Over the Bulgarian rooftops
Groovy Baby tees are now available to buy!
Photography: Adelina Dutskinova
Model: Vayana Danailova
'Mizzal?' my year 9 biology teacher struggles, scrunching her eyes at the register. 'Is that even a name?'
'Just call me Marcel, like the French name' I quickly interject (almost second nature) saving both my teacher and I the humiliation of 26 wide-eyed students giggling at the occurrence that by the age of 15 had become a daily routine.
See, growing up I was surrounded by western literature - authors like Austen, Shakespeare, Elliot and Rowling were constant companions in my bookshelf, therefore growing up all I saw were names worlds different from my own. I felt an alienation with my name because names like mine didn't exist. I never saw versions of myself represented in both literature and media alike, therefore, for many years I felt an intense hatred to the name my mother gave me, making excuses for the oddness of my name whenever anyone raised their eyebrows at the sound of it. But all this changed when I started to learn my mother tongue, when I started to venture into the literature of my own language. I started to see my very own name printed in the poems of Rumi, recited the verses of the Qur’an and sung in the songs of Sarban. And that's when the process of decolonising my mind began. It took 18 years for me to divorce myself from this internalised desire for my name to be perceived as beautiful to the western ear, because that's the thing about the narrative of beauty - it is ingrained in us that if it doesn't fit the small box of 'western standards,' then it is foreign and odd. That it is to be ashamed of. And it is ironic how that transgresses the very boundless concept of beauty.
I come from a long line of powerful brown women who walked that extra mile, so I can walk that extra less. I come from a long line of Spogmais', Zulaykhas', Rukhshanas', and Samarguls, - names more complicated and difficult than mine could ever be; and not once did they cower before the western tongue. Not once did they allow their names to be placed inferior to names like Charlotte, Olivia, and Lily. I intend to honour their resilience, their strength and their courage by, too, taking a stand.
To take my name, and to reduce it to a letter or a single sound which feels comfortable in the confines of your tongue, is to take ownership of something that is not only fundamental to the fabrics of my identity, but also sacred to my religion, my culture and my language. To lazily brush aside my name is to tell me that learning it is not worth your time - and it is this kind of colonial white privilege which has forced generations of people like me to nod their heads and silently accept their names being butchered. To ease and to please.
My mother named me Mursal, and it was inspired by a plethora of phenomenal women. A classmate from my mother’s childhood growing up whose kindness empowered and emboldened my mother and countless other girls every day to go to school at a time where you would be killed by the Taliban for receiving an education as a female, to Parisa Morsal, an afghan feminist whose music defied the boundaries of what a 'good' afghan woman was supposed to look like. My name is a constant reminder of the legacy of incredible women I descend from. And by choosing to learn it properly, you too are choosing to honour that legacy; choosing to honour their stories and their struggles. And one by one, we start to unravel tightly woven ideals of beauty that have dominated our minds for the last 600 years. We start to move towards a world where all kinds of beauty is beautiful, where all kinds of names are celebrated and cherished, even if they are different from our own.
now take a step back, and let it sink in how so very beautiful that would be.
The world is lazy, but you and me we are just crazy.
Summer is here and the pink skies are no longer a rarity. I have only just woken up from a long and meaningless winter nightmare to find out that the garden of my youth has blossomed. Inspiration is a peculiar and powerful thing that can move mountains when it hits you. I found my muse again, or maybe my muse found me- the woman around me with their creativity, strength, beauty, determination and infinite female force!
Girls, this is for you! Boys, don't be shy and come celebrate with us!
T-shirts now available on my shop.
Hello there and welcome to my garden!
Here it is my first video that includes real life people and no food!
Big thanks to my glamorous actresses Emma Deveraux, Eadie McCarthy and Sara Roa.
Hey there, lovely people! Welcome to my garden :>
This year is definitely a year of changes, self reflection and discovery already. I have been all about improving my creative skills and expanding as a person and a content creator. One of the things I really want to put more time into is making videos. But where do you begin when you don't know how to film and certainly don't know how to use Final Cut Pro or any other editing program? It feels like being a child again and learning to read for the first time ...well...I began in the kitchen.
So here is my first video, a whole minute long. Acai, banana and strawberries, because spring is coming, so is the sun.
Hey everyone! Officially the first post on this website.
I screen printed a few t-shirts for the cat lovers who don't actually live with any cats, and for the dog lovers, who don't wanna live with any cats. It was great doing this photoshoot and it all happened on Christmas morning (crazy right!). I put together the outfit, jewellery, make up and hair in 10 minutes, and James, Tsvet and myself hoped on the roof to take some shots. All that blessed with 15 minutes of sunshine and Christmas breeze! Not sure what vibes are you getting from it, but we were going for quirky-sexy-cute-alien-cat-rock'n'roll-chick
You can find the t-shirts on my online store in white and light grey.
Styled and shot by: me
Model: Tsvetelina Samohodova