A new thing a week

I was reading an article which suggested trying out a new thing a day. Amazing as that sounds I don’t have the energy to attempt that! So, me and my partner decided we would try doing a new thing a week. 

The rules: neither of us could have done the thing and it needs to be in the UK. 

52 sounds like a small enough number but given it’s cold and rainy it’s actually proving to be quite difficult! A real bunch of adventure hunters we’re turning out to be (!)  All the ideas we’ve come up with so far would be great in the spring / summer. But onwards we go and I’m sure this year will be better because of it. 

So far we’ve (1) gone to a book market that neither of us had been to before and (2) went inside a squat to visit a friend. 

The 2nd one is a little bit of a cheat as he has been inside squats before – just not this particular one though. And also it was more of a errand as he’d have to do as he needed to see said friend. But I had just recovered from the flu, it was pouring outside, I had an exam the next day and we were both busy on the weekend. So off to the squat it was! And it was interesting to see a space reclaimed. Not the way I could live but I appreciate people have different life experiences that would lead them to this path. 

On squats – some students have legally occupied an abandoned building in Oxford for homeless people. Please sign this petition to support them. I can’t imagine having to sleep outside in this weather – I am struggling even under my duvet. 

Other ideas we have:

  • Horse riding 
  • Learning and playing a game of chess 
  • Fly a kite 
  • Eat a cronut 
  • Visit Harry Potter world 
  • Visit Hunterian museum
  • Visit House of dreams 
  • Bake something new 
  • Volunteer in a soup kitchen 
  • Trampolining place
  • Secret cinema
  • Pottery class
  • Escape room/time run 
  • Hampton Court Palace or Crystal Palace maze

It’s been a lot of fun so far. Not too outgoing but it is only the beginning and spending that time together – no matter what we’re doing has been great. Even coming up with new ideas has been exciting. 

I would defo recommend giving this a go. I know two weeks have passed but 50 is still a huge number. And you don’t need to do it with someone. Or even with a specific someone – maybe try something new you’ve never done before even if the person you’re going with has. 

Any ideas you have of things we could try would be awesome! And I’ll update you all at the end of year on how it goes. 

An unplanned ode

Today’s my last day working from the office this year. I would love to say it’s my last day working but alas I have decided to roll over my left over holiday to next year in the hopes I will make some use of it. I did only just get back from holiday about a month ago – though how quickly a tan fades and the longing to be on a plane out of here comes back!

Given I haven’t just written in a while I thought I would do just that. I did mention in the last time I did one of these that I am now in a new relationship. It will be just three months in a few days but boy does it feel longer. It is a weird one because we have been friends for two years now, and very good friends for several months. And when I say very good friends, I mean talking to each other everyday for about 3 months before we dated. There was a lot of “does he like me”, “why did he say that”, “can he tell I like him”.

Three months ago I decided I would give him until December to tell me if he liked me. God forbid I be the one to take the leap first. A few days later he said something that melted me and I just blurted out “you and me – what’s going on?” Completely unplanned and super awkward. But we talked and of course it turned out he liked me to and the rest is history.

He’s a shy one. And when I say shy I mean significant speaking disorder, inaudible shy. In fact, barely anyone can hear him and even fewer can understand him. But somehow I manage it. When he does speak, every word is important. And when he writes, he is quick and poetic.  Continue reading

The good immigrant 

My driver this morning asked me what I thought about Brexit. Months on the conversation goes on in the radio. A polish man, was not allowed to vote himself. 

I told him I voted stay. And not because I necessarily believe in the EU – a structure designed to find strength in the weakness of others. The us against them. But because of the racists and xenophobic rhetoric. 

My boy Tom did not vote out because he wanted out. He voted to get you and I out. To keep you and I out. 

And I don’t believe in the good versus bad immigrant. Yes my people and your people built this country, died for this country and continue to keep this country running. But some of my people are unable to work. For sickness or lack of work. Others make their money through the hustle. And they too “deserve” to be here. 

Because you too have your sick, your old, your poor. 

This small island is your home. And it was your fathers home. And his father’s before him. Amongst the smoke and the concrete and the cobalt. 

My father was born in the sun, around green and blue and brown. My father lived in a mud house, in a tin house and now rules a brick house. 

He came here promised work and was given a beating and spit for free. In his 40s something burst in his stomach and he could no longer lift his arms all the way up. He sold his shares in the resturant and signed on. My father is not a good immigrant. 

And even still this too is my home. 

“Here’s to them waking up at 4a.m., calling home to hear the voices of their loved ones. Here’s to their children, to the children who despite it all become artists, writers, teachers, doctors, lawyers, activists and rebels. Here’s to international money transfers. For never forgetting home.” – first generation, questions for Ada, Ijeoma Umebinyuo

Love me now

I asked you again and again “what do you want me to do?” And you told me you don’t want you in the centre of what I wanted to do. 

And I knew you loved me. 

You never asked me what I wanted you to do. 

If you had I would have told you I wanted you to hold me tight. Drive away any space between us. Hold me so that I can forget the people around us and the people in my head. 

Kiss me. Kiss the top of my head. Kiss me on my cold cheek. Kiss me on the lip. Make my stomach flutter and my heart burst. Make the floor beneath my feet disappear. 

Tell me you will fight for me. You will never let me go. You will not lose me. Promise me. 

But you don’t hold me. And you don’t kiss me. And you don’t tell me lies. 

And I know you love me. 

So I’m gonna love you now, like it’s all I have
I know it’ll kill me when it’s over
I don’t wanna think about it, I want you to love me now – Love me now, John Legend 

I’m still spinning 

I have not been writing for a while. I’m not sure why exactly. There are many a times when I have written a whole entry out in my head, phone in hand, yet not typed it out. A few weeks ago I even wrote a whole entry in my little black book. But I did not type it out. 

The world has kept on spinning by and my little world has done the same. 

We’ve had the inspiring protests against the American anthem, the reelection of Corbyn and his cabinet being the most diverse labour has ever had, the Tory conference, and the rise of Trump and Clinton exploiting#BlackLivesMatter. 

As for updates in my little world I am stuck on an awful project and thinking of leaving my company, I am worried about the turnout of a Black History Month event I am organising and am thinking of moving it to next month – after all why stay in October to have an event that focuses on us, I have tried to reduce the amount of “student activism” I do but feel lost in what my calling is, my brother has “come out” as bi, and I am in a new relationship but am worried about whether I should be. 

So maybe last month has been eventful. Well it’s not the first day of the month but I’ve never been good at dates anyway. For the next few weeks I’d like to get back  into the habit of posting daily. Because I miss it. And the dialogue in my head is getting pretty busy. 

The mystery oil 

A bodily function of mine is not operating as it should be. And I want to tell someone other than my mum about it because it’s the weirdest thing to have happened to me perhaps ever but defiantly in a while. But it’s not the kind of thing you can mention over lunch and I’m not sure how to say it delicately over text. So I thought to myself I can blog about it. I mean what good is an anonymous blog if you cannot share all the weird things. And I have talked about using a tampon for the first time before so why not. 

I have orange oil coming out of my bum. Not oil like – but like literally oil. It floats and it horribly messy to wash (the usual bodna/lota washing is not enough). And I have no control over it. It seems to just be leaking out. 

Google says it could be because I have eaten a weird fish. I have eaten fish but it was the fish my whole family ate and no one reported such a reaction. I also ate chicken wings but again so did my whole family. So the other likely option is I’m dying. 

The problem is I am away on project all week for the next few months so cannot schedule a doctors appointment without it being a hassle. I will wait this out and see if it stops. If not I will deal with the hassle and see a professional. 

In the meantime, does anyone have any ideas of what it could be? I stayed at home today so was ok with periodically washing and changing my underwear. Not sure how tomorrow will go. I will avoid white for sure. 

Not the post I had planned for today when we will #ShutItDown (if you’re in the UK search for the nearest Black Lives Matter protest near you today) but there you go. 

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

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.

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

Ramadan diary: day 24

The project I was meant to go on next week fell through so I won’t be going up North again. Of course this means I have to go through the struggles of trying to find a new project but in the short term it means I get to work from home. Hooray for staying in bed in my meski (pjs) all damn day.

Since I finally have some free time on my laptop I will be cashing out on my charity list. Charity is a big factor in Islam, and even more so in Ramadan. In the past I have tried to give something every day – no matter now small – so that charity is an everyday part of me. This year however I completely forgot but it’s not too late to start!

Of course charity is more than money – it is your youth, your time, your smile, your love. But I am focusing on financial aspect because alhamdulliah that is something I have at the moment. I truly believe that giving never decreases from you and any gifts we do have are only but a loan for us to use on bettering our world. And giving in Ramadan is extra special because we get extra rewards 😉

Here are a few of my favourite charities:

  • Nour: a London based charity helping BME Muslim communities deal with domestic violence including providing support to the women who are getting out. I know only too well the effects of Domestic Violence and though my own family did not use them, I wish I had known about them earlier.
  • Human Care Syria: focused on not only humanitarian relief (which is vital) but also long-term rehabilitation projects on the group.
  • CAGE: the only charity to have spoken out, supported, and actually researched on the awfully racist and corrupt “War on Terror” in the UK which has seen thousands of ordinary lives ruined – from imprisonment without trial, to being put on programmes to being forced into being a spy. This is no longer a far away fight affecting the few – it has been legalised and is affecting our students, our children, our sick and our activists.

Please do check them out, and if you are able, please donate – even if it a pound. And if you are not able, please share their links and perhaps someone else who is able can donate. And the extra special thing – you will get the reward for it to iA.

“The likeness of those who spend for Allah’s sake is as the likeness of a grain of corn, it grows seven ears every single ear has a hundred grains, and Allah multiplies (increases the reward of) for whom He wills, and Allah is sufficient for His creatures’ needs, All-Knower.” (Qur’an, 2:261)