Trust your inner voice …
Given a chance to go back to the girl, 16 years old, I would tell her until it sunk in that she is good enough, she is important, she is beautiful just the way she is, she is valuable and she is worth it.
The difference that would have made from that point on are numerous. She would have made different choices and lived a completely different life.
When the girls she told about the sexual abuse didn’t believe her she would have kept seeking the support she needed because she would have known she was important enough to be helped. She wouldn’t have felt so lost that she wrote poetry about her own death through suicide.
When the “private” school kid insisted she was “privileged” to be going out with him she would have realised she had come across a narcissist in the making and told him to get lost and saved herself being date raped.
When she became ill in the middle of a chemistry exam she would have said something so she could sit it again instead of accept the first failing grade in her life.
When men at her workplace behaved abhorrently, harassing her because she was slim and attractive, she would have reported them. She would not have silently put up with their manner.
When her boss told her that finding out she became a Muslim was like finding out his son was a drug addict, she would have quit and found a place to work where she was respected instead of being humiliated again and again in front of her colleagues as he made it very clear he wanted her to leave.
When she noticed the odd behaviour of the brother, who convinced her that she should marry him so she would have a good Muslim husband, she would have trusted her gut feeling and run a mile, instead of staying for 8 years of abuse.
When the family court believed the lies of her ex, made arrangements for her children that harmed them, she would have defied the law to defend her children and saved them from the suffering they were going through.
And when her ex punched her in the nose when he found out she had married again, perhaps, just perhaps, she might have taken leave of the Hadeeth, “an eye for an eye” and hit back for once, instead of retreating in a powerless manner.
If she had known who she really was, she would never have allowed herself to be a victim for so long.
But it wasn’t the Qadr of Allah.
Had she missed all these experiences, life lessons and hardships that lead her to the strength, resilience and courage that many admire, she would not be the person she is today.
She wouldn’t be so passionate about helping Muslim women turn their lives around and embrace the leader within.
She wouldn’t be who she is today ….