The Daily Diaspora 

I talk of colour,

to render all that is misunderstood
Because brown,
Is plaited, scarred, pigmented and hyper,
It is rushing through the subway and laying in fields
To a beat pounded on the dhol
And amplified by bass.

//
It is imbued in the richest coriander
and tumeric pastes,
my lok
my virsa,
skips between
salwars n’ sneakers,
folk and green,

//
drenched in mother-tongues sung in the East
but synched by lips that tilt a little to the west.
It is sand-root kids
on a jean-clad quest.
And mauve lipped girls,
Dreaming in gold.
Brown is.
// The Daily Diaspora

//
*lok/virsa: cultural heritage

This is my somewhat free verse take on the #PoetsOfColorChallenge – which was originally created by @_salvinc on Instagram.

I nominate all poets and writers of colour to participate in the challenge!

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To contact me regarding a collaboration, or to simply get in touch – drop me an email at: rimsharasul8@gmail.com

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Self – Help

Hi,

Before you read on, I would like to make a couple of things clear (in the most non-disclaimer tone possible). What you’re about to read today is a collection of thoughts and feelings collated through the experiences of many lovely individuals who shared their stories with me – in hopes to help somebody else. I am not an expert.

If you’re familiar with my work on Instagram, then you might be aware of the fact that this is not the first time I am writing about mental health, well my reasons for that are because I strongly believe that the lack of attention towards mental health is a global issue that affects most nations – one that has not yet been properly addressed.

We are often under the misconception that mental health is linked to the ageing body and we class it as an issue that affects the elderly. Well, we couldn’t be more wrong. Although the figures cannot be measured exactly, mental health disorders as well as issues such as anxiety and depression have been known to affect children as young as five years old.

Don’t Suffer in Silence

People that are affected by mental health issues tend to suffer in silence, for many reasons. They fear that people would start to look at them differently, or that they would be treated differently, or they simply feel that nobody would be able to offer them the support they deserve without being judgemental.

The first step in helping yourself, is recognising that their is some sort of a problem. Often times, we’re in denial about our health – be it mental or physical, and we’re so caught up in our urban lifestyles that we lock any health concerns in to a tiny corner of our mind and some even throw away the key.

Either speak to somebody you can trust, yes you may not have much to say at all and you feel that you might sound ‘crazy’, but the matter can only escalate if you never let it off your mind. You don’t need ‘help’, if the four letter word scares you then don’t use it. What you do need, is to talk it out.

screenshot_2016-09-09-12-22-05-1.png(tip: if you like to write, record your thoughts in a journal – scribble therapy can do wonders)

img_20160909_004819.jpg

But…what is ‘it’?

There is a lot of controversy about what mental health is and the cause/symptoms of certain disorders. Some of the most common problems associated with mental health are; anxiety, depression and OCD.

OCD, which stands for obsessive compulsive disorder, is an anxiety disorder (which according to the oxford dictionary definition) is a disorder in which a person feels compelled to perform certain stereotyped actions repeatedly, to alleviate persistent fears or intrusive thoughts’. I don’t like to dwell on the intricate definitions of issues that can’t be identified or defined absolutely.

However, over the past few years, I have seen the term OCD being thrown around unconsciously and the disorder has been, what I like to call – glamourized. I myself, am not sure whether the humour that has been associated with the disorder is a good level of awareness, I often feel that the ‘jokey’ nature that has been created, takes away from the severity of the issue. Regardless of what you see OCD as, it is one of the most common disorders – 2.3% of the world’s population of adults aged 18-54 suffer from OCD.

“There will be days when getting up and going back to sleep will be all you do and the guilt of being usless will eat you alive – but don’t give up! You are important, your intentions are important” 

Anxiety, is known to lead to people unable to coordinate simple day-to-day tasks, making ordinary decisions can seem daunting and cause distress.

The build up of anxiety and stress can lead to panic attacks,

An anonymous contributor said,

“people should know that there are breathing exercises and techniques to monitor and trigger their attacks.” 

This is where the idea of ‘self-help’ may get tricky for some, the thought of having to manage something as terrifying as a panic attack alone seems impossible, but the truth is that a lot of these attacks can take place when you’re alone, and certainly have no ‘professionals’ around.

(reminder: if a therapist is not available, you can speak to your gp or family doctor – there is no shame in getting help)

What Can You Do?

If you are driving, pull over and park. Trying to get home during an attack would be dangerous, your attention does not need to be diverted, it needs to be relaxed. Focus on your breathing, panic terrors can lead to short quick breaths but try to take deep breaths and focus on your inhaling and exhaling. Most importantly, do not try to fight the attack as this can increase the anxiety and panic.

screenshot_2016-09-09-12-21-15-1.png(tip: try to focus on one thing that you know will always be around during these attacks, for example – count your fingers)

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Depression

Most people that offered me their experiences, said that they found that keeping their minds occupied in certain crafts is what helps them. Finding a hobby shouldn’t be an escape, but should be seen as a safe way of expressing yourself by realxing.

Some find solace in prayer.

screenshot_2016-09-09-12-22-58-1.png(tip: take time out of your day/week to do what you love, be it writing, painting or photography – what ever channels your positive thoughts)

For further advice or to talk, here are some helplines dedicated to easing the percussions of such issues

United Kingdom (TheMix.org) 0808 808 4994

United States (Teen Health and Wellness) 800 784 2433

more

South Asian Society & Mental Health.

Whilst writing this post, I searched for helpline numbers and sites that people could contact should they feel the need to reach out to someone. As a large number of my readers are from Pakistan, I searched for helplines based in Pakistan but unfortunately, I found nothing.

It is slightly upsetting to think that mental health is disregarded in the South Asian and Middle Eastern community. At first, I was disheartened but soon realised that mental health has only started to be recognised as an issue by leading nations fairly recently. The older generation (worldwide) are not properly educated to understand that mental health does not need to be kept ‘hush hush’, it is not something to be embarrassed about.

I urge anyone reading this in Pakistan to get in touch with healthcare organisations/youth centres/or anyone that you think could do something about the matter and create some sort of a helpline that young people, or people of any ages can call or email and know that they are not alone.

The ignorance towards such issues can only be changed by the younger generation. Change does not need to be something substantial initially, even if it is to simply raise awareness, we need to accept responsibility in ensuring that something is done.

screenshot_2016-09-05-18-46-54-1.pngWhilst speaking to someone about their experiences, they said: “..one must get help about mental health, but in case you can’t, remember how important you are”

You’re not alone.

Thank you ever soo much to those that shared their experiences. If you have any advice/suggestions of your own, comment them below to help anyone reading this. 

Rimsha.

*this was a self-illustrated blog post, all doodles were created by me*

To contact me regarding a collaboration or simply to get in touch, drop me an email at: rimsharasul8@gmail.com

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My Fray’d Notebook

Yesterday I received a notebook, which was sent to me by Fray Design Studios. Or should I say, I almost missed it! the rain was relentless as I tried to reach home in time for my sudden delivery which was due to arrive on the 23rd but made it here a day earlier. Oh heck, a prompt parcel delivery service…I’m not complaining.

Although this is the first time that I have reviewed a product on my blog, I would only ever review something sincerely. If it was any other way, I would just be wasting your time as well as mine.

Firstly, the customer service was perfect. I had a few queries about shipping etc., and lets just say – my questions can get a little bothersome. My inquiry was addressed in a polite and friendly manner which is always a plus.

The Notebook:

A5 ring binder – style.

There are two things I love most about the notebook

  • The sheets are lined in black and they do not have coloured margins – I personally do not like to write on a page that has pink or blue coloured lines. I prefer my pen ink to be the only colours on the page.
  • The cover art.

The cover is of a smooth PVC material and although it is flexible, it does not bend or crease. It is sturdy, which I can imagine would not get damaged at the bottom of your bag whilst travelling.

Oh, the cover art! The design/print of the notebook cover is inspired by Pakistani art, more specifically; truck art. The highlight of the cover is the word ‘desi’, which is printed in the centre in Urdu. The colours and art definitely do give off desi vibes. Overall, I am impressed by the quality of the product. It is a beautiful piece to keep around your desk and I would definitely recommend it (it would also prove to be a great gift idea).

The business and the products are based and made in Pakistan.



From a dream to a business

When customer-business interactions are solely based online, they are minimal and it can be hard to get a feel of the personality behind the products, which is why I had a few questions of my own to ask Faran; the founder of Fray Design Studio.

– Tell us about the inspiration behind your brand name.-

Faran: Fray is my nature

The ‘frayed’ edges of a fabric is relatable to textiles as well. That gave me my brand name.

– Where did your journey begin? –

Faran: I was fortunate enough to stand 4th in a competition held by Messe Frankfurt’s Karachi office. 

The guys that arrange Heimtextil, the largest textile expo in the world. I got a chance to visit the exhibition that year. That was a game changer.

We have been always prepared in uni to work for a company and rarely to work on our own, but after visiting the Fair…it was such an impactful journey that I started thinking about turning my studies into a business back when I was in my final year. After graduation I took a break, was jobless for a while and then started working for Alkaram textiles

It was quite a learning experience, but I wanted to do more.. and in the mean time, Crafter’s Expo started to show up in my fb feed.

I have been following a few brands namely Firefly and Ghazal Peerzada Creative Studio.. and I was sooo impressed and motivated by their work that I planned to quit my job and start to work on my brand to showcase at the Crafter’ expo. It boosted me and then I got an offer from a local Interior studio, Pith, to stock my products there.

– As a fairly recent start up, how do you stay motivated? –

Faran: I like to explore things, and I’m always curious to try something new.. sooo.. this is like my catharsis.

 

I love Pakistan.. I try to bring every element of pakistaniat I can into my designs.

It’s been 1.5 years and one hell of a ride, businesses is not easy and I’m very new to it, was a realization that hit me a few months into doing it. I have a full time job, I freelance and run my business alongside this. 

 

– What is Fray Designs moto? –


Faran: To spread happiness.

I love a few people’s vision: Elon Musk, Mir MAK and YouTubers such as Superwoman and Marie Forleo, and a photographer Brooke Shaden.. 

They sort of helped me by sharing their stories and struggles.. which made me believe more in myself. I might be quite an introvert, but their lectures and stories have helped me understand myself better, taking risk now seems fun.
I’m not afraid to fail.. I’m afraid not to try at all.

~

I would like to thank Faran for sharing his unique journey. I feel inspired by his efforts and the success he has achieved thus far, to check out his original range of products, you can shop at:

Fray Design – Facebook

Fray Design – Instagram
~

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To share your story/inquire about my blog, drop me an email on: rimsharasul8@gmail.com

‘Too Dark’: In Conversation with Jovita George

People are usually unaware of the exact era, some believe it roots back to colonialism and only stood as an issue once the British rule ended, where as others say it has always existed. Despite the historically differing views, as we know it today – dark skin prejudice is a largely problematic intraracial issue, which affects almost all cultures and communities.

Being of South Asian heritage myself, it’s disheartening to see the way the way that minds are conditioned into associating beauty with the fairness of the skin. Prejudicing darker skin tones is a problem that often dictates the way that young dark skinned people feel about their own skin, especially girls.

Today, I am in conversation with Jovita George, who is also known on the internet as Mr Jovita George. As a dark skinned Indian influencer on YouTube, she kicks the stereotypes aside and let’s her confident and unique personality shine through.

I came across her channel almost a year ago, one video in particular grabbed my attention. Now months later, I just had to learn more about her story.

How long have you been on YouTube? I have had my YouTube account since 2011 but, I took to creating content for my channel seriously in 2014.

What sparked the idea of uploading your first video online? I used to be a TV anchor in India. After a while, I decided to stop TV and move to Kuwait, where my family lives. This is when I discovered the YouTube world. I noticed that there were no brown girls in the scene back then, and also, every video I watched seemed to be too long and too complicated. So, I decided to make my own little videos, short and precise for my brown girls.

Video Response to Fair & Lovely


It was refreshing to see a fashion/lifestyle vlogger address issues of prejudice against dark skinned people; as it is a topic that most people tend to shy away from actually discussing out in the open. In your video response to ‘Fair & Lovely’, you mentioned how advertisements for whitening creams consist of role plays in which a girl is seemingly down casted in her professional life before she lightens her skin.  What advice would you give to young girls/boys who fall victim to money making companies?

I have gone through this prejudice, and so I understand. While I did television, I was also a fashion model. Many movie offers came my way too. At the end of a lot of the offers I would hear, “We love you, but we need someone with fair skin!”  

 The least that we can do is ignore this nonsense, and continue on our path to success with hard work and dedication. Never give up. NEVER try to confirm to the society’s standard of beauty!

 The society has made me try Fair & Lovely too. I have tried “Fairness face packs” too. Why should we be ashamed of who we are? Why should we try to change who we are? The only thing all of these products deliver is disappointment in self. I do much better without that, Thank you!

Shadism/Colourism is clearly not a myth and is in fact a large intra-racial issue in India and other South Asian cultures, light or lighter skinned people within a race are favoured. Do you feel that the rise of successful dark skinned people in the media has changed peoples perceptions?

Maybe a little. But we still have a long way to go. And change comes from us. We should not stoop to the Fairness Reign.

How did you overcome the lack of confidence in regards to your skin complexion/ how did you deal with the bullies?

When I was younger, bullies had the upper hand over me. But once I started doing TV, I realized how many 1000’s of little girls looked up at me as an example. I realized how many girls really needed to see more dark girls walk in the limelight along with all the other fair girls. Ultimately I realized the biggest lesson I probably ever learnt, it’s not the color of your skin, it’s what you do that matters! Still clinging on to skin color is silly in today’s world, and to be honest when I get a skin color related question, I get a little annoyed. Because, it really shouldn’t matter.

Instagram: @mrjovitageorge

Are there any active girl power campaigns that you are following and think we could learn a thing or two from?

Non that I’m following, just because I havn’t had the time to read about any. I’m happy to join any that you recommend.

* (I suggest you look into the #unfairandlovely campaign on instagram, it was practically made for you!)*

As an inspiration to 120,000 + subscribers on YouTube – It would be interesting to learn a little about what inspires you

My greatest driving force is my passion and competition with myself. It is never ending and sometimes tiring! :’D

Thank you for having me on your blog love. Wish you all the success! :*

Instagram: @mrjovitageorge

I believe Jovita is an inspiration to many young girls facing similar issues. I would like to give a massive thank you to Jovita for giving me the opportunity to feature her story, I’ll leave the links to her profile and YouTube channel. Follow her already! ♡

http://www.youtube.com/MrJovitageorge

https://www.instagram.com/mrjovitageorge/

https://m.facebook.com/MrJovita

To share your story and be featured on my blog, drop me an email on: rimsharasul8@gmail.com