I am not damaged 

I was sexually abused by my dad. 

It had happened throughout my whole childhood. And it only stopped when I blurted it out to my boyfriend at the time at 18. 

But I was able to go about my everyday without letting it stop me. Not just after he left, but whilst he was still around. I was the cheerful and friendly girl at school, top of my class without working too hard, loving to read and travel and put myself forward for every opportunity that came up. During the day I was normal. 

And come night time, I just accepted that was something that would happen for a few minutes. I lay perfectly still, did not open my eyes, did not say a word. 

And somehow I was able to compartmentalise the two realities completely. No one would have ever guessed that anything was wrong. 

A few months ago I found out about therapy offered to all employees. I told myself out loud “well why not?” But inside I whispered “you’re broken and need fixing.”  

Therapy was not particularly enlightening and I did not completely connect with my therapist. 

But what I did find was going made me rethink about those nights in detail – something I had never done before. And in doing so, I discovered he had absolutely no control over me. I was loving life and had not let that stop me from enjoying myself. I needed to hear that. I needed to know that I was not damaged and broken. 

We discussed how I blamed myself for what had happened, for not telling someone sooner and for being so passive. But I see now that I was being brave for my family – my mum, my sisters and my brother. 

The reality was a few minutes with him touching me in a way I knew was wrong was something I could manage. Him beating up my mum, leaving us with no money or the stigma of my mum being a divorcee was much worse. 

People think the worst part of what happened was what he did. But the worst part was living with him. He was a controlling, dangerous man. The kind that beat his wife when his sick baby cried in the night. The kind that would leave her with £20 for the whole week. The kind that would openly cheat on her, knowing she had no one to go to with four young children. 

And I was not passive. I recalled how I would wet the bed – even at the age of 16 and not wash myself to make myself dirty. Admittedly these were not conscious acts of resistants but I would like to think that they were unconscious ones.   

I do still have fleeting thoughts about what happened but it does not stop me from getting on with my day. I am able to love and am loved. My family are solid and successful. I am not broke or damaged. 

Written in response to my 30 day challenge prompt “what do you wear to bed”. 

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Two years gone by 

I look as I did two years ago. Not an inch taller, not a wrinkle wiser. In fact, I look as I did 10 years. Photos only revealing their age from the clothes I chose to wear.

So how have I changed in the last 2 years? Coincidently, this is not only the prompt for today’s “post a day“, but also the two year anniversary of my blog! Almost magic. Two years ago I began my career in a corporate company. Before then I had completed my masters and then worked in the charity sector. That in itself was a massive change for me. All of a sudden I was, by choice, in an environment and world I had spend much of my time the year before opposing. 

I started off hating life. Hating every morning. Spending time in the bathroom during work away from it all. Two years on, and I do still have days when I feel like this. But it’s not every day. 

That’s not to say I have given in. Quite the contrary. I know this is not the career I want, yet, I know what I am gaining from being there. And I have finally been able to distinguish between my life and my career. My job is not my life. As a woman who throws herself in fully, it took some growing to recognise this. My life exists outside of my career – for now. 

One day I may find a career that I am able to happily intertwine with my whole life. Colleagues that I consider to be friends, and even family. Work I can apply in the way I conduct my day to day. Values I can share in and out of the office. This is not it. And that’s ok. 

It is funny how I think of how I’ve changed over the last two years and focus on the area that, on the surface, hasn’t changed at all. Funny because when it comes to my personal life, so much has changed. 

I have been going to therapy (in response to my childhood sexual abuse) – and in fact next week will be my final session. And I am in a relationship with my best friend. Cheesy, I know. But cheesy I am. Those are deeper topics I’d like to dedicate a post each to. 

How have you changed in the last two years?

The state of the world 

I guess it is unfair that you need to work ten times as hard to get the same recognition but that is the state of the world

This state of the world has only been the status quo for less than 400 years. There are 4.5 billion years before that. And likely 4.5 billion more after. 

It is not enough to work ten times as hard for a seat at their table. For every one of us that makes it, there are ten that are left behind. Perhaps they only worked nine times as hard. 

And for what? For the table to be shifted a little more, your chair still bolted to the ground. 

No. We deserve more. We need to demand more. 

Just 50 years ago, racism was legal. You were denied work, homes and food and could do nothing about it. Just 50 years ago. That was the state of the world. 

Just 30 years ago, our child were assumed “educationally subnormal”. Sent to separate classes to paint whilst their counterparts did maths. Told they should work as sweepers. Just 30 years ago. That was the state of the world. 

Today, people of colour are still denied work, homes and food. Children are still undermarked and undervalued. Racism has not disappeared. But it has undeniably progressed. That is the state of the world.

Things did not magically change. The state likes the status quo. Our elders boycotted, they rioted, they lobbied. They educated, they agitated, they organised. 

And we owe it to our elders that fought for this progression. We owe it to ourselves who worked too damn hard to be where we are. And we owe it to our children who deserve to be recognised for their brilliance.  We owe it to our world for it to be in a better state. 

Acid attacks

I am terrified. They come at us from cars, on motorbikes or run up to you. You’re just driving, a passenger or a pedestrian. They throw a liquid at you and then you burn. 

There is nothing you can do. No defence you can learn. No potion you can carry. Nowhere you can hide. 

Carry a bottle of water I read. But a bottle is not enough to wash away the chemicals and in many cases will only make it worse. We are defenceless. We are helpless. 

This is happening here. In ends. Our home. Places we can’t avoid. And there is nothing we can do about it. Defenceless. Helpless. 

Yesterday I sat at the back of a cab on my way home from the station and made sure my window was shut. My throats was chocking in the heat but I could not bare to risk opening my window. Whatsapp buzzing with news of a new attack. 4 in the last 48 hours in areas, 5-15 minutes walk away from home. 

As I walked to the train station this afternoon, I watched every man with a bottle of water with suspicion, keeping my ears peeled for approaching cars and bikes. 

We have endured spitting. We have enduring beatings. We have endured the death of our elders coming home from prayer and our children going to pray. We have endured unborn children being lost in attacks. We have endured women being pushed into train tracks. 

How much more are we to endure? 

When you have too much to write 

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of news – attacks, elections, fires, another death in the hands of the state. And I have of course had thoughts on every one of them. And yet somehow I have not had the energy to put finger to phone and type them all out. 

I’ve even made a list of topics. But every time I open up a new page the words stop flowing and it all dries up. 

I have started using a handwritten journal and it could be that much of what I would have said in here is already being said there. I never started this blog for it to be read. I started it because I needed to say. And I am saying those things so I guess I don’t feel the need to write on here as much anymore. 

On a more personal level – I am in love and I am going to therapy to try and make sense of what happened here. So I guess I am enjoying being in the moment. Being present and consuming the genuine joy I am surrounded by. 

That being said, I do want to write on here. I love clicking post and interacting with this community I did not know would exist. So I will be starting a 30 day blogger challenge – get back into the habit of writing every day. 

I found this one on google and it looks like it’s from Pinterest. 


Do you ever get “writers block” specifically on your blog? 

News and thoughts 

The last few months have been an onslaught of news – the systematic rise of democratically and legal oppression. Everything from Trump (and how much of a focus there was on the individual rather than the mainstream ideology he represents) followed by the #MuslimBan to the recent EU hijab ban. It’s all been a tidal wave of news after fake news. Exhausting. 

So I have stayed away from it all. I have been doing a lot of thinking – around the political climate we find ourselves in, whether there can be hope in all this – we have seen successes and a uniting of people’s in ways we haven’t seen, when is violence acceptable (following the split in opinion over the punching of the far-right “alt-right” leader), and why are people forced to prove themselves worthy of humanity for people to care (where doctors being affect by the #MuslimBan were seen as more worthy of their citizenship compared to a house wife on welfare for example). 

And I appreciate the above is all a word vomit. Especially on a day like today when we mourn the death of innocent people and wonder again what happened to humanity.  

On our screens we see a hatefilled terrorist who murdered and hurt too many innocent lives. And it’s painful – the waste and cruelty of it all. So twisted and confusing. MUSLIM TERRORIST they shout as soon as they see brown skin. No further evidence needed. It seems this has now been proven false and it is still unknown whether this was a politically motivated attack. 

But news is news, who needs facts when propaganda material is so readily available. Let us headline Tommy Robinson, not an expert not witness but someone who blames “Asian culture” and “Islam” for what happened. 

And I am filled in deep sorrow knowing what is to come. The increase in racism and islamophobia – spitting on the streets, girls hijabs pulled off their head, old men beaten up as they return home from prayer. The strengthing of racist and islamophobic laws. The fuel required by the rising powers to keep on rising. Towering over us with their watchful eyes as they strip away our rights and justice. 

Tighten the borders they should. *But he was born here*. Ship them all out is what they mean. 

And no one will say anything because they are scared. 
Any hope is hard to muster and I can’t help but know darker days are to come

Happy thoughts 

It only takes one thought, an unhappy thought, to slip and fall. Down down down. Into the depths and darkness. Gulping in the smoke and smog. Twisting and turning until I almost hit the ground. Where I will lie broken. 

And that’s where you may find me. Revitalise me with your happy thoughts. That become my happy thoughts. Teach me to float back up. Until I have the strength to fly and then soar. 

So come with me, where dreams are born, and time is never planned. Just think of happy things, and your heart will fly on wings, forever, in Never Never Land! – Peter Pan

The first day 

I do find is weird how we humanise the years like a block of time scheduled by the western world has any control over the fate of the whole world. 2016 was an awful year we see all over social media. It was made into a comical horror “film”. It was 2016 that caused all the deaths of the celebrities and 2016 that caused Brexit and Trump.

2016 and not people. 

In this way we can shift the blame away from ourselves – the voters and non-voters. The friends of fascists and non-friends who did not organise. 

We mourn the names of those who’s names were in lights. And that is understandable and natural. Our heroes, the unfallable, now gone. 

But natural death comes to us all. And though we mourn their dates we do not mourn the deaths of those caused by our hands. Syria, Yemen and Palestine to name just a few. We watch humanity die live from our screens. In their homes, in the sea, in the hospitals. Outside our own doorsteps we have the homeless, unable to apply for help – dying from the cold and hunger. 

Now that we have entered a new year the suffering for the millions will not stop. 

Happy New Year. May we always be concious of our actions, throughout the entire year. 

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 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)