This isn’t a topic, this is my essence. This is what I’ve been reduced to. Not that I’m not proud of it, but this is all I’ve ever been allowed to be.
I was a woman, not a person. Or I was black and not a person. And don't get me started on being a black woman. Last but not least I was Muslim (they use the words terrorists and submissive more often, but who cares!) and again, I wasn't a person.
I was barely a kid! I had to grow and understand that people would crush me for what I am! That I must be quiet, and grateful, if by any miracle some people treated me with decency. Terrible, that's how I felt; as well as miserable and exhausted! I constantly had to yell to be heard! I had to do three back flips and one perilous leap to be seen. I had to do and be too much, all in order to have the right to exist. That’s tough, and unfair. You will tell me life is unfair, and you are probably right. But you know, I think life is as unfair as we choose to be towards each other and ourselves.
I hated myself for doing this much for people that reproved my existence, that belittled my experience and the ones of so many others. Don't get me wrong, I’m not blaming myself (or kind of, but I can’t help it). I was a teenager who tried her hardest to be more than the categories she was trapped in. I wanted to be funny, beautiful, smart, and not because I was a black Muslim woman. I wanted to be all that for me!
I wanted to be real, for once. I needed to be seen, completely!
And as prejudice is a blade, my whole body aches. All I have ever known was the feeling of being someone I’m not. This discomfort because of people always assuming they know me, to know what’s in me because of what they see. Either I was supposed to fit in whatever space was left, or dismantle every biased idea I was entitled to. But that doesn't give much time for a little girl to have fun or to be happy - not that anyone cared! However, today I do. I do not know what changed or if something even actually changed. I am as proud as I have always been to be who I am. Nonetheless, today I decided to let them know, to let me know: I’m worthy of respect, of life! I exist whether they like it or not.