Rama*n

I’ve been having nightmares back to back about bullies from my childhood, rejection. The first day of Ramadan also means a lot of work in the kitchen. Doing stuff while I’m triggered is tortuous. I hid in sleeping all day and evening, only breaking up for prayers.

It’s like an emotional fever or diarrhea. I realize I’ve never been able to let these things pass through from my subconscious bc that entails reliving it all and risking being repossessed by what I’ve kept bolted for years.

The worst part about trauma isn’t what happened, but being deprived of the processing by way of demands to keep going as if nothing happened or being shamed for not being able to keep going. This mechanism has become so embedded in my trauma that it’s become an automation to switch over to numbing out and disassociating any triggers bc to feel the trauma makes me feel naked. It completely disables me and any function I have and with that, any usefulness I have to others. That chain is broken, and I’m left vulnerable to attacks that I’ve come to believe are valid. My worst fear is feeling the trauma and in that moment being pressured to do stuff for others. That’s what I fear about marriage, about motherhood, about doing what I love. The interruption of nightmares that never seem to end, and the rejection of those around me bc they’re disgusted by my incapacitated self.

Ramada*

Reflecting over my triggers

I think the bedrock for this started long ago, when I started practicing Islaam as a 16 year old. Of course, what I absorbed was through the filter of my psyche and my upbringing so it’s little wonder I assumed Allaah expected what my parents expected of me. It’s almost as if I sought out an image of Islaam that mapped perfectly onto my upbringing, to stifle any discrepancies. I do remember scoffing at mentions of mercy and viewing it as weakness and almost a kiddy version of Islaam. I now realize I was trying to avoid critiquing my mother’s relationship with me who’d use Islaam a lot in our upbringing.

But it sowed seeds of deep doubts bc my intentions always surpassed my ability and that became a pivotal point of struggle ; trying to undo my limitations, my weaknesses bc I felt incredibly exposed. My faith couldn’t fit there bc my faith was managed by my mind and I had to rise to the occasion. I felt it a defeat and admission of a lukewarm faith if I were to ask Allaah for help. I had to prove myself.

A few years later as I became more and more intellectually rigid in a bid to stack against the doubt, I started punishing myself for my feelings. At this point my feelings were as distant as the moon or as intangible as microbes. I kept my psyche in a frozen state, as if by cryogenics. The group I adhered to espoused beliefs that unequivocally said Allaah doesn’t love unconditionally, you have to earn that love. I internalized this to mean that Allaah will love me to the extent that I prove myself by implementing what I learn. I also believed that if I let my limitations or weaknesses (read: trauma) override what Allaah wanted, then that would be grounds for being led astray. I felt as if Allaah could get mad at me for anything and punish me. There were a lot of talks about punishment and worthiness. Again, I gravitate to these things. Even in the group, I’d tune out ahadeeth and aayat that spoke about balance, leniency, forgiveness, mercy. I didn’t want to give my heart any ammunition.

Ramad*n

Let the triggers go off like fireworks on new year’s.

I ask Allaah to heal my religious wounds completely. I feel even more alienated when I see how everyone is so joyous. I genuinely don’t know where it comes from. I’ve long ago blocked all mentions of Ramadan in all its different spellings.

A few hours after maghrib I felt an unusual calm, that I took as a response to my duaa. Words fail to encompass what I want to say but I trust that Allaah gets it. Cuz I sure don’t.

It feels like a burn injury, this religious wound. Agony from having held on to the conflict for years, charred by the embers of doubt and unworthiness. It stood between seeking the untarnished truth and sticking to the traditions of the group (which I couldn’t connect to no matter how I tried).

The process of shifting was very traumatic, especially since religion and culture are so intertwined that you’re expected to signal and perform your adherence, to ascertain your belonging.

Anyway, I pray these triggers are purifying and that I can find relief from these attacks.

Trauma bonding

Rapists get the death sentence in Somalia. Tell me where else they be this swift with it. Y’all can say a lot about Somalis but toxic masculinity is NOT part of the culture. Fight me.

In fact I’d go as far as to say we got more toxic femininity rampant than anything. Women be apologizing and caping for shit. Women were the ones perpetuating fgm and other dehumanizing practices like men eat first and women eat leftovers.

You CAN be a victim of your own enabling a useless praxis. But men are largely absent so that tells you that there aren’t any overt feet on our necks. We internalize self-erasure and glorify codependency and perfectionism. Mothers coddle boys and don’t give them space to take responsibility.

Having and being praised for a martyr complex is WILD because you’re valuing what you do for others over your own existence. No one can make space for YOU if you’re buried in the rubbles of others. And then you direct your frustration with your stunted growth at those for whom you sacrificed yourself for not sacrificing themselves to pull you out of the bed you made in the chaos.

Stop it please. Stop glorifying endurance of suffering and holding on to burning coals as virtues when we’re dying from it. Future generations of Somali girls are dying from not seeing self-actualization and emotional stability in us. They’ll die before they are even born because a woman’s zest comes from her spirit and there’s NOTHING worth blocking the heart for.

Forlorn

My cousin tells me her 15 year old daughter Aisha asked her why I look at people in a strange way.. She asked her what she meant. Aisha said, it’s like she can see right through your soul. It’s unsettling.

My cousin says she was in tears laughing because that was me, and she was shocked at how her daughter clocked it. She reassured her by saying I’m intuitive and so is she. Aisha felt relieved that it wasn’t all in her head. I say it’s funny because last time y’all were here I noticed her avoiding my gaze and I pretended like I didn’t notice anything because I didn’t want to remove her veil of security in obscurity. She’d have lost it if I told her what I saw that she didn’t realize I did. I wanted her to feel safe, even from me.

The whole thing made me laugh so hard over the phone that my nephew comes to me and asks why I’m laughing so hard. I say I heard something funny. My cousin continues, but Mulki this isn’t the first time someone has said this about you. I interrupt her – “I’ve heard it countless times. People are legit afraid of me”. She pauses and says, but that’s problematic! “Yeah, but what can I do? They feel stripped naked and they either go into defense or avoidance. All I can do is to not judge and not internalize it when they misjudge me. I don’t take it personally. I understand.”

I’ve spent very long asking why I’m like this and why people respond to me the way they do. And I can’t fully know but I know my intentions and my heart and I won’t let anything change that. I’ll accept everyone’s truth no matter how heavy or bitter. The only thing I never tolerate is falsehood.

A social experiment

Social media is a hamster wheel, I’ve come to realize. A lot of momentum going nowhere and noise saying nothing substantive. Everything good found online is wasted through having no space to enter our being to affect a lasting change. Yeah it’s a lot of interesting tidbits and shocking revelations but it’s revealing that the first thing we think to do when we come across such gems is to share with as many people as possible or wonder why more people are not aware of it. When we learn of atrocities our go-to response is : how can we make this float to the top so that it has maximum visibility? We pass the buck to the digital elite who’ve accrued a substantial following because we think they did so by merit and prestige and surely they would be able to shake things up to make people do stuff, right?

Another worrying assumption; that followers is something achieved by the followed. As if thousands or millions of individuals that made that choice for infinitely varying reasons are all an extension of the followed and that they did so because of some criteria that they excelled in. As if people use logic and ethics to make choices. As if “influencers” don’t actively seek out followers by carving out a niche casting wide nets to catch roaming people in search of somewhere to dull down and someone to defer to. It’s akin to driftwood and the mechanics of tidal waves. We’re just bobbing on the waves and claiming the ocean is our private chauffeur.

Character matters more than content because most things on earth and the nature of life is such that you need to be capable of transforming stuff to benefit from them. Food and medicine and utilities aren’t found strewn around. They are made from ingredients and material that contain transformative essences. The internet is going to be a major impediment because it has successfully deluded us into thinking that we’re effective because of our overestimation of busy work and actions.

A free fall

Hope is space uncluttered by the past and whatever you once held in and thought was real. It’s the love that’s beneath and betwixt everything. It’s what keeps you together when you lose everything. It’s what keeps you sane when violent storms are ripping through your mind. It’s clarity because it’s a rerouting to the reality of Allaah. Unwavering and unchanging even when everything crumbles and transforms. The meaning that stands the test of time.

The crux however is that it’s something you feel, this space of hope. It opens up in your heart and you have to feel through all the pain and trauma that has stacked above it to get to the clear space that underpins it all. One thing to keep in mind when feeling through the darkness triggers panicked thoughts is that you wouldn’t be able to feel and process the chaos if it weren’t through a stable channel. That’s why some traumatic memories or experiences get repressed or otherwise dissociated from recall until the psyche has the space to process it without self-destructing. Do you get that? You can’t feel weak without strength, you can’t feel doubt without knowledge, you can’t feel fear without hope. Don’t lose sight of that contrast.

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