I wasn’t going to write a November Snippets post – I was just going to skip November and then pretend that not having ‘November’ in the midst of other months I’ve done (and hopefully will continue to do In sha Allah) doesn’t bother me at all. But it felt like I was somehow keeping future me in the dark, to not document what life was like in November 2016. So here I am, writing this despite everything that screams in my face the reasons why I’ve decided to skip November in the first place.
November was the month of waiting – waiting for exams to come (for me to be done with them), for my second semester of my first year to finally come to an end (ANNNDDD it’s a wrap! One year down, three years – and infinite tears – to go!), and most especially waiting for home sweet home (which, hands down, was the highlight of the month although the days leading up to the flight back home were probably the most draining days of my life to date).
I thought that October was a pretty bland month, but November was somehow even more so. The days leading up to my exam papers (I had only two papers last semester, Alhamdulillah) were dreadfully long and lonely. I found myself in a constant slump, always in need of outside motivation – my mom, who put up with me texting her every now and then, became my main source of motivation. She was the rock and anchor in those rough weeks. I would not have studied at all – or, rather, I would not have enjoyed studying at all – if it weren’t for her supportive words and dua’s, Alhamdulillah. I MADE IT THROUGH.
While there really wasn’t much going on in November, the three days leading up to me and my friends going back home to Brunei were BEYOND EXHAUSTING. I had a full day without sleep which I spent packing the house for us to move out from, carrying boxes from upstairs to downstairs before packing them into a car and then unpacking them again someplace else. I have never pulled so many muscles in my body and worked myself to that level of exhaustion before. I reached a point where I was pale, sleep-deprived, muscles aching, head pounding, mind going blank at everything and on the verge of completely and utterly breaking down. And when I was done for the night, that breakdown that was a whole day coming, came. My friends took one look at me and ordered me to go to sleep, effective immediately. It was pretty horrifying to go through that – the tiredness, the deprivation, the breakdown – in itself, but it was another kind of horrifying to think that I managed to scare others as well in that state. (One day, I’ll laugh about this day. Right now, I get teary thinking about it. It was that awful).
I caught up on sleep in the flight and in the hotel we stayed in – which meant that my original plan of reading my book in the plane was ruined plenty by me drowsing off after only a few pages. That day, a flight that, to me, have always dragged on for so long, became a short one (although I won’t lie, I still asked for the time pretty often). And when I was finally on the flight back to Brunei (where sleep caught up to me again), all of that waiting around was worth it. Seeing my parents in the airport drove me to a tearful happiness that made the weeks of November – the exams, the packing and moving, the exhaustion – fade into the background, replaced by their beautiful blurry smiling faces (when I said tearful happiness, I really meant tearful happiness. Everything was blurry through my crying eyes, but everything was also crystal clear /cue me being cheesy/). For once, and for so long, I was alive and happy once more. Alhamdullilah. Good things do come to those who wait.
So November was plenty ugly – but it was plenty pretty, too. (Every month is like that, when you really think about it). I wish I took the view out of the plane’s window on the flight back home – perfectionist blogger Iween would have cooed over that – or maybe a picture with me on the plane with my book, my happy smiling face of finally getting to read a book I’ve been saving for flight day. But the prettiness of those ideas were hidden by the ugly of exhaustion, and so I am left with nothing to show for the blog. And the ugly of November really took over the pretty in it, so much so that I almost abandoned the idea of a gloomy November Snippets post completely. But there’s something pretty in acceptance. There’s something pleasant about going through an awful experience, and then being able to weave it into words that, at 11PM after a long day of outing, just seem to sit right in my heart, and soon, on the blog. There’s something so pretty about writing about the ugly, that I cannot be more relieved than I am now, that I decided to write my November Snippets post after all.
So – future Iween, if you’re reading this: November 2016 was a tough one. You cried every time you looked at your fingers and found that two hands were not enough to count down the days until you got back home – and then, when they were enough, you cried some more because moving out is much, much harder than you thought it would be and you never thought it would take so much out of you. And when it took more than just your energy – it took your smile too! but you fought for it, you did. it just didn’t come until much later – you were pushed off the edge. But at the end of it all, the battles that you thought you lost at that point? You didn’t. You won them. The smile came back, and you cried – tears of happiness, for once! It took a while, it did, but you won the battles. You won it all the moment you finish this sentence, having written about the beauty that lies behind every struggle.