A prayer is a lonely call

I read the first few paragraphs and scrolled back up to look at the photo. This is written by a girl, so why is the photo of a boy? I ignored my confusion and finished the story, and then I realise… I’ve been tricked! In a good way, of course. Because when a writer can pull you into the story, make you feel like the character is a real person, and make you empathise with the character, then that’s one hell of a good writer! 😀

This struck a chord with me. I’ve been that girl who somehow always felt she could never satisfy her mother. I’ve been that girl whose parents hurt her. I’ve been that girl who struggles with acne (and still do, nearing thirty, though its effect is more of annoying me rather than destroying my self-esteem). And to have a male writer ‘trick’ me like this… that’s some great talent he has!

Love, InshAllah

Eds. Note: We’re featuring the stories and perspectives of Muslim youth between the ages of 18-25 this month! Today’s feature is our first short story.

Tune in on Twitter to join the #MYRising conversations and check out our sister sites Muslimah MontageComing of Faith and Muslim ARC for more #MuslimYouthRising features.InstagramCapture_85d812f9-c92a-4829-9ac2-c2b37e7ae141_jpg[1]

I used to write poetry. Don’t worry, I am better now.

During those days of angst, my life consisted of Tumblr posts, Instagram, little pastel graphics I’d make that were nothing really (but got quite a few likes), quirky romance movies with oddball characters, and guilty pictures of actors on my iPod touch that I begged my parents to buy for me. And of course, poetry. My secret was Pablo Neruda:

I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,

in secret, between the shadow and the soul.”

Ah, how my heart flutters. Of course…

View original post 3,001 more words

Gratitude

Gratitude, to me, is not a state of being.

Rather, it is a process involving a conscious choice, a deliberate decision that I make,  which then requires me to put in conscious effort.

For me, it’s a constant struggle. Every. Single. Day.

There is an opportunity for gratitude even in the simplest things. Like doing laundry, for example. It used to be just a chore to me, a part of which I hate (hanging clothes to dry) and a part of which I don’t mind doing, and you could even say I like (folding and putting them  away). Yet, to me back then, a chore is a chore is a chore. Many times, it is something that makes me grumble and grumpy.

Yet, now every time I do laundry I feel grateful. I consciously make the choice to. When I realise the abundant amount and variety of clothing I have, I feel grateful. I chide myself for having so many, for being the excessive shopper that I was, yet I still feel grateful. I have clothes that fit, clothes that are comfortable, clothes of many colours and prints and styles and cuttings that provide me an outlet for creative expression, clothes that can last me a month, or maybe more, if I decide to go on a laundry strike. I feel grateful for all that, so grateful that I’ve significantly cut back my online shopping habit.

And then, at the end of folding and putting everything away, I feel grateful. I feel a sense of accomplishment. I feel grateful for the neat and tidy wardrobe that allows the husband and myself to find clothes easily. I feel grateful for the clear bed and room. I feel grateful for the time available to get the job done. I feel grateful for the mind-clearing effect it has on me.

I’m not sure where I am going with this piece. It may sound pretty petty, or frivolous. I’m just glad I got around to writing it down. In a world characterised by consumerism, it gets pretty easy to feel that there never is enough. So when I realise I feel grateful, well, I just do. I’m grateful for being granted a glimpse of gratitude. 😀

Posted from WordPress for Android

Fuck “Sexy”

Yes, yes and yes. Hell, yes. Which is why I don’t buy the pervasive idea in my community that it is ‘better’ for women to cover up, because ‘it gets them respect’ or ‘it shows their self-respect’, in the form of anoying memes involving uncovered sweets, images comparing what is appropriate attire and what isn’t, etc. All women deserve respect regardless what they wear (or don’t), and a self-respecting one wouldn’t give a hoot what YOU think about what SHE puts on HER body. Because she’s more than what she wears (or doesn’t wear).

The Belle Jar

Sometimes I feel like I want to ban the word sexy. Like, take that shit out of the dictionary and impose a fine whenever someone uses it.

Which is pretty funny because I’m super sex-positive and I definitely want people to feel good about their bodies and secure in their sexuality, however it manifests itself.

But man am I ever fucking tired of how we use that word to shame girls and sell them on a bunch of gross patriarchal ideas about how they should be.

Take this picture, which was tweeted/posted by Floyd Mayweather and has been making the rounds over the past few days:

10402551_10152318424273113_4249204407973090687_n

Like, first of all, this is a dude who has been charged with two counts of domestic violence. Why would anybody think that what he has to say about women is even a little bit valid? I am not really down with anyone…

View original post 1,033 more words

Happy Secret

I realise I’m a pretty obsessive person.

I go through obsessive phases.

This blog and wedding planning was one of them.

A few years back, it was online shopping. (Now it’s one of those things I do to either procrastinate, relieve stress or to fill time when I’ve got nothing to do.)

And now, I’m obsessed with money. To be more precise, managing it. Managing it in such a way that I can fulfil my new dream: Retire at 40.

And when I say, retire at 40, I don’t mean quit my current job and then set up my own business and worry about whether I can break even and then make enough to support myself and my family.

When I say retire at 40, I mean retire with financial independence AND working just to fill time, just because I’d get bored to death just sitting at home. But at the same time, if I felt like being a beach bum, I could, without ever having to worry about money.

So in the midst of my planning, I started calculating. And I discovered something that just made me smile so much in my heart. My heart is bursting to share it, but the voice of my paranoid always cautious husband has infiltrated into my mind and my mind is telling me, don’t divulge too much information on the Internet.

So a happy secret it is, and my heart is grinning just like a Cheshire cat.

If anyone is curious to know how I plan to achieve this retire at 40 dream of mine, I’ll give you a clue: Mr Money Moustache. 

Go ahead, google him.

Posted from WordPress for Android

A Letter to My Muslim Son About Love

Why I love fiction: Because it suggests to me ways to be human with human experiences, rather than telling me (quite patronisingly) that there is no such thing as ‘Islamic couples’.

And I love love love the last paragraph.

Love, InshAllah

sampierstorff

Don’t look for it. It will find you. And if it doesn’t, your aunties on your mother’s side will find it for you in the form of a young Muslim girl, probably the daughter of a doctor or a lawyer, likely the last sister in her family to be unwed. She will be cute, but not the cutest, they will say, but she’s a good, pious girl. We will all be invited for chai one day at her mansion in a gated community on a hill, but really they just want to see you, your demeanor, your ability to lead prayer in a stranger’s home, everyone putting on their most Islamic face, their most Islamic dress. You will not fail this test, but your mother and I don’t want you to take it.

We want you to be yourself. Walk your own slow, slouched, clumsy walk down the hallways of…

View original post 726 more words

My Big Fat Malay Wedding

Which I’m glad I insisted on not having (at least for my family’s reception, and although a 500 pax guestlist may still seem a huge number, it’s definitely modest as compared to the 1200 to 1500 pax invited for my three elder siblings’ weddings.)

But this isn’t about my wedding, obviously,  which I still haven’t found time to blog about, since I’ve been swamped with work! This is about something which I just thought was worth sharing. Now, unlike other kahwin bloggers I don’t usually promote wedding-related events here, but this one has more meaning than the ‘here’s how to spend even more money than you can afford to* for a one or two-day event in your life’ kind of event.

*afford to = you can spend and still have money left over to pay for your future home renovation without taking a loan, or you can spend without having to starve scrimp and save, then having the money in your bank account almost wiped out after the big day(s) is over, and should an emergency happen thereafter, you’re quite frankly (financially) doomed

Ok, enough of my cynicism. I saw this off my FB feed and thought it worthwhile to share!

image

You can check out ‘Assakinah Academy’ on Facebook for more information.

BTW, I am in no way affiliated to the organiser and have never attended any course, programme or seminar conducted by them, so I cannot vouch for the quality of the event. But if you do attend, do share your experience! 🙂

Posted from WordPress for Android

Soulmates

Too beautiful not to share. And I’m reminded of a phrase I had used to describe an old friend whom I once had the opportunity to get close to; ‘a kindred spirit’. We were so alike, I had declared it ‘crazy and scary’. Together with another friend, we had a dream of opening a book café; yes, a café where people could say, “Yes I’ll have that book to go with my coffee,” and they could spend the time there reading leisurely.

That was a good ten years ago, and for some reason life took a different turn, I made some choices and neither did I nurture nor take the effort to pursue the friendship when circumstances slowly made us drift away from each other.

Or perhaps it was just me who felt like they were ‘kindred spirits’, while for them I’m just another old friend who came and went. But reading this makes me miss them and my heart ache for the soulmates that could have been.

Love, InshAllah

soulmates

The Prophet (pbuh) said: “Souls are like crowds, which gather together. The ones who met before get along well. The ones who did not meet before, cannot get along very well and separate.” (Bukhari, Anbiya, 2; Muslim, Birr, 159; Abu Dawud, Adab, 19).

I believe soulmates exist. Believing in soulmates is equivalent to believing in the existence of Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy- people scoff and laugh at me. Some even sit me down and try to reason with me. They explain how there is no way that human relationships go beyond the realm of what we know.

But I know otherwise.

View original post 1,067 more words