Salma Elwardany is an Irish Egyptian writer and public speaker, she travels around the globe and illustrates her experiences. She is in the process of writing her novel.
Any human in finding out their identity is a contradictory, confusing, and sometimes isolating journey. A Muslim woman’s identity is even further multifaceted, intricate, sensitive, confusing, and contradictory, it is a hard but brave process to conquer in finding who you are and doing it with purpose. Aiming to marry your Muslim identity with your underlying cultural identity of the place you were born into can be easy for some, and difficult for others. We are all on this wild journey together. Here is Salma El-Wardany illustrating experiences that made sense to her, in unpacking the intricacies of intergenerational customs, versus finding faith on her own.
“The idea of hiding something, some part of our lives from their parents and Muslim communities, as we grew the things we hid changed, I went from hiding headscarves in your handbag, to hiding boyfriends under the bed. To creeping out to go clubbing or trying to creep in drunk without anyone letting know you were. We hid mini skirts, and revealing outfits in the back of our wardrobes tattoos on parts of our body we hoped no one in your family would ever see. Sometimes we even hid our own religion as bombs started ricocheting across the world, and the Taliban and ISIS became synonymous with ISIS and Muslim…The problem is why we feel compelled to hide these things in the first place, the problem is we have created a world full of types and binary individuals and we expect everyone to exist solely within the narrow confounds of that type, and if they don’t they don’t have a place, they don’t belong, and all any of us want is to belong.”