Assalam Aleykum Warahmatullahy Wabarakatuh
When I first came across the concept of blogging which was around 2012, I was simply amazed. I had always loved writing and the fact that anyone in the world could create content and place it out there to be received by a multitude of people was simply fascinating to me. I immediately knew that I wanted to have my own blog. However I had no idea how I would create one, what kind of content I would be posting or even where I would access wi-fi from, but I knew with all certainty that I wanted to have a blog.
When I moved to Nairobi for university in 2013, I moved in with my aunt who had access to wi- fi, hence giving me the opportunity to create the blog I had always desired. In case you didn’t know, which I presume you don’t, I had another blog prior to this one. It was more so a test run, rather than an actual blog. I rarely posted on there because I never really liked the content I was putting forth. I did not like the aesthetics of the blog and frequently questioned why I even created the blog in the first place. However, i still had that burning desire to have a blog; to create and share my content with the world. I felt that I had so many things I wanted to voice that no one was talking about. And so I believed that having a blog would not only be a way for me to get creative, but to meet like minded people from all over the world.
It was clear that I was not going to give up on blogging. I therefore deleted that blog and started NNF. I had learnt so much about blogging already, but I had not learned enough. As most of the people who have been avid readers of my blog know, this blog has been almost always under construction. My blog name has changed a couple of times, the aesthetics of my blog have changed a number of times and the content on my blog has changed drastically; in my opinion, all for the better.
Initially, I had wanted to angle my posts focusing on life as a Muslim girl in Kenya; for the simple reason that I felt there was so much in the Muslim community that people were not talking about. Things like depression, suicidal thoughts, drugs, boys, youth…I wanted people to talk about issues such as these that appealed to young Muslims like myself; and were relevant in today’s day and age. However no one was shedding light on such issues other than the regular, ‘don’t do this, don’t do that- that’s haraam (forbidden), and you’ll go to hell if you do that’ type of talk. I felt betrayed and saw society as a hypocritical one, because most people were constantly pointing fingers at the decadence of the Muslim youth and how we left our Islamic ways and were continuously derailing in our morals. Yet, it was members of this same society that had raised us. But somehow, we as the youth in general were the only ones to blame. I was hurt because I for one did not want to be a ‘bad Muslim’ I wanted to be good. However people were busy pointing fingers and no one was really working to help improve the situation. I was done and I wanted people to hear my voice.
However, I was 18 and inexperienced. I needed help and direction on how to go about telling my stories. As I scouted the internet for blogs that tackled issues in line with what I was thinking of, I realized that there were close to none. Most Muslim bloggers weren’t doing the honest, heart to heart blog posts that I was particularly interested in but rather more of fashion, beauty and ‘how- to’ blogs were what existed; of which I have nothing against. But that was not what I wanted to focus on. And so I panicked, I kept on asking myself, if no one else is doing such posts, who am I to start now? Then I thought, what would the community even think about such posts? Would they accept where I was coming from or would I end up being shunned?
I have always loved and will always love my Islamic faith. The last thing I would want to do is to portray it in a negative light or have my words commit any injustice towards it. However, there are things that I felt needed to be said. But I panicked and started doing what everyone else was doing even though it felt a tad bit fake. But hey, most people were doing beauty and fashion posts so why not do the same? I wanted my blog to be popular too. I wanted to have a bunch of comments in the comment section and I wanted to have people follow me on my social media. Because what is the point of having a blog anyway if no one reads it?
So there I was, doing things to please others and not myself. I am a firm believer in the notion that as an artist doing any form of art, you have to absolutely love the content you create and put out. You have to produce content that when you personally read, watch or listen to, it invokes something magical in you; something that makes you feel that you have fully delivered. That you have not sold yourself short or held anything back. That the content you have created is the exact type of content you want to see in this world. That does not mean that you cannot create content at the request of others, but rather even though you are creating content to make someone else happy, it is still something that you are ultimately proud of and can hold your head high and claim it.
Until quite recently, I was still selling myself short. When I learnt how to honestly communicate through my words, I realized that it’s ok to be open and allow people to see what you really have to offer. It was not anymore about what people would say or how they would react to my words, but it was more of; this is what I have to offer. It is sincere and real and I really hope you like it, but if you do not, that’s fine too. It’s not about pleasing or competing anymore but about being the best I can be.
This is not to say that everything I had been doing prior to my ‘blooming’ was a waste of time; not at all. I think it was a crucial and pivotal part of the journey that allowed me to get to where I am now. It was in that period that I discovered that my world was actually broader than I thought it initially was. It dawned on me that I enjoyed doing the occasional fashion and beauty posts. However, I also wanted to talk about important issues; I wanted to talk about history, culture, politics, religion and a myriad of other interesting topics. I noticed that not only had I learnt to be open and tell the stories that I wanted to at the onset of my blogging chapter, but my scope of life had completely expanded. I was not afraid to explore or grow out of my comfort zone.
About two days ago, I received a message on Facebook from Muslimah bloggers asking me to write a brief description about my blog. Surprisingly, it turned out to be much more difficult than I had anticipated because I found myself trying to label my blog. I definitely know that I am not a fashion blogger but I still love to talk about fashion when I feel inspired to do so. I also know that I am not a beauty guru but I love the occasional beauty posts. Am I a lifestyle blogger? Maybe, I don’t know.
And that is the main reason why I still have not written that brief description for Muslimah bloggers, because I simply don’t know what kind of blog this is. All I know is that I love to blog. I love to write. I love to create and I love sharing my creations with anyone who is interested. All I Know is that this blog is a place for me to explore and make mistakes, have a voice and create. It’s a place for me to let my creativity run wild. And that is really all I could ask for from this blog. That feeling that lets me know that the content I have put forth, is that which I am proud of and that which I know not only inspires me, but inspires you too. Because what do we live for if not inspiration?