Brown Beauty

She sat up, briefly glancing at her reflection. An action she could not avoid every morning since it hang opposite her bed. Most mornings she would avoid looking in that direction. And should her lazy eyes focus for too long, she’d turn her head. Her skin too dark, her hair too frizzy, her nose too pointy. Too many faults to be beautiful. Too much to deal with first thing in the morning.  Continue reading

Sisters before misters

The lovely Becky from Becky vs The World nominated me for the sisterhood of world bloggers award. Becky writes about her awesome adventures, living life to the full. I often feel inspired to get up and actually do something – anything but nothing – after reading one of her posts. So do check her out.

Here are my answers to her questions:

1. What is your dream job?

If you had asked me just a year ago I would have said consultancy as part of a large firm – which is what I will be starting soon. It requires plenty of travelling, communicating with people, the projects vary and it’s super well paid.

But my previous job had warped my outlook in the type of environment I want to work in and the sort of people I want to associate myself with. I don’t know what my dream job is anymore.  Continue reading

Mixed Messages

guys will hear what they want to hear.

This is the advice my friend, male, gave me when I retold a story of how a guy I had just met at a conference practically proposed to me. As I recalled the conversation I had with this eager beaver, my friend explained the meaning behind every phrase. Me saying I had enjoyed meeting the awesome people translated as he was awesome, for example.

No. Just no.

Now this is an extreme case, but over the years, I have had the problem of giving mixed messages to guys. Somehow, me pulling up a chair so they could sit next to me rather than stand, helping with coursework, offering advice with their own love life turned to proclamation of my own love interest for them. These guys were seeing stuff that just wasn’t there. I called them mate and bro. I never let them call me babe or kissed them on the cheek. I let them know I was in a long-term relationship (when this was the case). Continue reading

“I am not a Feminist”

I am a feminist. And I’ve explained why on my previous post The F Word.

But I have come across a tonne of posts recently, whilst reading the ‘feminist’ tag which essentially said two things:

  • I can’t understand why any women would refuse to call themselves a feminist
  • I can’t understand why men hate on feminists

Now I’m not going to go into point 2, because, to me, it is a priority that women feel welcome into a movement that is meant to be for them. And if that movement is not then that’s a priority.

Here are my 5 reasons why some women of colour refuse to call themselves feminists. Continue reading

High Expectations

Here’s the thing. I have so many things I want to say. I want to talk about the politics of hair, counter-terrorism strategies, my ex, my trips abroad, jealousy amongst friends, “Muslim/Black/Asian timing”, being too passionate, people not being who you thought they were, “broken” families, people of colour being seen as aggressive versus confident, resistance of power…

Yes, I do have so many things I want to talk about. But I haven’t found the words to talk about them yet. They don’t read how they sound in my head, the passion I feel muddled and unclear. Or others have just said them way better than me already – funnier, smarter, just better. Continue reading

Lost magic

I remember when we were small and excitable. We’d pack just the new toy we wanted to share. We’d pretend to be asleep so our parents would let us stay over. We’d stay for a week, no problem, no responsibilities.

Now the idea of sleeping over in a cousin’s house is just not feasible. Having to pack clothes, cleaning and grooming products. Finding a few days – even two – when the entire family has no prior commitments is near impossible. And sleeping on the floor or packed into one bed like sardines just bothersome. But a few days ago, that’s what my mum decided she wanted to do. She somehow got it into her head that this may be the last summer we’ll be able to do this. And I think she was feeling reminiscent. So we went, first to her best friend’s house to stay over for one night and then to my uncle’s house for the next.

The day went how any visit would go. There was no building anticipation of night time that we would feel when we were younger. It was weird not feeling that excitement. Continue reading

Old Boys Club

My university organises regular career events, inviting alumni back to talk about their experiences in the big bad world, providing little tips and tricks, and allowing the space to network. Unfortunately, the majority of the panellists, sometimes all, are white.

So I worked with the careers team to hold termly events where the entire panel will be alumni who are also people of colour. Everyone would be welcome to the event, but it would also provide an opportunity for students of colour to ask specific questions that white graduates just do not understand or have expertise in.

The first event was a huge success, with over 100 students attending and received very positive feedback. So, we were very excited for the next event – which would be focusing on graduate schemes. The day of the event came and as I welcomed the guests in, a white man approached me, introducing himself as a panellist. Continue reading

Nature v Nurture

This place disgust me. These people are horrible. The music is too loud. These people find everything hilarious (said to people being pushed around on a skateboard – which did look very fun). London is too busy a space. 

And on and on he went. His pessimistic views grinding me down. My lips sore from the tight, fixed smile I would show at each of his statements. My heart growing wary, my mind bored. My eyes glancing round for anyone else I knew, anyone at all, who I could escape to.

People have genuine hardships in life, I do not wish to trivialise this mans hardships. Graduating with a 1st class degree from a university employers don’t seem to acknowledge. Then completing a Masters course at a more reputable place, to still be ignored. Struggling to start his career and having to apply for a job he is very much overqualified for. All this with many other struggles – financial, disabilities, academic. No, I do not trivialise his hardships.

I just wonder about the various outlooks people can hold. The glass full and glass empty kind of people. I am definitely the former. Always trying to find the lessons in hardship, trusting that this is for the best – and leaving everything to the best planner of them all.

But why am I like this? Some characteristics we are born with. Others we gain due to our interactions. Nature and nurture. Nature: my academic ability that has allowed me to achieve the grades at the university I did. But it is also nurture: my mum’s constant positive outlooks and unfaltering faith that pushed me to even dream. It is the very strong network of friends who are, on the most part, positive and encouraging, that allows me to make mistakes but see the lessons in them. I believe both play an important role, but lean more towards nurture.

I asked him, “why are you always so pessimistic?” He replied, “it’s what pushed me to achieve a 1st.”

Interesting, how he used his negative attitude to achieve, and me my positive attitude.

Speaking to him further I learnt about how unsupportive his parents are, how he grew up with few friends. I wonder if things would have been different, had he the support I often take for granted.

I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions. – Stephen Covery

This post is the start of my weekly Fine Fridays – a time when I will reflect on the things I am grateful for. Fine – as in beautiful, hot. Friday is the perfect day for this: jummah & it’s the start of the weekend. This is a task set by Blogging 101.

Happy Monthiversary

Now I don’t want to appear like the overzelous partner in a relationship, but it’s my monthiversary! It’s been a whole 30 days since Being Woke was born. 30 days of daily posting, gaining 115 followers and 800 hits.

Oh yes, being awesome. (disclaimer: I don’t like anonymous and don’t associate myself with them)

I want to say but it’s not about that. And in truth, it’s not. I did not start this blog knowing about the reader, tags and community pools. And choosing to stay anonymous would mean I wouldn’t even be able to share with my offline friends. So it really is not about that. And I would like to think I would be writing the same things in the same way regardless of how many people actually read what I have to say. And perhaps I would, but the encouragement and thoughts certainly help keep the motivation up.

But it got me thinking about my readers. I wonder if they’re like me – women, Muslim, person of colour, petite? Or if they share my interests – I have way too many to list, and it will probably be easier to list interests I don’t have: cats, cars, horror film.

So, help me celebrate my monthiversary. Introduce yourself – what are your pet peeves, what one word would you describe yourself with, what’s your favourite thing in the world? Anything – whatever you’re comfortable sharing.

The terror: #WelfareBill

I am terrified. Those quiet whispers of dissent now clear voices – spoken out loud and turned into policies.

But what words will let you know of my terror? How do I show you I am not the enemy? Wake you up to the twists of the media that make me the villain when it is them – the 1% – who we should be fighting? Unified by terror and hate when it should be love.

And what sense can I speak to break your ignorance. Make you see how they steal your freedom, lie about your safety and share false pride. When they simultaneously, shamelessly boast about British values of democracy when we have hereditary peers in our legislature and an unelected, taxpayer funded head of state; equality when the equalities minister voted against equal marriage.  Continue reading