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My First Day of Middle School as the First Social Expression of My Religious Identity: Personal Narrative Essay

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I examined my outfit once again, insatiate. It was all wrong. The ensemble I had picked the night before no longer looked cute. I looked into the mirror. My hair was knotted up from all of the tossings and turning from my restless night’s sleep. Normally I would let my brush battle my hair to tame the unruly waves, but today I simply tied the mess into a bun. I carefully placed the hijab on my head. I had carelessly strewn this piece of fabric on my head so many times before, but today I was ridden with anxiety. Today was the first day of middle school, but more importantly, it was the first day of my life-long commitment to wearing the hijab.

What are they going to think? Is anyone going to like me? Did I make the right choice? All of these thoughts were running through my mind as I made my way through the halls. So fragile was my self-confidence that this mere garment was able to subdue my normally carefree personality. I kept my eyes on the floor, counting every third tile as a way to preoccupy my mind. I did not dare to approach anyone in conversation, instead, I sat there, quietly fidgeting with my hands. All around me was a sea of unfamiliar faces, and I could feel them staring. I felt like an outsider, a foreigner at my own school.

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When I finally got to my first period, I quickly sat in the first empty seat I could find. Eventually, someone advanced me with conversation. She peered at me with a look of bewilderment and curiosity in her big blue eyes. She asked me my name, then proceeded to inquire about my religion. I felt bombarded. I was no expert, I was just a regular eleven-year-old. Most of her inquiries were founded on genuine curiosity, and I answered them as best as I could. This was the first time I was ever truly confronted with questions about my religion, and I was taken aback by how to properly answer them. I did not have the conviction that I should have had, instead, I was timid and weak with my replies. Then she asked me the most terrifying question of all: “Do you shower in that thing?”. Shocked, I denied the claim.

It has been over six years since that day in middle school, and I am no longer the shy and innocent girl that I was then. Wearing the hijab forced me to leave the comfort of being exactly like everybody else. It made me embrace my differences rather than trying to camouflage into my surroundings. It has not always been easy to fight the desire to fit in and be like the other girls, but in the end, I realized that my identity as a Muslim was more important. The hijab enabled me to develop my own personality and intelligence in a society where a female’s physical appearance often overshadows her own accomplishments. It empowered me to be myself and to follow my dreams. I would feel incomplete without it.

There have been a lot of misconceptions surrounding who I am and what I represent. This has unfortunately led to me becoming a target for bullying and discrimination. My experiences with that have only made me stronger, and it has allowed me to understand the world with a clearer view. It has also taught me the value of defending my beliefs. I refuse to be a victim of misrepresentation and will not let it deter me from practicing my religion. Being a Muslim American is only one side of me, but it encompasses everything else I do. I go through life proudly as a Muslim doing the things that I love like sculpting, fishing, and traveling. With my hijab on since that first day in middle school, I keep my head held high.

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My First Day of Middle School as the First Social Expression of My Religious Identity: Personal Narrative Essay. (2023, November 21). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 1, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/my-first-day-of-middle-school-as-the-first-social-expression-of-my-religious-identity-personal-narrative-essay/
“My First Day of Middle School as the First Social Expression of My Religious Identity: Personal Narrative Essay.” Edubirdie, 21 Nov. 2023, edubirdie.com/examples/my-first-day-of-middle-school-as-the-first-social-expression-of-my-religious-identity-personal-narrative-essay/
My First Day of Middle School as the First Social Expression of My Religious Identity: Personal Narrative Essay. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/my-first-day-of-middle-school-as-the-first-social-expression-of-my-religious-identity-personal-narrative-essay/> [Accessed 1 Mar. 2024].
My First Day of Middle School as the First Social Expression of My Religious Identity: Personal Narrative Essay [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Nov 21 [cited 2024 Mar 1]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/my-first-day-of-middle-school-as-the-first-social-expression-of-my-religious-identity-personal-narrative-essay/
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