Saturday, July 15, 2017

I Found Hope

Before I begin writing this post, I ask Allah to protect the man that I love and myself from evil eye. May Allah fill your heart with love, kindness and light.


I've always had trust issues with men. But tonight, instead of expressing my issues here, I decided to write about a man who did many things to make me happy and how I found hope again in my love life.

If this sounds weird to you, it's fine to feel that way. We all have choices in our life. You can choose – so can I. You can choose to continuously see things negatively or you can make peace with your mind by shifting your thoughts to positive ones. I have options to choose between writing about men negatively and feed my anxiety more or I can choose to write a post about a man's efforts that slowly change my negative perception. Of course, by writing this down doesn't change the fact that all men can't be trusted but I can help to encourage positivity and help to open women's minds that in this world there must or has to be one man who you can trust in your life – it could be your father, your brother, or even your son. I'm also writing this as a way of helping myself heal with my trust issues.

In the past, I had quite many experiences of being dumped in a relationship. This kind of experience does not only affects me emotionally but also mentally. I became mentally fragile – I lost the ability to trust people especially men. To live with this fear for years in an extreme way was a struggle. There were times where I felt scared of being in love, I didn't even allow myself to get to know another man and not even a chance for them to get to know me. That was how extremely afraid I was at that time – as if I was living inside a room with tough walls – walls that I built by myself. But I thank God for showing me a way out. I broke the walls slowly with the help of my friend. Since then, I began to see that good men still exist and it brought me to where I am today. What happened in the past is all water under the bridge now.

As time goes by, I have also learned that people change. Umar Al-Khattab once said that people with the worst pasts can create the best future. I've seen a man who I have known since I was 16 changed to be a better person than he was before. Masha'Allah. I couldn't be more proud him now. Grateful is the best word to explain the feelings I have. To see a spoiled boy grown up to be a responsible, dedicated, caring and loving man is amazing. Alhamdulillah.

To recall back 5 years ago, this man that I'm mentioning now is the man who came all the way to Sabah to surprise me on my 20th birthday – but I left Sabah without notice on the very same day he came to surprise me which pretty much broke his heart. This man was also the one who travelled 4013 miles away to Brisbane just to see me. The man who never gave up to search for me when I blocked him from every channel that he could find to contact me but finally he won – he added me on WeChat and that time I forgot that it was automatically approved. The man who will always try to find some time to spend with me whenever I come to visit, who will always make me feel like a Cinderella being fetched at the hotel entrance. The same man who broke my heart 7 years ago but came back loving me unconditionally and accepts me the way I am. The man who works extra hard now to make our dreams come true. I could go on and on but it's best to keep it to myself.

Now, I found hope again. Because of this experience I'm starting to believe that every person with the worst past can change to be better and that everyone deserves a second chance. As a human being, we are far from perfect and making mistakes are one of the ways we learn to improve in life. If that is our nature, then who are we to judge one another?

I'm grateful for the life and the feelings that I have now. No words can describe how thankful I am to be where I am today. Alhamdulillah. For this amazing man, thank you for everything you've done – from time to time trying to prove that you have changed and that even after all these years your love for me still remains in your heart. Thank you for not giving up on me although there were times when I already gave up on us, and for the times where I tried to do everything to make you feel annoyed at me but you never did. Thank you for making me the happiest woman that I am now. I pray that may Allah keep you istiqamah on the straight path, increase you in rizq, protect you from evil eye, and increase love in your heart towards your loved ones – your family and me. Allahumma amin.

I may not know what the future holds but I hope and pray that someday you will be the man that I'll be spending the rest of my life with. Insha'Allah.

For my readers, there could be among you who have not yet found peace and hope in life. For you, I pray that may Allah open your heart and soften it.

Last but not least, please make du'a for me.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Mini Surprise!

Last night, I received an early birthday gift from my younger brother. My actual birthday is one month and five days away but he decided to throw a surprise dinner for me since he will be leaving to Australia soon. So for my upcoming 25th birthday, he gave me my first purse collection from Coach. Alhamdulillah.

My siblings and I planned to meet up at Sutera Harbour for dinner but I came a bit late which made me feel guilty after knowing that they were planning to surprise me. But thank God everything went well.

This surprise reminds me of my 22nd birthday. That year was the best birthday ever. I received many surprises from my friends in Australia and Sabah. I don't know how this year's birthday will turn out to be but hopefully it's a good one. Insha'Allah.

Alhamdulillah for the blessings I received – a wonderful siblings and future brother in law, and for the most expensive gift I've ever received. Masha'Allah. It's already too much for me. May Allah bless my siblings, future brother in law and my younger brother's friend who joined our dinner last night. Allahumma amin.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Starbucks Relationship

If yesterday I was blogging with a view of a sunset. Well, guess what? I am now blogging at Starbucks and alone. Sounds sad? Not really. It somehow brings back the memories of the good old days.

I used to visit Starbucks almost everyday in Brisbane. Somehow my daily visit had created great memories with the baristas. They would spell my name as ‘Eka’ whenever I pronounce my name as ‘Ika’. Other days, they would try to recall my name and insisted me not to say it then wrote it as ‘Ika’ which later pronounced by another barista as ‘Aika’. Funny whenever I reminisce those days. I miss all of them and their delicious Green Tea Frappe.

It's good to be alone at Starbucks now. Everything feels the same except I'm surrounded by Asians and the Green Tea Frappe doesn't taste as good as the one made in Brisbane. Otherwise, I could relive the past.

To update you on how I'm doing so far, I am happy with the way things are going now. After I made the decision to be away from social media, I found myself on the right track again. I've found the serenity I've been looking for. I have also considered going to the gym again – which is good.

I'm happy to feel comfortable in my own skin again. Not having to compare myself with anyone else physically is a wonderful feeling. Making peace with the past is a great way to start a new beginning in life. The ability to focus on the future depends on your mind and emotion. If you're not stable emotionally, there is no way your mind can be in a positive state. You will not be able to focus. That is what I've learned from my experience.

I think that's all for now.
Until my next post, have a great day!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

The Perfect Sunset

It's not like everyday I get to write a post facing a beautiful sunset view of the South China Sea. I think a view like this – with the sound of an old track playing behind the bar – would be a waste if I do not share a post about love.

I would love to have a romantic evening just like this with the man of my dreams. Holding hands and watching sunset together would make me the happiest woman. I have been wondering all these years – who will that man be?

It takes a great man to make me open up about him. Being a private person that I am, especially about my love life, I do not feel comfortable exposing too much about my relationship on social media but tonight I decided to make an exception. When I first met this guy, I was 17 and he was two years older than me, but we have known each other a year before that. Since then, we have built a friendship and a relationship between us, and had gone through countless obstacles to get to where we are today. So now, I am happy to say that I am currently with a man whom I called my best friend and lover.

However, to say that I have the answer to all my prayers now is not precise. We plan but He plans too. No matter how deep my love is towards him, I cannot say that he is the one until the day comes when both of us are ready to complete our journey together as husband and wife. I will never know but I can pray for the best. In a meantime – I'll wait.

I hope someday I will get a chance to experience my perfect sunset with the love of my life. For my readers, I ask for your du'a. May Allah ease everything for both of us.

In return,
jazakumullah khayr.

Friday, July 7, 2017

The Best Ramadhan

If last year I shared with you my Ramadhan story, this year I'd like to do the same thing too but only this time it would be about my experience from few years back. It was the most memorable and precious Ramadhan ever in my life. Even to this day, I can still reminisce the moment and remember the feeling vividly.

Ahh..I will never forget.

Allow me to take you back to 5 years ago, 2012.

It was my first experience celebrating Ramadhan in a foreign country. With no familiar faces or any relatives around me, I had to learn to live independently. To be honest, I was already emotionally unstable because of the situation I was in. Adding to that, having to break my fast alone was already too much for me. Unlike other Malaysian students, I lived with local and foreign housemates who were Non-Muslims and Non-Malaysians. So everyday during Ramadhan, I would have my sahur alone in my room because I didn't want to wake them up at night.

A few of my Malaysian friends who lived nearby were the ones who would accompany me to the Multifaith Centre for taraweeh. At the beginning of Ramadhan, I was feeling melancholy and I still remember I cried so hard during my first taraweeh prayer. The faces of my parents and siblings were flashing through my mind. Thinking of how far I was from them made me even sad than I already was. But everything happens for a reason – little did I know that it would be the best Ramadhan in my life!

That Ramadhan I spent the whole month doing good things. I read the Qur'an and did the Sunnah prayers almost every night. It was a total different experience for me. Forgive me if I sound like bragging. I don't mean to. There is something about living alone in a different country that makes you feel small, drawing you closer to The One who created you. That feeling is the kind of feeling that I'm missing now. If I could turn back time and show you the whole thing with your own eyes, I would.

One day, my friend and I went to a mosque located about 25 to 30 minutes from where I lived. It was near the city. We had our taraweeh there. Never in my 19 years of praying taraweeh during Ramadhan I cried because of the Surah recited by the Imaam. I had never read the meaning of the Surah he recited that night. But I felt khusyu' in my prayer and that was the most beautiful night of Ramadhan ever. It was as if I could understand the meaning of the Surah. Subhanallah. That Ramadhan too was the Ramadhan where I was eagerly looking forward to Laylatul Qadr and I gave my very best to pray the Sunnah prayers at night. I went to sleep as early as I could and woke up in the middle of the night. By Allah's will, I could wake up without feeling tired or being forced. It was so easy. Unlike these days – I miss those days.

To summarise my Ramadhan experience from 5 years ago, not only it was the best but that Ramadhan cured my pain and sadness. That Ramadhan changed me from the inside, providing me some inner peace in my heart. I became a calmer person. It gave me a new meaning of life and that journey had changed the way I look at obstacles and challenges as rizq and opportunities. That was when I started to embrace life and appreciate every second I had. If I could relive that moment, I would do it so that I could be that person again. I was really in love with my ibadah – be it obligatory or Sunnah prayers. And I miss that.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Turning 53!

My old man is turning 53 today!

Alhamdulillah. Everything went well tonight. We had a chance to celebrate his birthday at Todak. Yes, all 5 of us including another three – my younger brother's friends from Iraq and Korea, and our cousin. It's not like every year we get to celebrate our father's birthday together. So this year is a true blessing.

If you're a good stalker, you would notice that I have always been a private person when it comes to my personal life. So this time I'm sharing you a photo of my parents together during their recent visit to Jerusalem on March.

Earlier today we celebrated his birthday at the office. We bought a durian cake – since he's a fan of durian – and gave him his presents! I'm thankful for this opportunity to celebrate his birthday together as a family before my younger sister's big day on September. Insha'Allah.

So on this meaningful day, I pray that may Allah increase him in health, wealth and imaan, and grant him the highest place in Jannah. With all the good deeds he has done in this world, may Allah remove all of his sins and grant him the happiness he deserves.  May Allah keep the love in our family. Allahumma amin.

I Miss Her

I miss this girl.

She used to be happy in her own way, positive in life, optimist about her future, calm and strong when facing obstacles and challenges. Sadly, I am not that girl anymore. For those of you who wonder what exactly happened that causes me to decide to be away from social media – the main reason is because I am not happy with myself now. My issue is body weight and it has always been my longtime battle in life.

When I was at the happiest phase in life, I promised myself not to repeat the way I used to live before – eating too much of fast food, avoiding my friends because I didn't feel comfortable meeting them, listening to sad songs all day long etc. Unfortunately, I forgot my promise and it led me to where I am now – in an unhappy state. I've tried to lift myself up again but it didn't take long before I decided to give up. I have lost my inner strength. Or maybe I still have it in there – but it decreases.

Before I became this anxious, I didn't even care about what people think about me. I would shut my ears and live my life the way I pleased. But these days, life seems to be far more challenging than I can possibly endure. I've becoming more aware of public perceptions toward me. It reaches to a point where I'm too scared to read my followers' comments about my physique on social media. Worse – sometimes I would cry myself to sleep at night.

There are some parts of my life that I'm thankful for the blessings I've received. These blessings keep me going. But as a human being, I'm vulnerable too. There are times when I feel like I'm too weak to go through life. Moments where I feel like I'm not good enough.

I know I have to start somewhere to help myself. So I decided to find the cause of my negative thoughts. I realised that all these are coming from social media. I cannot love myself by comparing my physical look to other people. I cannot love my uniqueness by competing with other girls' uniqueness. I have to stop competing and ‘being’ them. I need to appreciate myself and value my uniqueness. Maybe from this post, you will begin to understand what I meant by ‘not healthy’ on my previous posts.

Maybe this could be the start of something good in my life. Insha'Allah. In fact, I have always missed writing in this blog. As a note for myself and for everyone who reads this, embrace your uniqueness!

Good night.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Qinqin is Engaged!

Surprise! Surprise!

I still can't believe that my darling Syiqin is now someone's fiance. A couple of years ago when my friend, Rafidah, got married the rest of us had no clue when our turn would come. Syiqin was one of us who thought that we would be the last one on the list to get hitched. But finally, her jodoh came early than expected.

It's amazing how Allah works His wonders, isn't it? You may be feeling like you're not ready yet but suddenly someone knocks on your door to propose. This year I have witnessed many love stories – from someone who just broke up with her former boyfriend then met a sincere man to marry her, to someone who had been single for years then met her soon-to-be husband, to someone who is about to marry her longtime boyfriend. Each of them had to go through tough times before experiencing the happiest moment of their lives.

It brings me to a verse in the Qur'an in which Allah says,

For indeed, with hardship (will be) ease. Indeed, with hardship (will be) ease.
Surah Al-Insyirah 5-6

I'm so happy for Syiqin. She has finally found the man of her dreams! One night we had a group conversation talking about how fast time brought us to this day. We used to talk about puppy love but now – now we talk about marriage and children. I still can't believe it. I wonder what would it be like when we turn 30?

I'm glad to be a part of this friendship. To collect precious memories together is a privilege. One year spent with these girls in high school was filled with joy and excitement. And I can't wait to collect more memories with them, insha'Allah.

For us who are still waiting for our big day to come, I pray that may Allah grant us a pious, loving and caring spouse. May He ease everything for us.

To my beautiful Syiqin,
May happiness and love stick with you until the end of time. We love you!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Time Out

So this is going to be a long entry but please bear with me. After days (and months I think) of thinking, I have finally decided to be away from social media except my blog and Twitter.

The past few years since the year I graduated have been a roller coaster ride for me. It's funny for a person who would always remind one another to stay positive has to make such decision to remain optimist again. To be honest, it has never been easy for me. With so many things on my plate, I need to find balance in my life again. This is never new to me because I had gone through the same thing too before.

As much fun as social media can give, it can also be a scary place to stay. Being a public figure that I am now, never once I thought I would be needing time to refresh myself from the toxic the social media gave me.

I hate to admit it but that's the ugly truth.

It was fun when it all started. From taking #OOTD (outfit of the day) photos to scenic view, editing it, to deleting the photos because it doesn't go well with the feed and many more. I began Instagram-ing when I was still in my overweight state. At that time, I had no idea that my Instagram would be the way it is now. With thousands followers following me, I can feel the pressure. The social pressure is real and it's just too much for me to handle. People wanting to see more of you, admiring you, and you starting to think that you've done a good job by inspiring others but the truth is..not everyone likes you. Then comes the evil eye and you start to feel like you're not good enough. Before you knew it, you have changed a lot from who you were before.

I have had moments in my life where I went through some big changes in life. I was happy and overweight, sad and overweight, then I changed to a completely different person, happy and healthy to now being a happy-sad overweight person. In the midst of handling the pressure of looking good and trying to keep up with everyone else, I have lost myself. I no longer feel the fun and enjoyment of taking photos. Even if I did, it was no longer because of passion.

I remember one day, a young girl came to me and asked a question that left me thinking for days. The question was — how did you manage to get thousands of followers? Not worrying about her disappointing examination results, she even mentioned about being famous and tried so hard to take selfies. I was shocked. It bothered me to a point where I question myself what kind of influencer I am? From the first day I started blogging, my aim has always been to inspire young girls to become a woman with beauty and brain. A highly intellectual woman is in top notch, beauty is a bonus. In my younger days, I was challenged by my father because I was too feminine and into fashion but my school performance was not something to be proud of. I wanted to change that and prove that there is nothing wrong on being beautiful, stylish and intelligent. A woman with a desire to look beautiful can also be a genius. But that day – that day I really felt like a failure.

To be looked up to as a woman who inspires young girls to be famous by posting tons of selfies on social media is the total opposite of my aim. An ‘achievement’ that I am not proud of. It's not healthy for them, just as much as it's not healthy for me. I'm starting to realise that these young girls are no longer looking at the value of being smart as the main ambition to achieve in life but famous and popularity. Knowing that I've been looked up to because of my popularity is sick. Hence, the reason why I decided to be away from social media.

You can have thousands or millions of followers, but that doesn't mean the whole thousands or millions are a fan of yours. Some people will follow you just to see how you're doing in life while some are just waiting for your downfall. When I was in Australia, I was surrounded by positive people. At that time, I thought it was impossible for people to dislike me because I didn't do anything wrong to anyone. But as time goes by, I've learned that even if you have never done anything wrong to anyone, there are those whose hearts are filled with jealousy and enviness.

I feel sorry for the pressure that our young girls feel these days. Seeing other ‘perfect’ girls flaunting their beauties, showing off their skills on wearing makeup (for example) and exposing too much of their bodies on social media will only create more self-confidence issue among those who are considered as ‘the ugly duckling’. There will be more of unhealthy competitions among them. No doubt that the number of depressed young girls is increasing. These girls can be so much more than just a person who tries to get noticed by the public. There are far more valuable things in life that you can achieve other than trying to gain attention. Unfortunately, it's not healthy.

I don't have better ways or words to express my thoughts and concern on this. But I believe in order to change people, I have to change myself first. Just like I said earlier, I'm fighting my own battle. By giving myself some space to heal, I can slowly regain my self-esteem. Hopefully, insha'Allah.

Now I understand more about humbleness. You can have everything for now but Allah can take it back in a split second. So if you're going through the best time of your life, remember to always remain humble.

Before I put an end to this post, I'd like to sincerely apologise for all of my wrongdoings. May Allah ease this trial for me. As for now, I will share more updates in my blog and Twitter. Insha'Allah.

Selamat Hari Raya Maaf Zahir and Batin.