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)

Ramadan diary: day 22-23

Only a few days left! I can’t believe how quickly this month has flown by. And what a difference a month can make!

Despite the gloom that is my last post, and the continual increase of attacks I am hearing about, I have been feeling a little more hopeful today. I guess I have accepted the inevitable changes that are to come and have decided to instead focus my energies of two things – being happy with myself (and this is on both a spiritual and worldly level) and doing all that I have energy for to improve the world around me.

But they plan, and Allah plans. And Allah is the best of planners. – Quran (8:30)

Yesterday I attended the London rally supporting Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader. I don’t think Jeremy is the messiah. I believe in his politics. I believe in his mandate. I believe he can provide an actual opposition to the same kind of politics we’ve heard year in and year out, ever since I can remember.

We are continuously told he is a decent man but not a good leader. The 10,000 people gathered with under 24 hours and over 200,000 signing a petition would say otherwise. He is a leader. Just not the type we often associate with politicians.


I then went out for Iftar with old friends and new. Saying the food wasn’t great would be an overstatement but alhamdulliah the company made up for that. Again, reenergising my happiness battery.

Reflecting on yesterday I realise though the actions of people can make you loose hope in humanity, equally they can fill you right back up again. I am under no illusions that we have a fight in our hands and the country is in turmoil.

But at the very least we have our friends, our families and Twitter banter to keep us going.

And on that note here are my favourite two from the tragically beautiful Euro loss last night –

Ramadan diary: day 18

So it seems timing mishaps are following me around. Last night I got back at 7. As I was sitting in the car, feeling the sunrays on my cheeks I felt motivated to go for a walk. The hotel has a golf course and beautiful greenery including a small pond I imagined sitting by and reading.

As it turns out, when I went into my room, I just could not be asked! So instead I planned to take a nap. A whole 2 hours – what a luxury! I decided what I was going to order that night, some Indian, and put an alarm on for 9 so I could order in time for Iftar.

I awoke naturally 10 mins before 9 – thought to myself, I have 10 more minutes, and closed my eyes once more. A thought process that always precipitates tragedy.

Next thing I hear is a phone call from my mum. In my sleepy state I thought it was 10 minutes past 9 so I rejected the call and quickly ordered my food – thinking it’ll still get here before Iftar. Called my mum back only to be told it’s 10 minutes past 10!


Checked my phone and it was true. I had set my alarm for 9am, not pm. Rookie mistake. I was late for Iftar and food was not arriving for another 45 minutes!

Thankfully I had water left over from last night. Broke my fast and went to pray. No harm done.

I had bought some snacks a few days ago  and was very much looking forward to some fruit. I don’t know if it’s the packaging or the fact I did not put it in the fridge (no fridge in this room) but it tasted very off. No fruit or walk for me.

So instead I snacked on some cheese twists – and ended up filling up on them. So moorish! Rookie mistake once again. By the time my food came I wasn’t even hungry and could not eat more than a few bites. So much food wasted!

I hope you all have an uneventful iftar – just a simple one with your loved ones or loved food.

I’m off home and will be spending the whole of next week there! Inshallah I can use the last few days to make up for the major fails I’ve had over the last few days.

Ramadan diary: day 16-17

Checked my phone this morning. 07.50. And my taxi is booked for 8. The guys are already in the car waiting.

a27vwy

Repeating subhanAllah over and over and over again I ran around, adrenaline going, brushed my teeth, ironed my shirt (badly), put on the skirt from the night before (alhamdulliah I shower at night so no worries there!), scarf wrapped, socks on, laptop grabbed, face cream into the bag. And I was in the taxi by 8.05.

Great start to the morning.

InshaAllah the rest of the day will be much more relaxed. I have to travel up to a nearby town to help run a workshop but I am all prepped for that. The workload this morning is nice and easy. And my hot desk happens to be very far from my team so I can take my time doing it.

The day before I travelled down from one city to another with the ex-UKIP colleague. It was a beautiful route and although I was struggling to keep my eyes open, I am at least thankful he was doing the driving so I could relax. Regardless, all this travelling is taking its toll. Mix that with my general laziness and lack of motivation, I have been struggling to put into action all my goals.

The fardh prayers have been fine – and being a traveller they have actually been easy (since it is permissible for me to shorten and join them). It is my taraweeh, and reading and memorising the Quran that I have been missing. I usually get back with less than an hour before iftar. Winding down, showering and figuring out what I want to eat gobbles up that time. And before I know it I am just lying there with a few mins before breaking my fast, trying to desperately fill this void that should be filled with focus and to think of some prayers. My prayers feel empty and short-term – focused on the dunya (this world).

I am trying not to loose hope but the days are slipping away and I don’t know if I have improved at all this month. Thinking about it physically hurts my heart.

Our Lord! Condemn us not if we forget or fall into error. Our Lord! Lay not on us a burden like that which You did lay on those before us. Our Lord! Lay not on us a burden greater than we have strength to bear. Blot out our sins, and grant us forgiveness. Have mercy on us. You are our Protector. Help us against those who stand against faith.” – Quran 2:286

How we live now

Seconds to minutes to hours to days to weeks to months to a whole year. A whole year has flown on by and here we are in a world void of so many that filled it with their breath and voice and movement.

It was in last Ramadan that the world mourned for our dear brother, our leader and our friend Bashir Osman. Those who had met Bashir, even once, will tell you how they fell in love with his warmth, his humour, his character. He made everyone feel like his best friend. And for how well he was known and how much he achieved he still remained grounded and humble.

The response after his death was equally warming and numbing. He had messages from scholars across the world, people who did not even know him got to know him. People donated to the building well project he had started. It was truly exceptional to witness.

As I remember him now I remember one of his last tweets, hope simple yet so powerful.

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When I think of Bashir I think of the amazing life he led. But in all he did – leading FOSIS, all his charity work, the immense friend he was – he did as a student. A young person just like you and I. I wonder how I will be remembered after my inevitable demise. Will strangers sing my praises and wish to know me? Will my acquaintances mourn me even after a year? Will my loved one be proud of me? Will I have a legacy that can live on?

Bashir fills me with hope. We all have the potential to be like him. So let us take heed of his advice. Take advantage of today, worry not of the past.

The Prophet (pbuh) said: “Allah said: ‘O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you. O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great as it.’ ” [Narrated by Tirmidhi]

This is my entry for Ramadan diary: day 15. 

Ramadan diary: day 12 – 14

I guess I’ve been having feelings that I didn’t want to share under my Ramadan blogs so I didn’t. Here’s a summary of what I’ve been up to instead.

This weekend I travelled to join some friends and strangers at an annual Iftar gathering. The atmosphere and the generosity of the family hosting was nothing short of beautiful. It was lovely catching up with like minded friends I had not seen in several months. And the food was banging! Inshallah if I have the capacity I hope I can host annual Iftar gatherings for friends and neighbours when I am living in my own house. Food really does bring people together and during Ramadan it is just like magic.

Some of my friends were driving back after fota (sehri/suhoor) and had a spare seat. I had a train booked for the next day but that would have meant I did not get home until 4 – less time to see mum. We stopped by at a local mosque to pray and I was pleasantly surprised to find not only did they have a women’s section (and a large one at that) but it was open for women for fajr. Even one of my local mosques which is one of the biggest in the country closes their women’s centre during fajr.

The drive back took several hours and was full of laughter and sharing stories. The sun was shining and the scenery was breath taking. At one point we did make a small stop to take it all in only to be attacked by little bugs. I did manage to capture this view though.

somewhere up north

By the time we got home it was just after 9 and I was shattered. I thought I would take a little nap and then wake up with everyone else. You see my mum was a little annoyed I had decided to go away for Iftar since I am working away anyway and we had a dawat (gathering) on Saturday. I know she could have used the help and I’m sure it wasn’t fun for her to explain I had decided to go out with friends to her friends and family. I was planning to make it up to her but next thing you know it was 5PM. Naturally she was annoyed I had wasted the whole day and was throwing me ample shade throughout the rest of the evening.

All is well now though. And I will remember to buy flowers of Friday inshallah just to quell any remaining remnants of anger.

I’m currently sitting in first class on my way up to the north. I hate sitting here and feel very conscious of my presence. As I walk in I know people are surprised I am even here. The man sitting next to me actually asked “this is your seat is it?” when I asked him if he could move his coat off of my seat. The man infront of me is taking up a significant portion of my leg room. I’m a small person so usually I’m ok to let people have a little more room. But he keeps moving his feet onto my mine every few minutes to the point I’m currently sitting crosslegged with one of my legs on the other side. The whole idea of “class” carriages annoy me. It’s not exactly about class anymore. I assume many of the people sitting here will be getting their tickets reimbursed. So it’s a better service – just call it that without gripping onto the horrible class segregation histories associated with the two carriages.

Damn I sound grumpy. Maybe it’s the lack of sleep.

Wishing everyone the best today – it’s the longest day of the year here so it only gets easier from here on out!