I’m well aware that it might be bad taste to talk about the past year when the new one has already begun. It’s the first week of January and people are writing about their resolutions and goals and I’m only just sitting down to write down my recap of the past decade. Because a new one has begun.
This past decade has been transformative. That’s the only way I can describe it. I was twenty, and in University when this decade began, and I’m ending it as a thirty year old. I’m at a stage in my life that I always dreamed and fantasized about. It’s crazy that I’m actually here. But I still have a long way to go.
This decade is split into two chunks for me, literally down the middle. I spent the first half as a bachelorette and the second half as a wife, and then half of that as a mother. I went from a girl, with zero responsibilities and all the free time in the world, to a woman with a family who depend on her, and zero free time. It’s been quite the flip.
I graduated University in the past ten years, went on to do a creative book publishing program (during when this blog was born!), started working at Chapters (a lifelong dream of my book-loving heart), started and graduated teacher’s college, started another blog, got married, moved away from home, got pregnant, moved back to Canada, gave birth, became a mother, and moved into my own apartment. It’s definitely been a busy ten years!
I also wrote and wrote and wrote: novels, poems, essays, articles and much more.
During these ten years, I found myself. I found myself in the words that drift around in my head and in my heart, the words that I wish to see on the page. I found myself in the pen that I hold, rather than the pen of others. I found myself in books, in words and worlds that I devoured, page by page.
But I also lost myself. I lost myself in the battle between editing the words of others vs writing my own words. I lost myself in baking, in the mixing of ingredients, to create something delightful and delicious. I lost myself in teacher’s college, in the vision of myself I saw for my future. But mostly, I lost myself in motherhood.
University, and my subsequent schooling were amazing experiences. I have always loved school and learning, and have always thrived in a school environment, and so it’s not surprising that I loved those years of my life. They were enriching and enlightening, and I learned so much. There were subjects and areas of knowledge that I learned about during those years that I never knew about and never knew I would enjoy. And that was the greatest joy.
After leaving school, I became the master of my own fate and it was a bit of a wobbly ride as I tried to figure out what it was I wanted to do. But then fate took me for a ride to another country as I got married. It was like learning another language.
Those early years of marriage were definitely tough. I think fondly of the naive girl I was and the fairytale I thought I was about the walk into. Marriage is definitely no fairytale but I had been brainwashed by too many Bollywood and Disney movies to know any better.
Living in a new city, without any of my friends or family, meant I was again the master of own fate. I focused on blogging and baking, and discovered an unknown love of Brush Calligraphy. It was during this time that I stumbled upon my agent, or rather she stumbled upon me. And this is probably one of the greatest joys in this past decade, as it has given me the tiniest sliver of hope of being published one day.
During this time away, death took two of my family members. In 2015, less than a year after my wedding, my uncle lost his battle to cancer. And then less than a month later, it took my grandfather too, unexpectedly. I wanted to go home so badly but wasn’t able to. I still remember this period of time as a time of longing; the place I had left was the one I wanted to be.
The next year, I became pregnant and so began a new chapter of my life. Pregnancy wrecked havoc on my life as I began to pack up to move back to Canada. I moved back to Canada in January of 2017, a few months before I was due to give birth.
Coming back to Canada wasn’t what I imagined it to be. I had been away for a few years and so many things had changed in my absence. My family was no longer the same. The gaping hole I thought I had left had been stitched up so that you could still tell something had been there, but it was no longer a hole. My family was different now.
But I had my own, new family to focus on now as the birth of my daughter in April 2017 is the brightest, shining light in the entire decade. She is the person who makes me happiest, makes me smile the widest, and laugh the loudest. But she is also a challenge; she is extremely stubborn, strong-willed, active, and doesn’t sleep well.
If 2017 is a bright light, 2018 is a grey blur; I honestly don’t remember most of it. I traveled to NYC to visit my best friend, and then a few weeks later went to Chicago to attend two family weddings.
2019 is the worst year of my life. I recently revealed in my last blog post that my brother was diagnosed with brain cancer this past year in March, and this diagnosis has rocked me and my entire family to our cores. There are moments that take place in slow motion in front of your eyes, as if God is super gluing that scene into the inside of your skull. My brother’s diagnosis in Trillium Hospital in Mississauga is such a scene.
This past year has been the most physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally one of all. If I had lost myself in motherhood, I lost what was left of myself. I stopped writing, stopped eating well, stopped taking care of myself, just stopped everything. I was on survival mode for most of the year as I felt like I was sitting on a roller coaster that was going at breakneck speeds, sometimes soaring up and sometimes plunging down. I was trying to hold on for dear life.
Even when the roller coaster stopped, I was still in survival mode. I didn’t know how to do anything else. I ate a lot of junk food and packed on the pounds. I was paralysed at the thought of going outside and interacting with strangers. I liked the safety of my apartment and didn’t want to leave it. I didn’t know how to write about what had happened to me, there were no words inside anymore.
When I was younger, I used to imagine the year as a big long scroll, with separate sections for the months. So basically a big, long calendar of months in a long row. But December was the end and then you jumped back to the top of the scroll in January.
I’m on the other side now and I can see clearly. I have spent so many years of the past decade losing myself that I am ready to find myself. I know it sounds a little cheesy, trust me.
I want to find the pieces of myself that I lost years ago, the pieces that made me happy, the pieces that made me me. I want to be that girl again. Of course, I can’t go back to being that twenty year girl who had zero responsibilities and all the free time in the world. But I want to find some of the pieces that made that girl who she was: curious, inquisitive, optimistic, creative, and excited for the future.
I want to do the things that set my soul on fire. I want to create words and worlds that others will want to devour, stories that will inspire. I want to open my mind, and feel the joy I felt in learning when I was in school. I want to be the best mother I can possibly be, and teach my daughter how to be good and kind and honest. I want to take time to pause and relax, so I can enjoy the gifts God has given me. I want to thrive, and not just survive. I want to be me.
I cant wait to see what you do next! You make me so proud to see the kind of mother, wife, daughter, sister and friend you are. May Allah swt bring you and your family all the joys you can imagine.