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

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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.

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 

 

 

 

Torn T-shirts & Long Skirts

Some things change, some things stay the same.


PACKING CUPBOARDS: 

I haven’t been married long enough to write about how hard it is. It seems effortless and exciting and brilliant and he’s crazy and I’m crazy about him.  I’m sure I could have worded  that with a touch more eloquence. #soz  (dear future self when you see that hashtag, forgive me.)

Something I have noticed though, is that, I’ve changed. I’ve seen it in my eyes. In my reflection, in photos. I can hear it in my laugh.

I

can

feel

it

in my interaction with people- my friends and family. It’s a subtle underlying ting beneath my conversation.  A week ago my aunt leaned in to me – in the way that old people do when they want to impart wisdom – and whispered that I look much more mature now. I wasn’t sure what to make of it. It’s one thing for me to feel different and a wholly other thing for people close to me to tell me I look, talk and act differently.  At first I wasn’t sure if I was comfortable with it. Did I change in a bad way or in a good way?

The epiphany I had: I had changed in an inevitable way. Everyone told me before I got married that things would change. They laughed and smiled that secret adult smile when they said

“Your husband becomes your best friend”

“You won’t be able to shit in the first week”

“Your whole life changes”

It seemed ludicrous at the time. It seemed a gross hyperbole. I mean my parents seemed pretty normal. Granted  I didn’t know them before as separate entities BUT STILL.

Now I can see it.

I’m growing, and changing. And that’s not a bad thing. It merely takes an adjustment period, I’m still trying to find a balance between being a wife, a sister, a daughter and a friend. I have to actively try to be a good person in all those aspects of my life now. I’ll never stop trying.

You know it would be easy to achieve self-actualisation in a month if I could eradicate laziness from my life?


TO LOVE – Verb:

After you say things aloud, you begin to feel those things harder than you did before.  I kissed his arm, and tried to explain to him the extent of my love. I tried to verbalise the way I could feel my heart expanding to contain all of it. I’m still not sure I could show him how much I appreciate him and care for him. He’s like this

this miracle.

TO SLEEP: 

one very good reason to get married is for the cuddles.

TO SET GOALS AND ACHIEVE THEM: 

I absolutely have to include in this post that I am starting with Rushtush this month in order to get my rushtush tush. Here’s to the beginning of my fitness journey

*chews pasta*

*swallows coke*

*looks for dessert*

xo Effzed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scintilla 

10:30am

In my mother’s house, my room is half full of things I left behind. There’s no space in my  new cupboards for all the jeans I was keeping for when I one day was a size 0. There’s no room for sentimental paraphernalia from 2000 and late. It smells musty and un-lived in. I grew up in this place, so why does it feel so

so

far away? like another lifetime I can barely recall. Even with standing in my room, it felt as if I was looking at it through a tunnel.

My bathroom however, feels exactly the same. That might be due to the fact that I’ve hardly gone to the bathroom since I got married. I had never experienced constipation before. Now I’m constipated all the time. My body would only find its way to the bathroom if my husband was nowhere near the vicinity and wouldn’t be for a few hours. I hope that goes away soon. I can’t live like this: Driving to my mom’s house every time I need to go.

23:45pm


One of the first questions I asked my husband before we got married was “Are you an affectionate person?” He said yes, he thinks so. Anyone who knows me, knows that a negative answer to that question would have been a total deal breaker for me. I can’t have my husband telling me not to hug him or touch him. I had already learned that not only was I generally an affectionate person, Physical Touch is my love language. It’s how I show people that I care for them. Similarly, simple gestures (like kissing my forehead) makes me feel loved.

He holds my hand while he drives. He opens the windows because he knows I get carsick. We drive around aimlessly at night. It’s my favourite pastime. We enter the house quietly, leaving all the lights off. I turned to kiss him-

you know sometimes when you touch a balloon and you touch someone else you feel a sort of spark? or when you touch the handle of a trolley and you get a shock? –

Sparks ignited when our lips met. literally. There was a beat of silence before I started whooping, laughing, jumping.

He thought it was hilarious. I thought it was magical. I am endlessly, hopelessly romantic. He asseverates all his love for me with his actions. I try and memorise the way he says my name. The way his tongue caresses the vowels in a way that makes my heart tremble.

I keep waiting for married life to “settle” to come into a routine. I find that each day with is different and filled with more.

more.

That night was actually hysterical. It was 3 and a half weeks into being a wife. I really hope you guys are enjoying this as much as I am. 

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