I decided to write this letter to my younger self at the age of 33 going on to 34 in shaa Allah. I was actually inspired by someone’s letter; funny though, at that time, I thought I had nothing to say to myself, but one cool morning as I prepare to take my son to school, my mind unconsciously began to draft these words.
This letter is coming after an almost two-year journey of personal development, a journey that has offered me a deep perspective on my life; both past and present. I pray and hope these words that made me cry, grieve and smile will give comfort to someone and help shape a life, no matter how little.
Dear 8 Year Old Azeezah,
One day in 1993 your life changed, the life you know was taken away from you and it was being replaced by a new life that took you years to get used to. Know that this new life will bring you challenges, bitter challenges, challenges that will shake you to your core, challenges that you will not find answers to until years later.
At that time you thought otherwise, but I want you to know that these challenges are not punishments from Allah (S), rather these are Allah’s ways of moulding you into a stronger and better version of yourself; into the woman who is strong enough to write this letter. These challenges are Allah’s ways of preparing you for even bigger challenges that you might encounter in future.
But you know one beautiful gift this change will give you… The love of reading, books will be your companion, your refuge and through them, you will learn how to dream. In Primary 4, your class Teacher will write that you love to read books above your age ( by that age, you have read Jane Eyre and some of D O Fagunwa’s books), keep reading, it is one of those things that no one can take away from you.
Know that you will dream, beautiful dreams, big scary dreams… And it is okay to dream, to have amazing dreams. But understand that sometimes, no matter how hard you work or plan, some of those dreams might never come true; you will feel pained and disappointed, but don’t get drowned in the sad emotions, know that He who has made those dreams impossible to achieve will replace them with more beautiful and beneficial realities because whenever Allah (S) takes something away from you, He always replaces them with something better.
You will be called ‘average’ because you don’t meet some people’s definition of awesome. Don’t believe them, you are not average, what you are is unique and special. It is not your fault if their mind can’t comprehend your uniqueness; it took your adult over 30 years of her life to know this!
At some point in your adult life, challenges will come that will make you not want the things you used to dream about again, you will struggle with this realization but at the end of the day, you will trust in the plans of Allah (S) to do what is right.
Failure is a teacher, a necessity in life, the beginning of a new beginning, it is never a sign of inadequacies. This is a really important point Azeezat because you will experience a lot of failures, that at some point you might think nothing good is meant for you.
Love yourself, don’t make the mistake of giving that power to another human being; humans are not infallible, people will break your heart and disappoint you; that is the way we are made. You will disappoint yourself, do not seek perfection, it is a fluke. Strive for Ihsan in all of your endeavours; that is better for you.
Forgive yourself, forgive others; it is for the good of your own soul.
Azeezah, don’t live your life seeking the approval of others, it is a prison without walls. Know that you are enough and indeed Allah (S) is sufficient for you!
Know that life is a continual journey; every page and turn offers a new experience and lessons, learn to listen to those silent words your pains will whisper, they are the clue to finding the strength you never know you have.
Azeezah, give yourself permission to break, it is okay not to be okay!
Seek refuge with none other than Allah (S), believe in Him fiercely, depend upon Him with every ounce of strength within you. Make Him the source of all that you seek, need and desire. Trust in Him. Surround yourself with the company of sisters with a beautiful soul.
Know that on every journey you make in life, that is no better companion beside Allah (S). Bear in patience, bear with patience for every difficulty comes with ease.
Be kind, be kind, be kind; everybody is struggling, please be kind.
One day, you will look back on your journey so far and realize that you are a strong, awesome and amazing creation of Allah (S); flaws and all…
Umm SOM (Azeezah) is a wife and Stay at home Mum living in Lagos, Nigeria. She is a writer who enjoys cooking (sometimes), crafting, reading and being Mum to her bundles of joy and energy. She is also on a journey to self-discovery, self-love and appreciation, and once in a while loves to share some of the lessons she has learned through her journey. You can check out her page on Instagram @soulfulcare where she loves to share wellness tips for Muslimahs, her love for nature, candle, teas and life as Mama of two.