(Esther Gibbons. CC BY-ND 2.0)

What I seek, what I do, and who I am, is a commitment to God and myself. Praying five times a day, fasting the month of Ramadan, and wearing a hijab are practices that help guide me to what is truly important in life. I learned that through my struggles, through the pain of losing my father, and all my unanswered questions, I can move forward because there is always a reason to. It is easy to get caught up in life’s challenges and become insensitive to our surroundings but through the challenges I found the meaning of control and patience.

We live in a world that believes “one size fits all” in regards to happiness, beauty, education, and life decisions. The way the media, T.V. shows and role models define how we are supposed to feel, look, and become can be destructive and unfair. So what does this mean? Understanding the kind of person you are and accepting it is key, because the impact of how the media can control an individual’s way of thinking makes it even more vital to know who you are and where you stand. As challenging as it is to accept who you are in a world that created specific standards, it is worth the time, work and patience. It’s important to not forget what you believe in and what it is you want to accomplish. I was fifteen when I lost my father and at that moment all I thought about was how on earth am I and my family going to make it. The world seemed to be getting smaller and I couldn’t help but feel an endless sense of sadness and hatred. With great stress I simply took it day by day and as a Muslim I truly believe that holding on to my faith is what steered a clearer path for me and made me into the person that I am today.

I want to reach out to the young teenagers and adults by saying that it is okay to feel that it’s you against the world and that you don’t fit in. We are all the same when it comes to seeking peace and happiness despite our differences and struggles. It comes as a great challenge but what doesn’t? We can only hope to “be the change we want to see” by not feeding into the destructiveness and fabrication of the unrealistic definitions that we come across. I never looked at world the same after losing my father, but I have the faith to help guide and inspire me in moving forward. I learned that no matter how hard the fall is, I can patiently find my balance and get back up.


The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Chicago Monitor’s editorial policy.


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