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Sumaia or Sumi depends on the occasions, the contexts, in some I am known by the name I have at the registry office, in others by the name that mum and dad decided to give me "to do it first". Then there's @coveredinlayers, I can't tell you exactly when or how it was born, I only know that I was in middle school when they made fun of me because I was covered in layers, what they didn't understand is that in reality all they did was describe how I dressed . So a few years later I decided to make it my flag.

Today, 10 years after I attended that class, I can't help but think about how at the time the fact that I covered my hair took second place, it wasn't relevant and much less no one had the presumption to know how it was better show me to the world. It is also true that then no one talked about us, now too many do so and with the same method of excluding us from the conversation. Precisely because I have never felt represented by any of the stories that TV, radio and newspapers attributed to women who look like me, I decided to write a different one.

I was 17 when I realized I had two options: accept the narrative attributed to me or write my own. I opted for the second! Because there is not just one way of being Italian, there has never been any conflict between the West and the East in my life, in fact I am a daughter of the West, it is the only society in which I have lived. But above all I felt expropriated of any intellectual property and the most ordinary aspects of life and being together seemed to belong only to others. So I picked up the phone and started talking about how normal my life was.

About 5 years have passed since then, I have built a professionalism in communication, which I use to promote inclusion and diversity. If you're wondering, no it wasn't easy at all and it still isn't, but I'll tell you a secret, it's not true that if it shows us in a certain way or if you have certain conditions you can't access certain professions, the the truth is that you have to try to be twice as good as everyone else, you have to have the courage to put yourself forward, the patience to accept rejection and the will to keep trying and the perseverance to always want to reach new goals. To build the Italy of tomorrow we need excellence and we can all excel, we just need to understand how. This is what I hope to convey to you.

And it is also the reason why as soon as Keltoum and Fatiha proposed me to be part of their new blog space, I decided to seize the opportunity immediately, because if Hijab Paradise exists today it is thanks to the courage that these two young women they had to believe in their dreams.


Instagram : @coveredinlayers

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