Who am I?

As I gaze at myself in the mirror I don’t recognize the thirty-odd-something year old staring back at me. I seem a shadow of my former bubbly beautiful self and I can’t help but feel bitter at how time has been unkind to me. My ears prick up at the sound of irregular breathing coming from my baby and I freeze and glance at her; but she reverts back to her natural pattern with the soft baby breaths I have come to know and love so much. I peer into the depths of my own eyes and what I find there I find frightening; where did she go? Where did that spark of life go from within her eyes? Why is she so sad, this girl, no this woman and why is she so afraid of the unknown and her future albeit one of uncertainty?
After my divorce I had sworn my life would be different: I was going to live it to the full and enjoy every moment. I was going to be someone now that I had a second chance to reinvent myself and I was going to make my kids see I was a good role model and become someone great too. I was going to implement Islam firmly into my life and become learned and throw away the old me complete with my bad habits and fears because I was now fearless and empowered. Well that didn’t last long. You can’t shop for a new personality and throw away the old one every time you see something you don’t like because it keeps coming back like a boomerang no matter how far you throw it. Change is slow and based upon self-reflection and in my chaos the bi-product of chaos and calamity. It’s not until tragedy strikes or several near misses that my stubborn brain realizes I need to change and I actually do manage to change even if it’s 1%.
The woman looking back at me is one who has lost: she has achieved nothing with her life and at 34 she is unemployed with three children and a life she doesn’t value and problems she cannot overcome with no-one to turn to and seemingly no-one who really cares. I have lost myself as I have been struck down with calamities; I have lost my essence and I cannot get it back. If the world says I’m nothing then I must not be. Except, a little nagging voice in my head says; that’s not true. You are something you are a mother and a sister and a daughter and a Muslim. You are the same woman who has forgiven countless betrayals against yourself and still made dua for those who hurt you and forgiven them; you are the same woman who cries when she sees someone overcome by pain because you know how it feels to ache so badly and hurt so completely. You are the same person who gets up no matter how many times you have been kicked down; the very same woman who can in a second wipe away the hurt from her face and make a joke to make others laugh. You are the same woman whose soft heart makes her cry when she thinks of the punishment of Allah swt and how much you have let Him down when you should have been so grateful and the same woman who yearns to be close to her Lord and to feel that He is her best friend as you don’t have many others.
You are the same woman who is determined to change the world by getting single mums to love themselves and stand up to injustice and the same woman who wants every woman to know she has a choice in her bad marriage and that either way she is supported and loved. You are the same woman who wants to help her sisters and often seeks counsel when someone comes to you with a problem and then worries about that sister even when she forgets about you. You are the same woman who tries to bite her tongue and be a good mother no matter how bad you think you are and how look to others and feel ashamed of yourself. You are the same woman who struggles with her deen and life and self and yet keeps getting back on that musallah and praying and begging and crying. You are the woman who is the center of her children’s world and who they think is the most beautiful woman in the world. You are the woman raising 3 children on her own – the youngest just a baby and you still manage to have a clean and tidy house! You are the same woman determined to fix your past mistakes with your kids and do everything with your baby that you could not do with the other two.
You are the same woman who supported your husband despite the abuse and insults and who wiped the tears away and made dua for him and told him he was valued and cherished and love even if you didn’t always get it right and even if your hurt him. You are the same woman who did not know the meaning of the word sorry and yet now asks everyone she falls out with to forgive her because you can’t stand them being mad at her now.
You were an arrogant, spoiled woman who was selfish and manipulative and whose heart was hardened but you were the woman Allah swt had Mercy upon and chose to guide. You endured hardship and loss and with it your heart became softer until even you didn’t recognize yourself. You are not a failure, you are a Muslim and a survivor and a fighter. You may have lost your physical beauty and your figure and your husband but you gained something even better: a beautiful heart and a softened heart that is open to accepting the command of Allah swt in sha Allah and a tongue that knows how to work properly now and repent and ask for forgiveness. You have knowledge and wisdom now to pass on to your children and to others to plead that they don’t make the same mistakes you did.
Yes the old me has gone and good riddance to her! She has been blessed with the opportunity to be born again into a better person for the most part and her beauty and youth was a small price to pay!


One thought on “Who am I?

  1. Thank you for this, and your FB page. May Allah bless you and keep you (JazakAllah Khair). When I was reading this I was seeing myself so completely, except the part about the tidy house! lol! And a few ending personal things. You are not alone, even though it does certainly feel that way…. because of your post and page I know that there are others in this situation… and trying hard to be their best and be listening to God instead of independently stubborn or smart in ones own view of how life should be and how we should be, or what the world tells us we should be. And, this place, especially for the single mother, it is a very lonely place.


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