Monday, November 17, 2008

All I wanted was the simple things...

What is the simple life? There is a song that I love by no doubt that says "All I ever wanted was the simple things, a simple kind of life. And now those simple things are simply too complicated for my life." I feel like I am living that song.

I know there is a stage where everyone wants to be a rock-star or an astronaut... You very rarely hear a young woman saying she wants to be a wife and a mother, but once you are past that I think many of us come to a place where that is all we want.

I had visions of my life when I was getting married that involved an Odyssey and 6 kids in a nice home in Denver, CO. Maybe even someplace bigger and warmer like California. I never saw us as rich, but I did think we would be comfortable with a house and a nice life. My DH was getting a PHD in Engineering after all. I saw this whole mom's night out, friends over for dinner social life I would have. I figured I would have a sewing room and I would make things for my kids. I saw myself having beautiful home-births and a husband who supported my interest in home-birthing. I thought I would home-school and have my children play sports and be involved in the local Muslim community. I thought I might even be a public speaker of some sort for Muslim women. I saw myself filling a freezer with fabulous home cooked meals so we would have wonderful family dinners even when I was busy. I thought we would take family vacations and camping trips. I envisioned a garden and canning things from it. I'm going to be honest, so don't think I'm mean or heartless here because I wouldn't trade my family for anything... If I had known what my life would be like now, I would've hitched up my jilbab and run full speed in the opposite direction.

So I am starting to wonder if I am in mourning for the loss of something that was just never mine to begin with? Am I punishing the people around me for failing to become my dream family? Is my sense of detachment coming from the feeling that this is not my life?

And the real question.... Considering that my dream life will NEVER happen now, what are my goals?

There is a sense of getting shortchanged that is hanging over my head like a black cloud. Even as I write this I am getting choked up. I'm not saying that no one would be happy with my life. Actually I'm sure there is a woman out there somewhere living my ideal life that hates it and would take mine and excel. She would not only enjoy my situation, she would thrive in it. And isn't that ironic and strange???

I'm all for the bloom where you are planted thing. But it is proving to be harder for me than it sounds. On some level, and maybe I am spoiled to some extent, I have decided that these things I want are deeper than that. They are in fact things I need. And maybe there is some truth to that. Can meeting the conditions for survival end up in fulfillment?

Imagine that I put you in a place you hate, lets say you are a summer person and I throw you in Alaska. Then I give you food and shelter, but it is also the exact opposite of what you would choose for yourself. You are a vegetarian and I give you a meat based diet. You like a small warm house I give you a spacious drafty one. You like to sew, and I give you a garage with a wood-shop. Do you think you could live your life and not just survive but be happy in it? Because I guess that is the situation I feel like I am in.


Seriously, I can take my lemons and make lemonade... But what if I don't like lemonade?


Mona said...

I love the lemonade thing! Such a good post. It really is hard sometimes, you want to say Alhamdulillah plus you feel guilty for feeling the way you do on top of it.

Surviving said...

Ohh, I feel almost exactly as you describe. I've even been thinking about that myself lately.

Hajar said...

I suppose, each one of us would go through a similar situation. Wanting to do certain things, yet having to let it all go due to commitments and such. It's not about dissatisfaction, but more of self-fulfillment. Take a breather once a while. :)

Anonymous said...

It's probably not my place to post but I happened along your blog one day and I guess I felt some sort of connection.
It is just so hard sometimes. You sound like a creative person and I think that has lots to do with it. It's hard to fit into this mainstream life. You said your huband is an engineer (most engineers don't have that creative soul thing) maybe it's hard for him to understand why life might feel very limiting or frustrating to you. But if that is the case - I get it (but I have no advice). Sometimes I'd like to live in a different city - someplace a little more hippy-ish. Buy a little house with some land, grow a garden, maybe some goats!! Ah well, thank you for your blog. Most blogs are sugar coated. I wonder if those people are really that happy. Some part of me believes they probably, but only becuase they don't think. I'd rather people think.

Hope you don't mind my comment.

Sister Noor

Anonymous said...

Ow how I do relate to what you are saying. I feel the same way most of the time... no really all of the time LOL! My life is one that people I know would love to have but I am increasingly disappointed. Not because I don't love my children and my husband but that things didn't work out the way I had planned.

I wanted to be a hippie wife living on an acre plus lot of land with some horses, goats and a homestead of sorts. Instead I live in Arizona with a pea sized back yard and a house that is just to close to my neighbors. I wanted to never work yet I get pulled into my husband business constantly due to my past business experience. My husband is more the technical one so it's automatic that I step into those shoes of running the "office".

I wanted to spend my days sewing beautiful bohemian clothes and live in my "I don't care attitude" life. Not now. Now I am constantly running with stress circling me at every corner. I wanted my kids to run around barefoot and a diaper but instead I have to conform to societies expectation.

I think that I have these expectations that are in no way realistic to what is really happening in my life now. I guess I get disappointed at the fact that my book was written long before but the pages haven't began to turn. It's as if I am living someone elses story not mine.

Sister Noor, yes it's sad to say but many blogs are sugar coated unfortunately. They seem to live this extreme perfection life with no pitfalls. I think they write what it is they WISH they lived and in actuality their lives are much more different.

It's very easy to mask your true life in this blog world not wanting to expose your faults as you may be seen as selfish and unappreciative of what God has given you in life. In fact that is not so. I think we are all appreciate of what we have it's just we feel like we are looking through someone elses lenses rather then our own.

Hang in there! We're here and can relate.


Anonymous said...


I’ve been a good reader of your blog for sometime now and I came through your bitter moments lots of times. so don't be surprised when you know that I know. I thought of writing to you so many times but I dun know. I just gave up the idea at the last minute ..May be I’m a timid person or may be I just hated to be an intruder sorta ;).so this is my first time to write here and may be my last…
One of the ladies here replied in a way which is almost identical to what I’m gonna say ..I take my hat off to this part where she mentioned that
"Engineers aren't of the creative type” consequently they can't easily slip into your dreamy world whatever effort you exerted ..BTW...I’m wife of an engineer too and I know very well how it feels like when you are creative and dreamy and your partner isn’t. Yet my partner has a long list of merits that makes me say "el hamdullelah" for the supportive kind man who gives a loving pat on the back when I needed it and regards me as a breathtaking and gorgeous lady even when I 'm wearing a messy pyjamas.. that’s more than enough for me. I decided to look at the full part of the glass after 11 years of marriage which had its ups 'n downs too..

You have been talking about the sacrifice your Dh did for his disabled sister "leaving behind everything to back her when she needed him" this sacrifice implies that a kind passionate man is lurking somewhere. You just needs to polish this tender part inside him which had faded as an outcome of his keen efforts to make you and your cute family an awesome house” instead of a trailer" and get you whatever you need before he is gone. You have mentioned in one of your posts that due to a serious illness, his days are numbered. Imagine how it feels like when you are on a death row! .If you still have an affection for the man whom you once loved and decided to make an "odyssey" with ,then its your turn to give him a pat on the back and tell him that you are there for him whatsoever instead of complaining that this is not the kind of life you once dreamt of. .I guess your problem is that you need a hug of support from someone who desperately needs it too. I don’t mean to offend you at all cuz I believe you are a good Muslim and that your Dh is so lucky to have you beside him. But I don’t want you to drown too much into “this sense of detachment” and depression cuz this way you are emptying today and tomorrow of its strength when your family needs you “desperately”.

One of the fundamental basics of Islam is “to be satisfied with whatever you have”…resentment isn’t one!.. We Muslims somehow have this” in sickness and in health” statement too. So you should learn how to enjoy a small house in Alaska if your husband can’t get you one in Florida. That’s what marriage all about. If you tell me that you feel that your husband no longer loves you , this is something to be really depressed about. but if you tell me that a sewing room or a garden is missing …then its nothing… Look at the happy side of life, and you will develop the happiness habit .

I believe so much in this" “Being happy doesn't mean that everything is perfect. It means that you've decided to look beyond the imperfections.” And I m one of those who decided to be happy whatever. God only knows how much misfortunes I have been through "its of that type when you wish you were dead so not to feel the agony”. I just don’t talk it out and people think I’m living in a magazine. May be cuz I know how to take nice family shots or cuz I just know how to look good and smile in spite of everything. May be cuz all in all it looks like the ideal kind of life you were talking about with the dinners and kids attending sports lessons ….etc. But believe me everyone has his own share of bitterness. At least I can say that mine were far more bitter than not having a garden and not agreeing on a home birth or a home schooling! . So dun worry the one talking to you is not at all spoiled though used to be so much so some 12 years ago! and still saying “al hamdullilah for everything and still feeling blessed to have her loving kind hubby and her cute kids!. .and won’t ever hitch up my jilbab and run in the other direction to avoid what I’ve been through!!

I dun know why I decided to write this time …may be cuz I felt you are in need of someone with some how a positive attitude towards life. If people around you kept telling you that you look sick you will feel sick even if you are not…got my point!!. Happiness is a state of mind..

Sorry for writing much “may be it’s the most prolonged reply you ever had” ;)) and its okay if you didn't reply to my post, its okay too if for some reason you decided to delete my post. But hope that my message reaches you some way or another.. Thanx for reading anyways..

“Someone” who has been sincerely praying for you and your family for sometime now and is an Egyptian’s wife too ;)

UmmLayla said...

Wow, so many things to respond to. Let me start by saying thanks for all your comments.

Mona, Surviving, Hajar... Thanks for the I hear you. Noor and Christine, I swear someday I would like to start a little homestead to share and we can all get together and share it taking turns being hippy homesteaders whenever we can take a few days off from mainstream society.

Anon, I wish I could tell you that what you said made me realize that I should be happy with what I have and I had never thought of it that way and I am running into the street now to do a dance of joy... However, I have thought of these things before, and I still feel the way I do. Trust me when I say that my bitterness (if it fair to call it that) runs deep and there are things I NEVER talk about even to my closest friends. I am not pulling my feelings out of a hat, and I am not afraid to say with confidence that I have a hard row to hoe (so to speak). Yes, I could work on not wallowing in it... But every so often a little honesty is like a bitter pill we all have to swallow. Trust me when I say I love my DH and he has qualities, but the way our life has worked out has left me carrying the majority of the load and some days I feel I will break under the pressure. If I didn't know that my DH was a good person at heart and I blamed him for where we are at I would be long gone. I still have a view of the door from where I stand. Anyway, I guess I want to say, thanks for your honest response. Don't be afraid to post such comments, I wouldn't put myself out there if I only wanted to hear ameen... There are journals for that;) Please feel free to speak your mind, I sure do!

April said...

Oh can I relate sister. It is easier for us to live in "our minds" for what we think should be our "ideal future", I think I set myself up for so many letdowns thinking this way. But surprisingly enough it was my dh that said to me, we need to keep living...this is what Allah has given to us...this is HIS plan for us...and he knows best....I have not always found much comfort with what he had told me...but the more I think about the tough things in this way, I found them easier to overcome and move forward positively..alhamduallah...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for replying to my post..

I didn’t mean to be judgmental coz I believe its totally unfair to judge a situation you are in unless I’m you.. And I can tell that you are not of that type who moans out of nothing ”obviously” . Apparently ,you feel so depressed and its getting worse each time .You totally have the right to scream to let the pain out. We all do that some way or another ;). But its heart breaking to see a promising soldier escaping the battlefield that soon!. “I’m typically talking like my dad now!!”lol. .. I dun know but I can hear your four cute kids saying ‘too soon to give up mama, you still have a huge mission ahead of you”. And I believe phrases like “I can relate” & “I can feel your pain ” which you hear here day ‘n night won’t help for long .“Sorry ladies” but I would rather have someone tickling me than hearing such phrases which makes me feel more into trouble!!.
Now you can run into the streets to do the dance of joy :P…LOL

May God grant you strength and may you & your wonderful family enjoy the fruits of your patience and long time endurance so soon Insha’ Allah..
Say Ameen with me 

Hope you get my msg coz as I see you already started a new post.. But I felt I owe you a reply.. Good luck with your kiddos’study center anyways:)

Okay …
Let me replace the “Anon” with a “Yomna” or “umm Seif” this time!!

I said it!!A big Sigh :)

UmmLayla said...

ASA Yomna, I always get an alert when I got a comment... SO I see them even if they are old;)

Thanks for your thoughts and your candor. I know sometimes telling another woman anything but a big sympathetic it's not your fault kinda statement is hard. But it is as needed as the the agreement.

Hope you will comment more often!!!