JOURNEY

1:48:00 PM

On 11th April 2009, I wrote my first post here on my blog. Yes, it was the 10th year anniversary on my blog. 10 YEARS! Yay, all praises to the Almighty. Alhamdulillah.

Actually, I had a lot of plans to update my blog recently. Even on the exact anniversary date, I had planned a post to write. I've been reading some of my oldest blog posts in March just before I published my 2 previous posts, trying to connect the themes of the past posts with the present. I mentioned this in my post "knots". I even wrote down all of my ideas in about 11 pages in my notebook with the title of the posts and the contents as well as linking every post back to my older posts. I have about 30 different posts that I intended to blog about in April and May. Again, we can only plan. But ever since my first proper blog post this year, REBORN, my life journey has taken so many unexpected twists and turns within such a short space of time.

Journey.
Reflect.
A reflection of our journey.
Reflecting on our life.
What we have gone through, how we have grown,
the choices that we have made, where life has brought us to,
all of the signs in life that we have chosen to ignore,
the countless reminders that we choose to put a blind eye to?
Self-growth, improvement, maturity, self-development, self-reflection.
The ease, the blessings, the trials and tribulations.
Those things, the good and the bad, makes us who we are.
There are always two sides of the story. And sometimes, even more.
You can go through the most beautiful moment in your life, but there will be challenges along the way. And vice versa, you can go through the most difficult moments in your life, but there will be snippets of joy or the happiest moments in between.
Despite the pain, there is joy if you only look around.
Life is a journey, they say.
So, I have to remind myself to trust and embrace it.
Find joy in the journey.
The story behind this photo?
I was on a train ride from a country that I have never been to,
to another country that I have also never been to in March.
It was an unplanned, spontaneous, random last minute trip that my husband brought me to.
I was in a lot of pain but in terms of mobility I was much better after umrah in February.
At the same time I was extremely happy to travel despite my illnesses, conditions and limitations.
I was so happy.
It might not look like I was giving out the biggest smile in this photo but I was in the most happiest state.
"Life is a journey that must be travelled, no matter how bad the roads and accommodations.
-Oliver Goldsmith-

When I wrote REBORN I was just so optimistic, so excited, so full of hope. My health has been going up and down even more so since mid last year but in March it got better. The pain has always been there but in terms of mobility I was able to use less of the wheelchair and that is amazing that I could travel considering how I needed the wheelchair to move about for 4 months last year and then again from January till February this year. In March I only had to use the wheelhchair a few times when it was long distance and too painful for me to walk. So, I felt like I had my mobility back. Of course, not like before but at least I was able to reduce reliance on the wheelchair. That made me brave enough to share here on the blog what I've been dealing with and how I was actually on the wheelchair to move around. Because I thought I had passed that stage of needing it every single time I need to go out of the house, to the hospital or even just a trip to the grocery store. Never would I have thought that I would need it again after that. Especially, not so soon after.

"The strongest people are not those who show strength in front of us
but those who win battles we know nothing about."

This was my first time at a place or country that I have always dreamt of going since I was a teenager.
It was a dream come true for me but not quite how I imagined it.
It was impromptu and spontaneous.
I did not imagine that I would be here especially more so while facing health challenges.
But despite those challenges, I still managed to come here and live the dream.
All praised to the Almighty for bringing me joy through my trials.
It is true, as He mentioned in the Quran "with hardship there is ease".
I came back to work on the 1st week of April. Full of joy, full of excitement, full of energy and I would say I was experiencing a little bliss. Of course my full energy is not like a normal person's energy. I am dealing with chronic illnesses and auto-immune diseases so when I say I was full of energy, it simply means that just by being able to go to the office, having discussions and meetings are all major achievements by my current standards. It was not like last time. Not even like last year when I was able to travel to Dubai, London, Dubai again and India every other month and working constantly from morning to night in between. Now, in between discussions and meetings, I will have to lie down on the sofa because my body just cannot take it. That was first week of work, I was happy that I only needed the walking stick to move around from my office to the meeting rooms, or to the surau or washroom. I don't go out for lunch, I just bring lunch from home or order when I went to the office because even me going to the surau, meeting rooms, or washroom was a struggle and took a lot of effort. But all in all, I was happy. But by mid week during the first week, my body got worse. I could feel more pain than before.

By the second week of April, I was back in the wheelchair and that was made worse by the doctors making further new discoveries of my health condition. On Monday 8th April, I was diagnosed with another autoimmune disease. Maybe I will share about it in another post when I'm ready but when I found out I didn't really digest it and after the diagnosis on the same day itself I went to the office. On Wednesday, 10th April, my condition was confirmed even further by a rheumatologist and it was just a mix of emotions. This was just the day before 11th April that I had planned to write an anniversary post for my blog. Facing these hardships, I decided to put on hold the anniversary posts and all other posts that I planned. On Friday 12th April, I went to the rehearsal for a talk that I gave on Saturday the following day to a live audience as well as recorded for television. I couldn't walk so I had to use the wheelchair. And I've been back on it since then till now. Despite that, I was proud that I managed to deliver the talk to the public for the first time in a long while, even in this worsening condition.

On the third week of April, I had to deal with some very life-changing news both regarding my health and my work and in the final week of April, my body has just been in so much pain that I am just holding on, until now. 

So many things can happen in 10 years, so many things can happen in a year and actually even more things can happen in just a month. I am dealing with lots of pain, disability, new limitations and different types of treatments due to my health condition. But I'm coping. This is all part of the journey of life that each of us go through. I am summarising my April because to me it's just amazing how things can quickly change. In the past, I used to wait until things are over before sharing. I wanted for things to improve or get better so that I can analyse and reflect on the events before I share them. But now, I realise that its okay to share things as they happen. All of my feelings, thoughts and emotions throughout the entire process of the journey are valid, whether they are happy or sad or angry, or in denial or being grateful or being doubtful, each emotion is valid.

I remember when I was younger my father reminded me a few times, it is not about the destination but its the journey that is important. I think it is this quote: "Life is a journey, not a destination" by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Something like that. It never really connected with me at the time, but I think I get it now.

Reading my own post REBORN, honestly I can't even remember experiencing my thoughts and feelings at that time because right after that I was going through major life-changing moments one after the other. I am so so glad I wrote that post because some of the things that I wanted to write in this post is actually similar and the thing is when I read that post it became a source of comfort to myself now that I'm going through multiple challenges with my life, at the moment, I was able to be positive and be patient, and that reminded me that I need to do so again now.

Looking at the bright side I am truly thankful for my blog, for capturing and reminding me of my thoughts and feelings at a certain point in time that can seem so, so long ago. Of course, my journey in life has given me the good with the bad. I have been blessed with many blessings by the Almighty, and I have also been tested with many trials to balance it out. 

It is like the time when I was so ,so happy in March and early April, that I even mentioned it to a few people how ironic it is that I feel so truly happy even though my body is sick and ill and I'm so grateful for life's blessings despite my illnesses. I experienced this a number of times in February and in March. And then, just when I was looking up, life hits again and I was slapped with one life-changing news after the other that affects my whole freaking life.

Sometimes the blessings and joy come right before my world comes crumbling down. Sometimes it is the reverse, having feeling like there's no way out when something comes that reminds me of His blessings and infinite Mercy. 

If you have watched Avengers : Endgame, I remember a scene that relates to the above and it is so relatable to me right now. When the heroes thought they had achieved their objective, and there was that few seconds of total silent bliss and happiness just before it all goes tumbling down. And there was also that scene where Captain America stood up with all hope lost, before help arrived in unexpected ways. 

At this very moment, I am going through a tunnel of pain and uncertainty and difficulty where the end cannot yet be seen. I have come to realise that it is okay to feel this way. To go and accept this emotion. To let myself feel and grieve. And that is currently where I am. To embrace the things I can no longer do, or am unable to do at the moment. Even blogging needs a tremendous amount of focus and energy that I am sometimes unable to give due to my condition. I have learned to accept to let it go. If I can't do it, I can't do it. If I can, then its a bonus and a blessing that I will not take for granted.

In April, life has been even more tough, but that was not the case in February and March. I went on several physical journeys  - to heal my soul, my body and my mind, in some places where I have never been and had longed to go to. A journey that I managed to capture my smiles and happiness, but of course I did not capture the unbearable physical pain I had to endure constantly in order to capture those few seconds of smiles and happiness.  

A lucky shot of me smiling on a sunny day in a country that I have never been to before. 
The sun always rises every day, and sets down every evening to be replaced by night. 
And so is our life. 
There are ups and downs, happy moments and sad ones. 
Unexpected blessings and unexpected challenges. 
Just because we choose what we want to share, 
it does not mean that we do not experience the other. 
Just because I am smiling though, 
it does not mean that I am not in pain. 
And just because I am in pain, 
it does not mean that I do not smile and appreciate the blessings in life that I have been granted with. 
Most of our life's important happiest and unhappiest moments cannot captured or shared or are not shared. Most of what people share are the things that happen in-between.

Resting after a long journey.
This was a very last-minute and spontaneous trip.
I was so happy and anxious and was busy with planning and packing that I couldn't sleep the night before. I had always wanted to wear this dress since it was released last year, but could not find the right time or opportunity to wear it (especially when I was on the wheelchair) so I decided to wear this dress throughout my 13 hour flight. And since I didn't sleep the night before, I had to wear my sunnies to cover my eyes.

It was exhausting. It was tiring. It was painful. But it was extremely beautiful.
I'm glad I fought through the pain. I'm glad I went.
To experience new things and countries and emotions.
It was definitely worth the pain, definitely worth it.

Even taking just that microscopic view of a few months can reveal the twists and turns of life's journey that I could never expect, what more by looking back at my journey for the past 10 years, or for my entire life. All I can say is that it's really been one heck of a ride  since my first post 10 years ago here on my blog. This blog has also brought me comfort, it has brought me to places that I never imagined or dreamed of going, it has built some relationships, as well as brought me opportunities that I never ever have dreamed of. 

Reading that first post and reminded of my intention when I started this blog, I hope this serves as a reminder to myself to frequently update my blog more often as I possibly can, so I can look back at the snapshots of my emotions and feelings at that given time, and I hope for consistency, strength and health to continue to blog for the next ten years and more! In the meantime, I'm sharing some photos of my recent journeys that I hope to blog about one day!

To every single one of you who has read my blog over the past 10 years, thank you for being on this journey with me. MUCH LOVE to all of you.

It's Ramadhan tomorrow here in Malaysia and I take this opportunity to also wish everyone a blessed Ramadhan. May Allah bless you with patience, perseverance and strength to go through this month and gain a lot of blessings, rewards and forgiveness throughout.

With that I end my post with a short supplication to be recited when waking up every single day. May we always be reminded.

"Praise is to Allah Who gives us life after He has caused us to die and to Him is the return"

الْحَمْدُ للهِ الَّذِي أَحْيَانَا بَعْدَ مَا أَمَاتَنَا وَإِلَيْهِ النُّشُورُ

Alhamdu lillaahil-lathee 'ahyaanaa ba'da maa 'amaatanaa wa'ilayhin-nushoor



Al-Bukhari, cf. Al-Asqalani, Fathul-Bari 11/113; Muslim 4/2083

So life is indeed a journey. But beyond the journey, we have our ultimate JOURNEY, DESTINATION and PURPOSE. Beyond this temporary life. To live. and die. and one day to RETURN to our Creator. Like Ironman says, "Part of the journey is the end." 

May we all have a beautiful end to our journey. Amin.

PEACE & LOVE

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2 comments

  1. Sending virtual love and hugs ♥️♥️♥️ Ramadan Kareem! May Allah SWT grant you syifa' and ease your journey. Aamiin ♥️ Love, Sofya

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nadia, I wish you speed recovery ya! Stay strong!!!

    ReplyDelete

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