Revolution Over Romance: From Pain to Power
Sometimes the universe steps in to redirect you on the path you are meant to take when you aren't getting the hints. For me this has been in the form of what they call in the spiritual world “tower moments”. Everything burns to the ground and falls apart, You may feel you have hit the lowest point and the world you know ceases to exist. Suddenly you have to learn to navigate a new you and unfamiliar world while saying goodbye to the person you once were. In the current stage of my life, this transformation started a few months ago, but the experience is a familiar one I have witnessed but refused to accept in the past.
My world has slowly crumbled around me countless times and every time I rebuild with the pieces I have been given to birth something so transformational and beautiful that no one else knew might exist before it was shown to them. These moments tend to coincide within my romantic path. The universe has been telling me to focus on the revolution and not romance. It has over time given me the tools, resilience and light to turn my pain into power. And only now do I see that the key to this always resided in the love and knowing I had in myself not from external sources of family or men. The message I have been avoiding might be that my time in this world I had existed in was not to receive love, but to put it out there for others to see, feel and heal through.
Revolution before romance moves pain into power.
Knowing who you are is how you take your power back, avoiding who you are is how you get lost in this world of chaos. I have been given messages and tests every time I start to care for someone in a romantic way. The universe has been directing me towards and away from things that were not meant for me, but I rarely listened and each time I ignored the call, I felt the weight of life crash down around me. Only now, in hindsight have I begun to understand why. The revolution of healing others has been my savior from romance and familial love I craved from those that caused harm to my soul. The divine interventions led me to the path I am now on with a clearer understanding of who I am and what I am meant to do.
It began when I was twenty-two. Before situationships were the thing, it was a pattern in dating guys had well into effect. Historically, I have been drawn into these dynamics. Thus the pain around relationships and love. Every time I walked away hurt and jumped into another person’s life without healing the cause that ignited the emotions and actions.
The first time I was a junior in college stuck on an older man. My focus went from myself and the direction of my studies to this man and his interest, disinterest in me, and his presence or absence in my life. I was consumed with thoughts about him, worried about what we were and were not and always uncertain of his true feelings for me. Something inside me told me this was not the right feeling to have, but yet I held on and ignored my own wisdom to chase the idea of love that had eluded me since I was young. I was caught in the mentality of a naïve girl who's dating experiences didn’t even begin until her late teens. I strongly believed that if I was enough I would be loved. And worked tirelessly to prove it to someone who would never see who I was or my worth.
I did my best to shake the connection to this man by dating other people and delving into other activities. I was masking pain and loneliness by pretending to enjoy meaningless nights out with friends getting drunk and high, as many college kids do. Nothing helped and time and time again I came back to this connection and him. Something inside me could not let go, that’s when the universe stepped in. A year and half into the unsatisfying dynamic, the universe realized I did not see what was clearly the toxicity in front of me and stepped in to intervene.
On the heels of my twenty- second birthday and the start of the second semester of junior year at the University of Maryland College Park , I became pregnant. It was one of those moments where you say, that can never happen to me, and then it did. I wasn’t a child, but I also wasn’t fully an adult and I had literally gone from a carefree co-ed to an expecting mother overnight. The foundation of my tower was igniting in flames. That was only the start.
My pregnancy was not only a shock to me, it would be a shock to my family, community and the revolutionary shift for those who were in my life. Telling my parents I was pregnant required also sharing that there was a man in my life and that we were sleeping with each other all at the same moment. The shock, disbelief, knee jerk reactions were immense. That was simply telling my parents, add on that I also now had to share this with my two older religious siblings, their spouses and their spouses families, and the pressure kept mounting.
Eventually the news after being hidden as well as me at times, spread to the South Asian Muslim community my family were pillars in. My tower was now engulfed in flames and at the center was me trying to hold on to family and community expectations while also managing the reality of my circumstances. I was the girl who was pregnant by an older Christian mixed race man she was working alongside, as he disappeared from the picture, the responsibility and the weight of carrying the life of another human being's fate. My tower crumbled in those months, until slowly I found the strength to rebuild it. I moved with my instincts and started to listen to myself again. Slowly and with many obstacles, pain was turning into power.
With time, my parents love for me, overrode the massive wrench I through into their ideal of raising four good Muslim children who would follow the path they laid out through the foundation of family they painstakingly created and nurtured. I continued forth with completing my college courses, finding a new job that didn’t require me to be in the presence of a man who ignored the existence of me and my child while walking by his cubicle and passing him in the halls.
The revolution was the ability for my family to see beyond what was meant to be in their minds to what was. It was painful, but the pregnancy brought acceptance and tested unconditional love to a degree none of us would anticipate. I grew out of the pain and embraced motherhood, my revolution was an evolution to no longer be a selfish child, but to become a selfless mother who put the needs of my child before my own.
I set forth to provide a stable future with the drive to finish my degree in education while saving up with part time jobs. I learned how to build a crib, took moments to indulge in the preparation of planning for the arrival of my new little person that only I knew to this point. I sang, read and talked to him on my drives to class and work. I explained the world and the people that loved him from before he entered into the world. I carried the responsibility of becoming a mother before I truly knew what that meant and being the daughter who would never again disappoint her parents, Everyday I worked to prove I was a good person to my family which meant I was a good Muslim. Praying regularly, dressing conservatively and leaving the friends and life I had found some sense of identity in behind to adopt the role of who my parents wanted me to be as I simultaneously became a parent myself. My revolution was to show the world if anyone could do all of this and come out stronger, it was me. And I did. Until the romance came back in and the revolution went to the wayside.
The second tower moment was a slower burn. It happened over 17 years of marriage to someone my twenty three year old mind knew was not the one for me. But the potential of having a life that didn’t require me to carry the façade of the good Muslim girl felt like the an escape into the freedom I imagined came from a marriage and love. I married the man who was my child’s father wanting to relieve another burden. I did not want to carry the weight of keeping a man who wanted to step up and be a father from being one. Regardless of the delay in his timing to be involved consistently after our child was 6 months old, he was there.
Romance was in the air, after taking the time to build my strength and turn my pain into power, I gave it up for the chance to be loved and believed I would be. I wasn’t and the tower that preceded was the destruction and disintegration of self through years of playing with my mind and heart. Yet I stayed and I loved, despite what my gut knew to be a false sense of safety and affection I could trust. Until the universe stepped in, the universe gave me warnings through health issues caused by stress and regular emotional breakdowns. This union was destroying us all, and although I was culpable in its destruction, I was the only one who saw its presence and the scope of its trajectory.
The revolution needed to happen. Pain was transformed to power and I found the strength and prepared the foundation to start my new life with my children in another home without the pain and past that loomed around us. The universe allowed for a moment of respite, but I did not heal and learn. I fell into familiar patterns and the revolution was drowned out by an opposition I had no control over. The conspiracy and manipulation were greater than a force I would battle alone and the universe intervened to make the decision for me. The present tower moment has taken all but one piece of my heart with it. The flames have consumed the entire structure and the building that once stood, is no longer recognizable.
I once again am at the crossroads of turning pain into power and seeing my role in the revolution. This time though, it led to healing and repair. I spent time facing my fears, my weaknesses and owning my mistakes. The pain became power through light and love not avoidance and escape as it had so many times before.
This revolution was a transformation.
The woman that rose from the ashes of the tower is not the same one who entered the burning building three years ago, the revolution is now the healing of the world and people around me. I will share my story, my perspectives and my experiences to guide others to find their voice and light amid the flames and ashes in their towers. My hope is that I continue the revolution by helping others turn pain into power.
Revolution before romance means I am doing it alone and relying on myself to conquer the new, the scary and the unknown path ahead. I hold faith that those that are meant to be on this next journey with me will stay and hold onto me and my dream. Together we will heal as a collective from all the fires we have moved through and around.
This revolution will not be televised, but it will welcome all that are ready to walk towards the light and out of the darkness.