I’m 21 Years old turning 13…

I need to remind myself to patient. My anger will go from a maximum 100 pissed off to a low 5 mildly uncomfortable…..

And it’s thanks to my room.

My room is a mixture of One Direction posters, bright colored bras on the floor accompanied by semester text books I’ve rented from Amazon.

And in the midst of this mess my favorite lip gloss tends to disappear along with my make up pomegranate face wipes….

My bed is the most comfortable thing in the world, that is if you’re not sharing it. Nonetheless, that is not the case in my life.

On my bed you will find a fat plush giraffe the size of a well fed three year old child, a Japanese stuffed animal cat, a moose, two build-a-bears, a stuffed animal owl/pillow and oh yeah a 5ft 5, 13 year old girl.

That is the problem I am facing today.
My room sounds like a 13 year old’s cave in which she invites her other 13 year old humans who come and perform rituals on Zayn Malik’s face.

All I’m saying here is that I am extremely thankful I have a room to call my own…kind of, and that I have a roof over my head.

But sharing my room, and my bed with my 13 year old sister has become problematic, I’m not sure how much longer I can take another punch in the face by my sleeping sister, or another song by 5 Seconds of Summer….

I really wish I had a place of my own.

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Prisoner in Your Own Home

One night, I make all three sleep in the same bedroom with us, hoping to increase the odds they’ll survive if a shell hits one of the empty rooms in our house. But then the next night, I’ll separate them, thinking that if I divide my children they won’t all die in an attack. (Unless we’re hit by a half-ton bomb, rather than artillery shell, in which case we’ll all be killed, anyway.)

-Wejdan Abu Shammala (Article)

Imagine yourself 10 years from now, imagine your home. How cozy it’ll be, how beautiful it will be, decorated with flowers, blankets in the living room, the smell of fresh brewed coffee in the morning; and it’ll taste sweeter because it’s finally your home. Imagine yourself walking into the front porch, to sit down, and take in that relaxing morning breeze, the neighboring children already playing outside. Just peace, and happiness…in your home. After a couple of hours, you realize your love ones are still asleep, and you’ve woken up a bit early, so you decide to make breakfast, so your little ones and your beloved can wake up to the wonderful smell of pancakes and over easy eggs. Life is wonderful you say to yourself, you have your home, your children, your wonderful partner, in a beautiful place. Great.

As you’re sharing a wonderful morning with your family, you hear a knock on the door. Who could it be? Maybe the neighbors again, to bring your family freshly baked bread again. You open the door, and you see someone unrecognizable. But before you can even say hello, in front of you is a gun, pointed right in between your eyes. You stay quiet, confused, without words, you raise your hands up, to show that you mean no harm to this stranger, at the door to your home.

The stranger walks in, bringing more of his kind, and tells you and your family, that this home now belongs to them, and you are all required to live in the basement, you’re not allowed to come back up, without permission, you cannot eat, or drink when you want to, it’ll be on their terms and you will have electricity for maybe 4 hours a day or less. You have become prisoners in your own home, to strangers. You ask why? Why your home? They respond, that they have rights to your home, for it belonged to their ancestors before you moved in. But that’s crazy isn’t it? You bought this home, it’s yours now, regardless of who lived here before, that’s just crazy talk. You demand that they leave your home, but you’ve gone too far now…you can’t make demands like these anymore, and don’t get violent, they have the weapons, you have your kitchen knife.

You have no choice but to listen to their requests, for the sake of keeping your children safe. From that day forward you live a life of torture and fear, you don’t know when they will decide to kill all of you, it’s been a month, and your beloved is still not back from the time they took her/him, now it’s just you and your kids…Your children ask you why this has happened, why are they tortured, don’t the strangers have children themselves? Why can they show no mercy.

You’ve grown angry, and you’ve began to teach your children how to hate, you’ve began to think of ways to defend yourself, and your home. Another month passes by, and you feel you’re ready, you’ve planned this, and you think you can defeat them, take your home back, save your beloved, protect your children….you wait for the right time.

You failed.

And one of your children has been taken, and killed, because you failed. They tell you, you cannot be violent towards them, they have taken what is rightfully theirs, and any attacks against them will be answered with a worse attack, you are an enemy to them now. You’re a thief, how dare you try to obliterate them? You’ve scared some of the other inhabitants in the house, and now they demand that you face punishment.

You cannot terrorize those living at their “own” home…. But you’re angry and desperate and at this rate you will try to do anything to protect your one and only last child, you will do anything to save your beloved. So you plan again. And you attack again. You failed once more, but this time you managed to take one of the inhabitants down to the basement. You have a knife, remember the kitchen knife? And you threaten to kill the inhabitant if they do not release your beloved.

They agree on an exchange. Your beloved is safe now, she’s/he is back in your arms, but don’t think that that little attack of yours will go unnoticed, your second and last child has been killed. They warned you on the consequences.

How could this happen, how can they kill your children? “Kill me instead!” You yell “Kill me instead!! What did they do!!”

How do you get out of this situation, how can you imagine yourself living in this situation, a life in prison, a life as a hostage, from one minute to another.

Little by little the strangers decide to take away part of the basement, for new inhabitants, so now they’re making your livable space even smaller.

“Survive, survive, survive” you say to your beloved “we need to continue to fight” but your beloved is tired, “they’re too strong” he tells you, “let’s just ask for more food, and maybe some fresh air, but we cannot anymore, we have lost too much.”

Imagine yourself in this terrifying situation, with no way out. You’re practically a living dead person, no future ahead for you, you only breath now…as a prisoner in your own home with not even access to water whenever you need it, or electricity,there isn’t much of a reason to live. But you continue to believe there is, and the reason is to take back your home, and fight against a group of people ten times stronger than you.

Who’ve might of even convinced neighbors that they are right, and you shouldn’t be helped.

 

 

You know there’s a word used to describe this type of living situation.

It’s called Gaza.

Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

 

Death toll has reached 1300 civilians, mostly children. You don’t have to be an Arab, you don’t have to be a Palestinian, an American, or be a Muslim, you don’t need anything but have common sense, to realize that this has gone too far, and that Israel has the blood of thousands of Palestinian children since 1948 in its hands. If you couldn’t ever even fathom living in the conditions that I described in the short story above, which are still not as bad, compared to what Gazans live through; what makes you think that 1.8 million people can in only a 3 mile stretch.

 

Relax, You’re Okay. Just Breath.

It’s 2am, and I’m not quite sure why I’m on here writing instead of sleeping; but as soon as I was getting myself ready for bed, I found myself extremely tired, yet wide awake. I just have too many things on my mind, don’t we all. I often wonder, just how much can we take on, how many roles can we take on before we explode into a million tiny pieces of stress?

I would tell you to get out a sheet of paper, and begin to write down all your stressful things, but honestly I feel like that would probably cause us all a mental break down. The thing is, I am certain I’m feeling stressed but I’m not exactly sure why, I’m don’t know what’s causing my brain to be up this late…but something certainly is bothering me. Perhaps it’s my Summer finals, or something deeper than that. Who knows. But I, like probably most of you, have come to realize that stress will always be there, whether it’s due to our romantic relationships, our doubt in religion, our GPA’s, our future, whatever, it’s going to be there. In fact if it is not there, society will create stress for you. You’re not thin enough, you’re not beautiful enough, you’re not smart enough, or our weather is changing, animals are dying, people are dying, Gaza is dying (Allah help them). Stress is there, we create stress, it’s as if we need stress; and it ranges between minimal to extreme…

Wouldn’t it just be nice if we could stop time when we are feeling too overwhelmed?
I like to pretend I can by closing my eyes, even for a minute, just to breath in between all the chaos.

I wish I could offer you all a piece of advice on stress but to be honest, I need some advice too. Recently I’ve been using one piece of advice my fathers Iraq war veteran (from the Iraqi side) friend told us:

If there’s a problem, and there’s a solution…then don’t worry about it.
If there’s a problem, and there is no solution…then don’t worry about it.

Read it twice, I promise it makes sense. I feel like so often do we have stress, and continue to add more stress to our stress by worrying about more little things we really should not be worried about, for example, preparing a mid-term paper and as soon as you turn it in, realizing you forgot a comma, and now you’re stressed because if the comma…
In other words we add stress that we don’t really need to begin with. So here’s the part where I try to help you fellow stressed friends. Yes, I lied, I will actually suggest you write down a list of the things you’re mostly stressed about, and if there is a solution, write it down, if there isn’t, write it down.

via tumblr.com

via tumblr.com

I’m not saying it will help you de-stress, but it will put your thoughts into perspective and maybe even help you understand why you’re stressed about that certain stressful thing and possibly even lead to some personal realizations. It’s not supposed to look like a to do list, it’s supposed to look like your real stressful problems, and your feelings towards them and how you can find a solution for them and learn more about yourself.

The last piece of advice that I can offer is be good to yourself, do not stress when you do not have to and hopefully this list will help you realize how many silly things there are that we stress about and really shouldn’t. Treat yourself good, if you wish you could enjoy a couple hours of relaxation in the morning, to comfortably enjoy your coffee then do it, wake up early and do it, for yourself. You deserve it.

Goodluck friends, feel free to reply to this, or to send me your lists, I’ll gladly share mine upon requests, any questions feel free to message me through here, or my e-mail: salmayazmine@gmail.com

Breath in. You can do this.

P.S I am quite late in changing up the banner for this week’s Girl’s Doin’ Art, and I am also late on some posts I’ve been working on for the Fat Diaries, I promise I’ll be back after finals. Thank you to the few who have shown support for my brand new little blog, it means a lot!

 

10 Tips for a Lasting Relationship

  “Relationships are mysterious. We doubt the positive qualities in others, seldom the negative. You will say to your partner: do you really love me? Are you sure you love me? You will ask this a dozen times and drive the person nuts. But you never ask: are you really mad at me? Are you sure you’re angry? When someone is angry, you don’t doubt it for a moment. Yet the reverse should be true. We should doubt the negative in life, and have faith in the positive.” -Christopher Pike, Remember Me

I really don’t have any 10 signs that will help you keep your relationship; but look at how the title intrigued you, so many times do we doubt our romantic relationship with our significant other, so we begin to do little silly or not so silly things. We start paying more attention to magazines who seem to know more about our own personal relationships than we do. We begin to listen to our friends, moms, aunts, uncles, grandparents….

A good relationship consists of …….

And the list goes on. But what really keeps a relationship going? How do we know if our significant other is currently happy with us? I’m not sure about you all, but all the advice offered on relationships from magazines, to family and friends to online websites, make things feel as if they are worse than what I thought they where.

I don’t think we are ever able to know if our relationship is on its way to the death bed, unless there are extreme situations (i.e cheating, violence, etc) but that’s not exactly what I’m talking about. I’m talking about a relationship in which time begins to take a toll on both us. Where it’s been a year and that spark of a brand new relationship begins to diminish, and now you’re left with two people, who seem to love each other but no longer really know what to do with it. What happens then? How do you keep a spark alive? It seems that when two people so badly wish to continue to be together, it is worth to find that spark again. Then again, it could always be just one of us who’s spark has left her/him.

 

Illustration by Paul Blow

A relationship is so sensitive. I often find myself awake when I should be asleep, thinking if it will last. I know I’m happy but is he? Does he still find me pretty? Does he still love it when I wear my hair in a bun? Is it still cute when i wear big sweaters with my glasses? I often wonder if my smile still cheers him up, the way his smile cheers me up. I wonder if I am ever in his future plans anymore, like I was before, even if it was just for fun. I wonder if we go out now for the sake of going out, or because he still wants to hear about my day. Regardless, through this one very happy year of mine, I’ve come to learn a lot about relationships, wanting to take care of someone, wanting to keep this person happy, being there through his hardships, helping him with anything I can has taught me that relationships are random, they’re uncalled for, and completely unpredictable. Trying to figure out if whether we’ll stay together or not, is just not worth our time. Instead, we should take everyday as is, and let everything fall in it’s place as it should.

 

EXTRAS: Trouble Sleeping by Corinne Bailey Rae

Girls Doin’ Art

This week’s banner is an illustration by Laura Callaghan. 
She’s an Irish illustrator based in London. She uses water color, Indian ink and her drawing skills, to create these amazing colorful illustrations of girls just being girls.

I always feel like she really focuses on representing all kinds of girls, bored girls, smart girls, brown girls, white girls, curvy girls, all girls.

Check out her blog here.
Shop her art here.
And her website here.

The piece on my banner is called “Three’s a Crowd”. 

Three’s a Crowd by Laura Callaghan

 

Who started it this time? The Waging War on Palestine

“Why do these young Palestinian children hate so much?  It shouldn’t be why it should be what kind of hate do they have because it was never for a people or for a cause.  This hate keeps them alive.  This hate makes them live another day even though there’s nothing to live for.  This hate makes them want to have children just to teach them not to hate, because on the other side hate is grown through children.  Hate is grown through trees in the shape of a v and never for peace for their own protection.” Poem by Tahani Salah (X)

The media has attributed the current war between Israel and Palestine on the kidnapping of three Jewish-Israeli teenagers, who were later found buried between rocks in the West Bank. Naftali Fraenkel 16, Gilad Shaer 16, Eyal Yifrah 19, were all victims of a 67 year old conflict. Nonetheless, it seems the media did not pay much attention to what had happened before the death of these three young Israeli civilians. The death of Fraenkel, Shaer, and Yifrah could be seen as a revenge kill for the two Palestinian teenagers who were killed by IDF soldiers on May 15, 2014. Nadim Nuwara 17, and Muhammad Abu al-Thahir 16. “Nadim was walking and was unarmed when an American-made bullet pierced his body. One hour later, 16 year old Muhammad Abu al-Thahir – also walking and also unarmed – succumbed to the same fate.” The shooting of the teenagers was caught on camera, watch at your own discretion.  Many Israeli citizens and supporters claimed the video was fake, but it wasn’t until CNN “captured a team of Israeli soldiers hiding behind an installation: There isn’t any commotion and the soldiers don’t appear to be in any danger when an Israeli sniper calmly focuses his weapon on his target. He fires. Nadim’s body lunges forward. The teen collapses and dies.” Not surprisingly Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not condemn this action and the soldiers did not face any punishment. Palestinians on the other hand,did break in protest, and justice was once again not met. It is then when the three Israeli teens were kidnapped and killed a month later. This 67 year old conflict has put young, people, who hold no blame in danger. These three Israeli teenagers were victims of war and victims of racist socialization; while the two Palestinian teenagers were victims of war, and colonization. Before I begin, my actual argument, I must first state, that under no conditions do I justify the murder of these three Israeli victims, and the two Palestinian victims; it is a terrible act of hate against young people, who hold no fault on the current political situation between Israel and Palestine. Now, on to the argument, despite Israel’s continuous claims on only targeting Hamas members, it is safe to acknowledge  that they have been targeting Palestinian civilians more so than Hamas officials, when IDF soldiers went into the West Bank and the Gaza strip to raid homes, and use rubber bullets against civilians,  in search of  the three Israeli teens, about 350 Palestinians were immediately arrested, and 5 other Palestinians were killed. It’s highly unlikely that all of the targeted civilians had anything to do with the kidnapping, nonetheless, Israel would report to the media that only suspects of the kidnapping had been arrested and had  also been identified as Hamas members, not acknowledging that one th5 killed was a teenager. The search for the kidnapped teens soon once again, became an illegal war crime against the Palestinian people. Soon after the three teenagers were found dead, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “vowed that the Islamist militant group Hamas, which [he] accuses of the abductions, will pay a heavy price” and “just after midnight, witnesses in Hebron, the West Bank’s largest city, said the retaliation had begun as Israeli forces used explosives to demolish the homes of Marwan Qawasmeh and Amer Abu Aisha, the Hamas men who have been missing since the teenagers vanished and who are Israel’s prime suspects. At the same time another teen Mohammed Abu Khudeir was abducted by Israeli settlers, and burned alive, The following days Tampa teen, and cousin of Abu Khudeir, Tariq Khudeir was beaten and arrested by IDF soldiers.  Palestinian civilians were outraged, and came into protest against Israel. The actions of the abducted teen and beaten Tariq became a hot issue in the media, which resulted pressures on Israel  to arrest 6 suspects who were accused of killing of Abu Khudeir, as “Netanyahu condemned what he called a horrific crime and pledged that anyone found guilty would “face the full weight of the law.” Moshe Yaalon, the Israeli defense minister, said in a statement that he was “ashamed and shocked by the cruel murder,” describing those behind it as “Jewish terrorists.” Yet, the IDF soldiers who had targeted and killed Nadim and Al-Thahir continue to work freely in the Israeli Forces.

Screen Shot 2014-07-17 at 12.15.40 AM

Via Twitter, twitter.com/Omar_Gaza

“Gaza militants [retaliated and]  fired scores of rockets at Israel and Israel responded with more than a dozen air strikes.” Today we learn of 4 Palestinian boys ages 9 to 10, who were targeted on the beach. They were reportedly running away from a shelling not to far away from them, only to be targeted and shelled minutes later. Israel blamed the killing of these four children on Hamas, claiming that they were being used as human shields  Yet, it was clear that these children posed no danger and were merely running in hopes of surviving. It has been about a month and 10 days in war and the current death toll on both countries is 214+ in Palestine and only 1 death in Israel. Israel has time and time again claimed that they do not target any civilians, but the readers decide if that is true or not.  Furthermore, before the 5 hour cease on fire today, Israel had warned Gazan civilians to leave Gaza before they continued to fire, and even suggested Gazans do not return until further notice. It’s almost a mockery to ask civilians to leave their homes, when Gaza is surrounded by closed borders including that of Egypt, how in the world is one of the most populated territories of almost 1.657 million people in the world supposed to escape from the rockets of Israel? Furthermore, even if Gazans were able to escape, it would not be likely that they would be able to return, which is exactly what Israel would hope for. Just as there is a large population of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, there are also thousands maybe millions of displaced Palestinians throughout the world.

The Toll in Gaza and Israel, Day by Day

The Toll in Gaza and Israel, Day by Day, via nytimes.com

Once again, I am not in any way considering the Israeli deaths as victory deaths for Palestine. Targeted  and killed civilians due to war is probably one of the worst crimes committed. I’m only suggesting that once again those who suffer from Israel’s goal to target Hamas leaders are women, children, the elderly, father’s who’s family depended on them, people whose lives were taken unjustly. This isn’t a waging war on Israel, this is a continuous waging war on Palestine, for the sake of exterminating an indigenous people to the lands in conflict. This is colonization, this is oppression, and this is in no way a fair war, there is no neutrality, it’s simply a war between the oppressor and the oppressed; and it is illogical to be angry at Palestine for simply defending themselves against Israeli attacks.     Extras:

This chart shows every person killed in the Israel-Palestine conflict since 2000.

Salma you made no sense I have no idea what you’re talking about: That’s fine just watch this!

Girls Doin’ Art-Featured Artists

I love art.
Who doesn’t right?

I mean what even is art?
I’m not really going to get into that discussion.
What this post really is about, is the Featured Artists Category on my blog.

I’m hoping to feature art work on my banner every week from some of my favorite female artists, I’ve discovered while living on the internet. You can always refer to the Featured Artists category to see who’s the genius behind every week’s banner.

The inaugural piece this week is by Valerie on tumblr.com.
Check out her art blog here.

The featured piece is called Flutter Girl, and you can check out the whole thing here.

I’ve only recently started following Valerie, 18 year old CalArts student, majoring in character animation. I love her work, and she does sell some prints!

 

The Fat Diaries

You are imperfect, permanently and inevitably flawed. And you are beautiful.

-Amy Bloom

I have been thinking all day about this new blog. What am I going to write on here, what it’ll consist of.

Finally, at 12:30am I have decided.

It’ll just be about me.

And I’ve decided to talk about the most sensitive issue in my life: my body.

It seems that I can aspire and try my whole best to be the best student, daughter, sister, and woman I can be; but regardless of my achievements, it is all invalidated due to one “flaw” in my being. I am fat.

I am fat so now I’m not the best at all the things I think I’m the best at, because to be fat means to be unhealthy, to have disregard for my physical appearance, I’m lazy, and quite possibly stupid. These are the attributes that come with being fat. Of course these are not true, it is illogical, to identify someone as stupid due to their physical appearance but that seems to be the struggle of fat people.
Our lives are governed by the body ideologies of our American culture, and in my case it is also part of the Hispanic culture and the Arab culture.

I am sick and tired of living my life inside a self-loathing, self-conscious bubble that I walk around in all day because people actually tell me to. People don’t seem to understand that phrases like:

Well at least you have a pretty face.

Well at least you don’t look like so-and-so!

Well your boobs make up for it!

Are extremely damaging, why would anyone tell a human being that their existence is mediocre? And why should we base the value of our existence on someone’s opinion?

The worst is when your parents seem to think that they only offend you about your weight because they love you; and although their words are probably whole-heartedly in their best intentions, they are also damaging to ones self-acceptance and over all self esteem.

I wake up every morning and shame myself, I look down upon myself, I invalidate my own existence because I am fat. I never celebrate myself, or my achievements, and I like to think about my pretty face because people seem to let me know that it’s my only good physical attribute.

All this self-hate is the result of those who surround me who’ve made it their job to comment on my physical appearance even if just once.

Ironically, I’ve come to a realization that even if I do desire to lose weight and to reach self-love, I will first have to reach self acceptance. Nonetheless, it is getting harder and harder to accept and once and for all love myself.

You might be reading this and you are probably thinking to yourself:

Well I know I’m not judgmental, people are so cruel.

But you are wrong, you are judgmental, you’ve seen a fat person or in general a person who doesn’t fit into our culture’s beauty standards and you’ve identified it and possibly even placed a stereotype on that person.

We are all beautiful in the inside.

How many times have you heard that?

How many times have we heard the same words that Amy Bloom up there stands for?

Flaws are beautiful, imperfections are perfections

blah blah blah.

Let’s be real.

We all seem to be advocates of the “fuck beauty standards” movement, yet we never really seem to put it into action.

Me included.

I am not in any way blaming my appearance on anyone, but I am blaming my self-loathing bubble on our dysfunctional body ideologies.

Notes:
Featured Image by: Kristen Gish on tumblr.com

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