Saturday, 15 September 2018

Kindness is a Lost Art

Hey lovely readers! 

This past week has been a tough one, and since I'm not one to walk around with my whole life showing on my face, I tend to go through life with a smile and bounce regardless of what happens behind the scenes. I don't lament my fate or things that happen for too long, my motto is "where to from here?". And this is why I am so grateful for my family- my hubby, boys, my sister and bestie- they get me, they know what goes on behind the smile and know how to perk up my day. One would not guess at any distress behind the game face; I blame this on my tumultuous childhood, hence loads of practice at keeping things to myself.

So when I found myself sitting in the waiting room at the hospital to visit a family member this week, having just had a hectic day, feeling a bit low; and two strangers shared a smile and some kind words with me, it just brightened my day. It brought the sunshine into my day ♥️These were two sisters who recognised me from Instagram (this is how we started chatting), and we ended up having a really uplifting conversation. What struck me most about this interaction is that they showed up at just the right time to brighten my really gloomy day; and despite going through a rough time themselves (with a family member having had emergency open heart surgery), they were still really kind. It was not difficult for them show kindness to a stranger, in fact it seemed to be the way they engage with the world generally. As I made my way home, this conversation played in my mind and I realised a couple of things:
Kindness is a lost art, we go through life forgetting what it means to smile or share a kind word- and yet everyone we meet will be going through something we have no knowledge of. Everyone has their own story, everyone has bad days, and it is not necessary to know what their difficulty may be to offer some sunlight. 
It has become the norm to encounter kindness with strangers instead of within your immediate circle, in fact, your immediate circle will feel it ok to dump their bad days/feelings and frustration onto you. This is not ok, speaking about or discussing my issues calmly, is nothing compared to dumping onto somebody by venting anger and frustration on them. 
I live with the premise that everyone is human first, and therefore deserves respect as a human being first; before all the other roles, religion, status or whatever separation we perceive is presented. If I just look at every person the same, and treat them equally with respect and kindness, what harm is there in that? What do I lose? What does it take away from me? 
Absolutely Nothing!
By doing this with others, I know that I deserve respect too, and that respecting myself first is a critical piece in being able to respect others. It's also fundamental in being able to stand up for myself and to not allow myself to be disrespected.
More importantly, my behaviour and the way I engage in the world becomes a template for my kids. They see and learn by my actions and behaviour, so I have a responsibility to teach and raise young men with empathy, respect, consideration, tolerance and kindness. 

My chat with these two women, followed by a conversation with a friend about struggles she's having with her kids furthermore highlighted how unbeknown to us, others are going through some pretty hectic difficulties. They sometimes pale in comparison to ours. Some people are just trying to get through each day alive, and yet are still able to offer someone a smile. 
We don't always know what our purpose is on this earth, and we don't always need to know how we impact people, but what I do know is that we were not placed on this earth to abuse, belittle, gossip, attack and kill the spirit of our fellow humans. 

"Every Act of Kindness is a Charity"
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)

Today't outfit features pieces which have been in my wardrobe for a while, I have been digging out oldies to recycle this past month to rejuvenate for Spring. And then the rain cam along and demanded some layers!




















Outfit Details:
Mango Skirt
Trenery Polka Dot Knit
Trenery boots
Pauls Boutique bag
Forever New Shawl
Jo Borkett Scarf

Ciao for now,
RuBe xoxo


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Friday, 31 August 2018

It's a Wrap! (Almost)

Hi Lovely Readers!

The time for me to say goodbye to my temporary charges is almost here, a few more sleeps to go and they'll be back with their parents. It's been a chaotic 6 weeks, whilst also being extremely enlightening. I have learnt so much, there have been so many lessons I've had to learn and I've had to draw on resources within myself which I didn't even realise I had.

The biggest lesson I learnt (again) is that I am certainly not in control of my life, and I say this with a smile on my face; I had always stated emphatically that I was done with babies, sleepless nights, nappy changes and baby throw-up all over my clothes. My baby is at an age where he is independent and I am able to move about without restriction. And then bam! ... My Creator decreed that this was not for me to decide and gifted me with two little ones to caretake for a few weeks. And there we were, back to nappy changes, bathing a baby and toddler, feeding them via trial and error (I could not remember what to feed the one year old!), baby throw up, sniffles, and teething and so on...
Lesson: Watch what you say... you never know what life will hand you 🤭

When people heard that I had accepted the honour of looking after my brother's babies, they were sympathetic, wishing me well and saying I was brave. My response was that it was really a no-brainer, they were going for an ibadah, to fulfil the final pillar of their faith. How could I not embrace the privilege of looking after our esteemed pilgrims dearest kids? I also held fast onto the belief that Allah SWT would not place an insurmountable burden on me, especially if it was in the way of an ibadah. So while it was really busy, and a shock to my household, I also realise that it was so much easier than I had anticipated. And this taught me the lesson that having faith in my Creator is the best way to deal with any situation I may find difficult. HE will bring me through any difficulty I may face. ♥️

Furthermore, I was thrown in the deep end, so to speak, and having to navigate my way through having 5 kids overnight. However, as crazy as it was, these little ones brought a lightness into the home, a busyness to our lives and kept us on our toes. 
Lesson: with every trial there is a positive outcome, whether it's just the life lesson or an actual tangible advantage (like the kids laughter, the toys scattered around the house and the liveliness at the supper table).

During this time we were very restricted as a family, as a couple, and so was I. My time was no longer my own, my sleep was frequently broken, and I was constantly picking up after the little ones. But despite this new landscape, the sudden change meant I had to draw on resources deep within. I needed to access a well of patience (with myself) and learn to accept that things wouldn't always happen when I need them to, or on my terms. My (now infrequent) control freak had to be put to rest completely if I were to remain sane. I had to learn to not be too hard on myself when a day passed and I didn't get to do everything I had intended to. Or when my work suffered, or when dinner was late... I started off trying to keep my life as it had been before and this was a huge mistake. I had to learn to integrate my independent life with my now restricted life- which was hard for me. Learning to say no to dinner dates and suppers, putting birthday celebrations on hold, managing an even crazier Eid were all things I had to manage. It may have been unfortunate, and it meant that I was unable to connect with friends as I usually do, unable to attend early bridal showers and events. It was a time to be still and absorb the beauty of this time, the pilgrimage. 
I am thankful for the gift of this stillness, as I was able to reflect on my Hajj of the previous year, and be in touch with this years Hujaaj. It was a gift to relive my experience, while there were so many pilgrims keeping me and my family in their prayers, Algamdulilah.

Today's lookpost is therefore a celebratory one, wrapping up my lessons of the past 6/7 weeks. It is appropriate that it should feature the classic wrap dress, a classic silk scarf and classic leopard print pumps. 





















Outfit Details:

For U Clothing Wrap Dress 
Opulence Silk Scarf
Nine West leopard heels
Sunglasses old
YSL Vintage bag
H & M Stockings 

Caio for now, 
RuBe xoxo
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Friday, 17 August 2018

The role of Women, in society and in Islam


 Hello lovely readers, 

With Women's Month upon us, and my insane life at the moment, I have been pondering on the role of women in society. I have seen many write ups about why we celebrate Women's Day, or Women's month with the focus on empowering women and taking care of young girls and women in our society. This has led directly to deliberating my role as a woman in society, in my home, in the lives of others and most importantly, my role as a woman in Islam.

Leading up to this month, this week, and my birthday, has me introspective and listening more than I have been talking and participating. I have read, contemplated and found so many answers within, and realisations which have presented itself. 
My first role is as a woman, for myself... I cannot fulfil any other role if I am not sure of who I am, what I want and what my responsibilities are. My responsibilities do not refer to taking care of the family, or the home, or being a model wife. Instead, my responsibilities include being aware of myself in the world, which means knowing my impact, my strengths and weaknesses and how this affects my interactions with others. It means being fully aware of gifts which have been Divinely bestowed upon me, my Divine purpose in this world and having the consciousness to embrace these, even when it doesn't fit with my idea of my role and purpose. The very act of being is a responsibility, where I am content to trust the greater plan to the Almighty and listening intently to the Divine guidance offered. This is easier said than done, because my humanness means that my control freak tendencies will get in the way, my headstrong ideas of my future will cloud my intent and my judgements will pop up when I least expect it. It takes work and constant insight into the self to keep these at bay. And this is merely one example of how I live my Hajj ♥️

My other roles include being a wife and mother, and this too comes with responsibilities apart from the usual cooking, cleaning and mom jobs. The responsibilities I consider all-important are being the best version of myself with them each day. Presenting my best and being my authentic self goes a long way to making them feel safe and secure in a very significant male-female relationship in their lives. Treating them with respect and showing them that they matter in the context of their own lives, and mine, is something I strive to impart. In return, these men who occupy my life, reciprocate the respect and reverence toward me as their wife, mom and as a role model. From birth the kids would have been watching, learning, absorbing every detail about how I go about in the world, more than what I would tell them, teach them or say. They learn by example; and by just being fully aware of myself, the wonderful bits and the not so wonderful bits, I would hope to teach them to accept themselves in this way too. Part of my role as a wife is to be the companion and support structure, providing a safe haven for my spouse and partner in life. Being able to accept my partner for who he is, warts and all, love him entirely, is a gift on its own, and I receive the same in return. 

As a woman in Islam, I am held in high regard, and in no way am I meant to be the stereotypical subservient good 'wifey'. In Islam women are elevated, and this has been reinforced by our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), by raising the stature of women to one of high esteem, privilege and dignity. We have evidence of the high esteem of women in Islam by just observing the great Muslim women in history:



  • Khadija, "The Mother of Islam", who was not only the the first follower of Islam (and also the first female follower of Islam), but also a successful businesswoman and entrepeneur.
  • Some of them avid scholars such as Aisha, the wife of the Prophet (PBUH), who was an acclaimed teacher, an intellectual who narrated over 2,000 hadiths.
  • Asiyah, wife of Fir’aun, who died a matryr, tortured at the hands of her husband for embracing Islam.
  • Arwa al-Sulayhi, also known as the Little Queen of Sheba, who ruled Yemen in her own right for 71 years, the longest ruling leader Yemen has ever seen. She was also highly intelligent and well versed in the study of Quran as well as other religious texts and the sciences.


  • It is clear from the few examples above that these women who are so revered in our Islamic history were strong women, who were well versed academically, business minded and headstrong individuals, while knowing their place in Islam. 

    It is not to be like men, but to hold our own space as women, uphold our responisibilities with dignity and enjoy the privileges afforded us. I do not wish to compete with men, I do not wish to usurp their place, I wish to co-exist with them in peace, being fully entitiled to my dignity, esteem and privilege. I am grateful to be able to live freely, able to follow my thirst for knowlege and an education, run a business and speak my mind. I can only hope that the example of my husband is followed by our three young men InshaAllah.

    Today's look is a warm bundled up look against the biting cold we have been expereincing in Cape Town. A teddy coat from A Sense of Style, over a black dress with ankle boots- perfect for comfort and style.










      








    Outfit details: 

    A Sense of Style Coat
    Asos black dress
    French Connection bag
    HS Collection scarf (turban)
    Neck scarf purchased abroad
    Woolworths leather boots

    Ciao for now, 
    RuBe xoxo



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    Friday, 3 August 2018

    My life is not just the Highlight Reel

    Hi lovely readers!

    August has arrived and that means my birthday month, Yay! These past two weeks have been tough, we have had a death in the family, numerous hujaaj leaving, my new charges have been usurping all my free time, lack of sleep, a bout of flu and work has had some stressful moments. So needless to say, I'm looking forward to the weekend and some sorely needed R & R. 

    Since the past week has been so demanding, it got me thinking of conversations I have seen around social media, where it has been emphasised that Instagram or Facebook is nothing more than a highlight reel. This is a very important point, and I cannot stress enough that what you see on social media is not whole sum total of someones life, and most times the difficult, unedited, no makeup moments aren't shared. I don't mind sharing those, but it's also ok not to feel comfortable sharing these moments. For some, Instagram is a perfectly curated feed, for very specific reasons, which we may not guess at. I share difficult times occasionally, but choose not to when things get too much, and I need to deal with things that happen. My orientation to difficulties means that I don't complain or get caught up in drama, and instead handle things head on.

    The message is that we are all human, life is made up of our highlight reels, as well as the not so great moments. It's vital that we know this when looking at the lives of others through a curated lens, and when we compare our lives to theirs. My motto is: to focus on my own life and impact, and work through trials in my own way. Whether I do this privately or publicly is irrelevant, it's my life so my decision. I have issues which I struggle with, and as a wife, mother, daughter and sister, they cannot always be shared to respect  privacy. 

    Even if someones life really is all highlight reels, that is amazing... especially because we have no idea how much work has had to go into having what we perceive as a great life. I have always wanted to live a full life, and this has spurred me to study, work hard and make my dreams a reality. The traumas and trials are not seen, they are not always spoken about, as it they are in the past, but I have lived the hard work, continue to put in the hard work and take nothing for granted. And when something I have worked so hard for doesn't materialise, I have to accept that it is not within my control. My comeback is usually to process the disappointment and sorrow in the best way I know how,  always mindful to move forward with purpose. I cannot get caught up in the highlight reels of others and in their successes, apart from being really happy for them. My highlight reel is just that; MY highlight reel, and I have so many dreams, so many ideas, so many plans I am working on fulfilling. And I have my own challenges, trials and difficulties to manage. Where does that leave any time to worry about someone else's highlight reel?     

    “Beginning today, set an intention and a relentless focus on living your life as the greatest person you can be, in all situations.” 

    Brendon Burchard

          

    Today's outfit is a typical mom on errands look; a sweat top with jeans and boots. Quickly thrown together for ease and comfort. All pieces are existing wardrobe pieces, only the boots are current, and I love them because of the girly colour!






















    Outfit details:

    Calvin Klein London sweat top
    Polo shirt
    Guess Jeans
    Aldo boots
    Rebecca Minkhoff bag
    Sunglasses from Opulence
    Scarf old

    Caio for now, 
    RuBe xoxo

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