Who I am is difficult to express through words. Like a block of clay in a potter’s hand, I am someone who is watered-down, then shape up again, accenting the likable traits, and carving out the unlikeable ones. In other words, I am a young teenager, changing much too rapidly to ever concretely define. What you are about to read is simply a snapshot of my identity during a certain point of my growth.
While in the delivery room at Elmhurst Hospital, my mother was still unsure of what to name her child. There were three options: Jannat ul Firdaus (Garden in Paradise), Fatima (Daughter of the Prophet) and Nazeefa, the one with a pure and innocent soul. The hospital demanded a name right after my birth, and my mother admits she chose mine last minute. In a way, my name was granted to me much like the way I am: partially ordered, with a hint of spontaneity. I strive to honor the origins of my name-giving, as my mother had seen my personality in its meaning. Therefore, by preserving a childlike innocence in my identity, I choose to be accountable to my initial roots.
However, as the tabula rasa of my mind began to fill with experience, darker emotions crept their way in. Jealousy, revenge, anger, and sadness were like rocks of carbon, piling around my heart. Mountains slowly formed as I struggled to apply these emotions in my day to day life. After a while, I learned that when compressed, carbon can become one of the hardest and purest minerals on Earth. I used this knowledge to transform my evil into good by controlling and using my emotions as motivation to regain my innocence. With the sheer force of my will, I crafted the masses of carbon surrounding my heart, into a handful of sparkling diamonds worth admiring.
As shiny as they are, diamonds can never run a vehicle. Neither can the crude carbon extracted from the earth’s crust. Owning a matte-black Jeep Wrangler has always been a dream of mine, but if I want to maintain its engine, I know I must invest in premium gas. This translates to my ability to find a sustainable purpose for the goals I choose to set, and the thoughts I dare to dream of. As a person who constantly questions my fate, and loses motivation at the slightest inconvenience, I must find happiness in the things I do. As Malcolm Gladwell said, “Hard work is a prison sentence only if it does not have meaning.” I wish to be liberated by the freedoms of my wishes, rather than imprisoned by the effort it demands.
When I do struggle to find a purpose and lose hope in my future, I rely on my younger sister’s guidance to refocus my mind. Nabeeha is like a lifeguard, jumping into the water when I am sinking, and letting me be when I wish to swim alone. Her judicious thinking and advice have helped me tread the waters of my life with much more ease than without. Soon, I will enter deeper and harsher seas, but Nabeeha’s swimming pool is where I will continue to practice and learn. From my sister, I embody focus and balance in its most refined form.
From my mother, I learn pride and love. Her pride in our family acts as the adhesive binding us together, and her love, the foundation we build our love on. Being good to my mother is incredibly important to me because my mother’s love is an indefinable spectrum, difficult to convey through words. It is absolute, everlasting, and most importantly, reliable. Moreover, it obliges me to return the love and care that I so selfishly take every day. My mother teaches me the “who-to” of love, rather than the how-to.
My father and I are the same in that people never really know what we are feeling. I believe that the wrath of my anger and sadness should not explode on my surroundings, which is why a smile is forever plastered on my face. Positivity allows for long-lasting relationships, and I value its presence in my life. Even through hardship, my father manages to maintain his composure, and fight his battles with an aura of grace. From him, I learn to maintain a reputable image regardless of the storm brewing within.
However, there is an obvious flaw in this way of thinking. If I am constantly covering up my true feelings to please my surroundings, I essentially make myself a doormat for all to step on. Therefore, from my brother, I wish to learn the skill of transparency. Saaim has no filter on his emotions, being extremely authoritative, straightforward, and stubborn with almost everything. By being so rigid, people take the time to consider his thoughts and are somewhat impacted by his presence. I try to adopt a firmer persona to prevent my thoughts and actions from being swayed by the whims of others. However, I still try to keep true to my kind nature.
By adopting an authoritative and honest voice, my words will one day have a strong currency. I strive to speak transparently and with meaning because I fear to give my tongue full freedom over the economy of my speech. My brain neither operates under a free market, nor a fully controlled system, but somewhere in between. I forbid words that fly through the air with no purpose, as they become as worthless as owning a bill worth one trillion Zimbabwean dollars (no offense to anyone). I want my one-dollar word to mean something in the hearts and minds of those I care about and wish to have an impact on. To do this, I control my tongue.
My focus on being purposeful in the things I do reflects my constant effort to reach an unrealistic level of perfection. Regardless of how much I deny its existence, attempted perfection is my motto in life, which is why the quote from the movie Fracture startled me so much. Anthony Hopkins says, “If you throw away eggs based on the hairline cracks within the shell, you will never be able to eat an egg in your life.” It is in my nature to criticize my decisions, look closely for flaws, and wish to go back in time to fix them. By doing so, I lose the spontaneity I claim to preserve within me. I try my best to apply my impulsive and hesitant side in my life, but the teeter-totter does lose its balance at times.
For now, I live life as a Flappy Bird, desperately avoiding awkward situations, confrontation, or, in other words, any moment where I am paralyzed by the thought of acting. While frozen, I carefully analyze all my options, develop unnecessarily complicated scenarios, and finally, make the “best” choice. However, by the time I decide, the game is already over, and I have to make my way through the pipe maze again. As with everything, practice makes perfect, and my high score is only getting higher, each round better than the last. The day I develop a firm choice, and a steady voice, I hope and pray my words and actions will be meaningful, and worth paying attention to.
Featured GIF: https://gph.is/25BX26E
- Carbon to Diamond → https://zeenews.india.com/news/science/new-phase-of-carbon-used-to-make-diamond-at-room-temperature_1828820.html
- Jeep → https://www.pinterest.ca/pin/271130840042386648/
- Zimbabwe Bill → https://templetoncollectibles.com/products/100-trillion-zimbabwe-dollars-1-note
- Egg → https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323001.php
- Flappy bird → https://psmag.com/economics/flappy-bird-candy-crush-still-making-much-money-75048