Last evening, I went to a event that was organised by one of the leading Somali organisations in the city. They invited 2 successful Somali ladies (one a flourishing businesswoman and the other, a doctor and someone heavily involved in charitable work back home). When I saw the advert online, I knew immediately that I would be attending. These kinds of inspirational evenings are some of my favourite events to attend, I always leave feeling so inspired, motivated and re-energised. I feel like all my dreams are achievable and it gives me a great boost. As expected, that was exactly how I fell as I was returning back home after the event.
What or who could inspire me -a Muslim, a Somali and a woman- more than a successful Muslim, Somali woman? Answer is: probably no-one can beat such a person.
It's not everyday that we get to hear the successful stories of Somali women despite there being.. a lot of them across the world. The message I heard last night was that being selfless is important. I also heard the strong message that placing one's trust and reliance in God is a primary key to any success on this earth. I heard that hard work, hard work, sweat and tears and more hard work is the base. I heard that every good thing takes time and therefore, patience is another primary key in all endeavours. I also heard how important both of the speakers' mothers had been in their lives and how highly and beautifully they were talking about their mothers.. as though to say that without their mothers, perhaps their successes would have been more limited. I almost stood up and applauded when they were making this point, I got a bit emotional to be honest.
(sidenote: I'm that weirdo at events who never claps.. I never clap unless an incredible point is made, like a really incredible one then I'll make it an exception.. [people must think that I'm so arrogant but clapping for someone is not in my habits]. Last night, I ended up clapping twice -which is a lot for me- but each time, their point went straight to my heart and that my palms were clapping uncontrollably).
I also heard and took in the recital of how hard and tedious their journeys had been because of the 3 tags they carried. These 3 tags form some of the least appreciated and under-rated tags a person could carry in today's contemporary society being: a woman, a black woman, a Muslim = a black Mulim woman. These 3 words alone could scare a lot of people, wouldn't you agree? Hence why I really believe that the successes of Somali women are triply worth jubilating over and cheering for! It's crazy to think that someone like me -who also carries these 3 tags on her prominent Somali forehead- is almost certainly going to go through more hardships, stereotypes and cynical remarks than the norm. It's also sickening to imagine that because of these 3 tags, more people on this planet have prejudice and hatred towards what I represent (be it my black skin, my religious identity or my gender).. The odds are that more people dislike what I stand for than the opposite, sad reality.
But you know what they say? Tell me it's impossible.. and I'll show you how it's possible. This also the message I heard from the 2 ladies last night. I also heard about their difficulties throughout their journeys but through another angle. This time, the struggle was not necessarily because of the tags they carry but because of the challenging nature of life. Whenever you attempt to do something different, something extra-ordinary, something brave.. life will throw rocks at you.. just to see how serious and determined you are about your dreams and goals. Are you going to give up at the first or second hurdle? Or are you going to display endurance and push through no matter what? This is called resilience.
I heard the call that sounded almost like a plea from the lady who lives and works in Somalia (the doctor) for us, the Somali youth, to return to our motherland and be the manpower the country needs to move forward. I heard that deeply. (sidenote: this is the second point that caused uncontrollable clapping from me)
I don't know whether it's because I'm the eldest of my family or not, but my parents and relatives have always -from young- told me that I have a great future ahead of me, that I will one day, go back to Somalia and do something, that I should not be just another western graduate wasting her education ect.
I have been told 2 things:
1) Think about when and what you'll take with you when you go back home and
2) Think about what you want to leave behind once you die.
Let me tell you that..over the years, much thinking has been spent on trying to plan my future and the ideas I have are grand. Each year that passes, the desire in me is growing but I have a little voice telling me 'wait, not yet.. just wait a bit more'. I know that I'm not ready to go back yet because I have no money (*bouuhh*) to invest, I have no real tangible plan yet and I also think I could deepen my expertise in my field so as to be the best possible asset inshAllah. Sabr, sabr, sabr..
At least, alhamdulilah, the ambition is there and I'm sure.. time will come soon inshAllah.
After the event, I left with a feeling of renewed ambition and a spirit revival. This year has been a break in my life from many angles and even though, I didn't like this break.. maybe it is for a stronger and better start soon. I want to conclude by asking you to question your life... what do you want to fight for during your lifetime? What are your goals and aims? Do these goals and aims include others? If not, I urge you to think about how you can help others and be selfless for the sake of God and in hope of His Reward.
My worst fear is to a waste of space.. to live a long life but I've benefited no one, I've helped no one, I've supported no one, I've taught no one, I've healed no one, I've guided no one..
Toddles (leaving you with some food for thought, hopefully :p)