Nurture is your Nature
A personal entry on my connection with Henna
Written by Saira Hussain
To my dearest self,
Why are you so dependent on exterior sources of motivation when you yourself are an awakened state.
Your talents keep others quiet and then when you wish to speak about your most cherished moments they respond only to disappoint?
Why is it that to your closest choose to crouch in vein when you reveal reality? A bitter truth about their present situation, an opinionated realization of their mistakes or negative habits which are further propelling them to their darker stages in life. Why do people disagree to agree after realms of conversations change tone but the answer is still the same? We, as humans are the most complex breed here on earth but we are not alone. We are given forms of recovery with the abundance of earth's very own; EARTH.
Nature has a presence unlike no other creature. It grows in the coldest and hottest of climates, sheltering us in the storms but also guiding us with fuel and prosperity to look forward to a newer and brighter day. I never knew of my motive to adorn until I sat in reflection after two back to back brides (Gold and Platinum) in June 2018. I have been practicing with henna in the Arts as well as in the wedding industry but never within therapy. But wait, I did practice henna through therapy; my thesis at OCAD University in 2007-2013. Yes it took me a few extra years to graduate but that is because I was financially unable to sustain my education and my mental health. Henna was that medium that brought me back to my senses to overcome my anxiety but also provide me a sense of home and guidance.
“I believe in love.
I believe in hard times and love winning.
I believe marriage is hard.
I believe people make mistakes.
I believe people can want two things at once.
I believe people are selfish and generous at the same time.
I believe very few people want to hurt others.
I believe that you can be surprised by life.
I believe in happy endings.”
― Isabel Gillies, Happens Every Day: An All Too True Story
Mixed media (self printed raw silk, handmade cotton paper, henna dye, newsprint, muslin). 2013
The very thought of believing in something, someone, some place, a moment, a time, a feeling, ANYTHING can take greater shape in the future than we can imagine. Knowing that I came from somewhere; two beautiful humans who came from a side of the world that I have never swallowed on my own, is difficult to believe. My roots are Pakistani but I was born on Canadian grounds. Civilized adults act respectfully but I had a hard time coping with who I was and had an even harder time respecting and appreciating my living standards. My time was short during academic hours; I could feel an expectation calling my name miles before it even sunk into my brain and bursted onto the one-hundred pound paper through my micron ink pens and led. I couldn't draw what the class expected me to do, I did what I felt was needed. I passed with flying colours and numbers began to sink as my financial situation was sinking deeper and deeper. I was low on fuel and so I began disappearing from classes as I didn't have enough to sustain my mind; my creativity.
"Kabul-Khan". Henna, gouache and birch veneer. 2012
My professors loved and supported my innovation but when it came to judgement day, they wouldn't see me till hours after. This lead to my depression and anxiety overload. I could no longer outline contrast nor shade; all my work looked the same because I resorted to what I was taught to believe in; my religion. This was not the route I was expected to take but a journey I had to pass as 'expected' was not simply a phase but a challenge in every part of my life.
My culture changed my life; my perspective on life of all that I absorbed and reflected time and time again. I finally understood the meaning of my time and vastly, my purpose. I was here as a medium; an abundance of light and prosperity for others and I wanted to create a continuous path, an infinite path of existence to help heal those around me. When I had completed 'O' I sighed in relief as I lay my last henna cone on the ground. My fingers were bruised and they were numb. I could not feel my neck for days as I prepared my stretchers and costs for the final viewing for OCAD University's Annual Grad Exhibition. I was so happy to have completed it all.