With a smile that could light up a room and a heart of gold, Hiba is a breast cancer survivor and a baker at Spectatula !
She's a proof that it's possible to overcome challenges in your life, to thrive and live a healthy wonderful life despite all the setbacks. There's always hope beyond what you see ✨
Rapid Fire: Who are you and what do you do?
Hi! My name is Hiba but some of my friends call me Baba. I run a home based baking business called Spectatula ! I’m also a breast cancer advocate and am part of the Young Survivors Group of the National Cancer Society of Malaysia.
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
I listen to my body. I focus on how I'm feeling at the moment. It’s a habit I developed when I was going through treatment, because I wouldn’t know how I would feel or how my body would react the next day. Doing this helps me to plan my day better!
So on days that I'm not at my best and I have meet ups planned for the day, I can manage my energy levels more efficiently. I’ve made it a habit to also prompt people that I'm meeting up with, on how my mental / physical capacity is for the day, especially on days that I'm not running on a fully charged battery.
What are you passionate about?
Building relationships ! I love getting to know people and hearing about their stories. So I make it a point to ask for a person's name, what they do and where they're from.
You’re able to learn a lot about a person just from asking these little things. So the next time you meet someone new, take some time to ask these few things. You’d be surprised at the relationship you’re able to build.
What do you usually do to stimulate your creative juice?
I sing in my car. Haha ! So if you ever see me in my car singing my heart out with passion, you know why.
What part of you that you are most proud of?
My scars. I’ve learned to love them and really don’t mind talking about them ! Each one tells a different story and serves as a reminder of how much my body has protected me.
Society still has an idealistic view of how a womans body should be. Having only one breast and scars on my body doesn’t make me any less of a woman.
What are you doing to keep yourself busy right now?
My days are filled with me time (workout, coffee and/or reading), family time, work and baking ! My “me time” is extremely important for me to recharge my social battery and to recalibrate my emotions. Occasionally I’d throw in random dancing or singing sessions while I’m baking or when I’m with my nieces or nephews. It really lifts the mood!
What are some of the positive changes that you try to implement this year?
Being curious rather than critical of myself. This was something I learned from going to therapy. One of my biggest “aha!” moments was when the therapist said “Hiba, you’re not angry enough”.
I always thought of anger as a negative thing, that I was not allowed to show it. However, she taught me that my feelings are indicators of either things going wrong or going right in my body.
So for example, if I was feeling angry, it meant that my boundaries were crossed. I then learned to explore this in a more curious manner, to understand where the feelings came from and why I felt the way I did.
What or who is your biggest influence?
My mother. There is an unmatched strength in her that leaves me in awe every single day. Her capacity to love is limitless and she treats those around her with so much kindness. She taught me that it pays nothing to treat someone with compassion, and that charity extends beyond what money can buy. She taught me the importance of being independent and strong, but to also be gentle when needed. I hope that someday, I'll be able to be even half the person that she is.
Top 3 series that you’re currently watching at the moment?
To be honest, there aren’t any tv series that i’m currently following, but there are a few that I watch repeatedly :
- Friends - I’ve watched this series so many times. It’s become a sort of white noise for me. I put it on in the background when I’m cleaning, baking and even on days where I’m feeling low. I’ve memorised most of the dialogue too!
- Big Bang Theory - This brings out the geeky side of me, from Marvel to Lord of The Rings! Also just watching Sheldons’ sassy character makes my day.
- Hilda - This is a relatively new animated series on Netflix. It’s about a blue haired girl with a thirst for adventures and exploring. She moves from the Wilderness to the hustle and bustle of the city, with her mom and Deerfox. You’ll follow her character growth as she develops relationships with her friends, giants, elves and other magical creatures. It may come off as a child’s tv series at first, but there is maturity in the way the story is written. I’ve watched this multiple times with my nieces and every time I do, I learn something new about myself !
If your life is a song, what would it be and why?
This song serves as a reminder to me, of the value of time and how to really live life instead of just going through the motions of it. My time was predominantly spent going through treatments.
When I reminisce about the last 7 years, there are days where I'm angry at how much time Cancer took from me, but also at how much it has taught me - to own the joys and the pain of life every single day, to love fearlessly and to give it all I have. At least at the end of the day, I can say “I swear, I lived”.