• Aug
  • 24
  • 2019

Finding Myself

Finding Myself

I’m going to share a real, raw and sensitive topic, a story about my personal journey on spiritual, mental and physical struggles. It’s a long read but let me start by sharing this quote.

“A lot of Muslim women, when they start practicing, their focus is so fixated on becoming this ideal believer that they ignore the need to grow as a human being; enjoying the process of developing as a person. So when they have an awakening and look in the mirror and say “who am I”, “what has happened to my life”, that somehow the two have been separated journeys. One, being a Muslim woman and two, being a person. When infact we need to merge the two”.

Quote taken from this video: Honest Tea Talk, Keeping it Real. A talk show by Muslim women

A few weekends ago, my girlfriends and I went on a quick getaway to Daylesford. This trip definitely made us feel young again. Not that we’re old, but as busy mothers you tend to self-neglect.

So when I’m surrounded by like minded friends who just bring out the best in me, its an amazing feeling. We acted silly, took a gazillion photos, sang crazily, chatted about life etc etc. It made me realise what I’ve missed out on. I never had this life in my 20s. Sure I’ve had a few jahiliah years after high school right before I met a group of righteous sisters at uni. Then, my life changed drastically.

All praise to Allah swt for guiding me as I learned so much about my religion at only 21. I attended many Islamic events, I was a social butterfly so it was right up my alley except that it was all segregated?! What, I can’t talk or smile to guys? I come from a Malaysian culture where mixing is the norm. This lifestyle forced me to give up on music, fashion etc to the point I was told not to wear any colour, only black because colour is too attractive. Ok, I followed. So I went from being an outgoing jeans-wearing-music-pumping girl to full black abaya with Mishary Rashed on my player (who btw has an amazing voice Masha’Allah). I sure scared my Asian parents with the all black look! My mum isn’t a hijabi till this day. She was not impressed. And then to tell them I wanted to get married before finishing uni? Ouhhh, but we did! ?

Just as I entered my 4th (thesis) year at RMIT, I got married. Quit my job, almost wanted to quit uni too but when you’ve got a Chinese dad, that’s a no go! So I graduated, with Honors, yayy!! Soon after, the kids popped out one after the other. If only raising kids were easy. My firstborn was the HARDEST baby. Whoever said “sleep like a baby?” BS LIES!!! I really hit rock bottom. Months passed, I hated myself, I disengaged from everyone and I just couldn’t connect with this tiny little human. Years passed, my life was just that. Kids. Chores.

Looking back at the time, I definitely had post natal depression but I pushed it aside as I just didn’t have time for myself. Having 3 kids under 3.5 years of age, is challenging.

I raised all my kids till the last went to school this year. I didn’t have a career whilst I had them at home. My dreams and desire of always wanting to work for an architecture/design firm since I was young, just vanished into thin air. In 2012 after I had my 2nd, I founded @inmystudio_ because I felt a void missing in me. That’s when I started to dabble again in design.

Being home for 11 straight years, I became a master in the kitchen. I was obsessed with cleaning and making sure everyone was well fed, but not once did I care for myself. Zero. Everything was for my family. Clothes shopping? Only for the Kids! Me? I just lived in size 16 Kmart Pajamas with an abaya on top if I had to step out. Over the years, depression piled up. I was in denial about a lot of things, dealing with insecurities, “not good enough to work again”, struggling with being overweight and trying to “fit in with the pressures of society”. The weight journey is another long story which you can read here ?.

Just going back to that weight loss story for a sec, if you had told me 5 years ago, that one day I would be a gym addict, I would have thought you were insane! Before I was even ready to exercise, I was pressured into it. I HATED it with a passion. It wasn’t until I was ready, then I began doing it for MYSELF. Exercise was the ONE thing I needed to regain my life. It gave me my confidence back. Exercise has done wonders to my mental and physical health. I get depressed if I don’t train. My body naturally craves it now!

Ok. This post is a bit mumbled-jumbled but I guess it’s all inter-related; Spiritual + Emotional + Physical + Mental Well-Being.
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Back to motherhood: I never regretted being a SAHM. It was my choice. I raised my kids and enjoyed every moment with them despite lots of hard days. Of course we all have that FOMO. Fear of missing out. I had a few emotional breakdowns at home, longing to have a career I’ve always dreamt of.

So when my son entered Prep, I went from 11 years of being a SAHM to having 2 jobs in the last 8 months #mashallah! I definitely surprised myself. Life is now hectic. Being organised = to remain sane. I work 3 days a week and instruct fitness classes most days. And do I still get that FOMO feeling? Hell Yes! The grass is always greener on the other side right? I see my SAHM friends going on brunches while I’m at work, I miss out on most school events and I definitely miss cooking a feast! Some days I do burn out and take it out on the kids. Truth: I’m a monster mum everyday ?. Urgh mum guilt. But thank God for friends who remind me that I’ve been home for them and now its mums turn to have some self care and development.
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Our iman goes up and down, I’m farrr from perfect. Every Muslim is struggling in one way or another. When we look at social media, we think someone has the perfect life, but thats just a small piece of what they want you to see. Yea sure I’m guilty of sharing nice things too, who doesn’t? Let’s try our best not to compare ourselves to others or feel pressured to fit in. I fought my own battle and struggled to find myself over the years. And if you’ve known me since… forever, I’m still the same person inside, with morals and values. We need to understand and have empathy, to support one another. You never know what someone is going through in their life. Never judge by exterior looks. You could be doing more damage than good. May Allah guide us and protect us ??

So my 2 cents on this, don’t be pressured to do something you’re not ready to do or do something for the sake of pleasing others.

Find things that make you happy. Take time off to re-energize. Here are a few examples:

??  Active lifestyle – Health & Fitness
??  Surround yourself in good company
??  Find a hobby
?  Self care (get a massage, seek mindfulness- something I need to start!)

Have a relationship with yourself to find yourself. I survived through the “storm”, so I’m now just taking a moment to enjoy life. Am I still struggling? Yes in other aspects. It’s going to take time but its crucial to have a solid foundation with oneself which then helps create a healthy + happy relationship with others and with Allah. I’m still in that journey trying to embrace myself and connect with my Creator. Struggling does not make you any less of a believer or a good person. Be positive and don’t forget to smileeee. Yes seriously, a smile is just that one tiny action you do to bring joy to another person ????.

Can I say, living in this society, we have somewhat become a bit judgmental and this is where people are afraid to seek help or live quietly in denial while going through their own struggles alone. If you feel that you can relate to this, I hope I’ve given you the courage to seek help and reach out because mental illness is real and I want you to know you’re not alone in this. I went through this alone for 10 years and I know taking the first step is the hardest ???
*

Keep me in your duas.

Love,
Iva xx


  • Aug
  • 08
  • 2019

2019 Eid Printable | Chocolate + Bottle Wrappers

2019 Eid Printable | Chocolate + Bottle Wrappers


  • Aug
  • 04
  • 2019

2019 Eid Printable | Money Envelopes

2019 Eid Printable | Money Envelopes

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Download previous years money packet

2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018


  • Aug
  • 02
  • 2019

2019 Eid Printable | Cupcake Topper and Straw Flags

Printable DIY Eid Cupcake Topper

 *You may download this printable at the end of the post*


These will complement your dessert table styling beautifully! Matching bottle wrappers, chocolate wrappers and gift tags also available to download.


  • Aug
  • 01
  • 2019

2019 Eid Printable | Bunting Flags

Eid Bunting Flags
You may download this PDF at the bottom of this post

This year I’ve gone outside my comfort zone and used blue!!! If you know me, I hardly ever wear blue, its my least favourite colour. But hey, I wanted to follow my followers requests, I’ve had a few people mention lamb/sheeps and also blue/navy! So here it is. I hope you (and your kids) enjoy DIYing them! If you use these printables, I would love to see them so please tag me in your instagram posts or hashtag #IMSfreebies and of course follow me on instagram @inmystudio_

Materials you will need:

1. This printable template (print as many as you wish)
2. Scissors
3. Ribbon or string
4. Hole punch

**Upon clicking the download button, you adhere to my policies. This file is strictly for personal use ONLY. Which means you can print as many times as long as it is for your own use, not for commercial (profit making) or as part of a finished sale product. Prohibited to resell and/or distribute this file, digitally or in printed form.**

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