DEN's International Student Conference

Day After 6th DEN Conference

I had known about this conference a couple of months prior. I already knew this day would forever stand out to me when I looked back on it in the future. As a neurodivergent student, I’m told I mix up my chronology and storytelling a lot, but I tried to crystallise it all that day, to be present that day. Long story short – I arrived late. About 1:30 pm, to be exact, halfway through it all.

I’ll admit, my social anxiety bee-lined me straight to Dr Morady first (the urge to make my presence known to start). It’s not natural for me to allow myself to take up space. Despite this, I did, and I tried that thing called socialisation. I think it worked. By that, I mean it didn’t feel like I wanted to escape. Sitting in that pocket of youth for the day. It felt like we were all okay, but our human colleagues in different parts of the world now needed us; because we all really needed them. Their light, their talents, their generosity and their enriched hearts and minds.

I mingled, made conversation, listened and collected my friend from the barriers when she arrived. It was rinse and repeat, but this time with champagne. It was an evening of talks, of my self-doubt. Of elation and fear. I met a poet, Shareefa. I met someone with a similar name to me from a different part of the world; either way, they all write and are incredible and scary.

I met Dibyesh, held his hand and told him he was enough. I felt belonging, and I was met with my own fear. I drank from it; I overshared. I was forgiven and then rejected myself. I would’ve never thought. And I hope to continue to know how it feels and what it means to be an individual. To be nothing and everything at the same time. Today I learned I am not scared of nothingness. I am scared of everything. And I am elated at how small this world is.

Anousheh Seddigh-Tonekaboni

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