Polka dot crazy.

Growing up I never thought much of it if I’m honest, my grandma always touched it and smiled but other than that it was never an issue. That was until I was a little older in school and a boy laughed and commented on ‘the brown thing’ on my chin. Mole, beauty spot, birth mark or whatever you want to call it is something I never thought much of, yet is a huge part of my face. In fact I have a lot of little dots all over my face be it freckles or full on moles, I have them. When I heard his comment I remember going home and running to the mirror to have a good look, lo and behold he was right. There really was a brown thing on my chin, a thing I had never noticed or had I but was oblivious to?

My grandma had the same dot on her chin and always lovingly told me how beautiful it was that we had the same feature, yet I still felt like doing an Enrique and getting rid (God rest his beautiful mole). I mean I didn’t mind it enough to actually get it removed, but the thought did cross my mind several times as I got older. Call it paranoia, but there have been occasions where someone has done a double take and focused in on my chin making me feel a tad self-conscious. It was one of those times that I realised that it was me who was making it an issue affecting my self-esteem no one else.

After that I stopped thinking about it until the first time I ever got my makeup done was when I was in my teens. I remember the makeup artist covering my dot and getting frustrated that it wasn’t all going. I went home and cried my eyes out suddenly aware of this thing on my chin that she felt was so ugly it needed to be covered. I actually started wearing makeup aged 23 and know now that this dot will never be covered, the makeup artist wasted her time and foundation because this baby has a life of its own and deserves some airtime.

The term beauty spot is merely a euphemism for ‘dark facial mole’ according to Google the king of info, which had me wondering why in this day and age we have to use a euphemism in the first place. Every Halloween you see people dressing as witches drawing dots on their faces to represent moles in turn making those with the dots on their faces all year round wondering if they should have gone for that costume instead of the sexy nurse or pumpkin in my case. We read articles discussing how women who want their moles removed are classed as vain and how we should accept our flaws but also feature creams to lessen the look of them. Society literally tells you to be you but less of you, more of the thin clear faced ladies in the magazines but still be you. How bloody confusing?!

Coming from a South Asian background I was always aware that drawing dots on the chin was some sort of tradition, but never had a clue why. I asked on Instagram what it was all about and got some great responses with the exact same answer, nazar or evil eye in English. Dots on the chin helps to shield off an evil eye apparently. In that case I should have spent my entire life away from this right? If you made it this far and know anything about me then you can all guess I will be telling you that it really isn’t the case, I am not the biggest believer in these superstitions and risk my life walking under ladders quite frequently. The concept is something I do think is sweet though, the fact someone cares enough about another to draw a dot is pretty thoughtful.

In some parts of Indian they tattoo the dots on, the Bollywood films I have watched always have one character with some sort of dot placed on the face. In Turkey amulets are worn for protection with its history dating so far back even your Nan’s Nan will have seen them around and have now become a huge tourist souvenir. Evil eye is huge across many countries and I am in no way taking this away from anyone who does believe in it. I can see how it is a very personal thing to hold onto something so dear out of fear of bad luck. Next time you pop into Topshop and see the evil eye featured in the jewellery section I hope it makes you really think about its meaning and history rather than to stack up your bracelets or necklace because it looks cool.

Before I go into a rant about how much the Western world has taken from other cultures yet discriminates against said cultures I will get back to what I started, that is if I can even remember what I was babbling on about? Ok so yes moles, beauty spots or birth marks, what are your takes on this?

As someone who has had ups and downs with the dots I can relate to those who want to get rid and on the other side of the spectrum I am also with you beautiful people who love them. I for one love mine and will keep them forever, after all why would I ever want to hide the feature on my face that I share with my amazing grandmother? Nah mate, not me.

Also shout out to those who draw them on because the makeup industry has come out with actual pencils that are designed to draw dots on the face. Let’s go polka dot crazy! This world we live in really is a funny one isn’t it?

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A sad parting.

I’ll just get straight to the point, I don’t understand how across the world there are cheers of joy and fireworks celebrating Pakistan/India Independence Day. This may be very controversial, but how can we celebrate a time where we lost over a million people and displaced so many people there are no actual official figures. With some reports of 10 million and others of 15, whether we will ever truly know true figures I have no idea. Independence was declared for Pakistan on 14th August and India on 15th August yet officially the line where the two countries would split wasn’t declared until 17th August 1947. Nonetheless Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs took to the streets to express their happiness on their chosen independence day not realising how much they would lose in the days to come on the 17th.

I also find it disgusting that there are people in the UK walking around with no idea what the British Raj was all about, I once met someone who assumed it was the name of a restaurant. Seriously Dave? Although I admit I am not the most patriotic person, I do like a lot of the culture. Growing up I was not too fussed about wearing traditional clothes or going to South Asian events, as I grew older I became fiercely protective over the negative views many had over why my family was living in the UK. I live in a country that played such a terrible part in the end of what was a beautiful country and hear comments such as ‘why are there so many foreigners here looting our jobs??’ Mate you just used a Hindi word there, who is stealing what from who?

It truly frustrates me how our British curriculum does not teach youngsters the part other countries played to help during the world war, the part of history that educates them about all the countries Britain ever colonised (and ruined). I wonder if things would be different, if racism wouldn’t be so alive in this century if ignorant people knew why ‘brown’ people like me were born in this country. I was at an event today where a police officer stood up and told a Pakistani audience how grateful he was to Pakistanis for their help during the war and in the same breath how more could be done for Pakistanis to integrate into society else it would risk isolation. Oh ok then?

There are so many words in the British language that belong to other languages that I feel we have always been a melting pot before the rise of immigration. These words roll off the tongue and seem as British as fish and chips to those who have no idea they actually know a few Hindi words, I’m pretty sure even the most racist dumbass in the world has no idea the word pyjamas is an Indian term for loose fitting clothes. The term punch also derives from the word panj where you had five ingredients to make up a drink, the term bungalow again, a Hindi word. I can’t help but laugh each time I hear such stupidity from people, last week I heard a man say ‘I don’t know how someone from Chinese knew about this food place before I did and I’m British’. Seriously, how stupid are you pal?

Had Britain granted India independence when they initially promised in 1930 and not continued to live out this glorified British Raj that truly only benefitted the British whilst Indians were still paid in Indian currency to serve the British in their big mansions and parties, would my family even be here in the UK? Would I have to endure having to explain where I am from to people who feel it necessary to ask ‘but where are you really from love?’ In a sense I guess I do have some resentment towards the British in India at the time, could it have been handled better? Of course, I’m incredibly biased being British Pakistani and surrounded by partition survivors.

In 5 weeks a country was torn apart by a man who had no idea what he was doing, should never have been given such a huge responsibility and didn’t quite know the extent of the turmoil it would and still continues to cause this very day. This beautiful India is not something I was brought up to know, all I ever heard growing up was how violent the partition was and how the beauty that was there seems a million centuries ago. The stories of how Eid and Diwali was celebrated amongst all religions out of joy and love seems unthinkable for me as a granddaughter of a partition survivor. American Pakistani historian and writer Ayesha Jalal describes it as “a defining moment that is neither beginning nor end, partition continues to influence how the peoples and states of postcolonial South Asia envisage their past, present and future.”

Growing up I remember schoolkids hating another child because he or she was Indian and the Indians hating Pakistanis. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the very same children couldn’t comprehend how you could be Indian and Muslim or Pakistani and a Christian. I dread to think how disappointed their great grandparents would have been at seeing such hatred for who someone who would have been seen as their brother or sister before the ugliness the partition brought upon people. I am grateful that this isn’t as common now and people around me are less inclined to treat someone different due to them being Indian or Pakistani. However one cannot simple ignore the deep rooted hatred that still exists in regards to politics, the animosity between politicians even affect the film industry and the relationship that so many are trying to forge again with our old friends next door.

This hatred caused so much animosity that we forget how many similarities the now two different yet the bloody same countries have, we eat curries, we love sweets and Bollywood is still the best albeit incredibly dramatic genre loved by both. I hope the future generations of this society seek more education on the partition, work to minimise the divide between the communities and get together to have a good curry and some jalebi.

As usual I have no answers and nothing I am saying makes much sense apart from the fact that Independence Day is a dark day for me. A day where millions died, many had their hearts broken from having to leave their homes and lose their friends, family and everything they had ever known up till that point. This isn’t something I could ever celebrate, stories I have heard from people in my community such as families having to hide in basements for days, have their families murdered by soldiers and having to walk for weeks to seek safety. India wanted independence away from the British, instead it caused hatred amongst communities who weeks before shared happiness in their neighbours happiness and left people refugees in their own country. Women were raped, disfigured and dismembered. Pregnant women had their breasts cut off, tummies sliced and babies hacked out. Young men were killed and families burnt in the streets. This was a mere 70 years ago, when you speak to a child of the partition you are faced with tears of sadness of their loss that feels like it was yesterday. Those very same children then came to Britain years later and were told to go home, the very home the British played a part in destroying through their weak and naive leadership. The irony is unreal and yet here we are living in this reality, sometimes it feels we are living a not so hilarious nightmare.

 

Ps we want the Kohinoor back.

This one is for you Medusa.

So I just finished watching a YouTube video of a girl crying her poor heart out because she finally accepted that she could wear her hair curly and not be judged for it. It sounds so vain and small compared to everything going on in the world, but I totally understood it and it really is that deep. Whether we own up to it or not, appearances are a huge thing and if you are told all your life that a certain look is ugly then of course you’re bound to have that ingrained in your head.

If you had told me over a year ago that I would quit straightening my hair and let my hair just be then I would have laughed in your face and thought you were an idiot.  The only idiot here is me now because fast forward a little over a year and I have let my straightener gather dust *runs to throw it away* I was exhausted from using so much heat so I decided to set myself a challenge and I am not where I would like to be, but I am closer than I was last year.

Like many woman in my South Asian community, we are consistently told straight hair is beautiful and being a lady means to be polished which basically translates to STRAIGHTEN YOUR BLOODY HAIR OR YOU WILL NEVER GET MARRIED. What about those of us who don’t have silky straight hair like those in Bollywood movies or Vatika adverts? Are we the ugly outcasts? Does it make me less of an attractive woman to others if I have curly hair?

Watching movies like The Princess Diaries as a child where the traditional makeover of geeky girl with wild hair turning into a beautiful swan with chic hair and a beaming smile was so common didn’t do anything to help matters. Adverts telling us to tame our hair to transform our locks into thick glossy manes is still a regular trend now.

I genuinely did grow up thinking straight hair was perfection and I strived for so long to achieve it. The smell of burnt ends and scalded fingers or ears was a weekly thing for me, I so badly wanted to be accepted I forgot that it was ok to be different. In fact the only time I ever had my hair curly was when on holiday because it was ok to be exotic then, but mainly because I had to deal with the beast that came out from my head to hello to the world. Cue the scene from Friends that every girl with frizzy or curly hair can relate to, Monica, Barbados and humidity. I remember watching that episode and thinking YES girl work that hair, but never really thinking I ever could. This then resulted in me completely damaging my hair from all the heat and suddenly losing so much of it. My thick hair was suddenly a few strands of dry burnt disgustingness, but the shine from all the silicones and ceramic hair straighteners I was putting in my hair was giving the illusion of healthy hair.

I am still working out how on earth to style my hair, but the journey has been fun and at the end of the day it is just hair on my head. Those around you encouraging you not to have your natural hair for events such as weddings or job interviews are people you truly don’t need around you. My curly hair isn’t going to change the world but the person inside is, my straight hair won’t mean that men will line up to marry me regardless of what ‘aunties’ down the road think.

Social media has played a huge part in helping women globally to see others with the same features as them and what was once seen as a flaw is now celebrated through the unity. I can look at a picture of a girl from across the world and relate to her, I can make friends virtually and in reality just striking up a conversation about the best way to achieve defined hair whilst having volume or looking like sideshow Bob every night just to help my curls stay in place for day three. I used to think my hair looked like a wet dog until I finally found products that worked well with my hair and started to read up on how to take care of it. Growing up around girls with straight hair I find the whole internet community inspiring and I know I can log into Instagram and have a chat about the LOC method without my other life friends looking at me wondering why I am talking a different language.

The lesson to take from girl in the video was she finally understood that it wasn’t really about her hair, it was about how she saw herself. I am not sure where I am going with this, but I guess this is where I give a shoutout to Fatman and Lamoth (not real names, just my names for them) for their encouragement since we met all those years ago, firstly how did we get so old but secondly thank you.

If you take anything away from this it is just do you whether that be your hair, your body shape or even the moles on your face. Ok that part just applies to me, but that would start a whole other rant and I will stop here for today. Also love your virtual friends, they will help you get through a lot of the hard times unless you’re getting catfished in which case maybe don’t listen to me. Great episode for me to watch but still, be careful people.

PS for those of you with straight hair, embrace that too. We are forever wanting what we can’t have and never appreciate what we are blessed with. On that note, I am actually done as I need to go and oil my hair aka Medusa.

Tired of being sorry.

Laying in bed that night I was scrolling my phone before bed when suddenly I got a message that made my stomach tie up into knots. Yet another attack in the UK, my heart sank knowing this would be twisted into another attack on Muslims. One part of me has become desensitised to this, the regular occurrence of such attacks globally is daily news. Yet the other part of me feels so broken fearing more violence closer to home, more hate to be spewed and more ignorance towards my beliefs.

Going about my routine a few days later I found myself being very self-conscious about what I said or how I felt about the sad events. I am by no means a paranoid person, I get moments of self-doubt like so many others, but when it comes to my beliefs I am strong enough to stand by them. So trust me when I tell you I am not imagining the hatred going on here. The look of disgust on many once I open my mouth to speak about my sadness towards the attack, as though I have no right to feel guilty when it is ‘my people’ who are doing this. The constant guilt I am made to feel is all too common by those who find it necessary to constantly remind and ask me “this is why I don’t believe in God, why should I when he makes you all kill us normal people?” Each time I hear that it stings a little bit more, I didn’t realise I was an alien from Mars sent here on earth to terrorise normal people.

The ignorance is at an all-time high, I have lost count of the times I have sat and tried to explain that terrorism is not a religion. I do not need to go around justifying why I believe in a God, nor do not need to justify why I pray daily. Doing these things does not make me any less British than Susan down the road, I know all the words to every Steps song, love a good cup of tea and can sit and talk about the weather all day long.

As a British born Muslim I truly feel like I don’t belong anywhere right now or feel safe from comments such as “get these Muslims out”. Sure a few posts ago I mentioned how I had a great bunch of friends who have never made me feel this way, however that does not mean I can escape those who see me as the enemy.

Why must I continuously condemn acts that I pretty obviously don’t condone, as a human why would I think it is ok to kill others? As a Muslim I only have to read the Qur’an to know this is against everything I stand for and yet still I am being told to do more. I am not integrating enough, I am not standing up to terrorism enough and I am not British enough. When will anything we as Muslims do be enough for those who are blinded by their ignorance and hate for everything that isn’t white and ‘pure’. Seriously though what is pure? We live in a world that has become a melting pot of cultures, societies merging to create a new normal and I am told I am filth because of the colour of my skin or the religion I choose to follow in this allegedly free country that sees it perfectly fine to victimise the majority for the acts of the radical minority.

I live in a country surrounded by those who see me as a foreigner not being educated enough to know that the United Kingdom invaded so many countries. In fact there are only 22 in the world that the UK has not invaded and yet never has the UK tried to integrate, but instead imposed their own values. Ironic much?

The sadness and frustration got me feeling helpless so I compiled a bunch of questions I have been asked recently in hopes some may either chuckle at the idiocy or relate to:

Why do you Muslims kill people?

Erm well we don’t, I have known you for months and you’re still alive love.

Yeah but the Qur’an tells you to kill us?

Actually no, the Qur’an says:

“Whoever kills an innocent human being, it shall be as if he has killed all mankind, and whosoever saves the life of one, it shall be as if he saved the life of all mankind.”

(Qur’an 5:32)

Why don’t you just say sorry then?

If I sat and condemned every negative action a person has done then I would be sat here forever. As humans we all make mistakes, but these acts of terrors were not done by practicing Muslims. They were sick inhumane individuals who do not practice the religion they claim to be a part of.

In fact the only sorry thing I do feel is that I ever embarked upon this conversation with you is what I would really be thinking.

Mosques and madrassas brainwash you all.

I wasn’t ever taught in a Mosque so I truly cannot comment on this, having visited many as I was older I can wholeheartedly disagree with this. I have never seen any brainwashing, I have in fact seen great community spirits bringing about unity. Sadly this is not shown in the media and I fear more supremists will play on the fear that is put out there playing into the hands of the terrorists themselves.

When I say Muslims are terrorists, I don’t mean you. You are a nice one.

Ok wow jeez thanks but seriously look at what you just said there. Islam has been around since the seventh century, radical extremists regularly referred to as Jihadi terrorism is far more recent, predominantly since the late 20th early 21st century. Religion is used wrongly by those either in or seeking power trying to justify their acts  of violence claiming it is in the name of God therefore causing the Katie Hopkin followers to blame the religion as a whole.

You sit there and tell me you are a human, not every human is the same. How can you expect every Muslim to be? I cannot be held accountable for everything another human does so why must I sit and apologise for the actions of every Muslim? Sure I disagree, but why do I need to be made to feel guilty for something I have had no involvement in?

To base your knowledge on a religion through the eyes of the media is indeed the real brainwashing here, my advice to all who are confused what Islam is would be to get out there and speak to Muslims. Stop hiding behind your computer screens and educate yourselves, many Muslims will appreciate and respect you asking as it shows you don’t just follow the crowds in hating us. I hate these murderers just as much as you, why do you doubt that I have the same emotions as you?

If you are told something long enough you will believe it. If I told you the sky was yellow enough times and made you out to be the minority then of course eventually you will believe it. That’s not ok, so why is it ok to blame an entire religion for the acts of radicals falsely claiming to be a part of a religion that strongly promotes peace?

Islam literally means peace. I want it just like you, let’s work together not against one another.

The voice.

You think back to the last time you all got together and you left feeling like absolute shit. Their smarmy comments about how you have been off the scene lately, ‘in your own world not wanting to be our mate’. How do you explain to them that it takes all of your energy to work up enough strength to get out of bed? Once you have managed that successfully it then takes another hour to decide what you want for breakfast, by which time it has become brunch, causing more stress because why the frick can’t you just decide?! Do you want a boiled egg? But will it fill me? Ok, so fruit? Nah I’ll just pee all day. How about cereal? No that sounds boring. Ok cool starve then.

 
Once that third world problem is over, the thought of actually conversing with others is another palaver. Your mind worries that you won’t find their jokes as funny as they do and suddenly they don’t want to be your friend (is that such a bad thing though? – more on that another time). What if what happened last time happens again?  When you cried out of the blue and they asked if you were on your period… because clearly that’s the only reason a woman would be emotional. Or ask why you’ve stopped wearing makeup, and you aren’t able to say that you’ve spent all night vomiting worrying about leaving the house and caking your face wasn’t quite a priority. So instead you tell them that you “ran out of time”, when in reality you got up hours earlier than needed just to give yourself a pep talk to make it here.

 
They’ll probably sit and discuss foundation shades and lipstick colours in as much depth I’m sure the workers of the Taj Mahal didn’t, and they created a bloody masterpiece.  Boy problems, fashion issues, and gossiping about the other friend who bailed like you secretly wish you had. You’ll sit and listen to their dramas and nod your head to be polite, all whilst thinking ‘how do I escape?’

You remind yourself once again to stop putting yourself in this situation, by simply saying no, and then find yourself battling with the voice in your head that tells you you’re the problem, not them. The same voice that tells you to quit feeling sad and just join in, to stop your heart from beating so fast, and to tell her you like the nude lipstick on her just like you did the other 10 she owns.

All those thoughts swirling in your head giving you a knot in the stomach, your turn and say sure I’d love to come.

The daily glare.

I could feel the cold glare, hairs at the back of my neck could feel the chill. I turned and smiled only to be met with a straight face. Unsure what to do, I turned back to face the wall where I felt the safest, ‘what you looking at?’ she snarled at me. My heart was all too familiar with this feeling, the resentment felt towards me, the disgusting filth I was made to feel. An object in a museum, left bare for all to judge. My naked soul out in the open crying out for acceptance. Metaphor overload.

I thought back to this morning as I was getting ready, I made sure to put on some concealer to cover up the dark circles from the lack of sleep. I added some colour to my lips and left the house. I should have seen then that the odds were already against me, a brown girl living in a white man’s world. I had already lost, no matter which way I looked at it, I was destined for judgement.

I could sit and pick this apart a million times and still walk away baffled. The colour of my skin, my gender and the religion I practice. Each of these factors are out in the open for everyone to judge, my skin cut pouring blood for everyone to drink but me. Left thirsty, I wonder if there will every come a time where I will be judged for the human that I am and not the monsters who claim to kill in my name? Aged 26 and living in a Trump era where he wants nothing more but to ‘grab my pussy’, but detain ‘my kind’ from his ‘land of the pure and white’ (wasn’t his grandfather Turkish???)

Born and bred in a country constantly reminded how different I am through half-hearted smiles and fake interest asking me ‘but where are you ACTUALLY from?’ Sheffield love. ‘No sorry I meant where were you born?’ In a hospital down the road from where I have lived all my life. ‘Yes well you aren’t really English though are you, I mean your name is so foreign sounding’ ok cool shall I change that too? ‘Yeah I will call you Sarah, that’s easier to pronounce’ (real story btw).

Also I clearly don’t use a mirror ‘You’re too brown to be English love’ soz Dave I can’t do much about my tanned skin that you hop on a plane to sit next to the pool in resort in Benidorm to achieve because you’re oh so cultured.

‘So you’re a Muslim, but have non-Muslim white friends? How does that work?’ Maybe because I have friends around me who I get along with for more than a pissup Dave. I’m blessed with friends who are there for me when I’m happy and are there for me when I don’t even know I am sad. The colour of their skin is irrelevant, I love them for their souls and dodgy sense of humour. Shout out to my pale friends who accept my playful banter #cats

‘Would you ever go back to your own country?’ I was born here so I legit don’t know where I should go, but please carry on finding reasons of why I shouldn’t be here in…my…own…country.

Having been brought up with a mixture of cultures I have many moments where I don’t quite know where I fit in. Tell your Pakistani/Indian friend you prefer chips, cheese and beans over biryani and be prepared for a look of disgust. Turn up to work with a lunch box filled with curry and rice and cue the ‘ooh how lovely did your mam make you that exotic dish?’ It was actually Uncle Ben’s but ok.

Regardless of all that I feel so blessed that I have an incredible mix, on one side my culture is so colourful and the food is delicious, bar biryani because I truly just haven’t got along with it. On the other side living in a Western country has been great, so many opportunities that I may never have gotten had I been brought up in the country my grandparents were born in. Sure this country has many failures Boris and Farage I’m looking at you both, but I am British and I wouldn’t change that for the world. The select vocal few who do nothing but bring down people of my religion and colour do not define the true British citizens who are accepting of different cultures. After all, how can you live in a country that has colonised so many countries and call Britain a land for the white and pure??

I truly have no idea if we will ever diminish these views and judgements in my lifetime, but for the sake of the future generations I hope we stop and think before we speak and focus on what brings us closer as humans on earth instead of the differences in our personal beliefs and colour of skin.

This is where we take note from Barney my childhood idol and hold hands singing I love you, you love me, we’re best friends like friends should be…

It’s the thigh of the tiger.

For as long as I can remember, a thigh gap was all I craved. Being short and curvy I was setting myself for a goal was required a lot of determination/thigh gap plastic surgery (yeah that’s a legit thing) and to be quite honest with you, I love food way too much. I would have to stop eating for the rest of my life for the ‘fat’ on my thighs to melt and I am not that girl.

No one is perfect, so to allow social media or another female make me feel inadequate because of the size of my body is setting myself up for disappointment. It wasn’t until I hit my mid 20’s that I had to really sit back and question why I was so self-conscious about my thighs, so I made a pros and cons list aka Jessica Rabbit body v Cinderella:

Cons:

– Chafing (not about that burn mark life)

– Trousers ripping from the chafing – seriously why?!

– Never being able to sit down looking cool as my thighs are the size of pluto

Feeling like a lump of lard in light coloured jeans

– Having thicker thighs than most men

Pros:

– I can catch food on my thighs successfully, win for me

– Keeps me warm. Win x2

– I don’t need to do as many squats, thick thighs = bigger bum. Spend that 20 mins eating two desserts, duh!

– Culturally women only really began to wear trousers in early 1920’s, so why has this sudden thigh gap craze become acceptable?

– They are a part of me and I am still a woman with meatier thighs

– The girls in the magazines with the ‘gaps’ don’t even have those gaps I craved for years…the wonders of Photoshop

– What would I really gain from life with the gap? I would be a miserable sad peanut butter deprived girl. Trust me I tried a week without this, I was hangry multiplied by a gazillion.

– Would I be a better person with a thigh gap? See above, hangry is an evil feeling.

– I literally fill all of my jeans, basically getting my money’s worth 🙂

 

Clearly the pros list won. Will it ever stop me from having my moments where I crave a gap? Of course not, but I guess I can always refer back to my list and remind myself that I am still me without the gap and that’s ok.

Ps love you Jessica #teamthunderthighs

An apology to my younger self.

So many memories, so many tears. Don’t worry girl, I can assure you they weren’t wasted. They shaped you, helped grow you into the woman you are now (when did you start calling yourself a woman??)
The times you were told you were too strange so you stopped with your quirky ways, sorry babes. You sit and laugh like a hyena all you want.

When society told you straight hair was the key to being ‘beautiful’ (lol), sorry. Throw out the straightener, go wash your hair and scrunch scrunch scrunch the curls into place girl.

When he told you that you deserved better and you considered being less of yourself just to gain his affection. Go slap yourself, dust off your crown and be the badass that you are.

When that one girl tripped you down the stairs and mocked you for wearing a blazer and ripped jeans aged 16. Turn and tell her that you know for sure in a few years she will be wearing a blazer and ripped jeans herself. To that nasty girl..who’s laughing now? Yeah.
Side note, that same girl also called you a ‘curly haired bi#*$’ the girl in question also now uses a curler to get the curls she mocked you for. K then.

To that one guy who said you weren’t feminine because you liked wearing trainers. Props to you for this one, you busted the Air Maxes out and wore them with pride. What the fudge is feminine and how to we stop the world from telling us how to live?!

The times you sat feeling lost and confused with where your career would take you. Chill your beans, life will throw surprises and curve balls, but rest assured you will be happy.

To the old friends who didn’t understand why you found it so hard to leave the house and meet up. You were in tears and felt like you lost everything, trust me, you gained so much more. You will see this soon.

Aged 23years old you spent every morning waking up in tears and every night with a heavy chest. I can’t promise you this will ever end, but I can promise you I’m here holding your hand every step of the way. We will get through this, together.

In the meantime you do you booboo *insert peace sign emoticon* 

Temporary.

“If the foot of the trees were not tied to earth, they would be pursuing me.. For I have blossomed so much, I am the envy of the gardens.” ― Rumi

I still remember the day so clearly, I woke up with the tightest pain in my chest. I got out of bed and went about my normal morning routine, normal. What a strange word, defined as the typical state or condition according to Mr Google, but to me this day changed everything I knew about normal. I felt like someone was watching me, glaring at me through the walls. I got on with working on my dissertation when suddenly I found myself staring at the darkness of the shadows on my bedroom wall. How did 8am turn into 8pm in seconds? What was I doing all this time? Was I really sat staring at a wall for hours?

Shook up I went and made a cuppa, the British solution to every problem.

Each day after that felt the same, the numbness. I woke up and somehow got on with my daily routine of getting through my final year of university, trying to maintain a social life where I put my GCSE drama skills to use. We hear about the symptoms such as feelings of dread, the anxiety and numbness, but no one really talks about how it feels like there are two people in one body. One ready to eat you up whole and another trying to save the little pieces of you that are left.

There I was in my early 20’s at the prime of my life according to the magazines and blogs. Yet I was at the darkest, loneliest time of my life. I was scared to leave the house, I felt like I was claustrophobic and would die from all the air outside. Sounds silly right? Catching the bus was a big no no, I couldn’t cope with all the people. Why were they all staring at me? How long till they realise I was about to explode from all the worrying?

I counted down the days till I thought it would be my last, I secretly hoped each morning that would be the day.
Death was easy, life was hard.

Everything I did felt half hearted, I distanced from family and friends and at the time this truly felt like the best thing to do because it was easy. In hindsight I understand how easy doesn’t necessarily mean the wisest thing to do. I had never truly understood what was happening in my mind until many years later when a good friend encouraged me to speak to someone. I chose to go with cognitive behavioural therapy, being a logical person I found peace in admitting there was an issue and finding a way to deal with it no matter how scary it felt. This was by far one of my strongest turning points, I finally saw that I needed a helping hand.

Seeking help in my community isn’t the easiest thing to do when we are taught from an early age to just get on with things. Having to prove ourselves as Asians as well as Muslim in a western world is difficult enough without throwing emotions into it. The stigma attached to mental illness is all too common, people assume there has to be a recent ‘real’ reason to feel down. A relationship breakdown, a death or even career failure. Why can’t we simply feel sad because it is difficult to get out of bed and face the day? Why is it after a year of experiencing a loved one’s death we should be expected to get over it? I could sit and go into that topic and be here for another rant. I’ll save that for another time.

I guess my point is, mental illness is a real thing. It is a state of being, our bodies telling us something doesn’t quite feel right. If someone broke their leg would you tell them to walk on the pain? Why do we dismiss mental health so easily when our bodies are crying out for support, help, even a hug? If you woke up today and managed to get on with your day then well done. If you completed the task that took you weeks, well done. If the only thing you did today was take a shower, then well frickin done because I know how hard it feels to muster up the energy to even open your eyes in the morning and plod along with a sunken heart.

Now having hit past my mid 20’s I feel each and every day I am understanding this pain. Sure I still have my bad days or weeks but this pain is no longer a burden, it is teaching me how to be stronger and see the beauty in this temporary world. Temporary.

This pain is not forever, hold on.