These Weekly Tips are a reflective elaboration from my speech at the 2016 Muslim Women’s Literary Conference: “Just Let Me Bee: Finding Your Creative Niche”
The bee is a creative individual who is determined and does not give up. She is an artist. And she knows her place. What’s your place? What job can you do well, and hum, and buzz, and dance about it? What’s a job you’d do for free just because you love it? That’s what you’re supposed to be doing.
The bee is a natural engineer and uses all the resources within her to complete her tasks. She has building material within her. She secretes one ounce of wax out of her abdomen per pound of honey. And when she secretes it and does her work–chewing the wax–the honeycomb cells become a perfect hexagon shape. Do you know how hard it is to even draw a perfect hexagon without a ruler!?!?? What is the building material that you were born with? What is the building material you have foraged and gathered? Have you used it yet? Are you currently activating and using it to its full potential? What do you need in order to harness this power and gift that you were born with? It’s your responsibility to use it. It’s a trust. Sometimes in order to live up to our responsibilities, we must share responsibility. Who can you ask to help you? Is it another member of your “sandwich”? Bees share responsibilities and food. They are resourceful and work together to get the job done collectively and individually. And there is always a job to do. They are never idle or without intention.
I believe that we are all created with creative energy. We are all creatives, whether we can write, sing, dance, draw, paint, sculpt, or not. Somewhere inside of you, you felt a buzz to work in a creative atmosphere, a hive…whatever your thing may be. And because you are reading this, you are attracted to words…to the pen. To a life of creativity. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be here. You should live your passion. What is something you love to do? That you just can’t live without or would cause you heartbreak/pain/angst/anxiety to leave? That is what you should be doing. Why is that seed so deeply rooted inside of you if it wasn’t for growth? We must make time for the things we love, or other things take our time.
Allah swears by the Pen. Everybody and everything has a story to tell. Listen to the message of the bee. And then listen out for your message that you are supposed to spread. In order to find your niche, all you need to do is listen to the compass of your heart. What brings you joy? What is it that puts you in a trance-like state, where if you could, you’d do that thing the most, leaving everything else behind? That’s your niche. What makes you unique? There’s a purpose for you. What can you add and give back to the world?
Let me tell you about myself. I’m a hard-headed learner. Allah usually has to bump me in the head several times before I learn lessons. One thing I learned two Ramadans ago was that I CANNOT live without art. I CANNOT live without writing. Without being able to make and do things with my hands, I am an anxious, irritable, unrestful soul. I am handicapped. And believe you me, you don’t want to be around me in my handicapped state. I had 5.5 years of that and it was pretty pitiful. But my art allows me to fly. My advice to you is my advice to myself. That I’ve learned the hard way. Be yourself. Do you. Don’t handicap your own self. Don’t strip away what makes you you. Do what you were made for. Do what makes your heart soar and fly…where time just passes by meaningfully with concentrated, organic joy juice. And be resourceful and responsible about it. Enlist others for help. Everyone needs help. Share your talents and skills with the universe, and the universe will share right back with you.