Dear time management guru, (or aspiring one anyway!)
Dear epitome of strength, of courage, of determination,
I see you. I am you. And I get it.
About two years ago, I ended an eight-year marriage. An eight-year cycle of gritting my teeth, faking a smile and bearing all kinds of toxic nonsensical behavior in the name of being patient and sacrificing for my children’s sake. And Lord knows I tried to be patient, to compromise and to sacrifice. (Spoiler alert: it didn’t work out so well.)
Alhamdulillah, I came out of the marriage with two beautiful children and the support of my family and close friends, but I was also handed the daunting task of rebuilding my entire life from the ground up.
No degree. No work experience. No savings. And a whole bunch of trauma.
This is the article I wish I could have read then:
I know that no matter why your marriage ended, the deeply rooted misogyny that exists in parts of the Muslim community will find a way to rear its ugly head and point a finger at you in blame.
It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault.
I know that those who were once closest to you may have turned their backs on you now.
Going through tough times will teach you who is worth having around and who is not.
I know that the mom guilt is excruciating – I still feel it every single day.
That guilt is a sign of how much you care about your children. Love those babies as fiercely as you can, but never forget to take care of yourself too. The best gift you can give to them is a happy, healthy, present mother, and self-care is a key part of making that happen.
I know that in our community you will be expected to appear somber, disheveled, practically in a state of mourning or else your reputation may start to be questioned.
Screw reputation. You answer only to your Lord.
I know that you find yourself stuck with many in-betweens. Well-meaning non-Muslim friends may tell you it’s time to start getting out more and girrrrl, you HAVE to meet my friend/co-worker/student Ali/Omar/Mo. And when enough time has gone by, your local aunties will attempt to set you up with every 65-year-old looking for a second or third wife. The parts that make up your identity will pull you every which way.
Stay grounded in your truth, in your space, and set down roots there. And never, ever settle. You are worth so much more than you can ever imagine.
I know your day to day is hectic, and busy, and that most days it’s hard to even catch your breath.
Prayer (Salaah) is the best refuge. It forces you to slow down and breathe five times each day. Find comfort there.
I know that you may be angry and resentful.
Throw it all over your shoulder and know that your Lord is the Most Just, and that there will come a day when everyone will reap the fruits of their actions. Easier said than done, right? But I promise you that the bits of heartache are mere footnotes in the book that is your life, small bumps along a much greater journey.
I know that it is lonely. Boy, do I know it.
Find your tribe, your support squad, and lean on them when you need to. This is not a journey easily taken alone.
Finally, and most importantly, turn to your Lord. Talk to Him, ask of Him, trust in Him and watch all of your affairs fall into place in the most beautiful of ways, ways you never thought possible.
Chin up, sis. You got this.
With love always,