Screw Authority, Just Do You

By: Fadila Khaled

Authority: the power or right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience.

First off, that’s a distorted “definition” of authority. Authority figures – to me – exist to exercise their material power over those seen as less than they are. If there’s one word besides “why” that I say a lot – it’s “no”, it has always been no to anything I don’t like – not in the petty sense but rather in the “I’m going to follow my guts and make me happy” sense. What things of value have authority figures taught us anyway? Family taught us to do what they want, schools taught us to have certain “core values” and beliefs, the government taught us to shut up about injustice and to battle lawful people, your boss taught you to fulfill his/her criteria of getting the job done right? Anything that any of those people ask or enforce that’s not done results in punishment right? Well, I say fuck authority.

Whatever your family, your school, your government, your society, or your employer enforce into your head isn’t necessarily true – don’t listen w khalas, question everything they say. Why should I hate people who are homosexual? Why can’t I wear nail polish to school? Why can’t I change some school rules if I don’t like them? Why can’t I write about politics freely? Why can’t I organize a revolution? Why can’t I talk back to that harasser? Why can’t I go home late w toz fel bawab w kalamo? Why must we do things which we do not want to do? For the longest time, I stuck through school and obeyed and got good grades  and lost weight and all that crap because I wanted to satisfy all those “adults” around me, the more I stuck to that the deeper I sunk into depression and anxiety.

Some of my family members ridicule me for wanting to be an activist and start my own company. Market Heads of various companies refused many of my deals and ideas because I’m 17 and not out of school. Many magazines want to take me in but they’re hesitant because of my age. My friends told me no one would read a book written by a 17 year old – especially one that combines two languages. My teachers told me I’m going to amount to nothing no matter what I do if I don’t get grades. I was told I would never get married because I’m fat. I was told I’m never going to be successful because I’m too much of a thinker and not a doer. I was told to choose certain subjects and a certain Diploma for the sake of my status and “prestige”. I was told to wear the veil to be “bent mo7tarama”. I was told to do something productive instead of writing “habal” all day. I was told that I will fail at life because I used to suffer from depression and anxiety. Authority figures are almost always bullshitting.

Every single time I cried, but every single time I also said no – vehemently. I will not bow down to what other people think is right. I will not conform to what those “elly fahmeen aktar menny” want. I will not abide by rules and laws that make no sense to me. I will not be a part of a system so corrupt that it neither allows freedom of thought or freedom of expression. I fight every day for my right to be myself unapologetically. I go up against my parents every other day, against school with ounce of proof that what I’m doing something worth something even if it’s “immoral”, and I go up against society and my government every day through every writing piece I put up on my social media or this blog. I said no, and I still do – proudly.

They said I had to have certain qualifications to be successful, but I said screw that. My life, my rules. Today, I run this blog with a team of 31 amazing young adults, I inspire as many people as I can to be themselves and to do what they love, I’ve met so many inspiring people, I’ve interned at Scoop Empire, I’m being taken in this summer by Al Ahram, I’m finishing up my book (published online) which might be printed in 2018, and I still keep up with school, my dance classes, social life, and family time. This isn’t me showing off, this is me trying to empower you, I said no, I followed my guts, I did what I love and what I believe in and it all paid off. Every day I am being myself is another day I win over them. It’s not an easy road to walk, it’s a daily struggle, but I make it work because I want what I know is best for me, I make it work because it makes me feel good about myself in the end. It’s only been a year of actual work too – I’ve got a loonnggg way ahead of me. Your resources aren’t materialistic, your resources are all within you, know your power, say no, question what they say or do, and educate yourself about your rights.

So Today, make that decision, today, tell yourself “I will no longer allow someone to exercise their power over me, today I only cater to myself”. Sometimes you will have to conform, you’ll have to say “hader” to preserve your state – to be kept with your parents and be given food, water, shelter, and education without effort, but let that add fuel to your fire, say “hader” and plan, say “hader” and strategize, say “hader” and imagine the looks on their faces when you prove them all wrong – for you. Fuck authority, just be you and follow your dreams and passions, even if you fail 100000 times, just get up and get going. Don’t wait for authority to offer you opportunities 3ala mazag-hom, YOU make opportunities for yourself!

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