… an extremely lucky and unlucky year!
The way I like starting a new year is by looking back at the one that just ended and observes myself, my mistakes, my blessings, but most important how much I changed.
We never stop changing. Do not think you know a person by one encounter or by a few conversations, people grow, people change every day. The change can be both positive or negative but don’t give anything for granted. This doesn’t mean that people are unstable or don’t believe in who they are but means that we are just humans, learning and growing.
If you know me personally you know that when 2017 started I was very motivated but at the same time I lost hope in humanity, the more I was living the struggles of finding a job as a Muslim hijabi girl. I was doing great at University and everything else but I wanted to feel more independent and work on my future.
That struggle and motivation got me to write my first blog post about my first job interview, to try to send out a message to other young girls like me. The message was “YOU ARE NOT ALONE, I KNOW YOU ARE STRUGGLING, BUT HEY THERE IS HOPE TO CHANGE THE WORLD”. I really loved the reaction of my few hundreds Instagram followers to that article.
In March The Europen Court of Justice declared a sentence saying that firing from a job a Muslim woman that wears the hijab, because of the hijab, is not discriminatory. I felt like my world just fell in pieces. Where are my human rights? I wrote a lot about this topic and presented what I wrote to teachers and journalists and they all turned their back ignoring the topic. Once again the minority voice was put down. But I was even more motivated to fight!
I was growing, my blog was growing in content and Instagram was growing in number. My first focus as you can tell was to talk about our rights and politics. Then I started slowly incorporating my passions such as makeup and fashion.
I had the opportunity to do my first interview ever via Skype to an amazing henna artist friend @ayan.art . I collaborated with @yasminsintro for our skin care piece! I collaborated with hijabs brands such as @hijabellascrown and @roohayascollection. I got to make so many more gentle-hearted friends that shared my opinion and my beliefs. ALL EXTREMELY POSITIVE AND SUPPORTIVE PEOPLE! I also shared with all of you many beautiful Eid el Fitr experiences from all over the world!
After the last chemical attack in Syria, we all wanted to help somehow, so I wrote down a list of names and links of humanitarian associations that help the poor Syrian refugees that survived. That’s how I got to know Islamic Relief and became a volunteer. The Islamic Relief Italian group is very strong and beautiful and it is very nice to have a team of young Muslims working hard for something so honourable. I got to pray in a mosque for the first time ever. I know right?! don’t be too shocked it’s a long story for another time.
During the summer the stress was going up and time was going down. Handling many things at once ain’t easy and that’s why I took a break went to Venice and relaxed for a while. My first journey overnight with my best friend. Venice is beautiful and hopefully, I will get to visit it again.
Right after I met a person that I have been following and admiring for a long time @graceonyourdash. Loretta is the most down to earth, funny, generous person ever. She has this very important playlist of videos on her youtube channel called DIVERS/IT to show the beauty of the diversity! To show a different kind of Italians! To share experiences and positivity. I took part in one of the videos that made my voice reach so many people. I was able to finally take a message through to the Italian public and explain to people what the hijab is and what it means and everything I know.
My Instagram and blog exploded and people were so curious to know more! This huge positive reaction opened my eyes to how there is no information about any Islamic related topic in our “western” lives expect for mass media. We need to change that. We can change that. I started creating a small follow base of people that believed in me and believed in what I was fighting to do.
But not only positive people reacted, I got my first hate comments, racist comments, jealousy comments, even from people that I personally know. And a lot of bad luck started falling on me from the eyes of those that were observing me. I broke my ankle, couldn’t move for a month, had a surgery, had the worst physical pain I ever experienced in my life, had constantly really bad mental health.
I am honestly very blessed Alhamdulillah because after those dark months and even during I always had friends and family supporting me, I had you guys giving me so much positivity and much more. I was able to participate in MFW and attend some big shows. I was invited as a blogger to the AFWM. AMAZING IMPORTANT EVENTS.
I am thankful everyday to Allah for the awesome opportunities I had. L’Oreal Paris, Realtimetv, Nyx cosmetics. I was also able to collaborate with other awesome brands and interview amazing dreams like @areeqclothing @hindlafram @alicegianmargi.
This is a huge thank you to each and everyone I worked with! I am so thankful for every moment, every tear, every struggle and every person. Please believe in yourself and in your fights.
My last message is one that I wish more people would understand and share:
I am just a young Muslim girl growing up in a western country, trying to figure out who I am and what I want. I never pretended to be perfect in any way. Social media can fool you into thinking I have a perfect life, but trust me that behind every picture there is so much more than just editing. Social media can also fool you into judging me as a Muslim. You can keep on judging me, thinking what you want, saying what you want but at the end of times, your words will have no value in front of the words of Allah (SWT). At the end of times, Allah will be the only one judging me and you.
Jazakom Allah Khairan and may 2018 bring us closer to our goals and healthier in our souls!