Tip of the Iceberg

Turquoise Spray. 10 X 14 Acrylic.

As I sit here trying to write this blog, I’d just like you to know I have wasted quite a bit of time procrastinating and I really should be cooking dinner right now. And that is basically the theme of this post. We only see the tip of the iceberg. You will only read the blog and hopefully like it, not knowing that I am sitting here in the most unflattering sweat pants and a worn-out shirt that I didn’t bother to change out of this morning because if I am at home, then I believe in spending the day in my PJs. I am not sitting at some aesthetically pleasing desk on a fancy laptop. I am sprawled on my little sofa covered in sesame seed brittle crumbs and surrounded by their wrappers. I am also talking to my cat because he agrees with most of what I have to say and contrary to popular belief cats really are non-judgmental.  The point is, that stuff you see posted on Social Media is just the nice stuff. The painting I sold, the mural I completed, the workshop I conducted. The smile on my face. But I like being honest, and that is not even half of the story. The truth is I have dozens of rejection letters for every project I did get, and poured blood, sweat, and tears into every painting I made-not all of them sell. As an introvert, I have had to battle with myself to overcome my dread of talking to people even if I know them, I never know what to say, I never quite fit it. I’m blunt and don’t have the tact of a politician, so I will say something that maybe I shouldn’t have-and often do.  Don’t even get me started on how hard it is to introduce myself to new people. But I do all this and eventually, over time, it pays off. But it doesn’t happen overnight, no one hands it to you on a silver platter. You have to put it in the time, effort, have thick skin, fall, get up and dust yourself off, wipe your tears, suppress your ego, your anger, your frustration. You have to suck it up.

I felt the need to say all this because I have been getting questions from many artists just starting out. The answer to many of your questions is above. There is no overnight magic. The tip of the iceberg is what you see on social media, the truth is there are tonnes of ice below the surface that I built up over the past years to get that little bit above the water. I have practiced, I have pursued learning, I have done endless amounts of research and reading. I have put in ridiculous amounts of time looking for opportunities and spent equal amounts of time writing up proposals, artist statements, artist bios, and taking and editing pictures of my work. I have saved up to invest money towards art supplies,  entering exhibitions and applying for memberships. Half of which replied with polite but ice-cold “no thank yous”.

If I stop and the ice below melts away eventually the tip of the iceberg will disappear as well. You don’t really stop, you have to keep working at it. So if this is your passion be prepared for hard work and failure (or as I like to think of it “lessons on what not to do next time”) for as long as you want to continue on this journey. It is a long ride, but I don’t plan to get off this train. I’m having too much fun.

From Frumpy to Fashionista

Okay maybe not fashionista, but this is as close as I am going to get. Life is short, this may be my only chance to be cool. Or at least convince a couple friends I’m cool. So I am owning it. Excuse me a second while I cut off a really bad hangnail…aah that feels so much better. I couldn’t find the nail cutter so I just used my teeth, you’ve all done it too so don’t judge me.

Anyways. I was that frumpy kid in the class. The brown girl. The one whose immigrant parents went shopping to the equivalent of what is now …um…actually I don’t think they have anything that bad anymore. Oops never mind, God bless the internet, Google has informed me that Bi-Way is going to be resurrected. I am so sorry all you children of immigrant parents, I feel for you. I was there. I got through it. You too will survive. Maybe even become a fashionista. I was the brown girl with the bad haircut in dark green nylon bellbottoms. With shirts that can’t even be described.  It was traumatic. I still get nightmares. To top it off it was the 80’s. Even the fashionable fashion was something you never want to remember. Those awful white short shorts that George Michael wore ugh I bet he’s rolling over in his grave right now. RIP George, I will speak of it no more.

So back to the point, yes I do get distracted, because life is short so I’m cramming, gotta get all my thoughts and memories out there. Don’t want to miss anything. I am now a fashionista. I know this because I go to a lot of events. I mean like there are some weeks where every night is spent out. That’s a lot of events for the lame brown girl turned fashionista. At these events, ladies will come right up to me and tell me they love what I am wearing. Then they will happily listen to the story behind where this incredible said outfit came from. That makes me a legitimate fashionista. So I have started reading up on fellow fashionistas. I don’t understand the language, or I do but don’t want to admit that I don’t exactly fit into those categories. For example, Queen of Fierce Outfit Inspiration, um no I need way more clothes than that, that is something that most people don’t even dare to wear at the beach. Also me+hijab. Total Boss Girls With Badass Style. I guess not. Not boss girl, even my cats don’t take me seriously.  Bold Prints, Graphics and Cuts. I don’t even know what that means. Monochromatic Street Style. I am too old to get on a skateboard and I don’t know if insurance will cover all the damage.  So where are the women my age? The ones who wear normal stuff and still look nice but all the cool people refuse to acknowledge? Is there a name for us? I will be fashionista to the underrepresented and marginalized. I have made my own category and I am going to own it. #fashionistatotheunderrepresented because that sounds better than #fashionistatothelame

My fashionista outfit for today’s event, the Arts on the Credit Tour. It got many compliments, thank you very much. I also wore it to an Opening Reception at Artworld Fine Art. Yes, I repeat outfits. So does Kate Middleton. I bought this gorgeous blue printed silk dupatta (long fabric draped over shoulders) in Lahore once. I have had it for years ( I will not admit to how many) when I recently went to Karachi I took it with me and bugged a tailor till he caved and sewed it to my specifications. He doubted my fashion sense at every step. I wish I could go tell him I was right and he was wrong. Whatever. I wore it with a neutral coloured tee shirt and creme coloured cotton trousers because it is still summer. I don’t care that pumpkin spice everything is now available.

This long cardigan style thingy can be worn over anything and make it look super elegant. I could wear it with ratty old jeans and a dirty tee-shirt and still look decent to go to a party. Also dangly earings help. When all else fails pull out the dangly earrings and wear them. Plus to all my fellow hijabis, turban style hijabs are life. Wrap that scarf around your head like a queen and no one will know you haven’t ironed it ever. Do wash them sometimes though. Please. No one wants to smell that unwashed hair aroma.

How gorgeous do my paintings look on those walls?

Polygamy, I get it. But no thank you!

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I wrote a post about polygamy for Blog Her, and they featured it. I had originally titled it “I’m Muslim, but if my husband thinks of a second wife, I’ll reach for my shotgun!” I suspect the title had a little to do with it getting so many reads ( I was pleasantly surprised to get that much attention).  You can read it here.

We are still waiting for spring weather to come, it gives us a glimpse then disappears again!

I also started a magazine style blog because I wanted people to share their cultures from around the world. I put up a few random posts to get it started but I invite anyone of you who are interested in contributing to please send me a post. You can see what it is all about here : Cafe Mosaic.ca I will share links to your blogs and websites so you get some traffic.

Weekly Photo Challenge : Ephemeral

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Millions of frozen diamonds shimmering. Ephemeral.  

Weekly Photo Challenge : Scale

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Scale

Interview: Nothing is going to change my geek status.

I opened up my draft (read “nemesis”) and actually edited two chapters yesterday.

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It felt like a huge victory since I have been avoiding it for so long now. My inner Hiro is rejoicing. Anyway a couple of weeks ago someone left me  a message on my Facebook page. They wanted to interview me. I thought it was a joke because hello I am Geek. I went to their site and they seemed pretty sane so I thought what the hell, so they want to interview a geek. Who am I to judge? Read the interview here : Smart Indian Women 

My sudden and overwhelming fame is not going to turn me into a snob,don’t worry. Nothing is going to change my geek status.

I am good with being a geek.

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Yes Hiro Nakamura is my inspiration.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Depth, The Ugly Truth About Writing

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This is literally me right now. Looking into the depths of my heart, which I have pulled out of my chest. To face the truth.

I am sitting here stalling. My draft lies in a file, wasting storage space on my laptop. I have left it alone for many months because that is what writers are advised to do. Write, leave it. Edit, leave it. Read and edit, then leave it again. But I have left it way too long.

I have tricked myself into believing that I am just waiting for an appropriate amount of time to pass then I will get back to it. I distract myself with other projects, then leave them also. In the back of my mind something keeps eating away at me, I push it away. I write humorous mom posts to keep myself busy. And distract myself…from myself. From the anger that is building up inside me. The frustration of the truth that I don’t want to acknowledge.

I am scared to go back to the novel. Scared it is awful. Scared it won’t ever be any good even after I have put so much into it that I am exhausted. Scared of that horrible feeling when you get another rejection letter. If it never gets done, I won’t have to face all that hurt.

And anger builds up even more. I push it down deep, so that my kids don’t notice. I don’t want them to know I desperately want to write, but I am too scared of the disappointment I will have to face.  I want them to be able to face their problems bravely when they go out on their own in the world.Get back up and dust themselves off after falling. . I want them to be able to keep their spirits up even when things look hopeless and I am not setting a good example. Which means I am failing as a mother now too. More frustration.

I open the draft and stare at it. I get up and go into the kitchen. I have to make dinner first. I always have to do something first. I am so angry I end up putting too many red peppers in the stir fried shrimp. The kids are going to complain and I will try to deal with them patiently, because it is my fault. I will suppress the urge to smack them in the back of the head and yell at them to stop whining about everything. It isn’t their fault. It is mine.

I contemplate blaming everything on my parents and a bad childhood. Blaming someone else makes you feel better temporarily. It gives you excuses to continue being stupid. In the back of my mind I know it is all me though.

I control my anger. Squeeze it into a ball and force it down my throat. It is struggling to come back up in the form of a loud, frustrated scream. I don’t want to worry my husband and kids. But I really want to punch something hard. And break stuff.

I avoid the on-line writing hang out. I don’t want to admit how I am feeling to all those other writers who will understand and try to make me feel better. I don’t want to admit I am scared to keep writing. Putting all my energy, all my hear t and soul into that stupid book, only to find out it was never any good.

And I don’t want any feel good advice. I don’t want to feel good, I am too busy being angry, and all that good advice sounds like BS anyways. We just give it and listen to it to make ourselves feel better.  I am tired of good advice, don’t give me good advice, just agree that everything sucks and then we can go throw rocks at windows or something.

Broken windows remind me of broken down houses. And homeless people, and that I should stop wallowing in this ridiculous hole I have dug for myself because I am so much better off. I should be grateful, happy and stop wasting my time. And go finish the damn book.

Which I can’t do, because I have pulled my heart out of my chest and looked into its depths. All I can find is anger and isolation and the fear of failure. I contain it, but it is building up and I am afraid it is going to explode.

 

(Artwork is mine.)

Weekly Photo Challenge: Express Yourself

Expressing Myself…

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Doodle by me.

Weekly Photo Challenge : Serenity

Serenity

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“My soul can find no staircase to Heaven unless it be through Earth’s loveliness.” Michelangelo.

Some more serene photos:

MyBlog

Ese’s Voice

J.Picks (this was my favorite)

From Hiding to Blogging

Uncle Spike

https://hersko1.wordpress.com/2015/01/16/weekly-photo-challenge-serenity/

Ungemaltes

You know you are Desi when…

I don’t want to make other races feel left out or anything and I am sure a lot of you could relate to the following traits, but there are just some things that really let you know you are desi.

You know you are desi when…

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“We are out of groceries” looks like this.  Desi people have this insane fear in the back of their cranium somewhere that when the apocalypse comes we won’t have enough groceries. So we should always be prepared with a surplus, no amount of groceries are ever enough.

You know you are desi when…

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Your freezer is full of containers that are highly misleading as to their contents.  For example you will not find yogurt, ice cream or cream cheese (who keeps cream cheese in the freezer?) in any of these containers. Surprise! If you are desi you will know that they all contain some type of curry. You can never have too much curry, never know when the zombies might come.

You know you are desi when…

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This is something you use for an earache.

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You have used these for toothaches.

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This solves every gastric trouble in medical history.

And this…

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…is the solution for every other ailment under the sun.

You know you are desi when…

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…every cupboard contains a bag …that contains countless bags. Every. Cupboard.

When the zombies come we will have plenty of bags to tie them up in. Of course up here in Canada we won’t have a zombie apocalypse,  that kind of stuff only happens in America.  We will of course send the bags to our American neighbors. Polite Canadians.

You know you are desi when…

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This bin is overflowing every two days.  I fear the day when garbage pickup will be scheduled for every other week.

You know you are desi when…

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…you still think the kids are feeling cold.

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