Alhamdulillah. All praise and thanks are due to God. At this moment, my mind is going back and forth, trying to figure out how to write this post and how to even start it. I tend to babble when I’m telling a story, and include details that are not really important to the actual point, but in my mind, I think it is so I tell it anyway. Then once I’m done, I will go back and think to myself, “Why did I bring that up?” and then scold myself for talking more than I needed to. But today, I’m feeling brazen and owning up to my talkativeness, ’cause this mom needs a place to vent. Why didn’t I think of this sooner?
So about a week or so ago, I came across a flyer posted on Facebook for a professional networking event for Muslim women, catered towards high school juniors and college students. When I first saw this, I thought to myself, ‘Wow, that’s an amazing event. I would love to benefit from this, but alas, I am not a high school or college student.’ Not exactly in those words, but I was a little bummed that I was not included in that category. But after seeing it again another day, I asked myself, “Why not?” So I innocently asked the original poster, “Any room for mamas like myself?” Not surprisingly, I received a supportive response and later registered myself as a student for this event.
Leading up to the event, I had mixed feelings of nervousness and excitement. Nervous because I’d probably be one of the very few older, if not only older student (not a professional), and because I’d be around other Muslim women, college graduates and professional career women. I don’t know where exactly it stemmed from, but I always had this mentality that educated people are superior to uneducated people, and I have always been intimidated by professionals in the workforce. It probably isn’t uncommon, but to a person like myself with low self-esteem, it has negatively affected a lot of my choices in life and I’ve been working on changing that about myself. It wasn’t until I saw a quote posted by the very same person who posted about the event, that I started to feel more comfortable with myself and excited to meet other people.
“You can’t be successful if you are intimidated by successful people.” ~ Alan
This triggered a lot of unanswered questions for me about why I couldn’t figure out where I wanted to be and what I wanted to do. I let fear take over way too many of my choices and was left behind. Too afraid to fail. Too afraid to be judged. Too afraid to be criticized. I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew it was something that I couldn’t let fear take away from me again. So I went.
For some, it could’ve just been another day to learn something new and meet new people. But for me, this event ended up being much, much more. I pushed myself to step out of my comfort zone. To feel comfortable with my awkwardness and embrace it. To take a much needed moment for myself. To reach out for help from my mom to watch the kids. To step into that venue among many young students, and say, yes, I’m a 30-year-old mom still trying to learn and find her way in life. And to finally, finally come to terms with myself, and learn that I am a professional too. I’m a mom and there’s no shame in that. I’m a teacher, cook, childcare provider, housekeeper, nurse, adviser, chauffeur, and countless others. I’m very thankful that I decided to attend and I hope other mothers do this for themselves as well. Not just mothers, but anyone going through life, still unsure of themselves. It’s never too late to decide you want to go after your dreams and goals in life. You’re never too old to learn. And you most certainly are capable of doing whatever you set your mind to. Take a leap of faith, and believe in yourself. Do it. Just do it. You will walk away from that experience knowing that you at least tried, even if you don’t succeed, and with no regrets. And one last piece of advice I walked away with that night:
If you feed your faith, your doubts will starve.