My 26th birthday is quickly approaching, and the panic attacks have been at an all time high. I find myself worrying about a lot; about what’s already passed, and what the future has in store. This has started affecting my sleep as well, as soon as I shut my eyes a million thoughts come to mind. That one time in high school I ’embarrassed’ myself by participating in a play and I sort of choked on stage and started mumbling (classic Fatma style). How I could have improved my thesis and project (even if I’ve already done well, alhamdulilah). Then I start worrying about what is to come.
I’m about to graduate in less than twenty days. So, yay! I’m trying to be more excited about my achievements, and not belittle myself as much anymore. I decided to take the months of July and August off to ‘relax’, but this ‘relaxing’ is stressing me out. I need this time off to find peace within, but there’s so much to be done, so many dreams. Getting a job is not a big concern, doing what I love, however, is. Will I get to do all these things I’ve dreamed about? Travel the world, gain the respect of my peers and uplift my family?
I’ve started noticing things too. Dad’s head of hair is now 97% grey, and mum gets tired a lot more. My youngest brother is now 15, and since I’m the first born it’s basically my turn to take over as his guardian. Yikes, shit just got real.
So I read. I read as many books as I can find. My favourites are memoirs, happy happy novels that seem like true stories, and psychology related books in an attempt to understand my mind and how to reconfigure my thought process. The latter have proved to be a difficult read, I’m still on page 60 out of about 250 of ‘I’m OK, You’re OK’, by Thomas Anthony Harris. I write plans every single day now. And look for inspiration in everything. But something is still amiss. It’s time to take action.
What I’m coming to terms with is that I have to be present, in the moment. In the NOW. It’s the only way to stay sane in this fast pace world. Focus on what you have to do NOW. If it’s soul searching, be content with your decision and take the time to understand WHY you’re doing what you’re doing. Practice gratitude, because it’s so easy to feel worthless sometimes. I’m grateful for having finished my Bachelor’s Degree with a good grade. For being alive. Both my parents are alive, my brothers too. I have a family, and a home. Many people don’t. I have a brain that can help me think of solutions to problems that come my way. I’m becoming more aware of the power of my mind, I stumble every so often but that’s how we learn.
So I took a break one afternoon this week to go to The GoDown Arts Centre to hang out and chat with artists Mary Ogembo and Michael Soi. I’ve found that art makes me appreciate life more. The smell of fresh paint, and seeing an image come to life before my eyes. I’m hoping to cultivate a friendship with these two because they inspire me to JUST DO IT. Oh, I also started painting.
Inspiration doesn’t amount to much if you don’t take action.
Life is like a painting, it starts with an empty canvas. Sometimes you will feel scared whenever you put the brush on paper, not knowing what the outcome will be. What the picture will look like. But the great thing is, sometimes you can paint over your mistakes. There will still be this imperfection underneath, but you overlay and overlay until you get it right. And when you’re done with one painting, you pick another canvas and work on something else. Sometimes better, sometimes worse. But you keep going, and just do it.