“Lately I’ve been staring in the mirror, very slowly picking me apart…”
So sang Stevie Wonder in one of my most favourite songs about the heartache and insecurity of being cheated on – Lately.
Metaphorically doing the same to myself, I desperately wanted to write something about feeling insecure of late, but didn’t have the guts to post to twitter or facebook. In part because my insecurity would be exposed and a lot because I don’t want people to be commenting saying how good I am, trying to talk me up and make me feel better. That just feels like fishing for compliments.
But my feelings are very genuine and won’t go away, so hence here I am, exposing my insecurity here instead.
It’s all complete ego. My nafs in Arabic. At the end of the day I want to feel like my work, my opinions, my self are noticed. At the end of the day that is just wrong and I need to go back to why I do the work I do and what projects I pick up and what I reject.
It’s a fine line between career ambition, motivation and drive and working for the greater good and ultimately for the sake of Allah. One I try to tread carefully by only picking up work that has meaning for me.
I want to see my people free from oppression, but it feels like Indigenous leadership is a game that my career quietly maneuvered me out of. A lot of my friends still play this game and somehow I wonder why and how I don’t anymore. The powers that be never tapped me on the shoulder to join them. It makes me feel like my opinions don’t count.
I believe in the power of art and culture to the strengthen, maintain and create identity for community. I base my employment in community arts and yet somehow it is this incredibly competitive industry that I often feel excluded from. I find that other people in my sector often become aggressively competitive with me and so I take myself out of the competition, become insular and do my work without networking or schmoozing – then I become paranoid and insecure that I am irrelevant in the sector. It’s a vicious cycle.
I strongly believe in the creation of alternative spaces to challenge the mainstream without joining them. Hence my blog in part (although I don’t cultivate this blog very well, do I?). Yet often I am disheartened that others with regular status quo opinions get all the airtime, or even that colleagues with similar opinions get heard and I’m forever the wallflower.
At the end of the day though, it’s all ego. It’s my deep down hope that by putting this stuff in writing and putting it out there I can challenge my ego, my nafs and just go about my work, do good and live well – because at the end of the day I can live well, I am privileged and this is all just “first world problems”. There’s real stuff happening out there – Israel attacking Gaza, people getting tasered to death, stabbing incidents and family to be concerned about…