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I’ve noticed old friends and acquaintances holding previous assumptions they’ve made about who I am, assumptions that are no longer true.
I don’t fit into these boxes anymore.
I’ve moved away from my hometown in Egypt almost six years ago and moved to Australia; how can anyone expect me to be the same person? Yet, it seems some people in my circle still seem to operate on old ideas of who I am and what I used to struggle with. They remember the victim, but they don’t see the successes and the ways in which I’ve overcome so much to be the person I am today.
I look at myself now and I see a changed woman.
I see a woman whose left an entire continent behind her to embark on a new journey, with nothing but a passport and a dream. I see a woman whose chosen discomfort over familiarity. A woman whose chosen the hard path of going inward and healing childhood wounds, which then began healing relationship wounds. Currently, working on healing my relationship with money and who knows what’s next. I see a woman who is taking everything one wise step at a time.
I see a woman whose adapted to a new environment the best way she could. She learned to express herself differently, more creatively. A woman whose sense of fashion has evolved and whose sense of self has matured to a degree that it often surprises her when she catches herself in a moment surrounded by abundance—the free-floating kind and the hard-earned kind.
I see a woman who has managed to find different hustles to stay afloat in a place where her credentials weren’t recognised. I see a woman whose risen above her circumstances and still stayed genuine, empathetic, and authentic in every pursuit. A woman whose made some mistakes, but has grown from them and can see, in retrospect, how nothing was wrong. Everything served as a vehicle to an expanded self.
I see a woman who has been through many dark nights of the soul and emerged on the other side stronger, full of courage. A woman who tastes freedom and bliss from the simplest of pleasures like a ray of light glimmering on her lashes in the late afternoon sun. I see a woman whose sense of integrity and confidence has grown resolute with every skill learned, and every task accomplished. I see a woman whose failures have made her doubt herself, but have also made her more sure than ever before that moving forward is in her DNA.
I look at myself in the mirror these days, and it’s a bit cliché to say, but I almost feel like I could cry. Because parts of me are in genuine disbelief that I am standing where I am today. I’ve put immense pressure on myself to become a person that others could admire or respect, but I’m finally letting go of all of that and simply loving me—as I am today, in this very moment, in this very breath.
A changed woman has an unwavering sense of peace and calm about her. It arises from a deep, intrinsic belief in her self-worth.
I am this woman today. Not out of privilege, or cotton candy experiences, but born out of trauma, pain, hardship, joy, and everything in between. It makes me proud.
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