In August 2015, Duriba Khan, a 5”4 foxy little brown man, traveled Europe with her parents and sister. Although it was great fun and she got to see amazing places and things, she was hungry a lot and packed the wrong shoes. Later, she also got stung by a bug in Germany and had to spend the rest of the trip on crutches and/or a wheelchair.
The goal of the Khans’ excursion was to travel 5 European countries in 5 days, and boy oh boy were they determined to accomplish it. On the third day, they visited Milan, Italy. And it was beautiful. Duriba remembers the tall buildings, intricate art, and great food. She remembers it being amazing.
*We interrupt this program with a brief message: Duriba is getting tired of writing in the third person so she will switch over to first person in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1...0*
So basically one day we were walking through what my limited vocabulary can only describe as a decorate arch, and I noticed two men exclaiming “Salam” (a saying Muslims use to greet one another which translates to “peace be upon you”) to me. Because I don’t observe hijab, I was kind of confused to as of how these men identified me as a Muslim. “Walaikum asSalam!” I responded. They smiled as I approached them. “How could you tell that I was Muslim?” I asked. They pointed to my outfit, an Abaiyah or middle eastern gown. I nodded understandingly.
At this point, my sister and parents approached us and joined the conversation. The men explained that they came from Kenya and sold custom made bracelets in tourist areas. Without warning, they started tying their bracelets of woven rainbow string around all of our wrists. When we protested, they joyously laughed and exclaimed “haq ul Muslim!” or “the duty of the muslims to one another.” I remember being extremely confused as I watched them use fingernail clippers to tighten the bracelets.
Within seconds, they demanded my Dad pay them. It was so hilarious to watch their expressions change instantly, and I laughed super hard as my poor dad itched his head and pulled euros out of his wallet and handed them over.
The next day at breakfast, all of us laughed at the bizarre encounter. A few days into our trip, everyone slowly begin snipping their bracelets but for some reason, I couldn’t get myself to do it. This weird attachment to the bracelet persisted for almost three years: through presentations, other family vacations, weddings, parties, and even my high school graduation and first year of college. My mom and sister teased me and urged me to take it off because to be honest, it got kind of gross looking lol. But I just couldn’t.
In hindsight it sounds a little elementary, but I always told myself that no matter how much me or my life changed, one thing would always be constant and 100% in my control: this little rainbow string. I think a part of me was always waiting for the perfect life changing moment to snip it off.
About two days ago, I was getting tea with some friends and when I reached to mix milk into my cup, I looked at my wrist and I was horrified. I have no idea how it happened, but the bracelet just...fell apart. I was extremely shocked, and when I pointed at it with my mouth open, nobody else understood. “I don’t get it..” Maryam stated. “Let’s just hot glue it back together?” Nabeela suggested. At the time, Saood was returning from the restroom and as soon as he saw my face and the way I was holding my wrist and gaping at it, he gasped. Finally someone understood!
At this point, you’re probably wondering why I wrote a bunch of paragraphs about a random rainbow string, but I promise there is a lesson: no matter how hard you try to keep things in your control, they never truly are, even if they have been for ages. So instead of waiting and planning for the perfect moment to do that thing you’ve been wanting to, just let God and destiny take care of it.
Looking back at the time it feel off, I’m kind of glad. It fell off in a blissful moment spent among friends, being affectionately roasted. I don’t think I could've ever planned a better moment. Actually it would be cool if it fell off when I got into law school. But like God. Do your thing, man.
As blog tradition goes...it’s THAT time of the year. Yes, you got it! A brand new year, wrapped in bubble wrap and ready to be unearthed.
Ah yes. Let us lament on the good and bad, the rising and falling, the crying and screaming, the loving and laughing. And let us not make this intro unnecessary long. Let us begin. And let us stop speaking in the third person. Because frankly, it makes Duriba uncomfortable.
So without further ado, here’s a list of noteworthy things that happened in 2017.
But yeah, that was my 2017. Although 2017 was a difficult year in terms of politics and society, it was personally the best of my life so far. I learned a lot about myself, got to experience amazing things, and pushed myself to experiment and get uncomfortable. I hope and pray that 2018 is just as great because it truly has big shoes to fill.
The following post is about a topic I have wanted to write about for a while, but couldn't find the words for. A few months ago, my grandpa was hospitalized and my life changed. Before you go ahead and read it, I want you to know that it is 5:30 am and no one proofread this and the grammar is all wrong but God knows every single word is from my heart.
I hurriedly ran down the stairs and poured myself a cup of coffee: I was already late to class. I rushed to the door past Daddaba (my Grandfather), who had an affinity for singing along to random Bollywood karaoke videos on Youtube in the early morning. As he attempted a high note, I chuckled lightly and ran out the door.
Little did I know, that would be the last time I would clearly hear his booming laughter or his singing. A few days later, I was visiting a friend when I received a text from my mother: Daddaba was scheduled to undergo a minor surgery today, and something has gone wrong. He was in the ICU and had fallen unconscious. I rushed to the hospital, confused and afraid.
At the hospital, I learned the doctor had accidentally forgotten to remove the bubbles in the dye they used in Daddaba’s surgery, causing him to go under respiratory arrest. As a result, he had fallen unconscious for around two weeks and had a tube lodged in his throat. Weeks later, this tube would go on to damage his throat and his booming voice would be reduced to a low whisper.
The day after Dada was admitted to the hospital, I felt helpless. None of my parents had the emotional capacity or time to explain to me what was happening to him, and our loud, playful and joyous home suddenly became the last place I wanted to be. I was afraid of going home, and I was even more afraid of going to the hospital. I felt like I had to get away and distract myself with friends and school, so I convinced myself I was studying and sat in the library for hours with my head on the table.
That’s why when the invitation for a party come one day, I didn’t want to turn it down. It sucks to admit, I promise it does, but sometimes we do things we aren’t proud of. For me, this was one of those times. At the party, I felt extremely out of place and paranoid. I was so mad at myself: I should have been spending time with my family but instead, I was being selfish and trying to distract myself. When I was at the party, my mom called. She was disappointed and hurt that I didn’t show up to the hospital all day. I think it really was that point in time when I realized how selfish I was being.
When I got home, I looked for Pappa to apologize for my terrible behavior. After a short search, I found him in the family room with the lights off with tears all over his face. When he saw me, he smiled. That’s when my stomach dropped. I was horrified at myself. I spent the rest of the night in my grandmother’s lap, listening to her stories and occasionally wiping the tears on her cheeks.“I have always prayed,” she said. “that I go before him.” I didn’t know what to say, so I just squeezed her hand. She squeezed it back. This was a time for us to get closer, and I had been pushing everyone away.
The next day after class, my sister and I went straight to the hospital to meet the rest of my family. Believe me when I say that everyone ought to spend a day observing the hospital at least once in their lifetime. You will find both grief and joy, and almost always where you least expect it. Or sometimes you will find people who find joy through their grief, and that will warm your heart.
The following week was a blur of crying, hugs, hospital visitors, and a whole lot of praying. The hospital became kind of a second home for us. We were all there for as long as possible, often eating there, meeting there, and sometimes, just simply sitting and waiting for something to happen.
I thought my Grandpa was going to die. And it was so confusing and hurt way more than I expected. However, I wasn’t the only one having trouble dealing with the situation. One day my brother and I were driving back from the hospital and I just started crying. “Why are you crying?” he asked. “You weren’t even close to him.” And then I got mad and at yelled at him, but deep down in my heart, I knew it was true. I was a terrible grandkid. And I was so sorry for it. Another time, I reprimanded my sister because I thought that she “didn't seem upset enough.” In hindsight, this experience taught me something very valuable: everyone grieves differently. Some cry, and some bottle up their emotions, and no one way means more than the mother.
Because there can only be three people in the hospital room at a time, our family and friends developed a rotating system to ensure that someone was with my grandpa at all times. But most of the time, it was my Dad who sat at my grandpa’s bedside, simply talking to him. At this point, it was crucial for us to get him to move and respond to us. All day, my parents tried calling his name, requesting commands such as “move your leg,” and putting the rest of our family from Pakistan on the speakerphone to encourage him. He blinked once, and we were all ecstatic. I spent a lot of time that day astonished: two days ago he was walking, blinking, and talking, and nobody said a thing and today it was enough for us that he blinked once in a day.
It was painful to see Daddaba in a coma, especially because he was widely known for his strength and willpower among friends and family; seeing him incapable of movement was heartbreaking. At 74 he would leave home on his own and go on walks, go swimming, make his own meals, once took me to a horror house, and still had a bullet in his ankle from a time he was shot at over 40 years ago. My grandpa isn’t perfect, but he is always trying. The older I get, the more I respect it.
As tough a journey that this was, it made us all so much stronger. It made me appreciate every single person and moment in my life, and it allowed me to ponder on the things and people that actually matter to me. Sometimes you really do have to learn the hard way.
Dada is better now. I try to visit him in the senior home often. When I visit, the nurses boast about much he likes to exercise and spends extra time in speech therapy, testament to his determination to get better. Slowly but surely, he is healing: he can chew on his own, he can walk again, read again, and most importantly, he can sing again.
By the grace and willpower of God and God only, Dadabba is so close to the finish line and ready to come home. Whenever I visit him, he is optimistic and charismatic about the future. As odd as it sounds, we had our first hour and a half long conversation on my last visit this past Sunday.
It is truly fascinating to me how the storm is always what allows us to be appreciate of clearer skies.
My geometric print shirt is ironed, my banana socks laid out beside my bed. My water bottle is full to the brim, my glasses polished. Tomorrow, I step into a place I wouldn’t dare find myself ten years ago… sophomore year.
Freshman year was wholly unique and amazing in its own way: I learned a lot about myself like what situation I’m comfortable in and vice versa, what I can handle, who brings out the best in me, and so much more.
But this year, I don’t get to sport the excuse of being a freshman anymore. No more $60 on Starbucks in a month, or refusing to pack lunch because I’m just feeling lazy. This year, I do MAJOR big kids things: I start studying for the LSAT, I do this thing called “have a leadership role,” and I get to be responsible and not leave my car in a random alleyway when I’m late to class.
And because I get to actually be a big kid, I guess it’s time I started acting like one. And what better way to be one than make a blog post about the things I’m going to start doing as an ~adult~ instead of actually doing them?!
See, right now Starbucks is resistable because well, THE HOLY GRAIL of drinks isn’t out yet. Yes, the Pumpkin Spice Latte. UGH, the Peppermint Mocha. Take all my money and soul!!!
I mean… that was the old me. THE NEW ME WILL ONLY GET STARBUCKS TWICE A WEEK. ok…..thrice a week.
5. Responding to emails and texts as soon as I get them.
As opposed to ignoring them until five seconds until it’s considered rudely late. I wonder if I could go to hell for this.
6. Praying on time.
As Muslims, we’re required to pray five times a day that are determined by the sun’s position in the sky. As a lazy Muslim, I have trouble getting this done on time and I need to not ha help me dear lord.
Anyway, that’s me! Besides the obvious (maintain a high GPA, avoid douchebags and men in general, be nice to everyone, do nothing illegal, etc), those are the main improvements I want to make in my life/things I want to accomplish.
Also, to visit the moon.
You might be wondering where I went off and disappeared to.
The truth is, it isn’t that I forgot to write or didn’t feel like it. I promise I’ve sat down almost multiple times to whip up a blog post...but it just wasn’t happening. Call it writer’s block (or an existential crisis), but I don’t know what to talk about or how to talk about it.
I mean, for crying out loud...look at me now. I’m writing about not being able to write. Yikes.
Let me start by saying that this was a really busy summer for me. I had summer classes, Ramadan, and an internship going on, but you know what? For everything that was happening, I feel like I got a lot out of it. Here it is!
2. Make As in both of my summer classes.
3. DO SOMETHING CRAZY (Can’t disclose because my mom reads my blog but when I read this in 20 years, I will know).
4. Have a sunset picnic (maybe a lot of bugs got in my hair but you bet I DONE DID IT).
5. Read 5 books:
6. 100 hours at my internship! Wohoo!
7. Tried a bunch of new places (mainly coffee shops):
9. Had a really fun sleepover Austin discovery weekend with some friends that involved kayaking, horror movies, and too many heart to hearts.
10. Watched a BUNCH of movies, from Annabelle to Kumail Nanjiani’s The Big Sick, and too many episodes of Parks and Recreation (which, I declare to be THE BEST SHOW EVER).
11. Made 6 whole entire new friends who live in my heart!!!!
12. Flew on a plane. Alone.
All in all, this summer I didn’t get to travel exotic lands or take a cruise. Instead, I stayed in Austin, and I discovered something extraordinary: so many worlds live in small towns! Every single day is a adventure if you are brave enough, sailor!
THIS POST WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED AT BROWN GIRL MAGAZINE HERE.
I remember clearly, the light bouncing off his unruly curls. The way his eyebrows almost connected. The beauty of the fact that he didn’t mind. His earring that only slightly shook when he tilted his head back to laugh.
I remember the tumultuous roar of Cafe Medici. Finals week does that. Hamad and I sat accompanied by iced coffee and woes, preparing for our final. Although we had originally come to study, often times we were sidetracked because we simply loved talking to each other! Hamad and I had a very unique and heartfelt friendship. We laughed at the same things, and thought the same way.
But we didn’t feel the same way, and about a lot of things.
After discussing “the voyeuristic gaze” in cinema, Hamad asked me if I believed in predestination. I did. Hamad didn’t. But Hamad didn’t really believe in a lot of things, religion being one.
Hamad, a born Muslim, had left religion many years ago (for reasons I am not at the liberty to discuss). On the several occasions we talked about it, we often got heated and returned to common ground: dog memes.
On my way home from school, I thought hard the things he said. Although I’ve had questions, highs, and lows, I’ve never thought about abandoning my faith. My faith has guided me through the darkest of times. It has made me more inquisitive, and curious about the world around me. I will tell you, really, there is some magic about looking out your bedroom window at night time and watching the moon and thinking to yourself “Yes. There is more. There is so much more.” Although I will NEVER force someone into my beliefs or try to convince them out of their own, religion is important to me. And it has the right to be.
Since then, I have been very critical of the things I accept as my truth. Hamad taught me this, and it is one of the most beautiful gifts anyone has ever given me. Since then, I have been doing a lot of thinking. About what is important to me, about what aligns with the stars of what I truly believe.
But this gift of critical thinking is a blessing and a curse. Several months have passed by since our conversation, and I am left with these critical thoughts about my religion. But the problem is that my mind has the power to harness the energy to make me doubt basically everything, but it doesn’t have the power to search for answers. Instead, it lets these doubts consume me. These doubts then control me, and I am blinded by my own circular mentality. I become ignorant.
It’s true that I do what is expected of me. I (typically) answer all daily five calls to prayer, I do my laundry every week, I give charity, my GPA is decent, and I wipe the washbasin down in airplane restrooms after use. But when consuming myself in watering the garden of worldly riches, my spiritual well often runs dry.
This month, Ramadan, is supposed to be about growing, loving, and blossoming. About forgiveness and kindness. About gratitude and moonlight. Inspiration and rest. Freedom of thought and expression. A love for Allah (God), and a softening of the heart.
I’m observing fasts during the day, praying taraweeh nightly, and I’m rising in the wee hours of the morning to observe qiyam prayers. But tell me why why the Imam (Priest) is pouring his heart into a duaa (prayer) and everyone around me is crying and feeling and I don’t know what to think? I too, want to feel deeply. To be so in drunken with the sweetness of Islam that even for a little while, my worries dissolve and my heart melts into ishq-al-haqiqi (true love).
But it doesn’t happen. And I don’t know why, but the things I am trying, the books I am reading, the voices I am listening to simply do not settle. But alas, religion comes to us in highs and lows.
If you, like me, are having trouble finding that connection, do not give up. Join me. Dig a little deeper. Remove distractions. Surround yourself with nature. Kneel. And let your forehead touch the cold, hard ground. And feel. And if you don’t, try again.
And soon, it will be sweet.
I know people tend to romanticize their relationship with religion and God, but I am here to tell you that if you don’t feel anything during worship, it is okay. Give it some time. Let verses heal your heart. However, be cautious if the problem persists, for it can easily become dangerous. When your heart says nothing during prayer, it is saying something very loudly.
It says, I am a seed. Water me. Burn me a few times if you must, but try to bring me back to life. You need to try, or I will become futile. Then it will only become harder to bring me back to life. And one day it will be too late.
And then you will truly weep.
So if you’re really annoyed this week, it’s probably because it’s my birthday and I’ve mentioned it about 450 times! And get ready, because I’m about to talk about it all over again.
Turning 18 was a big deal for me. For someone who behaves and act likes a 8 year old with nice eyebrows, it was unbelievable. I was an adult. I could drive and go to university and most importantly, I could go to Starbucks without asking my mom. I could turn up “white people music” without my sister threatening to kick me to the sidewalk, and I could get into R rated movies. Not that I ever wanted to. It was just a thought.
In all of days, months, and minutes that comprised my new entrance into adulthood, I’ve had some of the best memories of my life. I graduated, met and left so many people, and I took all those risks I wasn’t supposed to. However, of all the #dank times 18 gave me, perhaps the most important were the lessons I learned. Here they are.
1. Life is short. Treat Yo Self.
Don’t feel bad about the extra $2 spent on dessert, and don’t ignore the random impulses to order a grande instead of a tall. You’re strong and smart. You deserve goodness! And remember, treating yourself doesn’t mean spending money and being irresponsible: you can even skip chores one day to pick up that book that’s been making goo goo eyes at you for 4 months on your bookshelf. You can spent 15 extra minutes a night doing a face mask. How can we appreciate the big things if we don’t make time for the little things?
2. Let go if you gotta.
So you met a guy, and it’s not one of those generic stories YOU PROMISE. You really hit it off and had intellectual discussions. You shared boba and secrets. And as soon as you were ready to tell your mom, he stopped texting back!!!
And that’s okay.
There is no room in your life for people who do not want to be there. There is not space in your heart for people who have no intention to stay. So don’t go out of your way to continue trying to accommodate for the #haters and #fakes. Instead, be friends with me! I’ll make you laugh, and if you don’t, I’ll tickle you.
3. Your skin will suck sometimes.
Okay has it ever happened to you that your skin is perfectly clear one day, and in the next, you look like a halal pepperoni pizza???? I started breaking out this semester, and it honestly has taken on a toll on my self confidence. And we need to start being okay with our skin.
Because as generic as it is, all that REALLY matters is your sweet, sweet heart and (let’s face it) your instagram feed. Also getting good grades. Those are important!!!
4. Gas tanks GOTTA BE FULL A LOT.
If you’ve been driving or are about to, take heed, and ALWAYS make sure your gas tank is at least halfway full. You never know when you’ll get off on the wrong exit and end up on a solo road trip to New Mexico, so always be prepared!
5. Talk to strangers.
Tell me WHO came up with the notion that we can only be friends with people through parties, other friends, classes, or online?? You remember that old white man who rides the 801 bus with you every tuesday morning? Will you believe he has a personality?! And he has all these great story about his grandchild who got his head stuck in a toilet that he’s been waiting to tell. All you have to do is ask.
6. Always keep your career in the back of your mind.
I promise I’m not your mom, but remember, you are in college/high school/preschool for a reason. Don’t forget the harsh truth that although emotional intelligence is valuable, it doesn’t mean much to employers if not coupled with a shiny degree. Keep personal goals, but also educational goals. Remember that the opportunity to receive an education is a privilege denied to many, and you are #BLESSED. So don’t mess it up.
7. Be YOU.
Up until last year, I was afraid to do exactly what I wanted, including behaving a certain way and dressing a certain way. And when I finally made peace with myself and stopped worrying about what people would think, it all went well. I started experimenting more in terms of expressing myself in the things I write, the videos I curate (including snapchats), and the clothes I wear. Was my watermelon shirt a classy and elegant debut to year 19 of the glamourous life of Duriba Khan? Nah. Did I wear it anyway? YUP.
8. Get #Woke.
It’s true that this election wasn’t the best to witness, but it did something good. It unified us all: against the haters, the racists, the sexists, the bigots, the #fakes. Although I’ve always been moderately politically involved, this year I voted and put in #WERK during protests and marches to appease the woman inside of me. She was pretty happy about it.
9. YOU DON’T NEED A MANS!!!
You bet I ate CLIF bars and cried while my friends told me about their love life pursuits: some got engaged, some were proposed to, some became moms (I have a lot of older friends, okay), and I played with someone’s fourth child. Guys, the #FOMO is real. Imagine me as a mom though. I’d have one of those mom lobs and wear pearls to pick up my kids from school in a prius and keep their homework in vegan organic leather backpacks! IT WOULD BE SO GOOD!
But I retract: the point here is that males/females/pelicans/whatever you’re into are irrelevant!
Like really, think about all the time you spent developing awkward unnecessary crushes on people that walked past you once, and then wasted time finding their blood type and family tree. But….WHY DID YOU DO THAT??!!! YOU ARE WHOLE!
10. Life is good.
Hey listen, you’re good. You’ve got shoes on your feet, a latte in your hand, and a phone/laptop to read this ugly post on. You bombed that chemistry test, but you can excel at life nonetheless! The world is never over. 18 is one year, and 19 is another. So is 104, but that is irrelevant.
THE WORLD IS ON YOUR SHOULDERS AND YOU ARE A MAJESTIC UNICORN. YOUR BLOOD IS THE NEW UNICORN LATTE. YOU FART SPARKLES!
I know I’ve been far. But the truth is, (insert my ultimate excuse) I’ve been really busy. And I
promise it's not the kind of busy you use as an excuse when you don’t feel like hanging out with your friends. It’s the kind where you get home and then pass out (after scrolling through your insta feed once). And it hurts!
But alas, winter break has flown by, and spring is here. The flowers are blooming and it's a good time. Starbucks released those cute cups, and Drake released a new album. All is well in the world (let’s ignore for a quick second that Donald Trump is Donald Trump).
And me? I’m good, reader. I’ve been breaking out, and it hurts, but I’m good. I got sidebangs and a car wash. I finished my homework assignments for the break and I’m here now. I am good.
And you? I know, you’re exhausted. School has been hard on you. If school hasn’t, work has. And you’re just tired.
But the best part of always being tired and hurt is that even the smallest things can make you happy. It means that you can do things like leave cute notes for yourself and smile a little. And that means a lot.
And I can say that it means a lot simply because I get it. I’ve had those days, and that’s why I’ve listed some small things you can do to #TreatYoSelf and focus on some happy living. Some cute-sy tips that will fool you into believing that, even for a minute, you have your life together.
2. Get a cool water bottle, and then put some fruits in your water (I AM OBSESSED WITH THIS CONCEPT)
If you’re like me and don’t get time to go to the gym, I have an easier alternative (with reduced benefits, of course). All you have to do is get a sweet ‘n cute water bottle (a mason jar works too!) and, if you’re a fan of infused water, add some lemons and BAM! Suddenly, you’re London Tipton! You are fabulous!
3. #OOTD READY
I’m not going to tell you to comb your hair or moisturize because it’s only your choice, but honey, if you look good, you feel good. If you’re dressed presentably, you’ll feel more confident and feel more pulled together. Then, the next time they mess up your order at Starbucks, you'll have the confidence to ask them to remake it. You paid for it, you deserve it!
4. Clean out your bag/backpack/wallet.
Coco Chanel once said, “stop throwing CLIF bar remains and receipts to the bottom of your bag.” Okay, no she didn’t, but I did. I’m so guilty of doing this...my purse is a breeding home for 45 types of bacteria, I’m sure. But it doesn’t need to be! Let’s all make a choice to organize notes in folders and put the pennies where they belong... it feels good to pay in exact change, you know.
5. Do a face mask.
Whether it be a sheet charcoal mask or a #vintage mix and paste, slap it on your face and moonwalk to your freezer for a Haagen Dazs bar. Soft skin and pretending to be a monster in the mirror? IT IS ALREADY A GOOD TIME!
6. Just buy it.
Whatever the first thought you had when I said that: a polaroid, watch, jar of applesauce, or sequined blazer… if you’re still thinking about it and waiting for a sign to go get that thing you’ve been dying to have, this is your godsent sign.
With that being said, I know that the semester is cranking up and that there are political tensions, and Aleppo is burning, and that life is hard and scary. But worrying about it will never do anything. You need to recharge yourself and take care of yourself, so that you may do the Earth better.
So be kind to yourself, because very few people are. Be kind to yourself simply because you deserve it.
Also, you could get a cute Instagram out of it.
There’s a million reasons why I love New Years, and of those million, my favorite is that “renewed” feeling. You know, that first week of the year that everyone posts those Facebook statuses asking people to forgive their misdeeds like the time they insulted your baby bangs or pointed out your sideburns. And then you want to stay mad, but you realize that you yourself are trying to clean the air, so you forgive them. Ahh, that week.
And you can ridicule me all you want about being the “new year, new me!!” person, but I believe it! You can drone on and on about how you don’t need a new number behind the “201” to start going to the gym again, but come on...it would be nice. You’d actually feel like something was changing, and that would be EVEN BETTER.
Obviously, as you can tell, I can go on and on about this, but we all know you’re here for the meat and potatoes that are my New Years resolutions, that should probably be on your list too.
2. Get healthy, yo.
I can hear the groans and moans already.
But come on: how did you not expect this? This is your year to get the blood flowing to all parts of your body! This is your year to be able to caption your spicy gym selfie “Do you even lift bro?!”. This is your year to stop worrying about being unconfident or uncomfortable, to stop the excuses and give it all you got: drink more water, write yourself a workout routine, invest in a gym membership, wake up for those morning jogs (think about how cool you would sound bragging to your co workers!!), and pull your yoga mat out of your trunk.
For those of you looking for some extra motivation, here’s some tips that work for me:
3. Be more confident.
Yes, laugh all you want. Duriba Khan needs more confidence!
All jokes aside, I feel like recently i’ve been struggling with my confidence at work because I’m still fairly new and don’t know how to mail envelopes and I have gross hair and sometimes when I answer the phone I get nasty gross stuff in my throat and I just sound like a croaky frog. Yeah, I need to get better at that. If you also struggle with this, I’ll write up a funky and cool post where I come up with some ways to help you out.
4. Look comely and presentable, all the time.
I know at this point everyone will rush forward with the “you are beautiful just the way you are!!” business, and I appreciate it. I really, truly do. But this resolution plays simply off the “look good, feel good” principle. If you feel like you look presentable, you’ll definitely start more conversations, not worry about stains on your “Gone to Texas” shirt, not be so timid, and be your best self. That’s the stuff I like.
5. Don’t be looking for love.
Because of all the Bollywood films and love songs I encounter on a daily basis, I’m sure you see why this is a resolution. In general, I feel like society puts a lot of pressure on us to have a significant other, to be searching for someone to pose with at the “I love you so much” wall in Austin, etc. But guys, we don’t need other halves. We’re already whole! It really is as simple as that.
6. Don’t let your emotions control you.
If I said that I wasn’t reactive at all, I would be lying. For as “practical” and insensitive as I am, I’m actually super emotional. I mean I cried of happiness one time in my advertising class when my professor showed us an ad about veterans. I randomly will almost be asleep, and then I’ll start crying because I remembered how flowers are a miracle of life. And yeah, it makes a cute story, but it can also be bad when somebody yells at me and I start crying. Or if somebody flips me off while driving and I get butthurt and sad the whole day.
7. Self branding.
As you guys can probably tell, I’m very big on publicizing my life: from vlogs, blog posts, instagram posts, tweets, etc. This year, I want to work on creating my own brand and solidify my “style”. Obviously, not everyone is into this, and that’s perfectly okay. Personally, my goals are to post more of my work, create meaningful content, and be better at putting my passions up there on my to-do list with my goals.
8. Stick to your morals.
Make a list if you have to. I know with all the changes in life with college, work, etc, that sometimes we don’t have time to work on our relationships with ourselves, and that needs to change. If you promised yourself that you’d stop cursing, or that you’d never drink alcohol, or that you’d grow your hair out, and be yourself more, then maintain that promise. In life, a lot of people won’t be honest with you. Don’t be one of them.
7. Read for leisure.
I know it can be hard and sometimes even boring, but I have found that the best way to fuel your imagination and creative skills is to read. Read about dogs, Steve Jobs, the history of spoons, whatever! Just don’t stop.
8. Become more politically/socially active.
Hey, I’ll give myself some credit for attending a handful of protests at school. But in general, we’re supposed to be the ~woke~ generation. Let’s actively work together to put an end to classism, racism, sexism, bigotry, and hate. The power of awareness is a gift after all.
With that being said, there are my nifty dandy resolutions for 2017! I hope you guys could #relate, and that this year, you’re striving for optimum success and prosperity. Here's to more dank memes and good vibes.
So….this day ACTUALLY happened huh?
After all the death, disappointment, and grief 2016 brought upon us, I’m frankly surprised the earth didn’t explode. Because didn’t this year feel like the last scene in those horror movies where dinosaurs come back to life and things start exploding? And then there’s like a montage of havoc ensuing and the Eiffel Tower collapses and some mom loses her baby stroller because there’s a sudden rift in the earth?
If you said no, you’re either a Trump supporter or a mountain goat that is oblivious to the international dilemmas unfolding. You also probably like your own Instagram photos and shop at Aeropostale.The point is, 2016 is easily one of the most dynamic years that has occurred in my eighteen years of existence. Below are some reasons why.
2. I got into college. My dream one.
I want to boast about being smart and always coming at the top of my class, I really do. But the truth is, I’ve always worked hard in school. My super extremely trying hard was the smart kid’s attempt. I worked hard to be considered average. But I worked tirelessly, surrounded myself with good company that motivated me, fueled my passions, and I never took no for an answer. Still, I was skeptical about getting accepted at UT. And somehow, I did. And it made me really happy.
3. I decided what I wanted to do with my life.
Since middle school, it was pretty much decided that I, like my elder sister and parents, would pursue the paved and manicured path to the medical field. After years of convincing myself that that was what I truly wanted, hours of volunteering at a clinic, droning on and on to my balding advisor with a happy smile, and a lot of praying, I finally mustered enough confidence to acknowledge that, deep inside me, it wasn’t what I wanted. In 2016, I made the most important decision of my life, and I couldn’t be more pleased that I listened to my heart.
4. I unfriended someone.
I generally consider myself a persistent person, and many times, I turn a blind eye to the bad signs. I trust that people are inherently good, and every disappointment to this principle breaks my heart. As you can imagine, that’s a LOT of power to give to people. This year, I finally unfriended someone who was a downward spiral and hurt the people dearest to me. I have always made excuses for them, and sometimes I stayed up praying for them. I tried to help, I really did. But how can you help someone who doesn’t want to help themselves? How do you bring peace of mind to a disastrous whirlwind? You don't, I learned.
5. I learned how to drive. Vroom, vroom kids!
I’ve waited so long to take the wheel.
To be able to drive to the park and bark at dogs without my mother’s glaring eyes following me. To be able to spend however long I want standing on chairs at vintage coffee shops to get that A1 Insta pic. To just be able to take a long drive to nowhere with the windows to my ~whip Honda CRV~ rolled down. Meet with old friends, spend hours in smelly bookstores inhaling pastries. Going to HEB in pajamas to get blueberries. Doing volunteer work.
Long ago, these were distant dreams. Today, they’re my wondrous reality.
6. I got a REAL job.
I don’t know if watching kids pick their boogers at Kumon and threatening to mark their answers wrong if they don’t throw them away constitutes a real job, or if an online job does. I guess for the sake of this paragraph I’ll just saw they don’t count as real jobs because it build drama you know?
Anyway. I got a real job! Yes, I have my own mailbox and office keys and guys everyone is so nice. I get to use a Keurig and wear dress pants and I know all the passwords and when I answer the phone I FINALLY get to use a receptionist voice and I feel so helpful. I really recommend getting a job. They even pay you for it!
7. I’ve had my most diverse group of friends yet.
I grew up around solely brown Sunni Muslim people, and although that was nice, 2016 was the year I got to experience something different. I’ve befriended Atheists, Koreans, Buddhists, Bangladeshis, Ismaili Muslims, photographers, fashion designers, Sikhs, Agnostics, future engineers, scientists, historians, Pakistani Christians, Hindus, dog lovers, and bisexuals…..it has been amazing. I love hearing about everyone’s upbringings, struggles, and lives. It stimulates a lot of great conversation, and all in all, these people are extraordinary and I have grown to love every single one of them. Although it was hard for me to step out my comfort zone, I did it, and I’m glad I did.
8. I’ve grown to love/take ownership of my body more.
Up until recently, I’ve been pretty embarrassed of my body. Although I was always aware that I had prickly legs, I never thought to flaunt them to strangers at Starbucks. But now I don’t care. It’s nice to have smooth skin, but you can be hairy if you want to. It’s all up to you. I can be chubby and wear baby tees. I don’t know why it took me so long to understand that.
9. I voted.
I mean, it didn’t do much. But I finally got to vote. And it felt good to pretend like it mattered.
10. I got to write about it all.
With all the horrors occurring only seas away, it’s important to remember that no matter how many Donald Trump’s ego sized L’s you took, it would be worse. I know it’s fun to complain to your friends about Finals week and Stranger Things (trust me I know it’s fun), but your arms move and you have a designer handbag. You have shoes on your feet and internet. You will be able to handle 2017.
I write to express my passions, views and opinions on different types of cheese, and to heal myself. I am an aspiring law student and hand model for McDonalds. I currently reside in the United States, and study at UT Austin. Most importantly, I wholeheartedly hope you enjoy what my work has to offer.