Friday, 26 August 2016

Chasing Ghosts Into Silence.

Some of my favourite tweets from the past few weeks. You can follow me at @inthespaces.

I feel like I'm finally ready to commit to something, to being a person again.

Every new piercing feels like a means of defying all of the people that denied me the privilege of being myself.

Talking to my mum is like when you click on a ''22 things about....." post and it turns out to be a slideshow.

If you can learn to pronounce Nietzsche, Delevingne, Schwarzenegger, Kierkegaard and Björk, you can sure as hell learn how to say my name.

Maybe it's because I have this catastrophic need to give everything a back story and therefore cannot accept things in their presented form.

My 11-year-old cousin: 'My school gives pen licenses. If you have bad handwriting, you can get points on your license & get it taken away.'

If someone turns it around on you, remember that the hand they use to point at you is always attached to their own arm.

And then they tell you that God owns your body so you can't even feel settled in your skin.

Sometimes I feel like the air is being vacuumed out of my body and my organs are being compressed.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Overcoming My Elurophobia.

I have been absolutely petrified of cats for the entirety of my life. I think it stems from my childhood when someone told me that all cats have jinns inside them. It was either that or when a cat ate my goldfish and proceeded to look at me with the tail hanging out of its mouth.

I would go to great lengths to avoid cats, whether that meant never setting foot in my own garden or taking extra long detours to evade them on the streets. The first question that I would ask someone when they invited me over was whether or not they owned any cats. I couldn't even look at pictures of them without fear pulsating through my body and manifesting as a stream of ravaging shivers. 

You can imagine my dismay when cat memes became a thing and transformed the experience of scrolling through my timeline into an anarchic trigger. 

I remember a friend having to lock her cat in the bathroom for the entirety of her birthday party, or having to walk for an extra 30 minutes in Bulgaria so that I could avoid a group of them on the street, or triple-checking with an aunt that the cat was in the garden before I could set foot in her home. 

I was more afraid of cats than I was of death, in fact the mere thought of them would send me spiralling into a frenzy. I would rather be dead. This was however, until I spent two whole weeks in a house with this guy. We both gradually learned to trust one another and I think that we became friends in the end.

I owe it to Maryam for terrifying me to the point where my fear reached its peak and I ultimately realised that he was not a threat.

This picture symbolises a lifetime's worth of fear being overcome in the space of two weeks. It has made me realise that although our fears are perfectly valid, they are still irrational. Being made to face them teaches you to subvert your own narrative, demonstrating that you have the capacity and willingness to conquer even yourself. It is almost as if through mastering this fear, the salvation ricochets and creates a ripple effect whereby you become less afraid of being in your own skin. 

Fear really is nothing.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Set In Motion Time & Space.

It has been a progressive month.

I spent two weeks at my uncle’s home in Eastbourne where I shared the space with a restless cat and ultimately managed to overcome my Elurophobia. You can read more about this here.

I also recently had a piece published on Sister-hood which is a digital publication that I think will be revolutionary for women of Muslim heritage. I wrote about the removal of my hijab and abaya which you can read here. After the piece was published, I was invited onto the BBC Asian Network radio to further discuss my experience. Although it was nerve-wracking and my first time on the radio, it made me realise just how essential it is for me to work on my public speaking. You can listen to my interview here; it begins at 02:11:00 and again at 02:25:00.

I am also in the midst of applying for jobs in Valencia and am hoping to move there as soon as I secure a position. I had initially settled on moving to the US; however the complex Visa process was enough to deter the smaller organisations that I wanted to work for and I decided that I would have to begin to look elsewhere. I applied for jobs all over the world from New Zealand to Sweden but ultimately concluded that Valencia would be the ideal landscape.

I have several skeletal blog posts that I am working on, however the Venlafaxine barrier often takes a few hours to work through thereby impeding my progress. I need to make more of an effort to share my writing and gain exposure but I have always written for myself and I suppose it never occurred to me that people would want to read my narrative. 

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

10 Facts About Me.

1. I do not write in my books or fold pages or underline or highlight them. I always need my books to be in pristine condition. If I want to refer back to a quote, I use page markers.

2. I eat my entire meal without drinking anything which I didn’t think was strange until people began to point this out.

3. I suffer from Insomnia and have to take medication to help me sleep (and stay asleep).

4. I don’t like apples, pears, bananas, onions, coriander, melons, kiwis, cauliflower and cucumbers.

5.  I don’t use any heat on my hair; no blow-dryers, hair-straighteners or curling tongs. I already put it through enough with bleach so I feel that I must at least shield it from something.

6.  I’m a very neat person. I like everything to be in its place. I don’t like clutter because it makes me feel like I can’t think.

7.  I can recite Celine Dion's 'Pour que tu m'aimes encore' from memory, even though I don't speak French.

8.  I have 12 ear piercings.

9.  I carry out 80% of my shopping online; I still have the student mentality whereby I love using discount codes and getting cashback.

10. I’m not very domesticated and have only just learned how to use a washing machine.

Friday, 5 August 2016

Friday, 29 July 2016

When The Colours Run.

Commemorating my birthday by poking more holes into my body.

Monday, 25 July 2016

Melancholy Mechanics of The Mind.

Birthdays for me are about commemorating my existence, presence. This particular one is the most significant milestone.

I suppose life now is my sobriety chip, I'll stop counting the days when they all morph into journey. Maybe I'm not tangible unless you're close enough to touch my skin but perhaps I was wrong for assuming that others would want to celebrate my existence too. For a majority of my life, I believed that my presence didn't matter, nothing would change if I slipped out of my body, nobody would exhale louder or sing lullabies to my ghost.

Today was supposed to mark and commemorate my recovery, instead I realised why I choose solitude and bear an inexplicable urgency to abandon everyone that I know. People keep reiterating that I need human connection to survive and I ask them why. I ask them why.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

The Demise of 25.

I turn 26 tomorrow.

I don’t know how I got here but last night I cried with inexplicable gratitude.

I’m alive, I’m alive, I’m still alive.’

I must learn to give myself credit for enduring all of the suffering and still managing to navigate my body through this process of intermodal resurrection.

It has been an intense year and any attempt to write and depict the intricacies will detract from the torment that was associated with them. Instead I will share the skeletal silhouette which orchestrated the tapestry of threads to weave my skin back together.

Without further ado:

- I celebrated my 25th birthday whilst being on sick leave from work.

- A month later, I left my job with an emaciated sense of self-confidence, heightening the narrative of my already fragmented self.

- I decided to get on a plane after 10 years and leave for Dubai with my mother.

- Upon returning, I suffered from what I would deem the most hazardous mental breakdown of my life.

- During this time, my antidepressants caused me to put on two stones and I tried to eat my way out of oblivion.

- I found meaning in a manuscript, a fictional tale of two interwoven worlds written by a Malaysian man, that I was copy-editing at the time (90,000 words, twice).

- This prompted me to proceed with my first round of EMDR therapy which was monumental enough to mark the beginning of my healing.

- I began to copywrite for a company in the US.

- One day, I impulsively decided to book a solo flight to Madrid and left 5 days later. This emancipation from my landscape was enough to catalyse my recovery.

- I returned and immediately left for Verona and Venice where I went on my first ever boat trip and began to restore (reawaken) parts of my spirit.

- After this, I visited Sofia in Bulgaria where bonding with a tiger named Elsa helped me come to terms with the need to remain alive.

- I travelled to Budapest, Brussels, Berlin, Bratislava and Vienna. I found a new way to live and was in awe of the majestic world that I almost left behind.

- I returned to England and began to interview for several jobs abroad (US, Auckland, Barcelona, anywhere but here).

Now I must grant myself the privilege of envisioning a life beyond this day.

I made it. I talked myself back into living. I'm okay. I'm alive. I will do great things now. I will.

Thank you for coming back and staying (always staying). Words from other people can often manifest as signs of hope, anchors, in the centre of our commotion. Don’t let go of the humanness, it keeps so many of us alive.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Using The Devil As Currency.

Some of my favourite tweets from the past few weeks. You can follow me at @inthespaces.

I overuse commas but maybe it's because I just want to breathe.

When the sun is out, I am the best version of myself.

Imagine if when we met people, they came with a 28-day returns policy.

I can't tell you just how liberating it is to be able to apply for jobs and set the location to 'anywhere.'

Maybe we haven't really healed from falling out of the womb.

I spend 30 minutes debating whether or not to add a comma to a sentence, but then only 2 minutes when booking flights to anywhere.

Thinking about the time I picked fuschias as a child, tore the petals one by one to decorate the ground (needed something to live for).

I feel lonely when I'm not alone.

If you are a woman born into South Asian culture, they will deny you the privilege of being your own person.

I'm afraid of dying without a story to tell the angels.

It's all going to be okay because I'm being kinder to myself and it's my main priority and I must not forget my light.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Magma on The Blank Earth.

I wonder whether the nurses looked at me any different when I was born. Did they see the veins rushing to fade? Organs begging to leave? They say that I was a quiet child but maybe I was just trying to keep it all contained.

It's like my bones conspire to feel nothing and other times fill my veins with everything that the universe has to give. The narrative is all wrong and I invade my own nightmares. What if the memories in my head don't belong to me and my dreams are just lives intertwining with souls in a parallel universe?

Maybe I'm punishing myself for the mistakes that I want to make and destiny is really the secret ache in my stomach at dawn. We're voices inside each other's heads and our hearts sink inside our bodies because there is no way for them to get home (escape).

What if who we're seeing in the mirror is really a reflection of someone that we made up inside our heads?

What if the wind is carrying secret whispers from the afterlife? (Warnings, instructions, last words). What if your voice belongs to a stranger that you met in a hallucination inside the womb?

Perhaps the animals can understand us and are just silent spectators waiting for us to become extinct. Maybe it's why they sing lullabies to get the monsters to sleep in a world that must stay awake to defend itself.

I break everything because I don't know how to stay. I pick my skin because it gives me some way to destroy myself, peel away the fibres of the derma to get the memories out. Maybe I just need you to be out of my skin and maybe I'm not going deep enough.

Sometimes my heart just aches to feel the vacancy of itself. And I ask, 'do you think that they can hear us in heaven when we're yelling at each other?'

Monday, 18 July 2016

Qurratulain: The Coolness of The Eye.

Qurratulain. Kur-ah-tul-ayne. قرّة العين. Qurratulain. 

My name has always been a burden and I should have recognised it as being indicative of the way that my life would be spent. After all, with a name so difficult to pronounce, I was already at a disadvantage. My parents were young when I came along; my mother was 18, my father still at university. I was the first child, they were very enthusiastic. The name that they gave me was derived from Arabic, meaning 'the coolness of the eye.' Whilst some may liken it to the saying, 'you're the apple of my eye,' it capacitates so much more. 

When Arabs would ride in the desert during a sandstorm, although they would cover their faces, their eyes would become irritated by sand particles. When they finally found shelter, they would say 'my eyes are cool,' which aside from the literal meaning signified that they had found refuge from the storm. It was also used in the context of describing something that one loved the most by suggesting it was evoking tears of joy (and thus cooling ones eyes). 

With age, I've come to understand the beauty of its connotations and I hope that one day I will come to appreciate the name itself. It's strange how our parents, having never met us before, give us names and we then supposedly grow into their meaning. 

Qurratulain? You tell me.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

How Much Is My Face Worth?

I did this last November and thought that it would be interesting to see whether my product list has changed in anyway. The idea is to list and then total the cost of each make-up item that you use on a daily basis (not including applicators). The final figure is then indicative of how much your face is worth.

Mascara: Catrice Glam & Doll Volume Waterproof Mascara - £3.50 (converted from 4.19 Euros)
Eyeliner: Barry M Bold Waterproof Eyeliner in ‘Black’ - £3.99

Brow powder: Sephora Brow Thickener in ’02 Medium Brown’ - £9.00 (converted from 12 dollars)

Primer: Make Up For Ever Equalizer Mattifying Primer - £24.00

Foundation: Bare Minerals Original SPF15 Foundation in ‘Medium Beige’ - £26.50
Face Concealer: Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer in ‘SX 8’ - £38.00
Setting Powder: Lily Lolo Translucent Silk Finishing Powder - £13.49

Under-Eye Concealer: NYX Concealer Jar in ‘Orange’ - £5.50 and MAC Prolongwear Concealer in ‘NC35’ - £18.00
Under-Eye Setting Powder: Soap & Glory Kick Ass Instant Retouch Pressed Powder - £12.00

Bronzer: MAC Bronzing Powder in ‘Matte Bronze’ - £22.00
Contour: ELF All Over Cover Stick in ‘Toffee’ - £2.00
Blush: NYX HD Blush in ‘Tuscan’ - £5.50

Highlighter: The Balm Mary Lou-Manizer Highlighter - £17.50
Setting Spray: Urban Decay De-slick Oil Control Make-Up Setting Spray - £22.00

Lipliner: MAC Lipliner in ‘Soar’  – £13.00
Lipstick: MAC’s ‘Mehr’ Lipstick - £15.50

Total = £251.48 (a £10.57 increase from November).

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Boarding Pass For Heaven.

Rising towards the clouds, we pervaded them like they were perished angel wings of the dejected shielding us from being able to make out glimmers of the rest of the universe.

Almost there, get your boarding passes ready,’ said the pilot amid his sermon.

The air hostesses collected our life vests and deflated them for the next flight. The sun was closing in on us.

I wondered whether they'd let me into heaven, I would probably fail the security check with all of that sin woven into my skin.

Would I enter with the guy beside me? He wasn't the happiest of individuals; I couldn't be neighbours with him for eternity.

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Moth To The Flame.

Some of my favourite tweets from the past few weeks. You can follow me at @inthespaces.

Maybe our heads are shaped like globes because that is what we carry.

And I said 'send me your door number from heaven, I'll come looking for you then.'

All of my tweets are things that I will need my future self to read.

I just want to live in truth and meaning and if that manifests as something that defies what I have been taught, so be it.

It's like the derivation of the English language did not allow for our nuances because it wanted to condemn them.

Inside every room live the silent ghosts of all those that have been there before.

Keep wanting to tweet things but nothing comes out in a linear form but maybe that's real life, the way we piece together our own narrative.

I don't allow myself the privilege of envisioning heaven; I can't feel complacent/presumptuous enough to think that I'll end up there.

Maybe my own intentions are enough to overwrite my sins.

I'm having a stream of epiphanies whilst waiting for my Nutella pancakes.

I just ate purple ice cream and it tasted purple but I don't know how I know what purple tastes like.

When a baby is born and they write on the little white tag, mine read a time stamp from a different universe.

I am more than what my culture wants me to be. I am more than what it equates me to.

And maybe we only want other people's love in order to feel that there is something within us that is worth loving.

Maybe we're not really inside our own heads all the time until we feel something.

Something inside me shifted in Berlin. It's like I stopped being afraid of myself.

To be honest, I always assume that there will be an airport security type of thing outside of heaven with guards and everything.

In my desperate attempt to talk my mind into living, I promised myself that I would give my soul everything that it needed to be better.

Everything always seems more achievable once I've been fed.

Friday, 8 July 2016

Maybe Sanity Is A Side-Effect.

After a month of travelling, I am finally back in England. Here are some of the Instagram captions that I shared whilst away.

And Attila József wrote [translated from Hungarian]:

'Well, in the end I have found my home,
the land where flawless chiselled letters
guard my name above the grave
where I'm buried, if I have buriers.'

When poets pass, we owe them more than statues, for they leave us with their infinite souls.

I'm currently at the airport awaiting my flight to Brussels and I'm so sad to be leaving Budapest (and the 29 degree weather). Everything about this place is like the landscape of a fairy tale, sculptures delicately carved into the sides of buildings, fresh flowers, monuments everywhere. It's so strange to constantly find and feel at home in foreign countries. With 4 more to go, I intend on revelling in this feeling for as long as possible.

I was standing in line behind a couple at the supermarket, let's call them Dimitri and Lido.
Although their basket was overflowing, Lido still continued to pick up and add more packets of biscuits to the basket, which Dimitri would then proceed to place back onto the shelf. This sequence continued for 10 whole minutes until they eventually settled on buying two packets. The line was beginning to move forward by this point and they soon approached the freezers. Before Lido had had the chance to speak, Dimitri shook his head and took the basket away from him. Lido smiled and pleaded until Dimitri finally gave in and picked up a tub of pistachio-flavoured ice cream. Lido thanked him by placing some frozen broccoli into the basket. 

I didn't understand a word of what they were saying, but these moments all look the same and I think we often just forget that our humanness surpasses any language or country.

I'm currently at the airport awaiting my flight to Berlin and wanted to share some things about my time in Brussels.

I don't care at all about football but when Belgium won the match a few days ago, crowds of people filled the streets until the concrete could no longer be seen. They sang and chanted in unison until their voices forgot them, until their tongues became so numb that they could no longer move. In that moment, their joy was about something much more than football, it was about all of these people, strangers, connecting and beating as one. 

The day after this, there was a Zumba festival taking place in the main square where people of all ages and races danced together. It was beautiful to watch, because they lost themselves in movement, the rhythm became their centre of gravity and their identities were lost. They were just so passionate and that is the thing that I've felt whilst being here, passion, people that care about something more than themselves.

I also saw a number of armed guards scattered around, clutching rifles larger than my entire body. Although it was initially terrifying, it did make me feel safe and I'd like to emphasise that I didn't once feel threatened or endangered during my time here. One guard even conversed with me, made a joke, I felt safe, I felt safe.

I will definitely be going back because being in Belgium made me feel something and that's really what life is about.

I'm currently in Germany and my experience of receiving the news today was different to many. I was informed by a coffee barista, a German woman who had lived in London for 2 years and fallen in love with it. She asked about my views on the decision, whether I agreed, she told me that she would never go back. 

Today when I spoke, I felt the divide. It soon hit me that this sentiment was being experienced by every non-British-born person in the UK; unwelcome, isolated; only it was magnified beyond comprehension. I felt ashamed to be British.

The purpose of this entire vote was to decide whether or not Britain should leave the EU, however the issue of race quickly took precedence. The Brexit campaign evoked anger in people, patriotism, and thus the vote soon became about whether or not we should allow 'foreigners' to enter the country. It made the nation want to 'reclaim their land' and therefore voting leave signified a means of perpetuating and sustaining this notion. I only need to write the words Donald Trump for this to resonate. The collective sadness that we are all feeling today isn't so much about leaving the EU, it is about the fact that race, prejudice, was and is an issue for so many amongst us.

All you have to do is pick up a text book, read post-colonial literature, comprehend the amount of destruction that Britain has caused in global history. To think that only we are entitled to live in England is ludicrous. If anything, other countries should have been voting us out. We are not worthy. Our nation is not worthy. 

I'm terrified for all that is to come.

It was satisfying to see that Hitler's bunker, in which he married Eva and allegedly committed suicide, has now been turned into a car park where dogs come to relieve themselves. This notice board displays the floor plan of the bunker which housed over 35 rooms. Hitler had his own study, Eva her own dressing room. They also had a large enough supply of wine and champagne to see them through several weddings; they were not at all deprived of their luxuries. It was horrifying, utterly and inexplicably horrifying to think that it was and is possible for people like this to exist on this planet. It's even worse to comprehend that he did not at all suffer for his actions until he decided upon his own demise.

From a young age, we are taught about the atrocities that occurred during the world wars, but the memorial for the murdered Jews is right around the corner and it's difficult to fathom just how many lives were taken until you stand there and begin to lose count of the monuments.

The board read:

'During the period of Communist Terror in the former Czechoslovak Republic near the iron curtain, 400 men and women were shot.
They sacrificed their lives whilst fighting for their rights.
Human being, free and unlimited, do not forget that freedom of thinking, acting and dreaming is a value that is not only worth living, but also bringing sacrifices.'

Eid mubarak from Slovakia! Whatever you are, wherever you are, whoever you are, I wish for you nothing but infinite joy. Our hearts, you see, were carved using the same mould and although we may steal each other's oxygen, we're still going the same way. If you know of somebody that is celebrating today, take a moment to wish them a happy Eid. It's only through tolerance, acceptance that we'll survive. 

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Maybe, Just Maybe.

Maybe we live for all the wrong reasons; breathe to exist when we're really dead inside, and the aches of our shadows are just vacant pockets inside the stems of our ribcage.

Maybe, just maybe, your mind made me up and you’re aching for a ghost that has never been, stained everything you touched; left behind things you could never sell.

And maybe, just maybe, you can't reach me because I'm woven into your cells, become the deity to your blood, the ashes to be felt. You die, but they’ll bury you and find remnants upon remnants of skin that you've shed with traces of my face carved into mosaics upon bone.

And maybe, just maybe, you’ll live through the summer; find me waiting under the church pews at dusk (we only live in glasshouses because we can't live in ourselves), and we'll try again to build temples inside the walls of skeletons begging to be set alight.

And maybe, just maybe, you ache because my voice will not leave the fibres of your derma and you cannot get away, like a sad song waiting to be overplayed on the broken stereo that you abandoned under the bridge where we met one spring.

And maybe, just maybe, the darkness still resides in the space where you leant and touched the architecture of my face to seep dreams into blood, was it then that you pierced the sternum? (Branded me as your own). Maybe, just maybe, that was when I died, when they discovered the sullied soul on the concrete ricocheting against stone, sealed it in a plastic bag with a label reading your home address.

Maybe, just maybe, being in the morgue was easier than living and you wanted to piece my organs back together like rectifying a confused flower arrangement in an order that you'd like. We sing for the wrong reasons, ache for the poets who know nothingness upon the pulse of a rainbow that you pointed out at dusk. And the birds, oh they sing hymns for the silence and you cry and you laugh because it all feels like home.

And maybe, just maybe, that was when I felt it, the closeness to a life that could be lived and defeated like a distant dream of broken summers and transitory lovers. The museum, they built a shrine where people go and pay respects to the sacrament of our sins, pressing fingertips amongst glass. I blink to salute them and they wait and they sing and they lament and they hope, and maybe, just maybe, you could break the glass if you tried. Just try.

Maybe, just maybe, the nape of your neck remembers my face, mourns time into journey and you wait and you ache and the spaces in between your fingers yearn for my veins mapping out faded tattoos of the globe. You pack up your suitcases, plead for your old life back, come home to wailing spirits that we call ghosts.

And maybe, just maybe, this hunger is your breath and nothing will quench the desire like a woman in flames. I'll watch you massacre your own worship with the halos of smoking angels in celibacy.

And maybe, just maybe, your body begs to be scorned by the traces of my fingertips and you're empty and whole, trying to find the places I've been.

And maybe, just maybe, you become a cemetery where the dejected come to leave their skin, sink into graves that await them built like sandcastles by the children we never had. You'll run out of soil and spaces to fill with hungry souls. I'll find you under an unmarked headstone and hear your pulse as an earthquake, walk over it and leave because I can and I will and you'll become nothing to the galaxies.

And maybe, just maybe, I'll sit and cross my legs, draw constellations upon the mud with the tips of my fingers, seep blood into earth, reincarnate you into someone else and then you'll find your way home in another form and we'll meet again in different lives as two souls existing only in the memory of our minds.

Maybe we'll become nothing, and you'll just live as the dust that settles upon my sculpture built from your ruins. 

Maybe, just maybe you were never really here (already gone).

Do Your Part To Save The Scene.

Today, I am leaving for a month-long trip. I will be visiting Budapest, Belgium, Berlin, Bratislava and Vienna.

Sometimes I feel that it is necessary to retreat in order to give your brain the capacity to retrain itself and relearn how to survive away from a society that feeds us our own mistakes.

Our designated landscapes are not always home.

I will be posting consistently on Instagram (@withinthespaces) so feel free to follow me there.

Be well. 

Friday, 10 June 2016

26; My Suicidal Deadline.

I am turning 26 next month.

The mere thought of this terrifies every one of my woven cells, every convoluted vein, every molecule of blood, every atom that formates my core. The fear, they say, is of growing old, however my distress is rooted in something much deeper.

26 was the suicidal deadline that I set myself, the age by which I was going to surrender if things had not improved.

Upon reaching what I believed to be the crux of my despair at 15, I made myself a pact in order to ease my soul back into existence. Perhaps it was my naivety that decided on this number, elicited by a strange sort of hope that I could somehow exist outside of the depression in my adult life. 11 years was a long enough time to have given life everything I had, to have acquired knowledge, mastered the authority of my own limbs, have freed myself from the tyranny of my own rein. 26 was the age by which I would have settled into adulthood, been pervaded by direction, purpose, truth. If by the age of 26, I was still being tormented by the depression in such a way that was disruptive to my daily life, I would escape to save (relieve) myself of a harrowing future.

Making this pact was momentous in helping me cope with my pain; it made life appear more viable. I held onto the epiphanic possibility of escaping and this became my means of enduring trauma. Regardless of the things that were happening, I knew in the very fibres of my skin that it would be over soon. Everything was evanescent, I, myself, was ephemeral, but in making this pact, I developed the idea that life itself was expendable.

The years continued to progress and whilst I was still breathing, I was losing the very essence of what it meant to be alive. It was as if in becoming so preoccupied with death and the idea of escaping it, I somehow forgot how to live in a way that was not constricted to the purpose of survival. I digressed, and my own pact began to negate me. Suicide was no longer a conception inside my mind, it became a plan, but in the continual perpetuation of this narrative, I lost the humanness that connected me to my surroundings.

People began to speak to me about my future, my prospects, however I did not allow any of their words to inundate my skin because I had already excused myself from my own life. The more years that I continued to live, the more the depression seeped into and destroyed my desolate organs. 26 was when I was going to put a stop to everything, it was when I would finally cease the attack on myself and thus my whole perception of life did not perceive or extend beyond that.

However there was one condition. I was not able to go until I had accomplished all of my dreams. Maybe this is the reason for why I was so driven (in such a hurry to achieve). I needed to check these goals off of a list because my cadaver required gratification. I acquired a Bachelors, a Masters, I started my own company, I worked hard, I earned money, I bought myself nice things, I travelled. Eventually there was nothing left; I had given life everything but I was unhappier than I had ever known that I could be. I did not understand how we as humans had the capacity to feel or comprehend such despair.

It had to be 26. It moved closer, was no longer just a part of the obscure landscape. This thought, this idea began to comfort me into remaining conscious amid every present moment. For 11 years, I minimised the entire conception of life, did not recognise anything more than survival. My limbs complied, I was ready to go.

But now here I am, about to turn 26 and I don't know how this is possible. I don’t understand how I convinced myself that staying alive was better for me. 

Somehow, I did, and now my mind is struggling to adjust to this unfamiliar medium of existence. I have never known anything beyond 26; I have always been unable to envision myself surpassing, existing outside of it. Now I must learn to destroy the parameters of my own mind, navigate this space back into journey. I am going to transcend the deadline that I set myself, but what is life beyond suicide? How does one exist in a way that is not solely for the purpose of survival? How does one learn to re-live?

So you see, my fear is not that of growing old but rather of perceiving, living a life by which to accompany it.

Monday, 6 June 2016

Reinventing The Wheel To Run Myself Over.

Some of my favourite tweets from the past few weeks. You can follow me  at @inthespaces.

People that ask to share your dessert aren't real friends because do you even care about my needs?

Everyday I find myself abandoning something new, shedding, cleansing.

The thing is, even the emptiness (the absence) feels like a weight.

This is very off-brand but most people don't know that I can recite Eminem's 'Shake That' word-for-word.

It's not wrong to want a different life. Your desires and dreams are valid.

If I can't write, where will the sadness go?

You only feel the space that they've left because you aren't filling it with yourself.

Sometimes I just can't identify where the Venlafaxine ends and I begin.

The only way to conquer myself was to fill my time with journey.

In Sofia, Bulgaria there is a mosque, synagogue and church all positioned within the same square. It's extraordinary.

The best part about having pink hair is that shampoo lathers into candy floss.

I've tried so hard to 'be Pakistani' but sometimes you just don't want the things that you want to want and it's okay.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

A Regurgitation of DNA.

People that emancipate themselves from their parents cannot get away from their own faces; the borrowed features that they will carry for eternity.

Sometimes I look at people, analyse the architecture of their bones, wonder how much of their limbs belong to their mother, father, themselves. How much of themselves would they like to give back, exchange for something else? How much of their skin was carved by the souls of their ancestors? Fingerprints made up of all of those people that still exist amid them.

People are pensieves, they carry eternity in their organs and yet nothing can be attributed back to them because they were grafted from memory.

Skin, the colour of a man you only ever met in a distant dream, whispers in your ear from the breath that you exhale. How much of yourself is really yours? Is your own body not just a regurgitation of your heritage, all of the people that have lived before you? 

Is your existence itself not just a regurgitation of DNA?

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Solar Winds Are Whispering.

I feel like one day somebody will try to memoralise my journals but will struggle to decipher the letters. There is no time to print properly when your mind flickers faster than the movement of the pen.


I don't know where you're supposed to store all of your memories. I feel like we leave them in our limbs, veins and they become the nostalgia of who we are. But what if you knew where your pain went, the places it slept. Maybe that is the secret to immortality, following pain home, terrifying it out of darkness, maybe that's how we survive.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

When The Ghosts Make It.

These are a few captions that I posted below pictures on Instagram, I wanted to share them with you.

Children played amongst the ruins whilst we marvelled at its grandeur (the microcosm of our future).

In Sofia, there is a church, synagogue and mosque all positioned in the same square and I think that this is quite spectacular.

I always find myself mourning things and places that I haven't lost or left yet, almost like a premature grievance for the sadness that is to come. I leave Sofia in two hours and this trip has been the most extraordinary of them all because of what it has given me. Sofia is filled with love and life, art and truth, animals and sublime landscapes. The thing about travelling is that you always take something away from the places that you have visited, or rather they seep into the fibres of your skin and thus you carry and project them into your future movements. In the same way that people leave behind a part of themselves in the people that they have loved, fragments of these places always stay with us, within us. It is in Sofia that I have learned to revel in nature, animals, the things around me, the greenery, the grandeur. The truth is that there is magnificence in everything but we just aren't programmed to look for it, or maybe we are and we somehow unlearned it along the way. From the stray, lonely dogs that wandered on the streets to the mountains that could be seen from every corner of the city, there was life and glory within the intricacies of it all. I know that Instagram has become my new blogging platform but the thing is, sometimes a picture just doesn't give us enough.

Something about being in Sofia has made me recognise my own beauty again.

This is something that we often refer to as narcissism, when in actuality it is just another form of self-love. I like who I am and sometimes it takes being broken to rebuild and reshape yourself into whoever it is that you are.

Throughout my time in Sofia, I have only seen one other person with bright hair so people have often stared in an attempt to comprehend this madness that I carry. In doing so, they have pushed me to accept my truest self. I am Qurratulain, this light, this fire, and whilst people often say that the two cannot co-exist, they are wrong, because with fire there is always light. I like my aura, I like my energy, I like this singularity. 

I'm now having to redefine what I want this existence to mean, outside and away from all of the things that have been indoctrinated in my skin. My entire life has been comprised of achievements that have been threaded together as a means of checking things off of a list but one day, there was nothing left to accomplish and I had reached the place that I thought I wanted and needed to be. I went to university, I got a degree, I got my Masters, I had a well-paid job, I had money, I had nice things but it just wasn't enough. There had to be more than this mediocrity, there just had to be. I soon realised that this check list that I was using as a guide wasn't even something that I had defined and set for myself, it was just the societal metric of success.

So, here I am, content in myself and my own energy, and from here one can only be elevated.

I have spent countless hours with this guy during my time in Sofia.

My parents have taken me to Whipsnade zoo every year for as long as I can remember and although a part of me has always felt saddened by the animal enclosures, the other part has always acknowledged that I would have been unable to truly appreciate their magnificence without these barricades. From an early age, I learned just how incredibly smart and fascinating these creatures were, the way that their eyes followed sound in a speed that we could only dream of, the way that they recognised and mourned the loss of another because they were of the same tribe & their unconditional and inexplicable loyalty to their offspring even after they were gone. In a strange way, it was through watching animals that I understood just how similar and simple we as humans are in our universal desires and motions. Somewhere along the way, we learned how to complicate this existence when in actuality the space in between animal and man is and has always been blurred. We like to think that we are superior and far less vicious but blood is often spilled and our prisons become our cages. 

Putting that aside, visiting a zoo outside of the UK was an entirely different experience. The animals were living in poorer conditions and smaller spaces due to a lack of funding, but they were also in a closer proximity to bystanders and whilst this does not detract from the atrocities, there was no denying the breathtaking nature of the animals (also, the cost of the entrance tickets contribute to helping feed them). This tiger was approximately a metre away from me and it was terrifying to think that something so close could kill me within a matter of seconds. I watched it being fed, heard it tearing bones with its bare teeth, saw as it scowled at children and then followed its paws as they drifted into sleep. If anything, being in Sofia has been worth it just to have had the opportunity to witness such a majestic creature in its glory.

Today I visited an archaeological museum which was based inside what used to be an Ottoman mosque during the 1800s. There was something so surreal about the arches and the echoes that stood affirmatively even after all these years. As I was walking, I came across something from the 1st century BC. I had to stop and take a moment. The 1st century BC. The 1st century BC. The 1st century BC. I just couldn't fathom how long ago that was and how this was the oldest thing that I had ever seen in my lifetime. It was right there in front of me, beneath my palm, a piece of history (followed by a yelling guard). I've already forgotten what it was because I looked at so many other artefacts but that moment made me reassess my entire purpose and existence. One day, people will be standing in museums looking at and admiring the things that we use in our everyday lives, this time period will become history. Our bones will become the artefacts. I forget how miniscule we are sometimes.

Today I visited a mosque that was built in 1576. It was interesting because I have sat inside several churches for hours on end and yet I was experiencing this huge complex about whether or not I had a right to enter the mosque. I didn't end up going in, simply because I couldn't decipher whether or not women were allowed to, however it made me realise that mosques themselves can be intimidating, and how often do they really open themselves up to people that are not Muslim?
© in the spaces.. All rights reserved.