Youth for Jordan 2017

Many of us experience moments that move us or make us question. Moments that seem life-changing, moments that you often never see coming. This past summer, I got to go on a trip that I felt uprooted my life, but in the best ways imaginable. It made me question what I did to deserve the things that I have but so often take for granted. It made me think about how I don’t always appreciate the people in my life as much as I should. It brought to light so many of my own short-comings that I hope I’ve worked on since then. It changed my life in so many ways and I am forever thankful for the choices and moments that brought me there.

This past summer I took a humanitarian trip to Jordan with an organization called Helping Hands for Relief and Development. Before I left, I expected this to be a difficult trip emotionally but nothing could’ve prepared me for what I experienced when we got there. It was a group of about 30 girls, with a few mentors and we were going to spend the next couple of days going to refugee camps and tents, as well as HHRD offices, the houses of people that are sponsored by them and trying to provide relief for the refugees we encountered.

The refugees that we met, were where they were because they had lost everything they owned. A lot of them sought refuge in Jordan after being forced to leave their homes because of disastrous conditions in Palestine and Syria, etc. These people had so little to their name, or honestly to even look forward to or be happy about. But they were thankful for all the little things, and the small moments, and after meeting them, they filled my heart with a type of faith that I still haven’t been able to find words to describe.

Each day, I was consumed by a roller coaster of emotions. Every person that we met, regardless of the tragic stories they shared, was so full of love. Most of these people had families of 5+, all living in tents that were no bigger than the size of my room, yet they were offering us water and tea when we came to visit. Children whose innocence was lost and who were forced to grow up so quickly, still found immense joy in things as simple as playing tag or jumprope with us. Women younger than me, who had already lived through things I can’t even imagine, such as losing a child, said they were losing hope but found small things to hold on to.

We met a family in which every child born to the mother, became blind after a certain age (around 12) because of a genetic condition. The mother, who was aging had to take care of her four blind children, who were grown but could barely take care of themselves, in a country that wasn’t home but was less than a mile away from the place that was. One of her daughters, who was lucky enough to be able to see, actually went back from Jordan to Syria because in her words “if she was going to die anyway, she would rather die in her own country”. This mother, still had nothing to say or complain about. All she could say was “alhamdulillah”, which means “praise be to God”.

This is just the story of one family, but there are thousands more like them. Though so much has been taken from them, they were able to give me more than I could ever return. I left Jordan with the ability to love more openly and fully, learning from the children who after five minutes of knowing us would tell us not to leave. I learned the true meaning of tawakkul (trust) in Allah, from the families who still hope to return home and who spend their time saying their situation’s are just tests to be overcome. I learned the true meaning of resilience from the women who despite losing their children or husbands, refuse to be defeated and do what they can with what they have.

A few months ago, I thought I knew exactly why I wanted to pursue the career that I was working so hard towards. I had a plan for my life and I had reasons that this plan was in place and how it should play out. But everything changed after spending nine days in a country thousands of miles away from home. Everything changed when I saw people with hearts so big and faith so strong in the face of the biggest adversity and hardships that most of us have ever faced. That most of us can’t even fathom.

Though my career path remains the same, my motivations have shifted. I know now, that I want to change the lives of as many of these people as I can. I pray that as a physician one day, I can provide them and so many like them with a fraction of the hope that they have given me. I hope that even as one person, I can continue to help organizations like HHRD change the world so one day it finally is a better place.

Below are a few pictures from my trip:

To the left is a picture of a tent that one of the refugee families lived in. Most of the tents and homes were this size with families as big as 10+. HHRD continues to provide aid consistently (even when they don’t do programs like Y4J) and one of the things that they provide are micro-homes as seen on the right. These are homes with sturdy walls and floors that provide relief from the harshness of the desert.

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This is a picture of one of the career development centers that HHRD runs for the refugees. This is where they can learn important skills so that they’ll be able to earn money.

 

A few of the activities that we did with the orphans. In Islam, an orphan is someone who has lost their father. Most of the orphans had mother’s with them.

Below is a video I made to hopefully capture the essence of the most significant week of my life:

 

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Lastly, this is Asma. My Asma. The Asma who cried when it was time for me to leave after we had only spent a few hours together. The girl who I left a piece of my heart with. This little girl changed my life. She showed me more love than I could’ve ever imagined, though she was shy initially, once she held onto my hand, she never let go. The card she wrote me says “I love you and I’ll miss you”. I hope that I’ll get to see her again one day, living the life that she deserves.

This is a link to donate to HHRD: https://www.hhrd.org/DetailDonate

Where Did The Time Go?

Right now, I’m sitting in one of the last psychology classes that I will ever take in Stony Brook University. Although I should be paying attention to the lecture, my mind has been distracted with reflections of my time here these past four years, and thinking about my graduation in two weeks. It’s surreal to think that I was 18 years old when I made a decision that would pave the way and leave the foundation for the rest of my life. A decision that in the years after, some of the time seemed as if it might’ve been the wrong one, but has ultimately proven to be amongst my best. I can’t pretend and say that my time here has been perfect, but throughout the ups and downs, it has definitely been worth it. It seems that this school has given me as much as it’s taken from me and I wouldn’t trade the experiences, the people, and the time spent here for anything in the world.

Although I had many different options when I was deciding on a university out of high school, after coming to admitted students day in April 2013, there was no doubt in my mind. This week, all I’ve been able to think about is how fleeting it all has been. These past four years seemed to pass so quickly and here I am applying to a professional school and moving on to the next chapter in my life. Thinking back to four years ago, I remember clearly how nervous, but also excited I was to begin. As a freshmen coming in, I thought about the times to come, the classes I would take, the people I would meet and how it would affect me and my eventual goals. I knew that this university was a stepping stone and I knew that I would be impacted by it but I didn’t know the lasting impact it would leave not only on my life, but on my heart.

I’m going to talk about some of the most important things I’ve learned in my undergraduate years because I think there are some valuable lessons that are easy to forget.

    1. Difficult times will pass. Everyone goes through difficult times. Universities consist of people 17+ going through some of the most emotionally stressful things they’ve experienced. I’ve learned that although sometimes our problems can feel consuming, it is so important to be receptive and understanding of the idea that sometimes the only thing that can make something better is time and the only thing you can do is wait it out and surround yourself by people and by doing things that make you happier. Whether it has to do with family, school, other relationships, it does get better.
    2. In relation to school: you will get a “bad” grade or two. For those that are used to being at the top of the class/school, and for those that have been able to always do well in school with giving minimal effort, this one is for you. A lot of the time, students aiming to get into professional schools are constantly reminded that every grade matters and you have to get an A or your chance of getting into medical/dental/law school is going down with every point decrease. I’m not on the admissions committees for these schools but I can tell you that it’s okay if you’re not 100% perfect (disclaimer: I’m not saying that you can have a 1.0 and get accepted). More realistically, what I mean is that, one bad grade in your freshman year fall semester will not be the deciding factor of whether you get into the school or not. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try your absolute hardest because there are people with 4.0’s and if they can do it, so can you, but if it does happen that you try really hard for an exam and don’t do as well as you thought you would, try to accept that there was nothing else you could have done and take active steps to improve the way you studied. Being sad about it will not help.
    3. To add to that however: your self worth is defined by more than a number. I can’t emphasize this enough. This is something that I am still struggling with but this is perhaps the most important thing to understand. Your GPA matters, your test scores all matter but they don’t matter more than your mental health and YOU. If your mental health is suffering because of the importance you’re giving to being perfect on paper, please stop and reevaluate what is important to you. As a pre-med student, I understand that GPA and MCAT scores can determine where you go in life, and I won’t say to not worry about them but acknowledge that you also need to take care of yourself because if you’re burned out and mentally exhausted, how are you going to take care of someone else? This might not be a popular opinion, but I think it is important to not correlate your self worth with numbers such as GPA and test scores, because I promise, you’re more than that. Keeping that in mind will help you properly give the time and effort needed to keep everything in your life in check.
    4. Time management is a skill, not everyone is perfect at it immediately. It takes a lot of effort to understand what methods of studying and organizing work for you before you’re able to multi-task effectively. For some people, this comes naturally but for others (like me), it can take a long time to figure out how you study and what you should do to make sure you stay happy and healthy. Take the time to figure it out. If something works for someone and isnt working for you, maybe your mind doesn’t work the same way. That’s not the end of the world and you’ll eventually be able to handle multiple things at once but take it one day at a time.
    5. The friends you make during undergrad, might very well be the friends you keep for the rest of your life, so make sure they’re good ones. I don’t think I can emphasize the importance of good companionship enough, but this is one of the most important things that I’ve learned. It is so important to understand that the people that you keep around you definitely effect your personality in a huge way and your friends are probably influencing you more than you think so it is important to surround yourself with people whose characteristics you’d be proud to emulate. We can all learn something from someone else and grow in ways that we might not have even realized that we needed to grow through the experiences we have in college. While we’re growing, it is important to tell the people we love how much they mean to us because these friends (hopefully) will be the ones that you carry with you for the rest of your lives and there is no substitute for the memories that you’ll make during this time.
    6. You will not be the person you are when you’re 17/18 forever. The person that you are when you come into college will not be the person that you’ll be when you leave four years or so later. This couldn’t be more true for me. I like to think that my time at Stony Brook has made me a better version of the person that I was before I came here. I’ve made some of the most amazing friends, learned so much, and gotten closer to my religion alhamdulillah. Some aspects about myself, I never thought would be this way but I am so thankful. So it is important, in my opinion, to be open to change, externally and internally because you might surprise yourself with the way you’ll grow.
    7. You should work to effectively improve yourself everyday. With that being said, one of the things that I’ve learned is that noone is perfect, and no matter how great you might think you are, you can always be better. It is so crucial to work everyday to make yourself a better version of the person you were the day before. Whether that means being nicer, studying harder, or taking more time to relax, be able to reflect on the aspects of your personality that you can improve and actually take the steps to do it! You’ll thank yourself when you’re older.
    8. Be empathetic. I think this is the personality trait that if you don’t have, you have honestly nothing at all. I’ve learned that it is so important to be able to be empathetic about the situations that others face. Take the time to put yourself in the shoes of the people you care about and try to see things from their perspective. We don’t realize that our minds work in so many different ways until we try to be empathetic. Not everyone is going to get upset about the same things you do, or be happy in the same way you are. Acknowledge that but try to understand others in the best way possible, in the way that they want to be understood. I promise that this will give you a more worldly view and help improve your relationships.
    9. Materialistic things are not as important as experiences. THISSSS!!! It honestly took me a while to understand this because I love stuff lol, but all jokes aside, nothing can ever replace the memories you make with the ones that mean the most. Spend your money on experiences with your friends and family rather than waste it on another shirt or makeup you probably could live without. In 20 years, you’re going to remember how you randomly went out to a beach during finals week for a study break or how you spent four hours just talking to one of your friends about life because those are the things that are going to stick with you. Make memories that will carry you through your darkest times because everyone has them but happy thoughts can be the light at the end of the tunnel that you need in those moments.  
    10. Take steps to get closer to Allah (swt), no matter what. This last one is one of the things that mean the most to me. One of the things that I am most thankful for at Stony Brook is the MSA. The sense of community that it has given me has brought me so much peace that I can’t express my gratitude in words. I’ve learned that any time spent trying to strengthen your imaan is time well spent, because your faith is sometimes all you have. I’ve learned the power of dua and the power of prayer in desperate times. I’ve always been practicing, but I’ve learned the way that closeness to your religion can move you and transform your life. Islam and the Stony Brook MSA has made me who I am when I will leave this university and I’m so thankful for the experiences that I’ve gained here that have made me a better person and better muslim. Take advantage of the opportunities you have to learn more about your faith and how beautiful it really is, subhan’Allah.      

For those that read all the way up to here, thank you. All in all, my time at Stony Brook (and in undergrad overall) has been good, there have been bad times as well but all I can say is alhamdulillah because I am forever changed and grateful because of the memories. I can’t wait to see what the future will bring but I will carry this time with me forever. For those of you still in undergrad, cherish the years you have left because it truly flies and you’ll have to wake up one day and have to start adulting hehe and to those reading this that are also graduating, I wish you all the best with your future endeavors, congratulations to the class of 2017!

Lastly, here are some pictures of the people that have seawolfed their way into my heart. I am so thankful for you guys, I love you more than you know:

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-xoxo Temoria

Post-Umrah Reflections

This past week, from March 9th to 18th, I had the honor and privilege to travel to umrah (Islamic pilgrimage) with the Islamic Center at NYU. This was my first time going on umrah and before I left, I had quite a mix of feelings but overall, the only word that I have to correctly describe the experience is: amazing. Umrah and Hajj are pilgrimages in the Islam religion that one is considered lucky to be able to perform. Umrah is voluntary and Hajj is required atleast once in your lifetime if one is able to perform it. It’s been a few days since we landed back in New York and I’m still coming to terms with the fact that being back in my “normal” life no longer feels normal.

To begin, I’d like to talk about what my thoughts and feelings were before we left for Medina. I was very overwhelmed as I made my way to JFK and I remember thinking things such as “I wonder if this trip will live up to my expectations” and “I’m not sure what I got myself into”. These thoughts were rooted from feelings of unfamiliarity and insecurity. I had grown up thinking of ever going to umrah or hajj as a foreign concept since no one in my family had ever been before. Many family members had tried to go and made dua to be able to perform these pilgrimages but never had the chance. I knew umrah was something that I really wanted to do at some point, but also unfortunately something that other things often took priority over. All in all, I didn’t know what to expect because the one question that all my feelings boiled down to was “why me?”.

Before we got on the plane, I had just gotten off the phone with my mother and my aunt (her older sister) who were both really happy for the opportunity that seemed to just fall into my lap but I could hear the pain in their voices through their happy and encouraging words, I had first hand experienced the emotional duas that both of them made to be able to be invited to the Holy Cities and I didn’t understand why their duas weren’t given to them but mine was. The tears that they cried imaging being able to walk in the footsteps of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and standing in the presence of the Holy Kaaba resonated in my heart as I cried confused tears of my own.For me, the two of them are model muslimahs. They embody the very essence of the type of person I want to be in the future, being someone who can balance deen and dunya with a grace that is nothing short of admirable. I stood there thinking about them and wishing it was them about to get on that plane instead of me. Wondering if they, or someone else would be able to make better use of the time there than I would.

This worry didn’t leave me until we landed in Medina, almost 24 hours later (because of a long layover in Jeddah airport). When I got off the bus, put my stuff down and took my first steps into Masjid al Nabawi, I felt instantly at peace but more importantly, it was as if I had come home. The sensation was consuming and hit me all at once, I was overcome with love for a place that was just an idea in my head only a short day ago. A place that I didn’t realize I would grow so attached to in the days to come.

For those that have been there, you might understand how welcoming the atmosphere is in our Prophet’s (pbuh) beautiful city. You might understand that no matter how much time you have to walk around the masjid and pray in it, it never seems like enough. You might understand why the tears just flow down your cheeks thinking about how much history you’re surrounded by. You might understand the feeling in your stomach as you go give your salaams to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and acknowledge the fact that he says salaam back. You might understand why my heart was so full when I was there, or you might not, but there are no words that can accurately describe the peaceful winds, mesmerizing sunsets, and amazing architecture that Medina and Masjid al Nabawi are home to.

Medina also gave birth to some of the most amazing friendships that I’ve made in my life.  Alhamdullilah I have great friends in my life already but I met some girls on this trip that became my family in just a few short days. There’s something to be said about meeting someone and immediately clicking. I realized after meeting certain people that no one comes into your life when they do for no reason at all. Allah (swt) knows the reason and we don’t always understand what His infinite wisdom is but I do believe that we all met where we did and got along as much as we did because we were meant to. Being from different parts of the US (& Canada), we probably wouldn’t have ever crossed paths had we not all decided to go on the same trip for whatever our personal reasons may be. But now, only a short week and a half later, I can’t imagine my life without all the people I shared experiences with. Whether it be from going to the rawdah and creating a barrier so women could pray and send their salaams to the prophet, waking up for fajr, climbing up to the cave of Hira, or performing our first umrah, I’m thankful for every moment and every person.

Medina al Munawara was what gave my heart peace and alleviated my fears before we proceeded to Makkah al Mukarramah to perform our umrah. Makkah is home of the Holy Kaaba and you can feel the powerful pull of the city before you even enter into the vicinity of the Holy Mosque. When we were on our way there, I was filled with feelings of disbelief. My confusion as to “why me?” still didn’t go away even though I was coming to terms with the fact that I was about to see a place that I had only visited in my dreams. A place that billions of people around the world prayed towards 5 times a day. A place that I felt a connection to without having ever been there before. Understanding and acknowledging the fact that the only possible reason I felt so emotional upon our arrival was that I had an innate attachment to the birthplace of my beautiful religion.

Though there were instances throughout the whole trip where I felt as though my patience was tested and times that I thought I was too tired to go on, I wouldn’t change it for the world. It’s been a few days now and I still can’t seem to get rid of the space in my heart that I think can now only be filled by going back. I’m not entirely sure what I was expecting going into the trip, but I know that whatever it was, the experience surpassed it tenfold. These cities are so blessed in so many ways mash’Allah and you can feel that powerful, peaceful pull with every step you take. From every historical site we saw (such as Mount Arafat and the Cave of Hira), to every prayer I performed, I have truly never felt closer to Allah (swt) and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) than I did when I was there, but I’m so thankful that feeling didn’t go away when I came back home. I left a piece of me behind but somehow I still feel whole. I came back with a newfound belief that no matter what happens, Allah (swt) hasn’t given up on me so there’s no reason for me to give up on Him. Finally for the past few days, I haven’t been able to think of anything to ask for because I know that all my duas will be accepted if they are right for me and I’ve been praying for this belief and conviction since as far back as I remember. All I can say is alhamdulillah, alhamdullilah a million times over.

May all of our duas and umrahs be accepted, may we be invited back soon, and may we be forgiven for all/any of our shortcomings or mistakes, inshallah.

Below are some of my favorite pictures from the best week of my life:


My Hijab Story

           “It is not the cloth that oppresses the woman, it is the illiterate mind” 

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Artwork by: @sarimasubz

I started wearing hijab on May 22, 2014 after the spring semester of my freshmen year at Stony Brook University. It has been about two and a half years from that day and it honestly feels like I’ve never lived life without donning a scarf as I walk outside of my house. Wearing a hijab has become so much a part of who I am as a person and what being a Muslim means to me, shaping my identity in ways that I could’ve never imagined. I want to say that my story and what led me to wearing hijab is ground-breaking and earth-shattering, but in all honesty, my decision stemmed from a feeling in my heart that I interpreted as a sense of something being missing in my life.

My freshmen year of college was not an easy one. Going into Stony Brook, I thought I was prepared for what was to come as I walked across my high school graduation stage but I had no idea that my life was really going to change (at least to an extent). I was used to studying minimally and still being able to do exceptionally in classes but when I got here, I realized that I didn’t know how to study properly and had to deal with setbacks that I never expected. Aside from academically (which alhamdulillah, I was able to turn around), I was even having personal problems ranging from friends all the way to family.

Needless to say, nothing made sense. I would wake up, go to school, go to work and continue to follow a routine that felt unfulfilling, boring, and stressful. I knew that something had to change in my life, and I’m not ashamed to say that the answer didn’t come to me right away. However, the first thing that I turned to when my heart felt uneasy was reading Quran and trying to pray all my Salah’s on time and properly. The more I did this, the more I realized that even though my problems weren’t disappearing right away, my worry about them and worry about figuring out how to deal with them WAS alleviated. I felt more content and at ease than ever before and it could only be attributed to turning my heart to Allah (swt).

I remember thinking one night that what I’m doing is giving me so much peace but maybe I could do more. Hijab was never something that was at the forefront of my mind. I would wear it when I went to the mosque or any other religious setting and always thought I’d wear it one day but never assumed that I’d be so “young” when I did so. I recently read a quote from Yasmin Mogahed that stated “there will come a time in your life when you hear an inner voice. Sometimes it will scream that something isn’t right. Call it your gut, call it intuition, call it insight. Whatever you call it, don’t ignore or suppress this. A purified, believing, guided heart is meant to be a compass. Ignoring a compass will get you lost…” This quote fits exactly into how I felt before I went to sleep that night. I had a feeling that I needed to somehow do more, for me and for Allah (swt), and hijab continuously came to mind.

I woke up that day, a week before May 22, feeling determined and hopeful. Thinking back now, I believe I made my decision as soon as I first thought about it but I didn’t realize it at the time. So, I spent the next few days talking to the people closest to me about what I was thinking about doing and their opinions/suggestions. I had a few mixed reactions but overall there was unanimous support across that gave me the last push that I needed.

And…the rest is history.

            Since that day, hijab has come to mean so much to me in ways that I can’t accurately describe. It is a garment that not simply covers my hair but empowers me in ways that I never imagined before. To me, it gives a sense of identity that I didn’t have before. Hijab is not only defined by the scarf I wear, but rather it is a way of being and acting. I always thought that to wear hijab meant that you had to be a perfect Muslim but in these past years, I’ve realized that it means more about working to be a better Muslim every day. I take time to remember Allah (swt) whenever I put it on and that alone helps me improve my imaan and keep it strong because I am wearing this for His sake. Hijab has brought me closer to my deen and I will forever be thankful for that.

Though it isn’t easy being a hijabi in this political climate, the words of Linda Sarsour described it perfectly when she said she’s “unapologetically Muslim”. I refuse to apologize for something that I consider to be a symbol of modesty, humility, beauty and above all, peace.

So, to all my sisters, whether you wear hijab, are thinking about it, or don’t: May Allah (swt) reward us for all the big and small steps we take to get closer to Him, and purify our intentions always. Happy World Hijab Day! ❤ 

 

 

 

“Get Yourself Some New Hijabs!”

When I’m in the market for new hijabs (and I almost always am hehe), some of the things that I look for most are durability, practicality, beauty and (perhaps most importantly) the cost.

I was first introduced to the brand “That Hijabi” at a New Jersey event called HijabFest 2016 and was immediately impressed by the different prints and the availability of such a  wide variety of colored plains! What was even better was that they were affordable and seem to last a long time.

I would highly recommend this wonderful company run by such a sweet, smart, and talented designer who I look up to for following her dreams and helping those around her follow their own as well.

Below are some of my favorite looks with some of their hijabs, check them out and let me know what you think 🙂

www.thathijabi.com



I paired this navy polka dot hijab with a beige/tan colored long sleeve shirt and a navy blue tulle skirt. I considered this a very versatile style that could be combined with various different outfits and look amazing!


This white and black grid hijab, I paired with the lattice dress from UrbanModesty and a trench coat from Zara. I usually don’t opt for white with darker colors but I tried this outfit and immediately fell in love. I was out of my comfort zone but I’m so glad I took the risk.


Similar to the outfit above, this hijab was also styled with the same lattice dress from UrbanModesty and I loved the traditional grey with black combination.


This is one of my favorite hijabs/looks! The dress was made by my aunt from satin material (that I adore) which I paired with the black ruffle hijab. Though I found this particular style hard to wear at first, I watched their helpful tutorials and then it quickly became a go-to if I want to dress up a plain outfit.  Highly recommend this unique hijab, you won’t regret it.


Last but definitely not least, the heartbeat hijab! I was initially drawn to this style because I love anything medical related and this totally fit my aesthetic haha. Aside from the cute heartbeat aspect, I love the versatility of this hijab which can go with practically any outfit. It is available in black also. Here, I decided to pair it with the sage green milk silk maxi from Kabayare Fashion. Such a casual but comfortable and appealing outfit.


“Take Care of Yourself”

I consider myself to be an observant person and one of the things that I’ve noticed through the years is the irony that surrounds the process and life-style of a medical profession. I have seen students and professionals at all stages of their education (undergrad, grad, practicing) that will preach to patients and family the importance of taking care of themselves, but yet the same professionals will fail to make their own self-care a priority.

Yes, you’re spending a large amount of your life studying and working tirelessly so you can take care of others but will you realistically be able to do that if you yourself aren’t okay?

Self-care doesn’t stop at doing everything you can to stay healthy, it also revolves around mental-health. It’s been found that happy people make those around them happier. With this in mind, I can’t stress how important it is to find things that give YOU happiness, and opportunities to destress.

This is something that has taken me a while to learn (and still struggle with). I’ve found myself always thinking about those I care about before myself and putting their needs before my own. Though this is noble in it’s own right, sometimes it is necessary to put that aside and make sure that in doing this, you aren’t sacrificing parts of yourself. There are times where your self-love should come first.

I got both of the items pictured above to serve as consistent reminders of this. The ring and bracelet both means more to me than simply pieces of jewelry.

The bracelet, which is from MyIntent, has the word “Naseeb” written on it. Naseeb (نصيب‎‎) is an Arabic word that means destiny or fate. I got this to serve as a reminder that no matter what hardships might come, I hope to always remember to believe in myself, believe in Allah (swt), and believe in the beauty of my dreams. Prophet Muhammad said “what has reached you, was never meant to miss you and what has missed you was never meant to reach you”. To acknowledge this is to know that whatever is written for you, will be yours, no matter what. To have faith in Allah’s mercy is to understand that what isn’t written for you, can be changed with sincere dua. Hopefully, when hardships come, the meaning of this world will give me enough hope to raise me up at my worst.

The ring (FYI, not an engagement one), which is from pandora, is named “Timeless Elegance”. This caught my eye because it’s a beautiful ring (right?) and it seemed to be something I could wear everyday without feeling as if it was too much. The reason I chose to get it however is because of the name. The word “timeless” stood out to me because in the same way that this ring could be described as timelessly elegant, your love for yourself should be unaffected by time also. We have instances in our lives that cause us pain and make our self-esteem/love hinder, and those are the times where it is most important to be able to be there for yourself. The people that love you will look out for you, but you have to always look out for yourself as well.

I hope that everyone can find small things that remind them how important they are and that taking care of yourself, while maintaining your happiness should always be one of the top things on your list.

“My Thoughts on America’s Presidential Elect”

          For anyone that doesn’t know, on Tuesday 11/9/2016, Donald Trump became the new presidential elect for the United States of America, winning 290 electoral votes to Hilary Clinton’s 228.

          I woke up earlier than normal that day. I knew I had to be at school by 8:30 AM for class, so I was at my voting site at 6 AM. I could barely contain my excitement because this was my first time voting in a presidential election (and I thought the Democrats had it). I walked in, confused where to go but finally got my ballot and made my way to the polling station. As I was about to go cast my vote, an older Caucasian gentleman in the booth next to me with a “Make America Great Again” hat smiled and said “choose wisely”. I knew what he meant but I thought nothing of it.

          Throughout the campaign, I knew there were people that supported Donald Trump. We all knew that. He could say anything racist, misogynistic, demeaning and downright idiotic, but there were some people around the US that would still find some reason to say that it was acceptable. I would tell myself, everyone has different political ideologies and it’s important to be respectful of that. When Trump called for a Muslim ban, a wall to be built, and said terrible things about women, I remember feeling slight fear, but thinking that there was no way that America would ever let this guy win. For the whole time he was campaigning, I convinced myself that it was a joke, or it was a scam to make sure that Hillary Clinton would win, because could people really be blind enough to vote for someone that just spewed hatred? Whatever reasons American’s had, many of them did vote for him and whether intentional or not, they created an unsafe environment as a result. For anyone that is a person of color, from the LGBT community, or is amongst any of the groups that Trump targeted his hatred towards, the world took ten steps back in any progress that had been made.

         When it started to become more and more clear that he may win the election, I felt numb. It seemed to me as if his winning would be validating the racist, misogynistic and offensive things that his campaign was based off of. The people that believed in the things he said, now had a green light to do whatever they wanted because hey, their candidate is going to be the new president. Racism, misogyny, and stupidity won the election last Tuesday.

          It has taken me a week to be able to articulate my thoughts in relation to this and I still don’t know if I can adequately describe the way that I, and many others I know feel. I’m sure there are reasons aside all the bad that people voted for Trump, maybe they really thought he was the better of the two bad options, but whatever those reasons may be, he advocated for hatred and that fact won’t change even if he himself somehow does. It’s easy to look past certain things a presidential candidate says and does if it doesn’t affect you directly. The reality is that hate crimes against numerous minority groups are at a high, and people are being openly demeaning and racist to others. This is not okay. People should be uncomfortable with the thought of saying something that could be deemed racist. People should be uncomfortable letting one person represent a whole religion or culture. People should not feel as if they can tell someone “to go back to their country”, when this is their country.

         I’ve been wearing hijab now for a little over two years and I’ve never hesitated putting it on before. Though I’ve experienced islamophobia in limited aspects, my safety was something I was sure about. I woke up on Wednesday wondering what it would be like after I walked outside of my house into a country where the majority didn’t want to accept me for the person that I am. It had been less than 24 hours since Trump won and I woke up to numerous “stay safe” messages and reports of hate crimes that had taken place in that short time. I didn’t know how to feel but I had tears in my eyes every time I thought about it. I still don’t know how to feel when I find myself looking over my shoulder ten times more if I’m going anywhere alone. I still can’t help but wonder if, when someone stares too long, they see me for me, or equate me to all that they hear on the news about “people like me”.

          The last time I felt this unsure about my identity was last year, when Deah, Yusor, and Razan were executed in their home because of the fact that they followed Islam (My Brother was killed by Islamophobia). I remember thinking that could’ve been me, or my sister, or any one of the people that I love. Thinking about the reality of that situation still sends shivers through my spine. I could never understand what their family members feel, but the way that my heart mourned, it felt as if I knew them. They were such incredible people but their lives were shortened because someone was filled with an unfathomable amount of hatred.

         I’m scared that things like that will become more common as a result of Trump’s win. I pray Allah (swt) will keep all of us safe and I trust Him to do so. Right now, and in the four years to come, I think the only think that any of us can do is stand by each other and try to be the best versions of ourselves in face of any adversity. I read somewhere “some people are racist because they’re bad people, but some people are that way because they don’t know any better.” Show those around you through your character and actions what kind of person you are and if they have not-so-great opinions, show them that they’re wrong. I know it’s not fair and it never will be but that is the world that we live in. I’m still confused, as I’m sure many others are, but I believe that this feeling will fade with time and I’ll feel at home in a country that I love.

-xoxo Temoria