REFLECTIONS: a work in progress

HelloHalima

It’s officially 31 days until 2020, what are your biggest accomplishments? Greatest downfalls? What have you learned? What are you proud of? Take a second, ponder it. 2019 has felt like whirlwind of losses, of wins, of some stagnancy but quick realizations that have turned into progress. Of understanding where you stand and where you want to stand. Of working towards something- a slow burn that you know will pay off in the end. Of meeting people who have changed your perceptions of how you love or want to be loved, or discarding of people who make you not love yourself to the best of your abilities.

Regardless of its inactivity, I’m still proud of this blog. I’m proud of my bounce-back game- my ability to move on and flourish from troubling situations that have plagued my life. I’ve learned that you will never be enough for someone- despite how hard you try, despite the work you put in- you cannot place your expectations of how someone should be/treat you on them- it will never be reflected the way you want it to be.

I was on the train the other day and an obvious but still alarming thought came into my mind: You can have what you’ve always wanted and still feel inadequate, undeserving of it- like it’s not enough, like it will never be.

I think that is the saddest downfall that we are faced with as human beings.

We search for happiness and when we have it right in front of us- when we have it in our midst- when we feel the embrace of what it feels like, when we see what it looks like and manifests into- we hardly recognize it.

Sadness becomes familiar, aching holes- voids that are left undone forever. Sometimes you’re tricked into thinking you’ve found something to fill the void, finally- you think to yourself- I won’t feel empty anymore

But like all gaping wounds- you are unable to stitch this one back together,

The sepsis spreads, makes you wish you never would’ve searched for remedies as the remedies are the cause of a deeper affliction,

The imposter syndrome that I feel dreads the truth, if you tell yourself something a million times, does it magically turn true?

It never feels quite enough, we’re grasping at straws only to come up with none,

Hope floods my mind as I wonder what the next chapter will be in my life,

Happiness and hope- they go hand in hand, until that sadness starts all over again. It’s never enough for any of us. What a shame.

I say all this to say, slow down, take a minute. I know that at the end of the day- the way you feel will be a catalyst for how you move through your life. It’s easy to bury the feelings of emptiness or loss- of unhappiness and hide behind distractions. To distract yourself with success or the pursuit of it and use its shield to “move past” traumas or feelings you have yet to heal from. Take a breath, take a minute, ponder what’s been hindering you, what you’ve been running from in your head. Take these 31 days to think about your year, your life, what you are working on, what you are proud of, what you are leaving behind. Once you do so, it will make all the difference.

Evading the inevitable

HelloHalima

What is it about the truth? That makes you want to play the avoidance game,

If you avoid something long enough- it’ll disappear right?

Wrong.

Erosions of miscommunication,

Deliverance of blunt truths,

In swift acts of self preservation,

I retreat within myself.

Terrified of what you might say, scared to see what could come of our new normal.

I want to save myself, I wish I could snap my fingers and trigger sudden on-set amnesia to forget

But I can’t.

You bring me great dissatisfaction,

knowing that I was your Achilles heel and yet you’ve gotten over what it was like for me to wound you.

It all feels kind of amateur- the idea that all it took was being true with yourself and suddenly I don’t want you?

Just like how you don’t want me?

Lying to each other seems like the obvious truth here, but maybe,

Just maybe,

It’s not a lie anymore.

It was an avoidance act all along.

We tried to get it together-

to sow seeds that were in need of something much stronger than water and sunlight,

Wishing and hoping for something to come out of this bleak and dreary situation.

But alas,

Talking in metaphors won’t solve the obvious here,

Neither will yearning for candy cane clouds to rain down sweet deliverance.

You painted me a pretty picture that I happily bought,

Naively framed and used as a pedestal to worship you.

The thing about letting go is,

when you see the truth- you kick yourself for not seeing it earlier,

For not forming the strength and ideals needed to get out of sticky situations.

I’m kicking myself for using candy coated language when talking about you,

Fantasizing about dreams that involved unparalleled realities,

Crying floods of tears when you’ve never shed any for me,

It is a tale as old as time,

How do you forget when it’s so etched inside your mind, into your heart and soul?

Forgetting is easier said than done,

But what do you do when you’re forever stuck?

You are evading the inevitable,

Putting aside intuition and gut feelings and trying to further what you already know to be true,

If you keep lying to me,

when will you stop lying to you?

relationship rain check

HelloHalima
“Stop spending so much time trying to pour yourself into people that aren’t ready or willing to hold you.” -Maxwell Diawuoh

Recently, I’ve been introspective on the idea of friendship- on what occurs when there’s a standstill in communication, in trust, in love. Often, sometimes- perhaps knowingly or unknowingly, we shrink into smaller versions of ourselves to please people who could ultimately care less. We wonder- why don’t they love us? Where is the same amount of effort we are giving back? Where is the joy when they see me? Why does it look like they are nonchalant in their love? Complacent in their communication. How did we get here? To such a silent space- where it’s not miles that’s between us but discomfort- mistrust and unfamiliarity festering. You think, what next? How do you begin to figure out a jigsaw puzzle with half the pieces missing?

I found myself thinking about what happens when we are faced with a disconnect in a relationship. Why do we push-pursue and annoy people when it is clear ideologies, perspectives and opinions are not mutually shared? Why do we invest and divest in relationships that are one-sided? The better question and the one we should all be asking ourselves is: WHY DO WE KEEP PEOPLE WE CLEARLY DO NOT LIKE ON SNAPCHAT? WHY DO WE WATCH THE STORIES OF PEOPLE WHO WOULD NOT THINK TWICE ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE DOING? Do we like the thrill of the access? Jackie Aina said it best: “Know the difference between support and surveillance.” We pour ourselves into people who *frankly* could not give a fuck about how you are doing in this world.

I remember my biggest downfall- perhaps it can be considered to be a toxic trait- would be spending so much time wondering what people thought of me- perhaps this is a insecurity that has manifested by social media or within myself but I have since realized how draining it is. It takes a toll on you and you realize the negative ramifications of being “cordial” in order to keep relationships you have outgrown in your life/on social media is settling when you shouldn’t have too.

Why do we settle for one sided- heart feeling drained- stress whenever you talk to them- relationships? Why do some of us value what people might think instead of how people make us feel? I feel like resentments in friendships start when a relationship is nearing its expiration date. Most of the time, people don’t know what to do with this phase. When you’re confident in your communication skills, the end of a friendship isn’t as terrible as you think. It slowly fades, respect and mutual admiration remains. It’s when resentment festers that a situation turns sour quickly.

Due to this, when we are stuck in endless cycles of the same sort of relationship/friendship, we forget to go where we are loved and celebrated. I’ll say it again if you haven’t heard me clearly!

Go where you are loved and celebrated and appreciated. Way too often, we sit idle- hands clenched together- thumbs twiddling- wondering why we feel drained in our relationships, constantly giving to people who drain you, always reaching out first, half hearted semblances of friendship. It’s clear when we’re not being loved and appreciated in our relationships, in our friendships- we ignore the warning signs! We justify changed behaviour. You see it in the micro aggressions, in the manipulative undertones of a conversation. You ever have a friend that was just constantly mad? No matter what you did or how you tried to better any situation- their angry facade never wavered? What about the friend who knows another friend is talking shit about you but doesn’t say anything to you? Is she at fault too? Let’s talk about the friends who make you feel bad about yourself in sly comments and fake comments masked as jokes- throw in the backhanded compliments and you got yourself a shitty friend. Words impact you a lot harder than people believe. Sometimes we shrink ourselves to fit their perfectly crafted molds and expectations of who we are. You don’t notice until pieces of you are scattered- intwined in misunderstanding- in communicating superficiality rather than mending what’s broken.

Alhamdulliah. I am thankful for everyone who’s ever entered my life. I’ve learned a lot about who I am and what I want as a result. My friend Basma recently said “focus on the friendships that are blessings and that do appreciate you”, more often than not, we are so stuck on the negative in our lives that we forget to cherish the blessings that are constant in our day to day experiences. We forget to choose ourselves, to focus on what makes us feel like pure light and joy- so… I’m no longer going to apologize for other people’s shitty behaviours, actions, excuses- I’m no longer going to invest in people who want to be tuned into my life when it is convenient for them. We have to want better for ourselves and for the relationships we hold dear. I’m gonna take a rain check on shitty relationships- thank u, next!

Hope, Ambiguity, Confusion: a ménage of dreams

HelloHalima

Photo by Alexander Milov

Ambiguity masquerading as hope,

I reached for it, siphoned it into my life-

hoping that it would somehow transform itself into the answers I was searching for,

But Hope left me empty, left me wondering what was next-

Hope did what she always does- like a chameleon, she transformed herself into something new-

something different,

something shiny and alluring,

I reached for it, hoping it would lead me to another path, one that was not disturbed by traffic or decay,

But alas, I was stumped again, trying to rack my brain- wondering what I did to deserve such treatment,

All I wanted was for my love to be received and given back tenfold, but all I was getting in return was 1 percent off my investment,

Scammed, cheated and searching for another way out- I mistook friendship for love,

And Hope disappeared for a while.

I enjoyed Friendships company, she left me feeling full with love- with respect- with a big heart and sometimes a big head,

But those pesky feelings, creeped back up again,

There she was- sitting pretty, Hope.

I sighed, exhausted by this cat and mouse game- a game that I did not have the rule book too

I was saddened by his heart, wondering why I was not apart of his affections,

Wondering why hope did not transform into what I wanted her to be,

I was in love but the only one that could see it was me,

Well- me and Ambiguity,

I saw how he cradled his confusion, feeding into it until it destroyed Hope,

she was no match for what lied ahead-

He chose confusion and chaos over figuring out what he felt for me,

I felt cheated and I missed Hope deeply.

Egos bruised, wondering why I wasn’t enough

But I quickly realized, it wasn’t me

I realized I couldn’t be sad over someone who did not want me,

That’s a loss that will register in his mind eventually,

I offered him love in plentiful heaps,

He chose confusion over me,

I hope they are happy together.

They have to be.

Valentine’s Fool

HelloHalima

It’s easy to say that I miss you- but perhaps that’s a lie,

It’s only when the memories rush through my mind,

Montages of happy beginnings and abrupt endings,

Maybe I miss the memories the most

And you the least,

I definitely do not miss the pain you caused me,

Sometimes if I shut my eyes tight enough, I can almost forget,

But something always seems to stir it back up again,

What is it about dwelling that breaks your heart wholeheartedly,

What is it about the cycle of you and me?

I remember the naïveté would wash over me-

Daydreams of us living blissfully,

But reality came knocking- wanting to shake some sense into me,

You cannot make homes in people who live in confusion,

That’s what I tried to do with you,

You cannot be blissful with people who are hurting inside,

That’s what I tried to do with you,

Their bitterness will swallow you whole,

They will convince you that you’re the broken one,

That there’s something wrong with you,

an optical illusion they have orchestrated in their minds too,

Instead, I will wish you away,

I will wish you the best,

Maybe that will help me love you less.

Happy Valentines Day

Anxiety+Mental Health in the age of #BellLetsTalk

HelloHalima

I wrote this poem a couple years ago when I felt consumed by anxiety/depression. For me, it wasn’t about the quality of the poem but the outlet it provided me to feel calm again. An anxiety attack makes you feel out of control, elevates the beating of your heart- to create intense palpitations, makes you feel like you can’t breathe- preys on the deepest darkest thoughts you have and brings them to life. Although most of the sentiments in the poem below still ring true in my life, I feel better when I am able to cultivate work that communicates exactly how I am feeling. For Bell Let’s Talk this year, I wanted to post it as a reminder that it will always be apart of me but doesn’t have to consume me the way that it once did. While Bell Let’s Talk is a commercial- way for industries to feel like they are apart of the mental health initiatives, it is an amazing way for the conversation to begin for people who are not apart of it as of it. If you feel lost, hopeless, anxious, empty, low- try to talk to someone! As terrible advice as that might sound, sometimes getting it out and out from your head into words will alleviate some of the pressures that you feel. I know it does for me. Write it down- if you don’t want to talk to anyone- writing down how you feel is so incredibly cathartic. Therapy also is a really great tool to use, I used to shy away from the idea of telling a stranger all your problems- I used to think- why would they even care? That’s weird! The stigma is something that I once fed into- but I’ve since found it to be the best way to bring myself out of days of complete despair and get myself back to feeling like myself again. According to CAMH, 1 in 5 Canadians are struggling with mental illnesses right now, by the age of 40, 50% of us will have experienced it first hand. With statistics like that- it is heartbreaking for places and people to still value the idea of physical pain as more important than that of mental health. It is as debilitating, confusing and detrimental to our health as well.

There are immediate resources (listed below) if you need help, would like someone to talk too or want to understand mental health further:

1. The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) has a 24/7 Psychiatric Emergency Department at 250 College Street location.

2.Toronto Distress Centres (416) 408-4357 or 408-HELP

3.Assaulted Women’s Helpline 416-863-0511, Toll-free: 1-866-863-0511

4.Kids Help Phone at 1 800 668-6868

Live Chat: https://kidshelpphone.ca

5. WHAT’S UP! Walk In Clinic: http://www.whatsupwalkin.ca/service-providers/

@ashsgreen

an anxious soliloquy:

Anxiety won’t let me rest

Palpitations and waves of arithmetic sensations fill my chest,

It doesn’t change when I turn over in my bed,

scattered thoughts echoing in my brain, making me feel “insane”,

Chest feeling heavy, brain feeling dizzy,

It’s 4:11 am and I’m feeling weary…

Anxiety knows no time,

Responsibilities and duties do not matter when anxiety’s around,

I wonder if it will always be this way

Or whether it will consume me,

Because right now it feels like my anxiety is winning

And I’m always losing,

The worst part is when my depression comes out to play,

Anxiety’s first cousin- twice removed on any given day

It makes me feel hopeless, like this world wasn’t meant for me,

hopelessly searching for a remedy,

Therapy helps- sometimes at least

But when they team up- it feels like an all out war against me,

I try to explain how I feel to my loved ones,

Some tell me to pray, others gently tell me “get over it”,

It’s hard to explain how you are feeling when people do not understand you-

Comprehension completely removed,

It’s not their fault, I think to myself,

Maybe it’s me- maybe I just need help.

I know now that that’s not true,

Not everyone is meant to help you,

My anxiety will always be apart of me- but at least now I’ve found coping mechanisms that work for me,

Setting aside time for me- removing people from my life that always belittle and doubt me,

Writing out my feelings is a huge win for me,

Makes me remember what I am feeling so I can better deal with it,

Verbalizing your stresses and pains are cathartic and soothing

It’s unfathomable to think,

That physical health is valued and understood more than mental health

But as long as I keep vocalizing my truth, I’ll always be fine.

January 2019: c-c-changes!

HelloHalima

It’s that time of the year again, a new year/ the freshness of a new start. Snow’s falling on Toronto’s cemented streets, lush pilings that’s pretty to look at but dreadful to walk/drive through. In true global warming fashion, it’s all gone the next day. Kind of makes you feel hopeful! The feeling of a fresh start- while a new year doesn’t necessarily erase old bad habits, stagnant lifestyles or immediately begin change, it brings a syrupy sweet inspiration that helps you bring forth changes in your life. I- for one- have been inspired to write more- at least- recap months of experiences in the form of reviews, prose/poetry- pieces to not only inspire myself but others.

“Why one writes is a question I can answer easily, having so often asked it of myself. I believe one writes because one has to create a world in which one can live. I could not live in any of the worlds offered to me — the world of my parents, the world of war, the world of politics. I had to create a world of my own, like a climate, a country, an atmosphere in which I could breathe, reign, and recreate myself when destroyed by living. That, I believe, is the reason for every work of art.”

Anaïs Nin

It almost feels like déjà vu, this time last year- I was paralyzed by all the changes in my life! Being a recent graduate, changes in friends, in dynamics, lack of changes in my personal life- jobs! This year I feel so motivated, inspired already! I have so much planned, that thinking about it is already exciting me. The idea of a full circle moment just feels surreal, that a isolating- dark moment can make you feel hopeless but when you embrace every facet of change- you are able to will it into how you want it to manifest within your life! I’m going to the gym everyday, I feel comfortable with the people in my life, I’m looking for employment within my interests, planning trips with loved ones, squirrelling away my masters applications, taking coding classes and working to better my side hustle (of course… hello halima!). Change is here and I am welcoming it with open arms.

Poetic Rebirth

HelloHalima

All my poetry is starting to sound like it is for you.

Beautifully written prose all strung together, encapsulating how I feel.

But how do you feel?

It’s been clear that the mountains you wish to move are not for me,

The songs you sing, not meant for my ears.

But how do you feel, really?

Perhaps it is only in my mind, but I find your feelings to be a greatly skewed facade.

I wondered what it would be like,

To crack open your mind, dig a little deeper and excavate all the feelings you wish to wish away.

As if 11:11 will stop you from feeling this way.

Sometimes I wish I could take a break,

From the reality that you and I have cultivated.

That way, my poetry and my mind will be baptized from your charms and reach.

I will not be writing another poem inspired by you any longer.

Universal Pull

HelloHalima

What you don’t say becomes you.

It feels like it’s vocalized in the thickness of your silence.

The universe is working overtime to correct and rectify the death of your decisions.

The less you say, the more you become a permanent fixture of your anti-self.

The baritone of your regrets are bellowing out like a speakerphone,

Drowning out what could have been great.

Change washing over us like a riptide of you and I.

You, walking miles on end unnecessarily does not become you.

It’s ironic how the more you tug on threads of cemented routines,

The more it unravels, revealing the mess you left, permeating beneath us like hot lava.

We’re slipping and sliding incessantly, wondering when the next shoe will drop.

All due to the built up tension of our kettles steam.

You used to dream about how the universe pulled your dreams together,

weaving in moments that we shared and memories that were blissful blips in your life before

Is that still true?

December blues + UPDATES

HelloHalima

It’s happened again! This time, the reason for my mia-ness have been a combination of a matter of domain wars with WordPress + Godaddy.com + writing for NaNoMo and trying not to rip my hair from my scalp. I feel as though all my creativity  has been sucked dry by trying to remain consistent in my writing routines for this past national novel writing month and yet I found myself missing the strokes of my keyboard and writing for this forgotten and left in the lurch blog named hellohalima.

The last time I did any sort of “updating” post was in May when I was reeling with excitement over the prospect of being finished University while simultaneously feeling a sense of discomfort with the idea of treating this blog as a forgotten medium where all my stresses are channeled into something worth reading and comprehending. I truly missed this medium of having the space to speak my mind on the issues that plague me and in turn, find a remedy to it all.

Speaking of- last time y’all heard from me, I was a newly minted University graduate, on vacation in Washington DC and scrambling to find a place of work. I am proud to inform y’all that I’m now a washed University graduate (😂)- now working with children at a community centre whilst simultaneously applying for grad school and trying to find a research consultation firm that would want to accept one of my many trillion applications. Other than that, my hair is sorta red and I’m still unsure of my place in this world. But let’s not despair…. the understanding of that gets better with time.

I recently went through my camera roll and the memories I have cultivated in 2017 and I have come along way- while some things have changed (life situation, school circumstances, some friendships), some things have stayed the same in terms of stagnancy. 2018 will be full of power moves, will you join me?

J COLE, A REVIEW ON HATERS, ‘THE NEIGHBOURS THINK I’M SELLING DOPE’ AND HOPE

HelloHalima

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Instead of studying for my exams, I am sitting here listening to J Cole’s latest album ‘4 Your Eyez Only’. The fire that is emanating from my speakers is quite distracting (oh god Halima that was so corny, this is why you don’t write any reviews!). This by far is NOT a traditional music review- I am just a mere mortal who has immersed herself into the cold world of J Cole. Personally, I feel like this album is quite different- a visceral and emotionally charged account on themes of  mass incarceration, racism, love, marriage, growing up, mortalities as a black man and the perils of fatherhood. While these are ideals that he has touched on in the past, this album feels different. It feels like a good-bye letter, a joint effort cultivated through the experiences of his fallen friend (James McMillan) and the experiences that he wishes us to know about. This is a direction that was quite interesting to experience through our eyes and through Cole’s eyes as well.

At first, I was expecting a powerful classic, one that mirrored the same intensity and power as ‘Born Sinner’ or ‘2014 Forest Hills Drive’,  I ended up listening and being exposed to a sad and climactic goodbye. A farewell to familiar themes, ideals, beliefs, experiences. This narrative consisted of a 10 track story told through the perspective of Cole himself and that of his friend (possibly- James McMillan). What I loved about this album is how you can just close your eyes and be transported to wherever he is. The nature of his storytelling transcends traditional norms of the rap music that exists these days- with the rise of the Lil Yachtys, the Macklemores, the Madeintyo’s,  it is easy to be dazed by the appeal of trash music and not be able to recognize heartfelt sound when it drops and hits you in the face. It is also easy to be confused and not appreciate the full power of ‘4 Your Eyez Only” when the interconnection between fake trap- actual trap and plagiarization of this Cole-esqe type of aesthetic is all you are familiar with. Was that an attempt of me trying to dissect this album on a macro level? Who knows? What I do know is a few of my friends have come out the woodwork as newly coined Cole haters by saying all of J-Cole’s music “sounds the same” and “is not original” to which I say, first… no two J-Cole songs sound the same, it resembles the snowflake effect or that of eyebrows, you will never have the same Cole song. It is because all the lyrics are beautifully poignant, paint lovely imagery in your mind, so real you start to see it come alive (remember how visceral wet dreams was?) and second, I can’t take music advice from people who think Macklemore is a work of art. Sorry not sorry. 

The most striking song (and my favourite off the album) is ‘Neighbours’. It tells the story of J Cole renting out a home for his Dreamville producers, artists. What was supposed to be a haven and a safe space to create music and be inspired quickly became poisoned by the influence and patriots of white suburbia. ‘Neighbours’ is a wonderful representation of the racism that is ravaging the world as Cole recounts what happens when you become a victim of the discriminatory beliefs and racist ideals his neighbours had. Cole starts off the song with a powerful intro: /I guess the neighbours think I’m sellin’ dope, sellin’ dope/ Okay, the neighbours think I’m sellin’ dope, sellin’ dope/ Sellin’ dope, sellin’ dope, sellin’ dope/. The irony is that Cole is indeed selling dope, his dope music, his dope persona, his dope story-telling all culminating in this amazing song and album to come out of it- horrible and typical experiences that are a result of such deeply rooted hatred from white people who only think black people at J-Cole’s caliber can be either drug dealers or rappers. Cole later on explains that he “can’t sleep cause [he’s] paranoid, black man in a white man territory. Cops bust in with the army guns, no evidence of the harm we done. Just a couple neighbours that assume we slang. Only time they see us we be on the news, in chains, damn” This diminishes his personhood as they do not lend him the courtesy of seeing him as a neighbour, as an equal. This just goes to show that levels of fame are not enough to protect you from these kinds of experiences. I feel as though some ignorant people would expect experiences like this to disappear and not affect prolific artists once they reach a certain level of fame- it does not matter if you are one of the president’s favourite artists or if you have grammys and oscars to your name, ignorance and racist ideals will seep through and hatred will become an overwhelming force to be reckoned with. Cole mentions this in ‘Neighbours’ but later leaves us with a sense of hope, a sense of renewal, a sense of clarity as he says ‘My intuition is telling me there’ll be better days’.

While there is a lot I can say about this album, what I will say is for the people saying “I was expecting better…”, “This is not his best album….”, “J Cole fell off”, I can only say I’m sorry for your loss. The impactful nature of this album and the ability Cole shares by being able to not only rap and express himself from multiple points of view and perspectives but share in the perspectives of others is astonishing. I do not believe ‘4 Your Eyez Only’ was meant to be the next “2014 Forest Hills Drive” or even a carbon copy of any of his earliest works. It is meant to be an album that speaks to the nature of today- an emotional, political and powerful commentary that is able to speak to the many. A narrative that honours his friend and shares in his legacy and allows for us to do the same. Thank you J Cole.

 

 

 

Strangers  

HelloHalima, HMFpoetry

“Between what is said and not meant, and what is meant and not said, most of the love is lost.” -Khalil Gibran

Like passing ships in the night, we keep missing each other.

Your presence felt heavily like a gust of wind or a perculation of goosebumps.

We miss out on the little instances of each other’s lives

and the thoughts we would collectively share

the little instances of life muddled up with the big things we post to instagram.

Superficial mirages that portray fake truths.

the funny jokes or experiences we want to tell each other, halted by bitter realities

Our pride gets in the way of reaching out, catching up.

I wonder if seeing the good in you was a bad thing

You see, we are not just made up of one thing– one quality or positive attribute 

We are made up of a multitude of tiny little quirks and characteristics, actions and opinions. 

These little wonders about you shaped my feelings towards you, 

allowed me to disregard the bad in you, 

the awful, 

the ugly. 

Instead I embraced your good

 and let the rest retreat

to the back of my mind. 

Hidden behind the everyday urgencies one faces.

What is said and not meant

is often truths that bubble up

and stay deathly silent

Truths that, when spoken out loud

Fracture bones and shatter hearts.

Truths that do not allow for reconciliations

but rather the endings of relationships

Truths that are blinding to the iris and reconcilable to the soul.

What is meant and not said hinders all.

love me, love me not

HelloHalima, Life, Written Pieces

 

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The art of rejection and feelings of unrequited love is similar to someone pouring salt into an open wound, it stings and hurts but eventually you clean it out and get over it. Or so we think. I remember as a child, the ideals of love were so simple, you meet someone, and you fall in love and live happily ever after, the end. At least… that’s what my naïve self believed. Growing up, when I thought about love, I envisioned a feeling, an emotion that is endless and all consuming, an image of two people falling in love and riding off into the sunset only to live happily ever after.  Recently, the idea of unrequited love boggles my mind. Where is the love for the ones who love but are not loved back? The dejection that is linked to someone not reciprocating your deeply rooted feelings, the sadness that is a consequence of wilful ignorance. Unrequited love is the illness to its counterpart, happiness and total contentment. A wise person once said, “Isn’t it ironic…we ignore those who adore us, adore those who ignore us, hurt those who love us, and love those who hurt us.” This wise person might have been onto something. Although highly cliché, this ironic sentiment is the basis for all of our romantic misgivings. While we might love love, we definitely do not like the idea of unrequited love. When we are not appreciated or loved in the same way, it creates a clash between the hope for our romantic present intertwining with that of our future relationships. The idea of unrequited love is something we have all experienced in some shape or form. Perhaps through a crush on the boy/girl at school, secret feelings for your best friend, a date or two with a guy/girl from Tinder but it does not work out. For whatever reason, fate, or the divine universe or whatever you might believe in is playing referee. Walking the halls of UTSC, I began to wonder whether this problem was a recurring phenomenon amongst my peers. How many times have you been dragged through the mud in the pursuit of love?

They say it is better to have loved than lost but what if you are a victim of both? This is precisely what unrequited love is, the painful instance of loving someone who does not feel the same way. To think about unrequited love and rejection, we must first look at the critical component of who is involved. There’s a naïve- butterflies in your stomach-can’t sleep without thinking about it- stage in a relationship that has you transfixed and convinced that everything is fine and dandy, when that is not always the case. The majority of the time, we fantasize and project our own dreams and expectations onto the other. This in turn allows for disappointment when things do not work out between the other person. I asked a few students at UTSC about this conventional set of notions and I was surprised to find out the different levels of unrequited love/rejection that existed. When asked about experiencing this issue, Idil, a third year arts management student said, “I remember back in high school, I guess I kind of experienced it with one guy…” she added, “it eventually led to something better cause I ended up getting with his friend instead!” after laughing jokingly, she later added: “When I think about love, I think about the relationship between me and my cat, Chester. He’s like a user and abuser, I give him my all and he doesn’t appreciate me as much as I appreciate him, and he chooses every family member but me! But honestly, it’s life! Not everybody is going to love you or like you at some point in your life but you gotta move on and appreciate yourself for who you are and KNOW that there are other people out there that will appreciate you back… maybe I should get a new cat though…”

The social aspect of rejection is one that is the basis of all fundamental romance. It is evident in the Films/TV shows we watch, the books we read and the music we listen too. “When I think of unrequited love, I think of rom-coms! Movies like Never Been Kissed and 500 Days of Summer are the backbone of our society.” says Nikita Singh, a fourth year Health Studies student. Time and time again, the hurt and turmoil that people feel through this unrequited love is one that is a synthesis of the romantic period. Hurt and pain sells, if you don’t believe me, ask Drake! In this commercialized appraisal of unrequited love, how do we even begin to pick up the pieces of our broken selves to ensure moving on? The idea of self-reflection and healing is the most crucial step in order to recover from the sting of rejection and unrequited love. The first thing you need to realize is, it’s their loss! As overused and wildly cliché as that sentiment is, your actions of infatuation are not made in vain if someone does not appreciate and love you for who you are. You are a badass! You are smart; you are loyal (I appreciate you *DJ Khaled Voice*). Aashna Thakkar, a fourth year New Media Studies student had some final wise words to share, “If a guy rejects you, it’s his loss! There’s plenty of other fish in sea, as they say!” So despite initial fears and reservations, continuously putting yourself out there will contribute to your experiences and drive you one step closer to your desired, everlasting romance.

 

15 for 2015

HelloHalima, Life

I remember thinking to myself, “Wow I cannot believe it’s 2015… sometimes I still catch myself writing 2010 as the date on papers!” after which I would quickly erase, frazzled at the idea that I would write 2010 on a university based paper. I did not expect to have such a whirlwind year filled with endless opportunity, possibility and dare I say, magic? The lessons I’ve learned have not only doubled as another year has gone by but have enriched my life tremendously. In truth, while the end of the year, New Years Eve in particular, is the perfect time to contemplate the year’s experiences, losses, and accomplishments, I thought I would sum them up for a particularly cheesy post. Tis the season for cliché’d lessons that have not only helped me but I am hoping these lessons will maybe help you as well! I am grateful for every single one of them.

  1. Sometimes it is okay to unplug. Sounds like a difficult task as we are constantly plugged into the “world around us”, we unknowingly reach for our phones as the newest push notification comes through, reminding us that its so and so’s birthday from Facebook, or that someone so graciously liked our Instagram photo from last night… We are so used to being plugged in but when do we even ever consider the idea of logging out? Shutting off our phones for a few hours to achieve some level of sanity? Give yourself a chance to unplug and collect your thoughts! unplug-in-ng-pink
  2. Needing help is nothing to be ashamed of. Whether it be in school or in life, reaching out to people who love you and want the best for you is such a wonderful and relieving thing to be able to do. In all honesty, you might shy away from this in fear of not wanting to appear “weak” or “not responsible” and you may be scared of disappointing someone or the idea of what people might think of you but asking for help is one of the bravest tasks you will be able to accomplish and in the end you will not only be strong but you will truly thank yourself.
  3. The people you started 2015 with may not necessarily still be in your life at the end of this year but that is okay. Things are constantly evolving and circumstances change, if you truly think about it, there might be a multitude of reasons for why it just did not work out. Maybe you grew apart, maybe they ghosted you, maybe you guys just were not vibing in the same way and you broke up? Whatever it is, you should know that this person mattered to you and was apart of your life for a particular reason/time period and just be grateful for that and move on! The experience of that relationship will not be lost on you, perhaps you will continue to see a bit of that person in each of the people you meet in life, maybe you will be reminded of them through a particular song or nostalgic memory… either way, as cliché as this sounds… change is inevitable and you will adapt!tumblr_mklsd8l2021rwbhcyo1_500
  4. In matters that feel like it can be considered “the end of the world”, you will always be okay.                                                                       
  5.  Be money smart (this is something I’m still working on) do you really need to spend all that $$ at V.V boutique?                                          
  6. Be kind to those around you, a smile can go along way and maybe a compliment or two. Acknowledge that people might be going through the same (if not worse) experiences as you and by being kind, you can make someone feel at ease.                                                      
  7. Doing your eyebrows is a major key! Perhaps this one is more of a reminder then a lesson but whether you clean yours up with makeup, pluck them, tweeze/wax them or *if you were just blessed naturally with great eyebrows* acknowledging them in a daily routine should not go undone! The key to success is a great brow gel/set. I recommend either Milani (drugstore) or Anastasia Beverly Hills Tinted Brow Gel if you are feeling kind of wild with your wallet.

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    These are eyebrow GOALS. Look how perfect the hairs look????

  8. Procrastination is the worst thing ever. This is something that I have known and struggled with for years and a concept that I am still struggling with. Waiting till the last minute to do something is one of the most nerve-racking things ever! I am talking about last minute papers, presentations, speeches, etc. It makes the most simple things difficult, depending at how *good* at it you are, it can take a 88 (A+) that you COULD work towards by starting an assignment early to a low 70 (B) or maybe even LOWER (dare I say 50?). It makes you feel bad about yourself as you curse yourself at 4:32 AM, crying and yearning for a minute of sleep but not being able to get any because you fucked up by starting your assignment at 2AM. It is truly an illness. A trick I learned from my best friend (shout out to M) is CONVINCE yourself that your assignment is due a week or two earlier then it actually is. I remember thinking how stupid this was as M cut our dinner/hangout short as she “had an assignment that was due tomorrow” when in actuality it was due 2 weeks from that date. I have yet to try this idea but if it worked for her, it can work for me too! the-5-stages-of-procrastination_o_302869
  9. Watching a movie alone, going to dinner alone, etc., is not lame! This year I found that there is often a stigma attached to doing these things alone. It is as if people pity you when they see you out to lunch by yourself or at the movies by yourself. “How many people will be joining you Miss?” says the perky waitress as she fumbles with multiple menus. “Um… it’s actually just a table for one” I admit, rather sheepishly. “Oh…” she says as she takes the longest pause ever, with a noticeable flash of pity in her eyes, “…right this way.”  It is actually quite freeing to see a movie by yourself, you are not bothered by noisy friends/siblings trying to ask you questions during the movie, you will not be judged/laughed at by whether or not you cry during movies like train-wreak, you can eat snacks as messy as you normally would at home. It is pretty  cathartic.
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Real life image of me crying-laughing at the movies. JK it’s Shia LaBeouf!

10. Be spontaneous. It’s pretty easy to blame a lack of spontaneity on a hectic school or work schedule but for the moments that you are able to swing it, be spontaneous in what you choose to do on a lazy Sunday afternoon or the middle of Wednesday. Being spontaneous has enriched my year and created some of the best memories I could ever ask for. 

11.  You cannot control everything. It is very difficult to just sit back and watch as life becomes chaotic, things get out of your reach and your immediate control and you are rendered unable to do anything. Sometimes you just have to realize that some circumstances are beyond your own control and just let things work themselves out in life. 

12. GET ORGANIZED. I cannot stress this one enough. Organization has truly helped me in 2015, just by always knowing what’s on the daily agenda, I have seen major improvements in not only my life but in my academic career. 

13. This one might be a bit of a sappy cliché’d  lesson/reminder but don’t ever forget about your dreams. A year or two ago, I had aspirations for a blog, I wanted to continue being a writer and I had all these plans/goals that I wrote down in a journal. Within those two years, I let my dream get lost in the shuffle, hindered by life’s experiences. I put my goals and aspirations on the back burner and let any thought of it  dwindle away. I’m so happy that I have since then found my voice again through this blog and I’m excited to work on my dreams as I greet 2016. 

14. Be true to yourself. I know this and many of the lessons in this post may be tired clichés, but hear me out. By remaining true to yourself and never allowing anyone to make you second guess yourself, you remain your best self; authentic, unique in every way. When you try to conform to society’s unfair expectations of what it means to be a woman or you focus way too much on your social media follow/follower ratio, you take away from who you are and the authenticity you radiate. Social media, truth be told, can be smokes and mirrors, a mirage in the desert as people only showcase their best selves. Try not to lose sight of who you are, what you know and just accept that the best version of yourself is the version that YOU create.

15. Last but not least, say YES. I was reading Shonda Rhimes’ Year of Yes and it truly hit me, saying yes allows for a world of opportunity and a lifetime of experiences. You might be thinking, say yes to what? Say yes to possibility, allow yourself infinite chances to experience new things (in school, work, life) don’t shut them down just because you haven’t tried it before or might be scared of change. Saying Yes helped me start this blog, saying Yes helped me accomplish things I would not otherwise even dare attempt. So for 2016, say yes and reap in the rewards. 

I hope you gained something from this post as I have. Happy New Year! I am wishing you all a blissful 2016 filled with good health, constant happiness and joy, unconditional love and the power to make all your dreams come true.

 

XOXO

-Halima

 

 

Ghosts

HelloHalima, Life, Writing, Written Pieces

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What does it mean to ghost someone? I am not speaking from a literal perspective as I am well aware of the social and emotional ramifications this *newly formed* concept has, but what does it truly mean?  I always wondered how someone could lose feelings for someone so quickly… feelings that have been cultivated and shaped to create a long-lasting bond between the two people. I’m talking about memories and inside jokes, experiences and shared ideologies. How is that just simply disregarded to the point where ghosting is even a possibility? I’m talking friendships, romantic relationships, etc. The ability to just cut someone off without a moments notice. Is this what life has become? The ability to end longterm relationships based solely on the deeply rooted secret dislikes that they possess? Now when I am talking about ghosting, I am not talking about the guy you may or may not have dated for 5 minutes or the temporary friend you had for a semester. I am talking about the longterm and consistent relationships an individual possesses in their adult life.

Does the process of this “ghosting” have tell-tell signs? Is it something that has been contemplated and considered? Or are the perpetrators just people who have had enough of an individuals bullshit? Is it because the victims of “ghosting” are just in denial and oblivious to the experience and the state of the relationship? These questions run around in my mind as I ponder this confusing yet intriguing conflict. What happened to the idea of ending a relationship based off of mutual closure or are the people who believe in this just optimistic in a world so harsh and lonely? I am only thinking about this because I am reminded of a specific conversation I recently had with someone on the bus.

(For privacy purposes I will omit the names) Jess* was talking to me about the problems she was having with her best friend Leo*.

“I’m just so pissed about Leo not responding to my calls,” she says in a small sad voice. “I’m not sure what happened or what I did but we got into a weird fight about movie tickets…” She glances at me and notices my quizzical face and answers before I can even get a word in, “Yeah, don’t ask about that, long story. The thing is, I think he’s ghosting me. The vibe between us does not feel the same, it’s been the same for a while and I think he is just done with being my friend…” she continues to talk about the history she has with him and how she can’t believe a ten year friendship is fizzling out over nothing. I stare at my smart and beautiful friend and wonder, if someone is capable of ghosting her then what does this mean for our society? I thought about it for a second and wondered, you grow out of shirts, you grow out of trends but is it possible to grow out of friends?

In life you are bound to experience losses, some are through unfortunate circumstances, some are through time but now it is through the art of ghosting. Is this the first tell-tale sign of growing up? It seems the most painful breakups are the ones with best friends.

XO,

Halima