Divorced · Remarried · Self help

Learning to ask for what you need

I was furious last night, part emotional and hormonal and part post PTSD from my previous relationship that had let deep scars on my mind.

I had a 10 year marriage before, and by my standards it was good. I was deeply in love and I sacrificed many things that I wanted or needed for the sake of living in peace and making things work for everyone… his family, himself except that I forgot somewhere along the way about me and my priorities and needs.

It wasn’t conscious, it didn’t happen overnight, it just took one inch at a time to give in and to bury my feelings or feel like they were not valid. And when it was all said and done I had to muster the strength to walk out and end it. Whatever efforts i made were just not good enough, I felt invisible and lonely and very broken and bitter. Boy was I bitter!

Fast forward to now and I’m in a completely new relationship married to someone that is so different and wonderful that I can barely believe it. But there are these times that dejavú slips in. And I’m also different. This time around in my marriage I don’t have the same feeling of idolatry towards my husband. It’s a more mature love. I have evolved and even though I love him deeply I also keep in the back of my head a little door that says… “in case it all goes away” as a very real possibility.

There are these little moments that flash in my mind from how I did things and were fruitless. I remember how I would iron all of my ex’s clothes and arrange his closet to be in pristine condition so that he could just get dressed up in the morning faster without the hassle to have to do anything else. And then I see now my husband walking up early to iron his work shirt while I’m making him breakfast and in the back of my mind I could just as easily spend one afternoon and iron all of his clothes. However I just can’t get myself to do it. It feels like repeating the same story and following the same pattern of behavior of giving way too much and making him used to it.

The biggest point of the breakup of my previous marriage was his family… I was convinced into living with them and it was just so forced at the end of a decade that just going back to that same house made me want to vomit. At the beginning we went to his family house almost every weekend… for 3 years! Even though we lived 5 hours away. The rare occasions where we didn’t drive over we had to call and ask permission to stay and make sure it was ok for us not to go. I remember feeling so free in those weekends when I had actually time for myself. It was grueling and I brainwashed myself into believing that it was for the good of the family relationships and all that jazz.

Now my husband is also coming from a very close knitted family. However they adore me and I adore them back. The circumstances are much better. We live in our own apartment and there are not expectations for us to live with them in the same house. They also give us our space a lot and they make zero drama. However when my husband wants to come see them every weekend and have us stay with them 2-3 days it just makes me apprehensive. I do it. I try to put my best face forward but I’m beginning to hate it. And hate is a strong word. I don’t hate easily. I feel forced and manipulated and taken advantage of. “Why?” He asks. I can’t tell him that all these mental scars are built up around me staying with my in-laws every weekend for years before I met him. He made me promise that I would never talk about my ex again in our marriage and without that important reference it’s hard to make a valid point. I understand he doesn’t want me to bring my past marriage up since it would just taint many conversations. But I hate the feeling of walking down the same rabbit hole. And even though I know it can’t be compared I can’t shake that feeling off.

So yes. I was furious last night because for another weekend we were spending it at his parents house and I had argued with him that I wanted to stay at home. I grew tired of arguing back and forth and said “FINE… we’re going then!”. But I was pissed.

And in the middle of my anger he would come and tell me: “you know I love you right?” And I would say: “of course you love me! It’s easy to love someone when they do everything you want them to do!” I could feel the bitterness of my previous relationship being misdirected to him and he took it. He patiently tried to rationalize with my emotional self. And then I caught myself throwing in his face the fact that I’m not asking anything from him. I’ve not demanded anything material or otherwise intangible. All this time I’ve been flexible and understanding and very very low key even for my comfort. And I thought I did it willingly and with an open heart. But the unexpected feeling that arose in the middle of that discussion was of bitterness and it caught me by surprise. Then the wave of anger subsided and I was left with the realization that I might have to start to ask for the things I need.

I need to learn to ask in a nice way with the mindset of empowerment and stop being too afraid to make others uncomfortable with my desires; whether these may be time or attention or material things to make a comfortable situation for my well being and happiness. It’s still a long journey ahead and I can’t allow myself to do the same things again and expect a different result. Learning to ask for what you really want it’s a completely new lesson for me.

Family · Mother · Parenting

My Mother and I

There’s a tug war inside my heart and mind especially when dealing with my mom’s relationship. The pull and push between getting closely intimate and pushing away. It’s complicated to me.

She’s ultimately the most important figure in my life and I don’t think she knows it. Even when I’ve sporadically said it to her I don’t think she believes it or believes in herself. Over the years she’s gotten more fragile in many aspects. You see, I’m her eldest child, and the only daughter. I’ve witnessed the most of her struggles growing up, and she was so young when she had us all. She was a kid herself in many aspects, a little naive and a little insecure due to many experiences in her own family dynamics.

My parents were together close to 18 yrs and their divorce was dramatic, loud, hurtful and catastrophic in many aspects but after all was said and done it was for the best. They just couldn’t stop hurting each-other, there was so much history between them, so many buttons to push and their immaturity in the middle of it all.

She broke, I witnessed most of it. Way before the separation was final. At one point in time we switched places and she became the child and I became the protector. I was not even a teenager yet. She couldn’t rely on her mind anymore. She would come to me to confirm that certain events were happening as my father was gaslighting many situations and she would ask me for advice as to what to do and how to react. I know she did the best she could under the circumstances. But something in her broke.

Looking back I don’t have many memories of her being really happy. I remember her mainly tired or scared or angry or worried or quiet. But not truly happy. She moved from the capital where she grew up and her family lived to a completely different city in an underdeveloped rural area at the time with a completely different way of life, and 4 kids and a husband. She always longed the city and complained constantly about anything and everything in that town. Down to the extreme hot weather, the bugs, the dirty roads, the way people spoke with their very own expressions. She made sure to make it obvious that she hated that place. Many years went by and eventually she realized that those who she had left behind in the city had moved on with their lives and they were happy and didn’t miss her as much as she had missed them. Everything seemed to have moved on except her. She had wasted so much time on it and couldn’t get it back, however she didn’t know how to make herself happy anymore.

She’s never remarried, much less even thought of the possibility of even finding another companion in life. Her excuse is that she doesn’t want to put up with anybody else. But deep down I know she’s lonely and the tough front she expresses is just her fear and insecurity. She believes she’s not beautiful anymore. She tells me how she hasn’t recognized her own mirror image for decades. That old lady looking back at her is a stranger to her. She’s tried so many pills and crazy express diets to loose the weight she’s gained. But her underlying desire to find a quick fix has caused more damage to her body. Age and lack of exercise and lack of interesting activities have taken its toll. She doesn’t socialize and has nobody that hardly talks to outside of her kids. We’ve tried to encourage her and sometimes push her but she clams worse than a shell.

I’ve learned so much from her. But sadly it’s been on what not to do with my life. I see her life and the consequences of her actions and choices. And I’ve actively ran in a completely different direction. I’ve moved to so many different places and two continents in the world over the last two decades and I’ve taught myself not to miss places, not to attach myself to people or to situations.., yes of course I think of the best moments in every space but I know better that people move on and that places change and that it’s inevitable.

I’ve also experienced a divorce and I refused to have that define my self worth. I worked so hard to get over that relationship just because I saw the hangup my mother still had on my dad. I pushed myself to exercise and be by myself, to socialize and connect. To express myself and to travel and take risks. To try different foods and ways of life. It’s not always pretty or exotic but it’s definitely worth it.

As for me and my mom… I feel guilty many times. Because in my quest to not fall in pattern that she created I have pushed her away since I’ve felt suffocated. It’s frustrating to feel that anything that I share with her affects her mood and thoughts so much. She would sometimes not sleep for days worrying about something that I had told her I was dealing with on Monday for example. And by Wednesday I had already moved on and had a completely set of different challenges ahead. It was exhausting to see her rollercoaster of emotions so I stopped sharing too much. And I understood why maybe my brothers were doing the same.

I wish so many things for her. I wish she could be a stronger version, a more healthy version, a more happy version of herself but she cannot. And so now that I’m in the opposite side of the world I feel she’s angry that I somehow left her, caged in her circumstances and I’ve moved on. I think of her often and wish I could have a closer relationship now but it’s sensitive. I am sensitive and she is also. We walk on eggshells. There’s this elephant in the room of our conversations that we force ourselves to walk around it and it gets cramped and tight and one of us gets out of the virtual room as fast as we can.

I hope I can be for my kids everything I can be to show an independent and strong and happy woman. Yes, she thought me how to speak up for myself and many more things along the way. But she has taught me more with her example of maybe how I can do it better Insha’Allah.

Moving · Transition

Breaking Horizons

Moving is always hard, even when you look forward to have a drastic change in your life. The type of change that would shake your path and succumb your soul to new experiences and horizons.

I had felt it coming. The change. Like a wave building momentum underneath my feet. 5 years went by in the making of this intangible energy. And I didn’t know how it was going to happen or where it was going to take me. I could just feel it in my soul. Change after all it’s the only certainty in life.

And I knew it was going to happen fast and suddenly. Nothing has been gradual in my life. So I waited and tried to prepare. Mentally, emotionally and physically.

But nevertheless it’s been hard. It’s been isolating and taken me completely out of my comfort zone in every way possible.

I’m in a country where I don’t speak the language and I have to start from the beginning learning a new dialect. I’m not working therefore not financially independent the way I’ve been for most of my life. I’m not driving and able to just pick up and go wherever I feel like going without having to plan it with anybody else. I have no friends or likeminded people who to confide or hangout with.

I’m so foreign to the culture and it’s norms and experiences and priorities. And in-spite it all I say Alhamdulillah.

It’s definitely a safer country and environment than Mexico or USA at this moment. I have no financial debts or burden that force me to go to work therefore I can take my time in helping build 2 businesses. It’s allowed me to relax and enjoy my first pregnancy and all of that comes with it. And most importantly of all I’m with my loving husband who has been a blessing that I wasn’t expecting in my life. His attentions and support and care makes all these changes in my life completely and utterly worth it.

However I do have to reinvent myself and learn to be more patient and be comfortable with being uncomfortable. Learn to improvise and make the best of what I have at hand and enjoy the small pleasures of life. In general to keep a perspective of what’s important and what I just need to let it go.

It’s not an easy task since I feel like I’m going thru more than one transition inside of me. One of being adjusted to a new culture, language and country and another one of becoming a mother and going thru all the physical and emotional changes that come with that. Therefore somedays are just hard. And some others full of light and easy. Moving to a different country is definitely not for the faint-hearted.

Parenting · Pregnancy

Eid al-adha: incondicional trust

Today we celebrate Eid, and more than ever this time I get to reflect and draw more meaning from it than ever before. You see, I’m 8 months pregnant and it’s been a very long road in waiting for this little baby to get into my life… earlier on we learned it will be a boy so we searched for suitable names that would accompany his multiple heritage and background: Egyptian, Mexican and American. We chose ISMAEL ❤️.

I’m of the believe that names and personality traits are closely related. And the story of prophet Ismael has always attracted me in many ways. I find it beautiful to think of how his relationship was with his father, how loving and loyal they were to one another. The unique camaraderie.

And more than anything his sense of trust in Allah (subhana wa ta’ala). Every time I hear of the moment when his father Abraham explained to him what he was commanded to do: to slaughtered his own son, Ismael’s response did not flinch or hesitate. I’ve imagined how in his heart there was no fear or trepidation of what was about to happen because he knew and trusted that God had a plan and everything was going to work out.

Well it did. And we get now to emulate those actions every year by million of people following their example and their trust in Allah.

Now I’ve never been pregnant before. So being my first experience and knowing my personality I would have expected to have researched and read and plan and get as much information to the point of overloading my brain in order to feel prepared for what’s ahead… but the thing is that none of that has happened.

My normal over analytical and borderline OCD self has been taken over by an indescribable sense of nonchalance. I have always been a very optimistic person but nevertheless taken measures to be as prepared and informed as possible.

Well this time around I have not. And I really think it’s my baby’s personality taking over me! I can’t force myself to worry or be stressed or make any of the over the top preparations that I would have expected to create: baby birthing plan? Sure – I’m planning for him to come out! By any means necessary 🤣. Baby’s clothes? I’m sure he won’t need much the first couple of weeks, I mean he’s going to be sleeping most of the time isn’t? 🤔. Techniques or proper way to give the baby a bath? Hmmm I’m sure it involves pouring water until he’s clean and making sure he won’t slip out of your hands. I mean it can’t be that complicated, right?

I do have occasional anxiety around my ability to be a good mother and show him in the best possible way how to be a loving and caring and successful human being. And then I realize that I have to remember this feeling that I have. This overwhelming feeling of peace and sense of trust and nonchalance that makes me believe with every fiber of my being that everything is going to be alright.

I’m sure that overtime, once the baby is born, I’ll come to my usual self and he will carry on with this intrinsic quality of his name and personality. It might frustrate me if I feel he’s not putting as much effort as I would consider adequate. And so I have to force myself to bring back this memory and this feeling – the one that impedes you to worry and stress and just lets you smile and make the best out of everything with whatever you have at hand. Because you just have this indescribable feeling that truly it is in the hands of God and it will be alright Insha’Allah ✏️.