Unapologetically me.

Me- This picture was taken by my best friend at the Teotihuacán Pyramids in Mexico.

The first quote was dedicated to me by my mom on a poetry book she gifted me.

The second one was said to me by my dad under the strangest circumstances.

Over the last few months, both phrases have fueled me more than ever to pursue certain things I was unsure of doing. Like posting my work on medium.

The basics

I’m Fatimah (the same thing as Fatima but my dad thought it’d be cool to add a silent “h”…

And the impact it can have on our lives

Photo by Haut Risque on Unsplash

“The paradox of talking to strangers: We need to talk to them. But we’re terrible at it.” — Malcolm Gladwell

I have always enjoyed talking to the people I randomly encounter.

Sometimes it's just small talk, superficial interactions. Other times, a deeper connection is forged where we mutually share personal things that aren’t normally discussed. On special occasions, they’ve been real lifesavers.

Despite being in the midst of a pandemic, over the past few months I had the opportunity to share long, meaningful conversations with several strangers.

Confessions came out, regrets were told, advice was given, laughs were shared and…

A composition of colorful, jagged fragments.

Photo by Ashkan Forouzani on Unsplash

“Nothing of me is original. I am the combined effort of everyone I’ve ever known.” — Chuck Palahniuk

This quote completely resonates with me.

Indeed, nothing is original.

We’ve inherited everything that defines us as individuals. Our genetic makeup determines a great deal of who we are; the rest deriving from our interactions with others and our environment. Yet the combination of these traits is what makes each person unique.

I like to think of people as unfinished art pieces, each characterized by its very own mix of colors, shapes, and textures.

Composed by the bits and pieces people leave…

It’s the only certainty in life. Everything else is impermanent.

Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

Humans are wonderfully complex beings.

Our intellectual abilities set us apart from other species as we’re driven by reason and logic; wired to overanalyze and constantly question our surroundings.

In most of what we do, we seek certainty, stability, and permanence. Yet we fail to remember that this is essentially impossible, for everything is temporary.

Especially our lives.

No struck of luck, heartfelt prayer, or inner healing process will ever spare our bodies from perishing.

However, when it comes to death, our mind does its best to forget the inevitability of this event.

A series of studies have been conducted…

How to know if you’re desperately seeking relief in the wrong places.

Photo by Danie Franco on Unsplash

“Why does the feeling of emptiness occupy so much space?”- James De la Vega

Ironic, isn’t it?

A sense of nothingness that can easily take control of our lives.

Some call it an existentialist void, for other its psychological emptiness. Regardless of the term, this condition encompasses a range of emotions such as desolation, despair, apathy, and uneasiness.

Of course, not everyone experiences this. But I’d say most of us do or have felt this way at a given point, especially considering today’s society.

Normally, upon facing urgent situations or life-altering events, survival mode kicks in. …

You’ll reap the benefits of doing so in your future relationships.

Photo by averie woodard on Unsplash

The majority of us have loved and had our hearts broken.

Once, twice, even thrice.

Yet despite being heartbroken or not, people tend to spend a great deal of time thinking about love and relationships.

Thousands of songs, books, and movies have romantic love as their central theme. Literature from centuries ago discuss this subject. It’s a universal topic, and regardless of time, all human beings can relate to it.

When a relationship ends, we tend to blame the other party for whatever went wrong. …

Food for thought.

Picture taken by the author. Art by Metamorfo.

Walking back towards my apartment after an afternoon jog, I stumbled upon this poster plastered on a street wall.

It grabbed my attention, hence the photograph.

And now I’ve been pondering this question for days.

Who are you when nobody is watching?

I’m not referring to when you’re home alone watering your plants, singing your favorite song while making breakfast, or walking around in your underwear.

We’ve all done this.

Instead, who are you when you’re out and about in the world, on your own, with no one to judge your actions or words? …

It’s all about growth, freedom, and virtue.

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

Stoicism truly resonates with me.

It all started with a text message from my brother regarding Amor Fati.

Very fitting considering I wasn’t having the time of life during that period.

Consequently, I delved into the subject and realized that I’ve always possessed a strong stoic streak.

Let’s not confuse stoicism with being stoic. To be stoic is to endure trials and suffering without any verbal or emotional complaint.

Stoicism is a school of thought that originated in ancient Greece, around 300 B.C. Several famous stoics were the roman emperor Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, and Epictetus.

“It’s a philosophy of life

Drop the masks. Instead, let's be ourselves.

Photo by Marcin Jozwiak on Unsplash

I believe that everyone is interesting.

We all have a unique life story to be told.

A highly detailed novel composed of hundreds, even thousands of pages. Filled with plot twists, adventures, heart-wrenching moments, vivid emotions, and an insane amount of characters.

There is no one else out there exactly like you. Or me.

Yet we chose to portray aspects of ourselves that fit the “norm” instead of displaying who we truly are at heart; and at times, this makes us seem boring, superficial, or unattractive.

We’re all much more than our achievements, physique, career, or material possessions. …

A difficult yet enlightening process.

Photo by Bret Kavanaugh on Unsplash

Mental Health.

A controversial subject. Still taboo in many communities.

Fortunately, more people are starting to actively seek different forms of therapy and healing.

In my case, it was shortly after my 28th birthday. A friend was seeing an alternative therapist and highly recommended her. I felt fine at the time yet I’d recently undergone a rather difficult period, so I decided to give it a try.

It helped at the very start, yet as time passed her approach no longer worked with me. She simply wasn’t the right fit, so I stopped therapy altogether for a couple of months.

Fatimah Alayafi

Third culture kid | Unconventional life story | Creative overthinker | Writes on life experiences, psych, travel & human nature | Twitter: @fatimah_alayafi

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