The convergence of writing and reflection

After weeks of inactivity, I have this sudden urge to just start blogging again.

Maybe it’s because work is slow this week and I have zero motivation to work on re-writing my paper (I started though! That counts, right?).

Also, in a world where living on the internet has become the norm, I feel that blogging might be the last healthy/useful outlet left.

(I could just, you know, quit the internet – well, the social media aspect of it anyway – and I have thought of it, but a) with my current work situation, I’d have to be on Facebook one way or another and b) rather than complete abstention, perhaps what I need to work on is not responding to that compulsion to share the minutiae of the moment. A much more difficult task for me).

Forget blogging though. I even stopped writing in my journal for a while. In the past, I’d be done with a single journal in 3, maybe 4 months. I’ve had my current one for close to a year and I’m still only halfway through. I have however recently started journaling again. So I guess that’s good.

As I was discussing with some friends earlier this week, even though I haven’t been regular with it in the past few weeks, I need both journaling and blogging. Journaling is for the mundane things no one needs to or cares to know; it’s solely for myself, a way to still my mind, my repository for the selfish thoughts we all have. Blogging is more of a creative outlet for self-expression. It even helps me refine my writing skills (well, that’s the hope)! Not academic writing skills, mind you, but writing for an audience, which is still important. Now, I know I don’t have millions of followers and never will, but blogging for me is somewhat of a performative art. And yeah, if I’m going to tell people that I blog, I best be proud not ashamed of what I’ve got.

I guess this speaks to a larger facet of myself: I’ve always seen myself as a performing artist. To even consider myself an “artist” is pretentious, I know (my mom, however, thinks I am talented!), but I love to sing, I love to dance, I love theatre (I tried my hand at acting in high school – I got the hint), I love watching low-key films solely for the story and acting (Fences with Viola Davis and Denzel Washington, for example. Now, that’s an actress! When she cries, she embraces the fact that it’s an ugly sight to behold and I love that she doesn’t resort to nudity to prove her merit). Like, that’s what I love to do for fun. It’s what I seek.

In a way, I see blogging as an extension of that, perfectly suited for a shy person such as myself.

In other boring writing news, the 5-year journal I bought in 2013 is almost completed! I’m proud of myself for committing to it. I mean, I bought it and I am Desi, so of course I would make sure I got every penny’s worth… but you get what I mean. Taking the time to answer a question every day for 5 years is something (well, there were some days I answered early or retroactively, but I kept with it). It’s fun to reflect. Back in 2013, I was a naive 26-year-old thinking I was beginning my journey to becoming an Islamic scholar. Now, I’m a soon-to-be 31-year-old who gets excited when she sees cows! I guess I am Benjamin Button after all! :)

But honestly, only God knows if that journey is truly over. I doubt I will ever be an “Islamic scholar” in the typical sense, but I don’t think scholarship is wholly out of the picture for me either (And whatever I do, I intend for my Islamic faith to inform me every step of the way, God-willing). Maybe, again, I’m being the naive idealist I was five years ago. The thing is though, as my writing has born witness to, my life has never followed the trajectory I assumed it would (I didn’t become a lawyer, I didn’t get married at age 24, etc.) and yet, things that I never thought possible actually happened (losing all that weight, going to UChicago for grad school, marrying a non-Hydro that I found on the internet!).

I guess I’ll have a better idea of my trajectory in 2023. But then again, maybe not!

P.S. I really struggled with titling this post. The title evokes a sense of poetry that this post lacks entirely. And yet, I really like the title, so I’m going to stick with it. You can fill in the blanks. Isn’t that what poetry is supposed to do?

P.P.S. I submitted a poem to a local contest for Muslim poets. I’m hoping that like everything else I’ve ever won, I’ll be selected due to lack of entries ;) But if not, that’s cool, too.

10 thoughts on “The convergence of writing and reflection

  1. Yet another thing you and I have in common: Theatre geeks loool. I was part of the drama club in high school, I even thought of pursuing a career as a thespian for about 5 minutes flat, before I came back to my sense of course lool.

    The thing I love about blogging is that you can do whatever you like whenever you like it. There are no deadlines, no quotas, no mandatory subjects, none of that. It makes it a lot more pleasurable, and a lot less of a chore. If you don’t want to blog for a while and take some time off, that is totally fine, your readers are on your time, not the other way around. How many other things in life grant us such freedom? Very little, I’ll wager. Not having too many people following your blog is also a blessing in disguise. When you have a massive readership, you often end up feeling you have to publish a new blog every single day. Quantity ends up overshadowing quality.

    The most interesting and most frustrating thing about life is that we can’t really predict how it will all play out. We plan this and that, but in reality we have no idea what the future holds for us. If there’s ever been a proof of human hubris it is our belief that we somehow have control over our lives. For Muslims, knowing that everything in our lives is predestined gives us a certain measure of tranquility of mind and heart. Alhamdulillah.

    Great and insightful blog as always Rafia.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I feel like at least half of academics have a background in drama! LOL. I think it can be a useful skill.

    I love that quote of yours, “your readers are on your time, not the other way around.” I never thought of blogging in such a liberating way before! And also, I agree with not having too many followers. Less pressure to write on “popular” topics. I’m not going to lie: there are days that I wish I had more of a readership. But then, there’s a downside to it. When anything becomes too popular, material becomes cheap. I feel like Marie Antoinette when I say this! Haha!

    You’re welcome and of course, thanks for sharing your always thought-provoking comments, Geeky! <3

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Reflective writing is my favorite kind to read. I don’t know how I’m just now stumbling onto this post, but I loved reading it. And girl, you are self deprecating! Why is calling yourself an artist pretentious? Besides, art is entirely subjective :)

    Liked by 1 person

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