Guru Nadia loses “the way”

I thought I had me figured out.

I thought I had me under control.

I thought I had been on this long, tortuous (anything-but-spectacular-now-that-I’m-where-I-am-now) journey and that I’d learned the greatest lessons of life, reached the age of wisdom, and I could deal calmly with anything that was thrown my way.

I don’t know what happened or when exactly, but I was really really wrong.

Now I find myself asking me: “So what’s the deal? I knew life was always going to have its ups and downs. I figured that part out. I lowered my expectations completely and started enjoying whatever it was I did have. But I thought I had learned self-control. I thought I had gained inner peace. WHERE THE FUCK HAS THAT GONE???”

Does this mean that just as life has its ups and downs, self also goes through uncontrollable rollercoaster-rides of emotions? But why?

Or is this just me bolting right into pre-menopause? I have to warn you now, if this is what my menopause is going to be like, if I have to go through this for several years, you will all want to run out of my way starting now. Because this ugly. This is really ugly.

And then I think, “Why has God made women’s hormones so difficult to deal with? I mean: this is God we’re talking about. G O D. God can do anything. God gave us tornadoes and tsunamis and poverty and asshole dictators. God knew life was going to be rough. Why add insult to injury and give women undulating hormones?”

I promised myself when I studied menopause in med school way back in yesteryear that I’d never take hormonal replacement therapy. I’ve changed my mind. I’ve definitely changed my mind. Once I know I’m going through menopause, I’m going to DEMAND that doctors give me all the meds they have.

I don’t know if I’ve just been very hormonal lately or if I’m entering an obligatory new phase of self-discovery (I really don’t know if I want to do that anymore. It’s EXHAUSTING). Now that I’m here, I’m starting to regret all the Facebook statuses I wrote about the importance of self-discovery and of learning self. Fuck self! Self sucks big time. Maybe God is trying to tell me: Stop playing the role of guru because you know nothing! NOTHING!

I really did think I had stuff figured out. I had reached that ultimate stage of wisdom where I realized that I did not need to have answers to all the questions. I decided it was perfectly fine not to know. I made peace with doubt.

All that’s gone. Poof! Out the window. I need answers!

I’m right back where I was years ago. Religion – ALL religions – make no sense to me anymore. People of religion – well, lots of them anyway – scare the freaking daylight out of me. But I’m still OK with God and some spiritual aspects of religion. When I ask myself why, the only answer I can give myself is: “Because if I didn’t have God and spirituality I wouldn’t know what to do with myself. I’d be completely and utterly lost. It’s the last remnant of stability and ‘truth’ I’ve been able to hold onto. If even God and my spirituality turned out to be a bunch of mumbo jumbo, it would be like being thrown into an endless black hole. I’d be lost for eternity. It’s all I have left to explain some of the basics of life and to deal with them.” Religious people can stay the fuck away from this blog post, by the way. So can people who want to explain life and the world to me through science. I don’t want to hear a peep out of either of you. NOT A PEEP!

And then there’s motherhood. I’m 100% convinced that I’m right up there with the top ten worst mothers in all of human history. There’s nothing else to say about that. Leave me be to drown in the horrors of my shame and guilt.

I’ve also been wondering about my friends. I don’t think they’re right in the head. I have some GREAT friends in Egypt. I have friends who literally treat me like royalty every single time I come to Egypt for a visit. But I’ve done absolutely nothing to deserve that friendship. ZILCH. How have I ever been a good friend to anyone? How have I ever reciprocated? Another thing to add to the list of failures.

And then, as if all that wasn’t enough, I think I have my underwear on backwards. It’s a sad, sad day when a woman can’t be certain which is the front and which is the back of her underwear.

Of course, theoretically, all this could just be a bad bout of premenstrual syndrome. It is that time of the month. My sense that all this has been going on for weeks could be exaggerated – by a few weeks. You just never know with these things. It’s like the backwards underwear. Or religion. You just can’t be certain.



  1. Ok, I guess I am one of the people whome you have asked to shut the fxxxx up, and not say a wordin response to this post. However, I feel so much compelled to reply and share my thoughts. And I promise, I will not say any thing religious, but I might accidentally speak about my experience (oops, please don’t through a hard object, or eggs a tomato will do).
    I am not writing this to advise, I am just trying to share and I am also writing to let you know that we, women, all of us, religious or not, have similar days where we think that life is not worth living and that suicide some times seem like an appealing option.
    But what I have learned from these days, not to be so hard on my self, watch a movie, eat chocolate and fried food, and you out of all people Nadia can judge by my weight and looks how much shxxxxxx I have gone through. However, these simple remedies work.
    I believe you are going through a phase where your inner voice is telling you something but you are rebelling so hard against it. you might want to listen to it and even give in and go with the flow once in a while.
    Uncertainty is a devil, so I would try to fly closer to earth to avoid falling all the way for a huge hight.
    Injuries from a reasonable night are more manageable.
    Finally, I can’t promise that you will feel much better soon, but I can promise that is tomorrow is another day.
    P.S. Re motherhood, ask your kids what they really think of you.

    1. Whoa. No mention of suicide here. Nor any thoughts of it. Being fed up with self and self-discovery does not mean in any way, shape or form that there are thoughts of suicide (or even a need for fried food…although brownies are indeed in the oven as we speak). I completely understand that many “religious” people might think that words like mine are a form of rebellion. My inner self is telling me to “go back” to “the right way” but another aspect of myself is telling me to rebel against that. If I continue to rebel, goes the thinking, I will fall from the far height you mention into the agony of what ultimately leads to the hellfire. I don’t believe that. I think my inner self is telling me that I can’t leave unanswered or poorly answered questions as such any longer. I need to search for the answers even if I don’t like what I hear because it goes against what I was “brought up” to think. I think it requires an incredible amount of courage to ask certain questions and it needs anything but flying low. I’ve flown low for a few years now. It’s time to be courageous and fly high.

  2. Oh yes and don’t try o start over from scratch, it is very exhausting mentally and spiritually. You have a lot of experience and achievements to build on. Don’t throw it all away.

  3. Mmm I wish you luck and I think you need definite answers but what if the answers confirmed some o what you have been brought up on, you never know.
    be careful my friend and may God be with you in your risky journey.

    1. I doubt I’ll ever find definite answers. I’m simply looking for convincing ones. And a mind searching for truth needs to be left completely open to what one already knows, what one thinks one knows, and what one does not yet know. The journey to search for truth is not a risky one. It requires courage. But nothing bad ever results from looking for truth. Ever. Sometimes I think that it’s the people who aren’t open to truth who are the most frightened of it.

  4. I think your being harsh on yourself!

    The search for truth has no definite answers, Its a loop of doubts and just when you find some inner peace, you will go back to doubt it again and again.

    As you said it takes courage to search for the truth, and let me add it can be exhausting as well.

    Enjoy your brownies, it’s just a rainy day.


  5. May I suggest a book? Meditations by Marcus Aurelius translation of Gregory Hays and no other translation. I think you probably need a little bit of philosophy in your life, not as in instructor but as the quote from the book says “A soothing ointment for your ophthalmia” Like a warm lotion. Hah. Do give it a try though if you didn’t read it already. Marcus Aurelius was a Roman emperor and the book is basically filled with non-cringy aphorisms that he concludes for himself to himself. His writings was for his own not for the public, he never wouldve that his writings were ever published. So give it a try lol.

  6. Hey Nadia, I found your blog like two days ago and I’ve been reading every post and relating a fair bit. More than a fair bit. And well you’re more than twenty years older than me and I was desperately searching for answers because I figured hey you’ve been asking these same questions I have for two decades more than I have surely you would’ve found them by now (hope I haven’t shat on your life by now) But as I’ve been through your blogs I’ve been inspired so so much. You’ve had adventures, you’ve succeeded at so many things, you’ve taken life and you’ve told it that you’re going to live it and you’re not going to let it get over you and you haven’t done it in the shitty romanticised way which most people do. You’ve written down all your thoughts in a raw manner to which I couldn’t be more grateful because it means when I get to go through my life, I won’t be expecting the rose tinted version. I thought those feelings that you spoke about, the confusion, loneliness, religion as a coping mechanism or truly the meaning of life, those doubts those fears I thought they go away, seemingly they intensify. But here’s the thing, if they go away what are you left with? Was this journey of life supposed to be easy? No. As you get older, your trials get tougher because you get tougher. It’s the same trials though seemingly. Its just, I think a more intensified version. Anyway you’ve helped a random girl empathise and feel like she isn’t alone with her thoughts, her questions, her doubts about religion and life. And that’s a positive thing.

    1. You are the person I write for, Rachel. You just made me feel that letting words out of my head is a worthwhile thing to do. Thank you.

  7. Hello Nadia . i am really sorry for you having those hard times. i really want you to find the truth you’re searching for to have the inner peace that you & all mankind are actually seeking whether they do it consciously or unconsciously .
    you know what? i wanna help you at this moment & i don’t want or even have the ability to get into a debate of whether what i believe is the right /truth & what you believe or you have doubt about is the wrong ! but what i am thinking is…. just let all the questions out . i really want to know them & i truly want you to find the right & only the right answers .
    in the mean time if i were you i will keep it simple & ask my self one question: what i want to do in my life? if i want to do good things then why to think a lot ! just go do them .
    i think keeping doing good , keeping trying is the best solution & the answers are going to find their way to me .

    for me when i can’t answer the big questions i just choose to do the good. good is just something that relates directly to being a human . whatever science or religion that upset you right now, doing good has nothing to do with it .
    so just live for the humanity inside you without hesitation , fill yourself with this and keep & open heart & mind for what gets in your way . just hope for finding the truth . if you have any tiny belief of a god ask him sincerely . do the good deeds . have a pure heart for whoever faces you & whatever faces you .
    i don’t know if my words give you any good feeling or you believe me or not but the ” magic” thing -to me – about it is that i feel empathy for you & i don’t know why . i never talked to you . i only saw you once on Al Araby channel month or so ago & since then i searched & found this blog & l couldn’t let it just pass by , i swear to you i never closed it in my browser since then even if i don’t read it . today only i decided to have look & i found this post .

    who knows maybe there is some thing good behind that 🙂
    & lastly i want to apologize if my English is not that good . i am kind of self learning english

  8. Hi nadia.. I tried to get in touch with u couple of times via twitter.. But i couldn’t.. I was desperately in need i was so confused i was definitely miserable.. I wasnt able to sleep.. That was a long questioning session in my life.. I had such longings that i wasnt able to resist, they were urging me to think.. Thinking reading and searching didnt help me.. I was wondering if there were any people feel and think like me.. Then i found you!! I ve read all your writings. A lot of them with tears.. The writing about ur longing was like written by me. Exactly the same thoughts.. I come from nearly the same background.. I am surrounded by very similar people.. I sometimes wonder why all this questioning happened to me.. Other people seem to be settled.. I saw some very different things in my dreams i was relieved about alot of things but i honestly dont have answers to my some basic questions. im not sure if im doing Couple of things becoz i believe thats what the creator, Allah wants.. Just like u, i thought u found inner peace u found out the real meaning of life but ur last post got me thinking again honestly i was shocked..I m turkish living in istanbul.. But have to move to europe in a month becoz of my husbands job.. I dont know why i write u exactly.. I only know ur kind of a person that i believe eventually end up with right decisions becoz of ur sincerity.. Can a sincere person who cAn fearlessly, bravely tell every single experience she went through be insincere to Allah? Can, May the Creator not be merciful to his sincere creations? I definitely dont think so.. Just like i mentioned before i still dont have answers to very basic questions.. I dont know what being righteous is.. But i found lots of shifa, healings from quran itself only quran!! Surah duha, rahman affects me relieves me a lot.. They saved me from insomnia devastating dreams, dizzy head.. But i really need more i need to feel great with this world and the Creator at the same time.. I really hope me, you all the people like us find the real peace.. Thanks alot for all your sharings.. I dont think ur writings affect ummah in a bad way or so.. I definitely dont.. Becoz although i was very weak i only found good responses, sincere interpratations of ur writings.. I want to thank you from the depts of my heart.. I hope we can meet someday!!

    1. You’re words made me tear up, Tugce. Thank you. I’m so sorry you weren’t able to reach me through Twitter. I never received messages from you. The more and more I think about it, the more and more I think the natural state is to be doubtful and to have questions, rather than it being one in which one knows and is sure. We do not know, after all. Many questions we will never know the answers to, we can only guess or have blind faith. I don’t want to have blind faith in anything. These words of yours affected me the most: “Can a sincere person who cAn fearlessly, bravely tell every single experience she went through be insincere to Allah? Can, May the Creator not be merciful to his sincere creations? I definitely dont think so..” I believe in a merciful God.

      1. all started with questioning the creator.. But i never questioned if that exist or not.. I dont think its ever possible that all this stuff occurred just by itself. This is like an art without an artist. I went to rome to look for a flat last weekend. I saw perfect pieces of art there, definitely wonderful! none of them just occured by time randomly.. Just like that!! Can the masterpiece have no creator?! .White powder sands in maldives, torquise waters, colorful fish, clownfish, lion fish, manta rays, whalesharks, klimanjaro, etna, black sands in hawai, whiteheaven beach in australia, kravice falls in bosnia, havasupai falls, these clouds, snow, sun all these are the sign for me that there is a God. Not only a perfect almighty Creator but also a life after this life.. There definitely are some illusions of heaven and hell in this world. But what i realised is that heaven kinda creations are all around us. But the frightening ones are just less than the amazingly beautiful ones and they are mostly caused by humanbeings. So this got me to the point where i believe in a merciful Creator.. He didnt create us out of his cruelty or his wish to burn but because of his mercy. He wanted us to see and feel in order for us to keep believing in him and other life.. So i believe and hope for now, i have a right image of the creator in my mind. I make dua to a merciful Creator. however I m struggling with the right image of a righteous humanbeing.. What it takes to be a muttaqun? What makes a person takwah? I m really not sure not clear.. I dont want a person between me and my Creator.. But saying that, i dont want to worship my own mind.. I might need some advises some books, interpratations.. I dont want to be dependent on a person to feel and understand the Creator.. So for now i dont have a sheikh or scholar or anything.. i cant say im sunni or anything like that. I can only say im muslim but i cant define what kind of a muslim i actually am.. Maybe i dont have to have a title for it but at least i wanna be able to define it to myself. I only find one humanbeing’s answers satisfactory so far. He is bediuzzaman said nursi. I didn’t even read one of his books from beginning to end.. I only come up to his conclusions while reading other people, so far most of his sayings seem to be satisfactory. I believe his image of God is a merciful one.. But as i said before i cant be dependent solely on a human’s conclusions, ideas or books. I think Iccould only be sure if i lived with Prophet Muhammet (pbuh). But for now i m not sure what he said or what he didnt. Which of the hadiths reached us as they originally were n which didnt.. why some parts of this religion are not clear in Quran to me whereas they are clear to great majority of scholars? May our merciful creator Allah show us the way, help us settle, give us strong iman in a right direction.. Sorry for my english.. I tried to do my best to explain my situation. Thanks in advance! ur answer made me so emotional u made me weep so many times and now i did that to you!! Oh my God!! I love you! I hope we remember all these torturous days in peace, with a smiling face, wholeheartedly thankful hearth in jannah inshallah… I would appreciate if you share your email adress with me.. if u wish.. Thanks for ur sincerity.. Please never be hesitant if it worths writing or not. It definitely worths.. I wish u could open my heart snd brain to see that it worths:) to sum up;

        M. Pickthall (English)
        Duhâ Suresi

        1. By the morning hours
        2. And by the night when it is stillest,
        3. Thy Lord hath not forsaken thee nor doth He hate thee,
        4. And verily the latter portion will be better for thee than the former
        5. And verily thy Lord will give unto thee so that thou wilt be content.
        6. Did He not find thee an orphan and protect (thee)?
        7. Did He not find thee wandering and direct (thee)?
        8. Did He not find thee destitute and enrich (thee)?
        9. Therefore the orphan oppress not,
        10. Therefore the beggar drive not away,
        11. Therefore of the bounty of thy Lord be thy discourse.

  9. I’m sorry to be the spoil sport, but after much living and soul-searching I find it impossible “to just be good.” There are too many gray areas. At 80 it seems like wisdom to bow down to the mystery that is unsolvable for me. I wish you who feel you stll have a chance to solve it to go forward. For myself, I doubt that there is a merciful God who looks over us as individuals. Thankfully I can live with the letting go, if not full acceptance, and at times can be transported on the wings of nature and the arts…

  10. Hmm. If I may offer just on the premenopausal and menopause experience… I’m 57 and have been in menopause for past 3 years. I really think exercise helps –in terms of mental de-stressing. I’ve been cycling for past 25 years and don’t have a car.

    I was very lucky during premenopause for about 3 years… occasionally very brief hot flashes when I woke up in morning. No unusual heavy periods nor feeling whatever emotionally.

    My period just faded away.

    And now, much to my annoyance, I get hot flashes abit more often during the morning. And now it seems my body temperature just feels a tad higher in general that I get hotter sooner in cool / very cold temperatures.

    C’est la vie. It could be a lot worse.

    I’ve had some tough personal times but would not be attributing to my hormones at all. (I lost a sister, later a father and relocated 800 km. to different city for a job all in the last 6 years.) Oh yea, I also had a concussion after another cyclist crashed into me. I’m fine now but there was several months of rehab.

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