A Reflecting Arab Muslim Girl From Around the Corner

Friday, February 10, 2012

No next-appointment

I don’t know where to start.

I suppose a natural start will be how I started the counseling session. I told Ashley (my counselor) that there are three things that I’ve been thinking about. The first is that when I do think about him it’s because I’m reminding myself that I am not thinking of him. The second is that part of me feels sad that I no longer think about it…that I am moving away from the experience. I told her that it makes me sad because it is as if I am losing part of myself – something that was part of me for almost 11 years of my life. And last, I told her that I’m tired of being angry. I don’t want to be mean anymore. I don’t want to be angry.
The discussion that followed was enlightening and motivating.

To my first concern she said that this is a normal part of healing. She said there is a psychologist that conducted a study which asked participants to imagine there is a button that they can press…and if they press it all of their anxiety will disappear. She said most people say they do not want to press it. Moving past a journey is never easy and no one can quite explain why people experience this – it is different for different people….but what is known is that the majority of people experience this feeling.

It felt good to know this – felt good to know that many people hesitate about actually being able to ‘move on’.

I told her for me it’s as if I do not want to admit that I am moving away because then I feel it is as if I am losing part of me. That the experience is something that defined me – especially the changes that I have made this past year (and I see them as positive changes Alhamdulillah), and I don’t want to see myself let all of that go. I told her it was wanting to move away from this experience which has gotten me so passionate about karate, has changed my outlook on life, has made me feel more confident about myself because of the realizations I have made about what I experience and how Allah SWT has made me move past them…I told her I don’t want to lose this. As I reflect back, the experience was my launching pad for so much good Subhanallah.

I also told her it is scary because it was him that filled my mind with a particular image about me. I said that it is him that would tell me when I was 14, 16, 20, 23…all impressionable years and impressionable words…. that I was ‘different’. That I would grow to be a leader one day. That I would be an advocate for woman’s rights. That I would be something "special".

While I am far far from this picture perfect image of a person he created…I told her through this journey, especially this past year and a half, I can see that some of what he would say to me has actually come to be…in some ways I have filled parts of that positive image he engrained in me. I admitted that I am afraid that it will go away. He is the one who built the ‘dream’ way before seeds of its actualization were ever apparent to me...does letting him go mean it will slowly die?

‘He said those things…but you did it. You did all on your own. It as all you.’ These were her words.

She said that just because he said those things it doesn’t mean it is the reason I am who I am now.

And it is true. It is Allah’s will - Allah’s facilitation - that has brought me to where I am. Alhamdulillah.

I told her I’m afraid that maybe the reason why I don’t think about is because I don’t have much time to think. I told her how I’ve kept quite busy – so much so that I don’t have many moments just to think.

Her response – ‘stop over analyzing’. She admitted that some people do that – they fill their lives with things because they do not want to think anymore, but she said that she doesn’t feel it is the case for me. It is true. I am enjoying the ‘busy-ness’. She told me the energy that I had when I conducted the karate class (I've started classes at the club for women) last Sunday was all positive.

She is right. Sometimes we just need to tell ourselves to stop over analyzing.

About not wanting to be angry I told her that when I speak to people about the experience people often get so angry on my behalf – some even swear. While I understand why, I told her I don’t want to be angry anymore. I just want to – and I shrugged my shoulders – I guess I want to just let it fall – like it no longer bothers me. I remember once I wrote a tweet about uncurling my shoulders. That’s what I want…for it just to fall off my shoulders. I don’t to be consumed by it anymore.

I explained that while this is what I want, my brain doesn’t understand why I want that. Why don’t I want to be mad anymore – isn’t that weird? Sometimes I feel I should be angry…that I MUST be angry. Does me not wanting to be angry actually mean that I’m okay with the wrong that happened? This is perhaps a worry that I have.

Ashley snapped me out of it in the way I liked to be snapped out of things. She said if you move away from it, it doesn’t mean that you are okay with the negative. She said it is just your way of healing. As if I was a young child unsure, I asked her if she was sure….if she was sure it is okay for me to not want to be angry anymore.

And again she made me realize. ‘Why not? Who said you have to be angry?’

Ashley said if it is my way that I don’t want to be angry, then let it be. It is my way of healing - there is no manual on how one MUST heal. ‘Let it be’ she said. And it is true. It is okay if I do not want to be angry anymore. I told her it is tiring to be angry. Exhausting to be mad. Painful to carry negative emotions all the time…I just want to…and as I type this too – I shrug my shoulders. It is something that happened, something that has shaped who I am…like other experiences have shaped me…but I don’t want to constantly revisit it.

I explained how when I prepared the speech that I thought I would give at the karate event, especially a section I wrote where I explained I wish I started karate when I was in high school because of the internal strength I feel it gives – the section where I explained that it was during those years that I felt most dependent and most helpless – I explained to Ashley that as I wrote that section I never once replayed the incidents I went through. I knew what I was referring to but I didn’t really think about anything in particular when I wrote those words. As if my body knows it is part of me but that I don’t need to relive it to realize it. This is good I feel.

It was a special day. After almost 6 months of seeing Ashley, she asked me ‘Where does this leave us?’ In the bottom of stomach I hoped she wouldn’t want to schedule another appointment. And this is what happened. She told me that her fear is that my counseling sessions are becoming the trigger of why I think about him. And come to think about it – this last time it was the case. I was fine until I realized I was seeing Ashley and that’s when all the thoughts came rushing in.

I told her I am scared though. I told her I feel like I am on a bicycle and have taken the training wheels out. She gave me another analogy. She said through this you have been taught to swim and now you are on your own…but she is not worried. Why? Because she said I know how to swim. She said since I have been coming, she has served only as a sounding board because I come each time with so many of my own reflections and thoughts. Almost as if the healing happens before I enter her room. She told me to just trust myself. She told me to stop relying on other people to have to validate what feels right to me.

And it’s not like I can’t go back – I can go back if I need to. I hope I don't need too.

Thank you for being my invisible readers through my journey.


  1. Congratulations on all the hard work you have done, you have earned your healing. Thank you for writing so generously...you have given all of us invisible readers a great gift.

  2. Congratulations! You've come such a long way. I'm so happy for you, and so grateful for you sharing your story with us.