South Asian Lenses: It's Okay to Stand Out

I remember growing up as a child I wanted to be like everybody else, especially when I began to go to private school. I wanted to fit in and be friends with the cool kids, which later on became my close friends. As I then attended public school, a shift happened. When I went back to visit my family in Bangladesh, I got a bunch of new clothes while I was there. They were American style clothing that had hints of the Bengali culture on them. When I got back to the States, midway through second grade switched from private to public schooling because of the temporary foreclosure of the private school due to the damages caused by a hurricane. Every day for the rest of my second-grade year, I wore those new clothes and received compliments from my peers and older students. This was when I learned to appreciate being different and found confidence in standing out. I always wore what I wanted but looking back at that moment of my life was key to my development as a child. This was when I learned the power of dressing differently to stand out from the crowd.

Another way I learned why it was okay to stand out from the crowd was through my intersectional identities. As a Muslim Bangladeshi-American woman, when I walk into classrooms and other public settings, I usually am either one of the few or the only individuals in the group that hold those intersectional identities. Due to that, I have learned the importance of being personable with others. Being personable with other people is important to me because that is how I connect and engage with people. I love being extroverted and being social with others. I have found strength and beauty in my intersectional identities. It has made me who I am and continues to shape me as I move into a new chapter of my life as I prepare to graduate this semester.

My advice to those who struggle with accepting themselves and loving who they are is that there is no one exactly like you and that is your power. It is amazing how in the millions of people in this world, you will not find someone who is an exact carbon copy of you. In today’s society where technology keeps you connected, you get praise and recognition in being different. People may want to follow you or get to know you because the content you provide is different from others. This goes to show that your differences attract other people in wanting to engage and connect with you. Being true to who you are and not settling to fit in is okay. Being different is okay. Embrace who you are because you may inspire others to do the same. 

Want to see more HCFSU? Be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest!