Archive for March, 2016

“How did you get here?”

Posted: March 7, 2016 in Uncategorized

One of my favorite feelings in the world is when I get to retell one of the tough stories of my life, after having had it all figured out. When someone asks me the “how did you get here?” question, and I turn silent for a moment, contently sigh, and feel a quick flashback of the story’s entire phase coming back in the span of a few seconds.

I remember the times when I could not focus on anything for entire days, because I was busy being angry at myself for not having said the right thing or not doing what I should have done. I remember the nights I cried myself to sleep, wondering why God was being silent about it all; neither sending me messages nor helping me get what I (thought I) needed more than anything else. At the time, I hardly ever realize that my future self might be looking back at me in a couple of weeks and wondering how her younger self could have possibly been that naïve. Wondering how it felt like the end of the world back then, when in fact it’s all warmly making her heart smile because she finally realizes how awesomely God had it all planned out for her, and that if weren’t for that certain something she thought she had messed up, she would have never made it to where she is.

The flashback ends. I catch myself saying “well, it’s a long story…” and start narrating a perfectly written story-line without being fully aware that this is only my life, for how beautifully every tiny detail ends up falling right into its perfect spot.

With my every “… and that’s the story of how I got here”, I find myself impatiently waiting for my next story, wondering if it could ever top my previous one. And every time, it flawlessly and thrillingly does.

February 16, 2016

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My introvert self in class

Posted: March 7, 2016 in Uncategorized

So it’s our first class and the professor asks each person to say their name, along with something about themselves. I realize I truly have a problem putting all what I am in a sentence, but nevertheless when it’s my turn, I choose to say “My name is Basma, and I’m an introvert.” because, well yeah, this actually says quite a lot about my life. How does the professor then choose to respond to that? In all seriousness, she goes like “Okay, we’ll work on that.” and moves on, while I have a serious urge to answer back with “Well, maybe we need to pause everything and work on this mindset instead!” but for some reason I don’t, and I spend some time being angry at myself for it.

Instead though, (and because her class actually turns out to be quite interesting), I effortlessly spend the rest of the class raising my hand, participating, expressing my opinion, and just being myself. Yet I make a mental note that I’ll be visiting her office at the end of the semester, after I’ve gained the full 10% participation weight she’s added to the grade breakdown (because the American system still supports professors on ignoring the needs of special individuals who might process ideas and words differently), and I’ll be asking her then what exactly does she think an introvert like myself needs to work on, in order to be up to her societal standards? 🙂

Introversion is not something you “work on”, really. The sad thing is, I know for a fact that the freshman or sophomore version of myself would have been completely devastated if she had been given such a reply on her first class. Thankfully, I got to hear it when I’ve grown quite confident about who I am, but not everyone necessarily reaches this level at this age, so it’s heartbreaking to think of how many introverts might be sitting for their classes, not being able to benefit from anything that’s being said because they’re busy trying to make sense of the fact that everyone wants to “work on them.”

Stop making introverts feel like they need a makeover. Stop setting standards for other people when you notice they’re different from what you think should be the norm. If you realize you don’t really know well enough about something, educate yourself before you become a reason why someone starts despising who they are. And most importantly, if you plan on becoming a teacher, don’t ever do anything similar to a student. Please.

February 2, 2016

December 6

Posted: March 7, 2016 in Uncategorized

6 December. The one day of every year when I can’t help but feel extreme nostalgia for a time that has had the hugest impact on who I am as a person. The one day that still has its every detail carved inside, even though it’s been three whole years.

6 December 2012. It was my first semester at AUC, and the first time for me to truly understand what it means to believe in a cause. That night was the very first Glow concert I get to attend as an organizer, and the very first time I realize how heartwarming it is to have so many people believing in you.

I remember the first class I skipped as a Freshman that day to attend the rehearsals. I remember spending so much time before the concert with Yousra beside Bassily to practice the MC’s words that we’d spent the night before scripting (the first night I was ever allowed to stay on campus after the 7pm bus lol), and her supporting eyes following me on stage every time I stood there to rehearse. I remember having a permanent tab on my laptop just for the event, and how I’d literally refresh the page every 5 minutes to check the number of attendees. I remember my quick heartbeats almost shattering my insides a few minutes before coming out on stage. I remember finally making it out there and getting over a fear I once thought would forever stay with me. I remember feeling I was capable of doing anything in the world after it was all over; anything that I really decide to set my mind to. I remember the endless love I felt for Glow after the event, love that only kept increasing by the day. I remember how grateful I was for the existence of this place, a place that has never stopped developing everything about me ever since.

December 2012; I didn’t realize it was all just a tiny first step towards the most enjoyable journey of my life. December 2013; I didn’t realize I wasn’t really the failure I thought I was turning into. December 2014; I never really made complete sense of the fact that I was leading my most favorite student organization, witnessing other people fall in love with everything I was already crazy about in this place. And finally, December 2015; I’m all the way in Washington D.C. (who would’ve thought?!), still grateful for the blessing that is Glow, and realizing that distance will never reduce the difference that this place is still making in my life, even if I’m almost 10,000 km away.

God, it’s amazing how much can change in three years. How many people can come and go. How one’s thoughts can dramatically change and mature. And how life’s plans can still surprise you, every single day.

December 6, 2015