Tag Archives: anxiety

The Emotions of Screenwriting: Anxiety

Bismillah ir Rahman ir Raheem

Assalam alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatahu!

I’ve been putting off posting this because this is markedly more vulnerable than I usually am. And then I figured – what the heck?

There are many different kinds of pain in the world, but my particular brand is anxiety.

Anxiety flowers in my chest like a firework, spiking every nerve in my upper body. Anxiety immobilizes my brain and my legs because even the slightest movement, even the slightest thought, will let the predator know I’m here. Anxiety makes me feel like a toothless herbivore in the brush waiting to be hunted. Anxiety builds in the sides of my cheeks – as if screaming would help me. Anxiety cancels out my complexity, the strength that hides underneath my vulnerability.

I used to be crippled by these feelings. Like literally. I would lie under my blanket praying for death from the pain. I would weep incessantly.

But they got better over time.

I’ve gotten clearer-headed. I tried delving into my emotions. That works. After wallowing in them, I’m less frightened of drowning in anxiety. I’m less self-conscious about saying or doing or being stupid while I’m in this state.

Lately I’ve started noticing my triggers. When I say lately, I mean literally yesterday when I read an article on the same.

My triggers are situations in which I have no idea what’s going to happen.

Like job interviews. I can read every website in the universe. But I have no idea who’s on the other side of those doors. I have no idea how anything will turn out.

I can prepare myself for a job interview but really it’s a lot like dating. I go in there and I just talk. There has to be chemistry. And I try to connect and try to understand whether I would fit into this family. And really these people become like family. I have a choice about who I work with. And I should make it a good one. All the prep in the world won’t tell you how to manufacture that chemistry.

And here I am trying so desperately yet again – why is my life marked by desperation? When it’s not that, it’s anger. When it’s not that, it’s despair. Or depression. Or frustration.

And I am trying so desperately now to control. To maximize chances of success. To win. Pushed even to give up who I am. For a trifle. But I can’t do that.

In fact from years with anxiety disorder, I know what panicking does to me.

Anxiety saps energy.

Anxiety makes me forget that God has a plan.

Anxiety makes me avoid situations that’ll help me grow.

Anxiety keeps me small and hunted.

Anxiety is my friend.

It tells me that this situation is new. And exciting. And that I should embrace it for what it is. Just as I should embrace me, with all my weirdness and fragility and strength.

I keep telling myself it’s all going to be fine. And it’s working.

I’m living life on my own terms and it’s fine if this experiment goes belly up. It’s fine if I never achieve anything in a worldly sense. I did what I thought was right in the face of nearly unbearable opposition. I bore it. I’ve borne a lot of things. I’m really strong Alhamdulillah (by God’s grace).

But I am also sensitive. And I will expect strong emotions in my life. And I know I’ll be fine.

I want to go outside and look at that beautiful blue sky again. And those pink trees outside my home. I could really stare at them for days.

Love and peace. Wassalam and Fee Amanillah,

The Happy (and okay) Muslimah

My friend Fear and 2013

Bismillah ir Rahman ir Raheem

Assalam alaikum wr wb!

Man, it’s been a wild year huh?

Early January this year, I went to a cousin’s engagement. On our way back to Colombo, my family’s car got hit by two buses. That’s right. Not one. TWO.

Isn’t that wild?

Alhamdulillah, everyone walked away from that accident.

I got a good knock on the head, though, which resulted in a dramatic swelling of my face as the blood from my head injury fell down into my eye sockets.

The effect my face had on people was hilarious. I scared children and made women cry.

I look back on that incident and I have to say, not only am I grateful, I am terrifically happy.

As odd as it sounds, we couldn’t have chosen better timing and a better location to have a disaster. Our entire family was on that same road home.  From wherever they were, they all turned around and came back to aid my mom and dad.  I can say with utmost certainty; there are far worse places to have a mild concussion.

I can’t remember much of the 12 hours or so after the accident and even in the weeks after, as my brain recuperated, my short term memory was a bit wonky. My big brother (who specializes in emergency medicine) said there’s nothing to worry about; I probably felt drowsy.  Thinking back, waking up in the middle of conversations just adds to that hilarity of the situation.

But my parents were not that amused. They were fully conscious, terrified and anxious.

The capital-F Fear has lasted a bit too long. It’s been almost a year now. My father is still frightened to drive, thinking he fell asleep at the wheel that day. He tells me, “I’m too old to drive. I am too tired. I am too distracted. ” The Fear cripples him.

Why was I capital-H Happy? Why was he Afraid? Was it because I was unconscious? Was it because I was naive? Was it because I simply didn’t care?

Recently I have been quite fearful myself. A recent social engagement left me crabby and shaking.

I have been watching my ‘I am’ statements recently and found there is a shocking prevalence of a kind of self-smack talk. “I don’t like new people. I am not good with new people. I am not good with unfamiliar situations. I am a nervous person. I am a shy person.”

I thought of something else I’d learned recently.

Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become your character. And watch your character, for it becomes your destiny. What we think, we become. My father always said that. And I think I am fine.

I’ve heard this many times, but honestly it’s only made sense now.

These fearful thoughts have probably become my character. A photographer once told me she was surprised that I am a comedian because I was so timid.

“Like a mouse?” I thought at the time. I wasn’t angry; I was just sad that my Fear was so evident. Still I managed to have a kick-butt photo shoot.

On the morning of that social gathering, I sat very still and quiet and listened to my thoughts.

I was frightened of other people. I thought they would hurt me. I thought they would prey on my vulnerability. I thought they would bully me.

Good Lord, where did these horrid thoughts come from?

I’m not going to blame anyone else. I’m not going to blame some monolithic culture for branding a tiny South East Asian woman with stereotypical qualities.

Wherever they came from, they must be stopped. Because I don’t want to ‘become’ frightened. I don’t want my destiny to be shrinking away in the corners of rooms, waiting for someone to notice me and being scared when they do.  Allah Subhaana Wa Ta’aala is my Protector and His world is too big and too beautiful Mashallah.

I’ve learned that my friend Fear doesn’t leave when asked. He doesn’t leave when yelled at. And he doesn’t budge, even if you tell him to go back where he came from.

I have started changing my thoughts consciously. I’ve started to turn “I am shy” to “I am hopeful”, “I am thoughtful”, “I am observant”, “I am peaceful”. Nothing wrong with not talking. When you listen you learn so much about so many new things. When you consciously listen, it takes a bit of hard work. You have to shelve your ego and give the other person the space to express themselves. I’m still trying but Alhamdulillah it’s a richly rewarding experience.

The day of the accident, I was happy because I wasn’t alone. That day and all the days after that, every time I woke up someone I loved was there. It was like the world’s best Facebook picture slideshow.

And the only person who was hurt was me and I knew it wasn’t that bad. You know when something inside you is changed forever and Alhamdulillah that didn’t happen that day.

That particular week, I was just grateful for every single silly little thing, from my parents to TV, from boiled eggs to pain medication, from hugs to the wind, to beautiful confusing Sri Lanka to lovely and infuriating Dubai.

Hopefully insha Allah in changing my thoughts, I will change my character. Hopefully insha Allah I will nurture peace, whether my friend Fear is with me or not.

That, more than anything, is my intention for 2013 insha Allah.

Have a blessed year. Have a blessed life insha Allah!

Wassalam and Fee Amanillah.

The Happy (and fully healed) Muslimah.

Art is worship Part III: Relaxation

via http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

Bismillah ir Rahman ir Raheem.

Assalam alaikum wr wb, sister or brother.

I am going to do something I don’t do enough. I am going to be honest.

Brother and sister, I am truly too exhausted to make art.

It’s been a draining couple of years. My life has felt like a train-wreck and I have been trying desperately with my petty mortal hands to control it.

I have expected situations to be different but they haven’t been. I have expected people to behave a certain way but they haven’t. Things have changed when I had hoped they would stay the same. Things have stayed the same when I have prayed they would change. But the details are unimportant.

My feelings are not. I have disappointed, sometimes angry, exhausted all the time.

I’m sleeping like crazy. I can’t eat. I can’t think. I have absolutely no creative energy to tackle anything long-form like a screenplay or a novel. The thought of a deadline makes me want to vomit.

Alhamdulillah I have written some poetry, though.

I think it’s about time that I took an extended period of rest. Regroup my spirits, learn to forgive myself and others, find my footing a little maybe. Or learn to just let it slide and accept Allah (SWT)’s plan for me.

As soon as I say that though, some strange demon in the depths of my belly stands jumping up and down, making scratch marks in my inside, shouting with the voices of my parents, a thousand teachers from over the years.

“You have no right to relax! People like you, less-than-geniuses, have to work your butts off to get anywhere – I mean ANYWHERE! – in life! Full tension every day all the time! That’s the price you pay for being born the way you are.

What have you achieved in your adult life? Nothing.

Has your writing changed anyone’s life? No. Not even your own.”

(This is not true. I’ve discovered a lot of things about myself and others through my work. Though it has been private, it has definitely been transformative.)

“Have you made your mark on the world? Like your heroes, Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye and Ani DiFranco? Have you made any of those mind-blowing films you keep dreaming of? Have you rivaled Mr. Scorsese or Mr. Kauffman? “

(Is it really necessary for me to change the world? I thought my work was for Allah (SWT). Then it simply is what it is, the story truer than the truth. It’s my duty to tell it, whether anyone cares to listen or not. Whether it changes anything or not.)

“What don’t you have enough of? Time.

What are you getting? Older. You’re 25 years old, 26 next month. Every day brings you closer to middle age and motherhood. Increased responsibilities, lower energy levels and your already poor time management skills will simply fall apart under the pressure.”

I ask real people for advice and it is always conflicting.

“You’re trying too hard.”

“You’re not working hard or smart enough.”

“You’re too young.”

“You’re too old.”

“You don’t give yourself enough credit.”

“You’re resting too much on your laurels.”

I find myself facing a mountain. Make this film. Write this screenplay. Find collaborators who are as excited about your work as you are. And for a while, I feel energetic. But then something happens, not really a discrete incident but just something else. Something outside of me. Maybe my father calls and or my mother or some boring administrative task takes up my entire day and my body just sinks beneath despair.

I feel like the world doesn’t want me to write or create. Perhaps Allah (SWT) is trying to tell me that my destiny is to be mediocre and house-bound like a not particularly cute cat.

I find myself fighting with the people I love. Not being able to tell them how I feel. How lost, alone and confused.

It’s time I took a little time off from the rat-race insha Allah. Whatever I’ve been doing hasn’t been working. This means finding a new path. Maybe recalibrating my beliefs. Doesn’t mean I’m going to stop writing. On the contrary, I think the fact that I’ve written so little has contributed to my exhaustion.

I’ll worship a lot more. I need it more than I think.

I’ll exercise too. Take long walks in nature. Run around after children (will somebody please lend me their children kthx), kung fu, kickboxing, aerobics maybe.

I’ll spend a lot of time outside of my comfort zone, especially when it comes to people and my interactions with them. Maybe I’ll try explaining spoken-word to my husband LOL. Yesterday, I showed him “When Love Arrives” and his mind just went blank.

And yes I think I will spend a lot of time writing. I will try insha Allah to rediscover the play in art, try to refill the well a little bit. Maybe I will work on a long-term project but as something fun, not as something that’s ever going to see the light of day.

I’m not going to be telling you how it’s going because the aim is not for it to be going anywhere.

I’m just going to be myself for a while. I’m going to find out what that means insha Allah.

Wassalam and Fee Amanillah.


The value of illness

Bismillah ir Rahman ir Raheem

Assalam alaikum wr wb, peeps!

So my mother recently began experiencing nerve problems in her hand. They started with silly things – dropping plates, slipping and cutting herself when cooking.But now it is almost completely non-functional. It just hangs there, waiting for relief.

And it hurts her too.

Now her daily activities are no longer as simple as they used to be – very often, she needs assistance dressing, cooking, cleaning. We have been helping her as much as we can, but obviously we have also been looking desperately for a cure.

We have been now around the block (literally – there are four clinics in a few blocks’ radius here in Dubai) looking for a diagnosis. They got nothin’.

We went to Sri Lanka. After a flurry of painful, embarrassing and sometimes excruciating tests – for the wallet and the heart- nothing there either. After this trying ordeal, I flew back in to Dubai last weekend to get back to work. But my father says that my mother needs me now as he is preparing to come back to our businesses.

So out I go to Sri Lanka again.

Illness is a funny thing. It’s like an unwanted visitor, taking residence not in your house, your room, your closet or your bathroom, but somewhere else, somewhere more sacred – your body.

But illness is also an incredible teacher. Illness has taught me that I cannot be truly compassionate unless I break down the barrier between my mother and I. ‘Tough love’ never worked during my illness and it won’t work during hers. ‘Tough love’ usually happens when you can’t accept that the other person is in pain and is infringing on your life; I think it’s an ultimately selfish form of compassion.

Yes, we have had our moments – in fact, we continue to have those moments even as I help her on with her shalwar kameez. But now I understand. I understand the worry and the pain and the suffering, the “What will happen if I die? Who will take care of you now?” Because when I left her to come back to Dubai (a much tinier change than DEATH), I was thinking, “What will Mama do without me now?” It’s the same thing, just different hearts.

Illness takes no prisoners. It sits and it stays till you take action. But you can never be sure if it’ll work or not. As in all things in life, you are never sure. The end result is with Allah (SWT). Tawakkul and Yaqeen are such precious resources at a time like this. It’s the difference between spiritual death and the energy to take the next step.

People always say that you don’t know what you can do until you do it. And it’s usually those big things they are talking about – writing a novel, building a house, lifting a truck with your bare hands.

But illness makes you super-human. It’s a paradox, but those finest of human qualities – patience, strength, faith – finds their deepest and truest expression when the firm vessel they are housed in slowly begins to fade.

I can’t think how many times I have looked my mother in the eyes and told her, “Just a little while longer. It’s all going to be over soon.”

And she has said to me, “Okay.” Probably the first time in years we have agreed on anything.

You think you’ve scratched the bottom of the barrel, but suddenly there’s just a little more left. You can go on just one more day. And maybe today, you’ll figure this out.

I think the best thing that has come out of this illness is that my mother and I are renegotiating the terms of our relationship – at least Insha Allah I hope so. We’ve kind of turned the mother-child relationship on its head a little, and insha Allah, that’s exactly what we need to move over the impasse in communications we’ve hit recently.

It’s a delicate process. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Another rather obvious lesson illness has taught me – jolly well exercise and eat right or bad things will happen. I’m serious.

May Allah (SWT) keep all of us healthy Ameen!

Wassalam and Fee Amanillah,

The Happy Muslimah

5 Lessons Screenwriters Can Learn from Ramadan

Bismillah ir Rahman ir Raheem

Assalam alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatahu!

So the blessed month is upon me and I’ve been using it to reflect on the things I need the most in my life, both spiritual and materialistic.

To those of you who don’t know what Ramadan is, it is the month in which the Islamic holy book, the Noble Qur’an, was sent down, i.e. the word of God in unadulterated form. The Qur’an is one of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)’s many miracles, as he was an illiterate man, yet he was given words that moved the Arabs (who were great poets). We honor its revelation to us by fasting.

Fasting is about not eating between sunset and sundown, true, but it’s also about controlling your temper and staying away from sin and becoming truly conscious of God’s blessings and guidance in your life (called taqwa in Arabic). The gates of heaven are thrown open and Satan is tied up for the entire month and every good deed is rewarded multiple times in this month. So it is truly a blessed month.

Personally I can well and truly feel that blessing. You see, being a South East Asian gives you an inferiority complex from birth. Being a hardcore practicing Muslim and an artist, well, that just compounds it. In this month, I have no fear being myself. Female, Muslim, an artist – a servant of God in all respects. Whereas in other months, sometimes I worry what people think of me a little too much. The work of Satan and a uniquely Asian affliction.

That aside, I have come to the conclusion that fasting has many lessons to teach us screenwriters. Here are but a few I could think of:

1.       Be prepared.

I went into Ramadan having fasted a few extra days to prepare my body but I hadn’t really prepared my soul to take advantage of the blessed month. I hadn’t made a plan to truly make this month a success. I know what unique tests I face – between jobs, friends, comedy and film, it’s a miracle I have time to breathe. But somehow through all of that drama, in this blessed month, I need to remember to remember Allah (SWT). That means training my soul (nafs). Ramadan is a bootcamp. Screenwriting should be too. And it’s up to us to crack the whip, to dodge the bullets and roll with the punches. And other inane metaphors.

Basically, it’s important to figure out your goals and how you’re going to get there. And if it doesn’t work in practice, adjust.

2.       Follow your leaders

There are people – mentors, friends, colleagues – who are inspiring. For me, it’s our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) and Imam Suhaib Webb.

I have yet to find a mentor in screenwriting, though.

3.       Have prescribed times for work and play.

One needs to keep balance in their life. Ramadan shouldn’t be a month where nothing gets done (the most common complaint in the Arab world).  There needs to be a balance between the world and the spiritual. One should not suffer on account of the other. It’s a fine balance and one that differs from person to person. But it’s necessary to walk that line.

As screenwriters, if you’re stuck inside your house writing all day, you might just end up writing the same story about the one-eyed cat who finds a key to heaven in the back-yard over and over again. For decades. Or you just might go postal and kill all the pets in the neighborhood.

The world has a million stories.  At any time, the most mind-blowing stories are running in HD 3D all around – and they’re called human beings!

4.       Learn from your mistakes.

I keep a log to a) make a list of all the things I’m learning b) provide a place to vent c) figure out problem areas I could work on.

5.       Patience in times of frustration

It isn’t easy.  In fact, it’ll probably be downright painful. You’ll lose sleep.  You’ll be hungry. You’ll say no to things you want to say yes to. You’ll be scared. You’ll take leaps of faith as a matter of course.

But it’ll all be worth it in the end.

I’ll see you after the month of mercy, brothers and sisters. Stay blessed.

Wassalam and Fee Amanillah,

The Happy Muslimah.

How not to do a business trip

Bismillah ir Rahman ir Raheem

Assalam alaikum wr wb, beautiful people,

In lieu of a better researched blog post (which is not about sex), I want to tell you about my recent business trip to Oman for a conference my company was organizing.

It was my first ever business trip and I’m not ashamed to say, I was FREAKING OUT.

I performed with the UAE’s first ever improv troupe, Improv Revolution mere hours before I was supposed to get on the plane.

I gotta say, I think I let my comedy brothers and sisters down. Somehow I wasn’t feeling the love that night. Anyway, it’s cool. You have good nights and bad nights.

At around 3:30 in the morning, I met my colleagues in the airport, sleepily nursing their Starbucks, surrounded by trolley bags. We trudged to the check-out counter. Only to be informed, sharply and decisively, by FlyDubai staff, that I, as a mini-female Sri Lankan, cannot travel to Oman without a visa.

Racism and sexism at the same time.

That’s pretty impressive.

Needless to say, excrement had hit the airflow cooling device. My colleagues flew without me. I had to somehow make it there, even if I had to crawl.

My father (my sponsor) and I visited the Omani consulate. Apparently, it was a combination of my Sri Lankanness and my daughter-ness that had stopped me at the airport. A sweet-faced man with a colorful turban and a heavily pregnant young lady did some creative and mystifying diplomatic miracles to help me on my way. Nicer public officials I have never met in my entire life. After some manic running around and some dozing in the hot noonday sun, I got my visa and booked my flight to Oman.

I finally flew out sometime in the evening. To say my nerves were shot would be understatement.

I must have looked a pathetic sight lugging my very light trolley bag up and down the plane stairs because three gentlemen asked if I needed any help. Without even thinking, I said no and politely said I could manage. I wonder if I peed all over their chivalrous instincts, something I think is very lacking in dudes (who are obviously not gentlemen like these gentlemen were). Was my instant reaction the result of feminism gone wild or the fact that I was travelling alone and a little nervous?

Anyway I got to Oman and I walked out into the arrivals area. I was greeted by a wall of what I think were South Indian faces. My first thought: Kerala, which I visited last year for a close family friend’s wedding. Exiting the airport, I was greeted by a rush of humid air. My second thought: Colombo airport in the monsoon season.

Eventually I located the driver who was supposed to drive me to our hotel. Him, I allowed him to take my bags and open my door for me. He told me about the historical significance of the places we were passing through. Souks. Museums. Opera houses. Banks. As we drove through Muscat, my mind raced trying to make comparisons. Sharjah? Deira? Satwa?

At regular intervals, a McDonald’s, Hardees or a KFC would raise its neon fist in salutation. Good to know some things never change. I’m reading Fast Food Nation at the moment, so maybe I’ll think differently about that soon.

The conference passed in a whirlwind of delegates, interviews, long corridors, presentations, ballrooms and business cards. It surprised me to learn that even the most technical of industries have in-jokes.

After two very long days, my colleagues and I drove to the airport around dusk. I was tired, but somehow I knew Allah (SWT) was smiling on me. This was probably why. 

Isn’t it incredible?

It’s strange how a place can feel strange and familiar at the same time.

Some things were just the same as they would be in Dubai. People sat on chairs outside mosques talking. Women walked briskly around the corniche in shalwar kameez and sneakers, their dupattas tied around their waists. Little kids roved in miniature street gangs. The roads wound and speed limits were surpassed.

But some things were very different. For one thing, there was no traffic. There didn’t seem to be much stress. The Omani locals seemed to wear more colorful headgear than the Emirati dish-dasha I’m used to seeing. There were mountains, lakes and lagoons everywhere. Coffee shops were entitled simply “Coffee shop”. Groceries were entitled somewhat confusingly, “Seller of Foodstuff”.

It was a whirlwind trip, but I want to come back one day Insha Allah. Maybe walk rather than drive this time. Maybe I’ll have a coffee at one of those ‘coffee shops’. Pray in one of their beautiful mosques. Catch an opera at the opera house – if it’s finished by then. And then maybe finish my evening with a Happy Meal. Because I’d probably be pretty happy by that time. Content, at the very least. Insha Allah.

Wassalam and Fee Amanillah,


The Radical Honesty Experiment

Bismillah ir Rahman ir Raheem

Assalam alaikum wr wb.

No, I didn’t conduct an interview with Usama Bin Laden (from beyond the watery grave).

I heard something that intrigued me a while ago from Laurie Gerber from the Handel Group:

“I teach radical honesty; that means communicating even when a feeling is uncomfortable or even when I am scared to because I don’t want to face the other person’s reaction. But I have practiced difficult conversations enough to know the alternative is worse: living in misconception, feeling dis-ease, not having fun with my playmates and generally liking myself less. Ick. It’s worth the discomfort of speaking up to get rid of that toxic cloud. In a dialogue, everything changes. And you really forget that; you really think the dialogue in your head (or with the friend you are gossiping to) covers all bases, but it doesn’t. You have no idea where the other person is coming from. Please find out.”

So I decided I’d give this radical honesty business a try.

Turns out it’s heckuva lot easier being honest with myself (read: beating myself up) than being honest with other people. Especially people I love. The greater the love, the harder it is for me to tell them what I really feel.

I’m scared I might lose them and I think my friendships are much weaker because of it.

The following is a collection of random observations taken during the week on where and what I hide and from whom. It may not make much sense, but that’s because I was updating a Gmail draft at work whenever a thought struck me. I ask you to bear with me, lovely readers.

I tend to obfuscate and manipulate the truth, making it hard to get to for the person I’m communicating with.

I tend to keep my true feelings and my true needs to myself.

In the quest for real human connection, I tend to over-complicate my life looking for it. Maybe performance and comedy is a way for me to connect or at least try to connect. Most people just laugh and leave. Some write me emails afterward – those I love. But stand-up for me isn’t a patch on improv. Being part of an improv troupe is very much about trust, support and the group over the individual. Needy people not allowed.

I love Improv. And I like performing.

However when it gets raunchy, nope, not comfortable. Not the first person to say that and probably won’t be the last.

I am scared of my father. And I haven’t spoken honestly and openly to my mother in a long while. Nothing hurts me more than our fake laughter. We used to be friends. Really good friends. I used to tell her everything. Now I can’t tell her anything.

I discovered that it’s okay to ask questions, even dumb ones, even at work. Guess what? Most of the time, I’ll get an answer, because people are rarely anuses if you speak to them politely.

I learned from my boss, that if I follow my passion, I can inspire everyone around me without needing to give a pep talk.

I love the Little Comets. They’re messy wounded hoons in tracksuit bottoms and trainers singing musically jagged tunes on trams and in lecture halls, anywhere someone will listen. And I’m not sure what entirely they’re on about some of the time, but this girl in Dubai gets it.

There’s something about art that allows people to ‘get’ it even if they don’t entirely understand the ‘story’, to taste the meat even though the curry is unfamiliar. That’s what I want more of in my life. Not curry, art.

I read about the World Bank report about hunger. It killed me. To soothe myself, I ate a chocky bicky (irony much?). I want to do something about this. I tried to talk myself out of it – saying I’m more into gender issues. But hunger kills men, women and children everywhere. I’m a Muslim and a human being first. A woman and a writer second.

Authority figures scare me. A lot. I’m scared to call people more than anything. It makes me feel like a bad journalist and for some weird reason, guilty?

I’m frightened to enter the Al Shasha screenwriting competition.

I was honest with my client who called me after hours. I don’t want to work in the night-time. It was uncomfortable but I felt better and I felt freer.

I am sometimes surprised by the sound of my own voice.

I imagine disappointment and pain even before it happens. Sometimes it is of epic devastating proportions.

I don’t really think that I deserve happiness and I reckon my parents don’t think so either.

I’m going to write a letter to my parents to tell them honestly about everything and I haven’t the faintest idea where to start. And yes, I am going to actually give them the letter.

I don’t know what they’re going to do. Maybe they’ll get mad. Maybe they’ll get sad. Maybe it’ll make things worse. Maybe it’ll make things better. I don’t know. It’s all in Allah’s Hands. I don’t want to go to Him on the Last Day and say I didn’t try everything I knew to communicate with them with love and respect.

Yes. I’m scared.

Will let you know how that goes.

May Allah’s Grace protect you wherever you go and whatever you do, Ameen.


P.S. Bismillah. UPDATE! I was honest about something that I’ve keeping to myself for a very long time waiting for someone to understand.

It was quite freeing. My focus and my concentration improved dramatically after that single simple admission.

However, being honest has consequences. And this particular admission may have had HUGE consequences (so far, so good Alhamdulillah). Be prepared to be surprised. Be prepared to be snubbed. Be prepared to be forgiven.

I need to be prepared.

Peace out, y’all.



P.P.S Bismillah. 17th July: Incremental honesty is probably more affective than radical honesty, as incremental changes are more sustainable. I started with myself, will continue with people I work with (whom I respect, but don’t necessarily like) and slowly but surely, people I love. This is a continuous struggle and people are surprising, but true authenticity is worth it.

Wassalam and Fee Amanillah,