then there are words that make you feel things.” He nodded again, “and then, there’s the  way that you look at me” 

He smiled. He smiled that small smile, the one that melted her insides. 

And so they sat for one of those immeasurable moments. It felt neither long, nor short, but when it was time for her to go home, it felt like a second. Moreover, she was already at home, wasn’t she? And she didn’t mean the physical space of their new home, she meant him, he was home, at least, he would be. 

There were times, before he proposed; that she would try to contain her excitement. That was all out the window now. When their eyes met she couldn’t look for too long but couldn’t resist looking again. And again. 

And 

Again. 

An evening thought: 

I like how hours of the day are cut like pieces of a stained glass window. I like how every minute is a different, brilliant colour. my mind zoomed in on the inches between myself and my fiancé, how it seemed to grow smaller and smaller as he reached to put my dresses in our cupboards. (1. I must admit to this being extremely attractive. 2. I must tell you, dear reader, not touching him is unbearable. I obviously have self control and feel wholly happy with my decision to get married this way, because the love and mercy of our creator is almost tangible. That doesn’t mean it’s not difficult, it just means it’s worth it. 

There’s something to be said about delayed gratification.