“Where are you from?”
This is usually how my origin story starts — a question from someone wanting to know where I’m from. Not what brought me here. Not what I’ve experienced.
The answer to that question is never a simple one. I could go many routes: truthful (“Born and raised right here in Louisiana,”), humorous (“The hospital a few miles away from here,”) or the answer that everyone’s looking for — where my ancestors came from. (In case you’ve been wondering this whole time, it’s Lebanon. There’s a bridge there with my last name on it).
When it comes to my own accomplishments and achievements, though, it’s always an afterthought. People assume that I eat hummus with every meal and leave it at that.
They don’t know that I’m a writer. They don’t know that I love ukulele. And they don’t know that I’ve battled depression my whole life.
[bctt tweet=”When it came to my own accomplishments and achievements, it was always an afterthought.”]
Before The Tempest, I was aimless — a young woman drifting in and out of friendships, of projects, of opinions and dreams. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, or what I could be good at. I was spineless. Raising my voice only if something fell on my toe. I kept to myself and avoided people — or what I like to call “real life” people. My introversion makes it easier for me to open up online. I signed up for Tumblr and Twitter, and kept a few close friends on Facebook.
It was there that I discovered the voices that no one was listening to. Tales of young women taking ownership of their spaces and claiming their bodies. Molding their roles into whatever they wanted them to be.
The first post that I saw from The Tempest — then Coming of Faith — was I am not a bad daughter, at a time the tides had turned between my parents and me. All I needed were those few words of affirmation, and the bleak, listless calm within me was over.
The storm started.
My hands stirred. Ideas blew around in my head again. It was the same storm — the same pile of anxieties and everything that held me back — but this time, I could fight it.
Then I did it: I pitched my story.
My inner storm gained more momentum and I submitted an application to be an editorial fellow. From there I wrote unapologetic essays daily, gaining more experience than any work position I had before. I was with women who loved a challenge, who pushed me beyond what I had done before, and encouraged me all along the way
What was most amazing was that people were reading it — and they loved it! I never knew I could have such an impact. Moreover, I never thought that people would listen to me.
All it took was a little rumble, a small spark — and I started a storm.