Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Inta Daiman (You Are Always).

I only ached when the clock turned to 11 and I remembered all of the dreams we’d planned under the sadness of the second sun. I wondered whether our skin remembered the touch of everyone that had been there before, the indentations, the carvings, the architecture of tribute they’d sculpted into eternity.

With a shadow like a reincarnated painter,
phantom skin veined with remnants of emeralds,
each palm was chiselled with fragmented marble lining the mosaic of your skin.

You couldn’t shed once I’d been there, you should have known that.

And only when we could see the moon did we feel at home, with conversations in the morning of the night and the tones of decadence in which we became one.

I just wanted to write magnificent poetry but the words didn’t fit.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Pour Them Into Symphony.

And if I could just feel the pulse inside my fingers when I wanted to
(the pulse wasn’t mine).

It was in my ear drum,
the rhythm in the ache of my temples,
the tremor in the contour of my hipbone.
the tenderness at the ball of my foot,
the reverberation in the brevity of my thighs.

It was everywhere and sometimes nowhere at all.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Born Into Foreign Skin.

Foreign skin stretched over bones belonging to my ancestors,
soul does not fit into its designated space.
Always floating, trying to assimilate, changing shape,
carving itself into a sculptural decorum.

Detached from the reach of my own brittle organs,
veins become disordered by the falsetto of the mother tongue.

Disruptive blood inside despondent flesh,
intrinsic pulse to corroborate movements of a legacy.

Please coalesce with paradigm of touch.

Soul rejects,
find a home in the body that you’ve given,
(I’m trying).

Friday, 5 February 2016

Hymn For The Weekend.

Some of my favourite tweets from the past week.

Someone likened me to a pet which is quite true. I just want to be fed, I need occasional love/attention but otherwise I do my own thing.

It's exhausting, this conscious effort to subvert my own narrative.

She was born into foreign skin.

One of the best things about writing is that when you're too afraid to say something, you can write it into the dialogue of your character.

I find it difficult to commit to films but the nonlinear narrative was so compelling, because it's generally how we recall our own memories.

Also I just received a job rejection from Disney, in case you wanted to know how my day is going.

Is it too early to start working on my memoir?

I'm not even ashamed to admit that I love Zayn Malik's new song. I don't know who I am anymore.

I've repressed everything that I've ever gone through in my life and so I never learned to heal from anything.

It manifests when I walk around the city. I feel all of that pain again because my body remembers and stores it in those places.

The aching of the second sun.

'Why do you write?'
'So that people momentarily feel what I feel, what I want them to feel.'

I've just finished Jessica Jones and have reached the conclusion that I'm not ready for that kind of emotional intensity.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Storm Has Broken; Two Words Spoken.

I was thinking about words and how they are all constant tangible letters that are our archaic guides to history. We breathe them into structure and give them life; we create their subtext and sustain them with our own ideologies and memories. Although our ancestors used them to sculpt our path, we have become the commanders of language.

However, when pouring our own meaning into words, we lose control as soon as we position them in front of another soul because they are being interpreted through the prism of someone else’s ideology and thus being shed of our invoked meaning. Our words are governed by a different perception and no longer belong to us.

While they are inked onto pages in an infinite form, words remain boundless in our minds. They rearrange themselves amid comprehension; lose their subtext amongst the spaces. They transform themselves to create and carve a new dimension and realm within our understanding. Each time we read, something in our minds has shifted and thus this tangible form ascends into a newfound conception.

Words are our gravity, they anchor us back to where we were supposed to be and yet the person that we were upon reading them has evolved, and thus they do not exist in the same form in which we preserved them.

Sunday, 31 January 2016

A Lung From Each Continent.

The Sargasso Sea is the area of the North Atlantic Ocean that lies between Europe and the Caribbean. Ships often found themselves caught amid this space and it was concluded that the people on these ships would be stuck between two cultures, due to the central location of the sea. This centrality forms the basis of the novel Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, the protagonist residing in an unfeasible space between two cultures. The novel is about colonisation, a battle with identity and belonging. Upon reading through the narrative, I recognised the correlation between Antoinette’s life and my own.

My life has always been a perpetual navigation between two conflicting cultures. I have written about this extensively in my previous blog posts titled ‘A Battle Between Two Cultures’ and ‘Between Patriarchy and Silent Shrouds.’ However I have not discussed my childhood detachment from the Pakistani culture which is something that has inevitably contributed to my current disposition.

Although I was born and raised in England, my mother took it upon herself to teach me Urdu, the dialect of our ancestors. I vividly remember my grandfather conversing with my uncles in Urdu and it often feeling as if they were speaking a foreign language that did not resonate with me. I watched their lips move and recognised that they were creating sound although their words remained alien. I was dressed in traditional clothing, fed Pakistani dishes, and only spoken to in words that felt distant, unfamiliar. I always remained silent because I did not feel present; I did not feel connected to them, to this language, to this culture. I was too young to understand what I was feeling or verbalise these sentiments. However when I became old enough to have an opinion, I began to openly protest.

As I grew older, I watched my cousins speaking fluent Urdu, revelling in the intricacies of their salwar kameez, discussing Bollywood films extensively and loving the customary traditions that contributed to our heritage. I wanted to love being Pakistani; I wanted to feel something but I was bewildered by the foreign words that transpired from my tongue. This language did not belong to me and I could not comprehend why I felt isolated from something that was supposed to be a part of the intrinsic fabric of who I was.

The first time I can remember visiting Pakistan was at the age of 8; although my mother tells me I visited prior to this, during infancy. Our visit lasted 3 whole months; I can recall roaming the streets in my t-shirt and jeans, acquiring looks from passers by. The air was perpetually filled with the sound of angry motorists, men selling various assortments of multi-coloured food, cows candidly roaming around and the echoes of livid chickens infusing our oxygen at every other minute. I remember riding on the back of a motorcycle through the dark, as if living through the reverberations of a distant nightmare. I remember accidentally setting someone’s hair on fire as we walked through the street with our candle-lit Mehndi trays at twilight. I remember sulking on the roof, counting the multihued kites in the sky and momentarily spying on the neighbours to decipher whether they were really happy. I wrote to my father to tell him that I hated it there, I wanted to come home, I didn’t know which version of hell he had committed me to. Pakistan was supposedly our ‘homeland’ but how could home be a place that made me feel uneasy, secluded? As a consolation, my father began to send me comic books every week to keep me in high spirits. I woke up early every Friday to eagerly await the arrival of the postman. Comics accumulated by my bedside; a connection to England, home, the central part of myself.

My next visit was at the age of 12 and my isolation from Pakistan became more prominent. I was not allowed to wear my jeans outside of the house, I had hit puberty and was becoming a woman and thus was required to dress in traditional clothing. I was outraged. These clothes felt like a costume, like I was a part of a pretence. I decided to remain in the house for the rest of the trip, it was better than having to dress that way. After a disastrous journey to the airport, during which we were involved in relentless fog and a car crash, I decided that I did not ever want to return to Pakistan. However at the age of 15, I was coerced into revisiting. The manifestation of my estrangement had become overbearing and was heightened by me being hospitalised after 3 weeks of being there.

Some would argue that it was my experience with Pakistan that drove me to the ‘emancipation’ of culture, but rather these experiences reaffirmed my already apparent alienation. I had always felt detached, as if this culture belonged to somebody else and I could not resonate with it. Whenever I would try and speak in Urdu or wear traditional clothing, it was not intrinsic. I had to force these things, consciously make an effort to pretend, and eventually I became tired of trying to feel the things that I was supposed to feel.

As a teenager, my movements were progressively contributing to my marriageability and this began to govern my every activity. I came to realise quite early that I did not want the things that the culture wanted for me. I wanted a career, I wanted to achieve greatness, I could not stay at home and nurse my boundless children or consent to being a slave for my husband. Everyone around me seemed to happily accept these customs and thus my refusal was perceived an outrage. For years, I fought with the conception of being a housewife; I was destined to be more than that. I had endured years of education and fought for my own survival; I wanted more for my life. I wanted to travel, to move out, to explore and I could not do these things because they did not adhere to the societal standards that were ordained by the Pakistani culture. Unmarried women were not to be trusted. We were nothing unless validated by men.

The idea of marriage and giving up my life made me deeply unhappy. I watched my cousins deal with in-laws, raucous children, incessant drama and mislaid aspirations. The thought of succumbing to that life terrified me immeasurably. It meant subduing my personality, submitting to the role of a compliant daughter-in-law. I had tolerated too much suffering to give up my vivacity and dreams, but these were the cultural expectations. I could no longer meet up with my male friends because ‘what would people think?’ I was of marriageable age and thus the way that I conducted myself was fundamental. When I completed my Masters and wanted to go on to do my PhD, my mother objected because nobody would marry me if I was too educated. All that I could hear were recitations of marriage in every movement. I felt smothered, confined. What was the point in living my life if I could not choose how to live it? I could not outwardly dispute this because women did not have a voice, and thus I began to internalise everything.

I am a firm believer in philosophising that you should be who you are. I have always felt British, inherently, consciously, and thus I feel that I have no right to claim to be a part of the Pakistani culture when I feel afflicted by it. Upon attending family gatherings, I am the outcast. I sit with my vivacious hair and constrained Urdu, because I understand that it is a part of my heritage and thus I must participate to remain respectful. My grandfather made the decision to immigrate here because he wanted a better life for us. So here I am, fighting the customs of this indoctrinated culture in order to live the life that I have always desired. 

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Inside The Bell Jar.

My earliest memory is of me sitting in my grandfather’s window, leaning against the glass, marvelling at what appeared to be life, the effervescent world outside.

My grandfather was a barber; the front of our house had been converted into his shop. It was positioned on a busy road with a convenient bus stop beside our front door. Sometimes the line of people awaiting the bus became so long that passing cars would slow down to inspect the source of commotion. Others walked by, momentarily glancing and then losing themselves in their strides.  

The butchers stood opposite, with their delivery truck sometimes parking and obscuring my view of the shop. I watched men carry animal carcasses of lost dreams and a severed lineage, bones and contemporary flesh visible. Their overalls were embossed with blood-stains in flamboyant mosaics, and their gloves, descendants of a crime scene. I couldn’t see inside the truck, only what the men carried out; it was an animal cemetery.

The surroundings were always chaotic, it felt as if the earth had been liquidised and was being poured into my irises. I absorbed everything in its entirety, yet all I could hear was the intensity of my own narrative. It became louder and louder and louder and louder.

I closed my eyes and the earth stood still.

When I opened them, I could not decipher whether I was alive in this present reality. The universe felt like a backdrop to the narrative of my own thoughts. I was not navigating this skeletal space, I was not steering myself. I lifted my hand and pressed against the glass, conscious of the void between myself and the tips of my fingers. I was trapped inside my mind, my body was vacant.

The men closed up their delivery truck. I knelt to gaze inside, still feeling the strain of my kneecaps in my 25-year-old body as I recalled this memory during a session of EMDR. 

Your body remembers and stores pain, even from all of those years ago,’ she said.

Monday, 25 January 2016

The Lion Paws His Own Teeth.

If you know me in any capacity, you will be aware of how much I love food. However, you will be oblivious to how detrimental my relationship with food actually is, or how I use it as a coping mechanism for my depression. Loving food gives me something to hide behind; it averts questions, suspicion. If you think back to all of the times that you have seen me eat, it has most likely consisted of me devouring copious amounts of cake or chocolate in an attempt to discern something other than sadness. Other times, it may have been me eating nothing at all as a subconscious endeavour to feel better about myself. There is never an in-between.

This is something that is very difficult for me to talk about; more so than the depression itself because I have repressed it for so long that it has become the fabric of my skin and thus I sometimes don’t even recognise that it is still a problem. It is a fragment of survival, a way of life, a state of being. I don’t discuss this with anyone, I have never even brought it up in therapy; it is too personal, too entrenched in my bones.

4 years ago, I wrote this post below about how I felt at 15. I wanted to share it because there are many that struggle with similar issues in the silence of their own strain. It is important to develop an understanding of what causes and contributes to us feeling this way. It is the only means of being able to provide aid.

‘I stepped onto the conceited weighing scale, dreading the outcome. The cursor began to move as fast as my heart was racing. It should have stopped by now. The vacillating cursor found its place at a number. At that meticulous moment, my entire life changed. Countless thoughts circled my mind; they rapidly overcame me until looking at my own reflection became hazardous. I felt repulsed, I hated myself. Nothing was ever the same again.


Every single ounce of my reality was directed towards being thin. It started with only skipping one meal a day in order to avoid suspicion, but it wasn’t working, I looked exactly the same. I decided to skip two meals, and gradually my body became accepting. I stopped getting hungry but I knew that I needed to stop eating altogether to make any sort of difference to my physique. Eventually the headaches became customary. The dizziness became my vision. The aching became habitual. My eyes began to sink into my skin like coins in water. My skin became pale and lifeless. Tasks became futile. I couldn't even walk up the stairs without getting out of breath.

Sometimes it wasn’t about being thin, it was about making myself feel good. The satisfaction of not eating for a whole day was blissful, knowing that I was losing weight, that I was making something happen, that I was in control of something. I began to live for that feeling. Everything around me was moving so fast, I was being dominated. I continued to starve myself, but it was never enough. I was not thin enough. I was not good enough. It became a living nightmare and a dangerous routine, until one day I collapsed in a clothes store beside my mother. Reality should have prevailed, I should have reformed myself, but my only concern was that she would know. My reflection should have notified me that I was beyond unhealthy; instead it screamed ‘FAT.’

I needed to eat, my body was desperate for food but my mind would not allow it. The two debated furiously. Eventually they came to an agreement; I could eat and then make myself sick. It seemed to work, what a genius idea. My bones were already aching from the lack of food. Making myself sick seemed to aggravate them further. The pain intensified, sometimes suffocating me to the point that I wanted to die. I would spend nights watching endless hours of television to distract me from the pain, to try and make myself feel better. The television gradually polluted my mind. The girls on the screen mocked me for my weight; they told me that I needed to look like them to be beautiful. I watched how the pretty girls at school had everybody’s attention and I gradually became a breathing corpse with no soul. What was wrong with me? I wanted people to like me, I wanted to be pretty.

People stopped caring. My best friend was preoccupied with her crush. She knew what I was going through, but she failed to realise that it was about more than wanting to be thin. It was about my perception of myself, my confidence and my self-worth. My parents failed to realise that I seemed to physically be disappearing. My skin became sheer elastic stretched over bones, ready to subside at any second. I was ugly, the pages of the magazine said so. The girls on the billboards ridiculed me. My mind taunted me. I was drowning in my own clothes but I still did not look like them. I was lonely and afraid. Nobody in my life cared enough to help, a voice in my head kept reiterating that people wouldn’t even notice if I was gone. I loathed myself; I should have made it easier for everyone and disappeared. Suicide became an hourly thought.

I lived in this malicious world for months and months. I had lost my place, become insignificant. I wanted to be loved, I wanted to feel good. I would if I was thinner. Eventually it became a way of life; there was no other way to live, until one day I found myself on the floor in the kitchen. How did I get here? I was alone; the dizziness had overpowered what was left of my body.

I was in so much pain, my vision had become blurred and I couldn’t even lift my own limbs. What was I doing to myself? Something needed to change. It had become increasingly difficult to make myself sick, the pain was too powerful, my chest was too strained. It was as if my body had given up. I wanted to die. I was losing control of my body, it was slowly shutting down. I was trapped in my own delusion and I couldn’t see a way out. When I gathered enough strength to lift myself up, my first task was to keep food in my system. Eating had become a punishment; a horrible chore. I ate as if I was being asked to consume poison, but I furtively knew that it wasn’t going to reside in my system for very long. This time it needed to. It took every ounce of strength not to make myself throw up, I couldn’t do it.

I found myself crying at how weak I had become; I needed help. The next day I tried again but every single time I ate, my body wanted to throw it up. It was routine. Eventually I kept it down, but it took months to eat a whole meal without being sick straight afterwards. I had only participated in two P.E lessons in the entire year. I gave the teacher excuse after excuse until one day I finally revealed the truth. Saying it out aloud made it real.

Gradually my life came together, but my best friend never understood. She stood amongst the people that will never understand, those people that label these things as attention seeking, those that claim that it is for vanity purposes. I began to look in the mirror everyday and tell myself that I was good enough, that nobody could tell me any different.

Once I got through that period, I began to eat everything in sight as a means of finding purpose, as a means of finding my own self. If I ever felt low, I would binge excessively for the sake of feeling something else. Other times, I just wouldn’t eat anything at all so I had a grasp of something, of myself again. Not eating for an entire day gave me the satisfaction of accomplishment. It made me feel like I was more than a failure. I could do something. I could make something happen.

I am sat here, at 21, still affected by what I went through. Today I weighed myself; I watched the cursor move until it stopped. I sighed at the number and decided that I would skip the snack that I originally came downstairs for. The sizes on clothes still possess the ability to affect my mood. I am a woman existing in a society that dictates the way that we should look. New diets are advertised, weight-loss schemes, everything is directed at keeping us thin. The media tells us that we are not good enough, that there is always something more that we should be doing in order to improve our appearance. They dictate what is acceptable; they determine the definition of beauty. New cosmetics are promoted, manipulating us into believing that we are and never will be enough.

But eating isn’t and shouldn't be used as a coping mechanism.’

At 22, I put on a stone due to being ill. I also began to trial different antidepressants shortly after which caused me to gain a substantial amount of weight. I went from a size 8 to a 12, I could not even bear to look at myself. I tried to lose the weight, but it was too content in itself to shift. I had always been someone that could skip a few meals for a week in order to lose half a stone. My weight was always fluctuating. After the diagnosis, it took me a long time to come to terms with the fact that the weight was not going to be easy to lose, this was just who I was now. I became obsessed with exercising; I would run for hours on the treadmill each day and then later grab at the skin on my stomach to decipher whether the weight was still present. I became afraid of my own reflection, consumed by this desire to be thinner. I wanted to love who I was. I wanted to be beautiful.

I’m still afraid of weighing myself; I know that it will stop me from feeling hungry. I will be governed by the number on the scale. It has taken me a long time to learn to love myself and my body, to appreciate every curve and contour of my silhouette. I don't want to jeopardise that.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Walking The Plank On A Sinking Ship.

Sometimes it was overpowering, I couldn’t access myself because the darkness was alive in my veins. I couldn’t think or feel; I didn’t know how to get out of my body.

I had to massacre this sadness; all I could do was bleed it onto paper until there was nothing left, so my body would be vacant and I could think. I wrote endless myopic words, I kept going because sometimes it was a way for the secrets to surface, the only means of survival. Just words on a page, letters touching, infinite spaces between them. Sometimes the letters didn’t have any correlation and other times they met like long lost lovers under the sun.

I didn’t want to feel everything at once. I needed the feelings to materialise sequentially so at least my body could process, decipher, compartmentalise them. I had to realign my organs, shift emotion to create space for love and life, to feel or absorb another sentiment.

I didn’t want to be overwhelmed by my own flesh. It was too heavy; a centre of gravity anchoring me into the ground, like stagnancy in quicksand. It was as if someone was slowly peeling away layers of my skin, exposing the raw flesh resting beneath it. I was an unhealed wound, susceptible, transparent.

Was I really alive? I didn’t even know sometimes. I looked in the mirror and was terrified of not being able to see a reflection.

My head was full, always at war with my veins. I thought that survival was supposed to be intrinsic, why did I have to consciously keep talking myself into existing?

Friday, 22 January 2016

10 Signs That You Are in a Toxic Relationship.

I wrote this two years ago and wanted to share it with you.

When we look at the same reflection each day, the background becomes jaded and we subconsciously stop paying attention to it. I recently watched a video about toxic relationships and how we are sometimes oblivious to the fact that we are in one. 

All friendships and relationships should bring some value to your life. These connections should fill you with positive energy and encourage you to be the best possible version of yourself. Having said that, it is our innate nature to remain in long-term relationships that make us feel safe, even when they may not be good for us. We are often exposed to the detrimental consequences of domestic abuse but do not hear the voices of those that have experienced the atrocities of mental and emotional abuse. It is important to be able to decipher the signs for yourself, just in case. 

These perpetrators operate by rupturing your self-worth, brutally, but very gradually. They compel you to believe that this is as good as it is going to get, as if you are lucky to have them in your life, and so you settle. Over time, their behaviour contributes to the destruction of your self-esteem; you are governed by their demands. However, you remain unaware of their impact and your fragmented self prevents you from leaving. You are terrified that nobody else will want you, that this is what you deserve, that you are broken. And so you stay because you accept that you are not worthy of more. The cycle continues. You stop loving yourself; you forget what you are entitled to.

You are worthy of love, of life, of magnificence. You don’t have to settle. Please remember that your space is sacred, you are sacred. If any of the following points resonate with you in any way, it may be time to re-evaluate your relationships.  

You are in a toxic relationship/friendship if someone is:

1. Demanding all of your time. 
You should never be in a situation where you have to account for all of your time. If someone is angry because you have not immediately responded to their text or phone call, and you find yourself having to justify where you've been, there may be an issue. You are allowed breathing space, it is healthy. You are not and should not be required to spend all of your conscious time with the other person.

2. Not allowing you to be your own person. 
Our hobbies and interests are what make us who we are. When these are taken away from us, we lose the entirety of our beings. If someone in your life is only allowing you to spend time doing the things that they like, but preventing you from taking part in your own activities, something is wrong. Independence is what makes us stronger; having our own interests is what allows us to learn and grow as people. Giving up these things strip away layers of our skin, our individuality.

3. Constantly picking at things they don’t like about you. 
If someone is constantly pointing out things that they don’t like about you or telling you to change aspects of who you are, this is slowly going to seep into your head and mess with your own self-image. Think of it like your mind instructing your blood to stop circulating your body. Your blood will continue circulating because it is aware that this has only ever been its purpose, but it will eventually recognise the message from the mind and stop. Your body will slowly shut down and you won’t know who you are anymore. Remember that with persistence comes defeat. Relationships should be about positivity, and while it is perfectly acceptable to joke about things, you should not feel belittled for liking or doing something. You should never be made to feel that you should change who you are. They should love you for who you are, regardless.

4. Comparing you to others. 
If you are constantly being likened to others and told about the qualities that you are lacking, this is going to progressively eat away at your flesh. You are an individual with your own special qualities. A good person will always focus on your positive traits. They will never justify their actions by informing you that they just want you to be better, or that they are saying these things to help you because malicious negativity is not permissible in any form.

5. Controlling who you speak to. 
If someone is preventing you from talking to people that they don’t like or forcing you to keep secrets from people, alarm bells should be going off inside your head. People should not be controlling who you speak to or what you can tell others. If you are feeling restricted in any form, always question it. Always.

6. Requiring you to ask for permission to do things. 
If you are told/feel like you must seek permission before doing something, there is a problem. Remember that there is a difference between checking with a partner before making plans, and feeling like you cannot go out without their permission. 

7. Being possessive. 
This one is probably the most common and whilst it is acceptable in smaller dosages, it should never feel suffocating. If someone believes that you belong to them, that all of your time and effort should be dedicated to them, this is unhealthy. They should not be requesting that you devote your entire life to them, they are not a deity.

8. Not allowing you to say or do things. 
If they are applying certain restrictions to your way of living, for example by preventing you from watching a television show or from eating something, you should be concerned. If you are afraid of saying certain things in fear of angering them, or because you have been told that you should not, again this is a sign. Any form of feeling controlled should be a warning. 

9. Stopping you from dressing the way you want. 
On the subject of control, they should not make you feel as if you cannot wear something. There is a difference in commenting about your skirt being short and informing you that they don’t want you to wear something. You as a woman should feel entitled to wear what you want and look the way that you want. You should not be governed by a dress code or a preconceived image. You should not have to change your entire wardrobe for someone.

10. Making you feel guilty to get you to do something. 
This is one of the strongest forms of emotional blackmail; it preys on human vulnerability. We genuinely want other people to be happy so when we do something wrong, we recognise that it has upset them and thus make a conscious attempt to stop doing whatever it was. Manipulative people use this to get what they want; they will guilt-trip you in order to achieve their goals because this is what they feed on. You will play into their hands because you want to please them, but if ever someone says ‘if you love me, you will...,’ it is time to re-evaluate.

When we are in these kinds of relationships or friendships, we feel as if we owe the other person something, as if it is our duty to stay and withstand the struggles. But it is not. Your sanity and self-worth rest above everything else. You are worthy of greatness, of unconditional love.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Hanging On A Bated Breath.

I didn't understand the brevity of my thoughts but I was conscious of the emptiness that was preventing me from feeling whole. I didn't know who I was or what I wanted to be, I just knew that I had to be something because everyone was given a path to walk. I didn't know where to go or what to do or what to feel because sometimes I just didn't recognise what was going on inside me and so there was no substance to cultivate. It was only then that I realised the complexities of my own being.

How was I supposed to move forward when I didn’t know where I was? It was like trying to pick out a map in a shop without a destination in mind.

I just felt sad sometimes, like something was looming, like something bad had happened or was going to happen, like I was in the wake of something dreadful, grieving for the loss of myself. I couldn’t comprehend it and sometimes still can’t. It's vast, inexplicable, debilitating, but I keep going because it’s how you survive. 

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

So Go On, Pick Your Poison.

Some of my incoherent and incongruous tweets from the past week.

Just words on a page, letters touching, infinite spaces between them.

Depression feels like grieving, it’s almost like you’re mourning the loss of yourself.

I feel like Instagram is the LA of social media.

But then the centre of my own gravity always reigns me back to where it thinks I belong.

I feel like any potential partner should be required to take a grammar test.

Probably should have known something was wrong when I found myself relating to the music video for 'Lucky' (Britney Spears) at 10-years-old.

Also I think you can tell a lot about someone by their stance on Adnan Syed.

I feel like the smartest/nicest people go through the most brutal afflictions because the universe is like 'oh you can't have everything.'

We just exist inside the perimeters of ourselves and I don't understand what kind of life this is.

I've learned not to settle, & if that means losing out, I'll happily leave empty-handed. I'm not here for mediocre, I deserve extraordinary.

You're not designated a certain amount of tries. You can keep going. Nobody is keeping count. The game doesn't end if you've failed.

I eat cake like it's going to solve all of my problems.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

The Art of Being Invincible.

A true artist never abandons his art, even in the wake of death. Creativity has no perimeters. It is boundless. It lives in the paradigm of oneself. Art creates movement, even after your demise. And even if we create it as a means of preserving ourselves in an infinite form, art is purposeful. Being able to create your own art is a gift; some people can never convey or inexplicably channel themselves into something tangible. Art immortalises our souls, makes us invincible. We'll leave behind our art but we'll still exist within the spaces.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Stands Alone Because He's High On Himself.

I immediately wondered why the bus driver could not have waited an extra few seconds for everyone to be seated before perilously manoeuvring the vehicle back onto the road. I held onto the metal pole for dear life, searching for the least suspicious-looking person to sit next to. I needed to make a quick decision because in approximately three seconds, the driver was going to turn left and there was a high chance of me losing my balance and being unable to retain my composure. I fell onto the closest seat and greeted my neighbour who proceeded to unapologetically mock the vivacity of my hair. The scent of Calpol and cigarettes lingered on his leather jacket; it must have been a wild night.

Passengers faced the driver as if awaiting his sermon, their conversations circulated the air like a unified hymn. Elderly people were seated in pairs, hair as grey as Gandalf’s. A woman with her face buried into a hat groaned quietly to herself with her carer clutching paperwork and a solemn spirit. Another sang a falsetto into her phone, her partner engrossed in the act of folding his newspaper into a stout bird. The seat in front of them remained vacant and I wondered about its predecessor, who it had been and the things that they'd thought about in their dreams.  

A young boy climbed on in a black hoody and hands in his pocket as if channelling his inner-Mr Robot. His face, broody, with skin like the back of a freshly peeled sticker. He watched the glass cloud up with his breath, drew a line through it and then observed the world through his filtered creation. In that moment, we were all one and the driver was our centre of gravity, orbiting other vehicles in a parallel reality. 

I wondered how long the memory of these people would remain entrenched in my mind. I wondered whether anyone had noticed me, whether I had even really noticed them. We were contained in a separate dimension; our hearts beating as one, and yet we remained inside this tank of regurgitated oxygen without making eye contact. 

How many experiences like this do we encounter on a daily basis? Being confined and yet not revelling in our humanness, not acknowledging the presence of other people. Despite what your mother told you, sometimes it's good to talk to strangers. We are connected, our lives are intertwined, and we all exist as a part of a greater narrative. Sometimes we marginalise those that we do not know and by doing so, we choose to only exist inside the perimeters that we have fabricated for ourselves. Our lives are worthy of more than a stream of nonsensical occurrences, but in order to establish significance, we must create our own meaning and make these moments purposeful.

Friday, 8 January 2016

Everyone Deserves The Flames.

I was thinking about our capacity to experience emotions, the extent to which we allow ourselves to feel them, the magnitude of their depth, and their transitory nature.

Emotions arrive in various intensities and frequencies, but how do we measure them? How do we establish whether to feed or disregard a sentiment? What is it that determines how much of the emotion we are going to allow ourselves to feel? Are we confining and desensitising ourselves from our own sentiments through this process of extraction? By eradicating our capacity to feel something or not feeling it in its entirety, are we internalising pain and storing it in our bodies?

If we do feel something to its fullest depth, how do we prevent it from having the aptitude to consume our bodies? How do we only give ourselves the capacity to feel enough? What is the emotional gauge for ‘enough?’ How do we decide that an emotion is redundant and that it is time to let it go?

Are we the ones that govern our emotions? Or do they govern us?

I wanted to leave you with a few tweets that corroborate these thoughts quite well, written by a dear friend.

'Often I'm in the middle of a work day when I become bogged down in feelings I cannot mute, & it's best to take 15-20 minutes to feel it.

The more we allow these feelings to rise up & flow naturally, the easier they release our minds & bodies.

When we restrict the feelings & say, "no, I cannot feel this now" they persist or become transmuted into physical ailments.

In the Vedantic teachings, physical ailments are all created first in the etheric body ie: emotions.

The longer we resist an emotion from manifesting into tears, sadness, anger, etc; the quicker it appears in blocked chakras & then organs.

The best way to deal with it is to 1. Feel the emotion in its entirety 2. Transmute it into art 3. Accept the feeling & release it.' - (Amber@mbrmjd).

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

One Day We'll Get Nostalgic For Disaster.

I feel like my Twitter is what the inside of my head must look like; incoherent words arranged in an anarchical graveyard. Below are some more of my favourite tweets from the past week.

Words are tangible but confined to the architectural structures that we fabricate, and yet they create a magnitude of movements within us.

LinkedIn keeps defaulting my job search location to the UK and I just shouted 'stop trying to keep me here!'

But I keep thinking that when you lose yourself and your soul entirely, that's when you have the capacity to be reborn. So, now I fight.

I've reached a point where my body just caches memories until I shift or compartmentalise them.

To be honest, this whole time difference thing still baffles me. I mean you're speaking to someone that is in the future.

Centuries of ancestors living inside your DNA, inside your body, inside your soul.

Whenever I think about changing my name, I realise how much character it gives me so it's a dilemma.

I feel like Netflix should have a feature that asks how much time you have and then recommends films/documentaries based on length of time.

What's the point in social media if there's nothing to connect to? What's the point if it's not helping us connect to ourselves?

I've felt alive but my body is still stuck in another century and there is no correspondence between mind and limbs.

My hair colour is symbolic. Right now it's currently fading into nothingness and is due a rejuvenation, which reflects my being.

ASOS are already coming out with sandals and I'm just sitting here wrapped in three blankets beside the radiator.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Hear It In Your Rhythm.

And every time she considered it, she heard the reverberations of his echo ricocheting in her mind.

Gently, he said
'please don't leave me.'

She remembered the way that she felt his intonation being absorbed by her body akin to the emanation of the sun. The way that the gravity in his voice was tied to the verbose rhythm of her blood flow. The way that the cadence of her breath altered in accordance to his pulse. The way that the continuation of her existence became justifiable in the precise moment that he smiled at her.

It made her want to stay, and when she thought about that for long enough, there was no verdict to reach. 

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Behind The Devil's Back.

My taste in music is dependent on my mood and the things that I’m currently going through.

I posted a list of the songs that I was listening to a few weeks ago; I thought it would be a good idea to do this regularly. It’s interesting to be able to look back and re-discover favourites.

These are the songs that I’m currently enjoying. You can also view my previous list here.


Monday, 28 December 2015

The Coherence of the Verbose.

It’s interesting, the amount of thoughts that run through the human mind. I wanted to document the stream of mine. Read at your own peril.

Thinking about how heavenly the aroma of coffee is. Where does it originate from? Arabia? The Arabic language sounds so beautiful. I remember going to the mosque as a child, playing MASH in the back of our notebooks when the teacher wasn’t looking. How else were we going to find out who we were destined to marry? Remembering the results, I wonder where they are now. Are they already married with children? Holy cow, I’m 25, that’s a quarter of a century. I thought I’d have my life figured out by now. I wanted a child by 25, what was I even thinking? I love children, but only when I can give them back at the end of the day. I just don’t have the patience. I can’t even allow my hands to be still, I just pick the skin around my fingers because they always need to be doing something. I wonder where my purple Tangle Toy is. Did I leave it at work? Oh I miss my Mark-Francis picture. Looking at my broken laptop on my desk here. Why is nothing built to last anymore? Just like damned relationships. Thinking about watching Eastenders as a child and being shown that nobody was ever happy, not even for an episode. Steve Owen and the way that he died in the fire. Mel, Ian Beale. I wonder whether it’s still airing. Do people still watch it? Is it still a thing? Thinking about watching Sister Sister. Go home Roger. Oh Marques Houston and how he blossomed. Thinking about when he sang Clubbin’, thinking about clubs in general. What is the fascination? Although, alcohol is wonderful because of what it does to people and how entertaining it is to be around drunken friends. I remember everything the next day and then have the responsibility of enlightening them. Thinking about the funny things that have happened, about all of the secrets that I’ve accidentally been told. Alcohol brings people to the surface of themselves, makes them do stupid things. But then some people don't experience guilt. It’s become such a redundant emotion. Remembering the feeling of guilt as a child. About being taught that sins were the most atrocious thing in the world and that we were horrible people for committing them. Thinking about the sound of my grandfather’s voice. Recalling moments when I sat in the window of his barber shop and reiterated the details to my therapist. Thinking about therapy and the stigma that is attached to it. Why don’t more people go to therapy? Thinking about how expensive therapy actually is. Thinking about how Asians perceive mental illness, how they go to such extremes in order to remain ignorant. Possession. Jinns. Spirits. Is any of it even real? Thinking about clinical depression, the amount of people that have told me to ‘cheer up.’ Thinking about cartoon characters that may have been suffering from depression. There was always something about Sid in Hey Arnold. Remembering Hey Arnold and his parents. He had such a cool bedroom. Helga Pataki, how much she loved him. Thinking about the way that kids now are so into clothes and makeup, we didn’t even care what we looked like back then. I wonder what their generation will become. Thinking about social media and the selfie era. The impact of it all. Thinking about Twitter and how it is partially responsible for keeping me alive. Thinking about being alive and how good it feels sometimes. Thinking about all of the things that there are in the world to live for. Thinking about writing this now, the way my fingers are moving over the keyboard quicker than I can comprehend. Thinking about when I taught myself to touch type, using desktops and how colossal they were. The time my dad tried to sit me down and teach me how to create buttons on Visual Basics. Encarta 95. The time he bought me an encyclopaedia and I read all about George Eliot. It was a pen name. Do people even use pens anymore? Thinking of my father studying at university when I was born. Thinking about how young my parents were, about my heritage. Pakistan isn’t a part of me. Thinking about the miscellaneous cows that would stroll along the streets. Being able to smell clay as I rode on the back of my uncle’s motorbike. Doctors injecting me at the hospital, examining my tongue for signs of dehydration. An injection for everything. Taking pills that resembled Smarties. Thinking about the time my grandfather dropped his pill and I ate it thinking that it was a pink Smartie. It tasted so bitter. Thinking about the times he added honey to my tea. I can’t drink tea without it now. Thinking about how good honey tastes on top of pancakes. Thinking about IHOP and those godly chocolate chip ones that I ate and couldn’t finish. Thinking about being in Dubai and how nobody judged me for having pink hair. Thinking about the confined tones of my hair now and wondering when my red dye is going to arrive. How do Feel Unique manage to dispatch things so quickly? They’ve spoiled me, made me impatient with other retailers. I’ve just remembered all of the old pictures that I found yesterday, how moody I was as a teenager. Thinking about who I am now and what I want to do with my life. It’s all too stressful. I should watch a new TV series to forget about it all, perhaps Jessica Jones because everyone is talking about it. Thinking about when Krysten Ritter was on the Gilmore Girls. I’m still not over the last two seasons. The new writers ruined the show, I hated Logan. But nothing was and probably never will be as diabolical as the Dexter finale. I remember discussing it with my boss in the midst of my interview. I remember when he told me that he regularly dressed like a hip hop artist. I didn’t believe him until I started the job. Thinking about Tyla and where he is now, whether he still owns that bracelet. Why did he wear a bracelet with his name on? Was it in case he forgot? Maybe I should wear one as a name tag. Thinking about how I never wear things on my wrists, but it would be the perfect placement for a tattoo. Thinking about tattoos and how much they must hurt. Thinking about needles and fainting during blood tests. I have to eat a bar of chocolate beforehand. Thinking about Belgian chocolate. The M&S chocolate fudge cake that I ate for breakfast. Buttercream icing, the ultimate religious experience. Thinking about the cupcakes that my cousin made yesterday. Thinking about the food festival in town and the amazing Victorian cake that I bought. The cathedral, the Germans. I’d like to go to Germany one day. I’ll add it to my list of places to visit. It’s too cold in Europe at the moment. Thinking about the US and my upcoming visit. I should book flights soon. Finally being able to walk into a drugstore, being able to buy all of the makeup I’ve been coveting. Trying to remember the last thing that I bought here. Maybe I should walk into town to get a toffee nut latte. I need to get back into exercising. Thinking about running on the treadmill, I’m too tired to run anymore. Thinking about how drowsy I used to be when going to work. It all felt like a dream. Thinking about my dreams and how amusing they sometimes are. Cults. Wars. Robberies. Heartbreaks. Surrealism. Thinking about the opening of Fight Club when he describes insomnia as everything being a copy of a copy of a copy. I’ve tried to watch the film several times and have still never made it through to the end. The book was better. Why do they ruin books by making them into films? Although The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is an exception, the film is a million times more significant. I still have the book on my shelf. I couldn’t bear to give it away. I have so many unread books resting beside it. Thinking about the next book I’ll read, the ones I still want to buy. Thinking about the last book that I bought. Warsan Shire. I love her. Thinking about her spoken poetry and how impactful she is. Thinking about impactful people. Fariha Roisin, I love the way that she talks. Thinking about American accents and how much I adore them. Thinking about words that they pronounce differently. The way that they say ‘beautiful.’ Thinking about British accents and hating the sound of my own voice. Thinking about enunciating and how I need to make more of a conscious effort to do it. I’ve been watching too much Made in Chelsea, I keep responding to people with ‘yah.’ Thinking about how my dad just responds to messages with ‘k.’ Thinking about using emojis and wondering what we did before them. I use them so often; they effortlessly summate the things that I’m trying to say. Thinking about MSN and how restricted emojis were in those days. But you could show people what you were listening to and that was what counted. Thinking of friends that I would speak to on MSN. About Mango. I wonder what he’s doing. Thinking about how he acquired the nickname Mango. Thinking about when I last ate a mango. Mango juice, piña coladas. Virgin mojitos, the lemon sherbet drink from Las Iguanas. Thinking about sweet potato fries with garlic mayonnaise. Thinking about what I’ll have for dinner today. I don’t even know what day it is. Thinking about checking. Oh it’s 2016 on Friday. I could have finished my PhD now. Thinking about finishing my novel. I should write more often, it’s so cathartic. Thinking about poetry and Sylvia Plath. Thinking about how he didn’t know who she was. I wonder what he’s doing. Probably writing important emails. Chicken. I wonder if he'll read this. He’s so unintentionally funny. Thinking about funny people, the amount of them that I know. Speaking of funny, I’m thinking about the relatives I saw yesterday and how they all feel like strangers. Thinking about strangers and how remarkable they sometimes are. Thinking about how we sit on a train filled with strangers but don’t exchange any words. Thinking about how busy trains are these days. Remembering the time that the train suddenly stopped and I almost fell onto someone. Thinking about my lack of balance and how I really need to start working on that, along with everything else of course. I should get dressed today. I must also organise my wardrobe. I have such little clothes left because I keep sorting out my wardrobe and giving everything away to charity. I remember how odd it was, walking by the charity shop and seeing the mannequin in the window wearing my shirt. I wonder whether they sold my hijabs. Thinking about the time that I removed my hijab. Feeling the breeze embracing the back of my neck once again. I never thought I’d take it off. I didn’t think I was courageous enough to deal with the repercussions. I’ve changed. But we become so many people in a lifetime don't we? I wonder if I’ll ever wear it again, probably not. I didn’t feel like myself. I’m happy now, I think. It’s all just a state of mind though isn’t it? None of it matters. They didn’t teach me to love myself. We’re just taught to recognise our flaws because otherwise things won’t sell. Consumerism. I'm thinking about how people covet Apple products and how it’s all a cult. Remembering when there was a cult on Home & Away. When they found Tasha on the beach and Max thought that she was a mermaid. Thinking about the time I had mermaid hair. Thinking about how one doctor at the hospital said that he liked it. But the Marcus-Butler-lookalike doctor just stood there. I didn’t deserve his time because I’d been stupid. Thinking about Marcus Butler and how I could never watch his videos after that. Poor guy, it wasn't his fault. Also why do doctors have such atrocious handwriting? Thinking about my own handwriting, practicing to write neatly as a child. Thinking about when we would write in pencil and were promoted to pen in year 5. Those red Berol pens, we felt so special. I still hated my teacher. Thinking about the time we read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in year 6. I remember the day that The Order of the Phoenix was released and we had to go to a party. I took the book with me and read it in the car. Dad’s friend kept asking whether Harry had died yet. Thinking about the way I sat in the garden impatiently waiting for the party to be over so that I could finish the book. I kept going into the kitchen and eating pineapple and cheese sticks to kill time. Thinking about how good pineapples taste. Thinking about pineapple juice, our juicer and whether we still have one. I need to sort out my diet. Thinking about the amount of sugar I consume on a daily basis. I’ll probably get Diabetes soon. Thinking about the amount of medication I have to take to exist. Why are Venlafaxine pills so big? Who thought up the concept of tablets? They’re still better than drinking the syrup, I suppose. I miss the taste of Calpol. I didn’t like the orange version though. My old bedroom was orange. Thinking about my bunk bed, building forts with my cousin. The time we played with cars on the floor, building roads with Jenga blocks. I wonder whether they still make Jenga. What do children play with now? They’ll never know MySpace. The scene era, the joys of being on a MySpace train. The MySpace fringe, hair straighteners. Thinking about the time I burned the side of my face. Applied cocoa butter religiously to fade the scar. It’s not there anymore. Thinking about the last time I even styled my hair. Thinking about my cousin’s child telling me that it was a mess. Thinking about how quickly my hair dries now that it’s shorter. My new shampoo smells like cupcakes. I still haven’t committed to one shampoo. Why is commitment so difficult in general? I need a new piercing on my left ear to make them both symmetrical. It’s been bugging me. Thinking about the woman that pierced my tragus, counting the studs of metal poking out of her face. Thinking about Blue Banana and the time I walked in wearing my hijab and abaya. My wardrobe really isn’t Muslim appropriate now. I struggle when visiting relatives. Thinking about the time I wore a leather skirt to work and someone asked why I was wearing a bin bag. I don’t own a leather skirt now. Thinking about when the weather is going to sort itself out. I’m living in the wrong country. Thinking about longer days and time changes. My birthday, how do I celebrate my life? Thinking about celebrations and people having half birthdays. Thinking about how Silver on 90210 would have one. She was stunning. Maybe I’ll use ‘Silver’ as my Starbucks name. They always throw me into an existential crisis. I don’t even know what I like to be called. Kratz. Qurra. I don’t mind. I should just start walking around with the Tyla bracelet. Although I don’t think my name would fit without curving around my wrist. I’m jealous of people that have four-letter names. Thinking about year 3 and having to write our name in bubble-writing on a sheet of A3 paper. I needed extra but the writing became too small towards the end so it wasn’t even worth it. Thinking about how I had to keep asking for extra paper during my GCSE’s. My hands hurt so much afterwards. I took four pens into the exam out of paranoia. They were my favourite pens. Thinking about university and how I wrote in purple. What did I do with all of those notebooks that I profusely wrote in? Thinking about the amount of literature I read, all of the realms that I discovered. Writing my dissertation on vampire fiction. Comparing Edward Cullen to Lord Ruthven. My postgrad thesis was better. Writing about Varanasi, the ghats, the live cremation, reincarnation. Laila. In my mind, she was Rashida Jones in NY-LON. I’ve never heard anyone talk about the show but she was so amusing in it. I think it’s still on 4oD. Maybe I’ll re-watch it. I’m too tired to concentrate. This medication is stopping me from sleeping and I haven’t had proper rest in two weeks. I should probably respond to the messages that have been making the light on my phone flash for the past hour or at least change the song that I’ve had on repeat. Odesza – Bloom, although it does corroborate the sombre feeling of this Monday morning. I had to check the calendar again, I can’t keep up. I should start adding a third shot of espresso to my morning coffee to restore everything. What was my life before I discovered coffee? Thinking about coffee again. It fixes everything. Yes, coffee. Ah, coffee.

Saturday, 26 December 2015

My Hair History.

My hair colour changes in accordance to my mood. I also use the colour of my hair as a measurement of time; my memories are all connected to and associated with specific hair colours. It is the first thing that people notice, and in my world, it is the most indicative of the way that I am feeling. My hair colour represents certain periods of my life; it signifies struggle, contentment, anarchy, loss. In the midst of an identity crisis, I immediately change the colour of my hair to shift perspective, to feel close to myself again. 

I have dyed my hair more times than I can remember, and for this I partially blame my mother who is an avid hair-dyer (although her colour choices have been rather more appropriate); like mother, like daughter, they say. I thought it would be interesting to put together a ‘hair timeline’ to showcase all of the colours that I have dyed my hair. There are a few gaps due to not having photographed certain colours (they were too horrendous to document and I did not want them to exist anywhere on the universe).

A majority of the colours below are the results of experiments, of which many have been disastrous. However, it is just hair at the end of the day and it grows back. If it does go entirely wrong, I express my gratitude for the existence of hats. It's all about perspective, about embracing your mistakes (there is a life lesson in everything).

It all started with the picture on the top left. My natural hair colour is black, and this colour paired with my yellow-toned complexion and horrendous dark circles, has always made my skin appear sallow. This picture was taken on the day that I first dyed my hair. I was 18 years old. 

I used Schwarzkopf’s XXL Live Colour in ‘Red Passion’ and due to my natural colour being infinitely black, it merely tinted my hair. I continued this process for a few months until my hair was red enough to satisfy me. I soon realised that red hair required a lot of maintenance and I allowed it to fade to brown. Red undertones were still prevalent and so I used a darker brown to dissipate the colour.

Weeks later, my indecisive self began to miss the red hair and so I used a colour remover and learned that this was the devil. The colour remover turned my hair into an eccentric shade of orangey-blonde (I’m thankful for the lack of photographic evidence). I used a red dye over this and decided that I wanted to leave remnants of blonde through the ends.

Then came the beginning of my catastrophic streak. I purchased Schwarzkopf’s XXL Live Colour in ‘Platinum Blonde’ which inevitably transformed my hair into an atrocious shade of ginger. I immediately located a box of brown hair dye from my mother’s stash and attempted to rectify the situation. Although this somewhat disciplined the colour, I attended university the next day looking like a cross between Pikachu and Hayley from Paramore. By this point, I had already over-exhausted my hair and decided that it was wise to allow it to recover. 

I eventually used a brown dye to deepen the colour as pictured on the final row. I decided that my experimentation period was finally over. However, the brown lacked character, and so I reverted to red.

I was still using red box dyes to colour my hair, they always faded to an unflattering brown-orange shade. I then began to wear the hijab, and this meant that I could experiment with colours without dealing with the disastrous consequences of having to go out in public with atrocious-looking hair. Nobody knew what was going on beneath my scarf, it was like my own little secret. I would sometimes meet new people and they would have no idea that I had crazy coloured hair, it was exciting.

I decided to opt for a shade of cobalt blue; it was a disaster. I had to resort to using a colour remover which somehow gave me a khaki-green head. Days later, I used a lighter blue dye over the top and my hair turned into an amazing shade of seaweed green. 

Once this faded, I began to use Majicontrast's 'Red' dye mixed with varying volume developers, depending on how bright I wanted the colour. I maintained this for the remainder of the period that I wore the hijab (2 years) and the final picture on the second row was taken a few days after I made the decision to remove it. I continued to dye my hair red and the last picture is from my Masters graduation a few months later.

The red inevitably faded into a fiery-orange and I somehow became fixated with the idea of having a red and purple ombré. I used an ombré kit to attempt to lighten the ends of my hair and they turned orange. I looked like Kate Winslet in 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.' I then used a red on the top half of my hair and a shade of purple at the ends. The purple eventually faded into a magenta shade and it was beautiful. I then went brown, and having used the dye over red hair, it resulted in the colour pictured on the top right.

The previously ombréd ends eventually turned green. I returned to red in order to restore my hair. A few months later, I experimented with bleach again and a guy at work described my hair as looking like ‘dynamite on fire.’ I continued to lighten and tone the colour in order to eradicate the yellow tones. If it had not been for my black eyebrows, I would have retained the blonde for longer.

For some reason, I became obsessed with having mermaid green hair. I used Bleach London's Bleaching Kit to achieve a platinum blonde and then experimented with different shades of green dye. The second picture on the top row was taken on the day of an interview; I can still remember how many heads I turned as I walked through the office. I decided that this colour was not green enough, I combined a blue and green dye and continued this process for weeks before resting on a teal colour. It soon lost its appeal and thus I reconciled myself with bleach to look like Draco Malfoy.

I used Stargazer’s ‘Magenta’ dye to achieve the pink colour on the top left and this faded into a beautiful electric shade. Once I grew bored of this, I decided to augment the colour with streaks of purple at the roots.

When the colour had faded, I used a red dye over the top and this combined with the pink undertones turned my hair into the shade of MAC's Full Fuschia lipstick. I then became fixated with wanting to go lilac, so again I reunited myself with bleach.

I then applied a lilac hair dye but made the mistake of not purchasing enough to cover my entire head. This resulted in purple roots and platinum blonde ends. After deciding that I had failed, I resolved the situation by opting for an animated orange.

The orange soon faded and again I turned to my trusted brown shade, which in a strange way became a means of nurturing my hair. When I felt that my hair was back in good condition, I used a purple dye. I later added in pink to warm up the shade because I just wanted it to be the colour of Barney. The result is pictured on the top right.

This soon faded and in the midst of colouring my hair, I realised that I did not have enough purple dye to cover my head. I reached for a box of blue hair dye that was on my shelf and covered the remainder of my hair that the purple had not been able to reach. My hair looked like a million galaxies and it was magnificent. This gradually faded and the fun was over, my hair gave in and turned green.

I used purple again, however as pictured on the top left, the final result was too dark. After allowing this to fade, I bleached my hair and re-dyed it, combining shades of purple and pink. The result is shown on the second picture of the top row. Once this had faded, I used a fiery orange-red and experimented until I was content with being a redhead. 

A few months later, I added pink dye to achieve the coloured pictured on the bottom right.

The coloured faded and upon attempting to revert to red, my hair became a red-orange shade. I embraced this and intensified the orange tones because I wanted my hair to look like flames. Months later, I merged pink and purple and continued this until I became bored. 

Again, I used a magenta shade and retained this until my hair felt healthy enough. I then proceeded to combine red and pink dye and achieved the colour on the bottom left. This faded and I knew that it was time to nurture my hair.

And so, I went brown.

Brown hair made me feel like a stranger.

I bleached my hair and then used pink dye over the top. The colour was vivacious and thrilling. It made me feel like myself again.

I used a dark red dye to slightly dull the colour, and this picture above is the hair colour that I currently have.

As you can imagine, my hair has been through a lot and I’m currently in the process of giving it time to ‘rest.’ This final collage showcases all of my favourite colours and having looked through the pictures, I already miss having magenta hair. I tend to wear a lot of black and so my hair is my greatest accessory. It gives me something to be excited during the difficult times, and that is everything.

I hope that you enjoyed reading this post, and also feel free to leave a comment and let me know which colour is your favourite.
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