Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Dear December // Mini Series #6

Dear December,

The light dusting of frost twinkled as spots of sunlight bounced off the white crystals that lay in intricate patterns on the ground. It was like it was protecting the earth from the harsh wind that rattled the windows in the middle of the night.

The festive atmosphere swallowed my body and the bitter weather trapped me indoors. Since my family and I don’t celebrate Christmas you turned out to be a very mediocre month. But in an odd way I like that about you December, you seem to eradicate the dramatically heightened Christmas period and simply ease us into the new year.

I fancied a change this month. I felt like I needed to switch things up a little so I decided to cut my hair. I think it’s the first time I haven’t cursed the hairdresser for ruining my life hair. I feel like a suppressing weight has been lifted, I feel lighter, happier. People told me I’d miss my long hair but honestly, I don’t. Thank you December, you’ve taught me that change can be healthy and as long as I have the courage to knock down the barriers and allow it to happen, I’ll be okay.

Source: Nabsticle

In addition to the blissful moments that you have blessed me with this month, an email landed in my inbox (causing me to smile like a right idiot on the bus) and instigated a catalyst of motivation and reassured me that my writing is worthy and it was always what I was destined to do. A successful online magazine by the name of Write On! showered me with joy when they told me that they would be publishing one of my poems in their December issue! They even went out of their way to give me some feedback on my work. I’m so grateful for this opportunity, to share something that was written on a whim over the summer is incredible. Things are looking very promising and I feel so unbelievably lucky.

There were only a couple of lost days where things didn’t feel quite right or I just wanted my duvet to package me up and take me to a distant world. Every other day was filled with warming smiles, productivity and snuggling in front of the TV watching the traditional melodramatic EastEnders or the delightful antics in the Only Fools and Horses Christmas specials.

There’s not much more I have say to you December. You’ve allowed me to chill and quietly prepare for the insightful and daring adventures that will soon unfold in 2015. Thank you.

Yours faithfully,
Nabeela

I planned this series to continue till the end of the year and now that we’re here I don’t want it to end. I don’t think I’ll be doing any more however if you like them then I will definitely continue. I’ve really enjoyed this series, reflecting on the past month has been really fascinating, refreshing and healthy. I hope you’ve enjoyed them too.

You can have a read of my letter to November here.


Friday, 26 December 2014

A Summary of 2014

I carefully opened my diary with its grey and floral exterior to find my 2am thoughts, concerns, special moments and everything I’m too afraid to say out loud. I flicked through to the last entry of 2013 and whispered the words I once felt. According to my diary it was a mediocre year, full of ups and downs, same old repetitiveness. My eyes began to well up when I realised that I had no ambition for 2014, I was just going to go with the flow of existence and see what happens. How could 2013 damage me so much to the point where I felt so empty and discouraged? Sadly it was a time where friendships were broken and hatred for the world was developed.

2014 was a new chapter and it definitely was the turning point in my book. This is the first year where I can retrospect and safely say that it was truly beautiful. I’ve had such a memorable, thought-provoking and remarkable year.

Source: Nabsticle

Here are just some of the highlights that made 2014 so special:

·         Taking a risk and having the confidence to join an online magazine. Through this experience it has opened up many opportunities, I’ve learnt so much and I’m immensely grateful for all of the friends that I made. Plus being given the chance to publish my own writing was incredible.

·         Creating this little space. It was the best decision I’ve ever made and I’m so indebted to everyone who reads and appreciates my blog.

·         Going to watch a theatre production of An Inspector Calls with my friend and her mum. That night was perfect.

·         Through the tension, fear of failing and crushing pressure, I managed to get through my exams and come out with great results. I’m so proud of myself.

·         After five long years I finally completed high school. It wasn’t all laughs but there were definitely some gems amongst the rough stones.

·         I took part in a crazy filming project over the summer, made some wonderful friends and even had the confidence to do some acting. It made me so happy and it’s something I’ll never forget. I even rode in a taxi for the first time!

·         Okay this is something I haven’t told anyone before so here you go, you’ve heard it from the horse’s mouth. Over the summer holidays I started writing the foundations of what could potentially become a book… It’s a complete mess and at the moment none of it really makes sense but that’s okay. Writing my very own book has been a dream of mine for such a long time and to be able to say that I’m finally on the path to achieving this feels amazing.

·         This summer I properly got into writing. I got some short stories and poems published in small online magazines which is something I never thought I could do.

·         I had my first ever operation and though it was the toughest thing I’ve ever had to endure, I got through it. And I couldn’t be more appreciative and proud.

·         I started college and I finally feel content with the direction that my life is going. I’ve made some lovely friends and I’m studying subjects that I actually enjoy.

·         I travelled to London with friends I barely knew at the time and had the most inspiring and momentous time. Truly unforgettable.

·         I fell in love with new artists like; Ed Sheeran, Lana Del Rey, Lena Fayre, Banks, James Bay and many more.

·         I saw Ed Sheeran live and was blown away at how music could bring hundreds of people together just by having so much belief in someone’s words and emotions. My brother and I also went to see McBusted and interviewed their support act. I was terrified but they were so lovely and it was something I’d never done before.

·         This was also the year I discovered inspiring and passionate people like Katie Oldham, creator of the blog Scarphelia. I’ve also been gaping in awe at the positive changes that the beautiful actress Sophia Bush is making to the world. Removing the negative and replacing it with the positive has helped me immensely and I can’t help but commend these people for bringing hope back into a once lost heart.

·         This year I’ve finally realised that I’m so insignificant to the world but at the same time I’m a crucial cog in the machinery. I’ve realised my potential and have started to truly believe that every day is a new day. There is always a light, perhaps just a glimpse or a small flicker, but it’s always there amongst the darkness.

I know some of these things are meagre and small but they are what has made my 2014 and I will cherish them dearly. I can only dream of 2015 being even bigger and better. I see myself growing even more and edging closer to the ideal person I want to be. I want to keep writing, reading, expanding my knowledge, blogging, but most importantly I want to stay inspired because I don’t know what I’d do if this flame inside of me is ever extinguished. I realise this post has got scarily deep but I felt it had to be said.

Thank you 2014 for being an extraordinary year. I think I’m finally happy. I want to try new things and take risks, fail and then try again. This year has been reflective, encouraging and meaningful. Who knows what 2015 will bring but I know for a fact that I’m one hundred percent ready to face it.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

First Term of College Update

The end of the lengthy stress-free summer holidays was finally at an end and I would be starting college very soon. I would be venturing into a brand new chapter, immersing myself into a different journey, stepping into an unfamiliar world. My mind ran in circles with an abundance of questions filled with ambiguity: would I be able to handle it? Have I chosen the right subjects? Will I be able to make friends? Should I re-invent myself in terms of my appearance and even my character traits that have been innate within me my entire life?

I remember scrolling through Twitter and seeing people alarming the students who have just received their GCSE results and telling them that A Levels will be the toughest thing they have ever had to endure. Well let me tell you this, A Levels is a massive jump up from GCSEs, it most certainly isn’t for everyone and you may dread every single morning you have to wake up at crazy o’clock and drag yourself to lesson, but that isn’t the case for everyone.

The amount of tweets I saw saying that you may as well give up now or you don’t know what stress is until you’ve done A Levels utterly disgusted me. Okay that may have been the case for some people but what are you getting out of demotivating others and forcing your negative attitude upon them before they’ve even stepped into their college campus?

Source: here

I love college. I’m ardent for each day, I respect my teachers with extreme dignity, I’m grateful for the facilities that are on offer, I have the most passionate and crazy friends and I always find myself laughing in all my lessons and smiling at how blessed I am to have been given a valuable education. And I believe that this is because I decided to reject the horror stories that people were forcing into my head and replaced them with positive thoughts. I remember telling myself the night before the first day of college: screw what everyone’s saying, I’m going to try my hardest to do well and I’m going to stand tall no matter what troubles anyone throws at me. But most importantly, I’m going to be myself. Try not to see it as another two years of difficulty but see it as two remarkable years of learning and growing as a person.

Since starting college I’m finally understanding who I truly am, my strengths and who I want to be in the future. I am much more content with my life and the direction in which it’s going. I’m not at crossroads anymore. Isn’t that what college is really about? And sadly it’s something I never could have done back in high school surrounded by fake friends and careless teachers who only turned up because it’s their job.

As nerdy as it is, I’m proud of the fact that I turn up to lesson on time, I get all of my homework out of the way the night that it’s given and I do extra reading outside of class to go over the topics because I strive to do well. Going to college is a privilege and I feel that people forget that sometimes.

I may be doing completely different subjects to you which I know is a huge contrasting factor in terms of work load but I guess what I’m trying to say is that your college experience is what YOU make of it. It can be two years of endless nights feeling like you’re constantly on the verge of an existential crisis or it can be a beautiful experience full of smiles, laughter and permanent friendships.

Source: here

I’ve had days where the sun seems to wear a deceiving mask and all I wish to do is curl up in bed and dream of a distant land. At the beginning of term I missed two weeks because of my operation and I felt like every ounce of willpower was crumbling between my fingertips. I also dropped one of my subjects because I dreaded every lesson and just wasn’t grasping it. That was the best decision I ever made. I know for a certainty that I wouldn’t have been remotely happy if I had continued it. But I knew that soon enough I would be welcomed by fantastic teachers and learning mind-blowing theories and facts. I feel like the single jigsaw pieces of my existence are finally fitting together and I’m happy. And to be able to say ‘I’m happy’ means a lot as this time last year I was the complete opposite.

I hope this helps you to see your education in a much more positive light and to not worry so much. I realise that things can change in an instant and when exams come around I’ll probably despise college but for now I’m okay. Remember that college is only for two years so squeeze the most amount of goodness you can from it and always keep in mind the true purpose of why you’re there. High school doesn’t last forever and neither does college but whenever someone plants a seed of doubt in your oblivious and impressionable mind, never let late nights and irrational decisions water it.

How are you finding college? Has your experience been a good one?

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Making the Small Things the Big Things

Source: here
Edited by Nabsticle

  • At 8am in the morning I felt the wind bite my flushed cheeks as I trudged my way to the coach stop. I shoved my purple earphones in and started playing anything that won’t make me doze off the moment I’m seated. We rattled our way through the winding roads as I tried my hardest to avoid eye contact with fellow humans. I stared out of the window and glared at my reflection, cursing myself for not waking up early to look at least half decent. An orange glow caught the corner of my eye so I turned my head slightly to discover the most beautiful sunrise. Ignoring the run down car park below, trying my hardest to feel its presence through the tall trees, it shone over me. As we drove down the hill it began to hide, as if sheepishly avoiding my curiosity to not give away all of its beauty. And I sat there, turned to the stranger next to me, and smiled. What a wonderful thing to see before starting the day.

  • Parents wandered in, cups of tea and mince pies in hand, and plopped themselves into the nearest seat they could find. The deputy head teacher hushed the audience who waited in anticipation. The annual Christmas production that my sister’s primary school always held was about to begin. The lines of children walked in and the entire hall lit up with their creative and colourful costumes. And there she was. My four year old sister waddled into the hall in her snowman costume (basically an Olaf onesie) and spun around frantically trying to find me and my parents amongst the seats. She finally spotted us and did a little excited jiggle. Her grin made me realise that us being there meant the world to her.

  • Large, beefy, bald and ginger; there’s no better way to describe the security guard that I always see at the end of the day in between the sea of teenagers pushing their way through to find their coach. He deals with all sorts of people including the moody, hyper and even the crazy. I sympathise with him, I really do. But as I was barging past (and most probably knocking some poor person in the face with my bag) I came across the seemingly scary security guard. And you know what he did? He smiled. It was late, everyone was tired, there was a massive rush of people, but he smiled. It’s safe to say that this small act of kindness made my day.

From now on I’ve decided to not ignore the small things and in fact, make them the big things. Because quite frankly, they are. If something so small can make your day, or change your outlook to a more positive one then shouldn’t they be given the credit they deserve? I believe that all these small things add together to form your personal attitude towards the world, so make it a good one.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

The Motivation Folder

Losing our willpower is normal. Procrastination occurs a little too often than we’d like and can suppress our determination to do what is needed and what is a vital key to keep us moving forward. We can step off the gas and fuel becomes sparse. A standstill is detrimental and this winding path of life will consume us if we don’t keep going, keep dreaming big and persisting in the things that may seem impossible.

On those nights when the night sky seems a little too dark, the stars seem a bit too dim, the rainy teardrops are whipping against your window and you feel like you want your duvet to swallow you; stop. Get out of bed - despite it being below zero degrees - open up your computer/laptop/tablet/mobile and click on ‘the motivation folder’.

Source: here

This will bless your eyes with a collection of photos, quotes, comments, lyrics and anything that reminds you of the true purpose of life. I created one a while ago and now it’s brimming with inspiration and wise words of motivation. Whenever I feel a little lost when it comes to my blog or confused at the direction and career choice I want to pursue in then out comes the motivation folder and I’m suddenly not feeling so minuscule. That disorientated feeling is then replaced with invincibility. Trust me, it works.

You’re probably thinking: what is the message of this odd post? Well there’s only one simple lesson I want you to take from this. I urge you to create your own motivation folder and make it overflow with anything that creates an insatiable desire to achieve and fulfil that crazy dream of yours. It’s such a small thing but it can make a great difference.

Never lose sight of why you started. You’ve got this far, why stop now?

Sunday, 7 December 2014

A Picture Paints a Thousand Words

Tumblr inspires me. It is the thing that sparked the motivation for me to sit down and write this post. I understand that the countless photos that fly past in a blur of colours can get a little tedious and may even cause painful cramps in your finger from the endless scrolling but there’s just something about it. A message, a lesson and perhaps an odd sense of hope bubbles inside and creates something inextinguishable.

I find it immensely beautiful that each photo means something different to each individual. I only really noticed it recently but a single picture can create a thousand stories in your head. It visualises your idea of what may have been happening at the time. It radiates the raw emotions that may have been felt. What happened before and after the photo was taken? Did that cute couple get their happy ending? It really makes you think.  

What’s laughable about this idea is that your interpretation of the people or the setting in the photo is most likely to be wrong. And it almost seems like you’re betraying the people who took the photo and almost invading the moment they captured. But the beauty of it is that your analysis is just as valid. The story you get from one image says more about you than what the photographer wanted to say initially. And there’s nothing wrong with that and we sure as hell shouldn’t feel guilty about it.

Source: here
Edited by Nabsticle

For example, this photo to me conveys an elderly couple who have retired and the map brings nostalgia about all the wonderful countries they’ve visited. What does it mean for you?

It’s the ideal source of inspiration for writers, artists, poets, musicians, philosophers. It’s the ideal source of inspiration for humans of any age, class and ability. Next time you’re flicking through old photo albums and you’re wistfully reminiscing your childhood I want you to remember the moment as if it was only yesterday. That photo of you sprawled on the floor laughing hysterically at something your best friend said means so much more to you than anyone else, regardless of it being a good or bad memory. But for others it can mean something completely different and maybe to them it’s not so significant.

I find that being an English student is the perfect way of expressing this. Yes we’re told to over analyse and practically destroy something to shreds just to connote some kind of logical meaning but everyone’s idea of a text is different. To me that’s simply fascinating.

I’m sorry if this seems like a tangled mess of rambling thoughts but it seemed important to share. A picture paints a thousand words, or it may only paint a few, but that’s up to you. We have individual opinions and have the power to think differently which is the reason that the world is still spinning.

Capture a moment and cherish the unique meaning and profound joy you get from it, but also feel the emotions from another photo and feel inspired. Be able to ignite your own story from just a spontaneous split second moment. The power of a single photograph is incredible.