Mnatalla

Sometimes it’s hard being Egyptian, well Arab for that matter because you have to think twice about everything you do. Because when you are an Arab American Woman, every action you take feels almost symbolic of a race that’s already so misrepresented in media. So I feel like everything I’ve done, I’ve wanted to make sure has been done in the most positive light. It’s fair and sometimes less said sentiment that it’s a judgmental culture we live in. It’s a daily struggle thinking about if you want to do something, but also having to be aware of if others would approve.

 

Despite that burden always being at the back of my mind, I’ve learned that at one point, you have to just stop and say, “I can’t care what others think of me”. If you honestly feel like you are staying true to yourself and not hurting anyone along the way – you just have to do it.

 

I’m trying to live up to this kind of thinking every day. For now I’m a receptionist at a salon in passing. As for school, I go to Baruch studying business writing. I haven’t gotten a chance to get as into it was I want but I think it’s the best of both worlds for me as I’ve always been infatuated with business but still have a love of writing and English. It’s a good way to mix all those elements in so we’ll see where that takes me.

 

As much as some parts of school excite me, they are very few. There are times I think that I am just going there, just to go there…to get a degree...to graduate…and to get a job – you know, the normal thing everyone does. Sure. It will open doors for me and I’m definitely learning and I want to make my parents proud so I will continue to. But I always wonder how much exactly this will help with my real passions long term.

 

Sometimes I don’t even know what my parents real passions are because they sacrificed so much for my sister and me. My mom is coming around lately and openly shows her love of baking! She’s always calling me and my sister down to try something new and I love seeing how happy it makes her. My father on the other hand, I’m still trying to figure out. He does so much for our family to make our lives easier that I don’t know what he truly would like to do. He just wants to make us happy and I want to return the favor.  But it makes you think…of how important it is to follow your passions – especially when your family worked so hard to provide you with that outlet.

 

Growing up I thought I wanted to work in fashion but as I think about it, as much as I love it, I wouldn’t want it to be my whole life. No, I think I’d much rather want to own a bunch of small businesses. BUT, I don’t want them to get big. Crazy right? But I’d be just as content running businesses that stay niche. One thing that comes to mind particularly would be a coffee shop. I can’t put my finger on it but it’s just something about coffee shops that sparks something in me. I’ve had my best conversations there. I’d love to just have a place people look forward to hanging out, studying, reading, and going out for dates, whatever, just a place where people can find comfort… Their own escape.

 I don’t need all the money in the world. Just enough so I could travel. That would be nice… there’s just something about being put in uncomfortable situations that I look forward to. You kind of have to take advantage of every resource you have, you’re forced to meet new people and try new things. You have to get out of that little bubble you feel so safe in. It reminds me of one of my new favorite books, “Do Cool Sh*t”. Honestly that book inspired me in so many ways. Especially with wanting to open up my own coffee place. It’s like the things she went through to chase her dreams…if she could do it, I could, that’s really how I feel. She had this way of motivating you that I can’t explain.

 

I mean, I write today and have my own blog and much of what I try doing is replicating that same kind of feeling I got from that book. It’s all about positivity. If I could help people reading have that same feeling I had, whether it be from things I am doing, or people I am meeting, I want to share that message and get others just as excited.  The other thing I’d want people to understand is that simplicity is amazing. We don’t always need everything we’re told we need. Appreciate what you have. For me friends and family is everything and the second I stopped worrying about what other people thought, I was able to not take for granted what was truly important.  

 

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