life is beautiful.

i squint my eyes to readjust what i’m seeing. there’s an odd blue dash on everything i look at. i move my fingers over my lashes and realize it’s paint. how do i have paint on my eyelashes? i shake my head to concentrate. i need movement to step out of this trance that i’m in.

as my conscious mind wakes up, i see there’s paint everywhere.

my windows have speckles of white stains. my floors have gashes of red lines. and my ripped jeans and worn out tshirt look like i’ve just come out of a paintball fight with a trained marksman. my feet, my arms, even my kitchen floor.

my landlord would not be pleased. but i am.

i take a look at my reflection and find even more paint on my cheeks and i begin to laugh. not the silent internal kind. the loud genuine belly laugh that fills the room i’m standing in. a passerby might give me a quizzical look right now, seeing me laughing here all on my own. but i find nothing odd in it.

it’s not strange to feel this euphoria. in the last eight weeks, as i’ve unwrapped nearly a dozen blank canvases, sketched outlines of ideas onto them, and then experimented with different styles and techniques, i’ve been overwhelmed by a range of emotions so intense, i didn’t know i had the ability to feel them.

yesterday i cried.

i stared at the series of paintings that i finished and hung up on my wall to enjoy before i display them to others. perhaps it was the music coming through my earphones that unleashed the sadness, or maybe it was naturally provoked. but as i stared at the repetition of my signature across each painting, i realized that this would be my first time to publicly call myself an artist. to have the courage to put my name and my work in front of people i don’t know and hear them judge it and discuss it, to see them reveal a reaction. and though that’s exciting, there’s a sadness in doing it without many of the people i love by my side to experience the rush with me.

two days ago i shook with excitement.

i saw where the exhibition would take place. walked through the set up and talked out loud about the flow of the night with the organizer. i could feel my body trembling from joy. i saw the wall that would be mine. the wall that would hold up canvases that i’ve filled with colors and shapes that i’ve created. i could never imagine that i’d be so happy and full of hope from staring at a blank white wall. the room itself mesmerized me. it’s a beautiful space with exposed concrete, industrial vents, and an out of tune piano. tacky plastic orange chairs were piled up in the center, but that was no matter. my mind ignored them as i imagined how the room would look in a few days when they’re cleared away to be replaced with strangers and champaign flutes.

i imagine this is what people experience when they talk about being in love. these extreme, sometimes irrational and often unprovoked emotions. some fleeting and others lasting. all intense. consuming. visceral. extreme elation eventually followed by feelings equal in magnitutde but opposite in direction. and the moments in between bring peace and meaning.

and so i’ll allow myself to take it all in. today i laugh, and tomorrow i’ll celebrate. thankful for the opportunity to go through this journey. grateful for the chance to feel the flow of creativity pour out of me. blessed that in between all this energy, i feel alive and life is beautiful.

photo credit: hala mufleh

photo credit: hala mufleh, circa 2008.

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18 Responses to life is beautiful.

  1. And have you got that job you were looking for at Airbnb?


  2. such a great explanation of the emotions..needless to say that you’ve chosen your words wisely.


  3. hrsd says:

    u are so driven! and i like the rawness of this writeup. i’m sure ur paintings exude it too


  4. malala says:

    champagne and narcissism. vomit worthy


  5. basma says:

    Nina don’t cry! Thinking of you and the big day! this is so exciting… love you XXX


  6. Shoreh says:

    I’m so fortunate to have 3 of your paintings. I enjoy them every second I pass by them. Grateful I am


  7. I enjoyed reading this. Good luck tomorrow, wish I was there.


  8. says:

    Bravo!!! So well written!! Love it and love your picture!!


  9. Serene Shalan says:

    i love you so much and I’m so proud of you and this pic is gorgeous. i wanna hear all about the exhibition please snap it all. LOVE YOU.


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