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Sunday, December 4, 2016

Back to Basics: Stay true to yourself

Back to Basics: Stay true to yourself

Gaza, I decided to go back to basics, not only in writing, but also in many aspects of my life. Since school days, I dreamt of being a journalist who gives the world compelling human stories and I pursued it immediately. I started this blog as a little cozy place where I can be me and write to myself and to a few others who would be interested in seeing how I unfold with time. I used writing as my therapy.

Then the world forces you to evolve and mature, if I may say. You lose your breath trying to catch up, sidetracked by people who want to mold you in whatever shape they see fit. I was pushed to obsess over viewership, I was told my writing wasn’t "professional enough", some said my style is too simple pushing me to become a little pretentious and some others wanted to just break me down saying they had my best interest in mind. Yeah right.

I caved in. I started writing for an American news agency. I started using complicated words found on a simple Google search of "Complex writing glossary". I started checking the views every two minutes. Everybody around me succeeded in influencing me, and I was eager to please. I started feeling fancy.

I got high on the hype of being published on prestigious websites. I started abandoning my aesthetic and slowly lost my voice to please others and fight less with editors.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t happy even though my dream came true. I was making money out of writing compelling human stories to have them manipulated by editor, but at least I was attending to everyone's image of who\how I should be.

Soon enough, after draining battles of discussing my writing rates and vicious fights with editors who could find no mistakes in my writing yet broke my style and voice down until it was irrelevant and what they published sounded like nothing I would have written.

I detached myself from writing in what felt like a painful slow progression, I decided not to write for money and I just lost the passion for it. What was once my remedy and joy ride turned out to be my misery and nightmare. I tried going back to writing after a while, but every time I did, my hands froze and my mind went into a complete shutdown mode. After I failed my talent, it decided to fail me. "Fair enough", I thought to myself.

My last blog post was nearly two years ago, yet people still emailed me and told me –Both in person and online- that they read my blog. I felt constantly embarrassed and flabbergasted, why would people still be interested?

I started reminiscing on the old days when I only wanted to write to fulfill my passion and perhaps inspire one person at least. I remembered how writing was a joyful experience of artistic release and a breath of fresh air. The days when viewership didn’t matter and all I cared about was writing and nothing else. It brought a smile to my face and reignited a spark inside me.

The last three years have been rough. Too many changes, drastic ups and downs and I lost myself in the process of what I thought was "The natural progression". I only started recently to slowly gain my old self back and it feels good. I closed a chapter and started a fresh one. Here I am, back to writing to myself and to whoever is willing to read, even if it was only one person in any part of the world, I am writing for you and me.

I am back to offer the same narrative of rawness and realness I once was known for, and my dorky  humor. I am back to share what is happening on ground but also to reflect a positive tone. I am back to my beginning days when I wrote for the sake of writing not caring how personal it gets or how crazy I sound. I am back because nobody has the right to own my voice or shut me up or control me. I am back because many people miss the human and relatable feel in my writings. I am back to prove that nothing is worth giving up on your talent for. I am back to tell you to keep believing, keep being you and always listen to your gut and I promise you it will pay off when you least expect it.

Consider this as a wakeup call to go against submitting to the norm, or what people expect from you or want you to be. Think of it as a plea for you not to give up, not from a preacher but from a person who went through it and knows how it feels. Take it as invitation for me and you to embark on a new journey where we stay true to ourselves and to everyone around us.

The happiness you waste your life looking for exists within, which makes external affirmation useless so never sacrifice who you are for someone else. Every person in your life might leave you for any reason, all you have is yourself so own it and work on it. Be your own person.

Together in good and bad,
Omar Ghraieb