300 Books Before 30

Part of my identity has always been that I am a reader. I cannot remember a time in my childhood — from my earliest memories — that I did not love books or count myself among those who love reading; whether it was thick, cardboard-paged books about a spotty dog, The Famous Five, Sweet Dreams (cringe!), Sweet Valley, then finally the more mature books about life, love and such… books formed a huge part of my identity.

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But, increasingly, in my young adult years through to my current adult years (old adult?), I’ve found less and less time for reading. And I know that’s just because I’ve made less time for it. I’ve found more distractions, more stress, more work, more world news, more to fret about, and more Facebook and YouTube to numb my brain with.

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A Delayed Day Two

It’s day 4 of April, yes, but this was the poem I wrote for Day 2 of NaPoWriMo but just haven’t posted until now.

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Wings

by Ruqaiyah Davids

In the tower of tenderness the wings unfold,
Slowly,
Gently.
Until they’re sure and strong.
They unravel and spread their beauty.
Boldly.
Courageously.
The wind carries them,
To parts unknown.
They travel with faith and with hope.
They soar and glide;
There is no end to what they may find.
They will reach the ends of the earth
With faith and with hope.
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Where Do You Go to be Brave?

You’re not a teenager anymore.

That is what I keep telling myself.

You’re not a student anymore. This is not your university campus. This is NOT the student life.

Tired nights, followed by lazy days… they can no longer be passed by moving from lecture hall to lecture hall in a student haze, strategically picking a seat far enough away from the lecturer, but close enough so that it does not look as though I’ve intentionally selected my seat so that I may go unnoticed by the lecturer, still recovering from the all-nighter of the previous night — by catching up on some sleep to the soothing melody of my lecturer’s voice.

I am a teacher now. I must set the example. I must teach. And my students will not sleep in my class — and neither will I.

So student life is behind me now. And adult life looms before me. I have responsibilities — not only to myself, but to others. To my students. To their parents. To my employer. To the generations that are still to come, the children that my students will nurture and raise!

I have responsibilities.

As a student, I only really had a responsibility to myself: to ensure that I handed my assignments in on time (and that it was well-researched and well-written), that I study for exams, and that I show up for exams — on time. If I had failed to do these things, the only one who would have suffered the consequences would have been me. The only one who would be failing would be me. The only one who would be repeating a module would be me. And I would probably have had to find my own way to pay for it, since it would also be me who would have been suffering the punishment and wrath of my parents for failing, thus resulting in them not paying for the module I would have had to repeat.

But now, as an adult, I don’t just report to myself at the end of the day. It’s not just good results on an exam that I am working towards. It is so much more than that. I have to think of budgeting and saving, of short-term and long-term. Being an adult is scary. Leaving behind my Chucks because they’re no longer appropriate footwear to wear to work was daunting. Going to bed at a sensible time because I have to wake up sensibly early the next morning and be at work a sensible ten minutes before the time was challenging — no, is challenging. Making sure my car is filled up with petrol because I’m no longer leeching off my father by driving his car — horrifying (to my purse).

But if being an adult is scary, being a teacher is absolutely terrifying. As a teacher, I have so many young minds before me, waiting for me to actually teach them. What could I possibly teach them?? The thought sometimes paralyses me. At times, I feel small and inadequate. I feel as though it’s all going wrong. I feel scared. But then I remind myself to be brave. But that doesn’t always work. I sometimes have a difficult time actually listening to what I tell myself. And then it’s time again for me to just suck it up and do my job: go into the classroom and teach those girls. Give them something to learn. And that’s when it happens. That’s when I get my courage. That’s when I’m reminded of why I’ve always wanted to be a teacher. That’s when my passion grows. And I fall in love with all of them all over again. When I need to be brave, I just step inside the classroom. I am greeted by my students with zest: “As-Salamu ‘alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh!May the Peace, Mercy and Blessings of Allah be upon you! What more do I need? What more do I need  to be brave than the Peace, Mercy and Blessings of Allah, and the students whom He has guided me to teach?

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Do you get scared sometimes? What scares you? Where do you go, or what do you do, to be brave? Share your thoughts with me in the comments below.

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