About Me — An Indefinable Definition

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.

A PechaKucha

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.



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4 thoughts on “About Me — An Indefinable Definition

  1. Dear Nazeefa,

    Even though this wasn’t the first time I heard you speak about this, my reaction however, maintained as if it was the initial moment I had ever perceived this. For instance, each and every metaphorical phrase written evoked a strong response within me. I thought the uses of figurative language were quite clever and matched explicitly well with the context. Personally, my favourite comparison may have been about the formation of carbon and diamonds to our frame of mind. For me, I had always learned how to contain these negative emotions rather than transform them into something worth appreciating. It was only recently when I discovered this skill which is why that piece of your blog resonated with me.

    Finding constructive feed back may have been the hardest part of writing this comment. I loved how you incorporated relevant personal experience into the piece, however, if you had implemented some of your hobbies and also related them to what makes you “you”, it would give the reader an even stronger glimpse in to who you are as a person. Although it may not have been the focus of your piece, touching on your interests would have added another layer to our understanding of your mindset.

    I have always looked up to your intelligence and you have been one of the influences that make me strive to become a better person and student. This blog really and truly does capture and reflect your mentality in an admirable and resonating matter. Overall, reading it was quite wholesome and it did put a smile on my face.


    1. Dear Naomi,
      Thank you for taking the time to read my PechaKucha! I appreciate that you noticed and understood my metaphors, as this is the style that I usually prefer. I like to compare things when I think, and I write in the same way, which is why almost every topic I write about is in this format.

      Also, I am now aware that my PechaKucha could have been seen as off-topic. I did talk about the people in my life to show how we are similar, but discussing the things I enjoy may have been a more focused approach. I truly appreciate how you pointed this out to me and will be warier in the future.

      Once again, thank you for your feedback, and I am looking forward to a great semester!

  2. Dearest Nazeefa,

    AP blog one is done! I know you have experience with blogging before but there is, undeniably, a different feeling that comes with publishing your work amongst all the great AP minds of years past – and you should know that you have done very well. I am proud to be a part of your AP journey and am excited to see where it leads!

    You are a true poet at heart. Your ability to manipulate words is absolutely incredible and leaves me in awe. I fell in love with your metaphors – especially the swimming one, so heartwarming. My favourite part, however, was how you related each member of your family to your development because that really emphasized how important they are to you and their roles in your life; what I found was equally as amazing was how you made sure you still emphasized the importance of remaining true to yourself – I can speak on behalf of everyone in this class and say you should keep being you. I know how hard it can be balancing the desire of emulating others while staying true to yourself and you captured that perfectly.

    I can’t say I have a suggestion specifically to the blog itself, so I am going to provide some suggestions on the original presentation and hope it counts. From this blog, it is clear you have a strong grasp of who you are and how you want to say it; however, I feel like I missed that while you were presenting. I know that writing and speaking are two different playing fields, but I think everyone who only saw the PechaKucha didn’t get the absolute delight of the beautiful metaphors you came up with. My advice is to slow down and just think through the basics of what you want to say in the future – it doesn’t mean memorizing it like a script but having a few guide words that will assist you; I saw how sometimes you found yourself having said everything you wanted to say with time to spare – time you could’ve utilized to say some of the things you wrote here. You have a beautiful mind Nazeefa and should awe the world beyond your writing.

    I am overjoyed I get to learn from you this year and experience your work in both a creative and critical setting! I can’t wait to experience more gems like: “I wish to be liberated by the freedoms of my wishes, rather than imprisoned by the effort it demands” because that is such a lovely phrase that is applicable to so many parts of life. Continue to work hard and amaze everyone with what you have to offer – I know you have already done so with me.


    1. Dear Nimrat,
      Your compliments mean a lot to me. Thank you for taking the time to read my PechaKucha, and also leave a trail of wisdom behind for me to follow.

      I prefer a poetic voice because it is hard for me to be direct. I would much rather compare myself to a flappy bird than write an essay about the way I act. Therefore, I am glad you liked this stylistic choice.

      Also, I completely agree with you about the quality of my presentation. I also feel that I could have described my metaphors with more detail that I did. When I stand up in front of people to present, my mind blanks, and I forget almost everything I want to say. However, I am working on it, and I am glad you pointed out this area where I can improve.

      Once again thank you for your kind and helpful words, and I am looking forward to a great semester!

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