We are a generation marooned in an existential void. No amount of clapbacks and walkouts will move this divine boulder. We either learn to endure and be transformed by the tension, or, resist and be destroyed by the tension.
Channeling your life into chasing an illusion makes you into a wax figure ; it cannot move you, it can’t heal you, it can’t nourish your soul. You become a derelict artefact ; a poor attempt at making the fleeting stay. No matter how you beg, the clouds move on in the sky, and eventually get dispersed by the wind. Its allegiance is not to the sky or the earth, but to the thin air it was initially formed from. And even that is at Allaah’s command.
Only Allaah brings forth what’s lasting from the feeble structures, and only He can bring about any benefit from what’s inanimate. Only Allaah knows the substance of what we’re easily impressed by.
وَتَرَى الْجِبَالَ تَحْسَبُهَا جَامِدَةً وَهِيَ تَمُرُّ مَرَّ السَّحَابِ صُنْعَ اللَّهِ الَّذِي أَتْقَنَ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ إِنَّهُ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَفْعَلُونَ
And you will see the mountains and think them solid, but they shall pass away as the passing away of the clouds. The Work of Allaah, Who perfected all things, verily! He is Well-Acquainted with what you do.
Seek abundance in whatever road your soul takes to, even if that takes you away from outer order and harmony. Seeking yourself in every moment ensures inner unity, wholeness, and when you’re whole within you need not worry about cyclical trends and disorder on the outside.
Don’t scatter yourself trying to fit a mold. You’re inviting the very disorder you’re dreading.
My deeply held illusions and sense of entitlement to a perfect life has done more to hurt and damage me than anything anyone has or could have ever done. I’ve spent so long resenting the fact that life isn’t how I envisioned it and resisting the truth of my life, that I’m starting to see that I never gave two shits about myself, ever. I didn’t care at what cost I fulfilled those goals or ideals. I didn’t care about how it made me feel or how it fit into my purpose in life. Heck, my purpose in life, as far as I could see, was to outdo anyone in anything I’m doing. I don’t care at what cost, my name better be at the top of the list.
And the rug was pulled from underneath me so fast that I didn’t have time to think existential crisis before I found myself in that void where my true self was abandoned and relegated to. I saw how everything I had thought was the 💣 dot com was a thin veneer of nothing. All it took was one thing to be misplaced for everything to tumble down. What I saw as success was really a game of jenga. It was exhilarating in the moment but no way was it sustainable. In fact, it required more of me than it would give me.
But, I’d rather suffer my mistakes here than, you know…
I’m intense and eccentric because my perception of things is something I’ve built out of deduction, experiments, intuition. My energy has always been akin to a whiplash ; I make people driving on the fast lane slam their brakes real hard. I don’t know why that is. Often it’s a perplexed amusement, like wuh? Other times it’s impressed amazement. More often than not it’s embarrassing. Or at least, I feel embarrassed because of their reaction (or lack thereof). I’ve never ever set out to stand out. I’ve always tried to be invisible my whole life because attention has always reflected back to me what I’ve always felt; that I’m an alien. I’ve tried to fit in, belong, have a predictable trajectory in any part of my life.
But no. It’s caused me to resist myself the most, let people lead the way before I reveal too much of myself. I perfected the art of sharing a lot without sharing anything of myself. I adapt to the situation and the person I’m connected to, via empathy, and I relate on their level. Not in a way where I dumb myself down, no. Just that I’m really good at active listening, and I absolutely love it, don’t get me wrong. I love the feeling people get of comfort and relief and relaxation knowing that not only can they let their hair down without me looking at them funny, but I actually get them.
But people never notice how I hide in plain sight. I enter their fields so that the distances between us isn’t noticed. I’m connected to them but they aren’t connected to me. I’m hardly connected to me. Well, that’s been changing in the past 2 years.
But apart from the enigma, I always dreaded reaching the end of the world one day, you know? I’ve always been afraid of sharing something that no one would get, and that would be the drawing in the sand that would forever isolate me from the world. You can’t unsee that. You can’t unlearn that. And while now as an adult I can risk that existential scenario, as a child that was the scariest prospect.
I always stayed well within the lines because I knew I didn’t fit in and I was so fearful that others would clock that and oust me for not belonging…
Once in 3rd grade, we got maths homework to do over the weekend. A couple of pages, nothing major. Somehow I got lost in the flow and I ended up finishing the entire book! When I saw what had happened, I was not only pleasantly surprised because I had pushed the envelope but I was genuinely excited to find out what my teacher’s reaction would be. I had crossed over into a new territory that I didn’t know the name of. I needed her to orient me.
Monday rolls around and I eagerly wait for Jane, the red-haired freckled monster, to come into the class. I offered her a world of potential and hope and her response set the tone for the rest of my life. She was irate that I hadn’t followed her exact instructions, and in front of everyone she ordered me to sit there and erase all the extra work I had done. Time stopped and my head was about to blow with the changing dimensions. I didn’t know what was happening, so I internalized it. I swallowed the bomb and let it go off inside me. I took it on the chin, hunkered down and went at it. Somehow I dissociated from the giggles and glares of my classmates. It was my fault. I felt so stupid. I will never do that again.
I’ve tried to be a grateful and easy guest. Always adjusting myself like an AC on a hot day. The clink of ice cubes in the glass, not yet melted. The point between boring and weird, that’s where I camped out.
It doesn’t matter now, because I’ve lept over that edge of world, edge of chaos, into the void that made me put up with tyranny. I keep asking Allaah to keep my soul whole and to allow me to survive this disintegration. And if not, there’s always akhirah. There’s always akhirah for me to belong in…
Those who were once lost and disconnected from the divine and their own soul, but found God. Once they were gifted that stability, they thought the stability was a result of some mental gymnastics that they finally succeeded at, and they look to their past self, and all who resemble them, with disgust. To them, feeling lost is a sign of weakness and moral decay and finding God is a function of thinking right. They feel entitled to guidance and spiritual rewards by virtue of their commitment and sacrifice.
Those who were once depressed and suffering. Once their situation changed, they made depression and the feeling of powerlessness something to abhor and control. They lack empathy and understanding for anyone going through something similar and feel that there’s nothing else to it but to pull yourself up and strong-arm your way to wellness. They view the successful in life to be those least affected by emotional turbulence.
Those who once were destitute and poor, but got enriched. Now they view their wealth as strictly a matter of work ethics and a strong drive. They feel that poor people are weak and don’t deserve help because they aren’t trying hard enough.
All of these people are prime examples of how true change can’t come about without unconditional acceptance of whatever you’re tested with. They not only missed out on the benefits in their previous trials, but they have lost something greater ; their humanity. They are projecting on others and the world how they view their own self. They will be punished by their own harshness and will forfeit Allaah’s Mercy because they denied themselves and others that mercy.
فَإِذَا مَسَّ الْإِنسَانَ ضُرٌّ دَعَانَا ثُمَّ إِذَا خَوَّلْنَاهُ نِعْمَةً مِّنَّا قَالَ إِنَّمَا أُوتِيتُهُ عَلَىٰ عِلْمٍ بَلْ هِيَ فِتْنَةٌ وَلَكِنَّ أَكْثَرَهُمْ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ
When harm touches man, he calls to Us (for help), then when We have (rescued him from that harm and) changed it into a favour from Us, he says: “Only because of knowledge (that I possess) I obtained it.” Nay, it is only a trial, but most of them know not!
Disease and disconnection are the only things that spread fast, because it’s disjointed and not processed. Pathology is not rooted anywhere, and its main purpose is to spread havoc by disrupting ecosystems and harmony. It goes where it doesn’t belong, takes what doesn’t belong to it. Complete disregard for order and harmony.
Healing and growth need roots, need to sink in deep and marinate. It’s a slower process because it’s coordinated. It’s one of bringing the scattered pieces together, communicating with different parts. The immune system is a complex network and consists of many different functions and processes.
The term viral (as in, virus) is disquieting. Like a fever, viral trends hold our attention in short, intense spurts before it abruptly subsides. People are held in hypnosis and as if someone had snapped their fingers, we all lose interest in the meme, the story, the dance craze of the moment. That’s because our apparent unity wasn’t one that arose from an interconnectivity, but one commanded by the hypnotic effect of the hive mind.
It’s ironic that the more disconnected we are from ourselves and each other, the more generic and automated we become. Our connection is replaced by conformity. Our individuality is replaced by opinions. Our awareness is replaced by consumerism.
We’re wilting, like autumn leaves. Yet we think the tree was holding us back. We think playing with the wind is freedom. Little do we know about the winter that’s approaching.