I sat alone. No one in the room dared to acknowledge or even laid eyes on me. Many students tried to find where they would not have sit in close proximity of me. Those who did have the courage to sit near me still tried to keep a distance. I tried to conceal my true feelings by listening attentively to the teacher's lecture. However, I could not completely isolate from my surroundings. A boy who arrived late to class noticed me sitting at the back row of the classroom. He held his stare for what seemed like two minutes but felt more like two hours. He quickly turned away. Although I knew why people gazed at me they way they did, I wished they would not. Moving to a new high school for my senior year was not in my life agenda. Although I have accepted the move, I continued to feel like a pariah every step I took in the school. By people judging me merely because I wore the Muslim headscarf did not make things less stringent.
With more than thirty minutes left of class, Dr. Atchley assigned a lab involving the process of amylase. My heart pounded fiercely. Beads of sweat dampened atop the palms of my hands. To add to my anxiety, I overheard a girl whisper to her friend, "No way, I don't want to work with the girl in the scarf."
Eventually, a slim and brunette girl approached me nicely and asked if I would work with her and her friend in the lab. Trying to cover my unease, I kindly said yes. At that moment, my muscles began to relax. I could feel the butterfly feeling escape from inside of the pit of my stomach. Soon, I came to terms with my situation and learned to deal with it.
I had moved three times to three different cities throughout my high school career. Transferring schools so many times had helped me grow accustomed to the pain that inevitably follows moving. Gradually, I learned how to cope with difficult situations and now I had the capability to handle others like them.
To add to the change in my life setting, I recently began to wear the headscarf. After overhearing the girl's comment from that day, during that time I did not know how to react. Then, I felt inferior and unimportant. After reflecting upon that period of my life, I remind myself why I had chosen to even wear the garment at all.
I am brought up among a family where religion surmounts our values. I consider religion as a piece of the puzzle to my life. Without religion, I believe that I would be lost and overwhelmed. I am a Muslim and I am not apprehensive of letting others know that. The philosophy behind the headscarf is that if a woman wears one, men, and other people included, will accept a woman for who she is and not for how she looks. I will admit that I did struggle against society's pressures of trying to appear as the All-American beauty. My life altering choice however has succored me to become a more confident and independent individual.
It is not a surprise that media can influence the way people think. With the current international attacks from Muslims themselves, many people are led to believe news reports that accentuate that the Muslims are dangerous. Sadly, many Muslims today are targets of strict airport security checks and even racism. I can only guess that the way in which many people react towards me is due to not only to the deadly attacks by individuals who follow my religion but also to the approach in which media portrays Muslims. However, I learn to cope with the circumstances. Just like I had learned to cope with the pain from moving to various places, I use that strength for enduing the pain from society's outlook of me. With a population of 308 million and growing people, the world flourishes with different kinds of inhabitants. Meshed in the population are a diverse set of personality traits and beliefs. However, whether people are short, tall, fat, skinny, blonde, brunette, Christian, Jewish or even Muslim, they all have one thing in common: they are all humans. Among the population, I belong in that group. I am a merely another diversity among the vast populace.
I tried to conceal my true feelings by listening attentively to the teacher's lecture. However, I could not completely isolate myself from my surroundings.
By people judging me merely because I wore the Muslim headscarf did not make things less stringent. - sentence threw me off- not the grammar- but the muslim headscarf shouldn't really mean anything or affect stringency... it doesn't work here because it is too early on in the passage. (it'd be fine without)
Your topic is personal and the essay well written. I learned alot.
also, i had a second response. would you mind reading it? (tufts)
He held his stare for what seemed like
two minutes but felt more like two hours, though it probably was only two minutes.
He quickly turned away.---- you mean after two minutes?
...slim and brunette girl approached me nicely ---- I think the fact that she is slim and brunette does not matter so much in this essay. It is a distraction, I think, because it interferes with your important theme.
Hey, this is excellent toward the end. It has meaning as your personal perspective and also as a sample of the feelings expressed by Muslim at this strange time in history. I love your poetic and thoughtful discussion at the end.