As I was having a little discussion with my sister over text the other day, I was left a little jolted if I do say so myself. She has pointed out so bluntly (not in a bad way-maybe I needed this) that I changed over the past year and have become even more introverted than I was before. She kept telling how I no longer love to socialize (not that I did too much of that in the beginning anyway) and that it wouldn’t do me good to spend too much time alone (technically now with little bub). She was telling me how I still needed to get out there and meet new people and network, if not for my career then at least for my mental health. Then I sat down and pondered it all and thought meh, I still pretty much prefer solitude over anything else.
I am not going to deny that the year I spent in Jericho changed me, and perhaps not so much in a good way. I have always been an introvert and was quite anxious to be in the public most of the time but I made loads of efforts to tackle my dreams and accomplish a lot more than just your average trip to the grocery. My will was always much stronger than my anxiety and I was able to live (not just exist) and lead (being a leader was my favourite thing to do despite my fears). I was a lot more socially active than I am now. I made time to see my friends, to go to yoga alone and even have lunch by myself in the food court. After Palestine, I feel like a have lost a part of myself, the good part, the part that was carefree and happy and hopeful despite how many problems were there. So, solitude pretty much was my best friend in Palestine. I stopped trying to get out there and be vulnerable to the world; building concrete walls was the only thing I wanted to do. I felt lost and solitude was my only option. No one forced me to lose that art of myself, I guess I was the one that did so. So when does alone time become too much alone time?
I mean, alone time is prefect and comforting and I feel less anxious and less stressed about what I need to say or do but in the long run, how much good does it do? I feel like this is why I turned to writing blogs; I feel like I could still do things that I love but in a much more secure way (although the internet is much more brutal than the real world). When I am alone, I pretty much feel what Henry David Thoreau described so perfectly; I have never found a companion so companionable as solitude. As I am sitting writing this, I feel like maybe my sister was right and although I like spending time alone, it is probably not that good for me. My anxiety is getting worst and my career is kinda dying (no, motherhood has nothing to do with it!) and if I don’t get out of my bubble any time soon, then sayonara store front and hello solitude for the rest of my young adult life.
I have come to the conclusion that it is healthy to spend time with yourself but it is important to know when you’re going overboard, because then solitude turns into avoidance and then it turns into some kinda breakdown. My will is still intact but I guess it’s just dormant and being a mum has brought it back slowly because I want to do things and follow my dreams again; not just for me but for my little monster so that she can be inspired and be courageous just as I was before all the chaos that happened inside my head.
I know I haven’t gone out loads lately but on the days I do, I keep asking myself, would I wear this? Would I wear that again? So I couldn’t help but wonder, did motherhood change my style? I mean, yes, I have a daughter to take of, but there’s me too. Clothes, fashion, colors, textures…that’s what truly made me happy, so why haven’t I been indulging and digging into the depth of my wardrobe to dress up and spruce up and feel pretty? Many days, I am not going to lie, I felt pretty shitty about myself, not feeling pretty anymore or lacking the enthusiasm to actually look half decent. I smelled like milk for the first few weeks and had spit-up milk all over and whenever I had the chance to finally shower, the process started all over again and I felt like I might never recover or get back to the old me. I mean do you really go back to the old you after having a baby? Sofia has been nothing but a blessing in my life and smelling like milk didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would. As long as baby was happy, I was happy? But that didn’t mean that I should neglect myself and not make efforts to look and feel pretty. It was vital and important for me to get back into the swing of things because I didn’t want my daughter growing up and seeing me that way. I want my daughter to look at me and be like, yes; momma took care of me but took care of herself too.
Today I was able to go out with baby monster for a friend visit and I felt a little more confident in my new role as a mum. Sometimes I feel a little overwhelmed and don’t know how to take care of things, mainly because anxiety takes over but the more I let the negativity go, the more I feel like I am in control and feel like motherhood isn’t as scary as we all think. Dressing up plays a big part in my confidence and when I feel pretty, I feel like I can conquer the world. Today I opted for an effortless casual look. Since it’s getting colder out, I wore wool pants that I thrifted a while back and the fact that they’re high waisted, so I feel a little more comfortable with the remains of my stretched little mushy tummy. I added more pink, who am I?? I guess having a girl has given me the love of pink back, although she’s always in grey. LOL! I couldn’t go about town without my Gazelle trainers; they’re the most practical, most comfortable most badass shoe I own at the moment! I having been wearing them a ton lately and I don’t see myself wearing anything else. I feel like such a cool mom with them!
WHAT I WORE
JACKET: Zara • SWEATER: Centerpoint (Jordan) • PANTS: Zara (trhifted) • SHOES: Adidas (Gazelle) • BAG: Gift from Le hubby • SUNNIES: Aldo
So, I guess, although motherhood somewhat changed my style in terms of practicality, I still do feel like I can get away with wearing a short skirt and knee-high boots if I wanted to! I still do love color and my experimenting game with different patterns and textures is still going strong. I don’t think we should use motherhood as an excuse to stop looking after ourselves and dress pretty or sexy or hot because we are the reflection of our daughters’ future and we have to give them something positive to look forward to. The most important thing is that you should always dress up for yourself first and then to impress others.
As you can tell by the title of this blog, I decided to give birth to baby Sofia in a birthing house and not a hospital. I was pondering over this for a couple of months and obviously like many other women like me, I didn’t know that a birthing house was even an option because no one ever talks about it (which sucks ass by the way). I, first of all, am a huge “nosocomephobe” and I absolutely dread hospitals…y’all have no idea. So finding out that birthing houses and midwives still do exist got me super excited. There aren’t many here in Quebec and not many people about them…they’re pretty much still considered not fit to do the job but let me tell you that I am a true believer that midwives are angels.
I initially wanted to give birth in a pool because I heard that it was less painful and your chances or tearing were minimal and so since I was in Jericho half way through my pregnancy, i sent out my dear sissy on a mission to finding a birthing pool place for me and like the hero she always is, she was able to get me on a waiting list to the Pointe Claire birthing house…and a few weeks later I got the call and I was in! I was so relieved and I couldn’t believe that I was going that route, but in my mind it was still a better option that the hospital. So as soon as I got to Montreal, I went to meet my midwife and my journey started there. She was knowledgeable and very assertive and knew what she was doing and pretty much slapped my fears out of me. She assured me that giving birth naturally is a good way to go and that many women before me have done it and that there is no fear in the process. Theses midwives are trained and have basic (a little more than basic) knowledge of medicine and so if there’s an emergency they can act quickly while waiting on an actual doctor to arrive. Although I went in later during my pregnancy to the birthing house, they made sure to keep me up to date on classes and natal care. They were always available on call for me whenever I had doubts, fears or questions.
I was lucky enough that my whole birth experience took five hours in total but my midwife was with me every minute and gave me strength when I became weak and pushed me to keep going when I almost gave up. Giving birth is not easy by any means and having done it, un-medicated at that, is a huge accomplishment in my books and I feel like from here on out, I am a superhero and nothing can stop me! I am not saying that going to a hospital is bad or giving birth through a c-section is any less heroic, all I am saying is, this experience gave me the strength I needed to say: yes, I can now conquer the world!
Honestly, it may seem so “retarded” to talk about midwives and birthing homes because we have hospitals and all the technology we need, but truly they are game changing in the labour/delivery process and sometimes, less is more. My experience proves that they still have space and room to practice their jobs safely without complications. Every experience and journey is different…but I am confident when I say (if you’re planning to give birth) that having birthing houses as an option in your pregnancy is excellent and you should look into it more.
Are you not hot with this they say…Are you not dying with this they say…Are you trying to threaten us with this they say…Are you trying to take over our world they say…well no peeps! I promise! This thing I have on my head is called a headscarf, a hijab, a veil, not a towel, not a rug and certainly not a THIS! I am usually very very tolerant when it comes to ignorant comments coming my way about being a visible minority and about being a Muslim girl. I am okay with it, it used to bother me when I was younger but since I don’t feel like I owe anyone anything, I don’t feel bad anymore…because I too am a Canadian and I too work hard and pay my taxes. I am as vital of a citizen as everyone else. Anyway, I now take it light-heartedly because we are not all at the same level of education when it comes to cultures and diversity. There are misconceptions about the West in the Occident as much as the West has about the Occident, it really is a matter of self-education and awareness and about the time you decide to take to learn about other cultures and religions. And please bear in mind that there is a huge difference between religion and culture. It shouldn’t be an obligation but rather an inquisitive quest. Perhaps because I am bi-cultural, but I have always had the munchies to learn about other people…it’s just in me and I can’t help it. In today’s post, I wanted to share some of the weirdest questions I have been asked lately about my veil and please take it with a grain of salt because I do and I find it so funny sometimes what people have to say about this whole subject.
1) Do you have hair?!
This one is probably the funniest….is when they ask if I have hair, can’t help but laugh. Like yes, I have hair. If you educated yourself a little, you would know that the reason why I wear the hijab in the first place is to cover my hair. I won’t blame the ignorance as much in this particular matter because I can understand how it may be confusing to some when they see the different ways different Muslim women choose to wear their headscarf. Some wear a hat, some wear a turban and some decided to full on burqa. I think it is important to understand the meaning of the word hijab; basically in Arabic, it means “barrier” and its purpose is to basically help women cover up and be modest around men they can potentially marry. It is to put the emphasis on the brain of the woman rather than her body. And yes, there is modesty for Muslim men too; they too have to follow some rules…it’s not just the woman, trust me, we’re not oppressed, on the contrary, we’re glorified in Islam. It’s just unfortunately some idiots mix up culture and religion together and then extremism is born. So, yes, I do have hair, I promise I am not bald!
2) Did your parents force you?!
No…they didn’t. I just woke up one day, went to school and wore it. I knew that eventually I would end up wearing it…so I figured; high school is the perfect time to stir some shit up and start gossip. It was actually quite fun at first, I was called a princess by many of my teachers because of the way I started to wear the veil. I remember having a small little lace piece peeking through under the hijab and it looked like I was a Victorian princess and it pissed a lot of kids off…I was bullied because I was the “teachers’ pet” (not something I wanted in the first place). So, just to clarify, perhaps some parents do force their kids out of fear of losing them completely to the way of the devil but my parents didn’t. If you do follow Islam in its true pure form, you would know that it does not oblige anything onto anyone, because Islam is about peace and tolerance and you should be convinced on your own when following a certain rule. Islam is not a difficult religion and there is no compulsion, meaning, “Do not force anyone to become Muslim, for Islam is plain and clear, and its proofs and evidence are plain and clear. Therefore, there is no need to force anyone to embrace Islam. Rather, whoever God directs to Islam, opens his heart for it and enlightens his mind, will embrace Islam with certainty”.
3) Are you oppressed?
Like why is it that because I am wearing a headscarf, I am automatically put into this category. No, like have you seen me?! I mean woman can be oppressed in any religion, any culture, any country, and any race in the whole wide world. I am free to work and live and laugh and dance (not in public…for modesty reasons) and just be who I want to be as long as I respect myself, my family and most importantly my faith and religion. I was not forced into marriage either, trust me, my parents struggled with me so much until I found le husband. I wanted to build my empire before I settled because that’s what made me truly happy. Again there’s a thin line between religion and culture and many Middle Eastern men suffer in that department and perhaps this is where extremism is born…but there’s that in every corner of the world….it’s not an Arab thing! Besides, in any aspect of life (not only religion), when there is balance, there is healthy peace and that goes into everything.
4) Do you take a shower?
Um, like no! I don’t take a shower because then I’ll go to hell (sarcasm highlighted massively here). Of course I can!! What in the hell? Again, this goes back to the first question, we don’t wear it 24/7. We only wear the hijab in the presence of men that could potentially wed us…meaning your father, uncle, brother are not included in the list. So, the minute you get home, you are in fact free to take it off and yes that means you’re allowed to shower and do other human activities such as yoga, dance, trampoline and even bungee jumping. The hijab doesn’t make us any different than any other woman on the planet, we just have it on for extra modesty reasons and we only wear it if we’re convinced to do so!
5) Can you wear a wig?
No, then what’s the point of wearing the hijab in the first place if you’re going to top it off with a wig? Then just don’t wear it at all. You don’t wear it to please others but rather for yourself and religion is about your relationship with God, it has nothing to do with anything else. You have to maintain modesty when you’re 100% convinced about it or else it doesn’t count. I have seen many girls do it to get their parents of their backs and that sucks because that isn’t how it should be. I remember when I decided to wear it, I struggled a little bit to explain why I chose to wear it because I was still new and perhaps I didn’t feel secure or settled into my own skin yet, but as I grew older, I couldn’t imagine myself without it. My hijab gave me more strength and more confidence in myself to purse my dreams and to carve a path for myself in a society where it wasn’t fully understood. I wouldn’t change my experience for anything! I honestly don’t feel like I am impaired or pulled back in any way, because so far, my list of accomplished is pretty awesome.
There are many more silly questions that come to mind but it would take me an eternity to go through them all…it’s so funny! Like I said, I take it super lightly now, because it doesn’t bother nor offend me anymore. Life is way too short for me to keep thinking about what others think of me or the likes of me. Having to always be defensive is super exhausting but if someone comes up to me wanting to sincerely know about my religion or culture or habits, I am more than happy to share info. I too sometimes can have those silly questions towards other communities, it’s the way we ask those questions that differentiate a racist from a genuinely interested person. Most of us humans have the ability to read and educate ourselves about others and other cultures of world, so it is either you take the time to do so politely or just keep the discriminatory derogations to yourself so that we can all co-exist in peace and harmony.
I know I’ve been gone for the longest time and I haven’t posted anything….I was too busy with prepping and setting my married life in order. Here I am 10 days after being married and it feel weird yet good. This life is definitely different than being alone and responsible only for yourself. There are loads of points where I tend to forget to include my husband in because I have been so independent…he kinda gets sad about it, but hey, I am trying here! It’s good life really!!! And no, I wasn’t forced to marry him or pressured in any way…It’s a true love story. I promise!
Anyway, we have been invited to a few events after our wedding and small honey-week….we’ve decided to save up a little money and have a real honey moon back home in Canada. We went to a little summer garden party for his cousin’s pre-wedding celebration and this is the outfit I decided to go in. Of course it had to be vintage! Um, hello!!! It’s coming with me wherever I go…
I spotted this dress at Nova while shopping with mum a few weeks back…she told me to try it and see what it looked like on. TBH, the color isn’t super inviting when it’s hanging on a little hanger in the corner of a small vintage/thrift shop, but when I tried it on, omg, it was a whole different story! It’s a true 1980s Laura Ashley dress! Like can it get any better than that???? It has the cutest details and pleats that add more oomph to the dress, makes me wanna twirl all the time. And!!!!! Super bonus!!! It has pockets!!! Anything with pockets gets me; the way to my little heart!
Of course, credits go to my wonderful husband for snapping these and for making me look fab! Love you!
So back to the outfit, I needed a cool kickass jacket to go with this dress, I was thinking something colourful and beaded and super crazy….but couldn’t really find anything I liked…until this gorgeous military jacket from Monsoon. I love Monsoon for the quality and uniqueness of its items. They always have the cutest party items ever…even for children. Gorgeous beaded dresses and all…(Side note: my whole outfit is actually from the UK; which I just realized!) I find that this jacket complements the dress so perfectly…it adds a little masculine to a completely feminine outfit, which I absolutely love!!
WHAT I AM WEARING
DRESS: Vintage; Laura Ashley ♥ JACKET: Monson ♥ SUNGLASSES: Guess ♥ BAG: Vintage/Antique from Jerusalem ♥ SHOES: Charles & Keith
I have been so immerged into cleaning and arranging my apartment that I have forgotten how awesome it is to dress up and look clean and feel pretty. I am so glad I finally took the time to get back on track and dress pretty. I think it is necessary to give ourselves the time for self-love and appreciation, because then life becomes much more enjoyable and you are then able to give love back to those around you.