Hope gives me a continuity. It holds my broken pieces together until I can feel it all. It gives my focus a place to land while I feel stuck, so that I can know that the terror I’m faced with isn’t my fate. It’s not forever. It’s not where I’ll end up.
When you accept the pain that you’re immersed in, you also accept the divine wisdom that surrounds that pain. And while you may feel lost and confused over the meaning of this, you’re held together in the wholeness of that wisdom even if you don’t see it or feel it. If you don’t hold space for the faith in this divine wisdom which is essentially to believe good about God, fear will fill the void and hold you captive in its space. So be intentional about your feelings. They aren’t inconsequential and every effort to remain grounded and conscious will alchemize what you didn’t even know existed. Let the dominoes fall in your favour
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.
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.
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.
I can’t pull myself out of a burning car wreck.
My defenses prevent me from feeling my wounds and can ironically prevent healing. It’s only through feeling the extent of my brokenness that I can know my need of Allaah’s mercy and love. A gaping wound cries for healing. When I stifle it I’m actually stifling the hopelessness it triggers in me. It all happens so fast.
I need defenses to survive the initial shock. And then gradually try to become aware of the trauma. It’s only retrospectively that I can learn what it all means. Needing Allaah has become something shameful because it entails not being able to fix everything on your own and that complex distracts you from what’s at hand. It makes you forget that you didn’t create yourself and you don’t sustain your life. Something so seemingly simple can be forgotten in a fast-moving culture that is hyperfocused on churning out results and identifying people with their abilities to get results. The process becomes neglected. The process is human. The process is life. It’s not a production line.
To decouple from that socially endorsed conditioning can take a lifetime. That is if you’re open to the confusing process of accepting your suffering. Often times the implications and catastrophization of thoughts can be cause enough to remain stunted for the sake of stability in the status quo. And sometimes that’s all one can do. To stabilize the pain and try to lead a productive life. Often though this means that one’s children will receive the task to disintegrate it all.
Allaah doesn’t burden a soul beyond what it can bear. His mercy comes in many forms. Countless forms. We just take so much for granted because we feel naked without filling our head spaces with so much noise and hoarding of mental images. The Void is haunting.
Death has walked through the valley of my life and its footsteps still linger in my body..