For years I have been trying to figure out who I am. Being born to Sudanese parents (with a half Turkish mother) in London and raised in the U.A.E. for all of my life, having an identity crisis was bound to happen. I was always told how to behave, what to do, what career path to pursue and the kind of man I was expected to get married to. Slowly but surely I started believing what everyone was saying. I became the person they were expecting me to be, and the more I lived through their words, the more I lost myself.
I went through phases of different identities.
I was convinced that I was the next Santana, and had the guitar to prove it! It turned out that I was not, which my guitar reminds me of daily, sitting in a corner in my room collecting dust staring back at me.
I was sure I was the next Usain Bolt, and I did well for a while. Running became therapeutic for me and I lost 30 kgs through it. I broke new boundaries, I challenged myself, and I succeeded. But it was only a means to an end and the magic was soon over.
I was sure that I was the next Maya Angelou.
I wrote words that rhyme,
time after time,
thinking to myself “wow, I’m great!…”
“…This is totally my fate!”
Then I read Maya’s words,
And realize…how mine were absurd.
So… who am I?
October 2014 was my first contact with a hula hoop ever (yeah, I had a sad childhood). And from the moment I’d laid hands on my first hoop, I knew something magical was about to happen. Now, almost a year later, I can definitely say that my life has not been the same since.
Do I now know who I am? Haha, not even close! But with every spin, with every turn, with every breath and with every wiggle, I discover more about myself that was buried under years’ worth of self-doubt, lies, imposed expectations and fear. I uncover the truth of who I am; which sometimes scares me, and at other times excites me. I hurt, I fail, I succeed, I struggle… but most importantly, I play. And it is in this playtime that I hang my corporate mask of Ms Grown Up Engineer McBorington and don my Superhero Hoopasita McFlowster cape, delving into the dark corners of my heart and soul, and letting the light of self-love, reassurance, confidence and courage shine through.
Through the lens of a hoop, I realized that I need not attach myself to a single identity; I am greater than that.
Through the lens of a hoop, I discovered that I am a human, a lover, an artist, an athlete, a learner, a teacher, a dreamer, and so much more.
Through the lens of a hoop, I have learnt to let things go and not judge myself if I fail. I have learnt that it is okay to make mistakes and learn from them. I have learnt to see beauty in flaws and embrace them.
Through the lens of a hoop…
I began to see myself.