Thursday, 21 September 2017

indecisiveness


My life has been plagued by indecisiveness.

The innocent tough decision between strawberry or chocolate ice-cream or whether my favourite dog was a Labrador or a Labradoodle have followed me from childhood into late teenage hood. And whilst the typical inability to not decide on something has been fairly common, mine takes over me. See the thing is, my indecisive nature is in a symbiotic relationship with my anxiousness.

I have to make a decision. I make it. I then think about the other option. So I switch to that. I then begin to question whether that is right. I realise it's not. And then I begin to lose control and spiral into a panicked mess who is now struggling to find her steady breathing pace and normalise her heart beat.

Something as simple as having to give an answer in class can trigger this. The silence. The whirring of the central heating system. The humming of the interactive board. My heart race quicken and I begin to sweat as I gain consciousness of what's happening right now. I say the answer, it is correct and then we move on. But I haven't. Because my heart rate is far from being quelled. It sounds dramatic, I know. 

And then it goes to something more austere. Something with more long term, impactful decisions: like deciding what course I want to do at university. I am so easily swayed. I want to apply for History. Wait no, what if I don't like History alone- maybe I should dilute it with History and Spanish? But I want to go into diplomacy so perhaps History and Politics is more suitable. Actually...Biology is pretty fun. no no no let's not move from arts to sciences, come on dalal. Earlier today my good friend and ex-English lit buddy, Aina, told me she could see me going to UAL to study fashion and then progress into the industry which subsequently then that sent my brain working overtime because HELLO I actually think I can do well in that too. And then I start to question whether I should even apply to university this year. I don't want to commit myself to a three year time period, whilst racking up a dizzying debt for me to realise that all I ever wanted to do was study biology at uni and not history. I don't like the feeling of being wrong and not having the ability to change it.

So now we're sat here at 9:01pm. I still need to catch up and consolidate my notes on respiration and photosynthesis but I am being very optimistic in convincing myself that I'll do that in my frees tomorrow morning. The last week alone gave me no me-time, every day after school is filled with Oxford preparation sessions I have not had a moment to breathe. And the same entails for this week, and the next week and the next until December.

je suis déjà fatigué. 

to those applying to university this year or don't know what they want to study yet- I feel you and I wish you the best of luck.

-dalal

Friday, 15 September 2017

ambiguity around blogging

so, blogging. it's a weird one. does one stick to what they know, rambling on about the new Rimmel lipstick releases or their new autumn coat? or does one take an alternate route? is saying my blog's a fashion and beauty one somewhat less valuable, or even taken less seriously than say, a blog focussing on mental health or social issues? who even classifies the value of a blog? oh wait, stupid I asked that because it seems to me that SEO, DA and visibility are the main judges. if your blog is able to surpass the loopholes and please a search engine, you're instantly a success. I understand. blogging is difficult and we want it to pay off. see what I did there? we enhance and preen our blogs, something that should be effortless and authentic to you, in order for it to be worth more. because the more people that see your site, the more marketable you are. you are reduces to nothing but a money-maker. you have the potential to promote something and actually have someone buy it because of you. and again, I digress. we try to monetise our blogs as much as possible. "reparations" they call it, "compensation" they address it, "restitution" they say. and fair enough. running a blog is hard, I should know. but it shouldn't be. let's rewind to 2011 when blogging was more laid-back. you would write the post, snap a picture with your iPod touch and press upload and hope someone will see it. simple, no? so what changed. what got lost between then and now? what has made blogging more of a drag or a chore that we didn't see before when we'd gleefully type. I know. it's the endless promotion and the constant need to maintain multiple social media channels as if we're some massive multi-media company. trying to get our posts out there. because surely if we've spent all that time photographing, editing, writing and editing even more, we should profit out of it. the gap between then and today's modern view of blogging is the line between hobby and business that has completely blurred and tarnished. people start blogs with the intention of earning money. people with blogs start changing their content so it can earn them more money. not because they've had a sudden "change of heart" as soon as they see Urban Decay PR's sending out palettes to those with a niche that they are yet to adopt. oh no, that's absurd. do you know what? fine- maybe some people do genuinely enjoy producing content with glossy editorial photos or airy flat-lays. and maybe they don't only do it because they know that it's what's most desirable right now. fuck, sometimes I want to share an outfit post or my new eyeshadow palette because that's content I know people will read. I mean, who's going to read a 17 year old's post about how our genetics as a human race has led to our selfishness. or how time is just a concept. that is not what is wanted right now. perhaps I'm just salty that my content doesn't hit 1k page views within 3 hours of publishing it. or that massive brands don't send me vaults of their newest releases. or that I have to promote a post for 4 days straight for it to reach 300 views. but, dare I say it, I'm proud of my blog, regardless. because I know my blog has the power to help and educate someone as well as (somewhat) amuse them. and for me, that is my personal aim. I'm reading this post over, highlighting the disparity between my points and how much it may anger some because some things I've mentioned are not completely explained. but that's the beauty of writing. what I've said is up to interpretation. take it how you want. freedom of speech.

debate with me in the comments, please
-dalal

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Chefchaouen


the original basket bag 
I'm back in London, much to my despair, so I can finally round up all the photos I took and produce blog posts out of them. If I put it all into one big post, it would take forever therefore I'm splitting it into a few so it's a little more digestible. Without further ado, here is the first instalment from the day I visited Chefchaouen, the 'blue pearl' of Morocco. Like many others, I no longer want to take the superficial route of uploading a few pictures, wacking a few lines about how it was so "pretty" and "instagrammable" but actually share a story/stories of how the trip went down. So here goes.

We got there after the strangest taxi journey ever, winding down narrow roads on mountains and watching stray goats and donkeys leisurely strolling along the motorway. The journey was pretty amazing though, watching the mountains, foliage (so. much. green.) and massive turquoise lakes as you speed past at 100mph with the windows down is definitely something else.


I want to get straight into talking about how brilliantly blue everything was and how the lanes with huge spider plants were simply breathtaking because everything in my life totally goes to plan but as soon as we got there it was basically a mad toilet hunt. Because when your two choices are to either forcibly down 2 litres of water or face the risk of heatstroke, sometime you have to make rational decisions. Only bad thing was every single toilet we came across was the traditional Moroccan one which is impossible to use if you haven't been brought up there. Thankfully this old guy who owned a school for orphans let us use the facility. I took down his email for future work experience reference :)

Walk straight down this one and you find the place I more or less got forced into buying a pair of knock-off Rayban's which are basically a fifth limb now. It did only cost £2.30 so I am slightly glad the shop owner did continuously scream "these will suit your face" "they'll look wonderful, just like American celebrities" "I shipped these specially from Spain" whilst I walked past the stall- you have now unknowingly kick started a sunglasses obsession I never knew I could hone.

As a new found cat lover, spending over a month in Morocco truly let me catch up on all those years I could've wasted invested time cooing over them. Like right near this fabric shop in which I unwillingly caused slight damage through a medium (the cat.) Long story short, it tried to jump into my arms *cute* but somehow forgot to retract its claws (do cats even retract them) and pulled multiple threads loose. Quickly picked up the cat and walked-jogged away before I would be met by the wrath of the shop keeper who could've used that rug to scam eager European tourists. ah that reminds me...more on that later.

So here we have a mountain where gallons of ice cold water run down and fill up this strange open space in which you have to climb down rocks to get to. It sounds hard. it was. Picture this: slippery rocks, holding your shoes and socks in one hand, your phone in the other and a steep decline. Now picture me: lanky, unexperienced and lightheaded because of the heat. The result? Me climbing down a few rocks, gaining temporary confidence thinking I'm the next extreme sportswoman of the year and then being humbled within the next second with what could've been the dirtiest slip of all. I do love the universe. It was worth it in the end as the waterfall beneath was everything I could've imagined and there were peacocks casually wondering around and fresh orange juice stalls slightly submerged in the water whilst the actual oranges were floating in the lake to keep them cold. Moroccan innovation at its finest.

Back to the scam story I had alluded to a few photos up. oh yeah, that's a donkey in the middle of the street- it's Morocco. Here we met the loveliest woman from New York who told us all about how she had spent thousands of dirhams on rugs and blankets earlier that month whilst she was in Rabat and then complimented us on our English when we helped to form a linguistic buffer between her and the shop keeper. Whilst the shop keeper refused to sell her the rug for 300 dirhams, my mum and I would jokingly tell the owner to just let her whilst he sweated it out thinking about the potential loss of profit.

I'm not even going to pretend this piece of art work has any significance to this post at all. I just thought the composition of the photo was cool. Sometimes be simplistic.

So this could've been my favourite photo of the day if those that kid and his dad weren't in it but I couldn't wait until they left otherwise the two ladies in the amazing niqab's would've passed by then. There's something so interesting about the contrast between the light, airy blue steps and the sharp blackness of their religious dress. They look so badass. I wish I spoke to them.

I present the place where I almost had a break down because *behold the most first world problem you'll ever hear* no one could take a proper picture of me for instagram. yeah. No matter how educated and composed I may come across on my blog, at the end of the day I'm still a teenager living in the age of  pathetic but perfectly-preened-yet-candid social media expectations.



I have nothing to say about the photos above other than the fact that I now want to buy some of that powdered blue paint they were selling on the street and paint all my belongings with it in the hope that it'll brighten up my dreary surroundings here in London. House plants would also be a good addition.


To me, these two photos represent Morocco pretty well. We're an artistic country with a great, rich history and it reflected in our craft. Whether that be through masses of fabric, leather goods, embroidered slippers or carved metals. We can make things as basic as a tray look like an art piece.

I took the first photo and then realised the guy had more or less ruined the shot so, naturally, I retook it. The original is still my favourite though. Do you ever wonder how many photos you're in unintentionally? Living in London, I think about it all the time- especially when I'm in the tourist spots. So I started thinking whether this guy would give two shits or not. Zoomed in and boom, massive phlegm in a parabola in the air. conclusion: *whispers* I don't think he cares

I've been anticipating writing this post since I boarded the taxi back from Chefchaouen (which I think I can finally spell woo!) I loved this day- just walking around and exploring and drinking water from the fresh water taps distributed across the streets (it definitely helps that they're so prettily decorated) The plaques about almost every street and its history was such an interesting touch and I love how they were in the all 3 languages I am learning. it's the little things. I'll be back with the next post soon for more Morocco blues *see what I did there*

with love, Dalal