Author: missartsycrafty

The movies lie

As someone who watches a lot of movies and reads even more books, I’ve been exposed to just about every type of ideal girl trope there is. Sometimes, it’s the nice girl who does whatever it takes to make herself liked and be well-perceived by those around her, even if she loses the essence of herself in the process. Because at least everyone likes her and thinks she’s perfect.

Then, there’s the cool girl. (This trope is by far the most interesting of them all. Listen to this and read this). The girl who’s game for everything, never complains and always looks perfect. Her emotions never get in the way of her sole pursuit in life: being easygoing and desirable. Whilst it seems obvious, it can be easy to forget that these people are far from real. The perfect girl does not exist, contrary to what society’s pre-conditioning would have us believe. Even the best movies and books can only capture a one- or maybe two-dimensional character.

For many of us, at some point in our lives, the expectation to be perfect and achieve certain things has been projected onto us by those around us (and even by ourselves). Something I was most excited about leaving behind when I finished high school, was the high expectations people have always had of me (but they caught up with me in university pretty quickly anyway, despite my best efforts). Trying to emulate (because that’s what it is) the perfect-girl persona is exhausting and deeply damaging. The cycle is a difficult one to break, and takes a lot of hard work and honest conversation.

It’s easy to place our worth in the things we achieve and the way other people view us. But in reality, trying to live up to other people’s (or even our own) impossibly high standards all the time is exhausting. I know that the person who places the most pressure on me, is me, so I’m here to remind you (and me) to cut yourself some slack. It’s okay to slip up now and then, and not get perfect marks all the time. It’s okay to not feel on top of your game every day. Even if your worst worst-case scenario plays out, it probably still won’t be as awful as your brain would have you believe it is. Allow yourself the same grace and kindness you give others. Not being perfect all the time doesn’t make you less of a person. It just makes you human. And whilst learning to let go of this part of your “identity” can be scary, it is also freeing and deeply necessary.

 

On facing the discomfort…

We live in a world that is undeniably unjust. It feels like every other day, we are bombarded by the news of yet another tragic event that reminds us of this pertinent fact. If you’re anything like me, this can lead you to feeling incredibly helpless. These things feel so big that it seems impossible to do anything about it. Change feels out of reach.

However, change needs to happen, and we need to speak out. It’s difficult. It’s uncomfortable. It ruffles feathers. But the truth is, we’re at a point where shying away from things simply because they make us uncomfortable, is not a good enough excuse. I am of the belief that it is everyone’s responsibility to do everything in their capacity to fight for social justice. People often put down social media activism and even having conversations in real life. However, I don’t think these things should be overlooked. Having difficult conversations is the first step to mobilising change.

What I’m saying is this. Use the platforms you have, for good. Don’t overlook the importance of speaking out about the things you believe in, even if you worry about how you will be perceived. These issues are bigger than ourselves. I’m not saying it’s not difficult. Trust me, I know just how hard it can be. But sometimes we have to recognise when we’re making excuses for ourselves and those around us. So join me and let’s get into the habit of voicing our concerns about things. It may seem trivial, but in the bigger scheme of things, it is anything but trivial. If everyone thinks it is someone else’s responsibility, who is ever going to step up and do the difficult things that need to be done?

 

Image credit: Imán Cassiem

Days

It’s been 29 days since I packed up my room at university and came home. I went from extreme busyness to a dead halt. The world has shut down. I wear a variation of the same outfit every day now. Sweatpants and a teeshirt. I walk around with bare feet because I feel most comfy like that. Sometimes, the house is cool and the tiles make my feet cold. Maybe I should put on socks. It’s been 26 days since I wore an actual pair of shoes. I wear my comfiest, faded cotton pyjamas. I shower twice a day sometimes, because it gives me something to do. The water is so hot that I can see the steam rise off my skin. I like the smell of the green Dettol soap bar in the shower. It reminds me of my gran’s house.

Every night, my family watches the 8pm news. I try not to because I usually feel one of two ways. Either it makes me deeply sad and leaves me feeling defeated. Or I feel absolutely nothing. Which then leads to me feeling guilty, because the world is in a state of chaotic disaster.

I watch lots and lots of movies, and then sometimes I write about them in a notebook. I call them films because it sounds cooler. I love watching period pieces the most. They feel so pure, and the details fascinate me.

Every morning I make iced coffee and then spend too much time on the Worldometers site, looking at the latest virus statistics. I toggle between all the graphs and think about what my high school maths teacher would say about the gradient of the curves when we learnt calculus. I think about high school sometimes. Does that mean I miss it? I don’t know.

I spend ages on Pinterest sorting pretty photos into neat categories. Some days I sort out my boards to make sure all the pins are in the right place. Sometimes I get bored of Pinterest. I get bored of things quickly nowadays.

I tell myself I need structure, and then every time I try to create some sort of routine to follow, every fibre of my being resists it. I end up sleeping in for 2 hours and only getting started on my to-do list at 3pm. I wanted to try do some yoga during lockdown too. It’s been 21 days. I haven’t started.

I try not to get too upset about people’s opinions about lockdown and the whole coronavirus situation online. It’s hard. Especially when people are adamant about making statements that come from a place of privilege, and feel very unfair.

Some days I try to re-organise my desk in hopes that it will give me the kick I need to study in a focused manner. It doesn’t work. Nothing does really. I’m trying to fix my concentration and sleep schedule before the term starts online next week. It’s not going well. I have 4 days to sort it out.

It’s been 29 days since I packed up my room at university and came home. I wonder when the world will be normal again. I wonder if the world will be normal again.

 

Good Stuff 06. / Earth Blooms

I came across Earth Blooms on Instagram and was instantly in awe. Jess May, the creator behind the brand, is based on the island of Okinawa in Japan and she has a deep appreciation for nature. Her work pays homage to this. She creates exquisite, delicate jewellery pieces that make nature’s perfect beauty wearable. Here’s what she had to say…

What made you decide to start your business?

I’ve always loved the idea of having my own business! I kept seeing women run their own little shops successfully and that really encouraged me.

I wanted to create something that was aligned with my love for nature and things that hold deep meaning. When I discovered the art of preserving nature in pendants, I knew right away that’s what I wanted to do and was eager to start my business Earth Blooms. 

What inspires you to keep creating?

Nature. The abundance of it and the wisdom it holds. I’m super inspired by the natural world. Both learning from it and spreading its love.

How would you describe your brand/products in 3 words?

Meaningful, Earthy, and Feminine. 

What is a struggle you’ve had to overcome with your business?

Oh gosh, there were many struggles in the beginning. So much trial and error, finding what materials work and which don’t, learning the art of resin (measurements, temperatures, ridding bubbles), finding what leaves and flowers work best and which don’t for this art. There is an incredibly delicate and detailed work flow and process to create these pendants, but I’ve loved each lesson learned and seeing how far my business has come!

You can find Earth Blooms on Instagram here and Etsy here.

Nabeela x

Peace in the chaos

I write this blog to share my thoughts with the world. But more than that, I write this blog for myself. So right now, while my mind feels in a bit of turmoil, I’m going to write.

What’s happening in the world right now feels unreal. It feels like the plot of a movie that I watch one afternoon and then have an unsettling dream about later that night that leaves me feeling out of sorts until the next morning. Except, it’s not a dream. Life has come to a screeching halt all around us. It’s been frightening for me to see the people whom I usually turn to for guidance and security be just as uncertain and scared as I am.  The uncertainty has left me reeling. Whilst I have not cried about it all yet (although I know its coming), I feel a sort of strange numbness. It feels as if I’m observing all this and not really living through it. Today was day one of 21 day lockdown. It feels unreal.

I’m somewhat of a control freak and I know that for many people, the uncertainty and lack of control that this situation has brought about, is torturous. The feeling of helplessness, knowing how many people are suffering and not being able to actively help in any way, breaks my heart. All my university friends live in different provinces. I wished I had hugged everyone a little tighter when we all went home 2 weeks ago after our university very suddenly shut down and canceled our exams.

The one thing this has taught me, is to stop putting things off. Life is uncertain. You never truly know what is coming your way. After this passes, I’ll stop putting things off for when “things get less busy” or “next week”. I’ll make the most to live fully in every moment. I’ve also come to realise just how truly insignificant some things are in the bigger picture. I’ve learnt to be grateful and appreciative for all the blessings in my life. Things that felt important two weeks ago feel ridiculous now. At times like this, everything really gets put into perspective, whether you are ready for it or not.

This week has had me do odd things like message people I haven’t spoken to in months and contact teachers from school because I miss them. When things feel uncertain and life feels scary, the people you truly care about occupy your mind and heart non-stop. It’s frightening and painful and lovely all at once.

I live in a city where the economic disparity is almost unbelievable. For some people, the lockdown means having to make a double shot cappuccino at home and work on their Macbook on the couch instead of going to the local coffee shop. For others, it means that they will not be able to put food on the table for their families this week because they can’t earn money right now. This makes me sad. We are in for some very difficult days ahead. I’m trying my best to take each day as it comes. We’re all doing whatever it takes to get through this. Deep breaths.

Nabeela x

The world takes a pause…

It feels a bit like everything has been flipped upside down. The coronavirus has taken the world by a storm, and it seems as if those who we usually look up to are equally as unsure and anxious as we are. Schools and universities are shutting down. People are being told to self-isolate, work from home, not leave the house unless it is absolutely necessary. It’s frightening and strange and unlike anything most people have ever experienced.

Something that’s been a big takeaway for me is just how insignificant some things actually are. Last week, a looming week of exams seemed like the biggest, most important thing in the world. And yet the university cancelled it just like that and sent us all home. At the end of the day, nothing is more important than the health and life preservation of people. It’s important to be reminded sometimes that our health really is the most valuable and precious thing.

This week has been odd. (How many times have I used that word now?). In the space of a few hours, I packed up my life at university and came back home for an extended recess. We have not received a date for when we can move back into university residence. I said goodbye to my friends  (we all live in different parts of the country) not knowing whether we’d see each other in a week or two, or a couple of months. I didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry. It’s crazy how quickly you feel connected to other people you’ve only known for a short time. When you live with people, they become a second family.

It feels odd. A part of me is still reeling from the stress of the prep from an exam week that never happened. My body is in limbo. I keep eating unnecessary snacks and watching too many tiktoks. I’ve refreshed my twitter feed one too many times.  I read a book (that’s a good thing though).

What is happening is a scary thing. Many people are afraid, and unsure of what’s to come. But I’m doing my best to hold onto the positive. Even although her inhabitants are ill, Mother Earth is healing. People have slowed down. Fewer flight are happening. Nitrogen dioxide levels are the lowest they’ve been. The water in the canals in Venice is clear for the first time in years and years. The swans and fish are back.

If you are privileged enough to be self-isolating in the comfort of your own home, make the most of it. Give yourself some time to think. If you’re overwhelmed by the media, don’t consume too much of it. Let your body rest. Make your room cosy and read the book you’ve been wanting to get to. Do the work you need to do.

But also, spare a thought for those who don’t have cosy homes to self-isolate in. Those who can’t take time off work, the medical personnel working day and night to try and control this pandemic. Take a moment to reflect on what is actually important and valuable to you.

This is not an easy thing to deal with. Do the best you can (but please, STAY AT HOME if you’re able to). Sending love and peace.

Nabeela x

February musings

My life has pretty much done a 360 since the last time I wrote. I moved away from home, I’m officially a university student – lots of change in a short space of time.

To be honest, I was worried about how it would feel to have a new room (and a whole new life) after living at home with my family for so many years. I am a creature of habit and it felt odd to be faced with all these changes. But as I tend to do, I underestimated my ability to adapt and get on with it. I feel like we all do that. Give yourself some credit where its due – we are adaptable!

This past month has been a whirlwind of trying to find my feet and manage a huge workload, but also achieve the balance that is required for a happy, fulfilling life. Mindset is such an important thing and I’ve always found my mind the most difficult thing to control and navigate. But I’m learning. I’m still working on finding my rhythm, but I’m enjoying the change (and challenge) for the most part. It is pushing me and humbling me and teaching me that time is precious and social media and procrastination are thieves.

Some days, I want to explode because I feel so good and amped up. And other days, I want to lie in a ball on my bed and cry (and that’s exactly what I do) because I feel like I’m not smart enough and not good enough and will never be able to get this degree. And that’s okay. I’m learning to allow myself the space to get stuff wrong. And be scared and confused and feel all the feelings. And just observe them. And that in itself is a change because I’ve always struggled with this. I’m also really lucky to be surrounded by such supportive people. It’s wild how quickly you can feel connected to people you’ve only known for a couple of weeks.

I am definitely learning that my university experience is going to consist of many hours of hard work. And that’s okay. I knew what I was signing up for, and now I’m here, living it, and its all happening so fast, and I’m trying to soak up every minute and not wish it away. Because before I know it, I will blink and time will be running away from me and I’ll feel as if I let all the fun of uni life slip through my fingers. But anyways – we’re learning.

So that’s it for now. A lot is going on. But this is a nice little constant to have. Be kind to yourself.

Nabeela

twenty twenty

I know I’m a little late, but happy new year! I hope your 2020 has been a goodie so far and I hope all your goals and dreams materialise into reality.

The end of my summer break is fast approaching but I feel well rested and hopefully ready to take on what this year brings. I spent some time working, on the beach, in a nature reserve, and also spent time with family and friends which is always so so good.

So much has been happening lately – I feel like I don’t even know where to start, but I’ll keep it brief. 2020 is a year of huge transition. I start university in about two weeks and it feels like everything is happening so fast! Trying my best to keep breathing and take each day as it comes (sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t). This year I hope not to let my thoughts get the better of me. I know that everything happens for a reason and if something is meant to be, it will. But sometimes I can’t help but marvel at the timing of the things that happen to me. I guess that’s how life goes hey?

I want to be a little more present this year. 2019 was madness. I felt like all I did was eat, sleep and study. And whilst this routine sounds pretty synonymous with that of a university student too, I want to be more intentional about making more time in my life to live and have fun. I want to keep making stuff (that I want to make), read lots of books, watch good movies and look after my mental and physical wellbeing. I’m trying my best to keep an open mind and embrace the changes and experiences that this new phase of my life will bring.

I’ll keep writing on here. I’m not sure what my “content plan” for the year is going to look like, but I’ll keep writing what I want, when I want haha. I’ve been making short little life “vlogs” on Instagram TV which has been fun too.

Sending love and peace

Nabeela x

 

Books I read in 2019

Reading has always been my thing. I find reading deeply therapeutic and relaxing, so it was a welcome escape from what was a stressful and pretty draining year. I wasn’t able to find time to write a quarterly reading list like I did last year, so here is a list of all the books I read in 2019. I read some brilliant books this year and  found some new authors whose work I thoroughly enjoyed and  will be reading more of in future. (If you’d like to some more detailed reviews, there’s a book highlight on my Instagram).

Here is the list.

  1. House Rules – Jodi Picoult
  2. We Are Water – Wally Lamb
  3. Emma – Jane Austen
  4. The Clockmaker’s Daughter- Kate Morton
  5. Change of Heart – Jodi Picoult
  6. It Ends With You – S.K Wright
  7. Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë
  8. The End of Loneliness – Benedict Wells
  9. Leaving Time – Jodi Picoult
  10. Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert
  11. To Capture What We Cannot Keep – Beatrice Colin
  12. Nineteen Minutes – Jodi Picoult
  13. Dreamology – Lucy Keating
  14. Sad Girls – Lang Leav
  15. Dear Evan Hansen – Val Emmich
  16. The Hanging Girl – Eileen Cook
  17. The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas
  18. The Dreamers – Karen Walker
  19. The Lake House – Kate Morton
  20. Sharp Objects – Gillian Flynn
  21. The Muse – Jessie Burton
  22. The Translation of Love – Lynne Kutsukake
  23. City of Girls – Elizabeth Gilbert
  24. Night Music – JoJo Moyes
  25. The Cliff House – Amanda Jennings
  26. The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt
  27. Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen

My only goal for 2020 is to keep reading and not to force myself to finish books I don’t like.

What did you read this year?

Nabeela x

 

My journaling practice this year

Since I was a little girl, I’ve been a keeper of diaries. It was always more a record of my days rather than a deeper delve into my thoughts and feelings. As I’ve gotten older, it has turned more into that. But I’ve always found it slightly terrifying to write my feelings onto paper, where other people could possibly stumble across it.

However, this year, I’ve found journaling to be an immensely valuable practice. It has helped me to unpack the many things that cause me to be anxious and has led to my being more aware of how these things affects my daily thoughts and wellbeing. I’ve always been quite self-aware which can actually be quite frustrating. Imagine knowing how toxic your thought patterns are, knowing exactly where they stem from and what they are caused by, and still not being able to do anything about it.

Another thing that has kept me from journaling in the past has been the pressure (that I’ve placed on myself of course) to write neatly, fill up journals and actually feeling like I have something interesting enough to write about. But once I gave myself the freedom to let my handwriting be messy and my entries erratic, I ended up doing some of the most useful journaling I’ve ever done in my life.

It gave me a place to physically get out my concerns and things that cause me to be anxious. I could read through my thoughts, and use it to come up with ways to deal with issues I was facing (when I could), and seek help when I couldn’t. It was not foolproof. Sometimes, it just became a place where I brooded and wrote awful, negative stuff down. But other times, it was lovely. Even just writing it all out and seeing everything on one page, in one place was enough to calm myself down a bit.

I let go of the idea that I have to write every day or even every week. When I felt like writing, I did. Sometimes it was two sentences. Other times it was four pages. And then sometimes I just didn’t write at all. I stuck random things in or used highlighters. when I felt like it. And sometimes, I just imagined writing stuff down (when I was too tired or lazy to actually put pen to paper) and that in itself was enough (I promise I’m not nuts – try it).

I made use of resources or prompts at times. Other times, I just did whatever I felt like. But the one common theme for my 2019 journaling practice is that I did what worked for me, at a given time. My journal is not a pretty thing to page through and it’s not meant to be. It’s the one space I allow myself to be messy, inarticulate and inconsistent. And I love it.

I really enjoyed this video and these journaling prompts, so check those out if you want some extra insight. (Some of the prompts felt a bit too intense for me, so I didn’t do them all. Just the ones I felt like doing).

Another thing I found since starting to journal is that my writing has improved a bit, so that’s another plus.

I hope you can find some value in picking up some kind of journaling practice. May 2020 be full of self-improvement.

Nabeela x

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