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Who Am I?


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Identity.While we grow and develop, we tend to go through many unimaginable situations in order to see what we are really capable of. Along the way we as individuals also go through multiple phases all in the name of defining our own “Identity”. I find this as one of the most fragile, crucial, and noteworthy moments of our lives. I, as a Muslim American have always found “identity” to be one of the most significant challenges I have ever faced while growing up as a Muslim young girl in a Western society. I always felt “out of place” due to living in New York City with an at home culture that resembles the everyday culture of Pakistan, which I must add is unquestionably unique than how people live in Western societies. Establishing a Muslim identity has always been nearly impossible, the media has always kept this mindset that a practicing Muslim cannot be an American at the same time. I began to change my morals into the theory of believing that a person can’t be a practicing Muslim and American due to the immense gap of differences. The issue of displacement I felt throughout my life let on an obligation to neglect my spiritual beliefs in order to feel satisfied by materialism and the desires of an average teenage girl. I was around the age five when I was fallen into depths of confusion and oppression that I never knew would go against who I am as a person in the future. I came across many childish jokes while being in elementary school and middle school that gave me urges to demonstrate that I am not “oppressed” nor a “terrorist”. My mother always told me “fight evil with good and you will always find peace.”What she told me till this day is hooked on to me. In the spring 2011 after returning from my trip from Pakistan I had noticed how Muslim women have advanced vastly than what the media has portrayed of them. Since then I had made the devotion to start wearing the Hijab, despite of all the names I was called and stereotypes other Muslims in western societies faced. I had decided to start wearing the headscarf to firstly prove it is a choice and the form of identity I was long searching for. In the beginning semester of attending my new high school of my sophomore year, I wore my light purple hijab with tassels at the edges and felt pride. Of course, students did look at me as if I was out of my mind or thought I was going through a "identity crisis" but that was not the case at all. My associates approached me and asked; “You didn’t wear that on your head last year, why now?!” ”Did your parents force you to wear it?”' I answered them composedly without any fear of what kind of words they might attack me with and simply said,” I stumbled upon it during the journey on defining who I am.” They might have stroke a puzzled face, however, I never felt so complete.



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