Introducing Me

It’s just gone midnight as I write this and I’ve just finished watching The Edge of Seventeen with my boyfriend, now starting Someone Great, and having realised I never actually properly introduced myself to you. I figure it’s time to do that, after all, I’ve been writing on here for a year now, and been more active since 2020 started, putting a little more effort and deeper thought on what I write. On the 12th, I wrote about the four things I’m grateful for, and I have also written about PCOS, and right now, our Mcdonald’s order has just arrived, which is something to look forward to. It’s been a while since i’ve—really, both of us—have had it.

I know it may come across as a little weird to finally be introducing myself after spending a year writing, and while you all know my name and a brief bit about me, it’s not really an in-depth introduction or a proper glimpse into the picture of my life or who i am.

So to start, i’m 21 years old. Currently, I study English Literature with Creative Writing at a gorgeous campus in London, where i was born and raised, and hope to continue living with J and the family we have one day. I am an only child, born 18 years after my parents were married, something i am constantly reminded of by various family members, and a premature baby, another thing i am always reminded of. As a child, we moved from house to house, never really having our own permanent place until i was in year 11, a hardship i wish we didn’t have to face because of the immense weight it put on my parents shoulders; the stress, the fears of whether we would get a place we, or they, could call home. As for me, i hated the moving around because for some of the time, it meant living with family members i loathed at the time. This feeling, however, changed the older i got. That’s the funny thing about feelings, how they can evolve and fall apart and come together and fade as days go by.

The secondary school i went to was one i was the first person to walk out of during Record of Achievement/Prom night, so I think that pretty much sums up how i felt about the five years I spent there. The friendships I made there were ones that didn’t exactly survive after year 11 ended, though I think that’s more to do with me not bothering to keep in contact with anyone or making any effort to suggest any link ups. Most of my memories from this time are of me constantly trying not to break down, falling in a spiral of depression and towards the end of my time there, spending every break at the library reading and working on a book that will never see the light of day. Maths was not, and never will be, my best subject. (Honestly, J is going to have to teach maths to our kids and help them with their homework to do with decimals, fractions, algebra and the likes.) Every time i would pass the bike shed at this school, there would be a group of kids, ranging from year 7 to my own year, smoking cigarettes and weed. Other memories include pretending to be on my period every week to avoid swimming (probably why I still don’t know how to), all the girls “forgetting to get” their PE kit (myself included) on one of the last days of term and being punished by having to clean the bus and a 40 minute detention which I skipped, talking about Fifty Shades of Grey in Chemistry class with Dylan (one of the Cloud brothers—of Jezebel Lies or something?) and our teacher, Mr Hawkins, overhearing.

After school, I went to a sixth form with a bit of a questionable reputation, where I studied Creative Writing, Psychology and History. Here, I met one of my oldest friends, Farheen, a friendship we formulated by discussing One Direction and our love for Zayn Malik. It grew stronger with our visits to Urban Chocolatier almost every week, which we changed to monthly when it first opened, talking about our first loves and the heartbreak that followed, swapping stories about first kisses and first dates and every other first from that first boy from school days. During the year-ish I spent at this sixth form, my passion for writing trickled down to almost nothing. My grades towards the end of summer 2015 didnt live up to what I wanted, so I went for Childcare, a choice I still question myself over. I excelled in it, but after 6 weeks I dropped out.

From 2016, I started an apprenticeship at an events company which I also dropped, and then after 9 months at this company with pasta every day for lunch, long and exhausting hours and the shittiest pay known to man (£3.40 an hour!!!??), I left. Following this, I started an apprenticeship at a company specialising in data analysis and advertising, as a Digital Marketing apprentice. There, I met Khadija, a friend I still have as part of my life. Whilst our friendship is solid, it is also low maintenance, without conversations for sometimes months at a time, but the love and trust and loyalty always there. We both remained there for 5 months before our agencies pulled us out for a lack of work related to our apprenticeships.

Following this, I started a retail job at the M&S in Euston station, where I met someone and got involved with for a while. It ended hideously and wrecked my view on love for quite some time. I stayed at that job for 3 months. Hated every minute of it.

Leaving this, I started an Access to HE Diploma in Health and Social Care that i enjoyed quite a bit and passed with flying colours. During this course, i wrote this report on sexual abuse. I applied to do Psychology with Counselling Skills the following year at Middlesex University—whilst I truly loved the subject, and got firsts in every essay (honestly, 88%, 85%, 75%), I got the worst grade for statistics (13%). Because of this, I dropped the subject and switched to English Literature with Creative Writing in September.

The year I’ve done so far studying English Lit, I have enjoyed. I’ve met people who I realised aren’t actually my people or the kind of mates I can call up at 3am when I’m going through it, and certainly not the kind of people i can count on when at my most vulnerable. I’ve learnt to that i have nobody else to blame when I don’t exactly get the results i want and i need to actually try and put effort in to get there. It was a hard year, from making dumb decisions, seeking validation from meaningless relations, having my dad in hospital for 3 weeks to losing my sense of worth. The start of 2020 was rocky but it got a little better towards Easter and though the year didn’t end how I thought, in a weird time of a global plague, it was subsequently greater than the months before. I am definitely looking forward to graduation in 2022, though a long way away, I know it’ll be my proudest ever achievement, after all the years of floundering and not knowing what I wanted to do. And I get to prove everyone wrong, so a double win.

A few weeks before Valentine’s Day, I met my boyfriend on Hinge (the app made to be deleted!). Our first date was completely last minute and spontaneous af, and only 3 hours; we walked the streets of Manor Park, went to some weird cafe with some questionnable shennanigans happening behind the counter, where we sat and talked about things from our interests, what we do, our family(ies) and he showed me pictures of the dogs. This relationship was completely unexpected–I created an account on Hinge out of pure boredom, thinking I’d delete it in a few hours (which I actually did, the same night J and I started talking; we actually met up the day after and haven’t looked back since!), but so wonderful and I’m more than happy to have found my person after everything, in spite of everything.

I find solace in writing. It’s a comfort for me and a form of escapism, an art I’ve been working on for a decade now, including a year of dipping out of writing and into the murky waters that was merely binge-watching shows on the internet and Netflix, wasting away in bed. I used to think only stories and poetry were the writing i was interested in, but in recent years i have come to found that’s actually not the case. There was also a time in my life (see: 2016-2017) when i was completely obsessed with makeup and would buy them on impulse, no hesitation, no qualms about it. It’s a choice i do now regret, as i’d love to have saved that money instead of recklessly splurging on 7 different highlighters (maybe more) and eyeshadow palettes that go into the double digits. (And honestly, i’m kind of feeling the urge to buy some new makeup and getting rid of some of the ones i have, to start afresh . . .)

I have already planned out some parts of my wedding, like the style/s of the dress, my makeup (I plan to do it myself–after all, I know my face and what works for it best), the cake, the song I want playing for J and I’s first dance, the starters (definitely samosas!, chicken tikkas, spring rolls and chana chaat), and of course, who I want as my maid of honour. I enjoy listening to Ludovico Einaudi (something my boyfriend didn’t believe!); I love eating samosas–I can devour an entire plate of them; I’m a massive chocolate addict, Lindor, Galaxy & Twirl are my top 3, but then there’s Dairy Milk Oreo, Toblerone, Maltesers, Ferrero Rocher . . . the list doesn’t end. I can never drink 8 glasses of water, though I do try, and I’m constantly tired and lacking energy. Tesco is my favourite supermarket, mainly because it’s the one I’ve always gone to since I was a kid, and Sainsbury’s for the meal deals, but I also love M&S because of their cookies selection. I love watching my boyfriend make cheesecake and criticising the biscuit base for its unevenness; I believe in destiny and soulmates, but I believe in free will more; religion is a sticky subject for me but I do believe in the Oneness of God and hope to have that same connection with Him I did before (we’ll see, I guess). I’m a sucker for rom-coms and happy endings, though sometimes I do prefer more realistic ones. Most of the time, I’m rewatching my old favourite shows, with a plate of fruit by my side and Miss Bunny, a gift from my boyfriend when lockdown started, chilling next to me.

I would love to have a career in journalism and authoring a number of books, but that remains to be seen, since I also want to be a lawyer. So far, I’m torn between doing a Masters in Postcolonialism or doing the GDL, and then the LPC to become a Family Lawyer. I used to want to be a Human Rights Lawyer, but I love London too much to ever fully leave the city behind like that. In the 21, nearly 22, years I’ve been alive, I feel like I’ve experienced a lot and there is still so much left to experience, see and feel. The lessons life teach never really come to an end, do they? I can’t wait to continue learning, unlearning, relearning; experiencing; enjoying; loving.

Everything I write, I hope you can relate to, love, and enjoy reading. Not all of it will be light-hearted, there will be some darker, hard to read content I write, but those are the ones I need to actually be able to write, so we can have a conversation. Because we need a conversation. But the ones I write which are lighter and easier in topics, I hope they’re able to bring some good into your life, whatever is going on, wherever you’re going whilst reading. This is just the start of so many more things I hope to write about and, a year (!!!) on from when I started, I have been able to reach a wider, global audience of readers and resonate with a number of people, women in particular. And I couldn’t have been happier. I hope to continue reaching you all.

Sumaiya, x

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