Miss Hayati is a new BellaNaija Style series that explores the mysterious and the seemingly impenetrable world of young West African Muslim women. Headlined by four alternating writers: Fatima Togbe, Papatia Feauxzar, Maryam Salam and Ismath Lauriano, the goal is to inspire young Muslim women to build personal power and live fulfilling lives within their personally defined religious limits.

We’ve All Been There
Let me not lie. I’ve done my fair share of clubbing way back when I was still a youngin’. I remember the days when the highlight of my week was every little detail of what went down at the club. Spending hours with the crew, planning my outfit, doing my makeup, doing each other’s hair, and making sure we had a table. Yup, I won’t lie, it was fun and I’m glad I experienced all of that, but those days are long gone, and I just rather not go out.

It Takes Time
It didn’t happen overnight. It’s not like I had some epiphany or something. It was more of a gradual process. The older I got, the more I yearned for a bigger purpose in life. That led me to become more aware of myself and my religion. From short miniskirts, I started rocking midis to the club like a real grown and sexy woman. Then as began to pray occasionally, I started wearing long-sleeve outfits and wearing turbans on a daily basis. By that time, I went from going out daily to being out once a week (just to have a little fun). However, the big shift came when I moved back to the US from Abuja for about 7 months. Away from distractions, I was able to focus on myself. I began praying daily, I started to form my unique religious identity, Hayati Magazine was born, and from that point on I enjoyed staying home because that meant I had more time to work on Hayati.

It Is Not By Force
Unfortunately, this isn’t a fairytale and I didn’t live happily ever after. We all know that God was bound to the test me. 7 months went by fast, and before I knew it I was back in Abuja. All the “how far? Are you coming out tonight” BBMs started to pour in. Yes, we still used BBs in those days (lol). Play pool party broadcasts, all black party invites, the Delphino picnic and all those fun outings were calling my name. Of course, I went out a couple of times, but to my surprise, every time did go out, I found myself annoyed, frustrated and ready to go home. It was the same old thing! Same men, same routine, younger girls every time I managed to come out, and eventually I had to just tell myself, “IT IS NOT BY FORCE”. So, from then on, if it’s not someone’s birthday, wedding, or other special occasions, you will not catch me out.

Are Club Friends Real?
It was a trying time at first. I lost a lot of ‘friends’, people just stopped inviting me places, the haters who swore they knew me better than I know myself, began saying things like “Abeg! This girl that lives in the club, she will be back”. Funny one… But on the bright side, I had more time to discover myself, and I saved so much money. Girls!! Even if the night is free, I never realized how much money went into doing my hair, nails, getting new outfits, shoes, and all of that. It’s ridiculous!! So since then, I continued to build my magazine, develop my professional profile and ultimately started to work on the women that I want to be. Now looking back, I had more time to focus on the things that really matter to me: God, family and myself (of course, *wink*).

Strike A Balance
So yes, clubbing is fun, but for me, I find staying home more enjoyable these days. And no, I will not give you a long speech about why you should stay home. Just because this balance works for me, doesn’t mean it will work for you. One thing I will say though is that you should take time off for yourself. Do some soul searching, find your balance between religion, family, yourself and work, and live by that. You may notice some changes in your lifestyle, but they will be the changes that YOU need. If you want to talk or just vent, I’m just letting you know in advance… I don’t have all the answer, but I will listen though, and together maybe we can figure something out.

So, comment below or email me at [email protected].