All the Feels; All the Time


Look at those overflowing emotions. What does one do with a heart like that?

Lubnah AbdulHalim

~The Striving Soul

I’ve loved words for as long as I can remember. I’ve dived in libraries, drowned myself in piles and piles highlighting every bit that speaks to me. Turned to poetry and mastered every line that touched me. Listened to great speeches and jotted down the parts that moved me. That’s what happens when you’re a hopelessly inept person struggling vehemently to properly express yourself. When you know what to say but do not know how to.

It’s not often a book captures the entirety of the human condition; warts and all. On survival. Mental health. How it can get from 0-100 real quick. On life and the meaning of it all. Trying to see sense in a world that doesn’t make any and enjoying that confusion. On loneliness and how it’s not similar to being alone. The struggles with the feeling of ever being enough and whether your work will amount to something. Whether you’ll amount to anything. But more than anything, a book about faith, silver linings and that no matter what… “we got this.” Ladies and gentlemen, as rare as they occur; a gem; The Striving Soul.

The Striving Soul is a book by the extremely hardworking, extremely gifted Lubnah AbdulHalim A.K.A Strokes of my Pen. I promise, her skill with the quill is undeniable. The book is a thought-provoking emotional roller-coaster providing us glimpses into the soul of a highly sensitive anxious over-thinker (Her own words). It’s real, it’s raw and it’s beautiful. If you think yourself hard as ice, this book will melt you this time. I could keep on marching these chorus lines of clichés but it wouldn’t actually grasp even the tiniest bit on how emotion-packed and impactful this book is. It’s a different experience all on its own. And will leave you wondering, how much depth can one tiny person have?

And when I say an emotional roller-coaster, I actually mean that. The beginning bits are mostly soul-punching, finding you in the pits of despair hovered by dark stormy clouds. And it journeys you through the crawl to the top at which you get to see your life with fresh eyes. With optimism. Her idealism kind of rubs on you as she sucks you into her world where;

…humanity is divine and love is eternal. Where mountains of pain erupt yet the breeze of solace interrupts. Where understanding is a rule and reading between the lines is an art. Ask me and I’ll introduce you to my world; where poverty is a blessing compared to the cruelty around. Where laughter and smiling heal a broken heart. Where souls pray from dawn to dusk and find piece in the smallest things. Ask me and I will introduce you to my world; where darkness and light never meet. Where you and I will never be apart.

What a delightful world to be in?

The main take-away for me was “choose you.” No matter what. And that being you is the secret sauce  to creating magic in this world. So:

Let us do what is no longer ordinary. Let us be ourselves.

For more information on Lubnah and the book, I’ll leave the links below:





Anxiety, books, deep, identity, Striving Soul

Hassan Kassim

Hassan Kassim is a Mombasa-based Creative non-fiction writer, recently longlisted for the Toyin Falola prize, blogger and translator of Kiswahili work. A beneficiary of the Penpen program by African Writers Development Trust(AWDT) commissioned by Culture at Work Africa and the European Union(E.U), and holds his Bachelor’s degree in Maritime Management. Hassan writes about the ill-documented Communities of Coastal Kenya. His work has appeared in Writers Space Africa; his 2 non-fiction stories published in the anthology 'Twaweza,' a collaborative effort of 12 African writers on the African identity and set to appear in the forthcoming anthology for the Toyin Falola prize.

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Hassan Kassim is a Kenyan-based Creative non-fiction writer, blogger and translator of Kiswahili works with over 2 years of experience. A beneficiary of the Penpen program by African Writers Development Trust(AWDT) commissioned by Culture at Work Africa, and holds his Bachelor’s degree in Maritime Management.


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