Mental Health Fridays: Blurring out the stigma

Mental Health Fridays: Blurring out the stigma

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Mental Health Fridays is a new feature I have created on this blog. The main aim is to share stories needing to be told at the same time, blurring out the stigma associated with mental illnesses. There are two things I am unashamedly passionate about: the first is writing while the second is mental health advocacy. There’s no greater Joy of mine than to be able to join these two passions together.

It’s been one year since I joined the blogosphere and I figure, what better time to start than now. If you’ve got a mental health story which needs to be told, I would love to hear it. Your submissions could be on:
1) personal mental health journeys
2) loved ones battling mental illnesses
3) losing someone to mental illness
4) an experience related to mental health
5) basically anything that could pass as a mental health category

The important thing here is, let’s get talking and blur out the stigma. But to do this, I need your help. Maya Angleou rightly said, “there is no greater agony tha bearing an untold story”. 

I am looking forward to hearing from you, learning from your stories and coming together to blur out the stigma. If you’ve got any questions, you can leave a comment on this post or send me an email.
                    Can’t wait to hear from you: mykahani@yahoo.com

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Endings and Beginnings…

Endings and Beginnings…

I think I’ve told this story before. When I first started this blog, I didn’t really know what to expect from it, hence the name of “Randoms by a random“. It slowly evolved into a poetry blog with the gradual addition of mental health advocacy through the series “Mental health Friday”. I always wondered how people wrote flash fictions, little did I think I would be one of those who wrote them as well, all thanks to Flash fiction for aspiring writers weekly challenge. This blog has been an adventure, filled with so many amazing people. I never would have thought I’d make the lifelong friends I made here.

With that being said, I feel it’s time for me to take a break. This was inevitable, seeing that I have been finding it hard to keep up with the blog this year. It’s not all bad though, I do have good news, but you’ll have to wait till the end to find out what it is.

I started this blog when I was in my 3rd year of medical school and I am happy to say I have finally gotten my practicing license now, Thank God. And now that I’m done with that stress, and while awaiting the next phase of my life, I’ve decided to try something different. 

Last month, I created an instagram account, where I will still be posting my poems (@ameena_kg) and for the time being, I wouldn’t be putting up any new posts on this blog. I will definitely come back, but I’ve just been finding it difficult to keep up this blog at the moment. 

Now, to the big news, I finally created a self hosted website, its called “all things Ameena”, I want to focus on that for now. I wouldn’t post there as often as I did here, as quality not quantity would be the key. It’s supposed to be a lighthearted blog, which chronicles everything Me, with a touch of humor. Do subscribe to that ( and you need not worry, I wouldn’t be blowing up your email with daily posts).

Thanks for joining me in this 4 year journey, again, this is not goodbye, this is simply a break I’m taking. I’d be back to this blog hopefully, with some interesting news. Until then, let’s connect through instagram (@ameena_kg) I’d still be posting poetry there and also, don’t forget to subscribe to the new website-  All Things ameena

Book review: From a sniper’s perspective

Book review: From a sniper’s perspective

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I know I have pretty much earned the label of “The queen of AWOL” and as much as I would like to say that I am back blogging full time, I can’t say that at this point in time. Every year comes with its curve ball and this year has dealt more than a couple sucker punches, but that is a blog post for another day. Today, I want to celebrate a poetry book I read last week, it’s titled “From a sniper’s perspective“.


Let’s start with the things I loved:
The foreword, This book has the most interesting foreword of any poetry book I’ve read so far. It contains a brief review of the entire collection in a few paragraphs, short enough to keep the reader craving more of the poems and long enough, to give the reader an idea of what to expect from the collection and the poet as a whole.

The poems except for a few were micro poems, but trust me, they aren’t the micro poems you are expecting. They are filled with metaphors, alliteration, imagery and other aspects of English grammar than one wouldn’t expect from an insta-image sized poem. It is a contemporary book of poetry for the modern poet- Short enough for the modern poet and complex enough for the contemporary reader

The collection begins with life as a Nigerian in poems like “Nigeria as a hundred Naifather note” and “transformed don blow“. Then moves on to other aspects. He talks about how society now is kind of like the “Bishop” in chess game, everyone just moves in and out and no one looks out for one another. This poem is called “persistence of vision“.

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He also talks deeply about love in this collection, which came as a surprise to me because from my brief interaction with the author, I didn’t think he was such a romantic, which his poems reveal him to be. Will post some of my favorites below:

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But of course, unless you are Harper lee and the book is “to kill a mockingbird”, no book is 100% for me. With that being said, A few of the poems in the book especially the prose got a bit complicated for me to grasp the entire picture. I also wish it had a content page, which would make it easier to access the poems I love and of course, it’s a short collection of poetry, so I hope there’s going to be a “from the sniper’s perspective 2.0” in the near future.

That being said, I would give the book a 4/5. It reminds me of Sylvia Plath meets Billy Collins because of it’s metaphor and wit filled poems. Don’t forget to stop by on the author’s instapage (@the_anonymous_cherif) and say hello. Also, He blogs at The anonymous Cherif blog

Writer’s Poem: Race

Writer’s Poem: Race

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Its been a long and nerve wrecking week for me. Two more days and I get the weekend to relax, take a deep breath and either catch-up or procrastinate on all the things I need to do. Until then, we have today, a day for me to share a poem I love and I think you’d like as well. Spoiler alert, today’s poem talks about race.

Harper Lee, the author of To Kill A Mockingbird, described the situation of a mixed race child well when she said, “The black people didn’t want them because they were white, and the white people didn’t what them because they had black blood”. This begs the question, where does this leave a mixed race child? The sad thing about this is that it is still happening today, decades after Harper Lee’s books.
The poem below introduced me to the poet, Toi Derricotte. Do take a minute and read the poem below, unhurriedly.

Passing by Toi Derricotte
A professor invites me to his “Black Lit” class; they’re
reading Larson’s Passing. One of the black
students says, “Sometimes light-skinned blacks
think they can fool other blacks,
but I can always tell,” looking
right through me.
After I tell them I am black,
I ask the class, “Was I passing
when I was just sitting here,
before I told you?” A white woman
shakes her head desperately, as if
I had deliberately deceived her.
She keeps examining my face,
then turning away
as if she hopes I’ll disappear. Why presume
“passing” is based on what I leave out
and not what she fills in?
In one scene in the book, in a restaurant,
she’s “passing,”
though no one checked her at the door—
“Hey, you black?”
My father, who looked white,
told me this story: every year
when he’d go to get his driver’s license,
the man at the window filling
out the form would ask,
“White or black?” pencil poised, without looking up.
My father wouldn’t pass, but he might
use silence to trap a devil.
When he didn’t speak, the man
would look up at my father’s face.
“What did he write?”
my father quizzed me.

Walking away…

Walking away…

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And he said, “I am fond of you”, just that.
Not “I love you”, or “I like you”, He just felt a fondness for me. Something to say he enjoyed being in my company but, He wouldn’t take it any further.
For a while, it was enough for me. I couldn’t get the entire cake, so I settled for that little slice, enough to leave a sweet taste in my mouth for a while.

But as all things come crashing down eventually, my fantasy did. I realized when you love someone, “fondness” just couldn’t cut it. There’s a little bitterness that begins to form in the throat when you tell someone “I love you”, and they smile and utter, “I’m fond of you too”.

The bitterness spread in my mouth and I knew I had to make a choice. It was either him or me. If I choose him, I lose myself. So before my heart could convince me to do otherwise, I ran. Not literally. In the span of a few moments, I deleted his contacts, his pictures, his physicalities, leaving only his memories. His memories… Science had taught me a time will come when they will begin to fade too.

Sometimes, you have to love yourself enough to walk away from things and people who put a dent around your heart.

Writer’s poem: loneliness

Writer’s poem: loneliness

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It wasn’t my intention to post two Nikki Giovanni poems in a row, but what can I say, I saw the poem whilst scrolling through my poetry album and couldn’t wait till next week, I mean, who knows if we’ll see next week right? 

That being said, I have to agree with Nikki Giovanni when she said, this decade would be known for loneliness. I look around me and despite such a large number of people, billions of us on this earth, yet a staggering number of us are lonely. Not alone, but lonely. Below is the poem:

Cotton on a rainy day by Nikki Giovanni
Don’t look now
I’m fading away
Into the gray of my mornings
Or the blues of every night

Is it that my nails
keep breaking
Or maybe the corn
on my secind little piggy
Things keep popping out
on my face or of my life

It seems no matter how
I try I become more difficult
to hold
I am not an easy woman
to want
They have asked
the psychiatrists . . . psychologists . . .
politicians and social workers
What this decade will be
known for
There is no doubt . . . it is
loneliness.

Today’s question is from Ingrid. She asks, “What’s your secret to keeping the blog up all these years?”.

To be honest, I am surprised that I kept this blog up for all these years. It has a bit to do with the fact that I write the most, when I have a blog. I realized that when ever I take my blogging break (which lasts for months), I write very little. So being aware of that fact, helped to keep this blog going. Also, the response I’ve gotten from the community. Another thing, is the WordPress family in my niche. I have been blessed to have such an awesome community, filled with people who check up on me in my absence , people who welcome me with open arms upon my return and those who encourage me to never put the pen down. 

Writer’s Poem: Fear

Writer’s Poem: Fear

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Today’s poem talks about the murder of a harmless spider. I don’t know whats it with poets and the killing of insects. Charles Lamb also wrote a poem (thoughtless cruelty) which was about killing a fly. But I digress. In this poem, Nikki Giovanni briefly contemplates the logic behind her killing of a spider who did nothing to her, except that she was frightened of it. Is her fear a valid reason to cause harm to it.

A lot of people have used this poem to talk about the happenings of today, especially, the killings of black people by some white cops based on the irrational reason of fear. They feared the black person and they shot the black person. Ridiculous, I know, but it happens, sadly. Let me know what you think about the poem below.

Allowables by Nikki Giovanni

I killed a spider
Not a murderous brown recluse
Nor even a black widow
And if the truth were told this
Was only a small
Sort of papery spider
Who should have run
When I picked up the book
But she didn’t
And she scared me
And I smashed her

I don’t think
I’m allowed

To kill something

Because I am

Frightened

On to today’s question. Tam asks: What was the inspiration behind randoms by a random?

Haha I’ve actually answered this question before. But here goes again, there was zero inspiration behind this blog. Like, I don’t even know why I started the blog in the first place, but it most definitely was not supposed to be a poetry or a mental health blog, which it is now. I think I just wanted to try my hands in so many things, inspirational writes ups and other random things. I wanted to experiment, and hence its random name “Randoms by a random”. I really need to get a better name.

I hope that answers the question. Thank you Tam.

Without you-

Without you-

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I’ve always wondered
What it would feel like
If one day we awaken and
The sun refused to shine.
If the tree leaves stood ramrod
Without the rhythm of the winds.
If the birds remained in their niches,
And the sky stood empty.

What would it feel like
If all the coffee shops lacked coffee,
(Decaf does not count),
If papers wouldn’t take up poetry,
If silence was the new “pollution”.
And noise became (what’s noise?)

Then you left.
Although,
The coffee shops are still stocked
And of course the sun arose.
The tree leaves are dancing,
And the birds going to and fro.
Today.. I know how it feels.


Last month was my blogiversary, and I asked you all to ask any questions you want to be answered. For this month, I’d be posting my blog posts with an answer to a question, so keep an eye out for that.

Question 2 (Jodi) She asks “where does your inspiration for your writing comes from. It is often sad and deep and I worry it is about you.”

Most of the time, I get my inspiration from life. I am not an abstract person, so abstract art and still life art are not my forte. I cant look at an empty cup and easily gain inspiration from that. My inspiration comes from people. 

I am a very inquisitive person, I love to understand people, why they feel the way the do, why they react certain ways. And if i don’t have answers to that, I find that poetry gives me the freedom to create that. It helps me fill in the remaining pictures of a puzzle. And also, the amount tragedy and sadness floating around becomes too much for me to contain at times, and so writing becomes a way of unburdening.
I hope that answers the question.

My Truth (about depression)

My Truth (about depression)

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Depression
Is not just a phase
Like the girl who outgrows
Enacting plays with dolls,
Or pretending the mirror
Is her applauding audience.

Depression
Is not just sadness
It is screaming and anger
And irritability-
Being a short ended fuse.
It is rudeness and numbness
And night vigil,
To make it go away.

Depression’s antidote
Is not love.
It doesn’t magically evaporate
By the presence of someone
Whose world revolves around
You.
Love makes it better,
Love is no cure.

Depression is not glamorous.
It is pure hell,
It is a mean friend.

Last month was my blogiversary, and I asked you all to ask any questions you want to be answered. For this month, I’d be posting my blog posts with an answer to a question, so keep an eye out for that.
Question 1 (Colin and Ray). He asked: What was the most impactful event (what has influenced you the most) in your life to date?

I had to think a lot about this because there’s been quite a few events, but, I ended up choosing one. And this is because, this particular event was what started a spiral for me and that event is “leaving home and going to another country (Sudan) at the age of 15 to start university.
The main reason I chose this is because, I know now, that if everything that occurred with me whilst I was in Sudan, had happened back at home, the end results would have been completely different. So moving to Sudan at that particular age and time, made all the difference.
Thank you very much For the question Colin.

At the end (of the day)

At the end (of the day)

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I believe in coffee
And the effect of
witnessing the majestic
Welcome of the sun.

I believe in storms
And the rush to take cover
From Nature’s anger
Or blessing,
Depending on who you ask.

I believe that the past
Harbours many mistakes
But few regrets.

I believe that to love
Is to accept wholeheartedly
The good, the yucky,
The perfections, the flaws.

I believe that trust
should be freely given,
Suspicion earned,
And once broken,
Trust’s frayed edges can
Rarely be mended.

I believe in prayers,
And a God far superior
Than anything, anyone.

I believe in freedom,
Free will, free choice.

I believe
When the blinds are pulled,
The spotlight off,
I need to be able to look
In the mirror,
And vouch for the choices
I make everyday…
I hope I can.

Writer’s Poem: Aftermath of loss

Writer’s Poem: Aftermath of loss

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Writer’s poem Wednesday is back. The past few months I was away, I came across some great poems which were previously unfamiliar to me. I love striking a chord with new poetry. Today’s poem talks about a woman whose son resembles her deceased brother, both in mannerism and physically. Its a beautiful reflection of the aftermath of the death of a loved one. I hope you like it.

A drink of water by Jeffrey Harrison

When my nineteen-year-old son turns on the kitchen tap
and leans down over the sink and tilts his head sideways
to drink directly from the stream of cool water,
I think of my older brother, now almost ten years gone,
who used to do the same thing at that age;

and when he lifts his head back up and, satisfied,
wipes the water dripping from his cheek
with his shirtsleeve, it’s the same casual gesture
my brother used to make; and I don’t tell him
to use a glass, the way our father told my brother,

because I like remembering my brother
when he was young, decades before anything
went wrong, and I like the way my son
becomes a little more my brother for a moment
through this small habit born of a simple need,

which, natural and unprompted, ties them together
across the bounds of death, and across time …
as if the clear stream flowed between two worlds
and entered this one through the kitchen faucet,
my son and brother drinking the same water.