A belated Eid Mubarak to those who celebrated yesterday! So it’s been a while since writing last; life has gotten busier as I’ve settled into a new rhythm in Baltimore: CrossFit workouts, cooking at home, work projects, train rides to DC to see my love. What follows are some reflections on the past few months, namely how much changed for the better.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise with me saying this: six months ago fucking sucked. Standing at the beginning of what would become a soul-crushing two month period thanks to my divorce process getting underway, life seemed hopeless. Yes, on the surface I maintained a facade of what equates to the meme below.
Underneath it, however, I was entering some dangerous territory. You know, that point in which you numb yourself because life has become a complete clusterfuck on a daily basis, you’re thousands of miles away from any true support network of family and friends, and work-life balance is a joke. My tiny victories included getting up for work, not having an anxiety attack on the commute in, and being able to eat. These issues would worsen over the following month with the divorce actually being finalized, which involved many hours wasted navigating Qatari bureaucracy (something that, even when life is okay, wears you down quickly) and one of the busiest periods at work.
At its peak, I wanted nothing more than to just end it all: car crash, pills, anything to do away with the pain, guilt, and maybe even offer the people I hurt some feeling of justice. What kept me from attempting anything? Well, a combination of things: faith in the idea that life would eventually get better and holding onto the surah mentioning that “with hardship comes ease” (spoiler alert: it did); acknowledging that I needed to exit what was proving to be a toxic environment for me; Rhytha Hejaze, who showed unwavering kindness and taught me the importance of taking time for oneself and being unashamed about it; a supportive community at F45 – the Pearl (shameless plug: they’re awesome); deciding to not turn to substances to cope.
Returning home brought its own forms of new stressors, such as figuring out housing in a city that I’d never lived in before, working in social media in what I perceived as being far more advanced than Qatar, but thankfully many of these fears abated quickly. Al-hamdulilah, my transition to a new life in Baltimore came pretty easy so much that I often tear-up thinking about where I was just a few months ago. Perhaps the biggest blessing since being home is meeting an incredible partner that allows me to be my truest self around her; she’s into the same music (this totally made me go, “Holy shit! A Muslim woman who’s into metal and hardcore?!”), is a fellow history enthusiast and major, loves animals, loves family, and has a desire to explore the world. Needless to say, I’m in love and damn, it feels good.
Had you asked me when I boarded that Qatar Airways flight back in mid-June what my life would look like a few months into the future, I wouldn’t have imagined any of this, but I’m thankful for how it’s turned out. For the first time in several years, I can say without any sarcasm that I love life in every sense, from living in beautifully strange Baltimore to reconnecting with my family to meaningful work. These are the things that no amount of tax-free income or glitzy new material item can top, in my opinion, and here’s to never sinking that low again.