A Girl Like Me

a free verse poem written by Anonymous and read by Ms. DiOrio at the Candlelight Vigil on January 13th

Everyone knows what is going on in the media today,

everyone knows about the attacks that are on a continuous loop,

never completely ending or completely starting.

And everyone knows that the hatred for people that look like me has long been here before you and I took our first steps in this cruel society.

Now, I ain’t about to get into a political debate or have a heated discussion,

but what I am going to do is clear up any misconceptions

about a girl who has my reflection.

 

You see being a girl that wears a scarf ain’t no easy thing,

I’m constantly fighting an internal battle that has no end,

but I got to stay true to what I believe

and what Islam teaches me.

 

So when an individual like yourself

says a girl like me is oppressed because we cover our face,

hands and hair,

I have to say it makes me sad

that when you see a girl that looks like me,

the thoughts that come to your head just astonish me, “OMG, I feel so bad she has no say in what she really has.”

 

But if you actually knew why this scarf is wrapped around my head

would the same thoughts come to your head?

If you knew why I wear long shirts and dresses instead of crop tops and skinny jeans,

would those same thoughts keep you wondering?

I need you to be completely honest with me

because the truth is this piece of cloth that covers me

represents the rights I have.

This piece of cloth that covers me

forces you to look at me for my intellect

not for my physique

This piece of cloth that covers me

demands respect

not attention.

 

Other than the fact that there is a cloth on my head,

there really is no difference between you and me.

Just like you I like to curl up with a big cup of hot cocoa with the tv remote in my hand,

just like you I smile at the littlest things,

just like you I laugh till I can not breathe,

and just like you there are nights when I’m all by myself,

when I am surrounded by darkness,

and all I feel is the the trail of glistening tears leaving their mark on my face.

 

So how can you say that a girl like me does not belong,

how can you treat me like an alien from another world,

when the truth of the matter is you and I are really not so different at all.

 

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