Late night ramblings…

I have an urge to write but honestly, I have no idea what about. I wanted to talk about my mental health as it’s been so up and down really and I hit a low point a few days ago. I haven’t been that low in a long time.

I feel like I start my blog posts often with such uncertainty. I think I should just allow myself to write as the thoughts come to me, or rather, as I’m just thinking, a stream of conscience in a less self-conscious way. I need to stop apologising for my feelings and making excuses for them and most of all, allow myself to have them and not try to downplay or explain away or chastise myself for feeling a certain way even if it may be different from my logical side.

Wow. That was deep.

My head is a bit of a mess right now and this, to be honest, probably isn’t making a whole lot of sense.

I think I’m gonna retreat a little, get back on the Lie to Me marathon on Netflix. Tomorrow I have a seminar, maybe I’ll go to the gym at some point as I haven’t been last week and then I’ll start on one of my assignments. That’s the plan. Oh and sending a parcel. There’s quite a bit in there! And here’s to hoping that at the very least, I’ll go to my seminar (feeling like I wanna hide for a while!) and make a start on an essay outline and research from one of my modules.


It’s been a while…

… and I don’t even know where to start. Or how to start. Or even what about. I’ve been wanting to blog on and off for a months now but every time I’ve drove myself annoying tryna think about what I want to write about or what I ought to write about even thought my blog really has no particular direction… Just my ramblings right? Sure, loosely based around actually, almost completely around identity politics and my life but hey, you know what I mean. And the more I kept putting it off the more overwhelming that feeling got of, you know, of what to write about something substantial that would move people in someway.

My blog started as a way to channel my feelings and really to unload and overtime I found that my words offered comfort to other people too. How great is that? You’re just tryna deal with whatever you’re going through yourself and you completely unintentionally end up helping other people. I mean, is there a better thing when you’re down in the dumps and really feeling whatever you’re going through and probably being a little hard too hard on yourself and someone comes along and says “hey… me too!” That right there is empathy and it’s surprisingly harder to find than you think. Think about it, sympathy vs. empathy.

Anyway, there is no great sharing or revelation to come in this post, only me somewhat awkwardly tryna get into blogging again. What’s interesting is you’d have thought I’d be doing it on a day where I feel fabulous. Actually, I’ve just got some food and a drink, lit a candle and got riiight back into my batcave where I’ve spent the day (unchanged and unshowered – this is what happens during batcave days and I feel no shame in sharing that which feels great!) watching How I Met Your Mother (even with allllll it’s problems (feminist critique) – guilty pleasure? Okay, there’s a little shame there…) I haven’t done anything I was planning to do (carry on reading Brené’s book, (The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are), uni work, gym and meeting my partner – actually watching HIMYM was the first thing on the list so really, that just lasted longer than expected, right? Yeah, we can go with that. Thanks for the nodding there folks! 😀

So that’s it. That’s all I have for now. I wanna talk more about my journey of mental health – indeed positive mental health and talking about some of the things I’m doing with my therapist and indeed what I’m learning from Brené’s talks and books. I have a lot to share on that and while it deals with all of the difficult things, you know things we don’t like to talk about or that we avoid to talk about – vulnerability, shame, fears etc I wanna be doing a whole lot of that. And And AND it’s got my galvanised in my therapy in a way I haven’t been in a long time. Like, actually galvanised and excited and I can feel it now even writing this. So yes, I have much to share so please do stay tuned. And comment and share your things with me… Around what you’ve learned on your own life journeys about mental health and positivity and good living. I’d love to learn more and hear your stories.

Bye for now!



Love. Unconditional.

Even reading the title I’m sure some of you (more so those who follow me on Twitter and are on my Facebook) are gonna be all like “WE GET IT, YOU’RE IN A RELATIONSHIP NOW AND YOU’S ALL SUPER MUSHY. JUST STOP.”

I know I knoooooow guys but please, bare with me? Cool? Thanks.

Recently, I’ve been feeling really emotional and I don’t even mean in a negative way. I feel like I’ve been tearing up/crying a lot recently… The smallest things set me off when before I would have just been all like “awww isn’t that cute?!” But now I’m all like, “AWWWW THAT’S SO CUTE AND I’M JUST GONNA CRY ABOUT THIS NOW!” The capital letters are very important to this. *nods*

The above is a very interesting way to describe my current state of mental health because I can’t remember either the last time I’ve felt like this or indeed if I have ever felt like this. Just reading that back it feels like a grand statement because, well, it is. Remember in my previous post, a while ago where I’ve talked about mental health and more specifically a ‘vulnerability hangover?’ Well, it feels like I’m living in that vulnerability now and it’s not scary like it was before… I don’t feel the need to retreat or withdraw to my ‘batcave’ also known as my very own personal safe space.

It’s just, having someone in your life who knows all of you, who sees all of you and still loves you? Unconditionally? Well, I’ve never had that before. Generally even in day-to-day life I am an open person, it’s just who I am and my it’s my personality but I feel like there’s a line there still, a line of comfort. Now I have this person who sees all of me and she not only still loves me but for some reason adores me too. It feels so liberating.

Imagine this, someone who knows you, all of you, the good bits, the not so good bits and even your past actions of which you may still feel guilty about and they love you not in spite of that but because it is all a part of what makes you, you. Our past, whether good or bad or mundane or even our little past memories which may haunt us, leads us to where we are and indeed who we are today. Never have I been so open and so frank with someone and this is why I feel like I’m very much living in that vulnerability because guess what? The flood gates are very much open and it is very much a new feeling.

A few mornings ago I found myself wondering if I’m always gonna be living in this vulnerability and I was met with a resounding “yes”. In that moment I realised just how much one person, in this case, one specific person (my partner), can change the way you interact with the world forever – in a positive way. Isn’t that just mind-blowing?!

Here’s a little exert from Brené Brown’s talk on ‘The Power of Vulnerability’ (yes that talk I keep going on about because it is brilliant!):

But there’s another way, and I’ll leave you with this. This is what I have found: to let ourselves be seen, deeply seen, vulnerably seen; to love with our whole hearts, even though there’s no guarantee — and that’s really hard, and I can tell you as a parent, that’s excruciatingly difficult — to practice gratitude and joy in those moments of terror, when we’re wondering, “Can I love you this much? Can I believe in this this passionately? Can I be this fierce about this?” just to be able to stop and, instead of catastrophizing what might happen, to say, “I’m just so grateful, because to feel this vulnerable means I’m alive.” And the last, which I think is probably the most important, is to believe that we’re enough. Because when we work from a place, I believe, that says, “I’m enough,” then we stop screaming and start listening, we’re kinder and gentler to the people around us, and we’re kinder and gentler to ourselves.

I have reached one of those fundamental points in my life. You know the ones I mean, where something of great significance happens and it changes your perspective or your outlook forever. And I got to tell ya, it feels like an awakening. It feels so freeing and so liberating and yet so calming at the same time. It’s like as if everything in my past has been leading up to this point here. Oh and my mental health in terms of strength has never been better actually – just speaking more generally of course. My mental health has been fluctuating of late – caring responsibilities and a useless extended family are really beginning to take its toll on my mum and I and a not-very-nice person from my past popped up unexpectedly which was pretty shit. It’s just frustrating and upsetting sometimes and all of that coupled with other stresses means my mental health is in a little bit of an ‘interesting’ state at the moment. Going back to what I said earlier, in terms of strength, bizarrely, I seem to be in a good place and that’s largely because of having someone there to lean on. And not just anyone though, a loving partner, a best friend, an ally, a support.

Q&A: Renaming the LGBT community?

What do you think of the idea/move to rename/change the terminology of the LGBT community?

Okay, so I feel like this question needs to be answered in two parts:

  1. Renaming the LGBT community
  2. Terminology usage within said community


Renaming the LGBT community suggests that there’s some sort of deficit with its current name – Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans.

On the face of it, it seems to cover a great array of people but, as with anything, it can’t quite cover everybody. With this in mind you may well have seen such acronyms like LGBTQ (Q = queer or questioning) or LGBTQIA (I = intersex and A = asexual). Some people like the acronyms and the addition of more letters, some people feel like it’s getting a bit ridiculous because there’s always going be a group of people excluded which then means you’re adding more letters on a an already lengthy acronym.

To talk specifically about renaming Well, this is an interesting idea. I feel, in terms of mainstream society and media outlets etc., it probably needs to remain LGBT because we know how slow the mainstream can be to change and this would make conversations around gender and sexuality much easier. That’s not the right way to explain it – streamlined, so the audience has consistency.

In terms of an internal community renaming, well, I use the word queer to describe myself and, as such, I often refer to the LGBT community as the queer community. I feel that queer is one of the few words that has been reclaimed and used not only as a descriptor but also as a term of empowerment. Now of course this isn’t to say that people don’t use the word as a pejorative, of course people do but in my circles, which consist of a lot of activists, it is used in a positive way. Ultimately it always comes back to people identifying how they want to and with words in which they choose.

The reason why I use queer is actually for a few reasons:

  • It’s a catch-all word to refer to the entire LGBT community;
  • it dispels the idea labels and boxes – it oozes fluidity in identity and meaning;
  • synonymous with genderqueer;
  • encompasses gender and sexuality;
  • is completely antithetical to heteronormative and gender-binary society.


In terms of changing the terminology of the LGBT community I immediately thought of pronouns. This of course fits into a wider discussion of inclusivity and, of course, the importance of inclusive language. Isn’t terminology and language usage fluid anyway? Cultures and, as such, language evolves overtime – right? I feel this is particularly important when talking about human rights or identity based communities.

In any case I think that this is a particularly lengthy discussion and one which has been had throughout history. Starting speeches with sisters and brothers is all when and good when talking about the familial intensity in such groups but what about our non-binary siblings?

The quote, which perfectly sums up my views on this, is by Audre Lorde. Now of course you’ll read it and think it applies to outsiders of certain communities but, given how diverse (in this discussion) that identity communities are, the LGBTQ community also applies here too.

If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.

– Audre Lorde

Thanks for your question. 🙂

If you’d like to ask a question – hit me up on social media or drop me a line at

Performers in Exhibit B AKA the ‘human zoo’

So I stumbled across an article from a different perspective about Exhibit B at the Barbican:

The performers may well be angry and rightly so because the continued cuts this Tory-led government and hellbent on continuing are impact the arts too but I’d advice them to direct their anger not to the anti-racist protestors but rather the government which is trampling on their livelihood and well, art and culture for the rest of us.

Human zoos were literally showcases of African people for the pleasure of European and white colonisers. Africans were showcased in cages alongside animals. There’s nothing artistic or innovative about this piece of ‘art’ by Brett Bailey. He claims that it critiques the human zoos of history but provoking discussion and such.

We need to continue to protest against all forms of white supremacy and racism especially ‘liberal’ forms of ‘art’ that wanna invoke discussion as if to say conversations around race and power and white supremacy aren’t happening any way. They’re happening but you don’t have to pay £20 to have the privilege to do so in a largely white space. They’re happening on social media, in our communities and in our homes. We don’t need yet another privileged white middle class man showing us how to discuss race or learn history.

Akala has written a great piece critiquing the exhibit:

Robin Williams and My Mental Health

I was looking forward to publishing a blog post that I’d already written and it turns out that I hadn’t actually wrote it… Do you ever find that happens? I swear I wrote the damn thing…? Clearly I’m just loosing it…

Anyway, I wanted to talk a little about Robin Williams and mental health, specifically, my mental health. It’s weird because usually when I blog it comes so easily to me as it’s quite literally a stream of my consciousness but because my mental health has been so poor recently it’s been requiring more energy than usual.

I was so sad to hear of Robin Williams’ death. Whenever you hear of anyone dying it reminds you of your own mortality however, this time, because of how he died I was forced to confront an uncomfortable truth about my past. It’s not secret that I have mental health issues but a few years ago I contemplated taking my own life – that’s perhaps something people aren’t so aware of. So hearing of Robin’s death kind of forced me to think back to my own experiences of really low mental health and suicide or rather, suicidal thoughts.

What I find most interesting and rather intriguing is that generally people assume those who are outgoing and have (I can’t remember the right word)… personalities that they are always positive and have no negativity whatsoever. Sometimes I feel like it comes as a shock to people when they learn of my own relationship with mental health (both positive and negative because mental health isn’t just a negative thing – everyone has mental health) and they don’t really know what to say. This feeling is compounded when they learn about my history of suicide or suicidal thoughts.

I feel like there’s an expectation of outgoing people (still can’t remember the other word) to be well, outgoing. Actually, expectation isn’t even the right word there… Not an expectation… More a thing? Like, if an outgoing person is under-the-weather for whatever reason I feel like people don’t really know how to react to that because it’s not expected of them as it’s perceived to be out of character. This is particularly true when we look at the reactions to Robin William’s death. While he certainly didn’t make his history of addiction or mental health a secret (he sometimes joked about both in interviews) there was still the surprise among the the general public of a comedian having taken his own life. Someone who’s profession, who’s life work is to make other’s laugh and feel good about themselves could feel so low about themselves.

Do you ever find that people have this imbalance of expectation of you?

How do you deal with that?

For a long time I’ve had this thing niggling in the back of mind… When people praise me or the work I do I can’t help but feel a sense of guilt attached to it because of my mental health issues. I feel like people put me on this pedestal sometimes and that to show a more vulnerable or weaker side would tarnish their image of me and ultimately, my cause? Does that even make sense?

I know what I mean.

What really hurts a lot is when I’m having a really rubbish mental health phase and friends and acquaintances give me such lovely pick-me-ups. I don’t ask for support of that kind a lot and so when I do, I’m in a real bad way and so these little bits of love, support and solidarity actually make me cry, a lot. It’s partly because I’m feeling such love from people whom I know very well AND from people whom I don’t know know very well at all as well as that sense of guilt. It’s almost like a double-edged sword. I feel like that’s the only way I can explain.

I know this post is is rather disjointed but I’d really appreciate your thoughts and advice.

Feminist Fail at Nottingham Women’s Conference 2013/2014

[Trigger warning: transphobia]

This post has been written for about 6 months now but I’ve been hesitant to post it. I think I didn’t want it to come across too harshly or really have the energy to deal with any potential backlash from this but you know what? As my good friend quite rightly said earlier:

‘No change ever happens unless injustice is challenged.’

So, here’s me challenging it. And it also acts as a warning to those who are going/considering going in terms of what to expect.


One of my new year’s resolutions was to get more involved in activism in Nottingham and a week or so later, after publishing said blog post, I came across the planning meeting for Nottingham Women’s Conference 2014… Talk about great timing! I must admit though, I was in two minds about deciding whether or not to be involved but I’ll get into that later. In order to get a more fuller understanding of my views and politics in regards to this I’m gonna take you back to last year’s Nottingham Women’s Conference. Instead of me only recounting the bits of the conference most vivid for me I’m going to defer to my friend Jennifer (Twitter: @UnchartedWorlds) who was also at the conference as she has written a well -detailed commentary on her experience of the conference. Usually I don’t defer to other people as no-one can really represent you and your views as you would yourself but I wholeheartedly agree with everything Jennifer has written in her commentary.

It’s fairly lengthy so get a cuppa and some munchies before you sit down to it.

Here’s the link:

NWC2013: write-up & some opinions

If you don’t have the time to read Jennifer’s post please do bookmark it for later. Here’s my brief overview of NWC 2013:

  • Lack of representation of the diversity of women – only one woman of colour as a speaker/workshop leader, no apparent visibility of disabled, trans or socio-economic backgrounds apart from the usual cis white middle class women;
  • Lack of diverse view points – the whole conference was geared towards one ideology with no platform of other views;
    Severe anti-sex/anti-sex worker views. I remember one particular speaker referring to women in sex work as ‘toilets’ because men do their business and leave. Now, irrespective of one’s views on sex work this is an inherently anti-woman thing to say as it is shaming the women they claim to be wanting to try and help. Help in itself being problematic as if to say all women in sex work need saving;
  • Also, in reference to the above, there was a lot of talk about sex work from women who weren’t involved or had left the industry. My point is that no current sex workers were seemed to be on the panel. They were outside protesting, check out Sex Workers Open University (SWOU);
  • No safe-space. There was supposedly a safe-space policy as written down in one of the conference hand-outs however, it was very minimal and wasn’t actually upheld throughout the day so that failed;
  • Radfem UK (a new organisation made up largely of the older members of the organisation who were bullying me online while also accusing me of being an MRA) had a stall there which, in my opinion, violates safe-space policy. However, in a bid to have a diversity of views, this wouldn’t be as problematic if other feminist views/stalls/speakers were there;
  • No consideration or understanding of intersectionality whatsoever. For example, when a speaker was talking about the sexualisation of women in the media most of her pictures were of white women with the Western-normative idealised version of beauty and when Black women were shown there wasn’t a single comment on the intersections of race and sexualisation. This is the same issue with the No More Page 3 campaign which was also at the conference. The representative from NMP3 mentioned a statistic (something along the lines of) that in 40 years The Sun has had page 3 women only 1 has been black and yet this seemed to be a by-point. I did say it was brief but kinda like Pringles, once you pop you can’t stop… Anyway, moving on…

You’re probably thinking if I have had such a negative experience of the last conference why on earth would I want to get involved in the planning of the next one? Sure, the question has a lot of logic in it but my reason in wanting to get involved was to encourage the representation of the diversity of the feminist view, or rather, the views of women because that is how I understood the conference to be – given that it’s called ‘Nottingham Women’s Conference.’ As someone who is increasingly visible in my own personal diversity as a queer South Asian feminist Muslim woman I often feel like I have an obligation to get involved in things (even if they’re problematic) to use my skills and expertise to help make it better. It’s only recently through discussions with friends that I’m learning the importance of using my energy to make something completely fresh and that way I will meet the aims and objectives I set out. It will have intersectional roots and I will not spend my time consumed in negativity trying to make something less shit.

So, in terms of the first planning meeting I went to (which was the second one that had happened) here’s the low-down:

  • I mentioned that we should have a diversity of views on a panel in a bid to not allow it to be one-sided. This was met with ‘So you want racists and stuff? We can’t have that.’ Yes, as a woman of colour I obviously really do want racists there, chuck in some extreme far-righters too for good measure too(!);
  • One of the considered themes (‘Sexualisation and porn aimed at lesbians’) was debated. As a friend and ally at the meeting, I felt that instead of focusing solely on lesbians we should open it up to queer sexuality and this would include all types of women. This turned into a suggestion (from my friend) of having some sort of queer sexuality workshop which I fully seconded. A woman sat next to me, turned to me, put her hand on my arm and said ‘Then we must have an anti-queer one’ without a hint of sarcasm not knowing how I defined myself. She then proceeded to follow this up with ‘Oh just so you know, I don’t mean anti-trans’ as if that made her comment any better! Within the group some of the women seemed to be somewhat confused as to what queer actually meant with one woman in particular referring it to mean simply ‘bisexual’ which actually is a part of a whole lot of things which queer means. The anti-queer sentiments were born out of someone’s dislike of bisexuals along with the notion of gender being a societal construct. Now the latter of which may well be true but the irony of this statement by one of the women is that queer theory includes this critique;
  • While there was some good discussion on other themes and workshops such as ‘feminist mothering’, giving air time to gender neutral toys campaigns among inviting some cool organisations like Imkaan and Southall Black Sisters for me, I felt the inaccessibility and non-intersectional attitudes running throughout the meeting by a couple of women outweighed any of the positives.

Now for the second meeting (third in total)… I was going to do this section in bullet points too in a bid to not ramble but I wasn’t there long enough to warrant bullet points. Seldom do I ever leave meetings early because of how unsafe they are and this was one of those meetings. I was late and came into a discussion of how there was an online organising group for the conference of which the new members (another woman, my friend and I) were not invited to and yet apparently a thread on this secret group on Facebook ended up discussing the new members without our knowledge and without the chance for us to respond.

So the quote which instantly comes to mind when I think about last night’s women’s conference planning meeting is this: ‘My feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit.’ I knew it was going to be a hard meeting and had prepared myself somewhat for it but evidently not enough. It was so so problematic and draining.

In my early days of activism I used to be so tolerant of people’s views and move to try and get them to see my way of thinking in discussions and debates. A few years later and I simply cannot and will not tolerate any oppressive behaviour which makes it hard to work with those who have non-intersectional views and seek to silence those who do not fit into their political ideology. This isn’t about silencing people., On the contrary I believe everyone has the right to their opinion and to voice it. However, I choose not to work with those people – as the solution to ending oppression isn’t working on one oppression, speaking over others and indeed speaking for others (e.g. Muslims or sex workers without actually allowing them to speak for themselves as if they are unable!) but rather understanding that all oppressions are interlinked. We have to work on tackling them all together and not putting one oppression higher than another in a hierarchy. At the same time, we must understand multiple-discrimination and the important of intersectionality.

It is with a heavy heart that the bottom line is that I can no longer work with the Nottingham Women’s Conference group for the aforementioned reasons in this post.