“Don’t let them change you”


This Man,
my father.
My Baba

“Don’t let them change you,
I used to be like you Sawsan,
then I listened to them and I changed,
I became like them,
Don’t let them change YOU”…

He always said it when we were alone,
Looking around to make sure no one heard him.

Many years later he said,
“You chose the rough road, for who you are,
For being a woman,
and where we come from,
You chose the rough road”

Yes Baba,
Most days it is rough walking my path carrying this torch, but it’s so worth it.
Dad, there was no map to follow.
I created it.
I thought I was alone. Only recently I heard others with me here. They matter to you and I’ll tell you about that soon.

I won’t let them change me.
I know I never said it,
But I promise, I won’t let them change me.
I won’t allow it.
You said you listened to them,
and it all changed when you were 30 years old.
I was born when you were about 30 years old.
Had you not changed I know I wouldn’t be here, the woman that I am now.

Though you stayed back,
And because only now I’m starting to see why you had to,
I owe you,
Thank you,
for showing me the fire inside of me,
Thank you,
for though you stayed back,
you allowed me to step on your precious shoulders to go live my life

I owe you one more thing.
I know you would not allow me to sit at your feet or to say it.
But dad, I’m sorry,
for the dirt my feet left on your precious shoulders.
Kisses to your freckled shoulders that carried me.

Love you Baba

Photo taken in 1969
Alexandria – Egypt
The year he graduated from Alexandria University.

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