February is the new January right?? 😀
As you can tell from the title of this post, it is rather late, but as January was a crazy month and my head space was a real mess, I never managed to get around to finishing writing this post. Now I am in a slightly better place, so thought it was about time I publish this (before it’s really too late).
I originally planned to do this as one post but ended up writing quite a bit, so to make it a bit more digestible and more exciting (??) I have split it into two posts.
The first thing is that I have never been a fan of the term ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ – I’ve never really made any in the past, and the terminology for me appears to be synonymous with failure. 2016 was the first year I set myself goals – not resolutions – with clear outcomes and dates, and a plan to achieve those goals, and I went a long way in achieving the majority of them. So this year I have decided to push myself further, and set some more goals of exactly what I want to achieve.
1. Fall in love with my first passion.
I’m also planning to start an art project of my own, based on pop-art/culture (with a mix of art nouveau if I can manage it!), which I very much love. I’m thinking of calling it #TheConversationSeries, with the following premise: ‘When you say what you don’t want to say.’ The idea behind this really comes from recognising that people never really say what they want to say to each other. Everyday, I feel we are clouded by a veil of tiny white lies or untruths, and I decided I wanted to explore this in my art, because I have found that even I am susceptible to it and usually hold myself back from saying what I really want to say in many situations I encounter in my day to day life – lest it offends someone or they find me weird/creepy/inappropriate – and instead say a very diluted form of what I’m really thinking or desiring. It bothers me because I don’t think we live our lives true to ourselves or to even others for that matter. We hold ourselves back everyday in tiny ways and before we know it it amounts to a bigger thing impacting our lives/emotions/psyche. For whatever reason, society has evolved in a way where we are afraid to be vulnerable with each other. I have explored this theme already in my writing but I am keen to explore it in my art and have already started working on my first piece. Follow me on Instagram to see the progress of the project as this is where I will be ‘publishing’ the pieces of work (if I am happy with the outcomes of what I draw that is.. let’s see how it goes ehh).
2. Read a book a month… and blog about it.
After all that’s the reason why I started this blog in the first place! To review the books that I was reading on the tube whilst living in London back in 2014. I certainly did not read or write as much as I wanted to last year so one of my main prerogatives this year is to attempt to read at least one book a month and do a review on it. This will also help to get me into a regular blogging habit and * hopefully * push me to finish reading the book I have chosen for that month. I managed to finish a book in January – so off to a good start! Blog post is pending. Feb not going so well atm lol..
3. Write. Write. Write.
Write anything, everything, whatever floats my boat, without any shame, without any desire to be great or exceptional or edgy or deep or whatever. JUST WRITE. I want to try and write a few short stories this year actually – as this is something I used to do a lot back in the early days of my writing endeavours, but haven’t done much lately as I have been trying to focus on the first draft of my novel. I made quite a bit of progress on this last year, but work on this stalled a bit as other things in my life started to get in the way, like my marketing course and family drama. I would like to write another 25,000 words, and am planning to do a writing getaway to Scotland for a week to enable this. I just need some time out to get my head back in the zone again and spew out lots of words. I will persevere on this coz I WILL WRITE THIS BLOODY NOVEL IF IT’S THE LAST THING I DO / COMPLETE BY THE AGE OF 30 COZ THAT’S THE TASK I’VE SET FOR MYSELF. As Nanowrimo espouses, 50,000 words can be achieved in a month if you write 1,600 words a day, which is really not that much!! Especially considering after Cambridge when you’re trying to turn around 3,000 words on an essay on Hobbes in one night!
4. Connect with old friends and new.
What I have come to realise in my natural state of hermit-modeness is that if I do not actively make an effort to see people/friends/family – I could easily go through the rest of my life with NEVER SEEING THEM AGAIN EVER. Not because I don’t want to, but because there are people that I know that I would never really cross paths with unless I made an active effort to meet up with them. The likelihood of miraculously bumping into them in the street or a friend’s party (which is naturally dependent on me attending the party in the first place) is very very very small (especially as I live in the peasant hole that is Southampton and no one else I know lives here and I mean no one!!).
For some reason, even though the world/universe has proved me wrong time and time again, you are never too old to make new friends/besties, or reconnect with people who you weren’t so close with in the past in new and different and valuable ways – ways you may never have expected because when you first met you were in a different place/mindset. So this is one of my goals this year – to be more active about seeing people that I haven’t seen in a while or wouldn’t normally consider meeting up with. Just be a bit more ‘out there’ as the proverbial (?) saying goes. I’ve always had quite an active social life, but it’s easy for me to stick to the same people/circle of friends and not make an effort to spend time with people just because they are based in a different city or whatever. I go to London a lot, so it would be easy to meet up with people, and even explore London further while I’m at it, but I tend to just go to London to complete A and do B, and then come straight back to Southampton. So going ahead, my aim is to meet up with a friend while I’m there! I have reconnected with and made so many new friends last year (very unexpectedly but delightfully so), so I want to continue engaging with these people, especially those who I feel add some sort of value to my life or enrich it in some capacity – be it entertainment or #deep convos (lool).
At the same time, I want to make a move away from those people who just waste my time or just use me, or those who I do not enjoy the company of or find drain my energy. I am hideously loyal to my friends and the people I love, and I expect nothing short of in return. So as I’ve grown older, I’ve realised that there are some people who just sap my energy and others who infuse me with their positivity and leave me feeling so much better within myself, and I am able to exude that quality too. So yah, that’s me on that front.
5. Listen to my body.
I have literally eaten every brown-chocolate looking thing in my sight this evening even after a large plate of lasagne, fried rice and gym session with my PT, whereby I listed off how great I’d been with my food/eating healthily all day fml. I’ve even eaten some random potato thing just now – I’m not even sure I know whatwhat it is – probably my nephew’s baby food. SIGH.
Yes, I have major food issues, shoot me I’m a girl. For whatever reason, I have a perpetual desire for junk food. I enjoy it while it’s in my mouth and I’m chewing it, but the moment it hits my stomach I feel sick and like shite. I worked immensely hard to lose weight and recently all I ever feel like I do is eat junk food. I have gained some of the weight back yes, only understandable when you eat your feelings by way of 10,000 calories of flippin cake. Once I have a little bit of sugar, I just keep going back for more (I swear even drugs don’t have this effect on me), and according to a recent BBC diet type test thing I did online, I am a ‘Constant Craver’, above being a ‘Feaster’ and ‘Emotional Eater’ – although I am those things too fml. I’ve had 10+ years/a lifetime of bad eating habits so I know it’s a lot of pressure for me to think those habits will change quickly, but after the hard slog of weight loss and reaching my goal weight you’d think something would have stuck – but nooo – I genuinely feel like I am back to square 1 sometimes.
My aim this year is to listen to my body – eat when I am hungry and stop when I am full – basically practice healthy eating habits now that I have lost weight in order to keep it off for good, otherwise I will inevitably blow back up to my former couch potato self. Which I should probably be worried about, but currently I look at overly obese people and I am actually jealous of them. I’m like ‘YOU CAN LITERALLY EAT WHATEVER YOU LIKE AND YOU DO NOT GIVE A F*’. They probs do, but whatever. I am getting Invisalign braces this year (thank goodness!) so will not be able to eat while I have these on so hopefully that should help with not eating mindlessly or out of boredom. So my aim is to stop/reduce my junk food intake, learn more about nutrition and health to inform my knowledge and practices (I’ve signed up to an online course on this) and nail down the maintenance of my weight through a healthy lifestyle, one day at a time.
Today, I asked myself
Where are all the good men?
Who don’t bicker and dismiss
Their loved ones with a hiss
With a side glance and a kiss
I love you, they say, they persist
I’ll be there in a moment, not long now, they insist
Only to turn away
And go back to living the lies
of their daily
Where are all the good men
Who don’t look at you and sigh
Wish to say something but remain silent, hide
behind the walls of their armour, their pride
Who wait in the shadows, feelings in disguise
In the spaces and moments between time
glances so telling
Where are all the good men
who are brave enough to say how they feel
that everything they want today, tomorrow, is real
that their heart is there for the taking, for the steal
that theirs is the eternal promise,
Bound by loyalties of all kinds
And it’s all for you
No more lies
Where are all the good men
I ponder, as I watch you through the window, alone
Where are all the good men, I say
Who do not fear mistakes, who value what you have to offer
and all that is at stake
all the compromises you make
day in day out
for their happiness, for their sake
Where are all the good men
the lull that comes with age,
the warmth that come with your words,
the wisdom that comes with your trust
The good men, who take your hand
and lead the way
to lands far away
to breathtaking heights
Who lie awake at night
under the moon’s light
to make sure your dreams are full and bright
and demons are banished, out of sight
Where are all the good men, I wonder
After spotting you stay behind
After a long hard day, standing outside
beyond the glass planes, under the broken umbrella
As you hover, left and right, side to side
In the cold rain with your pale face and curly hair, never mind
I watch you wait, hour after hour
how can you stand there
and not wonder.
I paint the sea in your eyes
And in the dark night, when all things real
I’ll wait for you by the dockside
Where the tide comes in
Side to side
For the moonlight to light
And guide you to me.
“If you ignite passion within you… the world has a miraculous and magnificent way of rearranging itself to suit the new person you are becoming.” – Tina Su
Ok so lots of stuff happened. Going on from my visual roundup blog post last year, I have done a similar mosaic thing of my moments throughout 2016 here. Enjoy!
January – new year, new me 😀 Started my diet, started writing like a maniac during my lunch breaks at work after some inspo at a friend’s Christmas party the month before and went to Calais with my sister from the support of a uni friend who was volunteering out there. Raised over £700 to go there and provide supplies to the refugees, and had an incredibly insightful time working with other volunteers and meeting and talking with the refugees.
Went hard on the dietlife #lowcarb, which meant every time I went out to eat I went to Handmade Burger and Co. – coz the chicken is halal baby! Matt came to visit Soton for the first time ever and I ended up taking him there too ;D. Also spent lots of time with my sisters as my mum was still overseas so I was babysitting them in every sense of the term, drinking endless bouts of coffee, working through my CIM assignment, writing that tragic love story, continuing driving lessons with my instructor who continued to make sexual analogies at me about driving, reading motivational quotes to keep me on that #dietlife, and loving my baby nephew ❤
Made the 5-6 hour trek to my sister’s new place in Basildon/London to spend time with her and my youngest and most adorable baby nephew who I loves so much ❤ ❤ ❤ over the Easter break, reunited with my oldest niece and nephew after being apart for 7 years (it was pretty emotional and yet at the same time as though we had never parted), met up with Cambridge peeps (pretty sure I won several pool matches too), and was still going strong on the diet and had lost just under 2 stone by then.
Hit the 2 stone mark – was overjoyed! My half-brother had his baby daughter (that’s me in the hospital in the top left holding her 😀 ), stumbled onto a book on all I needed to know about potatoes in a charity shop 😄 (regret not buying it!), and had the most AMAZING trip in Rome with one of my oldest friends. The food in Rome is absolutely incredible and fresh (I STILL DREAM ABOUT IT SOMETIMES OMGGG). We saw all the main sights and did soo much walking that I actually lost weight during the trip! The picture in the bottom right is me at my friend Nadia’s birthday party in London. I was a bit of a social hermit from Jan-March and went on a social media detox. This is one of the first pictures I posted since I had lost a significant amount of weight and lots of lovely people got in touch online to congratulate me.
May was an exceptionally busy month – finally met up with old school uni/China buddy in Portsmouth as she was down in the south for her placement, my mother returned after 6 months overseas, saw my besties and graduated with my MA at Cambridge (I know right it’s crazy how time flies!), my sister had her baby Hana Sophiya Matin ❤ (yes I am an aunty to a gazilljillion babies), saw one of my oldest and dearest friends in Coventry for her 25th birthday and did my civic duty i.e. jury service. I was so naive – I was super excited about doing this when I got the letter – for some reason I always wanted to do jury service (probs coz I watched way too much CSI back in the day). Anyway, I was put on the worst case imaginable and it was a truly horrible, un-enjoyable and stressful experience (possibly also because I was also trying to finish my CIM assignment during it). Would not recommend.
June was equally as eventful – it was Ramadan, so I was fasting from sunrise to sunset whilst trying to balance the demands of my full-time job; the days were so long that me and my baby sis started baking! This was very experimental on my part – if you know anything about me then you know I struggle with the basics of life, like making edible rice and toast, although I have massively improved my culinary skills this year. I love bananas so I tried my hand at making a banana cake – which ended up being pretty decent! But it was my artistic sister Jamila who bought out all the stops when it came to baking and decorating. I also had the most amazing trip to Singapore to see my uni friend get married. I saw all the main sights and just had the most fantastic time meeting old and new PPS friends. I literally also had no chill when it came to food. I ate so much bread and cake I got acid reflux I’ve never had this before – thought I was dying in my usual dramatic fashion but my mate put me straight. I was also racing against time with finishing off my CIM Marketing assignment – which I managed to submit in time and get a distinction in yeyyyyy #stillgoit 😀 And to top it all off I gained about a stone fml from eating cake everyday :’C
Ramadan finished, I stopped eating cake, I got a personal trainer (woop) and started lifting weights; got a cold, tried to write but failed, got back on the #dietlife, although fasting had really messed up my routine and metabolism, went to the Lake District and was fortunate with beautiful weather, saw BSoc pal get married, saw one of my dearest friend’s for her 4th wedding anniversary (crazeee), enjoyed a Rio themed staff party at work (which was nice I suppose considering I completely ignored the actual Olympics), and reunited with an old school friend from Regent’s Park and her family which was super lovely ❤ It was like old times!
August was a bit of a stressful month for me, my mother had to go to Bangladesh again due to land issues, I wasn’t losing weight as fast as I wanted and was putting desperate amounts of pressure on myself and getting depressed about it; I also cut off a chunk of my hair because couldn’t deal with the drama of taming my long hair any longer, and I tried to limit my social outings as I was just struggling to manage all the stuff going on in my life and just feeling quite quickly overwhelmed, especially babysitting my younger sisters, the younger of which was giving me a right headache – #Kardashian worthy drama I tell ye. My emotions were just on a short leash in general (low carbing side effects probs), so the smallest things would just set me off on an emotional rant/rollercoaster. But I managed to power through and survive this challenging month. I saw lots of friends however, which kept me sane among the madness – loved re-visiting the sights in Winchester and my old sixth-form, seeing more of my old school friend and family from Regent’s Park, and catching up with the bestie. Also tried expanding my cooking repertoire with fish and did some light yet satisfying reading!
My friend Abi reminded me about signing up to do a 5k run in October that I off-the-cuff agreed to months ago but completely forgot about – but so glad she mentioned it to me again and that I decided to go for it despite having two major modules of my CIM course to complete. She drove down from Portsmouth on a weekly basis so we could go running together in Southampton Common. This by far has been one of the best things to come out of 2016 – I fell in love with exercising but ultimately running outside! It’s such a social thing too – it was a great way for me to catch up with Abi and just unload – I don’t have many female friends close to me in Southampton so it was just wonderful being able to have a girl to chat to as a change (not that I don’t love catching up all my male friends, I do!, but it’s different chatting to a girl about your daily woes!!). I had so much fun training for this and got into a habit of working out/training 5 days a week – which I always thought would be crazy difficult to do, but wasn’t at all. Once it became a habit I didn’t need to think about it, I would just grab my gym bag and go! My sister also received a fab award from Peter Symonds on her charity work, it was Eid no.2, I was doing my best to start incorporating more of my fave treats in moderation back into my diet and get back into reading some thrillers and blogging. I also went up to London for a week to visit family and friends and my lovely dentist to get my Invasalign braces sorted. I have quite a bit of holiday with my job so had a number of days left over so was able to take a week off to enjoy. It was great being in London and just being able to relax and see people and catch up, especially as I’d been quite the hermit since the start of the year.
October involved more running, food, and catching up with friends. I also hit my goal weight of 8.10 stones! Honestly it was a great feeling and I celebrated it by eating like a tonne of pasta and cheese. It wasn’t this huge euphoric moment for me or anything, it was a slow and long burn getting there and when I did I just felt like I had come into my own – don’t know if that makes any sense? But yes it was a great feeling. I loved the 5k (I truly felt like I was at the height of my fitness at this point) and making new friends in the process; and it was great to be able to raise and donate a sizeable chunk of money to the NSPCC, a charity close to my heart and one that I have been supporting since I got my very first job at the age of 16.
Whilst I was training for the 5k I pretty much ignored my CIM work so most of November was spent panicking about my assignment and exam prep and binge eating due to stress ergh. My manager also told me she was moving to a new job (after 10 years at the University of Southampton!). I cried buckets like a big bluberring baby #noshame. She’s been such an incredible person in my life ever since I started working and has made such a difference to my mental wellbeing and happiness at work that I was truly distraught when she said she was leaving – I wasn’t the only one, the rest of the Digital team were pretty much in the same boat. I continued to run casually for fun with Abi during the weekends, as it’s so beautiful in Southampton during autumn, as usual had great fun at with the Christmas lights switch on and working on the new undergraduate recruitment campaign, went to an Oxbridge BanglaSoc networking/reunion event, which was lovely for seeing old faces and new, and I also introduced a new slow cooker in my life, which wasn’t as revolutionary as I hoped it would be frankly, but possibly might need to try harder with recipes..
December and the end of the year is upon us already. This month is usually the most busiest for me with events back to back. I was studying in the library for most of the start of it in prep for my exam (which was at Girton College, Cambridge – just when I thought I had done my last exam in the city back in 2013..). After that, I spent a weekend catching up and eating cake with my best friends in Coventry – as we had all finished our exams/got a new job/had reasons to celebrate something and just in general not having seen each other for ages. My sisters from London and my niece and nephew from Newcastle came down for the holidays too so it was a week of madness and I was pretty much sleeping on the couch for most of it, but you gotta do what you gotta do for yo fam.
All in all, 2016 was an incredibly challenging and fulfilling year for me. I have learnt so much about myself, what I am capable of, what I want and about the impact people can have on others, even though they might not know it. I am so glad that I decided to make positive changes in my life – these have all had a knock on effect on my mentality and self-belief and how I conduct myself in my personal relationships with people. I plan on setting myself even more goals for the year ahead to develop and myself further.
Also a thank you to everyone who follows my blog and reads it. Hello to all my new subscribers as well! I love all the feedback and the positivity received and very much appreciate it. Happy New Year everyone!
My next two posts will be regarding my new year’s goals for 2017 – watch this space! xxx
I see you
You, me, up, looking
Me, you, down, looking
Up, sides, away, seeking
Low, high, ceiling, showing
Stars in the night
Lights in sight
We walk past
Nothing, Like we feel
In plain sight, Hides it
In the eyes
It is, isn’t it
And I imagine
With each glance, every
through the doors,
light panels, blue
crystal and clear