Be Confident by Haneen Badri
Although adversity is intended to improve one’s life it also contains the capability to grind you down. The ultimate result of such an impact depends on whether you decide to overcome calamity or to reject reality and let it overpower your very being. Throughout the 7th grade was when I encountered what I consider the first trying period of time in my life – it was when I started wearing my headscarf, committing myself to being a hijabi.
From the first day it felt as if the peers who I once was close to dismissed my existence. I never truly realized how a cloth could act as a repellant. As the first month passed I was alienated by anyone and everyone who perceived me as abnormal. During the spring that year a female peer of mine ripped my hijab off my head dragging the pin holding it together across my scalp, exposing me to everyone that had lunch with us. While she was ripping off my headscarf it was as though my dignity and identity were removed along with it, my voice was snatched out of my chest with ease as if I never did exist.
To this day I have never experienced something that caused me to feel as vulnerable as I did right then. For two weeks I could not bring myself to report the incident, but after realizing that wallowing in self pity had done nothing but tear down my sanity I reported it to my student advisor. When they removed her from our Spanish class, to take her home for a two week suspension, instead of feeling relieved I was enraged to find the rest of my classmates accusing me of being a monster and a villain for defending myself.
The next year of my life consisted of severe self hate. I rejected the very characteristics that made me who I am. I no longer wanted to be recognized as a Sudanese Muslim. I separated myself from the very community who taught me the most important lessons of life. It was my youth counselor at the mosque who made me aware of how these elements were a blessing in my life and how important diversity is.
Due to this tribulation I was able to strengthen my confidence as well as my character. Indeed if it was not for this I would not be proud of what I stand for today. Although it was traumatic it truly was beneficial. Currently I am very passionate about social issues, primarily about intersectional feminism and the Black Lives Matter movement. This has sparked my interest in volunteering as much as I can to give back to the community, whether it’s with my mosque or the cultural youth group I am in, as well as attending events to further my knowledge outside of the classroom such as Especially Me which is an empowerment event for young African American females.
My ability to overcome my first instance of racial discrimination had opened a new door to me to embrace myself as an individual and give back to those younger and older than me who do not yet understand the importance of self worth and confidence.
Haneen and I discussed how she overcame her self hate after being discriminated against to be a confident, outspoken young Sudanese Muslim woman. To hear more, listen on…
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Haneen Badri is Sudanese and was born and raised in Denver along with her two older siblings. Haneen is currently a senior at George Washington High School where she is president of both Mock Trial and Pep Club. Outside of school she leads the Colorado Muslim Society Girls Youth Group and is the youth representative for Young Sudanese. The things she holds close to her heart are her family, education, culture, religion, and her passion for playing the cello. One of Haneen’s favorite quotes is, “Well behaved women seldom make history,” and she hopes to live by this principle as she embarks on the next chapter of her life.
Images via Chapter Be