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Jamila

A visual story of the veil we call the hijab

Born and raised in this beautiful salad bowl of culture, the city of Toronto both my parents choice to enrich my family with the faith of Islam. From almost the age of 7, I wore the noble garment called the hijab. My parents educated my siblings and myself, by also registering us to Islamic classes. There, I grew this love more and more for this faith. As time prevailed teenage-hood smacked me right in the face. The idea of prejudices and judgments started to arise. It started with gym class; I was not able to join clubs such as soccer because my legs had to be exposed. Drama class couldn't do that because I didn't feel like I could be loudest girl in the room. Music class, couldn't do that either because although I thought I was Beyoncé Knowles, I knew my parents would say otherwise. It seemed at the time I was told no so many times that I felt defeated with my self growth.

As my teenage-hood went on and on alongside came many trial and tribulations. One of my greatest learning lessons was underestimating the power of unity and sisterhood. Being the eldest in my family of six sometimes wasn't always the most exciting. Luckily I had a real life role model my hero and my older cousin Zainab, she tagged me along everywhere with her triple XL Iverson jersey and matching black skirt and scarf. She had held my hand through a lot of curious moments as a young Muslim female. Encouraging my self-awareness by breaking boundaries of what a typical Muslim girl would appear.

Pastel green and white stripped top with a mean gold chain with the pastel cassette pendent, Silk (more so, damn near felt like) white Calvin Klein scarf and, white fresh jeans, oh boy did I ever feel myself. Had that first day of school feeling; Grade 10 and feeling like all eyes were on me! See, THIS was my happy place. This was wear I had control, this is wear I got my praise, and this wear I could express my crazy loud corky self.

Throughout this journey I have to come realize why fashion was my getaway, my sanctuary, and my lighthouse. It gave me the courage to be who I am and be proud of it. Coming to the realization that wearing a hijab did not dictate who I am, and how I have to be. It is a patriotic symbol that represents the unconditional love I had for god. It is merely part of me not all of me. Although I may have viewed this once as a burden, it brought the best out of me, this spark that I never knew existed; the courage, unity, freedom and ambition to be who I am today.

Inspired by this journey, I wanted to depict this evolution of a Muslim woman by showcasing it through my visual story.