Starting 2019 with a lack of confidence in my abilities to put out content or create new things, I felt lost and confused so I retrieved into a cocoon or a shell…sort of like a turtle. I fuelled up whatever energy I had in me to rebuild myself and my confidence. I was all over the place within my ideas and couldn’t seem to make anything work. Although I took much of 2019 to spend time with my daughter, I feel like it was sort of an excuse not to be out there and face my insecurities. I came back from Palestine a little jaded and lethargic. I felt out of context in every aspect and part of my life. I didn’t connect with others as I used to and I very much-loved solitude. As the year went on, I was finally trusting myself again to be out there in the world and to work on my fashion again…although I didn’t truly stop, I was still not as active as I used to be. In the last 4 months of 2019, I finally felt fresh and that’s when the right opportunities came knocking at my door. I was surprised, to be honest, I thought they were prank calls at first but when the organizations insisted on having me speak at their events, I felt humbled, touched, confused, just confused…even now, talking about it, I am still confused. I never thought low of myself as much as I did coming back from Palestine. I just let myself go, which felt almost irreparable. I made myself sick. I was never that confident anyway, but I always tried to keep my head high and fight for what I believed in. To have arrived at a pathetic level was a little astounding to me.
So obviously, at first, I didn’t want to speak at the events, but my husband and family pushed me to get out of my comfort zone. In November, MAX invited me to talk about my achievements in the fashion industry as a Muslim girl. To talk about the realities of my job; the ups and downs that come along with it. I didn’t know where to start, but all I knew is that I can only be myself. And myself I was. I was very silly, very funny, very all over the place but most of all very vulnerable and honest. I am a humble little working woman who sometimes struggles to make ends meet. Truth us, behind the scenes, there are many pop-up shops or events I do where I barely break-even. And that’s not what you want in business. You always want to strive and shoot for the starts.
Anyway, getting back to MAX! MAX is an organization built by professionals for professionals to elevate the brand of Muslims in Canada. Its purpose is to motivate and educate the younger generations of Muslims to excel at what they do and to reach their goals. This organization is there to help the youth understand the struggles of life and to push forward to achieve their dreams, one at a time. I was a mentor with them in 2018, and I loved helping my mentee understand the realities of the fashion industry. I guess with that, they decided to give me a badge of honor and have me as a speaker at their event. An event that awards Muslim professionals with excellence. They were proud that I was self-made and was able to put my message out there despite my very apparent “physical disability” (aka my veil). I, alongside other professionals, shared my journey with many and although scary, it was so freaking amazing! Answering questions and making your point and mingling and networking…the whole thing was a dream. I was so lucky to have met other amazing artists in graphic and in theatre. They are as passionate (if not more) and as brave to face the world to prove their point and to follow their dreams. We all try to pave the way for younger generations and allow them to not be afraid to go against the current. Being Muslim is hard these days, to be entirely honest, and it’s sometimes scary, I am not gonna lie. You never know what will happen to you because you can easily run into a psycho that might punch you while leaving the train (it happened to me recently, just saying). Us, Muslim women, are under the radar and have to work a thousand times harder to prove our place in society. This event pushed me and inspired me to hustle a lot harder now and to positively contribute to society, as a leader, as a Muslim woman, and as an artist. There is a place for change, and I believe that the right people will listen and help in making things happen.