Love, Life Stories

Becoming a powerful writer was a struggle for me

I know there are people out there who want to silence me, and ensure I'm as marginalized as possible.

This year’s been a year of firsts. It’s my first year of college, my first taste of independence, and the first time any writing of mine has ever been published.

My first interaction with The Tempest started as a notification in my inbox. A mutual contact forwarded me the fellowship application on the the premise that I might be interested. I clicked the link. Scrolled around. Read a couple of the articles. Read the fellowship descriptions. Read the “About us” page.

I was sold in less than ten minutes. I immediately replied to the email. “I LOVE THIS! Going to send in an application today.”

And so I did.

I was torn at first — which position should I apply for? Each one offered a fresh, edgy spin on media making, and I wanted to do all the things. I ultimately decided to apply for an Editorial Fellowship. I love to write, and honestly, Editorial made the most sense. This was an opportunity of a lifetime – why wouldn’t I want my voice featured on a platform as awesome as this one?

That was back in September of 2015. Now, six months and dozens of articles later, I’ve developed my voice as a writer and finally found my groove.

Writing for The Tempest is easy. It’s easy because I’m writing from the heart. It’s a blessing to have the chance to write about what’s important to me, in an environment that simultaneously understands and supports my voice.

As an Arab-American female and student, it’s almost too easy for me to get overlooked in the media world. I’m young, I’m hyphenated, and I’m “foreign.” I’m constantly toeing the line between my two cultures, struggling to be “Arab enough” and trying to figure out what the heck an “American” really is. As disheartening as it is, I know there are people out there who want to silence me, and ensure I’m as marginalized as possible.

I won’t let them do that to me.

The power to tell someone’s story, amplify his or her voice, and subsequently uplift an audience is an incredible feat. And this is exactly what The Tempest is doing right now. 

Ensuring that underrepresented voices are strengthened and amplified in the media is a goal I completely stand behind. The world consistently underestimates and brushes off voices like mine, and this is exactly why The Tempest exists – we have something to say, and everyone needs to hear it. 

Confession: I struggle to be a person others would consider as “outgoing.” By nature, I’m pretty quiet – I like to listen and observe my surroundings. My teachers in high school spent all four years trying to get me to open up. Every semester, their comments went something like this: “She’s a great student, but I really want to see her speak up more in class. She has so much to share!” The old me would rather watch a storm from afar (albeit with admiration) and report her findings on it later.

[bctt tweet=”The old me would rather watch the storm from afar. Not anymore. “]

I’ve now learned that while it’s okay to stand at the periphery sometimes, you really have to just close your eyes and jump right in.

There have been several times when I’ve doubted my ability to produce interesting content. I’ve hesitated when I think of whether or not people will see me as “cool” or “intriguing.” There are people out there who want me to feel this way, and I can’t let them win. I remind myself that this is a platform for everyone, and that my voice is important. That, in itself, is reason enough to swallow all my doubts and push forward.

Publishing dozens of articles this year has definitely made me a more confident writer. Through the various writing I’ve done this year, I’ve been able to fine-tune my voice, and delve deeper into my interests. And through it all, I’ve learned to weather through some of my struggles.

I can say that now, more than ever, I’m ready to field any storm that comes my way. 

“Words are…our most inexhaustible source of magic,” as best said by J.K. Rowling (yes! I’m a Potterhead). This is probably my favorite quote ever, because it’s so undeniably true. I should never, and will never, underestimate the power of my story.

[bctt tweet=”I can say that now, more than ever, I’m ready to field any storm that comes my way. “]

I went from being someone who watches storms from afar, to being part of the movement that’s starting one. I’m so glad to be a part of a team of empowered, fierce women. We’re shaking things up, changing the status quo, and supporting one another in more ways than one.