Well, not so much fun and leisure as...get some damn writing done, you fool!
A while ago, I attended a writers' workshop and the lady who hosted it told us all to go away with this bit of advice - to write for just ten minutes a day. I was determined to go ahead with it and I did...for two days. So today I remembered that I'd resolved to do so and I whipped out my journal and wrote for fifteen minutes. |
I'm typing out pretty much the same thing that I wrote earlier, with some differences. I find I can go a lot more in-depth when I'm typing than when I'm writing by hand. Writing by hand is such a chore!
I've struggled with loneliness a lot throughout my twenty-nine years. I struggled with it when I was the only one home with my mum when I was a teen and everybody else had other places to be. I struggled with it after marriage and when we moved into our own house for the first time. I struggled with it after my son was born and I felt torn between pursuing my writing and being a good mum, because my culture seems to indicate that a woman has absolutely no chance of living her own life - or at least, she has no chance of attaining any goals she hasn't already attained - once she has children.
I feel it occasionally still, even though I get so little time to myself nowadays that any alone time is simply awesome. I've tried to come to terms with the idea that being alone isn't a bad thing - and a lot of the time, it isn't. My friends don't live nearby so I don't get to see them often, and even when I do, I feel like there isn't much depth to our conversations. I'm surrounded by people who do not think like me, who do not share any of my interests and hobbies. I feel like I've become desensitised to isolation. Loneliness is my preferred way to be.
I walked into my college cafeteria at lunch today and it was the usual hubbub of activity. Youngsters walking around, chatting animatedly, shouting across the room, laughing, eating, socialising. I could recall how that clamour wouldn't have bothered me ten-twelve years ago, when I would have been one of the youngsters talking excitedly with her friends. But, as this moment, I just found an out-of-the-way little table and sat down. I watched the crowds for a while, wondering why it was only at moments like these that the sense of isolation became so strong. In the middle of a crowd, I feel most alone.
I wanted to be a lot of things when I was little. My earliest career choice (that I can recall) was a scientist. Then I wanted to be a builder. And then a teacher. Then a writer at around fifteen-sixteen years of age. The last one, of course, stuck. The only problem is, I still want to be a writer - I'm not there yet. No one's ever been bothered if I stopped or if I continued so my ambition has always been a bit unsteady. But I've finally come to my senses and realised that if I have even the slightest bit of talent in this field, then I'd be a fool not to pursue it. Regardless of whether success comes, my aim is to at least try to get my work out there.
I'm still lazy though. I've been meaning to write a short story on the Elementals, which would make this one the third short story for the overall series, but it's been a week and I've barely touched it. I make excuses that it's due to lack of time, but I think I'm just not taking it seriously enough. I'm not in a routine. Once I get back into a routine, I'll be fine. It's just getting to that point which proves to be difficult.
I'm so tired! I want to sleep! Why do I never get enough sleep? The Ramadan routine is good - I can squeeze in a bit of sleep during the day. But today I have to take my mother for her doctor's appointment. I'm not sure when I'll get back, but after that I'll have guests over. And then it's time to put my son to bed. And then the fast opens. And then there's a looooooooooong prayer during which I will struggle not to fall asleep. Life! It feels like it's never-ending!
It will, of course, end one day. I must try to be positive. I think it really helps to stay positive. I've been trying it since this morning - I tried to speak to my son as a human being, instead of a banshee. It worked for a bit. And then I walked him to the childminder's and he had a massive strop! Boy, that was challenging! I tried so hard to keep calm but he just wouldn't stop. So I yelled. A lot. In public! My God, do children annoy me sometimes! Just thinking about it makes me feel guilty.
Anywho, I must go and pick up the little monster now. Good times ahead! Yay...
I am knackered! I figured I'd do a bit of a counselling journalling while I'm blogging so I'll get that out of the way before moving onto the challenge. I have a physical journal for my counselling but I've not touched it in weeks, if not months. I just can't be bothered to write with a pen and paper (which is probably why I'm so incapable of doing any decent writing; I feel it doesn't work if I'm not behind a computer). Anyways, the tutor gave us all some questions she wanted us to explore in our journals. Our journals are supposed to be private but what the hell.
We're studying attachment theory and parenting styles at the moment and today, we touched a little bit on Donald Winnicott's good enough mother (or something like that, I don't even know if "Theory" goes after it or what). From my limited understanding (I was starting to switch off a little bit at that point), Winnicott said that society as a whole could be improved if mothers (or primary caregivers, nowadays) were...good enough mothers.
So anyway, the questions the tutor told us to explore were:
How was I/am I parented? How has that affected the way I relate to people? And how does that affect my view of myself?
My parents were quite strict with my siblings and me, growing up. It was a little bit of "do as you're told" and "don't speak unless spoken to", if I was to try to sum it up. We were expected to be doctors or nurses or dentists or teachers - you know, the good jobs that would make a parent proud of their children. Because that's what everybody aspires to! I don't hold it against them - that was just their expectation of what they had to do as parents, I guess, beyond the basic necessities. But my parents grew up in villages, where life was simple and all they had to do was toil, toil, toil all day. From sunup to sundown, there were tasks to be immersed in. The house had to be cleaned. The fields had to be maintained. The animals had to be released/fed/milked/whatever. Food had to be cooked and for that, fires had to be started. I get the barest taste of that life when I go back to Pakistan, because I go as a guest. Sitting here now, with all the evidence of my entirely different life right in front of me, I do wonder what kind of thoughts my parents must have about my choices and my lifestyle.
Coming to the UK was a huge opportunity for all of us - we got to see things we normally wouldn't have. We got to live in a completely different way from my cousins back home. So many doors were open to us just by being here - doors labelled "Doctor" or "Nurse" or "Teacher" or "Dentist" probably. So my parents must feel that we squandered all the opportunities we had. They must feel that we're ungrateful.
It's a sad thing, realising these sorts of things for the first time. I suppose I can tie today's challenge into this now. I haven't ever thought of my parents feelings in this way. I never saw before that they may have wanted the best for us, which might not have been available had we stayed in Pakistan. I was of the opinion that my mum just liked to nag a lot. I thought that she would never be satisfied with the person that I am, even though my try my best to be the best person that I can be. Maybe there's some bitterness on her part because I didn't try harder at school, or because the books I read aren't about medicine or dentistry. Maybe she wasn't just nagging - maybe she was trying to impress upon me that I had so many chances to make something of myself, but I never took hold of them.
I am very much still parented in this way. My mum likes to remind me often that I should have been things that I am not. It affects the way I relate to people because I don't have a lot of confidence in what I can do - I'm getting better, but very slowly. My dad, I must explain so my next bit has some context, is a very, very confident person. He will say anything to anyone. My siblings - specifically my brother and I (my sister has always been an obedient daughter so she never got any tongue lashings from my dad that I can recall) - were often shown this. My brother doesn't suffer that many ill consequences (he's always been a bit of a rebel and used to leave the house a lot) but I withdrew into myself. I didn't say anything to anyone. I sort of became my dad's antithesis. Where he was loud and sort of the centre of a crowd, I became quiet at the sidelines. Where he would effortlessly scold someone for any wrongs committed against him, I would just hold it all inside, afraid to even defend myself. Where he was opinionated and strict, I kept to myself and was very laidback (in most things - I've discovered that as a parent, I am also quite strict). Interesting stuff, once you get down to it. I could probably carry on all day.
I'll quickly finish the last of the three questions and call it a day. This is most likely my longest entry yet! Is anybody still reading?
In regards to the above, how does this all affect my view of myself? I think that's pretty clear. Staying on the sidelines, too afraid to give your opinion in case someone might get angry or hurt by it, is a very lonely place to be. At my core, I think I could be quite a fun and lively person, but that side of me only ever attempts to come out when I'm with my very closest friends, of which there are...two.
I'm getting better. I don't bully myself the way I used to. I'm finding it harder to feed myself garbage like "You're the worst person ever" and "Nobody wants to know you" and things of that nature. I'm learning to see myself as just another person, with the same rights as everyone else.
20:51. WOW! That took ages! Apologies!
Before I was bogged down with a child, I used to write well into the night. I tried during the day but the feeling was never the same. Of course, a child disrupts one's routine quite thoroughly so for the past three and some years, I've not been writing as regularly as I should and I tried (very badly and without much effort) not to stay awake too late at night. I'm still most motivated at night, but that might just be because I feel that that's the only time I really get to myself. But I guess there's just something about nighttime which sparks creativity in me. It's so quiet and (mostly) still. I feel like I'm alone and can let myself go for a bit.
I try to get some writing done during the day, when my son is napping, but there's always something or other to do around the house so those opportunities just pass by. I've tried to write when my son is here with me, but that's impossible! Every two seconds, I have to divert my attention to yell at him to not do something or to put something down Kids! They drive you up the wall!
Besides, I don't generally write well during the day. It feels too lively lol. As to the last question on the prompt - what do I do to motivate myself during the slumps? - when it's daytime and I'm not feeling very productive, it's not a slump as much as it is just a desire to reach evening time so I can put my son to bed and get on with my life. I feel like a couch potato when I'm a mom.
Write about my ideal weekend? I don't know what my ideal weekend is. On the one hand, I'd like to be able to stay home without any commitments to other people - like having family or friends come over - so that I can get things done. On the other hand, I never get anything done anyway and I rarely see friends and family so I should stop being anti-social and mingle with people a few times a week.
On an ideal weekend, I should get some shopping done (always a challenge!), visit family and not spend hours and hours there, do some writing and some crafty stuff, and sleep well. That never happens! I haven't written anything decent in like a week - or over a week even.
I think I should bin my phone as well - it's probably the number one cause of why I never get anything of import done. YouTube is annoying but addictive. Nobody ever contacts me so why the hell do I even have a phone? Why is it so damn necessary to carry a piece of technology with you which fails to enhance your life in any meaningful way? WhatsApp is not meaningful. Neither are Facebook and Twitter. I guess you could say that there are loads of things that become easier with a phone in your pocket, but that's only because you then have an Internet connection in the palm of your hand, right? You have an Internet connection on the computer too and I assume most people have one at home. Even accessing it a few times a day to deal with your stuff should be enough.
Somehow an exploration of my ideal weekend has turned into a rant about phones. Of course, these are just my own opinions. I know there are people out there who feel that they couldn't live without a phone. A lot of the times, I rely on my phone too much to pass the time...which is usually why I never get anything done, because I spend way above the time that I initially intended to spend on videos and stuff. Technology makes us hopeless :(
Cutting it close today! I've been out a good portion of the day.
Anywho, the challenge prompt for today is a stream of consciousness or poem regarding something I do every day. A bit perplexing - if I do it every day, it must be something droll and which doesn't require a lot of thought and effort. Why write about something like that? We tend to skim over the small details, right?
How about waking up on a morning?
Waking to a child's annoyed cry,
With great reluctance do I open my eyes.
In that moment, there is no greater loss
Than waking too soon from a peaceful rest.
I shut my eyes again,
Hoping to see that elusive friend,
Who only comes when you don't want it to
But departs when you open yourself to it.
I squandered my youth.
I didn't appreciate a good snooze.
Now I regret and walk around half-dead,
Wondering "Will I ever catch up on my rest?"
YES! TEN MINUTES! And before midnight :D
The challenge today asks participants to discuss potential breakthroughs in ageing - specifically, if immortality were possible, what would be the advantages and disadvantages of it?
I think immortality is a terrible idea. Us humans are douchebags with the limited time we each have on this planet and we've managed to screw it over plenty as it is. Imagine if just a handful of us douchebags were to be around forever - things just wouldn't be the same! I think if the ageing cure were found, it would initially only be available to those who could afford it - I just don't see it being sold as over-the-counter medicine. So of course, only the rich would have access to immortality. Their lifestyles would just be about living it up, to the detriment of the rest of the people and the planet.
There's nothing to say that the fertility of these people would be hampered by immortality so, within a few generations, every job everywhere would be taken up by an immortal - because they can only sustain a party for so long before their funds run out. We normal folks would live at the sidelines, just trying to get some food together to survive. Before long, we'd die out. The immortals would breed and spawn more immortals. Society would just consist of immortals.
And then, in a few more generations, after wreaking havoc on the planet even more by waging war on other colonies of immortals to get their food stock (because everything is rapidly dwindling, even the crops they're harvesting), the ozone layer just gives up and leaves Earth to it. We have no protection from the sun. Temperatures go up. Various species of animals - the few that are left - can no longer take the heat and die. The ice caps melt, flooding various countries and taking down a sizable amount of the immortal population. Diseases run rampant.
Immortals have been looking into space travel for a long time but nothing ever happened because they now squabble children over who gets to do what. And so the richest among them, the originals, have been secretly developing their own technologies and looking into moving to other planets. They have space travel. They manage to escape, leaving their descendants to slowly perish along with the planet.
They land on Mars and begin the whole process over again
13:45 That was fun!
Okay, so I'm fairly new to blogging and I'm new to WDC too so I haven't read many blogs, inspirational or otherwise. This is going to be hard!
Yesterday, I read a fun blog entry by Charlieeee ♡ :
"I’m about to blow your mind! " which contained many facts that I did not know.
I'm actually searching for blogs to link to as I'm writing my entry so the time on this one is probably going to be way over the usual!
So I've just read the blog entry of MD Maurice which was rather moving:
"My Reluctant Little Star"
The blog entry of Apondia was quite shocking and reminded me that humans can be giant douchebags. "Not Fond of Mind Blowing Events"
And lastly, this blog entry by WakeUpAndLive~ 2019 was rather sweet at the end, in my opinion:
"Just Right" by Robert Waltz was thought-provoking.
End time: 11:46 That was hard work!
I have no idea. I'm sure I've had a few over the years - I'm pretty easy to impress - but I can't recall exactly what they were about. Generally, listening to Muslim speakers talking in-depth about my religion blows my mind as I feel so much more connected with Islam and God at that point.
I'll just talk about that. You see, for a long time, I thought religion was only understood by the scholars and my sister had cassettes upon cassettes (remember those? Or am I going too far back into the past? ) of hours-long talks in Urdu. That always used to put me off. It was like it wasn't open to me - it was open to serious people who read the hard-to-understand books in tiny Urdu print. Although I was born in a country where Urdu is the main language, I was brought up on a regional dialect and Urdu had to be learnt. I was not a terribly good student. I still struggle with the language.
And then YouTube happened. My God! I have a lot of complaints about YouTube (one of them being that I am hopelessly addicted to video-surfing) but it certainly opened a lot of doors for a lot of people. I'm pretty certain the idea of English-speaking Muslim scholars and general speakers wasn't a new thing - Islam is not confined to one race so of course all these Muslims who spoke languages other than mine had to get their Friday sermons and their general Islamic education from somewhere! But English-speaking scholars who gave anything up to hour-long lectures were now available to me, a small-town Asian girl whose horizons had never expanded that far beyond the boundaries of her own culture and local community. I got to see Islam in an entirely new perspective - I got to see it and experience it for myself, rather than by the culture-hashed version I'd been brought up with. I got to form a personal connection with my Lord and I found out how to nurture it and let it make me a better person.
All in all, I guess YouTube blew my mind!
And that's fourteen minutes! I need to go and prepare the food for my iftar! The fast opens in about five minutes!
This challenging is really opening my eyes to new things! First the Goldilocks Rule and now this! It does make sense. I know people who've cut back on their careers to focus on their family. I know people who work like they breathe. I don't know many people who've given up a bit of everything to balance it all out. In any case, how do you attain a balance of everything?
I spend a fair amount of time with my family - that is, my own mum, dad, sister, and brother and the little hooligans who are an extended package with my siblings. Not much time with my husband though, although I am always with my little boy (aside from when he's at the childminder's). I don't work (kinda/sorta/maybe. It's weird). I don't see my friends very often (like, a few times a year).
As for health, I'm trying to look out for that, but I don't think I'm doing a very good job. Only venturing out of the house for quick trips to the shops once or twice a week certainly doesn't help. I try walking when I can to get to the places I need to go, but it's not a regularly-occurring thing so I don't think it does much good. I try to eat the right food, but I either don't eat enough or I eat too much. I'm trying to stay away from dairy foods (a hard job for someone with a huge love of cheese and ice cream!) and sugary stuff (again, ice cream! And fizzy sweets! ) but I have moments where I'm like "to hell with it!" and allow myself to scoff. They're not cheat days either - once the intention to stay away from that stuff is ignored, I will consume every sugary thing I can get my hands on.
...I have no idea where this "discussion" is going. It's not even a discussion, is it? Two of the four burners might as well not apply to me so I have no idea what my thoughts are on it, except that I guess all of my burners are a bit stunted.
And that's seventeen minutes...well, eighteen now - another minute passed by while I was trying to work out now long it had been! Don't judge - I'm hungry and sleepy!
I find that a lot of the time, I do push things into the "way too hard" category, and so I leave them off even though I know that with a little bit of effort, I can do it. Examples, making a correction on a canvas, sewing a garment, writing a story. These are all easy tasks - or maybe in the just beyond what I can achieve with absolute ease, so in the optimal zone between easy and hard - but in my head they get overblown and it just becomes another excuse for me to be lazy.
I didn't know there was such a thing as the Goldilocks Rule though, so thanks to Emily for pointing it out! If you learn to look at things in a new way, maybe it leads to tackling things in a new way? In any case, I shall think about the things I need to do a bit more closely now.
I'm learning a few languages at the moment - nothing big, just via a free app on my phone. I'm not putting in huge amounts of effort to learn them, which is why it's taking me so long just to get the basics down. The biggest motivator I have is that I have nearly 100 consecutive days of learning on some of them and I want to keep going. Japanese is a big one - I've been learning bits and pieces since I was an avid anime fan (although the "avidness" has gone down in recent years due to life commitments) but last year I came across an ad for a Japanese teacher based locally. Of course i went for it. Since then, my understanding has slowly been growing. Even so, when it comes to Memrise, I'm still a bit half-hearted. Korean especially. I'm finding that a bit difficult so instead of challenging myself, I keep going over the same handful of words and expressions that I first learned some months ago. I need to stop being lazy!
That's thirteen minutes!