THE BLOGGER RECOGNITION AWARD

Anna nominated me for “the Blogger Recognition Award”, which made me quite happy. I`ve been blogging for more than two years now and I love it when people appreciate what I write. I found Anna`s blog just a while ago and have been liking it so far – make sure to check out her blog here! Before I go ahead, I just want to say how nice it is with things like this – the blogging community is huge and it`s always nice when bloggers give each other thumb ups and support each other. Not only do we need more of that in this community, we need more of that everywhere.

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So, I`m supposed to give a brief story of how my blog journey started and two pieces of advice to new bloggers. Here we go:

How I started my blog: I started blogging when the teacher in “International English” back in high-school told us we were going to blog a semester, as a part of the course. I was excited and my teacher loved my posts. I decided to keep this blog after finishing the subject and here I am today. 🙂 I love writing and I want to inspire others to be who they are and become the best versions of themselves. Blogging is a great way of reaching out and connecting with other people, as well.

My two pieces of advice to new bloggers

1. Be you. So simple and complicated. But seriously, be you. Be who you are. Write about what you want and people who like it/find it interesting will find your blog.

2. Don`t blog just for the sake of it – blog because you believe you have something great to share. Blog because it makes you happy. Stats aren`t really that important. 🙂


I`m nominating Elm, Em, Sherina, Monika and In A Messy World. Make sure to check out their blogs, especially if you`re like me and prefer reading blogs which are personal. 🙂

 

 

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A LITTLE BOOK HAUL

I told you I`m going to tell you more about the books I`ve read and want to read, and here we go! ♥ I`ve borrowed quite a few books lately, and have read some of them. I try not to read as much as I prefer during the exams, but I can`t help it – I love reading, especially when I`ve found a book I`m enjoying. Anywho, here are books I`ve read recently. Two of the books are as of today only on Norwegian, thre three others are in English.


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I borrowed this book a while ago, but had to get it again since I had to hand it back before I actually could read it. It`s  Norwegian book about a girl living between two cultures, between two worlds and how she deals with it. It`s about negative social control, how expectations and (social) norms structure your life in various ways. I could relate, especially since it`s about a Pakistani girl.

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This is the Norwegian version of “Burned alive”, written by the Palestinian woman “Souad”. It`s sad that she felt like she had to be anonymous. The book is about her story – she was extremely controlled as a little girl in many ways. As a teenager she was set on fire by a family member. Afterwards she moved to Europe and began a new life there. This book was interesting, but very sad to read. I can`t imagine what it must`ve been like for her. While reading it, I also looked up the book and found a lot of people criticising the book, as they doubt the complete story is true as apparentely, no once can survive something like that. Also, these people believe some of the descriptions in the book are not based on the reality of the society (at that time), but seriously… I don`t really care about whether they actually ate couscous back then or not.  And stating that the book is a false story, won`t change the reality. I do know there are girls out there that have been through something like this. Last year, a 17-year-old girl in Pakistan was set on fire by her own mother. “Souad” survived a huge trauma, and it`s not that unusual to try to forget such encounterings. I recommend you to read this book, it`s translated into several languages and can be bought on Amazon for a cheap price.

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I`ve mentioned this one before and shared several poems from it. I quite love this collection of poems – her poems are so easy, relateable, pure and raw. I`m sure anyone can relate to at least some of the feelings described. Rupi Kaur knows how to write and another collection of poems was published this year. She writes about breaking, healing, love, relationships, family, pain, loss.. you get it. I definetely recommend this book! I`ve read it both in English and on Norwegian.

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I started watching Zoellas videos on Youtube a while ago, and realised she`s the writer behind the “Girl Online series”. I had heard about it before, but when her first book was published it was more of a thing in the UK than here in Norway. Anywho, I got my hands on the first book and just had to read the next two straight after. I won`t say these are the best books I`ve ever read, but I enjoyed it and it was sort of a break from all the more “darker” books I tend to like these days. I`d recommend this if you`re young, enjoy fiction, and want to read something “chill” and easy.

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This is the book I`ve been mostly reading the past few days and I managed to finish it just today. I found this book very interesting. It was published last month and is currently only on Norwegian. The title means “shameless”, it`s an informational book about negative social control, honour culture and shame culture. I could relate so much to it and I`m sure many of you can too. You are most likely to relate to the part about honour if you or your parents are from a more collectivistic culture/society, in which the conecpt of honour plays an important role. But, I know there are many girls and boys out there that are shamed for who they are, who they want to be, what they are and even some of the decisions they make. The book is going to be translated into Swedish, but for now you`ll either have to already be able to read Norwegian or you`ll have to learn the language if you want to read this. 😉 I might share something from the book or write down some thoughts I had during/after reading this book in a future post. We`ll see.

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I saw a Norwegian Journalist recommending this book and ordered it right away, as I wanted to see why the Saudi Arabian regime has arrested and sentenced Raif Badawi. Well, let`s just say I don`t understand why the country even is in the “United Nations Commission on the Status of Women” (CSW). Badawi is convicted on several charges, sentenced to ten years in prison, 1000 lashes and a fine. Why? He was arrested in 2012 because he had “insulted Islam through electronic channels”. Reading some of his texts and blog posts and keeping those things in mind, is surreal. You can unagree as much as you want to with someone, but sentencing someone to 1000 lashes? I can`t even imagine the pain. If you`re interested in human rights, activism and even how Saudi Arabia is doing, you should give this little book a go!


So, I hope you enjoyed this! Let me know if I should do this more. 🙂 Also, what are you currently reading? Any books you`d recommend? Let me know!

IT SHOULD BE ALL ABOUT WHO YOU ARE

Many of us have been standing in a room, full of people. We`ve stared at them and thought “oh, wow, she looks amazing”. We end up comparing ourselves to other. “My dress is great, but hers look way better.” We compare our bodies, our faces, our hair with each other, thinking everyone else got everything on point. The same goes for social media – we scroll up and down, thinking other people look better than us and have a better life. We study them, zoom in and out and find everything better in other people`s pictures. Because how many of us would dare to stand in a room and say “I`m beautiful” without feeling ashamed about it? How many of us compliment ourselves in front of other people? Through comparing ourselves with others, we put ourselves down. Imagine if the person in front of you had your nose – would you tell them it`s ugly and that they should get a nose job done? Or would you shame your brother too about how fat he is? Would you tell your parents the things you tell yourself? We`ve become experts on pointing out what we think is wrong about ourselves and how we look. We`ve become experts at standing in front of a mirror and studying everything we need to get fixed.

I challenge you to stand in front of the mirror and focus on you. Focus on the inner you, focus on who you are, not what you look like. Focus on what you can do, focus on what makes you smile, what motivates you, what things you love to do and what makes you get up every morning. Because even though our backs tell stories about us, our bodies don`t define us. We`re not our bodies, we`re humans, we`re us, and like someone else said:

“You will not always be the smartest person in the room, and you will not always be the strongest person or the funniest or the most talented. But you can always be brave and you can always be kind, and these are the things you should be every minute of every day for the rest of your life. Because yes, those other things, they`re great things.

But these things are better.”

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DO WE NEED A DAY FOR GIRLS?

I`ve heard boys and men asking the same old question: why do we have a “Women`s Day” or day for girls?

10 % of the world`s population today got married while they still were kids. Many girls don`t go to school, pretty much because the family`s too poor or they don`t prioritize her education. In many countries women unfortunately are blamed, if they get raped. “Why were you out so late?” “Maybe you shouldn`t have worn a short skirt!” The words, the accusations are many. Most child brides are women, many girls/woman are sexually assulted and many are taught that the kitchen is their home. In several industries, woman are underestimated, underevalued. In many socities, the case is that a girl exists so that she can take care of her family and the house. Her thoughts and feelings are irrelevant. Read history, and you`ll understand how men have been ruling in so many cases. Men have been “above”. Did you know women didn`t have the vote to right till 1913, in Norway? Did you know that in England or Wales alone, two women are killed each week by a current or former partner? Did you know every third girl in developing countries get married before turning 18? In Bangladesh, 66 % of girls are married before they turn 18. 

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I`m not telling you all this, to make you feel sorry for “us”, even though I hope you feel some sort of sympathy for all these girls (and women) out there, who`re living a life they haven`t dreamt of. I`m glad we have a day like this where we can focus on girls` rights, BUT it won`t help if we don`t make a change the other 364 days. Also, this doesn`t mean there aren`t boys and men struggling out there. Of course there are and we absolutely need to help them too. Nevertheless, girls and women belong to the gender that have been oppressed the most during history and we still see bits of that happening all over the world.

And to the boys and men, who ask why they don`t have their very own day? Well, you do. It`s on 19th November and is celebrated in 60 countries. So don`t worry. But like I said – we need to fight every day. Not only today. This isn`t only about the rights of girls and boys – this is about fundamental human rights.

NO FREEDOM WITHOUT LOVE

Writing about how much it was raining here yesterday morning or how wet and cold I was, seems absolutely pointless now. Posting yesterday about things that don`t really matter in the end, when people far away are being killed, really seemed pointless. I read about the mass shooting in Las Vegas when I was at school yesterday and I must say I didn`t want to read about it, because… I`m so tired of it. I`m exhausted and each time something like this happens, I ask myself how a human being can even think of killing another human being. How does a person decide he`s going to leave his house, to go and kill as many people as possible? I really don`t know and these questions make the sadness and pain ever more tougher. No answers will be good enough.

42 weapons. 59 died.

I stayed up last night and looked through some of the profiles of the people who were killed in Las Vegas.

“Rembering Quinton Robbins”.

“Rembering Sonny Melton”

How hard it must be for their friends and family to see that one word. “Remembering.”

The empty chair around the dining table. The empty bed, the empty room. They`re never coming home again. Never ever. They left the house, never thinking they were never ever going to get back home. They never know the hug, the kiss they gave their kids or someone they loved, was going to be the last one. It was going to be the last time.

I can barely imagine the pain, the sorrows, the emptiness. The holes they have to live with the rest of the lives. The fear, maybe even anger.

I notice how the discussions about USA`s gun laws already have begun. Personally I think that`s important, we need to start acting as soon as possible and do something about the gun violence. More than 11.000 people have died because of gun violence the last 275 days.

But for the people in Las Vegas, it was already too late Sunday evening.

My thoughts, prayers and love go out to everyone affected by the tragedy. This is sick, this is awful and we desperately need to fight the hate with love. Or else it`s going to be too late for more people, way too soon.

I saw this a little earlier and thought I`d share this. Such a beautiful song. There`s no love without freedom and there`s no freedom without love. 

THEY SCREAM SO LOUD, BUT NO ONE HEARS A THING

I`m thinking of all the people, especially women, we`re not able to hear. Of all the women, who are objects of social control every single day. Of all the women who`re screaming under water. They read articles, they read what we, who`re more privileged, say and I`m sure some notice how we`re more interested in fighting each other, instead of focusing on helping these people. I can feel their helplessness. They are so many and yet, we barely hear them. Maybe it`s because we fight too much, or maybe it`s because their screams aren`t able to reach us. Maybe it`s because the worst things happen behind locked doors. I`m thinking of these people who have written something in the media about extremism, social culture or honour culture and therefore have been brought to silence. They have met their sanctions, they`ve disappointed their parents, their family and are therefore told to not speak up anymore. Since they`ve brought shame on your family, they need to shut up.

Can we, if not for our own sake then their sake, give them some attention?

I can assure you there`s a girl out there, that`s crying herself to sleep because she can`t do what she wants to do. It`s not like her parents, her family or her friends always directly tell her she can`t wear a t-shirt or a short skirt, or that she`s not allowed to hang out with boys. Of course these were things she was taught when she was still a little girl, but now she knows these things by heart. She knows what she should do and not and therefore, she stops herself many of the times from doing everything she wants. Whether it`s writing an article in the local newspaper or it`s wearing the sleeveless dress she`s hid inside her wardrobe. Because what`ll happen if she doesn`t follow the rules of the game? She`ll bring shame on her family, she`ll disappoint people she loves and that way, she`ll end up disappointing herself.

They know how to play with her conscience and they know how to make her push the right buttons.

It frustrates me how the more “privileged” ones act like these things are okay. Or they act like not many are living with such circumstances. Many of us don`t notice the silent girls, the girls that are too scared to share whatever`s on their mind because they know very well that`ll cause them trouble. WHY don`t we help these girls more?? There are so so many girls out there, who`re afraid. Afraid to live their own lives the way they want to, afraid to go out late at night, afraid to fall in love with “the wrong boy”, afraid to dress in an inappropiate way. Maybe a friend of her mum will see her with a boy and call her mum to share the “latest news.” Or maybe one of the taxi drivers will catch her and let her dad know what she`s doing 12 am in the city. There`s always someone stalking you and making sure you follow the social rules and norms, and these women (and men, of course) have to be careful or else it can go very, very wrong.

We`ve already seen that. Women have been burned alive for falling in love with the “wrong guy”, for doing something they tought was right. Zeenat Rafique, 18, was strangled and set alight by her mother and brother in June 2016 after she eloped against their wishes. Jer mother and brother tied her to a bed, poured gasoline and set her on fire. What about Souad`s brother who killed his own sister with a telephone cord? Or what about all the mothers who kill their baby girls right after giving birth to them, simply because they are girls? Women have been killed in the name of “honour”, they have been killed by families who wanted to make their daughters shut up forever. We don`t hear that much about the men who suffering, but they exist too. Many men are married to women they don`t love and they are victims of a shame culture too. I could mention many more horrible consequences many human beings who don`t follow the rules the family or the community has set, have to live according to on a daily basis, but we talk more about the “worst things” than everything that happens in silence or the things we barely notice.

We barely hear about the girls and boys that are suffering in silence. They don`t let anyone know what kind of life they`re living. Many live double-lives, because that`s easier, in many ways. You can be who they want to be in “another world.” Many are locked up inside, but act like nothing. Letting anyone know, would be shameful. People shouldn`t know. God, it makes me sad to think of all the girls and boys that have no wings and aren`t allowed to be free. They suffer in silence, they can`t satisfy their own expectations and needs.

And instead of focusing on these people and giving them attention and love, way too many of us focus on how people who point these problems out, are racists or hate Muslims. Some of us even ignore it all, we act like these things barely happen and that the real problems lie somewhere else. I`m sure victims of social control would appreciate it if the privileged ones saw them and cared about them way more. I`m sure they`d appreciate a helping hand, I`m sure they`d be more than happy to know some of us, who`re more privileged, are spending some of our lives to help them live the life they`ve always imagined for themselves, and replace control and fear, with dreams, hope and love. I know they`d be thankful if we saved them from drowning.

 

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