Travel Diaries : New York, US

 

Wow… just wow .. I never imagined I would say this but New York has a lot of people and I definitely will be living in the suburbs .. City life’s is amazing but only until Home time. Suffice to say, I saw and experienced an overwhelming amount of emotions and stories.

Such a beautiful and vibrant city. Full of life and people and history. There wasn’t  single place I didn’t like. It was surreal, grand and out of this world.

Advertisements

The bridge to peace

Peace. Such a small word, but one with heavy meaning. A meaning which is often overlooked, ignored and forgotten. We all want to be at peace but sometimes, we are unable to actually work towards it. In fact, in our fast paced world of today, we often work away from peace. We want everything with monetary value, but not something which is priceless.

This blog today is a little different than my learning series, only because the end of my final degree has forced me to start thinking how I want my career and the rest of my life to look like. I want a good job, interesting career, doing the work I love, and thankfully I have that. But I also want to be happy, and have a peace of mind. As 2018 comes to a close, I realize I did work towards being happier with myself but I have a long way to go. It is the same as being healthy; every year I tell myself I will be healthy and I always try my best. Some days I am successful, other days I have brownies three days in a row. (Can’t resist those fudge brownies though….)..

But what about my progress towards a peaceful mind? and a peaceful life? Well… that project is ongoing…. and honestly, I hope that it will always be ongoing so that with every decision I make,  I also take into account what that decision will do to my peace.

Right now, I feel like I am walking on a bride, with the wide open sky above me, and deep deep waters filled with my fears, insecurities and concerns, below me. I am walking on the bridge, focusing on the bright sky rather than the darkness beneath me.

I am sure that at some point in your life, you felt the same. Our world is so much smaller now, its globalized. Yet, it has become more overwhelming and it continues to be overwhelming. You may also have felt like you were struggling to find inner peace. Like everything you did only increased your anxiety and fears, rather than reducing it. Well, have no fear. Ultimately, you will also reach peace, you will cross that bridge and then you will be even braver than before.

 

47443970_1834152760030256_8465478384065970176_n
Halifax, NS, Canada

Travel Diaries III: Nova Scotia

All those news about whales in New Zealand reminded me of the beauty and grandeur I saw when I travelled to Nova Scotia this summer. Whales are magnificent and they are intelligent animals. So peaceful and smart, and it broke my heart to see so many of them die this week.

Nature is soothing, calm and it brings a reality checks to us. Shows us that life is so much more than Instagram, facebook, friends and parties. A moment to see nature in its true form shows the complexities in life, and how life is so much bigger than we think of in our day to day. The vastness of the ocean, the quiet movement of marine life, are just an example of our world, the real world.

The art of asking for help

img_0511.jpg

Asking for help is never easy. It  is like admitting to yourself and everyone else that you cannot do everything alone. Sometimes its scary, nerve-wrecking and makes you feel vulnerable. It goes against our egoistical selves to admit that sometimes our days are hard, some thoughts are negative, our feelings are sad and our thoughts are weak. Sometimes feeling alone feels like nothing can touch you. Sometimes, that loneliness shakes our foundation. Sometimes sometimes sometimes……..

That thought process can continue on and on and on. I can go on forever why sometimes is better than never.

Why asking for help sometimes is better than never asking. Of course it is better but it is not enough.

Dark thoughts are like a bottomless pit. It is like a black hole. There is no end, unless you find one.

Now what is that end you say? Ask. For. Help.

Sadly, with all these technological advancements, humans still haven’t developed a way to read human minds. If we did, we could have helped so many of you without your even asking. We would have known you are falling deeper and deeper and you need a way out.

So until we come up with the technology, just ask. And one of us, will be there to give you a hand and pull you out.

 

 

A short break

So I am back after a much needed break and relaxing summer. Now it is back to work, study and just basically learning how to be an adult. The break seemed much shorter than it was but hey that’s how we all feel after summer. Summer = vacation, and fall = overdosing on coffee and all the yummy new hot drinks.

Enjoy some of my travel pics! I spent quiet some time in Ottawa and Gatineau, Canada and have a new found appreciation for our Canadian culture and lifestyle!

 

Adjusting to the uncertain times of today

25446147_2050862885194340_1565461645544777434_nBeing a Muslim, a female, an immigrant and a visible minority includes me in the group of people for whom life has started to become uncertain in the public eye. With an increase in gun violence, assaults, racial slurs, discrimination.. it is not surprising that going out now means being on high alert mentally and physically.

Unfortunately, there is not much we as common people can do alone. The issues can only be rooted out of our society when everyone wants them to leave. So obviously, that will take time. Meanwhile, what we can do is be steadfast, headstrong and deal with every hurdle direct. Of course, finding like-minded people and figuring out ways to deal with such situations also helps.

So what does going out in the public include these days? or rather, how have I learned to prepare myself or deal with situations?

Well, certainly being aware of your surroundings helps. Keep your eyes open, don’t lose yourself in the world of earphones, and look around. If not yourself, then maybe someone else needs help.

I also usually do not respond to questionable comments from strangers. There really is no point in wasting energy to respond to people who do not know who you are. Unless of course, their comment is highly inappropriate then it requires a controlled and direct response.

I do not hide who I am, but I will also not talk about my personal beliefs, ideas, issues with just acquaintances. Those conversations are way too deep and require a good level of understanding for an intellectual conversation.

Keeping my personal views away from social media!! Probably, the hardest yet most important one. Nowadays, the ‘social media police’ is way too abundant and so hard to control. Ignore. That is the solution. Ignore and do you. Don’t worry about others or their opinion because they really cannot get inside you and see who you really are. And you, are a wonderful, amazing person who does not deserve any judgements or comments from strangers.

Be friendly, be nice, be respectful and be accepting.

Self-Esteem.. and mental health

20663881_1983325168614779_467815274414031350_n10 years ago, I used to feel ugly. I had braces, I did not thread my eyebrows, I was not thin nor curvy, I did not wear make up, my fashion sense was non-existent and I always laughed too loudly or spoke too loudly. I looked around and I saw girls prettier than me, more put together than me, more in control than me. At first I would look at myself, and see a mediocre, plain face. Then I started feeling ugly. Feeling and looking ugly are not the same thing. Nobody is ugly. Ugliness and beauty are a social construct and nothing more. Feeling ugly though, indicates something far more serious. It indicates that you feel negative about yourself, who you are and what you are capable of. It means that you do not trust in yourself and desire something which you THINK you do not have but in reality you most likely do.

Then my braces were off, I started using makeup, I started following the new fashion trends and suddenly I felt like I got it. It probably was not until 2-3 years ago, that I figured out that I was actually following other people, and not really building my own way. I followed the new trends, but most of them did not look that great on me. I tried to walk, talk in a certain way but that was not me. I exercised, tried to go to the gym, but it really was not something I liked. So then I decided, why even go through so much pain and suffering. I wanted to still experiment, with my hair, my look, my ideas but not follow any one else. That was so hard to do. It is still hard. I am still learning how to be myself, how to make my mind happy and at not let the negative, self-imposed ideas get to me. Because it those self-imposed ideals that really affect our mental health and self-esteem. I used to have very low self-esteem and always looked for approval from friends, family, etc. Sometimes, I still do. My low self-esteem was really badly affecting my mental health. I was so focused on being like someone else, that it changed me, my mindset and led me to my depression. Even feeling down, I would keep telling myself, nothing will look good on you as you are so chubby… or that you have such a big nose or you really suck at makeup..

Once, I started focusing on myself, it became easier to improve my self-esteem and feel positive. I tried very hard to stop caring about others, do what I liked and think positively. It is still hard and there is still a long way to go… But at least now I do not wear heavy black Kajal just because everyone did… and I no longer look like a racoon after 4 hours…. 😀

Travel Diaries: Ottawa (II)

C1180B77-1F8A-4B1D-9B76-21FD22BE4E84.jpegJust by crossing a bridge, you will leave Quebec and enter Ontario. Canada is a beautiful country. I personally liked this view because it showed the Canadian Federal Parliament overlooking the river. It was as if the Power of authority is overlooking our country, Canada. The view is pleasing to the eye and is a magnificent picture of architecture, nature and urbanization all rolled into one.

The lone traveller

B9B6CE46-5296-4EDC-AFEC-C5DE575EC45DWalking the through the museum, I felt as If people were watching me. Questioning, who is this lonely girl exploring the museum herself? Does she not have friends or family?
Then I shook my head and mentally scolded myself for exaggerating the situation. It was the first time I was doing tourist stuff by myself, alone, and I just felt awkward. I kept wishing I had someone to give me company. What I did not realize was, I was company enough for myself.

The next time I went out alone, I was more comfortable. I actually started enjoying the scenery, the sights around me and could focus more. It was a new, different feeling. I felt like I was breaking away from something.
Coming from a big family, I have always travelled with somebody, never alone. So I got used to exploring places with friends, family or someone I know. This time however, I am on my own. I am exploring coffee shops by myself. I am going for tours on a 1 person ticket. First I felt weird.. Then I felt lonely.. Finally I felt free.

I visited a Cathedral. It was full of tourist groups, school groups and couples. And I was there, taking selfies, pictures of the art and architecture and just taking it all in. I felt stares and instead of feeling awkward this time, I stared back. Lifting my eyebrows in a dramatic fashion, asking them Can I help you? I laughed to myself.. and apologized to my parents mentally for my staring back….

Jokes aside though, I wonder why we feel vulnerable when we travel alone. Maybe because we are scared of how negative the world is becoming, or we just have not tried it. I am in no sense, 100% comfortable in doing all things alone. But I would say, I have a renewed sense of adventure. Smart adventure though… not the risky, lets-break-all-rules type adventures.

I think we all should do things that make us feel weird, awkward, out of place. Only then can we distinguish, If the thing is really not for us or is it just a feeling?