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Being Authentic: A Memoir by [Morhaf Al Achkar]
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Being Authentic: A Memoir Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 128 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

This memoir convinces the reader that it has something life or death worthy so that the reader can literally stop his reality and dare to learn something that may aid in his or her survival. Monica Viera- HubPages

Written in the span of 14 days, in a tremendous creative surge, this powerful and beautifully written book is a clear-eyed account of what living in urgency taught the author. Peter Shephered- Trans4mind

This book has awakened a genuine yearning for more authenticity in my life. Franklin Muiruri-Medieum

Morhaf writes with the utmost care and consideration for savoring life, for living amidst the intricately complex human experience. Lauren Suval-Medium

The book has changed the way I view life. Celemnt Amolo-Thrive Global

From the Inside Flap

Our existence is fragile. I learned that in many intricateways, long before the COVID-19 pandemic, so I do not take today for granted. Ido not know what tomorrow will bring. I do not even know if tomorrow will come.
On the eve of Thanksgiving 2016, I received the diagnosis ofstage 4 lung cancer. Patients with cancer can have progressions of theirdisease after periods of stability. They also die from infections as theircancer weakens their immune system. Next to dying, I fear the spread of cancerto my brain and losing my ability to think, speak, or write. This loss would bedevastating to me. I do not assume that I will be here in a few months, letalone in a few years. COVID-19 made that fear even more salient in my mind. Iknow that my existence is finite.
The fragility of our life and my awareness of my finitudemade me aspire to be authentic. I write this memoir to be authentic--we become ourtrue selves when we author our story. With writing my narrative, I have anopportunity to view it, reflect on it, and edit it. By doing so, I also inviteothers to write theirs.
Rare are the spaces in which we can look inwardly at who weare. There is no horizon to do so more intimately than writing one's biography.I write my story so I can reflect on what I am and who I am. I seek to knowwhat is fundamental to me as a subject and what is superfluous.
What constitutes my core self?
What should that be?
I know as I write these words that my answers are never fixedand will likely never be. The question of what constitutes my identity is pertinent,even if the answer will not last. Writing in this context comes to provide someguidance. The goal is not only to summarize the life I've lived; it is also toinvestigate the future. Writing is not a storyof becoming. Instead, writing isbecoming.
Authenticity, in the end, is not a task that gets done onceand for all. Authenticity is a fragile experience. We become our real selvesfor a restless moment, and we can lose authenticity completely in an instant ifwe do not keep our sights on it.
As I become, and as I live my story, I have the eagerness toshare it. Rare are the times when all humanity is tuned in to an equalizingexistential threat.
After the outbreak of COVID-19, folks understand it betterwhen I say, I do not wish to complete my project and publish it posthumously. Whilesome issues are easier to deal with by not dealing with them in one's lifetime,I aspire to tell my story as I live it.
I hope to describe my life to others. I also wish to exploremy consciousness with others in mind. I won't only give the summary of my path.I will relive the experience by walking again on what were rough terrains. Ialso intend to stop at what I had once quickly passed by so that I can take astance. I will make amends and apologize for errors I did not call out in ahurried period. Most importantly, I will affirm my story again to own mynarrative.
...
I complete this book with an aspiration to participate moreauthentically in the project we call humanity. As a human, I wish to contributeto our enterprise. And I invite others to contribute, as well.
I have encountered numerous individuals to whom I said, "Youshould write your story!" I thought, as I do this same work, that the best wayto encourage others to write is for me to tell my own story. I do not aspire toset an example. If anything, I hope to attract a dialogue and spur reflection. WithCOVID-19, we live a heightened awareness of our existence and consciousness. Noone is immune from the worst outcomes, and uncertainty is looming. Now is thetime to bring more of these reflections and dialogues.
I have been most indebted to those who shared parts of theirlives and opened their souls to me. We all have a subjective world to whichonly we have privileged access. If someone allows another human into theirworld, they give the other a precious gift.
I am afraid of being forgotten. Death does frighten me. Butmore than dying, I am scared of having no one remember me or, even worse, ofbeing recognized differently from who I was. At the same time, I have neverthought that I was entitled to ask others not to forget me. But, not to beforgotten is precisely what I yearn for. We forget and life goes on. To imagineor to aspire not to vanish from someone's memory is a delusion. Still, that iswhat I aspire to.
I tell my story so those who wish to remember me can have it.I make it available for them to know me as who I am. I have lost many, and ittroubles me how easily we can forget. We have lost thousands of people everyday to this pandemic, and it agonizes me that they may be forgotten. I hope wecan keep their memory alive, and I worry about letting them die again if theirstories are not told. Perhaps writing is my way of defying death.
...
Only I can write my biography with access to my memory, myintentions, and my desires. Others can describe my life from the outside andtry to explain why I did certain things in specific manners. But no one canshare my life encounters as I lived them, describe the joys I had, or thestruggles.
I have an urgency to complete this project. My cancer canspread at any time. I've become apprehensive about any bodily symptoms thatcould indicate disease progression. I have become overly aware of my body, andat times, even subtle symptoms disturb my peace. A bad headache, twitching inthe muscles on my face, a lingering cough, or chest pain are not the same forme as they are for a non-cancer patient. I have found myself doing neurologicalexams to test my sensation or checking the symmetry of my face to ensure mybrain is still intact. It is not until I receive the scan showing "no cancer recurrence,"that I feel relieved. I welcome the news as a temporary pass and say, "Phew, wesurvived this time!"
Since COVID-19 came to Seattle, I have been on almostcomplete lockdown staying home alone with my dog. Fortunately, I was able toprovide patient care through telemedicine. I also continue to read, write, andparticipate in public discourse. I am still alive; I have a voice and cancontribute.
Science has made it possible for patients like me, withadvanced lung cancer, to survive beyond a few months. Of course, the risk ofdying from the virus, if I get it, is higher with my cancer. But if I getthrough this pandemic, my hope is to live for several more years.
...
In Being Authentic,I have the other in my mind. I am writing for someone other than myself to read.I am writing to every human. Is that a lofty goal? Yes. But what if I have noother chance to speak to my readers after this? Put yourself in my position andtell me if you would not say everything in your mind to everyone who can readit. What if this is your one and only opportunity?
Because of my fear of being forgotten, I write to invite asmany people as imaginable to know me. I also mean to tell as much as I can aboutmyself. While doing that, I transcend the focus on myself to find matters aboutwhich others can be curious. But neither will I fixate only on my error, northis book is an attempt to redeem myself from my mistakes. I have not omittedthe mistakes, and I have opened ample space to reflect on what was notconsistent with who I thought I was. I leverage this space to relate to those whoerr every day. They are the brave among us who choose to continue to act. I,like these people, hope to keep on doing things, and that means to err more.
While I write for the other, I am simultaneously writing formyself. I am one of the readers and will judge the subject as it gets written. Mycriteria are stricter. I need to say, "This is my narrative."

Product details

  • ASIN : B088F2KG6T
  • Publisher : Flame Tree Publishing (May 23, 2020)
  • Publication date : May 23, 2020
  • Language : English
  • File size : 778 KB
  • Simultaneous device usage : Unlimited
  • Text-to-Speech : Enabled
  • Screen Reader : Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
  • X-Ray : Enabled
  • Word Wise : Enabled
  • Print length : 174 pages
  • Page numbers source ISBN : 1087884853
  • Lending : Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.2 out of 5 stars 128 ratings

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