It’s happened.

I’ve had comments from two different relatives about it, and it’s really thrown me for a loop.

Shaken me to my core.

The comments weren’t from people I was expecting them from.

Yeah, sure, I had one relative, ages ago, respond to my wish to be a world famous children’s author with the comment, “You’ll never get published, look at the way you dress.”

She wasn’t being mean about it, it’s what she really thought. She might have even been trying to warn me so I wouldn’t get my hopes up.

And yet nobody was more proud of me than her, when I did get published.

And then there was the other relative who asked to read an early novel of mine, and when he was done and I asked for feedback, he evaded the question by asking me what I was studying in university at the time. I told him I was thinking of becoming a teacher and he said, ‘Stick to that’.

But now the comments are different.

I was telling one relative who I admire, about the New York Public Library honor and she said a funny thing. She said something like, “Who would have ever thought your story about you and your sister would have made it so big.”

But it distinctly felt like she was saying, “Who ever thought you’d do so well?”

And then again, today, another one, said pretty much the same thing. “Who ever thought you’d get so up there.”

These are people who’ve know me since I got married, almost 35 years ago.

And I must say it really stung when they said that.

It’s like they were thinking out loud, looking at me and having a hard time re-evaluating me in light of this new stuff.

And when they said that, I was kind of forced to step back, kind of get outside myself, and look at me the way I must come across to them.

I’ve always known that I’m not very impressive to look at.

Put me in a room full of Pakistanis or Muslims and you really couldn’t tell me apart.

In fact it makes me laugh to think of how that actually happened when I was first starting out. Went to Regent Park P.S. to do a presentation because it had a high Muslim population.

A bunch of the mothers came in to see it, and they were sitting in a semi circle. There was a seat in their midst so I went and sat down with them and introduced myself and started chatting them up.

The librarian who booked me turned from doing something and looked for me, and when I saw her, I waved, and only then could she pick me out from the other ladies there.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that they never thought I could accomplish what I have.

I just took their belief in me for granted.

They don’t realize that I still feel I’m just getting started. I’m nowhere near where I want to be.

It’s taken 25 years of writing to get to this point. Now, insha Allah, comes the real hard work!

I have always felt that I could be a tour de force. I have always told myself, what do the great authors in history have that I don’t? They all pulled stories from their imagination!

We all are blessed with an imagination.

We just need to go deep enough.


And the older I get, the more I realize that the people we encounter fall into various archetypes.

It’s fascinating.

I asked my husband if he was surprised that I’d achieved what I had too? And he said, “Nope. I knew you had the drive in you.”

Uh huh.

Insha Allah.

And if it doesn’t happen, alhamdu lillah, but it won’t be from want of effort!

And I wonder what they’ll say then.