by - April 23, 2020

Disclosure: I tend to keep my personal thoughts/views ambiguous, broad and untargeted. I also don’t like sharing personal emotions or journeys about myself; for one, I am not that interesting and secondly, I don’t like getting into the nitty gritty things involving my life. I write to express general thoughts or subject matters that I believe people can resonate with. This isn’t a personal diary, more so a personal perspective on life. 

(Photography by Cesar / Location: Abu Dhabi/UAE)

As an individual, I am ever evolving, in my thoughts, knowledge, opinions, taste in culture and lifestyle. The evolution is ever so subtle and only noticeable when reflecting back to the years and decades past. I’m not a believer of firm and rigged decisions (though I used to be), as it won’t allow much room for growth and opportunities in life. It also restricts how one can develop on a personal level and even general life aspects.  

(Photography by Zinah & Rongji / Locations: Marrakesh/Morocco)

Essentially, my evolution can be observed on my blog for the past decade, though I’ve limited the journaling of it. I still remain somewhat the same in certain characteristics, but I am very much a matured and calmer version of myself to my 20s. My work ethic remains the same, my personality a little bit more refined and my lifestyle somewhat wiser, authentic and personal. What inspired me 10 years ago, merely serves as nostalgia presently. I have discovered my inner self more profoundly, more certain and a lot more self-loving, but I have to admit, I am one of the fortunate ones who did not struggle with self-esteem or self-love. I’ve been Kanye Westing before Kanye! I rediscovered what brings my life joy, peace and love; books (my first best friend), blues/classic music, films and travelling. I have nothing but fond memories involving books, travelling and films. My taste in music went through a 360 cycle though and I tend not to listen to new music much, except from artists I already love or new artists I stumble upon. I cultivated my love for these things, exploring them endlessly and keeping an open mind to book/film genre’s and travel locations. Though I enjoy nonfiction books and eccentric films (Tim Burton, Wes Anderson etc) a lot more.

This building in Hong Kong looks like straight out of a Wes Anderson film!
(Photography by Zinah / Locations: Hong Kong & London/UK)

I have a newfound love for cooking, food and coffee (oat milk/soya latte mainly!). I hardly used to cook before 2017, but when I changed my diet to vegetarian, I just started cooking all kind of things and discovered cooking to be very therapeutic for me. I like using fresh ingredients, stay away from canned food or ready-made meals. I like doing it from scratch and experimenting around. Shockingly, my cooking is good (not excellent) but I actually enjoy eating the meals I prepare. As for food, I honestly have the biggest appetite and love eating anything really, I am not fussy and always ready to explore. Ever since moving to Asia, I had to leave my vegetarian lifestyle behind, I managed it for three years, as it’s far more challenging here and my appetite somewhat grew even bigger! As for coffee…I had my first coffee at the age of 21, wasn’t too fond of the taste and never needed it for energy. I’m naturally hyper, so I never relied on caffeine for energy, but as I got older, I appreciate the taste of coffee a lot more. I still don’t need it for energy and can go for weeks without it. 

(Photography by Zinah & Cesar / Locations: London/UK & Beirut/Lebanon)

The biggest change in my life has been how I perceive and practice religion. I’ve always been a believer, but how and what I believe has changed; not in the existence of Allah, but how the lines of culture and religion has been so blurred, they are beyond distinction. There are many that argue that certain cultural practices stem from religion, while others can see clear division between the two. I personally learned to understand that some of the practices are cultural, especially when it comes to gender. However, it’s never indicated as gender inequality, but adorned as rewarding gender roles. Beautifully packaged for women to accept it as the wisdom and practice of religion, expressed to be the step forward to piety and purity. I won’t go into details of which gender roles I am implying to, as I know they differ in culture, societies and even households, but I am certain most women have experienced it or are still experiencing it. 

(Photography by Rongji & Zinah / Locations: Lyon/France & London/UK)

I’ve evolved into becoming an independent thinker and research on materials that both support and contradict my personal opinions and views. I’ve learned that by dismissing the opinions and thoughts of those we don’t agree with, we are limiting our own understanding of a subject matter, whether that’s as simple as food or as complex as politics and religion. I’ve cultured a lot from my own religion, by engaging in conversations with Atheists, Christians, Buddhists and Jews. I started to understand that certain truths are relative and not all factual, believes are nurtured not natured and most importantly that certain realities should not be confused for facts and vice versa. I am ever evolving and what I hold to be true today may change next week, year or decade. An important aspect of my personal development was to not judge before understanding. I’ll give everyone and everything the benefit of doubt to understand first and foremost, but then when views, behaviours or justifications are extreme, best believe I’ll be judging you so hard and walk away. I am not here to play or be a social, political, cultural or religious warrior, I’m a flawed human being but always eager and ready to learn. Additionally, I have learned not to blindly support causes or movements that progress to be important but target the wrong audience; examples various. As I expect from myself, I expect causes to be inclusive, respectful and stay away from being preachy, judgemental, hypocritical and not exclude those who really need to hear it.  

My personal evolution won’t come to an end until the day I die…Well by then, I don’t really have much option do I now? I always hope to encourage my friends and family to embrace growth and not have a determinative final destination on what to believe, how to be and even what to be. This is some of my personal story, if you’d like to share yours, let me know on here

Love and Peace!

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