The Bell Jar: A Review

 

 

The Bell Jar: A Review

realistic fiction

 

(No spoilers, I promise)

10:08 AM. I feel the pages thinning between my thumb and fingers and as I near the end of The Bell Jar, I feel a sudden surge of dull panic. A novel I had oh so desperately wanted to finish and now that I am almost there, I haven’t found closure. I mean it can’t end this way…

 

But it can.

In fact, I am not dissatisfied by the way that Plath ended the novel. I am completely satisfied, yet there’s certainly a large part of my mind that has been shaken. The part of me that recognises that this is the most ‘real’ and tangible closure I could get from an autobiographical novel.

The book depicts Plath’s protagonist, Esther Greenwood as a successful student and writer. The author portrays Esther’s mind as almost transparent; the description used to display the characters thoughts of people and places are the most enjoyable yet heart-wrenching element of the novel, for me.

I have never been so torn between the feeling of dropping the book and leaving it unfinished and reading on to know how it ends ever before. Knowing that this was a reflection of her life and that the author took her own life (eventually) compelled me to read on, it would be disrespectful of me to stop before the end. 

Midway through the novel, the author does foreshadow the end as the novel follows an almost pessimistic tone from a certain point, which is cut ever so slightly by moments of optimism, but never really dies down.

wp-1487167083884.gif

 

‘At first I wondered why the room felt so safe. Then I realised it was because there were no windows’.

 

I guess this is more of me venting my feelings about the story than an actual review, bear with me. The thing is, I know that whether I read this ten years earlier or ten years on down the lie, I would pretty much feel just as I do today. But for me to read it just after I turned twenty, and following the neurosis of Esther, who is a similar age to mine and also turns twenty in some dark page, whose number I do not know – just makes the reading experience a little more truer to reality.

 

Part of the way through the novel, I thought I would like to read some of Plath’s poems as soon as I’d finished reading the book. Now, I’m not quite sure I could handle reading anymore of her work so soon after The Bell Jar.

screenshot_2016-09-27-09-13-36-4.png As for the title, I have never a felt a more befitting one for a novel before. screenshot_2016-09-27-09-13-36-4.png

I’m still at a loss for ways to describe the novel. The best way to summarise it would be to pick a question from the blurb itself: ‘what is reality, and how can it be confronted?’

At this point, all I can say is – read it.

 

On a brighter note, I hope you enjoy my first successfully transported but poorly made gif. 

I don’t think there’s such a thing as light-hearted reading anymore, if you know of any – do suggest some in the comments. Thank you guys.

 

| Instagram |

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

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Today, I guess.

“Monday’s aren’t so bad, I’m into the whole start of a new week productivity kick, but I find listening to a Ted Talk in the morning is really motivating and interesting depending on what you listen to…” – M (answer to last Monday’s question by @fromheretothereblog, who shared her Monday routine, which is strikingly similar to mine!)

This would be my third post since university has started, which from an idealist point of view, is a ‘job well done’ for keeping up with blogging whilst getting into the new academic routine. But let’s be realistic, if I carried on at this rate then within the next two months – my blog would be as dormant as it was before summer.

However, the difference between this September and September 2015, is that I know i’ll continue blogging (regularly) simply because I really, really enjoy it.

Well Hi,

It’s been a week since I have started university as a second year student and I have a couple of things to say. Firstly, what’s with all the maths and computing students. I mean sitting in the library trying to focus on work with a pair of frantically calculating math-ers sat near by sort of just, blows the words right out of me.

Ok that was a slight exaggeration and

Math-ers isn’t a word. My point exactly.

Just seeing the stress suddenly falling on to their face like a ton of acute angled bricks (get it) makes me feel a little well, nauseas. Don’t get me wrong, I admire them for doing what they love.

I do not hate numbers, but I do have a problem with the way mathematics are taught. You might have figured by the nature of this impromptu rant, that me and math don’t really form the most successful marriage. I struggled with math as a child. I still do. I wasn’t the smartest kid in school. However, my ‘above average’ performance in English, meant that I was just ‘expected’ to excel in all other subjects too.

Before I move on, what does ‘average’ even mean. I understand certain levels are set in the education system, in order to recognise those that are struggling and need the extra attention. But how me performing well in one subject meant that I had to automatically do well in maths too, didn’t make much sense to me. 

Recalling my own experience at school has made me think of children at school as young as 6 years old that think they’re not ‘good enough’ because they don’t fit a certain academic criteria. I don’t think that’s the healthiest mind set a child should grow up believing. 

Well that concludes this rather shaky update (literally…im on a train) 

Rimsha 

Instagram |

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

 

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)

1469968437131-1.jpg

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

 |Instagram|

Faceless

​I tend not to cross my Instagram and Blog content, but as not all my blog readers follow me on Instagram, this is something I felt I should share on my blog too. 

~

For some, posting under an anonymous guise is thrilling and they see it as a part of their work, an artistic expression (like banksy almost) whereas others may feel that being ‘unknown’ restricts their creative bounds. But for me, it’s much more than just a security blanket or a signature identity. 

As the sole owner of my work, I have the power to manipulate the traffic of judgement on my page. Before you draw your conclusion, no I am not scared; as I would never fear something so naturally human as judgement. 

But my idea behind it is, if we must all judge and be judged, then I wish to be judged, as a writer – on my ability to invoke a readers reaction. Be it anger, fury, love, disagreement or simply confusion – and not on how even the wings of my liner are, or the colour of my iris and the level of crooked in a 2D print of my nose.

My physical features show little sign of my mind and my thoughts, but my words do. The written word holds my imagination, my values and my inner uncensored human. In a world of bars and barriers, I have everything to offer. Which is why for now, I choose to remain –

Faceless. 

Instagram |

Let’s Blog 

My ideas are usually random and are the product of daydreaming over a cup of tea, however this idea has been brewing in my mind for quite a while now, and that is; Guest Blogging. 

It’s been a year since I created this blog and the idea of guest blogging has always attracted me. Before I begin, I would prefer if the posts were more like ‘swaps’, as me and my posts would need somewhere to go for the time being too.

So, if you’re interested in swapping posts to guest post on my blog (with the post being written and created by you) or to collaborate on a subject and create a blog-post together, or you’re interested in guest posting but have an idea of your own that I haven’t mentioned, then comment on this post and email me at:

rimsharasul8@gmail.com

I understand that the themes and issues on my blog tend to vary between poetry/prose, lifestyle and societal issues (and whatever else I’m feeling on the day) so guest posting is open to any topic & anyone who is interested, however all I ask is that the content of the post is of high quality and that you dedicate sufficient attention to your writing – as I do. 

I hope you’re having a wonderful day and that this rather vague invitation is of some interest to you. Don’t hesitate in emailing me to simply exchange ideas. 

Happy blogging!

Rimsha 🎈

*as always, this too was a self-illustrated blog post*

Instagram|

2016: Veils Don’t Sail?

It is the year twenty sixteen and women still feel the need to walk around covering every inch of skin, including their face! You no longer need to bend under the misogynist standards set by the no longer ruling patriarchy. You don’t need to step outside clad in black floor length clothes in fear of your abusive male spouse. You have human rights.We all have human rights. We have feminism! Wait, I’ll save you…

That’s already a whole seventy-four words in and I haven’t even introduced the topics of interest I will be covering today.

Hello people of the internet. I am sure quite a few of you might have already contemplated jumping off my post as you might have judged from the opening paragraph, that I am here to ‘ridicule’ feminism; but I assure you, I am not. This post is written for the sole purpose of educating/informing and creating a platform for healthy discussion of queries and questions.

I was inspired to write about the misconceptions of veiled women and the hijab when I happened to trod upon a pretty heated discussion between what seemed to be a group of rather ignorant people in the comments on a post on Instagram. Ah Instagram, of course. Where ever else.

However my need to literate my thoughts comes from more than just that, I am a young woman living in Britain, who dresses up everyday the way that I choose to – and that happens to end with covering my hair with a headscarf. Therefore, to me, it is important that the people I interact with in the world are aware that I am not forced to wear the hijab.

There is a lot of talk on Muslim women in the media, particularly social media, but what it is, is rarely discussed. Scriptures of all Abrahamic religions indicate a notion towards the covering of the hair and body. Where the rules of most religions are absolute, the interpretation of such divine laws are subjective; generally speaking,

hijab is – a religious code which is to be implemented by both men and women,

since the topic of this post is women; the female covering consists of loose clothing which is not skin tight nor transparent and a piece of cloth to cover the head and chest.

Some women choose also to cover their face with a veil or niqaab, showing only their eyes. 

You might be getting the jist here. Choice. Women that cover more of their bodies than other women, do so out of their own free will. To question a woman’s freedom based off of what she wears does not empower her, rather – it restricts her choices. 

My opinion is not very humble when I say, that feminism without intersectionality is pointless. You need not to be an atheist or of a certain colour to believe in the equality of rights. You do however, need to take into account the individual experiences of different people based on the unique circumstances they were born into/live in and with. There are many women who believe that religion in fact inspires their inner feminist. 

Her choice to cover should certainly never offend you.

I get it. It’s extremely easy, to read the first few  poorly translated verses of a Holy Book of any religion ‘online’,  those that are clearly taken out of context – and say that this religion sets women back. Reading a few essays on Wikipedia, doesn’t make you a historian. You are far from the expert when you believe a Muslim woman is oppressed. 

Are women in some regions of the Middle East oppressed by a society that uses religion as a poor excuse to mistreat females? Yes. Do I deny the fact that in such cases, some women and young girls may be made to cover and live their lives deprived of the simple notion of making their own choices? Of course not. 

Women are still seen as second class citizens in many countries, It’s a fact. It happens. I am not here to hang such issues to rest, if anything – I believe more needs to be done to speak out for women who don’t have the opportunity to project their own voices. 

However, aren’t women in secular or Non Muslim developing countries abused? Are they not raped and forced into human trafficking? Are women in these countries not misused, mistreated and pushed aside too? They are. 

Shouldn’t our attentions and focus then, be on the women who need our efforts – rather than questioning why a free walking woman is covering her hair? 

Veils Don’t Sail 


Personally, I do not cover my face but I cover my hair, another woman may not cover her face nor her hair. 

Categorizing levels of covering/modesty to what can be worn and what cannot and judging the character of the women who choose to dress otherwise; is true oppression. 

I have seen fellow Muslim veiled women being spoken to in derogatory manners. A thin layer of fabric covering the face of a human does not devoid of the fact that she is a human. 

Her hair or face being covered should not come as a novelty in a world where almost anyone can mould, sculpt or mutilate/pierce their bodies to the way they like (literally).

Her choice to cover should certainly never offend you. 

Thank you for reading, feedback is always welcome on my blog.

Rimsha

* this was a self-illustrated blogpost, the doodles and drawings were created by yours truly *

|Instagram|

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

Seamless 

I have been meaning to word-vomit my feelings all week, but I guess some things are just meant to be done on a Sunday afternoon (or at least, thats the excuse I make for the lazy writer within me). 

To be fair to myself, I did try once or twice but I couldn’t seem to articulate my emotions onto paper.

Big words are a distraction. There. I said it. Big words, lengthy labels and bright socks on a monochrome outfit are all distractions. Most of my posts tend to sway in the direction of blankly describing the kind of world we live in, I rarely address the world’s that live within us. 

If you’re reading this, you’re lucky enough to be born/currently living in a generation that openly accepts individuality. We each have our own tastes and even reading prefrences, I mean today alone thousands of bookstores worldwide opened their doors to Potterheads awaiting the eighth story. 

It’s ok to love anime but not speak a word of Japanese. Or wear pink on a Tuesday instead of a Wednesday, and ultimately be you; but in all of our original glory – we’re still expected to be perfect. Seamless almost.

I’m forever telling my friends that it’s only human to make mistakes, we’re told that on a regular basis. Yet we don’t practice what we preach. I mean, when do we ever really forgive even the most genuine of mistakes. 

When do we really consider what a person might be going through or the state of mind they have to stand alone to on a daily basis. 

To take things at surface value is a shallow habit that most, if not all of us do regularly. We only accept flaws to a level that we’re comfortable with, because it’s much easier to name & shame, right? 

I believe we are more distracted by the idea of acceptance rather than actually accepting. 

Progression and self improvement is a world within us that grows with new experiences and knowledge. Point being, we learn to accept ourselves and people around us once we have the understanding to know that perfection, a perfect face a perfect body or a perfect character is a myth. 

Doodle reference taken from @ridabee (Instagram)

Each of us is drowning in our own hardships and are in search of our own paradoxical reasoning to make sense of this world. Think before acting upon permeable judgements of someone,

And watch as the burden starts to feel just a little lighter. 

* it may surprise you to know that this was a self-illustrated blogpost, and the doodles are in fact my own, no – they have not been drawn by a three year old* 

I hope you’re having a wonderful day, 

Rimsha. 

Instagram |

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