greater > me

Nada Faris
3 min readApr 17, 2023

TEDxAlShuwaikh

I performed a poem at the end of TEDxAlShuwaikh’s “Greater Than Me” at Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR), March 2016.

This is an edited version of the spoken word poem first performed as the closing for TEDxAlShuwaikh’s “Greater Than Me” at Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR), March 2016.

Every one of us is born as student,
and the greatest mentor of all
is life itself.

We are supposed to stop learning
only after we take our final breath.

So fellow classmates,
let me tell you what I learned
from TEDx Al-Shuwaikh’s glorious
show and tell.

I learned that the world owes me nothing,
that every gift I have
— be it knowledge, talent, or wealth —
I must bestow onto others,
to alleviate their suffering,
to share in their strife,
and rise with their gains.

I will rejoice at every obstacle.

I’ll roll up my sleeves and grin,
for in the midst of every failure
and dead end
is nothing
short of the future,
hiding,
undercover,
whispering:

“It’s not going to be easy,
but really what’s the alternative?”

And I’ll answer: “None.”

I won’t shy away from my own imperfections.

I won’t dress them up for social acceptance,
for accolades, for applause,
for now I know that my singular destiny
is indistinguishable from my flaws.

I was not made for nothing.

I was not made to cower in shadows small.

Or to stand alone at the corner
of Innovator Avenue
just to watch my potential drive by.

I believe in my power,

and I’ll do my best to ensure
that my role in the cosmic canopy
will be a positive one.

And when I stumble along the way,
I want everyone
to remember how I cried,
and how every tear I shed
gave birth to seas and skies.

I want to be kind.

I want my compassion to expand
until I can no longer stand
in front of the mirror and see
a young, charming, adorable woman
with a wonderful sense of humor
staring back,
but the universe in totality,
every atom pulsating with love.

We are different,
imperfect
beautiful souls,
each designed
to touch another,

so let us not squander the opportunity
to curve our fingers after our influence
generates wonders in our loved ones.

Let’s pull them close,
so close in fact that our solid egos
shatter into multitudes
— each a constellation for new forms
of generosity to emerge.

I learned today that ever word
whether spoken, heard, or thought,
will live on.

So I’ll be choosing mine carefully.

Because I’ve made up my mind,
to live a life worth living,
a life bigger than my selfish desires,
a life that I know is possible
from all those who’ve led the way.

One that is honest and helpful.

One that is greater than me.

This is the original version of the spoken word poem first performed at TEDxAlShuwaikh’s “Greater Than Me” at Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR), March 2016.
With the presenters, organizers, and some guests

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Nada Faris

Kuwaiti writer interested in language, literature, identity, community, and creativity. Sharing notes from my 10-year journey.