on guardians of the galaxy vol. 2 (a movie review of sorts)

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Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol 2, director James Gunn (2017)

When the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie came out, I did not know much about it. I walked into the theater only knowing a little bit about a few of the characters.

When I left the theater, I was in love.

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In the age of Avengers, Batman, and Superman fatigue, this movie was a sight for sore and bored eyes.

I loved the music, the humor, the new characters, and I loved the deep love that Starlord had for his mother. This movie felt like something from my dreams.

Volume 2, had that same magic and then some.

For as long as I can remember, I never like something unless it has a tinge of sadness to it. In my experience, the most authentic things, no matter how outlandish or amazing they might be, must have a little bit of sadness to them.

Why? 

The best things in life always have a tinge of sadness, because life is difficult and the moments in which we find joy, we find sadness because those moments are often rare. (I know, what a groundbreaking statement and a run-on!)

In Vol. 2, we felt that universal feeling, that feeling we often ignore because of how unending and overwhelming it is.

This movie embraced the sadness and the pain. It did something that the other Marvel movies tried to do and failed to deliver.

Loss, will always be a part of our lives. When we are born we are meant to decay, whether it be slowly or all at once, time spares no one.

Often times it is easy to overlook decay because it is such a common occurrence for us. And every day in the world at large we see that decay and become immune to it.

In Vol. 2, that decay is not something to just move the plot forward. It is an harsh loss that never truly left our hero. And in this movie, Quill’s wounds are opened again.

And for the sake of not spoiling anything, some other wounds are reopened as well. 

Mind you, the sadness is not the only thing I loved about the movie. I’m not a masochist, I promise. 

It was an interesting component that was utilized in such a beautiful and profound way that it left me floored (and crying for the last thirty minutes of the movie).

All in all, go watch the movie!

It’s a movie that combines so many gorgeous elements and even offers a sense of realism, in a movie about a talking raccoon.

If you love beautiful cinematography, music from the 80s, and insanely funny (but not cheesy) dialogue, you won’t be disappointed.

If you don’t love those things, that’s okay. Let me try to convince you with one last thing…

BABY GROOT!

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Teaser James Gunn (screen grab) CR: Marvel

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the freshman thirty & me

Do you guys want to know something fun about me? No? Well I’ll tell you anyway in the spirit of unbridled self disclosure!

I use to be skinny! Like, super duper skinny. I was so small people, that people use to ask me if I had an eating disorder, which, I sort of did but I digress. I had issues with food growing up, I ate when I had to but I didn’t crave interesting food experiences. Of course, I grew up eating a very diverse diet thanks to my amazing Pakistani mother who could cook the most amazing three course meal in an hour. I ate rice and lentils and curries and naan and lots of Pakistani cuisine. I rarely ate out when I was a kid because my mom HATED American food. She thought it was under seasoned (true) and overcooked (also true). So despite being from a household where I grew up with amazing food presented to me every day I stuck to the basics, my parents chalked it up to me being a picky eater and that was not an incorrect assumption. I didn’t love food or have the healthiest relationship, I just ate when I had to and that was that.

I am going somewhere with this, I promise. 

It wasn’t until I got to college that I discovered food and how much I loved it! I discovered Columbian food, Mexican food, Lebanese food and fell in love with the nuanced flavors and spices foreign to my unexperienced tongue. And I ate, and I ate so much and I gained weight. I was not active in college like I was when I was younger, and my metabolism also had slowed down considerably due to alcohol and age and some other factors I’m not at liberty to discuss.

And thus we reach my current conundrum.

I did not gain the freshman fifteen, I gained the freshman thirty.

I loved being considered the skinny, light skin girl because I come from a culture where being those two things is considered highly desirable. You were beautiful, even if you had a scrunched up face and beady eyes, as long as the skin that face was on was light and skinny you were in the clear. It has taken years for me to untangle myself from that mode of thinking and it still isn’t gone. I sometimes have a crisis whenever my skin begins to tan in the summer.

The colorism in Pakistani culture is a long post for another day. So I’ll digress.

I am the biggest I have ever been in my whole life and sometimes I cry because of it. I follow along with the body positive movement, I look at the beautiful women and men who have embraced their forms and for a moment forget my woes and then I go to get dressed for school or work and remember that half of my closet doesn’t fit me anymore because I have gained so much weight.

How do you find positivity in that? 

Every time I go out with my friends I am reminded of how large my form is, I stand at a solid 5’8 and most of my friends stand at 5’4 or below. I have never been graceful in my movement, I have always been clumsy but now those feelings of ungracefulness are heightened, I feel like a large oaf clambering through small spaces, every movement a thud and echo. I duck out of photos, I decline invitations to go out as to avoid the closet debacle.

None of this sounds healthy, because it isn’t.

I went out with my friends last Thursday and was reminded of this feeling. Isn’t it awful how we determine how attractive we are in comparison to how the others around us look?

I live in a college town forty minutes north of Dallas. College, where they tell you everything afterwards is downhill from there. And in the moment I felt that, I had reached my apex (in terms of attractiveness) my sophomore year of college and everything was downhill from there. I was a senior with a large thighs, a double chin and oversized breasts.

In that moment I felt that. I felt unattractive and invisible. I felt like my face was cased in muck and my fat brown skin was leaking over my jeans and to the space beside it.

I stared at my drink more often than not and thought about my days where I had a pixie cut and was as light as a feather. I imagined being that girl again, being skinny and being the envy of those around me.

I vocalized my pain to my friends on the car ride home and the reassured me that my body type was what was considered beautiful for the longest time.

Of course that sparked anger in me. I felt talked down to, I felt like I was being told to shut up, by beautiful thin women and in a way I was. Was that their fault? No, not at all. They were trying to comfort me. It was my fault and the culture I grew up in.

I know right, what a revolutionary I am! Blaming society for my issues with self image and weight. Where is my fucking Nobel Peace Prize?

None of my conclusions are new and nothing I tell you here will bring you any comfort. Unless it does which makes me feel a lot better about pouring out my feelings.

Do you want to know something else about me? This journey, trying to lose weight will not make me feel better about myself at the end of the day. Deep down I know that. It will help a little but this anxiety and anguish about the way I look will not leave, no that is another battle entirely.

I hope to win this battle one day, or at least sign a cease-fire.

on daydreams (a movie review of sorts)

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La La Land, director Damien Chazelle (2016)

I watched La La Land a few weeks ago and again last Saturday and I have not been able to get it out of my head.

The gorgeous music, Emma Stone’s to die for wardrobe and the recklessness involved with falling for a moody musician.

Although the story has been told before, in many different ways that is not what drew me to this film.

As a kid, I worshiped the movies of Fred Astaire and Audrey Hepburn and have harbored a lifelong crush on Gregory Peck which has yet to die out.

I loved the one liners, the leading men with their husky voices and attitude and the plots that only someone who spent all the day dreaming about would come up with.

Of course, real life is more complicated and not as simple as that, thank God.

But, I am not here to talk about my love for old movies, I am here to talk about day dreaming and why La La Land is a movie for daydreamers.

As a certified neurotic all I do is daydream and fantasize.

Some of my choice favorites and recurring ones being: the perfectly executed one liners, the dance sequences and the music playing as I walk, choreographed dance numbers and interviews with Oprah, the floating in a cloud, the waltzing through the stars and going to the opera.

I dream and dream and dream.

This isn’t to say that I have had a rough life, it is to say that I have always had an overactive imagination.

It was beautiful to see this story told so wonderfully, and an important part of this movie that I loved so much was the ending. The heart wrenching ending where the beautiful girl does not get the beautiful boy and they both move on with their lives.

And I loved to see the whole fantasy of wondering what could have been! A life in Paris, a child, a night out away from said child.

In the end, there is not a story book reconciliation, and the heroine does not drive off in a Vespa with the boy of her dreams.

As I often say to myself, life is not Amélie, Rubab. Or my favorite line from the movie which I often repeat to myself as well, “It’s called a reality check. The last thing Amélie (or Rubab) wants.”

But in this movie, there was none of that but still a happy ending for the daydreamers.

In short, I cried an embarrassing amount and I implore you to look past the conversation around this movie and simply enjoy it for what it is, an escapist movie with good music and gorgeous cinematography.

on exploring home

I am currently nestled away  in a beautiful coffee shop on Routh St. It is 40 degrees out and I am dressed for the occasion. (Crooked Tree Coffeehouse, for those who are wondering.)

Granted, I do look a little out of place, as I am the only person in this coffee shop not decked out in TCU or SMU gear.

Aside from that, it is a beautiful morning. The sun is extra bright and the air bites at my nose and cheeks but I don’t mind.

It is one of those early Saturday morning which chills your bones and makes you happy to be alive.

If there is one thing you should know about me, it’s that I am a city girl. I love the hustle and bustle of the city, I love the unique faces and the spontaneity that comes with city life. Of course, I do love the warm country air but nothing puts a spring in my step like exploring a big city whether it be Dallas or Houston. (Although I’m not a big fan of the latter.)

I love Dallas, I’ve lived here since I was four years old. I first lived near Preston St and then moved to sleepy Irving (ten minutes north of Dallas, depending on what roads you take). Another thing about me is I am a devoted North Texan, the thought of living anywhere other than North Texas gives me anxiety, but alas we have to leave our comfort zones eventually, right?

So today, I will be exploring my city and taking all the pictures I can, before I have to head back to quiet little Denton.

I’ve attached some of the pictures I took after a long morning of exploring, these photos were just taken on my little ol’ iPhone 6s, so they’re not the nicest but this situation will soon be remedied.

Enjoy!

 

on uncertainty

It’s a cool morning in my sleepy college town. The wind is gentle and the air smells sweet. Down the street, a symphony of five chihuahuas barking at every car that drives by is reaching its crescendo, as the owner has finally come home from morning errands.

It’s those crucial days before the cold air really sets in where the weather is warm in the afternoon and freezing in the morning. I like to think of this as fall, but in we only have two seasons in Texas, summer and summer lite.

In a little over a year I am going to graduate college, the arduous task finally over. And I will join the league of educated 20 somethings who have no idea what the next step is.

Of course, me, Rubab Raza, anxiety personified is worried about this step.

And so I ponder, what is next?

God I wish I could tell you.

I am reminded of the passage from Sylvia Plath’s book “The Bell Jar.” In the passage the author discusses the choices she wants to make and how unbelievably hard it is to just chose one.

Below is an excerpt of my favorite quote from the book. (I recommend clicking the link and reading the beautifully illustrated comic.) 

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Illustration by Zen Pencils

Lately, it’s been hard to decide which way I should be going, what steps I need to be taking.

Do I want to stay in my beloved Dallas or should I move to a different state, or another country?

There’s so many figs on the tree, and I cannot chose for fear of missing out on something else. It is maddening.

I am certainly blessed to live a life where I get these choices, where I can pick whatever path I want to go down and am not limited to stereotypical choices.

I have options, and with those options comes uncertainty.

 

This Is…

I’m not gonna lie, this is my umpteenth attempt at making a blog. Whenever I begin one of my attempts at these it’s usually because I’ve been inspired by other more refined writers than myself. But that’s not important.

A few months ago I officially began calling myself a writer. For as long as I can remember I’ve written, I’ve written on every scrap of paper I have come cross. I remember writing songs and poems from a young age. I also have a cringe worthy memory of reading a poem aloud in middle school.

I’m not the best grammatically, and I’m not the most punctual when it comes to posting regularly. Consistency is not our friend here, and will probably never be.

I received some brilliant advice a while ago where the person said whenever you write, “fall the fuck apart.”

So, this is me… falling the fuck apart.

In bits and pieces of course.