Thursday, 21 July 2016

19 VS 22




In case you missed it, which you shouldn't have, I turned 22 the other day!

As promised, here's a showdown of my musings on my 19th and 22nd birthdays. It's a long post, so sit back and bear with me.

When I turned 19, I wrote this :

"I have been unlucky in my affection. Sure, the pain of being unrequited is nothing to compare to the poverty and famine and warfare that are happening in some parts of the world but comparing the degree of my pain to theirs doesn't make it any better kan? Pain is still pain. And who are we trying to gauge pain? Is there a specific tool for it, especially for emotional distress pain? Takde kan? You can't use a physical tool to determine the amount of pain of something invisible, dimensionless, beyond the five human senses.

But I take an enormous amount of comfort in acknowledging that "When Allah puts you through His ordeals and tribulations, that means He misses your voice praying to him, He misses listening to your plea". Because God, I need You more than anything else now.

And what's the best gift you can give to someone? Your prayer.

I wish I can say something, anything. I wish by reaching the age of nineteen I have at least grown bolder in terms of expressing myself. I wish by this age I have at least mastered the art of articulating my feelings - be it envy or wrath or love or disappointment or dissatisfaction or whatever. I wish I can tell people not to step on my head. I wish I can tell people it's not okay to leave me hanging. I wish I can tell people it really hurts when they don't reply to text messages. I wish I can tell people that I'm angry at them. I wish I can tell people how much I miss them. I wish I can tell people not to yell at me. I wish I can yell at them. I wish I can tell people to trust me, have faith in me. I wish I can tell people that I've completely lost faith in them. I wish.

I wish I can trust my instincts. But previous experience has taught me not to trust my instincts, not one bit. Haih. I pray I won't lose sight of what matters, of what's real and what's not. I pray I won't misjudge. I pray I'll always be kind and do good and speak of nice things. I pray to grow wiser, nicer, stronger, better. I pray not to be bitter and edgy."

Did I really write that?!

Why, 19-year-old Shahirah, why?



Emonyaaaaa 19-year-old Shahirah, haha.

2014 was a difficult year for me because a war erupted between my brain and my heart. Which one was the de facto leader? I was in that grey area of purgatory between building walls and building bridges, between having had enough and giving another chance, between cutting down on my ego and using my ego as a method of defence. There were times I felt like a doormat that people freely stepped on, or a disposable stuff that people can discard into obsoleteness once they've made use of my function. I had trouble expressing my emotions lest I hurt other people's hearts, so the end fate of my emotions was to be repressed in a capped bottle and unpublished blogposts. I put on a happy veil. A facade that belied all the emotions. Who I was in real life was a completely different person than who I was on my blog. I felt like my real life personality was limited & constrained, and that there was an extension of me that I didn't think people would want to see.

It's interesting to see how my writing style from that year differs a great lot from my writing style now, I think I sound a lot happier, less bitter, and less edgy in my writings now?? Do I sound happy to you guys?? Sure I make self-deprecating jokes on my blog half of the time, but it's all meant to be in the spirit of good fun. You all think I'm happy, right? Good. Because I am.

Maybe it's because I've learnt to adopt reciprocity as a way of life and start appreciating people who appreciate me & not care about those who don't give two hoots about me. An eye for an eye, as simple as that. I've chosen to look at the bright side of things instead of dwelling on the other, to find the silver linings in tragedies & misfortunes. I also told myself to spend a little bit more on money and time and attention for the people who matter, because that makes them happy, and their happiness is my source of happiness as well so what is there to lose? Zilch.

In terms of expressing my emotions - especially resentments and dissatisfaction and anger - I'm no better at it now than I was 3 years ago, unfortunately. Haha.

I guess that's just the drawback that comes with living by the An Eye For An Eye principle - I do good to people who do good to me, and do bad/do nothing to people who treat me badly, in lieu of confronting them about the mistreatment & being outright honest about my not feeling okay about it.

Nouman Ali Khan said, "Sabr is not remaining quiet and allowing anger to build up inside you. Sabr is to talk about what's bothering you without losing control of your emotions.", and here comes the problem : it's me. My emotions are in the form of a humongous capped bottle, which either stays pregnant forever (thus resulting in LGA) or gives birth to a nasty, macrosomic catharsis. It's 0 or 100, no in between. The problem is that I don't know how to control my emotions so as not to overcast my judgement. 

I'm just bad at confrontation okay?! Hahaha. Who knows, maybe a 25-year-old Shahirah will be a professional at this whole Sabr (patience) department in a confrontation.

AKAN TETAPI

at least I've found some ways to neutralise some of the negative emotions, so that pregnant bottle has no LGA so fuh selamat. I write. I watch my KDramas. I cut the dramas open and scrutinise them (sometimes I overanalyse, because I can never take things at face value hewhew). I take photos. I sing. I read other people's blogs. I go out. I take photos some more. I play cards. I read books. I try to be funny to make myself (and others, hopefully) laugh. I recite the Quran. I read books. I call my parents & best friends often. I smile at strangers and try to initiate conversations with them (those who don't creep me out). I learn Korean. I spend time with people who are willing to engage in both nonsensical and in depth discussions with me & can tolerate my verbal idiosyncrasies (breaking into a song midsentence, cracking jokes while talking about serious issues, etc.). I spend time with people who remind me of God. Basically I focus my energy on things that make me happy & nurture my own growth, spiritually & emotionally.

Also, I've gone to study abroad, so a lot of my perspectives have changed in those 3 years. Especially in my second year, where I was the one in charge to deal with billing matters of KHouse, from electricity, to gas, to water, to wifi bill. My meals are under my own responsibility, I no longer have the privilege of just walking into the DH at KY and simply eating the food prepared that I had when I was 19. And then there's my own finance that I have to manage. All these adult things sometimes give me headache, but they take up a fraction of my time, leaving less time to fill up my emotional bottle. 

I make it a habit to always count my blessings, and every single time, I lose count. I am grateful, so very grateful, about many many things. This is why I sound happy on my blog most of the time, I write about things & people that make me happy. I often refrain myself from penning my thoughts about a certain thing until I have something positive to say about it.

The pain of knowing the worth of something only when it's been taken away from me was an invaluable lesson, it taught me to not take anything & anyone for granted and to appreciate them while they're still around. It's not enough to appreciate & love them, they have to be made cognizant that they are indeed appreciated & loved. Any of these blessings can be taken away from me at any point of time, so I try to always keep the mental note of Appreciate Everything right in front of my mind.

But, of course, I'm just a normal homo sapien who is predisposed to bouts of momentary lapse in judgement, during which times I lose track of the blessings, but God is great, he makes sure to send His reminders to get me back on track every time. Sometimes in the form of spontaneous Oovoo calls with the gang, or eating out at my favourite place, or this lovely blogpost that Izzy wrote. Her writings are always something to admire, by the way.

So let me ask myself, am I happy with the change I've seen in myself? Have I changed for the better or for the worse? Wait let me think kejap. Sabar.

Jap.

Ummm.

Alhamdulillah, in the span of 3 years, the things that I've gone through have bent and sculpted and twisted and morphed me, but all into a better, happier shape.

What do you mean you don't believe I'm happy?!

I put on my hijab for you, my reader(s?). I pulled together a mismatched outfit of light turqoise cardigan and dark brown hijab and pink tshirt for you. I posed my Asian pose for you. This is how desperate I am to show you I'm happy.





Still don't believe me?


I just complimented myself, which is a direct indication of my happiness




Now I can safely say that the Shahirah on this blog and in the real world are 80% similar. The 20%? Oh I'm 20% more fun & histrionic & hilarious in real life, my family & best friends can vouch for this.

The things that I wished for & desired when I was 19 remain, and I wish for more because I'm tamak haloba hewhew.

I wish to finally be able to make peace with my emotions and be deft at handling them, one day insyaAllah. I pray that Allah grants me the Sabr (patience) that Nouman Ali Khan described. I wish to improve on my writing, because if there's one thing that I think has deteriorated from when I was 19, it's my writing. I hope I can keep writing on this blog for a longgg time. I wish to have the audacity to step out of my comfort zone & challenge myself to do greater things. I pray that God protects me from complacency, arrogance, riak, selfishness. I wish to get closer to the Creator. I pray that my current camaraderie with the people that I love will last till jannah. I wish I can reestablish estranged bonds & loose ties with people who've somehow departed from my life, and as for those who've yet to arrive, I wish to create healthy, positive relationships with them.

Like today I was just talking to Keyla on Facetime and suddenly Izzy was also there in the same house!! Our first (virtual) meeting!!! What a small world, hehe.

(courtesy of Izzy's instagram hehe)



God and His magical ways of aligning paths & crossing them on top of each other. Isn't it wonderful?!

I'm sorry for this super lengthy post, but I hope you enjoyed reading about how I perceive my growth. Anyone else cringes when they read their old writings?? No? Just me then.




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