Remona Aly
Wednesday 26 January 2022 Pause for Thought, BBC Radio 2

Star crossed fate and the power of acceptance

Pause for Thought on BBC Radio 2, Zoe Ball Breakfast Show

Star crossed fate and the power of acceptance


I don’t know how many times I’ve read or seen different versions of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, from poring over it as a student, to watching Baz Luhrmann’s visual bonanza on repeat. But even though I know exactly how the story unfolds in the famous tragedy, I still can’t help wanting to jump into the page or onto the screen to rescue the star-crossed lovers from their fate.

I tend to do the same with my own life. I rewind to certain crossroads in time, and relive every feeling, disappointment, and hurt. Holding them within me like a book holds onto all the contents of its chapters, but then wanting to rewrite some of the words.

Like the time, many years ago, when I gave my heart away piece by piece to a guy who didn’t return it all. Yet I wish I could have saved myself before the pain set in.

I also search for the precise moment when a seemingly solid friendship first began to tear at the seams, and I wonder if things could have turned out differently had I paid more attention.

Accepting that your best friend became a stranger, that your first love married someone else, or that the choice you made steered you away from a different story of you – I think that accepting the things that happened, as well as the things that did not, is all a process and it’s the only chance of finding peace. And peace, I reckon, isn’t passive, but something you struggle for, and keep working at. 

As I try to reconcile and realign my own crossed stars, I take to heart the words of the American Muslim writer, A. Helwa, when she says, “Your trials and triumphs, your journey of falling and rising – they are all connected…Everything that God has written into your path was meant to prepare you for this exact moment. God wants you to come as you are, not as you think you should be.” 

Accepting myself as I have been, and as I am, sounds like the right course for me. So I won’t try to save myself from a past that has actually shaped my present. And Romeo and Juliet can do without my help and carry on being one of the most legendary couples in the world.