I had read before about moments of enlightenment in which a person sees a sign or comprehends something from a different perspective. A moment in which his life alters and never return to what it used to be before this moment. This is exactly what happened to me in my kitchen while heating food in the microwave. It wasn’t the first time that my daughter asks to have a sleepover at one of her friends. It was the first time she accuses us, her parents, of not being open-minded. An accusation I was ready to ignore at this particular moment. The words that followed punched me, hearing her linking my actions with her adulthood and how my restrictions would let her feel empty and unfulfilled for the rest of her life.
I spent the days that followed comparing my life to hers and wondering, how despite all the suffer I had for being a ‘girl’ in an Eastern country, I was taking no action to let her live happier. How was I repeating the same history and wearing the mask of the open-minded educator at the International school where I work, taking it off on my porch?
Few days later my daughter left for a camp and I spent long hours reexamining my frames of reference. Questioning the choices I made in life and the way I raised my children. The ugly truth was so clear. I was an oppressor, having double standards while raising my children. Watering my daughter since she was still a child with rotten ideas. Her brother was more privileged and under my roof I was supporting gender inequality.
Culture, norms, traditions and religion were my companions during the weeks that followed. I started to ask big questions like: ‘why do I do the things I do and what if they were wrong? Why do I raise my daughter the way I was raised while I lived my childhood feeling weak, little and incapable? Why ‘what people would say’ was that important and till when we it will keep limiting our freedom of choice? Are Egyptians meant to remain entrapped and chained forever?
The answer for me was a need for a revival. One that starts with a journey inside ourselves. To question our beliefs and the reasons behind our daily behaviours and our poor choices. A revival on the things we were taught they were taboos and we weren’t allowed to discuss or to reconsider.
My daughter’s afternoon arguing resulted in Paradigm Shift and its first production ‘Fabulous Veils’. And I became a novelist, a writer and a public speaker, inviting people to examine their own frames of references, ensuring neither to refuse nor to accept old models unless they consider them from multiple angles. Fabulous Veils is one of the traces I intend to leave along my journey on earth. Between its lines I reveal the various forms of gender inequality and female oppression we must stop accepting in Egypt.