If you see something beautiful 

Often + out of the blue, I say really intense things to people. Strangers and loved ones alike. And it’s linked to two ideas/values that I hold.

I once came across this quote: “If you see something beautiful in someone, say it.” 

The second: “Cease the day,” “Live everyday like it’s your last,” and any number of sayings and verses that encourage us to value our moments as if they were our last. 

Most of the deaths I’ve seen in my life, people have qualified as ‘gone before their time.’ Unexpected health crisis, suicides, even murder. Combined with this third thing, fate, which I think we all wonder about… 

When I meet someone, I do feel like, I really have no idea if we will meet again. And I ask myself each time, are you okay with the fact that you are going to come across really weird and really intense when you say this thing? 

When I tell that woman on an airplane who suddenly looked at my face – you are stunning. Or when I expressly state why I admire a certain quality in a friend. 

I ask myself, can I find the words to say what I mean properly? (If yes, then…) 

Am I going to bother this person / come across creepy? (If hopefully no, then…) 

Will it sound like I’m evangelizing? (If no, then…) 

Will I regret that if I never see this person again, if I die tomorrow, and this is my chance to say this thing that I feel so strongly in this moment… will I regret not saying it? (If yes, then…) the risk of me coming across weird and intense is worth it to me. 

It’s worth me putting that piece of my heart out there to mercilessly float around the ether, than for me to keep it stuffed and buried inside. (I already feel like an alien, I might as well be true to myself.) Because I have this life to live. I might as well say what’s beautiful. 

So that if I had a chance to tell you. That I did tell you. You’re beautiful. 

// sincerely yours weirdo 


The energy it takes to run a social media campaign

Something that wears on me more than it used to (or I’m allowing myself to notice it) is the effects of running a social media campaign. I limit how much I run these things now, just because I need the mindspace to focus and produce my work. 

I used to run social media campaigns very frequently with @fashionfightingfamine. It’s how, years ago and as a nonprofit, I was able to grow our audience organically to 10K, and how I created and sustained movements like #eidstyle (celebrating Muslim fashion on Eid around the world) which in its first year had 10K submissions internationally (over a period of just a few days). No advertising dollars. Just pure vision + passion + collaboration + hard work. 

And that’s the thing with these campaigns and with social media work in general. It takes hard work. The sheer amount of hours. Social media engagement is exactly that… being engaged i.e. attuned, present, thankful, responsive, on, on your feet, keeping/maintaining the pulse and pivoting as needed, seizing of the moment. It’s a hustle. Behind the glamour is a grind. It has its rewards/measurable success/value. 

It also has its effects. One of the ones I experience is the adrenal addiction of just being on and responsive. I have to step away and turn it off, detox, literally remove myself from the campaign/movement I created from my constant presence, energy, and work. (That’s literally what it is… one’s energy, emitted into the world, then maneuvered to multiple with the energy of others, while constantly applying ones own energy to grow it. A snowball effect of energy manifested in likes and reposts.) I literally see its impact in my jittery movements and obsessive checking/interacting with likes/notifications/comments/retweets. 

It’s antithetical to a sense of peace and privacy I usually strive for. Yet so useful for my work, and sets me apart / makes what I do more possible. It helps me share ideas + excitement + the actual work that’s being done. It requires me to push past the people who are busy or don’t care to reach the ones who do. It reminds me that people are out there, listening. 

And now, I disengage and go back to (other, isolated, quieter) work.

Don’t be thirsty 

You and I may jointly find it laughable that at some point in 2017, I scrawled on an index card a new hard and fast rule: don’t be thirsty. 

Like many of my life/career lessons, this one came during a phone date with one of my dear friends, writer/director/producer/Miyazaki fan Jo-Dean (@jodeanroark), as she recalled the feeling we get when we are at an event and feel simultaneously obligated and desirous of meeting/networking with certain people. And when I have met said person, they stare blankly at me, look over my head, try to escape, or say something incredibly condescending/sexist/racist etc. 

I’ve learned two things:

  1. Show up anyway! to the rooms I want to be in, claim the rooms as equally my own because this is my industry/career/place of work and I belong, and
  2. Meet everyone, treat everyone well, know that I won’t and don’t have to like everyone or work with everyone, politely and swiftly and me-ly meet those people who will stare at me blankly, and know inside that one day or probably never they’ll realize my value, and that’s totally fine! 

Because we all matter and I don’t need them to see that (as frustrating it is to not be taken seriously).

Be thirsty in chasing what I need to learn and grow, be thirsty in chasing and embracing and seizing and creating and living out my opportunities, but don’t be thirsty in needing anyone to see my value, because that creates an implied need within myself that I need them in some way, and I don’t. I need myself, to stand on my own feet, to value me for me, to honor my work with hard work and excellence, and to love and respect people around me and pay it forward beyond as much as I think I can. 
And for the people who stared over my head, petty Nida will one day be like, “Yeah bitch, I was here the whole time, you just didn’t have the vision to see me. But also jk bc having someone force their acquaintance on you is weird / there’s alot of creepy weird people out there / you’re probably a covert introvert who hates overly familiar strangers / you’re human and trying to comprehend my relevance, and its nice to know you now.” 

The Impact we want to have

I’ve been focusing on being mindful with my social media presence, and noticed I was feeling some feelings during yesterday’s scrolls, not unrelated to Forbes 30 Under 30 list being published. And not unrelated to me trying to understand my relationship goals for Instagram follower numbers.

In contrast to my new “look but with love” feels, yesterday, I was feeling… kind of crappy, hopeless, helpless, worried, comparativ-y. Continue reading The Impact we want to have

Look, but with love: A social media rule 

For years I’ve struggled with a toxic relationship with being online. A lovely friend and I recently both shared this realization that we can feel when our being online turns from good/healthy/beneficial to pure toxic. The ironic indicator is the moment we’ve scrolled over something and didn’t like it. A switch has happened in my mind at that point and I’ve gone from appreciating something someone has shared to judging/being critical/haterating/being jealous. 

So. I made this beautiful saying a social media rule for myself. Look, but with love. The moment I find myself scrolling and hating, either renew my intentions/sense of purpose, or simply sign off. No need to actively channel negative emotions through myself and into the world. I’ve found it to be a helpful rule. 

I did just spend 20 minutes keeping up with Kim Kardashian’s instagram (and didn’t like any of her photos because I’m not trying to leave a footprint), so I’m not saying I’ve become an instagram saint or something. But rethinking how I’m going to internalize photos / what kind of energy I want to generate because of them and toward them, and just allowing myself to exit when I can’t, has been a helpful thing. 

I’ll write about why I’ve been such a hater some other time, because it took me quite a bit of unpacking to figure out why I felt the way I did in the first place.