Tag Archives: joy

Do you like what you see in the mirror? Me neither. Until now.

I’m mildly embarrassed to tell you this, but here goes.

Last year I took a course on how to dress myself.  

Yeah. I did that. I spent money on it.

Why the **** would I do something so  ******* dumb when we could have been making ******** movies, I hear you say?

But you know what? It is, hands down, one of the best investments I’ve ever made. And I have spent a crap ton of money on ‘courses’.

And that’s because I learned so much.

I love clothes.

I love colour.

I love movement.

And I’ve realized that I’m 33 years old and nobody gives a hooping funt what I wear.

Nope, not a a flying flamingo

Not even a defenestrated fizzwaggle.

So I dress for me. If I like what I see in the mirror, dayuummm. Mashallah. I give myself a grin. I’m keen to slay my day.

I need not get a single compliment about my outfit. That’s not what I’m looking for. I’m looking after me.

But make-up?

I’ve spent a lot of years poring over my face. Poring over my pimples. Poring over my pores. I wish I could grab my 20-year-old self by the shoulders and shake her, “Don’t buy that make-up. It will do precisely jack all. All it will do is make you look like a reject from Twilight. Or a mime that managed to escape their box.”

Seriously tho. Make-up is expensive. It goes bad (what? Are there bananas in foundation? Why does it go bad?) And and and….have you noticed how the number of freaking things we need to put on our face to look groomed keeps growing?

Ten years ago, had you heard of highlighters? No, right?

Yeah. That’s something that appeared in the last five years.

I don’t know about you but I sweat. I don’t need to catch the light. The light catches me.

Let’s wear clothes that make us feel good. Really really good. Like I-could-swing-from-a-chandelier good.

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Assalam alaikum and Eid Mubarak, family! Marvel at the orange I finally have the courage to wear.

A post shared by Sabina Giado (@sabina.giado) on


I never would have the courage to wear this Fanta shade of orange if I hadn’t internalized this belief:

No one cares what we are wearing except us.

What if we attract too much attention on the train? What if someone attacks us?

That person would have attacked us if we were wearing only black o the fliest pair of Chuck Taylors in the country. Violent Islamophobes don’t see clothes. They see targets.

We’ve got only a limited amount of years on this earth. Let’s choose joy. We’re privileged enough to have a choice.

P.S If you love make-up, more power to you. I can’t be bothered anymore. It’s no fun.

P.P.S. I just spent a whopping $10 on a BB cream. And I started using it yesterday. I look exactly the freaking same. My problem is, if I spend money on my face, I expect to look like Miranda Kerr. It’s make-up, not plastic surgery.

Emotions of Screenwriting: Hope and Disappointment

Bismillah ir Rahman ir Raheem.

So much has been happening in my life lately. So many OVERWHELMING changes. I’ve rarely had the time to take stock.

So here I am.

I’ve noticed that life comes and goes in cycles. Good stuff. Bad stuff. Good days. Bad days.

Currently I’ve not had much success in the screenwriting/film-making department.

But I’ve been through long fallow periods before. I have hope.

This is a profound change for me. Choosing hope over despair.

It’s something I learned from Brene Brown. To paraphrase, if you numb pain, you also numb joy and hope. So I’ve decided to let both in and give them dinner and dessert.

So who is hope?

Hope is the good stuff. Makes whites whiter and colors brighter. Hope is a daring emotion. It takes courage to feel hope.

Because we all have that nagging voice in our heads. “Take all this joy down a notch. It’s not meant for you.”

How freaking disrespectful. Of course, it’s meant for me. Why else would I be feeling it?

So I’ve decided that I’m going to try pretty much everything and see what happens. No harm, no foul. And lots of hope. It’s a beautiful emotion and I want more of it. And oddly enough, that’s in my hands.

Who then is disappointment?

But of course, there will be disappointment. That hurts like a dentist’s appointment. Nothing will soften that blow. Except the memory of hope. And God.

Say it with me – nothing.

Put down that bottle. Put down that chocolate cake. No. Get away from that hot guy or girl.

It’s real. It’s here.

But it’ll go away. And then we’ll pick ourselves up and get back to work.

Notice I didn’t use a conditional sentence. I hate scolding. And being scolded. I know you’re a screenwriter. As am I. We hurt very deeply very often but we always get back up in the end. I have no doubt. Thank God!

Life comes and goes. Joy comes and goes. This is one of the great trials of this world. A friend once told that the good thing about bad things are that they end. And the bad thing about good things is that they too end.

Maybe this is why I believe in God. He never really goes away, no matter what I do. He’s always there to talk to.

Here’s another tidbit from the Internet that gives me hope.

Don’t be fooled by life’s outcomes.

Not success. And not failure either.

I’ve spent so long thinking I was a screw-up because goshdarn it, I just happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. But none of it was really my fault. Nope. None of it.

Ultimately it’s all dumb luck. I don’t believe in luck. I believe in fate. So it’s all God’s grace.

Maybe one day, He’ll smile on me too. That’ll be a great day.

Till then, I’m going to hope. It doesn’t hurt. It heals.

This has been another joy-coated pain missive from your very own….

Happy (and Hopeful) Muslimah

How I’m getting my mojo back!

Bismillah ir Rahman ir Raheem

Assalam alaikum and yo, Internet!

I’ve been going at the third draft of my feature film with a fevered brow for a few weeks now Mashallah. It’s great fun but really spiritually exhausting work.

I didn’t make it into the top 10% at the BlueCat screenplay competition. It hurts but I was expecting it – at this stage, my mystery dramedy isn’t a real screenplay. Insha Allah, if I have a little fun and do a lot of hard work, this baby will really begin to cook.

But till then, *sad face*.

I’ve been wondering when I lost the joy in the process.

Part of me thinks it’s because I’m departing from the main purpose of writing this film, i.e. illuminating the psyche of a young adult female Muslim expat Sri Lankan (how’s that for hyper-fragmentation?), as she deals with transition and loss.

Part of me thinks I’m too focused on the outcome anyway.

Those two things are diametrically opposed to each other. You can see why I’m torn.

What gave me pain almost to the point of quitting on this project is the thought that I had failed at what I had “tried” to do.  I had tried to make a point and I had failed. I had the same feeling I have when I “lose” an argument. I got really mad at myself. My ego just couldn’t take the worthless feeling.

But then I realized that a) this was my first ever feature and I really should take it easy on myself and b) where’s the love?

This one time, I took a camera and made a silly little film in support of the Robin Hood Tax. It was the daftest thing I’ve ever done in my life. But it was fun. It gave me immense joy Subhanallah. No question. I wasn’t “trying” to do anything. I wasn’t even “trying” to win the competition. I wasn’t trying to be the best dashed pocket digital camera filmmaker in the universe.

I had an idea and I wanted to see if it would work. It did Alhamdulillah.

I want that feeling back with my feature film screenplay. The same dancey happiness I had when I finished my first draft after 3 months of stopping and starting in fear.

So how can I get that back?

I tried to think back over the times when I’ve felt present and centered and engulfed in the joy and life of the present moment.

I used to get lost in learning Arabic and French.

My niece blows my mind regularly.

Debating with my colleagues was always fun.

I never wanted to leave Improv class with Saad Haroon and I can’t remember ever “trying” to be funny.

I can say that I have danced all the way to the end of an hour-long Zumba video without even thinking about it.

Baking makes my heart sing too. Especially when it all comes together and I get to eat my results.

I used to paint and do pastel colours in high school as part of high school projects. I loved them. I loved getting my hands dirty, the smell of the pastels on my fingers, the shades I could make by mixing things up and making something colorful and beautiful.

How can I embrace that in writing Insha Allah? How can I make it play?

It seems that people figure in my favorite moments. Face-to-face human interaction is always creatively inspiring.

Giving to the other person, whether it’s a joke or a chocolate chip cookie, always seems to help too.

And movement and delighting my five senses may well be a way to make my work joyous.

People always say that directors are the visual ones while screenwriters live in their heads. I disagree. I think I’m a very visual person. I might need to sketch things out if I want to visualize them. Not just the plot, but my character’s life stories. Reading the dialogue out loud with a friend could be entertaining and expose the weaknesses in my screenplay. Definitely joining a writer’s group or a class could definitely take my writing to the next level.

One thing’s for sure – rules kill my creativity. I’m through telling myself I need this amount of time and this amount of quietude to make things work for me. If it’s not going to happen in my life, it’s not. I’m through trying to chase a Holy Grail of quiet time to work. I shall work in spite of and because of my parents’ frequent interruptions. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be writing this screenplay so it’s probably fitting that I can hear their voices constantly.

What do you guys do to stay creative?

Fee Amanillah,

The Happy (and hardworking creative) Muslimah.