I'm currently in Ipoh, Malaysia, and yesterday night, I met this super cute Sister, Aliyah, (I hope I'm getting the spelling of her name right!) who approached me and said "hello". She introduced herself and said she's a member of AA Plus too (YAY!) and during our brief conversation, she said something I always get told: "You are so small. I thought you'd be taller!"
If you have never met me in person, yes, I am petite. (If my sisters can read this, they'll retort and say, "you are just short. don't act all fancy and say "petite". LOL) But it's true - although I'm the eldest in the family, I've always been the smallest. Which is why a lot of times, people just assume I'm the 3rd or 2nd daughter instead of the 1st.
But contrary to what you may think, I absolutely LOVE being small! It makes people underestimate me, and that's a good thing because I've always loved playing the role of an underdog and proving them wrong. This fascination of "anything small" also carries forward to every aspect of my life - for one, I'll always prefer staying in a small, cozy home than having a massive Villa. Or how I'd much rather hang out in a small cafe, having an intimate one-on-one conversation with another girlfriend than be in a massive event with hundreds of people.
Another area where I am totally #teamsmall is with my work + business. Personally, for me, growth does not just have to be horizontally, (i.e. in size) but it can definitely go vertically, (i.e in-depth and in quality). I am absolutely not swayed by the idea that "success" means "big", which is why I've always been firm that Team AA will stay small and succinct.
Now that I think about it, I realised that it's only because I've chosento stay small, that I've managed to stay sane.
But before I get into that, I have to stress that choosing to "stay small" here does not mean cowering and hiding in your comfort zone. It does not mean shrinking yourself into oblivion and disappearing from the world completely. It does not mean not living your best life! Choosing to "stay small", for me, is about being kind to yourself to understand both your strengthsand your limitations, and to do the best that you can without having to pull your hair out. Choosing to "stay small" means going at your own pace, and not comparing your speed of life to others. Choosing to "stay small" means being free of making your own definitions of what success and happiness are.
When I choose to stay small, I choose myself over what society expects of me, and therefore, I stay sane.
So here's what I believe - that regardless of what we choose for ourselves, whether to stay big, small, medium, grande - it doesn't matter. We should be proud of our decisions and stick to our convictions, for it's only as long as we stay true to who we are, that we can stay sane in this highly insane world.
I chose to stay small, but if you want to embrace bigness - I am with you, and I will support you. I will cheer you on and stand by your side, because here's the thing: there is no one way to live this life, and there is no one path back to God.
I smiled as I was writing my last line because this is one of the many things I love about the Deen. How Allah SWT, in His absolute Wisdom, understands that we are all so different, so He never restricts us and confine us to only one specific good deed. He gave us a plethora of ways to run back to Him, and He allows us to serve Him in more ways than one.
How Compassionate is He, SWT!
So here's the big question of the day, ladies: what have you chosen for yourself so that you stay sane and happy? Have you taken the time to define for yourself what success and happiness mean to you? Share with me your thoughts and answers, I'd love to know!
Love and prayers always,