Assalamu alaykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh…
I…AM…BACK!!! Yes I’m as excited as you’ll are😜
I want to thank my incredible readers for all your support and duas during my long break. It’s what encouraged me to return sooner than I expected as well…the support and understanding. I have the best crew in the world…you’ll rock!!!🤗😘❤
Also, this post is dedicated to Miracle…for just being there for me when I needed it😘😘😘
It was a short drive to the house, which was on the next street. Dark and empty, it sat on what seemed to be a large piece of land, trees looming up at around us. I couldn’t see much else and I didn’t look around anyways, wrapped as I was in my own thoughts. I followed Ahmed into the house and moved around, turning on a few lights here and there. It was a single storey house, wide and spacious. I walked down the passage, peeping into the rooms as I went, till I reached a wide door at the end on my right. Opening it I found myself in a large master bedroom. A huge king sized bed graced one wall, floor-to-ceiling windows making up the opposite wall. Cupboards lined the third wall, with the fourth wall blank save for a huge frame depicting the beach…white sands and blue waters, the sun reflecting brightly off the water. Just my scene. I liked the room immediately.
“Well? How is it?” Ahmed asked, coming in with the bags. He dropped them at the foot of the bed.
“Nice. It’s really nice,” I replied, shooting him a smile. I opened my suitcase and retrieved my toothbrush, toothpaste and pjs before making use of the equally luxurious bathroom.
After praying esha I crashed, too exhausted to think of doing anything else.
I spent the next few days setting up house. It was a lovely house, with a wide, spacious kitchen overlooking the large back garden. It was interconnected with the dining room and lounge which made up the front half of the house. The three bedrooms were at the back, two singles side by side and the master bedroom opposite them, also overlooking the back garden. The garden itself was the best feature and I immediately fell in love with it. With a tall water feature in the middle and rolling green grass around it, bordered by vibrant roses in a multitude of colours, it was scenic, peaceful and soon became my favourite retreat. I spent many dawns and late afternoons curled up on the bench at one end or on the garden swing at the other end, lost in my own little world. I had finally found a safe haven after all the chaos that had been part of my life for months and I cherished it wholeheartedly.
If only that had been the end of it. In my mind it had been so simple. Move out. Get our own space and live happily ever after. Reality, however, was much more complex, marred by age-old scars that, though buried beneath the surface, were far from healed. I could not live my happily ever after…not until I walked the path of absolution.
Things between Ahmed and I were…strained. On the surface things were fine. We were finally alone and we were both more relaxed, able to be ourselves without any outside interference. Daddy, Humi and Dalia had come by a few times, bringing the rest of our things. Mummy still refused to acknowledge our existence. However, those scars were still there…and the reason for their presence was staring at me every single day.
It was not that I had intended to blame him. He got us out after all…but…a little too late. That was where my mind refused to move from. A little too late. After I had been through verbal abuse for months. After I’d had my self esteem ripped to shreds and thrown in my face. After the old bubbly, carefree Fazila had been ruthlessly crushed, leaving a shell of her former self in her place. He had removed me from that place but the damage was already done. And he hadn’t shielded me from the damage. In my mind I blamed him…I resented him and that resentment was festering away inside me. Sometimes it came bubbling out in a torrent of words. Ahmed did not say a word. He took every word I hurled at him silently…because in his mind too he was guilty. And just as resentment festered away inside me, so did guilt fester away inside him. He tried in dozens of way to make it up to me…to the extent of making plans of adding a swimming pool to the back garden, just because I had once voiced the wish of having one.
It was Sylvia who suggested counselling…or rather, insisted on it. She went as far as booking me by a brilliant Muslim woman and dragging me to her when the day of my appointment arrived. I grudgingly gave in only because the woman was a Muslim and came highly recommended by several people. I didn’t only want psychological advice, but from an Islamic point of view as well. Little did I know how much Nazia was going to impact on my life.
Those therapy sessions saved me…they pulled me out of the dark hole I’d buried myself in and allowed me to take a good hard look at myself. I was shocked at the person I’d become…at the bitter feelings I had buried deep inside me. Nazia drew each and every one of them out. She encouraged me to talk…talk about the emotions, thoughts and feelings I had buried, about the people who had incited such emotions. And I did talk. I let it all pour out, every bitter word pouring out of me like acid. I’d thought I was handling things just fine. The therapy sessions taught me that I hadn’t been handling things well at all. I needed to let it all out and let it go, not bury it in me and hope it would go away. It never did.
Then, after the floodgates had been opened and the dam of emotions released, came the process of building myself up again. Nazia told me to list all my good qualities. Before I’d have been able to list twenty…now I could barely list five. My mother inlaw’s words had penetrated deeper than I had realised. I felt like I was a good-for-nothing. After all, nothing I did ever pleased her. What did that say about me? Nazia told me to make a gratitude journal…to write one positive thing about myself in it every single day. And to make a list of things that make me happy and another list of things that make me sad, and do one thing that made me happy everyday.
“Remember, what that person says is beyond your control. But how you absorb it and how you react to it is in your control. So that’s the part you need to take control of. What if you meet another Nilofar in your future? Will you allow her to tear you down again? No. You’re worth more than that. So you’ll pause, take a breath and remind yourself that you’re not what another person says you are. Keep your response and emotions positive. You are a wonderful person, Fazila. Remember that and don’t let anyone take the power of self love away from you,” Nazia grasped my hands in hers and looked at me earnestly, willing her words to penetrate. I stared back at her silently, then gave a small nod. The old Fazila was slowly emerging again.
Then I spoke to Nazia about mine and Ahmed’s relationship…how I was still feeling resentful over his inability to move out before this…how it was affecting our relationship.
“Look, Fazila. Men are not mind readers. They’re not even hint pickers. They need things spelt out for them in black and white. Tell me, when you were going through all this, did you sit down and tell him what his mother was doing? Exact words and scenario?”
“I tried a couple of times. He told me to make sabr. After that I gave up,” I replied.
“That was wrong of him. Sabr doesn’t mean passively sitting and doing nothing. Did he expect you to just take the abuse?”
“He thought his mother will change eventually, that I just have to be kind to her,” I replied.
“And when she didn’t…did you tell him how she still was?”
He could see for himself how she was. He’s not blind,” I said, rolling my eyes.
“Did his mother behave that way around him as well?”
“She didn’t insult or put me down directly infront of him but she constantly criticised me to him.”
“And nothing. He kept being blindly optimistic that she’ll change eventually. Plus his parents had drawn up some silly contract about him having to stay with them for one year at least, so he thought if I play kind she’ll change and if she doesn’t we can move out after the year had passed…one year he expected me to stay in that hellhole! He should have stayed with her himself if he was so optimistic!” I retorted heatedly.
Nazia looked at me, nodding her head thoughtfully. “Have you told him any of this?”
“Yeah, I lost my temper and ranted about all this to him the night we moved out.”
“And after moving out…have you spoken to him about any of this?”
“No, what’s the point? He knows how I feel about all this.”
“Maybe not. Fazila, men need things in black and white. He knows you’re still hurting but you can’t carry on like this. You need to sit down with him and tell him all this. Let it off your chest then let it go. Even while staying with his parents, you should have carried on telling him about how you feel, not given up and thought he can see for himself. He needed to hear it from you…how you were coping, how you were feeling. How you’re telling me. You needed to tell him. It would have made things clearer in his mind…”
I nodded, slowly getting what she was saying. She was right. I had become so frustrated I had either kept silent, not wanting to bang my head against a brick wall again, which was what I thought about speaking to Ahmed…or ranted to him when the frustration became too much. Both ways weren’t effective. I should have been clear and concise, though I was still annoyed at how dense men could be sometimes!
“So put that on your list. Sit down with your husband. Tell him everything. Make him hear it all, whether it’s hard to hear or not. Then let it go, Fazila. Both of you have started a new chapter in your lives. Don’t let the past come between you. Look ahead now… and remember. Every experience either makes you or breaks you. It depends on how you take it. You can either move forward from this together, stronger than ever…or not at all. The decision is in your hands.”
I nodded again as I got up to leave. “Jazakillah, Nazia. For putting things into perspective for me,” I said, hugging her.
That was not the end of the road but it was a start. I went home that day full of hope and renewed intentions. But life has a way of getting in between sometimes…making even the most well laid plans turn to dust. And things between Ahmed and I, instead of improving, continued to deteriorate…