Rise like a Phoenix

“𝐓𝐨 𝐫𝐢𝐬𝐞 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞 𝐚 𝐩𝐡𝐨𝐞𝐧𝐢𝐱 𝐟𝐫𝐨𝐦 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐚𝐬𝐡𝐞𝐬 𝐦𝐞𝐚𝐧𝐬 𝐭𝐨 𝐞𝐦𝐞𝐫𝐠𝐞 𝐟𝐫𝐨𝐦 𝐚 𝐜𝐚𝐭𝐚𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐨𝐩𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐨𝐧𝐠𝐞𝐫, 𝐬𝐦𝐚𝐫𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐦𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐩𝐨𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐟𝐮𝐥.”⁣⁣

Sometimes we have to burn and turn our egos to dust. We have to suffer the worst types of pain and humiliation, often caused by the people we love and those who claim to love us. ⁣

This is often a reminder from God that we need to reinvent ourselves. We need to depend only on Him and let go of our unrealistic hopes and expectations from people. ⁣

So here I go again on my own, with my people on the sidelines, cheering me on as I strive once again to be the best version of myself that I can possible be. The kind of person that He intended for me to be.⁣


It creeps up and hits hard where it hurts

I find myself going from smiling to sobbing in zero seconds flat

I have been depressed before but it’s different this time

This time it seems like the tunnel will never end

The break of dawn seems like a delusional concept

I want to run away, from everyone and everything

I want to keep running until I leave this pain behind

All attachment seems like shackles

I don’t want to die though

I know I am needed and to some extent even loved

I know I can’t stay away from my kids for long

Eventually I will run back to them

But for now I just want to run away

I want to get lost in the hope of finding myself

I Prayed to God

I prayed to God.

I prayed for another baby.

A little baby girl.

But only if having her would be good for my own and my husband’s life in this world and the hereafter.

When we found out we were in fact having a baby girl we were over the moon with happiness.

He answered my prayers exactly.

He gave me a very precious little girl.

Someone so special that she would take me and husband both to paradise.

She is His way of telling us that we are good people and He is making attainment of Heaven easy for us.

There will be tough days, days when people will stare and say inappropriate cruel things.

There might be days when she will be aggressive and maybe hit us or others around her.

There will be days when her siblings want our attention but she has it all.

There will be days when I will wonder if I can in fact raise someone so special in addition to my boys.

There will be days when I will struggle with mom guilt and self-worth issues.

Those are the days when I will pray extra hard.

I will ask for strength, patience and sheer will-power to make it through the day.

I will tell myself that if He brought me to it, He will get me through it.

Then I will get up and do what needs to be done.

I will make things happen and I will make this work!

I will rock this and inspire others and make them wish they had an Amal in their lives.


The Best Day of My Life

I wake up to the sound of birds chirping outside my window

I smell the scent of my baby sleeping next to me

I see the flowers on my dressing and they make me smile

I drink my morning tea in bed and plan my day

I talk to my brother and he makes me laugh at the silly things happening back home

I play with my children and my little one gives me his five signature kisses and tells me he loves me

I hug them and hold them close

We play plants vs. zombies and I play the zombie like always

We take out the kiddie pool in our garden and have a water fight, me, him and our kids

The evening is spent having tea and snacks with our close friends and family with heartwarming yet laughter inducing discussions, we laugh until we snort out our tea and our sides hurt

The night is spent lounging around in our PJs, reading books and drinking tea 

How it Feels…

It gets overwhelming sometimes.

The depression sets in and starts to suffocate.

I feel the prick of tears at the back of my eyes, it stings.

I take deep calming breaths, just like they say you should.

Doesn’t really help because I’m drowning as I breathe in as well.

I recall all the verses I can and start reciting them, repeatedly, desperately, pleadingly.

Then I take some more deep breaths and start pacing wherever I am, hoping it will help.

Finally I remind myself as I often have to do, to take it one day at a time, one hour at a time, one minute at a time and sometimes even a few seconds at a time.

This too shall pass…..

Drowning In Pain Picture Quotes. QuotesGram

The Incomplete Woman

She was lying in the labor room of a government hospital as she saw a drug called methotrexate slowly drip into her body to kill off her unborn baby before it could rupture her tube, killing her. All around her doctors were examining women about to go into the delivery room, in different stages of labor. They were yelling at them to relax as they checked their vaginas to see how far their labor had progressed. She was all alone in the hospital and her worried husband was trying to sleep in the car. This is the point in time when the doctor decided to give her a lecture on respecting her spouse and referring to him as ‘so rahe hain’ instead of ‘so raha hai’. Her husband preferred her referring to him informally instead of using words like ‘aap’ or ‘woh’ as is considered more culturally appropriate.

She was in one of the rooms that are assigned to new moms once they give birth. She had just had surgery to remove a ruptured egg from one of her tubes. The nurse came to check on her in the morning and congratulated her and her husband on the arrival of their new baby. She turned to the would-be father and said. “Ye bachay ke mamoo hain?” She was trying to identify who to ask for money on the new baby’s arrival.

She was sitting at a dinner party where all the other women present were mothers. She was outnumbered at least 4 to 1 and had no choice but to sit and listen as the women around her talked about their children and their varying stages of development. They discussed the pros and cons of different types of feeding, their sleep habits and everything else under the sun. Normally she would have joined in and shared her experience of her siblings’ kids and her friends’ kids but not today. She just didn’t have the energy and she was feeling too triggered so she went and started playing with the children they were talking about instead.

She was in the baby section of a store looking at all the cute little things she might never get a chance to buy for her own little one. Her colleague looked at her worriedly as she asked for her opinion on something that she was thinking of buying for their co-worker’s baby shower. She felt tears forming in her eyes as she looked at all the baby related things around her. She wondered if she would ever look at baby related paraphernalia without her heart feeling like it had turned to ice and broken into a million pieces.

She had just returned from a visit to the doctor and he told her to get an ultrasound to see if the baby had a heartbeat and to come back to him immediately if it didn’t. She went back home, sat on the prayer mat and cried, beseeching Him not to take her baby away again. She couldn’t be pregnant a third time just to lose another precious unborn child. The next day she went into a full day managers’ meeting, the whole time worrying about how she would hold it together and not start crying until the ultrasound appointment.  

She was or rather is me. Her experiences are nothing compared to the kind of horrors and turmoil almost all women who are not able to conceive face. These incidents may seem small and insignificant in the bigger scheme of things, but they are were hurtful and triggering. I remember that time, when I felt inadequate and incomplete. When I felt that my happiness or rather my very existence in this world was worthless,, perhaps meaningless without a child.

Whenever I find myself thinking about these incidents, especially the first one, I relive the trauma of it all over again. I feel the same pain and sense of loss that I felt on that day, which is why I will say that she is still inside me somewhere. That scared, traumatized young girl still sits somewhere inside me, making me feel inadequate as a mother and as a woman.

Quotes - As the heart heals
Photo Credits: #astheheartheals

The Power of Words

We all use them
In speech or in writing
Sometimes we seem to forget their power
We fail to see them igniting and inciting

They can be healing
They can also be hurtful
We need to decide how to use them
To lift others up but never to make them miserable

Once spoken can never be taken back
The gash we cause can become a scar
These scars aren’t just skin deep
They burn the heart and make the soul char

They don’t have to be abusive
Sometimes good words can be used badly
They right compliment at the wrong time
The correction of a mistake publicly

The weapon we use the most
To cause the deepest wound
The ones we could use to heal
But instead we use to bully around

Someone used them to humiliate me
To break me down and debase me
I decided to use better words to rebuild myself
To tell myself that person doesn’t even know me

Please I beg you; I implore you
Use them carefully and cautiously
Think before you choose and use them repeatedly
You never know how they affect someone’s integrity

Lyrics from a Cher Song:
Day 16


Watch Your Words

This piece is based on the real life experience of someone very close to me and has been shared with her approval.

It had taken a lot of strength and courage on my part to attend my friends baby shower. I had pushed myself mentally, physically and emotionally to be there for her. I was struggling after another miscarriage and I had battled my depression by taking extra good care of myself.

I had hoped that looking good on the outside would help me feel less broken on the inside. I had worn a black dress with a red belt, red shoes and red lipstick and I knew I looked good. Good enough to make people turn their heads and look at me when I entered the event.

I was sitting with my daughter trying to appear calm and put together when I noticed two women looking at me and whispering to each other. I just smiled at them and continued to mind my own business. One of them decided to engage with me then and the words she said albeit unintentionally triggered my anxiety in the worst possible way.

“We were just admiring your figure. Is that the reason why you have decided not to have more children? To maintain your perfect figure?” One of them asked me with a smile, acting like she had just paid me the highest possible compliment.

I felt cold fingers grasp my heart and squeeze it hard and I felt a lump form in my throat but I managed to take a deep breath and appear outwardly calm. The hostess was well aware of the ordeal I had been through and she looked at me with concern in her eyes.

“I recently had a miscarriage, again.” That was all I could say to them before I got up and went into the bathroom to take some deep breaths and calm myself. I did not want to cry and create a scene but I was hurting and I wondered why people can’t be more selective and sensitive with their words.

If an aunty had done something like this, I might have been able to excuse their behavior thinking they are old and set in their ways but young girls these days are much meaner and more brutal. I found myself wondering when people would learn to choose their words more carefully.

Will there ever be a day when people will learn not to comment on things that don’t concern them at all? Someone’s weight, height, skin color, skin problems, marital status, employment status, pregnancy status, etc. are not matters that should concern other people. When will we learn that discussions can be non-personal and still engaging and that it is not okay to meddle in another person’s business?

You don’t know whose feelings you are hurting with your carelessly dropped words and whose anxiety you are triggering with your lack of self-control. Watch your words and show some sensitivity because what goes around comes around and no one likes it when it does.


She Said

He had gone too far this time and he would suffer the consequences now. I rang the doorbell of his apartment and his sister opened the door. She led me to the drawing room since I had asked to speak to his mother.

“Assalamualiekum Aunty.” I greeted her when she entered the room. “Aunty mujhe aap se aik bohat zaroori baat karni hai.” I told his mother with my arms crossed over my chest.

“Bolo, kya baat hai?” She asked me a little taken aback. We lived in the same building but we rarely interacted. She seemed like decent educated person so I decided to come and talk to her instead of creating a scene in the complex.

“Aunty aap please Zubair ko samjhaein. Pehlay woh complex ki larkiyon ko sirf comments marta tha aur ajeeb baatein kasta tha lekin ab wo hadd paar kar raha hai.” I told her so that she could talk sense into her son.

“Kya matlab hai tumara? Kya kar raha hai mera beta? Woh to itna shareef hai. Wo to complex ki sub larkiyon ko apni behan samajhta hai aur unko aankh uth kar bhi nahin dekhta. Poora muhalla gawahi deta hai meray betay ki sharafat ki.” She told me getting aggressive.

“Aapke shareef betay ne bohat dafa aap hi ki shareef beti ke haath mujhe apna number aur phool aur khat bhaijay hain. Usko bula lar pooch lein aap khud ke kitna shareef hai aapka beta.” I told her to pop her delusional bubble.

“Bakwas nahin karo meray saamne. Mera beta kabhi aisa kar hi nahin sakta aur apni behan ko to kabhi bhi is kaam ke liye istemaal nahin kar sakta woh. Tum pagal to nahin ho?” She asked me then to gaslight me and turn this around on me somehow.

“Jee aunty, aap ka beta apnay ghar mein bohat shareef hoga ishi liye mein aapke paas aye hoon aap ki galat fehmi door karne. Lekin aainda mein aapke paas nahin aoongi aur wahin usko zaleel karke chali jaoon gi. Mein chahti hoon ke aap khud usko samjha dein taake koi yeh na kahe ke aapka beta aur aapki beti ka bhai ghatiya insaan hai.” I told her to let her know that I had come to her out of concern for her dignity and her daughter’s reputation.

“Jao jao, bari ayee meray betay ko zaleel karne wali. Khud ko dekha hai, aadha larka lagti hoon in chhote baalon aur larkon wale kapron mein. Larka samajh kar haath laga dya hoga us ne. Tum to galay hi par gayee ho. Tum jaisee to hazaron uske aagay peechay ghoomti hain. Aaj kal ki larkiyon ka to kaam hi yehi hai. Larke ne abhi thori si lift kya karadi, harassment ka ilzaam le kar aa jati hain, tum jaisee awara larkiyan.” She told me as I stared at her words and thoughts in shock and disgust.

I finally understood why he acted the way he did and why his sister was not allowed to wear anything other than a burqa when she left the house. Why he threatened to kill any guy he suspected of looking at her while he openly commented on and even groped girls in the same building.

I felt tears come into my eyes at the insults she had just thrown at me but I could not cry here or now.

“Aunty mein dua karooongi ke aapki beti to bilkul aapke betay jaisa shohar mile.” I turned around and left the room after saying my piece.

When would women stop protecting men who are harassers and abusers of other women? Why do we always blame and shame the victim in such situations? When will people learn to teach their boys the concept of consent and that women are not objects for gratification? When I see and hear instances like this being played on our social media and being acted out around is when I feel a deep sense of hopelessness but then I tell myself I will teach my children better. That brings my hope back.

I See You

The first time I saw her she was standing in the corner of my room, staring at me. I had entered the room before my husband to inspect it. He had just bought the house and he had brought me over to see it as a surprise. I had recently had our second baby and this was his present to me, he believed in grand gestures.

I tried talking to her but she didn’t respond, she just kept staring back at me with her head slightly tilted and her long flowing black hair hanging around her body down till her hips. She had long bruise on her neck but while I could not figure out its probable cause though I could perhaps make a calculated guess.  

Assalamualiekum. Are you the caretaker’s wife? This is a lovely house, thank you for taking such good care of it.” I told her with a smile to put her at ease, trying to coax a response from her.

Armaan entered the room then and looked at me like I had lost my mind.

“Who are you talking to jaan?” He asked me with a worried look in his eyes.

“Who is that girl standing there in the corner? Does she live her?” I asked him, still looking at her.

“What girl? Who are you talking about Sairah? There is no one there.” He told me. “Do you like this room? I think this will be the perfect room for us.” He told me then seemingly to take my mind off this complex puzzle of a situation.

‘How can he not see her? Am I losing my mind or is he going blind?’ I thought to myself. She was still standing there looking at me blankly but her eyes seemed to flash with anger every time she looked at Armaan. 

I found myself feeling scared and reciting all the surahs and ayats I knew from the Quran hoping it would keep us safe from her if she was a bad spirit or jinn. I had complete faith in the paranormal and I intended to keep a Quran Khwani (Holy book recitation) at this place before moving in next week.

We moved into the house a week later; she was still in the room and Armaan refused to budge from his decision of making it ours. I knew he would just laugh at me and call me crazy for seeing her when no one else could so I willingly went along.

She didn’t say or do anything, just stood in a corner like a fixed piece of furniture and I became used to her being there. She would disappear sometimes, just for a while but she always came back. It was usually when I played the Quran, prayed or went for a shower. She never attempted to reach out to me in any way either.

I often wished I knew her name, I talked to her sometimes but I just called her ‘dost’ (friend). It became a habit or sorts. I would share everything with her, things that made me happy and the things that brought me pain. She became a sort of journal that I started sharing things with verbally instead of in writing. Her eyes seemed to reflect my joy when I felt happy and my agony when I felt sad.

She watched me closely, her eyes seemed to follow my every move and her being seemed to tense up and release negative energy whenever Armaan was around. She never left me alone with him, no matter what happened. Even if I prayed while he was around, she would not leave the room and it often made me wonder why.

I finally mustered the courage to look things up online to see if I could figure out her identity and her story. I had almost given up with I saw a news clipping with what appeared to be her picture.

“Woman allegedly strangled to death by husband for giving birth to girl”

I read the headline and felt tears rolling down my cheeks as I looked up at her again. My heart went out to her and I felt an overwhelming urge to hold her but how does one comfort a ghost? I finally understood the origin of the marks on her neck and I found myself struggling to breathe as I imagined what she had possibly experienced.

The incident had happened in Khalra, an area in India closest to us here in one of the recently developed phases of DHA Lahore. The news clipping dated back to 2012, around 8 years ago and she had been 30 years old then. Her husband had reportedly tortured and killed her in a fit of rage over the birth of their third female child.

 I found myself wondering why she was here in my house, so far from her own. I had always assumed that she came with the house and was maybe buried somewhere on the premises. Years of conditioning my Indian horror shows suggested that would be the case but it clearly wasn’t. Why then had she chosen this house and specifically me?

I found myself wishing there was someone I could discuss this with but there was no one I could talk to about these things without appearing to have lost my senses. I went online again to a page on Facebook which specifically discussed paranormal incidents and searched for information there.

I came across a number of women posting about an experience similar to mine and reached out to almost all of them. It came to my attention and struck me instantly that almost of them had died soon after their posts under mysterious circumstances. I reached out to their close friends and family in hopes of finding an answer. All they could tell me was that soon after they saw ‘her’ their loved ones died tragically at the hands of their own family members.

I found myself having trouble breathing and found myself unable to look at her; the probable cause of my possibly fast approaching death. I wanted to run away but how could I move out with two small children and a third one arriving soon. I felt myself panicking and feeling breathless, I was now worried that I would deliver prematurely because of the stress of the situation.

Oh God! I found myself praying for a way out of the situation. I needed answers and I knew that I could not get them from her. I prayed profusely for a miracle and for some way to be saved from what seemed to be my imminent death. She had not hurt me yet and it had been quite a few months since we moved to this place. Why hadn’t she killed me already if that is what she had wanted to do? Was she here to expedite my death? I had a hard time believing that. What was she waiting for?

I was losing my mind and I stared at her almost all night, unable to sleep. Finally slumber overtook me and I had a really bad dream. I dreamt that I had another daughter and Armaan went above and beyond his usual dose of abuse and ended up killing me. I woke up drenched in sweat and I started sobbing in agony as soon as I awakened. It seemed I had finally solved the puzzle; she had come to warn me and make an attempt at preventing my death.

I shook my head to clear my mind. Armaan wasn’t that kind of man. He would never kill me over the birth of another female child, would he? He had his heart set on a boy this time and he had been upset when I didn’t agree to an ultrasound but he would never kill me……?

I was feeling a whirlwind of emotions and so much uncertainty. I decided to talk to Armaan finally, yes, he was prone to bouts of anger and yes, he was abusive but he wouldn’t go as far as murder. Is that why she never left me alone with him? Was she scared that I would end up like her? She had always been in the room when he went into one of his abusive stupors but only her eyes changed in response. Wouldn’t or rather shouldn’t she have reacted more strongly to his actions?

What struck me next was the fact that this stranger who could not help me in anyways cared about me more than all the other people around me who possibly could.

“Samreet, will he really hurt me?” I asked her with tears running down my cheeks. “Will he kill me for giving him another daughter?” She just looked back at me the same way; her head tilted to the side but I saw one single, solitary tear run down her face.