Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Being Satan In A Dream.

Sometimes I wonder whether the angels sing the devil to sleep. Does he sleep at all? Annihilation needs to be sustained, somehow.

I wonder if he uses the magnitude of his own sins as a compass. Bottled poison on standby, just in case.

I think he has red hair, a reflection of what Hell is supposed to look like, against the contours of his red skin.

I used to picture his house, question whether or not he owned books, whether he was familiar with Fitzgerald and Plath. 

I realised that he lives inside us all, in our veins, in our own minds.

We submit to the devil in our movements; our radiance belongs to him. 

We are Satan.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

When the mind becomes a vapour and I can’t think of anything profound to write about, I read song lyrics or poetry. Fall Out Boy’s lyrics always spark something, so I wanted to share some of my favourites.

Strike us like matches, because everyone deserves the flames.

We only do it for the scars and stories, not the fame.

They say your head can be a prison, then these are just conjugal visits.

I thought of angels, choking on their halos. Get them drunk on rose water, see how dirty I can get them.

If heaven's grief brings hell's rain.

And you lock the house to keep your secret from coming out.

You're sleeping with the light on like you're dying to be found out.

And the sound of the descendants.

Your smile reminds me of switchblades and infidelity.

I know what you're thinking, "he stands alone because he's high on himself."

She's shallow like the shoreline during low tide.

With promise and precision and mess of youthful innocence.

I hate the way you say my name like it's something secret.

I know that you're in between arms somewhere, next to heartbeats where you shouldn't dare sleep.

Take your taste back, peel back your skin.

Every line is plotted and designed to leave you standing on your bedroom window's ledge.

Tongues on the sockets of electric dreams.

Say a prayer but let the good times roll in case God doesn't show.

Say my name and his in the same breath, I dare you to say they taste the same.

Pull a breath like another cigarette.

On the oracle in my chest, let the guitar scream like a fascist.

Know you've heard this all before, but we're just hell's neighbours.

Preach electric to a microphone stand.

They say the captain goes down with the ship, so when the world ends, will God go down with it?

I can't remember and I want it so bad, I'd shoot the sunshine into my veins. I can't remember the good old days.

And it's kind of funny, the way we're wearing anchors on our shirts when being anchored or bored just feels like a curse.

Milligrams in my head, burning tobacco in my wind chasing the direction.

When Rome's in ruins, we are the lions free of the coliseums in poisoned places.

Blood brothers in desperation, an oath of silence for the voice of our generation.

Don't breathe life into a monster then complain when he destroys it all again.

And I just need enough of you to dull the pain.

I've got the skyline in my veins.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

If Heaven’s Grief Brings Hell’s Rain.

On days like today, I realise that the bad days were actually the good days. I’m sinking, gravity is working overtime to pull me into an early grave.

It’s my birthday. I’m 25 today and my first thought this morning was whether I had enough pills to do it. 

I have to let this pass. I know that it will be okay, eventually. But it’s the waiting that breaks me; it counteracts all of my progress. Everybody keeps saying that time heals, but nobody tells you what you’re supposed to do in the meantime.

There is always pressure, expectation. I can’t just be. I have to hide everything, I have to repress. It turns the battle into a war, with the absence of weaponry still indenting the curves of my shoulders.

‘God loves you.’
‘Then why is He subjecting me to this torture?’

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Bidding War For An Old Flame.

I wanted to post this to demonstrate the severity and incoherence of my thoughts and the desperation and pain of depression during my lowest moments. Sharing this and being open is the only way to create change. This is unfiltered, unedited, it's raw and honest. 

It hurts. It hurts. My limbs ache. Sad. So sad. Like the sound of a woman sinking into her own skin. Sinking. Falling. Drowning.

When does a moment become a memory? When it passes? When the body no longer recognises it as the present? When the heart rejects feeling and there’s nowhere left for it to go? Does it work like metabolism? Do we digest it? Do our bodies ever get rid of them? Does it stop hurting? Does the soul ever stop aching? Do the wounds heal? Do they heal?

It’s the physical pain, the dagger in the stomach, the limbs submissive, the mind like a floating compass aboard a sunken ship. What happens to the remnants?

Fighting the same battle, still fighting, still sinning. Still disgusted, still using, still hurting. I want it to be over already.

How many times do you have to commit the same sin before it becomes redundant? Does God have a checklist somewhere? A tally system? Because even when you see hell, at least the vibrancy of the fire allows you to see your own shadow. There’s light, evanescent, but light. I just want to stop feeling, it’s like I’m not happy either way. The absence of emotion was terrifying. I didn’t care about anything, feel anything. But at least I could move forward, at least I wasn’t consumed.

It’s taken over my limbs, the pain, the ache, it’s energy. Transcendence. Sinking. Absorbing. 

Words, just writing words like a redundant exorcism. Does the soul leave the body? Does it decide that we’re not compatible? Because I can feel it ricocheting against the flesh, tearing skin, wanting to escape, needing daylight, sanity.

They keep saying life is a test, but when does it end? I’m ready to go now, I’m always ready. And I think it’s why I’m still alive; He doesn’t give you what you want because how else will you learn?

Suicide is just another part of existing. It’s always present in the mind, sometimes consuming, other times a passenger. The darkness. The illness. I just want to be. Not to think. Not to feel guilty. Not to be so secretive, cautious. Not to over think everything before movement. I’m tired, my body is drained. Pressured. Expectations. I just want to be.

I don’t know where to go from here, I’m just writing because I’m so sad tonight and I don’t know where to go. Sadness, the kind that makes you want to forget how to think. Like when you look up to the sky to check if God is laughing. I just want to close my eyes and see nothing. Quiet. Silence. Just stillness. Trying, hoping.

Sinking into myself, sinking into my body, into my fingertips. Movements controlled by music, until the screen is filled, body drained. Does it mean anything? Does the sadness mean anything? It’s not beautiful or poetic, or great writing material, just stuff that drains and drains. I can’t think or be, I just want to breathe. I just want to inhale and not feel the entire globe inside my chest. I just want my blood to flow through my veins. No obstructions.

I don’t know what this means, I’m just typing to try and get it to leave my body, to move the pain, to drain the pain.

Sometimes I wonder what I would write in my suicide note, whether I would even leave one. I don’t think I would, it’s almost as if it overshadows the act itself. I’d just go, no goodbyes or anything. I’d just go because what is there to hold on to? I’m sick of trying, I just want to be. I just want to be.

Everything is consuming, challenging. I don’t want to think, I don’t want to work, I don’t want to exist. I just want peace, give me peace. It’s all I ask God for, ever. I don’t want anything but peace. People keep asking if I have plans to kill myself. It’s funny because of course I wouldn’t plan it. I’d just go. I’d just go. I want to go. But I know I can’t and I think that’s the bit that hurts me. There’s no way out. There’s no way to get out. I just want to get out.

What do I do now? Where do I go now? What is there left?

I just want to move forward, I think. Or I want to die. I haven’t decided. I just keep going because I’m trying to figure it out. But I’m avoiding it, I know I am. I keep thinking I’m better. My psychiatrist said that I’m making progress. It was nice to put a smile on his face. The last time he saw me; I couldn’t even look him in the eye or give him more than 2 words. I was vacant. I’m just so tired of this cycle.

What did I do wrong? Why was this pain predestined? I try to be a good person, I try and I try. What more do you want? What more can I do? My head is everywhere, inside out, I just want to be. People keep asking what will make me happy and I don’t know. I just want peace. I just want peace.

I’m so tired, so tired. Interaction, pretence. Life. It’s so draining. Why do I have to continue? Where is my contract? I didn’t sign anything, I didn’t agree to this. I just want to be. I just want to be. Please let me be.

God the pain. The sadness. It won’t stop. It’s inside my limbs. It’s inside my head. It’s inside my blood. It won’t get away. It won’t get away. Swaying, the words controlling movement. I don’t know what I’m writing anymore, I’m just typing so I don’t have to listen to the sound of my own distorted voice. Why do we exist in this state?

I’m hungry and tired and drained. Just let me be. Please let me be. I don’t understand the pain anymore, it sickens me, destroys me. Nobody wants to listen to the same song over and over. I don’t want to cause more pain. Just do it now. Just end it now. What are you waiting for? What is there left? What is there left? Why was my life predestined into sadness?

What did I do? What did I do? I’m existing, I’m pretending, there’s no substance, meaning, connection. Everything is a disappointment. A challenge. A struggle. Why am I still struggling? Always struggling. I just want peace, I just want to experience normality, breathing. Am I just a social experiment? A means of torture?

What did I do? What did I do? Just get rid of the pain, get rid of the ache. Please just get rid of it, or me, or both. Just get rid of it. I just want to be. Please let me be.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

‘What would you describe your style as?’
‘I try and go for the whole ‘I woke up, had a cup of coffee and then just threw on the first thing I found and didn’t brush my hair, but still made sure to look in the mirror before I left the house’ type of thing.’

Monday, 20 July 2015

To Qurratulain.

I don’t know what it is about you, but you’re addictive. One conversation later, you are all that exists. You’re infectious, it’s like your words immediately enter the veins, consuming, feeding. You so quickly become a way of life, until our organs won’t recognise or submit to anything but the sound of your voice.

You’re smart and insightful, you always have interesting things to say, you’re compassionate and spectacular. You never have bad intentions, you’re pure and honest. You love and care about everything so deeply, so intensely. You’re generous and encouraging, you believe in other people, you see their truth, you recognise their talent, you empower them, you just want to make everyone else’s dreams come true.

Your attention to detail still continues to blow my mind; you remember scents, pauses, the faces of strangers that sat beside us in a coffee shop a year ago. You find meaning in everything, from the dead spider that was trying to find his way back home to the way I hold my prayer beads at dawn. Your eyes attempt to consume everything they can in a frenzy. But beneath all of that, there is sorrow. It manifests in the subtext of your every movement; I think you’re beginning to learn how to use it to fuel your own fire.

You are made up of quirks, like needing to remain quiet while drinking coffee, or watching movies in silence as not to disrupt the emotion. These things are what make you so intriguing, fascinating. You have a justification for everything, and you’re okay with being different. You’re so comfortable in yourself, you’re confident even when you think you are not. I wish I could make you see just how much strength you have.

I’ve never met anyone so determined and driven. You don’t hang around. If there’s something you want, you get it. You don’t have the patience to wait, and you don’t like making other people wait. You pour your soul into everything that you do, whether it is for yourself or for the sake of other people. If anything is to be associated with your name, it is going to be the best that it can be. There’s no disrupting that. There’s so much fight inside you, I see it in your movements. You’re always fidgeting with something, picking at your skin, looking for ways to occupy your hands. You can’t be still. There’s always adrenaline within your fingertips, ready, always ready. Ready to fight, ready to try, ready to give, you’re always ready to go. But it means that your touch is electric, it’s fire, it’s magic.

You take the term ‘perfectionist’ to a whole new level. I’ve watched you edit the same piece of writing for six hours straight until it is perfect, until each syllable is empowering, until you feel like each space has captured a sentiment. You forget to eat, to drink water, to move. Your eyes are fixated on the words and we can’t pull you away until it’s complete, otherwise you feel uneasy, unable to think about anything else. You just want to finish it. You’re forever thinking, looking, conversing with yourself. Your mind doesn’t stop, even when your limbs are exhausted, even when life itself becomes a daydream. You can’t switch off, you’re always on edge. You’re always tense, reserved. I’ve never seen you be still, completely relaxed. It’s like your body never gives in to itself. Every time I look at you, I can tell that your eyes are searching for the closest exit, a form of protocol, just in case. There is doubt in every situation but sometimes your desires are too loud and you don’t think. Like when you want a piercing or to try something new. You get these ideas in your head, you’re impulsive, you’re unpredictable. I guess that’s part of the attraction. I just wish you would slow down sometimes. Let us in. Listen to the voice of reason.

But then you have another episode, and the sadness interferes with everything. It takes over and nothing matters anymore. You stop talking, you stop looking us in the eye. You’re vacant; you even forget to blink sometimes. All we can do is watch and pray that you’ll eat something, hope that you’ll cry or laugh, or something, anything. You just stare at the walls and we don’t know if you’re present in your body. We don’t know what you are thinking, whether you are about to do something stupid. We just want you to be safe. But you don’t exist, your lips won’t move, your face is frozen in the same expression. You shut down.

When it passes, you realise that you need to heal, but you push everyone else away so you can work through the sadness. You need to be in full control. You need to be the one making the decisions. You need to be the one to make yourself better. You’re vulnerable so everyone else is a threat. You’re cautious, paranoid. You don’t ever like to ask for help, it’s almost as if you don’t know how to, or that you can. You just want your space, you want to be alone. You won’t talk to us, you’re distant, and that’s when you lose us. But for you it all just becomes a part of the same pain. You’re already suffering; you’re accustomed to pain, you’re immune to heartbreak. Maybe that’s why it’s so easy for you, or maybe you’re just great at hiding it? But you move forward, even if it means leaving us behind. Even if it means shutting us out. Even if it means never talking to us again. You move forward, always move forward, always hold on because otherwise you will have to stop, you'll have to acknowledge the pain. You don’t want to be interrupted; you just need to be okay. You want to forget, so you’ll focus on moving forward because it means you are better. Even when you are not. Even when we are shouting from the sidelines that you need more time. Even when we are begging for you to be still, and you continue to fight through. Even when there is nothing left of your body but your shadow.

You live inside your own willingness, you won’t let others in. You can’t hear us, or you won’t hear us. I don’t know anymore. It’s as if your limbs are weapons in your own war, fighting against each other, momentarily in harmony and then battling again. There is no room for another person. No room for input from anyone else. I know this now. You live in a permanent conversation with yourself. But we’re trapped; we’re all confined inside your echoes. We are still seeing your name; forever thinking about what could have been, forever wondering when we’ll stop breathing your name, when we’ll stop seeing your silhouette in our own shadows. You’re a drug, Qurratulain. 

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Old, Devil, Moon.

We each have small things in our lives that contribute to our sense of self. Songs, books, words, films, scents. They are the small constants in our lives that remind us of who we are. They are our means of realigning ourselves and restoring  perspective in the wake of melancholy. But what do we become when these things are stripped away? Who are we without our own talents and dreams?

Imagine if you have been a painter all of your life and the art has added a whole new dimension to your existence. There is depth in each moment, details, preservation, healing. Painting is all you know. But what happens if you wake up one day and you suddenly cannot paint anymore? You can’t preserve the intricacy of your interactions, capture the beauty of the person that made you smile. Your hands were made to hold brushes, your retinas to experience the magnitude of a colour palette. It feels like a limb has been torn off, you no longer feel whole. Painting has always been an extension of your personality; you might as well not exist without it.

We pour facets of our beings into our own talents and our dreams, these things contribute to our identity. When we are without them, our veins are empty, we have no purpose. We lose our way.

This is where I have been. Writing has always been my coping mechanism. It has allowed me to acknowledge my pain by giving me the capacity to pour it into a tangible form, thus draining it from my body. For the past few years, my medication has prevented me from writing, from crying, from experiencing emotions to their fullest capacity. I cannot see or process anything that is going on in my own head. It’s like holding an opaque glass ball with something trapped inside and no matter how hard I shake it, I can’t make out what the object is. I’ve just wanted to write for the sake of sorting through the voices in my head, to see clearly, to be able to think.

Whilst transitioning between two medications, I’ve been able to hear myself, to actually exist inside my own head, to access my thoughts. I haven’t been able to sit and write properly for the past two years. Not like this, not where my hands are hitting the keys faster than the words can pave their way onto the screen. 

And then it’s gone.

I think you can tell when my words are stripped of meaning, that’s what the medication does. It disconnects you from this present world, this present moment, your present body, your present movements, your speech. Everything is bleak and you’re just trapped inside a ghost of someone that died in another lifetime. It’s like existing in a permanent state of writers block. I can’t feel, I can’t absorb music, I can't feel compassion, I can't be still. 

I’m typing nothing and nothing and nothing. I want doves, I want fire, I want magic. I want depth.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

(I Swore I Wouldn't Dream).

I’ve always pictured my mind as being two separate rooms. One filled with rows of multicoloured filing cabinets. The other, a room dedicated to inventory where everything is sorted. This is the room that is prominent in my mind. There are fragments of paper all over the ground, shreds floating in anarchy. Things are read and dealt with, eventually being stored away in those filing cabinets. This is how my mind works; something enters my brain and I immediately rush to categorise and store it away. However, everything is arriving at such a rapid speed that I cannot fathom anything quick enough. Everything ends up torn, on the ground, undealt with.

I just want everything to be put away neatly. It’s partially the reason for why I begin to organise things when I can’t cope. The physical act of moving objects makes me psychologically feel like I’m sorting through my head. I feel  cleansed after throwing things away.

It’s strange to think about your own ligaments and the way they must look on the inside. 

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Irises, They Never Find Any.

Limbs at war with aching ghosts, pixelated blood cells, adorned.

Nomadic mind overrules movement, veins synchronised against a broken globe.

Oh the guts and the glory.

Immortalised soul pirouettes in a jar, chanting symphonies of the suicidal into a dream.

Splintered memoirs inside a casket, trails of peeled flesh at its wake.

Resuscitation. Revival. Recovery.


Tuesday, 14 July 2015

The Pros & Cons Of Breathing.

(Source: here)

Relax, enjoy your life,’ said my mother, not realising the magnitude and impact of the words that she spoke.

I began to think about the ways that we exist, within the journeys of our own minds. We earn money, we save, we plan our meals, we put money into pensions, we plan a life for our children. Our minds are forever living in the future, our bodies in the present. But we create a gap, between imminence and this present day, an empty space that is susceptible to being consumed by fear. Thus, we live in a perpetual state of anxiety about everything, second-guessing, overthinking, complicating.

We’re fixated on the notion of a future, we’re attached to its perception, but our tangible grasp on the future extracts the spirit from our current moments. When it’s all gone, when the pulsation of our bodies begin to digress, it will be our memories that ricochet against the walls. It will be the voices, the sounds, the scents, the movements that embrace our mental hallways.

It’s like taking a photograph for the purpose of looking back and remembering. In taking the photograph, you’re almost pulling yourself away from the experience; you’re missing out on the intensity and magnitude of your surroundings. You’re not allowing it to heighten all of your senses; you’re not experiencing the beauty, the soul, the core of these moments to their fullest extent. You're going to miss the sovereignty of your own feelings because you didn’t exist to your fullest depth.

There’s nothing wrong with spending, feeling, indulging. There’s nothing wrong with being adventurous, out of control, spontaneous. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying yourself, sinking, submerging. After all, is this not better than living with the intensity of regret? It’s the moments of pleasure, of bliss, of ecstasy that fill our time with meaning. Do the consequences of our actions not just become another facet of our gratification? Do they not just become a part of the experience?

Sometimes I listen to the sound of my own breath and notice that it’s the only constant in my life. I feel my pulse, the sensation of the rhythm, the blood travelling through my veins reaching my limbs. It’s the only thing that reminds me that I’m alive, it brings me back, calibrates my organs. We’re out of touch with who we are now. You’re alive. I’m alive. We’re living. We’re existing. This is our life, here, now. Go out and do something crazy because you can. Do it. Feel the movement of your hands, feel the strength, feel the capacity to do something great. Feel it. Be whoever you want to be, go with your feelings, be impulsive, do whatever makes you feel alive.

Although we live in a sense of imposing irony, surviving the present in order to remember, indulge and exist to your fullest capacity. 

Monday, 13 July 2015

Light A Match To Leave Me Be.

(Source: here)

Last week, I was stopped by two Mormons.

“Do you believe in God?”

I’ve always believed in God.

“Do you associate yourself with a specific religion?”

I’m Muslim.

I realised how long it had been since I verbalised those words.

Having been brought up in a Muslim family, Islam has always been a way of life. However I’ve persistently struggled with religion, moving across the spectrum from sin to piety quite regularly.

I always hear people talk about how their religion brings them a sense of harmony, a purpose; it realigns everything that they ever knew, surfacing hope, meaning, morality. But religion for me, has been a set of cemented rules and restrictions, causing me to feel trapped in my own being. Religion forces me to think about things that I shouldn’t be doing, shouldn’t be saying, shouldn’t be wearing. I think about angering God, I think about going to Hell, I think about pain, torture, the magnitude of my own sins. Sometimes I can already feel the fire inside my limbs, travelling through bloodstreams, growing stronger, consuming. I sink into a vortex of fear until I reach the bottom and there is nowhere left to go.

I’ve always attributed this anxiety to not wearing the hijab and disappointing God. However, upon covering myself entirely and becoming fully devout, the anxiety was more prevalent than ever.

I have now reached a point where I don’t think about religion because I don’t want to deal with the trepidation in my stomach. I don’t want to subject my body to being consumed by anxiety. I don’t want to deal with the shaking, the sickness, the dread. I’m too afraid of God. Petrified. I don’t know how to look beyond this. I can’t think about religion for long enough because what will there be left to live for? I don’t attribute any of this to Islam. It stems from the way that I have been taught about religion, from the emphasis on repentance and punishment, on not committing sin. The weight of being devout.

I am Muslim. I am, I am.

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Swinging Off of My Own Hinges.

(Source: here)

When I was studying for my Masters, I would wake up every morning, have breakfast and then sit down to write at my desk. I would lose myself in the solitude of my own mind, allowing the words to pave the path of my thoughts, giving them a voice, creating worlds, characters, memories. I captured my own reality; everything had meaning, connection, significance. Every space in between the lines was embedded with connotation. The text was meaningful. Each day I would shed, I would cleanse. It became a ritual. I was in touch with myself, in touch with my thoughts, I was in my own body. I was present. Starting my morning this way became the foundation for my existence. There was a sense of achievement. I felt lighter, I felt empowered. I felt my strength. There was clarity, there was purpose.

I miss being able to write for the sake of cleansing, for the sake of sorting through my head, for the sake of writing and creating, for the sake of exploring the depths of my mind, for the sake of just being creative, for the sake of healing, for the sake of rationalising, for the sake of coming to terms with my suffering, for the sake of working through the darkness, for the sake of fighting. It was a time in my life where I felt the closest to who I wanted to be, and yet I was alone, I was content, my body was working in harmony with itself.

I’m going to begin writing everyday, I’m going to try and hear my own voice again, capture it in this space. I just want to be back in touch with myself. I’ve lost my way and I’m desperately attempting to grasp it. I don’t know who I am anymore, I’m not creative, I’m not writing, I’m not achieving. I need to cleanse, to heal, to fight, to survive.

When people ask me to describe a time in my life where I felt whole, that was it. I felt able, I was strong, I was close to God. I don’t know where that is now. I work in digital marketing; everything is about measurement, performance of campaigns, impact. I don’t know how to measure my own progress. I don’t know how to measure my own success.

I just want to be.

Still. Stillness. Harmony.

I just want to silence the voice in my head and I think the only way that I know how is to allow it to speak, to preserve it on paper so it no longer feels the need to remain within my body.

They have changed the type of medication that they are prescribing to me. I can hear the reverberations of my thoughts. I’m attempting to seize them, struggling. But these words, are evidence that I can write. I can still be Qurratulain. I can still capture my own sentiment. I am able. I can live on. I can exist.

I’m going to stop editing, censoring, filtering. After all, how can I heal myself through contrived words? Through limitation, restriction? This is my space.

Friday, 26 June 2015

Save The Songs That We Can't Stop Singing.

(Source: here)

A few weeks ago, Taylor Swift posted an open letter to Apple regarding their failure to pay artists during a 3 month free trial of Apple Music. Although Taylor eventually won her case, it prompted me to think about the art that we create, the different forms in which it is recognised, the way we access it, our means of consuming it, the purpose and the impact of its reverberations.

I completely understand Taylor’s perspective. People that create art should be paid because they are trying to make a living. But should we be paying to consume it?

We create art so we can sink, so we can feel, so we can be transported, so we can be elevated, so we can feel our souls ache, so we can experience the ecstasy within the spaces, so we can cleanse, so we can preserve emotion, so we can capture the depths of our moments, so we can heal.

Earlier this year, Taylor also pulled her music from Spotify and it’s pretty much impossible to find her new album on YouTube. The only means of listening to her new songs is through a paid platform. I can appreciate that money makes the world go round, but as a writer, I write to give others something to relate to. It's free. You're reading these words for free. If I was to pour myself into a novel, the purpose of it would be to give others something to connect to, to create a space that they could find themselves in. After all, is that not the objective of sharing the art that we produce? To make others feel what we felt? To create meaning?

When did art become about money? When did we lose our passion? When did we lose our capacity to create for the sake of creating?

We all dream of making a living from doing something that we love, but if we were to reach a point of being wealthy enough, would we not just want people to enjoy the art? Would the creation of it not be driven by our need to create? To give ourselves a voice?

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Like A Fallen Angel Walking In Your Sleep.

I set impossible standards for myself because I’m afraid of failing. I’m terrified of disappointing my parents. I feel like a mouse in a laboratory, testing pills, different combinations and doses, monitoring effects, progression.

I was thinking about how I always get up in the morning, I apply makeup, I get dressed and I walk to work regardless of how slow my legs move, regardless of how much my hands shake, regardless of how much my tongue refuses to cooperate. That, that is strength. It is one’s willingness to persevere through the acknowledgement of pain. It is the understanding of the notion that wallowing in suffering does not enforce change. It is the driving force that continues to sustain movements. I exist within a war between myself and my body, but I fight, I keep going. I interact, I work, I do a damn good job, and I don’t give myself enough credit for the amount that I continue to achieve because I am confined within a void of my own infinite digression.

I’ve been advised to take some time off work, however all I can think about is not wanting to bombard others with all of my projects. I’m worried about other people, I’m worried about who will get the work done, I’m worried about my job, I’m worried about the consequences, I’m worried about how it will affect my career, I’m worried about how it will make my parents feel, but I’m not worried about myself. I’m not thinking about how this is affecting me, how the depression has taken over my limbs, extracted all meaning from my movements and left behind an animated carcass, programmed to a default vacant setting. I'm not thinking about my own health.

I wish mental illness was an acceptable justification to take time off; I wish I could be honest and open. I just don’t know how to heal, so I’m a subdued version of myself until further notice. I can’t give everything I have, I can’t be Qurratulain, I don’t know how to be. How am I supposed to be anything else but this when I live inside the spiralling absence of contentment?

I’m so tired, of pretending. Existing. Withdrawing. Pretending again. It goes around in a circle, I’m lost in its wake.

Monday, 15 June 2015

Don't Put Dirt On My Grave Just Yet.

I can’t sleep, or read, or watch anything. I can't remember or forget. 

But I am alive and I don’t want to be.

I’m tired, exhausted. My eyes barely remain open for long enough to register my surroundings, yet I cannot force my body into a daydream.

I’m not myself, even to those that have seen nothing else.

I’m running out of things to do, struggling to find ways to cope. It comes in waves that surpass flesh, attack bones, wound organs.  

I’m sick of having to filter every thought because of the consequences. Bottling everything up is how I got here.

I just want my thoughts to have a voice, so I can read them on the screen and recognise them as my own. So I can feel connected to something, so I can feel connected to myself.

Vacant, staring blankly at things, objects, walls. Nothing means anything, nothing matters. They keep saying ‘it’s only up from here.

But madam, my dear, my darling, when you’re trapped in an abyss, tell me where else there is left to go. 

Tell me.

Please tell me.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Today, I stood in the kitchen with a box full of grapes. I carefully pulled each grape off the stem and placed them into a bowl. This gave me something to focus on, it provided me with a purpose.

This, itself, demonstrates our willingness to find anything to grasp in the midst of our anguish.

Monday, 8 June 2015

Stars Stitch Routes For The Dying Sun.

I don't talk through my issues because I kind of don't know what they are.

Medication numbs everything.

I can’t write and therefore I cannot express myself. I don’t know how I feel about anything because I can’t access my thoughts. I can’t see them in a tangible form, so I don’t know what they are. I’ve lost my essence. I don't know who I want to be. I've lost my creativity and therefore I've lost myself.

And thus I am trapped inside myself.

Sometimes it’s like my brain has been dropped back into my body and I can hear the faint reverberation of my heartbeat. But then there’s so much to filter through, it’s almost a race against the blood in my veins until everything shuts down again. Everyday is a mental war. It's exhausting. Frustrating. Draining. And then frustrating all over again.

I don't know where I'm at with religion and spirituality. People always say that religion gives them direction, but mine made me feel anxious, terrified. It just instilled my veins with more questions, more compulsions. Why was my life predestined into sadness? Was I even an entity before this?

I can't do ordinary things like read books or concentrate on TV shows. I can't remember anything. I’m not even present in my body most days. Everything takes ten times as long, I have to mentally prepare myself to breathe. I've been trying to write this blog post for an entire week and I've only just managed to give it some life.

My mind ricochets all over the spectrum. It makes existing quite difficult. 

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Heartlines On Your Hand.

Humans are conditioned to focus on the future, to look forward, to always keep moving. At primary school, we are prepared for secondary school, college, and university. Then our careers, marriage, children. Even death. Our lives are all about envisioning a future, but how present are we right now? This is our life, this moment, this second, this breath.

There is substance in everything; there is hope and reason and truth and depth. Stopping to perceive things for what they really are allows us to comprehend their dimension and the way they contribute to the many facets of our living. We need to understand different species and their ways of existing, recognise cultures and their inherent customs, and the way their languages echo against war-torn walls. As we look forward, we fail to see the silhouettes of our own footprints. We cannot see the movement of our feet; we cannot recognise the distance that we are walking, we cannot comprehend the transient nature of the ground that sustains us.

We’re absent from the moments that we exist in. We are taught that life is a journey, but we don’t stop to breathe in everything that is happening in this present moment. What are our lives if not lived, enjoyed, indulged?

Stop. Stop right now. Take a breath. Feel the rhythm of your heartbeat. Watch the movement of your chest. It’s happening, it’s happening right now.

'Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land. There is no other life but this.'

— Walden by Henry David Thoreau

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

“You don’t ask people with knives in their stomachs what would make them happy; happiness is no longer the point. It’s all about survival; it’s all about whether you pull the knife out and bleed to death or keep it in…”

— Nick Hornby

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Playing The Depression Game.

I needed to write because my head feels full and there’s no way to empty it or access my thoughts. I don’t know what I’m really thinking until I read my own words; they give me the best access to myself. Although my posts seem raw and honest, please note that they are still a condensed and filtered version of what goes on inside my head.

I feel exhausted. I think I’m starting to run out of mental and physical capacity. Some days, the depression is overwhelming and takes over my limbs until they refuse to co-operate. My hands just stop following the commands of my brain. The only way through is to surrender, to permit the depression to drain me of substance, to allow it to take its predestined path. After all, there is nowhere left to go from the abyss. Everything rises eventually, or so they say.

I’ve become so good at blocking everything out but I think my medication has been masking a lot of anger. I’m so sick of psychiatrists and doctors and medications and trying to be ‘fixed.’ I just want to be able to wake up tomorrow and not have to fight my own mind and nervous system.
It seems like I only have two options; to live with wanting to die or live with feeling nothing at all. The medication replaces sadness with deadness; it extracts any substance from life.

Depression is a form of paralysis. My head feels like it’s in a permanent state of being too full. Sometimes it seems like my life has suddenly snapped back into focus and I’m not really sure how I reached my house. It’s difficult to think, to derive ideas, to be creative; sometimes there’s nothing inside. It slows down the process between the mind and the tongue. I struggle to construct sentences, to speak coherently, to share or communicate my thoughts. Sometimes I say words back to front or have to pause to rearrange them in my head, to say something differently. Concentration and focus are also non-existent. I zoom in and out of life. Everything is overwhelming, even the sound of my own heart beating.

I pretend, and I try, because it’s the only way that I’ve taught myself to get by. Watch me smile, and then watch it fall. That’s where the truth is, in between that moment. I don’t want sympathy or people asking if I’m okay so I just get on with it because what else is there to do? If you watch closely, you’ll be able to analyse my speech and find that my facial expressions communicate my thoughts quicker than my mouth does. Or notice when I breathe heavily in an attempt to calm down my body. Or when I leave the room for a few minutes to gather myself. You’ll see when I begin organising or clearing things away to relax my mind. You’ll see when I suddenly put in my headphones when the room goes quiet in an attempt to silence my thoughts. You’ll look and see that I avoid eye contact because more than a glance at my eyes will give away my secret. Once you provide these things with a backdrop, they all start to make sense.

On the rare occasions that I discuss my depression in person, I generally have a way of making the situation/my feelings sound amusing. Most people don’t know how to react, so I try to save them from this by giving them a reason to laugh. That’s my problem, I’m always thinking about how it affects everyone else, but in doing so, I’ve just stopped talking about it. I’ve stopped giving it a voice, and it’s almost like I’m no longer acknowledging it as its own entity. This seems to be magnifying it. There are days where it controls my body. Sometimes I can’t even distinguish the difference between the depression and myself. They’ve been intertwined for as long as I can remember.

I’m trying, god that’s all I do. My existence has to count for something.

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Chasing Our Own Shadows.

It’s so easy to write down our fears and recognise how irrational they are. It’s easy to take a pen and draw a line through them, to show that we are in control of our own movements. But then comes the more difficult part of recognising our own capacity, and then coherently, the willingness to feed its digression.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Beats Like a Drum To The Same Rhythm.

How often do you feel like the world has left you behind?

Everything is moving, changing, progressing, developing. Nothing is the same as it was the day before, and yet the minute details of our lives make us feel like everything is stationary, static, immobile.

But we grow, we change, we adapt, we are reactive. It’s interesting to stop and perceive our own evolution whilst trapped in this sense of fabricated stillness. It’s almost like standing in the ocean, watching the current and not realising that your own body is moving along with it.

We have more than a ‘default’ setting. We acclimatise. We are several different people, we can travel through our own spectrum on a daily basis.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Sweet Tea & God's Graces.

Some miscellaneous tweets from my drafts:

Writers emulate what they have read, language is regurgitated and is a translation of itself.

Sometimes we have to cut off our own limbs to survive.

She wondered what sadness felt like as she stood on the peak of the mountain, tied with silk strings of euphoria.

Whenever I think I'm starting to feel better, it's like my own organs conspire with gravity to bury me alive.

The veins on my shoulders look like faded tattoos of the globe.

You've got to learn the rhythm of your own heartbeat.

And once we drank Skinny Water and talked about our dreams.

I can hear the angels whispering in my dreams; they tell me to keep going.

You're seeing the shadow, not the thing that creates it.

Writing is a source of sustenance (people that don't handwrite aren't real writers).

Books are just portals to other worlds.

I think we spend too much time trying to align ourselves with how we should feel in a situation as opposed to how we actually feel.

And then there's the heartburn. It feels like Mordor inside my chest.

We write each other into the people we want them to be.

I think we're all lost; some just hold up maps as pretence (they don't really know where they're going).

I paid for What'sapp for the next 5 years, I think that's what they meant when they said 'plan your future.'

And we were all just afraid of showing others that we were human.

I can't help but wonder whether we're born with voids inside us, whether we just become more aware of it as we age.

I think our souls change colour.

It's strange that we offer people balloons, when really they're just bags full of our breath. 

And they kept reiterating that pain was just sin leaving the body.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

And The Crowds Don't Remember My Name.

I miss handwriting; I miss the way the mind pulsates against skin, pen guided by the movement of the hand. Words flowing; secrets already preserved.

I don’t acknowledge or talk about my pain. The suffering is intrinsic; rooted in my veins. I forget that it isn’t normal to feel like this.

There are so many things that I can’t talk about, memories, experiences, mistakes that are repressed in the storage vault that is my body. I am trapped inside them and so coherently I am trapped inside myself. Sometimes I touch things, just so I know that they are there, that I am there, that I am here, that I still exist.

Sometimes my body refuses to register sound. I see lips moving and stare blankly at animated gestures inside my brain. My own narrative is so loud; I can’t absorb anyone else’s. Sometimes I can’t even hear myself. Everything is muffled, with memories, miscellaneous details, and voices of people I don’t think about anymore.

It comes in waves. The difficult part is trying to look beyond the darkness to find my own light. It’s almost like acknowledging a moment of happiness pushes it out of this present moment.

I always thought that strength was the absence of pain, but it isn’t, it’s the acceptance and willingness to power through it. What other choice do I have?

It’s sad that we rush to support the terminally ill but abandon those that are trapped inside their own skulls.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Living a Double Life.

In my post about Serial, I mentioned that most people of South Asian descent can relate to living a dual life. We know how to be two different people. We live the life that we want, along with the life that our parents want for us. We become masters of pretence. We know how to cover our tracks and we do so until our two worlds collide.

I have written a lot about my alienation from my Pakistani heritage, but Serial pushed me to think about the kind of person that our culture wants us to be.

Our parents and grandparents were raised in an environment where a woman was unable to leave the house until a male was present. They are now living in a Western country, conveying these same customs to their children. But how do they prevent their children from succumbing to the customs of the space that they are now living in?

There are two conflicting cultures; our lives are battles between them. One culture teaches us to be open and the other silences our pain. One shelters us from existence and the other overexposes us to its reality. We inherently gravitate towards the one that is unfamiliar to us, and thus we end up living two lives.

I guess what I am saying is that we are a part of two cultures that cannot co-exist. This drives us to be two different people. We come from a community that forces us to hide fragments of ourselves to protect the honour of our family. We are not allowed to reach the full capacity of who we are because there is already a predetermined path that is paved for us. We repress everything, we internalise everything. Even the sound of our own heartbeat is a secret.

When we eventually discover a new way of living, it realigns everything that we once knew. It’s almost like when you’ve been staring at the same picture for years and you suddenly come to realise that there is a shadow in the background. There is something that you didn’t see before. There is a new perspective, which changes the entire meaning of the photograph. There is a different way to live.

We want to live our own lives; we want to explore our own avenues. But when our parents want something else entirely, we become another person in the dark. We exist coherently in one form, recognising each other, a part of two worlds but always guarded. It is an intrinsic part of our existence.

In the end, I think that the culture that corresponds with who you want to be is going to take precedence. 

Sunday, 29 March 2015

And Then, Just Like Everything, It's Gone.

There are profound moments when I feel alive. I feel open, I feel everything.

This is when I am the closest to myself.

I am inspired, 
motivated, I am determined, ambitious, I am hopeful.

I am Qurratulain. Driven. Passionate. I can feel my breath, hear my thoughts, I can feel the command of my own brain.

My limbs are in my control. I hear God. I hear the angels on my shoulders singing words of grandeur.

Everything is right.

My body is aligned with my mind. My organs are co-operating. I can hear the sound of my heart beating, feel memories at the surface. I hear myself.

I create. I am.

And then, just like everything, it's gone.
Recognising something makes it real. It forces you to acknowledge and find a means of coping. Like looking in a mirror, where you see the reflection but acknowledge that you are in control of the visible movements.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Sentimental Slaves on Broken Knees.

I'm so sick of hearing my own narrative.

I feel like my soul is treating my bloodstream like an empty hallway, using the echo as a means of strength.

My own voice travels through the centre, moving organs, disorienting self.

My body is so exhausted from this perpetual self-exorcism.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Serial; A True Story.

I’ve been listening to a podcast called Serial recently. It may sound familiar, because about a month ago, it was all anyone could talk about. Having never really been a fan of podcasts, I deemed this another social media trend. However, I finally gave in and listened to the podcast and now it is all I can think about.

Serial isn’t an ordinary podcast. It is a real story. A true crime.  Over the course of twelve episodes, with each one varying in length, each episode looks at a different facet of a murder case. The podcast is hosted by Sarah Koenig and her method of story-telling captivates all of your attention.

Serial looks at a murder that was committed in 1999 in Baltimore County, Maryland. Hae Min Lee was strangled to death, and shortly after, her ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed was convicted and sentenced to lifetime imprisonment. The state’s case against Adnan was mainly based on the account of a witness that claimed to help Adnan bury the body. This is where it gets interesting; Adnan denies everything and continues to declare that he had absolutely nothing to do with the murder.

Sarah Koenig looks at the case, through boxes of evidence, interviews with people in Adnan’s life, through letters and even conversations with Adnan himself. She allows you to live inside her mind, doubting Adnan, believing him, and then doubting him again.

The thing that is so intriguing about this case is the fact that Adnan Syed is a Pakistani Muslim boy. He lived a double-life as most South-Asian children do. He was living in a Western country with cultural expectations from another. Regardless of upbringing, teenagers will be teenagers and Adnan was no different. This allows everyone to relate to him. He was a boy that was deceiving his parents. It could have been any one of us, and yet the state used this deceit as his ‘motive.’ He supposedly killed Hae because she had caused him to “stray” from his religion. Having said that, his behaviour before and after his relationship with Hae did not change at all. He continued to smoke marijuana, party and everything else that a teenager does. He did not have a motive.

I have not been able to stop thinking about him since I began listening to the podcast. About the dreams he lost, about the time that he will not be able to re-live. With each episode, I feel certain of his innocence and the weakened case. He is a victim of prejudice, and hearing his own voice adds a whole new dimension to the story.

It’s difficult to listen to the podcast and remember that it is not a television show, they have not caught the real killer, good has not taken precedence. You have to constantly remind yourself that this is real, and that’s when it really pierces your soul. Knowing that Adnan is still in jail, that it has been 15 years and he is still away from his family, his friends. His entire life has been taken from him. Although he has now been granted an appeal for his conviction, he is still being imprisoned. I keep wondering whether he can hear the whisper of a thousand voices praying for him to be released.

You can listen to the podcast here: 

I promise that after the first 5 minutes, you will not be able to think of anything else. 

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Shallow Like The Shoreline.

Our own narratives cannot be trusted, they are most often obscured by self-interest.

We remember events the way that we want to, to work in our favour, to give us something to experience a sense of nostalgia for. Our memories didn’t transpire in the way that we see them now. The person’s scent didn’t enrich the situation; neither did their rhythmic attempt at tapping their fingers against the table. The humming to fill an awkward silence was not poetic. The air was not filled with melancholy.

Our minds rearrange memories to make us nostalgic for moments that didn’t mean anything. It’s almost like memories marinate in our mind for so long that they become something else entirely.

We are responsible for the facets that we choose to remember. We are responsible for forming our own identity and although our own narratives are trusted as an account of our time, they are frail. 

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Sad, Beautiful, Tragic.

We have the ability to wake up one day and change our minds about everything. That's what makes humans so unreliable, our frailty.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

3 Apps To Change Your Life.

Throughout this digital era, I am always terrified that I will forget how to physically write or hold a pen. I handwrite as much as possible, whether this is by making daily to-do lists or taking notes in meetings. Having said that, there are some phone applications that I use on a daily basis that I want to recommend.

Wunderlist – This is an app that allows you to make to do lists. It has a nice interface and is simple to navigate. I also very much enjoy the satisfying sound it makes when you check a box on your to-do list. Wunderlist allows you to sync your lists so you can access them from your desktop or tablet, and it is genuinely just a nice way of making lists. I tend to use it for shopping lists or for reminding myself of something that I need to do. There are lots of options available such as being able to attach files to items on the list and setting reminders.  

Evernote – This is a note-taking app which is where my blog posts are given life. I use Evernote to write down thoughts I have during the day that I think may eventually be worthy of being developed into a blog post. Sometimes I may be waiting in line and will remember or witness something that I want to later acknowledge. This app allows me to quickly note the thought down and sync it to my laptop. It sits on the home screen of my phone and is certainly one of my most used. 

Pocket – This app is a bookmarking tool that will retain websites for you. I often see articles that I immediately want to read but have no time to do so. I add these to my ‘Pocket’ and can later access them either on my desktop or phone. You can even install a Chrome extension which will allow you to add to your pocket whilst browsing on your desktop. It’s very useful and I now use it as a means of saving things that I want to read over and over.

This is all for today. If you have any app recommendations, please leave them in the comments.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

3 Misconceptions About Having Dyed Hair.

If you know me in person or follow me on any of my social media platforms, the first thing that you will notice is that I have brightly coloured hair. I am renowned for my ever-changing mane and sometimes faced with negativity because of this. There are a lot of misconceptions about having dyed hair and I wanted to address these:

1. If you have bright hair, it means you are outgoing.
I understand why having bright hair makes it appear that one is a confident person, but there is a difference between feeling confident about oneself and being outgoing. Although I may be daring enough to opt for bright colours, it doesn’t change the fact that I am a very quiet person. I still feel intimidated or shy. I still withdraw myself. I still get nervous and anxious; my hair colour has no effect on the way that I interact with people.

2. Dyeing your hair damages it.
Adding unnatural chemicals to your hair isn’t the best source of nourishment for it. However, it doesn’t mean that it will cause any damage. Using a box dye, and subjecting your hair to several rounds of bleach are on two different sides of the spectrum. Whilst the latter is going to strip your hair of nutrients, the former isn’t going to harm it at all. My mother is the perfect example. She has been dyeing her hair (and is still doing so) for 20 years and alhamdulillah, she has the healthiest hair that I’ve ever seen. Adding bleach to your hair is completely different; it requires more maintenance because it is actually removing the pigment. So if you avoid using bleach, your hair is going to be fine.

 3. You won’t get a job with bright hair.
I have been to several interviews with different hair colours and it has never been an issue. In fact, during the last interview for my current job, my hair was purple. Hair colour doesn't affect your ability to work, and if an employer can't see past that, it isn't something that you should have to change. For me personally, my hair colour is a demonstration of my creativity, it is a form of expression. It has never hindered my employment.

Remember that bright hair is temporary; it can be dyed over at any given time. It doesn’t change anything about a person or their levels of confidence. I dye my hair because of the way it makes me feel. It gives me something to be excited about; it’s a quick way of modifying my appearance. It’s not causing any harm to anyone, so let me have it.
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