Merging in 

With a project I had been part of coming to an end it was time for celebrations. And what better way than to get the most junior member of the team to book a swanky dinner. 

Panic ensued. How much is appropriate per head spending? How close does it have to be to the office? What time should I book it for? Does there have to be posh wine? I just knew this would be another story to add to my chest of work dinner horror stories – from booking a place a partner (think top dog) joked about hating at pre drinks to enjoying dinner in a place everyone else laughed at because it was too cheap. Let’s just say I am not made for organising corporate days out. A quick message of my initial idea to the person at the level above me confirmed my fears. It was too cheap. So I used my networking skills and emailed my fellow colleague who happens to spend her free time at the races and galleries. She had a few good recommendation. 

After much googling and another quick message to the guy above the previous guy it was confirmed that the place was appropriate. 

Booked and done. 

Except now one of the guys complained I had booked it too late in the evening. Messaged the most senior guy to check if it was ok – no reply. So the booking stayed. 

The day came round and I was so nervous! Being the only brown person, only women and probably only “lower than working class” person means I don’t often have a lot in common with my colleagues. I prayed it would get cancelled. Instead 2 people cancelled. So then there were 3 – me and the two most senior guys. 

I arrived on time. No news from the other two. I’d watched enough tv to know it’s appropriate to wait at the bar and order a drink. Still no news from anyone else. How long do I wait? Can I play Pokemon Go? 

They arrived 20 minutes later and so began the charade. Laughing at their stories of partners buying €200 shirts and explanations of why cars are so expensive in Denmark. Drinking sparkling water (which I call acid water) because I was too awkward to ask for still. 

But perhaps most worrying of it all is how easily I merged into that world. I found myself smiling at the right time. Asking the right questions. I started to feel at ease and welcome. I was enjoying myself. 

And there’s nothing wrong with that of course. I worked hard on the project. I deserve a treat too. 

But it’s my merging that worries me. Spend too long putting up a charade and I may just forget which part of it is me and which part is for them. 

Don’t lose who you are in the blur of the stars
Seeing is deceiving, dreaming is believing,
It’s okay not to be okay.
Sometimes it’s hard to follow your heart.
Tears don’t mean you’re losing, everybody’s bruising,
Just be true to who you are. – Jessie J, Who You Are

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What if 

It was a day that had gone her way. Those rare days when it rained whilst she was indoors and the sun shone as she walked outside. Work was as Fridays should be, tying up a few loose ends, catching up with friends, no fires. As she washed warm water over her that night it, thinking of the blessings of the day, it began with just a thought. I wonder what he is up to. What a parasitic thought. An unplugging of a black hole. She felt all reason and logic escape her as she began to think the two most dangerously imaginative words. What if

Her heart filled with anger at his betrayal only to be replaced by mindless yearning for his return. Memories after memorises, bringing with them passion, puzzles, pain. 

She was not the everything he had promised her she was. His instragram showed pictures had been added. He has moved on. 

But what if? What if his heart was void and he was aimlessly filling it with selfies and snaps? What if he was working hard to make himself successful so he could prove to her he had changed? What if he spends sleepless nights missing her hold? What if. 

You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading your last one. – anon

She did not stir

CW: rape, pedophilia

She kept the dirty secret for 18 years. Past when she stopped wearing a nappy. Past when she knew it was wrong. Past when she started her period. Past the legal age. Past having her first boyfriend. Past the first time she had consensual sex. 

And in all this time he continued. 

He’d come to her at the dead of night when the trains had stopped and the house was silent. He’d stay up watching tv. That silent too. Then he’d go out to the balcony for a smoke. And then he’d come into her room. 

The sound of the door handle pushing down always woke her up. But she never stirred. Did not flutter her eyelids. Did not flinch her fingers. Did not crease her forehead. She lay down curled up in her duvet. She was made of China, she was not real. 

He’d move the duvet back and put his hands down her top. Gently caress her breasts, round and round the nipple. And still she would not stir. She could smell the choke of the smoke on his arm and still she would not stir. 

Still standing he would move the duvet back more and slip his fingers into her pants. And there he would rub her clit. Back and forth. And despite what she ordered her body, the lips would get wet. But still she would not stir. 

And then he would bend down and lick her. His tongue would go inside, up and down. She would feel electric pulsing through her. She will loose control of her mind and want to grab his head and hold him there so he never stops. She will want to thrust her pelvis up so his tongue can rub deeper. But still she would not stir. 

Often he would rub his cock himself. Other times he would move her hand on it and thrust. And sometimes, just sometimes, he would climb on top of her and push it inside of her. Still she would not stir. He would always come outside and dry his mess on a cloth. His longi, his vest? She heard the movement of cloth but never peaked. She never stirred. 

And once he had come he would leave. Often her vagina was still buzzing. Pressure building inside that would never be released. He would shut the door behind him. And then, and only then, would she move. Curl into a tighter ball and cry. The house still silent. 

And then her father would go back and lie next to her mother. And she kept that dirty little secret for 18 years. 

Getting organised

I’ve been staring at beautiful bullet journals with green eyes. The motivational side quotes, the habit tracker, memories, blog ideas pages… And I very almost bought my very own but restrained myself just in time. For one thing, I have plenty of empty journals that I just needed to buy that would suffice – even if they’re not dotted. For another, neither my handwriting nor doodling skills are slick enough to give me the gratification I am seeking.

So for now I will keep using my post-it notes and satisfyingly crunching them up once I am done, or towering them up on the side of my laptop.

And as for the lists tracker and quotes I will need to start using my ideas journal. It has some handy squared pages and some speech boxes for my fav quotes. One of my recent additions:

Sometimes your light attracts moths and your warmth attracts parasites. Protect your space and energy – Warsan Shire

And as for journaling, I spent some time this morning rearranging my posts with new categories:

  • Being active: activism, racism, sexism, political think pieces
  • Being creative: short stories, poems and crafting
  • Being thoughtful: reminiscing of the past, personal and emotional pieces
  • Being here: daily or random posts about my daily life or work

Damn that took a while and I’m pretty sure no one cares besides me. But going back to when I started writing, it was a collection of my own thoughts for me so it was worth the time. Reading back was a nice trip down memory lane.

I’ve had this blog for just over a year now. I wrote about my first 10 followers and there are now over 250. Never did I think, with no advertisement, I could achieve that. But here I am. And here I stay.  So thank you to everyone who reads, comments and likes. In a world full of so many we can feel so alone with some thoughts so it’s comforting to know you’re all here.

Do more

The world woke up today to the news of another black man murdered by the hands that are sworn to protect him.

My brothers Philando Castile‬ and Alton Sterling‬, your names join the long list of black people killed by the state. 114th black man killed by the police in America in 2016. We will say your name, we will mourn you, we will fight for you. May you rest in power and may your children grow up in a world where they do not meet the same fate. 

The videos posted online are heartbreaking. Infuriating. Numbing. And that is just the feelings I am feeling as a non-black women of colour. I cannot even imagine how my black siblings are feeling – having to navigate a world that has been systemically set up to use them as commodity and discard them without a care.

I am so sorry. But that is not enough. My prayers and my hugs and my love will not bring back your loved ones. Will not save you from the trauma of knowing that could have been you, your dad, your brother. Will not save you from having to read millions protect the murderers. And will not protect you from the injustice of seeing no one blamed, no one punished, no closure.

We must do more. And when I say we I am talking to my fellow non-black people of colour and white people. It is not enough that we go to rallies, and marches and write statuses and share a tweet. Do all these things, yes. But we need to do more.  Continue reading

Ramadan diary: day 30

And here we are – the last day. So I failed to keep a daily diary. Very apt since I kind of failed doing Ramadan this year.

Yesterday I found myself having to literally convince myself to get up and pray. It was an internal battle between my body and soul – I could physically feel myself having to rip away at whatever was holding me down. And once I stood it was a battle to keep standing. And every time I completed a section I had to fight to stand back up.

And I am terrified. Terrified that I won’t be able to keep steadfast. My soul won last night but barely.

When I started this month I knew it would be hard. When you have stayed away from prayer and His words for so long of course there will be some resistance. But what I found was my heart yearned for it. There was nothing I wanted more than to feel tranquillity and complete submission. There was however an almost physical barrier holding me back. And even after all these days I have not been able to break through.

And I know exactly why. I don’t think I have read even a page of the Quran. I have slept more than I have ever slept before. And I have spent more time on my phone than I have ever before. I wish I could say I was being productive – but no. I have literally been hooked to “watch me draw” videos – and I can’t draw and have no intention of getting into it so I have reached new levels of procrastination.

I know what I want but have not worked for it. And we all know the path to change is not easy. Essentially my insides feel hard and cold. And even though I know exactly how to change it, I haven’t. It’s that barrier – some sort of resistance that I have not been able to succumb the strength to smash.

As I write this, once again I am reminded of the power of words. Writing provides a clarity that no amount of shower thinking can give. I know what I have to do. I am currently in the process of deep cleaning my room – preparing for Eid. So, I can play out loud the surahs I have memorised already and read along. A small little action but a win for me nonetheless.

I pray you have all had a productive Ramadan. And if you haven’t then don’t loose hope. It has just hit me that I should be focused on doing little things – crawl before I try to run. Ease my body into it. Chip away at the barrier rather than smashing it immediately. Perhaps this method will be more sustainable?

“He who comes with a good deed, its reward will be ten like that or even more. And he who comes with vice, his reward will be only one like that, or I can forgive him. He who draws close to Me a hand’s span, I will draw close to him an arm’s length. And whoever draws near Me an arm’s length, I will draw near him a fathom’s length. And whoever comes to Me walking, I will go to him running. And whoever faces Me with sins nearly as great as the earth, I will meet him with forgiveness nearly as great as that, provided he does not worship something with me.” (Muslim)

And of course Eid Mubarak. Hope you all have a day full of blessings, fatty foods and surrounded by family. I will be spending the day at my “aunt” (mum’s best friend)’s house where all the family and friends will come together. The day will typically involve me dressing to the high heavens just to sit around and eat all day. And of course taking a new picture to finally change my social media display pics.

selfie