Lina

“Lina, your turn. Lina?” Ms. Susan desperately trying to get the attention of Lina who had drifted into a deep day dream.
Lina was thinking about what life would be like as an adult, at least she wouldn’t have to go to school, and she could make her own decisions. Lina’s eyes lit up as she saw her mum waiting by the classroom door for an early pick up. “Grab your bag Lina, mummy’s here.” Ms Susan says forcing a smile, trying to keep calm. Lina and Ms Susan walk out together “Can I have a word?” She asked Lina’s mum, Hannah who at the moment is a mess. “I would love to, but now is not a good time.” Hannah agrees to have a quick chat after Ms Susan insists that it is important and suggests that Lina borrows a book from the library. Ms Susan, tall, thin, brown hair, and always wearing heels. She speaks to Hannah about Lina’s lack of concentration since her dad passed away. She explains that she used to be a very responsible student who would get excited about homework and tests and would strive on her educational success. Now Lina walks into class almost as though she is moping, she sits in her chair and doesn’t participate in class discussions. She hesitates to answer questions but used to jump out of her seat when there was such an opportunity. “Well, what do you expect? What do you want me to do?! She just lost her father, cut her some slack!” Frustrated. Upset. Helpless. Hannah did not know what else to say. “I’ve got to go.” On the car ride to the dentist, Hannah couldn’t stop thinking about the conversation she just had, not that she was surprised. It’s as if after her husband passed away, he took part of Lina with him. There was something about her, even at home she would mope around. “Mum!! Look what dad bought me, look, look” Linas face was glowing, her bright big hazel eyes almost popping out of their socket. Her dad had just bought her a dollhouse. A big one, with miniature furniture like she had always wanted. It was probably the happiest day of her life. Hannah was imagining an easier time. A time when she wasn’t run down from looking after a 9 year old who doesn’t show any interest in anything anymore and a toddler who is too small to understand what is happening. Lina has a 3 year old brother, Zack, typical toddler, has more energy than one can imagine. Zack is at child care today as it’s Wednesday. He also attends Monday and Friday so that Hannah can work. On the other two days, Hannah’s sister Sarah looks after him. As they arrive at the dentist, Lina tells her mum that she doesn’t want to go. “Please Lina, not now. Don’t do this. Come on, it’ll be quick. Just get it over and done with. I’ve taken a whole day off work just for this, come on”. Hannah pleads with Lina. At this point, Hannah is on the edge, about to breakdown from her lack of sleep and constantly being on her feet, even when she is sitting, her brain is active which means she does not get enough rest. The desperation in her mums eyes makes Lina feel a little guilty and so she agrees to go through with the appointment. “Thank you Lina, I love you.” Hannah exclaims with relief. As they wait for their turn, they sit in the waiting room in silence.

Pasta. Again? Lina thinks as the approaches the dinner table. But doesn’t share her frustration with her mother. Although Hannah has a feeling something is not quite right as says the expression on her daughters face. “What’s wrong hunny?” “Nothing”. Lina mopes taking the first spoonful. Lately Hannah has been too tired to cook anything other than Pasta, in slightly different ways as it’s the meal requiring the least effort. During the week she comes home about 5 p.m., she gets dinner ready, does some work, washes the kids, tidy’s up, and then fits in a few hours a sleep, if that. On the weekends she is usually running errands and cleaning but still manages to cook another quick and easy meal. Before her husband passed away, she was working part time, she had more energy as he used to help her with the household chores. The thing is Hannah used to love cooking, she enjoyed experimenting food and for her, there was nothing quite like the feeling when her husband gloated about the meal she had just cooked. For the past 8 months, it’s been mainly pasta, lasagne, pies, burgers. Quick and easy dinners. She felt as though eight months didn’t seem like it was enough time to get herself together when she spent the last 15 years with this person and pictured their life together until old age.

Once dinner was over, it was the usual. Hannah would wind down by lazing on the couch, watching tv and drinking her tea. Her son Zack would play with his toys in the lounge room right by her. Lina alone in her room, playing with her dollhouse gifted by her late father or drawing. Lina was a very talented drawer, and she would draw often, animals, scenery, people, fictional creatures created by her very own imagination. It was her escape, her time to wind down. Apart of her wanted to be on the couch next to her mum, cuddling up. But things felt different now, she felt far away from her mother. Their relationship was completely different now. They barely speak unless necessary. Hannah tries to reach out, she tells Lina often how much she loves her. But it didn’t matter to Lina, she felt confused about love. It’s almost as though she was distancing herself from her mum so that she wouldn’t have to go through that pain again.

The day of Lina’s fathers death was tragic. And the day of the funeral was harder. Seeing his face for the last time was the last thing Lina expected as a 9 year old. Although very mature for her age, Lina cried like a baby as any child would. Family members would always compliment Hannah on how her daughter is so strong, as they haven’t seen a meltdown since the funeral. But every night, Lina quietly cries herself to sleep, hoping that he’s just late from work, and so she would wait for her room door to open for him to kiss her goodnight. But every night she would fall asleep without a kiss on her forehead.

The next morning Hannah woke up just in time to get Lina and Zack ready. As usual, she had to nag Lina to get out of bed every 5 minutes. “Lina are you up?!” She shouted from her bedroom for what felt like the hundredth time. “Yes”. She murmured. Hannah dropped Zack off to her sisters’ house, dropped Hannah to school, then made her way to work. Once lunch time came around, Lina was near the playground sitting by herself, observing everyone whilst digging a stick into the ground. A boy in her class approached her, “Hi Lina, do you want to play tiggy with us?” “No thanks” she replied uninterested. The boy, Adam took his time thinking, trying to think of the right words to say, “How come you don’t play with us anymore?” “I don’t feel like it Adam”. “But you don’t play with anyone anymore, why are you so different?” “Don’t feel like it”. She said bluntly. Adam walked away and Lina sat there pondering on the conversation she just had. She walked up to her teacher Ms Susan, who was on yard duty. “Miss, why do people keep saying I’m different?” “What do you mean Lina?” Ms Susan asked concerned, yet somewhat excited that Lina may come out of her shell. “Well, people keep saying that I don’t play with them anymore. But, I don’t find it fun anymore, and I don’t really know why”. Lina seemed as though she was trying to understand herself and her own behaviors. “Lina, would you like to see Ms Sophie? Maybe she will be more of a help?” She asked, referring to the school counselor. “Not really, I just wanted to ask you if you think I am different.” “Different to what Lina?” “To what I used to be”. “Do you think you’re different Lina?” Lina pondered on that thought for a few seconds before she could answer, “I’m not sure”. Lina started to walk away, then something caught her attention, she stopped and stared. A girl in her classroom, Mary was sitting on a bench by herself eating her lunch. Although Lina slowly approached Mary, Mary jumped up in surprise. “You scared me” she said. “I’m sorry, didn’t mean to” Lina replied. Mary had a friend that she would always hang out with during school and Lina noticed that Mary was alone because this student was absent. “Where’s your friend?” Lina asked. “She changed schools” Mary replied. “How come?” “She moved houses” she answered again. “Whats with all the questions?” She asked. “I didn’t mean to bother you, I just wanted to know if you would like to be my new seating partner, now that you don’t have one?” Lina said. In their class, the students had a seating arrangement of 2 per table. Ms Susan was generally flexible and would allow the students to designate their own seat, unless of course they misbehaved. “Okay sure” Mary replied. When class started, Ms Susan was surprised to see the two sitting together, “Is this your new seat Lina?” She asked, Lina nodded “Just trying it out.” “Well then, let’s carry on” Ms Susan smiled. The next day, they sat together again and once it was lunch time, they had their lunch together. “So what happened to your dad?” Mary asked curiously. “He died.” Lina replied. “How?” Lina not feeling so comfortable, “Why does it matter?!” Lina stormed off and left Mary in shock, wondering what she said wrong. When the bell for class went off, Lina decided to sit somewhere else. When class had finished, Ms Susan asked Lina and Mary to stay back. She asked them why they changed seats as they both looked upset during the lesson. Ms Susan understood that Lina had boundaries, as young as she was, she had a mighty temper. Although she perceived Lina as someone mature for her age, she gently spoke with them and as forgiving as children are, they moved on and Lina decided to sit back next to Mary.

-Something a little different, I have one more chapter I have written but I’m really stuck about where I want to go with this. A lot of self-doubt eating at me. Let me know if you would like to read more of Lina.

Reality check

We spend our whole lives trying to please people. But we forget to please Allah.

Social media is a big influence in our lives. When we meet up with friends, we have to let everybody know by posting a photo of the food we are about to eat, or a photo of our silly interactions. What is the mentality behind this? You might say it’s an innocent photo, and that we want to share our life with our family and friends. But is it more than that? Are we trying to prove something to people or maybe even ourselves? Are we perhaps trying to send a message that we too have fun, or trying to be noticed? Or are we trying to shape and proclaim our identity- this is who I am and this is what I stand for.

Religion aside, are we happy with ourselves? Or are we trying to show people that we are happy, in an effort to also convince ourselves?

Next time, before you hit that ‘post’ button, ask yourself why? Is it taking you away from enjoying the moment to the fullest?

Moving on

If something is making you unhappy, putting you in all sorts of negative moods, why do you stick around?

Don’t settle. If a relationship, a group of friends, a job, an environment, a lifestyle is making you bitter, then leave it or change it. Do whatever is necessary to improve your overall life satisfaction. Staying in your worn out job or whatever it is that’s making you uneasy, might make you feel okay or satisfied for a short amount of time. However, if you leave that thing that makes you bitter and miserable, then you will be happier in the long run. This is not to say to leave everything behind that isn’t perfect, because nothing is. This is more so those instances when you wake up each morning dreading to go to work (most of us do), but also when you find yourself in a great mood before work, and you get there and suddenly you feel agitated and annoyed at everyone and everything. Same thing applies to your friends and your partner, if you find yourself extremely happy when you’re not with these people and then your moods are all over the place when you see them, then you should probably move on. Obviously every circumstance is different. But, generally speaking, and from experience also, when these things or people no longer respect you and/or your lifestyle, then it’s time to move forward.

We generally put up with these things, people, feelings etc. Because we either think we are not good enough for something better, or we are scared of change. Change can be daunting, but if you are making changes for the better then you will be able to embrace it with open arms. Take it one small step at a time, but take action to improve your overall health now.

A day in the life of..

I woke up in the middle of the night because I heard an explosion.

I usually sleep right through, but this one was close by.

Another 2 go off right after. Almost as if its next door

I hope my grandparents are safe.

I met a journalist from America today.

She asked me what the town was like before the war broke out.

But I don’t ever remember a time before this. It’s always been loud and crazy.

It’s always been like this.

What’s it like living in peace, I asked.

What’s it like to walk around and not live in fear of being killed every minute of the day?

It must be glorious. You must really appreciate it.

Your people must be living on heaven on earth.

She looked at me and started crying.

Did I say something wrong? I panicked. I didn’t mean to offend anyone.

She said “No, it’s just, I didn’t know how lucky I was until I came here. You don’t deserve this”.

“I’m really looking forward to going home and being in my safe apartment, but, my mind will always be with you.” She added.

I’ll be okay, I’m used to it, we all are.

I’ve lost so many family members, it gets harder everyday.

Imagine living in my world for one moment.

A little gratitude goes a long way.

– The girl from the war torn country.

 

A day in the life of #2

If you only knew..

You sighed as your mother asked you for a glass of water.

Mumbled under your breath when she wanted a small favour from you.

You complained about the walking distance to the shop entrance.

And huffed and puffed as you walked back to the car because you forgot your wallet.

You stared at me when I parked in the disability carpark.

You held your bladder simply because you couldn’t be bothered walking to the bathroom.

What I would give to be able to do that all alone, without any assistance.

Without someone pushing me.

You sped past me in frustration because I wasn’t going fast enough.

And looked back at me in despair as if I shouldn’t be allowed in public places.

But this is all I am capable of.

My movement is limited.

Yet I can appreciate the little things in life.

And maybe that’s more important..

To be a decent human being who knows and appreciates their blessings.

Rather than someone who has movement across all limbs, yet doesn’t know how to make the best use of them.

But you don’t know the good that you have until it is taken away from you.

– wheelchair bound.

~

– Disclaimer: Alhamdulillah I’ve never had to experience this but part of the reason I started this series was to try to understand the struggles others with limited movement go through. I hope through these insights we can be more grateful.

A day in the life of a hijabi

“Would. You. Like. A. Bag?”

Breaking the sentence up and speaking loudly as if I were half deaf, making the automatic assumption that I don’t speak English.

Surprised as I responded in a manner more articulate than you could have imagined.

The same face expression I received upon arriving at an all white café, as if to say I don’t belong.

Like the time when I made my way to my car, upon arrival I saw a lady blocking my door,

For some reason I felt the need to apologize twice and thank her when she moved..

All in an effort for her to think good of me as a clear representative of this religion.

As if it were my fault, she glared at me in recognition of my apology.

Since when did I ever apologize for something I had no fault in..

Constantly feeling like I need to prove my genuinity to the world around me.

This was no different to the time when I was harassed at the train station for wearing my hijab.

Denied the right to access a library.

My photo vandalized in public because I proudly wore this piece of cloth.

Called backwards, a terrorist, and other words too horrific to even repeat.

Turned down from a job application simply because of the difference in my outward appearance.

But you didn’t give me a chance to show you what is going on in my head.

You made a decision based on what is on my head, rather than my intelligence.

You didn’t take into account the skills and experience listed on my resume, which I achieved before I decided to wear the hijab.

In a world where our outward manifestation supposedly explains all, be different. Get to know someone beneath the surface. #peeltheonion

~

-Welcome to the first of my ‘day in the life’ series. I haven’t posted in a while, but this is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while now. Look out for future posts.

P.s. -These experiences aren’t mine alone. But I plan on doing another hijabi one, feel free to share your experiences and any feedback would be great 💕

Hijab: off.

This precious piece of cloth.

You decided to take off.

I saw you at the Masjid

You were praying just like me

Eyes lit up as we spoke about our deen

So I can’t help but wonder what made you settle for this..

Was it the way I looked at you?

Was it because I didn’t take your hand and show you through

What prompted you my dearest sister.

Did someone disturb your peace,

Or did you feel unworthy?

It might be a little too late,

But allow me to shed some light.

Do you remember the times you were sick and He healed you

Do you recall the time when you felt lost and He guided you

How about the time when you felt helpless and He showed you the way.

No request is ever too big for the Creator of the heavens and the earth.

Just ask, like you did before and He will give more than you and I deserve.

~

This is just your test,

And maybe it is also mine.

This Ummah is like one body,

What afflicts you also has me in distress.

Maybe that’s what was missing,

We didn’t help you heal

Or attempt to sooth your pain

Maybe we gave you the bandaid solution.

And now the wound has resurfaced

And the scars remain.

Attached

Dont ever get attached

Dont ever get attached

Dont ever get attached.

Is what I would tell myself. Because its happened before and my heart broke into a thousand pieces.

Like a mosaic piece, it took forever to glue back together.

Now I sit here. Waiting for you to come back.

Attached.

Dua’s that changed the world

Just as I was pondering upon the last few days and how Allah swt accepted my duas, I came across an email by Yasir Qadhi. An email that titled “Duas that changed the world”.

To be honest, I skip a lot of emails, ‘I’ll read them later’ I tell myself… Often forgetting about it completely, or giving up because it’s too long.

However, this email couldn’t wait, I absolutely love hearing ‘miracle’ stories and the power of dua.

I find myself speechless at this very point… All I can say is I can’t even thank Allah swt for one answered dua if I tried my whole life to. How He handles our affairs is beyond amazing.

It got me thinking how little I worship Him in return.

As you will find in the pdf, it just shows our weakness as human beings and Allah swt’s Mercy and Perfection.

Please have a read, short but powerful.

Click here to read “Duas That Changed the World”