read the full story
read the full story
I am a black muslim woman. A triple threat to some and home for others. It’s exhausting to be representing your religion everywhere you go and not be seen as an individual with a personality before anything else. My identity causes assumptions before I even get to introduce myself. It’s so mentally taxing to be walking on eggshells and feeling anxious when meeting new people, worrying if they’re going to like me, if they’re scared of me or think I’m weird. First impressions are important to everyone but it feels 10 times more important to me. To help feel grounded, practicing gratitude, meditating/praying, and setting healthy routines have been my priorities. Surrounding myself with people who sympathize with my struggles has also helped me feel like I’m not alone in this journey of owning who I am. While there is still room for improvement, the world has come a long way with more people educating themselves and that’s made it easier to love and accept myself. Especially with models like Halima, Ugbad, and Rawdah who are putting themselves out there and being their authentic selves. It is truly inspiring to see women I look up to and share the same identity as doing the things they love proudly and finally getting the recognition they deserve. That sense of community alone has helped me during my lowest points of feeling like I’m not good enough. I feel grateful to have these powerful women as my role models, many women who needed to see people like them on tv did not have that available to them and with that I understand my privilege. I hope to continue to be that empowering black muslim woman for little girls like me and generations to come. I’m lucky enough to have platforms where I can build a community for people who are on the same journey as me or anyone who simply feels empowered.
It may be difficult to be in a positive headspace all the time and that is okay because you can learn new ways to take care of your mental health and further that journey and relationship with yourself. By picking up new hobbies and trying new methods, I learn more about myself, things that I like, things that I probably wouldn’t try again and how I can tweak it to make it my own. Watching others also on their journey of prioritizing their mental health has taught me that we all don’t have life figured out and we are all learning from each other in one way or another. I believe it’s important to have that alone time with yourself and genuinely enjoy it, making it your favourite part of the day. Spending that time to take care of yourself not only benefits you, it encourages others and betters your relationships with people around you. Just by starting with you, it causes this ripple effect of love and positivity which is especially needed since the pandemic has taken a toll on everyone.