Top five reasons why I'll never be your typical influencer - and top five ways I'd love to be an influencer
1) I'm way, way too old.
Fifty-five this year - but thanks in advance to everyone who will tell me I don't look it. As I turn Fifty-five, I know who I am, although I am still learning. I know my worth, and this is not affected by social media. I know I can do much more, and my age won't stop me. I know I can look good without having to look young or younger or compete with anyone. I know appearance is important, but I also know appearance has its limits, and it won't cover up lack of confidence or compassion, insecurity or selfishness, or being overly judgmental and uncaring.
I'd love to inspire younger women to feel good about themselves and their lives. To find ways to be stronger and more resilient. To look after their bodies inside and out, and to look after their spirits and their minds.
2) Not only am I old, but my sunnies are old, too.
I got myself two pairs of sunglasses from somewhere - maybe five years ago - and, what’s worse, I still wear them. Same goes for my jeans, bags, shoes. Fashion magazines and social media tell us that our sunglasses (and other accessories) make us look put together, or they make us look rich, desirable, classy or many other adjectives we've been told we can gain by buying certain products.
I'd love for my nonchalance for following trends and opting for buying and wearing what fits my way of thinking, my life, my budget, my common sense, my style, to inspire others to do the same.
3) I don't use much make-up.
Never did. Use less now that I'm older. On the rare occasions I do get a manicure, the polish is ruined as soon as I get back to my studio and start painting. That and I don't go to hairdressers and spend hours coloring, blow drying, styling my hair. I'm not against makeup as a rule, I just don't like it being pushed into my face - pun intended. I wash and condition my hair, and leave it alone to dry as it might.
I don't like that makeup and hairdressers are over-priced and out of reach for many women, yet women are constantly judged based solely on appearance.
I don't like how women are manipulated into thinking they need so many products to look good (to men, to other women, in the corporate world, when compared to models).
I don't like that most of these products are tested on animals unnecessarily because we already have enough products in this world.
And I don't like brands that support Israel’s occupation and colonization of Palestine.
I'd love for my minimalist approach to makeup and hair, and my preference to spend more time living: creating art, writing, spending time with my parents and family, meeting good friends, using my talent for art to share joy, laughing or simply being relaxed in my own skin, to be the influence I have.
4) I'm a rebel with a gypsy spirit.
I'd like to rebel even more, as I still find myself with my foot soiled with a little more conformity and main-stream-ness than I'd like.
I hate being told what to do, what opinion I should have, and what I should buy.
I hate that the way men do things is the benchmark for how women should do things.
As an artist, author, business owner, mother, wife, daughter, and a woman, I'd love to inspire more women to rebel, to trust their own way of doing things, to not continuously doubt themselves and to not believe there’s only one right way to do something. Have we debunked the "having it all" thing yet? I've done a lot in my life, but it only comes together over time, now, looking back. This is when we can say we had it all - one thing at a time, may things over time.
5) I'm not quite Western, not quite Eastern, and I'm a Palestinian who has not lived in Palestine (or Jordan).
With more feet than I have in seemingly contradicting places, I don’t fit into that mold where people identify with me and I can influence what they buy. What this has given me, though, is a better understanding of how each one of us is simultaneously important and completely irrelevant in the bigger picture. It has taught me not only to speak more languages than my own, but also to understand what someone might mean when speaking his own. Not to be so quick to judge. That we have more in common than we do differences. And although it’s not always easy to understand someone’s joke, their pain is always understandable because it mirrors our own.
I’d love to inspire other women to have their feet everywhere, and not to worry about falling or failing, and to be more concerned about being open to their humanness and the humanness of others.
Hello, I'm Fadwa Al Qasem, a refugee by inheritance, a woman with a restless soul and a gypsy’s spirit. As an avid art journaler, artist, and author, I believe that courageous self-expression is our ultimate source of power and freedom, and I am devoted to unfocusedness!