01/02/2018

HIS DEATH MADE ME A HIJABI

           Hijab........a thin piece of cloth draped around your head worn in many styles but have 1 meaning. It's my uniform showing the world, yes I am a muslim.

          I wasn't always a "hijabi".  In fact I am someone who changes their hair colour every 6 months and changes their hairstyle every 3.

          You see styling my hair was part of my confidence and self esteem. I was never forced to cover my hair and in the back of my mind I thought "i'll do it when i'm old". 

            I really started to appreciate and learn more about my faith after my eldest started a islamic primary school. I remember thinking WOW. Some of the things he was saying when he came home made me feel  as if I was learning it for the first time.

             My son went to faith school from the age of 5, out of respect I would wear a scarf to pick and drop him off. When I came home the scarf would come off. Without even realising, I had taken up a part time hijabi job. To some it may seem hypocritical but the way I see it, for someone who never picked a scarf was a starting point.

              As time went on, I started to question my own worth as I was struggling in my personal life. It was a battle as soon as you step outside to the fashion forward world. In summer 2016, that part time job became full time and permanent.

               I had just lost a very important man in my life. My grandad. He was a kind which is very rare to find these days. Not one person can come forward to say something negative about him. A Kind God fearing righteous man. I knew my image back then was somewhat daring. Yet with him I never felt like an outcast. Imagine leaving this world and hundreds and thousand attending your funeral. All because they truly loved you and respected your every word.

                After that moment things were not the same. I started to think who would come to my funeral. My time is coming and I have not even prepared. Never mind "i'll do it when i'm old" because time is not guaranteed.


                I was fighting a war within myself trying to fit in at work, around friends and social media. ect. Everytime when I thought to myself "don't be a muslim just by name, but also by actions" I would get so scared and back out. Then I would remember the funeral. Finely near the end of 2016 I won the war inside me and decided to stick the middle finger at "what people would say".

                I remember going work for the first time as a hijabi. I was sweating and so nervous. My heart was running the London marathon. It's true what people say. Think of it like ripping off a band aid. Do it quick and just do it. It's funny now come to think of it my work colleagues can not even remember or imagine me without a scarf. For them I am still the same Yasmine.

                I am thankful for this piece of cloth draped around my head. Even though I know I am not perfect but in so many ways this piece of cloth keeps me away from so many things at 1 point I thought was no big deal. Its my uniform and a constant reminder of who I am. A PROUD MUSLIM.

                Yes don't get me wrong, I may have those days when the thought crosses my mind......but alhamdulillah the scarf stayed on. It took me witnessing his death to realise what I was searching for. A  jigsaw piece I was trying to fit into this puzzle of a my life. The jigsaw for me was to finally understand and accept who i am. A PROUD MUSLIM WOMEN.


08/01/2018

TILL DEATH DO US APART

                It’s true, love is blind.  You are so infatuated with the person that you choose not to see the obvious in front. Your gut tells you not to but your heart takes over. You’re in love. After all why would love be bad and love can conquer all, right? 
             I was around 19/20 when I had my nikkah and like all marriages there was ups and downs. One thing for sure when I married him I didn’t see the difference in race. I saw a Muslim young sweet man who did the right thing and married the girl he loved.

           You never go into a marriage thinking it would only last few years. You go into a marriage thinking, this is it. “I will be with this person for the rest of my life.

             We had this joke, we would count down each year of us being together from 66. Taking us up to 85 years old. We had this vision that when we are both old we would walk together to the local post office to collect our pensions. Still in love and still married.  66, 65, 64 …….  We made it down to only 54 years.  Then the counting ended.

               Being married for 12 years I wish I could say it was all a bliss. Just because you love someone so deeply it doesn’t mean they will too. A women can take many things the world throws at her even another woman. When the choice comes down to another woman or God which would you choose?


              Many times I plucked up the courage to end it all. After all there is so many times a heart can be ripped apart and put back together again but the beat is never the same.
It becomes a routine after a while. The numbness takes over to a point you don’t even remember what love feels like. You are just together because you signed a piece of paper.

            I just remember thinking I do not want to be counting the years no more. It didn’t represent years of love but years of just cohabiting. I wanted to love and be free of this numbness torcher.

          I may not have been a good Muslim but I had my morals. I was a wife and a mother. That meant something. I would turn a blind eye to everything he dragged in but the moment he questioned his belief. That was it.  I took my chance, I knew God will provide and help me stand. I knew then that my marriage finished. It felt like death and we went apart.

          Doing the right thing even if it meant having my heart crushed for the last time, was one of the hardest thing I had to do. It would have been easier if I hadn’t of still loved him, but just because you love someone it doesn’t mean its ok.One thing I knew for sure my love for God was far more greater than what I thought this was. 

          To many this would not make anysense. Why can't you be married to someone if their belief is different. For me it was the final thing I could not turn a blind eye to. 4 years on I can see the beauty in it all, as every book must come to an end but mine is still being written. Starting with this new chapter to find love. 



05/01/2018

BECOMING A SINGLE MUM

              Becoming a mum is a blessing from Allah, A stage of life which completes a women’s purpose.   The first promise you make is “I will never let anything bad happen to you”.
I became a single mum 4 weeks after having a C-section.  Not only I had to figure out how I am going to move around after just being cut but also look after a baby and his older brother who was 6. No job, no savings, no car and the nearest family to me were 60 miles away.
Despite trying to make sense of my personal emotions of becoming a newly divorced women, I had a much more important issue to deal with. Two in fact.

             Establishing a routine helped me to bury the battle of emotions I had going on in my head 24/7. You see when you have children, your emotions don’t exist.
I started off small, when does the baby need feeding, do I have nappy’s, are the school uniform ready, Are the meals prepped for the day,  Is the laundry done?.
I found myself consumed in general household duties keeping myself busy and never really had any time for myself.  There were times when I had gone days without even brushing my hair or changing my clothes. But what about the future?


           Knowing it would be extremely hard, I decided to go back to work. Leaving my baby who was 3 months and still being breastfed in a nursery. Someone had to earn the money and put food on the table. I started to put some money away even if it was couple of pounds here and there. We were existing but not living.


          You hear all sorts about single mums and how terrible and sad it is. But to be honest 6 months after my divorce my life actually got better.  It wasn’t easy but now 4 years later when I look back I can see and be proud of all the things I have achieved as a single mother. Graduated, promoted, and bought a car, new home, no debts, new friends, and holidays and so on. A small step for mankind but a big leap for a single mother. 

          The thing to remember is when you are going through hard times it would feel like a lifetime. Think logically before emotionally to overcome them.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help, it doesn’t make you weak. But most important of them all is to dream, dream big for yourself and your children every night. And use those dreams to fuel you to run towards your goals.

            If that is not enough for you then remember Prophet Isa (as), Prophet Mohammed (saw) and Imam Bukhari who were all raised by single mothers who dedicated their lives and we are part of this illustrious sisterhood of amazing single mothers who raised exceptional progeny.
After all I made a promise “I will never let anything bad happen to them”.

A 30 YEAR OLD STUDENT


     


  




















        

        









           Should of, would of could of will never mount to anything.  I should of stayed in school but didn’t. I would have had a stable career, but it never happened. I could of paid much less tuition fees back then, but never mind.







          It’s never too late to learn and it’s never too late to change your career.  Anything is possible if you truly believe and put your all into it.
       I used my 20’s figuring out what it was I really wanted. Was it to study or to live my life? I chose to live my life and start a family.
Everything was going fine for a while, then life decided to throw a ton of bricks on me. Thanks life, a curved ball would have been fine. It’s only when I blew out the candles on my 30th Birthday that I decided to go back to university and actually try and make something of myself.


         University taught me many things. I know you would expect them to, after all you are paying £9000 a year, but I took away much more than just Fashion Retail Management. I learnt more about myself. It helped me build my confidence and broaden my horizon. It helped me to better my work prospects. I was able to network with the industry’s well known leaders. Along with my BA Honors I discovered my self-worth. Walking into a classroom full of 18 something was not easy. I have been away from formal education for nearly over a decade and started to think “what if I am not smart enough”. I made myself a promise that I will go to every class even if I am struggling. It wasn’t about getting A* first time, it’s about taking the first step to self-discovery.

        By the end of the 3rd year I found myself looking at a different Yasmine in the mirror. A women who fought her inner struggles and walked across that stage to get her degree. Feeling so proud of herself knowing her parents, who have waited for years to see their daughter graduate. A role model for her young boys showing them what knowledge, respect and self believe looks like in a black robe and a hat.

       Negativity will always find a way to slow you down and put in doubt. Mainly from close family and friends. Which makes it even more rewarding when you pass the finish line.
Going to university in my 30’s made me appreciate the value of education more. It was the right age for me.

        From a housewife and a mother to now working in one of the most famous renowned luxury department stores, as a recognised creative spotlight artist representing UK and Ireland.
Able to set goals for myself which once seemed even to impossible to dream of.