Day 158: Citizen of the World - Art, Culture and Self-Discovery

Born and raised in Dubai, UAE, one would assume that you obtain the nationality/passport of the respective country you are born in. In my case, not so much. Both my parents are Portuguese-Indian by citizenship. My mother, much like myself, was born and raised in Dubai.
Growing up in Dubai brought a lot of challenges, I spent majority of my life trying to belong somewhere. A space where I could grow and most importantly, be myself. It felt weird not calling a country I've spent 18 years of my life, home. Even stranger having the nationality of two countries I've never lived a day in my life in. Although I have visited them but that's besides the point. The disconnect was unreal.
Lost between worlds, the only thing that made sense to me was art. Art helped me find myself. It helped me merge together the pieces I thought were missing but were actually made to fit if I turned them around. I was able to create and manifest my own environment. A safe space that actually called me home no matter where I physically was in the world. Ironically, art wasn't so easily acceptable in the eyes of my family. I was constantly looked down on because I wanted to be an "artist". There was no faith or trust that I'd be able to make it as an artist because all they thought or questioned was how much money will I make or if I was too stupid to be a doctor, scientist or a financial advisor of some sort. All these assumptions despite the raw truth that stood before them. They would turn a blind eye to my clear interest and talent for art.
Looking back at it, I'm kinda glad they didn't have faith and trust in me and my art because all I needed was to have faith in myself. I knew I wanted this since I was 4 years old and more importantly, I knew who I was meant to become. My heart, soul and mind knew where I needed to be and so I followed. It's crazy to think that 4 year old Miilo knew exactly what she wanted because it felt right in her bones and 22 years later, I still have that feeling!
To be honest, my true artistic self only blossomed as I got older and in college. The perfect time for one to "find themselves". Moving to the US was the best decision and quite honestly, no place on earth had felt more like home than being there. I learned and unlearned so much about myself, my past and more. When I think about it, I can't really compare my life in Dubai verses Charlotte because of the times I lived in both cities. In one, I was a growing child and in the other, I was becoming an adult. Two completely different eras but so significant because it allowed me to become how I am today.
Fast forward to 2022, I made a change that lead me back to Dubai and now that I'm back in my hometown, I'm learning to navigate as an adult. In all honesty, I feel I'm being held back. I mean, I'm back at home with my parents and my freedom of expression is not as bold or loud as it used to be. I'm trying to push through and look beyond what I see in front of me but my vision appears a bit blurry. I feel a bit lost and it's so strange because this feeling of uncertainty is like the unknown - a concept I am quite familiar with. It scares me and it is the fear that motivates me. For the first time in my life, I actually don't know what to do. I don't know where to start. I'm overwhelmed but the urge to create has never been stronger. All I know is that I'm human and I will continue to try my best and evolve with every trial and triumph.
In all, I'm eternally grateful for everything that comes my way. The people and friends I've met, the places I've been to and all the experiences life has dawned upon me. I couldn't imagine another life than the one I'm living! And if you've made it this far into my blog, I am grateful for you and thank you for being there for me :)
Miilo x
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