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

Word Vomit/ What’s Next?

HelloHalima

Source: Melissa Grant

Free falling into an unknown abyss/ reliving dreams shaping up into nightmares,

sleepless nights and empty thoughts/ feeling kind of lost, distractions only last a while.

Cycles of repetitive charades, will I ever be content?

Premature happiness brought on by moments of complete bliss, will it ever be enough?

Incomplete contemplation and contemplated hesitation, what’s next?

Can you dream when your hopes lay awake?

A syrupy sweetness invades, filtering out bitter truths- realities that are meant to be lived instead.

What’s worse than your mind on fire, unable to extinguish what ails you?

Wandering and constantly contemplating artificial relations- meaningless connections of superficiality

Wanting more and seeing zilch- opportunities always gone amiss, anxiety eats me up but I persist, what happens now?

flashbacks of kenya

HelloHalima

Do you have a happy place? A memory that you constantly hold dear? One that stops you from going to the deepest darkest places in your mind?

Kenya. I dream of you. I stop to drink everything in. The sights, the sounds, the long stretch of road between Eastleigh and Jomo Kenyatta International Airport as we are zipping through- peacefully. The constantly busy and always bustling streets are silent, a ghost town of beings- almost eerie. Especially at night. The way the cold air feels against my skin- reminds me of October’s air. It is a relief from the sweat inducing heat that filled the air earlier- I am in love with the feeling of it. the way the air fills my lungs as I roll the windows all the way down. I am at a crossroads with my emotions- feeling peaceful and incredibly happy to have had this experience yet so sad- filled with anguish, beautiful melancholic heartache as I do not know when I will be back next or if I will ever be back. It is the uncertainty that hurts the most.

It’s October 25th. I’m back in the throws of my regular life in Toronto, life hardening me into someone I don’t recognize, everything in my life- up in the air. Sadness has become my default emotion. It’s quite interesting how you wish you could wish away your unhappiness when you experience so much of it. Sadness that seems to swallow you whole, the epitome of all consuming. I feel the same uncertainty I felt in Kenya, except the difference is- I am bombarded with questions about my future, about my relationships, about who I have become and what I hold dear. Anxiety becoming the silent killer, whispering doubt into my ears- uncertainty filling me up once more. Questions of- Will I ever be enough? Will you ever understand me like you once did? Will I ever be the version of myself that I have always yearned to be?

I hope so.

losing

HelloHalima

c7d876160b1f87bc879b6278ebe06d10It has taken me a while to get the words together, words that I’ve never thought of uttering, of even contemplating. I always found a home in you, a type of recognition that only love could find. We’ve been through a lot together, the pitfalls that life had created for us, experiences that should’ve bonded us together but instead, here we are. Separated by a difference in opinion, a shift in daily routines, a divide in understanding each other- perhaps of caring. Maybe I took you for granted, maybe you did the same of me. Somewhere along the way- we forgot what we meant to each other, for each other. A crumbling of our connection, of our friendship- an untethering of what bonded us. I used to forget about where it began, this sharpness in tone, playing catch up games instead of understanding the fluidity in each other’s lives. I used to dream of knowing you forever, of our kids growing up to call each other cousins, of family parties and a building of memories for the rest of our lives.

Now there’s a halt in those dreams, a disconnect in our lifestyles and a break in the ground that used to lead me back to you. I used to have a hard time letting go- of things or people- of grasping the realities that shape who we’ve become and what we deserve in life. I used to connect letting go to living with a broken heart- one locking the door of our experiences together- forever. I think I am okay now. I am ready to let you go, to look fondly on what you meant to me and what we’ve experienced together. I will miss you, perhaps when I stumble upon a photo or contemplate a memory in bouts of nostalgia. I wish you nothing but the best. I wish you a life of happiness, of building incredible memories in the life you always spoke about wanting to cultivate, of loving someone unconditionally- of finding sheer happiness- unconditional always. Goodbye my friend.

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?

what are you afraid of?

HelloHalima

636037141990688898-1508755838_leaving-your-fears-insecurities-behind

Fear. It manifests itself into the aversions you have, the ghosts that you are afraid of and of course- through the dark and immense wonders of the world that we are taught as children: the concepts of life and death. As a child, I possessed three fears: 1. swallowing my gum and it becoming etched and stuck in my stomach for 7 years (what kind of myth/fear was this? sounds like it was perpetuated by elementary and middle schoolers and parents to convince you that chewing gum was not beneficial for your teeth) , 2. falling and scraping my knees (did this from my bike once and had to get multiple stitches and have to deal with a lifelong scar that is a constant reminder of the hill I should not have rode down) and 3. disappointing people. It was as if these fears were heightened as an adult, perhaps not the first two but more so- the last. The fear of disappointment becoming an anchor on my heart every time I contemplated making major decisions that could potentially alter the course of my life- especially when you feel like the decision you are making is in your own best interest but is met with a lack of enthusiasm from the rest of the people in your life. But how do we move past this?

Karen Thompson Walker has an incredible TEDTalk about Fear, about how fear and storytelling are intertwined and contain the same components that live within our minds. She speaks about the fables that surround fear and how its misconception has flouted our minds into believing its debilitating nature. But what if it isn’t? What if fear can be used as a mechanism to imagine the unimaginable, to move the mountains that stand in our way, to conquer the plights that we deem difficult and to finally- dream the type of dreams that can turn into stories. Walker uses this ideology in her TedTalk by equating fear into storytelling and using it to further our understanding.

“What if instead of calling them fears, we called them stories? Because that’s really what fear is, if you think about it. It’s a kind of unintentional storytelling that we all born knowing how to do. And fears and storytelling have the same components. They  have the same architecture. Like all stories fears have characters. In our fears, the characters are us….”  -Karen Thompson Walker

So if storytelling and fears have the same genetic makeup, why is it hard for us to see this as something positive and move past it by a means of conquering what ails us? Why is it hard for us to move past our fears? Especially when the elements of storytelling allow you to rewrite what the problems in the plot are and reimagine what present outcome you are apart of? Maybe Karen Thompson Walker was onto something. If the elements of fear are components of storytelling- How can we indeed move past this? What are YOU afraid of?

Picture it, your fear I mean, envision it in your mind. Is it preventing you from seeking the realities that you dream of? Is your fear tangible? Something existent in this world and as a result- grabs a hold of your every thought and breath? Envision it so you are able to say it out loud. One of own my biggest fears involves not being good enough at what I seek out to accomplish in this world. This coupled with my anxiety, my fear allows me to participate in self-sabotaging behaviour where I squander my opportunities in fear of ruining them with anything short of perfection. So much so that whenever I see any sort of success, the saboteur in me wants to come out in full force.

By saying this out loud- in the form of this blog, to my loved ones, I am able to rewrite the rules to my fear and as a result, I am able to work on conquering this fear. Once you are able to do so, you will find yourself weight-less, like the weights that were on your shoulders have been relieved and the fears that kept you up at night are on the road to no longer being apart of your life. The manifestations of fear gone, the narrative you are apart of, rewritten. I found that when I hold my fears in, keep them to myself- the progression of ridding myself of this pain and turmoil that comes alongside these fears grows and worsens over time.

By speaking your truths out loud and in technicolour, you will be able to take charge of what you are afraid of and in turn break the manifestations of fear.

a mile

HelloHalima, Poetry
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Paolo Gioli

 

A mile a minute,
A minute a mile,
My heart is racing, I can hear it banging,
In the crevices of my ear drums now
The hollows of my throat closing in,
tightening deeper and deeper
as I am gasping for air;
The anxiety in my chest is an intruder as I am thinking of you.
Disillusioned, I believe I can get past it,
thousands of thoughts blurring my mind
You ask, are you okay?
An automatic smile,
No one can see the suffering but him
And I just smile
my heart beats faster,
the stresses of everyday life
consuming me alive, how can i move past this tragic demise?
I think of you and my heart rate slows,
a cure to my suffering, an answer to my hearts prayers
you make me feel as though
you are the cure to my suffering,
But you are the cause of my suffering
I am consumed by half thoughts,
assumed truths, tasks and responsibilities,
second guessings about if it was you or me
I am consumed by stress and this constant anxiety
In my chest
My hearts papilations are an assumed mess
Slow down.

Uninspired 

HelloHalima

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I always get into bouts of creative energy- kind of being on a elongated sugar high (see: day after Halloween/Christmas/Valentines Day when you stock up on 50% off chocolate and candy) which tends to last for a few days until I get stuck. Just like that sugar high, I come crashing down and so do all of my ideas. I can’t even seem to write about my day- the crippling fear of judgement comes back in huge ways- in a similar way as the sugar high… except I never come down. This was kind of numbed in 2016- I learned how to push past the nervousness and just press ‘post’ whether or not the material is considered to be ‘good’- if it’s bad, if it’s complete trash, the feeling of posting allows you to finally be finished with a piece. It allows you to share your work with the world and move on to different material. It’s 6 days into 2017 and I’ve forgotten what that feels like. My creativity is still stuck in 2016- unable to make the leap to this brave new world.

2016: a year of many heartaches, losses, self-discovery, growth and renewal. In the span of 2016, change and loss have become more frequent as I have learned about what I am no longer willing to tolerate. I was also fortunate enough to meet people who showed me what friendship and loyalty really is.

All in all, I am trying.

While it is a little bit too late to be pitching New Years goals and resolutions, I have a 3 that I would like to set out into the universe and perhaps revisit a year from now.

1. Goals can be quite daunting to accomplish, start by setting a ‘beginning goal’, ‘middle goal’ and ‘end goal’ and work towards each one every single day. Do goal ‘check ins’ every single Sunday. Explore questions of, what did I accomplish this week in order to bring me closer to my goals? How can I do better for next week? What is yet to be considered?

2. Do not let people make you feel bad about your goodness or how kind you are. Many will try. This sounds kind of lame but I often find myself at a loss for words when I see people trying to take advantage of me. I think it is because I expect the best from everyone I meet because almost everyone I meet end up being such kind, positive and amazing souls. When I am introduced to fake and negative people- people that try to hide their manipulations with a smile or a compliment, I become vigilant in how I let that energy around me. I will no longer be apologizing for my positive outlooks on life, how kind or ‘nice’ I am because when people try to make you feel bad about yourself, it is because they are unable to feel good about who they are inside.

3. Keep it moving. 2017 will be the year of getting my LIFE! No more dwelling on situations, problems, friendships that are not positively conducive to my growth as an individual. I will take more chances in 2017. I will reflect before I say ‘yes’ to things- while 2016 was the year of yes, 2017 will be the year of contemplating NO. No more piling on activities or projects that I am unable to handle, no more feeling bad about saying no because it is not selfish. A wonderful person in my life recently told me:

“Halima, don’t be afraid to say no to things sometimes. No does not equal being selfish”.

 

Shakyyyyy

HelloHalima
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Back when I wasn’t buried in the stress of final assignments + presentations. All smiles and a slight development of an Arthur fist.

 

The life and times of Hello Halima have been a little bit shaky recently. I am just a mere mortal, an undergraduate student trying to finish up her last year of university. While some things have become like second nature to me like- editing papers, doing readings, talking to professors and TAs about assignments + getting help when needed, I still struggle with the dreaded 11:59 rule. The feeling you get after submitting an assignment is quite frightening.

Symptoms similar to Eminem’s Lose Yourself plague you as your palms are sweaty, knees get weak, arms are heavy. There’s vomit on your sweater already, mom’s spaghetti. I become nervous but on the surface, I am definitely not ready. My feelings towards this are about to dissipate as I just submitted my second to last final assignment for the fall term.

While I have a handle on school, it’s been this blog that I’ve been neglecting 😦

They say posting everyday helps your brand. If that’s the case then I have surely been suffering in that regard. While this post is an update to all my friends + followers of this blog, I am happy to say that I will be posting everyday this month with the hashtag #30daysofhellohalima.

Good news is my writing has definitely not been as shaky as my procrastination skills. My latest article for The Underground can be found here. Everytime I see my work physically published, it just makes me so happy. The plausibility of it is quite a sight to behold. Writing about Representation in the Fashion and Beauty industry was very dope- it allowed me to explore a new dimension of writing. A kind that I had not been exposed to before so it was very interesting to try out.

Stay tuned for more hellohalima…

If you are reading this, just know that I am praying for you. I pray all of your exams, assignments, trials and tribulations, relationships and friendships flourish in this crazy and a little bit frightening month.

Xoxo till next time,

Halima

OCTOBER’S SONG

HelloHalima, HMFpoetry

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The air was crisp and thick with last nights rain,

The sun kissed the tall autumn skyline as birds sang their soliloquies

And I was standing there unchanged.

The illustrious clouds painted a vivid cascade, so heartbreakingly beautiful that it was difficult to leave.

It was difficult to comprehend

The boundless constraint of nature.

The quiet was deafening so I started to sing a song.

You could hear the octaves of my voice shake the trees

Echo in the mountains.

The song echoed as it reminded me of the beauty you possessed

Beyond the pines.

I sang this song in tribute of you.

Summers Over Interlude

HelloHalima, Written Pieces

It has been forever since my last post! I have definitely missed writing, a luxury that is hard to indulge in when you are busy with the trials and tribulations of school. Summer 2016… I started off thinking that this would be an awful summer- the idea of summer school discouraged me, it made me feel overwhelmed and filled to the brim with anxiety. Taking classes in the summer meant graduating on time the following summer. Then what? The idea of the end being so near was so daunting, this coupled with the idea that taking classes in the summer meant an absence of all the fun that summer usually brought.

Boy was I wrong. This summer was quite a learning experience- I strengthened some of my friendships while simultaneously growing apart from others. The growing pains of coming into my own as an adult have passed and with it, an entire summer of wonderful memories and experiences. 

As summer is over, we are now back to the reality of day to day life. School! Although I am already feeling the Fourth year blues, I am ready! I am going to share 3 goals of mine that I hope will help whoever is reading this in their academic/personal lives.

My goals for this 2016-2017 year are simple:

  1. TAKE BETTER CLASS NOTES: Start off by printing out any and all notes the teacher provides at the beginning of the class, then write down what the professor verbally says directly on the printed out material!  Writing down notes is way more memorable than typing it out. The guide below is definitely a great aid to help you formulate your lecture notes and help you in your courses.

awkward-ted-mosby-forgets-how-to-spell-professor-on-how-i-met-your-mother2. Make connections with Professors. I cannot stress this enough! My first two years began with me dodging Professors, afraid to look them in the eye as they would often catch me on my phone or falling asleep in their classes. I did not know how to maintain relationships with Professors that would have 100-200 students in their class, even when I went to office hours, I was often a rambling mess- trying to think of things to help me sound intelligent in the particular field that they were from. Don’t worry about any of that! Start off every class by finding an opportunity to introduce yourself to the Professor, “Hi, I’m Halima and I am really looking forward to this class!”- a little goes a long way as introducing yourself helps you to be a memorable student. As the course progresses, go to office hours! Talk about the readings, what you understand, what you don’t understand! What you want to know more about… conversations will allow you to not only further your education but will help you deepen your understanding about the material at hand. Finally, ditch emails for face to face interactions. Often times, emails are so overly formal and personal. If you find an opportunity to explain your questions or problems with the Professor in person- you will be able to make an impression that will last longer.

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3. Ditch any and all toxic things/people/influences in your life. This summer has taught me how draining it is to be constantly worrying about what other people think about you and what happens when you do not meet their expectations. In life, you will often come across experiences and instances that will shake you and try to redefine who you are, the goal is to not let it. The process of who you are is something that you can only begin38_zpsvknai4q5 to work on. By letting others influence your worth, you become lost and disillusioned in who you are and what you are about. I was inspired by a video I recently watched a video titled: “Dumping My Ex Saved My Life” created by Shannon Boodram (my favourite Youtuber! She’s amazing, please check out all her content, she is the best!) it was an update video where she talks about the different facets of her life. What
really struck me was what she had to say towards the end of the video about life. “Start being in process. A lot of us have an idea about who we are and what we want to accomplish but because that feels so far from where we are right now, the beginning is too daunting” My goal is to constantly be in process with who I am as an individual, to constantly be working on myself because once you stop, you cheat yourself from what you really deserve in your life. The process of working on myself includes shedding myself from the negative influences that make me feel bad about myself, that cloud my judgement in my life and by doing this, I am inherently bettering myself in the long run. I am now in such a happy place and my number one goal is to continue this for the rest of the 2016 year and the rest of my life.

I hope these goals have inspired you in some capacity and I would love for you to keep up with me and my blog by signing up on the email list at the bottom of the main page as well as keeping up with me on Instagram. I hope wherever you are, you have a wonderful start to the school/work year!

Xo

-Halima

Time’s Tale

HelloHalima, Life, Written Pieces

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-Norvz Austria Art 

“When someone’s been gone a long time, at first you save up all the things you want to tell them. You try to keep track of everything in your head. But it’s like trying to hold on to a fistful of sand: all the little bits slip out of your hands, and then you’re just clutching air and grit. That’s why you can’t save it all up like that.

Because by the time you finally see each other, you’re catching up only on the big things, because it’s too much bother to tell about the little things. But the little things are what make up life.”

Jenny Han, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

I was thinking about this quote a lot today. I thought about it when I first read the novel “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” by Jenny Han and recently it re-surfaced in my mind as I was on the bus ride home. I don’t know if I would consider it to be an epiphany but I started to think about the truth in this sentiment.

Time is an instance that is always fleeting, it continues to evade us as we are constantly in pursuit of completing something. A goal, a task, a long-term or short-term dream. Some of the relationships we possess are placed on the back-burner. We do not even recognize that this is happening. We always believe in the fact that we have time, time to catch up. Time to reminisce about the good times, time to create new memories. We do not possess this time. Circumstances and everyday life interferes with the plans you aspire to create as well as the ones that are creating right now.

Before you know it, years have gone by and you are still on your grind, separate from the reality you once lived in.

The idea of living for right now is something that I am starting to grasp. We spend so much time trying to cultivate ideas of future dreams and future goals but we forget that living for today is just as important as dreaming for tomorrow. I recently found a list of goals I wanted to accomplish by 2016, strange feat as I am only 20 but the remarkable thing is, my goals are still the same as they were years ago. I knew that I wanted to start a blog (check!), maintain relationships with my nearest and dearest best friends (check!), make new friends at school and find my “people” at school (check!), lose 10 pounds (eh… almost check?!) and be happy (in progress). These goals are an ongoing process in my life but my goal for everyday is to live in the now… always.

“When feeling overwhelmed by a faraway goal, repeat the following: I have it within me right now, to get me to where I want to be later.” -Karen Salmansohn 

Update: Writers Block

HelloHalima, Written Pieces

 

Writers block

 

I was talking to someone from school recently and she asked me “Halima, why don’t you post more frequently? I don’t get it, you have all this time and yet your blog remains dormant and all you do is watch netflix everyday, are you lazy…” While this is partially true, what I did not like was the polarizing attitude she had and the lack of understanding she possessed about writers block. Some say that writers block is a myth, just an imaginary and psychological barrier in your mind that you create when you want to avoid fear of being judged or justify not writing. To these people I say, to hell with you!

When you suffer from writers block, you feel the bubbling of the words at the tip of your tongue, the words and the intent are there but suddenly vanish as you are unable to retrieve them back again. It feels horrible, kind of like a sneeze that does not really come out but you are left with a strange sensation and a weird expression on your face. Recently, I have found myself at a loss for words but not really? I do not know how to explain it, if you have ever suffered from it then you know about what I am speaking about, the halting sensation you feel, the panic when the words do not feel or flow the same way on paper than how they did in your mind, the frustration of not communicating how you feel properly. I write and write and write but sometimes I do not feel like what I am writing is at the caliber that it is usually at. I am stuck like a piece of fresh gum at the bottom of my shoe, it is a annoying reoccurrence in my life.

Charles Bukowski once said “Writing about a writer’s block is better than not writing at all” hence this post but what I still do not understand is the way in which people just think they know you. It is infuriating!!! The idea that someone can just speak about your intentions, your thoughts, your ideologies and just misconstrue them in a way that no longer contains the essence of you. It is like they project their own expectations, ideas and thoughts onto you and think that because of this, you are similar to them? No way. I found this quote that really helped me get out of my rut:

“If you get stuck, get away from your desk. Take a walk, take a bath, go to sleep, make a pie, draw, listen to ­music, meditate, exercise; whatever you do, don’t just stick there scowling at the problem. But don’t make telephone calls or go to a party; if you do, other people’s words will pour in where your lost words should be. Open a gap for them, create a space. Be patient.” -Hilary Mantel

And patient is what I’ll be.

food for thought

HelloHalima, HMFpoetry, Photography

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What if we actually decided to be honest about what we were thinking? What we were feeling?

What if we actually said what we meant to say instead of a redefined, edited and manufactured version of our thoughts? Our feelings? Our emotions?

What if we didn’t hide behind messages of “it’s fine” or “it’s not a big deal” and we told it like it is?

What if we allowed ourselves to live and breathe authenticity and not ignore everything with blinders on? What if we saw and responded without the use of rose-colored glasses?

Why can’t we just live in a world where we tell the people that we love, that we love them?

These questions race through my mind as I think about speaking to you, reaching out to tell you how I feel,

but I am halted by my pride so I hide like always, behind a facade of laughter and nonchalance.

In time, all these questions find their answers: realizations contemplated after epiphanies cultivated,

To be honest means to be truthful with myself, that’s a pill I am not ready to swallow.

To say what I mean, means to be real with myself and all that I feel in a world so hallow and cold.

Truth can be a fickle thing, coated in a syrup too sticky to lay my fingers on.

I wish I could embrace it, change it and swallow it whole,

Food for thought.

 

 

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

 

Birthday Bliss + Update

HelloHalima, Life

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So I lied. Blogging everyday is no easy task… especially when you decide to do it in the middle of the busiest month ever: mid-term season. The stress, the anxiety… the readings… oh god. Nonetheless I missed you HelloHalima. I recently celebrated my 20th birthday in style of course… at an all you can eat brunch. I was blessed by so much love from my greatest friends and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

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My friends surprised me with amazing “20” balloons that quickly flew away when we went outside.

I found that Hot House Restaurant + Bar was essentially all that you would want for breakfast/lunch and basically dinner. It was a smorgasbord of heavenly foods and flavours and it just happened to be my second time there. The service was great as ever and the waitress was hilarious. She did however not realize I was the birthday girl when she asked me when I wanted the birthday cake and balloons to come out. I quickly let her know I was the said birthday girl and boy was she embarrassed… It was all alright because what happened next was incredible…

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One of the most amazing, magical birthday cakes ever made. My obsession with Greys Anatomy captured in a wonderful chocolatey Reese explosion. Basically… it was heavenly. Original Cast (just missing Addison Forbes Montgomery)

It just feels so great to have (lifelong) friends who love you and know you inside and out… friends who pay attention to the little things and show you how much you mean to them. So I would like to extend a big thank you and I love you to all the people that came (and even those who were unable to) who blessed me with unconditional love, thoughtful and amazing presents and spent the day with me. I love you all!

The night of my actual birthday (October 6), I came home after a long and exhausting day at school (boo all day classes!) and found my family singing Happy Birthday at the top of their lungs. I was once again showered with love and another delicious birthday cake.

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Delicious White Chocolate Mocha Cake.

I have a crazy amount of hopes and dreams for 20… so much more than 19 because 20 marks the start of a new chapter and beginning in my life. I hope you all have a great Monday night and I hope to see you soon.

XO, Halima

memories p1 

HelloHalima, HMFpoetry, Poetry, Writing, Written Pieces

 

 

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I was rummaging through my closet and came across a box of photographs and there you were.

Your effortless beauty and heartwarming smile

frozen in time, captured by a single random moment of wonder and curiosity.

I remember that day vividly: I had just purchased my new camera and you were the first person I wanted to photograph.

At the time, you were annoyed,

At the time, you did not wish to be photographed… but of course I did not oblige.

You laughed after you saw the photo and told me to take another, and another turned into another which turned into a photoshoot.

But who could even fathom that 4 years later, I would be sitting here and you would be gone.
It’s unimaginable to think that the happiness I felt with you in that sheer moment of spontaneity will never be felt or experienced again.

Instead as I look at this photograph, I yearn for the penultimate moments before,

I yearn for the moments after and to have one last conversation with you…

It’s quite tragic really, the emptiness and nostalgia that comes over me,

It is tragic how I can vividly remember this moment but cannot even recall the last thing I said to you,

the last thing you said to me, our final and distinct memory.

I miss you.

Truth

HMFpoetry, Poetry, Writing, Written Pieces

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I wanted you to know the truth and nothing but 

and yet a spiral of lies consumed us.

the type that allowed us to be friendly for a while

and yet conniving and evil when the day was up.

the truth behind betrayal is that you never see it 

coming, it blinds you like a ray of light peeking through

a half-drawn curtain

it consumes you as you try to think of the reasons why

why? why? you wonder to yourself as you try to think past

the rage and sadness that overwhelms you

but the sun sets and the day is complete

the friend i knew no longer knows me 

the relationship is severed like a clogged artery 

and the night begins anew

                             -HMF

Questions

HMFpoetry, Poetry, Writing, Written Pieces

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I often wonder what would have happened if I had said it back then. Would things have been different? Would you still be the person I know today? Would we still maintain the relationship we have today? Would those three letter words impact the course of our journey through this world? Would it have made a difference if I did? These questions plague my mind and yet when I think of you, all I see is the darkness from that day.

-HMF