We all have things we don't like about ourselves.
Things we hate people noticing.
Things we hide.
Things we avoid talking about.
Things that make us squirm when people notice.
I can't be the only one growing up feeling as if I was hiding a huge part of myself.
I was different.
I always have been.
I used to pretend I wasn't.
Tried to fit in by hiding my differences.
Trying to just be like everybody else.
Wishing when I was a child that I could just be normal.
Just be like everyone else.
The parts about me that I hid.
Those were the best parts of me.
But it took me until recently to realize how truly great all those qualities truly are.
One thing that I have loved ever since I can remember is my name.
The way it sounds.
The amount of letters in it.
The amount of a's.
How foreign and mysterious the name sounds when people say it.
How people pronounce it any way they like and it still sounds fascinating.
The amount of nicknames I have obtained from it.
The fact that my father named it after a comic book character.
I have always embraced my name.
I love hearing myself say it when I introduced myself.
Every time I say it, even until today, I get excited.
I get excited to tell people my name.
Because it isn't ordinary.
It isn't normal.
Just like everything else about me isn't normal.
I hid my Lebanese background in every way possible growing up.
I didn't like that my family came from a foreign land and saw things so differently.
Growing up is strange.
We realize all the things we hid and didn't like about ourselves, end up being the parts of us that we absolutely adore.
I love telling people I am Lebanese now.
I love explaining my culture.
I love hearing how much they love our cuisine.
I love describing the life in Lebanon.
The people of my country.
Let us embrace every part that is different.
Let us take the excitement and love for our quirks, our differences, our unusual personalities, our nontraditional lives and let them shine.
No need to hide those parts about ourselves.
Those hidden parts are the best parts about us.