26 January 2018

pretty pretty pretty things + giveaway

My first ever blogging friend was obsessed with pretty + kawaii things, unicorn stuff, had a lizard for a pet and dyed her hair in crazy colors. I still remember her but I think I'm afraid to look her up on google and find her again. She once sent me a postcard and I still have it. I think her name was Laura and I owe her my obsession with kawaii things.

I got this Kawaii box (which is a subscription box full of pretty & the cutest stuff directly landing from Japan) in my mail late November but I lost it when I was moving my stuff from my room. I found it again recently and I can't be more thankful to Kawaii Box guys for being super patient with me.

So what we got here is a kawaii box including a pouch, a soft toy, a pen, a notebook (my favorite part), 2 sticker sheets, hair clips and a little pack of candies. Everything is super pretty!!!!

I welcome very new notebook like a new family member. I mean, I CAN NEVER HAVE ENOUGH NOTEBOOKS Y'ALL!!! I'm obsessed. No, wrong, I'm more than obsessed.

I'm always ready to use my art journaling skills on any notebook I can find. This lil one couldn't be an exception. Btw, this is one of my most favorite lines from my poems. 

Here's the sad part, I couldn't eat the candy. Their candies include gelatin which contains fats and stuff that might not be halal. And being a Muslim, I can't eat anything not-halal (haram).

Here's my MOST FAVORITE THING FROM THE BOX!!!!! These stickers are so cute and tumblr I knew I was gonna plaster them all over my face and my phone case. They're kinda thick and easy to paste anywhere (They stick well)

Big thanks to Kawaii Box for including a giveaway for y'all too. Enter below to get a chance to win a Kawaii Box for yourself. It's opened worldwide. Good luck babesss! 

Areeba Siddique Kawaii Box Giveaway

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19 January 2018

a quick trip to Lahore gone wrong gone right

The first time I went to Lahore (back in 2016) nothing went wrong, except for the weather and we couldn't go on a city tour because it started raining out of nowhere. The second time I went to Lahore, I missed a flight. It was absolutely pointless, all that missing flight thing. It was pointless because there was no drama involved, as I believe all the missing flights should have. We were stuck in the traffic right in front of the airport. I could see the airport walls. It was pointless because it was supposed to be a perfect plan, reaching Lahore in the morning and getting back in the night. But we missed the return flight. I felt like I had a responsibility to cry at the airport when they refused to issue us a boarding pass and I did (though I realized how comfortable I'm with crying in a public place) It felt inappropriate not to feel anything, like sadness or regret, you see I missed a flight and now I have to go and stay in the city I don't know but I absolutely love. 

Me // Noor 
I was with my twin sister and then we went to stay with my aunt. I like to think if Lahore had a physical feature it’d be a permanent grin. I also like to imagine Lahore being the center of the country, even though it’s not. I think I just like Lahore too much.

Next morning, we got exactly two hours to explore around before we left for the airport to catch the afternoon flight back to Karachi. Lahore was cold, but it was a happy cold. Or maybe I was just happy there, cold or no cold. My aunt lives in Bahria Town and that’s what we got to see. We were driving to random places and my aunt kept telling me about all the important places. Then she started talking about this one mosque with so much passion and love that I was overwhelmed by an unexpected feeling of loss. I like mosques, I really do but I’ve never been to many of them. It’s not mandatory for women to go to a mosque in Islam. And I never had many women-friendly mosques around in my hometown.

Grand Jamia Mosque, Bahria Town Lahore
I had no idea I was about to swap my heart for a mosque I had no idea existed, or existed in such a huge area and with such beauty, I suddenly felt like a fool. I was unprepared, I wasn’t expecting a mosque to be this beautiful and be in the city I claimed to like this much. I remember joking how it didn't matter that nobody is taking me to Turkey because here we are at a Pakistani Hagia Sophia. And then it felt like missing my flight wasn’t that pointless at all, I was just supposed to see the Grand Jamia mosque.

Being in there made me think a lot of things, like what would my mother say about this mosque and how beautiful it felt to be standing under that huge dome and the aesthetics reminded of Subhi Taha and his Friday prayer snaps I get to see every week on Instagram. Mosques also remind me of everything clean, completely crystal clear clean. I wish I had time to pray there.

We took a fair amount of pictures under Lahore’s sun. I didn’t take many pictures the day before because two reasons: we were there for work. Lots of work. And secondly, we worked on a super cool project I don’t think I want to talk about before it all comes out. But I took some pictures for my Instagram stories and I’m just going to put a few here too.

(that's studio light which almost worked like sunlight for this selfie)

Getting back to Karachi seemed easier in the afternoon. On our way to the airport, the traffic was nicer and we kept telling our driver that we can’t miss this flight because we missed one last night and even though we like Lahore so much we’d still like to go back on time. And even after we made it to the airport on time, Noor & I ran to the check-in and then to the boarding lounge, probably for a dramatic effect or maybe, maybe, maybe we just stopped trusting everything at the airport. Okay, we definitely stopped trusting everything at the airport.

The last time I went to the Lahore for the first time, I was scared to talk about it. Or it was probably just me being selfish because I liked the city too much and I wanted to keep everything about it to myself. Also, I had no idea I’d end up writing this post in the middle of the night, but maybe this is how Lahore and I are connected: through absolutely wrong timings.


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13 January 2018

I think 2018 might be a woman

Scarf & Necklace from Risha // Watch from Daniel Wellington

The year started with a resolution list that requires me to get into a university and find and join a women boxing club. The resolution also says that if I can't find a boxing club I'm free to start one on my own. Pretty flexible, isn't it? And as the tradition goes, I was also to choose a word for 2018. I chose "unconcerned". This word might not mean so much to most of you out there, probably because its literal meaning has nothing to do with why I want to have it this year.

Quoting the start of a book that's strangely super close to my heart, The Girl Who Takes An Eye For An Eye. Its part I, titled The Dragon, says:
Sten Sture the Elder had a statue put up in 1489, to celebrate his victory over the King of Denmark at the Battle of Brunkeberg. 
The statue – which stands in Storkyrkan, the cathedral in Stockholm – is of St George on horseback, his sword raised. Beneath him lies a dying dragon.
Next to them stands a woman in Burgundian attire. She is the maiden being saved by the knight in this dramatic scene and is thought to be modeled on Sten Sture the Elder’s wife, Ingeborg Åkesdotter.
The maiden’s expression is strangely unconcerned.

I just couldn't let go of the last word. I want to learn to be unconcerned, about things that don't matter, shouldn't matter. This year, I want my attention span to be strictly limited to the most important things only. 
This year's first week brought a LOT of things along, most of them were my firsts. Like catching a flight to Lahore, a city I'm in complete awe of, with my twin and then missing the return night flight only to explore Lahore a little in the morning. Then on my way back to home, I saw a couple of people washing a goddamn bank. Literally, the whole building was being rubbed with mops and soap and water. I realized I always wondered how a bank looks so clean unlike other buildings of my city, even from outside, it was almost a mystery. Well, it's not a mystery anymore. A bank is clean because they wash the whole building from outside. I also bought bubblegum and band-aids in bulk. I have a feeling that I'm going to need them a lot for super important reasons. 

I named this blog post after a feeling. From what I've felt so far, the year 2018 has motherly instincts. A raging mother, absolutely mad at her kids mother, if I'm being honest. January has been wild for me, I'm ready to leave every old thing, every history behind and build a new world from the scratch. All I need is to take one step ahead, I hope I'll take that soon.

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7 October 2017

a long blog post about my favorite woc artists

There are a few factors that make this online world feel more like home, one of them is being able to connect with my fellow artists and creators. I sometimes wonder how we've grown from being a minority to a niche in just a couple of years. When I started using a blogging website (which is now dead) back in 2011, I thought there were no other Pakistanis on the web. But we're growing, day by day, each post at a time. I came across wonderful women who never fail to inspire me. I still remember I was shit scared to upload a picture of myself in hijab or dupatta, in case I might be targeted for being too Muslim. And now, I call myself a "Muslim artist" for a living now. 

What motivates me more than anything to be myself on the internet is the presence of my absolute favorite artists, mostly women of color. The girl who inspired me to come out of my shell and be a proud Muslim fashionista is Hoda Katebi, a Muslim-Iranian fashion blogger from Chicago. I am able to write about the incomprehensible tragedies of my everyday life because Warsan Shire and her work exist. And recently, when I saw two of my other favorites under attack for their work, I was truly mad.

Dina Tokio is one of the women I truly admire. I came across her on youtube about two years ago when my twin and I were binge watching Muslimah youtubers. It was a q/a video of her with her husband and the fact that she married a Pakistani man was so amusing that we subscribed to her channel (also followed on instagram, facebook & twitter) It took me two more months to be completely obsessed with everything about her personality. I truly respect her ways and how raw and original she is on her social media. Sometimes I see her being hated for wearing her turban hijab the way she wears it and it saddens me that how intolerant others are towards online creators, especially when the abusers are other Muslims. Another woman's hijab is not your problem, brothers and sisters, prepare for your own jannah (or jahannam).

Last night I realized that Dina Tokio was being abused for releasing her new t-shirt line because one of her tees said "Extremist".
Here's a story: I once wore a shirt (it was sent by a company to promote their line) that said "psycho" and uploaded it on my instagram and BOOM! it blew up. I started getting comments and messages that I was being an ablest and I should delete the picture. The problem was that I couldn't do that, I had made a contract to a company that I was to keep that picture up because I was also keeping the shirt. That was ugly. It was a sensitive topic and I didn't want to hurt anyone but I did, unintentionally, and it killed me. It was a goddamn mistake. Dina made a similar mistake. If I wasn't a psycho, I shouldn't be wearing a shirt that said so. If Dina isn't an extremist, she SHOULDN'T be wearing or promoting or designing shirts that say so. Extremist is a dangerous word, not just for Muslims but for people from other religions as well. People who are actually extremists are ruining countries and lives. And Muslims in most countries, especially in USA & UK, cannot afford to be associated with this word these days. It might cost them their lives. \

I still respect and love Dina the same, I don't mind if she made a controversial shirt because I've been through the whole thing by myself. If you're trying to bring her down because of a mistake, it’s foolish. Everyone makes mistakes and internet is cruel enough for us. Try to be tolerant of others and if you're an artist of color yourself, you should be more supportive.

The other one is Rupi Kaur. My twin and I love her work and we spent hours in two cities to find and buy her book. I don't agree with some of her pieces but I definitely am super proud of how far she has come. She has not only made poetry accessible for people who never bothered to understand it before but she is also a hope for other writers, especially for South Asian creators. You can't ~explain~ poetry to someone, it means different things to everybody. To me, it's a fancy arrangement of rhythmic words and I like poetry that slices through my skin and gets to my veins. And I like poetry that punches me in my stomach. Some of her poems made me feel that way and I'll forever love her for that.

She's been a target of online hate for quite a long time now because her work doesn't agree with the normal poetry writing style. You can open twitter and search her name and you'll see how salty some of the users are when it comes to Rupi's work. I have a big problem with it because my own sister (who writes poetry herself) was a target of bullies on twitter just because she wrote her poem on a tiled wall and some people didn’t like that fact, mainly because it looked like a "bathroom wall". 

Truth be told, I'm in awe of Rupi because she found a style and stuck with it even after all the hate and negativity she had to go through. It worked for her, the arrangements of words and placement of her illustrations with them, and she has made a shit ton of money out of her work. It's utterly impressive and should be motivating other writers to come out and present what their true work style is like even if they fear it might not be admired much by others. If Rupi is helping to make poetry a mainstream thing, I think academics should be glad because this generation needs more of it.

What do you think of Dina Tokio & Rupi Kaur drama? Would love to know your opinions as well!


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21 August 2017

leaving the teenage years

Summer of 2017 will forever be the year my friends left for my dream art school and I brought a zayn malik cut out to my house. I also turned 20, officially spent 7300 plus days on earth with my twin sister Noor. She once promised me that she'll be a published poetess before she left her teenage years and she did, her book Yesterday I Was The Moon sold more copies in 3 days than we imagined and also managed to be in top 50 books by women on Amazon in its first week. It all happened right before our birthday week. 20th arrived with all its glory.

I wanted to be a published something too before I turned 20, or probably just wanted to do anything of importance before I was to leave my teenager self behind. Mainly to take something of value out of my young & foolish self. I am still young and equally foolish but the charm of teenage years makes you want to believe that this is the only part of being young that will never return in all its glory, you'll be young in coming years but not this kind of young. Completely out of your mind young. People won't forgive you like they'll forgive you at that time. 

Teenage years were important and I wanted to steal as much from them as I could and I think I actually did. When I was eighteen, I cut all of my hair in a self-proclaimed & shapeless pixie cut that grew into the ugliest bob my family had ever seen. I cut them again a few months before I turned 19, I knew I'll be forgiven for killing them. My amma made me promise that I won't murder them again, together we found out it was a sin, I haven't taken a scissor near my hair since then and I'll never again. 

Right before my birthday, my comic, Musings for a Muslim Hipster, was published in the UK for subscription box called ShortBox, run by an amazing woman named Zainab. Whenever I come across another Muslim woman in this creative field of artists and creators, it feels safe to be here, to know that I'm not alone. May Allah bless her for all her patience and hard work. 

A post shared by Karl (Dot) Dotter (@k4rl) on
Yesterday someone tagged me in this picture on Instagram, my work in printed form has started finding other homes.

These are some pictures from our birthday. We got a Matty Healy cake, it was supposed to be a Zayn x Matty cake but no printer in my area would print Zayn's pictures. They all told me the file I was asking to print was invalid and we didn't have time to make another file. Deep down I knew that I was done with my share of printed Zayn for at least now, keeping in mind that I own a 5'7 cut out of him.

I'm sure 20s are going to bring greater challenges and bigger opportunities along. My teenage-self has achieved so much that it seems pretty difficult to beat her but, to my own relief, I'm ready.


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