Sunday, 16 December 2018

18 Things I Learned In 2018

mental illness, mental health, depression, bipolar disorder, karachi blogger, pakistani blogger

1. It's okay to not have everything figured out.

2. Go with the flow.

3. Make realistic & short-term plans. My current 6-month plan is to stay at my current job & work on my portfolio.

4. Don't let your emotions control you.

5. Pushing yourself every day is the key. There have been days where just getting out of bed and getting dressed felt like the hardest thing to do but I survived those days.

6. It's okay to be sad, but don't drown in sadness and self-pity.

7. It's good to go out, socialize and meet new people. Even though it's the hardest thing to do. I might quite a lot of interesting people this year.

8. Read intellectual books. Draw difficult poses. Challenge yourself. That is how you learn.

9. It's not okay to get lost and become distant from the world.

10. Hard work does pay.

11. Don't work all day. It's okay to chill, waste time and have a hobby.

12. The first step is the hardest but things get easier with time.

13. Everybody moves at their own pace.

14. You can't force someone to do something you think is right.

15. Speak. Tell people what you want.

16. Staying in the present is hard but it's worth it.

17. You are braver than you think you are.

18. And more beautiful.


Tuesday, 27 November 2018

What Teaching Kids Was Like & My Dream - 1

artist karachi, artist pakistan, community space, artist space karachi, art classes, kids art classes, drawing from memory

I was going over my year. It was really a roller coaster ride and a constant battle with myself. In that battle, I accomplished a few things. The biggest one would be finally settling a job and the other would be my summer art classes for kids.

So, I've had this dream of running a cafe. That's what reading so much Archie comics does to you. Pop Tate's Chocklit Shoppe, that was what my summer was made of. First, I wanted it to be a fashion studio plus cafe plus art. The best of both 3 worlds. But as my interest in owning a fashion studio blurs, my dream turned into an art-themed cafe. And then like a lot of myself, I forgot this little dream. Until recently.

It was this summer. I was going to therapy twice a month. I was looking for a job, no luck there. No motivation, nothing to look forward to, nothing to wake up for. Those were the gloomiest of days. All I did all day was yoga, walk around the neighborhood with my mom and maybe draw or paint something. I was thinking of applying to my mom's school as an art teacher. I told my therapist and she suggested that maybe I should start small and think of doing some summer classes for kids. "Even if nobody shows up, doesn't hurt to try." A million anxieties later, I designed a brochure & printed some at my home. I passed it around my neighborhood on my walks and posted it on a few groups of Facebook. To my surprise, strange people were actually interested to send their kids to me!

The first day was chaotic. 10 kids, ages 3 to 10. Some crying for their mommies, some eager to learn, some just wanted to go home. My mom helped with distracting crying kids. I just wanted it all end. The class went on for 2 hours and I was fighting myself to stay active. How would I do this every day? How could I handle unexpected behaviors and disruptions? How could I handle imperfections?

artist karachi, artist pakistan, community space, artist space karachi, art classes, kids art classes, drawing from memory

The second day was a lot better. The kids remembered what they drew on the first day. They were excited to learn more. But some were still crying and some still wanted to go home. I learned to go easy on the kids and stop expecting so much. They weren't preparing to go into a big shot art school. They were babies just looking to have some fun during their summer break.

What's fun? I think letting loose is fun. So, I let them do what they wanted. I'd pick themes and let them draw what they wanted. I wanted them to explore their minds and their creativity. I even let them pick their favorite mediums. There was no right or wrong. There was only 1 hour of translating thoughts onto paper.

artist karachi, artist pakistan, community space, artist space karachi, art classes, kids art classes, drawing from memory

Days passed. The criers and the homesick stopped showing up. The kids who loved art were having the time of their lives. They were getting better every day in their skills to draw and explore their minds. The 3-year-old was getting better at drawing fishes. He started painting abstract pieces without my help. They would suggest me themes. They became friends. They would tell me stories about their days and their cousins and their schools. They wanted to stay and didn't want to go home. They didn't want the classes to end. I was getting better with time too. I didn't feel anxious before every class. I didn't feel the panic or the fact that I was failing. I made it through every class with strength (and would collapse later).

Teaching kids couldn't be that hard right? They're kids, they don't know anything. Wrong! But at the same time, it's so rewarding. To be able to bring a change in a little kid's little life can be so refreshing. And I really needed a breath of fresh air to bring me out of that gloomy phase.

Part 2 coming soon.

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Has it already been a year?

lifestyle blogger, fashion blogger, karachi blogger, pakistani blogger, anxiety, depression

Among all issues, I was actually getting anxious over Ramadan starting. The night while I sent out 'Ramadan Mubarak' texts to my friend and family, I thought, how will I survive it? How will I fast? Am I prepared? Ramadan came back too soon. Has it been a year already? All these thoughts keep spinning in my mind. I keep thinking about how this is my first Ramadan without my father and how my last Ramadan was spent in the hospital when he was ill.

Knowing my father wasn't able to eat or drink directly from his mouth, me and my younger sister prepared sehri and iftar for each other at home, while my mother and elder sister stayed at the hospital. Every time I would break my fast, I felt disgusted with myself. I felt guilty for eating. I spent my afternoons at AKUH's waiting areas because only 1 attendant per patient was allowed inside the air-conditioned waiting rooms. I wasn't allowed to stay over the night because I would cry like a maniac and wake everybody up. When my father was shifted to the ward, that's when we had iftar together. In the tiny space beside the bed, we would sprawl out a bed sheet and arrange fruits and sandwiches. And hide away from the security guards who'd tell us again and again that visiting hours were over.

It was all too much to handle at the moment. Ramadan and Eid was supposed to bring families together and mine was being separated and broken. I think I just turned off my emotions. And now things are coming back to me. I'm struggling, both emotionally and physically but I will keep fasting and fight this anxiety and depressive phase in my life, in the hopes that something good will come out of this. Something's bound to.


Monday, 7 May 2018

Fashion Check - Generation's formal gharara pant

generation pakistan, formal wear, fashion design, fashion blog, fashion blogger, pakistani blogger, lifestyle blogger

generation pakistan, formal wear, fashion design, fashion blog, fashion blogger, pakistani blogger, lifestyle blogger

Whenever there’s a sale at Generation I always pounce to the trousers section. It’s a load of treasure; Skirts, ghararas, palazzos, harems - anything gypsy-like I cannot find at other stores, that too at an extremely reasonable price tag.  On my most recent trip, I saw this gharara pant and fell in love.

It’s a pretty flouncy, gharara pant fused with a formal dress pant. Like, whaaaat? Who does fusion wear better than Generation? NO ONE. So, there’s your zip and handy pockets, the amazing stitching and thick fabric. This trouser would be perfect for formal events, if worn with the right accessories and a collared shirt. And wait till I tell you the price. Believe it or not, I got this PKR 2400 pant (which was pretty reasonable to begin with) for PKR 700! That too in my size! I kept confirming with the salesperson if the price tag wasn’t lying to me. But remember, always confirm your size before the price. At situations like these we tend to hurry off with our amazingly discounted find, without checking the size first. I know the try rooms are off limits during sales. You can put it against you in front of a mirror and check the waist. And don’t worry no one’s looking, ‘cause they're too busy searching for a good bargain.

On several other occasions, I found some amazing screen printed palazzos and some printed tulips from Generation, that I wear with short tops or collared shirts and they look great as formals! If you’re like me and don’t shop from the regular prĂȘt sections or get 3-piece lawn, but rather love putting on outfits together and collecting different clothing articles, then Generation is a great store to check out.

And in case you haven’t noticed, I’m a trouser freak!

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*Disclaimer* This post doesn't contain any sponsored items or links.

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Where Have I Been - Searching for Normalcy

anxiety, pakistani blogger, hijabi, hijab style, hijabi fashion, karachi blogger, fashion blogger, artist, karachi artist, depression, mental illness, lifestyle blogger

Hey everyone.

For those you don't know my reason of being away, I've been in the middle of a personal tragedy. My father fell ill suddenly, and went to heaven, leaving me, my two sisters and mother behind. We took over responsibilities that I couldn't have ever dreamt of and I've seen my father in a state that I wouldn't wish upon anyone in this world. An educated professor, inside a locked hospital room with no windows, not able to take decisions regarding his own life - the sight suffocated me. All this took a toll on me and I literally forgot the things that I used to do before, because these events were all that I could think of. I've been trying to be normal. I took a short course in Graphic Design. I started doing illustrations and I guess my blog was the next in line, to make me normal again. But I just couldn't bring myself to blog. I didn't know what my first come-back blog would be. How can I even describe to you what I've been through. So, instead of thinking thinking thinking, I just started to write. And here it is.

A few days after my father's death, I got an interview call from SanaSafinaz. That was like a God sent signal of hope for me. I fixed up my portfolio and gave the interview, even though at time I had zero confidence in myself. But, I did it. Then I took up some illustration projects. The book I was illustrating then, Stan The Plant Eater by Jr. Bedwell - it's out now and you can check it out here.

There was also a good news - my sister was getting married on the 1st of December. That kept us all quite busy. I had been designing dresses for her and the rest of us, which has been really great for me because, 
a) it's a good distraction from sadness, and 
b) it was going to help me kick-start my clothing business. 

I gave another interview during the wedding celebrations – At OUP for an illustrator position. No response.

Once the wedding ended, that’s when everything hit us. The house that was always so small for the five of us, became too big for the three of us. It was my 25th birthday and I found out I had stomach ulcer caused by Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I became too breathless to talk, too shaky to take photos or paint, just too weak to function.

I’ve spent the past 3 months trying to develop a diet and a routine to suit my condition and pushing myself to be normal – whatever normal is. In the midst of this, I gave another job interview; no luck. But, something good did come out of all this; out of having panic attacks in the middle hospital waiting rooms, out of not being able to get up in the morning, out of being rejected from jobs, out of not having anything to look forward to; I’ve started to deliver my feelings onto paper. My paintings seem true. And I am also going to start my clothing store very soon now. Even though every night I sleep with a heart full of doubts and I don’t have much planned out, there’s one thing I’ve decided; I’m just going to go with the flow.

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