TEDxPeckham, 2017

TEDxPeckham, 2017

Hey. Hi. How are ya.

Squashing yourself into an ‘about me’ section and some rigid black letters that don’t move as much as you do, is never an easy task. Websites come with enormous pressure to be flawless and perfect, a complete product, and we all know that our humanness is messy, chaotic and never complete.

So instead of one of those traditional sections that say little and mean less, let’s just call this the beginning of a conversation and the start of our brand-new friendship. Because I do so want us to be friends.

So let me start our shiny, brilliantly new friendship by telling you that I’m half Egyptian, half Irish and a bit Desi. Born in a remote desert village in Egypt and later carried off to the North of England to be raised by my Irish mother and Pakistani father. University came next and two degrees later I found myself pulled back to my birth country, just in time for the Arab Spring.

A revolution and a couple of years later I was back in England in the heart of corporate London. I worked hard. Then I worked even harder. I put in all the hours I could, then I put in some more. I gave up most of my personal life. I rose quickly. I headed up marketing departments, switched jobs, worked for dragons and finally set up my own marketing business.

Heartbreak found me, as it so often does, and as my chest cracked open the poems poured out. I discovered the stage. Learnt that it felt like home. Wrote in the early hours. Wrote with the dawn. Wrote in the dark. I got published. I was commissioned. I gave key note speeches. I fought for women. I stood with my sisters. I fought with my pen. I wrote stories. I still write the stories. Sometimes they live in poems, other times in keynote speeches. Sometimes they live in articles, magazines or books. The point is, they live on, and that’s what matters, because our stories and the fire in our belly to tell them are all we really have at the end of the day.

So come on in, I’ll put the kettle on. I have so many stories to tell you.