STORIES OF COMMUNITY RESILIENCE

Episode Description

Musician, creative producer and film-enthusiast Sereen Omran also known as Sereen Sounds amassed a great following online for her talented musician skills with guitar and production work. On this episode, Sereen speaks with Aamon about navigating creative expression and the sometimes unpleasant interactions that can occur in online spaces,as well as the positive experiences that can help artistry. 

Transcript

Please note: This transcript is automatically generated and may contain errors.

Aamon Sayed
My name is Aamon Sayed and welcome to another episode of the Stories of Community Resilience by 3ZZZ. On this episode of the show, I’ll be speaking with Sereen about their experience of resilience and in particular, ramifications of the online world and finding yourself and your voice. Before I start, I want to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land and
recognize that as we capture stories here today, the indigenous people have been storytelling on this land for thousands of years. It always was and always will be Aboriginal Land. Welcome Sereen.


Sereen Omran
Hello. Hello. Hello.


Aamon Sayed
Thank you for coming on today and being willing to to share your story.


Sereen Omran
Happy to be here, bro. Happy to be here.


Aamon Sayed
We’ve podcasted before and we’ve done.[overlapping laughter] We’ve done heaps of, uh, I guess conversations and we’ve shared like many, many, uh, I guess different like conversations about like what it meant to be resilient and, the conversations we’ve had before have been very in depth. And, you know, I see you as someone who has a very large online presence. So I don’t know. There’s something to be said about, I guess what that means. And, you know, when
you mentioned ramifications of the online world, I’m like, Oh, that’s so interesting. Like to go deeper into that. So I guess tell me a little bit about that. Like, what is that? What’s that like for someone to be in your position?

Sereen Omran
I think it’s it’s really complex and also, I just want to mention, last time we did an interview, we were online. So being face to face is a really interesting one now. So the ramifications of being online, I think it’s just it comes with so much vulnerability and I feel like sometimes people take advantage of that. Um, when you’re trying to be fully yourself, it’s like people have a
problem with it. But when people are obviously being fake online, their content gets taken in a bit more. I think it kind of creates this like fantasy world for people to be able to live in. So I think ramifications is that sometimes when you’re trying to be your full self, people will start picking, picking it apart and kind of judging everything about how you speak and how you
look and what your identity is and what your religion is, culture. They’ll come at every single angle of what makes you who you are. And I think that not a lot of people are strong enough to deal with that. And that’s the thing that we need to like normalize, is that when someone’s online, you don’t have to be strong all the time. You don’t have to continue going online
just to keep an audience or to keep people happy if you mentally are not there to do that. So when I mentioned like ramifications, I guess it’s more like when people start giving opinions about yourself. You lose a bit of your voice because you start to their voices start kind of blurring your own voice and your thoughts about yourself becomes their thoughts, if that
makes sense. So, yeah, that’s that’s kind of what I think I’m going through right now.

Aamon Sayed
Well, what do you think gives people? The idea that they have permission to act in a way online. That they wouldn’t act like in a way that they wouldn’t act like in like in real life or face to face.


Sereen Omran
If we think about it like the online world is not real. Like when we are online, it is real. It’s we’re real people. But if someone hasn’t met you, I think it’s very easy for them to pretend like you’re not real. Look at how we, for example, look at celebrities and how we idolize them. It’s like they’re not real human beings. They don’t freaking go to the toilet or like, do do normal
things, you know what I mean? So I think that’s exactly what happens on social media because people feel like they don’t know you, so they don’t owe you kindness or or like they don’t owe you a treating you like a human being. You know, it’s very easy for them to give opinions on something that’s not real to them.


Aamon Sayed
So there’s like almost a sense of, I guess dehumanization, like it’s like a ‘thing’ or instead of a person.


Sereen Omran
I mean if you think about it like what was I doing online. I was entertaining people and sometimes that can feel like at the start that was, that was all I wanted to do. I wanted people to be able to look at a positive view of a Muslim woman and like
breaking that barrier and that kind of wall of what a Muslim woman should be. But very easily it becomes into like, Oh, can you remix this? Because I just want to have a laugh. You know, it takes away from what you’re trying to do and you kind of become like a clown, almost. You know, just there to entertain people and. And they don’t care about anything else. So you
have to offer.

Aamon Sayed
So what, what are like some of the strategies in your, I guess like online growth that you’ve had to learn or like whether you’ve incorporated them or not? What do you feel like you have to know as someone in that space to build that. I guess because you’re displaying resilience in that circumstance, right, where you might be, you know, judged or heckled or
whatever. Like, you know, people like making like weird requests. And again, like you said, there’s almost like a dehumanization of the person that they’re following and quote unquote love or, you know. What are some of the strategies that you feel like you’ve had to learn or have tried to implement, um, to, to keep that resilience and keep that, that strength
and that identity and that voice that’s yours.


Sereen Omran
I’m going to be totally honest and this is not maybe what other creators do, but at the start, I thought that I just needed to push through it and that the voices would soon kind of phase out. But resilience sometimes doesn’t mean pushing forward.
It sometimes means taking a step back. And I think that taking a step back means you’re putting your yourself first and your mental health first because you’re now going to see it’s like something that you thought you couldn’t live without. And I thought for the longest time, my audience is all like that. I need and I owe them like everything because they got me to where I am. But you start to realize that if once you’re really addicted to something, it becomes unhealthy. And taking a step back is the best option in situations like that. Because. Yeah. Again. Your voice just is non-existent and you need to find that as cheesy as it sounds, but like, your thoughts don’t become your own. And if that is the place you have reached. I think it’s very healthy to stay away from social media.


Aamon Sayed
Well, I guess balance is key in all things, right? It’s like, uh, the idea is to find that balance between doing the thing which I assume people love because that’s why they do it and that’s why they get to that status and, and getting to a point where they’re not losing themselves in the, in the process of it all.


Sereen Omran
I think I obviously don’t mean taking a step back forever, but as in like knowing when to stop and when to come back. Like, I think the balance that you’re talking about is, is, is that it’s like, don’t sacrifice all of your happiness for for something that’s bringing you so much negativity. Find ways to deal with it, like healthy ways, like, again, coping mechanisms that are going to help you continue on doing what you’re passionate about without those voices kind of blurring that vision. And that’s what happened. My vision got blurred, but. Yeah, that’s just like what I wanted to add. Social media is not always bad. Like, again, I don’t mean to sound so negative. There’s a lot of good things that come out of social media, and I know that even if just one person, like, if I change someone’s life, one person like, that’s that’s enough for me. As you know, I just don’t want to compare my level of success in a number that comes on social media.


Aamon Sayed

And maybe like changing the metric. I think we spoke about this as well. We talked about this before. The metric like understanding what your metric of success is, right? Because, whatever it is that you’re trying to achieve in your success is like, that’s what you’re chasing. And if it’s numbers, you’re going to chase the numbers.


Sereen Omran
Exactly.


Aamon Sayed
Do you have advice for people who want to engage with people or things or brands that they love and they do love and care about in a healthy way. Like what is the way, I guess like looking at it from the other perspective, what is, um, some advice you would give to those people that want to engage with brands? Yeah, brands, celebrities like people that they are
connected to, that’s not creepy. Like, what’s the normal way to engage with?


Sereen Omran
I feel like for the most part, people that are nice online know how to do that. I think even just like kind message or a DM talking about um, someone’s art and like not just like a plain compliment of like, yeah, I love this remix, but. I get sometimes compliments about like, Oh my God, the way this made me feel or like, you know, getting deeper into that I think is always good and it makes the artists appreciate that craft a bit more. Um. I think in terms of like, yeah, I think online in general, it’s just be kind. Like that’s that’s my only advice here because the reason I say be kind is because there’s a lot of people online that are not. Um, and to be honest, my advice is to them, not to the people that are already kind. Just kind of like if you want to advise someone, don’t do it publicly. Don’t publicly shame someone you know. And also maybe just mind your
business. You know what I mean? Um, but yeah, I think, you know, just thinking about resilience, like, I was never the type of person that, like, wanted to be like an influencer, if you know what I mean.
Um, and I always felt weird about, like, doing collabs with brands or, taking money from businesses to like, advertise something that has nothing to do with my art. I always felt weird about that, which actually makes a lot of sense to the artist I am today because, um, I never like saw myself as that. So in a way. That was my sign of like. You know, being online might
not be for me in that way, you know, And I think that’s a that is a form of resilience because it’s resilience because it’s hard to swallow, you know, because I went into this thing not expecting anything and I was just not willing to give up my values and what I believe in just to mold into this thing that is already existing. Of that online world. And I just didn’t know how to navigate it in that sense, that influencer kind of vibe. Sorry, that was just a side note.


Aamon Sayed
It’s good to get an insight into like. Like people who may not be in that situation. Like that’s the that’s the idea of of these is to explore what that means to like resilience to different people in different circumstances. Because we’re all vastly different and we all look at things extremely differently. So it’s, it’s good to like just get that little bit of an insight into like why and what it’s like, you know, because we hope that through the stories of resilience, like other people can learn to be resilient and other people find connection and that’s the purpose of, of this project and this podcast and, and all of that. So yeah, thank you for your time. Thank you for your efforts. Thank you for your insight as well. I think it’s important to, to share
that aspect. I hope people benefit from that.


Sereen Omran
I hope so too, and Free Palestine!

[End of Transcript]

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