The Witch of Portobello

One of a life changing moments for me was when I finished the last page of “The Witch of Portobello”. The power of a book on your life is unlimited, and this book is the most different one I have ever read.

Athena was a restless person, always eager to learn and take challenges. She knows her priorities and is very responsible. The main character “Athena” made a big impression on me, she is a mysterious bold woman who has the courage to live  without fears and to pursue a search for her real self.

For the choices she made in her life. Her determination led her to accomplish many achievements, when everyone she met expected her to fail. Being an adopted gipsy who grew up in the Middle East and had to live as exiled in London, made her grew an independent strong woman, who learned how to endure her pain silently and go ahead for what she wants without seeking anyone’s support.

Athena knew as an adopted child that love is about giving and accepting. We cannot give what we cannot accept, and for that you must accept and love yourself as it is, as the greatest support you can ever get is the one you give to yourself.

Being a religious Christian woman who grew up with a strong faith and love to God, made her later question the institution and the dogma made by the human being, and question how much we are honest with the faith that we are pretending to have if we are not admitting that at some point we turned the religion to the favour of the institution instead of the worshiper.

The courageous woman, made all the possible wrong decisions -as perceived from her family and friends- she left university when she had to continue her study and get the engineering degree, she got a divorce when she has to fight for her marriage, she left a prestigious well paid job when she had to carry out and make as much as possible financial security out of it.. Athena was the non sense woman, who everyone was judging her life, yet did not understand her at all!

She was struggling with all this but mostly with herself, as she wanted to justify her life and fulfill her mission. She went up and down, and did face all the risks and challenges, as a free soul who knew that being on earth is to enjoy and honour life.

Athena with all her background, reminded me of the fight that every woman is facing in the Middle East. Her story is about rising above to know who you really are, and once you do, you must have all the determination that you get to embrace that being and honour its existence.

She made me think: Who I am, where I am and how I want to be as a woman. If I don’t dare face my priorities and take the responsibilities for my choices, then I will never grow to the person I am meant to be, and that would be a life in vain!

It is a beautiful empowering book that pushed me to reflect on my inner world and to be more in touch with myself. It also opened my eyes on the power of spirituality and taught me that each one of us has within himself a world that is as much magical and tremendous as the external world and that no one has neither the right nor the power to define you unless you let him do.

“You are what you believe yourself to be” Paulo Coelho-The witch of Portobello.

Emna Chebbi

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