Quotes and Inspiration

AN ESSAY ON FATE

Fate is contradictory; either you’re told that you must decide your own, or someone will sigh, bat their eyelashes dramatically at you and say, “It was fate.” Ultimately, who is it that decides? Are we to accept that there is a semi-controllable force directing our lives? You could say it was fate that you ended up in the same elevator as the cute guy from work, but you could also argue that your inner drive pushed you to it. Which is it?   It’s both.  Fate is the collection of every decision you’ve ever made. What you’ve been told about choosing your destiny is essentially true. It’s controlled by your choices. These choices could be as simple as going right instead of left at a stop sign, or as momentous as quitting your job. The difference is that each one leads you to a new realm: a pl...

WHAT DID I LEARN ABOUT MYSELF IN 30 YEARS

If you look back over the past 10 years and you recap all your desires, lists, prayers, dreams on sheets of paper and whispered plans just for the heart to hear, what would they say about you? This week I met an old friend, she was my first manager in the financial services industry. I haven’t seen her in almost 7 years. She decided to move to Brussels, but we kept in touch. Meeting her, I realized how much I changed since I met her 10 years ago. That’s what I learned about life. Coincidentally, yesterday – I read again about an old article about Victoria Beckham. Vogue Magazine had challenged her to write a letter to the 18-year-old Victoria, telling her everything she wanted to know about life in general and about things going on. It’s a great read that touches your sou...

DROP YOUR BUCKET

We were driving through Mbita, the village I’m in this summer, on a particularly rainy day. Through the rain, the traffic, and the chaos of the market on main street, I locked eyes with a little girl who was carrying what looked like a bucket of grain. She immediately smiled an, “I’m gonna get you,” smile, dropped her bucket, and broke into a full-on sprint, faster than what I ever would’ve assumed possible from such a small, barefoot child – in a dress I might add. Not wanting to attract attention, I quickly spun my head to face forward. The vehicle sped up, we were headed out of town. I smiled softly and thought maybe next time, kid. My mind moved onto other things as quickly as the vehicle did. I was thinking about my survey questions when out of my peripheral vision a small figure appe...

BARRICADES

I wrote this piece after a long hiatus from writing. I don’t know about you, but my worst fear is losing my gift of writing. As if time could take away the gift I worked so hard to craft. I think many writers have this fear. The fear of losing their magic. Even more so, putting pen to paper and uncovering things deep down inside maybe they weren’t ready to release.  XX, Ashley – Founder of Harness Magazine. Come find me – @adrelli – @harnessmagazine   “BARRICADES” And I miss the pen and paper in ways you couldn’t imagine An ice has frozen over what once was thick and beating I’ve built barricades So tall I can’t even let myself in And I’ve avoided The ink For its truth would unthaw what I am not ready to face The unknown The breaking without m...

THE HALL OF SHAME

I was made to feel ashamed for being a girl when I was growing up. Torn between my Indian and British roots. I am today the lotus that blossomed from the misogynous muddy waters.  In cultures across the globe women are framed with shame in one way or another. Shame comes in many forms. Labelling, belittling, disrespecting, insulting, abusing or just holding negative attitudes. Women in the west are not impervious to be made to feel ashamed. For example, menstruation is still so stigmatised. In some Asian cultures (not mine), girls are celebrated and showered with gifts for being fertile. However, here women hide tampons and sanitary towels, dodging every eye in sight like a ninja. Breastfeeding is another taboo. Women are also criticised for aging or putting on weight. Letting that saggy s...

PROVE YOURSELF

“Prove yourself”: a very commonly heard phrase that maybe your friends would have told you; might be your mother; your teacher must’ve asked you to prove yourself by getting straight As; could be the society that must have told you to prove your worth to the sexist, patriarchal society. Most probably, you would have told that to yourself before going to bed with tearful eyes gleaming in the mirror– “I need to prove myself. I need to show them what I am made of!” with full determination. But what if I say today that you’ve been clueless all your life, that what actually is the ‘proof’ that everyone is asking you to show for proving yourself? Since I was a little girl I have constantly heard other people asking my parents twice if they do not have a son because girls cannot be their he...

RECIPES FOR SELF LOVE: ILLUSTRATIONS

The inspiration for the illustrations comes from the desire to disrupt mainstream media and everyday social injustice. There are so many lies that we as a society are led to believe, especially regarding gender. Over the past few years I’ve learned so much about social justice and wanted unmask and interrogate some of these untruths. It’s fun to draw and good practice to try identify one thing each day that might be a lightbulb moment for someone else. The zine “Recipes for Self Love” is made up of contributions from other women on the topic of practicing self love. Women submit a written piece or visual representation of how they manage to practice self love in a world that wants them to hate themselves. I pair artists with the written pieces and put the book together to print...

FIVE QUESTIONS WOMEN SHOULD STOP ASKING

Women are amazing. Truly, we are incredible creatures and we accomplish some truly amazing things. This is why I’m so tired of getting asked the following questions – they are limiting, superficial and frankly if we are striving for equality we don’t have the f*cking time. Here are five questions I wish women would stop asking each other.   Number One: “Is that your real hair color?”  I’ll never forget when a woman, who I knew didn’t like me, asked me this in front of 20+ of my co-workers. In the immediate moment I went bright red, partly out of embarrassment, but mostly from pure rage. So it had been a few extra weeks since I saw Lexi, my stylist – lady get off my back. It’s petty and childish. Also is it rarely ever someone’s natural color? Let’s consider this as taboo a...

HOMEBODY

This project was inspired by “home.” We wanted to embody high fashion with a homey / even a neighborhood type of feel. We shot various looks with the lovely Evie Williams with Click – Re:Quest Models NYC. One of my favorite looks was Evie modeling her Onepiece raincoat. It was just such a staple piece for this shoot. I always try to capture the realness / rawness of the project + of the person. Those candid + natural moments are the best of moments! Author: Maria Doka Author Email: mariadokaphoto@gmail.com Link to social media or website: http://www.mariadoka.com, instagram.com/mariadanielledoka Wardrobe Credits: Zara Blouse + Denim Calvin Klein Bralette Onepiece Raincoat, Zara Top, Urban Outfitter B...

SUFFER OR PURGE

Would you rather suffer or purge your life of what no longer serves you? Boom. Mic drop. Can you imagine what it would be like to remove or eradicate anything that does not make you feel good and feed your soul? This sounds like an obvious statement but do our actions reflect this, usually not. There are many moments in our life in which we decide to stay and subject ourselves to an environment that drains us of energy. Why? There is always a great excuse why.  Consider if you’ve said or thought the following: I am so lost in what to do with my life. I have to have this job or else I’m a failure. It used to be so good. If I wait, he/she will treat me like they used to when we first started dating. I know they’re addicted but we’ve been friends since I was little. I have to be there for him...

FOUR OFF-HANDED COMMENTS THAT BROUGHT ME HERE

Sometimes casual statements summarize unknown anxieties so perfectly that they echo in our hearts and horrify us for months or years. The words puncture a place we didn’t know was soft. They eventually become inspiration for change. These are some of my favorites. “Don’t forget to get all the bits.” – Duncan Duffy, my boss in a dilapidated British estate. Duffy was so enthusiastic as he rubbed the nozzle of a small vacuum over a lollypop stick on the carpet. He thought I should be enthusiastic too. This was my life after all. At 18, I went out into the world to make my own way. I got a UK visa and flew to London. I figured fate would help me. My intentions were so pure. I ended up in the north of England. It was always misting heavily. It was cold. I worked as a general assistant in ...

WE ARE THE SAME

You look down on me Not because I’m shorter than you You deem yourself purer Not because my skin is darker You see me ugly Because my beauty is different than yours You consider me stupid Because my mother tongue is different to yours You believe me peculiar Because my habits are not like yours   But look inside See me as God does And you’ll see we have more in common than you summon No? Ok… Let’s leave it in God’s hands then To decide which of us is a better human being Author: Juliet Rivor Email: juli33t33@hotmail.com Author Bio: Poet and aspiring author. Mother, nature lover, reader, writer, vocal of feelings and thoughts Link to social media or website: https://julietrivor.com  

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