As a Muslim woman living in a western society, there are many elements and sources that help shape who I am. Obviously the first thing is that I am a woman. As a woman, I have been passed down honor from my mother, my grandmother, and generations before me to give birth to the next generation. It is an amazing feeling knowing that one day I will raise amazing human beings who will one day change the world. My features passed down to by hard-working middle eastern women before me. My eyes, hips, nose, and hair all a symbol of where I come from. The next, is where I live. No one chooses where they live. At some point, yes, you can pick up your stuff and move, but that still isn’t really your choice. I did not choose to be born in Wisconsin, but it happened. I grew up going to a local neighborhood elementary school, and an Islamic Sunday school on the weekends. I was on swim and dive team, and I would spend my Saturday mornings at swim meets laughing, buying snacks, and having a good time. Lastly, what shapes me is my religion. Growing up I knew I was Muslim. I never really realized I was different though. I remember when 9/11 happened. I was at my friends house and my mom came and picked me up. However, I didn’t really understand anything about it. I didn’t get bullied in school, or if I did, I don’t remember it. I was just a normal kid, I stayed on the swim team and had sleepovers. My family and I moved to Charlotte when I was going into fifth grade. That is when I realized that I was different. I didn’t really understand religion back then either. I just thought my mom was strict because she didn’t let me wear shorts. My features really stood out. I went to a predominantly white school and my curly brown hair definitely caught people’s attention. I remember the moment I really felt different is when people started bringing Christmas presents to school for their friends, and it was something that I could never really be a part of. Religion is different for everyone. Everyone goes through journeys in their lives, which essentially is what leads them or turns them away from religion. I had my ups and downs, but I have come to terms with what I believe, and I am content. I love Islam, and I love learning about it. It is truly a beautiful religion. The way the media exploits my deen is very frustrating. The way people talk about Muslims is disgusting, and should not be tolerated. When you are proud of something, you want to show it off. For example, when you get married, you wear a ring to display that you are now married. For me, that is what wearing the hijab is. It shows people that I’m Muslim, and that I’m really just like them. I’m an average girl who grew up in Wisconsin listening to Hey There Delilah and walking to the pool. As some of you may know, I’ve taken up the hobby of making my own hijabs. The hijab is a symbol of modesty. But no one said modesty doesn’t have to look good? The hijab does not define me, it helps me be who I am. It gives me confidence and strength, and it guides me through my life. Modesty is about your actions. It is about how you interact with people, how you speak, and what decisions you make. It is not about if one strand of my hair shows, or if I decide that I want to wear makeup. The hijab, to me, is something that adds to who I am. It protects the body that was passed down to me by generations of woman, and it will protect the body of the generations of woman to come. Modesty comes in all different forms, shapes, and colors. Modesty is not dictated by whether you wear the hijab even. It is about how you live your life. That is why I am so interested in fashion, in making hijabs, and having a blog. I am an American, Palestinian, Muslim woman which makes me part of a very small minority group and I have so much to offer, I know that I do. This is just the beginning of an adventure, and I hope that you all will come along with me.

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