It Frustrates Me When…

…People only share the good in their life on social media, 

Especially “influencers” 

Thus creating an unrealistic standard for what life is supposed to look like 

There are too many people struggling with mental health because of this 

They’re comparing themselves constantly to the highlight reels of others

Not realizing what they’re seeing is a facade

I’d like to challenge more people to share the truth.

The good, the bad, and the ugly of every day, 

Despite the judgment. 

I remember when I first began to share stories from my life on social media. 

The loudest critics were those that I considered my closest friends

And the kindest were those I’d never met before, 

Strangers online. 

I drowned out all the noise, and focused on one thing: 

Sharing my truth, 

And I’ll continue to do this till the day I die. 

How Are You Really Doing?

Today, someone asked me how I was really doing.

I’m not sure why that made me pause. I suppose it’s because I’m so used to being asked “how are you” in more of a I-don’t-actually-give-AF manner, but this time was different. It felt like a loaded question.

How was I really doing?

I talk about mental health a lot online, but when was the last time I truly checked in with myself?

If I’m being honest—with myself, with you—life has been like a fog lately. A thick, grey fog.

I can’t seem to clear the cloud in my mind. I can’t seem to do much of anything, really. My to-do list is growing longer and longer, but the items remain unchecked.

Am I lazy?

Or am I burnt out?

Is it something else entirely?

You might scoff if I mention that I have ADHD. I didn’t have it as a child. It appeared in my mid-twenties and has only worsened with age.

“She’s always trying to come up with new problems for attention,” you might say. “Along with her BPD, anxiety, insomnia…”

I’d argue then that mental health issues are more interrelated than we might realize, and here is where the real problem comes in.

I can take a pill for my BPD, and it helps. But if I take a pill for my ADHD, it makes my BPD worse, which makes everything worse…

There is no quick fix.

This time, I must get to the source of the fog if I hope to clear it, but every time I try, I get distracted.

A Pakistani-American Mother’s POV on “Gentle Parenting”

We are knee-deep in the trenches of potty training.

Lily is a sweet but stubborn three-year-old girl that has no problem using the potty at school, but when she’s home, she wants a pull-up.

And she wants mom to change it…

I thought maybe I wasn’t being firm enough, so yesterday, I wrestled her for half an hour to get her to sit on the potty.

Spoiler Alert: Nothing Happened

I stepped away for a minute to grab my phone, and by the time I’d returned, my child had hopped off the potty and peed all over the kitchen floor.

I was livid.

I began to yell and called my husband to help clean her up.

While he bathed her, I stepped aside to collect myself and clean the kitchen floor. I felt like a failure as a mother. How could her teacher get her to use the potty but not me? What was I doing wrong?

Once I’d cleaned the mess, I returned to the bathroom where my daughter was shaking and crying hysterically.

I didn’t raise my voice often, so she didn’t know how to react when I did.

That’s when I realized that my child was scared… of me…

My husband looked at her and looked at me, and said, “Do better, because this is not okay.”

And I agreed with him. It took me seeing my daughter shaking and crying in the bathroom to finally understand that I am my child’s safe space.

She feels safe making mistakes with me, and if I’m not gentle, that will change. She will start to lie and hide as I did, and I won’t be able to be there to be her rock. Instead, I’ll be a barrier to her, and that’s the last thing that I want.

More importantly, that’s the last thing that she needs.

I apologized to her multiple times at bedtime. I even held her against my chest and played with her hair until she fell asleep, but I still felt like shit.

I’d messed up.

I am, however, giving myself grace as I hope you all will, and I’m committing to doing better.

I’m committing to gentle parenting.

The Cutest Thing my Husband Did on Our Honeymoon…

My husband and I had a lavish month-long affair for our wedding as is the norm for many Pakistani/Indian weddings.

I was so occupied with planning the events, especially the mendhi and shaadi, that I didn’t have much time or energy to plan the honeymoon, so I asked my husband if he could takeover planning the trip.

I didn’t care where we went or what we did as long as we were together. He ended up choosing Grand Cayman Island.

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Truthfully, I hadn’t even heard of the island until he booked, but I was extremely excited. The beaches were gorgeous, there were plenty of island activities we could indulge in, and the restaurants were highly-rated.

We took off for Grand Cayman the day after our valima, and even though we thought we’d “chill” on vacation after several back-to-back wedding events, we were eager to explore the island as soon as we landed.

We booked a boat trip, which would take us to swim with stingrays and to a beach that housed hundreds of starfish.

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When we got to Starfish Point at Grand Cayman, our guide mentioned that if the starfish were out of the water for more than a couple of seconds, they could die.

After hearing that, my husband was mortified.

Everyone began taking the starfish out of the water for “quick selfies” before sticking them back in, but my husband had ZERO interest in photos after that.

He stood like a lifeguard, and if anyone took “too long” to get their photos, my husband walked up to them and reminded them to put the starfish back in the water before they were hurt — or worse.

So no, I didn’t get a cute starfish photo from my honeymoon, but I gained something greater:

Massive respect for my husband.

If he was this protective over a starfish, then I knew I’d made the right choice in marrying him. He’d protect me for life, and he truly has since the day we met.

How do You Know When Someone Truly Loves You?

Most people laugh when I tell them how I know my husband loves me…

Naush & I have been married for 6.5 years now, and we often get asked, “Was it arranged?”

It was not.

I had a huge (unrequited) crush on him in high school, but it wasn’t until graduating college that I bumped into him again at a party for a mutual friend.

We began seeing each other more—first, with our friends—and then, alone.

We were both single, and our relationship escalated quickly. We were engaged within 6 months on our first Valentine’s Day together.

Of course, there were all the “Hollywood” signs that he loved me, including dinner dates, gifts, and flowers.

The ring was also a sign that he loved me, but more important to me than the diamond ring was an old pair of white socks.

Let me explain.

After we got married, our honeymoon period came to an abrupt end.

I’d never lived with anyone other than my family before, and the adjustment was difficult for both of us.

The fights were seemingly minuscule at first, such as an argument over who left the lid off the mason jar, but like our love story, the fights escalated quickly.

Yelling, name-calling, late-night calls to family and friends in tears, and more became the norm until I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder.

Borderline personality disorder is a mental health disorder that can cause extreme mood swings and difficulty in relationships.

I began to see a therapist individually as well as with my husband, and it helped.

I always compare therapy to cleaning up a mess. As you’re cleaning, you first make a bigger mess before things come back together.

Well, after one particularly difficult therapy session with Naush, I went to bed crying. My husband was also upset, and he withdrew upstairs.

Later that night, however, I felt him put a pair of socks on me.

Even though we were angry with one another, he still made sure my feet were warm, so I would sleep comfortably through the night.

That’s when I knew without a doubt how much my husband loves me.

More stories on my social media: @saniakhiljee | Linktree