Blogging & Writing · Culture & Society · Education & Career · Faith & Spirituality · Recollections & Reflections

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.