On the way.

I don’t know when I stopped counting down the days in a year. It used to be a habit I started with the intent of making me more conscious and aware of time.

At that time, I felt like I was really chasing after something. Keeping track of my goals every day amidst anxiety, hope and extremely bourgeoisie dreams. It hit me the other day that I got drowned in working hard that I forgot I had an end goal.

When you end up working so hard you lose track and forget your goals… Just working. Sometimes, you’ll get a lucid feeling and you realize you got a little distracted on your goals. It’s great, because it will force you to sort of restart your system and get back on track.

The work is a stepping stone, but it is not the end goal.

So you take a step back, take a deep breath and empty your mind. The world sort of goes quiet in those moments. And you get to watch your life from a few steps back and think, hey. I’m proud of you kiddo.

That lucid feeling descended on me on Thursday. I looked up to the sky and saw the thin crescent moon marking The Islamic New Year, 1439. A new moon. A new year. I saw it at around 4.30pm. It just seemed very special and magical in that moment.

I can’t describe what happened next but I felt the hairs raise on the back of my neck and arms, and the entire world went completely silent. Just staring at the Alzu Petroport view point. There’s this pool where wildlife just come to graze. I remember seeing zebras and buffaloes.

We got only five minutes to take pictures then we were back on the road. It was a long ride, from Nilspruit to Sandton, and I’m grateful I got to see the sunset. The sun sets quite early around here, it’s a huge ball of fire in the sky from around 5.30 – 6 pm. It’s magnificent.

Oh, and today is the 268th day of 2017. 268/ 365.

97 days remaining in 2017.

I need to do more memorable things.

Resilience.

Isn’t it intriguing how language can have such a great effect on us?

And how our minds can process certain emotions in pictures and interpret what we see for us, on an emotional level.

This photo somehow made me think of the word ‘Resilience’. She, along with four other ladies, were cooking in this room that didn’t have a roof. It’s was just so interesting to experience it with them. So familiar. The feeling of women talking, mothers. It made me miss my mum in that moment.

I’m pretty sure you interpret it differently too. But when I explain myself, you get it. Right?

At different junctures in my persona, I find myself gravitating towards certain words.

Recently it’s been resilience.

Resilience.

At times it’s joy. Love. Strength. Beauty. Intellect. Class.

I repeat these words to myself as reminders – affirmations – whenever I get a moment of presence. They seem to be distant these days so whenever I do get one, I hold onto it as long as I can.

I enjoy the walks home from the bus stop. How the trees look when they catch the security light in their leaves.

I’ve noticed they’ve been blooming a bit more. There’s this scanty bush that has these fragrant little white flowers that fill up the entire area with a sweet, soft scent of a million flowers.

Like perfume.

Yesterday I picked one and put it in my hair.

Tonight, I’m exhausted. But extremely grateful. I want to push harder. I want to be better.

I want to be great.

chasing dreams

“Artists have so much more control of their futures – they don’t need to rely so much on major labels or big companies to help them. You have artists like Skrillex that can dominate so much that he gets 5 Grammy nominees, and he’s clearly an underground artist.”

– Steve Aoki.

concert1concert2concert3concert4

Sometimes an incident, big or small, can occur that will make you second guess yourself. Your abilities, your dreams, especially when your purpose is unclear (it doesn’t need to be clear because everyone has a different rate of growth). I was in the dumps for a few days, second guessing whether I should proceed with my ‘pilgrim adventures’, asking if it’s worth it, do the easy thing, give it up, and conform or if I should do the difficult thing – keep going one step at a time and see where it goes. Then one evening I got a wave of an emotion I can’t describe as anger, but similar to it. Whatever it was, even after a long day at work, it kept me at my bedside table editing these pictures for the next two and a half hours until past midnight. It reminded me of something I read once that Maya Angelou said about the difference between anger and bitterness; ‘Bitterness is like cancer, it eats upon the host. But anger is like fire, it burns all clean’.

You see the thing is, I know I’m not perfect. I know I have a long way to go, a lot to learn and I don’t shy away from that fact. I embrace it. I came across a quote on Instagram that goes something like, ‘let the space between who you are and where you want to be inspire you.’ That is exactly what I live by. I will try something new today, may turn out well, or not. And I will get up and try again. The important thing is to keep creating, sharing, growing. I can describe more of who I want to be than of who I am now, so if I could describe myself in one word, it would be ambitious. This felt like an appropriate pretext to this post. Read on, I’m getting to my point.

On the second day of the Grand Prix, the entertainment section was just as incredible and exciting as the races. The organizers had planned activities for different age groups, and a post-race concert that began at around 7 pm just a few minutes from the viewing stands. Underneath the huge tents, were ladies dressed as mushrooms and fairies from Peter Pan, clowns on stilts and in inflated costumes, candy canes plonked into the ground at random places, the sweet and sticky smell of spilled soda, ice cream, candy, pop corn, pizza and Red Bull. An array of colour and activity, with furniture to seat at and observe the life around you if you’re as in awe as I am in new places! Additionally, there were several themed stands like the bubble making stand, sadly for children aged 5-10 so I just stood on the perimeter of the stand taking pictures, haha.

My family and I then dashed to watch the races and at 7 pm headed back to the stage early enough to get a spot at the front. My reaction to seeing Enrique on that stage was, drum rolls please, tears. I was tearing up remembering how at age 10 or 11, my dad bought his first CD and I’d sing along my terrible version lyrics to Hero and Escape. ‘Here’s how it goes, you and me, up and down but baby.. mumbles.. mumbles.. mumbles.. If you feeeeel like leaviiiiing’, you get the point 😀 I’d carry that CD with me in my schoolbag to show my friends (we’d call ourselves the Blooming Ladybirds lol) where we’d then appropriately scream and giggle like little girls.

I kid you not, at least 1000 views of the Bailando song on YouTube are mine 😀 And so by the time Enrique performed that song, my mascara and kohl was a mess, my voice was hoarse and I was in a dream like trance. At one point, he got off stage and came down to the barricade to mingle with the fans. I was star struck, paralyzed, and just stood there in amazement asking out loud, ‘Is this real?’ ‘Take pictures, be present,’ I’d then tell myself. At the end of Enrique’s set, Steve Aoki was next and woah, that energy! It made me think about people who I look up to professionally, leading the lives of their dreams doing what they love. Innovators. Artists. People who do different things and dare to step out of their comfort zones, prepared to take on whatever challenges are brought their way.

People like Enrique Iglesias, Steve Aoki, the formula 1 racers all take a huge risk stepping out onto the stage of life, opening themselves up to create and face criticism. They keep working hard at their dreams. I’d never been a fan of Steve’s genre of music but after watching him live, I now have a great respect for his craft. The visuals, his energy and enthusiasm. Wish I got to watch the whole performance but alas, we had to be home before the clock struck ten (and this was only because we were actually being chaperoned haha).

This post took me back to that barricade at the concert. Watching people I admire live their dreams, have people adore their craft and inspire others to do something too.

The easy thing for me to do would be give up on this blog (or any other ridiculous dreams I have) which is not only a hobby, but also what I see as a vehicle to help me live out a larger purpose. To push me towards following my dreams, and help you (whoever is reading) see that hey, if Fatma can get started then so can you. Whataver it is. Doesn’t matter who gets there first, just that you get started and keep going.

I’m writing to myself now.

If you have a dream, you will have to work at it and deal with whatever challenges that come your way. You will have to change some habits, create more time (borrow time from the future as Professor Anyamba would say) to accommodate all the responsibilities you need to balance. You will need to get things done. It’s the only way to grow.

Dream. Strategize. And work.

Watch this.