Naima Kheil Dalak
My Mama and a Real Wonder Woman
My Mama was born 1948 in Jaffa, at the time when Palestine was being divided by the United Nations into two countries: Palestine and Israel.
She constantly inspires me with her strength, unconditional generosity and love for her children, her family and her community. She is an amazing caretaker, but – like most mums – not very good at self-care. However, this enlightened me to the importance of self-care for mothers, and for women in general. It also made me realise that a lot of women’s resentment and frustration comes from the lack of self-care, lack of taking care of their own needs first, before caring for the others.
She taught me how to be strong and how to fight for my rights, how to pierce through the tight rules of our Muslim religious society. She didn’t articulate it as such, but being raised strictly allowed me to dream of freedom and learn to be even stronger and more perseverant.
At the age of ten I said that when I grow up I will travel to France to study the law. My Mama’s response that stuck with me was: You are living an illusion. At the time, it wasn’t conceivable in our community for girls to pursue their education beyond primary school, let alone to travel and live alone, as the expectation was for them to settle down in a convenient marriage.
Growing up in reactionary mode allowed me to forge a strong character and perseverance in pursuing my dreams and now I finally understand that resistance to what is different calls for crafting one’s own personality. I understand now that one has to go through the confrontation with what is acceptable to allow for that which is perceived as impossible to become possible.
This helped me to bring every single dream that I ever had to reality, as I went ahead with my life to prove that everything that can be imagined and dreamed of can become reality.
I feel so loved and supported by my mum even when she doesn’t necessarily agree with my life decisions, my way of being, my choices, my rebellious nature and in a way I think she even encourages it.
I am grateful beyond measure to have had the honour to be raised by such a strong woman.