On the left is my friend Nira
On the right is Ibtihaj Muhammad

I think for the most part I can label the end of 2016 & 2017 as the years where hijab wearing Muslim Women were finally represented. And y'know I feel like I haven't realized how seeing myself represented in a sport, magazine, etc. impacted my day-to-day life until a few weeks ago.

At the Rio Olympics we had the first hijab wearing Muslim compete on behalf of Team USA- Ibtihaj Muhammad. It was after seeing Ibtihaj fencing I was reminded about my love for running. After seeing her represent Team USA my thought process was more or less like wait a second wearing a hijab doesn't limit you from competing at the Olympics? Did the rules change? Was that ever a rule?

It took a second for me to realize that obviously there was a never a rule that hijab wearing Muslim women couldn't compete in the Olympics on behalf of Team USA. Rather, no hijab wearing American Muslim ever pursued such a path before.

This is where Ibtihaj Muhammad comes in. She competed for Team USA in Fencing. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only hijab wearing muslim who thought wait we can do that- since when?

The answer to that question is that we've always been able to compete in a sport for our country at the Olympics, it just took one to lead the way for us to realize that door has always been open for us.

On the left is my friend Nira
On the right is Ibtihaj Muhammad
* also can we talk about Ibtihaj's outfit YAS *

In the middle of September, Ibtihaj Muhammad was having a pop-up shop for her clothing line Louella. If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram - you'll probably remember me mentioning how shook I was at meeting an idol of mine.

I can confirm I am still shook that I met Ibtihaj Muhammad.

The huge thing for me is the message her being on Team USA sent to all us hijab wearing Muslims in America as well as around the world who may not have seen themselves represented in sports. I'm sure after seeing her compete for Team USA at the Olympics, it helped other Muslim girls realize they are capable of anything they set their mind to, even competing for their country at the Olympics. There are no limitations.

In retrospect, all limits are self imposed. Most people sometimes look at something that is challenging and think to themselves oh how can I ever do that?

Well, you can start by taking the first step.

Edit: so I saw this interview with Zendaya talking about representation and thought to include it: Zendaya on Blackness, Beyonce, and Telling Disney 'No'