Dec 25, 2012

You are fine just the way you are

♫ Shelter - The XX

Once upon a time, my mom told me that she thought I was damaged. She simply thought so because I am a quiet and reserved person, so unlike my sister and the rest of our loud, boisterous family. Hence, I must be damaged.

And today, on my birthday, my sister told me that I am weird and a repulsive person, that no wonder no one wants to be my friend. She was mad because I told her that while I am willing listen to what she had to say, I refuse to change for anyone but myself.

All of this started when I told my mom two weeks ago that I was feeling drained after a weekend of socializing with my friends. Thus I needed several days of solitude. I needed an interrupted time alone hence I had not been picking up calls or answering messages from my friends. My mother thought I was a lousy friend who does not value her friends. I respectfully disagree. Sure, it was a lousy thing to avoid my friends during that time but on the contrary, I intensely value the few friends that I have.

My sister and my mother were talking and they were adamant that I change myself. In their opinion, nobody feels or act the way I do. They have yet to encounter a person who feels exhausted after a few rounds of social events and needs to 'recharge' herself. I am a strange anomaly who needs to fix herself. But to me, this is just who I am. I am wired this way. For me, after a prolonged period of social interaction, quiet solitude is not just preferable but crucial.

So I flat out said no, thank you. I do not want to change myself. In fact, I refuse to even entertain the notion. I am not damage nor am I strange. I am fine the way I am.

What I am is an introvert. I am born this way. I cannot 'fix' myself. It's in my genes. It's how my brain wired itself. Neurologists, psychiatrists and psychologists alike have revealed again and again that introverts are not damage or abnormal. We are human beings with feelings. Feelings that may include do not appreciated being told to change just because I do not fit into what you consider 'normal'.

So yes, perhaps no one wants to be friends with me but I am evermore thankful for those few who want to be my friends. They are Allah's gifts for me and the rest I leave it to Allah. By Him, I depend on and my life is on His hands.

I love you both, very much, but I am tired of being told that there is something wrong with me.

Dec 9, 2012

It is not and will never be

This world

It is not and will never be

Eternal and perfect

Nov 8, 2012

Project Truth: Your Friends

This is a project to write down my truth as a reminder for my future self. Just in case I forgot about them somewhere along the way.

Many months ago, I had crappy friends. The friendship which initially prospered had turned so toxic that each exchange between us three left me drained out, angry and eventually depressed.

I used to think I had to stick out with my friends no matter what and that loyalty is of course a key to our friendship. Yeah well, not so much. Let me tell you something that I had to learn the hard way, loyalty and that whole sticking out with your friends through thick and thin shit largely depends on whether they are worthy of your kindness and devotion.

Lesson numero uno: Pick, CHOOSE your friends carefully.

Good friends are not always something passively given to you by 'destiny'. Just like happiness, most of the time creating a friendship that resonates with you is a deliberate choice. So one day, I decided to stop being friends with these people. It was scary because as a result of my decision I was alone. And I was alone for a long time. I had to readjust myself because I was used to having people to go out with and do a bunch of things together but now I was alone all the time in college: in class, during lunch and throughout the weeks. It was tough. But I just had to continue because even though it was hard and scary and I was on my own all the time, the truth was I would rather be alone than spend another moment in a negative relationship with people who only make me feel bad about myself.

I had just about enough with negative influences (going out late at night, the 'clique/herd' movement where you feel the pressure to follow the group decisions, the critiques disguised as 'sincere advices' and etc). Even doing things that were supposed to be fun was no longer enjoyable. It just felt forced. Instead of enjoying the moment, I tend to reminisce about how good things used to be. After my exchange with my friends, I just felt tired. Exhausted. Like I just got out of a battle.

And deep down, there is animosity simmering - you just don't like that person anymore. You might even resent them. But you stayed friends anyway because the alternative cutting the friendship loose is harder to do.  Besides, you want to be loyal to your friends. In your head, you probably think, we should accept our friends' flaws no matter how shitty they are because no one is perfect right? WRONG. It's all fine and dandy to accept people as they are but NOT at the cost of your self-worth/value.

Learn to respect yourself. Realize that NO ONE, nobody no matter what their reasons has the right to make you feel bad about yourself. You are someone who has something great and sincere to offer and you are worthy and deserving of respect and love.

Reorganize your priorities.

Choose good friends to hang out with. That means people who make you feel good about yourself. People who you feel happy to be around with, who are not complicated, they don't say something but mean something else altogether. No hidden agendas, no power plays. No high school drama.

Secondly, be a good friend to them while staying true to yourself. It's a delicate balance but it's okay. You'll figure it out.

ONLY THEN, after you have decided whether they are friends worth keeping that you can consider about loyalty and the whole she bang.

Lastly, it's crucial that you be aware that like many things in life, this is a long process characterize mainly by trial and error. Another thing to remember is do not depend on people, or things for your happiness. They are not gonna complete your life or fill the emptiness in your life and there will be times the very same people will disappoint you and crush your expectations. That is normal. That is human. What is wrong and unnatural is to put such high hope on things other than the Creator.

Oct 29, 2012

and listen to each other breathe

In an effort to get people to look
into each other's eyes more,
and also to appease the mutes,
the government has decided
to allot each person exactly one hundred
and sixty-seven words, per day.

When the phone rings, I put it to my ear
without saying hello. In the restaurant
I point at chicken noodle soup.
I am adjusting well to the new way.

Late at night, I call my long distance lover,
proudly say I only used fifty-nine today.
I saved the rest for you

When she doesn't respond,
I know she's used up all her words,
so I slowly whisper I love you
thirty-two and a third times.
After that, we just sit on the line 
and listen to each other breathe

The Quiet World- Jeffrey McDaniel

Jan 5, 2012

College 101: Discovery

I have always this pesky, powerful impulse inside me to choose a path less traveled or to mess up things whenever my life gets a little too mundane. 

Lets go down this road, see where it will take you or Lets mess things up just to see how screwed up beyond repair we can be

Case in point: I was once offered a place in a prestigious public university to study a well-respected course. But I of course, declined. I was not quite sure why... It was a course I absolutely love and the college fee was cheap since it was a public university.  I guess at the time I wasn't ready yet to set my future in stone, which was exactly what will happen had I accepted the offer. I preferred my future to be vague. Vague meant endless possibilities. Infinite potential.

So I chose my current college - small, private and ungodly expensive. I will be studying a course that interest me, and which will give me a bright future, insyaAllah. And most importantly, a degree in that course will give me numerous possibilities of what my career can be. People might not call me "Doctor", but I can still be one by way of PhD since this course is pretty research intensive. Before I went, I prayed to Allah to please, please let this college be the right place for me to study, to grow as a person and make me a better Muslim than I was ever before.

I was thrown into a foreign environment, alone and scared as shit. Everywhere I turned, I am surrounded by non-Malays and non-Muslims. People who have different way of life from me. This was a big deal because I had spent all my schooling years prior to college with all my friends Malay and Muslims. There were times in the beginning when I started to doubt my decision and feared I had made a mistake in coming here. But it was okay, I keep telling myself. I chose this college specifically because I want to get out of my comfort zone. And my parents had trusted my decision. They love me so they sent me here even though they didn't understand why in the world I didn't accept the first offer and yet they supported me anyway.

And after a while, it really was okay. I grown and learn a lot here. My life in college, in short, is all about discovery.

I discovered that there are all kinds of people in college and there are always more to people than meets the eye. That sloppy, shabby looking guy who dress like a runaway really a top student, the shy girl who always wear lace and pastel sitting next to me last summer is a drummer, how cool is THAT? And foe sometimes appear like the most angelic of a person.

I learned that students here are smart. They question things, test a lecturer to see how good he or she is, keep up with world news, enjoy attending live orchestra, capable of spitting out interesting facts and give insightful opinions, and if they are Malaysian - very much aware of the political state of this country. And these students do not look like nerds at all.
I started to identify myself first and foremost as a Muslim, secondly as Hana and only then as a Malay. 

And I learned that some people don't really know many practicing Muslims other than me so all my actions are automatically associated with Islam.  My character and behavior can be either an effective da'wah tool or a turn-off that prevent people from learning what Islam truly is all about.

I meet kindred spirit who love books as much as I do, potterheads as much as I am and join a club for movie-obsess like me.

I battled insecurities on daily basis, embrace differences in people, hiding from procrastination (cos I know I'll lose if I face it head-on. Fo' shizzle), learn to explain about Islam and defend my faith, made mistakes and that it's okay to change if you don't like the person you are now . 

I discover learning can be fun. Being reckless sometimes is okay. And morning classes suck.

And then I realized that discovery is a continuous process in college. It is the matter of opening yourself up for the experience. 

Perhaps I will start a college series posts, to help document my life in college. A memoir for me to remember. To ponder. And to reflect.

Jan 4, 2012

Of Kematangan [So you're mature, yeah?]

Sharon Montrose Babies Series

A post by Hilal Asyraf of Langit Ilahi. I think it is appropriate for us, youth to ponder and reflect on our maturity while we are still in the spirit of new year and all. 

Matangkah kita, sebenarnya? Apa yang sudah kita accomplish di masa umur matang ini? What of our actions exactly can we be proud of?

Let's start our fresh journey in 2012 on the right foot. ~ Dengan keredhaan Allah, insyaAllah.



Baru-baru ini ada la sekumpulan adik-adik ni tanya kepada saya.

Abang Hilal, kami ni pada pandangan abang, matang tak?

Saya nak tergelak pun ada masa mereka tanya. Mereka ni orangnya happy-happy aja. Susah nak tengok diorang serius. Tapi masa tanya tu, muka mereka nampak kedahagaan. Ada kesungguhan terserlah dalam pertanyaan itu. Tandanya mereka benar-benar ingin tahu, dan mungkin ada hajat ingin membuat anjakan paradigma dalam diri.

Justeru, dari menjawab terus mereka itu matang atau tidak, saya memilih untuk menerangkan mereka apa itu kematangan pada pandangan saya.

Agar mereka sendiri, yang mengukur kematangan mereka.

Defi nisi matang

Saya kata bahawa, manusia matang adalah manusia yang mampu mengaitkan kehidupannya, dengan akhiratnya.

Sesiapa yang tidak mampu, maka dia bukan matang dalam erti kata sebenarnya. Walaupun dia pensyarah di Universiti, walaupun dia ketua di sebuah negeri.

Saya tidak mengambil matang dengan de nisi Kamus Dewan. Saya pun tak mahu kata matang itu bila akil baligh. Saya lagi la takkan kata, matang tu adalah apabila ada keinginan seks. Tapi pada saya, matang adalah apabila seorang manusia itu mampu mengaitkan kehidupannya, dengan akhiratnya.

Kenapa sebegitu takrifnya?

Mudah. Pada saya, orang yang mengaitkan kehidupannya dengan akhiratnya, maka dia tidak akan mensia-siakan kehidupannya di dunia ini. Kerana dia yakin, dia akan pulang dan berdiri di hadapan Allah SWT, membawa seluruh kehidupannya untuk dihitung.

Justeru, manusia sebegini akan lebih serius dalam kehidupannya, bersungguh-sungguh dalam amal pekerjaannya. Hal ini kerana, dunia adalah ladang kepada akhirat kita. Maka kita akan berusaha menyemai
benih-benih yang baik sahaja, jika kita faham bahawa kita hendak menuai sesuatu yang baik di sana.

Manusia yang faham begini, kalau dia tersilap di atas dunia ini, melakukan kesalahan, berbuat dosa, tergelincir dalam maksiat, maka dia akan bersegera untuk bergerak pulang ke jalan yang sebenar. Kerana dia faham, dia akan kembali kepada siapa.

Dari kefahaman inilah, akan munculnya segala kekuatan, keseriusan untuk hidup, dan kesungguhan dalam

Matang biasanya kita kaitkan dengan kedewasaan serta cara berfi kir. Maka tidakkah kita memerhatikan bahawa, manusia yang nampak akan kaitan hidupnya dengan akhirat, maka dia secara tidak langsung
dewasa, dan tidak bermain-main dengan kehidupannya?

Matang dan umur

Orang kata, kalau tak habis belajar, tak boleh kahwin. Kenapa? Sebab umur kecil lagi, belajar tak habis lagi, tak matang.

Pendapat saya, kematangan tidak diukur dengan umur, atau tahap pengajian. Matang diukur dengan kedewasaan pemikiran dan keseriusan dalam tindakan. Bagi orang yang benar-benar matang, dia akan berfikir berkenaan perkahwinan, lebih dari sekadar cintanya kepada orang yang dia cinta.

Dia akan fi kir persediaannya untuk menjadi suami yang baik, persediaannya hendak menyara keluarga, persediaannya untuk menjadi bapa yang baik, persediaannya untuk membina keluarganya ke arah yang baik, seterusnya persediaannya untuk membawa keluarganya menembusi akhirat dengan baik. Inilah kematangan. Bukan sekadar kahwin kerana syok-syok, suka sama suka, cinta sama cinta.

Justeru, untuk yang mencapai tahap kematangan ini, apa salahnya dia hendak berkahwin awal? Mungkin sukar untuk dijelaskan dalam artikel yang pendek ini, kerana mentaliti kita hari ini mengaitkan kematangan dengan umur. Namun pada saya, anak kecil berumur 12 tahun pun boleh menjadi matang. Semuanya apabila dia berjaya mengaitkan kehidupannya di dunia, dengan akhiratnya.

Orang yang mengaitkan kehidupannya dengan akhirat, dia akan serius, berhat-hati, ber kir panjang, dan amat menjaga diri. Dia akan belajar membuat perancangan, dan berusaha untuk melakukan kalkulasi dirinya dengan tepat. Dia akan berkira dengan kehidupannya, kerana dia tahu bahawa kehidupannya akan dikira oleh Allah SWT di akhirat sana.

Atas dasar ini, saya menyatakan bahawa, umur bukan penentu kematangan. Penentu kematangan adalah kefahaman. Apabila manusia berjaya mencapai kefahaman ini, barulah dia dikira sebagai matang dalam erti kata sebenar.

Contoh kematangan terdahulu

Saya suka menunjuk kepada seorang manusia dalam sejarah dunia, yang pada saya menjadi contoh kematangan yang sebenar.

Usamah bin Zaid RA. Kenalkah anda akan dia?

Dia menjadi jeneral tentera Islam, dalam ekspedisi menewaskan Rom, seawal usianya 18 tahun. Dia menjatuhkan Rom pada umurnya 19 tahun. Di belakangnya ada sahabat-sahabat besar seperti Saad bin
Abi Waqqas, dan sebagainya.

Bagaimana Usamah bin Zaid RA ini boleh diangkat menjadi jeneral pada usia sedemikian? Kerana kematangannya ketika itu, setara dengan sesiapa sahaja orang tua dan besar yang menjadi tenteranya ketika itu.

Pastinya, Rasulullah SAW tidak akan memilih orang yang bukan-bukan dalam ekspidisi menumbangkan Rom. Menjadi jeneral bukan mudah. Menggepalai jumlah manusia yang ramai bukan mudah. Menewaskan Rom yang hebat ketika itu bukan mudah. Jeneral perlu tenang, sabar, punya otak yang bergeliga, mampu mengeluarkan strategi yang mantap, perlu tabah dan cekal. Dan pada umur 18 tahun, Usamah bin Zaid ini, telah mempunyai semua itu, sehingga dia diangkat menjadi jeneral.

Kita hari ini? Umur 18, sibuk dengan perempuan seksi, lelaki romantik. Belajar pun tak sungguh-sungguh, masa hadapan pun tak kira, cita-cita pun tak ada. Hanya tahu seronok, seronok dan seronok sahaja.

Apa yang membuatkan Usamah bin Zaid sematang itu? Kerana kefahamannya bahawa hidup ini hanya untuk Allah, dan di akhirat nanti kehidupannya akan dikira. Kerana itulah intipati madrasah Rasulullah SAW sampaikan, dan terserap pula dalam hidupnya.

Penutup: Maka capailah dengan kematangan yang sebenar

Kita perlu matang. Matang dalam erti kata sebenar. Allah SWT amat suka, remaja yang meninggalkan kenakalan remajanya.

Bukan tidak boleh bercanda, bergurau senda. Namun semua itu kita letakkan di dalam lingkungan kematangan kita. Tidak berlebihan, tidak merosakkan hati, tidak menghancurkan persediaan kita ke akhirat.

Biar matang,matang sehingga dihormati, disegani. Sampai akan ada orang kata: Ana ingat enta ni umur 30, baru 19 rupanya. Bukan kerana muka tua, tetapi kerana kedewasaan pemikiran kita.

Hendak capai bagaimana kematangan seperti ini?

Dengan memahami kaitan akhirat dengan kehidupan kita ini.

Mari sama-sama, kita ubah mentaliti kita, bergerak mencapai kematangan.

Ketahuilah bahawa, dunia ini tidak akan berubah, bangsa kita tidak akan meningkat, dan Islam itu tidak akan tersebar, dengan manusia-manusia yang tidak mempunyai matlamat, dan tidak memahami makna kehidupan. Hanya yang matang sahaja, mempunyai matlamat dan memahami kehidupan dalam erti kata sebenarnya.

Semalam, saya katakan semua ini pada adik-adik yang bertanya.

Mari tanya diri kita, apakah kita hari ini matang?


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