Vibrant colors of the Pennsylvanian trees filled her senses, making her rethink all of her past beliefs. Wadad Abed stood, observing the tree, confused about how something so beautiful was rooted in American soil.
“I had to have a real honest conversation with myself,” Abed said. “I remember telling myself: if you cannot see beauty because you put limits on it, then you're heading into real trouble.”
Abed realized that she was afraid of losing her purity. Her identity that she owned for years.
Her purity came from being Palestinian. She came to America when she was nineteen with her whole family — five sisters, two brothers, her mother and father. As a child, her parents told her and her siblings that after school they were going to travel to America for college and job opportunities. Enjoying a different place other than Palestine was different and scary, but from that point on, Abed decided it was time to ‘integrate’.
“I came up with this word, but I had no idea what it entailed,” Abed said. “It just sounded good.” She embarked on the long journey of life, to discover who she actually was.
The years leading up to this moment were lonesome for Abed; she tried to isolate herself and make the world around her seem smaller than it actually was. She didn’t want to lose her Palestinian roots and who she used to be. But, from this point on, she decided it was time to assimilate.
Abed started by looking inward. She learned more about what worked for her and what she believed.
“What did I allow myself to be? What are my values? What values should I let go of? What is my fear? Why am I resisting something? Why am I not open? How much do I want to open my heart to?” She found it to be a relentlessly painful process. It’s a continuous back and forth with asking the questions that matter and digging deeper to find that explanation that will leave her satisfied.
Abed created a thought process that worked for her. Some find it helpful to have a friend to talk to about their problems and discoveries. Others go to therapy sessions to dig deeper. Some go through journal after journal writing down every little thing they have to say without the fear of judgment. Instead, Abed listened. Listened to her environment, listened to people. She taught herself to trust her subconscious through this journey.
“The conscious thoughts rationalize the things in your mind and give excuses, the subconscious is honest.”
Abed classifies herself as a very sociable introvert. Abed processes her feelings and opinions privately and deeply rather than burying her irrational thoughts. Instead, she hits all of her thoughts head-on, ignoring the fear that comes with it. “Fear comes with limitations.”
This process of listening to her subconscious is allowing her to be comfortable holding two strange ideas together, as long as they're honest, truthful and authentic to her. More specifically, this has helped her deal with the issues concerning the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Instead of being stubborn and only believing that she was wronged as a Palestinian, she opened her heart to the humanity. She faced the idea that she doesn’t really believe that there is hate in this world.