- At what point did you know you wanted to become a writer?
I have always known that I am more comfortable communicating in written words as opposed to verbal or non verbal communication but the first time I knew that writing for me is more than just self-expression was in March 2005 when my first article was published in Egypt's Insight. Seeing my pain and anger in print made my wounds heal - I never stopped writing since then.
- I hear you were a bit of a rebel when you were younger. What aspects of Egyptian traditions did you find hard to accept about the equality of sex?
I still am a rebel I am not pro gender equality because it is not possible; men and women were created differently, they function differently, and they can never be equal in that sense. I advocate equality in rights; women are no longer killed at birth but they might as well be considered dead. A little girl is "owned" by her father, brother, uncles, or any male in the family regardless of how competent he is, and she only aspires to become the cherished property of another man she calls husband. Most girls are circumcised physically or mentally or both, they are denied the right to date, choose, make mistakes, learn from their mistakes, grow, and explore their real potential. I realize how close I was to being one of "those" girls!
- You question the world, yourself, traditions a great deal. Were you brought up by strong minded and influential parents?
No I was brought up in a conservative middle class family that preached the virtue of being a "good girl", the beauty of hypocrisy in the name of decorum, and the 10 commandments of submission, denial, and double standards. I never understood it, could never accept "the rules", and was miraculously saved when my father immigrated to the US in 1993. I stumbled, fell, got hurt, and died a million times until I finally came to terms with how "odd" I am in 2005.
- What made you decide to suddenly speak up? Can you take us through the steps from being a shy girl to a confident speaker?
It hurt too much; being different tore me to pieces. I used to consciously stop any line of thoughts because I did not know where the thoughts came from. I was not sure if I was insane or possessed. I kept bottling in those "weird thoughts" and "forbidden questions" until I could no longer take it. That was when Jenny was born. I was too weak, too scared, and too intimidated to allow Marwa to be.
Jenny gave me the voice that I lacked, the confidence that I craved, and the sanity that I almost lost trying to fit in a sick society. In January 2007 Marwa embraced Jenny and we became one. Suddenly I no longer cared who thought what of my ideas. I am who I am and I am true to myself. I do not lie, cheat, fake, or pretend to be someone that I am not. I realized that I do not need to fit in and that I enjoy the company of my cats more than being around people who made me sick with their games and manipulation. Surprisingly enough, when I accepted who I am people accepted me and I began attracting people who think like me.
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