I want to be free!

{ Thursday, May 5, 2011 }
Sometimes when I lay in bed at night, I am silent and I try to listen to my inner rumblings. Last time, the message was very clear: "I want to be free!" my heart shouted. I was startled at the power and the insistence that came from within. Then I wondered, free from what exactly? I didn't know. I guess I'm not that good in listening to myself. In my head I went over the things that could make me feel suffocated: my choice of clothes? No, I like to be modest. It's not that. Not being able to party and go out at night with my friends? No, I don't like that anyway. Not being able to get drunk? Oh please, like freedom is about making yourself ridiculous and being sick! Then what is it? It's my life. It's everything. It's nothing. I don't know. Maybe I want to be free from all the things that are required of women: be pretty but hate your body, because you are never good enough, be accomplished but not too much, be independent, but do everything for everyone. I'm tired of judging myself everytime I look in the mirror. I'm tired of the stress that my studies bring, the constant fear of failure. I'm tired of not feeling at home, not belonging. But the thing is, how to change all that? How to be free? Can we be truly free in our society? We have responsibilities, duties. Where do we draw the line between what we like to do and what we have to do? What do I like to do in the first place? Sometimes I think I don't know myself at all. Aside from my wish to become a writer, I have no idea about what I'd realistically like to do for a living. Sometimes, when the stress gets too much, I feel like I just want to be a housewife and not ever have to write a paper or report again. But that wouldn't possibly make me happy, would it? I need to be useful for society, work, make money, be productive and financially independent for you never know what life's going to bring! So much pressure and so little answers...I know what I have to do, but not what I like to do, and that imbalance is profoundly affecting my life. 

I'm also more sensitive that others in my environment, or that's how it seems to me anyway. I can easily cry over the pain of others. My big paper is about women rights in Saudi Arabia, and I've already shed some tears over the things I read for my research. The same with the issue of Palestine. It can make me so angry, just as if the Israeli occupation touched me and my family personally. It's good to feel the pain of others, but too much of it can wear you down. That's what's happening to me recently, I think. I feel too much, and there is too little I can do to change the injustice in the world. I have the feeling I can't be happy, because of how cruel the world is. Maybe I want to be free from that weight? But how? To close my eyes for the suffering? Is that a good thing? Somehow I don't think so. It's very confusing for me. 

I feel this is going to take a long time for me to figure out...

في التاريخ حروب لا تحصى وتعد 

أنهكت الأرض، وأهل الأرض 
لكن_ هنالك حرباً واحدة مشروعة 
هي حرب المظلومين 
على الظلام 
حرب النور على العتمة 
حرب الانسان على الانسان-الحيوان

والجوع إلى الحرية كان
والجوع إلى الحرية مازال

الأجمل والأقصى 
في تاريخ الانسان 
في كل زمان ومكان

توفيق زياد - الجوع إلى الحرية


rose water said...

Dearest sister,

I recognize all the feelings you wrote about in your post. I have also been asking the same questions - especially after reverting to Islam and not going with the party-, clothes- & Danish-thinking-flow anymore.
I think it's so great that your inner self gave you such a clear message: it wants to be free. You can talk about this in many levels (which is also reflected in all the thoughts you had on this topic). And one essential one is the fact that our souls always want to be free and be with Allah (swt) again. That's why walking on this deen is so wonderful, because through salah, dhikr, reading the Qur'an (etc.) we can have a taste of that freedom and our soul and heart radiates under these circumstances :) <3

Spiritually AWARE beings like you, see how sick this society is and how it enslaves us to study, look good, earn money, work work work, stress, have a family etc. You CANNOT simply (OK, some do...) LEAVE society and live on the Himalaya Mountains as a nun (which was always my dream ;) because there are certain demands on you - and what would your FAMILY say, right?! Whew. This has no ending.

Since you are in contact with what your inner self is telling you, try to have a dialogue with it. An inner dialogue. You might even write it down. Ask it exactly what it means by wanting to be free and whatever it might say apart from that. Ask ask ask. Your inner knows ALL the answers because your soul is in direct contact with the Divine Existence.
All you need is to trust that inner voice and if you ask, it will also tell you what you need to do to feel more freedom. Perhaps it's reading more Qur'an, praying more, dancing, listening to music, going to the sea or forest more often... :)

This life is a huge test and it is difficult for spiritually aware people to be here. Allah (swt) knows that! That's why Jannah is waiting for the ones who followed the right path and who didn't believe that this Dunya was EVERYthing <3

So sister (wow I wrote a lot :D), with this I think I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone <3 We are many like you :) And we're ALL struggling! But I do experience that the struggle gets less hard, when you put your trust in Allah (swt). And remember the RELIEF when we leave this Dunya.... Hmm :)

You can always email me if you feel like it, sister:
rosewatermail@gmail.com (I'll give you my personal mailaddress then).

Good luck with your studies - I'm also studying for exams these days. But always remember, that this is not everything there is to this world :) You know :) I hope you feel a little better <3 <3

Safiyah said...

Thanks for your sweet words, sis :) I do feel better when I pray, like I'm finally in touch with something that nourishes me. Through prayer I also know that God is real.
I agree that the answers lay within. I think I've been listening too much to what others expect of me, and not to what I want for myself.

I'll definitely contact you, inshaAllah :)

Take care, sweety <3

rose water said...

Masha'Allah :) I'm glad prayer helps you on this journey that life is <3 And our heart and soul always gets sad, when we don't follow what they tell us... :) I hope it gets easier with time, insha'Allah.

You're always welcome to write :)

Take care dear sister.

Clara said...

hi, it's me again ;-) i promise I won't grill you over minor details this time :-)
hope your last exam session went well :-)

to be honest i find it a little bit ironic that you want to be free, while islam is about submission to the will of god and what was laid out in the qur'an (if i understand correctly).

i'm not sure if my guess is correct but you seem to be very self-conscious (i think you mentioned that in one of your posts).
i think you need to trust yourself more :-) trust your decisions, your ideas on how you wish to live your life. lady, the world is your oyster! you can shape your life in any way you want :-)
it doesn't matter what others think, who cares? at the end of the day, it's your life and you should live it the way you want :-) dream big and live high :-)

good luck!

Safiyah said...

Hi Clara! Good to see you again :)My last exam session went well, thanks!
It's not so much the rules of Islam I'm having problems with, although I admit it can be challenging some times. It's more the "worldly" matters that can be a burden sometimes.
You're right, I'm a bit self-conscious, and I'm trying to have more confidence in and love for myself, so thanks for the lovely advice :)

Marie said...

Safiyah, very interesting post. It reminds me of myself a couple of years ago. It is not I am old,but recently I have moved on and discover more, understand more and move from darkness to light.
I have always been deeply touched by the pain of others, thinking the same as you, how to live a happy life in a world surrended by pain and terror.
I am still touched but have found in getting closer to God and the beauties of life another way to express it. It hurt me less.

You want to be free and how I can feel close to you on this. I think Freedom is a within experience. I would follow Rosewater advices, get closer to God, to nature, to your soul. Talk with God. Talk to yourself - it may take time but you will see the marks of a road that you can take and the road with be full of little lights that will grow bigger and bigger.
All your troubles and dark thoughts will go away.

I am 30 and I do not really know what I want to do - I would live to study too many things and try every job that exist on Earth. Some days I want to open my own business, some days I want to be a stay-at-home mum, knowing on the longer term it won't be enough for me, looking after others, writing.
Turn to God and he will send you signs to follow.

It is my experience and reading you it is the not so long 25/29 years old woman I was that I see.
We will still have things and people in our lives, so we will have to do efforts and compromises, try hard but Freedom is above all of this, it is the serenity of your heart, the harmony in your family, the happiness of your children and the loving & shy glance of your husband in the middle of a busy crowd, the love you share with others, and the time you spend with your Creator, the unlimited power of your thoughts and walking on Earth knowing there is something wonderful that comes afterwards, making the choices that feel right for you and asking God to protect the ones you may hurt. Freedom is knowing you can be and do anything you want.

I have been long sorry but it is a subject that talks to me.
All the best to you and keep posting your thoughts with us.

Safiyah said...

Thanks for your beautiful comment, Marie! It wasn't too long at all! ;-)
You are right, true freedom comes from within, and I think that what I'm going through at the moment is a call from my soul to spend more attention on my inner life and on spirituality.
I'm glad you've been able to move on from darkness into light mashaAllah, and I wish you a very fulfilling and happy life! :-)

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