New blog! New address! New residency!

The husband and I seized the opportunity to relocate back to his hometown of Abu Dhabi. I’m officially an expat of the UAE and will be documenting my experiences abroad at my new blog. Check it out 😉 http://www.amirainabudhabi.com

Quotes of consolation

No one but myself knows the anxiety I go through and the trouble I give myself to finish paintings which do not satisfy me and seem to please so very few others. (Claude Monet)

In the end, I feel that one has to have a bit of neurosis to go on being an artist. A balanced human seldom produces art. It’s that imbalance which impels us… The artist lives with anxiety. (Beverly Pepper)

IMG_20120614_202109

Some consultation, at least, for the time passed and the time awaiting.

 

 

Stop thinking and paint.

Spinach, kiwi, banana smoothie. 9:52 AM on a Thursday of an insignificant April. My mind wants to write. Wants to get out. Dish out some thing of beauty. Art may seem like the logical outlet.

Painting/Drawing remains one of the few things I’ve done consistently over a period of my twenty-some years of living. Around the age of 7, my mom enrolled me in an art class for kids at the Newark Museum. Better to feed my love of drawing than to ignore it. I thought that would be enough.

I’d draw houses ferociously. By middle school, if you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I’d say an architect, because I wanted to design beautiful residences. Deep down, I may still want to be an architect when I grow up.

But I grew up. I grew up in high school as my mom convinced me that my witty mind and gift of gab should not be wasted on anything save a legal career. I resisted. I wanted to be a fly girl. And I loved art. But fast into sophomore year, I became a nationally-competitive debater, sparking my first bout of traveling. By senior year, I had been to Texas, Illinois, Yale, Harvard, and far too many prep schools in New Jersey. For a young girl from Newark (Brick City), this was quite an achievement.

And then college happened. More specifically, sociology happened. I fell in love with research. And although I was fast on the pre-law track, I resolved never to leave academia. This was my home. My professors convinced me that “Amira Rahim, Ph.D” was my birth right.

It was exhilarating. But it was exhausting. Thinking. Being a thinker. It has its costs.

So as I sit here–housewife of 3 months, Manhattan job long-forgotten, with a daily schedule consisting of self-indulgence and pompous resolution– I am finally able to recommit to my first love, my first passion: art.

But these other passions get in the way. I have this stubborn insistence on being a writer. Whatever that means. However that will manifest.

I want to start a few businesses. A few, not because I am insane, but because my creative mind deceives me into falling in love with a new idea, an innovation, as often as the seasons change.

Book writer. Illustrator. Designer. Mug maker. Painter.

“Stop thinking and paint,” is what I need to hear now.

Unfinished paintings, an unprecedented and treasured love for my newlywed-husband, health crazes, and cinema-on demand.

This is my current, regularly scheduled program.

i used to write.

i used to write

i had this voice inside of me screaming each day, i would figure that i could configure lines like anybody else

better than anybody else

i’d whisper them out loud in the bottom bunk of my dormitory

so many stories untold only imagined

i’d sink deep thoughts in to hallow spaces of paper pieces

i could never let them go, dared to write it down too quickly lest the lines would be imperfect

 

i used to write

i used to write love poems of my true love

every week new tales of how we found became and gave up one another

i wouldnt bother to make it G rated just capitalized on every feeling inside of me

i would hop through lines and spaces through time with the idea of being in love

it never came to fluition. i was left only with spilled ink and solid tears

i used to write

i used to write of a girl brown like me who discovered her beauty in some corner of a classroom

in between psychology theories and social research papers

then hopped between aisles of doubt and disregard

she loved and celebrated herself not apologizing for never being tainted

battered, brusied, or given to anyone. she was pure and unlike

any

other

girl

she had ever cared to meet. she was me, unique.

i used to write

writing freedom songs of ancestors that i only met through movies and documentaries of a reality all too painful to be true

my beats and rhthyms cried out from this square image created of myself.

i could give voice in a way no other knew i could. i was unlike the caged bird within

their beatings captivity freedom and pain consumed the pages of accounts indebted to their broadcasting

someone had to tell it. why couldnt it be me

i used to write

i used to free myself laying down with this grief and sorrow for the world

my eyes close with pierced lips yearning to talk again

fingers yearning to write again

heart yearning to love again.

i used to write, but love don’t love nobody.

 

-Amira (c) 2011

TIME: Muslims in America

Really beautiful collection.

And beautiful article:

Friday, Apr. 04, 2008

Being American — and Muslim

It was evening rush hour in New York City. 42nd St. was packed, and I was hoping I would make the bus. His voice came out of the crowd.

“Take that rag off!”

Huh?

In my four months of working in New York, that was a first. Actually, that was a first in the seven years since I started wearing a hijab. A lot of people turned to look at me as he shouted those words. I don’t know exactly what I was feeling — some mixture of anger and embarrassment — but I knew I wanted to stop and explain to this man the significance of what he dismissed as a “rag.” He didn’t understand the one thing I cherished most, the thing that I took so much care in making sure I did right — my religion.

It’s second nature to me now, but in the beginning, learning how to put on my hijab was a challenge. I taught myself how to tuck my hair in neatly, where to fasten the safety pin, and what material would best stay put. It is now the thing that people notice first when they see me. As a 23-year-old Muslim woman, I can’t imagine walking out of my house without it.

The explanations for wearing the hijab often start with modesty. But modesty, like religiosity, is relative. Who am I to say that I am more modest than someone else just because I cover my hair? I cover because God commanded it in the Qur’an. Wearing the hijab is first and foremost an act of worship and obedience; after that, it serves to check my modesty.

Read the rest.