An individual with a fiery thirst for knowledge and a writer by trade, Nafeesa (@nafingtonpost) is a storyteller that finds joy in learning, personal growth and connecting people by conveying stories through an emotional lens (We've included a link to one of our favourite articles from her at the end of this post). With an interest in the luxe, hiking and and celebrating local and regional small businesses and culture, Nafeesa shows us that interests that seem disparate can very much co-exist, and in fact make your life so much richer.
It can be quite easy to get caught up in the day to day and stay in the comfort zone of the skills and knowledge we already have. You however, have been exploring the idea of learning recently. Would you share a little more about that with us?
I’m thinking about studying again, because the last time I felt truly charged was when I was studying for my English literature degree. I love being buried in books and I find it hard to do so now; after a whole day of writing words, sometimes, the last thing I want is to read them. But this has been a dream for so long that I know it’s time to chase it. My heart yearns it.
Prior to the pandemic, I felt like I’d lost myself. Style is so tied to one’s identity and I’ve been trying to reclaim that part of me. To ramp up knowledge as much as possible, I’ve been watching and reading fashion critiques, analysis, and street style videos from around the world. I’ve been experimenting with my wardrobe a lot, and also photographing myself, which is such a simple thing, but I’m proud of myself for these tiny leaps I’ve made. I am by no means a fashion person, but this new information helps me sharpen my eye and more consciously support small brands and independent designers. It also stops me from falling back to old and impulsive fast fashion shopping habits.
You’ve come to find that the familiar helps you to recharge, tell us a little more about your routine and how it helps ground you.
I realised lately that there's beauty in routine. On weekdays, when I’m not out and about at events, my days are pretty standard, and I love them that way.
Every day, I look forward to waking up and making my daily cup of coffee. For those precious few minutes while I froth my coffee, I collect and make sense of my thoughts, and plan my day ahead. Pouring my oat milk into the cup and watching it turn into this beautiful shade of golden brown gives me a strange satisfaction - this recipe is fool-proof, and it gives me comfort knowing that it will never fail.
After work, I lace up my trainers and head to the gym. I psych myself up by talking to myself, and doing a little dancey-dance with every completed set. I end the day by taking my time at the supermarket with my AirPods in. It’s so beautifully mundane but after all those years of exhaustedly flitting between work, events and a more active social life, it feels like a long hug.
You’ve also recently reconnected with hiking, what draws you to the outdoors?
Truth be told, I stopped thinking of myself as a nature person for many years. But these days, I crave being among the trees, and trekking through a jungle. It’s wild, and silent and sometimes deeply disconcerting. But that’s life too.
Uncertainty is something that weighs on many of us, what have you found to be useful when dealing with the unknown?
I’ve been dealing with a lot of uncertainty for the past few years, so I’ve learned to be friends with it. What helps me ride it out is dedicating time and effort to the things I love, and giving myself lots of alone time to journal, meditate (by meditate, I mean listening to a guided meditation and falling asleep) and focus on my manifestations for the future.
When things get tough, allow yourself time to be angry or sad about it but not too much. Let out your frustration in healthy ways, but don’t stew those thoughts. Redirect your attention to what you can control.
My mantra is “I don’t chase, I attract. What belongs to me will find me.” Do things and think thoughts that are aligned with your future goals. You’ll get there.
And finally, inspiration must be so important to you as a writer. What (or who) inspires you?
My late grandmother is my lifelong inspiration. She was a selfless woman who could not have an education, but had the kindest heart. She is at the crux of everything I work for.
Keep up with Nafeesa via her Instagram account as she takes us along on her style journey while simultaneously repping South East Asian culture. One of our favourite articles from her is an exploration of Malay cuisine in Singapore and why it deserves more visibility and respect. Read more here.