On Writability: Why I write

You know that guest post I mentioned a couple of weeks ago? Well, it’s finally up! Check it out here. If you’re a writer, I’d love to know the reasons why YOU write, so please do leave a comment.

Also, the header image my sister drew for Cake & Cows‘s first birthday is back – and finally incorporated in a free WordPress theme that doesn’t trigger my OCPDness all that much.

Happy Friday, everyone! :)

1 Reason Why I Hate Listicles

  1. Because they are stupid and useless.

God, if I see another listicle being posed as writing, I swear I’m going to… blog about it!

I’ve always known I’m an oddball. I was that one kid who couldn’t wait for recess to end so that I could go back inside the classroom.

I’m still like that to this day. Generally, I don’t really care for things others rave about. If someone tells me something is SOOO GOOD, I end up regretting listening to said person. There are, of course, exceptions to this: The Lord of The Rings really was SOOO GOOD. So, it’s not like I’m not willing to be wrong.

I don’t know why I am the way I am. Is it because I like to consider myself different OR have I learned to embrace my difference? Or maybe I’m just… difficult.

But that could be its own post. Let’s get back to listicles.

I HATE LISTICLES! And we’re seeing them everywhere! Even really nice people, whom I have nothing against otherwise, are doing it. I feel like I’m the loser kid with no friends again. The blogosphere was my one refuge on this planet. But it’s changed. It’s changed oh so much. And I’m not entirely sure I like this change.

My hatred for listicles, however, goes deeper than the form itself. It’s what they represent. Facile, one-size-fits-all solutions to problems, some of which are legitimate and others which are not. I’m sorry, but “38 different lipstick shades you absolutely MUST try this spring” does not need to exist. I only have one lipstick, which I took from my sister by the way, and you know what? I’m fine.

You might say, “Well, you’re being a hypocrite, because I saw you liking that one article on Brain Pickings about Kurt Vonnegut’s 8 rules for writing.”

Okay, touche.

But you know what? He’s Kurt Vonnegut. He’s earned that right!

I suppose, in the end, it’s just a matter of different tastes and I have to accept that. But the more I see and observe of the world, the more I wish I could go back to class.

[End of Rant]

Dear Readers: If this is the first post of mine you’re reading, I promise, I’m a really nice person usually. But we all have those days, right? And what’s a blog for if you’re only showing the happy-go-lucky side of life, eh?

Is anybody still reading?

I’m well aware it’s been over two weeks since I’ve last blogged. I won’t blame the usual “writer’s block,” because I haven’t been blocked per se. I actually had two drafts written, but couldn’t manage to edit either of the posts in the time I had.

I realized something about myself recently. If I don’t complete a non-school or federally-mandated task or assignment right away, I lose all momentum and energy to complete it after. What does that say about me? Hmmm. I shall be pondering this for the rest of the day.

The truth of the matter is: these past two weeks have been ROUGH.

I was ill for a good chunk of this time and desperately needed some mental time to recuperate. I’m still recuperating, actually. Although I think the mental recuperation might be a life-long thing ;)

But being the perfectionist OCPD person I am, I couldn’t just let this blog go and die a slow death. I’ve put too much time and money into this thing! I must admit: I was having doubts as to whether Cake & Cows was a name I even wanted anymore – I haven’t been having a Cake & Cows-like past few weeks (although I did go to the dairy farm again last week to help lift my spirits – it helped).

I realize now it’s okay to have days where you’re just not feeling it. I’m not someone who likes to put on a face. I’m not going to pretend everything is all cool and dandy when it’s not.

Today however I am feeling much better (and writing this blog entry has a lot to do with it). I think I got about 9 hours of sleep last night, which is unusual for me. It still probably is not enough to make up for the sleep debt I’ve incurred this past week (I don’t like the term “sleep debt;” but Mr. Rafia used it earlier and until I can come up with a better phrase, I’ll use it for the time being).

I’m feeling more Cake & Cows-y this morning… afternoon. And I just wanted to say I am alive and hope to blog more regularly again. Yay!

P.S. I reverted back to my old layout because the CSS was just killing me. I hate that I can’t edit the code of the free WordPress themes – and unfortunately, I have to purchase a theme first before I can see if I can edit it to my liking. I hope you can understand my conundrum. I am not a cheap person, but I also don’t like wasting money, especially if it’s for myself. Until I can figure out a way to incorporate the beautiful image my sister drew into a layout I am satisfied with, you will have to make do with Petunia, the Purple-Polka Dotted Cow. My drawing skills are clearly lacking in comparison, but she’s got a cute name, eh? I’ve always been proud of my nomenclature skills :)

P.P.S. Happy Easter! Yo, Mr. Rafia, while you’re out, get me a chocolate bunny, okay?

New Layout, Cake & Cows Turns 1, and Questions I Must Answer

First of all, Cake & Cows has a brand-spanking new layout! Like the last one, the header of this layout was also illustrated by my amazingly talented older sister, who you should follow on Instagram, if you’re on.

The occasion is not just because I needed some colour on my blog – or to translate from this Bollywood song of yore: “Gimme colour, Gimme colour, Gimme colour, Gimme colour, Gimme colour.”

I wanted a new layout because Cake & Cows will be celebrating a milestone – its one year anniversary (or birthday ?) next week – Friday, March 24th to be exact.

I just Googled “first year birthday” or whatever and this is the first thing I see. If I ever have a baby, he better look like this. Source

I know it’s not a big deal considering some blogs have been around for much longer and a one-year anniversary is nothing. But it’s big for me. I’ve been blogging since 2003 and I don’t think I’ve ever stuck with a blog name longer than a few months (other than Whimsical – but with the exception of perhaps one person, no one would know that). Cake & Cows seems like my first real blog; it’s almost like my baby. I have people come up to me and even before they ask how I’m doing (or perhaps they already know because they’ve read it), they make some reference to my blog. Frankly, nothing makes me happier to know I’m not the only person who reads this stuff. I’d like to say I’d continue to blog even if I knew I was the only one reading, but the truth is, I probably wouldn’t. So, if you’re reading this, I want to thank you for helping me get to this point. Because of you, I’ve learned that I do not have commitment issues!

If I was super cool like some other bloggers, I’d have some kind of giveaway. But if you’re a regular reader, you know I’m the farthest thing from cool. So I won’t be doing that.

Instead, I’ll answer some questions about myself (I needed a segue, okay?). Suma Fiore nominated me for a Sunshine Blogger Award. This award comes with no gold statues, but much better – a set of questions I get to answer! I’ve always loved pretending to interview myself. Now I don’t have to pretend!

  1. What do you struggle with mostly in life? I wish I had a more sophisticated answer, but it’s body image for me. My other struggles come and go, but this one has been ceaseless – and frankly useless – for the past 8 years. Some struggles are good, or at least good can be learned from them. But no good has come from this obsession of wishing I could look a certain way. 
  2. What are you wearing right now? Khakis, a black shirt, and an old-lady-looking purple-flowered sweater blouse on top. I went to a masjid open house and thought I should be dressed semi-professionally today.
  3. Have you ever colored your hair? What color? Do you want to? What color? I wasn’t allowed to colour my hair when I was younger. I read somewhere though that you could dye your hair naturally using berries, so I attempted to dye my hair red one time with raspberries. I was in middle school then. It did not work. I only wasted a bunch of raspberries that someone could have used to bastardize an otherwise delicious chocolate cake. Oh well. Now that I can dye my hair, I have no desire to. I believe that God gave us the hair colour He did for a reason. There is wisdom behind this and I agree with it. I like my black hair.
  4. What’s your favorite and least favorite ‘ism’? (activism, narcissism, feminism, racism…) My favourite ‘ism’ is either monotheism or socialism – I admit, I struggled with this and had to look for ideas. Narcissism and racism suck, but nationalism needs some hating too. 
  5. What’s your favorite kind of grub? Anything with sugar and chocolate in it, let’s be honest. But chocolate cake is definitely on the top of the list. Does that count as grub? It’s also never a wrong time for pizza, or anything with bread and cheese together, basically.
  6. Give me some pet-peeves Lack of symmetry, not putting things in their designated place (Mr. Rafia!), most Instagram posts – I’ll be kind and not name specifics, impromptu decisions, the list can go on.
  7. Do you like any celebrities? Dislike any? Give me some names and tell me why. RICHARD SIMMONS – read my post, people! I dislike all others.
  8. What makes the world go round? God. I’m not trying to be a pompous zealot with this answer, either. My belief in God is what allows me to take it all in and wake up each morning, even when I don’t want to. I mean, literally. It’s tough getting up for the fajr prayer, but knowing that I must is what gets me to do it.
  9. What did you do last night? I attended an event called “How can Muslim women be allies?” and then I read in bed until I fell asleep. Fun!
  10. What kind of chips are your favorite? Chocolate chips ;)
  11. Best moment of 2017 thus far? Turning 30 was great the day of, but not so great the few weeks after when it finally hit me. I am 30 and I still have no clue what I am doing with my life.

Okay, this post has been long enough for now. Happy belated St. Patrick’s Day, Happy early Nowruz, and I don’t know what else. Oh yeah, happy belated 311 Day. Okay, I really need to end this thing now.

I bought myself a domain & other things

You may have noticed that my URL has changed. As of this morning, Cake & Cows’s permanent home address is now officially cakeandcows.org. I know .ORGs are typically reserved for non-profit organizations, but why are .COMs accepted as the default? Don’t they signify companies? In that case, I’d much rather be an organization, Canadian socialist that I am.

I resisted buying a domain for so long. You might even say this move was 13 years in the making. The main reason I resisted is because I didn’t feel like my blog was worthy of a domain. Domains are not free and while I understand that I live in a capitalist society, I don’t believe in buying things just because I can. I do believe that certain things (like my new not-a-tote tote) are investments, but I wasn’t sure my blog was. In the 13 years I’ve been blogging, I’ve been through the following names: Precious Barnacles, Precious, Whimsical, The Indecisive Planner – and those are just the names I can remember! If I bought a domain for Cake & Cows, would I regret it because the second I did the fickle pickle that I am would want to change the name to something like Ruff Draft?

I actually thought of this name the other day and was like “DAMN, that’s a good blog name!” I spend a lot of time thinking of names for things.

I’ve been different lately. It might be the hormones. But in the past week or so, I’ve been more impulsive. Usually, being impulsive is NOT a good thing. But I’ve spent a good deal of my life always second-guessing myself that maybe I’ve just gotten sick of it? I really don’t know what’s gotten into me.

I know that something is off though (and “off” in this case might not necessarily be a bad thing) because I kinda-sorta asked my way onto a panel. Yes, you read that right! Shy old Rafia who is afraid of public-speaking asked to speak in public! Did I really do that? Such hubris for me to think that people want to hear me talk! I’m going to regret this, aren’t I? 

I’ve been reading this self-help book that I received as a gift from a friend called The Artist’s Way. While I must admit some of the exercises were a little too new-age for me, I trudged through to the end. I didn’t gain any valuable writing instruction, but I did come away from my reading with greater confidence in my artistic interests, if you will. In the course of one particular exercise in the book, I realized something about myself: my deepest and most secret desire is to be on the stage!

Not sure what I was doing here – pretending to be Mickey The Director’s Muse or something.

WHAT? It all makes sense now. All the fireplace singing and dancing that I used to do as a little girl! THAT’S ME! What happened? Where did that girl go? The Artist’s Way told me to unleash my inner child artist. And I guess that’s what I’ve done, unconsciously.

I think I have a tendency to shoot myself in the foot before I even get started. I have these whimsical visions, but then I hear those voices in my head and ultimately choose to play it safe. But maybe I’m not as bad/foolish/unworthy/etc. as I think I am? I guess that also partly motivated my decision to finally buy the domain. A domain, in a way, is taking ownership of this blog. It’s like saying, “I’m not going to give up on you. You are mine. You are a part of me. You deserve to exist. You deserve to flourish.”

[End Scene]