ASK THE QUESTION

Today I was very lucky to listen to cross-cultural consultant and Australian Muslim of the Year 2013, Tasneem Chopra, deliver a speech on how to drive social change within our communities. While I was inspired by her words, what I really wanted was to have a conversation with her, maybe even ask her to mentor me. So I (nervously) walked up to her, tapped her on her shoulder and introduced myself. I wanted to interview someone as empowering as her for my blog and while I was afraid of her saying no, in my boldness I asked anyway. Next thing I know, she hands me her business card and tells me that she should would love to be apart of my work.

If there is anything you want from life, personally or professionally, you have to ask for it. The worst thing that could happen is someone will tell you no, in which case you’ll dust yourself off, better your game plan for next time and try again.

Be brave, ask the question and put yourself out there for the sake of achieving whatever it is you want.

AMAA4 Chopra

Image: Tasneem Chopra
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RACISM IN WRITING

“Migrants are like cockroaches”, The Sun columnist Katie Hopkins writes.

She has obviously forgotten that it is us migrants who make the clothes she wears on her back, us migrants that help her with all her tech issues and us migrants that clean up her mess after she eats out at a Indian or Thai restaurant.

Yes, it’s all well and good when she EXPLOITS migrants for her own superficial needs, but god forbid migrants leave their beloved homelands in hope of building something better for themselves elsewhere.

But you are right about one thing Katie Hopkins, us migrants are survivors and we will survive beyond the privileged hatred you preach.

racistpig

RELATIONSHIP ADVICE

Lately, when I talk to young women about their experiences with men, the one thing common theme that appears is that their partner is emotionally and psychologically manipulative. These men use their partners insecurities to get the upper hand in a fight, they invalidate their partners feelings, they seldom take responsibility for their own shortcomings and they make their partner feel inadequate.

Too often these signs are dismissed and not recognised as dangerous or damaging, but young women who are on receiving end of such treatment slowly lose their self-confidence and self-worth. By being manipulated into believing they are the responsible for the man’s behaviour, women punish themselves by working double time to win his approval or affection and they fail to recognise that his behavior is a reflection of who he is and how he feels about himself. This is problematic because these women forget that they deserve better and fall into a pattern of dysfunctional relationship dynamics.

So my advice to young girls embarking on relationships is that your partner is meant to make you feel GREAT about yourself and a healthy relationship is one where you are safe to be who you are. And for all the female friends out there, if your friend is in that position speak up and support them because once the cycle of abuse begins, it doesn’t stop.

WHAT IS IN A NAME?

Society constantly reaffirms to women that in order to be respectable they must fulfill their maternal nature by getting married and having children. This is while men are told to be power and success driven. It is for this exact reason we see such a gender imbalance in our education, government, health, legal and polictical systems, majority of which are all run by men. It is imbedded in men that they should be running the show, while women take a back seat at home, baking muffins in the kitchen and raising children who will continue to fall into the trap of a patriarchal social structure.

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BODY LOVE

In an attempt to keep fit I dragged myself to kick-boxing and partnered up with a new girl in the class. She was thin like myself and was in great physical shape. At the end of the class her and I were chatting to one of the other ladies when she started discussing her work out regime and how hard she trains to keep her body in shape. She then turns to me and she says “I am not going to stop until I have a body like yours”. I stood there not knowing what to say because she was already thin, I replied with “That’s my natural build, I am petite by nature”.

What I realised in that moment was how critical women are of their own bodies, even if their bodies from an outsiders point of view looks great and most importantly healthy. While I am not naive to the fact that there is an increasing societal pressure for women to look a particular way, I think it is horrific that women who are already healthy or slim feel the need to continue to lose weight, that they are unable to recognise how fantastic their bodies are.

It took me a long time to appreciate my body. I struggled with accepting that I had more hair then other women I knew, the fact that I had stretch marks all over my bottom and the back of my thighs, scars on my legs and acne markings all over my back. When I looked at women around me, women in magazines, women on TV and women in social media I felt inadequate and flawed. That showed in the way I dressed, the way I carried myself and the way I interacted with men on an intimate level.

After getting a job in a retail store specialising in fashion, I was slowly able to break the mould and started wearing things that showed my back, with scars and all. What I found was that nobody noticed it and nobody made me feel any less beautiful because of those markings, it was a fragment of my own insecurities.

Now getting older, a month away from being 25, I am feeling a little bit more confident in skin. Is my body perfect? No, most certainly not. But, it is the only body I have, the only thing I can do is love it.

My body isn’t a project that needs to be worked on so it can be perfected, rather it is something I need to embrace and enjoy, something I need to look after because it is the only one I have.

“apologize to your body.

maybe,

that’s where the healing begins.”

-Nayyirah Waheed