Tuesday thoughts.

Recently, I wrote an article for a charity organization that focus on women empowerment and also to motivate other girls out there that it’s okay to make mistakes and be different. It was a volunteer project I did as a United Nation Online Volunteer. You can also participate in similar projects by becoming a UN online volunteer yourself and inspire others every day 🙂

“Back when I was younger, I used to have trouble wearing hijab. I was quite young when I hit puberty and although I’ve been explained about my duty to cover the hair, I still had difficulties wearing it. It wasn’t rare to see a girl wearing hijab in schools. In fact where I come from, wearing hijab in some schools are compulsory. But I looked around at society and I thought wearing hijab prevented me to be part of society, to do the things most girls do at my age. I got rebellious, taking off my hijab every now and then so I could flick my hair like other girls and feel appreciated when boys talk to me. I wanted to be like one of the popular girls in school, be part of the group that every single person adores.

That phase was challenging and difficult for me.

I browsed through magazines, looking at the beautiful outfits women wear and I was very unhappy the fact that I can never wear clothes like them. From what I see, my religion was at fault because instead of allowing me to be accepted by society it is like a barrier that keeps me away from reaching out and be like other people. Of course it was very silly of me to think of it that way. I am in no way degrading my religion and I know religion is personal to everyone. That was a thought I had when I was younger, but I grew up and learned and I love my religion now. My parents knew how vulnerable I was back then as I was in that teen phase so they allowed me to take off my hijab with the promise that I will wear it permanently one day. For some reason I was glad that my parents wasn’t forcing me because that would have just made me rebel even more but at the same time they knew where to draw the lines and pull me back when I drifted too far. Little did I know back then that you don’t have to change who you are just to be accepted by society. Just because I wasn’t wearing a hijab that does not mean the society would love and adore me.

There is always something wrong with me where the society is concern.

I’m too short, I shouldn’t take off my hijab, I should be skinny, I should have longer hair, I should be this I should be that.

There are friends who love me regardless of what I wear and friends who judge me when I take it off saying that I am a disgrace to my religion. There are also friends who praised me for taking off my hijab, comforting me by saying that I look prettier without hijab. Instead of feeling like I finally belong, I actually got more confused. I started feeling insecure with myself more often. Trust me during that age when you’re just growing up and the world is not about Barbie and cartoons anymore, you will be desperate to find anything or anywhere that you belong to, to find a pack on your own and feel wanted. I thought I should be a certain size to be pretty, talk and act in a certain manner to be loved and do things that put me at risk just because I wanted to be that cool kid everyone likes. I even tried wearing makeup which only made my skin worst because I have a sensitive skin because it’s what society did so I had to do it too. Being accepted by society was more important than what my parents’ opinions are. It wasn’t a pretty phase for me honestly.

I regretted some of the mistakes I made but I was thankful that after going through that phase I realized certain things.

What you wear is not significant but how you are as a person is.

My true friends love me because of my personality not because of other reasons. You should never lose yourself just to belong somewhere. When we become older, everything in this world seem like a wide canvas ready for us to explore and paint it as how we like it. Some of us had smooth sailing while some went through rough experiences before they found answers to their questions.

So I want to let you girls out there today know that it is alright to be different.

You don’t have to be someone else just to fit in.

What truly matters is how you value, respect and love yourself.

Everyone is different in their own way and a person shouldn’t be judged based on what they wear, their beliefs, gender or their skin color.

If you feel that you are alone and you don’t have anywhere to belong, you should know that there is always one place where you belong and that place is your heart. It is the only place that matters and it is why you should always cherish and love yourself. We all are different but that is what makes us unique.

Today, I can say that I am comfortable being me and what I wear does not prevent me from doing anything. Wearing a hijab does not make me feel oppressed. I don’t feel insecure with my appearance and I eat like a champion. I exercise because I want to be healthy and I take good care of myself because that is how I appreciate my body. I do the things that I love even if that means it is not cool for society’s standard. In fact I am happier now because I have truly come to love and respect myself.

So never be ashamed of who you are.

You do you and be awesome.”

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reflect.

Recently I came across Dr. Jane Goodall’s post on Facebook and there are no truer words spoken about the way we treat earth.

“We must remember that we have not inherited this planet from our parents, we have borrowed it from our children. But we have not been borrowing their future, we have stolen it and we keep stealing it.”

Just because we live here all our lives, we tend to take the earth for granted and treat it as we wish. Humans create and innovate throughout the centuries to improve lives but today we are driven by greed and our focus is more than just providing for mankind but to gain from it. This has lead to massive destruction and we unintentionally contribute to destroying the earth as we catch up with the changes in this world. I read a post by Adrian Grenier, the founder of Lonely Whale Foundation about pollution and the ocean and in his article he mentioned that the amount of plastic we use daily is enough to wrap around the earth two and a half times each day. That was based on the plastic usage by US population, imagine taking into account the plastic usage by world population. And that is just one of the many kind of pollution we create in our daily lives. We build buildings and compete which country has the tallest skyscrapper, we cut down trees so we can change it to a concrete jungle instead, we kill animals so we can make money out of its skin, tusk,teeth,head and god knows what else. There are so many things we do without realizing that it is indeed harming nature. We feel indifferent because we don’t see how it affects our surrounding but in truth what we do kills nature and this is a reflection to all of us, me included to always think of others human beings and environment before doing something. Simple little things like before throwing unwanted items, we should consider recycling it. Find a way to reuse your clothes instead of constantly buying new ones and throw the old ones. Never waste your food (I try my best not to most of the time). Plant trees ! I’ve always wondered why we clear up forest just so we can build endless buildings when the forest is definitely a mightier and finer view for the eyes. I’m sure we can live without transforming all the land on earth into a profitable development area. We must always remind ourselves that living our lives, it is not a race. Being able to build the most grand, exotic, unique skyscrapper does not mean that you are greater than other beings. It is not a competition when what you do destroy others. And just because what you destroy have no voice, that doesn’t mean it can’t show you the consequences of your actions. We are here to coexist with all beings in the world. Not to be superior of one another. Some people take this lightly and with a scoff simply brush away these words and assume that this is an environmentalist’s thoughts. But if you read enough about the pollution around the world and what damage it has caused and how it will affect our future, your common sense will tell you this much; we should change and do something. I know it is not easy to change, trust me even I can’t do everything without harming the planet. But I try and educate myself constantly on how I can change things, especially the ones I do daily. A little effort by everyone makes a huge difference to the world. It is important to have that awareness in us, so we don’t take things for granted. If the earth is my house, I would be crying to see the state of my house and all the damage done. I would try my best to fix my house and make it beautiful again. I would stop doing things that cause damage to my house and I would decorate it with flowers and fresh air so that I feel at peace. If the earth is your house, would you do the same; protect and cherish it instead of leaving it to permanent damage? This is after all the place we call home for everyone and everything.

world ocean day

Today the world celebrates our ocean. Some of you may not know what is it about ocean that we are talking today. With the rise in issues regarding endangered wildlife, the marine is similarly affected too.

This is why United Nation along with other organizations started campaigned for marine life, dedicating today to those who have fought hard to preserve the ocean in its natural habitat and also to ensure that people are aware of the efforts made to keep the ocean in a well balanced eco system.

The ocean is no longer a habitat for fishes and plants. It is where tonnes and tonnes of waste are being disposed of, making it their home as well. For some reason, although many people realize that items such as plastic bottles are not biodegradable they still throw it as how they wish hoping that it will magically walk to the bin itself or will be carried away somewhere and is not of any concern anymore. Such little things that we find it tedious to do so we take the easy way instead causes harm to others and in this case, the aqua habitat. A recent video was made viral about how a group of youth were helping the turtle by taking out a long stick that was stuck in its nose causing breathing difficulties. There are many cases we are familiar with about finding plastic bags and all sorts of rubbish in a fish’s body and yet we fail to reflect that it is us that are causing the problems. With the change in climate and rise in temperature, not many marine life area able to cope with these changes. Some are even struggling to find a place to call home especially those animals on the north pole. We are consuming more and more seafood as the population grows but at the rate things are going, it is not surprising that we might have a shortage of seafood in few years time. Marine life are having difficulties surviving in the ocean as they have to adapt to the change in climate, facing risk of getting tangled by the rubbish human dispose in the ocean, not to forget they have to face the risk of living surrounded by the toxic waste we pour in the ocean as if the toxic waste is fertilizer.

Many efforts have been done over the years to conserve marine life, but it is not enough. We can conserve so much, but unless we find solutions to the problem there is always the risk of losing the ocean to human destruction. We will be losing yet another habitat to human’s greed for technology and development. It is no doubt that we are able to coexist with the ocean, the forest and not having to destroy another habitat in order for us to consume them. We just need to find the balance in restoring back those that was taken by us humans.

If you think that a small change will not affect the world, you are wrong. There are many things that we can do to help save habitat. It all comes down to mentality and values we practice. As a parent, teach your children to recycle and DIY are always the best weekend activity. It’s creative and it helps for children brain development too. Don’t just talk, show them how it is done and make them do it with you too. Soon it will be a daily routine similar like how we brush teeth in the morning or wake up at 7 am on weekdays. Get them involved at a young age. There are more than just academic education that we have to teach the younger generation. For some reasons, according to some culture in Malaysia if we are to enter the forest we should not simply cut down any tree or even their branches. In fact we should not harm any animal unless for food purposes. Although the advice never taught us why but simply a rule, it helped us understand that other beings deserve respect and we are nobody’s superior on this earth. Teachers and guardians can engage kids with field trip such as clean the beach campaign. Instead of encouraging the kids to focus on purely technological invention, why not help them create eco-friendly technology to sustain the world. The most important thing is to get yourself educated with issues concerning the earth. Get involved more in efforts to protect and conserve the nature. It is after all a joint effort that is required by every one of us living on this planet. We are in no position to be ignorant as this is part of our responsibility. The world came in an order that is perfect for survival. It provided us what we need and over the centuries have changed us from the stone age era to the modern era. Without these lands and nature we are so eager to destroy for wealth and better future opportunities, we wouldn’t have survived in the first place.

So today, make a pledge and change the way you view this world. It is not ours to do as we wish and it is our duty to keep it in balance. Be more considerate of your surrounding and help conserve mother nature.

#worldoceansday