Stage Fright

I am scared about this move. Can you blame me?

Not the doom-omg-I’m-going-to-die scared, but the excited, nervous, edge-of-my-seat thriller movie scared. The kind of scared I get right before giving a big speech before an audience. The same feeling of inevitability, of great things about to happen, of adventure, and of possible failure. There is the desire to impress, the desire to make myself understood, the desire to illuminate the audience, and the desire to make a name for myself. And numerous things could happen: I could go out there and wow them with my intelligence and eloquence, or I could fall flat on my face walking to the podium.

Its stage fright. Gut-wrenching, throat-closing, butterfly-inducing, light-headed, nauseating stage fright. I am afraid of the unknown- I’m stepping off a cliff and hoping to God that I know how to fly. This isn’t like my move to Arizona which was frightening in and of itself. This is a completely different beast of a different name. It’s probably a good 3,000 (if not more) miles farther away than Arizona and sure as hell as lot harder to come home from.

Its the fear of forgetting something, although it would be simple enough for my mom to ship it to me if needed badly enough; its the fear of a murky future, although I have a deep and enduring faith that I am following the will of God by going to Egypt; it is the multitude of different customs, foods, lifestyles, expectations, language, and opportunities; and it is the sharp pang of loss I will feel when I tearfully say “see you soon but not soon enough” to my mom at the airport, or my best friends before I leave. The possibility that what I leave behind me here will not be there when I come back.

Of course I could leave home tomorrow just to run and get some milk and what I have will not be there when I return, God forbid. Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi rajioon.

But I do not fear for my safety or my well-being. For as frightened as I am it is just the unfounded, excited fear of making a distinct and final change in my life. This is a new chapter, a new me, a new adventure, and new roads to explore and exploit. At risk of being accused yet again of romanticizing the Middle East I must adjoin that I do not expect to be made a better Muslim for being in Egypt, but possibly I may become a better person. Isn’t travel a form of enlightenment? Isn’t knowing, learning, accepting, and incorporating another culture and way of thinking an existentialist’s dream? And I, if anything, am a shameless existentialist.

I will be different when I return than the person I am now as I get ready to leave. I will add a new adjective to my many descriptions: expat; I will possibly add another language to my repetoir: Arabic; and I will certainly redefine who I am as a person in response to my surroundings. I am trading one minority-class for another: here I am American like most everyone else but Muslim as only a few are and there I will be Muslim as most everyone else will be but American like only a few others.

Going about my business I am suddenly and virulently seized by nervousness, I can’t breathe, can’t think, can only focus on my wildly-beating heart. I am scared, and rightly so. But its only stage fright for the next act.


9 responses to “Stage Fright

  1. Salaams Sis:

    Yes; it’s natural when making such a big change. Make dhikr and it will help you to relax.

  2. Assalaamu ‘alaikum. I am looking forward to hearing all about your adventures in Egypt. Will you have good internet access right away? It is so much easier these days to use the internet to keep connected to friends and family at home. I wish it had been around the first time I moved to Palestine! (in the mid 80’s) You can’t get a hug from your mom, but you can take a picture or video and send it to her in just a couple minutes. Good luck and have fun.

  3. Good luck on the move. Having move all around the world I know how nervous it can make you, but in the long run it is fun.

    BTW, are the pics that are password protect “women only”? If not, can you e-mail me the password?

    I hope you provide lots of pictures from your move.

  4. multiculturalmuslimah

    Safs- InshAllah I will make du’a for you on the plane.

    Alajnabiya- so, so true. Life is so much easier now with the internet and webcam, its how my husband and I have survived this separation period. And how I will get my mommy-fix.

    Abu Sinan- unfortunately the pics are women only. Sorry 😦

    While I was packing last night I was thinking about a post of yours awhile back on how living all over the world and moving so much has made you the anti-pack rat. And I was thinking about how stream-lined my idea of what is “essential” has become.

    How does one pack up their whole life? What becomes important? Its interesting, but frustrating.

    Consider This- Hopefully you’re reading these comments since you left yours on the other page, but you asked if I found WordPress easy? No. The opposite of. But there’s so much more COOL stuff on this site, like blog stats where you can see how many times your page was viewed each day. Its incredibly gratifying. But it is really hard to format.

  5. Good luck on your move and welcome to WordPress, it looks great.

    Say “hi” to the Sphinx for me…

    ****totally jealous******

  6. I can see some benefits of switching to WordPress, the private posts and extra pages especially, but I hate the fact when I comment on a post there isn’t a simple checkbox to let follow up replies be sent to my email address. That makes it hard to keep up with a conversation.

  7. Good luck, stay safe and never cease to be inquisitive.

    Bon Voyage.


  8. Yeah, maybe I will try wordpress some day. The kids and Manal are heading to my MIL’s for two weeks here soon, but I have too much to do around the house. New paint, carpets and furniture. Somehow I dont think I’ll have time for it.

  9. All the best to you, Molly!

    There is a part of me that is utterly jealous of your refreshing view of things in life, yet there is another part of me that says, “Gee – I hope that she doesn’t crash and burn.”

    I have a burning love for my new ‘home’, but I that flame can go out just as fast as you blow out a candle when I’m having a real low day with it all. It can be tough finding a middle ground, but something tells me that you’ll make it through the transition with flying colors! How many more days to go (sorry, didn’t notice if you’ve got a ‘counter’ on your new blog).

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